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


[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]


In Sterling Township in May, 1872, William P. Edwards settled on Section 18, Township 21, Range 8, about three miles from Peace. At that time, What is now Sterling Township contained seven families, and on the town site of Peace A. G. Landis had his store building partly finished, which was the

(Image of Public School, Sterling, Kansas)

only trace of civilization. Rev. J. B. Schlicter was a clerk in the store of Mr. Landis. Mr. Edwards, in 1876, said: "We have now a schoolhouse on section 18, and two weeks more of school will make a six months' school this season, with only one week's vacation, and this section has four families and twenty-two children living on it, and has furnished seventeen scholars from it who have been in regular attendance for the last term."

A prominent Friend, Rev. J. B. Schlicter, Congregationalist, and Rev. Thomas H. Watt, Wesleyan Methodist, were the locators of Peace.

April 18, 1876, at chambers, in the City of Marion Centre, Judge Samuel R. Peters issued a decree of court incorporating the City of Sterling, which decree Was published in the Rice County Gazette, and which declared: "Said town of Peace, in the County of Rice and State of Kansas, incorporated as a city of the third class, under the name and style of The City of Sterling, "and do hereby designate its metes and bounds as follows, to-wit: Section twenty-one (21) Township twenty-one (21) South, of Range eight (8) West, in Rice County, Kansas."

He ordered an election for city officers to be held in the office of "Reck's Cottage" on May 10, designating J. L. Burwell, J. E. Davies and Patten Himrod as Judges; Kirk Himrod and J. H. Smith, Clerks; W. A. English, W. B. Hadlock and A. G. Landis as a Board of Canvassers. The officers elected were as follows: Councilmen, W. H. Lape, receiving 69 votes; E. B. Cowgill, 63; A. G. Landis, 58; W. H. Page, 39; Patten Himrod, 38; W. M. Lamb was elected Police Judge; J. S. Chapin, Mayor, each receiving 36 votes.

At the city election held April 2, 1883, R. F. Bond was elected Mayor; W. A. Thomas, Police Judge; J. G. Skiles, John De Ford, P. P. Truehart, J. C. Turner and D. S. Knouse, Councilmen. There were 224 votes polled.

When the name of this town was changed it was in honor of Sterling Rosan, one of its early settlers. The town of Sterling is 230 miles southwest of Atchison; 253 miles from Kansas City, and is a railroad station on the A., T. & S. F. R. R., of present and prospective great importance.


Ten years ago it could scarcely be called a hamlet. In 1880, its population was 1,014; in 1883, its estimated population is 1,500. Its business may be summarized in the spring of 1883, as follows: Three banks, two architects and builders, six grocery stores, three hardware stores, three jewelry and music stores, four dry goods stores, one furniture store, three hotels, one druggist, two shoemakers, and other artisans found in a first-class village.

There is an elevator, known as the Davenport Elevator, built in 1878, by Dow, Hancock & Gilman, now (1883), run by Charles Arnold, the present proprietor.

There are two flouring mills; the Crystal Mills and Keystone Mills. Other industries.

Syrup Works. -- Clements & Eustis, proprietors. In July, 1881, these works were built at a cost of $13,000, and opened in August. The daily capacity of the works is 2,000 gallons of syrup. The machinery is driven by a 50-horse power, the steam is supplied by two 100-horse power boilers, immense coils of steam pipe are used for heating the different tanks and pans used in the second and third stories of the building. The proprietors have raised a large portion of the cane they manufactured into syrup, and in 1883, intend planting 700 acres. In order to utilize the large amount of power that remains idle when the works are not running, the proprietors propose to put in a large amount of mill machinery, for the purpose of manufacturing flour.

Sugar Factory. - Reginald M. Sandys & Co., of New Orleans, have an extensive stone sugar factory, twenty-five feet in height, 40x130 feet. The cost of the building and machinery is some $40,000. The adaptability of the soil and climate of Central Kansas for the production of that kind of cane, susceptible of making an excellent quality of syrup, and also sugar has been placed beyond question. In 1882, Mr. A. J. Decker, a special agent of the United States Agricultural Department, visited Kansas, and in a letter bearing date, December 26, 1882, to Col. A. S. Johnson, Land Commissioner of the A., T. & S. F. R. R., he says:

"Replying to your request for information on the sorghum interest in the country, as to the success in the production of sugar, and the advantages of Kansas in producing this crop, I am pleased to answer:

That during the past year the obstacles in the way of making sugar from sorghum have been greatly overcome, manufacturers producing one thousand pounds of first quality dry sugar to the acre of cane with as much certainty as flour is produced from wheat.

As to the advantages of Kansas for growing sorghum, I find the soil and climate especially adapted to this crop. The planting season commences about the 1st of April, and continues until July, giving a working season of fully ninety days. The dry weather and almost constant sunshine of the fall season develops a juice testing from 10!B to 14!B, with an average above 12!B, while the average of the other States visited did not exceed an average of 9!B.

This advantage may be more plainly understood by a statement of the fact that 9!B requires ten gallons of juice for one gallon of syrup, juice testing 12!B, requiring less than six gallons.

And I have taken notes of the largest yield per acre, and find that J. W. Chapman, five and a half miles from Sterling, raised 67,500 pounds of sorghum on one acre, which is larger than any yield yet reported to me.

Another great advantage is the large quantity of seed and its quality. The amounts reported were from twenty to forty bushels to the acre, and sixty pounds per bushel. It was considered by most persons engaged in the business, that the seed was worth as much as it cost to raise the cane and deliver it at the mill.

Owing to the dry fall weather, again, the bagasse furnishes all needful fuel, nothing else being used. I was assured by the large factories that the cost of producing syrups was less than 20 cents per gallon.

With these natural advantages, and with the aid of the new developments in producing sugar from the sorghum, which I understand are to be applied in three of the largest factories in Kansas, this coming season of 1883, I am satisfied will show results far ahead of any yet shown. In the near future, Kansas can not fail to rank high as a sugar-producing State; and when these advantages become known, there will be a sugar boom in Kansas that will shake the entire country.

Mr. Sandys, the resident partner of Sandys & Co., a practical sugar manufacturer and chemist, regards this region of Kansas almost equal to Louisiana in producing cane, and is not subject to the calamities that so often and so destructively injure the crop in that State."

In the latter part of March, 1883, Mr. Sandys sold this establishment to Eastern parties, represented by P. H. Kellogg, of Boston, J. W. Langley, John Layman and M. A. Scoville, of Champaign, Ill. These purchaser expect to adapt the works to the manufacture of sugar from the sorghum syrup by the process that obtains at the Champaign works, and will put in additional machinery.


W. P. CLEMENT, general superintendent Sterling Syrup Works, came to Sterling in February, 1881, and soon became engaged in the above business. He was born in Columbus, Columbia Co., Wis., November 14, 1854, where he lived until 1868, when his parents moved to Monticello, Green Co., Wis., and lived until he came to Kansas. Married May 24, 1874, to Miss Alice Pierce, of Dayton, Green CO., Wis. They have two children -- Arthur P., born August 7, 1875, and Earle, born November 16, 1880. He is a member of Temple of Honor. The Sterling Syrup Works were erected in 1881; size of building, 36x64 feet and an L 36x35 feet, also a mill room 16x70 feet. Capacity, 2,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. Manufactured in season 1882, 30,000 gallons. During business season they employ sixty men. They raise their own cane, as the above company own 640 acres of land.

C. B. DONALDSON, proprietor of the Green Mountain House, came to Manhattan, Kan., in 1875 and kept the Adams House four and a half years, thence went to Denver, Col., where he became master of transportation on Denver and N. O. R. R. a year; returned to Manhattan a short time, thence to Sterling, where he opened the above hotel October 9, 1882. He was born in New York State in 1835, his parents removing to Michigan when he was three months old. Was raised in Michigan as a farmer. When eighteen years old he went into the hotel business with his father, until he enlisted in 1861 in Company F, Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry; transferred and promoted to Second Lieutenant, Eighth Michigan Cavalry; participated in all the battles of his command. He was mustered out in the fall of 1864. He then went West and engaged on the U. P. R. R. as conductor two years, then master of transportation a year, thence to San Francisco, Cal., in the same capacity, for the Central Pacific R. R. a year, when he came to Denver, Col., where we leave him as conductor and train dispatcher on the K. P. R. R. five years. He married in 1875 Miss Clara Lord, of Worcester, Mass. He is a member of all Masonic Orders up to and including the Knights Templar. He served as Postmaster of Holly, Mich., eight years.

HENRY T. DUNLAP, farmer and stock raiser, Section 10, Township 21, Range 8 west, P. O. Sterling. He came this place February 26, 1876; now has 160 acres of land, 145 of which is cultivated. He is the most extensive dealer in broom corn in Rice County. In 1882 he bought and shipped 550 tons of the product. In 1881, he raised twenty-three tons on 100 acres of ground, which he sold at $75 per ton. In 1882 he raised eleven tons on 100 acres of ground and realized $100 per ton. He was born in Knox County, Ill., March 26, 1843, and was raised in his native county on a farm. Married in 1868, to Miss Maria Humphreys, of Ellinwood, Peoria Co., Ill. They have four children -- William W., Andrew H., Mary H. and Florence E. He is a member of the Congregational Church, K. of H. and K. & L. of H. He is Township Trustee and Assessor of his town.

W. Q. ELLIOT came to Sterling October 1, 1873. He has followed farming and stock raising and banking since. He owns a farm of 1,700 acres in Rice and Reno counties where he keeps a large amount of improved stock. His residence is in Reno County. He was born in Wayne County, Ind., in 1837; raised and educated in his native State and followed teaching in early life. He was married in 1858 to Miss Rebecca J. Jackson, of his native county. They have eleven sons and one daughter -- Salina M., Mark H., Joseph W. J., Cassius M. C., Lincoln L., Sylvester J., William Q., Jr., Charles S., Clarkson T., Caleb B., Laban M. and Stanley P. They are members of the Quaker Church. The Rice County Bank, a private institution owned and operated by Mr. W. Q. Elliott, was opened for business in June 1879. Eastern correspondents are Chemical National of New York City, Bank of Kansas City, Mo.

J. K. FARRAR, Superintendent of Public Schools, came to this State, April 1, 1874, settled on a farm in Reno County, and followed agricultural pursuits for a year, then taught the Ashland school for six years, elected Superintendent of Schools in the fall of 1880; re-elected in the fall of 1882; he was born in Jackson County, Ohio, February 24, 1845; he was raised on a farm and educated in Gallia Academy, Gallia County, Ohio; graduating in 1867, afterward made teaching his profession until be came to Kansas. He enlisted in September, 1861, in Company A, Fifty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and participated in the sieges of Corinth, Vicksburg, battles of Mansfield. Cane River and Monnett's Ferry. Discharged May 7, 1866. Married in 1867, Miss Lucy Venters, of Portland, Ohio. They have five children Maggie, Mary A., Alice J., Elizabeth E. and Laura 0. He is a member of Meade Post No. 14, G. A. R.

MRS. S. C. FISHER, dealer in general line of millinery and ladies furnishing goods. She opened trade in March, 1877, erected her store building in the summer of 1880, size of the building 20x50 feet, built of brick, two stories high at a cost of $1,600. She carries an average stock of $2,000. She was born in Lewis County, W. Va., in 1845, but raised in Lee and Van Buren counties, Iowa, going there with parents in 1849. She was married in 1880, to Mr. Alex Fisher, of Pennsylvania; her husband died in 1864. From Iowa, she moved to Scotland County, Mo., and lived until she came to Kansas. Mr. Fisher enlisted in 1861, as a drummer in Company F, Twenty-first Regiment Missouri Volunteers, and served three years. Re-enlisted last year of the war and was lost or killed as he was never heard from afterward.

GEORGE GALL, dealer in dry goods and general merchandise, opened trade in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1875. Removed to Sterling, in March, 1879, where he began business. He occupies rooms 20x75 feet, and employs five men in the business; carries an average stock of $15,000 to $20,000. Mr. Gall first located in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1870, where he embarked in general merchandise five years. He was born in Scotland, July 2, 1839; came to America in 1860, located in Milwaukee, Wis., where he clerked in the dry goods and hardware business until he came to Kansas. He has one son -- Lewis J. Gall. Mr. G. is a member and elder in the Presbyterian Church at Sterling, Kan.

L. HARRIMAN, physician and surgeon, first came to Sterling in January, 1876, where he has since practiced medicine. Born in Easton, Preble Co., Ohio, December 31, 1816, was raised and studied in native place; began studying medicine at the age of eighteen years, read with a Dr. Cox until twenty-one years old and practiced in the meantime, after he had practiced medicine eight years, he took a course in Rush Medical College, at Chicago, Ill. He has practiced his profession in Wayne. Henry and Madison counties, Ind., being a practitioner seventeen years, in one place. Married in April, 1837, to Miss Elizabeth Swafford, of Wayne County, Ind. They have one son -- George M. His wife died in 1849. Again married in August, 1851, to Mrs. Angelina Graham, of Wheeling, Ind. They have three children -- Rena, married to Mr. Cowgill, of Sterling; Benjamin F., a physician and graduate, College Physicians and Surgeons of Keokuk, Iowa, and Flora T. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church of Sterling. He was proprietor of the city drug store five years.

WILSON KEYS, farmer and stock-raiser. His farm joins town site on the south, contains 160 acres; has 240 acres near Arkansas River. He first came to Sterling in June, 1874. Makes stock-feeding a specialty. He was born in Jefferson County, Pa., in January, 1830; reared a farmer; lived in native county until 1857, at which date he came to Doniphan County, Kan., engaging in various occupations until the fall of 1858. He saw much of the border warfare, being a member of Kansas State Militia for protection of Free-state settlers. He afterward returned to Pennsylvania, and lived there until he came to Sterling. He enlisted in first call for three months men in April, 1861, Company K, Eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Re-enlisted Company F, Eighty-second Pennsylvania Volunteer infantry, participated in all battles of his command until battle at Cold Harbor, when he was sent to hospital. Mustered out September 16, 1865. He is a member of Meade Post No. 14, G. A. R. Married 1843, to Miss Eliza Burnham, of Clarion County. Pa. They have two children -- Fred C. and Edwin E.; both now attending Sterling High School.

WATSON M. LAMB, physician and surgeon and dealer in general line of drugs, medicines, druggists' sundries and school books, opened trade November 1. 1882; carries on an average stock of $2,500. He first located at Douglass, Butler Co., Kan., in 1869. Removed to Sterling in the fall of 1875. He was born In Geauga County, Ohio, May 2, 1845. He was married in 1889, to Miss Addie E. Douglass, of Williamson, Wayne Co., N. Y. They have two children -- Bertha Amelia and George Esterly.

W. H. LAPE, of the firm of Lape & Davies. dealers in general merchandise, opened trade in 1875, and they carry a general stock of $8,000. They employ four men in the business and occupy rooms 20x85 feet. W. H. Lape first came to Montgomery County, Kan., in 1870 with his parents. He first began in the grocery business in Sterling in 1875. He was born in Wayne County, N. Y., 1854; moved to Warren County, Ill., in 1856, and lived with his parents until he came to Sterling. He was married in 1878, to Miss Fannie C. Bump, a native of Indiana. They have two children -- Ethel E. and Bessie. He is a member of the Masonlc Order and the I. 0. 0. P.

DR. M. A. MILLARD, physician and surgeon, came to Kansas in April, 1582. locating at Sterling. He has since practiced his profession. He was born In Otsego County, Ohio, in 1847; moved to Crawford County, Pa., where he was raised. He is a member of the Allopathic School of Physicians; graduated from the Buffalo Medical College in 1872; began the profession at Fairview. Erie Co., Pa., where he remained until he came to Kansas. He was married in 1876, to Miss Mary E. Rowley, of Lockport, Erie Co., Pa. They have three children -- Gertrude, deceased, Eva M., Arthur B. and Ollie. He is a member of the A. 0. U. W., of Fairview, Pa.

REV. M. J. MORSE, farmer and stock-raiser. The first pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Rice County, came to the county (Rice) and settled on Section 2, Township 20, Range 9 June 6, 1872, where he lived a year and farmed and preached. He then went to Atlanta, the County capital, a place of a few houses, and engaged in the grocery and hardware business, in company with J. B. Holmes, about two years. Then returned to his farm. In the meantime he preached and organized the First Methodist Episcopal class in Rice County, June 22, 1872, in the old ranch previously occupied by Buffalo Bill (W. T. Cody). There were about fifteen in the class. He organized a Methodist Episcopal Sunday-school about two weeks later. He preached at the first funeral in Rice County, June, 1872; being that of a small child -- Charles Campbell. He was elected to represent the County of Rice in the State Legislature in 1873. He was born at Smithville, County of Lincoln, Canada, January 11, 1832, and educated at Victoria College. Preached in Minnesota two years. Thence to Missouri and engaged in merchandising until he came to Kansas. He was married in 1854, to Miss Eleanor Griffin, of Smithville, Canada. They have two children -- Ency S., married Robert F. Embree, of Farmer Township, Kan.; and Milton H., married Miss Flora Givins, of Lyons, Kan., and is living on the old homestead in Center Township.

J. A. PORTER, clerk in real estate and loan office. He first settled in the northeast corner of Rice County, where he followed farming until 1879, then moved to Sterling and became proprietor of the City Mills, which he run (sic) until 1881. Followed house and sign painting until August, 1882, and has since been in the railroad land office. He was born on the River Ganges, East Indies Nov. 5, 1837, living in his native country until twelve years of age. His father, Rev. Joseph Porter, was a missionary to the latter country, from Ohio, to which State be returned in 1849, again returning to India, where he died in 1853. The subject of this sketch lived in Vicksburg, Miss., five years. He enlisted in 1863, in Com- pany G. One Hundredth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. After some time he received a commission as Second Lieutenant of Company B. One Hundred and Eighteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, participating in all the battles of his command. He was mustered out, March 1, 1884, recruited a company for the Fifty-ninth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. He was married in 1841, to Rebecca H. Yonge, of Rising Sun, Ind. They have one son -- William R. Mr. P. is a member of the Masonic order including the thirty-second degree. He is a member of the K. & L. of H., and Meade Post No. 14, and is adjutant of the latter.

J. H. RICKSECKER, land and loan broker and agent for the A., T. & S. F. lands, settled on a farm in Rice County in 1870, followed the latter business for two years, then opened a law office. He was admitted to the bar of the district court of Rice County. He was born in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1843, lived with his parents on a farm until fourteen years old, then entered Oberlin College, Ohio, as a student; continued until 1859, then followed clerking for some time. He enlisted in 1882, in Company D, One Hundred and Fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, participated in all the battles of his command, and received a medal presented by Sec. Stanton, for capturing the battle flag of the Sixteenth Georgia Artillery at the battle of Franklin, Tenn., November 4, 1864, and was mustered out in 1865, when he came to Kansas. He resumed his law studies, served as County Attorney of Rice County in 1872-73 and '74. He was married in 1870, to Miss Ada A. Benedict, of Bedford, Ohio. They have one son -- Don Conklin. Mr. R. Is a member of Meade Post No. 14, G. A. R., also I. O. O. F. of Sterling.

J. H. SMITH, attorney at law and collecting agent, loan office, etc. He first located in Neosho County, Kan., in 1868, and prospected a number of years, finally his permanent residence at Sterling, in 1873; farmed a short time, then opened a law office, being the first attorney to locate in practice in Sterling, July 1, 1873. He was born in Delaware County, Ind., April 22, 1845, and raised in that State. Educated in Muncie, in Indiana. Enlisted, August, 1863, in Company D, One Hundred and Seventeenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, re-enlisted the following August, in Company C, One Hundred and Fortieth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, participating in all battles of command. The promotions were Sergeant, Second and First Lieutenant, mustered out at Greensboro, N. C., August, 1865. He then attended and taught school until 1867, when he began the study of law, attended the Muncie Academy; admitted to the bar of practice at the latter city, in 1870. He engaged in the practice of law at Cooper Delta, Texas, in 1870-71, thence to Kansas. Has served as a member of Sterling City Council two years. Married in 1874, to Miss Mary A. Taylor, of Brooklyn, N. Y. They have four children -- Carrie S., James, Jr., Mary C., and William O. He is a member of Masonic order K. Of H., and Meade Post, No. 14, G. A. R. He has been interested in the Rice County Herald, published at Sterling for the past three years.

S. P. C. STUBBS, Postmaster, came to Kansas, October 2, 1871, locating twenty miles southwest of Topeka in Wabaunsee County, and farmed the first year, thence to Sterling and took a soldier's homestead in October, 1872, farmed a year, and followed the carpenter trade. Engaged in the real estate business in the fall of 1873, under the firm name of Smith & Stubbs. Also became local agent for A., T. & S. F. lands. Became Postmaster in Sterling in February, 1873, holding the office since. Engaged in cattle-raising business in 1880, having a cattle ranch twenty miles southwest of Sterling. He was born in Preble County, Ohio, September 19, 1844, lived in his native place until 1861, when he enlisted in Company I, Eleventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and participated in over thirty battles, serving under Genls. Rosecranz, Thomas and Sherman. Received First Lieutenant's commission just at the close of the war. Was mustered out in 1865. He soon afterward went to Iowa Falls, Iowa, and began farming. Married, August 26, 1865, to Miss Rachel G. Hunt, of Wilmington, Ohio. They have four children -- Charles F., Salmon J., Nellie and Ryan. He was raised a farmer. He is a member of Meade Post No. 14, G. A. R., and L. & K. of H., of Sterling, Kas.

P. P. TRUEHEART, physician and surgeon, also dealer in a general line of drugs, medicines, paints, oils, etc., under the firm name of Trueheart & Ferguson. They opened the above business in August, 1881; now carry a general average stock of $3,000. They Doctor first came to Sterling, Kas., in October, 1877, and has since practiced medicine. He was born in Powhatan County, Va., November 6, 1851, lived in his native State until 1873. Entered the hospital college of medicine as a student at Louisville, Ky., in 1874, graduating in February, 1876. Began the practice of his profession at Stanford, Ky., where he continued until October, 1877, pursuing the Allopath school of medicine. Married, May 13, 1880, to Miss Lucy B. Hocker, of Richmond, Ky. They have one son -- Marion. The Doctor is a member of the I. O. O. F., K. of H., K. and L. of H., of Sterling, also Kansas Central Medical Association, and is ex-vice-president of the later; also a member of the State Medical Society of Kansas.

J. C. TURNER, dealer general line of hardware and farm machinery, opened trade in the spring of 1877. Erected store building winter of 1878-9, at a cost of $1,500; burned down February 16, 1880. Erected present store building spring of 1880; size 70x22 feet, and ware room 75 feet long, at a cost of $3,500. He first carried a stock of $2,500; now carries a stock of $8,000. Born in Brown County, Ohio, 1843; lived in native State until spring of 1866, when he came to Windsor, Shelby Co., Ill., and engaged in hardware business twelve years, thence to Kansas. Enlisted in September, 1861, in Company C, Fifty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but was soon discharged on account of disability. Married 1868, to Miss Eunice L. Wallace, a native of Ohio. They have two children, Walter C. and Mabel E. They are members of the Congregational Church of Sterling.

[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]