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


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


This place cannot be called a town, nor can it, properly, be named a village. True, it has a very fine church edifice, and a good schoolhouse, both built of stone. It has also a post-office and one store, but aside from these there is an utter absence of those characteristics peculiar to a village. There are not over ten or a dozen houses in the whole place, and these are scattered and far apart. For a town site, however, it would be difficult to find a more beautiful place. It is located in the northeast portion of the county on the south side of the Kansas River, on the second rise from the stream. It is the oldest settlement in the county, the town site having been platted and selected by the "Beecher Rifle Company" in 1856. It was the county-seat from 1859, to the time it was removed to Alma in 1866. Here was erected by the same company, the first church in the county, a frame building, which served the treble purpose of church, schoolhouse, and place of holding company meetings. It was more of a town ten years ago than it is to-day, and since the county-seat was removed from there, it has been constantly on the decline. As already intimated, the earliest settlers of the place were members of the "Beecher Company," a few of whom still remain. Rev. Harvey Jones, whom the American Missionary Society sent to Kansas and who located his family in Wabaunsee in 1855, still resides close to the village or about three-quarters of a mile from the depot. Capt. Mitchell, who was one of the "Beecher Company," resides in the village, and performs the double duty of carrying on a store and being station agent. C. B. Lines, who was the first president of the "Beecher Company," resides about one-half mile from the village. J. M. Bisby, one of the 1855 settlers, resides a little farther away than Mr. Lines, while E. R. Weed, one of the 1857 Minden Volunteers, is postmaster of the village and carries on a small store in connection therewith. The first school taught in the county was in Wabaunsee, and the first teacher was D. B. Hiatt. Here was located the first post-office in the county, and the first postmaster was J. H. Nesbitt. Here was performed the first marriage ceremony in the township and the second in the county, the parties being E. C. D. Lines and Grace A. Thomas, which was solemnized by Rev. Harvey Jones. The incidents of early days in Kansas that cluster around Wabaunsee, even though its greatness has passed from it, will always give it an important place in Wabaunsee County history.


J. T. COLLINS, farmer, Section 36, P. O. Wabaunsee, was born in 1848 in Lexington, Ky., where, after completing his education, he engaged in farming until his removal to Illinois in 1865, where he remained until the spring of 1880, when he removed to Junction City, this State. Was engaged in school teaching until his removal to this county, in 1881, when he located on the above Section. About one-half of his land is under cultivation, wheat averaging twenty-three bushels per acre. Mr. Collins is married and has one child. In the spring of 1881 he entered into a partnership with Mr. A. Sellers as stock and grain dealers. Mr. Collins also deals extensively in coal, game, pelts, etc. Mr. Collins is an intelligent and shrewd business man and bids fair to soon become one of the leading men of his township and county.

JAMES P. GOFF, farmer, Section 23, Township 10, Range 9, P. O. Wabaunsee, was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, in 1843. Received his education in the public schools, after which he worked on his stepfather's farm until he was thirteen years of age, then left him and went to work for Thomas Gardner, of Lawrence County, Ohio, for $10 per month. Worked for him until the War broke out, when he enlisted in Battery H, First Virginia Light Artillery, and participated in all its engagements -- viz., Winchester, Va., Droop Mountain, where he was wounded by a minnie ball in his left leg and by a piece of shell in the left side, near the abdomen, the marks of which still remain, but he refused to be invalided and still stuck to his gun; Moorefield, Rock Gap, Va., and the second battle of Winchester, Maryland Heights and Charlestown. He is possession of a very complimentary address to him from his commanding officer, in which a high tribute is paid to his valor and courage as a man and a soldier, being termed one of the heroes of 1861, '62, '63, and '64. He was mustered out at Wheeling W. Va., October 22, 1864, with the rank of Corporal. Upon leaving the army, Mr. Goff repaired to Scott Town, Ohio, where he remained for nine months as clerk in a general store, at the end of which time he engaged in business on his own account at Millsville, Ohio, in which he continued until his removal to Kansas, in January, 1867. He has upwards of 300 acres of good land near Deep Creek, one third being under cultivation, with an average yield of wheat of twenty bushels and corn fifty bushels per acre. Of stock he has at present seventy-five head of cattle, ten horses and thirty hogs. In 1878 he built his present fine stone residence and outbuildings, having quarried and drawn all the material himself during two preceding winters. His residence, etc., are fully insured. In May, 1867, Mr. Goff married Miss M. V. Russell, of Ohio, by whom he has four children. Mr. G. has never accepted any political office, but he has always taken a deep interest in the welfare of the State. He is a charter member of the Lew Grove Post, G. A. R., of Manhattan, and also a member of the Masonic fraternity.

REV. HARVEY JONES, of Wabaunsee, was born near Pittsburgh, Pa., in June, 1921. He received his early education in the academy at Bakerstown, Pa. Subsequently he attended Franklin College, New Athens, Ohio; was a student at Oberlin College, and graduated from the theological course in 1852. The following year he spent in Illinois, preaching in Lombard, then known as Babcock's Grove. In the spring of 1855, he removed to Kansas Territory, locating near his present home. During the "border troubles" he was active in efforts to secure the State for freedom. Mr. Jones is one of the oldest settlers of Wabaunsee County, there being but few families when he came, in June, 1855. He engaged at once in pioneer work, preaching as opportunity offered in tent, sod house, log cabin or in groves, "God's first temples," in Wabaunsee, Greendale and Ashland, until the organization of the "First Church of Christ" in Wabaunsee in 1857, of which he was the first pastor. In 1860, Mr. Jones returned to Ohio, and preached in Monroe, Ashtabula County, four years, till near the close of the war. He was one of the 100,000 volunteers, "Squirrel Hunters," who at the call of the Governor hastened to the defense of Cincinnati when threatened by Kirby Smith, of the Rebel army. On his return to Kansas, in 1864, he became pastor of the Congregational Church in Geneva, Allen County. While he was there he was several times a volunteer for the defense of various points, twice to Humboldt and once to Fort Scott, in the famous Price raid. In the fall of 1866 he was appointed Superintendent of Home Missions for the State. From 1870 to 1872 he preached at Valley Falls, when he returned to his first home at Wabaunsee, since which time he has been engaged in home mission work in new and needy fields in various parts of the State. Soon after commencing his work in the ministry he was married to Miss H. N. Keyes, of Windsor, Morgan Co., Ohio. They have four children living -- Carrie, born December 10, 1857, at Wabaunsee; Henry Martyn, born December 19, 1859, at Wabaunsee; Horace Bushnell, born June 5, 1861, in Monroe, Ohio; Emma, born November 30, 1863, in Monroe, Ohio. Recently Mr. Jones has relinquished preaching in part and is devoting his attention to horticulture and the interests of his farm.

DAVID McNAIR, farmer, Section 16, P. O. Wabaunsee, was born February, 1845, near Londonderry, Ireland, and followed the ancestral occupation of a farmer until his emigration to America, in 1864. Upon his arrival in this country he settled for a time in New Jersey, removing to Princeton, Ill., in 1867, where he remained until 1869, when he came to Kansas, locating on 125 acres on above named section, about seventy-five acres of which are under cultivation and about twenty acres in timber. As Mr. McNair raises considerable stock, his grain is chiefly corn, averaging sixty bushels per acre, the balance of the ground being devoted to turnips, potatoes, etc. At present he has thirty head of cattle, twelve horses and about fifty hogs. Besides his farm residence, Mr. McNair has real estate in the town, all of his property being insured. March 1, 1856, he married Miss Bell, a country-woman of his own, by whom he has had ten children, five of whom were carried off within two weeks by diphtheria. His five remaining ones are: Alexander, Martha, Sarah, David and Emma. Mr. McNair has never cared to accept political honors in any form, but has ever striven in every honorable manner to advance the interests of the community, and votes as his conscience approves.

ROBERT McNAIR, farmer, P. O. Wabaunsee, was born in Wigtonshire, Scotland, in December, 1846, and, after completing his education, went to the neighboring town of Kirkcudbright to study civil engineering, but sickness and death at home compelled him to relinquish the idea and attend to the farm, thus becoming the sole stay of his family. For several years he engaged in business as a merchant in his native place, but in 1869 he went to the west of England, where he remained for a time, finally coming to America in 1874. He first located in Coffey County, where he remained one year, and then to his present location on Section 19, where he owns 600 acres, 200 or so being under cultivation, and realizing this past four years above the average of his neighbors in yield. He has a very nice stock of yearlings, besides horses, hogs, etc., and has house, etc., insured. While in England he married Miss M. K. McDonald, by whom he has had two children. Mr. McNair does not care to interest himself in politics, and is not a member of any secret society, being content, as he expresses it, to "tak care o' the wife and weans."

CAPT. WILLIAM MITCHELL was born in 1825 in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and while yet an infant his parents emigrated to Middletown, Conn. He received his education in the common schools there. In 1849 he went to California, from thence to Australia, in 1853, and in 1855 returned by way of Great Britain to Connecticut. In 1856 Mr. Mitchell formed one of the Beecher Rifle Company, and upon his arrival in Kansas located in Wabaunsee upon what is now the east half of Section 28, Township 10, Range 10. He experienced all the hardships incident to the Kansas settler of that period. Desirous of seeing Kansas a free State he took a prominent part in assisting to repel the border ruffians, and was in command of forty men who went to the assistance of Lawrence during Governor Geary's administration. He was one of the first commissioners of this county upon its organization, and in 1868 was elected to the Legislature. In 1868 he married Miss Mary N. Chamberlain, of Middletown, Conn., by whom he has four children. Captain Mitchell has always been a Republican in politics and a strong advocate of prohibition.

ENOCH PLATT, farmer, P. O. Wabaunsee, was born in Plymouth, Conn., in 1825, and with his parents removed to Adams County, Ill., in 1834, where he remained until 1858, when he located on Section 5, ninety acres of which are under cultivation. During his early life, Mr. Platt was one of the most successful conductors on the "Underground Railroad," he and his father being strong "Free-State" men, there being at one time $1,000 offered for his head. He suffered extensively in loss of horses, etc., at various times. Mr. Platt was in the State militia during the Price raid, and has been School Trustee, Township Clerk, County Commissioner, and Justice of the Peace for several years, and is a member of the Congregational Church.

SAMUEL WEED, postmaster, was born in 1833 in Marblehead, Mass., where he remained until 1850, when he went to Adams County, Ill., where he engaged in school teaching until 1856, when he removed to Kansas, locating in Wabaunsee, and engaged in farming, but some years ago sold his farm and opened a general store in town, which he still conducts. In July, 1882, he was appointed postmaster. Mr. Weed was Register of Deeds from 1861 to 1871; County Treasurer from 1862 to 1866; Clerk of the District Court from 1863 to 1870, and County Clerk for four years. At present he holds the office of Township Clerk. He has ever been active in the Republican ranks and in 1869 was elected to represent his county in the State Legislature.


Eskridge is a town situated in the north of Wilmington Township, and is located on the branch of the A., T. & S. Fe R. R. running from Burlingame to Manhattan. The town was first laid out by Colonel E. H. Sanford in 1868, twelve years before the branch of the road mentioned was built, but, like many other Western towns, about the only thing it had to indicate it was a town before the coming of the railway was its name. In 1880, the Santa Fe railway company selected a town site of their own adjoining that of Col. Sanford's, which they had surveyed, platted, and laid off into lots, and thus is the town now known as Eskridge. The town is situated in the center of a large spread of prairie, miles from either timber or stream. The land upon which it is built is high and dry, sloping gradually from all sides for some distance, when it takes an upward turn and rolls away in gentle undulations to the south, while to the north the tendency is upward until the high bluffs are reached which characterize the center of the county. the town has had a wonderful growth for its age. The first house built in the place was in June, 1880, by Dr. Trivet, and though only two years have elapsed since then, it now has a population of about 450. The schoolhouse was built in 1881, and the first teacher was Miss Emma Henderson. The number of pupils attending the school is 124. The church was built in 1881, and has now a membership of 75. There are two drug stores in the town, three dry goods stores, two hardware stores, one harness shop, two millinery establishments, one boot and shoe store, and two grocery stores. The first store put up in the town was the grocery store of William Earl, in 1881. There are two hotels in the place, the "Lawlor House," built by J. H. Lawlor, and the "Santa Fe House," erected by Joseph Emerson, both of which were built in 1880. The chief business of the place is in putting up and exporting baled hay, of which not less than twenty thousand tons will be shipped this season. At an average of $3.00 per ton, this will bring a return of $60,000, a pretty good revenue for a small place.


JONAS BARRETT, dealer in boots and shoes, is a native of Duchess County, N. Y., where he was born in 1837, and received but a common school education. At an early age he learned the trade of shoemaker, at which he worked until the outbreak of the war, when he enlisted in Company C, One hundred and Sixty- ninth New York Regiment, but was assigned to saddlery duty after seventeen month's active service. At the close of the war he removed to Kansas City until 1871, when he removed to Eskridge and engaged in business for himself. He now owns a fine stock of boots and shoes. He owns his store and residence as also several town lots. He is a charter member of Eskridge Post 75, G. A. R., and also A. G., of Eskridge Lodge No. 200, I. O. O. F., and charter member of Eminence Lodge A. F. and A. M.

W. W. CONE, editor, is a native of Chautauqua, N. Y., where he was born in 1828. He received his education in the common schools, and after a short desultory study of law turned his attention to literature, and worked at the case on the Syracuse Herald for a time, then came to Kansas in 1856, locating in Topeka, where he remained until the breaking out of the war, when he enlisted in Company I, Eleventh Kansas Regiment, and served until the fall of 1863, when he was mustered out, owing to disability. He returned to Topeka, and upon recovering his health became connected with the Topeka Capital and Kansas Farmer. In October, 1881, he bought the Alma Herald of J. B. Campbell, and removing press, etc., to Eskridge, changed the name to the Home Weekly. Mr. Cone has always been a staunch Republican, and his paper now has upwards of 540 paying subscribers. He owns office and residence besides several town lots. Has always taken a deep interest in the welfare of his adopted State, having, in 1877, published a history of Shawnee County. He is a member of Eskridge Post G. A. R., and in February 15, 1882, he organized the Eminence Lodge No. 205, A. F. & A. M., of which he is now the Secretary. Excepting for the office of postmaster of Eskridge, which he held for a short time, he has never held nor sought any political honors.

EZRA R. COXEN, builder, etc., was born in Blair County, Pa., May 25, 1837, and after attending the district school, learned the trade of house carpenter, at which he worked at Wilmington, Del., and other places, finally in 1856, establishing himself in the city of Brotherly Love, where he married Miss Anna B. Pancoast. Upon the cry for men to save the Union he arranged his affairs, leasing his business for three years, and assisted in organizing Company F, Twenty-Seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, being assigned as sergeant, but was subsequently detailed to special service in commissary department. He served until the early part of August, 1864, when he was mustered out on account of ill-health superinduced by exposures. Shortly after his return home he removed with his family to Berks County, Pa., where his wife had property, and in 1868, came to Kansas, locating for a few months in Lawrence, but removing to Eskridge in 1871. He has built the majority of the stores and residences since erected in the township, and his eldest son is now associated with him in the business. He owns his own residence, besides several town lots; is a charter member of the Eskridge Lodge of Odd Fellows, having been its first "N. G.," and also First Adjutant of Eskridge Post G. A. R. He is a Republican in politics, but has never taken a very active part in public affairs.

HON. EPHRAIM H. SANFORD was born January 24, 1822, at Caneadea, Alleghany County, N. Y., In 1835, his father settled in Livingston County, State of Michigan. He studied law with Hon. A. L. Roof, at Lyons. For several years he devoted part of his time as editor and publisher, having purchased the Ann Arbor True-Democrat, a free-soil democratic paper of extensive circulation. On the breaking out of the war with Mexico, he warmly advocated the "manifest destiny" policy. Receiving a telegram to go on to Washington to take orders from the Government to Mexico, he sold his paper to his brothers. Reaching Cleveland, his family was taken sick, which detained him so long, he was obliged to abandon his journey, and located on the Western Reserve, where he edited the Akron Free Democrat through an election campaign. He attended the Buffalo Convention in 1848. His speech, Wednesday evening, was mainly devoted to the election of United States Senators, the President and Vice-President, by the direct vote of the people. This speech was reported in part, the next morning in the Buffalo Daily Republic. After locating in New London, Ohio, he opened a law office with Rollin C. Powers, where he published in 1851 a small work on political subjects, chiefly devoted to the measures already indicated. This work was extensively published and favorably received by the press. At New London he was postmaster through several administrations. He was also holding his second term as mayor when he moved to Kansas, locating at Marysville, Marshall County, devoting his time to practicing law on the Circuit. When the war broke out in 1861, although he was strongly urged by some of his democratic friends to chance his fortunes with the Confederates, he was prompt to decline all offers in that direction, and set himself at once to work in raising troops for the war for the Union. On the 4th of July of that year he delivered a stirring oration to a large assembly of people at Barrett's Mills, in that county. Soon after, it being reported that the Indian tribes on the west were approaching the settlements with a field-piece, headed by a notorious secessionist, the country became alarmed. The Indians were aggressive and impudent. The border was well nigh depopulated. It was at this juncture that it became necessary to sent a force to reconnoiter the west and northwest, and keep between the Indians and the settlements. Col. Sanford was placed in command of this force. The duty was ably and successfully performed. On their return to Irving, Col. Sanford and his men received the thanks of a meeting presided over by Hon, Thomas H. Baker, then principle of the high school of that place. Soon after he was employed as an attorney for the Santa Fe Mail Company, which was in failing circumstances, and suits against the company were commenced in several counties along the line. A part of his time was directed by the company to a contest of the town site of Council Grove as a mail station. This contest was for several years pending in the Interior Department, where it was decided sometimes for one, then re-opened and decided in favor of the other party. While in charge of the several mail stations, he was elected in the eastern district of Lyon County, by only three dissenting votes, to the State Legislature, where he distinguished himself, in 1866, in aiding in establishing four new railroads traversing the State, one of them passing through his district. He served on the Judiciary and Federal relations committees, and was chairman of the committee on the State Library. He was the author of several bills which became and still remain laws in force. For part of the term he served as Judge of the District Court. For about twenty years he has held the office of postmaster at Eskridge. He was the first to layout the town, which he owned, with other lands adjacent, in all, about 600 or 700 acres. The town has become one of some importance under his management, chiefly. The railroad company has since laid out an addition, while other roads have been surveyed and bonds voted to some of them. Mr. Sanford is now considerably advanced in years, but his appearance does not indicate his age. He is known for his kindness of heart, liberal in his views, and his success, as a criminal lawyer, is well known throughout the State. In politics he is progressive; and amongst the measures already stated, he favors the placing of all towering and threatening monopolies in the hands of the general Government. He is, this year, the commander of a flourishing Post (G. A. R.) in the town of Eskridge, Wabaunsee County, Kan., with which town he has abundant reason to be delighted. One thing is remarkable -- he has never suffered his name to be presented as candidate for any office in any political convention; and, though he feels a strong sense of duty to his country, he is in no sense a partisan, and yet he has generally voted with the Republican party since the war.

M. F. TRIVETT, M. D., was born in Ash County, N. C., in 1845, and attended the district school until the age of sixteen, when he enlisted in the Confederate army and attached to Bragg's Division, although he served immediately under Gen. Patten. He remained with the Confederate army until early in 1864. When stationed in Newberry, S. C., the entire Rebel division went over to the Federal army, and the doctor was entered in Company B, Fifty-third Ohio. He was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., in September, 1865. After the war, he removed to Missouri, where he for a time engaged in farming. Finally he attended Rush Medical College of Chicago, graduating in 1879. He then removed to Kansas, locating in Eskridge, where he opened a drug store and commenced the practice of his profession. He is W. M. of Eminence Lodge, No. 205, A. F. & A. M., and was first commander of Eskridge Post, No. 75, G. A. R., which was organized June 17, 1882, with twenty-three charter members.

A. J. WARD, M. D., was born in Kent County, Delaware, November 14, 1832, and graduated in 1854 from Union and Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Pa., after which he practiced in his native State until November, 1870, when he located in North Topeka, taking Dr. Ashmore's practice until 1871, when he moved to Eskridge, his present location. The doctor has a very large practice throughout the surrounding country, and is spoken of as very skillful. He is a member of Eminence Lodge, A. F. & A. M.

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