Transcribed from History of Bourbon County, Kansas : to the close of 1865 by T. F. Robley. Fort Scott, Kan.: Press of the Monitor Book & Print. Co., 1894.

1894 Robley's History of Bourbon County, Kansas




THE year 1865, while it was laden with events of vast import to the Nation, bore to us but few marked incidents of a local nature. President Lincoln was re-inaugurated on the 4th of March, and was assassinated on the 14th of April. He had, however, lived to see the surrender of Appomattox, and to smilingly approve of Grant's direction to the paroled army of North Virginia: "Take your horses and mules home, you will need them on the farm." He had lived to see the rebellion crushed, and to realize that government by the people should not perish from the earth. Nor will his name. He had reached the apex of human greatness. The Infinite fittingly ordained there should be no descent.


In the spring of 1865 the regular election was held in Fort Scott for city officers. Isaac Stadden was elected Mayor. The Councilmen were A. R. Allison, S. A. Manlove, Charles Rubicam and J. R. Morley. City Marshal, H. C. Jones, Treasurer, C. F. Drake; Recorder, Wm. Margrave; Assessor, J. W. Coutant;


Street Commissioner, C. W. Goodlander; Attorney, A. Danford.


In January, 1860, S. W. Greer, Superintendent of Schools, made a report of the condition of the schools in the Territory at that date. His figures for Bourbon County are as follows: Number of districts organized, seven. Number of children between the ages of 5 and 21, seventy-four.

The first school district in this county was organized in December, 1859, It was what was afterwards District No. 10. None were organized in 1860, and only 45 were organized until after the war, when in 1867 the organization of districts again commenced. At the close of 1865 there were 3,261 children of school age in the county. Many of these were children of refugees who had come in to Fort Scott from Missouri and Arkansas. Through the efforts of C. F. Drake, and a few others, school rooms were furnished and fitted up in the old hospital building and in the old City Hall.

The few school buildings in the county were poorly furnished. The appliances were meager. There was nothing like uniformity in books. The children brought the books which had been used by their parents fifteen or twenty years before, and represented nearly as many different States and kinds of books as there were children. The daily routine was something like this: The reading class would form in line; one scholar read a verse from an old reader commencing, "Rome was an ocean of flame;" the next would read one about


"Lo! the Poor Indian;" the next, not having anything but Webster's Spelling Book, read about one of the pictures in the back part, where the girl failed to be able to buy a new dress because the cow kicked over the pail of milk. And so on down the line, until the last one, a little fellow, read the best he could about the wonderful cat.

The facilities for acquiring an education in those times compares but feebly with our grand institutions of the present day. Our trained, competent and efficient professional teachers, with the paternal aid of the State, have wrought a wonderful change. Working through our Normal Colleges and High Schools, they have brought our common school system wellnigh to perfection. Not only that, they have caused the word "Teacher" to take its rightful place at the head of the list of the learned professions. And also, like Abou Ben-Adhem, "of those who love their fellowmen, their names lead all the rest." "May their tribe increase."


In July, 1865, J. S. Emmert, County Clerk, left among the records of the County an itemized account of the expenses of housekeeping, from which the following extracts are made:

One-half bushel apples, $1.50; one dozen beets, 50 cents; four pounds of butter, $1.25; four dozen eggs, $1.30; four heads of cabbage, 50 cents; twelve pounds of sugar, $3.00; five pounds of coffee, $5.00; one-half gallon kerosene, $1.00; one bushel of potatoes, $2.00;


six bars soap, $1.00; two chickens, 80 cents; one peck of onions, 75 cents; one-half pound tea $1.50; fifty pounds flour, $3.50


The Kansas troops had been or were being mustered out. Their old yellow parchments said they were "honorably discharged." "No objection to re-enlistment known to exist." But many of them knew there were objections known to exist—dressed in calico—and they were going to meet those objections, just as soon as possible. A farewell glance was given the faithful old camp kettles and mess pans, in which they had so often cooked coffee and beans and rice and desiccated potatoes, or the chickens and sweet potatoes, turkeys, and pigs, and geese, which somehow found their way into the company messes. They were going home. The orderly sergeant called the roll for the last time. He skipped many names on the original muster-in roll. Some had been discharged for wounds or other disability; many had left their bones in one or the other of a dozen States from Kansas to the Sea.

The record of Kansas in the war is grand. The State sent more soldiers to the war than it had voters in 1861. Its quota under the calls for troops was 12,931; it sent 20,151, without conscription. Nineteen regiments and three batteries participated in more than a hundred engagements, six of which were on Kansas soil. The battlefields from Wilson Creek to the Gulf are consecrated by their blood. Provost-Marshal-General Fry, in his final reports of the Union Army Roster, wrote


this: "Kansas shows the highest battle mortality of the table. The same singular martial disposition which induced about one-half of the able-bodied men to enter the army without bounty may be supposed to have increased their exposure to the casualties of battle after they were in the service."

The regiments and batteries had all made an honorable record. In the many battles in which they were engaged, there were none of which they were not entitled by General Orders to emblazon the battle-name on the white stripes of "Old Glory."


The people of our county were now turning their attention more than ever before to the pursuits of peace.

For ten years there had existed among our entire people a sense of insecurity and apprehension. It was an epoch of unrest,—a decade of bloody strife. No one on retiring to rest at night knew what might occur before another sun. An enemy was always in striking distance. They became accustomed to this state of affairs at times, when the recurrence of some bloody deed would again raise up the nightmare of border strife or civil war.

But all that was at an end. The war was over, and the receding tide had taken with it the flotsam and jetsam of border war.

Fort Scott was rapidly improving. The "Wilder House" and the stone "Miller Block," opposite, had been built sometime, and they were classed among the architectural wonders of the State.


The Wilder House was thus named in compliment to A. C. Wilder, who was Congressman from this State, and afterwards stationed for a time at Fort Scott in the Commissary Department, and who was, also, a great friend of the Dimon brothers, who built the house. A. C. Wilder was a brother of D. W. Wilder, who is not only well known in Fort Scott but throughout the West.

The "Miller Block" was built by Dr. J. G. Miller, who, as stated, was a Representative in 1865, and a prominent man until his death, some time afterwards.

The military telegraph had been run down the road from Leavenworth in 1863, and its last months of use here by the military, the office was conducted by J. D. McCleverty as chief operator. George A. Crawford had erected a year before a large flouring mill of four run of burrs, probably the largest mill then in the State. Early this year he commenced the erection of a large woollen factory, the largest and best appointed of any one in the West. By fall of this year there could be heard the whirr of a thousand spindles, and the intermittent thump and bang of many looms. The best grade of merchant yarns, blankets, and woollen cloths were manufactured. The wheat and wool of this and adjoining counties were worked up here which found a ready market. This mill and factory were totally destroyed by fire on the night of November 1, 1870. There was no insurance on this property and its loss to Mr. Crawford caused much financial embarrassment. It was also a severe blow to the city of Fort Scott. These mills were the pride of the town, then struggling for a

Section of Market Street, 1865
Section of Market Street, 1865


place in the front rank of the manufacturing points in this State, and ambitious even then, to be rated as the principal city of Southern Kansas.

The establishment of a military post at Fort Scott during the war was, of course, of material advantage to it. While much of the business was of a transitory nature, a very considerable amount of it was of legitimate wholesale trade, and the retail trade with the surrounding country was very extensive.

Among the largest business houses at the close of 1865 may be noted the following: Dry Goods—Wilson, Gordon & Ray, A. McDonald & Bro., J. F. White, J. R. Morley & Co., Wm. Roach, Rosenfield & Co., Sanderson & Thomas, Shannon & Seavers, A. J. Lagore, and Jones & Cobb. Groceries—Linn & Stadden, G. R. Bodine, A. Cohen, Ernich & Lender, E. M. Insley, Van Fossen Bros., Parker & Tomlinson, and Pennington & Secrist. Hardware—C. F. Drake and Rubicam & Dilworth. Bankers—A. McDonald & Bro. Book Store—S. A. Manlove. Livery Stables—Benj. Files, P. Clough, H. Dimon, S. A. Olds, and Chas. Walker. Watch Maker—D. Prager. Tailors—R. Blackett and J. Winter. Harness Maker—Hartman & Co. Plasterer—A. Coston. Shoemaker—John Crow. Cabinet Makers—S. O. Goodlander and Wm. C. Weatherwax. Wagon Maker—John A. Bryant. Blacksmiths—W. H. Dory, Moses Boire and C. J. Neal. Drug Stores—D. S. Andrick & Co. and W. C. Dennison & Co. Barbers—Ed. Henderson and Joe Barker. Carpenter—C. W. Goodlander. Masons—John Higgins and Billy Shannehan. Physicians—B. F. Hepler, J. H. Couch, J. S.


Redfield, S. O. Himoe, L. M. Timmonds, J. C. Van Pelt, etc. Lawyers—Too many, as usual.

The rest of the fellows kept saloons.

The principal business part of the town was then on Market street—called Bigler street then—and North Main street. A. McDonald & Bro.'s store was in a long one-story frame house, fronting on Scott avenue, and running along Wall street to the alley. The "Banking House" was in the rear end of it, with an entrance on Wall street.

The other business houses, on Market and Main Streets, were all one and two story frame buildings, many of them but little better than board shanties. Most of the business houses on these streets were burned in the great fire of April 23, 1873.

A very good county fair was held at Fort Scott on October 12, 1865. G. A. Crawford, David Gardner, A. Goff, and N. C. Hood, were the officers.

The general election for 1865, was held on the 2nd of November. In Bourbon County D. B. Emmert was elected as State Senator to fill a vacancy. The Representatives elected were as follows: 50th District, W. H. Green; 51st, J. L. Wilson; 52nd, Nelson Griswold; 53rd, C. W. Blair. General Blair ran against W. A. Shannon, a very popular republican, and was elected by a vote of 264, as against 145 for Shannon.

The ruling prices of some of the staple provisions in the fall and winter of 1865, in the Fort Scott market were as follows: Wheat, $2.50 per bushel; flour, $10 per hundred; corn meal, $2.75 per bushel; oats, $2 per bushel; corn, $2.50 per bushel; sugar, 33 to 50c per


pound; coffee, Rio, 66 1/4c per pound; coffee, Java, 75c per pound; teas, $2.50 to $3.50 per pound; rice, 30c per pound; molasses, $1.50 to $3 per gallon; butter, 50c per pound; cheese, 40c per pound; eggs, 60c per dozen; potatoes, $4 to $4.50 per bushel; turnips, $2 per bushel; green apples, $3.50 to $4 per bushel; dried apples, $5 per bushel.

In the summer of 1865 the Kansas & Neosho Valley Railroad Company was organized at Kansas City, Mo. The initial point of this road was to be at Kansas City. The Southern terminus and direction was undetermined. Official communication was opened with our County Board with a view to having Bourbon County take $150,000 in stock of the Company. After some correspondence the Board finally required that the name of Fort Scott be incorporated in the name of the Company and road, and suggested "Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf" as such name. The Company at once agreed to make the change, and at a meeting on November 18th, the Board ordered an election to be held on the 16th day of December, 1865, on the question of voting $150,000 in county bonds. The election resulted as follows: Osage Township voted 41 for, none against; Freedom 65 for, 4 against; Timberhill 49 for, 33 against; Franklin 4 for, 87 against; Marion 17 for, 67 against; Marmaton 36 for, 29 against; Scott 493 for, none against. Total, 705 for, and 220 against. And the first preliminary struggle for a railroad through Bourbon County was over. This road was completed to Fort Scott in the fall of 1869.

In November, 1865, County Assessor, Mr. E. Brown,


made his official returns, from which the following figures are taken:

Population—White males, 4,954; white females, 4,282; black males, 379; black females, 418. Total population of the county, 10,033. Fort Scott contained about 1,800 inhabitants, who were actual citizens. The total valuation, real and personal, (which the assessor returned together) of the entire county, was $1,442,687.00. During the fiscal year of 1865 there was harvested and manufactured the amounts and articles following: Wheat harvested, 28,676 bushels. Rye, 3,621; Corn, 206,297; Oats, 15,352. Irish potatoes, 5,591; sweet potatoes, 821. Butter, 14,498 lbs. Cheese, 11,907 pounds. Sorghum molasses, 7,606 gallons. Hay, 15,565 tons. Total number of acres of land fenced 34,344,

Acres of land improved, 25,687. Number of horses, 2,702; number of mules, 301; number of milch cows, 3,630; number of oxen, 603; number of other cattle, 5,209; number of sheep, 6,345; number of swine, 2,638. Value of live stock, $476,295.

The population of the county had increased about 4,000 since the enumeration of 1860.

There was no census, even approximate, of the population of Fort Scott in 1865. There was a large "floating population" of refugees and indiscriminate and indescribable people, white and black, who had, practically, no home or residence anywhere, to the number of 1,000 or more. The actual number of bona fide citizens was probably less than 1,800. The tax roll of the city bears less than 400 names.

Opera House Corner and North Main Street, 1865
Opera House Corner and North Main Street, 1865

1865]THE CLOSE.209


The close of the year 1865, is deemed the fitting period to close this volume of the History of Bourbon County. It is the closing point of an Era. Old "Time" here rested his scythe for a moment, and turned the sand in his glass.

A final tribute should be paid to our men and women, one and all, the living and the dead, who came to this county in early times to help found a State.

They sacrificed all the established comforts of their homes in the old States to found new homes in this semi-wilderness. They came with no misunderstanding as to the state of the country or the political and social conditions. They came with their eyes wide open, each well knowing that his life here, for many years, must be and would be a life of hardship, self-denial and danger. As a class, they were a superior people; superior in that stamina of character; superior in that native manhood and womanhood which goes to make up the "salt of the earth." Poor they were in purse, but rich in integrity of purpose.

At the old fireside, a young man, "the flower of the flock," the one widest between the eyes, stood out from the family circle and said: "Sis, pack my carpet-bag, I'm going to Kansas." "Sis" was probably to follow as soon as a certain young man had a cabin and ten acres of sod corn.

And so they came. Sometimes one, alone, sometimes the entire family.


Many have passed over to the other side. Many have reached what the man of Avon called the "chair age." A few are still in the vigor of life. All passed through a life's experience such as will come to no other people. They all played a part in that grand drama which closed the heroic epoch in politics and war. They watched, step by step, the political legislation, and the unfolding, like the bloom of the deadly night-shade, of the divergent sentiments among the people of the two great Sections. They saw the resulting partisan strife, of which Bourbon County was the storm-center, and the culmination in bloody civil war. They saw the primal cause—that exudation from the dark ages—go down forever on the very spot of its origin, "the Plantations on the river James." They saw the wayward sisters, as from a pathway through a burning forest, emerge into the sunlight. They saw civilization,—cradled on the rock of Sinai and crowned on the rock of Plymouth,—plant here another guidon under the rising battle-smoke of 1865.