Pages 88-90, 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.





Savonburg is located in the extreme southeast corner of Allen county, one mile north of the Neosho county line, and four miles west of the division line between Bourbon and Allen counties.

The town was founded in 1879, at which time the post-office was established with John Keen as postmaster. Mr. Keen was the first merchant, and kept store until 1881, when he was succeeded by A. Linville. In 1883 Mr. Linville sold out to L. B. Murray, who continued the business till 1888. In the early spring of 1888, Chas. Nelson, who was destined to play an important part in the building of the town, rented the business room of L. B. Murray, and in the early part of May removed from Warnersburg, a school district three miles west, about one-half of his stock of general merchandise. Mr. Nelson enjoyed a good business from the start, which was greatly increased by the patronage of the various gangs of laborers engaged in the building of the Kansas City, Parsons & Pacific, now known as the M. K. & T. railway, which was completed to this point August 1st of this year.

About this time there came a corps of engineers, surveying a route for the Kansas, Nebraska & Western railroad, which was at that time the construction company of the Santa Fe railway the line of definite location being some 600 feet south of Main street. The engineers were soon followed by an agent, who came to secure right of way and land for a town site, and options were obtained upon 240 acres. Shortly after the Santa Fe encountered the financial shoals which terminated in a receivership for the company, and the project came to naught. In March, 1889, the options which had been secured by the company expired. It was then determined by the people of the vicinity that it would be advisable to organize a town company, and proceed to the building of a town. Accordingly a charter was procured, and March 24, 1889, the Savonburg Town and Improvement Company formally opened for business, with an authorized capital of $25,000, and under the direction of the following officers: Chas Nelson, president; R. G. Cravens, vice president; L. B. Murray, Secretary: J. T. Butterfield, treasurer. Board of Directors: Chas. Nelson, R. G. Cravens, W. T. Huff, S. Huff, Wallace Young, T. B. McGuire, D. Freed, D. W. Craddock and J. T. Butterfield.

Twenty-five acres of ground were at once purchased and platted and money raised to erect three business rooms. Charles Nelson then sold his stock of merchandise to D. W. Craddock and, upon request of the Town


Company, consented to give his time and energy to push the newly platted village, which he did zealously, and with creditable results.

As is characteristic of most new towns, Savonburg experienced many set-backs and met with no little discouragement, not only to the people already here, but to prospective residents as well. The principal difficulty experienced at the beginning was the lack of a depot and other railroad facilities, without which business was paralyzed and progression greatly handicapped. Nothing but a small platform 8x20 feet alongside the main track, and a spur switch 400 feet long had yet been provided, and rival towns were therefore privileged to make the assertion that no better facilities ever would be provided for "the burg" by the railway company.

Notwithstanding these difficult problems and numerous other hardships, a little flame of righteous indignation kindled within the hearts of the few brave residents—a flame which was never extinguished by its own reaction.

In March, 1890, complaint having been made by Charles Nelson in behalf of the people to the State Board of Railroad Commissioners against the M. K. & T. Railway, the representatives of the railway were cited to appear and show cause why they should not be compelled to provide the needed facilities. It had been shown before the hearing that for eight months previous, the company's receipts at this place were $1,000 and over per month. The company very wisely decided to at once erect a depot, stock yards, switch, etc., and never has it had cause to regret the money here invested, as Savonburg for the past ten years has borne the well-merited reputation of being the best shipping point on the division.

When these necessities had been granted by the M. K. & T. people, the town was, for the first time, squarely upon its feet, and upon equal terms with competing points. Rivalry was then laid aside, and all joined hands and worked together for the upbuilding of the town and community. Thus step by step, Savonburg has advanced from an insignificant hamlet to a substantial country town of about 300 inhabitants, remarkable for her business interests, and particularly as a shipping point for live stock, grain and broom corn. The town enjoys an immense trade from the west, from the prosperous Swedish farmers of East Cottage Grove and Elsmore townships, and receives a large volume of business from the country tributary to the town in all directions.

Many merchants and residents have come and gone within the past decade which has marked the town's career. Some have crossed the Dark River into eternity. Where others have gone, we do not know; and still, a goodly number of the pioneer merchants and citizens are with us today, most of them, happily enough, blessed with the comforts of life.

The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway officials manifest their interest in Savonburg by keeping pace with the rapid progress of the town, and making such improvements as are demanded from the business public from time to time. The recent remodeling and doubling in size of the depot at this point is evidence of this fact. The stock yards are also well equipped.


R. B. Oliver is the present local freight and ticket agent; C. E. Aldrich night operator.

The Savonburg Record was established April 1, 1898, by C. A. Reynolds. The paper is widely circulated, and prosperous. Previous to the establishment of the Record, the Trio-News, by E. A. Jordan, the Sentinel, by T. V. Campbell, and other newspapers suspended publication, after a limited existence.

The school house was built in 1889, and a few years later enlarged to its present size. The district has always employed the best teachers obtainable, and as a consequence, is reputed to be one of the best graded schools in the county. U. R. Courtney principal, and Mrs. A. V. Lodge assistant, are the proficient instructors now in charge. There are two churches in Savonburg, the Methodist Episcopal, H. I. Dodson pastor, and the Friends' house of worship, L. W. McFarland, pastor. The members of the Christian church hold services at the school house. The Mt. Moriah Methodist Protestant church is one mile south of town; James M. Frame is the local pastor.

There are, perhaps, as many lodges in Savonburg as any town of comparative size in the state—Masonic, Eastern Star, Odd Fellows, Rebekah, Workmen, Degree of Honor, Woodmen, Royal Neighbors, Knights and Ladies of Security, and A. H. T. A., all of which are on a sound basis, and have large memberships.

Savonburg is graced by the presence of many silvery-haired veterans of the civil war, than whom there are no better citizens.

Savonburg Post No. 421 G. A. R., O. P. Matson commander, is a worthy and substantial organization.

Since the building of the town her residents have all been, and are today, self-sustaining. It has never been the misfortune of any at this place to seek the county's aid for maintenance. Idleness is unknown, and loafers are conspicuous only by their absence.

The question of incorporating the town has been but little agitated, and steps have never been taken in that direction, probably for the reasons that the best of order is maintained, and the streets and the walks are well looked after by the citizens who possess that sense of public pride which needs no prompting by a mayor or city council.

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