While Clyde did not receive a great spontaneous growth so common to some new towns, its present proportions surprise the expectations of the little company of men that gathered in the old log store room of Herman & Davis to consult over the propriety of starting a town. A locality so inviting surrounded by a rich and magnificent country convinced these citizens that a town of more or less importance was bound to spring tip in some near locality. The only wonder is that the project was not begun sooner. Among the chief obstacles to overcome was the fact that the people in the vicinity were not of a speculative mind, most of them having come with the avowed purpose of homesteading claims by which they could acquire farms and they were generally poor; so much so that they could not even entertain the idea of buying land for a town site. Something must occur to convince them that such an action was almost imperative. To F.B. Rupe, the honor must be given for leading this enterprise. Early in September, 1866, Henry Simmons and William Peters came to Elk creek - with a small stock of goods and desired to establish a business and intimated if there were a town-site they would build at least two houses. This seemed a gigantic thing - two houses, in addition to Cowell & Davis' store - and the fine new school house, would give it quite an appearance, and it spurred them to action; but they were doomed to disappointment, so far as the two houses were concerned, for Cowell & Davis bought the interests of these two men. However, the sensation had the desired effect. F.B. Rupe consulted C.J. Cowell and concluded to call a town meeting the next day, which was on the 6th of September. The meeting at first seemed a demoralized affair, with no general understanding. Some would talk encouragingly about the prospective town, others the reverse, and for a while it seemed the meeting was destined to be a failure. The Fowler boys returned to their home, disgusted, before the meeting was called to order, declaring "there would be no meeting, and no town." After much cogitation, F.B. Rupe, Edward Neely, A.W. Smith, B.V. Honey, William Page and J.B. Rupe associated themselves together in the storeroom of Cowell & Davis and prepared for action. On motion of A.W. Smith, Edward Neely was chosen chairman. The main object was a bargain with W.H. Page for the land. F.B. Rupe asked what he would take for it, whereupon Mr. Page replied, "If I sell it for a town site I will have to have a pretty price for it $300 is my price." He had no sooner said this than F.B. Rupe remarked, "We will take you up." The tract of ground consisted of forty acres, and the company were rather surprised that Mr. Page considered this a big price. The hardest part being disposed of, a few regulations were agreed upon. One was that this $300 should be divided into ten shares, making $30 to the share. The first original shareholders were A.W. Smith, Edward Neely, F.B. Rupe, J.B. Rupe, Lew Fowler, John Fowler, Dave Heller, C.J. Cowell, Charles Davis and B.V. Honey. Others were added to the town company, some thinking it best, to lessen the amount for each share, by making more stockholders. The ground was government land owned by W.H. Page as a homestead, and before much could be done it had to be proved up on, and the government paid. Luckily F.P. Rupe had a forty-acre land warrant which he handed over to Mr. Page and which satisfied the government for one-half the eighty to be proved up on to secure the south half. F.B. Rupe says he is out the amount of that land warrant. Of course the members of the company did not think they were such swindlers; but if it is true Mr. Rupe has reason to congratulate himself for contributing so much to so grand a result. This meeting had the effect of breaking the ice. There was no trouble in selling shares, as everybody seemed to have faith in the enterprise. Another meeting was held on December 11. The land was deeded and steps taken toward an organization. The first permanent officers were Quincy Honey, president; B.V. Honey, vice-president, John B. Rupe, secretary, and Charles Davis, treasurer. That an organization for a town site company had to be effected through a statute of the state, with a regular charter did not occur to these people. It was something beyond their comprehension and if it had been known, perhaps no one living in the county could have indited or written one. Not being a corporated body, and not understanding its powers, they were at a loss how to receive the deed from W.H. Page. To help them out of this dilemma a committee of three, consisting of F.B. Rupe, Charles Davis and W.H. Page, was appointed to make arrangements, whereby the land could be secured to the town site company. The meeting then adjourned until Tuesday evening, December 18th. At this meeting it was agreed that three persons, consisting of J.B. Rupe, Lew Fowler and Charles Davis, should receive this deed. In this manner the first town-site company of Cloud county was organized. The whole transaction from beginning to end was illegal, but so long as the company, and seemingly everybody else were unconscious of the unlawfulness, people bought and sold stock without making any further inquiry. The town was given the name of Hamilton. One writer says it received the name of Shirley, but J.B. Rupe, who is responsible for the items of this data, asserts this is a mistake. The name was changed to Clyde some time in the spring of 1867. At this meeting a motion was carried by which it was thought the name was invalidated and necessitated balloting again, when Hamilton was disfavored and not proposed again. B.V. Honey proposed the name of Clyde, Charles Davis favored the name of Elkhart, but a majority declared in favor of Clyde. By many it was supposed Mr. Holley proposed the name of Clyde at the instigation of David Turner, or that be must have had the town in the state of Ohio by that name in view. Mr. Honey revealed the fact later that neither was the case. He happened to see that name in a newspaper, was pleased with the appellation and suggested it for their new town. When the name was proposed, Mr. Turner remarked, "That is the name of a river in Scotland," which perhaps was the first that any of the company knew, excepting Mr. Turner himself, that this was the name of a Scottish stream. In all probability, from those circumstances must have originated the idea, that the town was named after that river. John Fowler was the only man that even favored the name of Shirley, but did not propose it, it being known at this time that all opprobrium had been attached to this name.
CLYDE IN 1871.
In August, 1871, F.K. Teeter who died in 1901, opened a stock of general merchandise and commanded his share of public patronage which rapidly increased with the population. In 1871, W. Burkall opened an extensive grocery store. In January, of the same year, A.G. Dersey opened a grocery and feed establishment. Mr. Dersey is one of the few pioneer merchants who still hold forth in Clyde. His business now consists of a stock of general merchandise.
T.T. Chinnock was the next merchant to locate. He opened a store in Clyde in 1872. He started on a somewhat limited capital, but developed a into a well selected stock of boots, shoes and groceries. In 1872, Bartlett & Crump opened a hardware store, the latter still doing business in Clyde, the former on the retired list. In July, 1872, J.H. Huff's furniture store opened and did a successful business, also carrying a line of undertakers goods.
In June, 1873, E. Gardner, who is still a resident of Clyde, but retired from business, established a general merchandise concern, and P. McDonald operated a drug store. M. Heller & Co., in October, 1873, erected a handsome building and launched out in general merchandising. In the latter part of 1873, H.A. Dobbs opened a general store with a tailoring department, and about this time James McIntosh opened a stock of drugs and groceries.
A picture gallery by Garraway & Taylor was established and several other interests of more or less importance, among them the Clyde Hotel, by J.H. Huff, and the Michigan Hotel, by S.E. Stilson, both of which were prosperous. H. Fisher, harness maker, L.M. Rockwell and J. Frederick, blacksmiths, the latter is still a resident of Clyde.
A more desirable city than Clyde could not be found, situated as it is on the banks of the Republican river, in a perfect bower of beautiful shade trees, and in the midst of one of the most magnificant fanning countries in the world, it offers superior advantages. Unlike most western towns, Clyde never actually "boomed," but has experienced a steady and healthful growth. Prior to the building of the Central Branch Railroad through Clyde, in 1877, the growth of the town had been slow, but within a few years from that period the population increased from a few hundred to eighteen hundred people.
In 18S5, there was more money expended in building than any previous year in the history of Clyde, and added much to the general appearance of the city. In this year, James Turner bought a small wooden structure which he displaced and erected a large, handsome brick building, filling it with furniture. Phillip Longton and, A.G. Dersey put up a fine brick building. These men exhibited a truly commendable public spirit for the upper story was converted into a capacious hall, 44 by 80 feet, which has served Clyde well as an opera house, being fitted with all modern improvements and many good troupes have been attracted there in consequence.
Mr. X. Manna erected on the east of this, another substantial brick structure which fiilled[sic] up the last vacancy in that block. G.W. Knapp proved his strong and abiding faith in the future of Clyde by adding a large brick addition to his livery stable. The same year, Dr. Ransopher erected a splendid brick building for a drug store; 1885 was the prosperous year and saw many improvements in Clyde.
Clyde's standpipe system furnishes an abundance of pure water and an adequate supply for protection against fire. It was established in the winter of 1886, through the issuing of $2,600 bonds, voted by the city of Clyde. There are about four miles of pipe, ranging from ten inch down to two inch pipe, and thirty-five hydrants. The standpipe is one hundred and nineteen feet high from the surface at the base, or one hundred and sixty-five feet above the level of Washington street. The pipe when full, carries seventy-one pounds water pressure, has a capacity of one hundred and seventy thousand gallons, and is twelve feet in diameter.
The waterworks are equipped with two Dean pumps and two boilers, one compound duplex boiler, with a capacity for fourteen million gallons per day; one duplex fire pump, capable of producing five hundred thousand gallons per day; one Springfield heater and one duplex boiler feed pump. The water is furnished from an open well thirty-five feet deep and twelve feet in diameter. In connection with it is a six inch pipe put down through the center of the well, to the second stratum of water, which is at a depth of one hundred and twenty-eight feet, giving a very strong, inexhaustable flow, one which never varies. The appliances of the power house are modern throughout, and the other perquisite, a skilled engineer, is supplied in the person of J.L. Doster. The power house is an imposing one-story brick structure, 40 by 60 feet in dimensions, beautifully located just over the Elk Creek bridge at the foot of Washington street. It is surrounded by a fine lawn and forest trees.
The present mail facilities of Clyde, as contrasted by those of the days of "Uncle Heller," Clyde's first postmaster, illustrate the progress of the little city of Clyde. Since "Uncle Heller's" reign there have been in turn the following postmasters: W.F. Beatty, E.T. Peck, Arthur Cornforth, E.R. Debray, G.W. Knapp, J.J. McFarland and the present postmaster, Sidney H. Knapp. None of the above number were more proficient and obliging, or more systematic in the handling of the mails, than the present incumbent. These qualifications doubtless secured his re-appointment in 1902.
Postoffice Inspector Rush D. Simmons, during his recent examination, pronounced the Clyde postoffice one of the best managed in the state. However, Mr. Knapp must not claim all the honor, for no inconsiderable amount is due Mrs. Knapp, his capable wife, who has charge of the detail work, and his gentlemanly and accommodating clerk, Ross Queen. The cash receipts for sale of stamps, box rent, etc. for the year 1901, amounted to $3,820.24, which gives the postmaster a salary of $1,500 for the next year the salary of his predecessor for the last year, 1897, being only $1,100. This growth in postal revenue evidences the fact that the commercial interests of the city have increased.
Of the eight rural free-delivery routes in Cloud county, S.H. Knapp secured three, which were established in 1901. They are as follows: Route No. 1, running north to Brantford and return, covering a distance of 27 miles, R.E. Stimpson, carrier. This route collected 536 pieces of mail matter and delivered 5,262 pieces, a total of 5,798 during the month of January. Route No. 2, crossing the river and going south to St. Joseph and Como, is 27 1/2 miles in length, Carrier, Anson Woodruff. This route collected during the month of January, 663 pieces and delivered 4,068, a total of 4,731. Route No. 3, running west to Lawrenceburg and return, covers a distance of 28 miles, C.M. Parker is carrier. He collected during the month of January, 529 pieces, delivered 5,319, making a total of 5,848, making a total of 16,377 pieces handled in the one month on the three routes. All of the above carriers are veterans of the Civil war and old residents of Elk township. Route No. 1 is strung with rural telephone lines and the farmers wonder how they ever got along without the rural route and telephone systems. According to their own statements they would pay double the existing price rather than go without either. In addition to the general work of the Clyde postoffice, the St. Joseph mail has been cared for since the abandonment of that office by Postmaster Boudreau.
For several years the citizens of Elk and Shirley townships agitated the question of building a wagon bridge over the Republican river West of Clyde. From time to time the great advantages of this enterprise to Clyde and the outlying districts had been pointed out to the people and the ferry boat institutions discouraged. The citizens were ready to acknowledge and sanction the benefit to be derived from a bridge being built, but demurred the tax it would impose upon them. The citizens of Elk and Shirley townships were requested to meet at the office of Judge McCrea, in the city of Clyde to discuss plans for securing the bridge. December 30, 1873, an election was held in Clyde to determine whether a bridge should be built across the Republican with the following results: For the bridge and bonds, twenty-nine; against the bridge and bonds, eighty-four; majority against, thirty-nine.
The election for bridge bonds was again held in Clyde, October 13, 1877, the result being forty-five majority in favor. The people of Clyde rejoiced in the accomplishment of this victory. They considered it necessary and important to the growth of their little city that the Republican river should be bridged and as time rolled on the opposition rejoiced in the consummation of what had seemed to them an extravagant proposition. An effort was made to get Shirley's assistance in the building of the bridge, but they could not be induced to see it in that light, so it was done without their help. The new wagon bridge over the Republican river at Clyde was completed in June, 1901, at a cost of $7,300. The old piers being used; the iron from the old bridge was sold and netted the county $500, making the net cost of the present bridge $6,800.
March 6, 1875, the legal voters of Elk township were called to the polls to vote bonds for the building of a bridge across Elk creek at the foot of Washington street, in Clyde. The bonds carried by a handsome majority of seventy-four to forty against.
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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