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


[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]


In the latter part of 1853, a Tennesseean by the name of Samuel D. Dyer, was running a government ferry at Juniata, about one mile below Rocky Ford, on the Big Blue. Soon after, the Government built a bridge at this point, but in 1855 it was swept away by a flood. Mr Dyer, the first white inhabitant of Riley County, died in February, 1875. His politics were Pro- slavery: he was of good, common sense, excellent judgment, and great kindness of heart. His house has been described as "one story high and two stories long."

Rev. Charles Emerson Blood, a native of Mason, New Hampshire, commenced his labors as a Home Missionary, at Juniata, November, 4, 1854, having with others in his own words "left their homes in the States not simply to improve their worldly interests, but to fight the battles of freedom and save this beautiful country from the blighting curse of slavery."

Zeandale Township.--Mr. J. H. Pillsbury, who settled in this township in 1855, gave this name to it, which is a combination of the Greek word zea, meaning corn or spelt, and the English word dale, the signification being corn-dale or corn-valley. Its location is the extreme southeastern part of the county. It borders on the Kansas River and is intersected by Deep Creek. Originally a part of Davis County, it was transferred to Wabaunsee, and it became a part of Riley County by an act of the Legislature of 1871, compensating for the loss of the territory in the southwest part of the county, that became a portion of Davis County. In 1854, John M. McCormick, C. P. McDonald, and William Wiley located their claims; Daniel S. Bates, J. M. Burleigh, H. D. Hall, E. R. McCurdy, and John C. Mossman settled in the township in 1855. Abner Allen, Jesse Allen, Robert Earl and G. R. Mosses in 1856; D. M. Adams and Harvey Marshall in 1857. A town was laid out, Mr. Adams was appointed Postmaster, the first post- office was kept at the house of J. H. Pillsbury.

A Congregational Church was organised in 1858; a church edifice was begun but never completed, Rev. Harvey Jones, of Wabaunsee, preached here alternate Sundays during 1856. Mrs. M. Pillsbury taught at her home the first private school in 1858. Miss Mattie Keyes, in 1859, taught the first district school in a small building on the farm of Mr. Abner Allen. In 1862 the first schoolhouse was built. It was made of hewn logs, and called the "Conic Section," because of its hexagonal shape. Mrs. E. Van Antwerp taught the first school in the building.

Ernest McCurdy, son of E. R. McCurdy, was the first child born in the township. The birth occurred April 26, 1856.

Rev. Harvey Jones performed the first marriage ceremony, December 11, 1856. The parties united were C. P. McDonald and Mary E. McCurdy.

Clinton H. Pillsbury, infant son of J. H. Pillsbury, died early in 1857, the first death in the township.

The recorder of the weather from Christmas, 1855, to February 11, 1856, gives the average temperature, at eight degrees below zero; the coldest stood 31 degrees below. The snow, February 1, 1856, was three feet deep.

Ashland Township.--This township, originally a part of Davis County, was transferred to Riley by an act of the legislature of 1873. Its area is some thirty square miles. Thomas Reynolds, one of the first County Commissioners and a Probate Judge, mad the first settlement early in 1855, on Section 10, Township 11, Ranger 7. April 22, 1855, a colony made up in Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati, Ohio, arrived, consisting of thirty-five members. It came by steamer from Cincinnati to Kansas City, and from there in emigrant wagons. Among these colonists were many ardent admirers of the great Commoner, Henry Clay, and to honor his memory they gave the name of his late residence to the township and city which they attempted to build. The settlement was made on McDowell Creek. F. G. Adams was president; Rev. N. B. White, Vice President; Henry J. Adams, Treasurer. C. N. Barclay, W. H. Mackay, John E. Ross, C. L. Sanford, William Stone, M. Weightman, and J. S. Williams were among the members. In March, 1857, Ashland became the county-seat of Davis County; and remained so until November, 1860, when it gave way to Junction City. There were several terms of the Territorial District Courts held here, Rush Elmore, Judge. In 1858, a post-office was established; M. D. Fisher, Postmaster. Dr. E. L. Patee was the first County Clerk. He settled in the township in 1856. He was County Treasurer of Riley County in 1864 and 1865.

Miss Marcia Woodward taught the first school. It was in 1857, and the first school house was erected in 1865. Rev. N. B. White married the first pair, William Stone and Matilda Williams, December 13, 1857. John McDonald, of the Ashland Colony, died on the day after his arrival, April 23, 1855. Clarence Patee, son of Dr. E. L. Patee, was the first child born, March 6, 1857.

In 1880, a Christian Church was organized, but it has ceased to be.

Ogden Township.--This township obtained its name from Maj. Ogden of the United States Army. Thomas Reynolds erected a 10x12 log cabin, without glass for its windows, in June, 1854, on the southwest quarter of Section 6, Township 11, Range 7. It was the first dwelling in the present limits of the county. Here was held an election for the first Territorial Delegate, November 29, 1854. The site is on the knoll a little east of where the iron bridge crosses Seven Mile Creek. Dr. Daniel L. Chandler is the owner of the tract at this time, 1882. Dr. Chandler, the Dixon brothers -- James, John, Patrick and Thomas -- C. M. Dyche, B. B. Edmonds, Robert Mallon, Daniel Mitchell, C. R. Mobley, R. D. Mobley, John M. Morris, Joseph Myers, P. O'Malley, J. U. Parsons, Jacob Theirer, Moses Walker Josephus Warner, M. D. Waters and S. B. White were among the first settlers. John Dixon died August 1855, and a Mr. Allen the same month. In July eight died of cholera at Pawnee.

The first marriages in the township were that of Thomas Dixon and Mary Hoffman, May 1, 1856; C. M. Dyche and Miss B. A. O'Malley in December, 1856. Alla, daughter of C. R. Mobley was the first birth, born in 1856. Robert Wilson, at Pawnee in 1855, opened the first store in the township; a Mr. Johnson, of Kansas City, the first store at Ogden. D. L. Chandler, B. B. Edmonds, J. U. Parsons and Moses Walker brought in the first saw and corn-mill in 1856, and they manufactured considerable meal and lumber. Mrs. E. Myers taught the first school in 1859; James Weston taught the second one. In 1857, religious services were held, and a Congregational Church was organized; Rev. J. U. Parsons preached, and a neat stone edifice was erected in 1859. In 1882, the church is partially supplied by services from Rev. M. S. Riddle, the pastor at Milford. The first Roman Catholic Church in the county was organized at Ogden in 1865. The church property is valued at $1,200. Fathers DeMather, Remley, Vanderburg and Cairns have been the pastors.

The Ogden Town Company was chartered by the Legislature of 1857, and the town was at once laid out in blocks and lots. The streets running north and south are named Elk, Walnut, Park and Oak. There are seventeen streets running east and west; Riley, which is the business one, is 110 feet wide; Park is 150 and Water, which runs along the river, is 150 feet.

Ogden has one hotel, the Union Pacific House. West of it was the residence of Daniel Mitchell, one of its earliest and most prominent citizens; east of it was the log residence of Governor Reeder, moved from Pawnee after its extinction. Theodore Weischelbaum, its prominent merchant, came in 1860, and for years did a large freighting business across the plains, and had five stores out at Western forts. He has been an extensive brewer. Thomas Dixon has a large stone warehouse north of the railroad track, and he has heretofore been an extensive shipper. Henry Roberts and George Micholland are merchants; L. Bailey is the blacksmith; A. J. Turner, shoe-maker; William Foster, carpenter and wagonmaker; Frederic Rehfield, saddler, and A. Friedenstein, general mechanic. Here is an excellent stone school building; the school is graded. Frank Eastman is auctioneer for the town and country.

Ogden Division, No. 3, Sons of Temperance, commenced February 19, 1877. Its first officers were: William J. Rich, Worthy Patriarch; S. J. Engle, Worthy Assistant; H. Haucke, Recording Secretary; M. White, Assistant Recording Secretary; R. W. Estres, Financial Secretary. Its members exceed fifty.

Ogden, since 1870, has been a city of the second class. Its Mayors have been Frederic Hubert, Theodore Weischelbaum, Frederic Rehfield and C. C. Emerson.

In October, 1857, the United States Land Office was located here, but soon thereafter it went to Junction City.

The Ogden postmaster is George W. Campbell; the one at Vinton, which is near the home of Ex-Senator Harvey, is J. B. Reynolds.

Madison Township.--This township, organized April 5, 1872, tooks its name from the creek, which was given it in honor of the fourth President of the United States. Its area is fifty-nine square miles. At its longest place from north to south, it is eight miles; from east to west nine miles.

The first claims were near the head of Wild Cat Creek; taken by the Hairs in May, 1855. Jonas Hair located on the southwest quarter of Section 7, Township 9, Range 6; T. R. Hair on the southeast quarter of Section 12, and J. P. Hair on the northwest quarter of Section 7, Township 9, Range 6. In 1856, George Lyall settled on the northwest quarter of Section 12, Township 9, Range 5, on the Upper Wild Cat Creek; John Forman, Bradley E. Hellington, Lorenzo Gates and A. B. Whiting located on Madison Creek; A. D. Reed on Timber Creek. In 1857, James Kester settled on the northwest quarter of Section 11, Township 9, Range 4, on Timber Creek. In 1858, among the new-comers were George Avery, Lewis Parish, Gilbert Steel and D. C. Walbridge.

In 1860, George Avery and H. H. Whiting, in company with some teams from Manhattan, started for Denver with corn. It was the first attempt to find a Western market and it proved to be successful. For years afterwards there was considerable freighting across the plains from this vicinity. In 1861, George Avery brought the first threshing machine into the settlement that was owned west of Manhattan, and in 1882 the power is used by B. E. Fullington on a corn-cracker. Mr. Fullington lives just south of the township, having been legislated into Davis County.

Dr. J. Crans, a distinguished physician and druggist at Riley Centre (sic), dispenses stimulating fluids for medicinal, mechanical and scientific purposes as the prohibitory liquor law provides.

Joseph Roberts keeps the "Central House," which is the half way place between Manhattan and Clay Centre (sic). It was built in 1879, and with it and his feed stable he has five acres of ground in the burg. Ira Wilcox has a livery, feed and sale stable.

The first marriage in the township occurred March 30, 1856. The parties united were James Johnson and Mary A. Hair. In 1857, Thomas was born to E. C. Bartgell and wife; Alice, to A. H. Bartell and wife, the first births. The parents settled the same year on Madison Creek.

There is a post-office at Riley Center; C. W. Hessebroeck is postmaster. He located at Riley Center in 1871, opening a store there. The building when first erected was a frame, two stories in height, 24x60 feet. He has made several additions to the original building, and the structure compares favorably with any store in the county in the convenience of its arrangements and stock of goods carried.

Bala Township.--From a town in North Wales this township received its name. As at present constituted its area is forty-two miles.

In the spring of 1862, Mr. A. D. Phelps settled on the fork of Timber Creek, near the present town site of Bala. Twelve miles distant on the north was Rowland Spurrier, his nearest neighbor; nearest on the east, Rev. Aaron Silvers, eight miles distant; on the south, A. B. Whiting and B. E. Fullington.

In 1870, a Welsh colony was organized in the State of New York, under the name of "The Welsh Land and Emigration Society of America." James H. Jenkins, general agent for the colony, bought on time considerable of the Kansas Pacific Railroad lands. In 1870, with Mr. Jenkins came Thomas Daniels, Rowland Davies, J. Griffin, John E. Hughes, Owen R. Jones, Theodore Morgan, William Randall, Richard W. Roberts, J. P. Thomas, David Watkins, E. C. Williams and others.

The village of Bala is a thriving one. Its avenues running north and south are Park and Powys. Its streets are Kansas, Caroline, Louisa, John, Davies, Laura, Emma, Broadway and Genesee. Its lanes are Welsh, Ann and Elizabeth. Its post-office was established in 1871, succeeding the Old Timber Creek post-office. Rowland Davies is postmaster. L. Kilbourne is the postmaster at Alembia in Bala Township. The first marriage in the township was that of Christopher Young and Mary Lock in 1866. George Carrighan was the first child born in the township.

There is a Welsh Calvinist, an English Methodist Episcopal and a Congregational (Welsh and English) Church.

The first cheese factory in the county was erected here in 1876, by James Sharpless, and it is successfully carried on. Mr. Sharpless, Mr. Davis and Mrs. Jenkins have the general stores; J. H. Jenkins, the drug store. The town has a good hotel, harness shop, shoe shop and blacksmith shop.

Leonard, the only station on the Kansas Central Railroad in this county is situated in Bala Township, in Section 19, Township 8, Range 5, was started in October, 1881, and it was named after Leonard T. Smith of Leavenworth, formerly President of the road. Here is a new schoolhouse, and the Methodists are building a parsonage. The town has four general stores, of which the most prominent are those of the Erpelding Brothers and William Sikes. Meetings are held in the fine hall of the store building of Erpelding Brothers. The hotel is the Jones House. H. Wilcox has an excellent livery stable. J. H. Jenkins has a drug store. There is an elevator, a lumber-yard, and a blacksmith shop. The town is twenty-six miles northwest from Manhattan; sixteen from Clay Center; six from Riley Center, and fourteen from Randolph.

The Leonardville Brass Band has six instruments. William Fryhoffer is leader. This was organized in 1878.

Fancy Creek Township.--This township was named from the creek which flows through it. The Randolph family named the creek, and it is said, that whoever has wandered up and down its charming valley, or has enjoyed a look down upon the picturesque panorama spread out at its feet from an adjacent bluff, will exclaim, "A singularly appropriate name."

The township was organized September 8, 1879, and embraced the south one half of what was then May Day Township, containing forty-eight square miles each.

August Winkler came up from St. Louis, Mo., in the spring of 1857, and F. Winkler, C. L. Caley and J. J. Myers were settlers here soon afterwards. August Winkler built the first permanent grist-mill in the county. He has been a very successful miller and farmer, and has the largest flock of sheep in the county.

In 1872, Richard Bork established a general store.

In 1880, a Baptist Church was erected at a cost of $1,500.

Center Township.--This township was organized August 13, 1881, and it embraces what was the south one-third of May Day and the north one-third of Fancy Creek townships, containing thirty-two square miles. May Day and Fancy Creek each contains the same.

May Day Township.--In January, 1872, this township was organized, the territory having been taken from Jackson Township. It embraced a tract 8x12 miles in the northwest part of the county. Its name was suggested by Hon. A. S. Edgerton, who was postmaster of an office established there in 1869, and first called Stanton. This name was objected to, because of there being other offices of that name in the State.

In the year 1857, Frank Droll and Rudolph Niehenke settled in the township. Peter Dick, A. S. Edgerton, O. E. Osborne, George Pickett and Fred Schartz came soon after. In 1871, Solomon Weichselbaum established a store at May Day.

The first marriage was that of A. Brockhart and Sarah Morris in 1862. The first birth that of John H. Schartz, August 1, 1859.

Parallel Post-Office, M. Jerome, postmaster, is on the first standard parallel.

Farmer's Lodge, No. 166, was organized at May Day under a dispensation, January 15, 1876. G. T. Polson was chosen Worshipful Master; J. W. Smith, Senior Warden; Frank Coffie, Junior Warden; H. A. Freeman, Treasurer; Sol Weichselbaum, Secretary. It was organized under a charter October 18, 1876. Its membership is upwards of thirty.

W. W. Jones is the physician at Parallel; H. A. Meier, physician and surgeon at May Day.

Swede Creek Township.--This township is in the northeast part of the county, and its area is about fifty miles. It was organized August 4, 1879. H. H. Rice was its first Trustee. Frederic Toburen was Trustee 1880-82. Its post-office is Big Timber; Maynus Vilander is postmaster. The township receives its name from the creek which flows through it, and the creek was named in honor of Peter Carlson, a Scandinavian, who settled on it in 1857. In 1858, L. Pierson settled just below the mouth of Swede Creek, and N. Christenson, a Dane, settled a little farther down the Big Blue. The same year the Meyer brothers and Frederic Toburen made a settlement in the township, and later Mr. Toburen's parents and his brothers, Herman and Adolph.

In 1877, a German Evangelical Church was erected. The township contains tree stone and two frame schoolhouses.

Jackson Township.--The early settlers of this township came from Jackson County, Ind., hence the name. Formerly it embraced all the territory now included in Jackson, May Day, Madison, Bala and a part of Grant townships. Early in 1855, Gardner Randolph and his large, grown-up family of sons, daughters and sons-in-law, near the mouth of Fancy Creek, made the first settlement. They claimed all the land, with the exception of a single tract on Fancy Creek, between Peter Heller's on Section 4, Township 7, Range 6, and the mouth of Baldwin Creek, also a slice east of the Blue called Timber City. Though this family came from Illinois, they avowed their purpose of aiding in making Kansas a slave State.

In November, 1856, Edward Secrest, Solomon Secrest and Henry Shellenbaum, three young men, natives of Switzerland, but recently from Seymour, Jackson Co., Ind., came up the Blue River, and built the first log cabin on the Big Blue, above Fancy Creek. In the early part of 1857 they settled on Fancy Creek, where they were joined by Mr. John Fryhoffer. The father of the Secrest brothers joined his sons in the fall of 1860. William Fryhoffer and Peter Heller came in 1863, and the father of the Fryhoffers in 1864.

Fancy Creek Valley is settled with some of the best farmers in the county, who are largely Swedes and Germans, the large portion of whom were in the territory of Jackson Township. The township, as constituted in 1882, embraces about fifty-five square miles. Its eastern boundary is the Big Blue, the western, the line between Ranges 5 and 6.

In the original bounds of the township the first school was taught by J. M. Byarlay in 1863. The first schoolhouse was built in 1867. The first church was built in 1876, by the German Evangelical Association.

The first regular religious meetings were held at Mr. Randolph's early in 1857, by ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

The first marriage was that of Lewis Baldwin and Matilda Randolph in 1856, and the fist birth was that of their son in 1857.

Randolph, first called Waterville, was laid out in 1856, by J. K. Whitson; the first inhabitant, G. L. Ruthstreno, established the first store. In 1882, its population is about 300. It has a graded school, with two teachers. The Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church is organized and the Swedish Mission Church has a good building. Its postmaster in 1882 is J. W. Nelson. The first post-office here was a the house of Gardner Randolph, and it was on the weekly mail route between Ogden and Marysville.

The town has a lumber-yard, a millinery establishment, a livery stable, a jewelry establishment, a tin shop, a cabinet shop, a drug store, two harness shops, three blacksmith shops, three hotels, and three physicians. Its attorneys are T. B. Lewis and R. C. Walter. J. F. Beckman & Bros., and A. Wikander carry the largest stock of goods.

In 1881, A. A. Chapman and Milton Foreman, practical carpenters and mill-wrights, got their three-story wood and stone grist-mill in running order. It has three run of stone, and the mill is moved by a turbine wheel of forty horse-power. The mill is situated south of the town, and the water running it is taken from near the bend of Fancy Creek and conveyed through a canal to the bulkhead.

Randolph is a peninsula, North Otter being on the east; Fancy Creek on the south and considerably on the west of it. The original plat (sic) of the town contains five blocks. Whitson's Addition has nine, north of the same; Beckman's is a few lots south and west of the original plat. The town contains some eleven acres, and is located on the south part of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 33, Township 8, Range 7.

Grant Township.--This township was formed from Jackson and Manhattan Townships, April 11, 1870, and was named in honor of President Grant. It contained ninety-two square miles. J. W. Paul was the Township Trustee in 1870, 1874, 1878, 1880, 1882; H. P. Dow in 1871; Charles McGiloray in 1872; James E. Freeman in 1873; Edelbute in 1879.

On Wild Cat Creek the first settlers were S. D. Houston and Henry Eubank, who settled in 1855. The same year Henry Condray, and his sons Mincher, William and John settled near the mouth of Mill Creek, built dwellings, and started a mill and blacksmith shop. In 1856 came Jonas Kress; in 1857 and 1858, Lemuel Knapp, Samuel Kimble, George Slye, John Warner and his sons John and George, Lorenzo Westover, Jesse White and Joshua Williams.

H. C. Kennedy is the postmaster at Grant post-office; J. D. Sweet at Stockdale. The first schoolhouse was built in 1859; first teacher, V. Ruddrick. The first printing was by Newell Trafton; the first church the Methodist Episcopalian.

The first marriage was that of William Frake to Catherine Condray, in 1856. The first births were Newton Frake and George Eubank.

Stockdale is located at the junction of Mill Creek and Big Blue. There was a saw-mill here in the early days, and the ample water-power can be easily utilized. J. D. Sweet has a store and a blacksmith shop.

Manhattan Township.--The history of the settlement of this, the most important township of the county, is given with the history of the city of Manhattan.

[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]