|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
August 13, 1854, Rev. Robert Simerwell* removed from the Baptist Mission, in what is now Mission Township, and made the first settlement in the present township of Williamsport. He built a cabin, and in the fall, a blacksmith shop, the first in the town. He lived upon his farm until his death, in 1868. Mr. Simerwell was followed by his son William, and Mr. Joseph Drenan, who arrived August 14, the latter settling on the northeast quarter of Section 27, Town 12, Range 15. Twelve days later, on the 26th, Messrs. William Matney and son arrived.
The first farm cultivated by a white man in Topeka Township, was the north half of Section 25, Town 11, Range 15, by Clement Shattio, a Frenchman who came there from Uniontown, November 15, 1852. The farm was then owned by Alexander Bushman, a half-breed Shawnee Indian. It is situated one mile northwest of Topeka, on the south bank of the river. Mr. Shattio was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1800; came to Uniontown, June 15, 1848, and was married there to Ann Davis (colored) in 1850. He lived on the Bushman farm until August 15, 1854, when he bought out a Shawnee Indian's claim on the Shunganunga, located on the northeast quarter of Section 14, Town 12, Range 15. His wife was born in Palestine, Crawford County, Ill., about the year 1817. At the age of ten years she was stolen from her parents, who were free, and taken to Missouri, which was then a slave State. After being sold many times, she found herself, in May, 1848, in Uniontown. She bought her freedom in 1849. Mr. Shattio died at Topeka in the summer of 1882.
The following is a record of settlers coming to Topeka Township in 1854:
May 5, Horatio Cox, from Missouri, located on the northeast quarter of Section 4, Town 12, Range 16. The farm is two miles east of Topeka, near the crossing of Deer Creek, on the Tecumseh road. June 1, Anthony A. Ward bought the farm of a Kaw half-breed on the southwest quarter of Section 30, Town 11, Range 16. Mr. Ward moved his family on to this farm, which joins the city of Topeka on the west, September 1, 1854. July 15, Robert Matthews located on the southeast quarter of Section 33, Town 11, Range 16. He built in the fall the first blacksmith shop in the township of Topeka. In July, J. Jondron settled on the northeast quarter of Section 32, Town 11, Range 16, and A. Berringer on the northeast quarter of Section 33, Town 11, Range 16. July 25, Isaac Edwards settled on the southwest quarter of Section 27, Town 11, Range 16, and D. Chilson on the northwest quarter of Section 34, Town 11, Range 16. Edwards was imprisoned about eight years later, for the murder of a colored man. He was hung at the jail in Topeka by a mob. August 14, William R. Boggs bought a claim on the northeast quarter of Section 26, Town 11, Range 15. His farm is now the site of the State Insane Asylum. August 28, Gilbert Billard settled on the northwest quarter of Section 28, Town 11, Range 16, and Charles Sardein on the southwest quarter, Section 28, Town 11, Range 16, and Fred. Vascalders on the northeast quarter of Section 28, Town 11, Range 16. October 10, J. R. Warren settled on the northeast quarter of Section 9, Town 12, Range 16, H. McConnell on the southeast quarter of Section 9, Town 12, Range 16, and James McConnell on the southwest quarter of Section 15, Town 13, Range 16. Mr. Thomas Warren, who arrived on the same day, resided with his son until his death, December 15, 1874, at the age of 104 years. October 17, William Pickerel located on the southeast quarter Section 6, Town 12, Range 16. October 18, John Parkinson located on the northeast quarter of Section 11, Town 12, Range 15. October 20, Phillip Briggs located on the northwest quarter of Section 5, Town 12, Range 16. In November, William Griffenstein located on the farm since owned by Mr. Slayton. November 15, John T. Adams located on the southwest quarter of Section 10, Town 12, Range 16. December 7, James F. Merriam from Vermont; December 12, James Hickey; December 20, Freeman R. Foster and Robert Mitchell; December 25, Dr. S. A. Martin; and December ___, John Long, settled in the township.
November 29, 1854, Enoch Chase, M. C. Dickey, J. B. Chase, and George Davis located on the present site of the city of Topeka, and December 4, C. K. Holliday, D. H. Horne, F. W. Giles, L. G. Cleveland, and S. A. Clark arrived, soon followed by T. G. Thornton, Timothy McIntyre, Jonas E. Greenwood, George F. Crow and William C. Lenicar.
The settlers of Topeka Township in 1855 were as follows: Joseph C. Miller, Frank L. Crane, W. W. Ross, John Ritchie, J. C. Jordan, John Armstrong, H. W. Curtis, Charles Farnsworth, L. W. Horne, R. A. Randlett, O. C. Nichols, S. D. Conwell, Frank Dawson, C. A. Sexton, Henry Cowles, John Perrin, Rev. Henry Burgess, Charles Frasier, C. A. Dexter, W. H. Weymouth, Daniel Sayers, Ephraim Herriott, Horatio Fletcher, Samuel Herriott, Daniel Bouta, H. Higgins, Johnston Thomas, King Smith, Antoine Bernier, H. Terrell, A. H. Barnard, Robert Todd, Dr. M. A. Campdoras, Henry Griffin, C. Durupt, Isaac Renfrew, J. Willetts, J. R. Jones, C. D. Howard, L. H. Wentworth, Robert Gilbert, Daniel Sheridan, James Goodridge, E. C. K. Garvey, James Chadwick, Dean Chadwick, C. C. Leonard, C. L. Terrel, Moses Dudley, J. Orcutt, William Scales, H. P. Waters, James K. Bunker, James McNamee, J. F. Cummings, Israel Zimmerman, Loring Farnsworth, E. Seagreaves, Abner Doane, A. M. Lewis, Guilford Dudley, John R. Lewis, George F. Boyd, D. Minnium, J. D. Clarkson, James Taggart, W. H. Weymouth, (sic) L. C. Wilmarth, A. G. Thompson, W. F. Creitz, G. W. Hathaway, H. H. Wentworth, Gabriel Wright, James Disney, Moses Hubbard, P. R. Hubbard, Eugene Dumez, C. N. Grey, P. O. Connor, E. S. Parker, Jesse Stone, O. H. Drinkwater, Samuel Hall, Leonard Wendell, A. F. Whiting, W. E. Bowker, S. N. Frazier, M. C. Martin, William P. Thompson, David H. Moore, W. W. Henderson, William Gibbons, M. K. Smith, A. F. Hartwell, David Smith, Charles L. Wilbur, G. B. French, E. Trask, August Roberts, H. C. Young, Nelson Young, James Cowles, R. M. Luce, F. T. Tucker, Richard Gustine.
July 18, 1856, Alfred and John Sage claimed and settled on the southeast quarter of Section 35, Town 12, Range 13, the farm now being within the limits of the village of Dover, and owned by T. K. Thompson. Mrs. Alfred Sage, then Mrs. Mary Buell, came with the earliest Pennsylvania party to Kansas and was living in a little log cabin on the Wakarusa when the first Missouri invasionists were encamped there. She afterwards lived a short time at Topeka, and from thence moved to Dover, where she still resides. In the fall of the same year (1856), Thomas and Albert Haskell, and John Rush arrived, and settled in the neighborhood. In the spring of 1857, John and Noah Gibbs, William Collins, and Jacob Orcutt arrived, and in the fall of that year Daniel Sayers, T. D. Parks, and Jacob Haskell. Daniel Sayers was a mason, who came to Kansas in 1854, and afterwards helped build the old mill near the park in Topeka, now torn down. He died in Dover, August 28, 1860. Jacob Haskell was the godfather of Dover, naming it from the village of Dover, N. H., which place was his former home. From September, 1857, until the fall of 1867, Dover formed a part of Auburn Township, being made a voting precinct October 1, 1860, the polling place being a log schoolhouse on the site of the present village.
In 1848, Abram B. Burnett, a Pottawatomie Chief, and a man of more than ordinary ability, moved into the reservation just set apart for the tribe, and settled near the base of "Burnett's Mound." His farm, which was broken the same year, was the home of himself and family until his death in 1870, and upon it he was buried. His name is identified with the locality, and it seems very appropriate that one spot in Shawnee County should perpetuate the memory of the old Chief, whose people once called so large a part of its territory their own.
"Burnett's Mound," one of the oldest landmarks in the country surrounding Topeka, is a high peak to the southwest of the city. It was one of the prominent points in the landscape which attracted the attention of the pioneers of 1854, and was called by them Webster's Peak, the name by which it was known to Eastern emigrants for many years.
DEFUNCT TOWNS AND VILLAGES.
Uniontown was established in 1848 as an Indian Traders' Post in Pottawatomie Reservation, in the western part of what is now Dover Township, and about a mile from the south bank of the Kansas. For several years it was the largest and most important trading point on the river; many of the pioneer settlers of the new towns that sprung up after organization of the Territory having been residents of the place. The late Thomas N. Stinson, afterwards the founder of Tecumseh, built the first house in Uniontown in the spring of 1848, and was, while living there, a successful Government trader. Other settlers soon followed and erected buildings, and in two years the post had grown into a little hamlet of fifty buildings, fourteen of which were stores. It was the gathering place of the Pottawatomies for annual payment, a thriving trade being carried on with them, and with the various persons employed for their benefit. The old California and Oregon road ran near the village, by which Rocky Mountain traders and trappers passed over the adjacent ferry on their route to the Northwest. Among the early residents of Uniontown, besides those above mentioned, were John W. Brown (1851), first settler in the town of Brownville; Clement Shattio, the first settler of the township of Topeka; Hayden D. McMeekin, one of the founders of the town of Indianola and a pioneer landlord in Leavenworth city; Anthony Ward, who removed to a farm near the present site of Topeka in 1854; A. G. Boone, whose father had lived in the near vicinity when it was Kansas Reservation; and Mrs. Falobia Green (1852), who remained on the old town site. The following traders settled at the post and erected buildings during the spring and summer of 1848: Ewing & Ewing, P. E. Sarpie, Robert A. Kinsey, O. H. P. Polk, T. D. S. McDonald, as agent for Choteau, _______ McDowell, and W. W. Cleghorn. Dr. Gallimore, with his wife and sister, J. R. Whitehead, John D. Laslie, and William Dyer were among the very early settlers.
In 1849 and '50 the cholera raged with fearful violence among the Indians. Uniontown was almost deserted; only three of the traders--Messrs. Stinson, Whitehead, and McDonald, remaining with Dr. Gallimore and family to assist, as they might, in relieving the prevalent distress. Dr. Gallimore and wife contracted the disease and died; the others escaped an attack. The sister was taken to Westport by Mr. Stinson after the death of her brother, and along the California road, over which they passed, they saw many corpses of those who had suddenly sickened and died, away from friends, and deprived even of burial. The mortality among the Pottawatomies was terrible--they died by hundreds. Before the surviving whites left Uniontown twenty-two were buried in one pit.
When Kansas was organized as a Territory, and new towns began to spring up in the valleys of the Kansas and Wakarusa, the prosperity of Uniontown was at an end. In 1854 it was reduced to half its former size, and a year later it was entirely abandoned as a trading post, although the Indians received their payments there until 1859. The site of this old settlement is now the farm of widow La Point, every trace of the town having disappeared.
Tecumseh, the First County Seat.--The beautiful site on which the village was afterwards built, was selected by Col. T. N. Stinson for a home in 1852. During that year he had sixty acres on Section 1, Town 12, Range 16, broken and fenced, and on the 20th of March, 1853, he moved on to the farm with his family.
Mr. Stinson was a native of Preble County, Ohio, where he was born April 14, 1818. His parents removed to Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1822, where they both died the following year, leaving him an orphan at the early and helpless age of five years. In 1838 Mr. Stinson removed to Livingston County, Ill. In 1843 he first came to Kansas, then the Indian Territory, settling January 3, at Pottawatomie Creek, where he worked for a short time as blacksmith at the "Baptist Mission." He then went to Westport, Mo., where he hired with Simpson & Hunter, who had an extensive Indian trading house at that point. He remained in their employ for nearly four years, being stationed at Paoli, then at Pottawatomie Creek, and later among the Delawares. In 1848 he became a partner, and stationed himself at Uniontown, where he carried on an extensive and lucrative trade with the Pottawatomie Indians until 1852. Some time during that year he removed to the Indian village, near Burnett's Mound, established his store, and there remained until February, 1854. At that time he removed to the present site of Tecumseh, being the first white settler in that region. He married in 1850, Miss Julia Bushman, an educated Shawnee woman; and in the Government treaty with her tribe, they received a direct grant of land, covering his present farm on which he settled in 1856, together with a part of the village plat of Tecumseh. He died at his house, near Tecumseh, November 1, 1882.
Among those who located at Tecumseh during the spring and summer of 1854, were J. K. Waysman, A. D. M. Hands, H. Walker, Albert Byler, Joshua Sartain, and Nathaniel Hedrick, all from Missouri, who came in May. In June, David Copeland, James Herron, Reuben Lowe, Rev. J. B. Stateler, John Horner, and Francis Grassmuck arrived. In July, Robert Edwards, October--J. C. Nickum, Jehiel Tyler, D. Updegraph, and John Morris. November--James W. Small, William Vaughan, Dr. D. W. Hunter, B. Sublette, Osburne Naylor, Rev. Charles Jordan, J. W. Stephenson, December--Judge Rush Elmore, Rev. H. J. Strickler, and Charles Stevenson.
In August, 1854, the site for the city of Tecumseh was located, the place heretofore having been known as "Stinson's." The site covered 320 acres; 240 being pre-empted for town purposes, and the balance owned by Mr. Stinson. The survey was made by C. C. Spaulding, August 15, 1854. The following gentlemen were the original proprietors of the projected city: Col. T. N. Stinson, Judge Rush Elmore, Alabama; Judge S. W. Johnson, Ohio; Governor A. H. Reeder, Pennsylvania; Samuel H. Woodson and Abram Comings, Missouri; Albert Elmore, Alabama; Dr. James M. Hunter, Missouri; J. W. Whitfield, Tennessee; and Col. A. J. Isacks.
The site selected was one of the most beautiful on the river; a high prairie, with deep ravines on each side, through one of which flowed the Shunganunga, here a broad deep stream, bordered with heavy timber. Mr. Stinson's house and farm were picturesquely situated near the Shunganunga, on the eminence where the upland and prairie slope down to the river. During the winter of 1854 a sawmill was built by Messrs. Uptegraph and Morris, and a store was opened by Messrs. William Vaughan and B. Sublette, the first mill and store in the place. Rev. J. B. Stateler preached the first sermon in his tent, October 10, 1854, his house not being built at the time. A ferry was established by T. N. Stinson and J. K. Waysman in 1854, arranged with ropes and buoys; the boat being of sufficient size to carry three teams or wagons at each trip. A good road was constructed to the ferry landing, and the enterprise was considered an important one, the ferry being the principal crossing for the route from Leavenworth to the Sac and Fox and other Southern agencies. A school was opened in the early spring of 1855 by William Ireland. Two mail routes were established about the same time, one from Tecumseh to the Sac and Fox agency, the other via Pottawatomie Baptist Mission to Uniontown and Wabaunsee.
Among the settlers of 1855 were the following: Eli Hopkins, W. Y. Roberts, William A. Stewart, William Hook, S. Ripple, Joseph Weaver, Benjamin Newsom, Capt. E. Allen, J. Reed, Joseph Molton, William Riley, T. Strother, Jesse Rumsey, Adam Bowers, John Bowers, Gus. Vaughan, George Rumsey, Joseph Allen, A. Lovelace, Samuel Acland, Isaac Roberts, H. Carmichael, C. C. Antrin, John Martin, W. O. Yeager, B. Fogle, Kenzie Stofield, V. Rush, Edward Hoagland, Eli Stofield, Rev. Mr. Piper, Dr. Snow, J. M. Pherson, N. Shadley, William Shadley, Benjamin D. Castleman, A. Delap, A. Imes, Erastus Moffit, William Frost, R. Carmichael, Rev. Paul Shepard, A. D. Reed, John T. Lawrence, O. Moffit, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Ellis, William Ireland, John Scott, William Jones, Henry Canfield.
At the session of the first Territorial Legislature, held at the Shawnee Manual Labor School, July, 1855, the town of Tecumseh was designated as the permanent county seat of Shawnee County. A strong effort was made to locate the Territorial capital at Tecumseh, but Lecompton proved a successful rival. Tecumseh received the following votes: Messrs. Croysdale, Strickler, Thomas, Johnson, Forman and Richardson.
The Tecumseh Town Association was incorporated August, 1855, and on the 17th of September entered into contract with the County Commissioners for the erection of a court-house and jail. The site for the building was donated by the association, and early in the spring of 1856 the work was commenced. The brick and stone work was done by parties from Westport, Mo., and the wood work by Luther M. Carter. The court-house was of brick, forty by fifty feet in size, two stories, with a portico supported by columns on the north. A broad corridor, with offices on either side, extended from north to south, the jail being in the southwest corner of the building. District and Probate Court was held in Tecumseh during the spring and fall, and the village became headquarters for the most distinguished Pro-slavery legal talent in the district.
A description of the town, its condition and prospects in the summer of 1855, appeared in an article published August 4 in the Kansas Herald (Leavenworth). The writer, after alluding to the completion of the stream saw-mill, and the large amount of lumber ready for use, further says:
(Mr. Edward Hoagland was landlord of this hotel.)
* * * * * * * * * * *
The Methodist Church alluded to above was built during the year, Rev. J. B. Stateler preaching the first sermon. The growth and prosperity of Tecumseh for the two or three succeeding years was all that its people could desire. In 1856 a bridge company was formed which secured an exclusive charter of bridge privilege at Tecumseh and for five miles west. The company contracted for an iron superstructure to be built at Cincinnati, the bridge to be 600 feet long, with two spans of 280 feet. The work of preparing abutments was commenced, but the enterprise finally proved a failure. During 1857-58 mills were built, stores well supplied with attractive merchandise opened on the streets facing the "Public Square"; the "Tecumseh Lyceum and Library" was chartered; three newspapers, the Southerner, the Settler, and the Note-Book, lived their ambitious but brief lives; pretty dwellings, with nicely cultivated gardens, were scattered along the principal streets; the young folks had their merry gatherings and dances, and those older and wiser hoped against hope until the final removal of the county-seat to Topeka, with the prospect of it also becoming capital of the future State, decided the fate of the village. From that time the decay of Tecumseh was as rapid as had been its growth. In 1859 the public records were removed to Topeka, and finally the court-house itself was sold at public sale, its brick and wood being utilized in the building of farmhouses in the vicinity.
Of the village, as above described, only enough remains to mark the ruin of the hopes of its founders. A single stone structure used for a store--the only one in the place--stands like a sleepy sentinel, facing the level, unfenced plat, grown rank with jimson weed and witch grass, once the "Court Square." The streets are vacated, and the few dilapidated houses that remain, stand, many of them, untenanted and windowless, in undefined localities, having a disconsolate air, as if deserted by their owners and too poor to get away. A postoffice, a country schoolhouse, and a plain brick church, Methodist, still linger on the site. Down what was the main street, going toward the river, the sides are lined with a shaggy, untrimmed hedge, beautiful in its rank verdure, and at the foot, where was the ferry landing, and where was to be the first bridge across the Kaw, the river has gnawed away the bank into precipitous form. The trains pass ever and anon, but no passengers stop at the village of Tecumseh; no sound is heard save the hum of insects, the chirp of birds, and the long row of the straggling kine, grown fat upon the rank grass of the deserted streets.
Rochester.--The site of this much named town was selected by J. Butler Chapman, in August, 1854. In his "History of Kansas," published in 1855, he states that the town is located "one and a half miles from the river, (Kansas) on a beautiful stream known as the Conda River (formerly Soldier Creek)." It was situated immediately at the junction of the four great roads of the Territory. The proprietor states that it was laid out at right angles, with a number of large public squares, for schools, churches, etc.; also that "Being equal distant from almost every settled point in the Territory, he ventured to say that no other place had the claims for the seat of government that Whitfield had."
The town was first named Delaware City, Messrs. J. B. Chapman, James A. Gray, and Fred Swice forming the town association. The name was soon changed to Whitfield City, afterwards to Kansopolis, and finally to Rochester.
Among the settlers of 1855 were Vincent Cohe, Samuel Lockhart, C. C. Leonard, J. F. Cailloz, E. Bollotte, T. Bruno, A. Colcomb, E. Chambourmiere, A. Roberti, Aime Malespine, J. and H. Seal, J. E. Thompson and Thomas Jenner.
In 1856 as Kansopolis, it was still thriving, quite a little hamlet having sprung up. An express ran twice a week between the place and Topeka, and, until the location of the capital was practically decided, Kansopolis had aspirations in that direction.
Among the settlers of 1856 in Soldier Township, were G. Cumings, J. Johnson, James M. Harding, Joseph Middaugh, J. W. Price, Ezekiel Marple, and William Owen.
Gen. W. T. Sherman, also, when a young lawyer in Leavenworth, in order to eke out his not quite satisfactory income, turned farmer for a few months in 1859; opening during the summer a farm on Indian Creek for Hon. Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, as a place of residence for his relatives, Henry Clark and Mrs. Walker. Mr. Sherman, before their arrival, had superintended the erection of a house and barn, and the fencing of 100 acres. The town site is now occupied by a farm, no trace of the aspiring village remaining.
Indianola was situated at the crossing of Soldier Creek, a mile and a half from Papin's Ferry, and on the road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley. The land for the town site was purchased by H. D. McMeekin, of Louis View, a half-breed, and the town laid out in November, 1854, the proprietors being John F. Baker, H. D. McMeekin and George H. Perrin. The first public sale of lots was on the 27th of June, 1855. A good frame hotel and other buildings were erected, and the town achieved quite a degree of prosperity, but like many of its neighbors it was soon overshadowed by Topeka. It is now extinct.
Mairsville was located by Thomas W. Mairs, in 1855, on the southeast quarter of Section 20, Township 12, Range 17.
Washington.--The town site of Washington was selected and laid out in the spring of 1855. It was located on Section 15, Township 12, Range 17, a deep ravine separating it from the town of Big Springs. The original proprietors of the town were W. Y. Roberts, William Frost, William Riley, Joseph Molten, and Capt. E. Allen. A hotel was built at the place and kept by Capt. Allen for several years. There is now but one house on the town site.
Kenamo was laid out by Joseph Allen, in 1856, on the northwest quarter of Section 10, Township 12, Range 17.
Williamsport (defunct).--The Williamsport Town Company was organized in Lycoming County, Pa., in 1857, by citizens of the town of Williamsport in that county. It consisted of twenty-five members, three of whom--Dr. A. J. Huntoon, T. U. Thompson, and Joel Huntoon--located in the township and made improvements.
A town site was selected and laid out one mile northeast of the present town of Wakarusa, upon which one house was built by Mr. Huntoon. The house was demolished in the hurricane of 1860, and the farm of Fillmore Purl now covers the old town site.
Carthage.--Cone's History of Shawnee County gives the following sketch of one of the towns of the past: "The town of Carthage was laid out in 1857. The original town company consisted of W. B. Stith, W. M. Jordan, C. P. Clemens, J. B. Whitaker, and G. Bassett. A. D. Reed was the surveyor. The town site was located on the east half of Section 34, and west half of Section 35, Township 12, Range 16. The only house ever built on the town site was built by W. B. Stith. A well was dug by the company near the center of the town site, in 1857. Nineteen years afterwards, a horse belonging to Joseph Lesties fell into the well, there being no 'town pump' to denote its locality. After a careful survey, the well was found to be located exactly in the center of a laid-out road. The road, however, had never been used, and after the horse fell in the well (where he is supposed to be yet), C. A. Thrasher, Township Trustee, filled the well up, and thus perished Carthage."