Centre Township was organized October 21, 1866, out of the western portions of Washington and Burr-Oak townships. The surface is mostly rough and broken, especially those portions lying north and east of Troy. Much good, comparatively level land lies in the western portion. Three streams find their source near the center of the township. They are: Mosquito creek, Peter's creek, and Cottonwood branch. The township contains 61 square miles, and some of the finest vineyards and berry fields in the county are within its boundaries.
The first marriage in the township was that of John Granfield and Nancy Jane Edwards, which occurred on Christmas Day, 1854, the ceremony being performed by Rev. S. M. Irvin, of the Mission. At that time there were only four families in the neighborhood, but all were invited to the wedding, and of course "everybody was there."
The first death occurring in the township was that of N. Carter, who died of cholera, September 8, 1856.
Rev. H. Maxwell, a Methodist minister from Doniphan, held the first religious services in the fall of 1856, at the home of H. Calvert.
One of the first saw mills in the township was built at Lafayette, in 1856, by a man named Lyman; but it ran for a short time only.
Early in 1867 Mrs. Brown taught the first school in Troy.
In the same year J. F. Kotsch kept a small provision store on his place on the old trail just south east of town.
The township has three railroads and about 25 miles of track.
Three brothers, Jacob, John and Lewis Zimmerman built a threshing machine at their home south west of Troy, in the early sixties. The machine was made up of the good parts of many old and worn out machines so well put together that it gave good satisfaction. The brothers threshed nearly all the grain in the neighborhood with this machine. In those days the capital of a corporation would have been required to purchase a new threshing outfit, but the patience and ingenuity of these men gave to the neighborhood a "separator" almost as good as new. The fact of the machine's being constructed of the bones of old machines gathered from all points of the compass did not worry the farmer, because the work done by it was quite satisfactory. The Doniphan county man has always been resourceful. Whatever he stood in need of he was bound to have. If he could not buy it, he made it, whether it were a threshing machine or a ten-penny nail.
Grace Bedell, the little girl who asked Abraham Lincoln to let his whiskers grow, grew up and was lost to public view until John Carrol Power, a Doniphan county man owning the "Bony" Wood place near Troy in 1868, discovered her at Delphos, Kansas. She was married to a Mr. Billings.
A Mr. Newton was cleaning out a ninety foot well on the Ab. Kent farm near Troy, in July, 1867. When he was about ten feet from the bottom the well caved in on him and held him fast. A great many people gathered around to dig out the supposed dead man. They worked about twenty five hours at the end of which time Mr. Newton was taken out conscious, and with the exception of a few bruises, sound and well.
On Monday afternoon, April 29, during the heavy rain which fell here, a terrible whirlwind, or tornado, passed over a narrow strip of country between this place and Wathena. The wind covered a track of not more than fifty or sixty feet in width, and its power was most fearful, and its effect destructive. The new frame house of a family named Doms living some three or four miles down the Wathena road, and a house near by belonging to a Mr. McClellan, were completely blown away. All the children of the Doms family were more or less injured though not seriously, but Mrs. Doms received injuries from which she died on the morning of May 3, 1872. - Troy Reporter.
In March, 1875, a wild cat weighing 40 pounds, measuring four feet two inches from tip of nose to end of tail, was killed on Mosquito creek.
James N. Gibbons, a resident of this township, is one of the few men now living in the county who saw the great flood in the Missouri river, in the spring of 1844. He was then a boy of nine and witnessed the flood from the Missouri shore.
October 6, 1881, a prominent citizen of Troy had a fine blooded boar at the Fair which for size and other good qualities, took several premiums. The animal was literally decked with blue ribbons from ears to tail. At the close of the Fair the owner started to drive his pork home, with a rope tied to his hind leg. Just as they got on the bridge crossing the railroad, a freight train came thundering along underneath. The hog made frantic efforts to run, and the owner braced himself and held on, the rope wearing blisters on his hands. As the caboose passed from underneath the bridge, the hog gave a loud, "woosh," and leaped off, falling flat upon the hard track twenty feet below, and bursting himself like a rotten pumpkin. "O, God! there goes my hog," exclaimed the proprietor of the remains, as he gazed below, upon the shapeless mass of sausage meat, bristles, and blue ribbons. - Sol Miller.
On the 12th of October, 1855, the townsite of Troy was located by three commissioners appointed for the purpose by the Territorial Legislature. A few days later a survey was ordered, and eighty acres of land were laid off into town lots. The lots were offered for sale December 15th, of the same year, according to one re-port, while according to another report, the sale was not held until January 1st, 1856.
Troy not being closely surrounded by the best farm lands, has never been an advantageous point for the buying and shipping of grain. During the '60s there was no railroad, and after the building of the two roads in 1869 and 1870, the town found herself in the race with many of the young and vigorous rival towns situated in the heart of the richest and best farm lands in the state. The first history of our county, published in 1868, said of of Troy: "That it will make a great city is not expected, but that it will maintain itself as one of the first towns of the county cannot be doubted." Time has proved that the early historian had his glasses properly adjusted.
It is said that the town narrowly escaped being named Saltillo. The commissioners who located it in 1855 promised to leave the naming of it to the lady with whom they were boarding; but when they selected the above name, the men winced and began to weaken. After a great deal of circumlocution they broke their promise, and substituted for Saltillo the name of Troy. The excuse they offered for the substitution was that they were poor spellers and quite unable to spell Saltillo without looking on the book. The Trojans may thank the commissioners for this; for, had the town received the Mexican name, sooner or later, the pet name of "Sal" or "Sally" would have been fixed upon it.
The town lacks only two miles of being the geographical center of the county.
According to Smith and Vaughan, and Bird, the first house, a frame building, was erected in 1855; but Sol Miller's historical edition of the Chief states that the "first house erected in Troy was by Nelson Rodgers, in the spring of 1856." Take your choice.
The stake marking the location of the county seat was driven within a few feet of where the court house is now building. On one side of the stake was written the names of the commissioners with the date of locating, while on the other side was inscribed: "The County Seat of Doniphan County on this quarter section."
Troy has been the home and birthplace of ten newspapers. Late in 1858, the first paper, the Democrat, by Joseph Thompson, began its existence which, however, was very brief. The second was the Dispatch, established in the fall of 1860, by J. W. Biggers. It lived for about a year. The third was the Doniphan County Patriot, a Jim Lane paper, edited by E. H. Grant. It began in April, 1862, and continued about two years. The fourth was an anti-Lane paper, the Investigator, started in 1864, and edited by H. C. Hawkins. It was short lived. The fifth was the Doniphan County Soldier, established 1865. it soon marched away. S. H. Dodge was its patriotic editor-in-chief. The sixth venture was the Reporter, established in 1865, by Joseph H. Hunt. In 1867 it was removed to Wathena. The seventh was the Doniphan County Republican, established by C. G. Bridges, 1868. This paper changed hands many times, and in 1875 was gobbled up by the Chief. The eighth was the Chief, which came down from White Cloud in July, 1872, and which is still reigning. The ninth was a second venture of C. G. Bridges, the Bulletin, began in 1877. It lasted about two years. The tenth, and latest up to date, was A. W. Beale's Times started in 1886. After a "checkered" career it was absorbed by Pool Grinstead's Times at Wathena, about 1900.
The first store was operated by Head and Earle, in 1866.
One of the very first lawyers was Capt. A. Head, who tacked up his shingle in the same year.
Two pioneer carpenters are named by the historians - A. Simonson and C. Calvert.
A post office was established in 1856, with Captain Head as postmaster. The Captain never had the opportunity to read postal cards as they were not in use at that time. Other early postmasters were: C. Leland, Isaac Powers, George Wheeler, A. B. Burr, Antone Brenteno, and Daniel Bursk.
Conners and Howell were the first to don the white apron to administer to the wants of the thirsty.
The first hotel was opened by John Wilson, about 1857.
The first resident physician mentioned in the histories, was Dr. Payne, who arrived with his blue pills and black plasters in 1858.
J. B. Maynard organized the first Sunday school in 1859, and was the first superintendent.
The first shoe shop was opened in the same year by John Frank Kotsch.
The first court house, which Sol. Miller called a "brick barn" was erected in 1859, and was destroyed by fire in March, 1867. In 1868, after bitter county seat war, another courthouse was built near the rains of the old one. In 1870, an $800 jail was built near the court house, and is still in use. Until the building of the jail, prisoners were confined in the lower story of the court house.
Joe Nixon's cannon which stood in the court house yard for so many years was captured by Union men from Elwood from Jeff Thompson's soldiers in Missouri. Nixon bought it and brought it to Troy.
In the winter of 1862-3, two Jayhawkers, "Whitehead" and "Ridley", received their deserts at the hands of two citizens. Both were fatally shot, Riley dying immediately, while Whitehead, who was taken out of town by some friends, lived for some time.
The Presbyterian church, which was begun in 1864 and finished in 1865, at a cost of about $2,500 was dedicated, Jannary 1, 1866, the services being conducted by Rev. F. E. Sheldon, who remained as pastor until 1871.
Early in 1866 a brass band was organized.
The first Methodist church was incorporated in 1866. For a time the court house and the school house had been used for preaching and meetings. The first preacher was Rev. A. Bennett, of Wolf River township, in 1858.
Troy Lodge, A.F. & A.M., was organized February 4, 1867.
A brick school house was begun in 1867 and completed two years later. Prior to the erection of this building there had been a small one story house of a single room in which the school had been taught by F. Brown. A few of the early teachers in this school are here named: Lyman, Emmons, Barett, Woodworth, Daughters, Rose, Dinsmore, Cochran, Thompson. A third building now in use was erected a few years ago, and the town has good reason to be proud of it.
Troy Lodge, No. 38, I.O.O.F., was organized September 23, 1868.
In 1869 or 1870 David Morse began the manufacture of brooms.
N. B. Wood came to Troy in 1869, and bought 67 acres of land. He commenced his orchard in 1871, when he set out 600 trees. The next year he set out 2,000 more. Ten years later, 1882, he had 160 acres of land and 13,000 trees, 11,000 of which were bearing fruit. Of these, 1200 were Ben Davis, 4500 Wine saps, 1000 Missouri Pippins, 2000 Rals Jenet, or Gennettings; 500 Rambo, 750 Willowtwigs, and 250 Dominie. The remainder was made up of Jonathans, Bellflowers, Russets, etc. It was estimated that be raised and sold more than 10,000 bushels of apples that year.
In 1870 the first bank was opened by Henry and Louis Boder. Their place of business was a frame building which was destroyed by fire in 1872, and which was replaced by the present brick buiiding.[sic]
Dr. F. C. Hoffmeier the first homoeopathic physician in the county, began his practice here in 1871.
At a fire in town in April, 1872, the women formed a "bucket brigade" and helped save the town. Credit for heroic work was given to the following ladies whose names were printed in the White Cloud Chief: Miss M. E. Strahan, Miss Julia Blakely, Mrs. Otto, Miss Siglitary, Mrs. Lewis, and Miss Ellen DeLong.
An engineer named Clauser attempted suicide while pinned under his derailed engine near the Banner Mills, in December, 1818. About a year before this, his wife and child received fatal injuries at the same place.
Troy Lodge, No. 1317, Knights of Honor, was organized December 30, 1878.
A "Buckeye Reunion" was held October 3, 1878. The register was signed by 356 Ohioans.
Mrs. Ann Eliza Young, XIXth wife of Brigham Young, lectured here April 25, 1879.
In 1880, St. Charles' Catholic church was erected at a cost of about $1,000. There was then a membership of about seventy-five. Rev. Father Timphaus was one of the first pastors.
The Colored Missionary Baptist church was organized January 9, 1881, by Rev. Henry Bacon. There were but eight members.
An American Auxiliary Branch of the National Land League of Ireland was organized here August 13, 1881. The object of the League was to render moral and financial aid to the people of Ireland in their struggle against Landlordism.
The W.C.T.U. was organized in March, 1882.
Helloing over the telephone began here in the early part of December, 1885.
At the Fourth of July celebration in 1889, Thomas Davis, of near Fanning, the oldest man in the county, and the the oldest horse, belonging to J. W. Baldwin, near Troy, were attractions. Mr. Davis was in his ninety-fourth year. The horse was forty-five.
In January, 1894, a Charter was issued from Secretary of State's office, making the S.L.K. Library Association a body corporate with the following board of directors: Laura B. Harley, Lelia Miller, Mrs. Mabel Campbell, Chloe L. Brown, and Minnie M. Schletzbaum.
First officers of the society were: President, Miss Eva Wood; vice president, Mellie Parker; secretary, Emma A. Toner; assistant secretary, Alice A. Amos; treasurer, Ida Byers ; assistant treasurer, Effie Bridges.
In 1897, the 40-acre orchard of Ben Davis apples belonging to M. J. Rhue, made an extraordinary yield. A buyer from Waterloo, Iowa offered Mr. Rhue $6,000 for the apples on the trees. Mr. Rhue shook his head, and his friends said he was foolish; but the wisdom in his upper story showed forth some days later when be sold 7500 barrels of the apples at about $ 1.50 per barrel. Mordecai just pocketed the money and smiled a beaming smile.
Fire broke out in McClellan's hardware store on the morning of November 15, 1899, and within the space of a few hours after the discovery of the first blaze, one third of the business part of the town was in ruins. The fire quickly spread from the hardware store to the opera house, an elegant brick structure which had cost $5000. A lively bucket brigade was formed, and 150 buckets were operated with speed and skill, but to no avail. The Higby House, a large frame building, one of the landmarks of the town and the county, took fire from the sparks falling from the blazing opera house, and soon was ablaze from foundation to roof. Jenkins' grocery store situated near the Higby House, soon caught the flame and mingled its fury with that of the others. Leland's large brick store was partly burned, it being nearly fire proof. The St. Joseph fire department was sent for, and on its arrival, which was somewhat delayed, a line of hose was run from Hayton's pond a quarter of a mile from the scene of the fire, and a stream of water was poured on the blazing buildings; but the assistance came too late to save the buildings. However, some residence buildings in the immediate vicinity, were saved by this help. The losses may be estimated: Opera House, $6,000; Higby House, $2,000; Jenkins' grocery, $1,500; Doniphan County Bank, $600; Baker & Bell, Attorneys, library and office furniture in the McClellan building, $1,800. The total insurance was about one half the total loss.
Saturday night, September 1, 1900, an attempt was made to burn the Court House. The building was saved by the prompt action of the officials.
Henry Wagenknecht, of Wathena, secured the contract for the building of the new court house which is now in course of erection, and which is expected to be ready for occupation by the Blind Goddess and her coterie of efficient servants, by June 1, 1906. The cost will be about $40,000. It will be of stone and brick, with cornices of galvanized iron. A special levy was provided for by a bill passed by the legislature in 1903, which had been introduced by Cyrus Leland.
There is not a citizen of the county who may not be justly proud of this new court house which will be one of the finest county buildings in the state.
From the columns of the Chief we cull the names of the town's business men and business houses: The Chief, H. J. Calnan; George McClaren, drugs; Helvey & Son, grocers; Winzer & Klostermeier, hardware; Bank of Troy; Kemp & Conaway, undertakers; D. C. Sinclair, drugs; Hotel Avon; Sturgis & Sturgis, restaurant and confectioners; Norman & Zimmerman, general merchandise, C. Leland, dry goods etc.; J. W. McClellan, hardware; Chris Jenkinson, grocer; George Hagenbach, general merchandise; Frank Hauber, restaurant; Nate Swiggett, restaurant; George Burkhalter, general merchandise; Clark Brothers, millers; Briggs and Chapple, meat market; W. A. Morgan, livery; E. Monroe, veterinary surgeon; J. C. Myers, dentist; Wm. W. Minter, hardware; A. L. Perry, abstract of titles; W. B. Campbell, M.D.; R. S. Dinsmore, M.D.; Fleming & Lair, barbers; A. A. Jones, hardware; Grant Sweet, barber shop; Elwood, photographer.
R. M. Ladwig, a Center township pioneer now residing in St. Joseph, tells of an interesting scene witnessed by him in the early days on the high prairies between Troy and Syracuse - a train of government wagons five miles in length, each wagon drawn by a span of spanking big mules. Mr. Ladwig says the scene suggested to him the idea of a huge white snake gliding across the hills, its head nearing the horizon of the west while its tail wiggled in the hazy hills of the east.
Doniphan County may be proud of at least four talented artists whose drawings and paintings are ample proofs of genuine talent. Miss Lelia Miller's fine painting happily illustrating her famous father's quaint poem, "Paw-paws is Ripe," is well known, and her work adorns the walls of many admiring friends. Miss Lou Nelson is very skilful in the execution of portraits. The excellent quality of her work has been acknowledged by competent judges of real art. Miss Lola Kelley, for many years a resident of this county, but now residing in St. Joseph, has an eager demand for all work coming from her brush or pencil. We are rather proud of our frontispiece picture which was designed and drawn by Miss Kelley especially for our History, and are glad to accord it the honor that it deserves. Miss Bessie Franklin, a Bendena young lady. is a real art worker. Her home is filled with beautiful portraits, landscapes and designs. She draws and paints for the pure pleasure it affords her, which is a true sign of artistic genius.
J. M. Morley, owner of the bank of Severance, was the first banker in the county to make use of an electric bell apparatus for the protection of his bank from the acts of burglars. It seems to us that it would be an impossibility for any person or persons to make a successful raid on this bank. The apparatus possesses almost human intelligence. Mr. Morley has done much to protect the interests of his hundreds of patrons, and his labors and careful consideration are duly appreciated by them.
Rev. D. G. Saunders, of Stewartsville, Missouri, one of the county's pioneer Baptist ministers, is still laboring in the Lord's Vineyard, being in charge of a Baptist congregation in southern Wolf River and western Wayne townships. The Independence Baptist church which was organized early in the sixties was reorganized by him about 1877. A church was built, but was destroyed by fire. A second church was erected and the good man continued his faithful labors with untiring zeal. In the early part of his ministerial career in this state, Mr. Saunders had charge of a wide scope of country embracing three or four of the northeastern counties. He is a man of superior intelligence, broad minded, sociable, and kind, with a large circle of friends of all religious denominations both in Kansas and Missouri.
Mrs. Samuel Dawson, of Iowa Point, is a great grand daughter of Voyageur Charboneau, cook and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition party up the Missouri river and over the Rocky mountains down to the Pacific coast, in 1804-6. Charboneau was the husband of the famous Sacajawea, the Shoshone Indian girl, who led the great explorers across the rocky wilderness, preserving them from famine and the hostilities of unfriendly tribes of savages, Charboneau ransomed the brave and beautiful maiden from the Blackfeet who held her in captivity, and made her his wife. She was loving and faithful. It is related of this noble woman that she saved from loss the Expedition party's journals which fell by accident into the icy waters of the upper Missouri. Being a woman of heroic courage and possessing the natural skill of a swimmer, she plunged into the rush of the ice laden water and rescued the papers from certain loss, thus preforming an act which should endear her name and memory to every citizen who loves the doer of a heroic deed.
Transcribed from Gray's Doniphan County history: A record of the happenings of half a hundred years. By P. L. (Patrick Leopoldo) Gray. Bendena, Kan.: The Roycroft Press, 1905. 3p. l. -84, 166,  p. front., plates, ports. 24 cm.
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