Belleville, the county seat of Republic county, is located a little east of the center of the county and is an important railroad center and shipping point, having three lines of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific system and one line of the Union Pacific system. The population in 1910 was 2,224. All business activities and professions are represented in the business directory. There are banks, flour mills, grain elevators, creameries, mercantile houses and newspapers. It has good graded and high schools, all denominations of churches, telegraph and express offices, and an international money order postoffice from which eminate five rural routes. The county buildings include a $25,000 court-house and an $11,000 jail.
Belleville is beautifully situated on a gently rolling upland in the midst of a rich and prosperous farming country. The main articles of export are grain, live-stock and creamery products. The town was established on Sept. 25, 1869, with the following charter members of the company, James E. VanNatta, A. B. Tutton, W. A. Means, J. H. Frint, T. C. Reily, W. H. H. Reily, W. A. Dugger, John McFarlane, John Harris, G. H. Jackson and N. T. VanNatta. A "town house" was built by the company on the northwest quarter of section 2, town 3 south, range 3 west, in which a general store was kept. The upper floor was used as a public hall. The place was named Belleville after Arabelle Tutton, the wife of A. B. Tutton. It was incorporated as a city of the third class in 1878, and the first election, held on Jan. 26 of that year, resulted as follows: Mayor, W. H. Woodward; police judge, William Haskett; councilmen, Chauncy Perry, Edwin Knowles, Daniel Miller, Ed. E. Chapman and F. N. Munger. The officers appointed were, city marshal, Willis C. Allen; city attorney, A. B. Taylor; city clerk, Charles H. Smith; city treasurer, Columbus Taylor; street commissioner, W. C. Allen.
By 1873 Belleville had become quite an important business center. The main stage thoroughfare from Hanover, Mo., connecting with St. Joseph, Mo., and Denver, Col., and with the Central branch from Waterville, passed through Belleville, and stages ran daily. A number of substantial business structures had been built and the improvements included city waterworks. As early as 1888 the enterprising citizens of the town convinced the state authorities that Belleville was of sufficient size to be a city of the second class and it was made such. For many years this little city was a gateway to the homestead country, to the settlement of which it owes much of its present growth and prosperity.Pages 170-171 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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