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


[TOC] [part 42] [part 40] [Cutler's History]


In 1854, James Kuykendall, John Cunningham, R. J. Fulton, H. D. McMeekin, P. Fleshman, W. S. Kuykendall, John B. Chapman, D. Milne, James A. Grey, G. P. Dorris, James M. Hand, and Mr. Tipton, settled in the township. A saw-mill was built by G. P. Dorris on his farm during 1854. From September 4, 1855, to February, 1859, the county seat of Calhoun County was located in what is now the southeastern part of Soldier Township, that portion of the township forming a part of that county during those years, and a part of Jackson County from 1859 to 1860. The history of the most important point in Soldier Township, to-wit: North Topeka, is given in connection with that of Topeka, to which it in truth belongs; also a full account of its local institutions, churches, societies, etc. The personal sketches of its business men appear with those of the city of which it is virtually a part. The personal histories following are of residents of the township proper.


REV. DAVID BARTRAM, farmer, Section 26, P. O. North Topeka, was born in Staffordshire, England, November 29, 1817. He there learned the trade of blacksmith, at which he worked many years. He there married, in January, 1844, Miss Elizabeth Bannister, who died in 1881, leaving ten children - Mary Ann, Anna, Sampson, Sarah E., Mary, William, Jane Ellen, Albert, Emma, David Henry. Soon after his marriage he emigrated to America, settling in Bureau County, Ill., where he remained until 1863, working partly at his trade and farming. Was there made a deacon in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he had long been a member, and had been licensed to preach previous to his coming to America. He still preaches occasionally, in the absence of the regular minister. In 1863 he moved to Kansas, locating at present residence in Shawnee County. Has 400 acres in Soldier Township - 180 in cultivation, 120 in pasture, and the rest meadow. His farm is well improved, has good buildings of all kinds, a good orchard, etc.

DR. JOHN FRAZEE BUCK, Superintendent of Kansas State Reform School, was born in Mahoning County, Ohio, August 17, 1831. His grandfather, William Buck, was a native of Ireland, and emigrated to this country near the beginning of the present century, settling in Pennsylvania, and afterward became a pioneer settler of Mahoning County County, Ohio. The parents of the subject of this sketch were John and Phoebe Buck, his mother's maiden name being Phoebe Frazee. His father was an early abolitionist, and was one of the two men of his township who voted for James G. Birney for President. He was also one of the organizers of the Free Presbyterian Church. Dr. B. received his education at Poland Academy, in his native county. He first engaged in teaching school, following that for several years in Bourbon County, Ky. On September 2, 1858, he married Ada L., daughter of James Davis, then of Berlin Center, Mahoning County, now a business man of Salem, Ohio. Two children, a son and a daughter, were the result of this union, one of whom, Lillie A., is living. Soon after his marriage, he removed to Salem, Ohio, where he studied dentistry, afterward locating at North Fairfield, Ohio, where he began the practice of his profession. In the fall of 1861, he enlisted as a member of the band connected with Sixty-fifth Ohio Infantry Volunteers serving in that capacity until the issue of the general order dispensing with regimental bands, when he was honorably discharged from the service at Nashville, Tenn. His oldest brother served in a Minnesota regiment, dying at Fort Snelling, Minn., on his way home. After leaving the army, Dr. B. moved to Missouri, and engaged in farming, but the climate not agreeing with the health of his family, he returned to Ohio, and engaged in business with his father-in-law a year or two. He was called as an assistant in the Ohio Reform School, at Lancaster, Ohio, in the fall of 1869, remaining seven years, holding the position of Principal of those schools the last three years. He was then appointed superintendent of the Fairmount Children's Home, near Mount Union. The school is designed to furnish a home for indigent children under sixteen years of age, in the counties of Stark and Columbiana, where such children can be properly trained and cared for until they are adopted by or intrusted to responsible families offering them homes. He was appointed Superintendent of the Kansas State Reform School in June, 1881, but owing to the pressure brought to have him remain at the Fairmount Home, he did not at that time accept. However, in February, 1882, he gave up his position there, and accepted his present position March 1, 1882, bringing a long and valuable experience to its management which will enable him to place the institution among the first in the country.

A. J. DAVIS, farmer, Section 17, P. O. North Topeka, came to Kansas in 1877, locating at present residence. Owns 160 acres one mile north of city limits, of which 130 acres are in cultivation, the rest timber and pasture. Was born in Marvin County, Ohio, February 29, 1832, and was reared in Hardin County, Ohio, learning milling and millwrighting. He afterwards moved to Champaign County, Ohio, which was his home until he came to Kansas. He has built nearly forty mills of all kinds, including flour, saw mills, and distilleries. He married in Hardin County, Ohio, July 1, 1832. Miss Ann E. Barrett, who was born in Muskingum County, Ohio. They have seven children.

F. W. FLEISCHER, horticulturist, Section 7, P. O. North Topeka. First came to Kansas in the fall of 1854, but did not remain. The following year he returned, being employed as house carpenter at Fort Riley nearly a year. He left there during he winter of 1855 and 1856 and located at his present residence in Soldier Township. He there has forty acres all in fruit except two acres. His vineyard comprises fourteen acres, the rest of his land being devoted to apple, peach and other fruits. His peach orchard comprises over 1,000 budded trees. He now has one of the best fruit farms in Kansas. He does a business of $2,000 to $3,000 per year. In addition to this farm he has another two miles west of Topeka, which he devotes to grain. He was born in Germany, March 7, 1824, there learning cabinet making. He emigrated to America in 1850, landing at New Orleans, where he was married July 27, 1850, to Miss Frederika Christina Kaler. They have eight children living - William A., Mary A., John T., Margaret A., Rudolph, Louis, George T., Blanch May.

JAMES M. HARDING, farmer, Section 18, Township 11, Range 16, P. O. North. Topeka. Was born in Medway, Mass., October 11, 1811, living in that State until six years old. His father then moved with his family to Paris, Bourbon Co., Ky., where James M. remained until about seventeen years of old, when he went to Cincinnati, Ohio. He there learned to be a machinist, working there about five years. He then went to St. Louis, where he remained until 1856, when he removed to Kansas; during his residence in St. Louis he was employed for three or four years as engineer on the steamers Reveille, the Little Dove, and the North Bend. On his arrival in Shawnee County he engaged in milling, having a steam grist and saw mill which he operated about eighteen years. He has since that time devoted his time to his farm, which consists of 148 acres, of which 40 acres are under cultivation and the rest in timber. He has been twice married, his first marriage occurring in Champaign County, Ill., to Jane McElroy. She died three years later in 1863. He married in Soldier Township Mrs. Nancy E. Marple. They have one daughter - Laura Ann. He was in the Kansas State Militia and took part in the Price raid in 1863.

C. B. KILMER, northeast quarter, Section 26, Township 10, Range 16, Soldier Township, Shawnee County. Is a native of New York. Was born in Syracuse, Onondaga Co., October 1, 1829. When sixteen years of age he made his debut for a sea-faring life on a whale ship, which he followed for a quarter of a century - for twenty years as captain, making voyages around the world for a number of years; was at the Sandwich Islands and on many whaling voyages. Wintered at Marble Island (Hudson Sea) the winter of 1864 and 1865. Wintered at Repulse Bay in 1866 and 1867, when Dr. Hall was attempting his "Franklin Research Expedition" to King Williams Land. Kept the noted explorer during the winter of 1866 and 1867 and assisted him in his preparations, contributing supplies and in every way doing what he could towards the enterprise. Dr. Hall endeavored to secure Capt. Kilmer to accompany him as Captain of the "Polaris" expedition to the North Pole. After quitting the sea he remained in Syracuse till the spring of 1868, when he came to Kansas, locating where he now resides. He has a fine farm of 320 acres. His nautical education is here discernible, everything in its place and in ship shape style. He was married in Lake County, Ill., to Miss Mary G. Gray. They have four children - Charles J., Louis M., Frank D., and George L. He is a member of the Masonic Order and R. A.

GEORGE W. KISTLER, farmer, Section 33, P. O. North Topeka. Was born in Cass County, Ind., in 1833, living there until twenty-three years old. He married in August, 1856, in Carroll County, Ind., Miss Emily Martin, who died in 1868, leaving six children - Francis, Lewis, Ida, Elnora, Charles and Emily. In 1869, he married in Soldier Township, Shawnee County, Miss Mary Bond. They have three children - William, Gracie and Harry. He came to Kansas in 1856, locating in Shawnee County. He has a fine farm of 200 acres five miles from Topeka, of which 160 acres are in cultivation, the rest timber and grass land under fence. His farm has good improvements, consisting of a two-story frame house, barn and other buildings. When he came to the State he engaged largely in stock-raising, which he carried on for many years. During the war he was in the Kansas State militia and participated in the repulse of Gen. Price in his attempted raid into Kansas. He is a Mason.

CAPTAIN J. H. MILLER, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Meriden. Is a native Pennsylvania (sic) and was born in Dauphin County, September 17, 1830. Was there educated and reared. In 1856 emigrated to Iowa, locating in Johnson County, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1869, when he came to Kansas, locating where he now resides. In 1861 he enlisted in Company B, Fourteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was afterward transferred to the Seventh Iowa Cavalry, and did duty in the far West among the Indians serving over three years and was honorably discharged as Sergeant. He was married in Pennsylvania to Miss Sarah A. Hoake. By this union they have four children - Isabelle C., William L., Harry J. and Frank P. Mr. Miller is an active member of the I. O. O. F. and the A. O. U. W.

J. Q. A. PEYTON, farmer and County Commissioner, Section 25, P. O. North Topeka. Has 160 acres 120 under cultivation, devoted to raising corn, rye, potatoes and other vegetables. Mr. P. deals largely in live stock, chiefly hogs, handling from 200 to 300 head per year. He was born in Clark County, Va., March 13, 1840. When twelve years old he removed to Muskingum County, Ohio, with his parents residing there until 1870, when he moved to Kansas, locating in Shawnee County. He was married in Muskingum County, Ohio, August 27, 1863, to Miss Mary C. Gander, who died in 1880, leaving three children - Elmer E., Frank T. and Hillis T. On November 24, 1881, he married Miss Lucy E. Neiswender. He is a member of Ohio Lodge No. 132, I. O. O. F., at Silver Lake, and Topeka Lodge No. 17, A. F. & A. M., Topeka, Kan. He is an active Republican, taking great interest in county politics. He now holds the office of County Commissioner. Enlisted in 1861 in Company D, Seventy-eighth Ohio Infantry, serving until 1863, when he was discharged on account of disability. After re-enlisted, but was unable to be mustered into the service. He was in the army of the Tennessee and took part in the first battle of Fort Donelson.

A. W. PLILY, horticulturist, Section 7, P. O. North Topeka, came to Kansas in 1858, locating in Shawnee County. He now owns 100 acres two miles north of Topeka, which he has devoted to fruit growing the past seventeen years. It is all in cultivation except fifteen in timber. Thirty acres are in orchard. He makes a specialty of winter fruit, and in this does a business of $2,000 to $3,000 per year. He has paid close attention to horticulture, and is now one of the most successful fruit-growers in Kansas. He was born in Ross County, Ohio, February 11, 1829, and was there reared. He afterwards visited the States of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, remaining six years, and in 1850 he went to California where for eight years he followed gold mining and farming. Since that time he has resided in Shawnee County. He was there married, October 15, 1862, to Miss Mary Gregg. They have three children - Wesley, Walter, Allison. He has been a Republican since the organization of that party. For several years he was Justice of the Peace in Soldier Township.

WILLIAM W. REID, farmer, Section 16, P. O. North Topeka, was born in Wayne County, Ohio, November 25, 1835, living in that and in Ashland County until February, 1882, when he moved to Kansas, locating in Shawnee County. He has one of the best farms in Soldier Township. It comprises 160 acres, all under fence - sixty-five acres under cultivation, the rest meadow land. Is preparing to make stock-raising a specialty. He was married in Wayne County, Ohio, April 25, 1856, to Miss Sarah Sechrist. They have three children - Martha Ellen, Austin P., William L. He served three years in the army in the late Rebellion, enlisting in Company C, Sixteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as a private; was afterwards promoted to Sergeant. Was first in the army of West Virginia, in Kentucky, under Gen. Morgan, and with Grant at the Siege of Vicksburg, taking part in all the battles in that vicinity. Was sent to the Gulf Department, and the following spring was with Gen. Banks in his Red River campaign.

C. D. SHIELDS, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 3, Township 3, Range 16, P. O. Meriden, came to Kansas in the fall 1854, locating a claim a few miles south of where Meriden is now located. Mr. Shields established the postoffice known to all old-timers as Mount Florence, gave it the name, and was the first postmaster in that part of the country. He also built a store and sold the first goods there. The greater portion of the time since 1854 he has been a resident of Kansas. In 1858 he moved to Woodson County, Kan., near Belmont, residing three years. During the war was in the State Militia for a few months. During the border troubles his sympathies were with the Free-state party. Mr. Shields is a native of Pennsylvania, and born in Huntingdon County, August 21, 1833. At an early age he emigrated to Henry County, Ind., where he was educated and reared. He has been twice married; first in 1858, to Miss Lucinda Dix, of Kansas, now deceased. By this union has four children - Emma A., Elizabeth E., Navada E., and Sarah M. His present wife was formerly Annie Cohee, of Shawnee County. They have four children - Annie J., Flora V., Jonathan C., Bertle E.

EDWARD SIPES, Superintendent of Shawnee Poor Asylum, P. O. North Topeka, was born in St. Louis County, Mo., July 16, 1843. In 1861 he came to Kansas, locating at Atchison; he there enlisted in August, 1862, in Company D, Thirteenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, serving until July, 1865, in the Seventh Army Corps, doing duty chiefly in Arkansas, Indian Territory, Kansas and Missouri, taking part in the principal battles in which that corps was engaged; he was Corporal two years of his time. After his discharge he returned to Atchison County, where for two years he engaged in farming. He then went west and engaged in farming in Riley and other counties until 1876, when he came to Shawnee County, where he has since resided. He was appointed Superintendent of the Shawnee County Poor Asylum in the early part of 1879, and has since held that position, giving perfect satisfaction to all concerned. He is a member of the Lincoln Post No. 1, G. A. R., at Topeka. He was married at Topeka February 19, 1879, to Miss Flora Wood. They have two children living - William Paul and Thomas Huron.

PERRY H. SMITH, farmer, Section 18, P. O. North Topeka, was born in Newsted, Erie Co., N. Y., June 2, 1848, living there until nine years of age, when his parents moved to Buffalo, and thence to Upper Canada; after an absence of four years he returned to Erie County and resided there until 1870; he then married August, 1868, Miss Annie Williams, who was born in Tippecanoe County, Ohio. In 1870, he came West, locating in September of that year at Blue Rapids, Marshall Co., Kan., where he remained about five years, engaged in farming. He then removed to Shawnee County, settling in Soldier Township. He has a quarter section of land, 130 acres being under cultivation; has thirty acres in pasture. He is the inventor of a Roller Attachment for a Grain Drill, consisting of a set of cast iron wheels one and three quarter inches in breadth of tire, and twenty-four inches in diameter, arranged in sets of two placed together upon a short axle which is fastened to an upright standard by means of a loose joint, each wheel working independently of all the other parts, and all coupled together by means of an equalizer upon the top which rests the driver's seat. This places the driver in the best position to keep the drill hoes clean, to watch the workings of the drill, and drive the team. Each wheel or roller follows in a track made by the drill hoe and close to the drill, which assists greatly in cleaning the trash off the hoes as the wheels are constantly treading on the trash, crushing all the lumps which fall in the track and pressing the soil firmly on the seed, leaving the surface of the soil where the plant is grown two to four inches below the general level of the field, the depth of the rut being determined by the adjustment of the drill, and the addition of weight to the attachment. This affords a compactness of soil that will retain the moisture required to sprout the seed and make it strong and vigorous, and far less liable to be affected by frost, drought or the chinch bug, than is the weak and tender plant. The reason for it is this, if the seed roots on the general surface of the ground, the wind works the dry and loose dirt away from under the stool, leaving the principal roots hurtfully exposed to frost, drought and the scorching sun; but if the seed is so sown as to root in a rut or a depression from the general surface, then the action of the wind only covers the stool and with it all of the root, securing additional moisture and protection from the biting frost or burning sun, while the compactness of the earth in the track of the wheel of the Attachment anchors it, and prevents the wind in any case from uncovering the plant root. The Attachment can be coupled to any grain drill, and is being manufactured in North Topeka, Kan., by P. H. Smith & Co.

THOMAS WHITE STEPHENS, farmer, Section 30, P. O. North Topeka, was born in Wayne County, Ind., August 27, 1839, living there and in Carroll and Pulaski counties until July, 1861, when he enlisted in Company K, Twentieth Indiana Infantry, serving until August, 1864, when he was discharged. He was in the Army of the Potomac, taking part in McClellan's different campaigns, as well as those of other commanders; was at Fair Oaks, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Wilderness and Petersburg battles, and others; was taken prisoner at Orchards, Virginia being held five weeks and spending a portion of the time in Libby Prison and Belle Isle. He was four times slightly wounded, being protected from serious wounds by his cartridge box and knapsack, once by a book inside his clothing, a Bible taken from Chancellorville battle field, once wounded by a Confederate soldier, Alexander Weant, and another time a ball struck his gun and shattered it. After his discharge he returned to Pulaski County, Ind., there marrying on August 27, 1864, Miss Mary E. Tyler. They have seven children - Thomas E., Caroline E., James A., George A., John F., Frank F. and Harrison E. In 1877 he came to Kansas, locating in Shawnee County. His farm consists of eighty acres, of which fifty are under cultivation and the rest grass land. He also keeps a small herd of cattle of good grades. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

LEONHARD WENDEL, farmer, Section 8, P. O. North Topeka, came to Kansas in 1854, locating where Topeka now stands. He there established the first bakery and eating stand, remaining two years and then moved to present farm, consisting of 160 acres, seventy acres being in cultivation, the rest timber and grass land. The entire farm is enclosed by a hedge, besides having several wire fences. Has a good orchard, covering eight acres and consisting mostly of apple, though there are other varieties of fruit. He was born in the village of Kerch Brambach, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, October 10, 1804, emigrating to America in 1833. He landed at Baltimore and located at Bedford, Pa., where he was married January, 1836 to Dorothea Oul. They have seven children - Ferdinand, George, John, Sophia, Laura, Elizabeth and Louisa. He and his family are members of the Lutheran Church.

JOHN M. WILKERSON, farmer, Section 7, P. O. North Topeka, was born in Madison County, Ky., August 12, 1844. When six years old he went, with his parents, to DeKalb County, Mo. Two years later they moved to Buchanan County, Mo., where he resided until 1863, when he came to Kansas, immediately enlisting in Company B, Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry, September 26, 1863, serving until October 19, 1865, in the Western Department. Was in all the principal battles in Missouri, Arkansas, Indian Territory and Kansas, among them being Big and Little Blue, Westport, Newtonia and others. Was Sergeant of his company; after his discharge he returned to Kansas, living on Muddy Creek in Shawnee County, until the spring of 1879, when he moved to his present farm, consisting of 160 acres, all under fence; seventy in cultivation, the rest meadow land. He also combines live stock and farming, keeping a small herd of good grades. He is a member of Kaw Valley Lodge, No. 20, A. O. U. W. at North Topeka. Held the office of Justice of the Peace of Soldier Township seven years. Is now Town Trustee. He is also a member of Lincoln Post, No. 1 G. A. R. He married in Jackson County, Kas., August 2, 1868, Miss Jane Cunningham, who died December 23, 1875, leaving four children - Elizabeth, Annie, Oliver, Mollie J. He married in Buchanan County, Mo., Mrs. Amanda Stockton, December 25, 1876.

[TOC] [part 42] [part 40] [Cutler's History]