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


[TOC] [part 16] [part 14] [Cutler's History]


Argonia is a live little town, of about 100 inhabitants, located on the K. C. L. & S. K. Railroad, near the west line of the county. It was laid out in February, 1881, by a town company, of which Joseph Hollowell, was president, D. B. Harrison, vice president, J. S. Hammond, treasurer, and M. L. March, secretary. The company purchased the town site of 70 acres from M. and J. P. Sumpter, H. W. Allen and L. Berlett. The mill property is encircled by, but is not part of, the townsite. Up to July, 1882, the town made but little progress, although lots were given all who would erect improvements to the value of $100, in the business part of the town. Residence lots were also given to those who would build upon them. The first store in the town was brought from the river by A. B. Cook, and opened with a general stock. A post office was soon opened, and Cook made Postmaster. A few months later he sold out to L. L. Crites, who soon after took the post office, which he still holds. The second store was opened by Story & Stevenson, and the third by Bryant & Anderson. A drug store was opened by J. S. Baughman, who was the first physician to locate here. A lumber yard was started by G. B. Shaw & Co., before Argonia was more than a name; the lumber being dumped upon the bare prairie. Carson, Baldwin & Salter started the first hardware store, and George Monyhan the first meat market. The town has never been incorporated, and is till in the hands of the town company, whose officers are: J. S. Baughman, president; M. Sumpter, vice president; M. L. March, treasurer; E. Spencer, secretary.

The Argonia Mills form a very prominent feature of the town, and were in existence before the building of the place was fairly begun. Work was begun on the buildings in March, 1882, and the machinery put in operation on September 12th of the same year. The mills grind 300 bushels of wheat and something over 200 bushels of corn, daily. Two run of buhr-stones are in use, and power if furnished by an engine of fifty horse power. The mill building is 46x30 feet, and two and one-half stories in height. The entire outfit costing $14,000, is owned by J. S. Hammond & Co. The town now has two general stores, one drug and one hardware; a good hotel, built in 1882, by Levi Cark- uff (sic); a meat market, two blacksmith shops, a livery and a lumber yard. Three regular grain buyers make headquarters at this point, and from July, 1882, to January, 1883, shipped over 50,000 bushels of grain, mostly wheat.


JOSHEPH ARNOLD, stock dealer, was born in Mifflin Township, Ashland Co., Ohio, in 1838, where he lived till he was twenty-five years of age, and received an academic education In the spring of 1873 he emigrated to Mason County, Ill., where he carried on farming for four years. In 1867 he engaged in the mercantile business at Maroa, at which he continued for two years. In 1873 he emigrated to Kansas, stopping for a few years in Belle Plaine, then to Springdale Township, and finally, on the 13th of March, 1883, he located in Argonia. Mr. Arnold was one of the organizers of the town, and wished to call it Maroa, but was outvoted and it was named Argonia. He owns farm property, and about ninety hogs. While living in Illinois he held the office of Justice of the Peace six years, and Assessor three terms, and in Kansas has also been Assessor three terms. He is an Ancient Odd Fellow. In 1856 he was married to Miss Sabina Campbell, of Ohio, by whom he had several children. His second wife was Miss Lucy Adams.

J. S. BAUGHMAN, physician, of the firm of Baughman & Gates, druggists, was born in Ohio in 1847. At the age of twenty he engaged in the dry goods and grocery business, which he carried on some three years, and in the meantime studied medicine under Dr. J. F. Kennedy, of Ohio. He attended clinics at the Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated from the same in the class of 1872. On receiving his degree he practiced his profession two years in Gaysport, Ohio; he then settled at his old home, where he practiced five years, when he returned to Gaysport and continued in the practice of his profession for two years more. In 1880 he emigrated to Kansas, stopping in Wichita. Here he opened a drug store, which he sold out after running it two years, and moved to Argonia, Sumner county, 1882. On his arrival the town had but seven buildings all told. Here he established his present business in connection with his profession. Both branches of his business are good, being in a growing, prosperous condition. He owns business and residence property. He was Town Clerk when in Ohio, and is now president of the Argonia Joint Stock Company, in proprietors of the town site. In January, 1881, the company was formed, the first papers being drawn up by Joseph Arnold. On the 3d of March, 1881, the first election of officers was held. The third election was held the first Saturday in January, 1883, it being the beginning of the fiscal year, when Dr. J. S. Baughman was elected president, E. M. Sumpter, vice-president, holding over Ezra Spencer secretary second term, and M. L. Marsh, treasurer. The company are offering lots to parties that will expend $100, either for business or residence houses. The town is situated in the valley of the Chikaskia, and surrounded with a splendid farming country. Dr. Baughman was married to Miss Frank Bozman, of Ohio, in 1874, and has two children - Berenice and Eva. Both are members of the Lutheran Church.

D. H. BRYANT, of the firm of Bryant & Anderson, dealers in general merchandise, was born in Illinois in 1836. His educational advantages were limited to the common schools, and his occupation , working on the farm. After having been engaged in the mercantile business for eighteen years, in 1879 he immigrated to Kansas, where he tarried for a time in Winfield, and then stopped in Wellington some three years, when he went to Argonia, July 5, 1882, unloading his goods in the street, and established his present business, and built the first business hours. In his former home in Indiana, Mr. Bryant filled the responsible office of Justice of the Peace four years, discharging its duties with credit to himself and eminent satisfaction to his constituents. In 1849 he was married to Miss W. M. Nichols, of Indiana, and has two children living - Alabama and Corwin. Besides his business property he owns several town lots.

A. CEASE, hotel proprietor and farmer, was born in Pennsylvania in 1824, where he was reared in the lumber business, and received a common school education. In 1849 he removed to Illinois, where he carried on farming operations till 1882, at which time he emigrated to Sumner County, Kansas, locating in Argonia, where he bought the hotel property, also a farm near town. Since buying the hotel he has made additions and improvements, with the view of affording accommodations to all who may favor him with a call. He was married to Miss Ellen Wendell of Pennsylvania, in 1845, and has nine children - Alvina, Siva, Emma J., Benjamin, Charles W., George Albert, Mary Jane, Frances, and Oscar J., all of whom are living but Benjamin. Mrs. Cease was a member of the Ladies' Aid Society of the Baptist Church.

J. E. HICKOCK, of the firm of J. E. Hickock & Sons, general merchants, was born in Troy, Bradford Co., Pa., in 1833. His educational advantages were fair. He was reared in the mercantile business. At one time in his life, 1856 to 1859, he farmed summers and taught school winters for three years in Illinois. In 1859, moved to Nodaway County, Mo.; made a farm; in 1869 improved another in Andrew County, Mo., fruit and grain. In 1877 he moved to Peabody, Kas. (sic), where he farmed for about two and a half years; prospecting also for a location and settled for a time in Anderson county, and improved a grain and stock farm, keeping about 150 head of stock. In April, 1883, he located in Argonia and bought a store 38x46, to which he has since made additions. He owns several town lots and a large farm in Allen County. He also owns a block in Colony, Anderson County, and while living there was a school officer. In 1858 he was married to Miss olive L. Bowen, of Erie County, N. Y., by whom he has eight children - James Elisha, William P., and Ella Blanch, twins; Charles D., Esther C., Mary A., Richard G. and Adelia A., all of whom are living except James Elisha and Adeila A. (sic). James Elisha was a young man of extraordinary talents and capabilities. He was a school teacher and student, and was fitting himself to enter the State University of Kansas at Lawrence; but the discharge of his duties as a teacher, and the close, unremitting application to his studies, undermined his health, and he had to succumb to the great inevitable. Mr. and Mrs. H. are both members of the Baptist Church.

C. H. HADLER, saddle and harness maker, was born in Prussia in 1848. When he was but two years of age his father died, and when eleven years old his mother immigrated to America, landing in New York, November 7, 1859, proceeding directly to Milwaukee via Chicago, and lived with a son (a farmer) who had preceded her. Young Hadler remained on the farm till seventeen years of age, when he went to Milwaukee to learn his trade. Having learned his trade he worked as a journeyman for seven years, when he immigrated to Kansas, and engaged in farming till 1882. In February, 1883, he located in Argonia, Sumner Co., Kan., and established his present business. He owns business property and improvements on school lands. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity. In 1873 he was married to Miss Dora Nichols, of Champaign, and has five children - Ida, Eddie, Flora, Lizzie and Johnny.

L. A. SALTER, of Corson, Baldwin & Salter, general hardware and agricultural implements, was born in Michigan, in 1858. He was reared as a farmer, obtaining what learning he could at the common schools. In 1871, his parents emigrated to Kansas. In the spring of 1879, he graduated from the Kansas Agricultural College, when he returned to his father's folks and made that his home until 1881. Early in 1882, he engaged with Corson & Baldwin, of Cherryvale, in the hardware store and tinshop, and in the following September he went to Argonia, where he established his present business. He owns business and residence property, and is a Notary Public. He is a member of the Order of Knights of Honor. He was married to Miss Susanna M. Kinsey, of Silver Lake, Kansas, in 1880, and has two children - Clarence E. and Francis Argonia. Francis Argonia was the first child born in the town, and from this circumstance his parents decided to give him that name. Mr. Salter is a young man possessed of the qualities of success, as is evidenced by his present position in the mercantile world.


Mayfield is a small point on the K. C. L. & S. K. Railway, five miles west of Wellington. There is a side track and depot here, one or two houses and a store and post office.


M. BARNER, farmer, Section 9, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Clinton County, Pa., in 1828. When he was fifteen years of age, he moved to Ohio. He was reared on a farm and educated in the common schools. In 1873 he moved to Sumner County, Kan., and settled in Palestine Township, where he owns 96? acres of land, all of which he has brought to a high state of cultivation. His farm is principally fenced with hedge, having but little of the barbed wire. His residence is located on Section 9, and surrounded with a beautiful grove of trees. He has a fine large barn with convenient yards and stock scales, etc. Handles the best graded stock. His crop for 1882 was 3,000 bushels of corn, 7,000 bushels of wheat and forty head of fat cattle, and now has on hand 100 head of stock cattle and 200 hogs. He has on his place 1,600 peach trees, 300 apples trees and large quantities of small fruits of various kinds. He has been Town Treasurer three years and a member of the School Board for six years. He was married to Miss Martha Ann Mohn, of Sangamon County, Ill., in 1855, and has eight children.

W. C. CAMPBELL, farmer, Section 17, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Rising Sun, Ohio Co., Ind., in 1840. His father was a carpenter, but instead of learning that trade, when he was old enough to do anything, he worked on a farm. His opportunities for obtaining an education were limited to the common school. In 1861, he enlisted in the Fifty-second Indiana Infantry, Company B. He was in the battle of Corinth and also at Nashville, at the time of Gen. Hood's retreat, and was in the battle of Fort Blakely. Besides the battles enumerated he was also in numerous skirmishes. After being mustered out at the close of the war in 1865, he returned to his home, where he remained until 1871, in which year he move to Palestine, Sumner Co., Kan., where he pre-empted 160 acres of land, 100 acres of which he has under cultivation and all fenced with hedge. He also has a fine dwelling house, about 150 apple and peach and about 2,000 forest trees. In 1873, he went to Pueblo, Col., where he followed teaming for six years, when he returned and resumed his farming operations. In 1882 he had a crop of 800 bushels of corn, 625 bushels of wheat and twenty hogs. He is Clerk of his school district. His wife, who died in 1880, was Miss Mary A. Ward, by whom he had five children - Carrie Bell, Nettie M., Berthie E., Mamie A., and William W. Mrs. Campbell was a member of the Baptist Church when living. Mr. Campbell is also a member of the same church.

T. N. CORNWELL, farmer, Section 5, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Virginia, in 1832, When he was six years old his parents moved to Ohio, where he was reared on his father's farm and educated in the common schools. In 1854, he then being twenty-two years of age, he went to De Witt county, Ill., where he bought 160 acres of land from the Illinois Central Railway Company, which he improved, and where he lived for a number of years. In 1881, having sold his farm in Illinois, he moved to Kansas, locating on a farm in Sumner County, Palestine Township, taking 240 acres on Section 5. This land was all improved, having fruit and forest trees, fences, etc. Since buying, he has built an elegant residence and planted 100 apple and 100 peach trees. Besides his fruit trees he has about fifteen acres of forest trees. His crop for 1882, was 3,000 bushels of corn, 300 bushels of wheat, $1,000 worth of hogs, and $2,000 worth of fat cattle. Mr. C. handles the graded qualities of stock, and intends making that the special feature of his business. In Illinois he was a member of the board of Supervisors of his county for a number of years, also Road Commissioner and School Director. He is member of the I. O. O. F., and is deputy grand master. In 1858, Mr. C. married Miss Margarett James of Illinois, by whom he has had seven children - Albert, Stephen, Alvin, Elmer, James, Annie and Ida.

J. H. COX, farmer and stockman, Section 28, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Illinois in 1837. He was reared on his father's farm and educated at the common school. In 1857 he engaged in the mercantile business, and at the end of five years sold out, and returned to farming again. In 1876 he moved to Palestine, Sumner county, and bought his present farm of 160 acres in Section 28, most of which was improved. He has 400 fruit trees and some small fruits. His crop for 1882 was 3,000 bushels of corn, and $1,000 worth of cattle and hogs. In Illinois he was a Town Collector. He was married to Miss J. Troutman, of Illinois, in 1858, by whom he has had seven children - Mary Eliza, Laura Alice, Joseph S., Mertie and Ore living; two deceased.

J. L. McCAMMON, farmer, Section 28, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Indiana, 1834, and was reared a farmer, receiving his education in the common schools. In 1864 he moved to Marshall County, Kan., where he lived until 1870, in which year he came to Palestine, Sumner County, where he pre-empted 160 acres of land, which after a time he sold and bought eight acres in Section 28, which he has improved and fenced with a young growing hedge. He has twenty-eight apple trees, 100 peach trees and some small fruits. His crop for 1882 was 500 bushels of corn, 600 bushels of wheat. Mr. McCammon has been Trustee of his town, Clerk and Treasurer of School District. Mr. McCammon manifest quite a scientific turn of mind. He keeps a daily record of the weather, showing the direction of the air currents, cloudy, clear and rainy weather together with the temperature and atmospheric changes, as indicated by the thermometer and barometer. In 1876 he was married to Miss P. C. McCarty, of LeRoy, Coffey Co., Kan., by whom he has two children - George William and Bertha May.

J. M. REITZ, farmer, Section 20, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in the State of New York, in 1829. When he was eighteen months old, his parents moved to Pennsylvania. His education was obtained at the subscription day school. On arriving at the age of sixteen years he went to learn the saddle and harness maker's trade. In 1862, he enlisted in the Fourteenth West Virginia Infantry, Company G, and was at once commissioned Captain of his company, in which capacity he served until the close of the war, in 1865, when he was mustered out. Captain Reitz was in the battles of Cloyde Mountain, Lynchburg and Carter's farm, four miles from Winchester. Was in the battles of Martinsburg, Winchester, for a second time, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, also a great many skirmishes. From the time that he entered the army until he was mustered out, in 1865, he never lost a day; was never furloughed nor wounded, and but few ex-soldiers can say as much. After having lived in Ohio, West Virginia, California and Illinois, and back and forth to some to those States several times, he finally emigrated to Palestine, Sumner Co., Kas. (sic), in 1871, where he pre-empted 160 acres of land in Section 20, all of which he has improved and brought to a high state of cultivation. He has about 100 apple, 200 peach trees and all kinds of small fruit in abundance. His crop for 1882 was 3,000 bushels of corn, 700 bushels of wheat, and hogs to the value of $1,000. Captain Reitz intends to make stock raising a specialty. He is a member of the order of Odd Fellows, and of the Masonic fraternity, and has been Clerk of his school district six years, and Town Treasurer, now in his third term, and while living in Virginia, was a School Trustee. He was married to miss Ella C. Park, of Logan County, Ill., in 1869, and has three children - Shirley P., George C. and T. Max. Mrs. Reitz is a member of the Rebecca, Eastern Star and Good Templars. Captain Reitz has now in his possession duplicated of all of his muster rolls, together with other evidence that he was not only soldier in the War of the Rebellion, but that he served his country with fidelity and patriotism, doing honor to himself and rendering efficient aid to his government.

JAMES WHITMAN, farmer and stockman, Section 27, P. O. Oxford, was born in Harison (sic) County, Ind., in 1826, where he was reared to the agricultural business and educated in the common schools. In 1862, he enlisted in the One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Infantry, company C, and was mustered out in 1865. He was in the battles of Dallas, Ga., Kenesaw Mountain and Atlanta, also in a lively skirmish. At the close of the war he resumed is (sic) former occupation of farming until 1872, when he removed to Palestine, Sumner Co., Kas. (sic), where he and his son bought 320 acres of land on Section 27. Of this they have improved 270 acres, and put a hedge all around it. They have 300 apple trees, 300 peach trees, and a quantity of small fruits. Their crop of 1882 was 3,500 bushels of corn, 2,500 bushels of wheat and $600 worth of graded fat hogs. He was Justice of the Peace four years. He was married to Miss Eliza Jane McMillon, of Indiana, and has had eleven children, eight of whom are living - John, Rachel, Ann, Mary, Josephine, Nancy, Angeline, Nettie, Emery Logan, Matilda Vivian. Susan Melissa, deceased, was a school teacher.

JOHN WIDICK, farmer and stock man, Section 20, P. O. Belle Plaine, was born in Macon County, Ill., in 1840. His early life was spent on his father's farm, and obtaining as much of an education as could be had at the common schools. He enlisted first in the Eighth Illinois Infantry, Company A, as a three month's volunteer, and after having been mustered out, he immediately re-enlisted in the One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois Infantry, Company B, and served till the close of the war, and was mustered out in 1865. He returned to his home, and resumed the peaceful occupation of tilling the soil. In 1865 he went to Greenwood County, Kan., in the spring, and the following fall moved to Palestine, Sumner co., where he bought 250 acres in Section 20, in the valley of the Ninnescah River. He has broken up 150 acres of his farm, planted 1, 000 forest trees, twenty apple trees, 1,000 peach trees, and has small fruits in variety and abundance. Mr. Widick makes a specialty of feeding and shipping fat cattle. The product of his farm for 1882 was 5,000 bushels of corn, 500 bushels of wheat, 400 bushels of oats, eighty fat cattle, and now has on hand 110 fat cattle and 100 hogs. His cattle are graded Texas, and his hogs of the best known grades. Mr. Widick was married to Miss Nancy Hizer, of Fulton County, Indiana, by whom he has had four children - Effie, Arthur, Roy and Iry; the last being dead.

[TOC] [part 16] [part 14] [Cutler's History]