C.S. Burch Publishing Company, Chicago, 1887
In late 1800 and early 1900 many small communities published booklets extolling the virtues of their communities and the businesses and inhabitants therein. Lynn (Sellers) Mack has extracted material from the handbook that would appeal to those of us seeking information about our relatives and ancestors.
HANDBOOK OF NESS COUNTY KANSAS
C.S. Burch Publishing Company, Chicago, 1887
Ness County was created by act of the State Legislature in 1867, with an area of 900 square miles and was named in honor of Corporal Noah V. Ness, a brave soldier of the 7th Kansas Cavalry who fell at Abbeyville, Miss, in the war for the Union. In 1873 the Legislature extended the boundaries of the county to cover its present area and in October of that same year, the county was formally organized, with O. H. PERRY, Thos. MYERS and John ROGERS, as County Commissioners, and Chas. MCGUIRE, County Clerk. SMALLWOOD was designated as the temporary county seat, and Mr. S. G. ROGERS was chosen to represent the county in the State Legislature, but owing to the illegality of the county organization, was not admitted to a seat in that body.
The legal and final organization of the county was effected in April, 1880, with J. E. FARNSWORTH, L. WESTON and L. E. KNOWLES as County Commissioners, and J. H. ETTING, County Clerk. Ness City was made the county seat by popular election in June, 1880.
Mr. O. H. LARAWAY, a level-headed Vermonter, who came to Ness County in 1879 with little means, and has ever since been selling general merchandise, carries heavy stocks in one of the handsomest new stores in the western country, and is named to the writer as one of the ablest and best merchants in this region. He is an accomplished dealer, as a large trade, ranks high in business circles, has made his means on the spot, is one of the strong men of the city, and swears by Ness County.
BEYMER & EDGERTON carry large and fine stocks of general merchandise, and will signal their first year in this line with a $80,000 trade. They are young gentlemen of fine mercantile gifts, high ambition, and decided enterprise; are pioneers in the free delivery plan, make a fine display of merchandise, and are among the later and most valuable acquisitions to the trading community. Both hail from the land of the Hawkeyes, and speak in high terms of Ness City and County. Mr. Beymer is a son of the late G. W. Beymer, of Afton, Iowa, one of the best men that ever crossed the “Big Muddy,” and has recently settled down to the pleasures of domestic life, with one the fairest daughters of the Hawkeye kingdom. The firm is on a solid basis, and has a bright mercantile future.
ROBINSON & COLE carry large and elegant stocks of general merchandise, have taken a high position in local business circles, have a large and rapidly growing trade and will close their first year's experience here with a most flattering exhibit of business. They are young gentleman of exceptionally high business gifts, have ample means and sterling credit; are a capital acquisition to local business circles, hail from Eastern Kansas, and are both delighted with the situation.
Mr. T. B. ALLEN, late of Illinois, has recently built a fine new store and put on sale a valuable stock of general merchandise with he handles with the skill of a mercantile artist. He is a born merchant of many years experience; knows the business like an open book, and is building up a capital trade. Mr. Allen has recently purchased a model Walnut Valley farm and some valuable town property; is a gentleman of substantial means and rare business qualities; has put every dollar of his capital in Ness City and Ness County property and local trade, and confidently believes in a bright future for the country.
L. M. BICE & Son are handling heavy stocks of general merchandise, and are among the solid and prosperous merchants of this region. Mr. Bice came to Ness County from New York in 1879, and has since been well identified with the county as a farmer and merchant. He has ample means, excellent credit and high standing, among his neighbors; owns a handsome and finely improved farm at Scoharie; is a strong representative man, has unlimited faith in Ness County and with his wide-awake and efficient son and partner, is driving a large and prosperous trade.
Mr. Wm. H. HOOVER, one of the early settlers and a prime, manly Pennsylvanian, who has been in general trade here since ’79, is doing a good trade in general merchandise; has lately built two handsome stores in the Hayward-Hoover block, and like all the rest of them, has warm admiration for Ness County. He owns 480 acres of choice farm land and is well fixed generally.
The clothing and furnishing goods trade is admirable handled by R. B. LINVILLE, whose stocks, business methods, yearly sales and commercial ability and standing are alike complimentary to himself and the city. Mr. Linville owns a fine 480 acre stock farm; is a member of the city council and one of the live representative men of the county. He came here from Missouri in 1869, and expresses unbounded admiration for Western Kansas and the progressive spirit of its people.
The furniture business is finely represented by INGERSOLL & ANDERSON, who ample stocks of furniture, upholstery, undertakers’ goods, carpets, bric-a-brac and kindred merchandise, are highly creditable to the city. They are wide-awake, capable and ambitious young business men; are building up a strong trade and are much pleased with the country.
Mr. M. J. INGERSOLL of this firm, is also running a brisk and rapidly growing business in books, stationery, news, cigars, confectionery, fruits, &c, at his post-office stand, where he has charge of the local sale of the Ness County Handbook. He is a bright, driving, earnest young business man of capital ability, has a good farm near Beelerville, hails from the good old State of Illinois, and is greatly impressed with the country,
C. W. BELL has made a decided success of the furniture trade, and has a fine new store, stocked to repletion with everything in this line. Mr. Bell is a business ”rustler;” has made money here, swears by the Grand Army and Ness County, keeps a good bank account, pays as he goes, and is one of the livest men in the kingdom.
Mr. J. E. FIRESTONE, a wide awake and public spirited Hoosier, who came here in 1885, has a good stock of groceries, general hardware and farm machinery, and enjoys a good trade. He owns 320 acres of land and some valuable city property; has made some money in buying and selling lands, and is decidedly pleased with the country. Mr. Firestone is also interested in the harness, saddlery and horse furnishing business of J. L. HALLOWAY & Co., and is here to stay.
MAYER Brothers, whose bakery, restaurant, fancy grocery and confectionery establishment has come to be one of the standard institutions of the city, are new men here, having opened business last summer. They came here from South Bend, Ind., are accomplished bakers and caterers, have a fine patronage, are courteous and obliging men, and speak in glowing terms of the country.
The flour, feed and grain trade of the city takes heavy volume, and is ably represented by John R. GARDNER, with a large new warehouse, which will soon be enlarged with a capacious feed mill addition. Mr. Gardner is one of the early settlers and ablest business men of the city; has a valuable suburban farm, hails from Iowa; came here empty-handed, has made a handsome property, and pronounces the climate of Ness County the finest of his knowledge.
SCOTT & VENARD lead the trade in drugs and kindred merchandise, with a fine well-stocked store at each end of the city. They are wide awake, spirited business and honored members of the medical profession; have each an elegant home, and hold the country in high esteem.
The trade in lumber and building materials is carried to splendid proportions by four able concerns with well stocked yards and warehouses, among the foremost of which is the Badger Lumber Co. whose extensive yards, sheds, warerooms and stocks of pine lumber and kindred building materials would honor a city of 10,000 souls.
This rich and widely known corporation whose years in Kansas are almost as “thick as leaves in Valambrosia,” is ably represented here by Mr. A. H. CLARK as manager and local partner. Their sales from this yard for 1887, will closely approximate 2,000,000 feet. Mr. Clark is a prime, public-spirited Buckeye and one of the most popular business men of the city; and after two years residence here, believes Ness County is destined to become a rich farm country.
The hardware and farm machinery trade of the city is carried to large proportions by a good number of firms, among which I am pleased to name Messrs. FLEMING & POTTER whose Pioneer Hardware Store is one of the finest institutions of the kind in Western Kansas. This handsome new brick and stone store which fronts upon two streets and has a total depth of 140 feet, with two stories and basement, embraces the handsomest salesrooms, warerooms and shops west of Great Bend; is provided with a Ruttan heating plant, and large elevator and is admirably finished from base to loft. The spirited owners have expended $9,000 in its construction and have it heavily stocked with hardware, stoves, tinware and farm machinery in which they have a yearly trade of $40,000. They began business here in 1884 with little means; have advanced to the front mercantile ranks of the city; are live, earnest, progressive, successful and public spirited men and are in love with the country. They represent the great states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, and are among the squarest and most capable men of the city.
W. H. & A. T. DANN, formerly of St. Louis, have been in the hardware and farm machinery trade here since 1884, and rank with the foremost dealers in the city. They are live, go-ahead capable men; have a large and prosperous trade, and are on a solid footing. The senior member is an old-timer in this region, and is actively engaged in the land business at Wakeeney. Mr. A. T. Dann, the business manager of the firm, owns a pretty suburban fruit and stock farm. Both are well pleased with the country, and are here to stay.
PEARCE & FISHER, live and progressive young Pennsylvanians, have recently built an extensive store and warehouse, and put in large and valuable stocks of hardware, stoves, tinware and farm machinery, in which they are building up a strong trade. They are well-trained merchants, and popular, progressive and manly young men; are backed by abundant capital, and are greatly pleased with the country and people.
E. C. SEWELL & Bro. are handling large and fine stocks of general hardware, stoves, tinware and farm machinery, and are doing an excellent trade. They came here from Illinois in 1886; have already won a good position in business circles; have each a 160-acre farm; are bright, well bred and well disciplined young business men, and pronounce Ness Country a capital field for enterprising young eastern men.
The millinery, ladies furnishing and fancy goods trade is ably and successfully represented by Mrs. S. A. WILSON and daughter, the Misses FERRELL and Miss OGDEN, each and all with elegant stocks, business patronage, and mercantile ability that would compliment many an older and larger city.
The coal trade of the city is largely handled by Mr. C. R. FLEMING, whose annual sales will exceed 1500 tons. Mr. Fleming is one of the most popular and capable business men of the town, and forecasts a brilliant future for Ness City and County.
Among the foremost contractors and builders of the city, I am pleased to name Mr. O. G. HAYWARD, a leading contracting stone mason, and the builder and owner of the Hayward block, a handsome stone and brick structure, 65X150 feet. Mr. Hayward is also the builder of the elegant new public school house, and one of the large-hearted, enterprising and progressive men of the city; has been in this county since ’78 and pays it a high compliment for climate and material resource. Mr. Hayward is a manly and candid bricklayer, and speaks confidently of the building outlook for 1888.
MORLEY Bros., who recently came here from Eastern Kansas, and have already taken high position among the leading wood-working contractors and builders, are very confident of an active building season for 1888, and are building extensive shops in preparation for the new work in prospect. They are prime mechanics and successful jobbers; work a strong force of men; are well up in the best arts of modern building mechanics, and are much pleased with the country.
Other branches of business are represented by strong, capable men, many of whom I should be pleased to mention in this connection if space permitted.
Business enterprise, in all lines, is greatly facilitated by The Local Banks whose number and available capital are quite equal to the needs of local trade. The Ness County Bank, organized in July, 1885, is the pioneer banking house of the county, and is strongly fortified in the popular confidence. Mr. N. C. MERRILL, its founder, president and manager, is recognized as an able, sagacious and successful business manager and financier; has acquired a handsome property in farm lands, herds, city realty, commercial securities and ready means, and given the Ness County Bank high standing for careful and conservative management and financial solidity, Mr. Merrill has been especially fortunate in his Ness County investments; is accredited with a large measure of clear forecast, sound judgment and prime executive gifts; is personally popular with the farmers, stockmen and business men of the county; has always been a strong, steady, influential worker for the city and county, and has eastern connections that give his house decided strength in the prosecution of legitimate banking. The Ness County Bank is headquarters for the stockmen of the county and is practically a stockman’s exchange, carrying full lists of the marketable live stock for sale in this region. Mr. Merrill belongs to the pioneers of ’78 and has made the bulk of his property in this county.
The Bank of Ness City was opened on the same day as the Ness County Bank-July 1st, 1885- by BORTHWICK Brothers; is one of the strong, conservative and growing houses of Western Kansas and enjoys deservedly high standing in banking and business circles. Its proprietors and managers were trained to banking in northeastern Iowa and came here in the spring of ’85 with ample means for the conduct of a safe and profitable business, and from the date of their formal opening have steadily grown in favor with the business public of the city and county. They have made money by the same ways of legitimate banking and fortunate investments; are accounted able, safe and sagacious financiers, whose sound views of business and finance give value to their opinions in this community; are gentlemen of high character and credit, and have built up a large and profitable business in loans, discounts and exchange, Borthwick Bros. have recently completed one of the most beautiful bank buildings in Kansas, and before this book is in circulation will be doing business in quarters whose elegance and convenience will well compare with the finer banking offices of the older cities. They are young gentlemen of sterling worth, enterprise and public spirit; take a strong hand in every good movement for the advancement of the city; have profound faith in a bright future for Ness County, and are on the sure road to fortune.
The State Bank of Ness City incorporated in the early summer of 1886, with a capital of $100,000 was formally opened for business in July ’86. Ross CALHOUN the founder of the city and the well known and wealthy merchant and real estate owner, is president; Jacob NICHOLSON, a prominent farmer, is vice-president; C. E. CLARKSON, cashier, and Roy A. THOMPSON, assistant cashier. The State Bank is a home institution, the shareholders all being Ness County men, and has made a record which many an older bank might envy. Its surplus earnings, which already equal 20 percent of its capital; its enviable credit in the banking and business circles of the country, and its popularity within the range of its own business bailiwick are largely due to the rare managerial gifts of Mr. Clarkson whose early and thorough training in the principles and usages of banking, and years of later experience as cashier of the State Bank of Kansas at Sabetha, eminently quality him for the work in hand. He is a born financier, whose decision of character, quick perception, ready tact, clear insight and strong business sense, give him easy command of the details of banking and made him an invaluable manager. Mr. Clarkson has the good fortune of an able and capable assistant in Roy Thompson, who served Nemeha County for several terms with market ability, as register of deeds, and has few equals as a clerical worker. These two gentlemen own a controling interest in the bank, and are thoroughly identified with the best interests of the city. Mr. Clarkson is a member, and the financial man, of the city school board, and Mr. Thompson a member of the city council. Both are delighted with Ness City and County and are held in high esteem by a good-sized army of friends and patrons of the State Bank.
The First National Bank of Ness City, organized in June 1886, with a cash capital of $50,000, is a strong concern, and has enviable standing among the solid banking institutions of Kansas. Hon. J. W. RUSH, president of the First National Bank of Larned and State Senator from this district, is president, and Chas. L. ROGERS, cashier and manager. Mr. Rush is well and widely known as one of the most successful financiers and business men of Western Kansas. Of Mr. Rogers it is but just to say that this management of this institution has proven him a capable, careful, successful and popular business manager, whose genial, social nature, ready and accurate judgment of men, clear views of business and finance and prime working gifts, have given the First National a strong hold on this business public. The new National Bank building is one of the finest in the city, and its offices among the most convenient and elegantly appointed in the western country. The First National has a large and rapidly growing patronage, and a most promising future.
The entire banking interest of the city are in the hands of young and progressive men, whose high business ideals, unbroken vigor of mind and body, sterling manhood and splendid working ability, give promise of a fair financial future for themselves and the business city of their adoption.
The impressions of the writer as reflected in the foregoing notes upon the financial prosperity and solvency of the banking and commercial interests of Ness City are shared by other and possibly more impartial visitors. Mr. Fred B. STRODES, who has recently made a tour of Western Kansas, in the interest of Bradstreets Commercial Agency, said to a friend of the writer that he had nowhere found within this division of the State a town whose business men were so well fortified, or taking so good care of their credit as those of Ness City.
The hotel facilities of this bright young city, which for years was without a comfortable hostlery, are now among the very best in the western country.
The Calhoun Hotel, recently built and furnished by Ross CALHOUN at a cost of $16,000, is a handsome testimonial to the good taste and boundless enterprise of that public-spirited gentleman. As shown by our artist, it is a beautiful specimen of hotel architecture, whose fine style, superior finish and elegant furnishings are a splendid compliment to the builder and the city. It is admirably planned, and perfectly heated by a superior hot-air heating plant; has not a single dark or dingy corner, and from base to attic is aglow with light and warmth. The ample office and dining-room, elegantly furnished parlors and sleeping rooms, spacious and airy halls and corridors, fine table service and delightful cuisine, give this superb new hostlery great favor with the citizens and traveling public. Mr. James T. CALHOUN, the proprietor and his estimable family, are evidently at ease in hotel management, and dispense a gracious, cordial, home-like hospitality, that gives to the Calhoun House the cheerful and grateful social influence of a well-ordered home. Mr. Calhoun is an old-timer here and one of those cordial, broad-breasted, genial, sociable, manly men, who manage to dispense a deal of social sunshine. The Calhoun has water-works of its own, bring the clear waters of Sunset Lake to every portion of the house and grounds, and looks out upon a pretty park, whose well-shaded walks and drives and rustic lounging places, will soon enough form on of its chief attractions.
The Le Grand Hotel was built in the early summer of ’77 by Mr. HARWOOD and christened the “Harwood” in honor of its builder. It had a big run for a season under Mr. Harwood’s management, and on the 1st of July passed into the hands of Geo. F. WEBSTER, an old and successful hotel man who did a fine business to a No. 1 patronage for three months when it went into other hands. Mr. Webster is a level-headed New Yorker who has the gift of money-making and has been fortunate in all his business ventures here. He likes Ness City and County, and is a capital landlord and one of the most sagacious business men I have found in the county. The Le Grand which was a large and hurriedly built house, planned and completed to fill a demand for more, better and immediate hotel facilities, is now a thing of history having recently been destroyed by fire, but we give it a place among our illustrations to keeps its brief and eventful history green in the memory of its patrons.
The New Arlington House, a handsome new structure lately built by STEELE & FORESTER will be opened to the traveling public before the close of the year, and will greatly increase the hotel facilities of the city. There are several other hotels, all of which have a good patronage.
The leading fraternities are well represented in Ness City, the Masonic, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Labor, Grand Army, Ladies Relief Corps, Sons of Veterans, and other orders, have strong and flourishing local organizations. The Ness City Cornet Band, which is made up of the bright brainy, spirited young men of the town, is one of the best in Western Kansas.
Real estate is firmer here than in most Kansas towns, and for the last twenty months has been a capital commodity both to buyer and seller. Fortunes have been made within the last year, in handling city realty and other fortunes will be made the coming year from the same fruitful source. Last year speculative transactions nearly all turned on city property, to the general neglect of farm and grazing lands. The coming year will witness an unusual demand for deeded lands, homestead, pre-emption and timber claim relinquishments, well improved farms and good stock ranches. Eastern men are already looking the country over for themselves and friends, and the year 1888 will bring a handsome advance to all classes of country property. In all good growing towns, like Ness City, there will be renewed activity and a strong advance in real estate. No portion of Kansas presents a more inviting field to the investor than Ness City and County. It is moreover, a splendid field for the local real estate men who have the enterprise, ability and character to make the most of the situation. Indeed, I do not remember, in all my Western rambles, a group of more thoroughly responsible, manly and reliable real estate operators than those of Ness City.
Among the leading real estate firms of the city, I am pleased to mention Messrs. KINNEY & WOOD, the owners of Kenwood Addition to Ness City. This handsome property covers 240 acres, of which 200 acres are finely platted, and the streets and avenues improved with hundreds of shade trees, until the addition bears the semblance of a beautiful park. It lies on the east of the business city, embraces the new High School house and many fine new homes, and is being rapidly sold to home-builders of the better class. These gentlemen are also largely interested in other valuable city property, and have a large number of farms and ranches, including several thousand acres in their own right, for sale at current prices and on easy terms. They quote lands at $5 to $15 per acre, according to location and improvements, and can furnish them in tracts of from 40 to 3,000 acres. They have grain farms, dairy farms, stock ranches, school lands, Government claims, city lots and improved city property for sale or exchange for Eastern property, and give special attention to the payment of taxes and investments for non-residents.
Messrs. KINNEY & WOOD are old-timers here, know the country like a book, are strong, earnest, influential and public-spirited men, and capital workers for the city and county, and will be pleased to confer or correspond with parties desiring settlement in this region. Mr. Gilmore KINNEY of this firm, is a live, driving, ambitious, intelligent New Yorker, who has been a long time in the West and came here with the early settlers of ’78. He owns a splendid 8,000 acre river and valley ranch; is one of the ranking men of the county, and holds the country in high esteem. John F. WOOD, the junior member of the firm, is an able lawyer; the founder of the Ness City Times and the owner of some of the finest properties in the city. He hails from the Keystone State; same [came] to Ness City in ’79 with less than $300; has made a handsome property; is a brave, strong, positive, influential man, and swears by Ness City and County.
SMITH & BRINTON are one of the strong ranking real estate firms of the city, whose books and bulletins embrace scores of grain and stock farms, ranches, deed claims, school lands, homesteads, pre-emptions, tree claims and every species of town property which they have on the market at current prices, and all sorts of terms of payment to suit the purchaser. They are also the owners of North City Addition to Ness City, a beautiful quarter section of land lying on the north and east of the city, and on which a good number of pretty residences have already been built. They are also largely interested in valuable business properties and other “inside” realty, have upwards of 2,000 acres of farm lands in their own right, and are among the ablest and most successful realty brokers in this region. Mr. G. H. SMITH came to Ness City in ’78 and built his sod cabin “Emigrants’ Home,” when there was not one building on the town sight. He was one of the earliest land locators and real estate men on the ground, and settled hundreds of good families in the county. Mr. Smith owns a fine 160 acre suburban farm, hails from the beautiful land of the lakes in Western New York; has always been a live, earnest, influential worker for Ness City and is a man of quick, warm impulse, fine executive traits and great public spirit, and withal, a strong advocate for Ness County. He has grown rich in real estate, is a director of the State Bank and one of the strongest men in the city. Mr. Binney BRINTON, of this firm came here in 1884 for the improvement of his health, and besides a fine 1800 acre stock ranch, has made other fortunate investments, and is one of the ablest young men of the county. He hails from Philadelphia; is a man of fine judgment and liberal knowledge of the world, and has a high opinion of this country.
Ross CALHOUN, already known to the reader, as the founder of Ness City, its pioneer merchant, president of the State Bank and a member of the city school board, besides valuable business property and other realty within the original town site, has platted Calhouns First and Second Additions, lying immediately on the south of the old town site, and covering many valuable improvements, among them the New Calhoun House. A good portion of these fine properties are on the market for business and residence purposes and are amount the most valuable and eligible in the city. Among the many good projects of this gentleman for the advancement of Ness City, next to his munificent gift of land for school purposes and the building of the Calhoun House, none are more worthy of emulation than the platting and improvement of his Lincoln Park, a beautiful block of ground in front of the Calhoun House, which he has already planted with shade trees, and the further embellishment of which involves walks, drives, fountains, rustic seats, statuary, choice plants and every accompaniment of a model park; all the more to be commended because it will soon enough be in the heart of the city and an object of daily pride and pleasure to the public.
SHEAFFER & RAUDABAUGH are one of the foremost land firms in the city, and have for sale a good list of farms, ranches, school lands and undeeded claims at current prices. They are also largely interested in city properties, among which is Sheaffer & Raudabaughs Addition embracing forty acres in the south part of the city, in the neighborhood of the Walnut River. These gentlemen are also giving special attention to abstracts, and investments and tax-paying for non-residents, and rank with the solid, reputable, influential men of the city.
Mr. SHEAFFER is a Pennsylvanian and an old-timer here. Mr. RAUDABAUGH came in ’84 from Ohio. Both are strong, enthusiastic workers for the city, and share the common faith in a grand future for the country. Mr. Raudabaugh is the fortunate owner of Raudabaughs Addition, a valuable property laying on the north side of the city and part of a fine 160 acre tract owned by that gentlemen. Both are largely interested in suburban property and farm lands, have been fortunate in their Ness Counrty investments, make a specialty of buying and selling lands on commission, and invite correspondence concerning this region.
MINER Bros. have a fine list of city and country properties for sale, embracing farms, ranches, wild lands, school lands, undeeded claims, improved and unimproved city property, and give special attention to investments for non-residents, tax-paying, the perfection of titles, abstracts and all other features of real estate business. They are careful, accurate and accomplished business men, of prime intelligence and sterling character, and are among the strong, inspiring, successful workers for the city and county. Their offices in the New National Bank building are models of elegance and convenience and they are among the most accomplished clerical workers and business men I have found in the West. Mr. W. D. MINER is mayor of the city, has a fine home and other investments here, and feels a generous pride in its advancement. Mr. Fay MINER brings to the work in hand, years of thorough training in the clerical service of the Government at Washington. Both were trained to the best business methods and usages in the great banking and loan establishment of L. E. DARROW in Corning, Iowa; are cultivated and courteous gentlemen and hold a strong position in this community.
WETHERBEE & MORGAN are a strong commanding real estate firm and the largest land-holders in the county, having 8,000 acres of good farm lands in their own right. They are handling all classes of country and city realty, are well interested in town property; own a large amount of land in other portions of Kansas, and, as their inventments indicate, have great confidence in the future of this region. Mr. W. B. WETHERBEE of this firm is a Massachusetts man and Col. A. T. MORGAN from Wisconsin. Both are cultivated, genial, and courteous gentlemen and clear-sighted men of the world, whose good opinions of Ness County are all the more quotable because they are familiar with all portions of the country and have complimented this region by permanent investments and location here. Col. MORGAN is an able lawyer of Wakeeney, was formerly in the U. S. Pension service and senator in the Mississippi Legislature. Mr. WETHERBEE has lately built one of the most elegant homes in Western Kansas, and is one of the best business men I remember in the Sunflower State. The firm is strong in character and business capacity and will cheerfully answer correspondence relating to this country.
Mr. J. L. GREEN, one of the squarest and manliest Buckeyes in the western country, has been handling real estate here for a year and a half and likes the country much better than his native state. He has some fine farms, ranches, claims and town properties for sale, looks after investments for eastern people and is a capable and reliable worker in his chosen line. Mr. Green has made a big list of warm friends in Ness County, is here to stay, and will gladly give further information concerning the county. He is a man of fine business sense, as steady and reliable as the tides, and pronounces this a capital country for enterprising young men.
Capt. W. A. OGDEN, successor to the late real estate firm of Herman & Ogden has a good number of farms, ranches, claims and city properties for sale on good terms, and owns a third interest in the new town of Ogdensburg, which was named in his honor. He also owns a valuable stock, ranch; has recently completed one of the finest homes in Western Kansas and is one of the livest land men in the county. Capt. Ogden came here from Rochester, New York in 1879, has served the public with credit one term as county treasurer, is a quick, earnest, enthusiastic and capable business man and pays Ness County a high compliment.
DOWLIN & MORROW, both prime Iowa men, who came here last Spring from Eastern Kansas, are building up a large business in real estate and have for sale a fine lot of farms, ranches, claims and town property. They also make abstracts, perfect titles, pay taxes and make investments for non-residents; are young gentlemen of capital business habits and fine social gifts; are delighted with the outlook for Ness County and have a big list of warm friends. These gentlemen quote deeded lands at $700 to $1,500 per quarter section, and undeeded claims all the way from $200 to 1,000.
Frank L. MILLER & Co., are driving a good business in general real estate, their books covering a large list of farms, stock ranches, homesteads, pre-emption and timber claims, school lands and town properties. They are active, earnest, thoroughly reliable and accomplished dealers, and will be pleased to correspond with parties mediating settlement or investment in Ness County. Mr. Miller came here from Indianapolis in 1886 and is strong in his admiration for the country. Mr. A. F. KIRBERG the junior member of the firm, is an old timer here, having come in 1878 for the improvement of his health. He is a born trader, owns some valuable farms and town property and pronounces Ness County the healthiest and best country of his knowledge.
NAPIER & BONHAM, the former an old Kansan and the latter recently from Iowa, have a large list of lands of every description, both in this county and all over Kansas. They quote Ness County lands at $4 to $12 per acre; have some good lands for sale on seven years time and have lately made a good number of sales to eastern parties. Mr. W. D. NAPIER has been in Kansas ever since the war, and believes Ness one of the best counties in the state. He is a quick, energetic, thoroughgoing executive and reliable man whose opinions of the country are all the more valuable because he has been twenty years a Kansas farmer. Capt. BONHAM is a cautious, conservative, deliberate man of excellent judgment and fully endorses the opinions of his partner. The firm is a strong one and solicit correspondence from parties desiring further knowledge of the country.
Mr. J. W. BROWN, the fortunate owner of Browns Additions to Ness City, has in the 160 acre tract on which his first and second additions are laid, in the northwestern division of the city, a handsome property. In the very heart of these plats, which are already improved with many fine homes, he has a natural mound covering several acres and encircled with a pretty ravine. He has devoted this mound to public uses and it will henceforth be known as Brown’s Park. The ravine is a natural circular roadway, and will be turned into an attractive carriage road. Mr. Brown has begun the improvement of this park and will ornament it with trees, shrubs, plants and blooms, walks, rustic seats and fountains, until he has transformed it into one of the most beautiful and delightful public resorts of the city. It will not only lend new value to his surrounding property, which is rapidly selling at good figures, but be of inestimable value to the whole city. Mr. Brown, who has been city postmaster since the Fall of 1885 has about 1000 acres of farm land in the region, and is altogether delighted with the country. He came in 1878 from Indiana with little means, and has made a fine property against many serious drawbacks, not the least of which has been the rearing of a large family of motherless children. Mr. Brown is a man of prime intelligence, generous impulse and decided public spirit; takes great pride in the advancement of the city and county, and firmly believes in a splendid future for this country.
Messrs, MCCARNEY & BUSICK represent the Western Investment Co., a syndicate of Illinois and Ness City men, who have platted a fine addition on the west side of the city. These gentlemen, who recently came here from Illinois, are a capital acquisition to the real estate forces of Ness City, and have already a fine lot of city and country properties for sale on liberal terms. Mr. Busick is the trading man of the firm, and a live, genial, courteous and most capable man he is. General McCartney, the senior of the firm, is a lawyer of more than local fame, and a gentleman whose mental and moral worth, candor and dignity of character have given him a strong position in this new land of his adoption. Both are greatly pleased with the country, hail from Illinois, and are evidently here to stay. There are other men more or less engaged in the real estate business, and men of excellent standing too; but I shall do no violence to the truth when I affirm that for fair dealing, sterling business character and capabilities, and honest purpose to aid in the development of the city and country of their adoption, the men and firms named in this connection will bear comparison with the land men of any town between the Missouri River and the Golden Gate.
Professional interests of the city are in capable hands. The medical fraternity is worthily represented by Dr. E. B. GREENE, an honored alumnus of the Chicago Medical College, a gentleman of high standing in the profession, and a bright genial Pennsylvanian, whose two years residence here has given him a most favorable impression of the city and county.
Doctors J. W. SCOTT and J. N. VENARD, of the well known firm of Scott & Venard, who took their honors respectively at the Chicago Medical and Rush Medical Colleges, have capital professional standing and are strong popular men in the community. Dr. Scott is a West Virginian, has resided here two years and has only good words for the country. Dr. Venard comes from the land of the Hawkeyes, is an old timer in Ness County and esteems it above all other regions.
Dr. P. V. ROUDIEZ, a Frenchman of fine social, mental and professional culture and a late acquisition to the social and professional forces of the city, worthily wears the honors of well known French and American schools of medicine and surgery, and is delighted with Ness City and surroundings.
The City and County Bar is squarely up to the dignity of its material and commercial surroundings and embraces a good list of men and firms well worthy of membership in a noble and time honored profession. The oldest resident attorney is Sam. A. SMITH, who came to Ness City and hung out his legal shingle in 1878 when there was but a single house on the town site. Mr. Smith is a ready, off hand, brusque, confident, natural lawyer of prime ability, has a big list of friends and a large practice among the old timers; takes a strong hand in county politics; is hearty, cordial and generous; a strong worker for the city and county and one of the squarest Kentuckians that ever voted the republican ticket or led a victorious canvass. He has long lived in Kansas, owns a good amount of city and county property, pays as he goes and swears by Ness County every time. Mr. Smith has recently formed a partnership with Mr. Thomas BERRY, late of Missouri.
John F. WOOD, one of the oldest attorneys in the county, has been practicing law here since the summer of 1879 and is one of the ranking lawyers of this region. He is a bright, brainy, positive, independent man, of strong native legal sense; has a valuable practice and is a man of decided strength and influence in the county. Mr. Wood founded and for seven years published and edited the Ness County Times. He has always been a stalwart worker for the city and county of his adoption; is one of the ablest property owners in the county; has made his money on the spot and never loses an opportunity to say a good word for the country.
STIDGER & REDD is one of the older law firms of the county, having been in practice here since 1879. They are bright, genial, popular, hard working attorneys of sterling ability, have a large and extended practice and rank with the foremost lawyers of this region. Mr. Geo. S. Redd of this firm, is ex-mayor of the city and ex-county attorney. Both are representative Hawkeyes, whose academic training serves them well and whose good opinions of Ness County, I am pleased to reflect in theses pages. They own valuable properties here and are gentlemen of decided public spirit and influence.
LITTLE & IBACH are a strong, though comparatively new, law firm here, and evidently have a most promising future. They are both gentlemen of fine literary and legal attainments, close and critical students of books, men and events, and withal, have the native legal sense and clear discrimination that belong to the make-up of the good lawyer. Mr. E. C. Little took his academic honors at the Kansas State University, made a brilliant record as a student and college tutor, and later as superintendent of the city schools of Abilene and principal of the famous Morris School at Leavenworth, and is a young gentleman of pure literary tastes, high ideals and unusual professional promise. He is city attorney, and has a high opinion of this country. Mr. J. G. Ibach is an alumnus of DePauw University, ex-county attorney for Huntington County, Ind., and a cultivated, genial, self-respecting young lawyer of marked ability and promise. He is a late and valuable acquisition to the local bar, and is delighted with the country.
Gen. James MCCARTNEY, late attorney-general of Illinois, and a lawyer of distinguished ability, long and honorable practice and high repute, has recently joined the local bar, and is already well engaged in the practice. He is a gentleman of fine social and intellectual nature, liberal knowledge of the work, liberal views and high character, and his location here is a well appreciated compliment to the country, the people and the local bar.
C. M. VAN PELT and G. S. RAUDABAUGH, the former an alumnus of and instructor in the National Normal University of Lebanon, Ohio, a bright and scholarly gentleman, and a fine lawyer of several years experience in Kansas practice, and the latter a graduate of Amity College, Iowa, an estimable gentleman, a good attorney and the ranking city justice, have recently formed a law partnership, and have already public recognition as a strong commanding firm. Both compliment the country in high terms.
BURTON & BLACK, the editors and proprietors of the Ness City Times, graduates of Yale University and the Columbia Law School and licentiates of the supreme and federal courts of New York, are also members of the Ness County bar and have the fine social, literary and professional training, not less than the mental and legal gifts and sterling character to honor the profession, if only their time and talents were exclusively given to its service. Other and absorbing business and professional interests have so far prevented their exclusive devotion to legal work for which they unquestionably have eminent fitness. These young gentlemen respectively represent the good old states of New York and Illinois and are pleased with Ness County.
Mr. Atchison MICHELL, a graduate of the Albany Law School, a licentiate of the New York Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and for several years in the law practice at Albany, is a late acquisition to the local bar and has the gifts and experience to lend it decided strength. He is new to his country but entertains a high opinion of its resources and promise, and is here to stay.
Another recent and valuable acquisition local legal circles is Mr. J. R. MCCLEARY, late of Steubenville, Ohio, who comes highly recommended as a lawyer and gentleman and will doubtless make his mark in the profession.
The county attorney, Mr. S. W. PORTER, of whom I have little personal knowledge, is named to me as a lawyer of good natural ability, liberal knowledge of the practice and unusual promise.
The official interests of the city and county are in capital hands and are well and ably represented by men of acknowledged character and capacity. Mayor W. D. MINER, who is already well known to the reader, honors his position as chief executive of the city with zealous, timely and well directed services for its advancement. Messrs. L. E. KNOWLES, R. B. LINVILLE, Roy A. THOMPSON, and F. C. BORTHWICK of the city council, are all representative men and discreet city legislators, of clean hands, honest purpose and untiring effort in the interest of good government. City Attorney Little is the right man in the right place. The City Postmaster, Mr. J. W. BROWN is one of the most courteous, obliging and painstaking federal officers I have met in many a day.
The local railway service is admirably represented by Mr. W. G. GLENN, whose four years experience, uniform courtesy, easy self-command, natural business gifts, genial social ways and thorough devotion to official work, have given him decided strength with the Santa Fe Company and great favor with the public. Mr. Glenn is much pleased with Ness City and handles the business of the most important station on the Santa Fe, between Great Bend and the Foot-hills, with the ease, method, deliberation and exceptional good sense of a connoisseur in railway work.
The County Officials are a fine body of men, whether considered from a clerical, executive or social standpoint. Mr. J. G. ARNOLD, the county treasurer, whose books and general administration of this responsible position, defy criticism and are the admiration of all parties, is a bright, brainy, accurate and thoroughly executive man, the soul of honor, a capital financier and one of the very few men in the county who can lead a democratic canvass to certain victory. He is an old timer here, but young in years, has recently been triumphantly elected to a second term, is a native Kansan, is steadily growing rich in lands and herds and enviable character and swears by Ness County.
Geo. D. BARKER, recently elected to a second term of the county clerkship, by an appreciative constituency, is a faithful officer, true as the needle to the pole, a prime manly New Yorker and an old timer here, and glories in Ness County. Mr. Barber [sic] is an old soldier of fine record, and always makes a successful canvass -on his shape-.
C. P. LYNN, the popular register of deeds, and the only bachelor county officer who ever served two terms without yielding to the seductive charms of matrimony, is evidently one of the best clerical men in the county, for he has served the county with high credit, as clerk of the District Court, and has lately been triumphantly elected to a second term of the registership. Mr. Lynn is an old timer here, hails from Eastern Kansas, and is a number one man and officer. He has made a fine property here, and likes the country.
J. W. CLOUSTON, the incoming sheriff, ex-commissioner, and one of the strongest and most successful men in the county, will make a capital sheriff, or disappoint a host of warm friends. He is good all round, an old settler and a fine citizen, and withal, a warm champion of Ness County.
N. S. CALHOUN, of the well known pioneer mercantile firm of Calhoun Brothers, is handling the clerkship of the District Court with noteworthy ability, and is one of the rising representative, progressive young men of the county, which he esteems beyond all other countries.
L. E. KNOWLES, an efficient member of the city council, and surveyor of the county ever since its organization, is a capital officer and royal man, knows the county like an open book, and never forgets to say good words in its honor.
P. A. ROGERS, the outgoing sheriff, has made an excellent officer and is a genial good fellow, but got on the wrong ticket and lost the race by several laps. He easily won, however, in the matrimonial race, and has settled down philosophically to permanent domestic pleasures that an hundred times discount the empty glory and doubtful gain of politics.
Dr. P. V. ROUDIEZ, the coroner-elect, swept the political field like a Jamaica hurricane, and though a new man to Ness politics, - runs like the very dickens -. The doctor is personally popular and likes the country almost as well as his own sunny France.
Probate Judge Geo. E. NICHOLSON, and County Superintendent of Schools J. M. NUTTLE, are personally unknown to the writer, but they are highly esteemed by a public that well knows how to appreciate and honor personal merit, and are worthily wearing their official honors.
The newspapers of the city are among the very best representatives of county journalism in Kansas, and are able, influential and well conducted exponents of the moral, social, material, commercial and political interests of the county. The Ness City Times, which is the oldest paper in the county, had its origin in the Walnut Valley Times, founded September 20, 1879, at Clarinda, by N. C. MERRILL. It was purchased by John F. WOOD, who removed it to Ness City, January 22, 1880, and christened it the Ness City Times. Mr. Wood continued its publication until November, 1886, when it was purchased by its present owners, Messrs. BURTON & BLACK, who also purchased the Graphic about the same time, merging it in the Times, a name as familiar as a household word to the newspaper fraternity of Kansas, and to a large list of old readers and new, from Ness County to the remotest portions of the country. To say that the publishers have made the Times an able, faithful, inflexible and influential exponent of Republicanism in Ness County, a strong advocate and conservator of every worthy local enterprise and a model local newspaper, bearing in every part the impress of their candor, courage, editorial ability, mechanical taste and extensive journalistic pride, and that it is recognized as one of the best country journals in Western Kansas, is a compliment to their editorial managerial ability, which readier pens than mine have many a time recorded. The owners are entitled to a generous pride in the financial success of the Times, a fortune that falls to the lot of comparatively few country publishers. The Times has a large and growing patronage, and turns out some of the finest job work in the country. Mr. Geo. L. BURTON and Philo C. BLACK, of the Times publishing firm, were classmates at Yale and Columbia, and came to Ness City in 1886, after two years of most honorable service as teachers; the former as a member of the faculty of the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, an academic school of high rank, and the latter as principal of a well known high school in Connecticut. They are cultivated, candid, courteous gentlemen, have one of the finest newspaper offices in Western Kansas, and are warmly remembered by the writer for many an hour of genial and professional hospitality.
The Walnut Valley Sentinel, founded in May, 1886, by MCDOWELL & WEISELL is a democratic journal of marked ability and is recognized as one of the foremost exponents of that political faith in this division of Kansas. Under the editorship of Mr. D. E. McDowell, it has attained a wide circulation and commanding influence both within and beyond its political bailiwick, and its mechanical make-up, which bears the impress of the taste, skill and experience of Mr. R. G. Weisell, is equaled by few journals in Kansas. From early to late, the Sentinel has been a strong, enterprising and influential medium for the material advancement of Ness City and County; has a splendid patronage from the Government Land Office of the district; turns out exceptionally fine job work and, in a liberal sense, is one of the most successful of all the new journalistic enterprises in Kansas. Mr. McDowell is an able and versatile editor and business manager, a political leader and organizer of marked ability, and is recognized as a strong factor in the democratic forces of the county and district. The publishers of the Sentinel hail from Indiana, are courteous, candid, genial and hospitable gentlemen, have capital standing in the community and are well pleased with the country.
The Ness County News founded in November 1884, by Judge J. K. BARND and edited and published by BARND & MCFARLAND, is a staunch republican journal of large circulation and acknowledged influence. The publishers are both old settlers in Ness County, both largely interested in valuable business property and other city and conutry [sic] realty, among which are some of the finest stone blocks in the city, and are bright, intellectual, progressive and influential men, who have done their full share for the material prosperity of the city and county. Judge J. K. Barnd served the county for several terms with marked ability as Judge of Probate, and Mr. R. J. McFarland has the honor of having pioneered in Ness Country some time in advance of any other white settler. The News is a fine specimen of typographical and editorial journalism and holds a prominent position in the newspaper fraternity of Western Kansas.
The three journals above named fairly represent the intellectual status of a city that for mental and social culture and the higher amenities of a refined and progressive social and intellectual order, is not a whit behind the best towns of this class either east or west. In this bright young city of the plains, practically but two years removed from the condition of a cross roads hamlet, and in every part radiant with social and mental brightness, are more than a score of well trained men and women who worthily wear more or less distinguished honors from well known American Colleges and Universities, among whom I shall be pardoned for naming Mrs. Dr. E. B. GREENE, Mrs. Silas W. PORTER, Mrs. W. G. ROBINSON, Mr. J. J. PEARCE, Dr. J. W. SCOTT, Silas W. PORTER, R. H. SAYER, L. E. KNOWLES, G. S. RAUDABAUGH, C. M. VAN PELT, Geo. L. BURTON, Philo C. BLACK. E. C. LITTLE, J. G. IBACH, Geo. S. REDD, Rev. MCCREA, Rev. FINDLAY, Rev. R. C. CHILDS and Rev. F. P. AUGUR. To this list might be added a full score of others made more or less familiar with academic life by one, two or three years of college schooling, besides a good number who hold degrees from well known professional schools, and eastern people who come here with a fancy that only the crudest mental and social conditions obtain, that the men and women of Ness County are of the “Wild West” type, and that they will have an easy take in putting everybody in their shadow, will be quite likely to have the conceit effectually taken out of them in about ninety days. Every Eastern visitor expresses a most agreeable surprise with the extent, solidity, thrift, enterprise and promise of Ness City, and in this connection I am pleased to quote the complimentary opinions of several gentlemen eminently qualified to judge of the relative merits and advantages of Ness City and County.
Judge S. J. OSBORN, the presiding Justice of the 23d Judicial district, whose wide knowledge of the west and especially of Kansas, give value to his opinions, remarked to the writer that he considered Ness, “the banner county of Western Kansas.”
Col. Emery L. WALLER, who commanded the 4th Ohio Infantry in the Mexican war, and held a command in the western army in the late war for the Union, and whose associations with Generals Grant, Shields, Logan and others lend interest to his military life, has recently settled here for the improvement of his broken health and fortune, and pronounces the climate the finest and most healthful of any he has ever known. Col. Waller has led an eventful life, rich in experience of many countries and is a brave, genial, sociable and entertaining gentleman, whose opinions are worthy of the highest regard. He has resided here since 1884, and believes in a grand future for this region.
Mr. J. D. CHILDS, special agent for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Milwaukee, and a businessman of unusual ability and intelligence, whose familiarity with most of the southern and western states give weight and value to his opinions, forecasts for Ness County a most prosperous future. Mr. Childs has recently built a pretty home here and takes a warm working interest in the progress of the city.
Mr. Jesse SHEETS, a wide-awake and thoroughly intelligent Buckeye, whose twenty three years experience as a Kansas teacher, farmer and business man make him a competent judge of the resources and advantages of the country, has - stuck his stakes- planted his roof-tree and built a life home here and speaks in glowing terms of the country.
Chas. F. WHITMORE, a worthy and widely intelligent son of the old Bay state, whose friends at home and in the New West are as thick as leaves in Valambrosia, has done Western Kansas for several years in the interest of the well known and wealthy mercantile house of A. B. SYMNS & Co., of Atchison and is pleased to pronounce Ness County one of the best and most promising of all the newer counties in Kansas. He is a clear-sighted, closely discriminating observer, whose accurate knowledge of men and business lend special value to his opinions and has complimented Ness City by making it his headquarters for commercial work in Western Kansas. I am all the more pleased to quote Charley Whitmore, because no commercial man in the state is more widely and popularly known and none worthier of credence than this bright, genial, courteous and kindly-spirited gentleman, whose nature is brimful of bright humor and whose heart is as big as the world of human sympathy.
So, too, I am especially glad to note the good impressions of Mr. Geo. R. BURTON, a New Haven gentleman of fine intelligence and ripe judgment, whose late visit of several weeks with his son, Mr. Geo. L. Burton, was a continued and most agreeable surprise. Mr. Burton, who is well known, in eastern educational and business circles, assured me that the natural wealth of soil, the beauty of the landscape, the extent and quality of the building stones, the solidity and fine style of many of the new business blocks, the enterprise and intelligence of the people were all sources of pleasant surprise to him, and that he turned to his New England home with a feeling that Ness City and County had a bright and prosperous future.
Another visiting gentleman, Mr. F. G. BRAY, of Honeoye, Ontario County, N. Y., who has recently visited a number of localities in Kansas, with a view to the purchase of farms for himself and some thirty of this neighbors in that beautiful land of lakes, after a careful and thorough investigation of the relative advantages of the several locations visited in Central and Western Kansas, and decided to locate himself and friends in and around Ness City, and has already selected a good number of farms and several thousand dollars worth of city property for purchase. Mr. Bray, who is himself a farmer of ample means, and a bright, intelligent, genial man of capital judgment, is so well pleased with the city and county that he has advised his well-to-do friends to very liberal purchases, and will himself invest several thousand dollars here, a movement which will eventuate in the early establishment here of a numerous and wealthy New York colony. He represents one of the richest farm districts in America, and is here as the trusted agent and representative of men whose means, farm and business experience, intelligence and high character will be a splendid acquisition to the social, commercial and agricultural forces of Ness County. Mr. Bray has made a most favorable impression here, and will find for himself and friends a cordial western welcome to this new and growing country.
Mr. S. A. SHEPARD, the accomplished photographic artist of this city, a gentleman whose familiarity with the country, from the Alleghanies to the Pacific, and whose ready and critical judgment is rarely at fault, has settled here permanently and in company with a brother, recently built the handsome Lion Block, and permanently established his art gallery herein. Mr. Shepard is a genuine connoiseur in this delightful line of portraiture, in which he has few equals, and prefers Ness City to any western town of his knowledge. Nor is he at all singular in this preference. Everybody who comes this way likes Ness City, and they who go away carry with them most pleasant impressions of a bright, radiant, advancing town, in which is not a single sign of decadence, but which from end to end bears the impress of live, rustling, progressive men, and will give no sign of halting, doubting or waiting, till it has compassed a splendid destiny.
As sure as the sunshine and the tides and the rainfall; as sure as the march of empire toward the western ocean; and as certain as the fulfillment of universal hope for a fairer and diviner life to the aching, longing heart of humanity, is the early dawn of the proud day when Ness City shall be the live, glowing and growing central city to a county of 30,000 people. Water works, the electric light, and the Missouri Pacific will all be here the coming summer, and only a little later a dozen new industrial forces that will wake the echoes from end to end of this beautiful county. With a kindly and regretful good-by to Ness City and its hospitable people, we – the reader and I –will drive out among the neighboring farms and farmers that are yet to foster Ness City into fair commanding proportions.
Among the more attractive suburban farms none are more valuable or noteworthy than East End, the 160-acre homestead, settled in 1879 by John R. GARDNER. It lies at the east end of the city, in full view of the elegant Calhoun House, and is improved with a pretty cottage, a fine orchard, some large and thrifty shade trees, small outbuildings, and some well cultivated fields, and is to-day worth $15,000. Mr. Gardner recently sold his adjoining tree claim for the handsome sum of $15,000 and from a penniless homesteader in 1878, is to-day worth double that amount of money. He lives in a new home, and is one of the happiest and most successful homesteaders in the country.
Half a mile further east is Devils Island, the home and 12-acre fruit farm and swine breeding place of A. T. DANN and D. J. STROUB. A pretty cottage, some stables, feed yards, well watered corrals, pretty groves, orchards and vineyards, all on the banks of Dry Creek, make up a charming little country place where these pleasure-loving young business men recreate in a very enjoyable way.
Just south of the city limits, on the picturesque banks of the Walnut, is Stidgers Ranch, the home and 160-acre horse breeding farm of N. H. Stidger, of the well-known law firm of Stidger & Redd. It is all bottom land, superbly watered by half a mile of the clear, winding Walnut River, and improved with a fine stone barn, ample stone sheds and corrals, several miles of stone post and wire fence, an artificial fish pond, well and wind mill, garden and young orchards, and devoted to the breeding and raising of horses, which Mr. Stidger pursues largely for recreation. The owner will build a fine residence in the spring, and make this one of the prettiest, as it is one of the most valuable of all the suburban places near Ness City.
Half a mile to the north of the public school house is R. K. Beymers 160-acre Sunnyside home and farm, a pre-emption claim and one of the smoothest and most desirable suburban farms about the city. It is improved with a pretty cottage, barn, well, corn fields and gardens, and is fast being transformed into one of the prettiest and most desirable suburban homes and farms of the locality. It commands a beautiful view of the city, has fifty acres already under plow, and will soon enough be brought under tribute to scores of elegant city homes. Mr. Beymer is a son of my old and valued friend, the late Geo. W. Beymer, of Afton, Iowa, and a son-in-law of L. E. Darrow, the wealthy banker and loan broker of Corning, Iowa, in whose office he was trained to the banking and loan business, and is an accomplished money-changer, accountant and clerical worker, and a pleasant gentleman. He has recently been called to the presidency of the Bank of Colby, in Thomas County, Kansas, and had a most promising business future.
Adjoining Sunnyside on the north, and if full view of the city is Longview the home and 160 acre stock farm of G. H. Smith, the veteran and pioneer real estate man of Ness City. It is a model farm, improved with a fine cottage and neat stables and will be rapidly embellished with shade trees, young orchards, fences and larger out buildings in keeping with the taste and ample means of the spirited owner. Mr. Smith will stock his farm with well bred horses and cattle and make it a place of pleasant and much needed recreation. He is a man of splendid working gifts and a hard worker both for himself and the county and no man is better entitled to the pleasures and comforts of a delightful suburban home than he.
Two miles northeast of Ness City is the 1,240 acre Glenwood Ranch of N. C. Merrill, Cabel Hazen and Miss Hazen, a beautiful body of graceful rolling prairie and valley land, drained by Dry Creek and improved with ten miles of stone post and wire fence, a pretty cottage, barn and dairy house, thrifty grove, young orchards and fruit yards and extensive sheds for 500 head of cattle. About seventy acres are in cultivation to feed crops and the balance of the estate is devoted to pasturage and meadow. The farm is stocked with 200 cattle of which 125 constitute Mr. Merrills high grade Polled Angus herd, led to two handsome purebred Angus bulls. The balance of the herd are high grade short horns which are bred to pure short horn sires. The attractive feature of the farm is Mr. Hazens Glenwood Cheese Dairy which embraces thirty-five cows and other appointments of a model cheese dairy. Mr. Hazen, who is an old and expert Western Reserve Cheese maker, began cheese making here in 1880 in company with Mr. N. C. Merrill, his son-in-law, and at a time when general agriculture and especially grain growing, was in great doubt through all this western country, these gentlemen found to their great delight that they could make a superior quality of cheese from the native buffalo grass pasture. They began with only eight cows, found a ready sale for their product, gradually increased their stock and soon placed their cheese with the McPherson, Wichita, Lyons and Hutchinson dealers in successful competition with the best Young America and Clover Hill product of the Western Reserve. It found a quick sale at 12 to 18 cents per pound and at once settled the question of profitable cheese making on the old buffalo range of Western Kansas. Mr. Hazen finds ready sale now for his entire product in Ness City at 15 cents per pound and says cheese making in good hands, is by far the most profitable industry that can be pursued in Ness County. Mr. Merrill who is a close observer and one of the most sagacious bankers and business men in the country, assures the writer that nothing pays so well in this region as cheese making; that its general adoption would make Ness County on the wealthiest counties in Kansas; that ten cows in this industry are worth more than $1,000 worth of farm machinery in general farming; that the dairyman always has ready money; honors his bank paper and grows rich in pocket and soils, while his exclusively grain-growing neighbor is generally in debt and constantly depleting his purse and soils. The Glenwood dairy is an unqualified success and the early emulation of the work so well begun by Messrs. Merrill, Hazen and Mooney, by the farmers of Ness County would very soon make wealth, and comfort and independence for themselves and the county.
Johnsons Ranch, the 2,040 acre estate of Hon. J. P. Johnson, is one of the finest country properties in Western Kansas. It lies seven miles southwest of Ness City, on the Walnut River; is all rich valley and bottom land, watered by ten miles of the clear winding Walnut, which is all the way heavily fringed with ash, elm, hackberry and cottonwood timber; and is improved with twenty-five miles of stone post and wire fence, a large and handsome stone residence, large stone barns, stables, sheds and corrals, a dozen living wells, with windmill, water tanks and admirable water works, supplying the purest living water to all the buildings and feed yards; abounds in fine living springs and natural fish ponds and is stocked with 200 head of high grade short horns, which are bred to pure sires and with fifty horses, of which thirty are brood mares which the owner is breeding to his own Norman-Morgan Stallions. Mr. Johnson also breeds and feeds a good number of superior Berkshire-Poland pigs. He keeps 200 acres in crop to corn, oats, millet and sorghum and the rest of this noble estate in pasturage and meadow. The buildings alone cost $5,000. Mr. Johnson came here in 1874 from Rush Country, with little means, has made his entire property in the cattle business and is probably worth today $50,000. He is a natural stockman and used to run from 800 to 1000 cattle on this range. He was the first settler in the township which named in his honor; is the present representative of Ness County in the State Legislature where he has twice served an appreciative constituency with high credit, and is a level-headed, deliberate, candid, manly man of unimpeachable honor, sterling credit and character and is one of the very few democrats in the county who can easily and successfully lead a political canvass. He has a good sized army of warm friends; is delighted with the country; has always been a public spirited and influential worker for the county and lives a most agreeable home life with an estimable family who unite with him in dispensing a generous and cordial hospitality. Mr. Johnson is now seventy six years old, and would like to sell this fine estate and retire from active business life. He is a native of Illinois, and belongs to the race of natures noblemen.
Half a mile further west, on Bluff Creek, is the 280 acre Brookbank stock farm and home of Jas. H. Johnson, a beautiful body of river and creek bottom land lying at the confluence of Walnut River and Bluff Creek. Naturally enough, Mr. Johnson, who is a son of Hon. J. P. Johnson, is a stockman, and devotes his farm to cattle and horses of which he now keeps thirty of the former and twenty of the latter. He keeps a few fine pigs and a nice yard of poultry, has good stone post and wire fence, a cozy stone cottage, ample sod sheds and stables; keeps fifty acres in feed crops; has a mile of river and creek line and some fine native timber; is a live public spirited and manly young farmer and is well pleased with the country.
Adjoining Brookbank on the west is Mr. C. S. Mitchells Bluff Creek Ranch, a fine 160 acre stock farm, all valley land, well watered by the creek and living wells, and improved with stone posts and wire fences, a sod home, sod barn, sod stables, poultry house, well sheltered corrals, young orchards and eighty acres in cultivation to wheat, corn millet, rice-corn, etc. Mr. Mitchell keeps a few good horses, forty high grade cattle, a few choice pigs and some poultry, is a good farmer, hails from the land of the Buckeyes, is a careful, upright, intelligent and thrifty man, has lived here since 1882 and speaks in high terms of the country.
The next farm higher up the creek, is Reasoners Ranch, a choice 240 acre place, watered by the creek and improved with a pretty frame cottage, large sod stables and sheds, thrifty young orchards, a well, wind mill and water tank and good stone post and wire fences. It embraces some nice native groves and half a mile of the Walnut River, is all valley and bottom land; has eight miles of fence and sixty acres in feed crops and is stocked with sixty high grade cattle, a few horses and some model Berkshire pigs. Mr. B. H. Reasoner, the owner of this property, has also a valuable farm in Oregon, has lived in this country since 1873 and made his money here; is one of the careful, thrifty, self sustaining and enterprising men of the county, pays as he goes and is delighted with the country.
Half a mile higher up Bluff Creek, is J. G. Arnolds Pleasant Valley Ranch, another model 160 acre place, watered by the creek and a living well, and improved with a neat stone cottage, extensive stone stables, sheds and corrals and a wind mill, water tank and water works. This pretty valley farm is a recent purchase and is to be devoted to feeding and mixed farming by Mr. Arnold, who is also the fortunate owner of Arnolds Ranch, a fine 1,600 acre tract of rolling prairie and valley land, on Guzzlers Gulch, a dozen miles southwest of Ness City. This ranch is improved with ten miles of stone post and wire fence, is finely watered with one mile of running creek and living springs; has 160 acres in feed crops and is stocked with about 300 high grade cattle, among which are a good number of choice Polled Angus cattle, which are bred to pure sires of the same proud race. The balance of the herd are high grade short horns which are bred to thoroughbred sires. Mr. Arnold is a believer in mixed farming, with cattle and horses as the chief feature. He keeps a few good horses, gives a keenly practical turn to all his farm and ranch work and will carry forward the work of improvement until he makes this place one of the most valuable properties in the county. Mr. Arnold came here from Doniphan County, Kansas, in the fall of 1884 and has been remarkably successful in all his undertakings. He is thoroughly practical and intelligent; an admirable manager and a clear-sighted and honorable man of the world. Got his business and academic schooling at Bryants Business College and the Leavenworth Normal School; is the popular and efficient county treasurer; is in love with the country and has a host of warm working friends and a bright future abundant in further and higher honors.
Half a mile above Mr. Arnolds Pleasant Valley ranch, on Bluff Creek at the base of the Southern hills, lies Mr. B. F. BATCHELORS -Batchelors Ranch- a model tract of 320 acres, all smooth valley and bottoms, improved with six miles of stone post and wire fence, a neat stone cottage, stone cellar and dairy house, ample sod stables an sheds, a young orchard, a well, wind-mill and fine water works, and forty acres in cultivation to corn, millet and other feed crops. Mr. Batchelor carries seventy-five high grade cattle, ten horses, and some well-bred pigs; is a thorough and successful farmer, grows good crops, and has made every dollar of the fine property since his settlement here in 1874. He came here from Michigan to mend his broken health, is now a strong, happy, contented man, swears by Ness County, and is one of the capable representative young men of the country, whose pleasant home circle is kindly remembered for genial hospitality.
Eight miles west of Ness City, at Challacombe Station, on the Santa Fe Railway, is Challacomes Ranch, a splendid 1,920-acre stock farm, dipping with smooth, graceful outline down to the Walnut River. It is admirably watered by living wells, with wind-mills, tanks and water-works, and is improved with a handsome stone house and dairy rooms, a large stone barn, 400 feet of stone sheds, fourteen miles of stone post and wire fence, a model nut-bearing walnut grove and a thrifty young orchard. Mr. Wm. B. CHALLACOMBE, the proprietor, keeps 100 acres in feed crops, and carries 130 head of high-grade short-horns, and 15 horses. He came here nine years ago from the paying-tellers desk of a prominent Leavenworth bank, and surrounded by a refined, cultivated family, pursues the even tenor of a stockmans life on one of the finest ranches in Ness County. Mr. Challacombe is himself a cultivated and accomplished man of the world, and entertains a most favorable opinion of the country.
Seven miles southeast of Ness City is Kinneys Ranch, a magnificent body of bottom and slope land 3,000 acres in extent. It embraces three miles of the Walnut River and 100 acres of fine native woodland; is admirably watered by the river and living springs and wells; has 200 acres in cultivation to corn, millet, rye, sorghum, and other feed crops, and is further improved with fourteen miles of stone post and wire fence, a large and fine stone residence, minor stone outhouses, stone stables, sheds and corrals, and admirably sheltered and watered feed lots, and is one of the most desirable stock farms in Western Kansas. Mr. KINNEY usually keeps about 400 high grade cattle and a few good horses, and is one of the foremost stockmen in the country. He came to Kansas fourteen years ago, from New York, and to Ness County in 1878, and has since been actively engaged in the stock business. Mr. Kinney is a man of dauntless energy, prime executive ability, sterling enterprise and decided public spirit; has been largely identified with the growth and prosperity of the county and is one of the strong representative, progressive men of Ness County.
A dozen miles down the railway and river from Ness City, well towards the east end of the county is Bazine the second town in population and commercial importance in Ness County. It was platted in November 1886, by John E. FARNSWORTH and the Arkansas Valley Town Co., on Mr. Farnsworth’s original homestead -the first farm settled in Ness County- and has a beautiful location on the banks of the Walnut River, in one of the fairest portions of the Walnut Valley, twelve miles east of Ness City; twenty-two miles west of Rush Centre, fifteen miles south of McCracken, and eighteen miles north of Burdette, and has an enterprising population of 250, with local advantages and a tributary country large and rich enough to easily make a town of 1,500 souls.
Among its salient features are the Bazine Register, a live, prosperous and entertaining journal published by A. H. MORRIS & Son; a large and fine stone hotel and public hall; a pretty new church and passenger depot; a new bank building; a flourishing post of the Grand Army; some fine stock yards; a charming natural park; a dozen business concerns, and a good showing of pretty homes. It is a strong trading and shipping point; commands one of the largest and richest farm regions in the county, and has made its rather remarkable growth in a single year. Business and residence lots are selling on very liberal terms, and considering the prime advantages and prospects of the town, are remarkably low; superb building stones are quarried within sight of the town, building sand is abundant, and a full dozen of the finer business houses, homes and shops bear testimony to the elegance of the white and cream and blue limestones taken from the near quarries. Beautiful native groves, with a background of picturesque bluffs and hills on the south; fine reaches of rolling prairie on the north and the broad sweep of the Walnut Valley on the east and west, complete a situation which many an older and larger town might covet.
The railway facilities of Bazine, which, since the founding of the town, have been confined to the Great Bend and Denver line of the Santa Fe system, will be greatly improved the coming summer, by the extension of the D. M. & A. branch of the Missouri Pacific from Larned via Bazine and Ness City to a junction with the main line of that road already running into Pueblo. Such a consummation will give Bazine a new boom and very soon give it high rank among the flourishing railway cities of this region.
Among the live representative business men of Bazine, I name with pleasure Mr. G. D. BICE, who built the first building on the town site, the large Mitchell House and Bice Block, in October 1886. Mr. Bice has ever since conducted a large general merchandise trade in this building, his stocks ranging from $8,000 to $12,000 and his trade reaching close to $40,000 a year. He is a young man of decided enterprise, has been several years in general trade, hails from New York, and is much pleased with the country. Mr. Bice expended $7,000 in the construction of this fine block, and is one of the public spirited, earnest, hard working, capable business men of the city.
Dr. W. W. TICHENOR, who is one of the early settlers of the county, having come here from Iowa in 1874, is also largely identified with the town, having built a fine home and business house within the last year. He has a large and prosperous trade in drugs, books, stationery, fancy goods and kindred merchandise, and is one of the strong, level-headed, enterprising, successful and public spirited business men of the town. Dr. Tichenor came here largely on account of failing health, and holds Ness County in high esteem.
Mr. T. S. MOLESWORTH, the Santa Fe railway and express agent - since the arrival of the cars in December, 1886, and a most obliging young business man, who has the respect and confidence of the entire community - has recently built a pretty cottage here and is pleased to say a great many good words for the town and country. Mr. Molesworth came here from Iowa, and has enjoyed much better health in this country.
Mr. E. A. HOYT, who is conducting a prosperous business in general blacksmithing, repairing and wagon work, is among the enterprising men of the city, and pays a high compliment to the country and climate.
Dr. W. M. JOHNSON, late of Michigan University, a promising young physician and an agreeable gentleman, has recently located here, and is decidedly pleased with the country.
Mr. Wm. MOONEY, one of the brightest young business men of this region, and a live and successful general merchant of this city, is one of the strongest advocates of Ness County that I have found within its borders.
The real estate and loan business is admirably represented at this point by Mr. Fred H. RICE, a wide awake and progressive Massachusetts man, who located here in 1878. Mr. Rice has upon his books and bulletins a good number of fine farms, ranches, town properties and school lands for sale on liberal terms, and will be pleased to correspond with parties wishing further information of the country. He also has a good business in farm loans for eastern capitalists, and makes a specialty of investments and tax paying and collections for non-residents. Mr. Rice is a bright, earnest, capable, cultivated gentleman, is himself largely interested in farm lands and stock raising, is in love with the country, and strong in his praise of its health, climate and resources.
One of the prime attractions of this locality is Farnsworth Park, the pioneer home and 1,760 acre stock farm of John E. FARNSWORTH, the first permanent settler in Ness County. Mr. Farnsworth came to Western Kansas in 1870 and located his homestead and made settlement on the quarter section where Bazine now stands in 1872. Farnsworth Park embraces three miles of the Walnut River, with heavy fringes and groves of native timber and a beautiful natural park, is mainly rich bottom, valley and slope lands and is improved with a dozen miles of stone post and wire fence, and the finest farm buildings in the county, among them a large handsome, well finished stone house and stone barn costing $6,000. The barn is 100 feet square with an open court forty feet square in the centre, into which are openings from the extensive stables on all sides. This fine structure, which is built of heavy cream colored block limestone, is ingeniously divided into scores of stalls for horses, cattle and mules, all opening into the court or hollow square, and into carriage rooms, tool rooms, graneries, store rooms and hay lofts, and has in the court a never-failing well, operated by a powerful wind-mill, which surmounts the metalic roof and which elevates the water into a capacious tank in the upper loft, from which it is distributed by a perfect system of pipes to all parts of the barn, the feed lots, the home, lawn fountains and gardens. This great barn is almost faultless in plan and much the finest I have seen in Western Kansas. The estate is further improved with outside wells and windmills, some fine shade trees, shrubbery and a young orchard and small fruit yard, a flourishing field of alfalfa, and 100 acres in cultivation to feed crops, the balance being devoted to meadow and pasturage. Mr. Farnsworth keeps 150 to 200 superior high grade cattle, which be breeds to pure short horn sires; and commonly keeps from 100 to 400 horses, the brood mares being bred to a fine Clyde stallion, kept here by a company of breeders. He is a born stockman, buys, sells and grows stock on a large scale and has made every dollar of his ample fortune in the stock business in Ness County. Mr. Farnsworth came here from Wisconsin without a dollar, pioneered here for years, when the country was yet swarming with buffalo and antelope and red-handed savages; praved and survived dangers and hardships that drove hundreds of less resolute men out of the country and will pardon the writer for characterizing him as a brave, fearless, frank, manly man, whose high courage, singleness, and tenacity of purpose, strong native sense, clear forecast, rare good judgment and splendid working ability have made his Ness County life a grand success and would have given him rank in any country. He made a capital soldier record in the war for the Union, has taken a strong had in every movement for the advancement of the county; is the leading inspiring worker for Bazine, the town of his own founding; never wearies in praise of a country that has brought him home and fortune and strong friends, and with his estimable wife and daughter, dispenses from a charming home, a gracious and generous hospitality. Mr. Farnsworth is largely interested in Bazine, has the agency of the Town Co. property and will be pleased to confer with parties looking for business openings or investment in this county.
Two miles southeast of Bazine is the 1,200 acre Spring Bank stock farm and home of Mr. Fred H. RICE, who is already well introduced to the reader, It is a fine body of rolling prairie, watered by spring brooks, clear pools and strong springs; has 100 acres in cultivation to feed crops and is improved with a fine stone house, frame stables, wells, wind-mill, water works and several miles of stone post and wire fence. Mr. Rice carries from 100 to 200 head of well-bred short horn cattle many of which are bred from Crane’s thoroughbred Duke sires; keeps twenty to thirty horses, mostly brood mares, which are bred to Clydesdale sires, and has expended $8,500 in farm improvements. He came to this farm in 1878 with little more than $500; has now personal and real property worth not less than $15,000; is one of the enterprising, energetic, intelligent and representative men of the county whose high opinion of the country is already quoted in these columns.
Three miles above Bazine is Mooneys Park, the home and 320 acre dairy and stock farm of Seymour MOONEY, a model tract of first and second bottoms, lying along the Walnut River, by which it is superbly watered. It embraces a mile and a half of the river, with twenty-five acres of fine native timber and a charming tree-embowered park, and is improved with a handsome stone residence, a model stone barn, fine stone stables, sheds and corrals, a frame tool house and finely sheltered and well watered feed yards; has several miles of stone post and wire fence; fruitful gardens, model dairy rooms and cellars; has thirty-five acres in cultivation to corn, potatoes, millet and other feed crops, and like Mr. Rices Spring Bank has a valuable stone quarry. The buildings are of finely dressed cream colored block stone, and cost $8000. The entire place, from the home, dairy rooms, cellar, barn, sheds, yards, and corrals to the remotest pastures, is a model of neatness and good order, and reminds one of a premium farm in the Western Reserve. Mr. and Mrs. Mooney were trained to cheese and butter dairying in New York and the Western Reserve, and settling here eight years ago, when grain growing was considered somewhat uncertain, very naturally took to butter and cheese dairying, and have made it a decided success. They milk fifteen cows, and turn out from $600 to $800 worth of very superior butter and cheese annually, and find a quick market for the entire product in Ness City and neighboring towns, getting 25 cents per pound for the former and an average of 15 cents per pound for the latter. Mr. Mooney pronounces Ness County a better butter and cheese country than New York or Ohio; says he can make more butter and cheese from a given number of cows than in either country on account of the longer and more friendly season of pasturage, and also that the quality of the product is equally as fine, a statement which the consumers of his delicious butter and cheese are hardly likely to gainsay. He has made money and grown independent by the sure ways of this noble industry, and has boundless faith in a grand future for the dairymans calling in this region. Mrs. Mooney, who is a model housewife, and personally supervises and manages every detail of the work; keeps her dairy rooms as neat as a New England parlor, and turns over to the worthy master of the manor golden richly flavored roll of butter and cheese fit for the table of a prince. She is moreover a refined and intelligent lady who loves flowers and plants and literature and like her friend Mrs. Farnsworth, finds time and inclination for their cultivation. Mr. Mooney adds to his dairy work the breeding and raising of good horses and has at the Park, about twenty well-bred high-grade Norman horses, brood mares and colts, the sale of the class of stock adding materially to his revenue. He came here with about $1,400 has made most of these fine improvements has an estate that much less than $10,000 would not buy. Mr. Mooney is a steady, deliberate worker and capital manager and farmer; has a clear head and warm heart, daily demonstrates the sublime philosophy of content on a beautiful farm and in a most inviting home from which himself and his cultivated lady dispense a refined and gracious hospitality. It is needless to add that both are delighted with Ness County.
From this beautiful riverside farm and home, I want to take the reader across the country to the new town of Harold, a pretty village located on the banks of the Pawnee River and in the heart of the beautiful Pawnee Valley, fourteen miles south of Ness City. It was founded in May 1886, by the Harold Town Co. of which W. D. MINER was president. The present officers are W. N. DILLEY, president and J. L. FINDLAY, secretary. The town has a faultless location on a pretty plateau overlooking the river and valley, is surrounded by one of the fairest and most fertile valley regions in Kansas and like Bazine, has an admirable water supply, living wells being easily and cheaply obtained at a depth of twenty-five and thirty feet. Here too, as at Bazine and Ness City, there is no end of superb white and cream colored building stones and fine building sand. What was a wild prairie in the midst of Mr. W. N. Dilley’s farm little more than a year ago, is now the scene of busy village life, the evidences of which are the handsome stone Town Co. building and town hall; the pretty new M. E. Church, half a dozen business buildings, a large stone livery barn, the stone post office Record building, the Harold House, a feed mill, several shops and a group of pretty cottage homes.
Among other noteworthy features of the new town, is an excellent school, now held in the church, but soon to be provided with a fine school building; a well sustained literary society, and the Harold Record, a capital local newspaper founded last year by my old friends MCHUGH and BALL and now owned and conducted by Robert FINDLY Sr., an old settler here and a capable obliging gentleman.
The needs of the town are a good hardware store, a skilled blacksmith, a practical tinner, a harness and saddlery shop and a railway. That a railway is sure to come up this broad and fertile valley at an early day, is patent to every one familiar with the country and railway movements in Western Kansas. The D. M. & A. (Mo. Pacific) is leading out in all good directions. The Santa Fe hold the valley of the Buckner and Walnut on either side and would like to hold the Pawnee. The Rock Island is fast covering all the good territory not already occupied; the B. & M. of Nebraska want to come this way and Frisco is rapidly pushing west and want the best line possible. The Fort Smith road is looking in the same direction and Harold will get one or two of these lines and then she will boom; she cannot well help it. The country is too large and rich, and the people already here are not asleep. Harold is made up of first-rate people - kind, moral, sociable, hospital, law-abiding and intelligent people, good enough and bright enough for any country. I confess to a cordial liking for them, and in this am not at all singular. Mr. W. N. DILLEY, the president of the Town Co., and the owner of a pretty home and model farm hard by the town site, is a No. 1 man, good enough for any city. He owns 480 acres of fine farm land, pays his debts, keeps the village post-office, works like a Trojan for the town, sells lots surprisingly cheap, has a genial social nature and a level head, and belongs to the company of Christian gentlemen. Mr. Dilley likes the country, and comes from the good old State of Illinois.
His partner in the real estate and loan business, Mr. J. L. FINDLAY, the genial secretary of the Town Co., is one of the bright, square and manly men of the county, belongs to - oldest settlers - and is the city Justice.
Mr. A. P. CONNOR, the owner of the stone livery and feed and relay stables, came here from McPherson County half a dozen years ago, is delighted with the country, and is one of the manliest men in the kingdom.
Mr. Gross LONGENDYKE, who runs the general store and feed mill, and is cutting hundreds of stone posts into elegant shape for embellishing the grounds of residents in the neighboring cities, has sailed in all seas and run into half the ports of the world, and after hunting buffalo and ranching it out here for a dozen years or more settled down at Harold for life. He is genial and jolly and generous, and has lots of friends.
J. M. DILLEY, the wide-awake general merchant, who has been in trade here since the town started, and is another prime business man and citizen, likes this country better than his native Keystone State. Mr. Dilley has lately moved into his fine new store, and commands the situation.
Perry MCWETHY, an intelligent and genial New Yorker, who came here several years ago from the Western Reserve, owns the Harold House and runs it in a right pleasant and hospitable way. He is full of kindly humor and joins a pleasant family in high compliments for the country.
Whoever wants to buy a choice farm or stock ranch in this charming valley, or buy a city lot or go into business, or get a loan on his farm, or find out all about the country, will hit the mark by calling on DILLEY & FINDLAY, a couple of square and trustworthy real estate agents, if there are any in the Sunflower State.
A comfortable daily stage passes Harold for Ness City and Jetmore, but that is unimportant, for they will have a real, full-fledged, live railway soon enough, and then everybody can take a Pullman sleeper at Kansas City and wake up at Harold next day and bless their eyes with the sight of a beautiful country.
One of the local attractions is J. L. FINDLAY'S 160 acre Riverside Farm, a splendid body of second bottoms superbly watered by the clear waters of the Pawnee River. Mr. Findlay has clean, rich, level grain fields, a neat stone cottage, stone stables and cellars and dugouts for all sorts of purposes; and great pools of water whose clear blue depths reflect pretty ash and elm groves and picturesque bluffs. He keeps some fine well bred mares and colts, and a well fashioned Norman sire and a bunch of nice cows; runs a neat little dairy and lives a most pleasant life with an interesting family and never forgets to say a good word for the country.
The DILLEY Farm too, of which mention has already been made, is as fine a 480 acre tract as a crow ever flew over. It lies all around the town and is improved with fine stone buildings and stocked with choice horses and good cattle. Mr. W. N. Dilley believes in good horses, and likes this valley better than his native Illinois.
Harold has a future and a bright one, but I must say my good bye and run down to Riverside, a nice little hamlet just eight miles east of Harold and fifteen miles southeast of Ness City. Riverside has a delightful location too, and from its smooth elevated plateau, looks out upon one of the loveliest valley views in the country. The clear, swift waters of the Pawnee flow hard by the town and the water supply is exceptionally fine. Building stones and sand are abundant and equal in quality to any in the country. The tributary farm country is fair and fertile as an oriental garden, and the neighboring farmers raised the best corn crops in the county this year. They always raise good crops here. Many of the farmers are Germans and they handle their lands like men who loved and revered the noble calling of Cincinnatus. They are men of all work and no play and are growing rich in lands, nice cozy stone homes, barns and sheds and thrifty orchards, groves and live stock. Riverside has a neat little hotel kept in capital shape by Mrs. H. C. WILLIAMSON, an intelligent and estimable Massachusetts lady, who likes the country because it has renewed her health. The pioneer merchant, Mr. J. B. WHITLEY, began general trade here in 1885, two years before the town was laid out, and has built up a large and prosperous business. He came from Brooklyn, N. Y., is a bright business man and a close observer, and believes in a fine outcome for the country.
Mr. J. C. LOHNES, the live, rustling land and loan agent of Riverside, and a native of Germany, has lived here since 1878 and believes there is no better or more promising region in Kansas.
The new town was platted in the spring of 1887 and has now Mr. WHITLEY's general store, Mr. J. C. LOHNES real estate and loan office, Mrs. H. C. WILLIAMSON'S Riverside hotel, two or three shops, a large and well built school house, an excellent public school and some neat cottages. Mr. Lohnes, who is agent for the Town Co., is selling building lots all the way from $25 to $150 and offers special and very liberal inducements to actual settlers and builders. There are good openings for nearly every line of business and mechanics here and the tributary country, especially on the north, east and south, is large and productive enough to take care of a good sized town. They will build a church and several other structures here the coming summer and have strong hopes of one or more railways in the near future. Like all the Pawnee Valley towns, their railway prospects are remarkably good. The town is surrounded with a thrifty farm community, part Germans and part Americans, but all men of exceptional industry, whose neat stone building, nice young orchards and groves, well cultivated grain fields and prosperous herds, are an earnest of almost promising future for all this region.
Mr. A. W. MILLER, an intelligent New Yorker, who came here in 1887, has a royal valley farm near the village, his stone cottage, nice outbuildings, wind mill, wells, water works, gardens, orchard and grove and well fed stock, reminding one of a model New York country home. It is a riverside farm as neat and clean as a garden.
Mr. A. SHEIDEMANTLE, a money-making German, has 800 acres of fine slope and valley land near town, with extensive stone sheds and corrals, a beautiful ten acre grove, 160 acres in corn and other feed crops, and 100 head of cattle and horses.
Chas. ROTH, who is also a thrifty German and came here in an early day, has 320 acres lying against the town site and his neat stone buildings, fine groves, young orchard, herds, elegant garden and fine grain fields, would attract attention in any country. It is a model valley farm. Mr. Fred Roth, his son, also owns a beautiful valley farm, hard by the town, and handles his herds and fields and tree-planting like a thrifty and progressive man who believes in a future for this country.
Mr. A. REINERT has a 320 acre place adjoining the village on the west, with a remarkably fine group of stone buildings and groves, orchard, grain fields and live stock that would honor any county in Kansas. All of these gentlemen are greatly pleased with the country; all are old settlers here; all model farmers and prime progressive citizens.
Mr. J. C. LOHNES, the tireless and enterprising land agent already named, has, too, a handsome farm on the high prairie overlooking the village, and has improved it with a neat stone cottage, stables and wells, and will plant a grove and orchard the coming spring.
Every man named in this connection has made his means on the spot; all came here poor, and all are steadily growing in home comforts and independence. Mr. LOHNES, or the veteran merchant Mr. WHITLEY, who is village postmaster, both obliging and thoroughly reliable gentlemen, will gladly answer further enquiry about Riverside and this delightful valley country.
If the reader will join me in a run by rail from Ness City westward sixteen miles to Beelerville, we will take a familiar look at men and things in that live young town, say our bye-bye to the dear public, and close our Ness County Hand-Book. Beelerville was platted in March, 1887 by the Arkansas Valley Town Co., and is jointly owned by that great corporation and by Messrs. E. E. BEELER, J. F. BEELER and Geo. S. REDD. It has a fine location on the banks of the Walnut River, and a commanding plateau overlooking the Walnut Valley. It is midway between Ness City and Dighton, has a large and productive tributary country, and is sure to grown into a fine town. It has already made a remarkable growth for a single season, and has now such substantial proofs of town life as a pretty railway passenger and freight depot, the large and exceptionally fine stone Beeler House, with its abundant hotel accommodations and stores, a full dozen new business houses, livery barns, mechanic shops, homes &c, &c., and 150 wide awake people. The cars came last May, and all there is of the town has come into being since that time. They have fine building stone, good spring water in abundance, good building sand, a cornet band, a village lyceum, a company of live business men, and will soon have a church and schoolhouse. Ample preparation is being made for a busy building season next year.
Among the substantial business men of Beelerville, are Mr. J. F. BEELER, the agent of the Town Co., and a prosperous and enterprising general merchant, who is driving a good trade and offers the speculative, building and business public business lots for $125 to $150, and residence lots at $40 to $75. Mr. Beeler hails from Doniphan County, Kansas, and is a careful and solid merchant.
Mr. H. D. STARRETT, the successful hardware merchant, comes from the Hawkeye country, and is a strong man here.
Mr. D. RINELY, a leading and successful grocery merchant, is also an Iowa man of character and good business qualities.
O. P. RINELY, another enterprising representative of the Hawkeye kingdom, is doing a good business in flour, feed and grain.
Bird GEE, an intelligent and level-headed Doniphan county man, runs the village market, and is the fortunate owner of a neighboring farm. Jas. H. JOHNSON, the owner of Brookbank Stock Farm and already introduced to the reader as a substantial and enterprising stockman is a partner of Mr. Gee in the market business.
Elmer E. BEELER, one of the founders of the town and a bright, generous and public-spirited young business man, handles the entire coal trade of the town, is an active dealer in real estate and farm loans, hails from Doniphan County, Kansas, and will be pleased to give further information concerning this city and county.
John BRINK, late of Topeka, gives the new city one of the features of a metropolis, by his well-conducted tonsorial parlors.
J. I. NICHOLSON, an enterprising young Hawkeye, is driving a good business in the livery, feed and flour trade.
Samuel LOFLAND, the village blacksmith, and a No. 1 mechanic, is an honorable representative of Illinois.
Ebert GOREHAM, one of the leading general merchants and the owner of a good farm, hails from Iowa, and worthily represents that noble commonweath.
Aug. BROCHER has recently built and stocked a nice drug house, and represents the genial side of life in old Missouri.
Mr. HATHAWAY, the good-natured medicine man of the town, is a late acquisition from the East.
Mr. B. BEELER, the builder and owner of the elegant new Beeler House, the builder and manager of the old pioneer sod Beeler House, and an old settler and stockman in this neighborhood, hails from Doniphan County, and is one of the squarest men that ever turned a furrow in the Walnut Valley.
All the men named are cordial, earnest workers for the town. Most of them own neighboring farms, are well identified with the country, and speak in the most confident terms of its future. There are good openings here for a bank and newspaper, and indeed almost every line of business. It is plain to see that Beelerville has a bright future and that its growth is likely to be rapid and substantial.
Nonchalanta, in the southwest corner of the country, represents a splendid valley country, and though not a railway town is soon likely to be, and is already a good sized town with a bright newspaper, a dozen business houses, and other signs of prosperity.
Along the D. M. & A. Railway, in the northern part of the county, are all flourishing villages, and all environed with a royal tributary country, and rapidly growing in population and commerce.
While Ness County is a grand and beautiful country, eminently worth of every good word bestowed by the writer and citizens named in these pages, like every new country it has its drawbacks, and the candid journalist will not hesitate to make a note of them. The countny [sic] teems with loose and superficial and wasteful farming, and it is a compliment to its rich soils and friendly climate that men can live here on the proceeds of such husbandry. They have drouth and hot winds and occasional crop failures here, but they are no more a match for the devasting drouth and scorching heat, and withered crops of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and other Eastern States, this year, than old Mother Partingtons broom was a match for the sea. The appalling waste of farm machinery in this country, by exposure to the sunshine and storms, with scarcely an effort at housing or shelter, would bankrupt the farmers of a less favored country in two years. The exposure of the herds and flocks to the occasionally severe storms of winter, without an effort to provide shelter, in a country where the elements of cheap and perfect protection abound on every ranch and range, is a withering burlesque on the Christianity, humanity and economic views and habits of the herdsman. The waste of the valuable barn yard and feed lot manures, whose rich accumulations are generally dumped into the nearest wash out or ravine, is a strange commentary on the agricultural life of the country, There is now and then a blizzard sweeping down from Manitoba, that defies successful competition; but it is quickly over, and leaves the people all the higher appreciation for one of the finest climates in America. There are two [sic] many big 600, 800, 1000, 2,000 acre farms for the good of the country, but immigration and higher land values, and better farming, will soon enough break these large estates into smaller farms. The people are too speculative, the average farmer and householder prefering dicker in town lots, ponies, claims, old trumpery, and anything that has commercial value, to steady work on the farm or in the orchard and garden, but time and immigration will remedy this weakness, as they do most of the drawbacks of all new countries. In spite of all these and many another drawback, the worst of which is the large number of nomadic, changeful people who are never quite satisfied with any country; in spite of everything, Ness County is steadily and surely marching on to a splendid destiny, and I cannot better close these notes of one of the finest counties in the Sunflower State than by quoting from my late Hand-Book of an older county, the words most fitting to this newer and even more promising country. Ness County has a splendid future. Farming is done with half the labor required in the older states. The climate is delightful, the soils are inexhaustible, the grasses are unrivaled, and the waters are pure. Ness County is no dreary waste from which men may turn with a sense of loneliness and desolation, for its plateaux are as fair as the plains of Lombardy, its valleys lovely as the fabled Eden, and the sunlight falls upon its matchless landscape as softly as on the limpid waves of Naples Bay. For the idealist it has poetry, and for the sterner materialist rich fields of conquest. It is a great destiny to live in a land where Apollo might tend his flocks and Sappho turn dairy-maid, singing her sweet songs in the shadows of the blue mounds - a land where the practical and ideal go hand in hand to make the perfect life.
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Tom & Carolyn Ward / Columbus, Ks / firstname.lastname@example.org / KS State Coordinators
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