Mitchell County

Histories of Mitchell County Towns

Cawker City
Glen Elder
Solomon Rapids
Waconda Springs
Map of Mitchell County, KS in 1899 from Noble Prentis' History of Kansas
Mitchell County in 1899
Cawker City

      Rails, passing through Cawker City, helped to win over the rival town of Waconda located about two miles south of the present Cawker City townsite.

      The idea of founding a town was conceived by E. H. Cawker, and James P. Rice, both of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, R. F. G. Kshinka of Towanda, Pa., and John J. Huckell of Dushore, Pa., who came up the Solomon Valley and laid out the prospective townsite in 1870.

      The first plat was recorded with the register of deeds April 26, 1871, others on June 28 and July 15 that year. Each founder filed for ¼ section at the Junction City land office and on return found the land filed for was located one mile east and one mile north of that picked for the townsite; their supposed site was already settled, so they started the town on the site filed for.
      The group of men built a dugout in the center of the townsite. The town was named in honor of E. Harrison Cawker, who spared no expense to hasten the growth of his namesake. He was Mitchell county's first state representative in the legislature.
      It was related that Cawker Came to Mitchell county with $60,000 and started the town, spent his money and left in 1874 for his hometown, Milwaukee, where he later passed away.
      Until the railroad came through the new town, provisions were hauled by team and wagon from Solomon. John A. Seger, Cawker City's first postmaster, delivered mail to the few residents from his hat after the stage arrived.
      In the latter part of May, 1870, about twenty days after an Indian raid near Glen Elder, the Indians reappeared near Cawker City and were reconnoitering troop camps along the river.
      A band of some 30 Indians ventured to the little town of Cawker, which then consisted of one house and a sod stable. John Seger was alone in the town; the other settlers being several miles down the valley hauling lumber and a saw-mill from the railroad.
      The Indians not knowing how many persons were in the stable, declined to attack it. Seger dressed in different suits of clothes belonging to the parties who were away, and appeared before the Indians first in one suit and then another, impersonating different men, until he apparently convinced them that the sod stable was filled with white men.
      That night ten horses were stolen from the Best and Hatcher ranch near Cawker City while nearly a dozen men were silent, but passive witnesses in the house.
      The buffalo made his last stand in the area on July 5, 1872, when a straggler was chased down Main Street by Pat Tallent on horseback and shot down by J. W. McGhee, postmaster at that time.
      On the 20th day of March, 1874, Cawker City was declared incorporated by Judge Joel Holt. City officials were F. J. Knight, mayor; A. Parker, D. A. Huling, W. Woodmansel, P. Wolfe, J. A. Pope, councilmen.
      Also recorded in the history of Cawker City were two extensive fires, one in 1879 when the south side, seven business buildings were destroyed, and again in 1882 four good buildings were burned on the north side of the street.

Glen Elder Top

      West Hampton, now Glen Elder, was started in 1869-70 on the east side of Limestone Creek, mile north of the Solomon River on the Geo. Stinson place where a stockade was located.
      The town began with the erection of a large, flouring mill in 1871, by John Neve and Albert Spencer. Other names figuring in the filing of the plat of West Hampton were Wealthy Neve, Charles Davis, Martha Davis, and Adaline Spencer.
      The name of West Hampton was soon lost, as the Glen Elder post office was moved down from a half a mile north, and Glen Elder was more widely known.
      A stockade was one of the first structures at Glen Elder to guard against Indian attacks. A year previous, Indians raided the vicinity and killed three settlers near the site of the flour mill.
      Some early settlers were H. F. Vallette, John Reeves, John Allen, Herman Reinhardt, Obed Gansel, David Suver, Russell Peaslee, Fred Nash, Will Allen, Truman Allen James Slaven, Perry Rice, Frank Hobart, Scott Guffey, Davis Anderson and Phillip Inge.
      In 1878-79 the central branch of the railroad was built through Glen Elder. The townsite plat was registered December 25, 1872. but John Neve never filed his homestead on which the townsite was situated, until March 4, 1873. Glen Elder was incorporated on Nov. 28, 1889, according to the register of deeds office.

Asherville Top

      Although not one of the largest towns in the Solomon Valley, Asherville claims to be one of the oldest. John Rees, one of the first settlers, had a grocery store at the townsite since 1867.
      Rees came to America from Liverpool, England, in 1841, locating in Pennsylvania and Missouri before enlisting in the army during the Civil War. While in the army he gradually rose from private to major.
      After the war he came to AsherviIle on April 26, 1866. He was elected to the state legislature in 1872, and held the office of justice of the peace for 10 years, and was postmaster for seven years.
      He was also the first postmaster in Mitchell county, the Asherville post office being established in 1869. His son, Sherman Grant Rees, was the first white child born in Mitchell county. Rees also claims to have sold the first dry goods and groceries in Mitchell county,
      The village of Asherville began in the early 1870's as a part of the Rees homestead. It was plotted and laid out but never incorporated. The plat was recorded with the register of deeds on March 15, 1902.

Simpson Top

      Simpson, which was previously known as Brittsville, also Britain and Simpsonville, originated in 1871 when G. Beaver, who at that time owned a mill at Delphos, came up the Solomon River to sight a spot for a mill.
      With financial aid from Thomas Shanks and Alfred Simpson, a mill was erected at the site where Brittsville started.
      By 1879 Brittsville was a thriving little village with a store, drug store, blacksmith shop, post office and stage stand.
      With the coming of railroads, between 1879 and 1880, Brittsville was moved a mile to the present townsite of Simpson. In 1882, after Alfred Simpson deeded a portion of land upon which the town was built to the city, the name was changed to Simpson, in his honor.
      The land on which the city was situated was first owned by T. E. Thackery, who on December 29, 1875, registered a receivers receipt for the property.
      Tom Shanks and Simpson started the first store in the new locality: and the first house belonged to George Leinen, Sr.

Tipton Top

      On March 27, 1877, a receivers receipt was issued to Mark J. Kelley for the land where the town of Pittsburg, which later became Tipton was to be built.
      Pittsburg was named after W. A. Pitt, who had the postoffice in his home directly west of the present townsite of Tipton.
      After Postmaster A. Seright was notified that there was another Pittsburg in Kansas, Chris Reinking, who came to the townsite in 1872, suggested Tipton, the name of the county seat of Cedar County, Iowa, from which he came.
      The early settlers retained the name of Pittsburg until 1880. The town covered 160 acres. By 1882 there were thirty or forty houses on the townsite with a wealthy German settlement around it.
      At the present there are 28 businesses in Tipton. In 1934 a Grotto was constructed by the Parochial church members in honor of "Our Lady of Lourdes."
      A German subscription school with thirty-five scholars and a regular district school of about thirty scholars were maintained in the town by 1882.
      The plat for the city was filed May 5, 1877, for M. J. Arnoldy, C. F. Fauss, F. B. Brown, Fred Sackhoff, Hans Paulsen and Nick Arnoldy. Pittsburg Town CO. was organized in Nov., 1872, with Fred Sackhoff as president, W. A. Pitt as treasurer, and J. F. Steinberg as secretary.

Hunter Top

      Hunter, a newcomer to the family of incorporated cities in Mitchell county was first situated four miles west of the present townsite. The town got its official start in 1915, having been issued a charter in May, 1915.
      The first city official, Dr. Hugh A. Hope, still resides in Hunter. Other officers at the time of the siting of Hunter were F. M. Ewing, L. C. Thompson, Lewis Wagner and O. Heller.
      With the coming of the railroad four miles east of Hunter, the town was moved to the site alongside of the railroad in 1915.
      At that time there were only a few houses in old Hunter. The people were anxious to get on the railroad, therefore there was no rivalry between the townsites. The railroad could not pass through old Hunter and at the same time through Tipton because of the hills.
      Hunter was named for Al Hunter, one of the early residents of the community. He was born in Virginia, moving to Iowa with his parents in 1856.
      He came to Jewell county, Kansas, in a party of two covered wagons in September, 1879, later acquiring a 40 acre farm in Lincoln county. He traded his team, wagon and harness for his homestead rights and moved to the community which Was to be named after him.
      Hunter resided in a sod house for 15 years before hauling lumber from Sylvan Grove to build a frame house. The Farmers State Bank at Victor moved to Hunter with the coming of the railroad.
      Two other early settlers listed in the history of Hunter city were Fred Leonhart and B. B. Rounkles. After coming to the United States .from Germany in 1870, Leonhart started for Kansas in Feb., 1872, in a covered wagon party.
      They arrived in the Tipton neighborhood in March of that year and Leonhart homesteaded a quarter section in Osborne county.
      He was in business for a year in Tipton before moving to a farm southeast of Hunter, taking up residence in that city in 1916.
      Rounkles was born in Liking county, Ohio; spent his boyhood in Iowa, coming to Kansas by train in 1878. He settled northeast of Beloit and later homesteaded a 160 acre farm about three miles southwest of Hunter in the fall of 1878.

Scottsville Top

      Among the little towns springing up with the building of the Central Branch Railroad through the county was Scottsville in Lulu township.
      The townsite was platted in October, 1878, and on Nov. 16, 1878. Rolf M. Pomeroy and George W. Werts filed the plat at the register of deeds office. The new little town was bisected by the railroad.
      According to the records, John W. Frazier deeded the land on which the town was platted to George W. Werts on August 2, 1874. In the 1880's considerable business was carried on there, as the railroad station was in the center of a large corn raising territory.
      The first settlement in Lulu township was made in May, 1870, by J. E. Owen. On October 8, 1871, Curtis Owen was the first white child born in Lulu township.

Victor Top

      Victor, located about 17 miles southwest of Beloit, was laid out by A. D. Moon, county surveyor, for Fred Jacobs and the plat was filed in. the register of deeds office April 13, 1880. A U.S. postoffice until Jan. 31, 1941.

Waconda Top

      Waconda, with a population of 200 began in 1871, just before Cawker City was established, although the plat for Waconda, situated about two miles south of Cawker, wasn't filed by J. W. Terry until Oct. 14, 1884.
      Waconda was abandoned completely by the 1890's after the railroad had come to Cawker City about 1878.

Waconda Springs Top

      The plat for a city at Waconda Springs was filed on August 27, 1883, by the Great Spirits Co. A postoffice is still maintained at Waconda Springs.

Solomon Rapids Top

      Solomon Rapids, once being quite a town, competed for the county seat of Mitchell county. According to records, the town was never platted nor incorporated.
      One of the first settlers was R. C. Clark, an attorney of some prominence, and on the formation of the Fifteenth Judicial District, a candidate for judge.
      In 1902 the Solomon Rapids postoffice Was moved from north of Highway 24 in Solomon Rapids township to the little village and was operated, there until December 31, 1953, when discontinued, its patrons being added to a rural route out of Beloit.

Springfield Top

      Springfield was laid out six miles northeast of Beloit in Plum Creek township and probably the only evidence of this city is the plat filed at the register of deeds office on Dec. 31, 1872, by the Springfield Town Co.

From a Souvenir Booklet for the National Midwest Tour of the Horseless Carriage Club
Printed May, 1954 by the Beloit Call
Supplied by the Beloit Chamber of Commerce
Used by permission

August 30, 2001 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas /

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