Allison, Nathaniel Thompson. History of Cherokee County, Kansas, and Representative Citizens. Chicago, IL: Biographical Publishing Co., 1904. Online index created by Carolyn Ward, instructor at USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, and State Coordinator for The KSGenWeb Project.

1904 History of Cherokee County Kansas


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Pleasant View.--This township, in the northeast corner of the county, had a few very early settlers; and it was due chiefly to this fact that the town of Pleasant View, if it was ever proper to call it a town, was the first county seat, a distinction which the historian must not overlook. Walter Merrick was about the first settler in the township. He was born in Jasper County, Missouri, in 1841. When he was 20 years old, he enlisted in the 6th Kansas Cavalry and served to the close of the war. In 1865 he moved to Cherokee County, settling in this township, where he now lives, and where he owns a fine farm. John H. Scott, now living in Columbus, came to the township in 1866; and about the same time John Rawlings, Henry Stuckey, Lawrence Conklin and Joseph Galpine settled in the township. There were some incidents out of the ordinary run of things, even in frontier life. A man, whose name I have been unable to get, was seined out of Spring River, near Merrick's ford, near Waco, Missouri; and a man by the name of Wyrick was suspected of being his murderer. Both had lived in Pleasant View township. Another man by the name of Estes was suspected as being associated with Wyrick in the foul deed. The few settlers in the township got together and ran them out of the country. They never returned. About that time a man by the name of Gifford was suspected of stealing cattle. He was taken out by the people and hanged to a tree, in broad day light. Nothing was said of the matter; and there was no effort made to prosecute those engaged in the execution of the spspected[sic] man. It was in the manner of frontier life, before there were any courts in the county, and the people would not wait the slow processes of law which would make it necessary to take the case to the court at Fort Scott. As early as 1868 Harry Hemming, A. O. Webb, Henry Rice, John H. Dyer, Levi Keithley, A. Lamb, G. Keith, S. B. Crist and James H. Dyer were among the citizens of Pleasant View township. There was also P. Pattyson and D. A. Stephens.

Cherokee.--This township formerly included what is now known as Mineral township; and a mentioning of the old settlers will include those who came to both, or the territory now covered by both. Among the early settlers of the township may be mentioned: D. M. Easley, H. A. Markham, William Vincent, M. Burns, H. J. Helmick, W. H. Hill, Byron Potter, William H. Baker, W. Ellis, W. C. Davis, James Kennedy, Darius Pattyson, F. V. Henry, Louther and James H. Story. The dates of the settlement of these can not now be given; but it is of record that they were citizens of the township at an early time in the history of the county.

Ross.--This township lies west of the present township of Mineral, and east of Sheridan. C. C. Hide, G. M. Edgemond, H. G. May, Isaac Parker, A. Hillard, A. B. Kirk, O. B. Ferris, I. N. Smith, B. F. Wells, M. Allen, J. F. Rice, William Benham, Daniel Edgemond, William Whitson, J. M. Wills, D. Wickoff, R. M. Elliott, J. M. Jordan, George McClure, S. Sellers, W. Evans, George W. Hoyt and Walter B. McCormick, came early to the township and were prominently known in its affairs.

Sheridan.--The following names may be taken from among the first settlers of Sheridan township: Wesley Howard, W. H. Angell, Alfred Landstrum, M. B. Clingler, John M. Maher, Alfred Spence, S. B. Matthews, William McGibony, William Westervelt, Stephen McClure, L. C. Branson, Robert Ratcliff and William Sayers.

Lola.--Jacob Galer, Samuel Megenity, Joseph T. Martin, William Smith, W. W. Warren, H. E. Durkee, William Rogers, C. A. McNeill, William A. Clevenger, John Buckmaster, W. Dunbar, G. Dobbins, Clinton McMickle, W. C. Pender, Samuel Ollenger, T. S. Cookston, James Pendergrass, and Alvin Garrison came early to what is now Lola township.

Salamanca.--This township had its share of the early settlers. John Whitcraft, who is 76 years old, and who now lives in Columbus, came to the township in April, 1866. He kept a little store at Millersburg, the glory of which has long since passed away; and there he sold goods and provisions to the few settlers then there, whose manners and customs were primitive and simple, and whose wants were few and easily satisfied. Eugene F. Ware, now United States Commissioner of Pensions, who came to Cherokee County, with his brother, and was taking his place among the early settlers, was one of Mr. Whitcraft's best customers. Mr. Ware was a youmg man, who had laid a claim on a quarter section up in Ross township, and he was then breaking the virgin soil, with a big plow drawn by four yoke of oxen. He was a sturdy yeoman among his fellows, all of whom liked him for his simplicity of manner, his sterling integrity and his native brilliancy of intellect. Mr. Ware yet owns a large and very valuable tract of land in Ross township. Of the other settlers of Salamanca township mention must be made of James, George and Hamilton Corbin, three brothers who came in 1865, or early in 1866. They were here before John Whitcraft came. H. A. Scovell, who now lives in Columbus, and his brother, Hannibal Scovell, who lives in Galena, laid claim on the east half of section 13, Salamanca township, in the fall of 1867. H. A. Scovell sold his claim to S. S. Smith, and Hannibal Scovell sold his to George Souder. A part of the city of Columbus stands on this tract of land, and the principal street of the city runs transversely across it, from east to west. Other names of early settlers of this township are: F. Fry, John Appleby, Charles E. Hyde, A. Hudson, Daniel Johnston, William Swanson and Merida Allen.

Crawford.--J. P. Hanson, now living in Columbus, came to Crawford township November 9, 1867. He at once took a claim on the southwest quarter of section 18, in that township. John Davis settled on Brush Creek, about two miles east of Columbus, in 1865. William Davis came the next year. James F. Pitzer and Zabrina Williams came in the spring of 1867. W. H. Layne also came at that time. Mr. Layne was afterward elected sheriff. He yet lives in the county. Some of the early settlers are: C. W. Willey, Andrew Huston, J. S. Vincent, William Baker, Milton Douglass, E. W. Hall, William Horner, W. S. Martin, and G. W. Wood.

Shawnee.--The following settlers came to Shawnee township as early as 1866: H. G Clem, Matthew Raulston, J. R. Burrows, A. Lynch, E. C. Wells, G. Hutsell, J. J. Wells, Philip Cogswell, John Bird, John Springer; and later came R. D. Ellis, Zimri Dixon, F. M. Beatty, E. D. Lutes, John Robinson, Clemmons Lisle, Dr. Harrington, Dr. Calvin C. McDowell, Wirt McDowell, Henry Wiggins, Joseph McBride, Jacob Martin, Riley Burris, William Lewis, S. J. Ellis and Basil Wiggins. The first Methodist church organized in the county was organized at the house of Dr. McDowell, who was a prominent leader in that denomination. Mrs. Gates, who now lives in Columbus, was one of the members. Shawnee township was more thickly settled at first, on account of the woodlands along the streams, and on account of the numerous springs of good water.

Lowell.--Originally, the township of Lowell included what is now known as Garden township. In giving the names of the first settlers it is necessary to speak of the two as one. E lsewhere in this chapter David M. Harlan, George and Richard Fields, John Rogers and Dennis Wolf are mentioned as settling in this part of what is now Cherokee County. They came in 1835, when the country was a wilderness, 19 years before the territorial government of Kansas was organized. The next settler was Charles D. Merrick, who came from Jasper County, Missouri, and settled near the present site of the town of Lowell, in 1842. He was perhaps the first settler not of Indian blood, except the wives of the first settlers mentioned in this paragraph. Later yet, among the early settlers of the county, came J. J. Kenley, Thomas Miller, J. M. Wilson, William Hayhurst, J. M. Ritchey, H. R. Hubbard, John Fisher, Thomas May, W. H. Peters and J. J. Murray.

Garden.--It has been my good fortune to get from Henry Mitchell, an old settler of this township, a carefully written history of its settlement, or the settlement of that part of the original territory of Lowell township which is now known as Garden township. From his account I glean a large amount of interesting matter. He speaks of David M. Harlan, James and Richard Fields, Dennis Wolf, John Bly, William Bly, Ira Goddard and a man by the name of Rogers as having settled in what is now Garden township. He speaks also of Calvin James, who built some cabins on the west side of Spring River, above the mouth of Shoal Creek, and broke out some prairie land, which land is now owned by the widow and children of John Pearson. A school was taught there by Penina Lisle, in 1859, which he says must have been the first school taught in what is now Cherokee County. In 1858 the lands west of the James place were improved by Dr. Dowdna, a Quaker from Barnesville, Ohio. Dr. Dowdna planted a nursery containing 20,000 grafts, which was the first nursery in the county. Some of the trees from this nursery compose the old orchard on the Cox place; and there is just one left on the site of the nursery. Dr. Dowdna kept the first post office established in the county. Mr. Mitchell's account of the killing of a man by the name of Baxter varies some from the account given by Mrs. Willard, mentioned elsewhere in this chapter. Mr. Mitchell says that the tragedy grew out of a quarrel between Baxter and a man by the name of Rogers, concerning a payment on a land deal which had taken place some time before. It seems that Baxter had a widowed daughter by the name of Carr. She sold some land to Rogers, and he, in turn, sold it to David B. Commons. The quarrel between Baxter and Rogers occurred in 1860. Both were killed, as also a man by the name of Morris. In the fall of 1862 Mr. Commons was compelled to move his family away, on account of the war. He moved to Coffey County, where he died in the fall of 1863. At the close of the war Mrs. Commons and the children returned to the old home, where she died in 1893. George 0. Harvey, who now lives in the Quaker Valley, married a daughter of Mrs. Commons. In 1860 Thomas Archer, a son-in-law of David M. Harlan, lived on the place known as the Hinkle farm, just south of Stanley mines. The place now owned by George Wallace, on the east side of Lowell prairie, is the place where David M. Harlan settled in 1835. In the year 1858, Benjamin Hiatt, a Mr. Jennings, a Mr. Spurgeon and a Mr. Stiles came from Tennessee and settled on the prairie now bearing the name of that state. At the close of the war Benjamin Meeker, Andrew Wooten and Benjamin Pickett came on a tour of inspection. Meeker purchased the claim of a man by the name of Heep, and moved on it on February 26, 1866. In January of that year George W. Fulkerson, with a son and daughter, came to the township, from Linn County, Kansas; and in March of that year, David Bodly, Alonzo Adams Green, Thomas and Albert McDowell came into the community. Lafayette McDowell came later. He improved a place and sold it to C. W. Harvey in 1867. Ephraim Harvey and sons now own the place.

Spring Valley.--Some of the old settlers of this township came at an early time. Of some of these I shall give an account in the history of Baxter Springs, in this volume. Among those found among the records are the following: E. J. Trimble, T. D. Lake, J. Sloan, J. S. King, William H. Chew, W. P. Eddy, O. P. Farley, Thomas Pennington, Andrew J. Williams. G. Van Winkle, L. P. Johnson, J. M. Raney, H. S. Ross, A. P. Steel, C. M. Taylor, J. M. Davis, S. B. Apple, Charles Eddy, A. C. Griffin, M. J. Vance, Thomas Griffith, L. A. Gibbons and E. W. Leake.

Lyon.--Leander Mulliken, E. Holcomb, S. T. Kennedy, John Peterson, O. O. Potter, C. A. Williamson, A. S. Dennison, C. D. Price, C. T. Cowan, H. Reynolds and C. H. Cornish are some of the first settlers. To these may be added F. M. B. Amos, E. Botsford and J. Cooper. These may not include the very first settlers in Lyon township, but they are among those who took an active part in affairs of the township as early as 1869.

Neosho.--Prominent among the early settlers of Neosho township these names may be mentioned: A. J. Eggy, James Norris, S. W. Vanatta, D. P. Bullock, J. C. Kimmons, J. Kelsow, James Songer, L. N. Beaman, D. J. Churchhill, H. H. Abbott, F. J. Jones, N. C. Turner, W. W. Hinton, J. P. 0wens, A. Dolby, J. N. Box, J. D. Dunaway, Ira Wilson and L. F. McAleer. Also E. M. McPherson, W. E. Brooks, Hugh Smith and S. F. McAleer.


The people of Cherokee County, like those of the other parts of the State of Kansas, are extremely social. With the older settlers, when they have finished their chase after fortune, some now resting at ease in the enjoyment of that which they have accumulated, while others are nervous and restless over what they consider to be failure, there is a disposition occasionally to get together and talk over the incidents of early life in the county, in the doing of which memories may be refreshed and many an event recalled which had become obscure through the winding vicissitudes of busy lives. Unlike the Athenians, who, it is said, delighted in relating and hearing things which were new, the people of Cherokee County are fond of dwelling upon things which run back to the old days. The mists of time-dust may hang over the scenes, and the perspective of intervening years may narrow down an event to a mere outline, so that none but the sharp particulars can be seen; but the scenes seem the more interesting because the more removed, as distance lends enchantment to the view.

About the year 1893 the Cherokee County Old Settlers' Reunion was organized, in connection with the county fair, then being held annually, on the old fair ground, in the northwest part of Columbus. A. S. Dennison was elected the first president, and E. R. Pattyson was the first secretary. It was the plan to hold it annually; but the county fair for want of interest on the part of the people, was not held the next year, nor at any following year. The reunion was discontinued with the fair. One or two years afterward, S. O. McDowell, then mayor of the city of Columbus, agitated the matter of reviving the reunion, claiming that it would be sustained, if held apart from any other association. It was reorganized, and the park in the southern part of the city was secured for holding it. S. O. McDowell was elected president, and he held the office for two years. The association did not get along very well, and he urged that it be abandoned; and so it was; but the people the next year reorganized it and elected A. S. Dennison its president, and he was five times reelected. He was succeeded by W. J. Moore, and he by E. R. Pattyson, who was president for the year closing in August, 1904. The officers of the association, for the year ending August, 1905, are: A. S. Dennison, president; J. Wilbur Logan, secretary; John E. Tutton, treasurer; and S. P. Salisbury, manager of the grounds.

The primary object of the reunion association was to provide for an annual meeting of the ol d settlers of Cherokee County, to be held during four days, beginning on Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of August; and growing out of this purpose, as incidental thereto, it was to afford an opportunity for speeches, historical and biographical sketches, the reading of manuscripts, papers and for such other communications as would pertain to the history of the county, from its first settlement on down to the present. In a sentence, it was for the purpose of keeping alive a correct knowledge of the events which ought to enter into and make up the social history of the county, in a way of such interest as would hold the people in a sufficient fondness of the matter to prompt them to keep the organization alive and active and to continue it through the generations as they in turn take their places as the years go on. Unhappily, the real purpose of the association has not been attained. It required some money, though not much, to get the matter under way, and to keep it going; and, in order to raise such money, a casting about was indulged for the employment of some expedient to that end. The amusement idea was suggested, and it was as readily taken into the plan. Here lies the danger to the life and effectiveness of the association. The amusement feature, being considered essential to the material support of the undertaking, must be nourished and maintained, if nourished and maintained, it must grow; if it continues to grow, it will overshadow all other considerations, and as a result the old-settler feature will die out and disappear. Even now, though the organization is young, the books and papers of the association have been lost, and little, if anything, has been done toward preserving a well formulated history of the county.

It is beginning to be felt, on the part of the oldest settlers of the county now living, that the primary purpose of the association must be better guarded and protected, which it is possible to do without making the meetings less attractive to all classes that it is right and proper to be received on the grounds. The best thought will be followed, and whatever wrong or injurious features that have been permitted will be quietly left off, while others, looking to better results, will be added.

Among the attractions which have been profitably employed is that of having speeches, essays, addresses, historic descriptions, a program of vocal and instrumental music and an occasional light play. Among the local speakers who along through the years have addressed the association are: Judge W. B. Glasse, E. M. Tracewell, Col. R. W. Blue, Judge A. H. Skidmore, R. M. Cheshire, Judge Edward E. Sapp, W. J. Moore, William F. Sapp, Dr. Martin, G. W. Canfield, C. S. Bowman, Henry Mitchell, Mrs. Sarah Edgemond, W. R. Cowley, Senator M. A. Housholder and John R. Wright. Speakers from abroad have been Judge H. G. Webb, Editor Price, of Cherokee, Kansas, Congressman S. S. Kirkpatrick, Congressman A. M. Jackson, Rev. Mr. Bramhall, Congressman Charles Curtis, Congressman Phil Campbell, Clarence Lansdon, and Mr. Flannagan, of Charthage, Missouri.

As indicating the interest which the old settlers take in the meetings of the association, and as showing that my criticism of its plan, expressed in one of the foregoing paragraphs, may not be altogether proper, it is thought to be an encouraging matter to give a list of the old settlers, whose names were taken at the last two days of the association's meeting in August, 1904. They are the names of those who actually attended the meetings at that time. The locations given are the locations of the settlements, and not the places where the persons now live. The list begins with those who came first, and the order is followed throughout:

Year 1840; Mrs. A. Willard. formerly Miss Harlan, born in what is now Garden township.

Year 1842; Walter Merrick. then one year old, was brought by his parents to what is now Garden township. The family moved back to Jasper County, Missouri, in 1843.

Year 1865; Walter Merrick, Pleasant View township; David Treat.

Year 1866; J. H. Galpine, Pleasant View township; S. D. Newton, Lyon township; Dr. J. W. Jane, Baxter Springs; W. H. Layne, Crawford township; Mrs. Rose Maxton, Crawford township; Mrs. Mary Ridge, Sheridan township; Leslie Patterson, Ross township; H. S. Davis, Baxter Springs; G. W. Canfield, Lola township; John A. Rawlings, Pleasant View township; John Whitcraft, Ross township; W. N. Stowell, Spring Valley township; J. G. Coldiron, Pleasant View township; W. H. Peters, Lowell township; B. Alsenz, Spring Valley.

Year 1867; C. W. Harvey, Lowell township; Fred Bennett, Pleasant View township; William March, Baxter Springs; W. A. Elliott; Benjamin Capron, Crawford township; Ira Easterling, Crawford township; Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Dennison, Baxter Springs; C. H.Scott, Pleasant View township; Hannibal Scovell and H. A. Scovell, Columbus; James Hanson, Crawford township; E. R. Pattyson, Pleasant View township; William Baker, Crawford township; Joseph Wallace, Spring Valley township; Mrs. Odell Filler, Columbus; T. J. Wilson, Sheridan township; E. B. Older, Baxter Springs; George Crawford, Crawford township; W. P. Eddy, Spring Valley township.

Year 1868; C N. Wager, Pleasant View township; Matthias Hook, Lola township: G. W. Douglass, Crawford township; J. W. Jacobs, Spring Valley township; C. A. Middaugh, Columbus; George Martin, Lola township.

Year 1869; C. W. Thomas, Pleasant View township; C. J. Peterson, Shawnee township; A. D. Watts, Ross township; C. A. McNeill and E. V. McNeill, Lola township; R. D. Ellis and J. H. Ellis, Shawnee township; W. V. York, Shawnee township; John Albertson, Mineral township; H. R. Sadler, Crawford township; Henry Howey, Pleasant View township; Mrs. Anna Lisle, Columbus; Jerry Schock, Columbus; W. A. Brentlinger.

Year 1870; Gus Foster, Columbus; James Broadley, Neosho township; John Grow, Ross township; Leander Mulliken, Lyon township; H. Kinnaman, Spring Valley township; E. Chase and J. P. Parr, Salamanca township; Theodore Goldsbury, Columbus; A. T. Lea, Columbus; Fred Cowley, Columbus: William Miller, Spring Valley township; S. W. Smith, Lola township.

Year 1871; J. R. Carter, Salamanca township; B. W. Martin, Columbus.

Year 1872; John Ratcliff, Salamanca township: W. B. Lowry; John Hogg, Columbus; J. T. Small, Pleasant View township.

Year 1873; A. B. Saunders, Columbus; J. C. Broadley, Neosho township; John Gray, Mineral township; J. H. Rhea; Lewis Prell, Spring Valley township; P. F. Shackle, Columbus; L. M. Holmes, Salamanca township; Mrs. Kate Vincent Cool, Columbus; J. A. Miller, Mineral township; M. R. Chrisman, Columbus.

Year 1874; James Skidmore, Columbus; A. J. Jameson, Columbus; George M. Barrick, Lola township; C. W. Raymer, Lyon township; W. Fierce, Neosho township; Phil C. Metzler, Mrs. Margaret Metzler and Mrs. Kate Gallagher, Columbus; Mrs. Mary Goes.

Year 1875; Dr. J. O. Houx, Columbus; L. W. Medlin, Lowell township.

Year 1876; John Huff, Shawnee township; S. P. Salisbury, Quaker Valley; A. H. Skidmore, Columbus.

Year 1877; W. J. Houston, Pleasant View township; W. R. Elliott, Galena; Mrs. Hattie DeVoe Capron, Crawford township; W. B. Stone, Galena.

Year 1878; C. M. Skinner, Salamanca township; J. C. Babb, Galena; William Masters and Charles E. Masters, Salamanca township; W. L. Ireland, Neosho township; T. J. Skinner, Salamanca township.

Year 1879; Mrs. Susan Pennock; J. C. Mahood, Galena; C. D. Ashley, Columbus; Mrs. Ellen Richardson and Mrs. Fred Cowley, Columbus; M. A. Housholder, Columbus.

Year 1880; E. B. Davis, Lyon township; Andrew Shearer, Lyon township; E. W. Cooter, Salamanca township; J. C. Little, Columbus.

Year 1881; Michael Moyer and George Moyer, Salamanca township; R. A. Burton, Lola township; H. M. Schock, Columbus; C. C. Thompson, Salamanca township.

Year 1882; James Morrow, Lyon township; T. G. Hicks; W. C. B. Davis, Lyon township; L. S. Tanquary, Columbus; C. H. May, Ross township.

Year 1883; J. S. Moore; M. R. Steward and B. F. Steward, Columbus; J. H. Armstrong, Salamanca township; Isaac Wright and Mrs. Iowa Wright, Columbus; Mrs. Ida Archer, Columbus.

Year 1884; W. L. Hamlet, Shawnee township; Mr. and Mrs. A. Miller, Columbus; R. M. Cheshire, Columbus; W. B. Duncan, Salamanca township.

The foregoing list may not include, and perhaps does not include, all the old settlers that attended the reunion. The names of those who have lived in the county fewer than 20 years were not sought, as it is an unwritten rule that one is not an old settler until he has been in the county 20 or more years.

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