KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

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


RUSSELL COUNTY, Part 5

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

BUNKER HILL.

The above caption is the name of a small town on the Kansas Pacific Railway, twelve miles west of the east line of the county. The town was first started in the early part of the summer of 1871, by J. B. Corbett and V. Harbaugh, who, at the head of a colony from Ohio, located there and laid out the town. The first house built on the town site was put up by J. C. Warner, which served him for the double purpose of a store and dwelling. he having commenced business with a general stock of goods as soon as the building was completed, which was in 1871. The town started off well and quite a number of houses were put up during the first year of its existence.

Soon after the town was started, a small building was rented for a school, of which Miss Clara Carrier was the first teacher.

At the special election held on September 8, 1872, for county officers, and to complete the organization of the county, more votes having been cast at Bunker Hill than at Russell, the County Commissioners who had been appointed by the Governor, declared the former to be the county-seat, which it became and remained such until it was changed to Russell by a vote of the people, April 23, 1874. The removal of the county-seat was a hard blow to the town, by which were dashed all its promising future prospects. Retrogression now took the place of progression, and many who had located there owing to the town being the county-seat, left and went to Russell, upon its removal to that point. Since that time the town has made but little advancement.

In 1873 bonds were issued to erect a new schoolhouse, and a very fine stone building, two stories high, and containing three classrooms, was completed that year. In 1878 a very comfortable hotel was built by Andrew Hill, and in 1880, a very fine stone church edifice was erected by the Evangelical English Lutherans.

In 1882, a very substantial and much needed improvement was made by Moore & Sons, in the erection of a good stone flouring-mill at a cost of $18,000. One great disadvantage the town has had to contend against, is the almost utter impossibility to find well-water, that which is used having to be hauled about two miles, the cost being 25 cents a barrel. The place contains, not to exceed 150 inhabitants, but notwithstanding its disadvantages and paucity of population, those engaged in mercantile pursuits transact a good deal of business in the course of the year. The business of the place is confined to three general stores, one drug store, one millinery store, one hardware, one lumber-yard, one harness and shoe shop, two blacksmith shops and two elevators.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

J. M. BRADBURY, dealer in grain, farm implements, and general merchandise. Began the grain trade in 1873, coming to Bunker Hill in February, 1871. He bought the first grain and erected the first elevator in the village in 1878. The elevator is 24x36 feet, 28 feet high with a capacity of 10,000 bushels. He carries a general stock in merchandise of $8,000. He has officiated as Probate Judge and Clerk of the Court, each one term. Born in Ross County, Ohio in 1841. Was raised and educated in his native state. He began business in life as a clerk then photographing, etc. Enlisted in 1861 in Company A, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, participated in all battles of his command, discharged on account of heart disease in 1863. He then engaged in photographing two years, married in 1876 to Miss Ella Exline, a native of Ohio, she was raised in Minnesota. He is a member of the Masonic order of Ohio. Mr. Bradbury assisted to organize the town in 1871. Bradbury & Cooper own 800 acres of fine coal land. The coal is of a bituminous quality. The veins of coal are from 16 to 42 inches in thickness. The coal mines are located twelve miles northeast of Wilson in Fairfield and Plymouth townships, in Ellsworth County.

JAMES J. A. T. DIXON & CO., dealers in dry goods, groceries, hardware, etc., opened business in February, 1882 and carry a stock of $3,500. Mr. Dixon first came to Bunker Hill October 5, 1872 for his health, and after eighteen months he began agricultural pursuits and became pastor of the Congregational Church, since which time he has followed preaching irregularly. In the fall of 1875 he was elected to represent Russell County in Kansas State Legislature. Re-elected to same position in the fall of 1876. He was appointed to fill vacancy of Probate Judge in 1878, elected to the office the fall following. He has been a member of the County Board for examination of teachers for eight years. Born in Bond County, Ill. in 1828. Raised on a farm. Began studies for college in 1846. Graduated from college at Jacksonville, Ill., in 1852 Studied theology at Lane Seminary, Walnut Hills, Ohio. Was principal of an academy in Livingston County, Ill., eighteen months. He then began preaching the Gospel at Metamora, Ill. Went into service in the spring of 1864 as a private in Company H, One Hundred and Forty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was commissioned Chaplain of his regiment with the rank of Major and served until mustered out, September 1, 1865. He then preached in Northern Illinois until 1871 when he came to Omaha, Neb. and preached two years, thence to Kansas. Began the publication of Bunker Hill Banner in February, 1881. He is a nominee on the Republican ticket to represent Russell County in Kansas Legislature, in the fall 1882. Married in 1854 to Miss Anna L. Holmes of Grant County, Wis. They have two chldren: Lydia F., now married to Wm. Harbaugh of Russell County, and Ernest H.

IRA S. FLECK, dealer in agricultural implements, and farmer is the son of Gabriel and Rebecca Fleck, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. Ira S. was born in Sinking Valley, Blain (sic) Co., Pa., March 24, 1847. While a lad he attended common school, and such advantages as the public schools offered were the only means he ever had of receiving an education. As he became older he would work on the farm in summer and attend school in winter, and this course he pursued until 1866, when his time was divided between farm work and teaching. In March, 1870 he moved to Dixon, Illinois where he continued his business of farming and teaching until the spring of 1873, when he moved to Kansas and located in Russell County, about three miles south of the village of Bunker Hill, where his time was given to farming exclusively. On January 27, 1874 he was married at Dixon, Ill., to Miss Sarah Fleck, a native of Blair County, Pa. One child has been the issue of this marriage: Alice May, born June 8, 1875. Mr. Fleck has held various township offices and in the fall of 1874 was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction of Russell County, which office he held for three successive terms. In the fall of 1880 he was elected to represent Russell County in the General Assembly, and served in the Legislature of 1881. In 1876 Mr. Fleck organized the Republican party of Russell County and put an end to a feud that had long existed in which the only political distinction known was "county-seat" and "anti-county-seat". Mr. Fleck, in addition to looking after the interests of his farm, is also engaged in dealing in agricultural implements, at Bunker Hill.

DANIEL GROSS first came to Abilene, Kan. in 1874 and clerked some time, finally came to Bunker Hill and became a member of the firm of Eyler & Gross, dealers in general merchandise, opening the business July 21, 1879, and carrying a stock of about $12,000, occupying two rooms, 22x40 and 22x50 feet. Mr. Gross was born in York County, Pa in 1857. Was raised and educated in his native county; married in 1879 to Miss Katie Gardner, a native of Ohio.

MOORE & SONS. proprietors of the Golden Rule steam flouring-mills. These mills were erected in 1880, size of which are 32x52 feet and 45 feet high, built of stone, capacity is 100 barrels in twenty-four hours, cost is $22,000. They do an exchange business only in custom work. They employ six men besides their own help. Mr. O. S. Moore first came to Bunker Hill in August, 1878. He was born in Brown County, Ohio in 1848; was raised and educated in Rush County, Ind.; family moving there in 1854. Married in 1879 to Miss Carrie S. Edwards, of Binghamton, N. Y. They have two children: Jessie G. and an infant son not yet named. He is a member of Russell Lodge No. 115, I. O. O. F.

GEO. W. SMYSER of the firm of J. A. T. Dixon & Co., located on a homestead near Dorrance, in 1871 and farmed three years. He then served as County Treasurer four years, then into general hardware trade at Russell two years, then farmed two years south of the latter village, then went into business at Bunker Hill. Born in York County, Pa., in 1832, where he was raised and educated. Married in 1854 to Mary Hunes of the same place. They have three children: Leila J. Emma E. and Martin B. He is a member of the A. O. U. W and I. O. O. F He enlisted in 1864 in Company C, One Hundred and Sixty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Re-enlisted in 1864 in Company I, Two Hundred and Ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Participated in all the battles of his command. Mustered out in Alexandria, Va. in May, 1865.

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