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

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CRIMINAL MATTERS

On August 6, 1868, Charles Van Alstine killed J. C. Wheeler, near a saloon in Oswego, in which they had been drinking. Van Alstine was tried and convicted of murder, and sent to the penitentiary. This was the first murder trial in the county.

In the latter part of 1868 a half-breed Indian was intoxicated and making a disturbance on the streets of Chetopa. He was arrested by an officer, who asked him where he got his whisky; he told the officer if he would go with him he would show him. He went to a shanty on the outskirts of town, opened a door, and stooping down to his saddlebags took therefrom a revolver, saying, "That is where I got my whisky," and fired, the ball striking the officer on the forehead, but glancing instead of penetrating the skull. The Indian was again arrested, and taken before the justice. A somewhat rough character called Bob Broadus told him he would be killed, and, if he had an opportunity, to run. The Indian soon started off, and was at once fired upon by a number of parties and killed.

In 1870 John D. Coulter was postmaster at Oswego, and also agent of all the express companies that did business at that place. In the latter part of November of that year, without giving notice of his intention so to do, he left town, and was never seen here thereafter. He proved to be a defaulter to the Government and also the express companies in the sum of several hundred dollars.

Anthony Amend and John Pierce, living in Neosho township, had a difficulty over a child. Pierce shot and killed Amend, and then attempted to hide in the woods and tall grass. The grass was set on fire, and to escape, Pierce jumped into the Neosha and swam across. He was caught and taken to Jacksonville, where a vigilance committee hung him. This hanging took place in Neosho county. Several parties were arrested as being connected with it, but no one was ever convicted.

On October 3, 1874, on the fair grounds at Oswego, John Bagby stabbed William Hogsett and Charles H. Westfall, both of whom were special police. Hogsett soon died, while Westfall, after a protracted confinement, recovered, Bagby was sent to the penitentiary.

On November 2, 1870, Erastus E. and Liston P. Hopkins killed their brother-in-law, John M. May, by beating and wounding him with poles and clubs. In June, 1871, they were tried for this offense. The State was represented by Judge D. P. Lowe, M. V. Voss, and Jesse C. Harper, together with the county attorney. The defense was principally conducted by M. V. B. Bennett and J. D. Gamble. The defendants were convicted of murder in the second degree, after a protracted trial. A notable incident of this trial was in reference to the court driving a witness named Chas. H. Butts from the witness stand during the giving of his testimony. It appears by the testimony of Butts that he was a detective, and had been placed in the jail with the Hopkins brothers under the pretense of being guilty of some kind of a crime, for the real purpose of getting admissions from them to be of use on the trial. On these facts appearing, the presiding judge said that such a person was unworthy of credit, and should not be allowed to give testimony in his court; he was directed to leave the stand, which he did.

On February 24, 1871, John Clark was killed at Chetopa by Frank Huber. Huber was tried, and convicted of murder in the first degree, and sentenced to be hung on September 1st; on August 31st a respite was granted until September 30th. Huber had been taken to Fort Scott after his trial for more safe confinement until the time of his execution. The last of August he was brought from Fort Scott to Oswego, where a gallows had been erected in front of the old jail, and where on the morrow he was to be hung. After the respite arrived, and before the time of his execution, as then fixed, the Supreme Court granted him a new trial because of a defect in the form of the verdict. Preferring not to undergo the excitement of another trial, Huber succeeded in removing some of the stones and other rubbish that separated him from the outside world, and on the night of November 23, 1871, made his escape from the county jail, since which time he has never been heard of at this place. His case was the nearest we have ever been to having a legal execution in this county.

On August 14, 1872, B. W. Harwood had a difficulty with the Blye brothers, and was very badly beaten and bruised by them. Later in the day he went to their home and fired into a crowd of people that were there assembled, slightly wounding two persons. On the 15th he was arrested, and gave bond for his appearance at trial. On the morning of August 16th he was found on his premises, riddled with bullets. Three of the Blye brothers and a number of neighbors were arrested and tried for the murder. While people generally had no doubt about their guilt, the State failed to produce sufficient evidence to convict, and the defendants were all acquitted.

On May 27, 1875, R. B. Myers absconded. It appeared from examination made that for months he had been embezzling from the Adams Express Company, for whom he was agent. - A statement was made by the general manager to the effect that as far back as December previous he had been detected in defalcation. In the fall of 1879 he was brought back from the west, where he was found, on requisition, and on examination was bound over to court. In proceedings pending the trial, it was developed that the company was defectively organized, its charter being imperfect; and there being no law punishing embezzlement by an agent of a joint-stock company, Myers, was permitted to go at liberty.

On April 1, 1878, while Milton Engler and Samuel Clevinger were going to their homes in Cherokee county from Chetopa in a state of intoxication, they got into a quarrel; the former stabbed the latter with a knife, from the effects of which he soon died.

On Sunday morning, August 25, 1878 R. H. Clift, who was marshal of Chetopa, was shot and killed near town by John Richmond, a horse thief whom he was attempting to arrest. Richmond had passed through town a few days before with a stolen mule in his possession and was now returning to Missouri. Word having come that he was guilty of stealing the mule, parties in town who had seen him pass through informed the marshal of the circumstances, and he immediately started in pursuit. He soon overtook Richmond and ordered him to stop, telling him that he was under arrest. Richmond replied that he would return with him, but at once drew a revolver and shot Clift through the neck; he died that night. On the Wednesday following the Sunday on which Clift was shot, Richmond, having reached his home in Missouri near the village of White Hall, in Laurence county, was there arrested for stealing the mule at a camp meeting. The next morning, August 29th, he was being taken to Mount Vernon, when Bently came up and informed the officers that Richmond was guilty of the murder of Clift. This was the first that the shooting of Clift was known at the home of Richmond. Richmond was taken to Mount Vernon, where he was held until Bently could get a requisition, and as soon as the same could be obtained Bently and United States Deputy Marshal Graham secured his delivery to them, and at once started with him for this county. Instead of taking the train at Carthage to Oswego, they decided to go the route through the Indian Territory, transferring to the M., K. & T. Ry. at Vinita. They arrived at Chetopa on the midnight train Thursday night, September 5th. Masked men appeared in the train as soon as it stopped at Chetopa, and compelled the officers to take Richmond out; they took him out and proceded to get into a 'bus. The mob surrounded the 'bus and train, took Richmond from the officers, marched him a mile southwest of town, and strung him up to an old bridge, where he was left hanging until the next afternoon. The cold blooded murder of Richmond was without excuse. His crime was a terrible one, but there would have been no difficulty in convicting and punishing him for it. No one except the participants know who were the criminals engaged in the second murder, and no effort was made to apprehend or punish them.

One of the most brutal murders ever committed took place in Canada township, about the last of October, 1878. Theodore Munsterman and William Hunt some time previous thereto had had difficulty over the entry of a claim. On the day of the murder Hunt and his wife had been to Oswego, and during their absence Munsterman had been seen around the premises. On their way home from Oswego, Hunt overtook Munsterman going in the direction of their home. He got in and rode with them. It was late in the evening when they arrived home. Hunt and Munsterman talked over their previous difficulty, and agreed to bury all differences. Munsterman was making his home with his sister several miles away, and it was suggested that he stay all night with Hunt. They had but one bed and they made a pallet for him upon the floor in the same room in which they slept. During the night Mrs. Hunt awoke and found Munsterman at their bedside bending over her; she asked him what he wanted, he said he wanted to kiss her. Later in the night Munsterman got up and shot both Mr. and Mrs. Hunt in the head. Hunt was evidently killed at once. Probably Mrs. Hunt made some move, and to finish the job Munsterman took a hatchet and broke in her skull. He left them both in bed where they had slept, went out, locked the door, and took Hunt's team and moved off. He was seen the next day with the team, which he said he had borrowed and was going to the Territory for coal. It turned out that he took the team and hitched it in a ravine, and himself went to Chetopa. That evening one of the neighbor boys went to the house, but could not get in. He heard a groaning inside, and went and told his mother. Several of the neighbors were aroused and came to the house and broke open the door. They found Hunt dead, and Mrs. Hunt unable to speak and nearly dead. Munsterman was found, and at once arrested on suspicion that he had committed the murder. His account of having the team and of his whereabouts was entirely unsatisfactory, and he was placed in the county jail. By the time of the next term of court, when the case came up on trial, Mrs. Hunt had so far recovered as to be able to talk. She came upon the witness stand and identified Munsterman as the murderer, giving the story of the transaction substantially as here recorded. Munsterman was convicted of murder in the first degree. He died in the penitentiary, November 25, 1888.

On November 3, 1879, an obstruction in the shape of a hand-car, with old irons and other material, was placed on the Frisco Ry., near Big Hill station. A detective was employed to ascertain the guilty parties, and thereafter Albert C. Tolliver was arrested for the offense. Tolliver made confession, and implicated James Henry Barnes, Sr., and his son in the crime. The old man Barnes was not found, but the younger Barnes was tried, and, by what is believed to be the most successfully planned and carried out conspiracy for perjury ever attempted in this court, participated in by a large number of his friends and neighbors, was acquitted.

On December 2, 1879, Quincy Harris was arrested for operating an illicit distillery on Hackberry Creek, and John and Josiah Johnson for assisting by furnishing corn. Harris was taken in charge by the U. S. marshal.

On July 10, 1880, Daniel Tucker killed a colored man named William Dudley, near Mound Valley. Tucker had been lying around Chetopa for several days, and hired Dudley to take him to Neodesha with his team, on the pretense that he desired to bring back a load of goods. On Sunday, July 11th, parties passing west of Mound Valley saw where some one had encamped the night before, and noticed clots of blood and other evidences of a hard struggle. Physicians were called, and after examination pronounced the blood and brains found to be those of a human being. That evening some one found the body of a colored male in a ravine some three miles away, and parties immediately started out to find the murderer. They soon found a wagon with a man and woman in it and the team was identified as the one which had encamped the night before where the body was found. The man was arrested and proved to be Tucker, the murderer of the colored male, William Dudley. He was convicted of murder in the first degree.

On March 4, 1881, on a south-bound passenger train on the M. K. &.T. Ry., just as it was leaving Chetopa, James Hayden, who was from Lebanon, Ky., and a passenger on the train, commenced firing his revolver promiscuously among the passengers. He shot and killed William Lewis, of McAlister, I. T., and wounded two others. He was at once arrested and taken from the train and lodged in jail. Soon thereafter, it being supposed that he was insane, an inquisition was held, in which it was determined that he was of unsound mind. His friends came from Kentucky and took him home. The shooting was caused by his supposing that he was in danger of his life from the Indians, as he was nearing the Indian Territory.

On September 27, 1884, John Douglas killed Harry Fox, at his home in Canada township. Douglas escaped and went to Ohio, from whence he was brought back a year after, and on trial was convicted.

At the May, 1885, term of the district court, Frank P. Myres was tried and convicted. of stealing a span of mules. On his application he was granted a new trial. On the night of July 7, 1885, Winfield Scott Crouse, who was a prisoner in the county jail charged with murder, J. J. Thompson, with liquor selling, and a colored man, Mat Lingo, with assault and battery, broke jail and compelled Myres to go with them. The latter, however, did not leave town, but next morning returned and gave himself up. On the night of July 26th Myres with others broke jail again, but he was soon found, at Vinita, and was returned to jail on the 28th. On the night of August 4th Myres was taken from jail. To secure his escape from jail, five locks had to be broken or unlocked. The next morning the locks were all found fastened and in good order. How the doors were opened is an unsolved mystery. On August 6th Myres's body was found in the Neosho River, just above the Oswego dam.

During Myres's imprisonment Jacob McLaughlin and Wash Berkaw were part of the time confined in jail with him on the charge of selling liquor. It is supposed that they feared testimony which Myres might give if called as a witness on their trial, and that they, after their release on bail, secured Myres and took him from the jail on the 4th of August. On April 14, 1886, McLaughlin and Berkaw were arrested for the murder of Myres. On their examination Frank and George Davis, who were also confined in the jail at the time when Myres was taken therefrom, testified that McLaughlin, with the assistance of Berkaw, took Myres from the jail. The defendants were both held to answer the charge of murder. On the trial of McLaughlin and Berkaw on the charge of murder in the district court, the Davis boys gave testimony directly contrary to what they had testified on the preliminary examination, and said that what they had testified to before was false. It was developed on the trial that after the preliminary examination had been had, the Davis boys went to the office of E. C. Ward in Parsons, who was attorney for McLaughlin and Berkaw, where it was arranged between them that in the event of their giving testimony of the character which they did give upon the final trial, they should receive a certain sum of money. The money was deposited in bank, subject to their order upon the final acquittal of the defendants. The defendants were acquitted on the trial, although probably no one had any doubt of their real guilt.

At the close of the trial the court appointed a committee to investigate the conduct of E. C. Ward in connection with this transaction. The committee in the report found that he had been guilty of bribery, and recommended that he be disbarred. Charges were preferred against him, and change of venue was had upon his application to the district court of Neosho county, where he was tried and found guilty, and a judgment of disbarment was entered.

On the night of February 21, 1885, Marcus A. Justice and Mayfield Carr, two colored men who had had some jealous feeling in reference to a woman, were in company near the M. K. & T. depot at Oswego. The next morning Carr was found dead in the cut of the Frisco Ry. between the M. K. & T. and the brick mill. Justice was charged with the murder, and on trial had on May 27, 1885, was convicted of murder in the first degree.

On November 16, 1885, George W. Gregson shot and killed W. A. Collins, in the Grand Central Hotel at Parsons. On February 19, 1886, he was convicted of murder in the first degree.

In September, 1886, Wilf. Cooper got up on a freight train at Parsons to ride to his home at Labette City. There were some three or four other parties in the car, who proved to be tramps. Before arriving at Labette City they attacked Cooper and threw him out of the car. He recovered himself sufficiently to get to Labette City and telegraph to Oswego for the arrest of the parties, who were tried, convicted and sent to the penitentiary.

On June 26, 1888, the marshal at Chetopa had a warrant for the arrest of a colored man who was supposed to be engaged in the illegal sale of liquor, and who had made his boast that no officer could arrest him. The marshal called a man to his aid, and started to serve the warrant. Another colored man had allied himself with the one they were seeking to arrest, and, seeing one of the officers coming, one of them secreted himself behind the building, and the other from across the street leveled his gun at the officer. Both opened fire on the officers, and wounded them in a number of places in a way that was at the time supposed would prove fatal. The colored men ran at once, and secreted themselves in the loft of an old house. It was ascertained that they were in the house, and finding themselves hemmed in, they surrendered. The mayor put them under guard and sent for the sheriff, who arrived at Chetopa in the evening. It was not thought advisable to bring them to the county jail in the night-time. In the meantime the guard which had been placed over them was continued. They were placed in the city hall, the sheriff and guard remaining with them. A mob of masked men broke into the room, put a revolver in the face of the sheriff and guard, blew out the light, slipped a noose over the head of each of the prisoners, dragged them to the rear end of the building, put them on a scaffold which had been piled upon a wagon standing by the side of the building, fastened the rope inside, and then drew the wagon from under them, where they were left to hang until the next morning. No serious attempt was ever made to discover the murderers of these men, and no prosecution for the crime was ever instituted.

On April 1, 1890, Carrey S. Arnold killed John Bobzien, in the west part of the county, for which he was afterwards tried and convicted.

On October 22, 1892, William H. Mills, while sitting in a restaurant at Chetopa, was shot through the head by some party on the outside of the building, and instantly killed. G. A. Luman was arrested on suspicion, but was acquitted.

On December 17, 1892, Albert Shoemaker shot and killed his brother Allen. He claimed that the killing was in self-defense. His trial resulted in his acquittal.

There has been but one successful "holdup" and robbery of a railroad train in this county. The passenger train going east over the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad was boarded at Mound Valley about 3 o'clock on the morning of September 3, 1893, by three men, two of whom at first took control of the express car and engine, and one the passenger coach. In the conflict that ensued Charles A. Chapman, the express messenger, was killed, and his body fell from the train. The robbers were unable to open the express safe, and secured nothing in that direction. All the passengers were relieved of such money, jewelry and valuables as they had about their persons. Before the close of the year the robbers were all captured, a party connected with them revealing their identity and their whereabouts. They proved to be Hance D. Hydrick, Claude Shepherd and William Chadburn. The evidence of their guilt secured by the officers was so convincing that they all plead guilty and were sent to the penitentiary.

On January 28, 1896, Mrs. Maria A. Ashbell was found dead in the cellar of her house in Richland township, this county, with a bullet-hole through her head and a revolver lying by her side. Her husband, Marion Ashbell, was arrested on the charge of having murdered her. His defense was based on the contention that her death was the result of suicide. Court convened a few days after the killing, and Mr. Ashbell was forced into trial at that term of court over his strong protest. The most intense feeling prevailed throughout the county, and threats of lynching the prisoner were heard on several occasions. The trial lasted several days, and the jury, after being out a few hours, brought in a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree; this was on February 29, 1896. Two days after this sentence was pronounced, and on March 3d the prisoner was lodged in the penitentiary. Every effort was made to secure a reversal of this judgment and a new trial, but without effect. The case went to the Supreme Court at least three times.

In the fall of 1896 Rudolph Brockman, living in the northwestern part of the county, was arrested for the murder of his little girl. It appeared that he kept her in the barn, where for some time she lay sick and was supplied with none of the comforts which her condition demanded. From the evidence, the treatment certainly seemed most brutal and, no doubt, was the cause of the child's death, which occurred about the time, or soon after, his arrest. He was found guilty of murder in the first degree, and sentence was passed in accordance with the verdict.

THE BENDER SLAUGHTER-PEN.

About the last of 1870 a family of Hollanders, or Germans, consisting of four persons - a man, his wife, son and daughter - moved on the northeast quarter of section 13, township 31, range 17, Osage township. The man was known as William Bender, the son and daughter as John and Kate. They erected a small frame house, 16 by 24 feet, which was divided into two parts by studding, on which hung an old wagon-sheet for a partition. In the front part they had a few articles for sale, such as tobacco, crackers, sardines, candies, powder, and shot. Just outside the door was a plain sign, "Groceries." In the front room were also two beds. They also pretended to furnish lunch and entertainment for travelers. In the back room, almost up against the partition studding, a hole just large enough to let a man down had been cut in the floor, the door to which raised with a leather strap. Under this an excavation had been made in the ground, leaving a hole some six or seven feet in diameter and about the same in depth. It was supposed that when a victim was killed in the daytime he was thrown into this hole until night, when he would be taken out and buried. Little was known of the family generally. They repelled rather than invited communication with their neighbors. Kate traveled over the county somewhat, giving spiritualistic lectures and like entertainments, but created very little stir or comment. The two young people occasionally went to church and singing-school, and the men frequently attended public meetings in the township. The place was on the road, as then traveled, from Osage Mission to Independence. During 1871 and 1872 several parties had traveled the road, making inquiries for persons who were missing, who had last been heard from at Fort Scott or Independence. About March 10, 1873, a public meeting was held at Harmony Grove school-house, in district No. 30, to discuss the herd law. The matter of so many people being missing, and the fact that suspicion rested upon the people of Osage township, were spoken of. It was said a vigorous search should be made, under the sanction of a search warrant. Both of the Benders were present. Father Dick said, "Commence the search at my house," and Father Dienst responded, "Yes, and go directly from there to my house." Old man Bender, who sat between them, made no reply. About the 1st of March, 1873, Dr. William York had left his home on Onion Creek, in Montgomery county, in search of a man and child by the name of Loucher, who had left Independence for Iowa during the previous winter and had never thereafter been heard of by their friends. Dr. York reached Fort Scott, and started to return about March 8th, but never reached home. In the fore part of April, Colonel A. M. York, with some fifty citizens from Montgomery county, started from Independence to make a thorough search for his brother. They went as far as Fort Scott, but could get no clue to the missing man. On their return they visited the Bender place and tried to induce Kate, who professed to be a clairvoyant, to make an effort to help discover the Doctor. But Kate was able to successfully elude their efforts without throwing any suspicion on herself. That night the Bender family left their place, went to Thayer, where they purchased tickets to Humboldt, and took the north-bound train at 5 o'clock on the following morning. A day or two thereafter their team was found hitched a short distance from Thayer, and apparently nearly starved. It was about the 1st of May that a party passing the Bender place noticed the stock wandering around as though wanting care. On going to the stable he found the team gone, and a calf dead in a pen, evidently having starved to death. He then went to the house, but found no one there. He notified the township trustee, who, with other parties, went to the premises and broke into the house, where they found nearly everything in usual order, little if anything aside from clothing and bed-clothing having been taken. A sickening stench almost drove them from the house. The trap-door in the back room was raised, and it was discovered that in the hole beneath was clotted blood which produced the stench. The house was removed from where it stood, but nothing further was found under it. In a garden near by a depression was noticed, and upon digging down the body of Dr. York was found buried, head downward, his feet being scarcely covered. His skull was smashed in, and his throat cut from ear to ear. On farther search seven more bodies were found, all of whom, except one, were afterwards identified by their friends, viz.: Loucher and his little girl, seven or eight years old, buried in one hole; William Boyle, McCratty, Brown, and McKenzie. The other body was never identified. It is altogether probable that other parties were murdered, whose bodies were never found.

From the victims the Benders seemed to have procured, as far as it was afterwards ascertained, about the following money and property: From Boyle, $1,900; from McCratty, $2,600; from Brown, $37, a team of horses and a wagon; from McKenzie, forty cents; from Loucher, $38 and a good team and wagon; from Dr. York, $10, a pony and saddle. A part of the property which they had disposed of was afterwards recognized and restored to the friends of the murdered men. Those who attempted to follow the Benders became satisfied of the following facts: They took the train at Thayer and all went as far as Chanute, where John and Kate got off and took the M. K. & T. train south, on which they went to Red River, in the Indian Territory, which was then the terminus of the road. Here they were subsequently joined by the old folks, who seemed to have gone to St. Louis after John and Kate left them at Chanute. Detectives thought they were able to trace their wanderings through Texas and New Mexico. Parties supposed to be the Benders were apprehended in many parts of the country, and several were brought back to this county for identification, who proved to have little if any resemblance to this butcher gang. Two women, supposed to be the old woman and Kate, were arrested in Michigan in 1890, and brought to this county on requisition. On habeas corpus proceedings they were released, the court being satisfied that they were not the Benders. However, some parties who were well acquainted with the Bender family still assert that these were the real Bender women. Several parties who lived near the Benders were supposed to be implicated with them in their crimes, and some of them were arrested, but upon examination they were discharged, there not being sufficient evidence to hold them for trial. One or two of those thus arrested brought suit for false imprisonment, and obtained a verdict for a small amount of damages.

VIGILANCE COMMITTEE.

Members of this organization claim that it was formed at Luray, Clark county, Missouri, in September, 1863, by persons living along the borders of Iowa and Missouri, to protect themselves from horse stealing and other crimes, and that from there the organization spread to other parts, and among them to Kansas. I am not interested in tracing its origin, but as a matter of public history it should probably be said that on one or two occasions they have made something of a stir in our county.

In August, 1872, a secret organization of many of the citizens in the western part of the county attempted to relieve the county of the presence of a few parties who were then residing there, among them William M. Rogers, John Kramer, W. D. McBride, and W. H. Carpenter. These parties were visited at night by masked men and warned to leave the county within a limited time. Some of them for a time disappeared in answer to this, but it was not long until the better thinking portion of the community made its sentiments felt, and the proposition to have men's rights to live there determined by a secret council was shown to be too unpopular to succeed. It was deemed best to allow people who were charged with objectionable practices to have a fair chance for vindicating themselves before any summary proceedings were taken to require them to disappear.

On September 9, 1874, delegates from this and several adjoining counties met at Stover schoolhouse, in Fairview township, in grand council. The names of several of our prominent citizens, and some of them among the most respectable and conservative, were connected with this meeting, and with the organization as then perfected. The business of the meeting was of course secret, but a series of resolutions was passed and given to the papers for publication. The tone of these resolutions indicates that the organization was assuming prerogatives which did not belong to any private organization, whether open or secret. It is quite likely that the organization has accomplished some good as an aid to the civil officers in taking up and driving from our borders bands of men engaged in larceny and other illegal transactions, and possibly for these services some of its utterances may be overlooked which cannot be justified.

There have been a number of instances in the history of the county in which some of these secret organizations have played quite a conspicuous part in the settlement of criminal transactions, the facts in reference to which I have not within my control, and therefore in reference to them I will not attempt to speak; but it may be said that this county has probably been as free from transactions which can not claim the sanction of law as has any county in a new State.

CITIZENS' PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION.

In 1879 there were various local organizations formed for the purpose of aiding each other in resisting payment of what they claimed to be illegal obligations. Their contention was that they had made loans through loan agents representing Eastern capitalists, and that as the loan was not made until the application was received in New York and accepted by the money lenders there, and the notes were made payable in New York, it became a New York contract; and as the notes bore a rate of interest greater than was allowed by the law of New York, they were absolutely void under those laws. They received some encouragement in the way of legal counsel in the position they had taken, and some few efforts were made to defeat actions which were commenced for the collection of these notes. But the move was not as popular with the mass of the people as the leaders in it supposed it would be, and never resulted in anything more than expense to those engaged in it. A county organization was formed early in its history, of which J. B. Graham, of Jacksonville, was president; A. J. Robertson, of Oswego, vice-president; J. A. Robeson, of Ripon, secretary; J. W. Breidenthal, of Ripon, corresponding secretary; J. O. McKee, of Parsons, treasurer; T. P. Lane, of Labette City, marshal. These names are given as published at the time in the county papers. It is probable that the object of the organization was somewhat broader than here stated, but it was short lived, and is only mentioned as one of the incidents showing the tendency of public opinion on matters of finance and political economy.

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

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Labette County KS 1901

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