Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

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

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Some of those who came were, James Wilson and his son, W. H. Wil-
son ; John Harris and family; Lawrence Kelley and family; James P. Malone
and family ; James Goldsberry and family ; Mr. Musgrave and family, and
others. Mrs. Henry Brockmeyer with her three sons, Frederick, Henry and
Ernest, her son-in-law, Ernest \V. Thiele, and her daughters, Mrs. Ernest
Thiele and Sophia Brockmeyer. who the following year became the wife of
G. H. Hollenberg, came to Kansas from New England.

George H. Thiele, a son of Ernest W. Thiele, writes as follows :

"My grandfather died in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1854. In the early
part of 1855 Grandmother Brockmeyer with her sons and daughters and her
son-in-law, Ernest W. Thiele (my father), came West, and as Kansas was
much talked about at that time in the East, concluded to come to that terri-
tory, and arrived at Weston, Missouri, by steamboat from St. Louis, early
in 1855. They found a great deal of excitement on account of the slavery
agitation, near the Missouri river, so concluded to go farther west and finally
located on the Black Vermillion, near where Bigelow is now located. They
pre-empted a piece of land which all helped to improve and raised what crops
they could.

*'My father was the only married man, so they concluded that he should
have the claim, and turned it over to him.

'T understand that the town of Elizabeth is located on this claim. I
was born on this claim on September 14, 1855, ^"*^^ have always understood
that I was the first white child born in Marshall county.

"Like all early settlers they built their log cabins near the banks of the
creek, and all suffered a great deal from chills and ague. This, with the
hardships incident to their isolated location and distance from the river towns,
caused them frequently to become discouraged and willing to give up the
contest of trying to make a home in the wilderness.

"In 1856 or 1857 my father sold his claim for one hundred dollars cash


and a ham. He had to go some ten or fifteen miles to get the ham, and
came near being killed by coyotes on the way back.

"My father moved to St. Louis. Missouri, where he made his home and
raised his family, consisting of three boys and four girls, of whom my sister,
Sophia, Mrs. Hugo Rohde, of Herkimer, my brother, Ernest W. Thiele, of
Hanover, and myself are now living.

"In 1856 my mother's sister, Sophia Brockmeyer, married G. H. HoUen-
berg, who was then conducting a small store at what was known as 'Hollen-
. berg's crossing' on the Vermillion, and the next year they moved to \\"ash-
ington county. Some eight or ten years later they were followed by my
uncles, Henry, Ernest and Fred. H. Brockmeyer, all of whom settled near

"I returned to Kansas in 1877 and have resided at Washington ever
since. The remainder of our family came to Hanover in 1879."


John C. Fremont crossed the Big Vermillion, June 20, 1842, on his
w'ay to the mountains, at some point near where Barrett now stands and
made the following comment in his note-book : "We crossed at ten a. m.,
the Big Vermillion, which has a rich bottom of about one mile in breadth,
one-third of which is occupied by timber."

In the spring of 1855 a colony of sixty members was organized at Cadiz,
Ohio, with the intention of settling on the Vermillion in a body. They
selected a tract of land five miles square and as the government surveyors had
not extended their surveys that far at the time they laid out the tract them-

A. G. Barrett, D. C. Auld, John Roland, J. G. Radcliffe, \\\ S. Black-
burn and some others settled on the tract in the spring of 1855. They also
platted Ohio City, on the northw^est quarter of section 31, township 4, range
9, now owned by A. A. Jones.

In 1856 the colony was strengthened by the arrival of W. H. Auld, W^
P. Gregg, Benjamin McElroy and J. B. Auld, and in 1857 came Leonard
Cutler, W. T. Drinnell, C. W. Laudenberger, William Morrison, R. S.
Newell and others. In April, 1858, the Burrell family came out and in 1859
Peter Trosper and family arrived.

In 1857 a postoffice was established at Barrett and H. W. Swift was the
first postmaster. Prior to this settlers got mail at St. Mary's mission and at
Ft. Riley and at Marysville.



Enoch I'lii^h was tlic first blacksmith. He died in 1857.

D. C. Auld was the first justice of the peace and in 1856 he united in
marriage Timothy Clark and Judith North at the home of James Smith. In
1857 Squire Auld united in marriage M. V. Hall and iVnn J. Trosjjer, also,
Solen Jason and a Miss Wright.

Each member of the colony paid into a general fund twenty-five dollars
for every quarter section he wished to secure and agreed that the money
might be used to purchase a steam saw-mill. A. G. Barrett acted as the pur-
chasing agent and brought the mill out in the fall of 1857. Later, the mill
became the property of A. G. Barrett. Several houses were built on the
Vermillion by Barrett, John Roland and Joseph Langdon. Later, Mr. Bar-
rett lived in one of those houses. S. B. Todd also built and lived in a log
house on the west fork of the Vermillion, and is usually considered to have
been the first settler there. His son. William H. Todd, born on August 13,
1857, is one of the early native Kansans. Walter Cockerill now lives on
the Todd place. The farm with the log liouse owned by John Roland was
bought by A. J. McKee. The locating of the mill and postofifice brought the
little settlement into prominence and Barrett's mill became widely known by
pioneers and emigrants all through the West.

In 1857 Joseph Langdon constructed a dam across the Vermillion, just
below the mouth of Corndodger creek, and built a saw- and corn-mill, wdiich
he operated for some years. In 1861 high water cut around the dam and
left the mill on an island without power to run. But not discouraged, Lang-
don built a seawall across the new channel and reharnessed the Vermillion.
This mill was used by the settlers on the lower Vermillion for religious
ser\ices and all kinds of meetings, political and otherwise.

Langdon also sold groceries, "hickory" shirts and calico. He kept a
kind of postoffice for the accommodation of the neighbors, letters w-ere
brought there for distribution and for dispatch, the carrying service being
conducted by volunteers who went to the nearest postoffices. He sold the
mill to Tom Short, an Indiana man, who worked it for some years, but in
1867 wdien the railroad came it went dowai and is now only a memory.

The mill w-as located on section 16, Bigelow township, and the land on
W'hich it stood is now^ owned by Dave Barrett. This is about six miles down
stream from Barrett's mill.


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Those pioneers of the Valley of the Vermillion experienced very hard
times in 1857-58-59. Some became discouraged and left, but the majority

There was great scarcity of food ; it was a long distance to St. Joe and
Atchison, and traveling was slow by ox team and there was l3Ut little money
with w^hich to make purchases. The atmosphere was charged with uncer-
tainty. The rebellion was imminent and the lines between North and South
were being drawn. The north half of the county was a hotbed of pro-slavery,
Marshall being the spokesman for that element. There was great discour-
agement among the loyal men who had come to help make Kansas a free

In 1859 the first school house in the county was built at Barrett's mill
and it soon became a community center and the settlers often gathered there
and in the warm, social, friendly meetings, strength was gathered to bear
the burdens and privations of the frontier life.


County and Township Organization.


It will be noted in Air. Alarshall's letter to Judge Magill, he states that
the pow-wow was called for the purpose of keeping the Indians orderly until
the paymaster arrived.

It seems incredible that a man of Mr. Marshall's ability should have
believed that a pow-wow of traders and Indians, a motley crowd on the
banks of the Big Blue river, addressed by himself "more in fun than in
earnest", was the first step which resulted in the organization into territories
of what was then known as the great American desert.

In the light of recorded history prior to 1854 his claim is not borne out.
Abraham Lincoln sounded the keynote for this territorial organization in a
great speech in 1834.

For more than twenty years the question of the extension of the
"peculiar domestic institution of slavery" into newly-organized territories of
the United States, had aroused the people of the North to the danger attend-
ing this result and had concentrated the efforts of the leaders of the South
to greater activity in furtherance of the doctrine.


The annexation of Texas brought the embers of Northern discontent
to a white heat. The bill was approved Alarch 2, 1845, ^^'^^ contained the
provision that the "said territory shall be admitted to the Union with or
without slavery as the people of each state asking admission may desire."
So, for the first time, was embodied into law the doctrine of "squatter
sovereignty." The Vv'ilmot proviso followed and the question of territorial
organization became the paramount question of the day.

The compromise of 1850 only served to widen the chasm between the
North and South. The greatest talent of the country — Webster, Clay, Cal-


hoiin, Benton, Cass, Chase, Hamlin, Hale, Davis, Mason and Stephen A.
Douglas had debated with great forensic ability the merits and demerits of
the measure. Finally the measure was enacted into law September 9, 1850,

It is impossible to express or describe the feeling of alarm this created
in the North, for it opened a clear way to that idea of popular sovereignty,
which first, avowed in the Texas bill and made an issue in the compromise
measure in 1854, became the vital question of the Kansas-Nebraska bill.

In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska bill was presented and for four months
the provisions of the bill w^ere subjects of debate in Congress and- aroused
the open hostility of the anti-slavery men of the North and the ardent sup-
port of the then secretly-forming adherents of the Southern confederacy.

The contest ended Alay 27, 1854, and the bill was signed by President
Pierce on Alay 30, 1854.


The provisions concerning slavery were fraught with deep meaning.
The l;ill foreshadowed the last victory and final destruction of the slave
power. It meant civil strife, murder and rapine as the price of freedom in
Kansas. It meant two million men in arms and half a million sleeping in
soldiers' graves.

In the final analysis it gave this country the great Republican party as
one of its enduring institutions. It made Abraham Lincoln President of
the United States and it gave ta history a story of the greatest conflict ever
fought in the interests of human freedom, and a list of generals whose fame
reached the uttermost parts of the earth.

And on each recurring 30th of May, thousands of loyal citizens of our
common country dedicate with flo^^■ers, flags and tears, the graves of those
who fell as a result of the infamous measure signed on that fateful 30th of
May, 1854.


Prior to and at the time of its organization as a territory, Kansas was
iiot devoid of inhabitants. Devout Christian people of different denomina-
tions had established missions for the education of the Indians and such w^hite
children as were here.

Among others were, Shawnee, of the Alethodist Episcopal church, south ;.
Shawnee mission maintained by the Baptist church : the Friends school ; the
American Baptist ^[ission. St. Mary's Mission was the nearest to Marys-



ville and InUli Mrs. Marshal! a.nd licr sister, Mrs. Watson, attended the school
at Si. .Mar\'s. There were also the I'.aptist Mission and Labor school; a
Catholic O-sage Mission at Xeosho. and the Iowa Mission in Doniphan
county. These schools were all supplied with resident teachers and ministers.

.\ number of tra.dinL^" po-^ls were stationed alon,i^ the trail. 1die Chouteau
Post about six miles west of Kansas City: two further alon^; the trail, and
Uniontown in Shawnee county were the largest. There were fifty houses
in I'niontown and Indian annuities were paid from there.

There were two hundred and eighty soldiers stationed at Ft. Leaven-
worth, an equal number at Ft. Riley and about one hundred and fifty at
Wahiut creek, and army supply wagons, emigrant trains, bufTalo hunters,
adventurers, and some men following the star of empire westward, hoping
in a new and unbroken land to find a permanent abiding place.

The lure of new fields is always enticing to the restless mind, and so
the great American desert was peopled with a throng, each filled with hope
and pressing onward through difficulties to the golden West,


Marshall county is bounded on the north by Gage and Pawnee counties,
Nebraska, on the south by Pottawatomie and Riley, on the east by^ Nemaha
and the west by Washington counties, Kansas. It is the fourth county west
of the Missouri river in the northern tier. It retains the original dimension,
thirty miles scpiare, divided into twenty-five congressional and political town-

The Kansas-Nebraska act passed by Congress in 1854 created the terri-
tories of Kansas and Nebraska out of territory taken from the Utah or Indian
territory. Andrew H. Reeder was appointed first governor of the territory
of Kansas, and he ordered an election of delegates to form a territorial Legis-
lature, and designated "Pawnee," which was a new town built in 1854 by
ofticers (mostly Free State men) at Ft. Riley, as the seat of government and
place of meeting, just east of the Ft. Riley military reservation. Congress
had appropriated twenty-fi\e thousand dollars for a territorial building in
Kansas, and Governor Reeder had erected at Pawnee the two-story stone
building, the walls of which are still standing on the south side of the Lhiion
Pacific railroad tracks. When Jefif Davis, then secretary of war, found that
the citizens of Pawnee were Free State men, he promptly enlarged the mili-
tary reservation so as to "take in" Pawnee.



Frank J. ^Marshall, a mercliant. ferryman and postmaster at Marysville
on the Big Blue river, was elected a member of the council of this first terri-
torial Leg-islatnre. which met pursuant to call (in July 2, 1855, at Pawnee.
(3n July C), this Legislature adjourned to Shawnee Mission on the extreme
eastern boundary of the territory, where it had located the seat of govern-

This Legislature passed three acts relative to the establishment of

The first act created and established the boundaries and names of thirty-
three counties, some of which have since l)een renamed and relocated. Mar-
shall county was one of the original thirty-three, being named for Frank J.
Marshall, who also had his home town, Marysville. designated as the county
seat, and himself created a brigadier-general.

At this time Marshall was the most western county on the northern tier
of what is novv' the state of Kansas, but tlie territory of Kansas extended
west as far as the summit of the Rocky mountains, and that part of the terri-
tory which lies between the present western boundary of Kansas and the
summit of the Rocky mountains, was named Arapahoe countv, Kansas terri-

This Legislature attached all of the territory lying west of Marshall
county and east of Arapahoe county to Marshall county, and by another act
attached Arapahoe county to Marshall county, for civil and military purposes.


This gave Marshall county jurisdiction o\er a strip of territory thirty
miles wide, clear to the western boundary of the present Kansas, and all of
that part of the present state of Colorado which lies between the state of
Kansas and the summit of the Rocky mountains.

Beyond the Rocky mountains was Utah territory ; Colorado was not
known until Kansas was admitted as a state.

This enormous Marshall county lasted only until the next Legislature
made other decrees and confined us to our present lines.

Li this first Legislature Frank J. Marshall had this county named for
himself, he had Marysville (which he had named for his wife, Mary Will-
iams), designated as the county seat and had himself created a brigadier-
general, showing that he must have been a man of strong influence.


On \(t\enil)er ii, 1S34. Marys\illc had Itccn made a postoffice with
l""rank j. Marshall as postnias-tcr. .\iid here he il understood, and the state-
ment admits of no contradiction, that Marys\ille was the first postoffice estab-
lished in Kansas.

\'ol. 7. Kansas Historical Collections, page 442 (footnote) reads as
follows: "William 11. Smith, president, Kansas State Historical Society,
emphasizes tlie fact that Marysville was the first postoffice established in Kan-
sas, the cantonments. Leavenworth and Fort Scott, having been established
before lines were known and accredited to Platte and Bates counties, Mis-
souri. Mr. Smith served as postmaster at Marysville from 1868 to 1885."

In the spring of 1854 there was a general movement towards the new
territor}' of Kansas. The laws of "scjuatter sovereignty", and "pre-emption",
attracted men who desired to find homes for their growing families in an
agricultural region. Horace Greeley's N'civ York Tribune and the New
England and Ohio papers were filled with glowing accounts of the fertility
of the soil and wonderful climate of the new territory.


Soon a tide of emigration set in and the people who came to Kansas in
1854 and after that date had two strong and steadfast purposes in view —
the prevention of the extension of sla\ery and the building up of permanent
homes. Some came alone, others came with the different colonies, but as
soon as the population became steadfast the state began to improve both
materially and morally.

Marshall county recei\ed its share of the strong men and women who
came with a fixed purpose, and \ery soon their influence was felt. The
growth, development and prosperity of the county are due solely to the
. thrift, industry and honesty of the pioneer men and women who endured
every hardship, e\'en death itself, to build up a law-abiding community. In
less than ten years the sentiment of the county had changed from the reck-
less, happy-go-lucky frontier manner to that of earnest effort in building up
a strong and forceful community. The county has grown in wealth and
prospered until it now ranks sixth in the state. But its greatest growth has
been along educational, moral and religious lines, and its greatest wealth
today is its splendid citizenship.

It is a far cry from the row of log calkins near the fenw, the bad man
shooting in the street, the Indian brave with his greasy squaw and filthy
papoose, to the columns of fine, manly }-oung boys, sons of Marshall county.


marching on March 4, 19 17, under the leadership of Hervey Smith, over
the old Overland trail to the Community House and Y. M. C. A. rooms,
there to plan for a still brighter future for our county.


During the summer of 1871 a movement was started in the south half
of the county to re-locate the county seat. On October 2, 1871, the county
commissioners- ordered a special election for that purpose. On October
9th the following notice was given :

"It is hereby given that on the 14th day of October, 1871, a special elec-
tion will be held at the several voting precincts in Marshall county, Kansas,
for the re-location of the county seat of said county, in accordance with the
provisions of the foregoing order and general election law.

"Frank Geraty,
"Sheriff, Marshall County, Kansas."

history of the movement.

From the JVatcrvillc Telegraph, November 17, 1871 :

"On the 2nd day of October last a petition was presented to the board
of county commissioners asking for an order for the re-location of the
county seat. The petition was signed by more than three-fifths of the voters.

"Some dissatisfaction had often been expressed that the city of Marys-
ville had no public buildings ; the court room was inadequate and the citi-
zens of Marysville were said to oppose appropriations for public buildings.

"Meetings were held at Blue Rapids and Irving at which were present
representative men from all the townships on the Central Branch railroad.
At these meetings the movement was agreed upon with unanimity, it being
clearly the sentiment of all that the balance of population and taxable prop-
erty of the county being in the southern half, the county seat ought to be
located at some business point of the Central Branch road. At these meet-
ings pledges were made by the delegates from every township to go in earn-
estly for placing the county seat in the south half."

the result of election.

The vote on October 14th stood as follows : Waterville, 371 ; Blue
Rapids, 485; Center, 72; Frankfort, 576; Marysville, 802.

The two places receiving the highest number of votes were Frankfort


antl Marysville, and according to the law these towns became the candidates
at an election which would be held on October 28.

The proper notice was given and the result of the election on October
28 was as follows: Marysville, 1631; Frankfort, 1078.

The JJ'afcrz'illc Telegraph of December i, 1871, has this to say of the
election :

"The astounding fraud committed by Marysville is plain and apparent.
Not a man in the county but knows that four hundred fraudulent votes were
polled at Marysville last Tuesday. How- much they repeated, we do not
know. That special trains were run on the St. Jo. & Denver road to bring
voters from other counties, and from St. Joseph and Nebraska, is asserted
by persons who were at Marysville that day. At any rate a systematic
scheme was made and carried out to defraud the will of the people of Mar-
shall county in the location of the county seat. Will the people of the
county submit to such a Avholesale plunder of their rights? Will they sub-
mit to the expenditure of their money in the erection of county buildings
in a town whose very atmosphere smells of the rottenness of fraud and
corruption? Wliat say those honest voters of Waterville township and of
Irving township, who voted for Marysville — their sympathies aroused for
Marysville, under the impression that she was honest and deserving", and
their prejudices fanned against Frankfort under false and specious pleas?
We do not believe that the honest voters of Marshall county will
submit to the permanent location of the county seat under circumstances
of so much fraud. ..."


The county commissioners issued the follow^ing proclamation :

"Of^ce of County Clerk,
"Marysville, Dec. 2, 1871.
"The Board of Commissioners having completed the canvass of the
votes cast at the election Nov. 28, 1871, made the following certificate and
proclamation :

"We do hereby certify that at said election Marysville received One
Thousand Six Hundred and Thirty-one votes for County Seat, and Frank-
fort received One Thousand and Seventy-eight votes, for County Seat.

"And Alarysville is hereby proclaimed the County Seat of Marshall
County, having received a majority of all the votes cast at said election.
[Signed] "Jacob Mohrbacher, Chairman,

"Robert Osborn, Commissioner.
"Attest: James Smith, County Clerk."




The editor of the JVaterville Telegraph, Hon. F. G. Adams, no doubt
■felt justified in calhng attention to the methods employed to retain the county
seat at Marysville. It was evident that the fight between Marysville and
Frankfort would be hot and more a battle of wit than of actual honest

After the election, Alary sville was charged with fraud, and perhaps
justly so, but the following story is vouched for by Hon. W. H. Smith of

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 9 of 104)