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


[TOC] [part 50] [part 48] [Cutler's History]


In December, 1854, Daniel Turner settled on a claim one and a half miles northwest of the present village of Auburn. His daughter now resides on the farm.

In 1855, the following persons located in the place: Rev. James Gillpatrick, Deacon George Holt, Henry Fox, C. Gillpatrick and Samuel Cavender.

The first house in Brownville was built in the fall of 1854, on the claim of Eli Snyder.

In April, 1855, a Sabbath-school, the first in the State, was organized with ten scholars, and ten dollars' worth of books. Samuel Cavender was superintendent.

The first Methodist class in the State was organized at Brownville, in the house of Mrs. Galt, in the fall of 1854. Rev. J. S. Griffin, who organized the class was appointed to the Wakarusa Mission during the preceding summer by the Missouri Conference.

Mr. A. Preston taught the first school in Shawnee County, in one of the old Shawnee, commencing April, 1855.

These early events, which took place before the organization of any town, all occurred at the little settlement on the present farm of Mr. Brown.

Among the settlers of 1856 were Capt. John Price, W. S. Hibbard and Daniel Haney.

In the latter part of 1856, a township association was formed, called the Brownville Association, of which M. C. Dickey was president and L. Farnsworth, John W. Brown and Henry Fox, trustees. This association pre-empted certain lands directly north of and adjoining the claim of Mr. Brown, upon which a town site was located, surveyed and platted, by Jesse D. Wood. The lands were described as follows: West half of northwest quarter of Section 24, west half of southwest quarter of Section 24, east half of southeast quarter of Section 23 and east half of northeast quarter of Section 23, Township 13, Range 14 east. The town to be called Brownville.

Brownville was situated on the head waters of the Wakarusa, at the point where the river receives its two tributaries, the three streams being here of nearly equal size and well lined with timber. The Fort Leavenworth, the California and the Santa Fe roads, the great Territorial highways along which flowed the currents of trade and immigration to New Mexico, or the new towns along the banks of the rivers and streams, were all within easy access, and the present and permanent prosperity of the place seemed assured.

After the formation of the town it rapidly increased and soon attained a population of 400. In March, 1857, a log hotel was built by the town company, which was situated on "lot 101, Washington avenue," and a two-story concrete schoolhouse was erected, the first in the township.

A brickyard was opened in the spring of 1857, by Barney Williams. A saw mill and blacksmith shop were already in operation, and during the year William A. Simerwell and John E. Moore moved to the village and built a saw and grist mill.

During the year 1857 the citizens of the village petitioned for the establishment of a postoffice, to be called Brownville. The petition was denied on the ground that another office by that name already existed in the Territory. The name of the town was accordingly changed to Auburn by a vote of the citizens, and the office established under that name.

In 1860, a paper called the Auburn Docket was started by D. B. Emmert, now of Fort Scott. The first issue was on June 20th, and it was continued about a year.

A. H. Hale was the first town trustee, and W. F. Johnson the first Justice of the Peace.

The first church in the township was built by the Methodists, in 1856 - Rev. J. F. Griffin, pastor.

The first Baptist preacher was Rev. James Gillpatrick, who was also the first Postmaster, serving in that capacity in 1855, before the organization of the town, or the establishment of a regular office.

The first birth in the town and the county was a daughter to Lindsey T. Cook - Mollie, born December 22, 1854.

The first death was that of the sister of Eli Snyder; the second, that of Mrs. Gillpatrick.

The village of Auburn reached its height of prosperity and importance in 1858, at which time it had reasonable expectations of becoming the county seat of "old Shawnee County," as it was more central than either Tescumseh or Topeka, both in the extreme north of the county, or Burlingame, lying further south. The plan devised that year, between Topeka and Burlingame, whereby the southern tiers of towns were detached from the county and territory added north of the Kansas River, made Topeka nearer the geographical center, and, on a popular vote, selected it as a county seat. Thus shorn of the prestige attached always to the shire town, its growth stopped short. Later the location of the A. T. & S. Fe R. R., some seven miles east, still further shut it out from the busy world. With the old thoroughfare deserted, it fell into a decline, and now, 1882, boasts a resident population of not over 150.

The village, not quite deserted, is still "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain." Flocks and herds feed on the unfenced prairies, extending miles to the north and east, and the herdsmen still live in the village. Two churches are there, a school, two stores, a blacksmith shop, a shoemaker, a wheelwright, and perhaps a dozen neat dwellings. Beyond, to the south, is the brick mansion of the original settler, Mr. Brown, who still lives on the Mission farm, the site of the Indian village, "old Brownville," not a vestige of which remains.

There is now no mill in the town, the machinery was long since removed, and the buildings have gone to decay. Two old stone structures, half unroofed, with port holes on either side, still stand as reminders of earlier times. The postoffice, the churches, and the school house the never-dying emblems of Republican, Christian civilization, which ever planted, are perennial, still hold their accustomed place in the little hamlet. The present postmaster of Auburn Postoffice is John Dyke.

The Presbyterian Society was first organized. The Baptists worship in the same church. The Methodists have also a small organization.


FRANCIS O. BLACK, farmer, Section 20, P. O. Auburn. Owns 120 acres, all enclosed and sixty-five in cultivation, four acres in orchard and the rest in pasture and native meadow. Has four horses and eleven head of cattle. Was born in Clark County, Ohio, in November, 1830, and came from native place to Kansas, in April, 1858, and located on this farm. Mr. B., although not married, is a leader in educational movements in his locality, is an active member of the Debating and Singing Clubs, and was for many years, continuously on the School Board and has served two years as Justice of the Peace. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and an ardent worker in the Sabbath-school.

W. R. BLACK, farmer, Section 20, P. O. Auburn. Owns 160 acres, about forty acres in cultivation and the rest pasture and meadow, all enclosed. Has seven horses, forty head of cattle and five hogs. He raises corn and millet principally. Was born in Ohio, February 4, 1835, and came to Kansas in April, 1858, and located on present farm. Was married March 20, 1872, to Miss P. A. Willey; they have two children - Minnie E. and Walter. Has been Road Overseer two years and on School Board one term. Enlisted August 22, 1862, as a private in Company "H," Eleventh Kansas Infantry - afterward mounted and served with his company and regiment in Missouri, Arkansas, Indian Territory and on the plains, and participated in the engagements at Fort Wayne, Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Little Blue and Westport, at Westport had his horse shot. Was on the plains the last of the war as guard of the roads and mails, and mustered out in September, 1865. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

JOHN W. BROWN, farmer and dealer in stock, Section 26, P. O. Auburn. Owns 800 acres, all enclosed, has over five miles of stone fence, about 150 acres in cultivation, 150 in timber and the rest in native meadow and pasture; has a fine orchard and a brick dwelling, 18x40, with L 18x20, two stories high, with nine rooms, costing in 1860, when built, $4,500. Stone barn, 30x40, sixteen feet posts, with sheds, corn cribs and every convenience for handling stock successfully. Mr. B. is the pioneer of this county. Was born in Belmont County, Ohio, May 9, 1832, and came from native place to Kansas in 1849, locating at the Methodist Mission, in what is now Johnson County; at that time there were but three houses where Kansas City now stands. In 1851 he was employed by the Government to go into the Indian Country as a blacksmith, and on 1854 located on present farm, at which time the nearest location of any white settlement was sixty miles away. Was married in 1851 to Miss Elizabeth Perkins, a native of Missouri. They have five children - Edgar G., Frank, Fred. P., Eva and Harry. Mr. B. has served one term in the State Legislature. Was in the State Militia during the Price Raid in Col. Veale's regiment and participated in the Locust Grove fight, when he was captured, but made his escape after being a prisoner three days. Is a Mason.

ELLIOTT CARRIGER, farmer, Section 31, P. O. Auburn. Owns 265 acres, about 130 in cultivation, the balance in timber. Good frame dwelling and a fine orchard of selected fruit. Has fourteen horses, forty head of cattle and 130 hogs. Born in east Tennessee, April 30, 1816 and lived there until twenty-three years of age. He was married February 14, 1839, to Miss Angeline R. Allen, a native of Virginia, and emigrated West, locating in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1854. Came to Kansas and located his present farm and set out an orchard in 1858. Mrs. Carriger died February 5, 1865. He has eight children - Maggie J., Lucretia, Eva S., John C., William A., Amanda P., Mattie A., and James D. Mr. C. was in the State Militia during the Price Raid and on duty in Topeka. Has been County Commissioner of Shawnee County two terms, one term as chairman of the Board and was Tax Collector and Duputy sic Sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri, before coming to Kansas.

MACK FLECK, farmer, Section 10, P. O. Auburn. Rents and farms 160 acres, seventy acres in cultivation and the rest in grass. Has four horses, ten head of cattle and ten hogs. Was born in Ohio March 6, 1856, and came to Kansas in 1861 with his parents, who located on Section 31 in the same neighborhood where they reside at present. Was married April 23, 1876, to Miss Mary Bell. They have three children - Bertha, Minnie and LeRoy. Has made his home in Auburn Township, with the exception of four years spent in Colorado, returning in 1881.

JAMES M. HARR, farmer, and makes a specialty of raising fine horses, Section 18, P. O. Auburn, owns eighty acres all enclosed and about fifty-seven in crops and the balance in meadow. Crops are corn and oats. Has at present thirteen horses, some very fine running and trotting stock. Mr. H. was born in Pennsylvania in 1844, and came from native State to Kansas in 1867, locating for a time in Auburn, and locating on this farm in 1880. He was married in 1869 to Miss Jennie Engle. They have three children - Irving, Howard and Edith. He served as Deputy County Clerk in 1872-73 and was then appointed Register of Deeds for Shawnee County and served, until 1879. In 1880 was appointed by the Governor Census Enumerator. Is a Mason.

JOHN A. LANE, farmer, Section 5, P. O. Topeka, owns eighty acres all enclosed and seventy acres in cultivation and ten in pasture; has at this time two horses, six cows and twenty-five hogs. Was born in Iowa, August 4, 1848, and came to Kansas with his parents in 1859, locating in the village of Auburn, and locating on this farm in 1880, which is one of the pieces of land purchased by his father at an early day. Was married March 6, 1878, to Miss Sarah Luella. They have one child - Parkison A. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; has served on School Board one term.

S. H. McGOWAN, farmer, Section 32, P. O. Waveland, owns 320 acres, about 160 in cultivation, forty in timber, the rest in meadow and pasture; has nine horses, fifty-five head of cattle, and seventy-five hogs. Was born in Knox County, Ohio, January 9, 1835, and moved to Indiana with parents when nine years of age, and came from there to Kansas in 1863, first locating in Topeka, where he followed the cabinet business, locating on this farm in 1872. Was married in 1865 to Miss Christiana Edmond, a native of Indiana. They have five children - Myra, Frank, Charles, Lumas, Edmund. Mr. McGowan was in the Kansas State Militia during the Price Raid and participated in the fight at Locust Grove in Missouri.

SAMUEL H. MOORE, farmer Section 7, P. O. Auburn, owns 320 acres all enclosed and 200 acres in cultivation, and the rest in native meadow and pasture with the exception of fifteen acres of timber. Has at this time six horses, two mules, sixty head of cattle and thirty-seven hogs. Was born in Butler County, Pa., January 30, 1831. In 1853 went West and traveled through Iowa and Missouri, and in spring of 1854 fitted out at Lexington, Mo., for a journey to California, going up the Kansas River by the present location of Topeka and by way of the Blue Valley and Fort Kearney. Spent two years in California and returned to Pennsylvania in 1856, and in the fall of 1867 went to Livingston County, Ill., and came from there to Kansas in fall of 1868, locating on present farm. Was married September 30, 1852, to Miss Margaret Gibson, a native of Pennsylvania. They have six children - Catherine J., Eugene L., William A. C., Redick R., Ulysses H., and Mary C. Is an active worker in educational concerns, and has been a member of the School Board for thirteen years, and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

MRS. MARY MORAN, farmer, Section 22, P. O. Auburn, owns 160 acres, 100 in cultivation, sixty acres in timber, all enclosed; has at this time three horses, twenty-one hogs. Her husband, James R. Moran, was born in Tennessee March 22, 1822, and was married January 14, 1846, to Miss Mary Hutchie. They moved to the State of Illinois in 1847 and came to Kansas in 1854, locating on this place. They were in poor circumstances and Mr. M. was in poor health and they had to struggle to get a start, but by hard work and good management they lived until 1859 when they raised a good crop; but in the spring of 1860 a fire swept everything from them, house, crop and stock, and they barely escaped with their lives; but they managed by close economy to get through this year, but Mr. Moran's health continued to grow worse until he died August 8, 1863. Mrs. M. has seven children - Nancy A., Samuel M., Emma E., John W., Sarah L., James and Frances M. Emma E. was married to Truman B. Shumway, who served three years as a soldier in Company G, Sixteenth Regiment Kansas Volunteers and contracted lung disease from which he died at Colorado Springs, Col., where he is buried. Mrs. Shumway is living with her mother who is an invalid and conducting the farm with the assistance of her youngest brother.

NORMAN PAIGE, farmer, Section 6, P. O. Topeka, owns forty acres all enclosed and under cultivation. Has just commenced in Kansas, having bought this place and located on it August 1, 1882. He was born in Vermont August 30, 1822, and lived there until he was married in December, 1851, to Miss Minerva Newton. Spent four and a half years in California with his family; then returned to Vermont and came from there to Kansas, locating on his present farm. They have two children - George V. and Grant L.

CAPT. J. L. PRICE, farmer and small fruit grower, P. O. Auburn, owns forty acres in the village of Auburn, three acres in orchard and twenty acres in cultivation, all kinds of small fruits, and the rest in pasture, all enclosed and divided by cross fences. Has five horses, twelve head of cattle and eleven hogs. Was born in Newcastle County, Del., August 31, 1827, where he resided until July 3, 1856, when he started West, stopping two months in Chicago, and came from there to Kansas in September, 1856, stopping a short time in Topeka, and locating same year in Auburn Township, which he has made his home since. Was married June 27, 1850, in Philadelphia, to Miss Margaret J. Cheffins, a native of Kent County, Del., a granddaughter of Maj. James Cheffins, of the Revolutionary Army. They have seven children living, Laura M., Alceus F., Annie L., Olive K., John L., Jr., Mattie J., Udella M. One son, Alonzo C., died in Delaware, and Cassius M. Clay (?), killed on Battle Mountain, Col., by a snow slide. Capt. Price is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; also a Mason. Was Justice of the Peace from 1872 to 1874. Enlisted as a private in 1862 in Company I, Third Kansas Cavalry. Was consolidated with Second Kansas same year, and transferred to Company H, Ninth Cavalry as seventh Corporal. After the battle of Locust Grove, in Missouri, was made First Sergeant of Company. After the battle of Prairie Grove went to Leavenworth with Gen. Blunt, when he was promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company M. One year after was promoted to Captain of Company M, and served in that capacity until the close of the war. Was in all the engagements of his company and regiment during the war; among others, Newtown, Little Rock, Cane Hill, Fort Wayne, Prairie Grove; and mustered out in 1865. Is a Democrat.

JOHN ROBINSON, farmer, Section 21, P. O. Auburn, owns 240 acres, all enclosed, and about 125 acres in cultivation, twenty-five in timber, and the rest in meadow and pasture. Has eight horses, thirty-five head of cattle and thirty hogs. Was born in Ohio, November 28, 1823, and came to Kansas in March, 1864, locating on farm east of this, and coming to this place in 1865. Was married January 25, 1855, to Miss Margaret A. Thompson. They have three children, Joseph N., Thomas J. and Sally. Has been Road Overseer five years, and Treasurer of School Board four years, and Director four years. Enlisted October 15, 1862, as a private in Company G, Twenty-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served with his command in Tennessee. Was in the battle of Stone River and other engagements, and mustered out August, 1863, on expiration of term of enlistment. Was in the Kansas State Militia during the Price raid, and participated in the battle of Locust Grove, where he was captured and kept a prisoner six days, losing his horse, which had cost him $140, and caught the small-pox. Returned home and gave it to his whole family, and has never been remunerated for his horse.

LEVI A. C. SMITH, farmer, Section 33, P. O. Auburn, owns 164 acres, about 100 in cultivation, all enclosed, thirty-five acres in timber, and the rest in meadow and pasture. Has four horses, three milch cows, and forty hogs. He was born in Massachusetts, October 12, 1818. When a child moved to State of New York with his parents, and in 1842 came to Illinois and from there to Kansas in 1867, locating on his present farm. Was married July 14, 1845, to Miss Rachel A. Miller. They have three children, Sarah R., George S. and Guy A. Is a member of Baptist Church, and has been a member of the School Board three terms.

JOHN S. WALKER, farmer, Section 31, P. O. Grand Haven, owns 160 acres, about seventy acres in cultivation, and the rest in meadow and pasture, all enclosed. Has eight horses, sixty head of cattle, and twenty-five hogs. Was born in Scotland, May 26, 1826, and came to the United States in 1853, locating in Michigan, and came from there to Kansas in 1858, and located on this place same year, but did not improve it until 1870. Was in the Quartermaster's Department as teamster from 1861 until 1869; most of the time at Fort Leavenworth, but hauling to Fort Riley and Fort Scott, and was on his way back to Fort Leavenworth when Lawrence was burned and was there same day. Was married in 1876 to Miss Sarah Rouse.

SAMUEL J. YAGER, farmer, Section 23, P. O. Auburn, owns 240 acres, about 130 in cultivation, fifty in timber, and the rest in pasture and meadow, all enclosed. Has at this time twelve horses, fifty head of cattle and forty hogs. Was born in Kentucky, March 13, 1833, and when two years of age moved with his parents to Indiana, where he remained until he was sixteen; then returned to Kentucky, and when twenty-four years of age went again to Indiana, remaining there until coming to Kansas in February, 1866, and locating on his present farm. Was married October 7, 1864, to Miss Mary M. Terrell, a native of Ohio. They have four children, Willis H., Maud, Jesse M., and Garrett A. Is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and is Director on School Board. Elected in 1880.


William Matney, from Virginia, settled on Section 30, Township 13, Range 16; and William Matney, from Missouri settled on Section 28, Township 13, Range 16, in August, 1854.

On September 16, William Cokes, from Missouri, located on the southwest of Section 28, Township 13, Range 16.

On December 15, Dr. Jesse D. Wood, from Kentucky, located on the southeast of Section 33, Township 13, Range 15, and during the month, Darius W. Herald, from Virginia, Dr. C. Lykins, and Mr. Stewart settled in the township.

The following are the settlers of 1855: William Yocum, J. Babcock, J. Carrol, H. M. Sharp, Isaac Baxter, Samuel Allen, Joseph Lykins, Robert Galt, Robert Todd and William Armstrong.

James W. Young and H. K. Winans settled in 1856, and among others, the following arrived in 1857: Seth Todd, Edgar Winans, Alfred Winans, D. Kilby, Blakely & Bennett, R. Buttles, Chester Thomas, Sr., Daniel, Fred and Cyrus Fultz, Rev. Mr. Montford, Dr. A. J. Huntoon, J. Nelson, L. Buttles, Joel Huntoon, J. M. Waugh, John Cunningham, T. H. Lescher, Simon Hawk, Mr. Curtis.

The first birth in the township was a child to Mr. and Mrs. Darius W. Herald, born February, 1855. Mrs. Herald's death - the first - occurred the same month.

The first marriage was that of Richard Steward and Polly Matney, in 1856.

In 1857, the first schoolhouse was built on southwest quarter of Section 34, Township 13, Range 15, at Shawnee Center, so called from being within a quarter of a mile of the geographical center of old Shawnee County.

Rev. James Gillpatrick preached the first Baptist sermon in the township, December 16, 1854, in the cabin of Rev. Robert Simerwell.

[TOC] [part 50] [part 48] [Cutler's History]