Pages 73-79, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




(Acknowledgement is gratefully made to Mr. W. A. Corwan for all that part of the following sketch relating to the early history of Iola.—EDITORS)

In the fall of 1853 the settlers on the Neosho River finding that on account of inability to get good well water, the town of Cofachique would prove a failure and believing that the county seat of Allen County should be as near as practicable in the center of the county decided to locate a new town which should have as many advantages and as few disadvantages as possible. Accordingly in January 1859 a meeting of all those in favor of the new enterprise was called, the meeting being held at the residence of J. C. Clark near the mouth of Deer Creek. John W. Scott was elected president of the new town company, John Hamilton vice- president, J. M. Perkins Secretary, James McDonald treasurer, A. G. Carpenter, B. I. G. Stone and H. D. Parsons, directors.

Among those present at this meeting besides those above named were Wm. C. Keith. W. H. Cochran, J. C. Redfield, Daniel Horville, J. C. Clark, Simon Camerer, J. F. Colborn, L. E. Rhodes, James Faulkner, Eli Lorance, W. M. Brown, Nimrod Hankins, W. F. Brocks, John A. Hart, J. T. Cornell, Carlyle Faulkner, J. M. Faulkner, J. B. Lampkin, M. A. Simpson, J. C. Parsons, Rufus Perkins, H. D. Parsons, Wm. Lewis and Aaron Case.

Two quarter sections north of Elm creek and east of the Neosho river owned by J. F. Colborn and W. H. Cochran were selected and A. G. Carpen-


ter, a brother of Honorable J. C. Carpenter, now of Chanute, was appointed surveyor.

"Iola" the Christian name of Mrs. J. F. Colborn was chosen as the name of the future town. The land was surveyed and the new townsite like many Kansas enterprises was on a broad gauge. Four blocks were set aside as a public park on which the future Court House was to be erected, avenues 100 feet wide surround it. The stock in the company was divided into fifty shares and each shareholder was to get twenty lots but he was not to get a deed to any until he had put up $300 worth of improvements. This was to prevent men from securing control of a great number of lots and holding them for speculative purposes without contributing to the support of the town. A block was set aside for school purposes, two lots at the south-west corner of the park were reserved for a hotel, others for churches, a college, and to secure the location of the United States land office. One hundred lots were donated to the county to "permanently locate the county seat at Iola," other lots were offered to any one who would build on them.

The first house to be erected in town was built by Bolivar Buckner Bayne, a relative of Gens Bolivar and Buckner of Kentucky. This was a log house which disappeared several years ago but the frame addition to which yet stands on South Washington avenue and is now occupied by Mr. Chase as a restaurant. It was bought by J. M. Cowan in July, 1860, and still remains in the family.

The first frame house was built by J. F. Colborn and became the birthplace of the first Iola baby, Miss Luella Colborn, now Mrs. W. P. Northrup, of Wallace, Idaho.

In 1860 James Faulkner and Aaron Case moved their stores from Cofachique to Iola. Both were small general stores. B. B. Bayne opened a dry goods and notion store and J. M. Cowan a grocery store. In the winter of 1860 and '61 Messrs Howell & Brewster opened a general store. Soon afterwards L. L. Northrup moved to Iola from Geneva. E. A. Howes also opened a small stock of notions and in the fall of 1860 Dan Horville opened a stock of clothing. Later Drs. Gillihan and Packard emptied their medicine cases together and the result was the first drug store. This passed to Gillihan & Cowan (S. J. Cowan) then to J. M. Cowan & Son, then to S. Ridenour & Co. then to John Francis, then to John W. Scott, then to Campbell & Burrell.

Of all the first business enterprises but one, Northrup Bros, survives, the others having wound up business and quit.

It is a remarkable fact that for over thirty years there was not a business failure in Iola, and it well illustrates the kind of men that have made the city what it is now.

The first bank was started by the leading men of the King Bridge Company but retired when the Bridge Company died.

The second bank was started in 1869 by L. L. Northrup, first by simply receiving and taking care of the money of his friends and selling his personal checks against his deposits in New York. The business however soon


became large enough to justify a separate establishment and "The Banking House of L. L. Northrup" was opened in the small brick building on the west side of the public square where it remained until destroyed recently to make room for the Masonic Temple when the name was changed to the "Northrup National Bank" and the business moved to the new National Bank building.

L. L. Northrup, now deceased, was a man of large means when he located in Iola and to this he added very largely during the civil war by the great advance in price of goods so that at the time he entered the banking business he was perhaps the wealthiest man in this part of Kansas. A hard worker, he gave personal attention to every detail of his business with such faithfulness that he generally wrung success from everything he undertook, and so it was that he had the perfect confidence of all with whom he did business and when the financial crash of 1873 came he kep[sic] this bank open and met all demands. It is believed that but two other banks in the State braved this storm and both of then have since failed.

The first real estate office was opened by Geo. A. Bowlus in 1868. To this he added fire insurance and finally in 1885 he established The Bank of Allen County of which he is still president and manager.

The first blacksmith shop was started by J. F. Colborn. The first wagon shop by Geo. J. Eldridge. The first hotel by Mrs. Ross. The first grist mill D. R. Harvey, saw mill Wood & Means and a Mr. Jay, Furniture and undertaking Joe Culbertson, bakery W. H. Richards, tin shop J. J. Casmire who later added a stock of Hardware.

In 1860 Miss E. G. Hancock opened a private school in her own building near where the Star Livery barn now stands.

The first public school was taught by Miss Hester Walters a sister of John Walters, in the building at the corner of West and State streets. In this building was also held the first term of the District Court after the removal of the county seat to Iola. It was also used for some time as a meeting place for the Presbyterian church.

Soon after the building of the L., L. & G. railroad through Iola a company was organized to prospect for coal and a diamond drill was hired and the "Acers Well" drilled, the L., L. & G. railroad paying half the expense.

Next the King Bridge Company located a branch of their works in the building now used by the Lanyon Zinc Company. The town voted bonds to the amount of $50,000 to secure the location of the works. A few bridges were built in the time the shops were in operation, the largest being the one across the Kansas river at Kansas City, Kansas. The company soon found the business a failure and moved to Topeka. Iola then refused to pay the $50,000 bonds and suit was brought to collect them, the case going to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the town was successful. The bonds however are still outstanding and there are occasional inquiries about them.

The next enterprise was a large grist mill which was begun in what is now Gear's addition. The contract was let and the building finished to


the second story. Then the promoter started to his old home for his money and never returned, it being supposed that he was murdered by the Benders. The stone work was afterward torn down and the window sills were used in the Northrup and Cowan buildings on Washington avenue.

In 1887 the Iola Carriage and Omnibus Company secured the old King Bridge shops, raised it to two stories and began the manufacture of carriages on a large scale, but the business proving a failure was wound up and in 1896 the buildings were leased to Robert and William Lanyon for smelting works.

The effort to build up a town cost its promoters many thousand dollars. Allen County accepted the one hundred lots which were sold and the money was used to pay for a building for use as a court house.

The public square was originally intended for the court house but the county being slow about using it for that purpose a plan was started to cut it up into lots and sell them to pay the King Bridge Company bonds. In 1872 an act was passed by the legislature authorizing the sale. The board of county commissioners met and relinquished all the county's rights; the city council did the same in behalf of the city. The owners of property facing the square agreed to quit claim any interest they might have, and finally the Iola Town Company authorized its president to deed the property to John Francis, Daniel Horville and Geo. A. Bowlus, trustees, to sell the same and pay off the bonds. By this time, however, the Bridge Company began to move and it was decided to contest the validity of the bonds in the courts rather than pay them, and so the whole plan was abandoned and the property returned to where it was before.

"The Schemes That Failed" would be an appropriate title for a chapter which should attempt to give in detail the industrial history of Iola from 1887,—or indeed from the beginning for the matter of that,—to 1896. Ambitious and energetic, the business men of the town, from the very day of its founding, were always casting about for the establishment of some enterprise that might furnish employment to labor and thereby bring Iola a greater support than that afforded by the country trade. Some of the more notable of these,—the prospecting for coal, the location of the Bridge Company, the establishment of a Carriage Factory,—have already been noted. Innumerable smaller enterprises were undertaken from time to time, pushed with all possible zeal as long as there was any thing to push, only to be abandoned at last. To set out in detail all these undertakings, if not an impossible task, would still be a tedious and profitless one. Let it suffice to say that at the end of thirty-five years of almost incessant effort Iola remained what it had been from the beginning, a country village, a fairly good trading point but nothing more. The census of 1895 showed a population of 1565, and the most sanguine among all her citizens would not have dared to predict that he would live to see that number doubled.

But with the discovery of natural gas,—the story of which is told in detail in another chapter,—all that was changed. Almost immediately the attention of men with large capital was attracted by the splendid opportunity which this discovery opened for investment in manufacturing enterprises,


and from that day to this the growth of Iola has been rapid and continuous, until it now stands well up toward the head of the list of Kansas cities in wealth and population.

The first of the great industries to enter the field was the Robert Lanyon's Sons' Spelter Company. Robert and William Lanyon, brothers, constituted this firm, and in 1896 they completed the first zinc smelter ever erected in Allen County. They were followed a year later by W. & J. Lanyon, who also built a zinc smelter. (Both these firms afterwards sold all their interests to the Lanyon Zinc Company which has since operated and largely extended their properties.) Following them, in rapid succession, came the Iola Brick Company, the Iola manufacturing Company (now The Iola Works of the Pittsburg Foundry and Machine Company, and the Iola Planing Mill Company), the Geo. E. Nicholson smelter, the Star Brick Company and the Iola Portland Cement Company. As this chapter is written The Standard Acid Company (William Lanyon) is erecting a large Sulphuric Acid plant, and the Lanyon Zinc Company is preparing to build a Sulphuric Acid plant and Zinc Rolling Mills. What the establishment of these industries has meant to Iola may be seen by reference to the statistics of wealth and population appended to this chapter. It has meant in brief that Iola is no longer a country village but a flourishing city, destined to be, if not already, the manufacturing metropolis of Kansas.

Responding to the needs of the increased population, in 1900 the city voted $80,000 in bonds for the erection of water-works and an electric light plant. These were completed April 1, 1901, and are now in successful operation.

The educational interests of Iola have been from the beginning generously advanced and good schools have always been maintained. The present High School has for years carried a course of study that prepares its students for the Freshman class at the State University. It is well supported by three splendid ward schools, the four buildings having been erected at a cost of $80,000. Thirty-one teachers are employed and the enrollment for the current year reached the total of 1705 pupils. In addition to the public schools, the Iola Business College, established in 1899 by the Fesler Brothers, is in successful operation.

The first church to be regularly organized in Iola was the First Baptist church which was organized in the summer of 1860 at the residence of Joseph Culbertson by Rev. Harris and Rev. Sands. Rev. H. K. Stimson, State Missionary supplied the pulpit at intervals for some time but the members finally disbanded and the records were lost. In November 1869 Rev. A. Hitchcock of Humboldt and Rev. L. D. Walker of Fort Scott reorganized the church with a membership of thirteen. Rev. A. Hitchcock was called to the pastorate and filled the place for three months after which the church was without a pastor until July 1871 when Rev. M. D. Gage of Junction city came here and reorganized the church under a state charter with twenty members. He remained with the church as pastor until April 1873. During the year 1872 the church built


and dedicated the edifice now occupied by the church, at a cost of $7,000. Since that time the pulpit has been occupied by the following pastors, Rev. I. N. Clark from April 1873 to October 1873, Rev. T. C. Floyd, from January 1874 to April 1876, Rev. David Fielding of Ottawa filled the pulpit during the summer of 1876 as often as his health would permit. Rev. J. W. Aiton, from July 1877 to May 1878, Rev. J. N. Wiman, from January 1879 to August 1879, Rev. T. C. Coffey, from December 1880 to April 1883, Rev W. S. Webb from July 1883 to May 1886, Rev. C. N. H. Moore from November 1886 to March 1891, Rev. J. F. Huckleberry from February 1892 to September 1892, Rev. M. F. King from October 1892 to April 1897, Rev. H. G. Fraser from August 1897 to February 1899, Rev H. A. Doughty from September 1899 to September 1900. Rev. G. W. Shadwick the present pastor was called in November 1900. The membership of the church at present is about two hundred.

The First Presbyterian church in Iola was organized June 24th 1864 in a grove on Deer creek, three and one-half miles north of Iola, by Rev. E. K. Lynn. Rev. Austin Warner and Elder J. M. Evans, of the Carlyle church. About twenty persons were enrolled as members, of whom Mrs. Susan Post is the only one who yet survives and who has maintained continuous membership. The first services of the church were held in the small house on the corner of West and State streets and later in the court house then on the north-west corner of the square. The first church building, a brick structure, was completed in the spring of 1868 and was rebuilt on the same site in 1891. In 1899 the church bought a new site on east Madison avenue where it is expected that a large and handsome edifice will soon be erected. The first pastor was Rev. E. K. Lynn, who served the church from its organization until 1869. Others succeeded him as follows: Rev H. M. Stratton from October 1870 to January 1873. Rev. J. W. Pinkerton from March 1873 until his death in February, 1875. Rev. S. G. Clark from July 1875 to April 1878. Rev E. S. Miller from February 1879 to May 1886. Rev. W. H. Hyatt from May 1887 to October 1891. Rev. Johnston McGaughney for most of the year following. Rev. Squier from February 1893 to May 1898. Rev. J. M. Leonard from June 1898 to the present. The church now has over two hundred members.

The United Brethren Church was organized in the spring of 1892. The present church building was dedicated in 1898. The church has been served by the following pastors: Revs. J. I. Robinson, L. W. Stone, L. D. Wimmer, E. A. and C. V. King (husband and wife), N. L. Vezie and F. M. Gillett, the present incumbent.

The records of the Methodist Episcopal church are not complete and the exact date of the first organization is not known. It is remembered, however, that Methodist services were held in the home of Mr. J. F. Colborn in September 1859 and it seems probable the church was organized, at least as a mission, then or


soon afterwards. Of the original membership, only Mr. I. B. Lawyer yet survives. Services were held for a time in the building on the corner of West and State streets, the first public building erected in Iola and used as a school house as well as a place for religious meetings. Afterwards class meetings were held in a stone building which formerly occupied the present site of H. Klaumann's business house. The first quarterly meeting in Iola of which any record remains was held in this building May 1, 1860. The present building was erected in 1870. As this chapter is written a new and handsome structure is under erection. It will cost $10,000 and will be the first large and modern church edifice to be erected in Iola. The present membership of the church is 375. The pastors have been as follows: Revs. N. P. Bukey, 1860; Thos. Willett, 1861; W. T. Travis, 1862; W. Kimberlan, 1863; C. Meadows, 1864; A. B. Walker, 1865-66; C. K. Tobias, 1867; G. L. Williams, 1868; E. A. Graham, 1869-70; W. W. Welsh, 1871; L. M. Hancock, 1872; Thos. B. Palmer, 1873; H. K. Muth, 1874-76, J. S. Kline, 1877-80; D. T. Summerville, 1880-81, S. S. Weatherby, 1882-83; R. M. Scott, 1884-86: N. B. Johnson, 1887-88; J. B. Ford, 1889, A. S. Freed, 1890-92; Isaac Hill, 1893; James Hunter, 1894-95: I. B. Pulliam, 1896-97; A. B. Bruner, 1898-99; John Maclean, 1900, the present incumbent.

Was organized by Rev. D. B. Shuey, superintendent of Missions, on July 29th 1883. The following named pastors have served this congregation. Rev. S. A. Alt June 15, 1884 to October 1, 1889. Rev. J. R. Skinner October 1, 1889 to April 1, 1890. Rev. W. E. Shaley August 27, 1890 to December 1, 1892. Rev. L. S. Faust July 1, 1893 to September 1, 1898. Rev. D. B. Shuey September 1, 1898 and is the present pastor.

The present church and parsonage lot was purchased on May 17, 1884. Present church building 30x50 erected in 1888

This parish has held services with greater or less regularity since about 1878, at which time it was organized under the direction of Bishop Vail. Rev. Holden was the first minister, and held services monthly for several years. The membership of the church was very small, and there were considerable periods during which no regular services were held. With the growth of Iola, however, the church was materially strengthened, and in 1901 a small, but handsome church was erected, in which regular services were held by Rev. George Davidson, the pastor in charge.

The first Catholic services ever held in Iola where held March 10, 1897, by Father Weikman, in charge of the Humboldt church. He conducted services regularly each month thereafter until October, 1900, when he went to Europe and was succeeded by Father Donohue, who is now in charge and who holds religious services every two weeks. The church has bought the old Methodist church and parsonage and will be given possession as soon at the new M. E. church is


ready for occupancy. Some seventy-five or eighty families in Iola acknowledge allegiance to the Catholic church.

The Second Baptist Church (colored) was organized November 18, 1876, with Rev. Samuel Clark as pastor. Considering its small membership it has done much good work, having early secured a church building which served it until 1899 when a new and more commodious one was erected. The membership at present is 38.

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