Kansas State Historical Society.

The Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) online

. (page 36 of 76)
Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 36 of 76)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

got pretty badly saturated with soft mud and hard water. Part of it was acci-
dental, especially to those who were on the side walks; but those of the crowd
who persisted in swarming into the street and up to the very nozzle of the hose
were entitled to what they got, and got what was intended for them.

Chief Colson had a nice suit of clothes about ruined, and assistant chief Nyce
looked like he had taken a mud bath before the hurrah was over.

It all amused the crowd and counted for fun.


From the Minneapolis Messenger, November 28, 1895.

Rev. S. B. Lucas tells us a good story which reflects some on the appearance
and rapid movement of the Union Pacific train running from here to Solomon.
On Monday the train was mistaken by a colt for an emigrant train, to which
it belonged. The colt left its own train of wagons, and followed the cars for
about three miles, keeping up with the train with much ease. The owner of
the colt finally captured it, and had hard work to get it from the train. . . .

Kansas History as Published in the Press

Lillian K. Farrar's articles in the Axtell Standard during recent
months included: "Nemaha County Freighting in the Early Days/'
April 3, 1952; "Axtell Presbyterian Church," April 10; "A History of
the Axtell Methodist Church," April 17; "Names in Yesterday's
Schools in the History of Nemaha County," May 15, and a biographi-
cal sketch of Albert C. Eichenmann, July 3.

A column by Elizabeth Barnes, entitled "Historic Johnson
County," has appeared regularly in the Johnson County Herald,
Overland Park, in recent months. Subjects discussed included:
Early trappers and traders, May 15; Santa Fe trail, May 22; Oregon
trail, May 29; first Indian mission, June 5; Shawnee Indian Manual
Labor School, June 12; Shawnee Baptist Mission, June 19; Shawnee
Quaker Mission, June 26; beginning of statehood, July 10; wagons
and stage coaches used on the Plains, July 17, and distinguished
visitors to Kansas in the early days, July 31.

Recent articles in Heinie Schmidt's column, "It's Worth Repeat-
ing," in The High Plains Journal, Dodge City, were: "[The Rev.
Homer Gleckler] Tells of Murder of Sam Wood, Pioneer Stevens
Co. Lawyer," June 12, 1952; "Question Authorship of Words to
'Sod Shanty on the Claim/ " June 19, and "Pioneer Tells Story of
Wagon Train Trip Through Southwest," June 26, July 3, 10, 17, 24,
31, by Charles A. Blanchard.

Brief historical notes on the "Maine Colony" of Arkansas City,
appeared in Walter Hutchison's column, "Folks Hereabouts," in the
Arkansas City Daily Traveler, June 28, 1952. The colony was a
group of families from Maine who settled in Arkansas City over 80
years ago.

An article, explaining the dispute over who was the first mayor of
Coffeyville, by Dr. T. C. Frazier, was published in the Coffeyville
Daily Journal, June 29, 1952. In 1872 a portion of the town was in-
corporated and elected A. B. Clark mayor. A short time later the
charter was revoked, and in 1873 the entire village was incorporated
and Dr. G. J. Tallman elected mayor.

A four-page article on Yates Center by Neil L. Toedman, was
published in the July, 1952, number of The Mid-West Truckman,
Yates Center. The town is just now completing its 77th year.



The Seventh Day Baptist settlement in the Nortonville area was
the subject of a historical sketch by Myra Maris, printed in the
Atchison Daily Globe, July 2, 1952. The Baptists arrived late in
1857, and the first church was organized in 1862.

A brief historical sketch of Irving was published in the Frankfort
Index, July 3, 1952. Irving was founded late in 1859 by a group
from Lyon City, Iowa, on a site selected by W. W. Jerome.

A summary of K. D. Hamer's article, "Story of Ellsworth," ap-
peared in the Ellsworth Messenger, July 3, 1952. The original town-
site of Ellsworth, about two miles southeast of the present town,
was surveyed in 1867, but that same year the town was moved to
the present location because of a flood. J. H. Edwards was the first

In the July 4, 1952, issue of the Hutchinson News-Herald, Ernest
Dewey described some of the scenery and historic points of south-
west Kansas. The gold strike of 1893 on the Smoky Hill river was
the subject of his article on July 13.

An article on the fight over building a railroad through McCune
in 1904 was published in the McCune Herald, July 11, 1952. An
election was held, resulting in a very close vote in favor of a bond
issue for buying the right of way. Some work was done on the right
of way but the railroad was never built.

In connection with its 75th anniversary, a brief history of St.
Ann's Catholic church, Effingham, was printed in the Atchison Daily
Globe, July 17, 1952. The church was established as a mission
parish in 1867 and became a full-fledged parish in 1877.

The hobby of Charles B. Driscoll, native Kansan, of collecting
pirate lore, was discussed in an article by John Edward Hicks,
"Captain Kidd Was No Pirate According to Data in C. B. Driscoll
Collection," in the Kansas City (Mo.) Star, August 4, 1952. The
collection, believed to be the world's largest on that subject, has
been purchased by the Wichita City Library. The story of the cap-
ture of the wild horse, Black Kettle, by Frank M. Lockard, is told
in "The Most Famous of Kansas Wild Horses Outmaneuvered by
Man in a Buckboard," by E. B. Dykes Beachy, in the Kansas City
(Mo.) Times, July 28.

The Modern Light, Columbus, has continued in recent months to
publish the column of historical notes entitled "Do You Remember

Kansas Historical Notes

Nyle H. Miller, secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society,
was the principal speaker at a luncheon meeting of the Lyon County
Historical Society in Emporia, July 4, 1952.

Thaddeus A. Culbertson's Journal of an Expedition to the Mau-
vaises Terres and the Upper Missouri in 1850 has been edited by
John Francis McDermott and recently published as Bulletin 47,
Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution. The book-
let, 164 pages in length, is Culbertson's day by day account of his
scientific expedition to the Bad Lands in 1850.

A 312-page history of the Missouri, Kansas, Texas Railroad, en-
titled The Katy Railroad and the Last Frontier, by V. V. Masterson,
was recently published by the University of Oklahoma Press. The
Katy, originally incorporated as the Union Pacific Railway, Southern
Branch, came into legal being in September, 1865.

A collection of letters written home by emigrants to California
in 1849 and 1850, has been edited by Dr. Walker D. Wyman and
published by Bookman Associates in a 177-page book entitled Cali-
fornia Emigrant Letters.

The material on Kansas history collected by the late Cecil Howes
during his nearly 50 years as Kansas statehouse reporter for the
Kansas City Star, has been assembled and edited by his son, Charles
C. Howes, and recently published by the University of Oklahoma
Press under the title This Place Called Kansas. The 236-page book
is a collection of entertaining and revealing anecdotes "representa-
tive of the social and cultural pattern of the state."




February 1953

Published by

Kansas State Historical Society



Editor Associate Editor Managing Editor




Minnie Dubbs Millbrook, 305

Dan D, Casement James C. Carey and Verlin R. Easterling, 350

THE ANNUAL MEETING: Containing Reports of the Secretary, Treasurer,
Executive and Nominating Committees; Annual Address of the Presi-
dent, DANIEL WEBSTER WILDER, by William T. Beck; Election of Offi-
cers; List of Directors of the Society Nyle H. Miller, Secretary, 354




The Kansas Historical Quarterly is published in February, May, August and
November by the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kan., and is dis-
tributed free to members. Correspondence concerning contributions may be
sent to the managing editor at the Historical Society. The Society assumes no
responsibility for statements made by contributors.

Entered as second-class matter October 22, 1931, at the post office at To-
peka, Kan., under the act of August 24, 1912.


A sod house near Coldwater in the early 1880's. The man is not identified,
but it is said that he was a bachelor! Which is remindful of the jingle going
the rounds of western Kansas newspapers in the 1880's, "The Little Old Sod
Shanty on the Claim," two stanzas of which are as follows:

I am looking rather seedy now, while holding down my claim,
And my victuals are not always served the best;
And the mice play shyly 'round me as I nestle down to sleep,
In my little old sod shanty on the claim. . . .

But when I left my Eastern home, a bachelor so gay,
To try to win my way to wealth and fame,
I little thought that I'd come down to burning twisted hay,
In my little old sod shanty on the claim. . . .

[The photograph, lent by Mrs. J. W. Bosley of Coldwater, was brought in
by Mrs. Benj. O. Weaver of Mullinville.]


Volume XX February, 1953 Number 5

Dr. Samuel Grant Rodgers, Gentleman From Ness


IN 1872 western Kansas was virtually empty. The Indians, how-
ever restless and discontented^ were mostly on reservation in
what is now Oklahoma. The remaining buffalo were being rapidly
hunted down, skinned and the bones left for later pickers. The
Kansas Pacific railroad (now Union Pacific) was like a thin bridge,
stretched across an enormous empty sea, and although little settle-
ment had followed its building, still another railroad, the Santa
Fe, was pushing out across that same great vacant land. Here was
an unprecedented opportunity free land and convenient transpor-
tation to it open to that restless, always westward-pushing, always
land-hungry American. And yet the settler was reluctant. The
reputation of the land was not good; it was dry and the crops might
not grow.

But other men, who had learned that profit and power attend
the settlement of new territory, were ready and anxious. They had
dreams far beyond a home and a farm for themselves; they would
build towns and counties. In the best sense, these men were plan-
ners and creators, building unselfishly for a good community. In
many cases they were exploiters of their fellows, hoping to control
the settlement to their own personal gain. In their worst form
they were outright thieves, faking the establishment of counties and
towns, secure in the knowledge that no one would come west to
investigate the phantom populations for which they projected phan-
tom courthouses and bridges, only to sell the bonds to Eastern
financiers for real hard cash.

In the 1870's nearly every town and county organized in western
Kansas had such a sponsor and it was not always easy to determine

MRS. RAYMOND H. (MINNIE DUBBS) MILLBROOK, of Detroit, Mich., native of Kansas
who was educated at Kansas State College, Manhattan, is a housewife and editor of The
Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine.



in which category each might belong. Ness county had Dr. Samuel
Grant Rodgers, who was unsuccessful with his organization and has
ever since been regarded as a rascal and a cheat. As a consequence,
for many years Ness countians have chosen to ignore historically,
what seemed to them, the dishonorable beginnings of the county.
But when at last the skeleton of these beginnings has been taken
from the closet, 1 dressed in some long-neglected facts and set in a
proper contemporary background, the whole affair proves to have
been not only most interesting but of comparative respectability.

What has not been generally understood, is that Ness county was
not the first of Dr. Rodgers' promotions. He served an apprentice-
ship in Pawnee county where his plans for a model community were
defeated. Adopting the more successful, more unscrupulous tech-
niques of his adversaries, he tried again in Ness county and again
failed. For all his efforts he got neither an established colony nor
any monetary reward. A failure rather than a thief would be the
truer word for Dr. Rodgers.

In order to understand Dr. Rodgers' first promotion, some of the
early conditions in Pawnee county must be explained. Pawnee was
not an organized county in 1872, although its boundaries had been
drawn in 1867, when the Kansas legislature had laid out three tiers
of western counties 2 all the unoccupied land in Kansas up to
Range 26 West with the provision that when these counties had
attained sufficient population (600 inhabitants) they could be or-
ganized into political units. These 21 counties were uniformly laid
out, 30 miles by 30 miles, five townships square. Pawnee consisted
of townships 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 in ranges 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20

In the northeast corner of Pawnee county was Fort Larned, an
important army post during the Indian wars and still occupied by
troops in 1872. Among the innumerable tales of earlier events about
the fort, was one involving Capt. Henry Booth, who in 1864 was
inspecting officer of the military district in which the fort lay.
Driving from Fort Zarah with another officer in an ambulance, he
was attacked by Indians and barely escaped with his life. 3 Earlier
that same year Captain Booth had commanded an expedition from

1. Judge Lorin T. Peters of the 33d judicial district of Kansas, intensely interested in
western Kansas history, has made a thorough search into the organization of Ness and other
western counties. This article is based on his research, as communicated to the writer by
Mrs. G. N. Raffington, Ness City.

2. The Laws of the State of Kansas, 1867, pp. 51-57.

nM 3 c Ef < *S%* B *5? Series *' v ' 41 > Pt ' X P- 934 Ako > Col. Henry Inman. The
Old Santa Fe Trail (New York, 1897), pp. 435-451.


Fort Riley to the relief of Ft. Larned reportedly infested by In-
dians. 4 Before the war, Booth had been a resident of Riley county
and after the close of his service in the army, he returned to his
home there. In 1867 he served as legislator from Riley county in
the Kansas house. In 1869 he received an appointment as post-
master at Fort Larned and moved there with his family, establishing
a sutler's store at the fort.

When the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad ran its survey
through Pawnee county in 1871, Booth and several associates began
planning a new town over on the railroad, six miles east from the
fort, to be named Larned. In January, 1872, the directors of the
Larned Town Co., including ex-Governor Samuel Crawford, presi-
dent, and E. Wilder, secretary,-met at the home of Booth and selected
the exact site of the town. 5 There is no doubt that Booth, with
his wide experience in the war and in Kansas affairs, was well-fitted
to be the leader in the bright future that the railroad would bring
to Pawnee county. Neither was there any doubt that he had excel-
lent political connections and many friends in Topeka.

The first house was "brought bodily from Fort Larned on wheels"
to the new town by Booth in April. 6 Several other houses were built
that summer and a number of settlers came in. The railroad was
completed into Larned on July 20, 1872. With it came the railroad
construction gang under John D. Criley, who had previously built
part of the Kansas Pacific across western Kansas, and who now
located his laborer's camp near Larned at a place called Camp
Criley. F. C. Hawkins is said to have come with this crew only to
remain in Larned indefinitely when he found a fine growing town
that offered possibilities to a man of his talents. 7 Everything was
going well when Dr. Samuel Grant Rodgers arrived in Pawnee
county as one of a committee to locate a site for the Chicago work-
ingman's colony.

The railroad was completed to the, then, barren plain, where Kinsley now
stands, in the summer of 1872. In August of that year C. N. Pratt and Dr.
Samuel G. Rodgers (the gentleman from Ness), representing the "Chicago work-
ingmen's colony," (the work was to be done by the men who were to follow,
like all colonies you know,) visited the upper valley and selected the present

4. War of the Rebellion, Series 1, v. 41, Ft. 1, p. 189.

5. Capt. Henry Booth, "Centennial History of Pawnee County," read by Captain
Booth at a centennial celebration, July 4, 1876, and printed beginning November 3, 1899,
in the Larned Eagle Optic. The history was contributed to the newspaper by Mrs. Isabel
Worral Ball, historian of the old settlers' association. Clippings are now in the State His-
torical Library, Topeka.

6. Ibid.

7. A. T. Andreas and W. G. Cutler, History of the State of Kansas (Chicago, 1883),
p. 1350.


site of Kinsley as their objective point, and named it Petersburg, in honor of
T. J. Peters of the Santa Fe railroad. 8

In his history of early Pawnee county, Henry Booth gave August
10 as the day of the location of Petersburg, 24 miles southwest from
Lamed on the railroad. He named in addition to Rodgers and Pratt
as the committee of the Chicago Workingmen's Co-operation colony,
F. W. Neye, J. Trumbull, and Robert McCanse. He stated further
that the place was selected on account of the fertility of the soil,
the healthfulness of the climate, and the abundance of pure water.
This colony, it would seem, would offer only the best of advantages
to its colonists.

This, then, was the entrance of Dr. Rodgers upon the Pawnee
county scene one of a committee to locate and promote a co-oper-
ative colony of workingmen from Chicago. To establish such a
colony was his ambition and his dream and there is no evidence
throughout his experience in western Kansas that he ever wavered
from this primary objective. Organized colonies of this type were
actively advocated by the social idealists of that day in the hope
of relieving the pressure of poverty on the working class of the cities.
Many such colonies were planned and begun in Kansas, several in
the vicinity of what is now Kinsley. Needless to say, they were
regarded with ridicule and hostility by the hard-bitten realists 9 of
the Western country, and particularly those whose personal plans
might be endangered by such altruistic ideas.

It is to be regretted that all our judgment of Dr. Rodgers must be
based on the few newspaper clippings and official records that now
remain to tell of his work, since nothing has been found concerning
his life prior to August, 1872, or after the spring of 1874. One of
his colonists said that he was an Englishman, a dark, slender, genteel
looking, fellow. 10 He was 40 years old in 1874 n and he was from
Chicago. A check of the directories of that city, show him listed
as a resident only in 1872 and 1873, the same years in which he was

8. Kinsley Republican, January 4, 1879. This is a rewrite with interpolations, from
J. A. Walker's "Early History of Edwards County," which was edited by James C. Malin
and published in The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 9, pp. 259-284. This particular quota-
tion is used here since it shows the local contemptuous attitude toward Rodgers and his
colony. It also reflects the fact that even in Kinsley, Rodgers was better remembered as
of Ness county.

9. In the Kinsley Republican, January 4, 1879, there is a characterization of a co-
operative colony "as an institution founded upon the principle that to secure a quarter of
land was to transform a poor mechanic into a wealthy prince." An editorial in the Kinsley
Graphic, May 4, 1878, stated of such colonies, "As a rule they are successful failures.
That is, as failures they are a success."

10. Fern Cook interviewed William Lenihan, one of Rodgers' Ness county colonists in
1935. The article to be written from this interview was never completed, but her notes
were lent to the writer.

11. D. W. WUder, The Annals of Kansas (Topeka, 1886), p. 631.


promoting his Kansas colony, and it is therefore assumed that he
was resident there only for the purpose of recruiting settlers. 12

The advent of Rodgers and his town of Petersburg probably
brought some misgivings to Capt. Henry Booth in Lamed. Rodgers
must have talked busily as was his wont, with anyone who would
listen, about the model community, 13 he and his associates would
build, where workingmen of great cities like Chicago, might attain
independence and a great future. While to the more experienced
Booth, the Chicago doctor must have seemed naive and an all round
tender-foot, still the doctor's appeal to prospective settlers in Chi-
cago and points east, would conceivably be compelling. At least his
arrival was a warning that the railroad would bring others with
similar dreams of building towns and if Larned's lead was to be
preserved, time was of the essence.

So in October, Henry Booth, D. A. Bright and A. H. Boyd secured
signatures to a petition or memorial, asking for the organization of
Pawnee county. The law passed in 1872 by the legislature, specify-
ing the procedure for organizing new counties (ch. 106) required
that such a petition be signed by 40 householders who were legal
electors of the county. Evidently, there were not 40 legal electors
in Pawnee county at that time. According to one report, 14 "An imi-
grant train came toiling by and the men in Lamed rode out, held it
up and forced the men in the party to sign the petition .
Notwithstanding the way the signatures were obtained, Henry
Booth, D. A. Bright and A. H. Boyd, on October 7, 1872, swore
under oath before George B. Cox, a justice of the peace, that "the
above signatures are the genuine signatures of householders and
legal electors of the County of Pawnee." 15 Henry Booth also on
October 7 wrote Gov. James M. Harvey a letter and the first sen-
tence of the letter contains the following: "I send you herewith a
petition of 40 householders and legal electors of this county." The
letter also bears a postscript in which Henry Booth recommended
"F. C. Hawkins as a good man to take the census and would be
pleased to see him appointed." 16

If there were not 40 householders or legal electors in the county,
there scarcely could have been 600 inhabitants as were by law re-

12. Dr. Rodgers was listed as a physician at 277 Clark St., and 318 Clark St. One of
his colonists said he had an office on State St.

13. In practically every existing letter or direct quotation of Dr. Rodgers, his model
colony is mentioned.

14. Great Bend Tribune, December 24, 1934. From an article written by Dwight B.
Christy, who was the third sheriff of Pawnee county.

15. Records of the secretary of state, Topeka.

16. Ibid.


quired for the organization of a county. But if the first step in the
conspiracy succeeded, how much more confidently might the second
misrepresentation be compounded! According to the law of 1872,
upon receipt of the petition for organization, the governor should
appoint some "competent person who was a bona fide resident of the
county to take the census/' At this point the governor, however
uninformed he may have been of the true facts in the case, could
have stopped this fraudulent organization and set up a precedent
that would have prevented many subsequent ones. He could have
diligently investigated the qualifications of his appointee his
census taker and made sure that the census was correctly taken.
In this manner, as was the plain intent of the law, the whole process
of organizing the new counties would have been safe-guarded.
But Governor Harvey did not bother, he appointed F. C. Hawkins,
the man recommended by Booth. In the Norton county organiza-
tion of the same year he also appointed without investigation the
locally recommended census-taker. Governor Osborn followed this
same loose practice with Harper, Ness, Barbour, and Comanche
counties in 1873. Thus the door was opened to the fraudulent

Since the census of F. C. Hawkins is typical of what occurred in
all these fraudulent organizations, let us therefore consider it some-
what in detail. On October 19, 1872, F. C. Hawkins took an oath
before George B. Cox, a justice of the peace in Pawnee county, to
"take the census of Pawnee county to the best of my knowledge and
ability. So help me, God." On October 28, 1872, F. C. Hawkins

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 36 of 76)