USD 508
CAROLYN WARD, instructor

produced this selection.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.


PART 1: Location and Natural Features | Map and Population | Early History
PART 2: County Organization, Etc. | Railroads and County Societies |
School and Other Statistics
PART 3: Independence
PART 4: Biographical Sketches (Adams - Butler)
PART 5: Biographical Sketches (Chandler - Green)
PART 6: Biographical Sketches (Hall - Moesli)
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (O'Connor - Roediger)
PART 8: Biographical Sketches (Salter - Truby)
PART 9: Biographical Sketches (Ulmer - Ziegler)
PART 10: Coffeyville | Biographical Sketches (Anderson - Grisham)
PART 11: Biographical Sketches (Hankins - Woodson)
PART 12: Cherryvale. | Biographical Sketches (Adams - Frickleton)
PART 13: Biographical Sketches (Gent - Wood)
PART 14: Elk City
PART 15: Biographical Sketches
PART 16: Parker City
PART 17: Liberty
PART 18: Other Villages | Drum Creek Township | Sycamore Township
PART 19: Caney Township | Fawn Creek Township
INDEX: [A-B] [C-E] [F-G] [H-L] [M-N] [O-R] [S-T] [U-Z]


* In compiling this history we are indebted, to some extent, to a similar work compiled by the Hon. E. E. Wilson, of Independence.

MONTGOMERY County is situated in the southern part of the State of Kansas, the north line of the Indian Territory forming its southern boundary. It is further bounded by Labette County on the east, Wilson on the north and Elk and Chautauqua counties on the west. The general surface of the county is variable, being a succession of rolling prairies, broad, fertile valleys, and low hills. Elevated mounds, with steep declivitous sides, are found in places, rising abruptly out of the midst of a plain, to considerable heights. These are, in some instances, peak shaped, while in others they are capped with an almost level plain, comprising, in some cases, several acres in extent. There are several of these mounds in the county, each of which bears some significant name, such as Table Mound, from its table-like appearance, and Walker's Mound, which took its name from a man named Walker, who was first to locate a claim bordering on its base, etc. These elevations are in no way connected with the "Mound Builders," but in their native magnificence bespeak the workmanship of a mightier hand, and wiser builder.

The water supply is abundant throughout the county, which is traversed from north to south by the Verdigris River, and its important tributary, Elk River, both of which are streams of considerable magnitude. In their flow through the county, they become confluent with several large creeks and streams, which, with their innumerable branchings, spread out over the entire surface. The Little Caney River runs through the southwest corner of the county, by which, with its important branches, Illinois and Cheyenne creeks, that part is sufficiently watered. The principal creeks are: Duck, Onion, Salt, Cheyenne, Illinois, Pumpkin, Rock, Sycamore, Drum and Big Hill. There are numerous other smaller ones.

The soil throughout the county generally, is remarkably fertile, particularly that found in the bottoms, which comprise about one-fourth of the entire area of the county.

Timber, as in most parts of the State, is scarce, being confined to the belts along the water courses, varying in width, from a mile to a narrow fringe along the less important streams. Occasional groves are found upon the uplands, but the timber is limited, and of inferior quality. The principal varieties of timber are the oak, walnut, ash, elm, cottonwood, box elder, soft maple and other varieties in limited quantities.

Coal has been discovered in various parts of the county, the fields covering about one-third of its area, in veins varying in thickness from one to two feet. It is found on the surface and, also, cropping out at the base of elevations. The quality of the coal is rather inferior at first, but becomes better as the mines are developed. As yet none of the mines have been utilized to any considerable extent, the use being confined to domestic and local demands. The mine upon J. M. Altaffer's farm, in Independence Township, is, perhaps, the most extensively operated, from which there are about ten thousand bushels mined annually. In localities where the coal abounds, an abundance of potter's clay is also found.

Inexhaustible quarries of fine building stone are numerous. The varieties are sand, lime and flag-stone; much of the sand-stone being of the fine grain and texture, which is so valuable in the construction of stone fronts, window caps, etc.

From this it will be seen, that the county is eminently superior in its natural advantages; with numerous streams affording fine water power privileges; extensive coal fields; unfailing stone quarries; timber in considerable quantities, and a productive soil. The county has within its limits, all that is necessary to the existence of a rich, prosperous and populous community.



                POPULATION (Federal Census.)
                                                |  1870.| 1880.
    Caney Township............................. |   361 | 1,151 
(a) Cherokee Township.......................... |  .... |   837
(b) Cherry Township, including Cherryvale City. |   802 | 1,570
(c) Drum Creek Township........................ |  .... |   873
    Fawn Creek Township........................ |   505 | 1,182
    Independence City.......................... |   435 | 2,915
    Independence Township...................... |   959 | 1,605
(d) Liberty Township........................... | 1,052 | 1,022
    Louisburg Township, including Elk City..... |   827 | 1,867
(e) Parker Township, including Coffeyville City | 1,591 | 1,527
    Rutland Township........................... |   485 | 1,061
    Sycamore Township.......................... |   547 | 1,669
(f) West Cherry Township....................... | 7,564 |   934
    Cherryvale City............................ |  .... |   690
    Elk City................................... |  .... |   383
    Coffeyville City........................... |  .... |   753
                                                |------ | 1,826
(a) In 1872, from part of Parker.
(b) In 1879, part to West Cherry.
(c) In 1874, from part of Liberty.
(d) In 1871, name changed from Verdigris;
    in 1874 part to Drum Creek.
(e) In 1981, Westralia annexed; in 1872 part to Cherokee. 
(f) In 1879, from part of Cherry.


Montgomery County comprises a portion of that body of land which was set apart and known as the "Diminished Reserve of the Osage Indians," and embraced an area of 8,000,000 acres. There was a strip of land, however, three miles in width, extending along the east side of the county, which did not form a part of the Reserve, but was a portion of what was called the "Ceded Lands," and was obtained from the Indians in 1867, and opened to settlement. For a long time the right to this strip was in controversy in the courts, between railroad corporations and settlers. The settlers, however, were persistent in their efforts, and through the indomitable pluck and energy of their leader, Gov. M. J. Salter, finally succeeded in obtaining a decision of the United States Supreme Court in their favor. Immediately upon relinquishing their rights to this strip, the Indians, about 3,600 in number, moved farther west and scattered along the valleys of the Verdigris and Elk rivers. Each band, of which there were seven, having an under chief, and the whole under a head chief, lived apart and established villages, bearing the name of the leader of the respective band. White Hair, the head chief, made an encampment near the north line of the county, on the east bank of the Verdigris. Below this a few miles, at Lightman's Ford. Little Beaver found his quarters, and Napawalla settled on the north side of Elk River, near where Radical City was afterward established. On the southside of the same river, Chetopa and his band halted, and built their village near the west end of Table Mound. About six miles south of where Independence now stands, on the west bank of the Verdigris River, was the site of Big Hill, or Gov. Joe's village; Claymore near Kalloch Station, and Black Dog on the west bank of Onion Creek, near its mouth.

The Government agency was located near the mouth of Drum Creek, on its north side, and was held by Maj. Snow, who was succeeded in 1868 by Maj. I. N. Gibson, a Quaker gentleman, who was held in high esteem by both the whites and Indians. This general respect he retained throughout the adjustment of the serious difficulties between the races in 1869 and 1870, occasioned by the unauthorized attempts of settlers to trespass upon and occupy these lands, the rightful property of the Indian.

As early as 1867, when the cupidity of railroad corporations became aroused respecting these lands, there came to light what is known as the "Sturgess Treaty," than which a more stupendous fraud is not known. At this time the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad Company sought to effect a treaty with the Osage Indians, through the company's agents, the Sturgess Brothers, of Chicago, by the terms of which the company was to obtain possession of the entire Diminished Reserve, upon payment to the Indians for the land at the rate of eighteen cents per acre. The matter was brought before Congress for its consideration, and the objects of the treaty were defeated by the action of that body.

At a very early period, several trading posts were established by parties who furnished the Indians with flour, coffee, powder, lead, dry goods, trinkets, etc. and in return took as payment hides, furs, and other articles of Indian commerce. Perhaps the earliest establishment of this kind was that made on Pumpkin Creek by G. L. Canada in January, 1867. R. W. Dunlap came into the county late in 1867, and in February of the next year began trading at a point near the mouth of Drum Creek; and about the same time John Lushbaugh located a post at the junction of Pumpkin Creek with the Verdigris River. The goods with which Dunlap opened his store were brought by Thomas Overfield, on a wagon from Ottawa, then the nearest railroad station and distant more than 100 miles. During the winter of 1868-'69. Mose Neal opened a trading store at the mouth of Big Hill Creek, and in the early part of 1869, Maj. Fitch began a similar business at a point on the north side of Elk River, near its confluence with Sycamore Creek.

Eb. Moseley began the business of trader a short time before Dunlap, having his post at Black Dog town. Newton Miller also had a post in the supply of this band. Hitherto, aggressions upon the Indian domain, in this section, were slight.

The treaty for the purchase of the Osage Diminished Reserve was effected between the Indians and the United States Government, at the agency on Drum Creek, on September 10, 1870, and was stipulated for and signed, on the part of the Government, by J. D. Lang, of Maine, John V. Farwell, of Chicago, and Vincent Colyer, of New York who had been appointed a commission for this purpose; and on the part of the Osage Indians, was signed by Pi-na-push-a, To-wand-ga-hee, Che-to-pa, Black-Dog, Na-pa-wal-la, Strike-Axe, Wah-tan-ca, Chin-cu-a-cah and others. The official survey and creation of the county dates from 1869, and was made to embrace 636 square miles of territory, carved out of the Osage Reserve. The name Montgomery was applied to it, in honor of the celebrated General, Richard Montgomery. Upon the treaty being effected with the Indians, the land was thrown open to settlement, upon which filings and entry could be made at the land office at Humboldt, Kan. The first filing was made by N. S. Ramsey, on a tract of land in Louisburgh Township, and the first entry was made by Thomas Neal, on a tract in Drum Creek Township. There appears to be some difference of opinion as regards who the first permanent settler in the county was. Hon. E. E. Wilson, in his able and authentic history of the county, published in Edwards' County Historical Atlas, accords the honor to a colored man named Lewis Scott, who settled in the southeastern part of the county in February, 1867. A more detailed investigation of the matter discovers the fact, that it was more than a year prior to the date given when the foot of the first settler pressed the soil, In January, 1866, G. L. Canada settled at a point on Pumpkin Creek, which was subsequently selected as the site for the village of Claymore, and to whom the honor of being the first settler undoubtedly belongs. Perhaps, the second man to set foot on Montgomery County soil, as a permanent settler, was Daniel Wilson, who made a settlement, June 14, 1866, locating in the extreme northern part of the county, on the Verdigris River, near White Hair's Ford. In August, 1867, Wilson built a cabin on his claim, and put up a quantity of hay; but his presence was distasteful to his dusky neighbors, who put a torch to his hay and cabin, and all was consumed. No sooner had he constructed another, when that too was demolished. Such treatment was not relished by the hardy pioneer who, becoming disheartened, and finding it useless to make further attempts, left the place. It was not long, however, before he regained his courage, and in September of 1868, he returned to the scene of his former disasters, this time effecting friendly relations with the Indians, and remaining unmolested.

Those who settled in 1867, besides those already named who had established trading-posts were Zachariah Crow, - Terwilliger, William Rutherford and perhaps a few others. Among those who came during the next year, were John Russell, J. B. Rowley, Patrick Dugan, William Reed, William Roberts, Christian Greenough, John Hanks, H. W. Conrad, Alexander Duncan, J. A. Twiss, Col. Coffey, O. F. Johns, J. Roberts, T. C., J. H., and A. Graham, P. R. Jordon, G. W., and W. L. Mays, H. A. Bethuran, J. H. Conrad, Moses Roller, R. Stallcup, M. McGowen, R. M. Bennett, John Campbell, Jacob Thompson, Thomas Brock, J. Kappell, Levi Mann, Phillip Waldron, N. P. Morgan, A. P. Patter, W. Sherill, J. Simmons, Rachel Greeno, J. Weddell, Mortimer Goodell, E. Goodell, D. R. B. Flora, R. W. Dunlap, John McIntyre, Mrs. E. C. Powell, Thomas C. Evans, Lewis Choteau, - Brewer, - Pierce, George Spece, Dr. Koutz, James Parkinson and, perhaps, some others. Although a considerable number of permanent settlements had been made during these years, yet so few, indeed, were the number living within the county, at that time, compared with the wide expanse of country over which they were scattered, that it was only occasionally that the traveler came upon the rude cabin, dug-out or sod house of a settler. No improvement of importance had yet been made, so that up to 1869 there were but few and scattered evidences of anything except Indian occupancy. In the midst of such surroundings of uncivilized life, the hardy pioneer of Montgomery County had come to make his home, enduring the trials, braving the dangers, expecting the rewards.

In order that a settler should obtain and occupy a "squatter's claim," at this time he was obliged to secure consent from the Indians, which was easily done by paying them a few dollars in money. The price, however, varied with different bands. In the treaty which the settlers made with the Osages in the Upper Elk Valley, in 1869, the agreement was, that settlers should hold and occupy a prairie claim upon payment of $5, and $10 for a timber claim. Demands for this rental were more frequent than the terms of the agreement allowed, but upon a determined refusal by the settlers, these unauthorized collectors would go away without a word. In no case, however, would they forget to dun a man whenever they met him, whether he was entitled to pay or not, nor did they regard the frequent refusals which they met, nor the severe rebuffs and denunciations they sometimes received, from the enraged squatter. In case there was any dissatisfaction arising from the payment of these sums, in any way, the Indians would demand a "talk," and not unfrequently it would have been better for his own interests, had he made no attempt to compete with the loquacious Yankee, in wordy settlements of this kind.

Although numerous settlements had already been made, yet it was not until 1869, that the resistless march of emigration first crossed the Verdigris River to occupy and possess the "promised land" that lay beyond. Alarmed at this bold step on the part of the settlers, to thus intrude upon and occupy their territory, the Indians began to protest against further invasion, and attempted to prohibit emigration from crossing the Verdigris; but to no purpose.

During the winter of 1869, the banks of the Verdigris were alive with camps and campers. Families spent the winter, living in covered wagons or in huts constructed of hay. On the spot where Independence stands, about 40 families lived in these hay houses during that winter, and the place was known to the Indians as Pashe-to-wah, or Haytown. So rapid, indeed, was the influx of settlers, that in the brief period of three years, between 1867 and 1870, the population of the county had increased from a few scattered settlements to the number of 7,564.

Everything now began to show signs of permanence and stability. Rumors of prospective railroads became noised abroad; improvements, both public and private, were made, and of a costly character; town builders were busily at work, establishing towns, which in their view, were sure to become important railroad points and the county seat; the county was filled with every manner of bogus characters who preyed upon the ignorance and credulity of settlers; here were real estate agents and claim speculators, who for a few dollars would locate a man on whatever place suited him, whether the same had been taken before or not; and not unfrequently the one agent would locate several parties on the same claim; speculators sold claims to which they never had a shadow of title or right.

All was a busy scene of bustle and excitement. This condition of things had the effect to attract emigration thither. As an illustration of the intense excitement which prevailed during this time, may be mentioned the fact, that the people of the county had voted county and township bonds, for various purposes, to an aggregate amount of nearly a million of dollars. Such was the general rapacity and the willingness of the people to vote indebtedness upon themselves, in the excitement of the hour, that a large school building was erected at Independence in 1873, costing $23,000; costly bridges were constructed by various townships; the erection of schoolhouses; and the aids given to railroads, etc., are a few instances of the uses to which this extravagant outlay of public money was applied. Money was readily loaned at from twenty-five to fifty per cent interest to private parties, wishing to improve their claims. As a result of this reckless and extravagant voting of bonds, the rate of taxation upon personal property became enormous, since all levies had to be made upon that class of property, as none of the real estate had yet been deeded. Such was the state of financial matters under which the people of the county had placed themselves prior to 1872.

The first settlements in the county were effected before the regularly authorized surveys had been made, and claims were taken at random, or according to lines, called the "tow string surveys," established by private parties who were chiefly interested in the fees charged, caring little whether lines, sections and quarters were correctly located or not; nor whether they would correspond with the legal survey when made. As the natural consequence of such uncertainty, when the authorized survey was made, it frequently happened that parties found themselves the possessors of a piece of land they did not claim, while that which they thought they had, would fall to their next neighbor. Numerous disputes and wranglings arose among settlers respecting rights to claims, which called into requisition the "Settler's Claim Club." This institution, as the name indicates, was composed of the settlers combined together for the purpose of hearing and adjusting difficulties that arose among themselves or between any of their number and strangers respecting claim rights. In its functions, the club was legislative, judicial and executive. A code of laws was drawn up which defined the rights of settlers to claims, prescribing the mode and manner by which they could rightfully be taken, and also what was necessary to entitle the same to be held and occupied, etc. In case a dispute aros[sic] involving questions of this character, the matter was brought for hearing before the club, witnesses were brought and examined, and the matter was fully determined "according to the law and the evidence." A decision having been reached, speedy execution followed.

This was carried out by a committee waiting upon the party against whom the decision had been made, informing him that the club had determined he should relinquish all claims to the subject of dispute; whereupon notice was given him to deliver over the property to his opponent within a specified time, which in most cases was promptly done. Upon a failure to obey the mandates of this court with promptness, the defiant was waited upon by another committee composed of the body of the club, and, if not awed into submission by the presence and threats of this posse, he was visited with such punishment as the nature of the case required, or as was sufficient to enforce obedience. An instance of this sort of executive duty took place near Independence in the spring of 1870. The dispute arose over a claim between George Paul and a man named Stevens, a butcher living in the town. Paul, it seems, was living on a claim about a mile and a half northwest of Independence, which Stevens "jumped," as it was termed, building a house a few rods from Paul's, into which he moved with his family.

Paul seeing his rights trampled upon, appealed to the club for protection. After due consideration, the club found in Paul's favor and notified Stevens to abandon the premises. Stevens, however, was refractory and refused to obey. The time in which he was to leave having expired, a posse formed and at the dead hour of night invaded his dwelling from which the inmates were forcibly removed to the open prairie and the house set on fire and burned. A similar affair took place during the same summer in Sycamore Township. A man named Atkinson attempted to wrongfully lay claim to a piece of land belonging to another man. The matter was taken before the club, and Atkinson, refusing to obey its determination, was punished by having his building demolished, he being forced to fly. This was the work of that well-known club which had appropriated the dignified title of "Montgomery Guards." It was a time, too, when these organizations, however useful in their day, should have disbanded, giving way to those "higher powers," Justices of the Peace.

The members of the Guards, however, not content to await the tedious and often unsatisfactory actions of these courts, had taken the matter in their own hands. But in this particular instance it would have been better for the members "had it never existed;" for the entire club, thirty in number, were arrested on a charge of riot, brought before Squire Bunker's court at Independence, and upon trial, found guilty. Thus ingloriously terminated the existence of the "Montgomery Guards," and the last of the claim clubs.

There were several of these organizations in various localities in the county, embracing nearly every law-abiding and peaceably-disposed citizen. Instances occur, too, in which these clubs took in hand matters of a criminal character, as in the case of the assassination of John A. Twiss in the southern part of the county. Twiss, a peaceable and respected citizen, was attacked by a party of three men and foully murdered. This unprovoked act of crime and butchery called forth the indignation and vengeance of the citizens. The criminals were apprehended, a preliminary investigation had, and the guilt was fixed upon the parties charged, who were hanged to an oak tree that stood near the cabin of the murdered man. But municipal organizations being perfected, these clubs became things of the past, giving way to legally constituted tribunals and court of laws.

[TOC] [part 2] [part 1] [Cutler's History]