This enterprising city, bearing the name of one of the most prominent journalists in the Eastern States, is located on the south bank of the Little Arkansas River, ten miles in a westerly direction from Newton, the county seat. It is also the junction of the St. Louis & San Francisco and the main line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. The city, besides supporting the usual number of business enterprises, has the largest flouring mill in the county, two elevators with a capacity of 15,000 and 12,000 bushels respectively and a feed mill.
In the spring of 1872 a settlement was made in the vicinity of what is now known as Halstead, by Samuel Leeper, James Popkins, Frank Brown, David Patrick, and John Corgan, who located earlier. In the summer of the same year, the first attempt was made towards laying off a town site, by Capt. John Sebastian, a large stockholder in the A. T. & S. F. R'y, who laid off a town site one and one-half miles east of the present site. In the fall of 1872 the Halstead Town Company was organized with H. D. Allbright, president. A tract of 480 acres was purchased and in the spring of 1873 the present town site of Halstead was laid off. The foundations of the first building in the town site were laid march, 1873, by G. W. Sweesy, who had located eighty rods from the town site in the fall of 1872. This building was when completed a two story frame, 32 x 42 feet, and is still used as a hotel, known as the Sweesy House. The next building was moved from Sedgwick City by O. Y. Hart, and used for store purposes. Fred Eckert moved his drug store from Sedgwick and opened the first stock of drugs. He was followed by Fred Brewer, who opened a general store. At this time the town suspended building operations and remained dormant until the spring of 1874, when John Lehman, Jacob Deidieter, B. Warkentine, Peter Wiebe, M. S. Ingalls and others moved in and established business enterprises. From this time on the town had a slow but steady growth until 188 ??? (missing text) since which time it has grown rapidly and is now one of the important business centers of the county.
Among the early events may be noticed the first marriage in the spring of 1873, the contracting parties being Mrs. Mary J. Collier and O. Y. Hart; the first birth, a child of David Eckert, in the spring of 1874; the first death, May 25, 1874, was that of John Ashford, who "died with his boots on" being killed in difficulty over a claim in the vicinity of Halstead. The first religious services were held in the Sweesy House, in the spring of 1873, by Rev. John Harris, of the Methodist persuasion. The first and only disastrous fire occurred March 8, 1879, in which three buildings, occupied by Lehman Bros., M. S. Ingalls and the Zurheimath printing office were destroyed, occasioning a loss of $7,000. A school house 28 x 36 feet was built in the winter of 1873-4, Miss Laura Bell Walker being the first teacher. This building was occupied until 1882, when the present brick one was completed at a cost of $6,000.
Municipal Organization- Halstead was incorporated as a city of the third class, March 12, 1877; at the first city election, held March 24, 1877, the vote was canvassed by James Ryan, Henry Ruth and G. W. Brainine, and resulted as follows: Mayor, H. H. McAdams; Councilmen, C. S. Brown, O. Y. Hart, John Lehman, J. E. Ruth and M. S. Ingalls; Police Judge, James Ryan. Appointed officers: G. E. Terry, Clerk; W. M. Tibbot, Treasurer; W. C. Hinkle, Marshal. The present (1882) officers are: G. W. Sweesy, Mayor; Jacob Linn, H. B. Ruth, N. C. Groom, C. Philbrick, John Lehamn, Councilmen; G. W. Cutter, Police Judge; G. E. Terry, Clerk; J. W. Tibbot, Treasurer; T. B. Van Horn, Marshal.
The Press- The first number of the Zurheimath, a paper published in the German language, was issued June 6, 1876, by the Western publishing Company, David Goerz, editor. The paper was published at Halstead until 1879 when the printing office was burned. Since that time the publication office has been located at St. Louis, Mo., with David Goerz, of Halstead, as editor. In January, 1882, its name was changed to the Bundesboten, its present appellation. The paper is the official organ of the Mennonite churches in this portion of the State. Circulation 2,000.
The Post Office was established in the spring of 1873, George W. Sweesy being appointed Postmaster, which position of trust he retained up to the present time. The Money Order Department was opened at this office July 1, 1877-Money Order No. 1 being purchased by D. and H. B. Ruth.
The Bank of Halstead was incorporated February 3, 1882, with an authorized capital of $100,000. $10,000 paid up. Its corporators were: M. S. Ingalls, B. Warkentine, J. H. McNair, Jacob Linn and R. M. Spivey, who also constitute the Board of Directors. Officers: M. S. Ingalls, Pres.; B. Warkentine, Vice-Pres.; J. H. McNair, cashier. The institution commenced business March 10, 1882, and their first statement issued July 12, 1882, shows their resources and liabilities to balance at $48,922.52. At the January meeting, 1883, the cash capital was increased to $20,000 which fact testifies to its prosperity.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized during the summer of 1873, by Rev. Jno. Harris. Services were first held in the Sweesy House, after which the schoolhouse was used. In the fall of 1882, a handsome and substantial brick edifice, 35 x 55 feet, was erected at a cost of $4,2000. Rev. B. C. Swarts, present pastor. Present membership, ninety.
The Mennonite Church (German) was organized in the spring of 1875, with sixteen members, by Rev. V. Krehbiel, who remained three years. he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. D. Goerz. Present church is a frame, 38 x 44 feet, erected in 1878, at a cost of $1,5000. Present membership, seventy-five.
The German Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the fall of 1878, with eleven members, by Rev. H. Hoffman. A church building, 26 x 40 feet was erected in 1882-3. the Society was incorporated in 1882, under State laws. Rev. J. G. Vogel, present pastor. Present membership, twenty-one.
Halstead Lodge No. 46 A. F. & A. M. was instituted under dispensation, in September, 1881. A charter was granted February 15, 1882. First officers: N. C. Groom, W. M.; J. A. Lucas, S. W.; W. C. Hinkle, J. W.; T. Logan, Treas.; W. D. Hover, Sec'y. Present officers: N. C. Groom, W. M.; W. C. Hinkle, S. W.; T. Logan, J. W.; T. Wilson, Treas.; A. J. Miller, Sec'y. Regular communications held on first and third Saturday evenings at Masonic and Odd Fellows Hall. Present membership, forty-six.
Halstead Lodge No 163, I. O. O. F. was instituted under a charter dated October 13, 1880, with seven members. First officers; W. M. Munch, N. G. J. A. Spare, V. G.; A. J. Miller, P. G.; A. E. Miks, Tres.; W. C. Hinkle, Sec'y Present officers; Jas. Ryan, N. G.; M. Covert, V. G.; Geo. Kirk, Treas.; W. C. Hinkle, Perm. Sec'y; A. J. Miller, Rec. Sec'y. Regular meeting held every Wednesday evening at Masonic and Odd fellows Hall. Present membership, sixty.
Halstead Mills The largest flouring mill in the county was build in the summer of 1874, by Keck, Warkentine & Co. The building was a four-story frame, 30 x 48 feet and the machinery was propelled by water-power until 1877, when the dam was destroyed. The original cost of the mill, which had three runs of buhrs, including the dam was $18,500. In 1878, it passed into the hands of its present proprietors, Eisenmeyer & Co., and was moved to its present site and enlarged, and run by a 120 horse-power engine. In 1881 the machinery was increased to five run of buhrs and five set of rolls, giving a capacity of 200 barrels daily.
Cutler's History of Kansas
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