1904 History of Cherokee County Kansas


CHAPTER XV Part 2.


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THE HISTORY OF MINERAL CITY, WEIR CITY, SCAMMON AND LIST OF THE TOWNS OF THE COUNTY

SCAMMON

Is situate near the center of the west tier of sections in Mineral township, Cherokee County, Kansas, near the east edge of the coal fields and in the midst of a very active mining district. Coal mining gave rise to the town, and it is through this industry that it was finally built up to the proportions of a city of the second class. For farming purposes the lands about the place would not rank as first class, though many of the farmers who came early to the county and settled in the neighborhood have become well-to-do.

The lands in the community of Scammon were taken as claims early in the history of Cherokee County. E. C. Scammon first owned the quarter section just north of the present site of the place. Samuel F. Scammon took a claim northwest of this, and James Coman, who came to the county in 1868, took the quarter section west of the site of the present town. The quarter section to the southeast was taken by James Burns. He sold it to M. J. Callahan, and Callahan sold it to Bovard & Dixon, some time after coal mining was begun. The discovery of coal was made by James Coman. The first coal shaft was put down by E. A. Scammon, S. F. Scammon and E. C. Scammon, all of whom came early to that part of the county. This shaft was on E. C. Scammon's land, just east of the railroad track, near what is now known as Mackie's Junction, where the Weir branch of the railroad leaves the main line, and about one mile north of the present city. There was not much demand for coal then, and for this reason the operations were not large. Only a few men were employed. It was the first coal mining done in Kansas, south of the Leavenworth coal district. The big coal deposits of Crawford County, just north of Cherokee County, had not been touched. In that county the coal region is several miles east of the main line of the railroad, and it was practically unknown. It has since become the biggest mining center in the State of Kansas. with Cherokee County as the second largest in the State. The vastly increased demand for fuel, due to the enlarged railroad operations and to the great increase in population, led to the rapid and extensive development of the coal region in both counties, and to the building up of many small towns and a goodly number of cities which have become important local centers of trade.

It was not until the spring of 1871 that the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad was finished through Cherokee County. It passed through the tract of land on which the town of Scammon was afterward built; but for a number of years after the road was built there was no town there at all. Even as late as 1883 the land there, and all around, was in farms, and the people living there had no expectation that anything beyond a mere village would ever be found there. At that time there was but one store, and that was of rude pretensions, kept for supplying the very limited demand which arose out of the simple wants of the few people who had settled there to till the soil and to raise stock on the broad prairies, which extended in every direction. True, there were by this time three coal shafts in operation, and a coal company, composed of Keith and Mitchell, who had bought out the Scammon brothers, was in control of the business; but no large expectations had been aroused, and it was not known but that, when the coal had been taken out of the immediate vicinity, operations would cease. However, the men who had had experience in matters of the kind, in the older States, and some in foreign countries, and had seen the growing demand for fuel where populations were denser, and where industrial enterprises were carried on extensively, believed that this county would some day be the scene of large mining operations. But they did not come for the purpose of building towns and cities; they came to engage in the coal mining business, and to make ready for supplying a demand which they believed would some day become enormous. The results have shown that they were correct in their foresight.

The Scammon Town Company was incorporated March 15, 1884, with E. C. Scammon as president of the company, and D. Mackie as secretary. The stock of the company was held as follows: Keith & Perry, 72 shares; R. H. Keith, one share; John Perry, one share; D. Mackie, one share: S. F. Scammon, E. C. Scammon and E. A. Scammon, each 25 shares. The village was incorporated as a city of the third class July 5, 1888, and the first officers were as follows: P. M. Humphrey, mayor; L. W. Kendall, police judge; J. P. Rafter, J. J. Wooten, Charles Brown, J. J. Pullen and John T. Stewart, councilmen; J. N. McDonald, clerk. The other mayors have been: R. E. Gardiner, R. S. Mahan, J. N. McDonald, George K. Mackie, J. H. Guinn, J. N. McDonald again, Robert Gillmore, T. B. Pryor and R. M. Markham. Perhaps no town or city, in Cherokee County has been better governed than Scammon. Its public men are wise, prudent and conservative, and they have not let a day pass without guarding the best interests of the place. They have encouraged home owning, with all its good effects upon society and the material upbuilding of the community. Lots have been sold at low prices, in order to bring them within the reach of the less fortunate classes, and other inducements have been held out for aiding those who were anxious to get homes. For a number of years, D. Mackie, Jr., was the local agent for The Inter-State Building & Loan Association, of Bloomington, Illinois. Through him many persons took stock in the association and began the work of home building. After some years the company failed, and a number of the stockholders, including Mr. Mackie, suffered loss; but the community has recovered from it, and the homes are now free from debt. There were no foreclosures.

The first store opened in Scammon, not to speak of the old company store which used to stand near the first shaft on the E. C. Scammon farm, was that of DuPage & Hovey, about the year 1885. Then Samuel Barrett put in a drug store, and this was followed by Peter Graham, who put in a grocery store. There was no lumber yard until 1890, when J. T. Small established one. Before this, about 1886, Griffin Brothers opened a hardware store, but it was destroyed by fire not long after it was opened.

W. S. Morton went to Scammon about the year 1883 and began mining, and not many years thereafter he opened a store, in connection with the mines, and did a big business. He was one of the most successful mine operators ever in the district. As among the leading men of the place, particularly among those connected with the coal business, D. Mackie is perhaps the most prominent, and he is among those who have done most in building up the social and material interests of the place. Mr. Mackie has been manager of the mines for The Central Coal & Coke Company ever since he came to Scammon, in 1884, his duties calling him wherever the company's mines are located, in several different States and Territories; but he has been partial to Scammon, for here he has made his home. and here he has his children, all now grown, gathered about him. Among other persons who have been active and hearty in their efforts to build up the city, these may be mentioned: D. Mackie, Jr., J. N. McDonald, George K. Mackie, Patrick McNamara, W. B. Pixley, Joseph Batten, J. W. Hooper, J. R. Hisle, J. T. Small, Thomas Moran, James Crumrine, Robert Gillmore and J. J. Wooten.

The city has a large public school building, one of the finest in the county; but there is need for the enlargement of the school facilities, and another building will be erected. The city owns the water system put in a few years ago, at a cost of about $20,000: and the building of a plant for lighting purposes is now contemplated.

The commercial importance of Scammon may be judged, in part, from the amount of business done at the railroad station in the city. The coal shipments, in quantity, amount to 1,750 car-loads a month, or 57,750 tons. Other shipments, in and out, will amount to 600 car-loads a year. The freight receipts of the railroad at Scammon, it is believed, will amount to $30,000 a month. The express receipts are about $500 a month.

The Arkansas, Missouri & Kansas Railroad Company is now building a line of road through Cherokee County, as has been noted in the chapter on railroads. This is to pass through Scammon. Work is going forward on this undertaking, and at this time (August 31, 1904) it is expected that the road will be in operation by the first of next June. This will add much to the material interests of the city, as the road, it is understood, is to run from Memphis, Tennessee, into the grain fields of Kansas and Nebraska. Its crossing of the St. Louis & San Francisco road at Scammon make the place of more than ordinary importance as a railroad center.

The following are the names of those who have built good, comfortable homes in Scammon: Dr. R. Markham, George K. Mackie, Hugh Reid, D. Mackie, John Eisenhart, D. Mackie, Jr., E. Kelly, William Winn, J. T. Small, J. N. McDonald, C. R. Keiter, Dr. H. H. Brookhart, T. C. Lewis, T. B. Pryor, J. P. Rafter, John Morton, L. J. Hisle, Thomas S. Keith, J. R. Hisle, W. H. Burkhart, Joseph Keith and Patrick Quinn.

THE TOWNS OF THE COUNTY.

Within the last eight years many little towns of the county have been brought into existence and now have a place on the county map. In every case this has been brought about either by the opening of new mines or by the coming of a railroad.

Cherokee township, in which Weir City is located, has no towns. Weir City seems to supply the trade which the people there demand.

Mineral township besides the city of Scammon, has Turck, Stippville and West Weir.

Ross township has, besides Mineral City,--Stone City, Roseland, Cokedale, Folsom and Skidmore. Sheridan township has Sherman City, the only village in the county, situate on the Parsons-Joplin branch of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway. The village is in the midst of the best farming district of the county.

Lola township has two towns: Hallowell and Sherwin Junction, both on the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway, and the latter being at the crossing of that road and the Missouri Pacific road. Both are places of local importance.

Salamanca township has no small towns. The trade interests of Columbus supply all the surrounding country, and there is no need of other centers.

Crawford township has a part of Columbus, and it also has a little trade center at Quaker Valley, a small station of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway.

Shawnee township has Crestline, one of the oldest places in Cherokee County, and Peacock City, a small mining place, which also includes the place known as "Badger Mines."

Pleasant View township has the town of Pleasant View, which was t he first county seat, and Lawton, a little mining place recently established.

Lowell township, besides Galena and Empire City, has Lowell and Varck.

Spring Valley township, besides Baxter Springs, has the town of Neutral, on the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway half way between Baxter Springs and Columbus.

Lyon township has only the small town of Keelville, in the west central part of the township.

Neosho township has Faulkner, on the Missouri Pacific Railway, in the north-central part of the township, and Melrose, inland, in the southeast part of the township.


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