Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
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No less than three towns christened Labette have been started in this county. The first of the three was located in the fall of 1866, by Gilbert Martin, on the banks of the Neosho, in section 14, Richland township. In 1867 Mr. Martin put in a sawmill, to which was attached a set of corn buhrs. The mill got quite a trade at this point. A store building was erected by L. D. Bovee, for Mr. Smith, who put in a stock of groceries. This building was afterward sold to School District No. 3, and was moved from its location on the town-site to the public road, where it now stands, and is still in use as a school-house. Another building was erected, for R. G. Tileston, who put in quite a large amount of groceries. In January, 1868, Martin, Tileston and Bovee put up quite a quantity of ice fully eight inches thick. With the cold weather of the spring and winter of 1867 and 1868 the hopes of this town vanished, and during the spring all of its business was moved away.

The second town of this name was located on parts of sections 20 and 21, in Richland township, just south of Labette Creek. In May, 1868, a number of parties, among whom were G. A. Cooper, R. G. Tileston, L. D. Bovee, Allen Barnes, Gilbert Martin and Isaac Butterworth, formed themselves into a company for the purpose of laying out this town, and on June 18 their charter was filed in the office of the Secretary of State. Mr. Tileston put up quite a large two-story building, and removed his stock of groceries from the former town of Labette, lying to the northeast of this, and added thereto so that he had quite a respectable store. Moses Powers had a blacksmith shop, and quite a number of parties built small dwelling-houses; so that during the summer of 1868 there were probably 12 to 20 buildings of all descriptions on the town-site. The town was also known by the name of Soresco as well as by the name of Labette. Its proprietors supposed that they were in the line where the M. K. & T. Ry. would necessarily be located. With the close of 1868 the prospects of an important town being built up at this point disappeared. Mr. Tileston became interested in Chetopa, to which point he moved his stock of groceries, leaving his store building, however, as a watch-tower in the desert to mark the spot which had been the scene of so many bright anticipations.


The town of Labette having been started in the southeastern part of Liberty township it was thought by some that a more desirable location for a town would be farther up Labette Creek, and in May, 1870, J. F. Newlon, E. K. Currant, Peterson Cherry, W. H. Porter and a number of others became incorporated, the charter being filed June 20, 1870, and a town-site was selected upon the west bank of the Labette, below the mouth of Bachelor Creek, on sections 9 and 16, township 32, range 20. But few houses were ever erected on the town-site. William H. and John I. Sipple put up a fair store building and opened up a store. E. K. Currant put up a building and opened a branch of his main store, which was at Montana. There were two or three other business houses. In November following the town was moved to Parsons.


This town was located in four counties, but principally in Neosho county. It embraced, however, a part of section 3, township 31, range 21, in Labette county. On December 23, 1867, a paper purporting to be a charter for the incorporation of the town was filed in the office of the Secretary of State, but there was no pretense of complying with the law. On January 23, 1868, a new charter was filed. Among the incorporators were William Logan, G. D. Demerit, David Evans and Samuel Correll. After the first two or three years there was, little left to indicate what this town once was.


On January 30, 1869, the charter for the town of Cherryville, incorporating James H. Beggs, James McMains, John Oliphant and others, was filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The town was to be located on the south half of section 12, township 32, range 17. The proprietors seem to have soon become satisfied that they were not going to be able to build up a town at this point, and concluded to abandon it.


A town with this name was proposed to be located on section 13, township 32, range 17, in Osage township. R. D. Hartsorn, John W. Claspill, W. O. Hartsorn, Lionel A. Whitney and Samuel C. Hockett were charter members of the town company. The charter was filed with the Secretary of State June 16, 1869.


The above name was chosen for a town that was to have been located on the northeast quarter of section 30, in Osage township, if the line of the L. L. & G. R. R. had run through that quarter as it was expected to. Mr. Kingsbury, one of the surveying party, assured the owners of claims in that vicinity that the road would surely be located on that line. Perhaps it would have been had not the general course of the road been changed so as to pass through Montgomery instead of Labette county. On the strength of these assurances a town-company was organized, of which W. H. Carpenter was president and L. F. Dick, secretary. When the line of the railroad was located west of them the project of building this town was abandoned.


A company consisting of Alexander W. King, Mahlon A. King, J. H. Beatty and others was incorporated April 12, 1869, for the purpose of laying off the town of Timber Hill. It was located on the south half of the northeast quarter and the north half of the southeast quarter of section 34, township 31, range 18. About the middle of September, 1869, George W. Blake and William Blake opened a store at this place; they continued to sell goods till the spring of 1871, when they closed and moved on their farms.


Joseph McCormick, David Stanfield, John A. Helpingstine, Thomas Harrison and Jesse Bishop became incorporated February 22, 1870, for the purpose of laying off the town of Big Hill, on parts of sections 23 and 24, township 32, range 17.


Was intended to cover 320 acres in section 35, township 32, and section 2, township 33, both in range 20. Gilbert Martin, John N. Watson, David C. Lowe, Julius S. Waters, Chas. A. Kelso, Benjamin A. Rice and others became incorporated for the purpose of laying off the town. The charter for the same was filed in the office of the Secretary of State December 24, 1867. By the most liberal construction of its language it can hardly be said to contain any of the statutory requirements for a charter, but it is probable that this is not the reason why the town never succeeded in acquiring any more growth than one store and a blacksmith shop.


On September 8, 1869, there was filed in the office of Secretary of State a charter incorporating John Elston, John T. Weaver and others into the Elston Town Company, for the purpose of laying off a town on section 6, township 33, range 20. During that summer this town had quite a growth. The parties composing this company were men of some means, who came from Johnson county and wanted to build a town nearer the center of the county than any other town had then been located with the avowed purpose of making it the county-seat. They erected quite a large hotel and a number of store buildings, and for a time had considerable trade, and the town seemed to be on the road to prosperity, but its growth was of short duration, and in a few years not a single building remained to mark the site of this once ambitious place.


Kingston was located on sections 31 and 32, in township 34, and sections 5 and 6, in township 35, range 19. It was started in the summer of 1877 by the erection of a flour mill by Eastwood & Reamer. Soon after Mr. Jones started a blacksmith shop; Thomas Bruner put in a drug store; Aaron Humes a broom factory; Anderson & Weaver a general merchandise store; C. W. Campbell was postmaster, as well as physician; S. E. Ball was the only lawyer. In 1879 the engine was sold out of the mill, and thereafter was not put in again. The place continued more or less prosperous until the construction of the railroad through the southern portion of the county, in 1886, when it was abandoned and united with Edna.


Named from the abundance of deer that were found in that vicinity by the early settlers. It was located by the Willie brothers on the north half of section 20, township 34, range 18, on the line between Howard and Canada townships. The first store in Deerton was opened in 1880, by Aaron Humes, who was, soon after appointed postmaster. Charles M. Keeler next followed with another store of general merchandise. Blacksmith shops, a wood-worker and a broom factory were among the industries of this town. On the completion of the railroad through Howard township, in the fall of 1886, the town was all moved to Valeda.



C. H. Kimball, Lee Clark and others filed a charter in the office of the Secretary of State November 29, 1886, authorizing them to lay off a town-site and dispose of lots on the northeast quarter of section 8, township 34, range 18. The plat was filed February 12, 1887, acknowledged by Lee Clark, president of the town company. There has never been much growth - only two or three business houses of any kind, and the stock-yards.


Is a station on the P. & P. Ry., located on the northeast quarter of section 27, township 33, range 18. This location was formerly called Barton.


Is located on the line of the Parsons & Pacific Ry., on sections 16 and 17, in Labette township. It was surveyed in August, 1887. The first store was started in the spring of 1888, by Samuel Jameston. Mrs. Ella B. Wilson is proprietor of the town, and has devoted much energy to its development and upbuilding. It has received its principal amount of advertising by the distribution of the Wilsonton Journal, which is published here.


Is a station on the Parsons & Pacific Railroad; south of Parsons.


Was laid out by Emanuel Mortimer, on the, north half of the northeast quarter of section 25, township 31, range 17. The plat was filed January 7, 1883.


The first house in Dennis was the railroad depot, erected in the fall of 1880. In the spring of 1881 William Current put up a store building, in which he placed a stock of groceries; this was the first store in town. John Webb and John Milligan put in another store, in the spring of 1882, their stock consisting of general merchandise. A second stock of general merchandise was put in by W. H. Thorne, in the fall of 1883. Mr. Thorne also put in a corn elevator and shipped grain, and put up the first substantial residence house in town. Subsequently John Mason put in a harness shop, L. Pedan a lumber yard, Wm. Cline a drug store, J. L. Wilson a hardware store, and Nelson Dunn a livery stable. The first hotel was put up by Mr. Acre, in the summer of 1885. It was not till December 21, 1883, that the plat of the town was filed in the office of the register of deeds, locating the town on sections 14 and 15, on the line of the Gulf Railroad, in Osage township. Lee Wilson was born to L. J. Wilson and wife December 24, 1884, the first child born in town. Two newspapers have been started in Dennis, but neither was able to maintain an existence, and they were moved away. One of the substantial business plants of this town is its flouring mill.


Is a station on the Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, located on the southeast quarter of section 20, in Neosho township. It was started just after the building of the railroad, and has one store.


The plat of this town located it on section 15, township 31, range 21, and was filed in the office of the register of deeds April 30, 1879. The first house in Matthewson was built in the spring of 1879, by William Downs; in this he had his residence, the store and postoffice. The next store building was put up by G. W. Watson and C. Hamilton, who put in a fair stock of goods and did a good business until McCune was started, when they moved to that town, leaving but one store house in Matthewson.


Is a station on the "Frisco," located on section 15, in Fairview township. The only business that has been conducted here has been one store, owned by J. N. Santee; a blacksmith shop, by G. W. Brock; and a part of the time H. M. Debolt has run a sawmill, with which he has connected a set of corn buhrs, and has also been engaged in the grain business.


Is a station on the "Frisco" Railroad, in Mound Valley township.


On February. 23, 1874, the charter of Stevens was filed in the office of the Secretary of State, incorporating Alfred Large, Jonas Clark, L. M. Bedell and others with authority to locate a town on sections 33 and 34, township 34, range 21. The plat was acknowledged by R. W. Officer, president of the town company, and was filed in March, 1874. A few years ago this place was incorporated as a part of the city of Chetopa.


Is located on the northwest quarter of section, 5, township 35, range 20. In 1869 Mr. Head put in a small stock of general merchandise, which he continued to sell until the fall of 1870, when it was closed. Allen McNeal has had a blacksmith shop since 1871. George Burge opened a store in 1881, which he has continued to conduct up to the present time. From 1885 to 1887 C. W. Fowler had a store in connection with the postoffice. The Methodists have a church and cemetery at this point.


Soon after coming to the county Frank Simons brought a small stock of groceries, which he commenced selling in his cabin. Early in the spring of 1866 he put up a hewed-log house on what was thereafter to be the Montana town-site, but which had not yet been laid off, and in March opened therein a store. This was the first building on the town-site, and this was the first store in the township. Soon thereafter Yates & Fagan built a frame store building on the town-site and put therein a stock of groceries. This is said to have been the first frame building in the county. Soon after this they built a frame residence. The next spring Frank Simons built a frame store building, into which he moved his stock of groceries.


The Montana Town Company had been agreed upon some time previously, but was not incorporated until May 28, 1868. Among those who were members of the company were Levi Seabridge, J. S. Anderson, Henry Minor, S. S. Watson, J. S. Waters and D. M. Watson, S. S. Watson was president and J. S. Waters secretary of the town company. The town was located on section 8, township 32, range 21.


Abner Furgeson was granted a ferry license on July 11, 1867, and at once he, in connection with Jonah Wilcox, commenced the operation of a ferry across the Neosho near where it is spanned by the iron bridge.


In 1868 Henry M. Miner erected a two-story building and opened therein the first hotel in town.


D. D. McGrath was the first physician of standing to locate here. He was soon followed by Dr. Frye, and they in turn by Dr. J. M. Mahr, all of whom were good citizens as well as good physicians, and did their part toward building up the place. Doctors Hall, Gapen, Taylor and Keys are among the other physicians who came to the place.


In 1870 W. E. Livesay and J. O. Charles erected, and in the spring of 1871 put in operation, the grist mill which for over a score of years was an important industry of the town. On May 9, 1893, this mill burned to the ground, and the plant has never been renewed.


Evergreen Lodge, A. F. & A. M., numbering 86, was organized about the close of 1870, with 11 charter members. A. W. Swift was the first W. M. After an existence of several years the lodge surrendered its charter.


In 1868 the town commenced a rapid growth, which was continued during the next two years, and at one time it contained 13 general stores, three hotels, three saloons, two livery stables, two wagon shops, besides a great number of other shops and stores of various kinds, and a population of not less than 500 people. Failing to get the M. K. & T. Ry., which was built in 1870, and also other projected lines which were Intended to pass through her boundaries failing to be built, it was evident that for a time at least she had reached the height of her prosperity; and when the town of Labette sprang up on the line of the railroad but a few miles from her, many of her firms removed their business there, and some of them took with them their business houses. Of the business houses remaining in the town, the larger part were swept away, by a fire which occurred on February 28, 1895.


When the Mineral branch of the M. K. & T. Ry. was built in 1895, it was located between two and three miles south of the town, so that it really furnishes no accommodations.


In 1873 the Legislature passed an act authorizing the town to incorporate as a city of the third class, and in pursuance of its provision an order was; made by the district judge, on July 3, 1877, for the incorporation of the city of Montana, and an election ordered for July 14th. At the first election Col. J. J. Woods was elected mayor, E. D. Keirsey, police judge, and the following persons members of the council: A. B. Chaplain, G. T. Peak, J. P. Bradfield, Samuel Ballentine, and J. M. Mahr. A pretense of a city government was maintained until 1884. In April, 1883, Martin Wilcox was elected mayor, and was the last person on whom that honor was conferred. It became generally understood that the act authorizing the incorporation was unconstitutional, and the form of going through an election of officers who had no legal authority to act was abandoned.


The plat of the town of Bartlett, located on the southwest quarter of section 27, township 34, range 20, acknowledged by Robert A. Bartlett, was filed in the office of the register of deeds, June 5, 1886. The first lot was sold to Jerome Calahan, who erected thereon the first building which was put up on the townsite. It was a two-story frame, in the first story of which he put a general stock of merchandise, which was the first store in town; the upper story was a hall, in which were held religious and other meetings. B. F. Cox built the first dwelling in the town, and started the first blacksmith shop; the second dwelling was erected by H. L. Whiting. In 1891 William Jarrett put in a cider-mill, and in connection with buhrs for grinding meal and feed. The Methodist is the only church building now in town, the Presbyterian church building having been destroyed by fire. Bartlett has grown into a nice trading point and is likely to have considerable more growth.


There have been two or three fires that have been quite damaging. In August, 1893, Reece Bros.' store and postoffice; in June, 1896, J. H. Peaver's store; in March, 1899, the Lonaker and Utley buildings, and in August, 1900, two elevators and the Presbyterian church were burned.


Was laid out by Jesse A. Edmundson, on the northwest quarter of section 27, township 34, range 19, in Elm Grove township, soon after the completion of the railroad through that section, the town plat being acknowledged July 21, 1886. The first building on the town-site was erected by J. F. Shields and J. A. Edmundson, soon after the town was platted, and was occupied by Wilson & Vanbibber with a stock of general merchandise. Brown & Waugh and Smith & Edmundson soon followed with stocks of notions and groceries; Henry Robinett and N. L. Addis opened blacksmith shops; D. Wilson sold furniture. In 1892 the Christian church erected a neat frame building. Quite a large amount of grain has been shipped from this point, and a good business is done by dealers in most of the lines of merchandise. In 1900 the railroad discontinued its agency at this point. The people, who voted bonds to aid in building the road with the belief that they were to have a permanent station, feel indignant over the loss of the agency.


On June 20, 1876, Mr. Booth and Alex. Patterson opened a general store in a claim shanty 11 by 14 feet, belonging to Jeptha Lackey, on the northeast one-fourth of section 30, in Elm Grove township. This was the first start of the town of Edna. That same fall this firm brought from the town of Chanute the material of a frame building which they had torn down, and with it they put up at Edna, on the same quarter, the first store building in the place. This building still stands. They continued to conduct the business until 1879, when they sold to Frank Clark. Other stores were opened from time to time. In 1883 Dunlap & Co. started a hardware store, but there were no very important enterprises started or any large amount of building done until the construction of the railroad through there in 1886, with the exception of the flour-mill, which was erected in 1883 by H. S. Wimmer and William Gear. This mill was put in operation in the spring of 1884, and has ever been one of the most substantial features of Edna's prosperity. The town was not regularly laid off until the location of the railroad, in the summer of 1886. A plat of the town embracing a portion of sections 29 and 30, township 34, range 19, was filed August 21, 1886.


There have been two quite extensive fires in Edna: one on February 13, 1889, on the west side of Delaware street, burning out the business houses of G. W. Reasor, W. P. Dollar and Josiah Arnold; the other in December, 1891, on the east side of Delaware street, consuming the business houses of Frank Martin, Frank Holton, L. Powell, Alexander Dunlap and C. M. Rinker.


There are two stone buildings in Edna, the first being the two-story bank building erected by C. T. Ewing in 1887, and the second, a one-story structure adjoining it, erected by G. W. Reasor in 1891. There have also been erected three fine brick store buildings, one in 1894, and two in 1899, two of them being two stories in height, and the other one-story.


As previously stated, a flouring mill was located here about the time the town was started. In 1899 a large elevator was erected.


On the application of its citizens an order was made by the board of county commissioners on July 3, 1892, incorporating the town as a city of the third class, and on July 20 its first election was held, at which the following officers were elected: Mayor, J. H. Hoole; police judge, J. H. Reasor; councilmen G. W. Reasor, T. G. Harris, H. H. Clark, A. C. Veach and J. C. Arnold. The first meeting of the mayor and council was held July 25, 1892, at which J. E. Blunk was appointed and confirmed as city clerk.

On August 9 four ordinances were passed. The first levied an occupation tax on all the various kinds of business conducted there; the second provided for the maintenance of the peace; the third prohibited stock from running at large; and the fourth provided for licensing dogs.

Since its organization Edna has had the following mayors and city clerks: Mayors - 1892, J. H. Hoole; 1893,-96, F. E. Hamilton; 1897, J. E. Blunk; 1898-99, J. H. Hughes; 1900, Dr. J. H. Woodul. Clerks - 1892, J. E. Blunk; 1893-94, A. C. Veach; 1895, W. E. Staige; 1896, E. H. Hughes; 1897, H. H. Clark; 1898, E. C. Fair; 1899, H. H. Clark; 1900, W. E. Staige.


On Janaury[sic] 25, 1887, C. T. Ewing, who was in the banking business at Thayer and Cherryvale, opened the International Bank at Edna, with J. M. Berry, cashier. C. H. Zabriski succeeded Mr. Berry as cashier on November 1, 1888, and continued in charge of the bank until it failed, in May 1892. A state bank under the management of J. H. Lount was opened in September, 1897; in the following June it went into voluntary liquidation. The State Bank of Edna was opened July 21, 1899, with $5,000 capital stock, and is doing a prosperous business.


The site for this town is on a part of section 33, township 34, range 18, and was owned by the Excelsior Town and Mining Company. The plat was filed July 7, 1886. The first building in the town was put up by Stone & Willie, who placed therein a stock of merchandise. About the same time C. M. Keeler erected a store building and put in a stock of goods, and Dr. Kenworthy started the first drug store. During the fall of 1866 all of the town of Deerton was moved to the Valeda town-site.


This town is located near the center of section 26, in Liberty township. It was started with the avowed purpose of making it the county seat, and leading citizens from the southern part of the county, as well as those in the near vicinity, took interest in the enterprise. Among the charter members were Dempsey Elliott, J. S. Waters, James H. Crichton, W. A. Hodges, John W. Horner, W. J. Conner, and many more of like character and responsibility. The town company was incorporated May 3, 1870. The charter specified that the town was to be located near Neola. It was not until September that the town plat was acknowledged by W. J. Conner, president of the town company; however, the building of the town commenced immediately upon the organization of the town company. The first families to be located upon the town-site were Robert Cooper, Wilf. Cooper, Dr. W. J. Conner and Jacob Weider. Wilf. Cooper entered a part of the town-site, and had resided thereon since 1868. Probably the first business house upon the town-site was that of Jacob Weider, moved there from Montana the latter part of May, in which he at once opened a bakery and saloon. Another saloon was opened some time after this by a Mr. Woolsey; neither had license to run, and yet both were conducted for months without being interfered with. Before the close of June, 1870, a meat market was conducted by Lewis & Smith; a lumber yard by Mr. Wilkins; a boarding-house by Mr. Brady; a shoe shop by Mr. Moon, and a grocery store by Bates & Co. At this time it was said that there were 52 houses on the town-site. During the next few months the town built rapidly, and by the close of the year was represented by nearly every line of business.

Failing to secure the county seat, the success of the town began to be questioned, and of those interested therein some commenced to take their departure. For a number of years past it has remained what it became after the boom had subsided - a village with a fair business for two or three stores, and a shipping point for the grain raised in the vicinity. About 1875 a mill was erected by Bowen & Williams, of Chetopa. Some two years thereafter A. W. Diggs bought it, but soon sold it to other parties. The machinery was then removed, and for many years the mill was in disuse. In the spring of 1899 it was again refitted and put into operation by George Leggate. On November 2, 1899, the mill was entirely destroyed by fire.

The M. K. & T. Ry. Co. built a spur road branching off at Labette, and going to Mineral, in Cherokee county; this was commenced in the fall of 1894 and completed in the spring of 1895.

On February 15, 1897, a fire destroyed quite a portion of the business houses in the town. On June 7, 1890, a tornado destroyed the Baptist church and one or two other buildings.

Soon after the town was started cemetery grounds were selected north of town. Mrs. Sarah Cooper was the first person whose body was interred therein.