Transcribed from:
Gray's Doniphan County history: A record of the happenings of half a hundred years. By P. L. (Patrick Leopoldo) Gray. Bendena, Kan.: The Roycroft Press, 1905. 3p. l. [11]-84, 166, [2] p. front., plates, ports. 24 cm.





In June, 1878, a new township was created out of the territory of Wolf River township, and called Union, This township contains 36 square miles and occupies the south western corner of the county. Within its boundaries are most excellent farm and pasture lands. Independence has its rise here, in this region of never-failing springs. It is the banner stock raising township, especial attention being given to the raising of hogs - fine whopping fellows - the equals of which are scarcely to be found in the West.

The history of Union is so closely woven with that of Wolf River that they stand today in the relationship of mother to married daughter.


The "Barlow Boys," acquired widespread notoriety during the early eighties by their bad behavior in both Doniphan and Brown Counties. They were hard drinkers and reckless shooters. Raid after raid was made by them on the small towns. For a time they were permitted to pay their fines and and go free; but the long suffering public lost its patience and the "toughs" were brought to time. The fact that they were very cowards was proved one day in Severance when a man named Miller took a few stones and battered and scattered the four of them. On the evening of April 18, 1883, they made a raid on Normanville, demanding liquor which Mr. Normile had been in the custom of keeping in his small grocery store in a room adjoining the room In which the post office was kept. They got into a row with William Normile. Mrs. Normile, his mother, came to his assistance, attempting to hold the door shut to keep out the assailants, when ,the boys" began firing their pistols into the door and windows. One ball passed through Mrs. Normile's ear and lodged in her head. They ended by robbing the post office of money and stamps. A day or two after this they were arrested. The "boys" - Jim, and Ed. - made no resistance. Later they were handed over to the government authorities. The eastern papers made much of the boys, classing them with the James Boys and giving extended and glowing, but greatly exagerated accounts of their depredations. The Police Gazette, the literary vulture, printed their pictures with a highly colored account of the raid on Normanville, and we recollect that many copies of the paper were purchased and read by people wishing to see how "the Boys" appeared in print.

On September 10, 1888, eight wheat stacks belonging to John Green, of this Township, and containing a thousand bushels of wheat were destroyed by fire caused by a spark from a threshing engine.

Centenarian Edward Heeney died at the home of his daughter-in-law, Mrs, Bernard Heeney, near Denton, July 12, 1901, aged 103 years, having lived in three centuries. All his long life he had been a stranger to sickness. He despised to ride in a vehicle, choosing to walk, unless the distance was altogether too great. Perhaps he went more miles on foot during his quarter of a century of existence in Kansas than any other man that ever lived in the state.


Denton was laid out October 27, 1886, by D. C. Kyle assisted by Moses, John, and William Denton. The townsite is a beautiful one, and the surrounding country is the pride and wealth of northeastern Kansas. During the early nineties the little town enjoyed a most healthy boom, stores and dwellings springing up like May flowers. It began a friendly race with Bendena toward the goal of prosperity. This race still continues, and at present the racers appear to be about neck to neck. The town has two churches and a good school.

Some early settlers in the neighborhood: John B. Gronniger, 1856; R. P. Shulsky, 1858; Nicholas Delzeit, 1859; John Normile, 1860; Peter McNulty, 1860; John Riley, 1065;[sic] Win Denton, 1865; D. W. Edwards, 1868; J. S. Byers, 1869; Geo. Chaney, 1870; Geo. Denton, 1873.


Wm. Kirby, of the Doniphan neighborhood, erected the first store, in the fall of 1886.

The first dwelling was built and occupied by E. Callaway, who was also the first carpenter.

The first blacksmith in town was Tom Griffis who opened a shop in 1887.

One of the very early grain dealers was James Bandage, about the same time.

The second store was opened by L. H. Priester. A hall was built over the store soon afterwards.

David Schnee opened the first meat market in 1888.

Seward McConnell came in 1889 with a stock of general merchandise.

The first physician was Dr. Stewart, who was also the proprietor of the first drug store. He came about 1889 with his little black grip in his hand.

In the fall of 1893 more than forty car loads of apples were shipped from this point. The price paid was $2.50 a barrel. The apples were extra fine.

E. Callaway was one of the mail carriers between Severance and Kennekuk, in the early eighties.

The town is situated near the site of the old stage station, Syracuse, on the Pottawatomie trail, where the Vickerys kept store early in the '60s supplying neighbor and traveller with bacon, brown sugar, and what is said to have been a fine quality of a certain elixir usually contained in a little brown jug.

It was while he was a resident of Denton that Wm. Kirby published his interesting book on Mormonism.

Business houses: Bank of Denton; Tom Griffis, blacksmith; J. E. Stepp, M.D.; Len Roberts, hardware; W. H. Pennebaker, general merchandise; S. L. Denton, meat market; Cummings and Elliott, live stock; Charles Murray, general merchandise; I. S. Pinyerd, contractor and builder.


This little town came into existence about the time Bendena and Denton were born. It at once became a good shipping point for the farmers who had long been obliged to haul their grain to distant points. It is not likely that the town will ever develop into a city, but it will always remain "a handy little place to have on the map." The farmers in the neighborhood are among the wealthiest in the county. One of the finest church buildings in northeastern Kansas is St. Mary's near this place, erected about 1898.

Patrick Shaughnessy, John Whelan, Patrick Brady, John Purcell, David Whelan, Peter Reichenberger and Kasper Troll were some of the earlier settlers.