I. N. Hamilton, Henry G. Hamman, J. J. Miles and others were members of the town company which was chartered February 4, 1875, for the purpose of laying out a town on the south half of section 2 and the north half of section 11, township 33, range 19. This company does not seem to have accomplished its purpose, and on September 5, 1879, a new charter was filed, by I. N. Hamilton, S. O. Noble and others, for the purpose of locating a town on the northeast quarter of section 11, township 33, range 19. This land the company purchased from William Miller. The town plat was acknowledged by J. B. Jones, president, and S. O. Noble, secretary, and was filed January 21, 1880. I. N. Hamilton was first president, but was soon succeeded by J. B. Jones as president and Scott O. Noble as secretary. The first house erected on the town-site was the residence of Scott O. Noble; this was built in October, 1879. In December of the same year J. B. Jones put up the next building, in which, about the first of January, 1880, James Hershberger opened the first store in town.
In 1875, before there seemed any prospect of building a town near there, E. C. Gordon and A. B. Hammer erected a frame building on the northwest quarter of section 2, belonging to I. N. Hamilton. The machinery for a grist-mill was put in the next season, and a custom flouring-mill was conducted quite successfully for several years. In 1878 J. W. Giles erected a small mill on the southwest quarter of section 2. This was not operated very long. Mr. Giles afterwards moved the building onto the town-site, and out of it constructed a hotel. A mill was built in 1881 by Martin A. Renner and Daniel Reid. The town company donated the land, constructed the pond, and gave them $75 in money, in order to secure the mill. Some years ago, W. J. Lough bought this mill and greatly improved and enlarged its capacity, making it one of the popular mills of the county. On June 3, 1900, it was totally destroyed by fire. After its destruction, John Rust erected, and in the latter part of 1900 completed, a large and well equipped elevator, in which he also grinds feed.
The first hotel was built in the spring of 1880 by Samuel Sharp. Afterward, J. W. Giles moved his mill building on the town site, and out of it constructed quite a good hotel building. A good frame building was subsequently erected near the depot, and has materially added to their hotel accommodations.
September 29, 1884, the town was incorporated, and on October 14, 1884, the first election was held, which resulted in electing H. C. Blanchard, mayor; L. W. Crain, police judge; and the following councilmen: R. B. Gregg, W. M. McCoid, D. Reid, C. S. Newlon, A. J. Garst. W. F. Hamman was elected city clerk. Mr. Blanchard was elected mayor by two majority over J. B. Jones. Mayors: 1884, H. C. Blanchard; 1885, C. S. Newlon; 1886, W. P. Wilson; 1887, A. W. Mackie; 1888-89 J. B. Jones; 1890, R. B. Gay; 1891, A. W. Mackie; 1892-93, C. S. Newlon; 1894-95, W. J. Lough; 1896, S. L. Martin; 1897, Harry Mills; 1898, Thomas H. Lough; 1899, Charles E. Harrington; 1900, C. E. Hildreth. Clerks: 1884. W. F. Hamman; 1885, A. A. Farmer; 1886, B. F. Godfrey; 1887-88, C. M. Pool; 1889, J. B. Libbey; 1890, W. S. Houghton; 1891, Harry Mills; 1892, H. E. Hamman, Henry Tropp and W. F. Hamman; 1893, C.M. Doughman; 1894-96, W. W. Starnes; 1897, L. P. Hamilton; 1898, A. R. Martin; 1899, J. H. Taylor; 1900, J. E. Switzer.
In 1886 P. Lane erected a substantial two-story brick business house. Prior to this all the buildings had been frame. In 1893 two or three one-story brick store buildings were put up. Besides these brick structures there are the brick school buildings.
In 1893 the county high school was established in Altamont, and has been a help in giving the people a feeling of confidence and pride in their town.
February 1, 1886, J. H. Macon and S. A. Duval opened a bank, which was run some time, but finally the management was such that it was found to be unprofitable, and it was closed.
The Presbyterians put up a church building in the spring of 1881 ; the Methodists in 1882; the Baptists finished their house in June, 1884; and in 1892 the Christians purchased the old frame school-house and moved it onto their lots for a church.
J. P. Allen, W. A. Lewis, Charles Beggs, N. L. Hibbard, Chas. Lierly, C. H. Lewis and others became incorporated July 13, 1868, with the authority to locate a town on section 2, township 33, range 18. The first building on the town-site was put up in the summer of 1869, by the town company in connection with Alexander Honrath and Henry Rohr, the upper story of which was to be used as the town company's office and the public hall, and the lower story by Honrath & Rohr for a general store. Among those who followed Messrs. Honrath & Rohr were L. F. Nicholas, who put in a stock of drugs; J. B. Kremer, who had a grocery and hardware store; and E. H. Stevens, the postoffice.
No title to the land on which the town was located was obtained from the Government until the passage of the act of 1876. In February, 1877, the occupants petitioned the probate judge to enter the town-site as he was authorized to do under the law. This he did, and in July, 1878, a certificate of entry was issued to him for the benefit of the occupants of the said town-site.
Several parties who had been or claimed to be lawyers have had their office in this town. W. M. Rogers was the first of this class to locate here. Without attempting to mention a number of those who subsequently attempted to practice in justice court, some of whom were and some of whom were not admitted to the bar, I may mention W. F. Schoch, who for several years was located at this point, and did a good business. A little later, Alvah Shick, who had been raised in the town, was admitted to the bar, and did collecting and a local law business until his death. The first doctor to locate in this vicinity was Charles H. Lewis, who settled here in 1869. He had a claim on which he lived; he had quite a good practice. E. Tanner came in February, 1870, and N. M. Miller later in that year. Doctors Pattie, Woods, Towel, Wenner, Tustison, Stansbury, McEwen, Sanders, Allen, Lemon, Lake, Strother and Morgan have offered their services to the public, and several of them have done a good business and made a good reputation.
On October 7, 1883, C. M. Condon and W. H. Gandy opened a bank, which they continued to run until September, 1889, when they dissolved, since which time the bank has been conducted by Mr. Condon.
In 1883 an effort was made to sink an artesian well for the purpose of supplying the town with water, and with the hope of finding coal. After drilling to a depth of over 750 feet, the parties became doubtful of obtaining the object sought; it was, however, discovered that the well contained a large amount of gas, and in 1884 tubing was put in with the view of utilizing the gas. For practical purposes, this never amounted to anything. But, later, other efforts have been made to prospect further and, if possible, to find gas in paying quantities. In 1900, work in this direction was commenced, and at this writing it is believed by many that a sufficient flow has been obtained to justify piping the town, preparatory to its use.
The gas well above referred to was found to afford water highly impregnated with minerals which it was believed would be good for medicinal purposes. Authority was obtained from the Legislature to use the proceeds of the sale of the township railroad stock in the erection of a large house, which was done, and it has become quite a resort for invalids. It is lighted and heated by natural gas from the well already spoken of.
In 1881 W. C. O'Brien and W. W. Harper erected a mill on the bank of the Labette, which proved to be a very good institution for the place, but not always a profitable investment to the owners. The mill was entirely consumed by fire on November 23, 1892. Since then a new mill has been built on the site of the old one.
There is one stone and one brick building in town. The first was built by Joseph Riff, in 1883; the latter, a very fine structure, was built by F. P. Dicus & Co., in 1890.
The first fire in town was on October 6, 1872, when the town company building with the stock of Honrath & Rohr was entirely consumed. This was probably as heavy a loss to the town as the great fire which occurred in 1889, when a whole block of buildings was consumed with the greater part of the stocks in it. The grist-mill was burned on November 23, 1892.
On August 2, 1871, on petition of Alexander Honrath and others, an order of the probate court was made for the incorporation of the town, and the following persons were appointed trustees: Alexander Honrath, Wm. M. Rogers, John B. Campbell, E. Tanner, and Alexander McBride.
On January 9, 1884, an order of the judge of the district court was made incorporating the town as a city of the third class. The first election was held January 24th. Mayors: E. Tanner, W. W. Harper, E. Tanner, William Clark, Josephus Moore, W. W. McEwen, F. E. West, F. P. Dicus (2 years), F. M. Gandy, E. Tanner (2 years), Alvah Shick, and George Lutz (2 years). Clerks: W. N. McCoid, J. M. Smith, N. M. Miller, S. D. Richardson, Isaac Hill, Rufus Thrall, W. N. McCoid, T. J. Cozad, F. M. Gandy, E. A. Steele, A. L. Bushnell, Dott Norfleet (2 years), Ivy Norfleet, and W. H. Humphrey.
Of the early settlement of this, part of the county I have spoken in other parts of this work. The first white settler within the present corporate limits of Chetopa of whom I have any account was John McMurtry, who lived at a point on the Neosho River at or near where the west end of the Neosho bridge is now located. When the settlement was destroyed in 1863, his house was torn down. I have not been able to learn at what date he settled here, but Dr. Lisle found him there when he came, and he continued to reside there up to the breaking up of the settlement in 1863. Dr. Lisle made his settlement upon a piece of ground, ever since claimed by him as his home, on April 18, 1857. That summer he erected his house and shops on what is now a part of block 24. In August he went back to Ohio and brought his family with him, arriving in Chetopa in November. From that time to the present his absence from Chetopa has been but temporary.
Willoughby Doudna came to see Dr. Lisle in the fall of 1857 and stayed with him some time. The next year he went back to Ohio and married. In the fall he and his wife came to Chetopa, but in the spring of 1859 they located near Baxter Springs, and did not come back to Chetopa until after the war.
The early settlement at and around Chetopa was broken up November 19, 1863, by a force of United States troops numbering probably some two or three hundred, under the command of Captain Willits, Adjutant Able and Lieutenant Josylen. All of the buildings in the vicinity were burned or otherwise destroyed and all the settlers were driven away. This was done, as the officers claimed, by command of their superior officers to prevent the property falling into the hands of the rebels. Dr. Lisle and family went to Council Grove. They remained until September, 1865, when he came down and looked over the ground, and in November of that year brought his family back to Chetopa.
The permanent settlement of Chetopa really commences with the year 1866. In the spring of that year Ephraim Doudna and Dr. George Lisle built the first house upon the town-site. It was a "shake" house, and stood on the west side of what is now Third street, and north of Maple street, near the alley. In this home Ephraim Doudna opened the first store in town. He had a small stock of goods consisting of dry goods, groceries and provisions. Soon after this a man by the name of Hoffman built a cabin and blacksmith shop south of where Maple street now is, and between Second and Third streets. These were the only buildings in town at the close of 1866 of which I have been able to learn, although it is probable there were two or three more log houses built that year. Perry Barnes moved into town on election day, in November of that year, and was allowed to vote; it was considered that everybody who was here with the intention of settling had a right to express his preference at the first election. D. U. Watson and Wm. Shay were two of the judges of this election, and S. R. Southwick was one of the clerks.
In February of 1867 Willoughby Doudna, who had a sawmill on the east side of the Neosho River, just above the mouth of Canville Creek, in Neosho county, moved it to Chetopa and located it on the west side of the Neosho near the foot of Maple street as afterwards located. He began sawing on February 20th, and had a buhr for grinding corn in operation the fore part of May. The only other mills at this time in the county were in Neosho and Montana townships. W. H. Reed operated this mill, sawed the first tree made into boards in Chetopa, and during the spring built the first frame house that was erected in town. It stood at the northwest corner of block 60. From this time on frame houses, made of native lumber began to be built where before either the log or "shake" shanties had been made to answer. In the early summer of this year a rough survey for the town-site was made by S. R. Southwick, and Maple and Third streets were located. In June, Perry Barnes built a house on the southeast corner of Third and Maple streets, designed for a hotel and store. In this, about the first of July, he opened a stock of groceries and a hotel; this was the first hotel in town, and the second store. About the same time a small cabin was erected on the southwest corner of First and Maple streets and called "Bachelors' Hall," or the "Cabinet Shop." That summer Z. A. Woodard bought out Mr. Doudna, and in the building occupied by him put in a general stock of goods. In this store, from the first, was kept the postoffice. Thus the first building erected upon the town-site contained not only the first store, but also the first postoffice. William Craft and family came in October of that year, and at once commenced the erection of a hotel on the northwest corner of Third and Maple streets. It was a frame building, 24 by 26 feet, two stories high. It was completed and opened for guests that fall, under the name of the Chetopa House, and was the first building erected exclusively for a hotel. In the "Bachelors' Hall" or "Cabinet Shop" above referred to, in September this year, was opened the first Sunday school in town, with G. H. Hard as superintendent. Occasionally preaching services were also had. On October 23, this year, Emma Reed was born to Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Reed. This was the first birth in town.
The important events of 1868 were the securing of a title to the town-site, the organization of the town company, and the definite survey and laying out of the town. As several of the then residents of Chetopa had settled there before the war, they were able to enter their lands under the 4th article of the treaty with the Osages of September 29, 1865. On January 21, 1868, Dr. George Lisle entered the southeast quarter of section 34, Willoughby Doudna and George Hanson part of section 35. The lands thus entered embraced the site of Chetopa, and so much as was within the limits of what was intended for the town was deeded to the town company. Thus, while her neighbors had to make their improvements on Government land, Chetopa could offer homes to which a perfect title could be secured. This was an important item in her favor.
In the spring of this year the California House was erected, on the northeast corner of Maple and Third streets. In the latter part of the summer Spaulding's Hall, on the corner of Fourth and Maple streets, was erected; it was a good-sized two-story building, and furnished the first place in town suitable for holding religious and public meetings. Another enterprise started this year, and one destined to add as much to the development of the town as almost any that was started in an early day, was the planing mill, sash and furniture factory of Taft, Brown & Co. This was built in the fall, and ready for operation the first of December. They sent out a large amount of house-furnishing material and furniture to adjacent counties and neighboring towns. During the fall of this year Oliver Marsh opened a large dry-goods store, and Dr. M. H. Dursham started a drug store, which he conducted in connection with his professional practice. On April 4th James H. Crichton walked into town as the vanguard of a long line of attorneys who were to grace the bar at that place, and during the early summer he put up a two-story frame building on the north side of Maple street, and had it plastered; this was the first plastered house in town. At the close of 1868 there was quite a large settlement of industrious and enterprising people who were successfully conducting various lines of business, and the town presented the appearance of a thriving and progressive village.
Dr. Lisle had from the first intended the location of a town upon the land on which he settled, and early in 1868 he arranged with influential men for the organization of a town company. It was not, however, until March 30 of this year that the town company was incorporated. The charter members consisted of George Lisle, George Hanson, Willoughby Doudna, N. S. Goss, John Secrest, J. D. Torbert, and Watson Stewart. The company organized by the election of George Lisle president and Willoughby Doudna secretary. The town was located and laid off upon sections 34 and 35. Liberal donations were made to the various church organizations, and to such enterprises as it was thought would tend to upbuild the town.
I shall not attempt to describe the continued multiplication of new buildings, both business houses and private residences, as they appear during this, and succeeding years. The two important features of the town's history in 1869 were the establishment of the Advance and the incorporation of the town. By donation of lots made by the town company and the securing of a fair limit of paid subscribers, John W. Horner and A. S. Cory had been induced in the latter part of 1868 to bring a printing press from Baldwin City, Douglas county, to Chetopa, and in the first week of 1869 they gave to the public the first issue of the Advance. It is not likely that any donation ever made by its citizens did more for the upbuilding of Chetopa than that which secured them this paper. Its publishers displayed a wonderful amount of enterprise in the gathering of news and extending the circulation of their paper. The advantages which the town offered were thus made known to all who had any disposition to learn.
In March W. A. Hodges brought quite a large nursery stock, which was the first to be brought to this part of the county. The first flouring-mill in town was erected in the fall of this year, and in October commenced its operation. Gilbert Martin was the proprietor.
The year 1870 was an important one in the history of Chetopa. The fact that every one confidently anticipated the completion of the railroad some time during the early part of the year, gave a great impetus to business, and speculations ran high. A large number of new buildings were erected, and large numbers of new firms opened up in business.
BRICK BUILDINGS. - Up to 1870 there had been nothing but wooden structures in town, but early this summer several brick business houses were erected. Among the bricks erected were one by F. A. Drake, one by Dr. Halderman, and one by Hornby & Lewis; others were also arranged for and built the following year. In June of this year the cars were running into Chetopa, and the fact that it was the end of the line brought there a large number of emigrants - not only those who were intending to stop here, but also those who were anticipating going farther south and southwest. From this point travelers laid in their supplies, and the merchants of Chetopa conducted almost a wholesale business.
FOUNDRY. - In the latter part of 1870, John Torrance located his foundry at this point. This was a valuable addition to the business of the town, bringing to it an element of trade which before that had been compelled to go to Fort Scott and other points north.
In January, 1880, a branch of the State Freedman's Aid Society was organized for the purpose of furnishing aid to the destitute refugees who had settled here. C. H. McCreery was president and J. D. Graham secretary.
ORPHANS' HOME SOCIETY. - A Number of years ago this society was formed in aid to the State Home for Orphans. The ladies met regularly, and worked on articles either to be used, in the Home itself, or to be sold and the proceeds applied to the aid of the Home. Through their exertions a number of orphans were provided with homes.
A. F. & A. M. - On November 5, 1868, a Masonic lodge was organized, with J.H. Crichton, W. M.
I. O. O. F. - August 10, 1869, a lodge of the Odd Fellows was organized.
A. O. U. W. - A lodge of the United Workmen was organized December 17, 1879, with J. B. Cook, M. W.
K. of P. - A lodge of this order was organized May 9, 1883.
On September 13, 1869, a meeting was held in Spaulding's Hall to consider the matter of a cemetery. Jonas Clark, W. B. Gregory and T. B. Lake were appointed a committee to select a site. In October the committee selected 20 acres on the east side of Mr. Hard's farm, southeast of town. No title could be procured to this ground for some years; nevertheless, the burying proceeded. The Legislature authorized the trustee of Richland township to appropriate money to help pay for this cemetery ground; the township and city thereupon appropriating enough money to purchase and procure title to the land. The cemetery association was incorporated in June, 1883, with L. M. Bedell president, and George Eddington secretary and superintendent.
On April 12, 1869, on petition of her citizens, the probate judge made an order incorporating the town of Chetopa, and appointed William Gage, Leander Brown, M. G. Pratt, A. S. Cary and Henry Lisle as its board of trustees. On April 14, 1869, these trustees met, and organized by electing William Gage chairman, and appointing W. H. Fisher clerk. On June 28th Mr. Fisher resigned as clerk, and C. F. Webster was appointed to fill the vacancy. Some time between August 16th and December 8th, 1869, H. R. Dobyns was appointed clerk.
On March 9, 1870, an ordinance which had just been passed was published, declaring Chetopa a city of the third class, and on April 4th, the first city election was held. A Republican caucus had previously been held, and nominated S. A. Marsh for mayor, W. B. Gregory, C. H. Dudlow, Wm. Nix, C. A. Degraff, and Dr. L. P. Patty for councilmen. The opposition concentrated their strength upon the office of mayor, and, many Republicans joining, brought out F. M. Graham for that office, who, after a spirited contest, was elected, with all the above-named candidates for council. Upon organizing, the new government continued Mr. Dobyns as city clerk till May, 1870, when he was succeeded by N. S. Storrs.
In March, 1871, the city was by ordinance declared a city of the second class under the special act of the Legislature providing for its organization as such, along with Oswego. There was a lively contest for the city officers at the April election that year. George W. Fox was supported by those generally designated as the "bummer element," by the Advance, and of course by many good citizens. C. F. Smith was supported by the Mechanics' Association, which had recently been organized, and by the more conservative class of citizens. Mr. Fox was elected. On April 12, 1871, the new city council organized, and the following officers were appointed: clerk, J. M. Cavaness; treasurer, Hiram Butterworth; assessor, C. P. Spaulding; street commissioner, R. G. Tileston; attorney, J. J. Long. On September 1st Mr. Cavaness resigned as city clerk, G. W. Houston filling the place temporarily till October, when I. R. Minor was appointed, and was succeeded by Leroy Neale in November.
The city government was characterized by a spirit of profligacy[sic] in the expenditure of money and the incurring of debt which soon brought it into disrepute with nearly all of the business part of the place. The mayor claimed high prerogatives unknown to the law. The saloons were the most powerful features in the local administration. During the fall and winter the Advance, which had favored their election, opened a war on the city administration. It said, "The rogues are having their own way to their hearts' content." For weeks before the next election both sides - the administration and the reformers - conducted an active canvass. But when the election came off, in April, 1872, those in favor of changing the administration made a clean sweep and elected their full ticket.
For a second time F. M. Graham became mayor. C. F. Smith was soon appointed clerk, and in June was succeeded by M. S. Parker. The old debt was bonded, the expensive contracts for street improvements were modified as fast as possible in the interest of economy, and a feeling of financial security began again to inspire the people. It was evident that a new order of things had been inaugurated. Mayors: 1870, F. M. Graham; 1871, G. W. Fox; 1872, F. M. Graham; 1873, George Lisle; 1874, N. Elliott; 1875, Alfred Large; 1876, S. B. Fisher; 1877, L. M. Bedell; 1878, S. B. Fisher; 1879, J. H. Chrichton; 1881-87, J. B. Cook; 1888, James Brown; 1889, George Eddington; 1891-92, C. Cranwell; 1893-94, A. B. Temple; 1895-96, J. W. Columbia; 1897-98, E. W. Bedell; in April, 1899, C. Cranwell was again elected, but died a year thereafter, and S. T. Herman was then elected to fill out his term. Clerks: 1869, W. F. Fisher, C. F. Webster, H. R. Dobyns; 1870, N. S. Storrs; 1871, J. M. Cavaness, G. W. Houston, I. R. Minor, Leroy Neale; 1872, C. F. Smith, M. S. Parker; 1873, G. M. Caldwell; 1874-7, Henry Frye; 1878-87, John W. Breidenthal; 1887, A. F. Sloane, J. B. Sneely; 1888-9, I. H. Frye; 1890, A. R. Bell; 1891, J. M. Cavaness; 1892-96, E. W. Minturn; 1897-1899, Carl J. Simons; 1900, A. R. Bell.
Near the close of 1868 C. P. Spaulding started the first bank in the town. He had very little capital, and attempted a much larger business than he was able to conduct. He continued to operate this bank until the spring of 1870, when, unable to meet his obligations, a number of suits were commenced against him and he was forced to quit business.
W. B. Ketcham and F. H. Ketcham opened a bank about July 1, 1870, which they conducted until the fall of the following year.
NATIONAL BANK. - The First National Bank was the successor of Ketcham Brothers. It was opened for business December 4, 1871, with, James E. Marsh, of Kansas City, president: E. J. Stewart (then postmaster), vice-president; F. H. Ketcham, cashier; Lee Clark, assistant cashier. Some time thereafter R. W. Officer succeeded Mr. Marsh as president. The bank had an authorized capital of $50,000, and a paid-up capital of $25,000. In March, 1873, the bank moved into its fine brick building, which it had just completed on the northwest corner of Third and Maple streets. In September, 1873, the stringency of the money market caused this bank to temporarily suspend payment. On July, 19, 1875, the bank decided to go into liquidation, and Lee Clark was put in charge and settled up its affairs.
SAVINGS BANK. - The Chetopa Savings Bank was organized July 1, 1871, with a paid up capital of $30,000. Charles H. Safford was president, L. F. Fisher, secretary, and George S. Newman, cashier.
PRIVATE BANKS. - January 1, 1876, F. H. Ketcham, R. W. Officer and Lee Clark commenced business as Ketcham & Co., and succeeded to the business of the First National Bank. Lee Clark bought out the interest of his partners in June, 1876, and in August following associated with him Arthur D. Sturgis under the firm name of Clark & Sturgis. January 1, 1879, Lee Clark went to Parsons to become cashier of the First National Bank of that place, and later in the year Mr. Sturgis removed to Mansfield, Ohio, leaving Edgar W. Clark in charge of the bank. August 1, 1879, Lee Clark purchased Mr. Sturgis' interest and soon thereafter sold a half interest to George H. Bates. Clark & Bates as thus constituted continued in business till the death of Mr. Bates, in February, 1883, when Florence E. Bates succeeded to the interest of her husband. Afterward Lee Clark sold his interest in the bank to Edgar W. Clark, who, with Mrs. Bates, continued to conduct it for some time.
STATE BANKS. - The Citizens State Bank, of which J. P. McEwen is president and J. F. McEwen is cashier, succeeded to the business of Clark & Bates. The Neosho Valley Bank was an adjunct of the Neosho Valley Investment Company, and when the latter failed, the bank changed management and became the Farmers and Merchants State Bank, of which W. G. Hoover is president and H. W. Bedell, cashier.
Col. J. B. Cook in 1875 opened a real estate and loan business, and during the next few years did an extensive business, both in the way of selling real estate and making real estate loans. January 1, 1884, L. M. Bedell and J. W. Breidenthal became associated with him in the loan business the firm being known as J. B. Cook & Co.
By March 1, 1885, the Neosho Valley Investment Company was formed as the successor to the business of J. B. Cook & Co. J. B. Cook was president; J. W. Breidenthal, secretary; L. M. Bedell, treasurer. Subsequently R. Haines Passmore succeeded Mr. Cook as president, and subsequently still other changes were made in its officers. In September, 1898, this company went into the hands of a receiver, and its business is now in process of settlement through the courts.
October, 1869, Gilbert Martin commenced operating a flouring-mill, which he had just finished on the Neosho.
July 1, 1871, Hunter & Williams' flourmill, which had been erected during the early part of the year, was finished and opened for business. Since then other mills have been established.
On March 3, 1871, the mechanics of the town organized an association for mutual help and protection, of which, J. M. Barman was secretary and the controlling spirit. This organization sought to unite the mechanics' interest in the town by an effort to control the work of that locality to those residing therein rather than allowing it to be done by persons brought there from abroad, and also to secure a fair remuneration to all who were engaged in mechanical pursuits.
In December, 1882, the opera house company was organized, with G. H. Bates, president; B. S. Edwards, vice-president; William Lehman, secretary, and E. W. Clark, treasurer, and the following year the opera house was constructed and opened.
On September 17, 1871, a big fire broke out, and nearly one block, known as the Sturgis block, was burned. August 14, 1882, a great fire took place, starting in G. A. Luman's hardware store on the south side of Maple street, and consuming 19 buildings before its force could be arrested. On May 3, 1884, Marsh's block was burned. Several other fires of more or less note have occurred; one of these was on February 12, 1899, when the Presbyterian church was burned.
During the past few years a very great improvement has been made in the walks of the city. Wide brick sidewalks have been laid, on both sides of the street, the whole length of Maple street, from the business portion to, the M. K. & T. Ry. depot. In other parts of the town the walks have also been improved.
Not a large amount of this article has yet been found, but sufficient to be utilized to a certain extent in heating and lighting the business houses. Farther developments are hoped for.
On February 18, 1875, the Ladies' Library Association of Chetopa was organized, with a. membership of 81. Mrs. M. A. Shilds, Mrs. J. F. Hunter, and Mrs. H. Butterworth, by the payment of $10 each, were made life members of the association. The following officers were elected: President, Mrs. M. A. Aldrich; secretary, Mrs. B. S. Edwards; treasurer, Mrs. M. A. Shilds; librarian, Miss Fannie Shilds. On May 14, 1875, the library was formally opened, with 116 volumes on the shelves. In February, 1882, the association disbanded, and, did nothing for three years. On March 7, 1885, it was reorganized as the City Library Association, with a membership of 90. The payment of $1 a year entitled one to the use of a book each week. The association now has 582 books in the library.
A number of winters, more especially in her early history, Chetopa has maintained a good literary society; frequently the business men have been among the leading spirits in it. In 1870 C. H. Ludlow was president, and that year, as well as in 1872-73, most of the leading men took part in the debates. In 1873 a temperance literary society was organized, of which Dr. C. Humble was president.
An organization of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle was effected here in 1884.
In 1884 a couple of Chinamen came to town and opened up a laundry. Some of the citizens conceived a great antipathy to these workmen, and concluded that the proper thing to do was to dispense with their presence. The Chinamen were informed that they would do well to take their departure from town, but not heeding the request, other measures were taken to induce them to find a more congenial home. The authorities, ascertaining what was going on, took steps to interfere; the result was the arrest of some two dozen men engaged in the attempt to depopulate, and after a protracted and hotly-contested suit four of the parties were convicted and fined $25 each.
Chetopa has ever taken a pride in getting up fine celebrations. The first one was held on July 4, 1867, in an arbor provided for the occasion north of Maple and east of Third streets, at which the Declaration of Independence was read by Harry Shannon, of La Porte, Indiana. Speeches were made by Captain Secrest and others, and in this arbor in the afternoon of that day Rev. Mr. Cox, from Indiana, preached the first sermon of which we have any account since the breaking up of the settlement in 1863. At the same place in the evening a dance was held, and those participating therein took their refreshments at Barnes' Hotel, which had just been opened across the street to the south. The next celebration of note was on July 4, 1869 at which Congressman Sidney Clarke and Colonel Hoyt made speeches to a large crowd of people. Another important celebration was held July 4, 1875, when George T. Anthony spoke to a large crowd of people.
Not every year, but frequently, since then, the city has observed the day of national independence in a similar way. In recent years there have been held annually reunions of the old soldiers, which have brought large numbers of people to the city.
Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project