THRESHING IN THE WHEAT FIELD.
Although the banks of Buffalo creek are uncommonly high above the bed of the stream it occasionally gets beyond its confines. During the latter part of the month of September, 1870, the Buffalo creek valley was visited by a flood which over-flowed the bottoms lands adjacent to Buffalo, (then known as Salt creek), the two Cheyennes and Whites creeks. The few settlers at that time were confined to the low lands lying along the streams and though the flood did considerable damage it served as a timely warning the advisability of moving upon higher ground. This locality was visited by another over-flow July 26, 1876, which destroyed all the crops in the low lands, also many hogs, turkeys and chickens, involving a serious loss to many farmers.
By another visitation of high water July twenty-third, Buffalo creek developed into a raging torrent of water and poured its surplus unstintingly over the low lands covering the fields of green corn, but receded and no serious harm was incurred. August eighth, of the same year, however, this locality was visited by a severe hail storm, including a strip two miles in width and several miles in length, which beat the blades and tassels off the corn until there was not enough left worth garnering. In some instances the farmers gathered the remaining crop, but unfortunately lost rather than gained in the event for the grain was covered with smut and killed many of their cattle. The storm was an unusually severe one, beating the grass and vegetables into the ground.
The prosperous little city of Jamestown is situated eleven miles west of Concordia in Grant township. The town was originally platted by C.I. Gould. A tract of land comprising sixty acres was divided into lots, of which each alternate division was given to the railroad company. P.A. Thomas one of the early settlers of that community, who owned a farm adjoining the town site laid out what is known as the "Thomas Addition," consisting of twenty-five acres, which makes a total area of eighty-five acres in town lots. The city was named in honor of Senator James Pomeroy. "Roy" Fitzgerald was the first child born there and was presented with a silver cup from Senator Pomeroy, with the recipients name "Henry Pomeroy Fitzgerald" engraved upon it. The location of Jamestown is one of the most desirable in the country. It overlooks the superbly beautiful Buffalo creek valley, which is a veritable garden of rich, fertile country in a magnificent state of cultivation. The farmers in this locality are exceedingly prosperous and their well improved country places, well fed herds of cattle and well cultivated fields, tell of thrift and prosperity second to none in Cloud county.
Jamestown is situated in a hustling, bustling community, and is said to transact a larger volume of business than any town of its size in the state. This statement is made by disinterested persons who are conservative and in a position to know whereof they speak.
The first to embark in business in Jamestown were Strain & Bracken, two well known Concordia men, who opened their store October 15, 1878. The former, Myron Strain, is still a resident of the city. A.P.S. Ansdell, one of the pioneers of the township, who had conducted a country store on his farm, one and one-half miles from Jamestown, for several years, moved his goods into the new town and opened up for business October 27, 1878.
J.E. Fitzgerald, who is often mentioned as the "Father" of Jamestown, was among the first to locate and establish a business which grew from a very diminitive affair to an enormous magnitude. The success of the Jamestown merchant is an inspiration to any one starting on a career with small capital. Among the late arrivals are men of energy and progress who have made remarkable strides in business, and all lines are represented. The prosperity of their city is attributable to the support it receives from the people of that vicinity. They almost invariably patronize home industry and on all questions of local improvements they stand shoulder to shoulder. Jamestown is located on the summit of the divide and it is noticeable that these localities escape most of the wind and hail storms; they separate at this point and follow the creeks and low lands, the town getting none, or at least a small part of the tempest. Never has there been a destructive storm in the city. The nearest call it experienced was when a cyclone visited Republic county and Irving was destroyed. No real damage was done but a few buildings were badly shaken.
The kiln that furnished the lime for building the first houses in Jamestown was situated one mile east of the present site and was operated by Ed Hobson and James Nelson; the latter a son of the Reverend Nels Nelson. The pioneer blacksmith shop in the township was established by Andrew Jackson Belden, just south of the present townsite, on Cheyenne creek in 1872.
In 1871 a postoffice was established in Grant township, located just opposite where the "Prairie Gem Schoolhouse" now stands in district number thirty-four. The name was suggested by the late A.A. Carnahan and the new postoffice christened "Fanny," in honor of Miss Fannie Price, a sister of Commissioner Price. Henry Nelson was the first postmaster.
Fanny (now extinct) was once the scene of considerable traffic. It was one of the stage lines relay stations, and if the commodious stables were left standing they would be one of the historical landmarks of that section. They were built of cottonwood timber concreted with lime (burnt on the premises) to make them bullet proof as a protection against the Indians.
In 1873 the postoffice was removed to the house of Jacob Fulmer, two and one-half miles west of the present city of Jamestown and was conducted there until the founding of that city.
One Charles Miller was the pioneer United States mail carrier. Seventy-five pounds was the limit of Uncle Sam's goods to be carried.
John U. Hodgson was appointed postmaster and established a postoffice one mile east of Jamestown, which was named Alva postoffice. When the city of Jamestown was established Fannie and Alva postoffices were discontinued.
M.M. Strain received the first appointment for postmaster in Jamestown. A.P.S. Ansdell received the second appointment, and the office has changed with each administration since. During the great upheaval of Populism, James S. Burton was installed as postmaster and was succeeded by A.L. Champlin under Cleveland's first administration. J.E. Lundblade was appointed during Cleveland's second term to the presidency. J.O. Hanson, the present postmaster, was appointed under McKinley. He is a conscientious and very efficient officer, serving the public to the universal satisfaction of all.
Jamestown has two exceptionally fine mail routes and application in for a third. The north route is twenty-eight miles in length and M.L. Chaplin is carrier. It was established in October, 1900; this route is No. 1. Route No. 2, also went into effect in 1900. It runs in a southerly direction and is twenty-five miles in length. Charles E. Carpenter is carrier. Each route carries from five thousand to six thousand pieces of mail per month, route No. 1 exceeding route No. 2 by a small amount.
The city of Jamestown lies in district number thirty-two. The first school building still stands and is the office of Hill's lumber yard. The present school building was erected in the spring of 1884 at a cost of about $4,000. The first corps of teachers were Ed. Hostetler (one of the best educators Cloud county ever had,) as principal; Maggie Jones and Della Lute, assistants. The Jamestown schools are up to the standard. Some of the best talent in the county have been employed there; among them the most prominent perhaps are A.B. Carney, Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Tarbox, John B. Wood and their present instructor, P.M. Bushong. The well arranged course of study as prepared for the grades of the city schools used all over the state is taken advantage of by many young men and women of superior endowments in the thriving little city of Jamestown; whose educational advantages are many times superior to many of the graded schools in the much larger towns of the eastern states.
The first newspaper of Jamestown was "Gospel Leaves," a scientific and local paper issued one and one-half years, beginning with October, 1880. It was a quarto, eight page, fourteen inch column sheet, published monthly and edited by Elder James H. Lathrop at his home near the Saron Baptist Church. Although its editor resided several miles in the country the paper was considered a Jamestown issue, was mailed to its numerous subscribers through the Jamestown postoffice, contained local data, "write-ups" of the town, personals, ads. of business men, etc.
Gospel Leaves was an earnest advocate of temperance reform, hygiene, and clean literature, and denounced all the evils and abominations which affect mankind. The paper had a circulation of about three hundred, reaching over the several counties where Elder Lathrop's services as minister extended.
The Jamestown Optimist, the present paper, after various changes, has fallen into the hands of J.B. Kimmal.
Surrounding six salt springs is the great salt marsh in Grant township, which attracted much attention in the early settlement of the county, as it was expected extended manufactories would be established there and much speculation was indulged in regarding it.
The marsh covers an area of about four hundred acres of land. During the spring time and in wet seasons a lake is formed, but in dry weather the surface is incrusted to a depth of three-eighths of an inch with salt. To test the quality, a well was sunk to the depth of fifty feet, from which a vein of salt water flowed. The strength of the surface brine reaches one hundred and thirty, to one hundred and seventy-five gallons to the bushel of salt. It is said to have been found by scientific analysis, the salt produced by the evaporation of these brines is a purer article than most of the brines from which our principal supplies of this product are obtained. The well dug by the government continues to flow. It is situated on the farm of C.N. Baldwin.
A record of the Jamestown community would be incomplete without mention of some of the old settlers who were known personally or whose characteristics have been handed down through a line of years by some circumstance or peculiarity. Lewis Kiggins was one of the first settlers of the township and was distinguished for his prowess as a huntsman. To him belongs the honor of killing the last two buffalo in Cloud county. The Clemmons farm was their original homestead. There were two grown sons in his family, James and John, the latter was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal faith and lived in the neighborhood about ten years.
Mr. Johnson was universally known by his sobriquet "Coffee Pot" Johnson, which he earned in the following manner: Not yet having established a home on the frontier he was camping on the banks of Buffalo creek. He was preparing his morning meal, and while his coffee was brewing over the fire the frontiersman was probably pondering the situation over in his mind or perchance saw in the glow of the bright red coals visions of his new and uncultivated possessions, transformed into an ideal home. While thus wrapped in thought his day dreams and the mute stillness of the atmosphere were disturbed by the cracking of the bushes nearby, and upon looking in the direction from whence the sound came was suddenly confronted by the painted countenances of two stalwart, broad-shouldered Indians, whose first expression upon seeing and smelling the fragrant breakfast was "Coffee, coffee."
They seized the pot, drank what they wanted, poured the rest on the fire and crushed the utensil under their feet. Mr. Johnson, it is needless to say, was somewhat frightened, and hastily left them in camp, feeling they had granted him an unusual privilege in not detaining him or depriving him of his scalp. He went down Buffalo creek and over to Lake Sibley, where in broken English the Swedish settler told his experiences which won for him the name of "Coffee Pot" Johnson.
Mr. Johnson later met with a sad and untimely death. He was an inoffensive man, and although he traveled all over the country, he never carried weapons. He was of Swedish birth and had learned the shoemaker's trade in the old country. He was a bachelor and lived on his homestead about eight years ere he married. After a happy wedded life of a few years his wife, who was a Danish woman, died, leaving two sons who survive their parents and live on the farm, Mr. Johnson continued to live on the homestead with his two little sons, who were too young at that time to attend to the duties of the farm. Mr. Johnson's health became impaired and he found it necessary to rent his land. Trouble arose between himself and the renters over a division of the crop. Although small of stature he tried to prevent the two men from entering the granary. They overpowered, struck and kicked him several times. One of his little sons ran to a neighbor, saying they were "killing his father." When friends came to his rescue the assailants had fled. Mr. Johnson was tenderIy cared for but his wounds proved fatal and he died a few hours later. These men were charged and prosecuted for the crime, but evidence was brought to bear that Mr. Johnson was in the last stages of consumption and would have died anyway. Their claim was that Mr. Johnson assaulted them and they acted in self-defense. Mr. Johnson was conscious and related the details of the affair. His assailants were cleared of the serious charges preferred against them.
N.V. Brown organized a bank in Jamestown in 1885, in the building now occupied by F.E. Lane as a real estate office. It was under the management of Frank Kellogg, who was subsequently succeeded by Ed Hostetler. This bank went into liquidation during the panic of 1892. About the same time Frank Kellogg, and the Everests, of Atchinson, started a bank which went under during the financial crisis of 1893, but paid off its depositors.
The Jamestown State Bank began business May 7, 1898, with a paid up capital of five thousand dollars. At the present writing it has a surplus and undivided profits of three thousand dollars. Its directors are John Kelly, M.E. Kelly, Ed. Pratt and John E. Lundblade, of Jamestown and J.C. Postlethwaite, of Jewell City. Its officers are J.C. Postlethwaite, president; John E. Lundblade, vice-president; John Kelly, cashier; and John Pratt, assistant cashier.
Although a comparatively new banking firm it is on solid footing and the Jamestown people are justly proud of this institution. The bank is located in a building erected and especially designed for banking purposes by Kellogg and Everest at a cost of seven thousand two hundred dollars; a two-story brick building with modern fixtures that would do credit to a city much larger than Jamestown, and far ahead of the town or magnitude of the banking business.
The Jamestown bank is under the management of John Kelly, who is also the principal stock holder. Its deposits at the present time (July 1902) are fifty-six thousand dollars.
The attempt to put down the whiskey traffic had proven unsuccessful, and the idea originated among the citizens of Jamestown to elect women to the offices of mayor and council. A suggestion was made half in jest and half in earnest by F.A. Lane, that the ladies be allowed the management of the city's affairs. Mr. Bradley heard the proposition, repeated it to his wife and from this the movement was created. The action seemed to meet with the approval of the people and was opposed by but few individuals.
Like most other places, Jamestown was divided into two factions; the "wet" and the "dry," and while the temperance ticket had usually been elected, the law has not always been enforced. The male population considered the advisability of turning the administration over to the women, believing their influence might be more potent in its effects. During this year there was a strong temperance movement all over the state and the jointists were made to realize "the way of the transgressor is hard."
Mrs. Anna M. Strain was nominated mayor, Mrs. Mary E. McCall, Mrs. Jane E. Hartwell, Mrs. Lavina Wilcox, Mrs. Jennie Gould and Mrs. A.I. Isbell received the nomination for board of council. When the matter was first suggested to Mrs. Strain and she was asked to accept the nomination, she hesitated at the responsibility it would incur, as did her co-workers, but she and three of the members of the proposed council, Mrs. McCall, Mrs. Hartwell and Mrs. Wilcox. were Womens Christian Temperance Union Workers; while all were advocates of the prohibitory law. The ticket won by a large majority. Miss Mamie Hartwell was elected city clerk by a large vote but did not qualify, and Baird Gould, the retiring clerk was re-appointed. F.E. Lane was elected police judge. The first move of the mayor and her council was to besiege the joints with requests to close and thus avoid further trouble. But such a form of government was entirely too mild and their admonitions were not heeded. Their second move was to secure affidavits, and put them in the hands of the county attorney. As a third they investigated the injunction plan of closing. As a last resort they petitioned the grand jury and had this body found the parties guilty who were taken in charge, others would have been more easily brought to justice. The combined call of these officials and the taxpayers of Cloud county was their last hope. The cases were called before this body, but either the law was lame or evidence incomplete.
A petition was circulated, submitted to the grand jury and a search instituted for good witnesses to appear against them. One of the two jointists withdrew on account of popular opinion and through the assistance of the man who owned the building he was "ousted." The other man, Lewis, was brought up in court at various times. The male members of the city officers were a drawback to the administration as they did not act in unison with the mayor and council. Soon after the election a raid was instituted and her honor, the mayor and her assistants were accused of the attack; but they emphatically pleaded "Not guilty."
The board did not favor licensing the saloons and consequently refused to accept their fines. All sorts of reports were circulated regarding Jamestown's board of city officers and the press, at home and abroad, were rife with comments for and against. For the purpose of creating a sensation some person (supposed on good grounds to be a citizen of their town) reported law and order were running rife; gambling devices free for all, etc.
Through this medium many erroneous statements gained circulation. Exaggerated articles were published concerning their administration of the city's affairs; many of them entirely devoid of truth. Their every movement was criticised. Mrs. Strain answered many personal letters and also replied to newspaper articles and the Associated Press.
The Chicago Tribune of June 11, 1897, said in substance: A unique moral crusade has been instituted in Jamestown, Kansas, by allegedly downtrodden men. By a political freak at the last election the town was given over to the women and it is claimed the result is disastrous. Saloons are said to be running wide open, game chickens permitted to demonstrate their prowess in the most brazen fashion, and even quiet games of the national paste-board variety have found safe harborage; an affair in which the whole nation seems interested. They further promised for their town, if governed by women it would be a veritable garden spot of purity and municipal decorum. They then question if the officials themselves have found the rustling struggle of roosters a legitimate source of enjoyment, and it must be imagined afternoon teas have given away before the seductive inroads of "draw." The writer then followed with the concession that the rumor must be a plot created through the conspiracy of base men; a plot to undermine their gentle reign was being insidiously hatched.
This article was followed by a personal letter from the Tribune editor-in-chief to Mrs. Strain, making inquiry as to the truthfulness of the article. Another published in the Daily Drover's Telegram stated the town was running "wide open," and that the men were calling out for reform; that their reign was decried, etc. Others said women were better law makers in theory than in practice.
Mrs. Strain became a conspicuous figure and while those scathing articles were sent broadcast over the land she received much encouragement. She was the recipient of a personal letter from the preceptress of a university in Berlin, Germany, and many considerations from other parts of the world, asking in most instances if the current reports were true. She was besieged upon every hand for an expression of her experiences as mayor; a distinction accorded but few ladies and none, prior to her reign. At the urgent request of the citizens of Sterling, Kansas, where she was attending the United Presbyterian synodical meeting which convened in that city, Mrs. Strain addressed a large audience. These officials did not seek control of the city government, neither did they have smooth sailing, but their administration resulted in much good and their reign was fully as deserving of praise as any of their predecessors.
Among other things accomplished was the improvement and beautifying of the Jamestown cemetery and in their city, new stone street crossings were laid; and be it said to the credit of these ladies were not paid for with "blood" money. The board of council was constituted from the best material in their town. Mrs. Strain is an intellectual and cultured woman, competent of assuming grave issues. The author inquired of one of the board of councilwomen, if she considered their reign a successful one, to which the exofficial archy responded: "I guess not; they didn't re-elect us."
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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