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


[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]


Prior to 1879 the County Superintendent of Public Instruction was not required to make a report similar to that now given, and such valuable information is now out of reach. The following table will, however, give an insight into the educational growth of the county that will be found of great value:

                                        |     1879. |     1880. |     1882.
No. of School Districts  . . . . . . . .|       143 |       154 |       164
Males between 5 and 21 . . . . . . . . .|     2,811 |     3,295 |     3,397
Females. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|     2,407 |     2,911 |     3,068
Total  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|     5,517 |     6,208 |     6,465
Enrollment, males. . . . . . . . . . . .|     1,363 |     2,337 |     2,971
  females. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|     1,184 |     1,690 |     2,462
Total  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|     2,547 |     4,027 |     5,433
Bonds issued this year.. . . . . . . . .|$14,039.00 |$ 7,616.00 |$16,650.00
Total am't bonds issued  . . . . . . . .| 51,720.00 | 47,642.00 | 68,202.00
Total Receipts.. . . . . . . . . . . . .| 28,175.93 | 33,223.84 | 65,531.93
Total Expenses.. . . . . . . . . . . . .| 22,650.48 | 26,439.74 | 59,147.12
Balance on hand July 31st .. . . . . . .|  5,525.45 |  6,784.10 |  6,384.81
The following table shows the acreage of the principal crops planted from 1872 to the present time. A reference to its figures will give more solid proof of the count's value and prospects than any word painting:
CROPS                 | 1872.|  1874.|   1876.  |    1878. |    1880. |   1882.
Winter wheat . . . . .|   502|  3,505| 29,192   | 83,231   | 96,022   |  57,512
Rye. . . . . . . . . .|    87|    145|  2,123   |  1,532   |    424   |   1,772
Spring wheat . . . . .|    15|  1,305|     33   |      4   |     49   |     372
Corn . . . . . . . . .| 7,606| 22,938| 17,816   | 41,343   | 78,229   | 116,788
Barley . . . . . . . .|      |     24|     35   |    460   |    341   |       5
Oats . . . . . . . . .|   171|  2,643|  6,709   | 11,621   | 13,867   |   8,258
Buckwheat. . . . . . .|     5|     17|     18   |     14   |     10.50|       7
Irish Potatoes . . . .|   128|    689|    583.59|    767   |  1,294.59|   1,025
Sweet Potatoes . . . .|    10|     35|     29.12|     65.89|    151.11|     149
Sorghum. . . . . . . .|    39|    396|    183.87|    469.81|    691.50|     692
Castor Beans . . . . .|      |    205|          |     16   |    148.25|   1,099
Flax . . . . . . . . .|      |       |     17.12|      4   |    318.49|     372
Broom Corn . . . . . .|      |     34|      4.25|    204.25|    82.37 |     212
Millet and Hungarian .|    10|    164|  1,734.75|  4,573   | 8,089    |  22,771
The returns made to the County Clerk in 1882 show that there were in the county 7,256 horses, 1,770 mules and asses, 5,870 milch cows, and 28,025 sheep. The wool clip of 1881 was 56,192 pounds.

Trees in bearing in 1882 are reported as follows: Apple, 16,877; pear, 460; peach 307,898; plum 7,129, and cherry 7,303. The great discrepancy in favor of peaches is said to be due to their double use as fruit producers and fuel makers.


Wellington town site was selected on April 2, 1871, and two months later to a day, the Wellington Town Company was organized. This company consisted of: R. A. Davis, A. A. Jordan, P. A. Wood, L. K. Myers, C. R. Godfrey, J. S. McMahan, J. P. McCulloch and A. N. Randall. The town was named by R. A. Davis, an Englishman, and a great admirer of the 'Little Duke.' On April 4 the town was surveyed, and L. K. Myers began the erection of the log house until recently occupied by G. M. Winn. On April 9 the first religious services in Wellington were conducted in the unfinished building of A. W. Shearman by Rev. Shaeffer. On April 15 A. W. Shearman opened the first business house in Wellington. On June 15 the Civic House, now the Commercial, was opened by William Burton. June 26 a tri-weekly hack line was put on between Wellington and Winfield. August 10 the first transfer of real estate in Wellington was effected, J. P. McCulloch selling his one-eighth interest in the Town Company to R. A. Davis for $440.

The first building in town was erected by Shearman Bros., and still stands next the store of C. G. Larned & Co. The second was the log house which now stands back of Dr. Wood's drug store, and was put up by Clark R. Godfrey. The third building, also of logs, was the residence of L. K. Myers. The first frame residence was put up by William H. McClelland. A. D. Rosencrans built the first hotel, a small frame structure, now used as a store room for agricultural implements by L. K. Myers. Dr. P. A. Wood was the first physician in Wellington, as well as in the county, and D. N. Caldwell the first attorney. L. K. Myers was the first surveyor.

The post office at Wellington was established in 1871 and C. R. Godfrey, who was appointed Postmaster, kept office in Wood's drug store, a log building in the rear of the present store. Dr. S. Mann was appointed in 1873, and served until 1875, when Oscar Hackney took the office. L. F. Blodgett, the present Postmaster, was appointed in 1877. The post office remained in the drug store until Hackney took possession, when it was removed to the Bishop Building. During Blodgett's term of office the mails have been handled in the Godfrey Building and in the present quarters on Seventh street. The office was made a money order one in 1875, and the first money order purchased July 6 by Clark R. Godfrey. It became a Presidential office during Mr. Blodgett's term.

Wellington was incorporated as a city of the third class on November 13, 1872. A city election was called for November 30, and resulted in the selection of D. N. Caldwell, Mayor, and J. A. Dillar, Police Judge. The council consisted of A. W. Shearman, W. P. Hackney, A. N. Randall, John G. Tucker, and T. J. Riley. T. C. Gatliff was appointed Clerk. In April 1873 came the regular spring election, and E. P. Ritchie became Mayor. C. R. Godfrey was Mayor in 1874; J. W. McDonald, in 1875; H. S. Carter, 1876; J. Bohanna, 1877; A. M. Shannon 1878-79; J. Bohanna, 1880. Bohanna died in office in January 1881, and P. A. Wood, the present Mayor, was elected to fill the un-expired term. J. A. Dillar was City Clerk in 1873; J. T. Showater, in 1874; T. C. Gatliff, 1875; J. P. Jones, 1876; J. L. Trout, 1877-78-79; W. H. Stefelbach, 1880; W. E. Cox, 1881-82. The present council consists of George M. Miller, M. Davidson, P. C. Gatliff, Sr., H. H. Coverdale, H. S. Carter, J. M. Graham, S. H. Smith and A. Carroll. On February 14, 1880, the city having been found to have over 2,000 inhabitants, was made of the second class, and divided into four wards, which are bounded by Main and Harvey streets and the city limits.

All new towns in the State have had a transition period, when the small wooden building first erected have become an eyesore but have yet been allowed to stand, inviting a large and contagious fire. This was the case with the block between Harvey and Seventh street, on Main, when the great fire of November 3, 1881, broke out. Starting in the bakery of F. Markwort, it spread with great rapidity until the entire Main street front was consumed. The buildings on the opposite side of Main street were seriously threatened, and in several stores the window glass was broken by the intense heat, but no serious losses were entailed. The ownership of the burned building with the loss entailed, is as follows: J. G. Woods, $3,000; Murphy & Carroll, $8.000; Miss Lizzie Campbell, $1,500; F. Markwort, $3,000; J. A. Dillar, $1,000; J. A. Neff, $2,500; Knotts & Wallace, $5,000; L. Guthrie, $1,200; A. J. Bowers, $1,500; E. M. Potter, $3,000; Z. Meixsell, $4,000; W. M. Rankin, $1,000; Dr. Charles R. Adams, $1,500; J. W. Rankin, $1,500; C. Toms, $800; J. D. Decker, $1,200; C. G. Larned & Co., $10,000; W. C. Crawford, $2,000. Other parties having offices in the burned building were losers of smaller amounts, the total footing of losses being something over $40,000. Many of the losers were well insured, but several of the heaviest dealers held no policies. The work of re-building the burned district was at once begun, and the block now has the finest building of the city, including Wood's Bank and opera house, and the new three-story brick hotel.


The first school exercises in the town were conducted by Mrs. B. Cooley, who kept a private school. On September 16, 1872, the little schoolhouse still standing on the corner of the school lot was completed, and from that time on the public school system has been well kept up. The small original building was in use until 1879, and in it taught Miss Emma De Armand and her sister, Miss A. De Armand, James, A. Ryland, J. V. Ratliff, J. P. Jones and L. H. Robberts. Early in 1879 the work on the present fine brick building was begun, and the structure completed at a cost of $8.000. This amount was secured by bonds, bearing eight percent interest and running twenty years, which were sold to the State Board of Education at par. A. P. Warrington was principal in 1879 and 1880. D. S. MacEwan in 1881, and H. A. McLean in the school year of 1882-83. He is assisted by Miss Bertha Price, Mrs. J. V. Ratliff, Miss Lillian Beach, Miss Lida Herrick, Mss Miriam Mann and Miss Sarah Drouillard. The last report to the county superintendent of public instruction shows an enumeration of 347 males and 397 females, an enrollment of 274 males and 272 females, an average attendance of 163 males and 165 females, giving totals of 744, 548 and 328, respectively. The school has six room and requires the services of two male and four female teachers.

The First Presbyterian Church of Wellington was organized, with a membership of seven, on June 23, 1872, by Rev. W. R. Boggs. On July 20 Mr. Boggs died. S. B. Fleming was pastor in 1873 and 1874, and A. M. Mason in 1876. Then came a period when the church was practically dead. A revival of interest took place in 1878, and the church had been supplied by William Patton, F. T. Berry and C. H. Pattee since that time. The present pastor, Rev. J. H. McClung was installed in 1881. The society now numbers one hundred and twenty-five. A Sabbath School was established in 1878, now has an attendance of one hundred and fifty, and is in charge of G. M. Miller.

The Methodist Espiscopal Church of Wellington was organized in April, 1873, by Rev. E. A. Graham, who had, in March previous, been appointed to the Wellington and Oxford circuit. At the time of organization it had eleven members. The same year the parsonage valued at $600 was built. In March, 1874, E. J. King was appointed to this circuit, with I. N. Boycourt as assistant. This was grasshopper year, and in August, King was obliged to leave for want of support. Rev. J. C. Morse was then appointed to fill out the year. H. J. Walker was pastor in 1875, 1876 and 1877, and I. N. Boycourt in 1878. The church here was made a station in the latter year and a church building begun. This was completed the following season at a cost of $4,600. Boycourt was re-appointed in 1879, but resigned in September, and A. H. Naftzger, a supernumerary of the Southern Kansas Conference, was appointed and continued his labors until July, 1880, when he resigned, and the year was completed by C. R. Pattee. I. N. Moorhead was pastor in 1881, and in March, 1882, Rev. S. Price, the present pastor, was placed in charge. The society now numbers one hundred and fifty-seven. A Sabbath school, was organized at about the same time as the church, now has an attendance of one hundred and seventy-five, and is in charge of G. F. Hargis.

The Baptist Church of Wellington was organized with six members in July, 1878. The organization was effected at the house of J. Q. A. Beal, no minister being present. Shortly after Rev. J. Cairns of Winfield visited the society, and completed its work in the opera house. The first pastor of the church was Rev. C. W. Gregory, who remained about nine months, and was followed by Rev. D. S. McEwan, who remained until December, 1882. The society is now without a pastor. Present membership eighty-three. A fine church building seating 300 and costing $4,500 has been erected. A Sabbath school was organized in 1878, and now has an average attendance of 125. It is in charge of J. L. Hibbard.

Wellington Lodge, No. 150, A., F. & A. M. was organized February 9, 1874, with ten members and the following officers: J. S. Hunt, W. M.; James Holland, S. W.; J. T. Horrick, J. W.; J. L. Kellogg, treasurer; L. K. Myers, secretary. The lodge now numbers ninety members and has the following officers: F. B. West, W. M.; W. E. Thralls, S. W.; C. T. Freeman, J. W.; O. D. Johnson, treasurer; T. R. Love, secretary. Meetings are held in Masonic hall on the second and fourth Monday of each month.

Sumner Chapter, No. 37, R. A. M., was organized October 16, 1878, with a membership of ten, and the following officers: A. S. Updegraft, H. P.; J. B. Corey, K.; L. B. Ostrander, scribe; L. K. Myers, treasurer; D. W. Cooley, secretary. The lodge now numbers thirty-seven and has the following officers: J. D. Share, H. P.; F. B. West, K.; T. A. Hubbard, scribe; O. T. Johnson, treasurer; T. R. Love, secretary. Meetings are held on the first and third Monday of each month.

Wellington Lodge, No. 133, I. O. O. F., was organized March 30, 1876, with twenty-five members and the following officers: S. T. Cory, N. G.; C. B. Jordan, V. G.; Wm. Nixon, secretary; Stacy B. Douglass, treasurer. The lodge now has a membership if fifty-six, and the following officers: W. O. Barnett, N. G.; F. H. Randall, V. G.; W. H. Berry, secretary; J. K. Hastie, treasurer. Meetings are held in Hackney's hall on Wednesday of each week. The lodge has property consisting of $125 in the treasury, $285 in regalia, and a city lot valued at $580.

Ridgely Encampment No. 41, I. O. O. F., was organized on March 31, 1882, with twenty members, and the following officers: E. F. Henderson, C. P.; J. T. Showalter, S. W.; W. O. Barnett, J. W.; G. F. Davenport, scribe; F. H. Randall, F. S.; R. Harpham, treasurer; Stacy B. Douglass, H. P. The order now numbers twenty-one members, and has the following officers: W. O. Bennett, C. P. ; J. K. Hastie, S. W.; G. F. Davenport, scribe; F. H. Randall, F. S.; R. Harpham, Treas,; J. T. Showalter, H. P.

Wellington Lodge, No. 482, K. of H., was organized February 23, 1877, with a membership of seventeen, and the following officers: H. J. Walker, P. D.; R. W. Stevenson, D.; A. W. Shearman, Vice- D.; J. T. Showalter, A. D.; J. B. Cory, chaplain; J. K. Hastie, guide; C. Flandro, R.; J. P. Jones, F. R.; A. B. Mayhew, treasurer. The knights now number thirty and have the following official roll: H. H. Davidson, P. D.; A. W. Shearman, D.; J. K. Hastie, Vice-D.; L. Fisher, A. D.; J. T. Showalter, chaplain; A. G. Vincent, guide; F. B. West, R.; R. W. Stevenson, F. R.; C. E. Flandro, treasurer. Meetings are held in Masonic hall on Tuesday of each week. The property of the lodge consists of furniture and regalia to the value of one hundred dollars.

Wellington Lodge, No. 24, A. O. U. W., was organized November 17, 1879, with eleven members and the following officers: J. B. Cory, P. M. W.; J. P. Showalter, M. W.; M. V. B. Holmes, foreman; E. L. Roser, overseer; J. R. Pearce, guide; W. E. Cox, recorder; F. Evans, financier; J. A. Maggard, receiver. The organization now numbers sixty-six, and has the following officers: J. R. Pearce, P. M. W.; D. Hills, M. W.; G. S. Burton, foreman; W. A. McDonald, O.; T. A. Hubbard, R.; E. L. Roser, F.; J. K. Hastie, receiver; R. P. Godfrey, guide; J. A. Maggard, medical examiner. Meetings are held on Thursday of each week in Masonic Hall.

Sumner Legion, No. 10, Select Knights of A. O. U. W., was organized December 1, 1881, with a membership of thirteen, and the following officers: J. P. Showalter, S. C.; D. A. Hills, V. C.; J. R. Messerly, Lt. C.; W. E. Cox, Rec.; M. B. Keagy, R. T.; Z. Meixell, treasurer. The lodge now numbers twenty-eight and has the following officers: D. A. Hills, S. C.; J. R. Messerly, V. C.; W. A. McDonald, Lt. C.; G. S. Burton, Rec.; M. B. Keagy, R. T.; J. K. Hastie, treasurer. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on Thursday of each week.

Wellington Temple, No. 33, U. O. A. T., was organized June 28, 1882, with a membership of thirteen, and the following officers: J. B. Ratliff, T.; Mary E. Ratliff, V. T.; H. C. Weeden, recorder; J. D. Forsyth, treasurer; O. C. Weeden, financier; S. L. Hamilton, P. T.; W. K. Folks, L. The society now has a membership of twenty-six, and the following officers: S. L. Hamilton, Jr., T.; Mrs. Olive Robinson, V. T.; N. J. Waterbury, recorder; J. D. Forsyth, treasurer; M. Davison, financier; A. Chenoweth, P. T.; D. M. Sifferd, L. Meetings are held on Friday of each week in G. A. R. hall.

James Shields' Post, No. 58, G. A. R., was organized on May 2, 1882, with thirty-two members and the following officers: J. T. Saunders, P. C.; William Quigley, S. V. C.; A. W. Shearman, J. V. C.; C. C. Curtis, Q.; Frank Evans, Adj.; James Matthews, chaplain. The post now numbers thirty-five and has the following officers: L. K. Meyers, P. C.; L. B. Aldrich, S. V. C.; C. F. Vaughn, J. V. C.; John H. Wolfe, Q.; F. Evans, adj.; J. D. Forsyth, chaplain. Meetings are held in G. A. R. Hall on the first and third Saturday of each month.

Alert Fire Company - This company was charted January 28, 1881, and has the following officers: James Laurence, Pres.; H. P. Laurence, V. P.; F. H. Randall, secretary; G. W. Wendt, treasurer; George Riches, foreman. The fire appliances of the company consist of a hook and ladder truck with its outfit. These are kept in a small building on Lincoln avenue near Main street. After running a short time as an independent organization this company consolidated with the Wellington.

Sumner County Horticultural Society - This society was organized on September 1, 1882, with the following officers: G. T, Walton, president; H. C. St. Clair, vice-president; L. A. Simmons, secretary; G. W. Bailey, treasurer. Meetings are held once a month.

Wellington Library Association - this association was organized January 15, 1883, with the following officers: S. L. Hamilton, president; N. J. Waterbury, vice-president; W. P. Beal, secretary; Dr. A. Chenoweth, librarian; J. M McKee, treasurer.


The Sumner County Press - When in March, 1872, the Oxford Banner, run by Mugford & Hughes and owned by the Town Company, was discontinued, its office was very unceremoniously dealt with. The old press was cast out upon the prairie, and the type pied and boxed up roughly, was deposited in the back part of a cobbler's shop. Matters were in this shape when the Town Company offered Folks & Ludlow the office and $400 in cash to run a weekly paper in Oxford for one year. The offer was accepted, and fifty-three weekly papers issued when the proprietors, plus and office but minus the $400, took the outfit to Wellington and began the Sumner County Press. This removal was not effected without trouble. Folks owed a board bill and had not a cent to settle with, and no one in Oxford would assist him in moving the material, whose loss would benefit their rival town. At this juncture a good Wellingtonian came to the front with an order for ten copies of the paper, and the money therefor. A few days saw the office established in Wellington, where the first copy was issued on July 27, 1873. This edition consisted of 360 copies. On December 18, of the same year, L. W. Bishop bought Ludlow's interest. On January 2, 1878, the width of column was enlarged and a partial new dress put and, March 10, 1879, a steam engine and a 'Fairhaven' cylinder press were procured. On August 16, 1881, A. A. Richards bought out Folks, and July 1, 1882, took the half interest of Mr. Bishop and became sole proprietor. During his management the paper has made several important improvements, has been enlarged to a nine column folio, received an entire new dress, and attained a 'cash in advance' circulation of 2,200 per week. It is now, counting its time of publication at Oxford, the oldest paper south and west of the Arkansas Rivers, and has gained, what no new paper could have, the confidence, business and hearty support of the people in other counties as well as of those in Sumner.

The Wellington Banner, a seven column folio, spread itself for public inspection on October 2, 1872. G. P. Garland was godfather to the infant and took it though until January 15, 1873, when it froze out and the office was sold to T. J. Hadley, who took it to Oxford.

The Sumner County Democrat was established February 11, 1876, by L. C. Crawford and M. M. Edmiston, as an eight column folio. On December 22 the paper bore the names of Crawford and Dr. I. S. Bowerman, and December 29, of Crawford and G. G. Miner. January 10, 1877, the paper became a seven column folio 'all home printed.' March 28, Miner retired and Sykes took his place. On May 23 Crawford's name appears alone. From February 13, to May 29, 1878, Leonard was associated in the management, and June 6, Wm. Quigley became interested in the paper, and May 14, 1879, the paper was suspended.

The Wellingtonian - This paper was started from the consolidated Democrat and Vidette on February 1, 1882, by W. M. Allison. It ran as an eight column folio until December, 1882, when it changed to nine columns. It has now a circulation of 1,800, appears Thursdays, and is Republican.

The Wellington Democrat - This paper was started with the office and subscription list of the defunct Hunnewell Independent. The first issue bears the date of August 12, 1882; is a seven column folio, and bears the legend T. P. Richardson, editor. It is all home printed, is circulated Saturdays, and has a circulation of 700.

Wellington Bank - This institution is the successor of J. E. Neal & Son, a private banking firm which began business in December, 1879, and was run until February 6, 1882, when it was merged in the present bank. The Wellington bank was organized under the State laws and had a capital of $35,000, and a surplus of $5,000. Its officers are: G. A. Dillar, president; F. P. Neal, cashier. At present it occupies a lease building, but by the spring of 1883 will complete an elegant stone and brick structure costing $10,000. It is hardly necessary to state that the business of the bank is in a prosperous condition.

The Woods Bank - The private banking house of John G. Woods was established in September, 1873, and is the oldest south and west of the Arkansas River. The bank was run the first year by Woods & Share, but has ever since been the sole property of John G. Woods. Business was at first transacted in the little red building on North Main street, now used as a carpenter shop. During 1874, the brick building, 22x50, on the corner of Main and Seventh, was erected at a cost of $2,500. This was the first brick structure south and west of the Arkansas, and was built of brick manufactured in the county. This was destroyed in the great fire of 1881, and the new stone and brick building, 50x85, took its place. This is two stories in height, the upper floor being fitted up as an opera house, and the whole costing $20,000.

The Opera House is one of the handsomest and best arranged public halls in southwestern Kansas. The floor is inclined and fitted with elegant opera chairs, and the semi-circular balcony above with stationary seats, the whole giving a seating capacity of 800. The stage runs the full width of the building, is twenty-five feet deep, and has a full complement of scenery suited to all ordinary stage business and very neatly executed.

The Wellington City Mills were built in 1877 by Myers, Stettler & Co., at a cost of $30,000. In 1879 they were sold to George H. Hunter, who now operates them. The mill building is three stories, with basement, and covers a space of 40x46 feet. It is fitted with five run of buhr stones and an engine of forty-eight horse power. Its daily capacity is 100 barrels of 'patent' flour, but in times of great haste it has been pushed to 128 barrels. This mill is essentially a home institution, having never gone outside the county for supplies.

The Retna Mills were completed in 1880 by Hargis & Clark, the present owners. They are 40x50 feet, have three stories and basement and cost with their machinery $45,000. They are fitted with seven buhr stones and two sets of double rolls, and turn out three-hundred barrels of flour daily. Power is furnished by an engine of 100 horse power.

The Creamery - On July 14, 1882, a proposition to build a creamery at Wellington was submitted to the board of trade by Holt and Hall, of Osceola, Iowa. These parties agreed to build a creamery building 36x44, and an ice house 30x60, and of a capacity of 600 tons, the whole having a productive power of 2,500 pound of butter per day. The complete outfit then to be sold for $5,000, and a stock company with a capital of $6,800 to be formed, Holt and Hall receiving $1,000 of the stock. This proposition was accepted, and on August 26, the Wellington Creamery Association was organized with J. A. Dillar, president; William Quigley, vice-president; and J. W. Chandler, secretary and treasurer. Work was begun on July 29, the buildings accepted October 27, and the first butter produced on November 8, since which time the works have been in successful operation.

[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]