CATO postoffice, named by E. J. Boring, first postmaster, in about 1858, located on what is now the county line between Bourbon and Crawford counties, in N. W. 1/4 Sec. 25, T. 27, R. 24
Captain Rogers, who was killed during the war by the bushwhackers, bought out Mr. Boring and was the next postmaster. After Captain Rogers' death Peter Smith became postmaster and inherited by marriage the Rogers property.
The postoffice was not moved until 1869 or 1870, when George W. Fowler was appointed postmaster and moved the office to the present site of Cato.
The first lodge in Cato was the Masonic Lodge, organized about 1872, with William Simpson master. This lodge is now consolidated with Godfrey and meets at Pawnee. There was an Eastern Star in connection with the Masonic lodge, with Mary Fowler as matron. The next lodge organized was the A. O. U. W., in 1883, with John W. Odom as master and J. H. Brown past master, which was removed to Topeka. This lodge still meets at Cato, and has a D. of H. lodge also.
First church organized at Cato was a Missionary Baptist church organized in 1871, with Israel Harris as pastor. This church was organized with eight members. Mrs. Chad Brown was the first member baptized into the church. Two other churches have been organized and gone off from this church, viz.: Farlington and Drywood, and the Cato church has now a membership of 101 and has preaching twice a month. The Christian denomination had an organization at Cato for several years, but has no organization now. Rev. Wilson was the first pastor. The Church of God had an organization at one time, but have no organization at Cato now. The first school house, located on Chad Brown's farm, was a small log house without a glass window, a door in the south and a log sawed out in the north for a window. Mr. Emery Conditt taught the first school. Mr. C. H. Strong organized the first Sunday school in Crawford county in the school house, with Miss Wilcox, the teacher of the school at that time, to assist him.
The present Cato school house was built in 1869. This is a stone structure still in a fairly good state of preservation. This served as school house and meeting house until 1881, when the Baptist church was built.
The Cato mill was built by Robbins and Steele in 1868. This was the first mill in Kansas south of Ft. Scott. It was both a grist and saw mill. People came from far and near to this mill and a hundred teams have been seen here at a time waiting for their grists. The stores were owned by George W. Fowler and Peter Smith. Mr. Fowler moved to Arcadia and the Smith store is still run by Smith's niece, Miss Evelyn Smith to whom he gave the store at his death.
Andy Linthicum had the first shoe shop. Afterwards Mr. Allen and then Isaac Barker had shoe shops. William Telcamp had the first harness shop.
William Shamblin had the first blacksmith shop. He sold out to B. C. Redlon.
BONE CREEK rises about two miles southwest of Garfield school house.
DRYWOOD rises three miles northwest of Farlington. Bone Creek empties into Drywood about two miles east of Cato. First county bridge in township was across Bone Creek, a mile and one-half east of Hatch school house.
ENGLEVALE was so named because located on Dan Engle's farm in 1891. The Missouri Pacific Railroad was built in the summer of 1891, no bonds were voted for it, and it ran in in 1892.
Lincoln township is rich in coal deposits. Many strips are worked and there is a three or four-foot vein of coal found at a depth of 150 to 250 feet.
J. F. Joy visited Cato during the Leaguer troubles. My grandfather, Colonel Jewell, was killed during the war, and the commission to intercede for the Cherokee strip was appointed after the war.
Woolery Coonrod, Sr., was about the earliest settler, coming in 1856, Elisha Black, Sr., coming about the same time. E. B. Black, his son, was the first white child born in Lincoln township. E. B. Black still lives at Cato. H. B. Brown moved on a farm north of Cato in 1862. Ezekiel Brown and his two sons, I. K. and Chad, moved to Cato in 1865. I. K., Chad and Ezekiel Brown owned patents Nos. 1, 2 and 3. I. K. and Chad Brown still reside on this land.
Other early settlers were: John Hale, Sr., Jacob Workman, still living, Benjamin Workman, Levi and Sam James, James Odom, Crede Burton, Elihu Talcott, Mr. Pearson and his sons Riley and William, Levi Hatch, E. J. Boring, N. Sawyer, Jones Elliott, Mr. Franklin and sons William and Jerry, Spencer Reynolds.
Among the Cato boys who have gained some distinction may be named J. S. West, who was judge of the Sixth judicial district, afterwards assistant attorney general. Arthur Fuller of Girard, one of the best lawyers in the county. J. M. Humphrey of Ft. Scott, a leading attorney of Bourbon county. Albert Ross, one of the leading politicians of Jewell county and a member of the board of regents of the State Normal School; O. C. Brown, now attending Theological Seminary at Newton Center, Massachusetts; L. L. Smith, a successful Baptist preacher of Oklahoma. George E. Cole was the youngest county clerk in the state when elected in 1883. He afterwards served as state auditor six years; is now secretary of Illinois Life Insurance Company at Topeka. Hiram Barker, a physician in Oklahoma, and Hugh Scott, who is also a physician in Oklahoma.
Pages 52-55 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Chelsea Clark and other students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, in September, 2002.
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