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


[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]


On the eastern bank of the great salt marsh is situated the once flourishing village of Seapo; the oldest village in Republic County. The town is well laid out on a level plain, but is without tree or fence ornaments. Just north of the town is a fine three-story grist-mill well fitted up with improved machinery and capable of running five run of burr stones. At present the mill is idle, but being repaired to commence operations in the fall. There are three church organizations here--Christian, Methodist, and Presbyterian, and a good school building, with the school of about 100 pupils in good condition. Minersville, Ida, Jay Eau, Cuba, Prairie Grove, Elma, Fenwick and New Tabor are post-offices in the county.


JOHN J. BURKMAN, farmer, P. O. Seapo, was born in Sweden, in 1840. Learned his trade, that of mason, and worked at it and farming until 1866, when he emigrated to America, locating in Illinois, and lived there one year, coming to Kansas in the spring of 1867, first locating at Lawrence. Soon after he located in Manhattan, and for two years was engaged in different vocations. Went from thence to Marshall County, and was engaged in contracting and building for eight years. In 1878, he located in Republic County, and bought a farm in Section 30, Township 4, Range 2, consisting of 189 acres. He has 100 acres under the plow, forty acres of pasture and the balance all fenced. Salt Creek runs across one side of the place, and he has ten acres of good timber. Also has three acres of forest trees which he planted, and a good peach and apple orchard. Has a good stone barn 18x28; is raising stock; has thirty head of cattle and 100 head of hogs; has been Township Treasurer and Clerk one term each. He was married in September, 1882, to Miss Chrissie Engstrom. Is a member of the Grange, and a member of the Lutheran Church.

J. W. CORY farmer, P. O. Seapo, was born in Cortland County, N. Y., in 1840. When five years of age his parents emigrated to McHenry County, Illinois, remaining there twelve years. From there went to Iowa, locating in Fayette County, where he remained until the fall of 186l, when he came to Kansas, and located on a farm on Sections 17 and 18, Township 4, Range 2. Then spent the winter at Lake Sibley, in Cloud County. At that time there were but two or three families in Republic County, and there was quite a settlement at Lake Sibley. Mr. Cory was one of the pioneers of Republic County, and at once began improvements on his place. As soon as the Homestead Act was passed, filed a homestead, and at that time there were but three places filed on. Soon after he proved up on his place, paid the Government price, and received his patent in October, 1864, this being the first patent received in the county. For a few years after settling here, the Indians made so much trouble that it retarded improvements. In June, 1862, he was obliged to take his wife and go to Clay Centre, on account of the Indians. On this trip his eldest child, a son, was born. In August he returned to his place, but was again driven out, but this time went to a place called Clifton, where a number of other settlers had gathered, and they put up a small fort, which was called Fort Clifton, remaining here until the next spring. The last time they were driven out was in 1864, when the Indians made a general raid all over the frontier. This was in the fall, and he remained away until July, 1865. After that time he was not bothered by Indians, except as they came begging. At this time settlers had come in, and a militia company had been raised, strong enough to protect them, about every settler in the county belonging to the company. His farm is finely situated on Salt Creek which furnishes plenty of water, and the creek is well skirted with about fifty acres of timber on the place; has 130 acres under the plow, five acres of forest, and fruit planted around his residence, has 160 acres fenced for pasture, 90 acres of meadow, has one mile of hedge; owns 370 acres of land in all; has a good barn 28x34 feet, granary 16x24 feet, house 20x22 feet. Is extensively engaged in stock-raising; has 77 head of cattle, 120 head of hogs, and usually raises 150 head of hogs. He was married in 1861 to Miss B. Harrington of Iowa. They have nine children: Fremont, Ida May, Inez, Eddie A. U. S. G., Orra, Hugh, David, Jr., and Robert.

COLONEL DAVID C. GAMBLE, real estate dealer, was born in Geneseo, Livingston Co., N. Y., in 1837 and was raised there until sixteen years of age then started out for himself and emigrated to Illinois, locating in Lake County, and took a two years' course at Lake Zurich Academy, after which he engaged in teaching in Cumberland, Shelby and Scott counties until the war broke out. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in Company B, Twelfth Illinois Infantry; after serving three months was elected First Lieutenant and returned home to recruit, and was taken sick and for six weeks was unable to do duty. He then resigned his position and in September enlisted as a private in Company E, Sixty-sixth Illinois Infantry, then known as Birge's sharp shooters; in June, 1863, was promoted--received a Captain's commission, and in 1864 was raised to a Major, and in 1865 was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of his regiment; was in twenty-two pitched battles, besides skirmishes innumerable; was with Sherman on his march to the sea; had his left arm shattered at Dallas, Georgia, May 29, 1864. After his return from the army he located at Nashville two years as salesman in a large book house; then located in Logan and Mason Counties Ill., where he engaged in farming until 1870; then emigrated to Kansas, locating in Republic County, taking a homestead on Section 24, Scandia township, and remaining there a little over two years; then located at Seapo and invested in town lots and succeeded in getting about 417 of these lots and began handling real estate; was also appointed postmaster, holding the office three or four years; at that time his business was very limited and Mrs. Gamble took charge of the office. Mr. Gamble taught several terms of school and was clerk in a store for a short time; in 1875 was elected County Superintendent, serving through 1875 and 1876, Since then his business has so increased that his whole time is occupied in the handling of real estate. In this business he does more than all the others who are engaged in the same line in the county, and in August, 1882, established a branch office in Clyde, Cloud County, Mr. J. P. York having charge of this office. They have some 40,000 acres of wild and improved lands for sale and are having all the business they can attend to; at one time had 60,000 acres of land to dispose of. Mr. Gamble thinks that real estate business is only in its infancy and says that the fact of so much land being thrown upon the market is not because people are selling out, but it is brought about by the homestead, pre-emption and timber claims, loans which give the early settlers an opportunity to secure a three-quarter section of land and after getting a patent for them they are disposing of a part of their lands and using the proceeds for improving the balance and to engage in the stock business. Mr. Gamble is an extensive farmer; has 800 acres of land, 300 of which are under cultivation, which he is renting. When Mr. Gamble came to Kansas had a team and all his possessions amounting to about $200, which demonstrates the fact that a man of pluck and one who is not afraid to work cannot help but meet with success in Kansas. Mr. Gamble has always taken an active interest in the politics of Republic County; is a staunch Republican and a warm advocate of the party's interests. In 1875 was a candidate for the Legislature and openly through the press advocated funding of the county debts by bonds and was defeated in this measure, but when his opponent was elected a petition was sent to him with 1,200 signatures to influence the members and to carry the very measure suggested by Mr. Gamble; it was carried and the county scrip doubled in value from 50 cents on the $1, and is now at par. Is also notary public, the only one in the southern portion of the county, Was married in 1868 in Decatur, Ill., to Mrs. Eliza Bolles Finney, daughter of Major H. D. Bolles, of Scott County, Ill. Mrs. Gamble was born in Hartford, Conn. They have one son, Edward, born December 18, 1869. Mr. Gamble is a member of John Brown Post No. 44. G. A. R., Belleville; also member of Belleville Lodge No. 129, A., F. & A. M. Col. Gamble was elected to the Legislature from the eightieth district of Republic County, in November, 1882, as the nominee of the Republican party; he is a strong anti-monopolist.

CONRAD MYERS, farmer, P. O. Seapo, was born in Somerset County. Pa., in 1821, and was raised there until ten years of age; his parents then located in Blair, remaining there until eighteen years of age. His father was a millwright and young Myers learned this trade, working with his father. In 1834 they emigrated to Iowa, locating in Linn County, where they remained four years; thence to Butler County; while here his parents died and the support of the family, consisting of one brother and three sisters, fell upon him; he still continued working at his trade until 1860, when he and his brother concluded to make Kansas their home and early in the spring started for Kansas, reaching the State in July, locating in Riley County, where they put in a crop and then came to Republic County and picked out three farms on Salt Creek, in what is known as Grant Township. They were about the first settlers in the county and Mr. Myers is the oldest settler left in the county. The following spring settled on his place and has lived on it constantly since. In March following the Homestead Act he walked eighty miles to homestead his place; was one of the first places filed on; the claim is a choice one, Salt Creek running through the place and Ruby Creek uniting with Salt Creek in his place; there are about sixty acres of good timber along the creeks. At the time of his settlement there were a good many Indians and it was dangerous to go away from home. Grasshopper Falls, 140 miles distant, was the nearest mill and for two years had no port-office within eighty miles. His crops were number one but for seven years there was no market, so he did not realize anything on them more than what he consumed; has sixty acres under the plow, a good orchard of apple, peach, pear and cherry trees; one and one-half mile of hedge and the whole place fenced, new frame house 28x33 feet two stories, fine large corn-crib 30x30 feet, a good stable, and is raising considerable stock; has about seventy-five Poland China hogs and raises about that number each year; is also raising some very fine horses. Was bothered some by the Indians, but did not leave his place; is the only man who did not leave the county during the Indian scares. At one time--about 1862--was out capturing buffalo calves and had caught two when he was surprised and surrounded by Indians, but he managed to keep them at a distance and was offered no violence. Mr. Myers was one of the first County Commissioners at the time the county was organized, serving one term. He was married in the fall of 1862 at Grasshopper Falls, Kan., to Miss L. Shafer of Lake Sibley; they have five children--George, May Ida, Jacob, Margaret and Lillie. Has done well since he came here after the county had settled enough to create a demand for produce.

[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]