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


[TOC] [part 12] [part 10] [Cutler's History]


R. M. NEAL, merchant, Deputy Postmaster, blacksmith and wood working shop, P. O. London, was born in the State of New York in 1845. When he was quite young his parents moved to Michigan. Mr. Neal was reared on his father's farm and received a common school education. In 1867 he went to Kansas, stopping for a time in Topeka and Benton, and in 1869 he settled in Belle Plaine Township, where he entered 160 acres and improved about 100 acres, which he subsequently sold. While running his farm he also, in connection, run (sic) a blacksmith shop. In 1878 or '79 he established his shops at his present location. Was a member of the Grange, and held an official position in the order. Was married to Miss Mary E. Allen, of Belle Plaine, in 1879, and has two children - Grace E. and Clarence J., the daughter being dead. Mrs. Neal is Postmistress of London Postoffice.

E. M. POTTER, stockman, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Pennsylvania on the 27th of June, 1834, and was reared in the agricultural business, meantime receiving the ordinary common school education, till ten years of age. In 1870 Mr. Potter emigrated to Kansas, first stopping in Topeka, where he remained for one year, at the end of which time he moved to Belle Plaine where he was engaged in selling goods till some time in 1882, when he disposed of his mercantile interests and engaged in his present business. He has on hand at this time some 250 head of cattle, and about 300 hogs. He owns eighty acres of land and three business properties in town. Is a member of the order of Odd Fellows. In 1862 he was married to Miss Margaret Ann Magiffin, by whom he has had five children, only two of whom are now living - Franklin Wilburforce and Rosie Ella. Mr. Potter is one of the substantial men of his county, and possessed of good business qualifications.

J. D. REED, general hardware merchant, was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., in the year 1851. When five years of age he came to Illinois with his father. In 1865 his father put him in a harness shop to learn the trade, but being dissatisfied with the trade, at the close of his apprenticeship he bound himself for four years to learn the tinsmith trade. At the close of his time he started out at journey work. In the year 1871 he made a start for Nebraska to work for a firm there carrying on a large hardware business, and after a short stay left there in 1872 to make a certain point in Colorado, where he expected to get work at this trade, but his funds running short he had to tramp about 100 miles, making his way as best he could by joining emigrant trains wherever opportunity offered, until he finally reached his objective point, where he obtained work, but the failure of the firm compelled him to take tools for his pay. With his stock and tinner's tools he went West Las Animas, Co., where he obtained a repair shop, carrying it on four years. Disposing of his business in Colorado he returned eastward as far as Kansas, locating in Belle Plaine, where he established his present business. He owns business and residence property in Belle Plaine. He is Director of the School Board and belongs to the Odd Fellows. He was married to Miss Vade A. Chandler, of Abingdon, Ill., in 1874, and has four children - Clyde, Jesse, Lilly and Albert.

J. B. STEPHENSON, farmer, Section 28, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1849. His early occupation was working on his father's farm, and obtaining a common school education. At the age of eighteen he went to learn the carpenter's trade. In the month of January, 1882, he moved to Belle Plaine Township, and settled on a farm of 160 acres in Section 28, which he had bought in 1877, partially improved, and some of which he has improved. He has 150 fruit trees, small fruits in variety, and about 1,500 forest trees. Was Town Assessor in his native State, and is a Mason and an Odd Fellow. In 1881, Mr. Stephenson was married to Miss Isabel Bradley, of Pittsburgh, Pa.

H. C. ST. CLAIR, farmer and thoroughbred stock raiser on Sectiou (sic) 12, Township 31, Range 1 east, was born in Essex County, N. Y., in July 1825. At the age of seven years he move to Cleveland, Ohio, with his parents, where he live three years. From Cleveland he move to Sangamon County, Ill. His education was obtained at a district school. At the age of eighteen he learned engineering, wool carding and cloth dressing. In August, 1846, he went into a store and continued in that business until 1849, when he went to California and engaged in mining and contract building, at which business he continued for three years. Then returning to Illinois, he married Miss Eliza Neal, of Rochester, Sangamon County, and move to Mt. Pulaski, Logan County, and commenced merchandising. In 1854, he lost his wife, and in 1858 married Miss Catherine Ring, of Lancaster, Ohio. In 1862, he enlisted in the Thirty-fifth Illinois Infantry, Company G, as Second Lieutenant. He served in the line one year, when he was promoted to First Lieutenant, and detailed as Brigade Quartermaster, when the year following, he received the appointment of A. A. Division Quartermaster, where he remained until he was mustered out of the service. While in the line he participated in several battles, and while Acting Division Quartermaster he was continuously in the field, transporting supplies. He has many adventures and narrow escapes. During the march to Atlanta he was frequently detailed by Gens. Sherman and Thomas to execute difficult and dangerous marches for supplies, even into and through the rebel lines. At the last battle of Nashville the concussion caused by the explosion of a cannon near which he was standing destroyed the drum in his left ear. At the close of the war he returned to Illinois, and in 1871 removed to Kansas, settling where he now lives, on a 160 acre farm, which he has succeeded in bringing to a high state of cultivation, it being fenced with three miles of hedge fence, has good improvements, a fine park and a good bearing orchard, and for several years has taken premiums at both county and State fairs for the best fruits, grains, vegetables and stocks. The records show that he was once Coroner of Logan County, Ill. In 1875, he was elected to the State Senate of Kansas from the Twenty-fifth District, comprising thirteen counties, by a majority of over 6,000. He is now and has been for seven years a member of the State Board of Agriculture, and vice president for two terms,. He is and always has been actively engaged in developing the agricultural resources of the State. He takes great interest in agricultural and horticultural societies. For a number of years he has been statistical reporter for the State, and Department of Agriculture at Washington. He also took an active part in securing the location of a railroad through his county. He is doing all he can to facilitate the building of railroads, churches, schoolhouses, cultivating forests, raising fish in artificial ponds, new grasses and sorghum for forage. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Methodist Episcopal Church. Although he lives two miles from town he has taught a Sabbath school class for a number of years. He has but one child, a daughter, by his first wife. He is now fifty-eight years old, hale and active, and bids fair to live many years yet, and at his demise he will be missed by all that know him. His life has been one of activity and usefulness.

L. M. ST. CLAIR, of Wallace & St. Clair, grocers, was born in Sangamon County, Ill., in 1841, where he was reared, working on his father's farm. His education was obtained at the district school. In 1871 he emigrated to Belle Plaine Township, Sumner Co., Kan., where he entered a quarter section of land, to which he subsequently added by purchase forty acres. Upon this property he built a house, broke up seventy acres, set out a quanty (sic) of trees, most of which died, and after owning it for a time traded it for hotel property in Belle Plaine which he sold in the spring of 1882 and on the first of April, 1883, bought a half-interest in his present business. He also owns an eighty acre farm adjoining the town in a high state of cultivation, on which he has built a house and barn, planted an orchard and some hedge fence. He also owns a town residence and eight lots. While living in Illinois he was elected Constable. In Belle Plaine he has been Town Trustee, and made the second assessment ever made in the town. He is a member of the A. O. U. W., also of the I. O. O. F. He was married in 1865 to Miss Lizzie L. Kimball of Sangamon County, Ill., by whom he had two children, a son and daughter. She died in 1869. He was again married to Miss Mary V. Stetler of Wellington, Kan., September 1, 1880, by whom he has two children, Lyman and John. Mr. St. Clair is a genial, courteous gentleman, and his life is a valuable lesson for the rising generation.

S. S. TURLEY, farmer Section 34, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Logan County, Ill., in 1845, where until fifteen years of age he worked on the farm and attended the district school. On the breaking out of the war of the rebellion, being but a boy, he enlisted in the Eleventh Missouri Infantry, Company B, where he served three years, when he was mustered out. He was at the siege of Vicksburg, and in the battles of Iuka and Corinth, besides a number of important skirmishes. On returning from the war he entered the Eureka College of Woodford County, Ill, where for a time he pursued the regular course. In 1879 he emigrated to Kansas, Sumner County, where he rented for about two years, when he bought eighty acres of land which he has under a fine state of cultivation. He has 300 apple trees, 400 peach trees and some smaller fruits. He is a member of the Masons. In 1865 he was married to Miss Jane McClellan, of Williamsville, Ill., and has three children: Nora, Lulu, Ollie, John, Charles, Alice, Leroy John, Imo and an infant, all but the oldest living.

E. R. STORER, stockman, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Ohio in 1851. When he was three years old his parents moved to Illinois, where he lived twenty-three years. He was reared on a farm, and received a good common school education, having taught school three terms, winters. In 1873 he settled in Kansas, Belle Plaine Township, Sumner County, where he entered 160 acres of land in Section 30, to which he subsequently added, by purchase, eighty acres. Some of this land he improved, built a house, and planted a large number of forest trees and 100 fruit trees. Selling out his farm property, he engaged in the drug business, at which he continued for seven years and a half. Going out of the drug business, he bought another farm of 160 acres, finely improved, which he has recently sold and engaged in the stock business, in which he proposes to continue. He owns a residence property in Belle Plaine. Is a member of the order of Odd Fellows, and also of the A. O. U. W.'s, of which he is past master workman. Was married to Miss olive W. North, of Belle Plaine, in 1881 and has one child - C. Mabel. Mrs. Storer is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and also of the Ladies' Foreign Missionary Society.

J. K. WALKER, farmer and stockman, Section 34, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Illinois in 1845, where he lived till he was twenty-eight years of age. He was reared on his father's farm and educated in the common schools. On the breaking out of the war he enlisted in the Eighty-third Illinois Infantry, Company H. He was at the battle of Fort Donaldson, and a number of important skirmishes, and was mustered out in July, 1865, when he returned to Illinois, remained two years, and then went to Iowa. At the end of two years he returned to his native State, and finally, in 1869 or '70, removed to Sumner County Kansas, and pre-empted 160 acres. After a short time he sold his claim, and on the 1st of March, 1883, rented 160 acres in Section 34, for a term of three years. In 1882 he sold upwards of $700 worth of grain and stock, and expects the present season to largely increase that amount. Was married to Miss Annie Jewell, of Illinois, in 1866, and has five children - Egbert, Jennie, Lizzie, Frank and Willie.

W. R. WALLACE, of Wallace & St. Clair, grocers, was born in DeWitt County, Illinois, June 13, 1844. He was reared on the homestead farm, which he continued to carry on for his mother - his father having died when he was quite young - till he was thirty years old. His educational opportunities were limited to the district school. In 1874 he emigrated to Kansas, and for a year and a half was engaged in the stock business; retiring from which, in 1876, engaged in the mercantile business, owning a half interest in the present grocery business of the firm of Wallace & St. Clair. He owns town property, also 160 acres of land, which at time of purchase had only fifteen acres broke. He now has 100 acres under cultivation, 175 peach trees, 50 apple trees, some small fruits and about ten acres of forest trees. Is at present Trustee of Belle Plaine Township, and Clerk of the School Board of the same town. He is an active member of the Christian Church, being one of the elders, as well as Sunday-school teacher, and was for ten years superintendent of the Sunday-school. He is also a member of the A. O. U. W. Mr. Wallace was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth A. Temple, of Pike County, Illinois, December 28, 1872, and has three children, Helen and Nora, living, and Charles, deceased. Mrs. Wallace is also a member of the Christian Church.

A. D. WILLEY, dealer in farm machinery, pumps, windmills, etc., was born in Illinois in August, 1846. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the One Hundred and Forty-fifth Illinois, Company H, but was immediately transferred to Company H, Third Wisconsin, in which he served for sixteen months, and was mustered out. Was in the battle on the Blue, and Independence, Mo., and followed Gen. Price all through Missouri and into Arkansas, where he was in a skirmish near Bentonville. Returning to Illinois at the expiration of his military career; he remained there till 1872, when he moved to Belle Plaine, Kan., where he bought 160 acres of land and improved about eighty acres, when he sold his farm and established his present business, which is large and continually growing, and now requires the aid of four men. Owns his business property, and also twelve acres of town property, well improved, and has hedge fence and two residences. He had been Town Treasurer five years, and is at this time a Justice of the Peace. Is a member of the Masonic fraternity, of the Blue Lodge, of which he is Master. Mr. Willey was married to Miss Jane M. Sanders of Chester County, Ill., in 1867, and is the father of three children - Katie, Lizzie and Franklin.


Long before the sale of any part of the Osage lands, the favorite camp of the Great Osages was at Big Cottonwood ford, near the point where the Ninnescah empties into the Arkansas River. Here, in 1870, the Binkley boys made their dug out cabin, and here, as has already been related in the early history of the county, the towns of Napawalla and Oxford were successively located. In April, 1871, O. Graff opened at Oxford the first regular store in the county, putting in a stock of goods valued at $3,500. May 12 of the same year a saw-mill was started by T. R. Donley and J. T. McMillan. May 28, W. H. Mugford reached the town with the famous pioneer printing press. May 39, J. T. Richmond began the manufacture of native lumber. April 1, 1872, the township voted $10,000 bonds to build a bridge across the river opposite the town. November 15, 1876, the town company was dissolved.

On October 17, 1876, Oxford was incorporated as a city of the third class; B. F. Smith elected Mayor; Joseph Sleigh, Police Judge, and George T. Walton appointed City Clerk.

While Oxford was known as Napawalla, a post office was established here, and L. Binkley was Postmaster. After the founding of Oxford, a new postoffice was started, with T. E. Clark as Postmaster. L. C. Gridley, Jr., followed Clark, and was in turn succeeded by H. H. Buckles, the present official. The first Oxford post office is now used as a coal house. The first money order was issued July 1, 1878, and conveyed $50 from L. F. Chandler to Charles Tilton, of Fairmount, Ill.

On January 1, 1872, school district No. 1, the first in the county, was organized at Oxford. A schoolhouse had already been provided, and had been completed and in use since October 7, 1871. This was the first schoolhouse south and west of the Arkansas River. Miss Minnie Whaley, the first teacher, was followed by S. G. Mason, Ansel Gridley, Sr., John P. Jones, Mrs. D. A. Abbott, J. P. Jones and M. Sommerville, all teachers in the first school building. On December 31, 1874, the new stone schoolhouse was completed, and May 10, 1875, school opened in it under J. V. Ratliff and Mrs. D. A. Abbott. O. F. McKim was Principal in 1876, and was followed by A. Gridley, Jr., W. Hamrick, who taught two years; N. W. Wyatt, who also taught two years, and the present teachers, T. B. Hubbard and Mrs. G. Miller. The school now numbers 135 scholars. It would leave the educational history of the city in a sadly incomplete state, were the tale of the original schoolhouse omitted. When first built it stood near the center of the town, but opposing factions caused its removal to various sites, and finally it rested in the western part of town. The town company then, forgetful of the schoolhouse, sold the lot in which it stood to Mr. Ansel Gridley, Sr., who claimed the building. This claim was a matter of dispute, and to settle it, the citizens one day, in Mr. Gridley's absence, put the building on wheels and moved it into town. On the completion of the new schoolhouse, the old one was moved six miles south, and was known as the Jenkin's schoolhouse. Here it remained until a new building was put up, when the historic schoolhouse was converted into a residence.


The Methodist Church was organized October 1, 1871, by Rev. B. F. Swartz, with a membership of twelve. O. A. Graham was appointed to the work and was followed by H. J. Walker, J. H. Stewart, E. C. Brooks, Joseph Romine, I. N. Wilson and E. B. Abbott, the present pastor. A stone church edifice was begun in 1878 and completed in 1883, at a cost of $2,000. A small parsonage was also procured and served until December 1, 1882 when it was destroyed by fire. The society now numbers seventy-three. A Sabbath school was started on the first Saturday of 1883 under T. J. Rogers.

The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1872 with a membership of fifteen. Great credit is due J. T. Coldwell, until recently a citizen of Oxford, for his efforts in organizing this society; and it is mere justice to say that but for his earnest and untiring work the establishment of the church would not have been effected. Rev. S. B. Fleming was ordained and held the pastorate for some time, after which the church rather fell into decay. It was re-organized in January, 1883, by Rev. J. E. Platter, of Winfield, but as yet has no pastor. Its Trustees are I. J. Maggard, C. G. Tilton, William Sherburne, W. B. Coldwell and E. M. Mears. A church building was erected in 1873 at a cost of about $2,000. This was the first church edifice south and west of the Arkansas River.

The Baptist Church was organized on April 6, 1875, with nine members. Rev. N. L. Rigby supplied the pulpit for one year, after which came a vacancy until January 5, 1878, when Rev. Israel Harris took charge. Mr. Harris remained only three months, after which came a second vacancy. It should be mentioned here that there was another Fist Baptist society, which started in 1873, and merged with the younger organization on Mr. Harris's arrival. Rev. C. Gregory came September 15, 1880, and remained until December, 1881, since which time the church has been without a pastor. The society now numbers fourteen. A Sabbath school organized January 1, 1882, has an average attendance of forty-seven, and is in charge of D. F. Abbott.

The Christian Church was organized in February, 1876, with a membership of twenty. After its organization, Rev. Joseph E. Cain became its pastor, and remained fully two years. He was followed by Rev. W. Watson, who left the charge after a pastorate of less than six months. Since then there has been no regular pastor of this congregation, but service has been performed by Rev. J. E. Cain and others. Services are held in the Presbyterian Church. The present church membership of fourteen.

The Catholic Church was gathered in 1881, by Father Kelly, of Winfield, who preaches at this point on the first Sabbath of each month. The society now numbers twenty-five.

Oxford Lodge, No. 136, I. O. O. F., was organized under a dispensation July 17, and under a charter October 11, 1876. Its charter membership was seven, and its first officers were: V. W. Kimball, N. G.; A. Carroll, V. G.; J. C. Murphy, Sec.; Joseph Sleigh, Treas. This lodge now numbers thirty members, and has the following officers: H. H. Buckles, N. G.; F. R. Pyle, V. G.; D. E. Votaw, Sec.; C. G. Tilton, Treas. Meetings are held on Tuesday of each week in Masonic Hall. The lodge has property in cash, regalia, and furniture to the amount of $700.

Oxford Lodge, No. 165, A., F. & A. M. was charted on October 16, 1876, having been for a year previous working under a dispensation. Its first membership was nine and its first officers were as follows: B. F. Smith, W. M.; L. S. Richmond, S. W. ; L. F. Chandler, J. W. The order now has forty-one members and is officered as follows: E. A. Kranich, W. M.; A. J. Wood, S. W.; J. A. Corbin, J. W.; C. G. Tilton, secretary; George Veail, treasurer. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on Saturday on or before full moon and each two weeks thereafter. The property of the lodge consists of furniture, regalia and cash to the amount of $500.

Oxford Lodge, No. 481, K. of H. was charted on October 15, 1877, with eleven members and the following officers: L. F. Chandler, P. D.; B. F. Smith, D.; T. R. Donley, V. D.; E. A. Kranich, A. D.; J. L. Abbot, Rep., W. B. Caldwell, F. R.; O. E. Kimball, treasurer; J. A. Maggard, chaplain. Meetings are held on Monday of each week in Masonic Hall. The property of the lodge amounts to nearly $100. Its present membership is twenty-six, and its official roll as follows: George Hess, P. D.; N. W. Perry, D.; J. M. Buffington, V. D.; E. M. Mears, A. D.; George Price, Rep.; L. F. Chandler, F. R.; C. G. Tilton, treasurer; George Veail, chaplain.

Oxford Lodge, No. 10, I. O. G. T. was organized on February 4, 1882, with twenty-three members and the following officers: J. W. Thew, P. C. T.; J. D. Beck, C. T.; Mrs. D. M. Thew, V. T.; I. N. Wilson, chaplain; F. H. Thew, secretary; G. Morris, F. S. The lodge now numbers thirty members and has the following officers: J. W. Thew, P. C. T.; J. D. Russell, C. T.; Mrs. G. Morris, V. T.; C. M. Cheuvroud, chaplain; J. W. Thew, secretary; G. Morris, F. S. Meetings are held on Friday of each week in Masonic Hall.

Oxford Lodge, No. 95, A. O. U. W. was organized February 24, 1882, with twenty-four members and the following officers: John Coldwell, P. M. W.; J. F. Hardman, M. W.; N. W. Perry, F.; W. M. Copeland, O; H. H. Buckles, receiver; J. D. Beck, R.; George Price, financier. The order now has twenty-four members and the following officers: J. F. Hardman, P. M. W.; George Hess, M. W.; W. M. Copeland, F.; S. M. Spencer, O; H. H. Buckles, receiver; N. O. Thomas, R.; E. C. Galloup, financier. Meetings are held on Thursday of each week in Masonic Hall. The lodge has property valued at $100.

Sumner Council, No. 5, R. T. of T. was organized on March 4, 1882, with a membership of thirty-two and the following officers: S. B. Davis, S. C.; Edward Smith, P. C.; Mrs. William Thew, V. C.; H. Barrett, secretary; D. F. Abbott, F. S.; Mrs. O. E. Kimball, treasurer. Meetings are held each Wednesday. The council now number sixteen and has the following official roll: E. Smith, S. C.; Mrs. W. Thew, V. C.; Granville Morris, secretary; D. F. Abbott. F. S.; W. Thew, treasurer.

The first newspaper issued in the county was the Oxford Times, which was established in June, 1871, by Mugford & Hughes. In December of the same year it was sold to E. R. Trask, who continued the publication until March, 1872, when J. H. Folks took the office and began the issue of the Oxford Press. In 1873 the paper was removed to Wellington and the name changed to the Sumner County Press.

The Oxford Independent was established May 27, 1876, by John Blevins. In November it passed into the hands of Kelly & Benjamin, and a few month later into those of J. L. Abbott, who published it until the fall of 1878, when it was removed to Harper County.

The Oxford Enterprise was established in September, 1873, by T. J. Hadley. It soon, however, passed into the hands of Ludlow & Davidson, who continued it until May, 1874, when it died.

The Oxford Weekly Reflex, a six-column paper, of Republican proclivities, came into being on December 11, 1879, under the management of Gridley & Stump. The paper was enlarged on February 2, 1880, and on March 3, following Gridley withdrew. Stump continued the paper until September 2, 1880, when it collapsed.

The Oxford Weekly was started, as a six-column folio, on December 16, 1880, by E. F. Widner, who had purchased the office of the defunct Reflex. This seems to have been an unlucky office, as the Weekly followed the Reflex on March 11, 1881.

[TOC] [part 12] [part 10] [Cutler's History]