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


[TOC] [part 8] [part 6] [Cutler's History]


Caldwell, the terminus of the Southern Central & Fort Scott Railway, was located on March 7, 1871, and named in honor of United States Senator Caldwell, of Leavenworth. The town company which accomplished this location, consisted of Charles Gilbert, president; G. A. Smith, secretary; C. H. Stone, treasurer and J. H. Dagner. The land comprised in the town site was 113 acres, on Fall Creek, and was purchased from the Government. The first building erected was the log store of C. H. Stone, put up by the town company, the second, also of logs, was built by Charles Sullivan. The first frame building was put up by George Haines, the spring of 1872, and was used for hotel purposes. The first physician was B. W. Fox, the first attorney, L. B. Hasbrook, who was hung for complicity in horse thieving, on Slate Creek, in 1874. The fist wedding in the town occurred on August 23, 1872, the contracting parties being George Grant and Christina Reid, and Dr. B. W. Fox, officiating. Up to 1879 the town was little more than a trading point, and had in that year but 260 inhabitants. With the railway, came a rapid growth which has made Caldwell one of the liveliest cities of 1,500 inhabitants in the West, and will soon raise it to the grade of second class cities.

On July 22, 1879, Caldwell presented a petition to be incorporated as a city of the third class. An election was ordered for August 7, and resulted in the selection of N. J. Dixon, Mayor; J. D. Kelly, Police Judge; J. A. Blair, F. G. Hussen, H. C. Challes and A. Rhoades, Councilmen. J. D. Kelly, Jr., was appointed City Clerk. In September, 1879, Mayor Dixon died, and C. M. Hollister, was elected to fill vacancy. In 1880, M. Meaglier was elected Mayor, W. N. Hubbell in 1881 and A. M. Colson in 1882. J. D. Kelly has held the office of Police Judge from the organization of the city to the present time. J. D. Kelly, Jr., was City Clerk in 1880; L. M. Lange, in 1881, and J. W. Nyce, in 1882. The City Council for 1882-83, consists of A. McLain, J. W. Dobson, M. H. Bennett, C. W. Willett and William Corsine.

A postoffice was established at this point in 1871, and C. H. Stone kept it in his log store building, the first in the town site. Stone was succeeded by G. W. Robinson, John A. Blair, John H. Sain, John A. Blair, a second term and S. Donaldson the present Postmaster. The business of the office has been transacted in the old log store, Sain's drug store, at the corner of Fourth and Main, Fifth and Main, the Hubbell building and a store near Sixth and Main streets, where it remained until November, 1881, when it was removed to its present quarters. The first money order was issued on April 15, 1881, and transferred money from S. W. Dutton, of Caldwell, to Susie Dutton, at El Dorado. The office became a Presidential one, July 1, 1881.


The Caldwell school district was organized on September 21, 1972. Its teachers have been - A. B. Castleman, Miss Fannie Herrington, Miss Carrie Dixon, J. V. Ratliff, J. C. Goodell, J. D. Kelly, Jr., S. S. Clark, and the present force, which consists of N. D. Stevenson, Principal, Miss Flora Sweet, Miss Mattie Oatman, Miss Mary Vasey and Geo. W. Ewing. The first school house was a frame building 20x30 feet, and costing $1,200. This was in use until 1880, when another frame 30x40 feet, and costing $1,700, was built. The present fine brick schoolhouse was erected in 1882. It is 56x76 feet, two stories in height, cost $15,000, and has seven rooms exclusive of those in the basement. It is heated throughout by furnaces, and has all the latest appliances for successful working.

Methodist Church - Caldwell Mission was organized in 1873, and Rev. B. C. Swartz placed in charge of the circuit, which then embraced all of Sumner south of Slate Creek, and that part of Cowley County west of the Arkansas river. After a years' labor the entire membership of the circuit was seventy-three. Rev. I. N. Boycourt, was for a short time associated with Rev. Mr. Swartz in the work. J. B. Herbert received the appointment in 1874-75, but the conference of 1876 left the field vacant. Later in the same year E. B. Abbott took the work and filled through 1877. Caldwell class was organized February 15, 1877, and Andrew Ryan served until the close of 1879, when Rev. S. Wood was appointed and served until March 12, 1882, when Rev. D. F. Owens, the present pastor took charge. The fine brick church now in use was begun in Mr. Wood's pastorate, and dedicated on November 13, 1881, but not completed until late 1882. As first erected it had a tall spire, which yielded to a violent storm in the fall of 1882, and falling injured the body of the church. The building's total cost was $4,200. The society now numbers 123, and is growing steadily and quite rapidly. A Sabbath school, organized at about the same time as the church, has an average attendance of 115, and is in charge of A. G. Herr.

The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1873 by Rev. J. P. Harsen, of Wichita, and Rev. J. B. Rideout became pastor in charge of the eleven members who constituted the infant church. Rev. J. S. McClung followed Rev. Mr. Rideout, and remained until April, 1882, when Rev. E. P. Foster, the present pastor, took charge. A church edifice, which was built in 1880, a at (sic) cost of $1,800. The society now numbers fifty-three. A Sabbath school organized at the same time as the church, has an average attendance of 100, and is in charge of H. A. Ross.

The Christian Church of Caldwell was organized on May 9, 1880, with a membership of thirty-six. Rev. T. W. Houston, its first pastor, was succeeded by Revs. A. W. Avery and A. Crenshaw, who close his pastorate in 1882. The society own and occupy the old school building erected in 1880 at the cost of $1,700. The present church membership is thirty-six.

The Roman Catholics of Caldwell have, as yet, no church organization, but are supplied by Rev. Father Kelly of Winfield, who performs services on the last Sunday of each month.

The Caldwell Post made its first entry upon public life in January, 1879, under the management of J. D. Kelly and T. H. B. Ross. This was practically the second issue, the "Eye Opener" having been printed on December 28, 1878, by the same parties. After just six months, Ross retired from the journal and Kelly continued it alone, until December 11, 1880. It then passed into the hands of J. H. Sain, who held it until April 1, 1881, when it was purchased by Tell W. Walton, who now runs it. Its first appearance was as a six-column folio, and this form was retained until April, 1879, when it was enlarged to a seven-column sheet. It is now largely devoted to live stock interests and is recognized as the organ of the cattle men having herds in the Indian Territory, near Caldwell. Its circulation is 1,000.

The Commercial - The first issue of the Caldwell Commercial appeared May 6, 1880, as an eight-column folio, a form in which the paper still appears. Its editor and proprietor from the initiatory number to the present time, is W. B. Hutchinson. It is issued Thursdays, is Republican and has a circulation of 500.


Sumner Lodge, No. 203, A., F. & A. M., was organized with a membership of fourteen and the following officers: R. Bates, W. M.; S. P. G. Lewis, secretary. The order now has thirty-five members and the following officers: E. A. Fletcher, W. M., S. L. Long, S. W.; D. D. Leahy, J. W.; C. F. Sommer, secretary; L. G. Bailey, treasurer. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on each Saturday on or before full moon and each two weeks thereafter.

Caldwell Lodge, No. 176, I. O. O. F, was organized in May, 1881, with a membership of twenty and the following officers: J. A Rohrer, N. G.; Albert Riser, secretary; J. R. Griffith, Treas. The lodge now has a membership of fifty-two and the following officers: T. H. B. Ross, N. G.; J. W. Nyce, V. G.; J. C. Dunhollen, secretary; W. H. Thompson, F. S.; Clark Black, treasurer. Meetings are held on Saturday on each week in Odd Fellows' Hall. The property of the lodge is a little over $700.

Upton Post, No. 27, G. A. R., was organized in October, 1881, with seventeen members and the following officers: L. M Lange, C.; William Morris, S. V. C.; C. Burrus, J. V. C.; W. B. Hutchinson, O. D.; W. H. Thompson, O. G.; J. M Thomas, Qr.; T. Stancliff, chaplain. The membership of the post has now increased to fifty. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on the first and third Friday of each month. The officers of 1883 are: L. M. Lange, C.; W. Morris, S. V. C.; S. Donaldson, J. V. C.; W. H. Thompson, O. D.; George W. Fuller, O. G.; J. M. Thomas, Qr; J. N. Miller, chaplain, W. B. Hutchinson, adjutant. The property of the lodge consists of furniture and regalia to the amount of $100.

Sumner Lodge, No. 2,633, K. of H., was organized on December 14, 1881, with twenty members and the following officers: J. W. Nyce, P. D.; H. A. Ross, D.; O. Beason, V. D.; J. A. Doubleday, A. D.; J. R. Swartzel, Rep.; P. S. smith, F. R.; J. G. Dunhollen, treasurer; L. Thrailkill, chaplain. The lodge now numbers thirty-six members and has the following officers: H. A. Ross, P. D.; S. Donaldson, D.; C. H. Moore, V. D.; C. Miller, A. D.; J. R. Swartzel, Rep.; J. G. Dunhollen, F. R.; J. W. Nyce, treasurer; S. S. Long, chaplain. The society meets on Tuesday of each week in Groah's Hall. Its property consists of furniture and regalia in the value of $200.

Occidental Council, No. 13, N. U., was organized with eighteen members in the spring of 1882, with L. M. Lange, president; Mrs. W. B. Hutchinson, V. P.; J. W. Nyce, Ex. P.; Mrs. Charles Hume, speaker. The union now has twenty members and the following officers: E. H. Kirkpatrick, P.; J. K. Nyce, V. P.; J. G. Dunhollen, Ex. P.; Mrs. Charles Hume, speaker; L. M. Lange, secretary. The order meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month in the K. of H. Hall.

Caldwell Lodge, No. 109, A. O. U. W. was organized on August 10, 1882, with a membership of twenty and the following officers: W. Crimble, P. M. W.; P. H. Proctor, M. W.; P. P. Holer, foreman; T. H. B. Ross, recorder; John Dobson, O.; T. E. Dow, guide; George W. Riley, F.; A. J. Luder, receiver. The lodge meets on Monday of each week in Masonic Hall, has now a membership of twenty-eight and the following officers: W. Crimble, P. M. W.; T. H. B. Ross, M. W.; R. Alderman, foreman; H. H. Rowe, recorder; A. Sherman, O.; William O'Connor, G.; E. M. Swaggart, F.; F. M. Carzine, R.

The first banking house in Caldwell was the Merchants' and Drovers' Bank, which failed in November, 1881. No reliable particulars can be obtained concerning this institution, those who are supposed to know about it refusing information. J. S. Danford was president, and W. D. C. Smith, cashier, at the time of the failure.

The Stock Exchange Bank was organized under the State law on October 24, 1881, but did not open for business until December 24. It has an authorized capital of $100,00, 10 per cent of which is paid in, and a surplus of $9, 400. A fine stone building was erected in 1881 at a cost of $5,000. The funds of the bank are protected by a Hall burglar-proof chest and time lock. The officers of the bank are: J. G. Woods, president; E. M. Hewins, vice president; Charles H. Moore, cashier; John W. Nyce, assistant cashier; Ben S. Miller, secretary.

The Caldwell Savings Bank was organized under the State law in April, 1882, with an allowed capital of $100,000, 15 per cent of which was paid in. It has now a surplus of $4,000. Its officers are: S. P. G. Lewis, president; W. E. Mallady, vice president; T. E. Neal, cashier; C. J. Neal, assistant cashier; George W. Reilly, secretary.

[TOC] [part 8] [part 6] [Cutler's History]