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


[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]



From Dr. D. R. B. Greenlee, we are informed that the first school taught not only in Wichita, but in Sedgwick County, was a subscription school held by Wm. Finn, now of Sedgwick City, in the winter of 1869-70. The school was held in an old army "dug-out" located north of the present site of W. C. Woodman's residence, on the Little Arkansas River. Among the first scholars were Mrs. Ida Elder, Mrs. Martsel, formerly Mrs. Leadford, W. Vigus, Mrs. V. Wateman, nee Fanny Hale, the children of Dr. Llewellyn and C Teter. (From our informant we also learn that Mr. Finn organized the first Sabbath school and assessed the pupils $1 apiece for the purpose of purchasing a library.) The next term of school was held at Miss Nora Yale, now Mrs. John Williams, in a log building erected by John and Charles Gifford, and now used as a granary by W. C. Woodman. The first informal school meeting was held in the fall of 1869, and presided over by A. J. Greenway, president, and Dr. Greenlee, secretary.

In 1871, $5,000 in bonds were voted and the first school building erected by the district. The building was a two-story frame structure, located in what is now known as the First ward. This building was used until November, 1878, when it was destroyed by fire. As the population increased, two new frame buildings were erected in the First and Second wards. In 1879, the first brick building was erected in the First ward, at a cost of $6,500. In 1880, two more brick structures for school purposes were erected in the Second and Fourth wards, at a cost of $18,000, containing four and six rooms, respectively. At the present time three brick and two frame buildings are in use, affording facilities for seventeen teachers and 1,142 pupils. Buildings and grounds are valued at $50,000. $6,287.75 was paid to teachers for the year ending July 3, 1882, and the total school expenses to the same date amounted to $10,901.76.

[Image of Wichita Public School] The Board of Education, as elected May 15, 1873, was composed of the following named gentlemen: R. L. West, A. H. Fabrique, C. M. Garrison, H. J. Hills, M. R. Moser, W. A. Thomas, W. C. Woodman and M. McCless. The present Board is composed of M. W. Levy, C. A. VanNess, H. R. Butler, R. Harris, A. B. Wright, J. E. Caldwell, J. A. Longsdorf, John Fisher, H. T. Kramer and C. A. Walker. Officers: M. W. Levy, Pres.; H. T. Kramer, Treas.; C. A. Walker, Sec'y.

Wichita Academy - The Wichita Academy Association was incorporated August 4, 1882, with the following named directors;; J. R. Mead, D. A. Mitchell, A. A. Glenn, J. M. Allen, J. H. Black, J. P. Furlough, J. D. Hewitt, H. W. Lewis, W. C. Woodman, M. Allen, M. Stewart, A. W. Oliver, M. M. Murdock, J. L. Dyer, H. S. Sluss. Officers: M. M. Murdock, Pres.; D. A. Mitchell, Treas.; A. A. Glenn, Sec'y. It is the expectation of this association to invest $15,000 in buildings and not less than $10,000 in grounds, in 1883. The Academy, when completed will rank high among the educational institutions of Southern Kansas, and will be but another evidence of the pride that Wichita takes in her educational advantages.

The pioneer church organization of Wichita is the First Presbyterian Church, organized March 13, 1870, with twelve members - Rev. W. R. Boggs, pastor. During the fall of the same year a frame structure was built and used for devotional exercises until 1873, when it was sold to the catholic denomination. Services were held at various places until July 4, 1876, when the corner stone of the present edifice was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The edifice, including grounds, was completed at a cost of $5,000. December 1, 1871, Mr. Boggs was succeeded by Rev. J. P. Hasson, who remained until the spring in 1879, when he was succeeded after a duration of a few months, by Rev. J. D. Hewitt, the present pastor. Present number of communicants about 200.

St. Johns' Church (Episcopal). - Services of this denomination were held in the city early as 1870, by Bishop Vail. Other services were held until 1877, when a vestry was organized and Rev. Colton, engaged as pastor. The present church edifice was completed in the spring of 1878. In the spring of 1880, Rev. Deleu, D. D., took charge of the organization and officiated until 1882, when he was succeeded by Rev. Chamberlain, the present pastor.

Methodist Episcopal - This Church was organized early in 1872, and in December of the same year a frame edifice was completed and occupied. The following named pastors have officiated: Rev. J. F. Nessly, March, 1872 to March, 1873; J. W. Staghild, to October, 1873; H. J. Walker, to March, 1874; J. F. Haund, March, 1877; John Kirby, March, 1880; R. H. Sparks, March, 1881; B. Kelly, present pastor (1882). In November, 1879, the present church edifice, known as "Kirby Chapel," one of the finest church edifices in southern Kansas was dedicated. Present membership 200.

The First Baptist Church was organized May 26, 1872, with twenty-six members. Rev. J. C. Post, the first regular pastor, officiated from January, 1873, to January, 1875. During the next year the church was without a regular pastor, when Rev. W. F. File occupied the pulpit eight months. In June, 1877, Rev. J. F. Davis took charge and remained until the summer of 1878. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. D. Leggett who remained until the summer of 1882. Present pastor, Rev. W. F. Harper. The church edifice which is a brick structure, was dedicated February, 1874. Present membership sixty.

The Catholic Church was organized November, 1872, by Father Anton Kuhls of Wyandotte. The present church edifice was purchased of the Presbyterian denomination and dedicated under the name of St. Aloysius Church, November 24, 1873. The following pastors have officiated: E. P. Swinburg, January 2, 1873, to March 15, 1874; J. C. Shurtz, 1882; Rev. J. T. McCaul, present priest. Membership of the circuit, 500; of the local organization, 150.

The Christian Church was organized in 1875, by Rev. J. H. Hughes. He was succeeded in the spring of 1876, by Elder W. M. Trugley, who remained until the summer of 1878. The organization then "lost its identity for a time." In the spring of 1879, the Ladies Christian Aid Society was organized and formed a nucleus, which culminated into the present church organization in February, 1881. Elder Joseph E. Cam was engaged as pastor April 1, 1881, and is the present incumbent (1882). Services are held in Eagle Hall. Present membership forty-five.

The German Methodist Church was organized May 10, 1876, by Rev. P. St. Matnai, who officiated as pastor until September 8, 1878, when he was succeeded by Rev. G. J. Schultz. In May, 1879, the present church edifice was dedicated. Mr. Schultz was succeeded September 15, 1880, by Rev. E. W. Pfaffenberger, who remained two years. Rev. Mr. Fager present pastor. Present membership seventy.

The Colored Methodist and Baptists have organizations here, but owing to the absence of records no data is given.


In the summer of 1870, F. A. Sowers purchased of Joseph Clark, of Leavenworth, a printing office, then stored at Fort Harker, from which place he had it hauled to Wichita. On the 18th of August, 1870, the first number of the Wichita Vidette appeared, F. S. Sowers, editor and proprietor. Afterwards W. B. Hutchinson became associated with Mr. Sowers, and the two continued the publication of the paper until the summer of 1871, when Mr. Sowers withdrew. Mr. Hutchinson published the paper alone late in the summer of 1872, when it passed into the hands of Rev. Mr. Perkins, who changed its politics from Republican to liberal Republican, supporting Horace Greeley for President. The paper died with the demise of liberalism, and the office was removed to Oxford, Sumner County. The Vidette was the first paper published in the Arkansas Valley during its entire length in Kansas. Mr. Hutchinson is now publishing the Commercial at Caldwell, and Mr. Sowers is engaged in the real estate business at Wichita.

The Gazette, independent in politics, was published through a portion of the year 1871, by Yale Brothers. The material was then moved to Sedgwick City (then in Sedgwick County), where the Sedgwick City Gazette was published a short time.

April 22, 1872, was the date of the first issue of the Wichita City Eagle, M. M. Murdock, editor and proprietor. On the 17th of July, 1873, R. P. Murdock, became a partner, and the two have published the paper ever since. The printing office is one of the best in the State, having power printing presses, run by steam, and a book bindery in connection. The paper is one of the best conducted, and most influential weeklies in the State. M. M. Murdock has served three terms in the State Senate, and has been Postmaster at Wichita for several years.

On the 20th of October, 1872, appeared the first number of the Wichita Daily Beacon, F. G. Millison, publisher, and F. A. Sowers, editor. On the 11th of December following, the daily having been suspended, the same parties commenced the publication of the weekly Beacon, and published it about a year, again publishing the daily through the bulk of the cattle drive in 1873. Millison then took the job department and Sowers the paper. In February, 1874, Milton Gable purchased Mr. Sowers' interest and conducted the paper until July 1, 1875, when he sold to Frank Smith and Frank Fisher. In March, 1876, Fisher retired and W. S. White having purchased all interest, succeeded him. Messrs. Smith & White have continued its publication ever since. In December, 1877, Mr. Millison sold his job office to C. M. Kellar, who, the next spring, moved it into a room in Herrington's building, over his book store. Smith & White immediately put in an entire new job office, following with a power paper press, and steam engine, January 13, 1879. The politics of the paper is Democratic. It is one of the ablest and most respected political journals in the State.

In the spring of 1877, R. A. Neff started the Independent, which lived about six months, when the material passed into the hands of J. W. Robbins, who, in October, 1877, started the Herald. Shortly afterward T. L. Nixon became associated with Mr. Robbins. Mr. Nixon was succeeded by R. C. Dean, and Mr. Dean by C. W. Green, who, in a short time retired and started the Anthony Journal. Mr. Green now publishes a leading paper at Santa Fe, N. M. In June, 1879, Mr. Robbins sold to George Martin, who published the paper until October of that year, when it was discontinued. Mr. Robbins is now Surveyor-General of the Territory of Arizona. The material of the Herald was purchased by Kirkpatrick & Kirk, who, on the 20th of December, 1879, issued the first number of the weekly Republican. On the 8th of January, 1880, the first number of the Daily Republican was issued, R. C. Dean having again become a partner. He retired the following March, and the 20th of September, Mr. Kirk sold to his partner. Calvin Bidlach bought a half interest October 1, 1880, and F. A. Sowers bought Kirkpatrick's remaining interest, December 12, 1880, and on the 10th of March, 1881, he sold to A. Whitworth, during whose administration the daily was twice enlarged, the last time to twenty-eight columns. About the first of June, Whitworth sold to T. J. Shelton, and during the same month, the name of the paper was changed to Daily Times About the last of July, Mr. Bidlach sold his interest to Mr. Shelton. In February, 1882, Judge W. P. Campbell purchased the paper and published it several months, when he sold it back to Mr. Shelton. The paper is now owned and published by I. N. Stoutemeyer.

The Market Reporter was a sprightly little daily, published by C. M. Kellar, during the wheat season of 1878, its chief feature being the telegraphic market reports. It lived only that season.

On the 1st of January, 1881, appeared the first number of the weekly Tribune, published by Hobson & Cox. March 18, 1881, the firm was changed to Hobson & Harris. April 19, 1881 a daily issue appeared. The paper did not live long.


Wichita Lodge, No. 99, A., F. & A. M., was organized under a charter dated, October 19, 1871, with M. Cox, W. M.; M. B. Kellogg, S. W.; and J. P. Allen, J. W. Present officers are: G. W. Knorr, W. M.; O. D. Barnes, S. W.; J. H. Aley, J. W.; R. Sohn, Sec'y; M. W. Levy, Treas. Regular communications are held on the first and third Monday evenings of each month, at Masonic Hall, in County Building. Present membership, 125.

Wichita Chapter, No. 33, R. A. M., was instituted under a charter, October 17, 1876, with twenty members. First officers were: G. F. Hargis, M. E. H. P.; D. A. Mitchell, E. K.; M. S. Adams, E. S.; J. C. Redfield, C. H.; M. Cox, P. S.; W. C. Crawford, K. A. C.; R. P. Murdock, 3rd V.; A. A. Jackson, 2nd V.; T. N. Trickey, 1st V.; M. Zinnerly, Treas.; S. E. Joslin, Sec'y; J. G. Rode, T. Present officers: W. F. Walker, M. E. H. P.; J. L. Dyer, E. K.; J. H. Black, P. H. S.; J. R. Banzant, Treas.: Roy Sohn, Sec'y. Regular meetings are held second and fourth Fridays of each month, at hall in County Building.

Mt. Olivet Commandery, No. 12, K. T., was instituted under a charter, May 15, 1875 with twenty-three charter members. First officers: M. S. Adams, E. C.; J. D. Pryor, Gen.; L. K. Myers, Capt. Gen. Present officers: C. A. Walker, E. C.; O. D. Barnes, Gen.; W. S. Corbett, Capt. Gen.; J. D. Hewett, P.; J. H. Alex, S. W.; F. Ross, J. W.; D. A. Mitchell, Treas.; S. T. Tultle, Rec. Time of meeting: First and third Friday of each month, at hall in County Building. Present membership, sixty.

Wichita Lodge No. 93, I. O. O. F., was instituted under a charter, dated October 8, 1872, with seven members. First officers: G. W. Reeves, N. G.; B. C. Parcels, V. G.; W. J. Hubson, Treas.; J. M. Warren, Sec'y. Present officers: E. B. Jewett, N. G.; J. Junkermann, V. G.; G. W. Fryer, Rec. Sec'y; E. H. Nodd, Perm. Sec'y; C. Kimmerie, Treas. Regular meetings, held every Friday evening, at I. O. O. F. Hall in Temple Block. Present membership, 130.

Wichita Encampment, No. 29, I. O. O. F., was organized under a charter, October 1, 1876, with seven members, with C. C. Furley, C. P., and W. A. Richey, H. P. Present officers: H. R. Butler, C. P.; J. Tucker, H. P.; W. Madison, S. W.; E. B. Jewett, J. W.; C. H. Allen, Treas.; A. Smith, scribe. Meets every second and fourth Thursday evening at I. O. O. F. Hall, in Temple block. Present membership, sixty.

Wichita Lodge, No. 528, K. of H., was organized March 21, 1877, with twenty-two applicant members. First officers elected at meeting held March 21, 1877: G. H. English. P. D.; F. A. Sowers, D.; C. E. McAdams, V. D.; G. W. Riley, A. D.; Finley Ross, R.; H. O. Meigs, F. R.; J. C. Murphy, Treas.; J. K. Sawyer, Chap.; N. A. English, G.; T. Jewell, S.; P. O. Healy, G'd. Present officers: W. F. Walker, D.; E. Hid, V. D.; C. R. Viney, A. D.; J. M. Brownson, G.; A. H. McKee, C.; J. M. Bear, R.; C. E. Jackson, F. R.; John Goodyear, T.; J. S. Hilton, G'd; S. L. Morris, S. Meets every second and third Wednesday evening at hall in Temple block. Present membership, 102.

Wichita Council, No. 384, A. L. of H., was instituted under a charter January 10, 1881, with twenty members. First officers: E. B. Allen, Com.; A. B. Wright, V. C.; W. J. Taylor, P. C.; N. Allen, O.; G. E. Rhodes, Sec'y; L. C. Jackson, Col.; W. B. Mead, Treas.; S. P. Cunningham, G.; J. Adams, W.; J. A. Ray, S.; E. B. Allen, Med. Ex.; D. Howarth, Chap. Present officers: E. B. Allen, Com.; A. B. Wright, C.; J. F. Lauck, V. C.; L. C. Jackson, Treas.; J. C. Strong, Sec'y; W. M. Dean, Col.; S. P. Cunningham, G.; O. Mulvy, Chap.; N. Allen, O.; C. L. Adams, W.; S. A. Weaver, S.; E. B. Allen, Med. Ex. Meets alternate Tuesdays at hall in Temple block. Present membership, thirty-one.

Wichita Lodge, No. 22. A. O. U. W., was chartered November 1, 1879, with thirteen members. First officers: E. Lewis, P. M. W.; J. T. Holmes, M. W.; J. A. Doran, F.; G. M. Calhoun, O.; A. Fox, Rec'd; J. Ricketts, Fin.; D. W. Smith, Rec.; H. Huson, G.; S. P. Martin, I. W.; H. Shrew, O. W. Present officers: L. Cone, P. M. W.; J. A. Doran, M. W.; J. T. Holmes, F.; G. Calhoun, Rec'd.; J. A. Ratliffe, Fin.; H. B. Marshall, O.; W. E. Cooper, G.; C. W. Simmons, I. W.; W. C. Allen, O. W. Regular meetings are held every Monday evening at Barnes' Hall. Present membership, thirty-five.

Warwick Lodge, No. 44, K. of P., was instituted November 25th, 1881, with forty-one members. First officers: C. A. Van Ness, C. C.; J. Junkerman, P. C.; J. T. McMillian, V. C.; H. C. Mann, K. of R. and S.; E. Hill, M. of E.; G. N. Byers, M. of F.; C. Hatton, M. of A. Present officers: J. T. McMillian, C. C.; C. Hatton, V. C.; C. A. Van Ness, P. C.; J. D. Huston, K. of R. and S.; E. Hill, M. of E.; G. N. Byers, M. of F.; E. P. Harvey, M. of A. Meets every Monday evening at I. O. O. F. Hall, Temple Block. Present membership, fifty.

Wichita Division, No. 12, K. of P., was instituted in April, 1882, with thirty-one members. Officers are L. N. Woodcock, Sir K. C.; L. W. Ong, Sir K. L. C.; S. S. King, Sir K. H.; H. W. Stewart, Sir K. R.; E. Hill, Sir K. T. Regular meetings are held on the first and third Thursday evenings of each month, at I. O. O. F. Hall, in Temple Block . Present membership, thirty.

Garfield Post, No. 25, G. A. R., was organized in August, 1881, with twenty members. First officers: M. Stewart, P. C.; L. N. Woodcock, Sen. V. C.; M. Myers, O. of D.; A. Smith, O. of G.; R. L. Walker, Q. M.; J. Ask, Adjt. Present officers: M. Stewart, P. C.; J. M. Balderson, Sen, V. C.; A. Smith, Jr. V. C.; A. Bruton, O. of D.; S. B. Heiserman, O. of G.; J. Wallace, Adjt.; C. F. Derby, Q. M. Meets first and third Tuesdays, at Eagle Hall. Present membership, 200

Wichita Guards, Company A, Second Regiment, Kansas State Militia, was organized in January, 1879, with sixty men, under the command of L. N. Woodcock, Capt., who was commissioned March 12, 1879, and W. A. Richey, First Lieut.; J. J. Mohen, Second Lieut. February 11, 1880, J. M. Steele was elected Captain: W. A. Richey, First Lieut.; and C. Smyth, Second Lieut. The uniforms of the company were purchased July, 1880, at a cost of $1,400. The company, by personal efforts, have raised about $800 since its organization, and now (1882) numbers forty men and three commissioned officers.

Wichita Turn Verein, organized in the fall of 1871, with a membership that included the principal German element in the city. During the same year a small frame hall was built on First and Market streets, at a cost of 4500. This building was occupied by the society until 1879, when the present hall was completed on the corner of Market and Second streets. The structure, which is substantially built of brick, is 54x130 feet, and was completed at a cost of $15,000, including grounds. The interior of the building is furnished with a stage, 30x50 feet, and an auditorium, 50x80, divided into parquette and balcony, with a seating capacity of 1,000. Since its completion the building has been known as the Turner Opera House, and is used for theatrical purposes. Present officers: Aug. Wagner, Pres.; D. Grider, Vice-Pres.; H. Balte, Treas.; George Kayzer, Sec. Present membership, twenty-five.

Bands. - Wichita stands as the leading musical town in the State for its size, supporting seven cornet bands and other musical organizations. It is a paradise for the lover of "symphony of sounds." The leading organization, known as the Wichita Cornet Band, was organized in 1870, by F. Schalterer, with ten members. A set of instruments was purchased the next year, at a cost of $300. In 1873 the band took first prize at the Butler County Fair. The band is at present under the same leadership and is in a prosperous condition. In 1879 the Eagle Cornet Band was organized, then known as the Juvenile Band, with nine members, Charles Frank, leader. In July, 1881, was organized the Cracker Band, now known as the Beacon Cornet Band, by C. H. Neff, with ten pieces, John Cubberly, present leader. The Southwestern Cornet Band (colored) was organized in 1879, with fourteen members. W. Sanford, present leader. Stearns' Colored Band was organized in the fall of 1882, with eight pieces. The Independent Cornet Band was organized November, 1882, by C. H. Neff, with six pieces.

Wichita Gun Club was organized January, 1879, with nineteen members. First officers: S. G. Smyth, Pres.; G. N. Byers, Vice-Pres.; Ph. Bieler, Sec.; Ch. H. Smyth, Treas. Present officers; J. T. McMillian, Pres.; J. F. Stafford, Vice-Pres.; Ch. H. Smyth, Sec. and Treas. Among its members are some of the best shots in the State.

The Wichita Cemetery Association was incorporated in March, 1872, by the following corporators: J. Smith, H. Smith, J. C. Mossman, Th. Royal and W. Smith. H. Smith was elected president and treasurer, and J. Smith, secretary. The association, with a limit of forty, purchased twenty-six acres, three and three-quarter miles northeast of the city, situated on a commanding knoll, from which an extensive view may be had for miles, and named it Wichita Cemetery. It is estimated that upwards of $15,000 has been laid out in improvements by private individuals. Present Board of Directors: H. Smith, J. C. Mossman and J. Smith. Officers same as in 1872.

[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]