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Sketches of Early History
Part 5
In the Settlement of
Humboldt and Allen County

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Transcribed by J. Richardson, 09-August-2000
Originally published in the Humboldt Union, Humboldt, Allen County, Kansas

Sketches of Early History - Part 5
In the Settlement of Humboldt and Allen County
By Watson Stewart

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 6

(continued from last week.)


Mail Facilities.

The settlers of 1855 generally obtained their mail at Osawatomie; in 1856 we went to Fort Scott. We made arrangements for some one to go each week and bring over the mail for all the settlers in the county. Three days were usually taken to go to the postoffice and return. In the fall of 1856 a postoffice was established at Cofachiqui, but no service was put on the route for about a year, but arrangements were continued by the settlers for carrying the mail over once a week. S.J. Stewart made frequent trips for the mail, and a young Dotson carried it for some time.

A postoffice was established in Humboldt some time in 1858. A. Irwin was the first postmaster. A weekly service was put on the route from Lawrence to Humboldt. Zack Squires had the contract for carrying the mail; it was let as a horseback route, but he put on a hack and did a considerable business in carrying passengers and parcels for persons on the route. He was a very accommodating, gentlemanly man.

Our mail was weekly until in 1865, when we had tri-weekly a few months, then daily. After Squires, Reynolds and Hard carried the mail, then Tisdale, until we had railroads. R.T. Thompson was the second post master, then H.W. Signor and Eli Gilbert. In 1865, Charles Baland, to 1870, from then to the present, J.W. Patterson. The office was established as a money order office Oct. 1, 1868.



The first school taught in Humboldt was by S.W. Clark, in 1858. Prof. Hand followed, and in 1859-60 commenced the building of an academy. e had the building under, on the ground where Wm. Lassman resides, but I think the drouth of 1860 caused his abandonment of the enterprise. Miss Mira Pilcher taught in 1860; Wm. Hart in 1861; afterward, probably in 1862, Miss Kate Burnett. In 1865 Miss Nellie McCullough, now Mrs. W.C. O'Brien, Taught. Prof. J. Bryson Torbert, in 1866; then we had Mrs. Newton, Mr. and Mrs Hurd. From 1869 to 1871 H.J. Sampson was principal of the schoold, now having four departments. In 1872 Prof. J.B. Smith was principal, and during the past three years Prof. L. Van Fossen has been principal.


Churches and Ministers.

Among our earliest ministers was C.R. Rice of the M.E. Church, South. He preached through this county in 1856; probably the next year a Rev. Thompson of the same church. Prof. Serenbets, of the Humboldt Town Company, preached the first sermon in Humboldt; he preached in both German and English. In the south part of the county we had Woodward, of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. He lived on Village creek, near where Chanute not is, and preached through the county.

Also at Osage City was Rev. John Russill, of the Protestant Methodist Church.

In 1859-60 the father of J.A. Coffey, Edd A. Coffey, preached through the county. He was what was called a Hard Shell Baptist, and was a man of more than ordinary talent.

Old Father Garrison of the United Brethren used to preach here -- also Father Cabal, a Baptist minister. S.M. Webb, an old settler on Owl creek, a Baptist, was also an early preacher; also, I. Knott and W.W. Witten were local Methodist ministers.

Father Witten was from Arkansas, and was said to be rather fond of his dram. During war times he used to always carry a soldier's canteen, tied on his saddle -- it might have been used to carry water -- but some of the boys were uncharitable enought to suggest something stronger. It was said of him, in remarking of the relative advantages of this state and Arkansas, that "it required more stimulants here than in Arkansaw".

The first church building erected was what was known as the United Brethren church, now occupied by the colored friends. It was commenced in 1859 and finished in 1860. N.B. Blanton and family and Evert DeWitt and family were leading members.

This building was used by all religious denominations, as well as for other public meeting, and also for a school room until other buildings were put up.

The first Sunday School was organized in this house on the 13th of May, 1860. It was a Union School, organized by S.M. Webb and I. Knott. Dr. Wm. Wakefield was its first superintendent. It was kept up during the summer seasons, except in 1862, until 1867.

In April, 1867, a Methodist Sunday School was organized, with Dr. Wm. Wakefield as the first superintendent. It has been kept up since, and at present has for its superintendent, Mrs. W.C. O'Brien, with sever teachers and eighty-one scholars.

The first organization of the M.E. Church was in the summer of 1860, John Tripp, Class leader. Mr. Bukey was the minister. Its church building, on New York street, was built in 1870. The present minister is D.H. Snowden.

The Germans built the house on Bridge street, east of the public square, in 1860. It was built under the ministerial charge of Rev. ---- Dubbs. Title afterward was made to the Evangelical Association. This being against the wishes of many of the Germans, in 1863 the brick, with stone front, was built for the Evangelical Lutherans. Wm. Lange was thier first minister.

In 1865 Colonel Thurston led in the erection of the Catholic church, in the north part of town. Other citizens contributed liberally -- with a view to give an impetus to building -- and indeed this was about the beginning of building in Humboldt after the fire.

The Presbyterian Church was organized July 12, 1868, by Rev. A. T. Norton and Rev. James Lewis, with six members -- Mrs. Eliza Savercool, Emma Wakefield, Naomi Goodin, H.A. Curdy, Mr. C.P. Ives and James Blyth. James Lewis, pastor, from organization until July 1, 1875. Present pastor, Rev. A.G. Daniels. Membership, 127. Sunday School organized in 1868; first superintendent, Rev. James Lewis. Present superintendent, J.W. Risley.

The Baptist Church had an organization here in 1864-65 wtih Elder H.K. Stimson as pastor. Dr. Miller and wife and A.L. Dornbergh and wife were prominent members. Since that time until 1870 they had only occasional preaching. The church was re-organized Jan. 30, 18780, with eleven members. Rev. A. Hitchcock was pastor. Present pastor, Rev. J.K. Dixon. The church on Ninth street, north of the square, was erected in 1872, dedicated May 19. Sunday School was organized in 1872. Present superintendent, N.B. Rouse.

The Christian (or Campbellite) Church at one time had an organization here, and I remember several ministers as having preached here at different times, among whom may be mentioned Elders Brown and Shaw. E.H. Young and wife, J.B. Yound and wife and Phineas Cox and family were members. I think no organization exists at this time.


Business Men of Humboldt.

In the early days, as merchants, we had J.A. Coffey, W.C. O'Brien, Moses Neal, Marsh & Coffey, Neal & Signor, Scott and O'Brien; later we had Young & Wakefield and E.C. Amsden in 1865. In the spring of 1866 Young & Wakefield sold to W.W. Curdy, and the fall of that year Amsden sold to Smith & Fisk. Then we had the hardware store of J.C. Redfield & Co.

Charles Fussman was in the tin, hardware and grocery business until his death in 1871.

For several years Hysinger & Rosenthal have been in the dry goods business.

Wright & Walker, then W.A. & O.S. Redfield, in the hardware; also Lewis Haines and Davis & Co. in the same business now.

E. Hewett, and then Hewett & Edwards, and now W.I. Edward, in the Star Grocery. C. Lehmann in the same business; and now, Eldridge & Moss, O.M. Dye and P.S. Shelley.

N. Kemmerer is one of our oldest saddle and harness makers. J.P. Degenhart and C. Geissler are in the same business.

James Blyth was in the boot and shoe business for several years, and afterward in the grocery line.

In 1869 Pratt and Ten Eyck were the bankers. In 1870 Pratt & Dayton associated in the Humboldt Bank. And Bacon & Ten Eyck started the Allen County Bank, which failed in January, 1871. In 1875, Dayton, Barber & Co. became the successors of Pratt & Dayton.

Amos & Bro. opened a lumber yard in the spring of 1871; also Eldred & Co. S.H. Stevens & Co. oopened a yard in the fall of the same year. S.H. Stevens sold out to S.A. Brown & Co., iin 1874. And in 1876 was opened the yard of the Humboldt Lumber Co.

John Record burned the first brick in 1859, on the land adjoining town -- now owned by Capt. O.S. Coffin -- and built the house he lives in.

(Concluded next week.)


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