Pages 69-73, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 69

Geneva

BY C. L. KNOWLTON

Geneva is situated in the north-west part of the county, between Martin and Indian creeks. The location is one of much natural beauty, and from its first settlement, the community has been one of the most intelligent and thrifty in the county.

The idea of establishing a colony in Kansas territory, which resulted in the founding of Geneva, originated in St. Johns, Michigan. Dr. Stone and Merritt Moore were among the first to agitate the question there, and Mr. Moore went to Java, New York, his former home, where he aroused quite an interest in the proposition.

In the spring of 1857, a committee composed of Dr. Stone and Merritt Moore of St. Johns, Michigan, and Deacon E. Fisk of Java, New York, were sent to Kansas to select a location for the colony. After traveling over a considerable portion of the then famous Neosho Valley, they selected the site that is still the City of Geneva. Upon their return home and making their report, J. H. Spicer, Geo. F. Wait, E. J. Brinkerhoff, J. M. Mattoon, Frank Freidenberg and others from St. Johns, Michigan, left for Kansas. This advance guard of the colony, traveling of course by wagons, stopped on the bank of Indian creek and decided to call their town Eureka. After further consideration, however, the present name was chosen.

During the following summer and fall, S. T. Jones. Dr. B. I. G. Stone, A. P Sain, J. C. Redfield, J. M. Mattoon, W. E. Holbrook, Geo. Esse, H. R. Sommers, J. R. Stillwagon, P. P. Phillips, E. Fisk, Rev G. S. Northrup, P. A. Holman, P. R. McClure, Chas. Vanwert, Geo. Stevens, W. P. Samms, Mr. Demings, "Lawyer" Adams and the Stigenwalts arrived. Among those who settled near Geneva but were not connected with the colony were the Fuquas on the river south-west of the village, on the land now owned by D. R. Inge and J. F. Fry, both now of Neosho Falls, Kansas.

Anderson Wray, located on Martin creek on the farm now owned by D. L. Hutton. He came in the spring of 1855. His daughter, Mrs. Geo. Hall, is still living in the township.

J. K. McQuigg and his brother "Bob" located on the south bank of the river, on land now owned by Jacob Heath and part of Mr. Jones farm. They came from Tennessee in the summer of 1855. J. K. McQuigg is still a resident of Allen County, living now in Iola.

A. C. Smith located on Martin creek. His sympathies were against the Abolition Colonists, and as he had the reputation of backing his opinion with his revolver, he was, a terror to the "Yankee Colonists." After the

70 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

war he moved to Montana, where he studied law, and is still practicing his profession, making a living by shooting off his mouth instead of his revolvers.

Jeremiah R. Sencenich settled on the farm east of Martin creek, now owned by Mrs. Lura Leake. He served as second lieutenant in Company D, 9th Kansas Volunteers, during the war.

C. L. Colman located a claim joining Geneva on the north-east. He was captain of Company D, 9th Kansas, and made quite a reputation during the war as leader of scouting parties.

Dennis Mortimer and his brother-in-law, Anthony Fitzpatrick, settled on farms south of the village, still occupied by their families.

During the winter of 1858 and 1859, Austin Carpenter and his brothers, James and J. C., came to the neighborhood. Austin moved to Johnson County, Kansas, after the war, and has held quite a prominent place in the politics of that county. J. C. went back to Pennsylvania, where he joined the army, serving during the war, holding every office from a private to colonel in his regiment. He is now state senator for the district south of this. James' family still lives on the farm settled by him.

William Denney, who has owned and improved more farms than any other man in Kansas, came about the same time.

A. W. Howland, who has retired from active business life, having by hard knocks dug out a fortune from the soil he came near starving on, during the first years of his residence here, was among the early settlers. His brother, J. H. Howland, came with him. He still owns and lives on the farm he first settled and is now extensively engaged in the poultry business.

Others of the early settlers whose names are readily recalled are G. M. Brown, who was several terms Register of Deeds for the county and whose death at an advanced age resulted from a railroad accident within a few yards of his home in Iola; his brother "Dick" Brown; Wm. A., Henry and Robert Hyde; Henry Grimm and his uncle, Daniel Grimm, who came from Nassau, Germany, and Wm. Noble, whose daughters, Mrs. James Hershberger and Mrs. Oscar Myers, are now living in Iola. Of the original settlers J. H Spicer, J. M. Mattoon, J. P. Dickey and George Esse are still living in the village they helped to found.

Rev. S. G. Northrup wrote to his brother, L. L. Northrup, then engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods at Thorntown, Indiana, trying to get him interested in the colony, and with such effect that in the fall or winter of 1857 L. L. Northrup and J. T. Dickey decided to visit the proposed site of the colony and judge for themselves. Upon their arrival at Kansas City they could not procure any kind of transportation so they decided to walk, which they did, making the trip in about four days. While here Mr. Northrup contracted to erect and operate a steam saw mill on condition that the colonists should give him 160 acres of timber land and should furnish him all the sawing he could do at $15 per thousand, the first manufacturing enterprise in the county to be given a bonus. The mill was erected according to contract on the banks of Indian creek, on the land now owned by C. N. Spencer. At the same time Mr. Northrup brought in a stock of general merchandise, the largest stock then in southern Kansas.

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 71

He continued to operate both mill and store until 1862, when he sold his mill to Goss & Clarke of Neosho Falls. He then moved to Iola and started another store, his brother Gilbert taking charge of the store here. Afterwards L. L. Northrup formed partnership with J. M. Evans, (father of the Evans Brothers, of Iola,) who managed the store until Mr. Evans' death, which occurred in 1870.

It had been the intention of the founders of the colony to establish a large non-sectarian college and academy. Elaborate plans had been drawn and part of their Professors were among the early colonists. Not one-fourth of the three hundred families that were expected came, however. The college was never built, yet notwithstanding drouth and famine in 1860, and the ravages of war from 1861 to 1865, the original idea was so far adhered to that the colonists never lost an opportunity of securing subscription to build some kind of an educational institution. They worked until they procured notes and cash to the amount of $2000.00 and the town company donated 160 acres of Geneva town lots. In 1866 the Academy Board purchased a building then used for hotel purposes, and employed David Smith to run the institution. He proved to be one of the ablest instructors ever in Allen county, but on account of differences about the management of the institution he resigned and moved to Carlye, where he taught until his death. In 1867 J. M. Evans contracted with the Academy Board to erect the building according to their plans, taking for his compensation what cash and notes they had, the building bought by them for temporary school purposes and about eighty acres of their town lots. Just prior to making this contract the Academy Board deeded the ground upon which the Academy is erected to the Presbyterian church, from the erection fund of which they borrowed $500, with the understanding that the building was to be leased to the Academy Board for ninty-nine years for educational purposes. The building was completed during the summer of 1867, and it was generally understood that Mr. Evans had to go deep down into his own pocket to finish his part of the contract. The Board employed Rev. S. M. Irwin to take charge of the school commencing September 1867. His management was very successful for a number of years. H. L. Henderson with Miss Jennie Pickell (now Mrs. Dr. Fulton, of Iola) as assistant, then taught for one year, and were followed by a Mr. Rhoades and Professors Thompson and Robertson who each taught one year. Then as an Academy it was heard of no more. The building is still owned by the Presbyterian church and used by them for church purposes. Rev. S. M. Irwin is still their pastor, he having preached for them for more than thirty-four years.

The original colonists were mostly Congregationalists. The first year after making their settlement, they erected a frame church building on the land just west of the townsite. Rev. Gilbert Northrup was their first pastor. Mr. Northrup was one of the most energetic workers of the colony and it was principally by his work that funds for the erection of the Academy building were procured, he having donated $500 towards that object. He also took the lead in raising funds to build the Congregational church. Mr. Northrup was succeeded as pastor by Rev. Henry Jones, who preached

72 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

until 1867. In 1866 the church erected a substantial stone edifice. J. P. Dickey was "boss" carpenter and Mr. Upton laid the stone, tended by his son Joe Upton, the same J. B. Upton who was a prominent candidate for the nomination of Governor of Missouri four years ago.

After Rev. Jones' pastorate, Rev. Calvin Gray preached for several years, then Revs. Reid, Norris, Tenney, Morse, McGinnis and Francis respectively, labored for the success of the church. Rev. Fred Gray is the present pastor.

A postoffice was established in 1857 with Dr. Stone as postmaster and J. M. Mattoon as assistant. Dr. Stone held the commission for two years after which Mr. Mattoon was appointed, which appointment he held for nearly forty years. During most of the time he served also as Justice of the Peace and was for many years County Commissioner. During Harrison's administration Postmaster General Wanamaker wrote to Mr. Mattoon stating that he was one of four of the oldest postmasters in continuous service in the United States and requesting him to send his photograph and saying he would be pleased to have him make any suggestion that would be for the good of the Postal service. In reply the postmaster stated that he did not know of anything to suggest unless there could be some way to raise the salaries of the fourth class postmasters. After serving his country for forty years, at an average salary of about $100 a year, it was not strange that he thought some plan ought to be found to increase their pay.

There was at first considerable controversy over claims and some violence almost approaching rioting occurred. One of these took place when the Fuqua crowd met the colony to settle rival claims of George Esse and Len Fuqua to the land now owned by Geo. Lynn. Fuqua used his rifle as a club and Mr. Esse's head still aches when he thinks of the blow he got that day. J. E. Redfield also came in contact with this same gun barrel and for awhile it was thought he had received his death blow. Another affray that came near ending fatally was when A. C. Smith got it into his head that Anderson Wray had wronged him. Smith owned the claims now owned by J. D. Sims, Wray owned the claims south of him and had gone to Ft. Scott for the purpose of entering his claim. Smith heard that he had also entered his. Just at sundown Smith saddled his mule, took his revolver and started to Ft. Scott. Next morning just at sun up, Smith rode into a camp near Turkey creek in Bourbon county and finding that Wray was with them he went into the tent where Wray was and shot him through the thigh before any of the bystanders could interfere.

Dr. Stone was the first physician to locate here. He practiced until about the beginning of the war. After him Dr. Southard practiced for some years and then returned to LeRoy, Kansas. In 1866 Dr. J. F. Knowlton came and practiced until his death in 1882. Since then Doctors Ganze, Campbell and Wilkins practiced here until they were called to take a higher seat in their profession.

After J. M. Evans' death, T. L. Elliot traded for the stock of goods owned by L. L. Northrup and the Evans estate and did a good business until 1882 when he moved to Colony. Since Elliot's removal, C. L. Knowl-

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 73

ton has been in the general merchandise business at the same old stand. D. D. Spicer has a good stock of hardware, and has succeeded to the postmastership which his friends wish he may continue to hold as long as did Mr. Mattoon.

J. D. Leavitt has a grocery and feed store and is apparently doing well.

R. B. Warner is ringing the old blacksmith shop that was built in 1869 by P. R. McClure.

Geo. Esse runs the hotel which he built with the expectation of making his fortune boarding college students.

While the extravagant expectations indulged by the founders of Geneva have not been realized, yet the village has been what they intended first of all it should be, and that is a moral, law-abiding, God-fearing town, a good place to live in."


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Pages 69-73, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


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