Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

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

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men in this competition.


Every year many young men leave the country to attend school or to
"seek their fortune" in the city. It is one of the critical times in a young
man's life, this leaving of home for the first time, and the Young Men's
Christian Association has a system of following these young men and help-
ing them in this time of crisis. In Marshall county are sixteen "correspond-
ing members," who report to the office of the state Young Aden's Christian
Association the names of these who are leaving home, word is sent on ahead,


and when the young man arrives in a strange city, he is welcomed by the
association and helped to find the right kind of friends.

Every normal boy has an intense desire to "camp but." To meet this
need the association holds each summer a week's camp where boys can have
an outing at a minimum expense and under Christian leadership. Eighty-
two boys and leaders last summer attended Camp Edwards, near Irving,
which was held under the joint direction of the associations of Marshall and
Washington counties.

The most important work of the association is done through boys'
groups, or clubs, as they are called. These meet regularly during the winter
months. The activities- include Bible study, practical talks by business and
professional men, athletics, debates, first aid instruction, etc. It is in these
groups, meeting week after week, under competent leadership, that character
is wrought into the lives of boys and ideals are found, which make for
future manhood of the highest type.

To maintain the Young Men's Christian Association in the county
recjuires a budget of two thousand dollars a year. This is raised by sub-
scription in a short-term canvass once a year. During the past year seven
hundred men and women contributed to this fund in amounts varying from
one dollar to one hundred dollars. Thus, a wide territory is covered and a
large number of boys and men are reached with character-building activities,
at a very small cost.

SCOPE OF secretary's DUTIES.

No minister in the county lias such a fruitful parish as has the county
secretary ; no superintendent of schools is responsible for so many boys ; no
business man needs to be a shrewder student of human nature than this
secretary, who meets daily from five to fifty men and boys. His task is to
find, enlist and train leaders, who will assume responsibility for boys' clubs.
He has no wages to ofi:'er them, except hard work ; no influence to hold them
to the task, except the power of his own personality and the satisfaction
which comes from seeing timid, uncouth boys grow into stalwart men.

The plan is to have in each community a supervisory board of inter-
ested men, a high .school Young Men's Christian Association, and one or
more groups of younger boys. Eventually, the association will reach out
into the open country and every boy in the county will have an opportunity
to join a group of his own age.

The secretary has recently purchased an automobile, the upkeep of


which is takeli care of by the county coniniittee, and with tliis he is able to
cover the entire county quickly and economically, and can keep in close touch
with each i^roup and with every phase of the work.

The committee which supervises the work consists of the following men :
J)r. E. A. Gaston, George W. Reed, W. T. Lackland, Axtell ; Dr. E. H.
Gist. Beattie; C. J. Brow^n, E. H. Kennedy, J. E. Ryan, C. C. Tibbetts, Blue
Rapids; J. W. Lobley, George B. Heleker, J. Sidney Johnson, Frankfort;
M. M. Schmidt, W. H. Dexter, Home City; A. J. Carlson, B. K. Durland,
Irving; Arthur Hohn, A. Goodman, W. W. Potter, Marysville ; O. E.
Hardesty, Oketo; J. T. Briggs, VV. F. Orr, Summerfield; W. E. Stewart,
Vermillion ; John Seaton, Waterville.


This crossing or ford was f.or..maiiy. y^ars, a w^l^kiiown poiat on the
overland trail from Independence, Missouri, to various points West and
Northw-est. This old crossing on the Big Blue river was located on what
is now' section 31, Elm Creek township, just a short distance from the mouth
of the little creek that flow^s from Alcove Springs into the river. There is
a "rifile" in the river and with a small amount of work on the approaches
of the banks, a crossing could still be made. It can be forded by cattle or
horses at the present time in ordinary stage of w^ater.

Marshall's ferry was about half a mile up stream from this crossing.
This was an old trail and crossing used by the Indians and fur traders. As
early as the year 1839 James McClosky came out from St. Louis with seven
wagons loaded with Indian goods and escorted by twelve mounted men,
passed over this trail. These goods had been purchased of Bernard Pratt in
St. Louis and were the trading property of Bibile & Adams. McClosky
was a clerk in the employ of Pratt, to look after his interests and make
returns. McClosky made several trips across the country and finally came
to this county to live.


These springs are situated east of the old Independence Crossing in a
small steep canyon. The bed of the canyon is of hard limestone and afforded
an excellent place for a camp fire. The grassy plateau sloping towards the
river was a favorite camping spot.

Here, for many years extending fronr 1839 to i860, travelers camped.
The cool spring w^as knov^-n from New York to San Francisco. John





Denton, a young man accompanying the Donner party, gave the spring its
name from the overlianging rock, which is at least twelve feet higher than
the spring, and which presents the appearance of an alcove. Denton carved
the name on the rock and the letters are still distinct. It is a favorite camp-
ing place and full of historic interest. Many visitors to the Worlds Fair in
Chicago in 1893, were attracted by the beautiful oil painting of Alcove
Springs, the work of Miss Mamie Schroyer, of Marysville, which was exhib-
ited in the Kansas building.



Name. Routes. Class. Salary.

Axtell 3 3 $1,500 I.M.O. P.S.

Barrett 4 ■ M.O

Beattie 2 4

Bigelow I 4

Blue Rapids ... 3 3 1,600 I.M.O. P.S

Bremen 2 4

Carden 4

Frankfort 6 3 1,600 I.M.O. P.S

Herkimer i 4

Home 2 4

Hull 4

Irving 3 4

Lillis 4

Marietta 4

Marysville 6 2 2,100 I.M.O. P.S

Mina 4

Oketo I 4

Schroyer 4

Summerfield ... 3 3

Vermillion 4 4

Vliets I 4

Waterville 3 3 i-400 I.M.O. P.S

Winifred 4

Total 41

I.M.O. — International money order office

M.O. — Money order office.

P.S. — Postal savings office.



























Axtell — Named for Dr. Jesse Axtell, an official of the St. Jo & Grand
Island Railroad.

Beattie — Named for A. Beattie, mayor of St. Jo, Missouri, in 1870.

Blue Rapids — Named for rapids in Big Blue river, at that ix)int.

Barrett — Named for A. G. Barrett, a pioneer.

Bigelow — Named for General Bigelow, an official of the Missouri Pa-
cific Railway, who selected the townsite.

Bremen — Named for a seaport in Germany,

Garden — Named for Mrs. Garden, on whose land the townsite was platted.

Frankfort — Named for Frank Schmidt, of Marysville, owner of the

Herkimer — Named by O. Keller, who laid out the town.

Hull — Named for a city in England.

Home — Named by G. W. Van Camp, who platted the townsite.

Irving — Named for Washington Irving.

Lillis — Named for Bishop Thomas Lillis, of Kansas City.

Marysville — Named for Mary, wife of F. J. Marshall, for whom the
county was named.

Marietta — Named for Mrs. Marietta Mann.

Oketo — Named for an Indian chief, Arkatetah, the name being shortened
by the settlers to Oketo.

Schroyer — Named for a well-known pioneer family.

Summerfield — Named for Elias Summerfield, an official of the Missouri
Pacific Railroad.

Vermillion — No record.

\''liets — Named for the Van Vleit family, on whose farm the town is

Waterville — Named by R. Osborne, superintendent of the Central Branch,
Union Pacific Railroad, in honor of his home town, Waterville, Maine.

W^inifred — Named for the wife of Isaac Walker, a pioneer.


The historian is indebted to Mr. Grant Ewing for an account of a great
prairie fire that swept across Marshall county on November 17, 1873. ^
terrific wind came up from the northwest on the morning of the 17th, and
drove before it a terrible fire, which was supposed to have started on the


Otoe reservation near Oketo. It extended across Marshall county in a strip
eight to ten miles wide and burned as far south as the Kaw. The wind being
from the northwest, kept the fire out of the Blue Valley, but it raged madly
on the divide in Wells township and swept across the Vermillion and onward
to the Kaw. The back fire in places came as far" as the east side of the Blue

Among the prairie settlers who lost heavily were the Sabins, the Ewings
and William Walls. A young boy, 'Wooter by name, lost his life in this
fire. He had accompanied some neighbors to Marysville and they were
returning home with flour and provisions for themselves and neighboring
families, when the fire came raging towards them. They hastily searched
their pockets for matches with which to start a back fire but did not succeed
in getting a fire started and exhausted the supply of matches. Finally, one
man found just a half of a match and with this he burned off a small patch
and drove the teams on it. The boy, about eleven years old, they put in the
center of a wagon-load of flour and covered him with blankets. They
unhitched the ox teams and then the men made a dash through the flames,
which by this time were close upon them. The boy, frightened by the mad
roar of the flames, threwr off the blankets and was enveloped in the fire.
The men on returning, carried him to the house of John D. Wells, where he
died in a few hours. The oxen were so badly burned that they had to be
killed. They were the property of Wells.

Mr. Ewing says he remembers the fire well, as his mother carried her
children out to the middle of a four-acre field of green wheat and threw
blankets over them for protection. The heat of the flames drove rabbits,
coyotes and deer on to the same green field, all too badly frightened to harm
one another or to fear human beings.


Friday, May 30, 1879, is a day and date that will be remembered as
long as a living witness of the tragedy which took place remains to recall the
terrible events about to be narrated.

The morning, in the southern portion of the county, was bright and
clear, but during the afternoon clouds appeared and a lowering temperature
was noticeable. There were lightning flashes and peals of thunder, and
between five and six o'clock the storm broke in terrific fury. The first indi-
-eation of danger was from an approaching funnel-shaped cloud to the south-
west. At Blue Rapids, the gypsum mill of J. V. Coon & Son had the roof


torn off. and the ro(«f of tlic 1)i,t;- W'ri.^lit Honrin^- mill was raised, Init left in
position. Tlic west portion of the roof of the woolen mill was carried away
and the flood beat in on the machinery. Fortunately, no lives were lost and
■Bine- -Rapids suffered slijuhtly in comparison with the beautiful little city of


C. E. Tibbetts. who was then publishing- the Blue Ral^i(L<; Times, issued
an extra giving the following details :

"The situation at Irving beggars description. The storm first passed
over the townsite west of the railroad, destroying the residences of John
Gallup, Mr. Armstrong and John Thompson. It laid in ruins, more or less
complete, Charles Preston's place, the Parker house, Wetmore Institute, John
Freeland's stone house, and one formerly owned by him ; Buckout's new stone
residence, J. S.. Walkers fine residence, Leddy's:, Sabin's, Jefifer's and Guthrie's
home? ; then swung back over the track, struck into a branch current of the
cyclone, and swept through the main part of the town towards the river.
Some twenty minutes after the rain had commenced falling, a brisk shower
of hail set in, driven bv a northerly wind. There was a short cessation of
the storm and then commenced falling hailstones of monstrous size weighing
several ounces and measuring six to eight inches in circumference.


"The number of those instantly killed in Irving, including four from
Game fork neighborhood southwest of town, is thirteen. They are as fol-
low' : Mr. Keeny, sewing machine agent and his wnfe, and his father, wdio
w-as visiting Mr. Keeny. A Swede girl in the employ of the Jacob Sabin
family ; Miss Emma Sheldon, Mrs. W. J. Williams, Mrs. Noark, Mrs. George
Martin. 'Mrs. Buckmaster and four children.

'The injured were: Mrs. William Bates and five children; Mrs. Snider
and daughter, Jacob Sabin, wife and son, Eber Sheldon and wife, the Keeney
boys, Foster, son of a Randolph lumberman, Wright Helleker, Mr. Seaton, a
railroad man. both arms broken ; Mr. Johnson, James McCoy and wife, Mrs.
John Gallup and four children, Mr. Buckmaster and child; George Martin's
two children, John Case's tw'o children, Haney Wilson and two children,
Mrs. John Thompson and two children, Lee Hunt, wife and three children,
Samuel Clark, W. J. Williams and Mrs. Rickel. Scarcely a house was left
standing in Irving and few families escaped without some injured one.

"Thirty-four homes and business houses were entirely destroyed, the loss
exceeding .$5.o-,ooo. Wagon bridges were blown into the river, loss $15,000.


Churches, schools, elevator, bridges, business houses and dwellings were
totally destroyed and many were entirely blown away.

"The storm seemed to have gathered south of Blue Rapids, sweeping
down the Gam€ Fork Valley, killing- two people and wrecking farm-buildings^
The same storm struck the west fork of the Vermillion, killing five persons
and seriously injuring ten others, and destroyed a large amount of property.
Part of the storm passed up the Big Blue river, wrecking a new farm house
belonging to James Schroyer. The storm crossed the river at that point.

"On the Corn Dodger creek several buildings were destroyed and Milo
Weeks was dangerously injured.

"Those killed in Frankfort were : Mr. and Mrs. James Downs, John
Howe, Mrs. Henry Johnson and a man named Grove. The damage to prop-
erty was very great."

As soon as the storm ceased sufficiently to make it possible, relief^parties
went to Irving. A train of nurses and physicians was hurried out from
Atchison and tlie night was spent searching foi bodies and members of fam-
ilies over the prairies and among the wrecked buildings. The night was
dark and the rain fell continuously. The morning broke upon a scene never
to be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

A detailed account of the storm ^nd incidents connected with it, may be
found in the puljlic library in Blue Rapids, but mention will be made of some
of the peculiar incidents. Some of the killed were found entirely divested of
clothing, a gold watch was found hanging by its chain, in a tree half a mile
awav. Chickens were entirely devoid of feathers, except a frill around the
neck ; spokes blown out of a wagon wheel leaving the hub and rim intact ;
wheat and oat straws driven into telegraph poles ; house scattered over lot,
the stove standing on the kitchen floor uninjured and the fire burning.

On June ist a sad procession followed the victims of that fearful eve
to the secluded cemetery. Sylvan Shade, where they sleep today. Irving
remembers theni on each succeeding ariniversary with floral tributes and
appropriate ceremonies. On that tragic day were shattered and scattered
many hopes for that growing city. Perhaps the future may unfold a brighter
page in her history.


Cottage Hill Cemetery Association was chartered in February, 1891.
The charter members were P. T. Vickery, James Clark, C. G. Thomas, John
L. Nichols, Samuel Lamereaux, M. H. Gilbert, John Sisco, John Paul, Jackson


Thomas, Margaret McDonald, Sylvester Hartman, Charles Powel, L. R.
Kistler, George R. Kistler, Joseph Green, A. M. Sherwood, Reuben Fuller,
C. J. Nugent, Robert Dockerty, Otto F. Hohn, John Swanson and Ben Lam-
€reaux. The officers were : President, John Paul ; secretary, M. H. Gilbert ;
treasurer, John Sisco. This cemetery being in such a prominent part of
Cottage Hill, the entire township is interested in it. and they pride themselves
on the beautifying and upkeep of the grounds. It is the best kept and prettiest
cemetery in any country place in Marshall county.

The present board are: C. G. Thomas, president; Roger Pischney, secre-
tary; John Sisco, treasurer; executive committee, Herman Anderson, Frank
Paul, M. M. Rice. These officers have an endowment fund of more than
twelve hundred dollars, drawing interest. The interest is used to keep the
cemetery in excellent condition.


Marshall county was represented at the World's Columbian Exposition
at Chicago in 1893.

Entries were made in the agricultural department by George Binder, of
Waterville, wheat; William Kossow, Marysville, oats ; F. ]VI. Spangler,

Awards were made to W. W. Eddy, for best winter wheat ; Gotlieb
Adam, best red winter wheat: J. L. Johnson, best hard winter wheat; A.
Anderson, best hard winter wheat; J. B. Hammett, Schroyer, best yellow
car corn.

Mrs. Josie Furman exhibited an oil painting of Perry Hutchinson's mill.
Miss Mamie Schroyer exhibited an oil painting of Alcove Springs. The
ladies of Irving exhibited a rug, which was afterwards sent to the old ladies'
rest at Leavenworth.


The year 1874 was one of severe drought and the prevailing wind was
from the southwest. On Sunday, August 27,, the wind changed to the north
and with it came myriads of grasshoppers. They were so plentiful that they
created a haze in the atmosphere. They literally devoured every green thing,
except peach leaves. It is impossible to describe the numbers, or to tell the
•damages Corn, tomatoes, beets, onions, wheat — every living thing was
stripped, and then they began on board and- picket fences and on hoe and
rake handles.


The marks could be plainly seen for years afterward. The sides of
buildings were literally covered with them. West of Marysville, the train
had to pull up a steep grade and the hoppers frequently were so thick on the
track that it was impossible to proceed until the track was sanded. Every
possible device for their destruction was employed, but to no avail. Finally,
a scourge broke out among them and they perished from the effects of the
sting. The few which escaped this enemy disappeared. •

People were greatly depressed, not only on account of losses, but be-
cause of dread of a reappearance of the plague. But they have never reap-
peared in such numbers as in that terrible grasshopper year.

It makes one shudder to picture anything so terrible, so appalling and so
pathetic. It is almost impossible for the human mind to realize the awful
devastation of crops and vegetation that befell the states of Kansas and
Nebraska that year.

The settlers were greatly amazed as, looking into the blue depths of
the cloudless sky, in the direction of the blazing sun, they saw that the air
was full of living organisms.

It was the invasion of the locust or grasshopper. At first, one here
and there would alight ; but in a short time, the host was so great as to cover
all the fields and outnumber the people, millions to one. There was a bounti-
ful prospect that year and the undesirable hosts lit on the corn fields riddling
them in a few hours and as the ears were in the milk stage, the loss was
very apparent.

Gardens and orchards went just as fast as the cornfields. The first set-
tlers used to cultivate "homestead tobacco" and the prospect had been very
good with its long and broadly streaming leaves — even that went just as
fast. Onions, beets and carrots were devoured to the roots. The forest
trees were defoliated in a few days. And what was the result of this great
calamity which visited this unfortunate state. In the autumn of 1874 there
was a continual tide of "prairie schooners," returning from the West, pour-
ing through the highways and byways out of the desolated country, going

When asked, "Whither bound," the answer invariably was, "Going
back to old Missouri" ; "To old Mizzoo", or "Back to God's country." Some
even had written on their wagon covers, "Busted; back to Missouri." And
thev certainly looked as though they were busted — this stream of humanity
pouring over what is now tlie ocean to ocean highway. Their outfits were


ragg;e(l and fnrldrn and ihc\' ihcmscKes looked anxious and forsaken. Many
of theni were (juartered and fed free of charge, owing to their needy circum-


Marshall county has the distinction of having heen the home of the
man who held the first homestead patent ever granted. This man was Daniel
Donah3^ The land which he homesteaded is in Pottawatomie county, but
only a half mile south of the Alarshall county line, being the southwest cjuar-
ter of section 2, township 6, range 9. Mr. Donahy also owned the quarter
just north of this homestead and a section just north of that in Mar-
shall county. As soon as he had proved up on his homestead he moved into
Marshall county, where he continued to reside until his death. The land then
passed into the hands of his eldest son, Daniel Donahy, who still owns all of it.

Hettie Magill, daughter of Judge Magill, one of the original members
of the Palmetto Town Company, was the first wdiite child born on the town-
site of Palmetto. This lady is now Mrs.^ Daniel Kelley, of Kansas City,


"Whereas, Lewis Twombly has at his own expense and at a cost of
about $1,000, erected a good and sufficient bridge across the Vermillion
branch of the Big Blue ri^•er at the crossing of the Independence and Cali-
fornia road, it was enacted that Lewis Twombly should have exclusive right
to the benefits and profits of toll for a period of five years." (Statutes, Kan.
Terr., 1855, p. 771.)

The name of Lewis Twombly is spelled by F. G. Adams as Tremble,
and in "Marshall County Clippings" (Vol. 3. p. 27) as Tromley. His ford
was said to be located at the Elizabeth crossing of the Vermillion, between
Langdon's mill and Barrett's mill.


Many dark deeds of frontier life are hidden from the historian by the
lapse of time. Violence was common, and for some crimes, retribution did
not always wait for "the strong arm of the law."

Horse stealing was a crime, which it was tacitly understood would be
summarily dealt with and a certain elm tree that stood near the northeast
corner of the city park, south of O. W. French's house, Marysville, was


the gallows upon which more than one guilty wretch paid the penalty of
his crime.

The first record of the action of "J^^^ge Lynch" is reported in the Big
Blue Union of October 15, 1864. E. C. Manning, the editor, published the
following :




"It is our painful duty as journalists to record the assassination of a
most worthy citizen, and the execution of his murderer.

"Last Saturday evening the citizens of our town were startled by the
report of a pistol shot, and on investigation found a loyal, peaceable, law-
abiding citizen weltering in his blood, in front of our court house, while in
the grasp of the officers was his murderer, defiant still, though knowing the
penalty of his crime.

"During the day a man named Goisney was observed to be trying to pro-
voke a cjuarrel. He was avoided as he was known to be quarrelsome.
There had been a political meeting during the afternoon and Goisney was
heard to threaten to shoot any man who would not vote for McClellan. Later

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 39 of 104)