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


[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]


The thriving young city of Argentine is situated on the south bank of the Kansas River, three miles from its mouth. The location of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe transfer depot here was rendered necessary in order to find room for their side tracks, round house, coal chute and sheds. This location on the south bank of the river is pleasant, convenient, dry and roomy. A town sprung up here at once, and as the different business interests have continued to select this as a location for manufacturing, the town has grown accordingly. The town site proper is a subdivision of Sections 20 and 29, Township 11, Range 25 east. It was platted in November, 1880, and originally contained sixty acres. James M. Coburn was proprietor of the first town site.

The Kansas Town Company, of Wyandotte County, was organized under its charter of date of April 9, 1881; capital, $100,000. Incorporators, William B. Strong, George O. Manchester, Joab Mulvane, E. Wilder, J. R. Mulvane, the same being Directors for the first year. Officers elected, Joab Mulvane, President and Manager, and E. Wilder, Secretary and Treasurer. There were purchased for this company some 415 acres of land in Sections 20, 21, 28, 29, Town 11, Range 25 east, in Wyandotte County, Kan., and after turning over to the Kansas City, Topeka & Western Railroad what was desired for railroad purposes, the remainder, some 360 acres, was platted and put upon the market as Mulvane's Addition to the town of Argentine.

In 1882, Judge Dexter having become satisfied that this young city had a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle it to a city government therefore ordered an election to be held on the first Tuesday in August, 1882. The following are the names of the officers then elected: Mayor, G. W. Gully; Councilmen, John Steffins, A. Borgstede, W. G. Blue, Patrick O'Brien and George Simmons; Police Judge, A. J. Dolley; Marshal, Charles Duvall; City Clerk, J. H. Halderman.

In October, 1881, District No. 40 was made a separate district to include the city of Argentine, and the following School Board elected: A. T. Smith, President; John Steffins, Treasurer; William Erwin, Secretary.

During the winter of 1881 and 1882, a very successful school was held. The colored children attended a separate school taught by a colored lady. The necessity of a public school building now becoming apparent, on the 28th day of August, 1882, an election was held to vote bonds to the amount of $7,000 for the purpose of building a schoolhouse. The bonds were carried and the building is now in process of erection.

The Congregationalists of this city have held services in this town since the summer of 1881, but it was not until the 21st day of May, 1882, that the church was organized. It commenced with a membership of forty-five. They were temporarily using a building for divine service while devising ways and means for the erection of a church, when the wind of June, 1882, which destroyed so much church and school property in eastern Kansas, almost completely destroyed their house of worship. Then was their opportunity, and in three months they had completed their new church building, corner of Ruby avenue and Second street. The property is richly worth $3,000. Their pastor is the Rev. J. W. Johnson. A Sunday school is held and an average attendance of sixty-five scholars reported.

This town was called into existence by the pressure of business a few miles east of it, and although now only on the out-post of the trade and commerce marching up the valley of the Kansas River, It is already taking advantage of the tide and putting its house in order.


The Kansas City Smelting and Refining Company located at Argentine in 1880 and was ready for business in August of the same year. This company employs something over 250 men and the work never ceases. Day and night are only known here by the change of gangs of men. The buildings are a series of structures not specially designed for their beauty, but adapted to the business of separating from the ores and base bullion the several marketable metals. The ore and base bullion is received from the mining districts of the mountains and is here crushed, separated and refined. It is known as a lead smelter, but their refining process produces from a ton of base bullion from one-tenth of an ounce to ten ounces of gold; from two ounces to five hundred ounces of silver, and the balance nearly all lead. The capital stock of the company is $200,000. The officers of the company are A. R. Meyer, President and Treasurer; O. F. Morse, Vice President; and M. E. Smith, Secretary. In the summer of 1882, they purchased the building and business of the "Western Lead Manufacturing Company" and moved the business within their own enclosure, leaving the building of the Lead Manufacturing Company at present unoccupied.

These works have twenty acres of land at the smelter, and the necessary buildings, offices, guard houses, sheds and dwellings, nearly covering the grounds. Mr. W. N. Ewing, the originator of the enterprise in Argentine, disposed of his interest in the smelter early in 1882, and has since devoted himself to his real estate interests and the growth of Argentine.

The Transfer Depot of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway at this place is a business of no small importance. At present writing, nearly 600 men are employed by the Santa Fe Company at this point. The round house, the coal chute, and something like twelve miles of side track and 70,000 or 80,000 feet of transfer platform will give the reader an idea of how and where these men are employed. Not all of them, however, reside in Argentine, although this young city has a population of about 800.

With all the adjuncts of a thriving town, with a rapid sale of property and advance in values, resultant from the patent fact that this is already one of, if not the very best point for manufacturing, in view of its nearness to Kansas City, with her concentration of railroads, and the further fact that the Union Stock Yards, within a year or two, are to be re-moved to a point opposite, on the north bank of the river, now connected by a wagon bridge, and in the near future, this, with Armourdale, Armstrong, Wyandotte and Kansas City, will be one great city.

The Myers House, a large and handsome two-story frame building near the depot, is the largest hotel in town up to date, although several others are projected. It was completed in the summer of 1882.


JOSEPH F. BAEHR, druggist was born In Dunluth, Ill., December 15, 1859, son of Joseph and Mary Baehr. At an early age be left Illinois, and with his parents immigrated to Iowa, and thence to Wisconsin, where his father engaged several years in lead mining, but finally went to Lexington, Mo., where he engaged in the grocery business about fifteen years, with the exception of two or three years spent in the meantime at Leavenworth City, Kan. The subject of this sketch was educated partly in the public schools at Lexington, Mo., and Leavenworth, Kan., but afterward attended the College of the Christian Brothers, at St. Louis, Mo., one year, and graduated from the College of Pharmacy, March 12, 1879. He was employed as prescription clerk in a drug store in St. Louis, from July 8, 1874, until December 31, 1879, then came to Kansas City, Mo., where he was engaged as prescription clerk in the drug firm of James M. Love & Company, until June, 1880, when he went to Las Vegas, N. M., and took charge of drug business for Griswold & Company, until November 20, of same year. He then went to Alamosa, Col., where he had charge of the drug store of P. L. Craig, until April, 1881 when he bought it out, and with a partner carried on the business till March, 1882. He then sold out and came to Kansas and opened a drug store at Armourdale, but moved his business in September to present location, where he has carried it on ever since. He was married in St. Louis April 18, 1881, to Lizzie Schuh, a native of St. Louis and the accomplished daughter of Carl and Hermina Schuh. Mr. Baehr carries a complete stock of drugs, toilet articles and notions, and has already won the confidence and respect of the people, and is justly recognized as one of the representative men of Argentine.

CHARLES LEROY BURKE, M. D. physician and surgeon, came to Kansas in the fall of 1864, located at Spring Hill, Johnson Co., Kan. Was then only eleven years of age. Lived with his parents on a farm five years, then engaged with his father in the drug business at Spring Hill about five years. He then attended the Illinois State Normal School about one year, and afterward the Kansas State University four years, and then attended the Kansas City University of Medicine where he graduated March 2, 1882, and immediately began the practice of his profession at Argentine, Wyandotte Co., Kan., and has had a growing practice ever since, indeed has already won an enviable reputation as a physician, and has enjoyed a lucrative patronage from the beginning. He was born in Summerfield, St. Clair Co., Ill., February 8, 1854. Is a son of Ira and Caroline C. Burke. He was raised on a farm until eleven years of age, and came direct from his native county in Illinois, to Johnson County, Kan. He is unmarried. He has, combined with a prepossessing personal appearance, the native talent, the education and culture required to render him proficient in his profession.

JAMES R. HOWE, Justice of the Peace and Police Judge, came to Kansas April 20, 1871; located near Belmont, Woodson County, and taught school one year; then bought a farm in Wilson County, Kan.; farmed in the summer and taught in the winter for four years; then devoted his entire time to his farm. In February, 1880, was elected Justice of the Peace, and served until he came to Argentine, October, 1881; was very much broken down in health when he came to Wyandotte, but was cured of general debility by two months' attendance at Dickinson's Medical Institute, Kansas City, Mo., after which he engaged in teaming about six months. He is recognized as one of the useful men in Argentine, is now serving as Justice of the Peace, Police Judge and Director of the School Board. He was born in Shelby County, Ill., November 7, 1841; is a son of Eliakim and Hannah Howe; he was educated at Newbury Seminary, in the State of Vermont, and completed the prescribed course of that institution, and afterward taught two years in his native county; he then engaged in farming four years, and again taught for five or six years, until his removal to Kansas, in the spring of 1877. He was married in Wilson County, Kan., April 24, 1873, to Mary L. Gillaspie, a, native of Iowa, and daughter of Thomas and Mary Gillaspie. Mr. Howe has four children, viz.: Mark M., Oral A., John C. and Marinda Howe.

JOHN. B. MARSHEL, assistant freight agent A., T. & S. F. R. R., at Argentine, came to Kansas September, 1867, and accepted a position as operator at Junction City, Kan., for the U. P. E. D. R. R., now called the U. R. R. W., Kansas Division, served eighteen months, then served the Memphis & Ohio Railroad in same capacity at Humboldt, Tenn., until October, 1874; he then continued in the employ of this road as night dispatcher at Memphis two years. The next five or six years, he was engaged as chief clerk of the Union Transfer Company, at Louisville, Ky., and in May, 1882, was made assistant freight agent of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, at Argentine. He was born in New Albany, Ind., April 28, 1849, son of Blaine and Mary Marshel. He lived In New Albany till 1860, and then moved to Louisville, Ky. He was engaged one month in 1862 on the gunboat Tuscumbia; was discharged on account of youth; returned to Louisville, where he remained until 1863; and the next four years lived in New Haven, Nelson Co., Ky., and in September, 1867, moved to Junction City, Davis Co., Kan. He was married in New Albany, Ind., November 20, 1872, to Louise L. Sabin, a native of Indiana, and daughter of Elijah and Martha Sabin. They have three children, viz.: Addison, Jennie and Charlotte. Mr. Marshel was educated in the public schools of New Albany and Louisville; is a man of pleasing address, quick perception and industrious habits, possessing in a marked degree all those qualities which make a successful business man.

JOHN E. MYERS, practical engineer and proprietor of Argentine Hotel, was born in Canfield, Mahoning Co., Ohio, June 26, 1829, is a son of George and Eliza Myers. At an early age, went with his parents to Trumbull County, Ohio. He was educated partly in the public schools of that county but afterward attended Hiram College, at the time Garfield was President of the institution. He learned his trade at Cleveland, in the shops of the Cleveland & Erie Railroad, now the Lake Shore & Southern Railroad, and then served as engineer of the Michigan Central Railroad fourteen years. He next moved his family to Parsons, Kan., and accepted a position as engineer on the M. K. & T. R. R., and afterward on Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad. He served the latter company about four years. He moved his family in the meantime to Kansas City, where he very judiciously invested in town property, in which he has already realized a handsome profit. He has built four dwellings in Kansas City, which bring him quite an income from rentals. He also bought four vacant lots for $125 each, for two of which he has refused an offer of $9,000. He was transferred from the Gulf road to the K. C., Lawrence & Southern Kansas Branch, since purchased by the A., T. & S. F. Co. He has erected a large two-story hotel in Argentine, where his family moved August, 1882; his house is first-class in every respect, is 22x60 feet, with an ell 30x50, containing about thirty rooms, with a broad veranda seventy-two feet long; hotel convenient to the depot and the only first-class hotel in Argentine. Mr. Myers was married in Calhoun County, Mich., September 23, 1867, to Augusta Starks, a native of Michigan, and the daughter of Samuel C. and Mary Jane Starks. They have one child - Orrin J. Myers. Mrs. Myers is a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

DR. GEORGE W. NEVILLE, was born in Barren County, Ky., June 17, 1822, is a son of James and Phoebe Neville; was raised on a farm in his native county until the year 1844; read medicine under Doctors Jett and Gardener, Munfordville, Ky., and under Green and McMichael, of Blue Springs, Barren Co., Ky. Dr. Neville has been a studious man all his life and is self-made. He moved to Booneville, Cooper Co., Mo. March, 1854. He practiced medicine in Cooper County about eighteen months, and was then sent by the St. Louis & M. E. South Conference to Westport and Kansas City on the Independent Circuit as Junior minister with Samuel Colburne, and at the solicitation of the Stewards, was retained as retention minister at Kansas City and Westport one quarter, but then gave up his charge and moved with the tide then flowing into Kansas, and took a Government claim on the first Delaware trust lands near where the Kansas State Penitentiary is now located. He disposed of his place claim for $4,000, and thus with his practice cleared nearly $5,000 the first year. He spent the fall of 1857 and the following winter visiting in his native County, in Kentucky, but returned in the spring of 1858 to Johnson County, Mo., where he farmed and practiced medicine until December, 1875, but four years of the intervening time was spent as a refugee in Kansas City, where he was obliged to take refuge during the war on account of his loyalty to his country. In 1861 he was Recruiting Officer of the Second Battalion Missouri Mounted State Militia, and also organized a company of seventy home guards. In 1861, he served for a time as First Lieutenant. In 1862, Quantrill and Parker with a force of over 800 bush whackers, attacked the town of Harrison Mills, Mo., defended by less than one hundred men, all raw recruits of the Second Battalion Missouri Mounted State Militia, Dr. Neville assuming command. By his coolness and self-possession in directing the movements of his men, succeeded in saving the town. He suffered a loss of $12,000 or $15,000 on account of the war. In December, 1874, he moved to Wyandotte County, Kan., and farmed and practiced medicine near Pomeroy until November, 1881, when he moved to his present location, where he is now engaged in the practice of his profession. He has served, by appointment, as Coroner of Wyandotte County, filling an unexpired term to supply a vacancy, and was then elected for a term of two years. He was married in Cooper County, Mo., October 18, 1854, to Melinda Corum, daughter of Hiram and Mary Corum. They have six children, viz.: Katura, Delora, Laura, Cora, Leona and Sierra. Dr. Neville is an active temperance worker; he is a speaker of ability, and his voice has always been on the side of temperance, truth and virtue; he has always borne an unblemished reputation for honesty and uprightness, and is generous to a fault. His wife was educated at Tracy's Female Seminary, Booneville, Mo., and after her graduation taught about six years in her native county. Dr. Neville was raised a Whig, and cast his first vote for Henry Clay, President in 1844; he afterward became a Democrat through investigation of the issue which divided the two parties, and supported Polk's administration; voted for Stephen A. Douglas, but heartily endorsed Lincoln's administration and supported him in 1864; has ever since voted the Republican ticket, and sees no cause to change his position.

GEDDES SIMMONS, speculator and Postmaster of Argentine, came to Kansas in 1879, and located in Winfield, Cowley County, where he carried on a meat market two years. During the spring of 1881, spent a month traveling and prospecting in Colorado, and the following six months in Illinois, and on the 28th day of December, 1881, came to Argentine, where he has been engaged in buying and selling town property. He first built a dwelling house, then put up a livery stable, which he stocked and ran about one year. In the meantime, he has built two large stores and three dwellings, all of which he lets or leases; he he is at parent arranging for the erection of another dwelling. He is Postmaster of Argentine, and will soon establish a real estate and insurance company. He was born in Will County, Ill., May 12, 1841; is a son of Harriet and Philander Simmons. He was reared and educated in Will County, and lived on a farm during his youth, and was thus inured to hard labor, but during the last seven years in Illinois prior to his removal to Kansas, he lived in Gilman, Iroquois County, where he engaged in the grocery business and carried on a meat market. He was married in Will County December 18, 1861, to Lydia Mellen, a native of Vermont, and the accomplished daughter of William M. and Elvira Mellen. Their children are Hattie E., Jennie B., Dora E. and Lydia O. Mr. Simmons and wife are consistent members of the Baptist Church; he is also a, member of the I. O. O. F., and is recognized as one of the leading men of Argentine.

THEODORE A. SMITH, machinist, came to Kansas March, 1875; settled at Newton and was employed by C. H. Hobert, as machinist and engineer, in a flouring mill eighteen months. He then engaged in the grocery business at Burton, Harvey County, over one year, after which he bought and improved a 160-acre farm in Harper County; lived on this farm three years, and then moved his family to Newton, while he worked in Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad shops, at Raton, New Mexico, four months. He next spent two months working at his trade in McPherson, Kan., and finally settled with his family in Argentine, where he is now a permanent fixture; he still owns and lets his farm in Harper County; he has been engaged since coming to Argentine as machinist for the Kansas City Smelting & Refining Company several months, and put up the machinery for the Western Lead Pipe Company, and is now employed as machinist in the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad shops. He was one of the first permanent settlers in Argentine; circulated a petition for incorporation as a city; of the third class; took it before the District Court and saw it through from the beginning. He was elected School Director, and was largely instrumental in securing bonds for the building of a large and commodious schoolhouse, now in course of erection; which when completed, will be a credit to the educational enterprise of the citizens of Argentine. Mr. Smith is now City Clerk of Argentine and is recognized as one of the most public spirited men of the town. He was born in Ohio County, Ind., February 2, 1850, son of Hayes and Ann E. Smith. His father died when he was but a child and his mother removed with her family to Cincinnati, Ohio. He remained in Cincinnati till 1865, and then drove a freight team with a private train of seventy-five wagons to Denver, Col., and then returned with the teams to Doniphan County, Kansas, same fall, where he in company with another man, took charge of them during the winter, and the following spring went to Groveland, Tazewell Co, Ill., where his mother and her family had moved in the meantime, and with the exception of eleven months spent in Delaware County, Iowa, was employed as machinist for the Groveland Milling Company from 1866 till 1875; then came to Kansas. He was married in Pekin, Ill., April 2, 1873, to Ettie Shurtleff, native of Illinois, and accomplished daughter of Lot and Fannie Shurtleff. Mrs. Smith's uncle, Charles Shurtleff, endowed the Shurtleff Female College at Alton, Ill., with a fund of $20,000; another uncle, Flavel Shurtleff, was at one time mayor of Boston, and George Shurtleff, still another uncle, has for years been Superintendent of the California State Insane Asylum at Stockton. The name was formerly Schiercliffe, but has been changed to Shurtleff, the great progenitor of the family in America was Lot Schiercliffe, who came over in the Mayflower; for many years after his settlement in this county, there was not a natural death occurred in the family but all were caused by lightning. A history is now being compiled entitled "Thunder and Lightning or the lives of the Shurtleff Family." Mr. Smith has two children - Harry C. and Gertrude B. Smith.

DAVID S. YOUNG, real estate agent at Argentine, and Wyandotte, also clothing merchant, Wyandotte; came to Kansas November, 1869, and located at Argentine; purchased 200 acres of land near Argentine, at $14.50 per acre; sold 100 acres soon afterward for $25 per acre, and 60 acres in 1876 for $100 per acre, and the last 40 acres for $150 per acre. He was engaged in farming for several years after coming to Kansas, and raised the first broom corn and sorghum ever cultivated in Wyandotte County. He has served as Township Trustee three terms, and is at present engaged in the real estate business with an office at Argentine, and also at Wyandotte City. He is also engaged in mercantile business in Wyandotte. He was born in Prince Edward County, Canada, August 7, 1822, son of William and Margaret Young. He is of Scotch Irish descent, and has a remarkably active brain with a turn for speculating, and is regarded one of the shrewdest business men in Wyandotte County. He was educated in the public schools of Canada, and reared on a farm; taught school one year, and at the age of nineteen years engaged in the mercantile business as clerk in the town of Wellington for a short time; then managed a farm and at the same time engaged in a general speculating business until he sold out and moved to Clay County, Mo., in the year 1865. He lived in Missouri till the fall of 1869, when he came to Kansas. He was married in Wellington, Canada, December 24, 1850, to Minerva Lane, by whom he had two children - Anna and Emma J. Young. His first wife died in 1853, and in 1854 he was married a second time in Wellington to Mary Short, daughter of Adam and Mary Short, by whom he has six children - Maggie, Mamie, William, John, Frankie and Edith Young. Mr. Young is a worthy Mason, and a member of the Equitable Aid's Union.

[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]