Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

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

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for a bridge fund. These three men were Andrew J. Travelute, H. P. Ben-
son and Grant Williams. A. J. Travelute collected the money ; H. P. Ben-
son donated all the stone ; Grant ^^'illiams gave tools, nails, spikes and like
necessary material. One stone mason was hired, all other labor being
donated bv farmers. The east approach to the bridge was finished during
the fall of 1 89 1. Through the efforts of Hamilton Auld, a county commis-
sioner, tl:e west approach was built and bridge completed the following year.
Frederick Heitcamp operated a general store at that time.

The town is well situated, has always been a good marketing point for
grain and .'■tock. John Wassenberg owns the only general store at present
in Hull.


In August, 1859, ten citizens of Lyon city, Iowa, agreed to organize
a town on government land in the West. Of this number, three were law-
yers, two merchants, two doctors, one teacher, one preacher, one hotel keeper.

The plan of the new town was carefully drawn and after several ballot-
ings the name Irving, in honor of Washington Irving, was agreed upon.
W. W. Jerome was elected agent to go west and locate, on land, the city
of Irving, which city, located on paper, he carefully carried with him.
Gen. S. C. Pomeroy, afterwards United States senator from Kansas, who
was then a land agent, personally conducted Mr. Jerome, in his own con-
veyance, drawn 1)y a team of mules, over the valleys of Blue and Kansas
rivers. Jerome finally decided to recommend the present site of Irving, and
in December, 185Q. ten of the founders left Lyons and proceeded by rail to
St. Joseph, Missouri, and thence b}' team to Irving.

The first house was built of hewn logs, nineteen by twenty-four feet,
and was used as a hotel. A frame building was next completed, the luml^er
having been hauled from Atchison.

In February, i860, by act of the Territorial Legislature, W. W. Jerome,


C. E. Gaylord. j. II. Mint, ]. T. Wilson, 1.. A. l-Jlis, M. 1). Aljbott. W. S.
Robinson. C. Raymond, jocl Parker. C. Al. Ciftnnl, T. H. Baker, B. W.
Powers and S. H. Warren were created a corporate body for the villag"e
of Irving.

The snminer of 1860 was very dry and liot, and many settlers became
discouraged. In Inly of that year a severe storm did great damage to the
town, blowing down houses, unroofing others, and some of the colonists
returned to Iowa. Others moved to different locations, but the majority
remained and pushed bravely forward in the work of building homes.

It was through the inhuence of Doctor Parker that the Wetmore Insti-
tute was built in 1861. It w^as a normal training school for young ladies.
It was named in honor of A. R. Wetmore, of New York, who lent financial
assistance to the building. Dr. Charles Parker had charge of the school.
Rev. J. L. Cha])man, Professor Creegan and the Misses Blakely were some
of the instructors, all highly educated and accomplished teachers. The
school was as well patronized as could be in a district so scant in population.
The principal drawback to its success seems to have been the absence of
young girls to receive instruction. The cyclone of 1879 destroyed a por-
tion of the building, and in 1880 it was entirely destroyed by fire. It has
ne^'er been rebuilt. l:)ut to the people of Irving belongs the credit of having
the first permanent church and the first institution for higher education in
Marshall county.


Irving was incorporated as a city of the third class in 1871, George'
C. Crov, ther being elected as the first mayor. The first city election is all
that was ever carried out by Irving as a city. The officers elected did not
c|ualify, the charter was surrendered and Irving remained a village.

In the fall of 1867 the railroad, under the name of the Central Branch
of the Cnion Pacific was completed to Irving. The railroad company refused
to build a depot in Irving, unless a deed to half the town was made to if.
This was refused and the company located the depot one and one-half miles
southeast of the city. Senator Pomeroy exerted his influence and had the
deoot moved to Irving. It soon burned and a new one was built. Lightning
struck it and it also burned. Irving now has its third depot.

In 1886 the Lincoln and Manhattan branch of the L^nion Pacific rail-
road was completed, giving Irving a north and south railroad.

The postofiice at Irving was established in i860, with W. D. Abbott',


postmaster. His successors were as follow : S. H, Warren, H. E. Smith,
S. H. Warren, John Thompson, Thomas Gaylord, E. W. Stephens, Florence
McMillan, Herbert Haylor, Hugh Thomson and F. R. Koutz. Irving
became a money order office in 1872. and the first order was sent by Levi
Chase, August 5, that year.

The census enumerator for 191 6 reported the population as three hun-
dred and fifty-nine. .

W. W. Jerome, who selected the site of Irving, afterwards attended
the organization, at LeRoy, New York, of the Genesee town colony and
became one of its members and a director, never dreaming that this colony
would locate within five miles of Irving and become the present Blue Rapids
citv. The close proximity of Blue Rapids, and its first years of prosperity,
drew settlers from Irving and was in a measure responsible for the slow
growth of the latter town. Jerome was later elected county attorney of
Marshall county.


On June 28, 1876, at a formal meeting of citizens, J. S. Warden reported
that Enoch S. Hunt had offered the present cemetery grounds for three hun-
dred dollars. The offer was accepted. On July 8, a charter was granted
by the state and the following officers were elected : President, Charles
Preston; vice-president, Thaddeus Day; secretary, C. E. Gaylord ; treasurer,
James S. Warden ; superintendent, J. S. W'illiams. The foregoing officers
with Levi Chase and Collins Smith constituted a board of directors. The
cemeterv is under careful supervision and is beautified and kept sacred as the
last earthly resting place of those who are called away.


On May 30, 1879, Irving was visited by one of the worst cyclones ever
recorded. The storm aproached the town from the west and when it had
passed beyond the limits of Irving, that pleasant and thriving village was
left a mass of ruin, death and desolation. The tow^n was in time partially
rebuilt, but never fully recovered from the diaster.


The Irving Telephone Company w^as organized on February 28, 1904.
The officers of the company were J. F. Hoyt, president; Joseph Miksovsky,


secretary; R. Kapitan, treasurer. This company absorbed the Czech Com-
pany, whose hnes operated west of Irving and the Hawkinson Brothers
Telephone Company, with Hnes east of Blue river, and a switch in Irving,
managed by Mrs. Nettie Huffmier.

At the present time the Irving Telephone Company owns the system
at Irving and Cleburn and connects with Blue Rapids, Frankfort, Bigelow and
Fostoria. The present officers of tlie company are J. F. Hoyt, ^^resident ; J.
Pishney, Jr., vice-president; M. T. Sheaffer, secretary, and M. Filley, treas-
urer. The capital stock is twenty thousand dollars, and is all owned by
the members of the company, who are farmers.


The following is the list of business houses of Irving in January, 1917:

General merchandise — Peterson & Son, Frank Thompson, R. A. Hol-

Furniture store and grocery — Hugh Thomson.

Farmers elevator — J. C. Shepard, manager.

Undertaker and harness shop — E. F. Blazier.

Livery stable — Piper & Webb.

Foundry — Frank Oswalt.

Meat market— O. S. Boyd.

Restaurant — Mrs. D. Walker.

General produce, cream and poultry business — Mrs. C. J. Murphy, Fred

Printing office — B. W. Forbes, proprietor.

Physicians — Robert Leith, John C. Phillebourn.

Decorator — Maynard Sabin.

Hotels— Mrs. M. E. Lees, Mrs. Belle Blaney.

Barber shop — Arthur Alleman & G. Duffy.

Hardware — W. T. Blaney.

Garage — E. W. Dexter.

Insurance — Irving State Bank, W. W. Dedrick.

Shoe shop — E. O. Paxton, L. S. Ward.

Lumber — Irving Lumber Company, Brice Durham, manager.

Carpenter shop — George Edwards.

Carpenters — G. Edwards, S. B. Strader, J. N. Smith.

Photograph gallery — Ellen Stiles.

Electric theater — Fred J. Piper, manager.




i. J~



The pretty little village of Lillis on tlie Topeka-Marysville "cut off",
was chartered on October 29, 1906.

The to\\ n was named in honor of Rt. Rev. Bishop T. F. Lillis, of Kan-
sas City.

Tlie townsite was platted on the land of Ed. \\'alsh, on the former site
of Wyoming. The first house was erected by Patrick Brannan and the first
store building by the Lillis Townsite Company and managed by E. C.

Lillis has a fine two-teacher school, fully equipped and furnished. Rosa
Haynes, who teaches the priiuary room, has thirty-three pupils. Leo. J.
Alackey has the grades, with an enrollment of twenty-four pupils. A lively
interest is taken in the school 1a' the patrons and residents of the town.

The large elevator is owned and operated by Barrett & Walker.

The two leading stores are owned, respectively, by C. W. Granger and
T. J. Smith.

Searle & Chapin, of Lincoln. Nebraska, own the lumber yard, which is
managed by W. T. Plartman.

The bank is located in a fine brick building erected in 1910.

H. Thomas is the village blacksmith.

Vida Alexander is the very efi'icient and obliging postmistress.


This thriving little village, which was named for ]\Irs. ^Marietta Alann.
is located on the Lincoln & ^Manhattan branch of the Union Pacific railway,
nine miles north of Marysville.

Li 1888 the Union Pacific railway being unable to buy land for side
tracks at Oketo. located the tracks one and one-half miles south of Oketo.
Angus McLeod, T. J. ]Mann and Jacob Lawson platted forty acres of land
for town lots. Side tracks were laid and a depot built. McLeod Brothers
put up an elevator and for several years did a big business buying and ship-
ping grain. Stockyards were built and James Buchanan carried on an exten-
sive business in shipping cattle.

In 1 88 1 a postoffice was established, with C. T. Mann as postmaster.


Tlie postoffice was condiiclc(i in the depot and later was moved to the store
of Charles I'ritcliard. The first general store was started in 1892 by Charles
Pritchard, ^\■ho was succeeded by W. G. Hunter, who was followed by U.
S. Ricard. Ricard being succeeded l)y the Bull Brothers.

In i88q the Peavy Elevator Company built a grain elevator, which was
purchased by the b'armers Elevator Company in 19 10, the same company
having bought the AIcLeod Brothers elevator in 1899. ^^^^^^ bridge across
the Blue river was built in 1892.

In 1909 the Marietta .State Bank was organized with B. R. Bull as
president and W. S. Kirby as cashier. The United Evangelical church was
built in 1 90 1, with Rev. Charles Taylor as pastor. There is no school in
the town.

Cottrell Brothers put in a lumber yard in 1914.

The business firms at present are: General store, S. W. Bull; hard-
w-are, V. A. Bull ; lumber yard, Cottrell Brothers ; meat market, barber shop,
elevator company.


The little town of Mina is a trading point between Axtell and Summer-
field, on the Kansas City & Northw^estern railroad. It was laid out for a
town in 1889 ^^Y ^^' • G. Wooley and Newman Erb. It was named for
"Mina," wife of J. R. Sittler, who bought grain and had a w^arehouse at
"Sittler's siding" in the fall of 1888, and who built the grain elevator in
1889, and which still stands. This elevator is now owned by the W. R.
Connell estate.

A railroad depot was built in 1889 with L. D. Rouse, who had charge
of the grain elevator, as agent. In 1890 A. C. Axtell erected a store build-
ing and Mr. Rouse quit the railroad and started in the general merchandise
business in the new building. Miss Maggie Ibert was next made telegraph
operator for one year, .\fter the expiration of the year the railroad com-
pany had no agent at Alina until December 19, 1916, when James E. Stirrat
was appointed.

L. D. Rouse erected the first residence in Mina just north of the store.
This house is now ovvued by D. G. Davis, of Axtell. Kansas.

The first inhabitants of Mina were three in number, L. D. Rouse, his
wife and son. In January, 1917. the inhabitants of Mina numbered thirteen.

A blacksmith shop was built by farmers in 1894 with Albert Craig in
charoe as blacksmith.



Through llie efforts of Aliss Emma Detweiler a church fund was" started
in 1894, wliich resulted in the erection of a l3uilding. which was dedicated
and paid for on June i(), 1895, with a membership of sixty-eight. The last
seven hundred dollars was raised (ju dedication day. This is the only church
in Alina, and is of the Christian denomination. Evangelist O. E. Cook was
its first pastor and he was followed by Reverend Beach. In January, 191 7,
this churcli had a thriving Sunday school with forty pupils; Peter Godbout
is superintendent.

The school house was built in 1898; May Stevenson (now Mrs. J. Man-
ford Hall), of Hoxie, Kansas, taught the first two terms. The present
teacher is Miss Velma Winney.

The postoffice. of the fourth class, was estalli-htd in 1889; L. D. Rouse

was first postmaster, followed l)y Miss Maggie Ibert, Wilmot,

Peter Olston, Gustave Siegenhagen, D. G. Davis, A. R. Walker, \A'illiam
H. McAtee. and the present ])ostmistress. Miss Mable McKibben. =*

Mina excels many a much larger town in its sliipping of grain and stock.
Tt has only one store of g-eneral merchandise, and it is operated by the Farm-
ers union, with B. C. Graham as overseer; Tames Stirrat, manaper, and Miss
Ruth Graham, clerk.


Oketo is one of the oldest points to claim settlement in the county. Dur-
ing the ATormon exodus and early rush for Western gold-fields, many travel-
ers took a short cut from a point which afterwards became Robidoux Station,
and which was a mile north of wdiat became Guittard Station, to this crossing.

There were hunters, trappers and Indians along the Blue river in those
days and this crossing was favorably located for winter quarters, having the
advantage of being on a trail where the hunters could sell game and hides.

In 1857 ]■ ^^- White settled on what became section 13, Oketo town-
ship. By this time other "squatters" had come in and William Bond, Val
Poor and others had taken land and some attempts at permanent settlement
made. This Oketo was located about a mile south of the present Oketo and
was named after an Otoe Indian chief, Arkaketah.

In the early sixties J. H. Whitehead came to the ford, built a store,
barn and residence, if the very humble place may be given so dignified a term.


These l)iiil(lin^s were on tlie east side of ilic Blue. The nearest postoffice
<tn the east was (hiittard Station mid on the soutli, ATarysville. \n 1862 Ben
Hohaday decided to construct the Oketo "cut-off" on the Overland stage line
and employed George Guittard to do the work. The road heing opened,
W'hiteliead was put in charge of the station and also managed the ferry which
I lolladay had I)nilt. With WHiitehead was associated Henry Bivins.

Two saloons were in operation, one on the east side and one on the west
side of tlie Blue. Keen husiness sense was evidenced in this arrangement as
the same parties owned hoth. C)u the east side twenty cents was charged for
'a drink of whiskey and on the west twenty-five cents was the toll. Going
east, ])assengers could soon ohtain refreshment, hut westward the stations
were farther apart and there was a consequent lapse of time hetween drinks.

The little settlement with its hig harn, hlacksmith sho]) and store, was
attractixe and scores of Indians congregated there to harter, quench their
thirst with "tarantula juice." and watch for the Overland stage.


Although some historians claim that the Oketo cut-off, which became
(|uite noted, was discontinued hy Holladay after four months. Mrs. Lee
I lolladay. who was Mrs. Whitehead until his death, declares positively that
Ilolladav did not discontinue the use of this cut-off until the Overland staefe
uas iinally fli.scontinued l)y reason of the Iniilding of the Union Pacific rail-
road in t866. Thi< statement is borne out by Mr. h^rank Thomann, of Sum-
merfield, and by other (<ld settlers along the stage route.

In the fall of 1864 Whitehead sold out to y\sa Simpson and in the sum-
mer of 1865 die barn was burned. The store and dwelling had also been
set on hre, but were saved by the stage boys.

There being no barn on the east side Holladay moved the station to the
west side of the river to the f.'irm of William Bond, which is now owned by
Teter Champagne.

With the passing of the stage, the big barn, the store and the ferry, the
original Oketo declined as a business point and is now so much of the pa.st,
that all which rec;dl.^ it to memory is the reminiscent tale of an old settler.

Mrs. Whitehead, who later became the wife of T. L. Holladay, recalls
the foregoing and the hi.storian is indebted to her for the facts.

The only other resident of old Oketo is J. H. White, who came to Mar-
shall county in 1859, located on v.hat became section 13, Oketo township,
built a little shanty on the very spot where he now has a comfortable frame


dwelling. White is a Canadian by birth and rnmor says he was well able to
defend his rights among the somewhat turbulent population of those days.
Once, while in I.on Cottrell's drug store in Marysville, William Bond
attacked him and White whipped out his gun and shot him. The woimd did
not prove fatal but in a later fray with another man, the bullet is said to
have hit the mark.

White was for many years the mail carrier between Oketo and Marys-
ville, and while enough undersized to prevent his enlistment in the army, White
made his daily trips along the Blue unmolested.

White has parted with his original homestead of one hundred and sixty
acres with the exception of forty acres on which he resides. He will reach
his eighty-first birthday on July 7, 1917. He is totally blind and is cared
for by a devoted granddaughter.



The present Oketo is located ten miles north of Marysville on the Blue
Valley branch of the Union Pacific railroad and is in sharp contrast with the
old settlement on the river bank.

This fine little city is located on the hill and has well-kept streets, clean,
up-to-date business houses, a substantial bank, three grain elevators, flour-
mill, lumber yard, implement stores, harness shop, blacksmith shop, barber
shop, drug store, hotel and a wideawake newspaper. Better than these,
Oketo owns a fine electric light plant, with arc lights on all business corners
and has a well-graded school and competent teachers, a well-attended Meth-
odist church, a high-class citizenship and a full city government of women.

The clean little town wMth substantial, even pretentious homes and well-
kept lawns, situated on a hill commanding a wide view of the surrounding-
country, challenges the admiration of the visitor.

In t866 Tr\ing Chapman built a dam across the Blue and put up a flour-
mill. The discontinuance of the old Oketo postoffice left the entire stretch
of country between Liberty, Nebraska, and Marysville without mail and with-
out any general store.

Z. H. Moore was then a resident of Barneston, and as soon as possible
after the building of the Chapman mill he came to Oketo and established a
store. He later built a house and brought his family there permanently. At
that time Chapman kept the postoffice in the mill.



Tlie in-in of Moore & Esterbrook opened the fine stone f[uarries and this
in(histrv soon (Hverted settlement to that point. This industry was a vaki-
able one to the ^erowing town. The qnahty of the stone was unsurpassed
and found a ready market in Lincohi, Beatrice. Grand Island and other towns
of Kansas and Nebraska. A large number of men were employed in the

Like manv other deposits of building stone in the county, while it w^as
of fine quality, there was not a large quantity and the quarries are not now in

A number of the best business houses of Oketo and also some dwellings
are built of the native stone. The bank building, postoflice and city hall are
built of this stone and retain the original fineness of quality and add much
to the attractiveness of the town.

The Moores were the first business men who located in Oketo. They
were engaged in the mercantile business, opened up the stone quarries, were
active in the aft'airs of the town and soon became prominent in the county.
1^. B. Moore served as county commissioner and represented the county in
the Legislature. He ser\-ed his country in a Pennsylvania regiment during
the Civil War.

Tt may be truly said that Z. H. Moore numbered the majority of the
citizens of the county among his friends throughout a long and useful life,
and his death was deeply deplored. A man of upright character, gentle man-
ners and of deep religious conviction, he attracted the better class of people
and he and his wife held an enviable place in the estimation of the county.
Mrs. Moore is the type of woman who inspires the esteem of all who know
her. She has been lovingly called the "Mother of Oketo," because of her
great kindness and gracious hospitality. The citizens of the town testified
to their appreciation of her worth by electing her mayor of the city in April,
1917. The Aioores are Quakers in religious faith. Two sons, Edgar and
Howard, are voung, promising business men of Oketo. R. B. Moore is at
present a resident of Topeka.


Amone the older business men of Oketo will be recalled : Wilson and
Ivuhlman, who operated one of the quarries : Joseph Guittard, who built the
laree .stone house to the left of the road as Oketo is entered from the south.




Guittard was associated with the Chapmans in the mill. Irving Chapman
was one of the original men of the town and operated the mill, which after-
wards became the property of his brother, Chauncy Chapman, who moved
to Oketo from Hanover. Chauncy Chapman was a familiar figure in public
affairs in the county until his death.

The mill is now the property of the Oketo Milling Company, which
also owns one of the elevators. E. H. Moore is the manager of both these
concerns, of which the Moores are the owners.

Of the two other elevators, W. W. White is manager of the Farmers
Union Elevator and V. L. Root, of the Nebraska Elevator.

Among other day business men of Oketo will be recalled : Allen and
Farrant, groceries ; Norman and V\ ill Brooks, meat market : Hedge and
Eychaner, lumber ; E. H. P>ach, harness and saddlery ; Bartlett and Hedge,
general merchandise; E. D. Woodman & Son, general merchandise; John W.
Kelley. furniture ; Brown Brothers, druggists ; Gearhart Steinbach, shoe-
maker ; E. E. Brooks, barber ; Stowell and Benson, livery ; Dunnick & Dun-
nick, farm implements ; J. W. Chambers, physician ; Henry Thomas, black-
smith ; Anderson & Company, millers. This firm was Peter Anderson and
Chauncy Chapman.

Of these former business men, Frank Allen now lives in Topeka ; Hedge
is still in Oketo; E. E. W^oodman is a prominent farmer in the south half,
while the father is dead. Francis Benson is now superintendent of the county
infirmary; Henry Thomas lives in Lillis and the Browns are in California;
good old Doctor Chambers is no more, and with him rests John Kelley.


Prominent and well-known families of Oketo are the DeLairs. The
DeLair families are residents of the town who have done much to build up
and foster the welfare of its citizens.

J. P. DeLair owns the large general merchandise store opposite the
bank and employs two clerks to assist in the business. The stock invoices
between six and ten thousand dollars annually.

William DeEair was for many years the well-known and popular miller

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 16 of 104)