Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

History of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions online

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men of affairs than any man in the county. He is a member of the bar, and
while many of his plans have failed and he has suffered the disappointment
of his fondest hopes, yet it can truthfully be said of him that he has always
ardently believed in Blue Rapids and her future and has spent a fortune in
trying to build up the town. He- is now old, feeble and limited in this
world's goods, but the history of Blue Rapids would not be complete with-
out recognition of what he has done in her interests.

The plans of the founders of Blue Rapids, to make it the leading city
in this part of the state, have not as yet been realized, but its industries have
developed beyond that of ^any other town in the county. There are four
gypsum mills in active operation and its water power furnishes electric
power for several towns, among them being Marysville. It has splendid


cluirdies. ch'antar.qua. school^ and citizcnshi]), r.nd is one of the prettiest resi-
dence towns in northern Kansas.

The census enumerator for kjiT) re])orts the ])opulation as one thousand
six linnch'cd and seventy-three.


On the j6th day of June, 1879, the Blue Rapids Cemetery Association
was organized with the following officers : President, Festus Cooley ; vice-
president, W. A. Barrett ; secretary, M. C. Holman ; treasurer. Dr. C. A.
Freeland. The capital stock was secured by the sale of one thousand shares
at ten dollars each.

Block No. 4, of ten acres, in the northeast part of the city, was purchased
and a charter was obtained from the state on August 13, 1879. Thus was
secured to the city of Blue Rapids a most beautiful spot for use as a ceme-
tery. Sloping gradually in every direction, it commands a charming view of
the valley of the Blue river, for a distance of several miles, with Irving in
the distance. The whole plat is surrounded with a hedge, which is kept
trimmed, and selected elm and maple trees shade the avenues. Two iron
gates — one for vthicle'^ and one for pedestrians — afford entrance to the silent

"Where the beautiful grasses, low and sweet.
Grow in the middle of every street."'

Common report accords this cemetery the reputation of being one of the
most beautiful and well-kept cemeteries in Marshall county. Nearly thirty
soldiers of the Civil War. members of Robert Hale Post No. 328, including
their devoted commander, Capt. Martin Morton, who died on January 7,
1916, are buried here.


In the year 1907 the name of the cemetery was changed to Fairmont, by
the expressed wish of Capt. John McPherson.

The board of directors, December 20, 1916, consisted of A. E. Sw^eetland,
]Jr. R. S. Fillmore, John McPherson. Livy B. Tibbetts and A. A. Marvin.
The officers of the association, chosen from the board of directors, are : A. E.
Sweetland, president and manager; John McPherson, vice-president; Dr. R.
S. Fillmore, treasurer; Livy B. Tibbetts, secretary, and George Flower, super-


Tavo names stand out prominently in connection with the organization :
John McPherson and Festus Cooley. Mr. McPherson, as prime mover, and
earnestly and actively engaged in every step of its early history; Festus Cooley,
its first president, to whose generous support in no little degree is the present
splendid condition due. Mr. Cooley was the first of that first board of direc-
tors to be laid to rest in the spot he so earnestly helped to make beautiful,
September 2, 1891, his wife having preceded him on January 25, 1890.

James D. Field followed him on January 2, 1903. Dr. C. A. Freeland
died and was buried at Kansas City, Kansas, some thirty years ago. W. A.
Barrett removed to his former home in Ohio, many years since. M. C.
Holman has been living in Topeka, Kansas, for over thirty years.

Of the original paid-up subscribers to stock, five are living here; five
living elsewhere ; twenty-three are buried here ; ten are buried elsewhere.

The board of directors and ofi^.cers of the association receive no com-


Flack & Barraclough, general merchandise.
C. W. Granger, general merchandise.
Moore Brothers, groceries and meats.
Allerdice & Ouinn, groceries and meats. •

• ■ Mrs. A. Barraclough, variety store.
Frank Marvin, variety store.
Brown & Company, hardware.

Union Hardware Company, John Skalla, proprietor.
Coulter Drug Company.
Reder Drug Company.
L. G. Trombla, jeweler and optometrist.
A. A. Marvin, jeweler and optometrist.
Miss Irene Stuart, millinerv.
Miss May Faulkner, millinery.
James Ryan, furniture and undertaking.
Commercial Hotel, James Searcy, proprietor.
Albion Hotel, Walter E. Hill, proprietor.
Moser Brothers, gents furnishings. •

J. E. Rodkey, garage.

G. Van Valkenberg, garage and auto dealer.
Mrs. H. Scott, restaurant.


Midway Cafe.

A. J. Brice, pool hall.

Mrs. Hamilton, restaurant.

S. J. Olds, blacksmith.

C. \y. Tempero. livery barn.

Train Lumber Company.

Burgner-Bowman Lumber Company.

C. D. Smith, lawyer.

W. W. Reed, physician.

C. AIcFarland, physician.

R. S. Fillmore, physician.

S. W. Gilson, dentist.

J. B. Scott, barber.

W. H. Pheiffer, barber.

O. Hellman, picture show house.

Marshall Power and Light Company.

Blue Rapids Telephone Company.

JOHN m'pherson.

A histoiy of Blue Rapids and of Marshall county would be incomplete
without mention of a man who has served his country as a gallant soldier,
his state as a trusted official, and his county as a patriotic and loyal citizen,
for half a century.

Capt. John McPherson left home a private and served four years as a
I'nion soldier. He was promoted captain for gallant and meritorious ser-
vice on the field of battle. He was in many a hard-fought battle of the
great war and marched with Sherman to the sea.

Age has come ujjon him. l)ut has not diminished his love for his adopted
country (he was born in Scotland), nor his faith in her glorious future.
His cheerful smile and corrlial hand-clasp make him always a welcome guest
at any gathering, public or private; while his ripened judgment and noble-
ness of heart and niind endear him to a host of friends.

Captain McPherson has two children, J. E. McPherson, of Kansas City,
and Mrs. Claude Guthrie, of Marysville. He spends his summers- with his
children and his v.inters in California. Mrs. McPherson died several years



John V. Coon was born in Phelps, New York, March 30, 1822. He
was of German descent and was a loyal friend to people of his lineage. He
was educated at Hobarts College, Xew York. In 1842 he was married to
Charlotte M. Miller. Their marriage was a very happy one. His aged
widow still survives him. Judge and Mrs. Coon were the parents of one
son, Emir J. Coon, who died many years ago.

In 1844 J- V. Coon and his young bride moved to Elyria, Ohio, where
in his chosen profession, the law, he gained prominence and wealth. The
panic of 1873 swept much of the wealth away and he again turned his foot-
steps westward, locating in Blue Rapids. He discovered the presence of
gypsum among the ledges, near there, and he and his son, Emir, built the
first mill west of the Alississippi river for the manufacture of plaster of Paris
from gypsum. To John V. Coon and Emir J. Coon, ^Marshall county owes
the origin of the largest single manufacturing industry within its borders
today. Those two men exemplified the highest types of manhood. They
were able, cultured, broadminded and generous, ever looking forward to
the growth and development of the county and the state, along educational,
political and religious lines. On Xovember 6, 1894, Judge Coon was elected
county attorney of ^Marshall county. On January 4, 1895, he was buried.
The sympathies of a very large circle of friends were extended to the sur-
viving members of his family. Mrs. John V. Coon, his widow, aged ninety-
six years, and the widow^ of her son. Emir J. Coon, reside with Hon. James
G. Strong, county attorney, and his wife, Fanny, who is a daughter of Emir
J. Coon.


J. B. Brown was one of the three commissioners sent to Kansas to
select the location for the colony. He was one of the strong, forceful men
of the colonv and his counsel was sought during many troublous times. He
was always liopeful and optimistic during the darkest hours. He believed
ardently in the future of Blue Rapids and was an honored and respected
citizen of the town and of ^Marshall county. He died on March 11, 1885,
and his death was felt as a personal loss to all those who knew him. His
good name stands as a monument to his kindred and friends.



C. J. Brown is the oldest settler now residing in Blue Rapids. Mr.
Brown was a member of the original town company and an active supporter
of its enterprises. In April, 1872, he assumed charge of the real-estate busi-
ness of Olmstead, Freehand & Company. In 1874 he was elected to the
state Legislature, and in 1876, to the state Senate. He w^as later elected
clerk of the supreme court, which position he filled for many years. He was
married on September 10, 1881, to Mrs. Julia Greer, of Topeka.

Mr. Browai has been one of the foremost citizens of Marshall county,
since he became a resident and has been prominently identified with every
forward movement along political, social and religious lines. His long
service with the supreme court gave him a wide circle of friends over the
state and his advice on public matters is sought by the most prominent people
of the state. He is genial and courteous, resolute and courageous in all
matters and is universally respected.


The story of Marshall county boys who have made good, would make
a very long and interesting chapter, and that chapter would certainly include
the name of Hon. Walter P. Brown, of Blue Rapids. Born in Genesee
county. New York, in 1862, he was nine years old when he came to Marshall
county with his parents in 1871. He was educated in public schools of Blue
Rapids and had business training in the wholesale hardware store of Blish,
Mize & Silliman, in Atchison.

In 1889, after eight years of work for the Atchison firm, in almost every
department of that great establishment. \A'alter Brow'n started the Brown
Brothers hardware firm in Blue Rapids and, now at the close of twenty-
seven years, he is still at the head of the business project, which he has suc-
cessfully conducted from the start.

In 1908, Mr. Brown w^as elected to the state Senate and served the four-.
year term with great credit to his district and to himself. In his own com-
munity and in the county, he is a recognized leader for the things that are
w^orth W'hile.

Cities, Towns and Villages.


Axtell is situated in the eastern part of Marshall county, in Murray
township, one mile from the Nemaha county line. It is located on the
St. Joseph & Grand Island and Wyandotte & Northwestern railroads. It is
eighty-nine miles west of St. Joseph, Missouri, and twenty-four miles east
of Marysville.

The townsite of Axtell was surveyed in January, 1872, by the St.
Joseph Town Company. The first building was erected by "Shoe-string"
W. H. Dickinson, early in 1872, and used by him as a store for one year,
when he was succeeded by R. F. White.

During the same year the railroad company built a depot and side track ;
the Axtell postoffice was established and R. F. White was appointed post-
master. On August 2, 1880, this was made a money-order office and Thomas
Hynes sent the first money order.

The first birth was that of a son to W. H. Dickinson, early in 1872,
and the first death in town was George W. Earl, Axtell's first blacksmith,
who died in 1874 and was buried at Seneca, Kansas.

No marriage is recorded prior to 1879.

The Wyandotte & Northwestern railroad was built into Axtell in 1889.

In 1847 the county was visited by drought and grasshoppers and new
towns did not prosper. In 1879 there were but four families in Axtell.

During the fall of 1879 and winter of 1880 a colony of twenty fami-
lies came from Deep River, Iowa. Among these colonies were Reuben,
Joseph, Harry, John and Lewis Wasser, J. H. Seaman, J. and A. E. Axtell,
J. Johnson and others. The addition of these people gave Axtell a forward
impetus and it is now one of the thriving business towns of the county.



School district No. 56 was organized in 1872. The school was kept in a
house owned by A. Watkins and the first school taught by John Watkins.
The school was then located one mile east of the present town.

In 1872-73 a frame school house, twenty by thirty feet, was built in
the town at a cost of seven hundred and fifty dollars. Miss Jennie Newlands
taught this school for three terms. In 1880 the Catholic church bought the
school house, for church purposes, and a new school house was built at a
cost of two thousand dollars. A. M. Billingsley was the first teacher. In
19 1 2 the old building was enlarged by the addition of two rooms, and in
19 14 a two-story brick addition was made to the school. It is now one of
the Barnes high schools of the county, with a course of study which includes
manual training, domestic science and normal training. Lecture courses have
been given since 1908. C. I. Smith, the superintendent of the city schools,
manages the lecture course.

In 19 10 Stephen Stout presented the city of Axtell with a beautiful
park, which is used for all public out-door entertainments. The park has a
fine baseball diamond and a good home team.

The Chautauqua courses are held in the park annually, and Axtell has
one .of the best chautauqua programs in the county.

In 1908 the Axtell granite and marble works were established by
William Werner, who learned his trade as a marble cutter in Germany.

One of the potent factors in the growth of Axtell was the establish-
ment of Gaylord's department store. This is an up-to-date general merchan-
dise store, employing ten clerks and handling an immense stock of goods.

Axtell has a well-organized and fully-equipped fire department, with
E. S. Alexander as fire chief.

In 1909 A. J. Ingram started the Axtell Produce Company, a large
concern, doing a wholesale tgg, butter, poultry and feed business. Labbe
Brothers conduct an up-to-date moving picture show. Two modern garages
are under construction by I. W. Kerr and Joseph Severin.


• In the forty-five years of its existence Axtell has reached fourth place
in the county in population and business importance, having passed a num-
ber of the older towns.











Axtell has seven hundred and eighteen inhabitants. It stands one thou-
sand four hundred feet above sea level, affording a beautiful view of the
surrounding county for many miles, in all directions. Summerfield is the
only town in the county which has a higher altitude.

Axtell has an abundance of shade trees, well-kept streets and cement
walks to all parts of town.

All branches of business are well represented by proprietors who are
abreast of the times; stores and shops that would do credit to a town much

One of the leading industries is the Axtell telephone exchange, of which
A. W. Rundle is president and D. O'Neil. manager. This company operates
two hundred and twenty-one city phones and twenty-seven rural lines.


Hardware — Thomas Keegan, John Lichty.

General merchandise — Gaylord's Department Store.

Cash Mercantile Company — O'Neil & Ager, managers.

Merchandise — Waymire Brothers.

Restaurant and bakery — Jacob Roth f elder.

Restaurant — Pierson and Barnes.

Gent's furnishings — William Johnson.

Billiards and pool — George Branson.

Photographer — F. B. Strathman.

Axtell Produce Company — J. A. Ingram.

Farmers Union Produce Company — Ed Bergman, manager.

Elevators — D. C. O'Neil, Harold Connett, Farmers Union.

Implements — Farmers Union.

Implements — D. C. O'Neil.

Lumber, lime and coal — Robe & Brawner.

Boyd Lumljer Company — Jos. Medlack, manager.

Garages- — T. W. Kerr.

Garages — Labbe Brothers.

Hotel — Commercial House, Charles Ross, proprietor.

Drugs — J. R. Sidwell.

Jewelry — L. W. Sterling.

Blacksmiths — Ernest Mack, Jeff Davis.

Auto repair shop — D. Pierce.

Furniture — T. M. Keegan, R. W. Motes.


Harness, shoes and repairing — John Msher.
Undertaking— D. C. O'Xeil, R. W. ^lotes.
Barbers — Everet Alexander, Frank Wright.
Planing mill — O. A. Ivers.
Electric theater — Labbe Brothers.
Clothes cleaners — Herbert Scott, W. ^I. Johnson.
Newspaper — Axtell Standard, Frank A. Werner.
Marble yard — William Werner.
Dentist — Audley Gaston.
Physicians — D. Piper, C. M. Newman.

Veterinary surgeons — Doctor Pijjer and Dr. P. J. Cavanaugh.
Axtell Telephone Exchange — A. W. Rundle, president; D. C. O'Neil,


Rose Hill cemetery, Axtell, is located one-half mile west of the town.
This cemetery is well cared for and beautifully kept by the Axtell Cemetery
Association, of which Mrs. N. H. Cone is president. The ladies have paid
for having a cement walk laid to the grounds, by. giving dinners, bazaars
and other entertainments.


Ed E. Hanna is the present postmaster of Axtell, and there are three
rural mail routes from the postoffice.

The best residences in the town are those of A. L. Simpson, Charles
Phillips, Airs. Martha Farrar and Airs. Euphemia Strayer.

The best business blocks are those of D. C. O'Neil, Daniel Aleara, S. S.
Simpson, I. W. Kerr, Joseph Severin, and Gaylord's department store.

Many men and women of Atxell are worthy of special mention in the
history of the town and it would be a pleasure to record something of their
worth to the to\\n and the county.

Among others who have helped make Axtell the splendid little city of
today, Dr. William Strayer, George Delaney, the Cones, Michael Murray, the
H. K. Sharpe family, the Earrars, the Thomases, the Sitlers, Frank Gaylord
and the Axtells may be mentioned. Many of them are gone from the town,
some sleep in Rose Hill cemetery, but they are not forgotten by their towns-



One of the earliest settlements made in the county was that at Barrett,
or as it was then known, Barrett's Mill.

A. G. Barrett, in 1857, carrying out an agreement with the Ohio Town
Company, set up and operated a saw-mill, and the same year he put in a
grist-mill. This mill was brought from Leavenworth to Barrett by ox
team. The grist-mill was the only one in the county and deserved to be
called the leading industry.

A postoffice was established in 1857 and H. W. Swift was appointed

School district No. i was organized in 1858 and a small school house,
fourteen by twenty-four, was built. The material and work were donated.
Religious services were tirst held in the saw-mill, which was lighted by
lanterns. After the school house was built, services were held in it by
"circuit riders."

A small store furnished some necessary supplies to the settlers. With
a school house, saw- and grist-mill, and a postoffice, Barrett's Mill became an
important place. It was a little settlement of kindly, hospitable pioneers,
and a gathering point fur people from all parts of the county.

In 1869 A. G. Barrett deeded one-half of the townsite — forty acres — •
to the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad Company, the company agree-
ing to erect a de])Ot and Ijuild a side track. One thousand two hundred dol-
lars was donated by neighboring farmers to have Barrett named as a sta-
tion. That same fall a new school house, costing three thousand dollars, was
built. It was the largest one-teacher school house in the county. Some new
buildings were erected, but the town never grew greatly in importance.
Many of the early-day settlers have long since gone to their reward and the
advent of the railroads diverted trade to the larger towns of the county.

The one store in the town is now kept by William Montgomery. The
old mill has been partially dismantled, only the frame work remaining. Mrs.
Phoebe Van Vleit, a daughter of A. G. Barrett, lives there on the old place,
and Mrs. Cy. Barrett, a daughter-in-law, is also a resident. A few years
ago a Fourth of July celebration was held at Barrett and many old settlers
visited the place which, during the years from 1856 to the breaking out
of the war, was the most prominent "free state" settlement west of the
border counties. The names of Barrett, Leavitt, Auld, Osborne, Wells and
Smith will always be historic names in Marshall county.



Beattie is located on the St. Joseph & Grand Island railroad one hun-
dred miles west of St. Joseph. The townsite was platted in June, 1870, by
the Northern Kansas Land Company of St. Joseph, Missouri, on land
owned hy James Fitzpatrick and J. T. Watkins. The townsite comprised
one hundred and sixty acres and the name Beattie was given in honor of A.
Beattie, then mayor of St. Joseph, Missouri.

H. M. Newton, James McElroy, R. Shields and J. J. Sheldon were the
first to settle in the town.

One reason for locating the town was the stone quarries. The stone
from the quarries was for many years the finest in Kansas or Nebraska
for building purposes. They are now partially abandoned.

Prior to 1865 Hugh Hamilton, H. C. Smith, Eli Goldsberry, E. Cain,
J. Totten, G. Thorne, James Fitzgerald, P. Jones and some others settled
near what is now Beattie. Joseph Totten came to Marshall county in 1858
and settled on a farm three miles north of Beattie. His daughter, Elizabeth
Totten, was married to George Thorne in i860.

George W. Thorne had the distinction of being the only man who voted
for Abraham Lincoln in i860 in Guittard township. Mrs. Thorne is still
living and attended the old settlers reunion in Marysville, September, 19 16.


John Watkins erected the tirst building in Beattie.

Li the spring of 1871 a depot was moved to Beattie from El wood, Doni-
phan county, and that same summer J. J. Sheldon moved a house on the
townsite and lived in it.

Li the spring of 1872 A. J. and L. Brunswick opened the first store.
The first hotel was built by a man named Putcamp in the year 1873, and
named the Sherman House.

The first marriage was that of S. M. and Charles Keiper, who married
daughters of Carl Scholtz. J. J. Sheldon performed the cereniony.

The first birth was that of Beattie, a son of H. M. Newton, named in
honor of the town.

A child of Mrs. Mahoney died in 1873, which was the first death in the

In 1873 Brunswig & Baer put up a steam elevator, twenty- four by
sixty by thirty feet, at a cost of two thousand dollars. In 1880-81 the elevator





was remodeled at an expense of four thousand dollars, to give a capacity of
fifteen thousand bushels. This elevator had a corn-sheller attachment with a
capacity of five thousand bushels per clay. A. J. Brunswig is still owner of
the elevator, and P. A. Willis, is manager.

The Farmers Co-operative Association also own an elevator in Beattie,
of which Patrick Reilly is the manager.

During the summer of 1881 the Beattie cornet band with ten pieces,
was organized, W. F. Beckett, leader. He was succeeded by F. Smith. Beat-
tie has not had a brass band for some years.


The postofiice at Beattie was established in 1881 and J. J. Sheldon was
the first postmaster. He was succeded by A. J. Patterson, A. J. Brunswig,
H. C. Smith, F. W. Hutchinson, J. C. Reed, T. C. Menehan, John O'Neil,
Elizabeth O'Neil, S. L. Wilson, Mrs. Mary Wilson, Roy Wilson, M. A.
Tucker and W. E. Ham.

The present postmistress. Miss Alma Helvering, is a sister of Hon. G.
T. Helvering the present member of Congress from the fifth congressional
district of Kansas.


Drugs— W. B. & M. Hawk.
Pharmacy — M. W. McReynolds,' proprietor.
Banks — First National. Beattie State.
Hardware — E. C. Potter.

Hardware and implements — W. E. Bachoritch.
Grain, coal and implements — D. C. O'Neil.

General Merchandise — Olson IMercantile Company, George and Robert
Olson, owners.

Beattie Mercantile Company — James T. McMahon, manager.

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 14 of 104)