Coffeyville, the largest city in Montgomery county and one of the important cities of southeastern Kansas, is located on the Verdigris river near the Oklahoma state line, 15 miles southeast of Independence, the county seat. Four railroads converge at this pointthe Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, the Missouri Pacific, and the St. Louis & San Francisco. It is located in the natural gas fields, the wells in the vicinity yielding about 1,000,000,000 cubic feet of gas per day. This is furnished to the factories for three cents per 1,000 feet, which has resulted in building up extensive manufacturing interests among which are, 9 glass factories, 6 brick plants, an oil refinery, 4 foundries, a plow factory, 2 box factories, 2 planing mills, carriage and wagon factory, paper factory, zinc smelter, pottery works, excelsior factory, plaster factory, roof tile works, wire fence factory, egg case factory, novelty works, and implement works. Other manufacturing plants are under process of construction. The Missouri Pacific railroad shops are located here.
The town is advanced in the matter of public improvements, having a sewer system, waterworks, fire department, police department, 9 public school buildings, street railway, public parks and electric lights. There are 5 banks, 4 theaters, a hospital, 3 daily and 3 weekly newspapers, 4 flour mills, grain elevators, several wholesale jobbing houses, 2 ice plants, a packing house and all lines of retail trade. Coffeyville is also an important grain market and a shipping point for all kinds of farm produce. It is connected with Cherryvale and Independence by means of interurban electric lines. The town is supplied with telegraph and express offices and has an international money order postoffice with 4 rural routes. The population according to the census of 1910 was 12,687, which is nearly treble the population of 1900.
Coffeyville was founded in the fall of 1869, by Col. Coffey, N. B. Blanton, Edward Pagan, John Clarkson and William Wilson. This town was later absorbed by another of the same name located a mile north and promoted by the railroad company in 1871, as the terminus of the first railroad built in the county. The towns of Westralia, Parker, Verdigris City and Claymore were all eventually absorbed by Coffeyville. The postoffice was established in 1871 at the original town, and Col. Coffey was made postmaster. The next year it was moved to the new town. Coffeyville was organized and incorporated as a city of the third class in 1872, with the following officers: Mayor, A. B. Clark; clerk, I. N. Neeld; treasurer, T. B. Eldridge; police judge, G. A. Dunlap; marshal, Peter Flynn; councilmen, G. J. Tallman, David Blair, C. W. Curry, W. H. Bowers and E. S. Eldridge. The first school was taught in a store building on the old town site in 1871 by J. T. Creswell. The Coffeyville journal was established in 1875 by W. A. Peffer. The first banking house was opened in May, 1880, by Ayres & Steel. A board of trade was organized in 1884, and on July 20, 1887, Coffeyville was incorporated as a city of the second class by proclamation of Gov. Martin.
In 1888 an incident occurred in Coffeyville which startled the whole state and led to an investigation by the state officials. A package directed to Winfield was left at the express office on Oct. 18. While still in custody of the express agent it exploded and killed Mrs. Upham and her daughter, Mabel. It was a package of dynamite and a political murder was intended by the party who prepared it.
In 1892 occurred the famous Dalton raid at Coffeyville. The Daltons with two accomplices, comprising a band of five, came into the town with the intention to rob the banks and commit as many murders as necessary in the process. While robbing the bank of Condon & Co., the ruffians were attacked by the citizens and one of them wounded so that he could not shoot. Undismayed by the rain of bullets, they took all the currency, amounting to $11,000, and went to the First National bank, where they secured $20,000 and went out into the alley, by which they expected to escape. Here they were fired upon by the citizens and a battle began, which lasted 12 minutes. When it was over four of the robbers were dead and one seriously wounded. Out of the ten citizens who took part 4 were killed and 2 wounded. The wounded robber was Emmet Dalton, who was at that time 16 years of age. He never fully recovered from his wounds. After serving a number of years in the state penitentiary he was released in 1909.Pages 387-388 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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