There was a great rush of people to Wyandotte. The price of town lots and shares popped up to twice their original value. Houses went up as fast as men and materials could be produced. The carpenters received five dollars a day, and new saw mills had to be built to supply the lumber. It was a great boom for Wyandotte, and its boomers were chuckling over their success against the feeble efforts of Governor Charles Robison and his crowd of Free State men who were starting a port of entry at Quindaro, four miles up the Missouri river. But it was a great race. Wyandotte held the lead for a time and then lost it because of the rush of the Yankees to Quindaro to help make Kansas a free state. But Quindaro's glory did not last long. The Free State men had all they could attend to at the outbreak of the war, while Wyandotte was able to hold its own, although with only a corporal's guard of men at home to protect the women.
At this time Wyandotte had several big stores along the levee, besides a hotel or two. Its population had increased to four hundred. People were coming in from all directions, one company coming from Pennsylvania and another from Ohio. Mark W. Delahay, a relative of Lincoln and for years judge of our United States district court, had started a paper, and F. A. Hunt had picked up an old steamboat, the "St. Paul," and had converted it into a wharf-boat and hotel. Mrs. Garno had moved from Leavenworth and built the Garno House, on the corner of Third and Minnesota. There were four physicians, Dr. J. P. Root, Dr. J. C. Bennett, Dr. Fred Speck and Dr. John Speck. There were lawyers there too - Bartlett & Glick, Davis & Post, J. W. Johnson, B. Gray and D. B. Hadley. Byron Judd was in the real estate business, and Thomas J. Barker was postmaster.
By June 8, 1858, the town had 1,259 inhabitants. Then the town petitioned for incorporation with Daniel Killen, William McKay, George Russell, Charles W. Glick and William F. Simpson as trustees. It was incorporated under the title "The Inhabitants of the town of Wyandotte. "
The four avenues, each one hundred feet wide, and named, respectively, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska and Washington, after the four territories, had been brushed out, a lot of one story houses, framed at Cincinnati, had been set up, and altogether things looked booming. It was a problem which of the four avenues was to become the principal street, and trade was much scattered. Schriner, Garlick & Co., had set up one of the Cincinnati houses at the northeast corner of Fourth and Minnesota, and were doing a rushing hardware business. The building still stands at the old corner, and Dr. S. F. Mather occupied it for many years as a drug store. Parr, Boyd & Company located somewhere near Third and Washington and had started in groceries and dry goods. Governor James McGrew established himself in groceries nearby, while Zeitz & Buesche held forth on the north side of Kansas (now State) avenue between Third and Fourth streets.
John McAlpine put up a two story warehouse on the levee between Nebraska and Washington, and the top story, known as McAlpine's hall, served for years as a gathering place for parties, balls and political conventions. It was in this hall that George Francis Train and Susan B. Anthony wound up their brilliant tour of Kansas in the interests of woman suffrage, and Train complained that he had been forced to take his daily bath in a pint tin cup; bath tubs were, as yet, an unknown article on our Kansas prairies. It was also in this hall that Jim Lane made his celebrated speech after the killing of Gaius Jenkins in a quarrel over a claim. Captain George P. Nelson had built his residence on the south side of Armstrong street, between Fourth and Fifth, and F. A. Hunt had put up an imposing mansion nearly south of it, on Ann; the latter building is still standing. A. B. Bartlett had built a small, one story residence away back in the brush, on the corner of Fifth and Nebraska, and the old building is yet standing, over a stone basement, put in when Fifth street was graded, back of the large brick residence which he subsequently erected in front of it. And this practice of building the top story first was a common occurrence in those days.
During the winter of 1857-8 Third street was graded through, leaving the Garno House two stories above the ground. Tom Merry had the contract for putting in the underpinning, and some of the big timbers that supported the lower stories, and which Frank H. Betton assisted in raising, are still standing. Third street was subsequently filled up again about ten feet, at the corner; the scoop-out was too deep, as some one had blundered. Doctor Root had established himself at the corner of Fourth and Nebraska, building a rather ornamental one story cottage, which came to be known as the "pillbox."
William Cook may properly be considered as the chief factor in our early commercial development. Mr. Cook was an Englishman who had achieved a reasonable competency as a dyer in St. Louis. He had faith in the new city, and it was said invested sixty thousand dollars in developing the town. He built a number of small dwellings and a large storehouse near the site of the Wyandotte hotel on Minnesota avenue between Fourth and Fifth. For years he was our principal merchant, and was foremost in nearly all of our public enterprises. He built the large brick building at the southwest corner of Third and Minnesota, and subsequently the larger part of what is known as the Wyandotte hotel.
The next year, on January 29, 1859, the legislature passed an act permitting the creation of a city out of Wyandotte. James R. Parr was the first mayor. The first board of aldermen consisted of William P. Overton, J. N. White, Byron Judd, Daniel Killen, Isaiah Walker and H. McDowell. Under this incorporation the town weathered the stormy times of the Civil war and maintained a respectable growth. In 1886 it was consolidated with the old city of Kansas City, Kansas, Armourdale and Armstrong, and became a part of the municipality under the first name.
"I remember the first time I saw these bluffs," Mrs. Mary H. S. Wolcott, one of the survivors of the early days of Wyandotte, said recently. "My husband, Albert Wolcott, and I were coming up the Missouri river on one of those steamboats in 1857 to make our home in Kansas. I thought it the most forbidding looking place that I had ever seen. We landed at the foot of Minnesota avenue in old Wyandotte. There was no regular landing place. The deck hands threw out a plank and we walked down it, and up to the old Garno House, the only hotel in the city. We were there for some time before we built a house of our own.
"We did not go out calling in those days as women do now," Mrs. Wolcott said. "It was too far from house to house to make calls. I remember one day when a very distinguished personage was stopping at the old American House at the foot of Main street, on the levee. Three other Wyandotte women and myself decided to visit her. Our only means of travel was by horseback. We crossed the Kansas river on the ferry, at the foot of what is now Barnett avenue, and followed the wagon road which ran through the woods over the ground now occupied by the Armour Packing Company. After a pleasant visit we started for home. On reaching the ferry we found that the ferryman had locked up his ferry boat and he refused to take us over. After much pleading and some tears, he consented to carry us over in his little skiff, but made us leave our ponies on the other side. We found our husbands waiting for us at the landing, very much worried over the lateness of our return. The next morning our husbands went over and brought the ponies back."
Mrs. Wolcott walked across the first bridge built over the Kaw river on the day it was opened. That bridge known as the old Southern bridge was built in 1859, and connected what is now Argentine with old Wyandotte. It was used by many of the freighters who were going over the Santa Fe trail. Forty-eight years later Mrs. Wolcott walked across the inter-city viaduct on the day it was opened to the public.
Albert Wolcott brought six frame houses with him from St. Louis. They were among the first frame houses to be built in old Wyandotte. At that time there were quite a number of log houses. Mr. Wolcott's "ready-to-use" dwellings were quite an innovation. The lumber had all been cut and matched and needed only the carpenter's hammer to put them up. The new houses caused quite a stir. All of the new arrivals who intended to locate and had been dependent upon the Garno House for food and shelter, were anxious to occupy one of the new houses. The Indians came from miles around to look upon the wonderful wigwam of the white brother, which needed but a few strokes of the hammer to make of it a tepee far beyond their wildest dreams of splendor. As a consequence of the feverish anxiety of the white settlers to live in one of the "modern structures," Mr. Wolcott disposed of five of his dwellings at a big price. The sixth one, he finished in what was then the finest style, for his own home. His success in disposing of his ready-to-nail-together houses may have somewhat influenced his career, as he afterward became a lumber merchant.
There were saloons in old Wyandotte in the early days - but that was before Kansas had "prohibition." One of these was the Blue Goose saloon. It stood somewhere on the hillside near what is now Third street and Nebraska avenue. The front part of the building rested on the ground and the back part was on stilts. And there is a story connected with the Blue Goose saloon that savors of the "good old times." One day word came to the village that Buckskin Joe and a band had been committing depredations in the country surrounding Wyandotte. A posse of citizens was formed to go out and search for them. The citizens went out on horse back, armed with rifles, but returned at night without seeing the desperadoes. At the outskirts of the village it was decided that they would race to the Blue Goose saloon and would ride into it and up to the bar on their horses, the last man in to pay for the drinks. Well, the big race came off, the citizens in the posse riding through the town with the speed of the wind. They rode right into the saloon and their horses were standing with their heads over the bar, while the drinks were being mixed by the bartender. Suddenly there was a crash and down went the floors, carrying with it horses, riders, bar, bartender and liquors, and dumping them together in a heap. And the most remarkable thing about it was that not a man or horse was seriously hurt. Then the Blue Goose saloon was built on level ground and the floor was made strong enough to bear the weight of horses and riders.
The men who filled the public offices in Wyandotte from the time it was incorporated as a city to the date of the consolidation of the cities that entered into the making of Kansas City, Kansas, were as follows:
1858 - The inhabitants of the Town of Wyandotte: Trustees, William McKay, George Russell, Daniel Killen, Charles S. Glick and William F. Simpson.
1859 - City of Wyandotte: Mayor, James R. Parr; aldermen, W. P. Overton, I. N. White, Byron Judd, Daniel Killen, Isaiah Walker and H. McDowell; clerk, E. T. Vedder; assessor, David Kirkbride; treasurer, J. H. Harris; attorney, W. L. McMath; marshal, N. A. Kirk; engineer, William Miller; street commissioner, H. Burgard.
1860 - Mayor, George Russell; aldermen, Joseph Speck, Philip Hescher, A. D. Downs, B. Washington, S. A. Bartlett, C. R. Stuckslager; clerk, T. J. Darling; assessor, J. W. Dyer; treasurer, C. H. Van Fossen; attorney, S. A. Cobb; marshal, H. H. Sawyer; street commissioner, David Levitt; engineer, William Miller.
1861 - Mayor, George Russell; aldermen, Jacob Kerstetter, E. L. Busche, James Sommerville, C. R. Stuckslager, O. S. Bartlett, Chris Schneider; clerk, Francis House; assessor, W. Hood; treasurer, I. D. Heath; attorney, S. A. Cobb; marshal, P. S. Ferguson; street commissioner, W. Curran; engineer, Gustavus Zeitz.
1862 - Mayor, S. A. Cobb; aldermen, Jacob Kerstetter, Robert Halford, J. P. Hanrion, N. A. Reichnecker, W. H. Scofield, J. M. Funk; clerk, W. B. Bowman; marshal, P. S. Ferguson; assessor, W. Hood; attorney, J. S. Stockton; treasurer, I. D. Heath; street commissioner, Gottlieb Knipfer; engineer, Horatio Waldo.
1863 - Mayor, J. M. Funk; aldermen, Mathias Splitlog, W. P. Holcomb, J. P. Hanrion, B. Washington, J. Grindle, R. Chalk; clerk, W. B. Bowman; treasurer, I. D. Heath; attorney, J. S. Stockton; assessor, P. Hance; street commissioner, Gottlieb Knipfer; marshal, P. S. Ferguson.
1864 - Mayor, J. M. Funk; aldermen, W. Cook, E. L. Busche, Fred Weber, R. Chalk, I. Moore, A. S. Cobb; clerk, W. B. Bowman; treasurer, W. P. Holcomb; attorney, W. B. Bowman; assessor, Joseph Hanford; marshal, Matthew Clary; engineer, W. Miller.
1865 - Mayor, I. B. Sharp; aldermen, W. Cook, J. R. Parr, J. M. Chrysler, E. T. Hovey, Daniel Cable, J. J. Hughes; clerk, W. B. Bowman; marshal, John Bolton; attorney, C. S. Glick; treasurer, W. P. Holcomb; assessor, Joseph Hanford; street commissioner, W. Bucher; engineer, J. A. J. Chapman.
1866 - Mayor, I. B. Sharp; aldermen, W. Cook, R. Anderson, C. Hains, D. Cable, B. Washington, N. A. Kirk; clerk, A. J. Cruise; attorney, C. S. Glick; marshal, M. Clary; assessor, Joseph Hanford; engineer, J. A. J. Chapman; street commissioner, G. A. Schreiner.
1867 - Mayor, James McGrew; aldermen, G. P. Nelson, H. West, J. H. Harris, B. Washington, Joab Toney, P. Lugibihl; clerk, J. A. Cruise; attorney, J. B. Scrogg; engineer, S. Parsons; treasurer, N. McAlpine; marshal, J. Lecompt; street commissioner, G. A. Schreiner; assessor, E. F. Heisler.
1868 - Mayor, S. A. Cobb; councilmen, J. Hennessy, A. Jost, H. Grautman, R. E. Cable, J. Townsend; police judge, J. M. Funk; marshal, Thomas Redfield; attorney, F. B. Anderson; treasurer, Byron Judd; clerk, A. J. Cruise; engineer, C. Piney; assessor, E. F. Heisler; street commissioner, John Hosp.
1869 - Mayor, Byron Judd; aldermen, F. Castring, O. K. Serviss, J. Hennessy, R. E. Cable, N. Kearney, P. Knoblock; police judge, W. B. Bowman; marshal, H. C. Johnson; assessor, E. F. Heisler; clerk, J. A. Cruise; attorney, F. B. Anderson; street commissioner, T. Purtill; engineer, J. McGee; treasurer, J. C. Welsh.
1870 - Mayor, J. S. Stockton; councilmen, F. Bell, J. Bolton, R. E. Cable, F. Casting, P. Knoblock, O. K. Serviss; police judge, W. D. Bowman; marshal, H. C. Johnson; assessor, E. F. Heisler; clerk, H. L. Alden; engineer, S. Parsons; street commissioner, John Hosp; attorney, H. W. Cook.
1871 - Mayor, J. S. Stockton; councilmen, Frank Bell, John Bolton, Peter Connelly, H. C. Johnson, N. Kearney, P. Knoblock; treasurer, O. K. Serviss; police judge, W. B. Bowman; marshal, H. T. Harris; attorney, E. L. Bartlett; clerk, H. L. Alden; engineer, Francis House; assessor, G. P. Nelson; street commissioner, S. Balmer.
1872 - Mayor, J. S. Stockton; councilmen, D. W. Batchelder, P. Connelly, E. M. Dyer, C. C. Gerhardt, A. Jost, D. W. McCabe, Jacob Meunzenmayer, M. W. Phillips; police judge, W. B. Bowman; marshal, H. T. Harris; treasurer, O. K. Serviss; clerk , William Albright; attorney, W. J. Buchan; engineer, Francis House; assessor, G. P. Nelson.
1873 - Mayor, James McGrew; councilmen, D. W. Batchelder, W. Cook, B. Grafton, James Hennessy, E. T. Hovey, J. C. Ives, A. Jost, L. Schleifer; police judge M. B. Newman; treasurer, O. K. Serviss; clerk, William Albright; marshal, H. T. Harris; engineer, Francis House; assessor; J. J. Keplinger; street commissioner, W. B. Garlick; attorney, W. J. Buchan.
1874 - Mayor, G. B. Wood; councilmen, R. E. Cable, W. Cook, N. McAlpine, F. W. Meyer, J. Reid, W. H. Ryus, Louis Schleifer, F. Speck; police judge, M. B. Newman; treasurer, O. K. Serviss; clerk, W. Albright; engineer, F. House; street commissioner, J. P. Faber; assessor, J. J. Keplinger; marshal, H. T. Harris; attorney, W. J. Buchan.
1875 - Mayor, Charles Hains; councilmen, Russell Burdette, R. E. Cable, George Grubel, F. W. Meyer, J. Reid, T. B. Roberts, L. Schleifer, F. Speck; police judge M. B. Newman; marshal, H. T. Harris; attorney, W. J. Buchan; treasurer, J. C. Stout; clerk, W. Albright; assessor, G. W. Bishop; engineer, F. House; street commissioner, J. P. Taber.
1876 - Mayor, Charles Hains; councilmen, C. Anderson, Russell Burdette, H. E. Chadborn, J. L. Conklin, George Greubel, J. Hanford, H. C. Long, M. M. Stover; police judge, M. B. Newman; marshal, M. Collins; clerk, W. Albright; treasurer, J. W. Wahlemaier; assessor, G. W. Bishop; engineer, F. House; street commissioner, F. Kramer; attorney, F. B. Anderson.
1877 - Mayor, Fred Speck; marshal, Mike Collins; police judge, R. E. Cable; treasurer; J. W. Wahlemaier; treasurer board of education, Perley Pike; attorney, F. B. Anderson; councilmen, L. Cook, Dan Williams, R. Burdette, J. C. Welsh; board of education, R. Halford, J. P. Dennison, J. H. Gadd, A. N. Moyer.
1878 - Mayor, Fred Speck; marshal, Michael Collins; treasurer, O. K. Serviss; treasurer board of education, Perley Pike; attorney, F. B. Anderson; councilmen, John E. Zeitz, M. M. Stover, J. Lecompt, James S. Bell; board of education, Caleb Crothers, W. R. Chapman, James Furgason, H. C. Darby.
1879 - Mayor, J. S. Stockton; treasurer, Chris. Bernhard; police judge, R. E. Cable; attorney, J. A. Hale; treasurer board of education, Chris Bernhard; councilmen, Lawson Cook, J. W. Wahlenmaier, Dan Williams, V. S. Lucas, John Burk; board of education, J. L. Conklin, P. H. Knoblock, James S. Gibson, G. W. Bishop.
1880 - Mayor, J. S. Stockton; marshal, H. T. Harris; councilmen, Louis Burnett, Daniel Williams, D. E. Cornell, James S. Bell; board of education, H. C. Darby, W. R. Chapman, James Furgason, C. Anderson; attorney, J. A. Hale; police judge, R. E. Cable; treasurer, Chris Bernhard.
1881 - Mayor, R. E. Cable; marshal, V. S. Lucas; police judge, F. B. Anderson; treasurer, Chris Bernhard; attorney, Henry McGrew; councilmen, Louis Burnett, Peter Lugibihle, T. B. Roberts, D. R. Cornell, James S. Bell, Daniel Williams, J. C. Stout, George A. Dudley; board of education, Emile Kreiser, H. C. Darby, P. H. Knoblock, W. R. Chapman, C. D. Schrader, W. C. Lyman, C. Anderson.
1882-3 - Mayor, R. E. Cable; clerk, Ed. H. Sager; treasurer, C. Bernhard; police judge, T. B. Anderson; attorney, Henry McGrew; engineer, Walter Hale; street commissioner, Thomas McCauley; marshal, H. T. Harris; councilmen, John B. Scroggs, E. A. Webster, D. E. Cornell, Charles Hains, George A. Dudley, Thomas H. Roberts, Charles Wilson, J. C. Boddington, James Brennan, D. Albert, Peter Lugibihle and J. C. Stout.
1883-5 - Mayor, D. E. Cornell; clerk, H. E. Chadborn; attorney, Henry McGrew; treasurer, Louis Burnett; engineer, R. E. Ela; street commissioner, W. H. Brown; police judge, George W. Betts; marshal, O. K. Serviss.
1883-4 - Councilmen, John E. Zeitz, Thomas Schultz, James Brennan, Henry Horstman, J. C. Boddington, Charles Hains, George A. Dudley, T. C. Foster, J. B. Scoggs, E. A. Webster, Charles Wilson, W. A. Eldridge.
1884-5 - Councilmen, W. P. Overton, J. J. Hannan, M. B. Haskell, Frank Mapes, C. D. Montayne, William Clow, J. C. Boddington, Charles Dudley, Thomas C. Foster, Henry Horstman, Joseph Leaf, Theodore Schultz.
1885-6 - Mayor, J. C. Martin; clerk, John Warren; treasurer, F. S. Merstetter; attorney, R. P. Clark; engineer, Everett Walker; street commissioner, N. J. Abbott; police judge, J. D. Green; marshal O. K. Serviss.
Councilmen, W. P. Overton, Joseph Leaf, James Wheeler, E. A. Webster, M. B. Haskell, H. F. Johnson, Frank Mapes, G. W. Bishop, C. D. Montanye, R. F. Robison, William Clow and Charles Hilton.
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