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


[TOC] [part 17] [part 15] [Cutler's History]


Rosedale City was platted in 1872, by James G. Brown, and covers the territory embraced in the following description: South half of the south west quarter of Section 27, northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 84, Township 11, Range 25 east; also a strip of land on south part of the north half of southwest quarter of Section 27, Township 11, Range 25 east. The building of the town was commenced in 1875, the rolling mills which will be hereinafter mentioned having been located here in that year. It was not until the year 1877, however, that the city contained the necessary population of 600 to demand a government under the act authorizing the existence of cities of the third class. August 8, of that year, Judge Stevens ordered an election for the 28th of that month, which resulted in the selection of the following city officers for the year to ensue: Mayor; D. S. Mathias; Councilmen, John Hutchinson, Sr., Henry Juergens, William Bowen, John Haddock, Benjamin Bousman; Police Judge, Edward Blanford; City Clerk, William Dauks. Since that time nearly all the trades and professions have looked upon Rosedale, and the result has been that each is now represented here. The present city government is administered by, Mayor, David E. Jones; Councilmen, L. A. Wohlfarth, Morgan Lewis, Henry Juergens D. S. Mathias, Richard Hughes; Police Judge, W. A. Purviance; City Clerk, W. D. Mathias.

Arrangements have been made by the city to build an immense reservoir south of the city, and 150 feet above the level of the streets for the purpose of supplying the town with water. The water will be pumped from Turkey Creek, a beautiful natural stream which impetuously rushes through the vale in which the town is situated. The ponderous engines at the rolling mills are to pump the water from the creek to the reservoir for the sum of three mills per barrel. Fire hydrants will be conveniently located throughout the town for the benefit of the city. This will be the cheapest and most complete system of water works in the West.

The city has an elegant school building conveniently located on Kansas City avenue; nearly 800 hundred scholars are in attendance; four teachers are employed in the white school, and one in the colored department, which has an average attendance of fifty scholars.

The School Board is composed of Hon. Horatio Gates, G. F. Espenlaub and George Wood.

The city has a population of 1,800, and is one of the neatest and most prosperous towns in this part of the State. Churches and societies are well attended and supported in Rosedale, and have ever been prosperous since the town was in its infancy.


The Catholic Church in Rosedale is one or the oldest church organizations in the city, having come into existence in 1876. It built a church building the following year, which, in February, 1881, was consumed by fire. It had, however, previously completed the frame edifice on Kansas City avenue, and was not without a house of worship. The church books show fifty-four names enrolled, and their actual church property is worth $1,500. Rev. A. M. Weikman, the pastor in charge, resides at Shawnee.

The Methodist Church is located on Bluff street, and is an elegant building erected in 1881 at an expense of $2,000. Services are held therein regularly every Sunday by Rev. J. H. Colt, the pastor, and a well attended Sabbath school attests the zeal of the church organization.

The Union Sunday School has the largest attendance of any school in the city. In the winter of 1882, the number of scholars in attendance reached 280. D. S. Mathias, superintendent.

The Colored Baptist Society built a church in 1882 valued at $1,000. Previous to the erection of this building, the church held regular service in the schoolhouse. Their organization numbers forty-three members.

In September, 1882 a society bearing the name of "Law and Order Society," was organized in Rosedale. Its avowed objective is to oppose in every legal manner the open and repeated violation of the prohibitory law in this otherwise peaceful and orderly city.

The existence of the rolling mills and other manufacturing institutions in the town has led to the organization and maintenance of numerous secret, moral and beneficiary societies. A perusal of the list will convince the reader that the people of Rosedale know the value of organization in whatever they attempt.

The Lodge of Amalgamated Iron and Steel Workers is one of the largest and most important in Rosedale, numbering over 100 members. The order meets regularly, and at this writing is presided over by William Rankin, President; William Vaughn, Vice President; James B. Mullay, Recording Secretary; Newton Watson, Financial Secretary; S. P. Lewis, Corresponding Reporter. This union was organized August 13, 1881.

The Court of the A. O. of Foresters, which was instituted September 28, 1880, meets every Monday evening, and is called "Pride of Rosedale," No. 6683. The officers for the present term are John Wolfe, C. R.; William Bowen, S. C. R.; W. A. Purviance, Secretary; S. J. Jones, Treasurer; Dr. L. A. Wohlfarth, Court Physician. The roll of the Court shows over forty members.

The Ancient Order of United Workmen has a lodge in Rosedale which was instituted September 1881, and now contains over 100 members. George Wood is M. W., William Mathias, Financier, and D. E. Jones, Recorder.

The Good Templars, organized a lodge and commenced holding regular meetings in 1879. The present officers are Morgan Lewis, W. C. T.; James P. Mallay, R. S.; Amanda Smallwood, W. V. T.; Newton Watson, F. S.; D. J. Watkins, Treasurer.

Achilles, No. 54, E. of P. - Not until the 9th day of September, 1882, was a lodge of the Knights of Pythias established in Rosedale On that date, ninety-seven visiting Knights, accompanied by P. G. C. Lyon, instituted Achilles, No 54 K. of P. of Rosedale, with forty-six charter members. The officers are Daniel E. Davis, C. C.; W P. Vaughn, V. C.; George Gilbert, M. of T.; G. Whipple, M. of E.; G. Kilmer, K. of R. and S.


The Kansas Rolling Mills - Were established in Rosedale in the year 1875; what little machinery then constituted the mills was brought here from Decatur, Ill. The company has been constantly making additions to their works until their present capacity is something marvelous for so young an institution in such a small young city. The mills now employ 500 men and manufacture nearly every variety of railroad supplies, including iron rails, and anything that can be thought of in the way of miners; tools and equipments. They also make a specialty of harrow teeth, girder plates and many articles of builders' supplies. The engines aggregate 500 horse-power, and together with the furnaces consume twelve car loads of coal per day. The capacity of these mills enables them to manufacture each week 500 tons of rails; 33,000 splice bars; 270,000 pounds of spikes, and 80,000 pounds of bolts. Their cooper shop on the premises, for the manufacture of kegs for spikes, turns out 500 kegs daily. The company at present is officered by. A. B. Stone, President; Ira Harris, Vice President and General Manager: Edward V. Wilkes, Secretary and Treasurer; and D. S. Mathias, Superintendent. They have about ten tenement houses in the town occupied by employes. A forging shop is connected with the mills, in which is operated a 700 pound steam hammer. Quite important changes and improvements are contemplated by the company for the coming year. Their monthly pay roll varies from $10,000 to $25,000, and skilled workmen who work by the piece realize big wages.

These mills manufactured during the year ending July 1, 13,000 tons of rails; 5,200 tons of splice bars; 4,500 tons of spikes; 4 000 tons of miscellaneous goods.

Next in importance among the manufacturing interests of Rosedale come the following:

Thor Iron Works. - This company which is now officered by Ira Harris, President; George H. Nettleton, Vice President; E. V. Wilkes, Treasurer; and B. F. Pierce, Secretary and Manager, commenced operations in Rosedale early in the summer of 1878. It was then known as the Kansas Iron Fence Company, and was an off-shoot of the rolling mills just mentioned. The special attention of this company is given to iron fencing of every style, and to the manufacturing of all kinds of machinery. They are now engaged in making bridge castings and girders. The company employs about seventy-five men, and their monthly pay roll amounts to $3,500. Their buildings are located just north of the rolling mills, and the general office is in Kansas City, Mo., corner of Sixth and Wyandotte streets.

The Rosedale Coal and Mining Company, Capt. Ira Harris, President, and John Haigh Superintendent, is next in order of importance in Rosedale. In the fall of 1881, at a depth of 335 feet, this company struck a twenty-inch vein of coal, which they have been operating since that time. They are now sinking a shaft 75 or 100 feet deeper where they expect to find a thicker vein. The company at present employs eighteen men at the shaft.


W. C. COPLEY, proprietor or Rosedale Hotel, was born in Cass County, Mo., February 25, 1847; is a son of Almon and Lydia Ann Copley. When he was only three years of age, his father was caught in the shafting of a mill near Harrisonville, Mo., and killed. They continued their residence in Missouri until August, 1861, when the Confederates destroyed their mill, burned their house and nearly all that it contained; took all their horses, ran off with their cattle and sheep, and threatened their lives, and they were compelled to leave the State in the night; were overtaken on the road, and but for the remonstrances of his mother and the timely arrival of Col. Jennison's regiment, they would have been massacred. After their arrival in Kansas, they lived for a short time at Baldwin City, one year at Ohio City, and since then his mother, step-father and family have lived at Paola, Kan. He entered Kalamazoo College, Michigan, in the spring of 1862. After attending four years, he returned to Paola, Kan., in the spring of 1866, and engaged as clerk in a mercantile house three years. He next assisted in the survey of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad one year, and afterward acted as agent for the Western Pump Company two years. He then bought and improved a farm of 163 acres. He still owns and leases his farm, but is at present engaged in the hotel business at Rosedale This house is first-class, and convenient to depot, and is supplied with the modern arrangements for the convenience of the traveling public. He was married at Freeman, Cass County, Mo., December 1 1870, to Carrie Wygal, daughter of Daniel and Mary Wygal. They have three children, Charlie Almon, Le Grand Anderson and George William.

DAVID E. JONES, Assistant Superintendent of Kansas Rolling Mills, was born In Wales, October 13, 1855, son of John E. and Ann Jones. When about six years of age, he moved with his parents to America, stopped a short time at Philadelphia, and then moved to Cleveland. His father was engaged in a rolling mill here and afterward at Chicago; he attended school in both these cities until 1867, when he went into the office of the Chicago Plate and Bar Mill Company; served over three years as shipping clerk. Next went to Pittsburgh and entered the Western University of Pennsylvania; attended one term. He attended the public schools in Pittsburgh about six months, and then for the next eighteen months was connected with a sash and door factory. From Pittsburgh he went to Chicago and, after three months' stay there, he came to Rosedale, Kan., but the next year returned to Pittsburgh, and three or four months afterward, was sent for to fill the position which he has ever since occupied in the Kansas Rolling Mill Company. In addition to the duties of an Assistant Superintendent of the rolling mills, he is serving as Mayor of the City of Rosedale, having twice been elected to this office. He was married in Rosedale September 22, 1881, to Lenora E. Mathias, an educated and accomplished lady, a native of Indiana, and daughter of David and Mary Mathias. He is financier of the A. O. U. W., and is a young man of more than ordinary promise, having already in business and official life served acceptably in several very responsible positions, both in business and official life.

FRANKLIN A. McDOWELL, contractor, came to Kansas in the fall of 1855, and located where he lives at present. He engaged in teaming three years, then, in company with H. Wood, of Wyandotte, owned and operated a saw-mill eighteen months, on Kaw River, where Argentine is now located. He next engaged in merchandising a short time, at his original place, then farmed one season, and the next two years lived in Shelby County, Ky. He then came to Westport in the fall of 1865 and took charge of an ox train for J. W. Prowers, which left Westport September 9, and reached Fort Union November 9. On return trip, laid over in Raton Mountains eight days, and at Fort Lyons left most of wagons, and about the 1st of December started for home with two wagons and twenty men; were afterward joined by another outfit of six wagons and thirty men. Thirty miles above Fort Larned, a snow storm set in, but they moved on to Coon Creek twelve miles from Larned, where they camped, and the storm was so severe that they lost all their cattle, and were obliged to send into the fort for relief. The Governor sent out two ambulances, one of which broke down on the way back. Two men who could not get in, and had attempted to walk, gave out, and were stowed away in the broken down ambulance, and rescued with frozen feet the next day. After a rest of ten days in Larned, Mr. McDowell hired a man with a two-horse wagon to haul their blankets and provisions to Council Grove, while the men walked. At Council Grove he hired conveyance for his men to Westport while he went in advance by stage to Lawrence, and thence by rail to Westport. He reached home December 25, 1865; engaged in the grocery business at Westport the next two years; then opened and improved a farm in the southeast corner of Wyandotte County. In 1872, he moved to West Kansas City and operated a saw-mill one year; returned to his farm, and for the next six years engaged in the dairy business, one year at the farm and the remaining five years at the place where he now lives. The last year he has been contracting. His home is only one mile from Kansas City, and his yard fence is on the Kansas and Missouri State line. He has been quite successful in business, and has a comfortable home and an intelligent family. He was the first constable ever elected in Shawnee Township. He has served as Justice of the Peace one term, and for many years has been a member of the School Board. He was born in Johnson County, Mo., January 28, 1835; son of Joseph and Nancy McDowell. When twelve years of age, he moved to Kansas City and lived in that city from 1847 to 1855, when he came to Kansas. He was married in Wyandotte County, Kan., September 27, 1859, to Mary Elizabeth Beatty, an accomplished lady from Kentucky, and daughter of William and Elizabeth Beatty. He has four children, viz., Sue Fannie, Jessie, Perle Soule and Laura May. He and wife are worthy members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

DAVID MATHIAS, master roll turner in Kansas Rolling Mills, was born in Dowlais, Wales December 31, 1823; is a son of David and Margaret Mathias. Was raised and educated in the city of Dowlais. Learned his trade there and understood every branch of the iron business. Served as master roller in his native city. Went to Gune, France, in 1845; worked in a rolling mill one year; then to Scotland and superintended a rolling mill at Mossend eight years; then moved to Pittsburgh, United States, and worked as roller in a mill one year; thence to Indianapolis, where he worked in the same capacity, until 1863, when he went to Chicago, built and took charge of the Union Rolling Mills. Remained three years, then took charge of the Great Western Rolling Mills at Hamilton, Canada West, until 1867, when he took charge of the Superior Rail Mill, of Pittsburgh, and two years after bought and operated the mill under the firm name of Harbaugh, Mathias & Owens, and in 1874, went under on account of the great financial panic. He next superintended the Newark Rolling Mill in Ohio, until he came to Rosedale, Kan., in the summer of 1875 where he his been steadily at work as master roll turner ever since, with the exception of a few months spent in Colorado. His son, D. S. Mathias, was the first Mayor of Rosedale, and served two terms, and in April, 1879, was himself made Mayor, and served one term. He was married in Rhymney Wales, January 3, 1843, to Mary Llewellyn, daughter of Stephen and Ann Llewellyn. He has seven children, viz.: David S., Margaret, Mary Ann, Emma, William D., Leonora and General Ulysses Grant. He is a worthy Mason and a member of the I O. O. F.; the Ivorites, also of the Congregational Church. Is an active worker in the Sunday school. He has one of the finest residences in Rosedale, and owns besides his residence, eight other houses which he lets or leases.

GEORGE H. WOOD, Superintendent of Thor Iron Works, was born in Buffalo, N. Y., July 12, 1838. Son of William N. and Phoebe E. Woods. At the age of fourteen, left Buffalo and went to sea; served on a merchant's vessel. In the winter of 1859, sailed from New York for Sydney, Australia, on the bark Crusader, sailed around Cape of Good Hope to Sydney, thence to Valparaiso on the coast of Chili, then up the coast of Ecuador and finally around Cape Horn to Baltimore, Md., completing the entire journey around the world in eleven months and twenty-one days. Was on another voyage from New York to Buenos Ayres, South America, and returned to Baltimore, Md., then went home, and his father fitted him up a blacksmith and machine shop, but the rebellion breaking out a few months afterward, he enlisted at New York City in the United States Navy, April 22, 1861. Was mustered in May 9, as an able seaman. Went out under command of Com. Dupon in the United States steam frigate Wabash. Just six months after his enlistment and following the engagement at Fort Pulaski, he was promoted to a master's mate. Afterward transferred from the Wabash and put in command of the celebrated yacht America, captured from the rebels; he run her as a dispatch boat, along the coast from Port Royal to Charleston, and as far as Fernandina, Fla., and made several important captures with her. He afterward applied for a transfer, and served as ensign on the gunboat Seneca. He was in the engagements at Charleston, Port Royal, Fort Fisher, Hatteras Inlet, Wilmington and Richmond. Was mustered out October 14, 1865. After close of war, sailed two seasons on the upper lakes, then went into the machine shops at Cambridge City, Ind., thence to Decatur, Ill., 1871, and finally came to Rosedale, Kan., in the summer of 1875, and has been engaged as Superintendent of Thor Iron Works ever since, until its recent consolidation with the rolling mills, and he is now serving in the capacity of Assistant Superintendent of the Kansas Rolling Mills. Mr. Woods is also Treasurer of Shawnee Township, and Treasurer of School District No. 15. He was married in Cambridge, Ind., November 12, 1862, to Mary M. Jackson, an intelligent and accomplished lady, a native of Indiana, and daughter of Wilson and Lydia Jackson. He has five children - all boys, viz.: George H., Charles Judson, Arthur Rodgers, William Wilson and Walter Woods. Mr. Woods is a member of the I. O. O. F., also K. of P. and is P. M., A. O. U. W. He and wife are worthy members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and recognized leaders in society.

[TOC] [part 17] [part 15] [Cutler's History]