Hill City, Graham County, Kansas

Photo of Courthouse.


     There are degrees of perfection, among the best afforded by this earth, there is that which is most desirable. Kansas is and has reason to be proud of each and every one of her 105 counties, but Graham, she is distinctly the most desirable among the best.

     She is the Haven for the ambitious homeless of the over crowded East; the Eutopia for the man of small capital who desires an independent business life; the Mecca for the man of energy and intelligence.

     Graham county was organized under the administration of John P. St. John in the year 1880 with about twenty-five hundred inhabitants, and was given the name of Graham in honor of Capt. John Graham a valiant Kansas soldier who was killed at Chickamauga in 1863.

     The first commissioners of the County were John Inlow, O. G. Nevins and A. E. Moses. The present commissioners are J. E. King, A. W. McVey and John Stanfil.

     This favored spot is 30 miles square, containing 900 square miles or 3600 quarter sections, and is the fourth county east from the Colorado line and the second county south from the Nebraska line. The 100th meridian passes nearly through its center. Located as it is in the foot hills of the Rockies, the altitude is conducsive to robust development, being on an average 2700 feet above sea level.

     The little band of "Pilgrim Fathers" who pioneered the county has grown to 7200 of which number 1500 are householders. In spite of the many hardships and disadvantages to be overcome, the success of the pioneers has been marked and Graham county can point with pride to her 7200 thirty prosperous happy people, with scarcely a pauper among the number; these few of infirm mind.

     Graham is especially favored as a western county, by being well wat-


ered. The South Fork of the Solomon river with 20 tributaries traverses the county centrally, while the North Fork of the same river almost touches the north line. Bow Creek furnishes water to the north part of the county and the Saline river crosses the southwest corner of the county with twelve tributaries, watering the southern part. Many of these streams are fed by springs that are accessible throughout the year to the immense herds that feed on the prairie.

     There are few counties where the well water is more uniform in taste and purity than in Graham. The vast sheet of water which underlies this section of Western Kansas is fed from the rockies and can be found at a depth from 30 to 175 feet, at an average of 60 feet.

     The soil is a rich loam of a prevailing depth of 1 to 3 feet, under cultivation, produces immense crops of cereals and grains and Graham countyís hay and alfalfa out put rivals that of any of her sister counties.

     It would be unfair to Graham county to fail to mention her abundance of buffalo grass, which feeds her vast herds the year round.

     An inexhaustible supply of building stone, lime stone and brick clay can be found throughout the county.

     The outlet from this vast agricultural and stock region is through the Union Pacific R. R., which crosses the central part of the county from the east to west, the Missouri Pacific, which is accessible to the north part of the county and the main line of the Union Pacific to the southern part.

     Though Graham county boasts of no large towns she is especially favored with a goodly number of trading points, and there is scarcely a place in the county that is not within five miles of some Post Office and general store, where all the necessaries of life can be obtained.

     Hill City, the County Seat, a lively town of 1000 people, is in the central part of the county and is on the Union Pacific R. R., as are Penokee, Morland and Bogue.

     Other trading points are Nicodemus, Leland, Happy, Hoganville, Gradan, Scio, Togo, St. Peters, St. John, Roosevelt and Blackburn, with Studley on the west and Damar on the east county line. Within a few miles of the county are Wakeeney, Edmond, Lenora, Densmore and Logan, each a railroad point.

     This happy land of peace and plenty needs no encomium of ours and we do not say this in a boastful way.

     To the pioneers who braved the elements and sought the prairies in schooners, this is but the well known and praiseworthy record of their strenuous careers.

     But, to the man of thrift and energy and intelligence, with little or no means-- the man who desires a good opening in a country full of possibilities where he can build a permanent home and lay by some savings each year-- to him this is a message of opportunity and promise.

     The 2200 quarter sections of land in our county that are unoccuupied [sic] are offered for sale at from 10 to 25 dollars an acre and the possibilities of each acre are unlimited.

     Come west-- this message is to you, young, middle-aged and old, and build yourself into our great future.



     Hill City, like Kansas, was builded by great effort and hard struggles and the future for her is full of promise. Her history reads like fiction--it is a living poem, the best illustration of the motto of our great state that can be found within her borders. A great heroic stormy epic of more than Homeric granduer [sic] is the story of her growth. She has come up through many difficulties, -- drouths, hot winds, cyclones, county seat fights, prairie fires, but she has ever kept her face towards the Sun of Progress, and these difficulties are as "a tale that is told. "Today the air is full of prosperity. The rumble of the locomotives, the shrieks of the whistles, the whirl of the wheels of industry are born to the ear of the prosperous happy citizen. The strike of the carpenterís hammers is incessant and homes, for which there is a constant demand, are growing rapidly under the hands of the mechanics.

     Hill City is not a one-manís town-- it was builded by the people. She has the confidence of the entire county as is demonstrated by the hundreds of her farmer friends who crowd her streets on Saturday. To these friends, she is indebted for her marvelous growth and phenomenal business prosperity. Hill City, unlike most western towns, has grown rich with the producers and not off of them. Competition is close, --merchants buy and sell to one advantage, but prices are reasonable and the country folk do not feel that out of the exorbitant prices paid to them the town is afforded luxuries and advantages of which they are deprived. We have borne the trials of adversity, and shared the joys of prosperity together. Hill City, the peerless gem of the prairies, lies in the central part of the county, on the Solomon River. It was surveyed in 1880 and incorporated in 1882. The surveying for the railroad precipitated one of the fierciest [sic] county seat contests that was ever waged with five towns contesting. In 1888, the year that the railroad was completed, Hill City was made the County seat. It bears the name of itís [sic] founder and first mayor, W. R. Hill.

     During this County Seat contest several newspapers were launched; among them the Reveille. That same energy, ambition, and determination that characterized the people in the contest of the eighties, is now turned into business channels and marks each business man of Hill City today --he cannot be excelled in enterprise and knowledge of shrewd business methods. Some sixty business houses are supplying the demands of the people with mutual satisfaction and advantage to the patron and the proprietor. The homes and business houses are connected with a well equipped telephone system and county lines are numerous. Mail is carried daily over three rural routes running out of Hill City. Hill City is the center of county business owing to her well stocked business houses also to her two grain elevators and the fine new flour mill recently established. The town boasts of many neat well kept residences and there is scarcely a business man that does not own his home free of mortgage. This is not a landlord and tenant town. The many eastern land buyers and commercial men who crowd Hill City, proclaim with one accord that she is the best hotel town between Salina and Denver. Five good hotels flourish, two of which are two-dollar-a-day houses and maintain transportation service to and from every train.

     Owing to Hill Cityís two large and well equipped opera houses her people are favored with many theatrical attractions during the season.


     Just north of the City is Creighton Athletic Park where all summer sports are carried on. Hill City has two base ball teams, two tennis clubs, three basket ball teams and an enthuiastic [sic] riding club. We are not unmindful of advantages for learning. An imposing stone structure of eight well equipped rooms has recently been built where a corps of efficient teachers presides over the 220 school children for nine months out of the year. Social and religious opportunities are many. Hearty hospitality, born of the rememberance of the time when they too were strangers, marks the residents of the entire county. Coming west does not mean isolation, or the giving up of any part of social or religious life. Many are the opportunities for advancement in culture and refinement. And Hill City knows no "400", there is an open free easy enjoyment peculiar to the west. Religion is a strong element in the life of the people. Numerous church organizations are represented and nearly every person can find a home of his faith. There are five churches in Hill City. The Presbyterian church has a neat edifice worth about $2000.00 and is free from debt. The church as recently been renovated and presents a very attractive appearance. Rev. Keeler is the present pastor. The parsonage is a stone structure valued at $2000.00. Rev. Holt is the pastor of the First Baptist church, and the building is [sic] which he holds regular services is valued at $2200.00. The christian organization is erecting a$3000.00 stone building. Rev. Hibbs is the pastor. The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in May, 1889, by Rev. M. J. Bailey. Their property, church and parsonage is worth $3700.00. The present pastor is Rev. Shuler. Two African churches are maintained, the A. M. E. having just purchased a $2000.00 building.

     Numerous fraternal organizations and lodges are supported by the people. The Masonís lodge was chartered in í85 and has always maintained an active organization. The present membership is 90, with property valued at $1200.00. A. C. Inlow is the present Worthy Master. The Odd Fellows organized a year before the Masons with Snyder Horton as N. G. Today the lodge numbers 95, with W. W. Justus as N. G. Their property is valued at $2400.00. In 1893 the Woodmen began operations with 27 members and F. D. Turck as presiding officer. They have increased this membership to 78 with Grant Morris as Venerable Counsel. Each of these orders has a flourishing Womanís Auxiliary. Eight years ago was established the fraternal insurance order known as the Triple Tie. It carries today a membership of 80, each carrying insurance. Itís [sic] president is George Ambrosier. The Workman are well represented with 40 members with policy holders. The M. W. is C. E.Dazey. About a hundred members of the G. A. R. are located in Graham conuty [sic], a small number of them being residents of Hill City. This number organized in 1880 and still hold regular monthly meetings. The officers are: Captain Justus, Post Commander; George Harrison, Vice Commander; C. Fountain, Junior Vice Commander; Mr. Byerts, Adjutant; G. H. Martin, Quartermaster; Wm. McDowell, Sergeant; James Gordon, Chaplain; D. M. Smith, Guardian; N. Crank, Guardian; Wm. McClure, Quartermaster Sergeant.

     Hill City boasts of a strong and active W. C. T. U. Literary and social clubs are found throughout the city. In short Hill City furnishes ideal opportuunities[sic] for activity in business and social life. It is a good place to live; a good place to own a home; a good place in which to be-


come prosperous; a good place to rear a family. We think we have a future of unlimited possibilities. We aspire to be the grain and stock market of the west. The Chicago of the prairies.


Merchants. Banks.
Alliance Store. American State.
Byerts Book Store. Farmerís and Merchants.
Brooks Harness Shop. Graham County State.
Brown Drug Store. Grain Companies
Beardwellís Meat Market. Graham County Grain & Coal Co.
Broyles Grocery Store. Graham County Mill and Elevator Co.
Boston Department Store. Hoffman Elevator.
Balleau Pool Room. Morris Grain Co.
Conerís Barber Shop. Hotels and Restaurants.
Creightonís Creamery. Funkhousers Restaurants.
Farmerís Lumber & Coal Co. Hotel De Shoup.
Foster Bros. Feed Store. Gillís Restaurant.
Gore Music Store. Star Restaurant.
Grecian Drug Store. Scherer House.
Hill City Mercantile Co. Kibberís Restaurant.
Hub Clothing Store. Pomeroy Hotel.
Kerns Lumber Co. Simpsonís Restaurant.
Kackley Department Store. Wheeler Restaurant.
Lee Photograph Gallery. Farmerís Hotel.
McManis Meat Market. MECHANICS.
McManimie Flour & Feed Store. Painter and Paper Hanging.
Palmer Shoe Store. C. P. Alexander.
Peoples Supply Co. W. W. Goff.
Rollow Photograph Gallery. Contractor.
Smith Dry Goods Co. Wade Justus.
Thompson Furniture Co. Mr. Nevins.
Wetzelís Hardware Co. Dave Diehl.
Williamís Dry Goods Store. Well Driller.
Keleher Barber Shop. A. B. Pipes.
Alleyís Billiard Hall. T. S. White.
Wallace and Ericís Store. Blacksmith.
Mrs. Alfredís Millinery Co. Mr. McCord.
Lawless Lumber Co. Geo. Foltz.
  Stone Mason and Plasterer.
Doctors. Chas. Hutchinson.
Dr. Lottie Findley Draymen.
Dr. I. Parker. T. F. Goff.
Dr. A. H. VanDuyn. Mr. Brown.
Dr. John Arthur Bundy. Mr. Maulsby.
  Bert Bruce.
Dentists. G. M. C. Montgomery.
M. A. Gupton. Attorneys.
Dr. Howe. H. J. Harwi.
  G. W. Jones.
Ministers. F. D. Turck.
Rev. Holt. R. V. Wilcox.
Rev. Shuler. John Dawson.
Rev. Hibbs. W. M. Roberts.
Rev. Keeler. W. L. Sayers.
(Colored 2). Livery.
  A. J. Lovelady.
Real Estate. A. R. Mort.
Kansas Title Land and Loan Co. Newspapers.
W. H. Hill. Hill City Republican.
F. J. Howland. New Era.
T. H. McGill. Reveille.
A. J. Rice.  



     Educational conditions in Graham county, are on par with any of her neighboring counties and superior to some.

     As soon as any section of the county has been opened up for settlement one of the first signs of the communityís permanency has been the school house. No one under the present policy has been compelled to move out of any community in order to avail themselves of school privileges, and it is hoped that soon High Schol [sic] privileges will be in the reach of all.

     In the county there are 84 school districts where school is maintained for an average period of six months each year.

     There are 91 teachers employed at an average wage of 45, to teach 2647 children of school age, for which Graham county drew from the state fund in 1905, $2136.41.

     The property valuation of the county, for school purposes is $1,727,735.00.

     A tax of one mill on this valuation would assure Graham county $1727 for the maintenance of a county high school.

     The Hill City High School, though young in years, needs no apology, it is one of the very best in this section of the state. It is well organized and the students are earnest and intelligent; they are enthusiastic about their school and devoted to their class rooms. The teachers are capable and strong and know thoroughly the subjects they teach.

     Hill City feels proud of her well conducted and efficient High School, and gives it her heartiest support. We hope that it will be made a county High School soon, as more funds will be available and no tuition would be charged to pupils of the county.

Photo of Hill City High School.

Superintendent Frank Blackburn.

     The subject of this sketch, Superintendent Frank Blackburn, was born in Pennsylvania in 1870 [sic], and in 1885 came to Graham county with his parents who homesteaded in Hill City township. He received his education in the schools of Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. In 1887, when he was but 17 years of age, Mr. Blackburn received a teacherís certificate and began what proved to be his life work.

     No man has been so closely in touch with the education life of Graham county for the past 18 years as has Mr. Blackburn.16 years of that time he taught with marked success in the country schools during the winter months, and attended to the duties of the farm, the remaining months of the year. The winter of 1904 and 1905, he was the superintendent of the Hill City schools and was the same year elected to the County Superintendency.

     His term in the Hill City schools was decidely successful, but the office of County Superintendent needed him and he was chosen by the people to fill that place.

     Our people recognized that Graham county is a county of homes, and they realized the importance of their education institutions in fostering growth of these homes.

     The schools of the county have done and are doing more to promote the healthy growth and desirable citizenship than all other agencies combined.

     The success of these important institutions depend much upon the Superintendent and in selecting Mr. Blackburn for the place the people chose wisely and well.

     He is thoroughly alive to the interests of each and every one of the schools, and his practical knowledge has been of unestimable value to the teachers of the county.

     Mr. Blackburn has a strong personality and genial manner, and would have risen in any vocation or profession. His sterling quality of head and heart have won for him a high standing among Graham county people.

     In 1893 Mr. Blackburn was married to Miss Essie Worcester and to them have been born 3 bright boys. Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn live in their neat 5 roomed cottage in Hill City, but still own their fine 480 acre farm which was formerly their home.

D. J. Hanna

     Thirty-seven years ago, when the locomotive, the fore-runner of civilization, had traversed Kansas only as far as Junction City, and the spirit of emigration was abroad in the eastern and central states, Hanna came with his fathers family from Randolph county, Illinois, to Clay county, Kansas. Mr. Hanna homesteaded in that county the farm on which he still lives. It was here that the subject of this sketch, D. J. Hanna grew to manhood.

     In 1888 Mr. Hanna came west to Graham county, assumed the care and began the cultivation of his fatherís farm near Bogue. He was a great success as a farmer and was the first man in the county to raise wheat on a large scale, planting one year 1600 acres to that grain.


     One September day in 1892 Mr. Mudge who had charge of the B. & M. lands in western Kansas, drove out to Mr. Hannaís farm and found him riding a drill in one of his fields.

Photo of Hanna home.

     Arrangements were then and there completed, by which Mr. Hanna took charge of the Graham county lands. It being necessary to transact business in the county seat, Mr. Hanna hired a man to take his place in the field, and drove to Hill City with Mr. Mudge that afternoon. He immediately opened an office and became engaged in the real estate business, in which he is still engaged.

     Because he was instrumental in bringing Mr. Hanna to Hill City, Mr. Mudge did a three-fold service. The land company has demonstrated its approval of his business methodes by retaining him as itís [sic] agent through these 14 years. Hill Cityís history without the name of D. J. Hanna would be like the play "Hamlet" with the part of Hamlet left out. He has been one of the most prominent factors in the upbuilding of his hometown. And Mr. Hannaís present prosperity demonstrates well that this move was not wholly unfortunate for him.

     Today Mr. Hanna owns 4800 acres of Graham county land which he holds as a safe investment and not a speculation. Practically all of his land is improved, the greater part of it being planted in wheat.

     His town property consists of a large, well furnished, modern hotel valued at $14,000.00, the Hanna block worth $5,000.00 the home property, which is the finest in Hill City, in addition to a number of town lots.

     Mr. Hanna has always been a firm Republican and has done the party service in the local organization. His energetic work for the advancement of the section in which he resides has been appreciated and recognized by his fellow citizens.

     In 1896 and 1897 he represented Graham county in the Legislature


and for six years he was a member of the Republican State Central Committee.

     In 1900 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention, that nominated McKinley for the Presidency, and has served the State of Kansas four years as Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate.

     Never in his political career has D. J. Hanna been a disappointment to the people who have put their trust in him, and Graham county has reason to be pround [sic] of his official record.

     And Mr. Hanna is poud of his home town and county. The reports of the great metropolitan dailies which have chronicled his arrival in their city have received their information from the hotel registers which always read: D. J. Hanna, Hill City.

     Mr. Hanna is a young man, and for him as for his county the future looks exceedingly bright. David J. Hanna was married, January 1st 1905 to Miss May Keheler of Hill City.

Thompson Furniture Company.

     The Thompson furniture stores, located on Pomeroy Avenue and on Main street, stand in the front rank of the leading commercial enterprises of the city, and are in every sense of the word metropolitan cencerns. [sic]

     These two stores are filled with a line of furniture, as elegant and up-to-date as any to be found in western Kansas. The firm makes a speciality of high grade stock, and always have on the floor the very latest designs at reasonable prices. A well stocked undertaking department is a feature of the Main street store. Few houses are better equipped for embalming and conducting funerals. They have also a fine rubber tired hearse.

     Mr. Anson Thompson, who has charge of this department, is a licensed embalmer by the State Board of Health.

     Mr. Thompson bought the business three years ago and in that time has doubled the stock until, at present, it is valued at $10,000.00. He owns the Pomeroy avenue store room worth $3000.00. The basement under this room, which is 25 by 96 is being finished for a store room and work shop. This will make additional room on the first floor which will be filled with a full line of pianos.

     Mr. Anson Thompson, the head of the firm is a young man of exceptional business ability and marked integrity and has the confidence of the entire county.

     He came with his parents to Graham county 20 years ago and settled on a farm on Bow Creek, 11 miles north of Hill City. He still owns the farm which is valued at $25,000.00, but devotes his entire time to his Hill City business.

     Since the death of his father, 12 years ago, he with his mother has managed the estate for the four younger children.

     The Master hand with which he has handled these business affairs, marks him as one of the reliable business pillars of Hill City for years to come.


Kackleyís Department Store.

Photo of Kackleyís Department Store.

     In every city there are examples of those whose special business pursuits, whose prominence in matters of public enterprise, and whose records of integrity, energy, untiring industry and grit make them objects of note. This was never more fully exemplified than in the business career of O. B. Kackley.

     Twenty years ago he came to north Graham county with some $10,000.00. By his speculation in lands in boom times, which later depreciated in value; by his going security on notes for friends with full amounts to pay; by his energetic and enthusiastic part in the county seat fight for Hill City which cost him some $1000.00, he reduced his means to zero and began business anew eight years ago.

     Mr. and Mrs. Kackley started with a $20.00 stock of notions, and by their perseverance and genial manner have increased their business until today the Kackley Department Store owns a $15,000.00 stock of goods and the $6000.00 building in which its business is carried on.

     Four well stocked departments are maintained with six clerks to care for the wants of the many patrons.

     Mr. and Mrs. Kackley feel assured of Graham countyís growing prosperity and on the strength of this confidence have, this year, increased their stock $3,000.00. Their sales of the first four months of 1906 exceed those of 1905, $3,100.00, showing that their confidence was well placed. A deal is being closed by which their two large store rooms will be extended 25 feet.

     In writing of the prosperity and success of the Kackley Department Store, the article would not be complete without mentioning, particularly,


an energetic partner in the business, Mrs. N. S. Kackley who enjoys the fullest confidence and esteem of this community and has worked untiringly in the interest of the store.

Photo of Kackley Department Store.

Olive M. Kackley

     In no century previous to the one just past have women made such rapid progress, and in no county, but ours, have the uncrowned queens wielded the scepter with such discriminating ability. Womanís field of labor is no longer limited to household duties but she is found in all lines of business and in all professions, and Hill City has her full quota of these modern business women, among whom is Olive M. Kackley, the present Register of Deeds.

     She was born in Blue Springs, Nebraska, July 11,1881, moved to Requblic [sic] county, with her parents and later to Densmore, where in 1886 her mother died.

     In 1889 Mr. Kackley remarried and brought his wife and two children Olive and Kenneth to Hill City.

     Miss Kackley was always fond of dramatic work, and has engaged in numerous contests, the first being the Demorest contest when she was 12 years of age. She won in this and many other contests, and through all of her busy life, she has given much time and attention to elocution.

     Miss Kackley is an elocutionists [sic], a musician, holds a first grade teachers certificate, has acted as postoffice clerk and saleslady, has given recitals and taught music and oratory, and was at the time of her election Graham countyís youngest official, being but 21 years of age.

     She has served two terms as Register of Deeds being elected the second time by the largest majority received by any candidate in the county, showing that she gave perfect satisfaction while in office.


Photo of Olive M. Kackley.

     The office is kept in most perfect order. Deeds are always filed upon presentation and immediately recorded and nothing lays in the offices.

     Miss Kackley has always made her own way and depends entirely upon her own resources.

     She is a good business manager and owns three quarter sections of land all improved and valued at $5,800.00.

     In additions to her savings invested in lands, she has made several trips to points of interest in the United States.

     But her life work is dramatic work and she is ambitious to perfect herself in this art, anticipating, at present, a years trip through Europe, visiting dramatic centers, and making a study of the work,and later returning to take a course in some of the leading American schools of oratory.

     As an elocutionist, Miss Kackley has done considerable work among the people and is quite a favorite. She has helped all church and charitable institutions in the county, and has furnished several school houses with organs, libraries and book cases by her entertainments.

     These are some of her press notices: "Miss Kackley is a master in impersonation and her declaiming was cheered to an echo each time she appeared."

"Miss Kackley of Hill City gave several readings and impersonations which not only delighted all, but impressed her hearers with her ability as an elocutionist."

A. E. Kernís Lumber Company.

     In every city there are examples of those whose special business persuits [sic], whose prominence in all matters of public enterprise and whose records of integrity, energy and untiring industry make them objects of


note, all alone in their special fields of labor, but where ever exalted commercial reputation is recognized and respected.

     A more striking example of the reward which always follows honest efforts, close application to correct business methods and untiring energy was never more fully exemplified than in the business career of A. E. Kerns.

     Albert E. Kerns was born in Wyoming, Illinois, and came with his parents to Plainville, Kansas in 1885, when he was but 16 years of age. The family pioneered until the death of the father when the step-mother, two sisters and one brother moved to Topeka where they now reside.

     At the age of 21 years, Mr. Kerns entered the emyloy [sic] of the Baker-Greenleaf Stock and Grain Co., of Atchison, Kansas, trading in grain and stock throughout western Kansas.

     During the drouth and crop failure on 1893 and 1894 he took a bunch of cattle to Nebraska to feed. It was at Nebraska City, that he met and married Mrs. Kerns.

Photo of Kerns home.

     In 1896 and 1897 he bought for Mr. Baker the 10,000 acres of Graham county land, since known as the Baker Ranch. For 5 years Mr. Kerns was manager and overseer of the ranch and it was during that time that most of the improvements were made.

     When the ranch was first operated Mr. Kerns worked under many disadvantages, either sleeping in a tent or driving six miles to Edmond for the night.

     But the improvements came, and he soon had a ranch home with all the comforts and many of the luxuries.

     In 1902, Mr. Kerns moved to Hill City and engaged in the lumber business. As an evidence of his explicit confidence in Mr. Kernsí business judgement, and great regard for him personally, Mr. Baker, in whose


employ Mr. Kerns had been for 12 years offered to assist him in a financial way and become a half owner in the Kernsí Lumber Company. Their stock today is valued at $10,000.00, evidencing a rapid growth in the business which promises to be even greater in the future.

     Aside from his business Mr. Kerns owns 720 acres of the well watered pasture land, 9 miles southwest of Hill City.

     He has never lost interest in live stock and today owns 475 head of cattle worth $12,000.00, which he intends to fatten for the market. In addition to this business building, he owns a fine $4,000.00 residence in Hill City. It is one of the most modern and best kept homes in our city. The intention bears every evidence of the elegancy of taste and knowledge of the art of homemaking which characterizes Mrs. Kerns.

     Two beautiful and promising little daughters make glad this pleasant home.

     Mr. Kerns wishes nothing better than Graham county for a place to live and a place to thrive. He considers limitless, the possibilities of Graham county. To quote from him, "Land purchased today at $15.00 an acre is a better investment than the same land at $3.00 to $5.00 an acre, fifteen years ago."

John S. Dawson, L. L. B.

Photo of John S. Dawson.

     We here present a half tone of a Graham county lawyer who at present is "making good" as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas.

     John S. Dawson was born at Grantown, Scotland, in 1869. He was educated at Knockands High School and Robert Gordonís College, Aberdeen. He emigrated to Illinois, and later to Kansas, settling in this county in 1888. He took a homstead [sic]in Gettysburg township and taught a district school for several years. In 1894, he was elected Principal of the Hill City school; and, in 1897, was chosen Principal of the WaKeeney High School. In 1898, Mr. Dawson was admitted to the bar, having been tutored therefore by Henry J. Harwi, Esquire, the leader of the bar in this part of Kansas for a quarter of a century.

     Returning to the principalship of the Hill City Schools in the autumn of 1898, Mr. Dawson resigned at Christmas that year to accept a Clerkship in the State Treasury at Topeka, for the purpose of further qualifying himself for the profession of law. He attended evening law lectures for three years, conducted under the auspices of the Topeka Young Men's Christian Association. Later he attended lectures at Washburn College Law School and received the degree of Bachelor of Laws from that institution.


     In 1903, Mr. Dawson was appointed Chief Clerk in the office of the Attorney General; later he served as Second Assistant; and, in June, 1905, was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General, which position he still occupies. Mr. Dawson is recognized as a thoroughly competent and conscientious official. He gives the state the same loyalty and zeal that a true lawyer gives to his private clients. Perhaps his best work has been accomplished in the last year when he successfully carried through a series of suits involving over one hundred, thousand dollars belonging to the Kansas School Fund being invested ina multitude of small amounts in municipal bonds of the counties and school districts of southwest Kansas and Oklahoma during the boom, and which the people of Kansas have for many years considered practically worthless. By sagacity, tact and tireless industry, both in litigation and by judicious compromises, the great sum has been rescued and adjusted where its safety is assured.

     Aside from his official duties, Mr. Dawson has a very satisfactory private law practice. He is also an author and public lecturer of more than local note, and his services are continually in demand at lyceums and at high school and college commencements. He has recently delivered a course of lectures on Roman Law at Washburn College. His lectures, "Aaron Burr," "Court and Camp of Napoleon," and "Under the Dome,"--the last a political lecture,--have both added to his reputation andput money in his purse.

Smith Dry Goods Company.

Photo of Smith Dry Goods Company.

     People in this section of the state frequently feel that because of their distance from the great markets, and the necessarily small trade the local stores must carry a small and inferior line of goods. Owing to this


misconception, the mail order business of Graham county is some 100 per cent greater than it should be.

     The error in such an opinion is readily seen when you visit the Smith Dry Goods Co.'s Store. People from the east who enter this establishment are surprised when they observe the complete and excellent line of goods in each of the departments.

Photo of Smith's Dry Goods Company.

     Traveling men frequently remark about the new, up-to-date and well selected line of goods which they handle.

     The one idea in the conducting of this house seems to be to furnish a reliable trading place for the people where they can buy everything at a uniformally small per cent over the cost in large quantities.

     Purchasers are studying economy and not only demand reliable, tasty goods from which to make their selections, but also keep a watchful eye on prices. Under these conditions the Smith Dry Goods Store is growing rapidly.

     The establishment maintains four well-stocked departments in their three big store rooms, two of which are 25 by 80 feet and the third 50 by 30 feet, with finished basement. The dry goods department is replete with everything that pertains to that branch--new and pleasing patterns in dress materials, plain and fancy hoisery [sic], newest designs, in handkerchiefs, laces and ribbons, and a most satisfactory line of linens and domestics. This department makes a specialty of ready made clothing, the Waterloo wrapper, the Heatherbloom skirt, and also of the F.P. and College Girl corsets.

     Their last season's cloak sales are deserving of special mention. They sold over 300 cloaks during the season, 90 of them being disposed of in two days.

     Manufacturers of foot wear are turning out great varieties of styles, colors, and qualities and a visit to the department will reveal to you shoes


in patent, black and tan, leather and canvass, and shoes for heavy service and dress occasions. Their leader is the famous Sunflower Shoe. All sizes of mens, womens, and children's shoes are carried.

     In the clothing department on the second floor are to be found suits for men and boy's, that look well, fit well and wear well. The stock of hats and caps are equal in quantity, quality and style to those in many large eastern houses. Here also can be procured a handsome receptacle for your clothing, everything from a small grip to a mammoth saratogo.

     Though merely carpets samples are carried now they are anticipating putting in a complete department in the near future. The grocery department carries a great stock of staple and fancy groceries and nothing the most fastidious housekeeper could desire that cannot be found here. In connection with this department is to be found a good line of queensware and shelf hardware.

     One can scarcely conceive that this store has been organized but fourteen months. April 1st, .1905, they began business with a $15,000.00 stock, which now invoices at $25,000.00. Mr. Frank Smith the manager came to Kansas eleven years ago from Beatrice Nebraska, and bought a farm near Roscoe. Three and one-half years later both Mr. and Mrs. Smith accepted positions in the Mellott General Merchandise store in Hill City. When a year later this store was destroyed by fire, Mr. and Mrs. Smith established a general merchandise store at Bogue and conducted the business for three years when they came to Hill City and opened the present Smith Dry Goods Store.

The Farmers and Merchant's Bank.

Photo of Mullaney home.

     The Farmerís and Merchantís Bank of Hill City has the distinction of being the oldest bank in Graham county, having been founded by J. C. Sturtevant in Millbrook in 1886. but was moved to Hill City in 1888.


     This bank has had a long and successful career, passing through various panics, boom periods and seasons of depression and has been unaffected by any of them.

     At one time in its early history Graham county had seven banks; all of them closed their doors and suspended payments except the Farmer's and Merchant's bank, which had the distinction of being the only bank in the county for five years.

     This bank paid all demands and extended such accommodations to its customers that their business was in no way crippled during the darkened days of the panic and the dullest months of depression.

     The Farmerís and Merchantís bank owns its own building valued at $7,000.00, one of the best corners in town, a two story stone building with a large fire proof vault.

     Its funds are guarded by an electric burglar alarm system and its aim is to afford its depositors and stockholders every possible security against loss.

     The officers of the bank are J. C. Sturtevant, President; W. H. Hill, Vice President; E. E. Mullaney, Cashier; R. B. Garnett, Assistant Cashier. The directors are, J. C. Sturtevant, W. H. Hill, R. Garnett, E. E. Mullaney, C. E. Webster, Alvin Law, James Walsh, A. J. Rice and L. Meyer, Jr.

     The $10,000.00 of capital stock with which the bank was organized has been increased to $25,000.00 with a surplus of $15,000.00.

     This bank is rated as one of the substantial institutions of the county. While its growth has not been rapid it has been sure and the confidence its patrons have in its management warrants a steady growth in the future.

     The F. and M. Bank is a time tried institution, a panic proof bank of more than local importance and is regarded as a safe and sound repository for funds.

     The following is an official report of the condition of the Farmer's and Merchant's Bank at the close of business on the sixth day of April, 1906:

Loans and discounts $102,446.11
Overdrafts 1,267.50
Bank Building 4,541.21
Furniture and fixtures 1866.96
Expense account 861.33
Bonds and warrants 10,000.00
Cash and sight exchange 36,488.44

Capital Stock $ 25,000.00
Surplus 1,500.00
Undivided Profits 9,606.30
Interest and exchange 2,463.64
Deposits 118,901.61

     Mr. E. E. Mullaney, the cashier of this bank is well known throughout this portion of the state and universally recognized for his public spirit and business ability.

     His history is closely connected with that of Graham county, having


Return to Contents Next