William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]


The county seat of Phillips County, termed "the city of the hills," so called on account of its location on the uplands of Deer Creek, was named in honor of Col. Phillips, formerly a member of Congress from Kansas, who had been a steadfast friend of the town. The location of the town is beautiful and commanding, and affords a superb view of the surrounding country. The town is symmetrically laid out, with a spacious public square, in the center of which stands a handsome, commodious brick court house, erected last year at a cost of about eight thousand dollars.

The town was located and laid out in 1872 by a party from Doniphan County, Kansas, consisting of Samuel Plattner, J. H. Close and E. S. Dean. Mr. Plattner erected the first house in the place, hauling the lumber from Doniphan County, a distance of over two hundred and fifty miles. This was the only building erected in the year 1872, and was utilized as a residence, hotel and store, Messers. Sayer & Dutton opening therein the first stock of goods brought to Phillipsburg.

In 1872 Governor Harvey issued a proclamation organizing the county of Phillips, and designating Phillipsburg as the county seat, the Governor stating in his proclamation that he organized the county in "compliance with the petition of the people of Kirwin, and located the seat in compliance with the petition of the people of Phillipsburg." At that time there was not a building in Phillipsburg, but a town company had been organized and a charter obtained, and Samuel Plattner was preparing to build. The following named persons were appointed provisional officers to conduct the affairs of the new county: I. N. Lee, Clerk; John Castello, James Large and G. L. Dustin, Commissioners. The first school house was erected in 1873, and the same year a postoffice was established with Fred. A. Dutton as postmaster. Previous to this time the mails were carried by the citizens of the village, who with the true spirit of Western pioneers, raised a subscription and ran a daily hack to Kirwin, the principal town in the new county. In 1874 the Phillipsburg postoffice was designated as a money order office.

F. J. Dutcher and wife was the first family to settle in the town, arriving in the fall of 1872. Henry McDowell, Phil. Townley, Michael Mann, Wm. Bissell, Leffingwell & Rogers, and Geo. W. Stinson, all settled in the town as early as 1873. C H. Leffingwell & Rogers and Mann began merchandizing in 1873. The city has had but two postmasters. The first, F. A. Dutton, retained the office six years and was then succeeded by the present incumbent, H. C. Spaulding.

In point of business importance and population (400 inhabitants) Phillipsburg is the second town in the county, and contains an intelligent, moral and energetic class of citizens. Nearly every class of business is represented. There are five general merchandise stores, two hardware, two drug stores, two notions and harness, two groceries, one furniture dealer, two milliners, one bank, one baker and confectioner, three hotels, the Central, National and Iowa, two livery stables, two blacksmiths, one barber, one newspaper, five attorneys, one physician, one lumber yard, two resident clergymen, Methodist and Presbyterian.

The earliest settlers of the town were Fred A. Dutton, Samuel Plattner and A. W. Tracey, who were quickly followed by many persons who settled in the place as soon as the county seat question was determined in favor or Phillipsburg.

Mrs. F. T. Dutcher was the first lady settler. The first child born in the town was A. M Shelley, in the winter or 1873. The first marriage occurred November 19, 1873, A. M. Hitchcock and Carrie A Smith. The first death in the new settlement was a stranger who perished in a storm, in the winter of 1872, three months later a man named Nelson died.

Phillipsburg was organized as a city of the third class in 1880. H. L. Sprague was the first mayor, succeeded by G. W. Stinson, Elihu Davis, present incumbent. The city marshals: Wm. Featherly, Geo. Ferguson, Wm. Beck, present incumbent. Clerks: Ed. Korns, E. E. Davis, Ed. Korns, present incumbent. councilmen: C. H. Leffingwell, G. A. Spaulding, F. A. Dutton, D. B. Bailey, Frank Strain. Present members, G. W. Young, F. Strain, H. C. Sprague, F. E. Winship, J. W. Lowe.

The first school was taught in the town in 1873. In a school house near the public square by Cyrus Hinkenlooper. The first school house was erected during that year, on the northeast corner of the square. The first sermon was preached in Samuel Plattner's house in the fall of 1872, by Rev. A. Hitchcock. The first church edifice erected in Phillipsburg, south of public square, was by the Baptists, in 1879. This handsome house was destroyed by the terrible tornado of June 24, 1882, but an effort is now being made to rebuild. Jacob Close built a sawmill in the west part of town in the spring of 1873.

In 1873 while the District Court was in session in Phillipsburg, and a trial for horse stealing was in progress, great excitement was caused by the announcement that an immense herd of buffalo was in sight. The court was adjourned in confusion and Judge, jury and witnesses armed themselves as best they could and instantly gave chase and several of the herd were killed. The preceding year a settler followed a herd of buffalo on a white Texas pony, and succeeded in killing several of them before they got beyond his unerring rifle.

On the 23d of June, 1882, a fearful electrical storm visited the city and destroyed property to the amount of $12,000. Fifteen buildings were blown down, among the number the Baptist Church, a handsome and commodious frame structure, 40 x 50 feet in size. The great wonder to those who surveyed the ruins was that there was no loss of life. The heaviest losses were, Mr. Blackman, residence torn down and scattered in every direction; the house of Mr. Nash, just opposite, totally destroyed; the court house unroofed; residence of C. W. Snodgrass destroyed and household goods scattered to the winds; many buildings and barns were also partially destroyed. The inhabitants describe the storm as frightful and never wish to look upon its like again.


On April 30, 1879, a dispensation was issued by the M. W. G. L., of Kansas, to organize a Masonic lodge in Phillipsburg, and the following named persons were the charter members: John Bissell, Charles Dickey, E. B. Johnson, T. M. Dutcher, Wm. Bissell, G. W. Stinson, E. Cook, H. C. Sprague, P. C. Lowe, E. Hancock, J. H. Close, D. A. Hulting, I. V. Lee. First officers: John Bissell, W. M.; F. T. M. Dutcher, S. W.; E. B. Johnson, J. W.; H. C. Sprague, Treasurer; Wm. Bissell, Secretary; G. W. Stinson, S. D.; E. J. Hancock, J. D.; D. A. Huling, S. S.; I. V. Lee, J. S.; Chas. Dickey, Tiler. Present membership, 31. Meetings monthly on Saturdays on or before the full moon. The present officers are: John Bissell, W. M.; Frank Strain, S. W.; F. T. M. Dutcher, J. W.; H. C. Spaulding, Treasurer; W. H. Pratt, Secretary; N. B. McCormick, S. D.; E. F. Carpenter, J. D.; J. S. Gebhart, S. S.; J. D. Couch, J. S.; Charley Dickey, Tiler.

Phillipsburg Lodge, No. 184, I. O. O. F., was chartered February, 1880. The first officers were: G. A. Spalding, N. G.; Frank Boyd, Rec. Sec.; N. Taylor, V. G. There were fourteen charter members. The officers for term commencing July 1, 1882, are: N. B. McCormick N G.: H. H. McDowell, V. G.; W. W. Anderson, Rec. Sec; O. S. Lowell, F. S.; D. R. Laird, P. G.; G. A. Spaulding, D. G. M. There are at present twenty-eight members, and regular meetings are held every Wednesday evening in Odd Fellows hall.

Crescent Lodge. No. 42, Knights of Pythias, organized July 19, 1881. The charter members were: C. A. Lewis, 0. S. Lowell, Frank Strain, J. W. Lowe, D. A. Huling, J. H. Close, S. W. McElroy, T. A. Marvin, 0. M. Millard, N. Taylor, John Bissell, Elihu Davis, A. R. Sheridan, N. D. McCormick, Frank Finley, J. W. Tanner. The principal officers are: J. W. Lowe, C. C.; N. B. McCormick, D. C. There are thirty-six members and the regular meetings are held every Monday evening in Odd Fellows hall.

Phillipsburg Post, No. 177, G. A. R., was organized June, l882, and has a membership already of forty, outnumbering the older benevolent organizations of the city. The officers of the Post are: Elihu Davis, P. C.; and J. W. Lowe, Adjutant. The meetings are held on the first Saturday evenings after the full moon.

In addition to the above benevolent organizations Phillipsburg has a vigorous temperance organization. Regular meetings are held weekly and Hon. W. H. Pratt, Hon. John Bissell and other leading citizens take active part in managing its affairs, and looking after the enforcement of the prohibition law of the state. Their motto is "The law must be enforced."

The Phillips County Bank was organized in Phillipsburg in 1880 with a capital stock of $30,000. The first president was B. L. Harding, who still retains the presidency. 0. M. Millard was the first cashier, and was recently succeeded by J. F. Morse. The bank is located on the east side or the public square. The institution has one of the Hall's celebrated Safe and Time Locks. The bank was started mainly to make farm loans. President Harding has charge of banking institutions representing over one million dollars capital.


WILLIAM BISSELL, editor and proprietor Phillipsburg Herald, came to Kansas in the fall of 1872 and located in the above village where he engaged in the real estate business and loan office, continuing since. He became proprietor or the Herald in August, 1882. This newspaper was established in the fall of 1878, now has a circulation of 600 copies. Mr. B. was born in Porter County, Ind., March 3, 1837. Lived in his native county until 1858 at which time he came to Nebraska City, Neb., where he engaged in various pursuits. He returned to the East in the fall of 1861, and enlisted in Co. M, Twelfth Indiana Cavalry, October, 1863; was promoted to First Lieutenant January, 1864, and participated in all the battles of his regiment; was mustered out in the fall of 1865, when be became interested in merchandising until he came to Kansas; was married in October, 1866, to Miss Mary M. Calkins, of Valpariaso, Ind. They have two children, Sarah Myrta and William Guy. Mr. Bissell is a member of the Masonic order, Phillipsburg Post, No. 177, G. A. R.; has served as Register of Deeds of Phillips County two terms.

JOHN V. CLOSE, dealer in drugs, medicines, paints, oils, boots, shoes, hats, caps, and groceries; began trade in 1878 with a stock of $1,000, now carries a stock of about $1,500. He came to Doniphan County, locating at Highland in 1865, remained with parents until 1874 and worked on their farm. At about the latter date he began the drug trade. He was born in Sandusky County, Ohio, August 17, 1853, and lived there until he came to Kansas. Was married 28th of February, 1878. to Miss Ella Barritt, a native of New York State. They have one daughter, May. He is a member of I.0.0, F., of Phillipsburg. In 1872 he located a homestead near the latter village.

A. B. HAUCK, physician and surgeon, come to Phillipsburg March 20, 1873, and began practicing his profession. He was born in Hancock County, Ohio. Was raised and educated at Columbus, Ohio, in the Sterling Medical College. Began practicing medicine in Wyandotte County, Ohio, continuing until fall, 1869, when he went to Shelby County, Ill. and remained until 1873, living in latter and Christian Counties. Was married in August, 1875, to Miss N. E. Hoy, of Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio. They have three children, Nunetta P., J. Eldred and an infant not yet named. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and Phillipsburg Post, No. 177 G. A. R. He enlisted 18th September, 1861, Company A Eighteenth U. S. Infantry. Was discharged in September, 1864, on account of sickness contracted in service.

ED. F. KORNS, is a native of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and learned the printers' trade in the office of the Tuscarawas Advocate. Feeling that a more thorough knowledge of the "art preservative" was desirable he worked under instructions for several months in a large book and job office in Indianapolis, Indiana, and became a skilled workman. He soon after engaged as a compositor on the Glenwood (Iowa) Opinion. In 1875 he purchased the Malvern (Iowa) Leader office, and published that paper until 1878, when sold out and removed to Phillipsburg and became interested in the publication of the Herald as editor and publisher. He is a forcible, elegant writer, and was honored by his fellow-Republicans by election as a delegate to the recent state convention of that party.

CHAUNCY A. LEWIS, County Superintendent, came to Beloit, Kansas, in December, 1877, and was a law clerk in the U. S. Land Office until July, 1878, when he came to Phillips County, where at Kirwin he engaged in the same capacity until April, 1881, at which time he was appointed County Superintendent, to fill a vacancy, and was elected to the same office the following fall; re-elected in the fall of 1882. He was born in Winnebago County, Illinois, Feb. 14, 1849, and lived there until 1860, when with his parents he moved to Fayette County, Iowa, where he lived until 1877. He was educated at the Upper Iowa University, an institution of Fayette, Iowa; graduating in a scientific and business course. He was cashier of Brush Creek Bank two years, and editor of the Brush Creek News two years, reading law at the same time. Was admitted to the bar in 1877, began practicing law in Beloit, Kansas. He is a member of Blue Lodge, A., F.& A. M., K. of P. and P. M., Kirwin Lodge, for a year.

JOHN W. LOWE, County Clerk, first came to Kansas in April, 1867, locating in Pottawattomie County, where he embarked in stock raising and farming. Was Superintendent of Public Instruction in that county in 1869 and 1870; came to Phillipsburgh (sic) July 4, 1874, and engaged in teaching school in the winter time and farming in the summer. Was elected County Clerk in the fall or 1879, taking charge of the office in January, 1880. He was born in New Albany, Ind., Jan. 20, 1843. His parents moved with their family in December, 1843, to Page County, Iowa, where be lived until he came to Kansas. Enlisted Dec. 1, 1861, in Co. B, Thirteenth U. S. Infantry. Participated in the first attack upon Vicksburg, Miss., and Arkansas Post. Several skirmishes and Black River, 2d battle Jackson, Collierville, Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn. Was promoted to captain in the Forty- fourth Infantry, on the organization of that regiment, mustered out the 25th of November. 1865. Was married in 1864, to Miss Elizabeth M. Jack, of Hancock County, Ind. They have six children, Emma A., Elsie M., Clarence E., Olive M., Nellie and Birdie. He is a member of Phillipsburgh (sic) Post, No. 177, G. A. R., and Blue Lodge A., F. & A. M.

S. W. McELROY, County Attorney, came to Burlington, Coffey County, in l859, living there a short time, he removed to Illinois, living with his parents until he returned to Kansas. He was born in Washington County, Ind., Oct. 31, 1852. Attended a select course at Eureka College Ill., thence went to Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., and graduated from the law department of that institution. He began the study of law in the office of Robert McWilliams, of Richfield, III., 1874. Admitted to the bar at St. Louis, Mo., in 1876, remaining in the latter city, engaged in the practice of law until he came to Kansas. Was married in 1879 to Miss Dee M. Burnett, of Macoupin County, Ill. They have two sons, Frank S. and George Roscoe. Mr. McElroy is a member of I. O. O. F., K. of P. and the Christian Church. Elected County Attorney in the fall of 1882.

REUBEN ROGERS, dealer in general merchandise, began trade May 1, 1873, with a stock of $6,000. Now carries a stock of $8,000 and has the oldest established business in Phillipsburgh. (sic) His store room is 22 feet wide by 60 feet deep. He was born in Clairmont, N. H., May 11, 1820. His parents removed with the family to Rochester, Mich., where he was raised. He began merchandising on his own account in 1855 at Quincy, Adams County, Iowa, continuing two years. Clerked until 1860, when he went to Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa, and re-embarked in merchandising. He was married in 1861, to Miss Sarah H. Hunnell, of LaFayette County, Wis. They have one son, Irving H. Mr. Rogers spent his early life as clerk in a general store.

D. L. SMITH, County Treasurer, came to Phillips County in June, 1872, and engaged in farming and stock raising until October, 1882, when, the same fall, he was elected to the above office. He was the first township clerk of Long Island township. Was Postmaster of Granite Bluff postoffice three years. Served as Justice of the Peace two years. He was born in Genesee County, N. Y., Feb. 2, 1833. His parents, with their family, moved to Macomb County, Mich., in 1835. Enlisted in September, 1601, in Co. B, Fifth Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Participated in the battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks. Was in the battle in front of Richmond, Charles City, Cross Roads, Malvern Hill, Chancellorville and Gettysburg, being wounded in the latter battle July 2, 1863. Was mustered out in 1864. He engaged in dairying and farming in Oswego County, N. Y., until 1871, when he removed to Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and engaged in agricultural pursuits, until he came to Kansas. Was married April 19th, 1879, to Miss Mary E. Pickle, a native of Ohio. They have one son, Clyde H. Mr. Smith is a Mason, also member or Phillipsburgh (sic) Post No. 177, G. A. R.

H. C. SPAULDING, Probate Judge and Postmaster, located near Kirwin, Kan., in July, 1873, and followed agriculture pursuits until 1876, when in August of that year he was appointed Probate Judge of Phillips County. Has held the office continuously since by re-election. He took charge of the postoffice in February 1879. Was born in Chittenden County, Vermont, July 11th, 1849. His parents removed to Johnstown, Rock County, Wis., in 1854, where he lived until he came to Kansas. Married in July, 1867, to Miss Alice B. Cole, of Oswego County, N. Y. They have one son, Melvin A., who was born July 1, 1875. Mr. Spaulding is a member of Blue Lodge, A., F. & A. M. and I. O. O. F.

GEORGE A. SPAULDING, Clerk or District Court, came to Phillipsburgh (sic) in 1878 and embarked in merchandising until the spring of 1880. He took charge of the above office Jan. 10, 1881. Was elected in the fall of 1880 by the Republican party and re-elected by the same party in the fall of 1882. He has served as member of the City Council. etc. He was U. S. Census Enumerator in 1880. He was born in Warren County, N, Y. March 14, 1855, and raised near Saratoga, N. Y., until he came to Kansas. Was married in 1879, to Miss Lottie A. McCord, a native of Illinois. They have two children, Maude and George A. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., of this village.

[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]