Third and Main Streets, over 100 years ago. At the extreme right is a small portion of the old firebell tower.


Greenwood County, Kansas
Lura Pettyjohn

Lura Pettyjohn

Written by Christine Jardinier
November 1956

Picture the Verdigris Valley as it appeared in the years 1860 to 1870. Tall prairie grasses, clusters of wild verbenas and wild roses; along the river banks, some trees and wild fruit - grapes, plums and gooseberries. Wild animals, birds and fish were abundant. There were no fences and but two houses between Madison and Emporia.


Madison was first located across the river, about one and one-half miles northwest of the present location. A store was operated by Dick Foster. A log schoolhouse was situated on the site of the Blakely Cemetery. The first teacher was Joseph Wardrip, the father of the late Mrs Jim Milner. A stage coach barn owned by Mrs. Nancy Bush was located south of the river, near the railroad. Later John Duncan built and operated a stage coach barn northwest of town. The post office was on the Lawrence Thornton farm. The postmaster was William Godfrey.

In the late sixties, six houses were built south of the river, between the railroad bridge and what we used to call the wagon bridge, although no bridges were there at that time.

Elijah Smith owned the first log cabin store south of the river. He and his family lived east of the wagon bridge. Hiram Kelley was the original owner of the Maxwell place, recently owned by Dr. F.D. Lose. Mrs. Nancy Bush had two cabins,one for sleeping, the other for living quarters. The population of the town was thirty-two.

The women and children lived in fear of the Indians. Transient tribes including the Fox Indians camped along the river. They would beg for food, including chickens and salt, but were not known to steal. Many nice pieces of Indian artifice have been found in the valleys along the Verdigris River in recent years.


In the year 1874 a few earnest Christians organized the Methodist Protestant church in Madison, then on the banks of the Verdigris River. Those of different denominations whose memberships were elsewhere united. Reverend Frederick Loy of Americus was the pastor.

In 1877 Reverend Wright organized the Methodist Episcopal church with only a small membership. As the majority remained with the former organization, only six names are now recalled: John and Amanda Burns, John and Emily B. Smith, Jeremiah and Eliza J. Kelly. The church services were held in the few homes that were open to Christian worship.

The first Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1881. The first pastor was Reverend M.E. Hull. The second Methodist Episcopal church building was constructed in 1921-22 when Reverend Harry Reed was pastor.

At the school district buildings of No. 99 and No. 14 were held the first Presbyterian services in this community, in the early eighties. The George Yeager family and the G.W. Achamire family helped to maintain a neighborhood Sunday school and later secured a Presbyterian minister, who conducted services every two weeks on Sunday afternoon.

Later Presbyterian church services were held in the Methodist Episcopal church on Sunday afternoon. At a meeting on October 28, 1888 the Presbyterian church was organized. Although the records were lost from 1888 to 1907, it is known Mrs. George Greenwood (Amy Bartlett Greenwood) is the only living charter member.

There is no record as to the year the church was erected, although it is conceded it was in 1889. Reverend Marshall preached for a time, and Reverend William Graham was pastor when the church was built. John Runyan, who was an architect, superintended the building, and George Yeager and A. Bartlett donated their work as carpenters.

The Ladies Aid Society has been of great financial assistance to the church; one example: they purchased the brick house and lot north of the church, where the new sanctuary was built in 1939. The old church was remodeled into a social room, and an addition was made to the east for a kitchen.

Sunday school rooms have been added: nursery, kindergarten and junior, and a primary room in the basement. A class is held in the kitchen, and one in the social room.

Four women, one at a time, served as elders of the church: Mrs. Elmer James, Mrs. J.H. Fankhauser, Mrs. C.S. Blackburn and Mrs. George Schurter.

The Christian church was organized January 4, 1891. Five women were instrumental in forming it. A minister was engaged, although there was no regular place of meeting. Services were held in various places - Storeroom, school house and other buildings. One revival was held in a tabernacle made of poles and covered with branches of trees.

In September 1896 the members bought a lot on Fourth street. This lot was twenty-five by one-hundred twenty-five feet, and cost fifty dollars. Later a portion of the lot was sold to J.N. Frazee. A frame church was dedicated November 28, 1897. This building housed the congregation for over twenty-four years.

The west section of the present site was bought from Howard Martindale, and in 1921 the east lot was purchased from S.B. Green. Work on the new structure began in August 1921. The basement was finished and services were conducted in it.

A final service was held in the old church January 22, 1922. The congregation moved into the basement January 29, 1922. The upper structure was completed during the latter part of 1923, and early months of 1924. Work is in progress on a new addition for class rooms to the north of the main building. There are five rooms and one large room to be divided in the basement.

The old church was sold to Charles Cummins, moved on Standpipe hill, and remodeled into a dwelling.

The Baptist church was chartered in 1948, with thirteen members. Meetings were held in a building on North Third street. Later an auditorium was built on the front of a residence on Grant avenue, and services were conducted in it. In August 1951 the congregation purchased the Assembly of God church. The present pastor is Reverend Ted G. Bretz.

The official day of the founding of the Catholic parish in Madison is recorded as May 2, 1954. That day Father Edward Russell, pastor, offered mass for the first time in the new par .ish, at the John Simon residence.

At a meeting at the Simon home in February, preliminary plans were made for organizing the parish. Twenty-five families were in attendance at the meeting. On May 2, 1954 the parish chose Saint Teresa of Avila as its patron. Saint Teresa church was built in 1955.


In the years 1873 and 1874 families from France and Switzerland settled on farms north and northeast of Madison in what was known as the French settlement. Musical instruments were brought by these people and soon a band was organized, which furnished music for entertainments in their neighborhood. At the close of school at district No. 1, in 1876, an "exhibition," aas it was then called, was given. This band played several numbers; one selection herd for the first time in this community, was "America," played by the French band.


In 1897 all the frame houses except J.D. Kelley's were moved from the old town to the present location. Six small houses were moved. Four of the six remain, all remodeled, and three are occupied as dwellings. Aunty Farrar's, vacant at present, was moved just north of the Co-Op filling station, on Third street. The Colebank home, is now owned by the Garriott brothers, and located on West Boone. The Devore residence on First street and the Lacy home on Garfield are the others. E.R. Trask built the front part of the Lacy house. It was moved from the former Doctor Lose farm to the location now occupied by the McCurry filling station at 201 West Main street. A hotel was operated there by G. Stolpe. S.B. Green bought the house and later it became the property of his son, Walter, and son-in-law Charles David. They divided it, and Walter moved his part to the present location, where it was remodeled.

The first residence built in the new townsite was owned by Reverend A.J. Cleveland in 1876. Located on the hillside east of Third street, the land is now the property of Olie Bush. Asked why he built up on the hill so far from town, Mr. Cleveland replied the town would come to him.


The business houses moved from the old town were owned by W.H. Green, merchant; T.B. McClure, postmaster and hotel keeper; Alphonso Strehle, groceryman; J.D. Kelley and S.B. Green, blacksmiths; James Butler, barber (Mr. Butler was a barber in Madison for fifty years); C.E. DeMalorie, druggest; L.J. Cunkle, A. Stanley Doctor Mason, physicians. The first doctors at the old townsite were Doctor Raybelle and his son Jeff. The first resident doctor was Doctor Rood.

Other businessmen recalled between the years 1870 and the late nineties were J.N. Frazee, general merchandise; T.B. Swain, dry goods and groceries; C.A. Leedy, general merchandise; A. Wehrman, hardware (Mr. Wehrman built the two-story building at the corner of Third and Main, now occupied by the Economy grocery store and the National Supply store. The second floor is used as apartments. The building is owned by Fred Kelley); Fabien Fellay, jeweler and watch repair; Ernest Fellay and W.O. Waymire, bankers; C.F Dewar,lumber yard; Carey Sowder, hardware (Mr. Sowder bought the Wehrman store); Ed Michelin, books, stationery and notions; Jim Patterson and Tom Trotter, hardware; R.Z. Swegle and son Ben, furniture and undertakers; Ezra Kelley, blacksmith; Rolla H. Conwell, wagon shop; J.B. Thompson, druggist; phen Johnston, livery barn; Albert Abolt, wagon shop; P.D. Stoughton, real estate and insurance; George Lovett and S.F Wicker, real estate and insurance; Jake and Will Widder, feed store; Frank Lovett, druggist; Charles Lovett and Henry Marshall, real estate and insurance; Seth Newman, barber; Henry Gonter, tinsmith; Dick Heimdale, operated the Elite cafe (located first door south of the Gus Johnson building. In front of his place was the first concrete walk in Madison, with the inscription "Elite Cafe" on each end of the walk); Dan Pees, Sr., shoemaker; Bert Pritchard, stage coach driver. Other doctors were A.E. Focht, I.W. Cunkle, the Doctors Black, James Moore, Cranston, Hartzell, Green, Haynes, and Stortz. Doctor Page was the first resident dentist. Present doctors are Doctors F.D. Lose and R.D. Brooks, physicians and surgeons; Doctor C.B Meyers, osteopath, and Doctor A.W. Bennett, dentist. Gus Johnson, who had been in business the longest of anyone in town - over sixty years - came to Madison from Sweden in October 1889 at the age of sixteen. He made his home with an uncle who lived east of town near the river. Mr Johnson recalled he worked for Pete Anderson near Hamilton and went to school for about two months. Later he worked on the railroad section gang. He operated a restaurant when nineteen years of age and continued in that work until he and Mrs. Johnson retired in 1952. His first place of business was where the First National bank is located. Later he moved his restaurant to the lot just west of the National Supply store, then to the room just north of the Baxter dry goods store. In a short time he bought the present building which he still owns.


One of Madison's First Schools

The first schoolhouse on this townsite

In 1879 the first schoolhouse, consisting of two rooms, was built where our school now stands. In 1889 a four-room brick building was erected on the hill west of town. The primary grades were still taught in the old schoolhouse, the fourth to eighth and two years of high school on the hill.

The schoolhouse on the hill

The schoolhouse on the hill. Built in 1889.

The old school building was sold and rebuilt into a Church of the Brethren. Later the American Legion bought the building and remodeled it.

After the building of our present school in 1909, the brick building on the hill was razed. All grades are in the one building, including a four-year accredited high school. An auditorium was built west of the school in 1939.


The building of the Madison Hotel was financed by a company formed in 1879 and was completed in the early part of 1880. Mr Stolpe, a stockholder, operated the hotel for about three years, then he and Mrs. Stolpe purchased it and were in business for many years. After the death of Mr. Stolpe, the hotel was leased for a number of years. In 1917 Mrs. Stolpe sold it to L.L. Lindsay, whose son Jerome is now operating it.

The names, Guest House, Madison Hotel and the Stolpe Hotel, appeared on the registers through the years. It is now the Madison Hotel. The original hotel had three additions; some of the floors in the first building are still in use and are well preserved.


During the summer of 1879 the Santa Fe railroad was built from Emporia to Moline. (Olpe was called Bitler Town and Hamilton first named Fullerton.) The railroad was narrow gauge. The first engine was called "Buttercup."

A free excursion was run and about fifty from Madison made the first trip over the new road. Lawrence "Hun" Thornton remembers, even though a small boy, making the trip. The group from Madison went to Eureka and waited for the train to return. A party from Eureka finished the trip to Moline. Flat cars, with tree limbs across the tops for shade, were used for transportation.

In 1880 the railroad was made standard width; this was accomplished in one day. The Santa Fe depot was built near where it now stands. The first station agent was Frank Parkhurst. A.L. Cable was the second agent and was here for many years.

The Missouri Pacific railroad was built in 1887, a branch line from Butler, Missouri, to Madison. As this town was the end of the line, the train remained overnight with a caretaker.

Mr Doby, a brother-in-law of M.L. Brown, was the first station agent. He served only a short time, then Mr. Brown took the work. He was employed for years as agent, until he retired. The line was discontinued in 1942; the train made its last run January 12, 1942.


E.R. Trask printed the first newspaper in the old town of Madison in 1878. Other editors in later years were W.O. Lunsford, Frank Glasgo, W.D.Smith, George Gilman, Ed Melbourne, E.O. Trask, son of the pioneer editor, Arthur Shultz, Fred Kenner, Eugene Kelly, Harry Baxter, and our present editor, Stephen Gilman.

The name of the paper was first The Madison News, then changed to The Madison Times, Zenith, Livestock Belt, Madison Index, Madisonian, The Madison Spirit and again to The Madison News.


In the eighties Alf Harlan operated a brick yard across the street east from the Leonard Shunk home on highway 99. Later he moved the brick yard to a location on West Madison avenue, near the old Missouri Pacific Y. Three houses are still standing that were made of Harlan brick.

Also in the eighties George Craven and Fred Pees built a mill, located where the Boone filling station now stands on highway 99. It was a large two-story structure, containing room for the storage of grain. The building was made of Harlan brick, with a wooden loading dock on the south. A small lean-to frame building on the north housed a six-horse power engine and boiler.


The Madison Bank, the first bank in Madison, was established in 1885, with William Martindale as president. J.W. Johnson of Hamilton was the second president.

E.F. Fellay, who has been employed at the bank for over half a century, served as president during the 1920s. He observed his ninetieth birthday on June 29, 1956. He goes to work daily, frequently remaining until five o'clock in the evening.

Madison was incorporated in February 1885 as a third class city.

Mr. and Mrs. S.F. Wicker were the first couple married in the new town. Mrs. Bessie Butler Stump was the first baby born in the new townsite.


The first telephone in Madison was located in the S.F. Wicker home. A toll line to Eureka operated for approximately a year in 1902. When someone in Eureka or Hamilton wished to speak to a person in Madison, a member of the Wicker family would go find the party for whom the call was intended. Then the Greenwood County Telephone company established telephone service in Madison, with Mr. Brinkerhoff as manager. He was transferred to Eureka and Lloyd Butler was manager, followed by John Frazee.

The Bell Telephone company purchased the exchange in 1905 or 1906, and in 1945 sold to the C. and M. Telephone company, who kept it for seven months. (There is a public utility law that compels six months ownership.) Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Harrington bought the telephone exchange January 1, 1946.

The office was first over the present Economy grocery store, and later moved to a room over the present Inge drug store. On January 8, 1955 it was moved to the modern building owned by Mr. and Mrs. Harrington. Open house was held February 12, 1955. In 1948 they replaced the old switchboard, which had been in use for about fifty years, with a universal-type new switchboard.

Madison's first street lights used gasoline, with each one lighted separately every evening. The first electric light plant in connection with an ice plant was built in the spring of 1902. It generated direct current. Financed by Tom Gilmore and others, it was operated by Mr. Gilmore. The plant was located on Main and Second streets where the Peter Pan ice cream parlor and the Deloss Ziegler shop are.

In the year 1913 a municipally-owned electric light plant constructed, with service until midnight. From 1922 to 1926 twenty-four hour service was furnished. The Kansas Electric Power company commenced furnishing electricity to the town in 1926.


The Old Opera House

In 1902 a stock company was formed for the purpose of building an opera house, which was built on the corner of Third and Main streets. Dolph Koenig of Chanute was the architect. It was a modern, well-constructed building. In November 1903 "Lady Audley's Secret" played the opening night to a packed house.

The first floor of the building was used for the post office on the west, with an office room on the front, later occupied by the Farmers Bank. The post office remained in the room until the present office was built by Ira Walker in 1929. The east room has always been used as a store. In 1940 R.H. Garvey of Wichita acquired the Opera House and in 1941 it was razed.


Civic improvements have developed with the growth of the town. In 1913 city water was installed; one well furnished the water. At present water is obtained from 13 wells.

A sewer system was started in 1921 and completed in 1924. Pavement was laid on Third and Main streets in 1922. Nearly all streets are now paved or chat surfaced.

After the worst flood in the history of the town in the summer of 1951, the land later was surveyed for a dike, which was finished in 1952.

Oil activities in and near Madison commenced with the bringing in of the first well, the Gladys Belle, on Harlan in Rock Valley in 1921. Oil well supply stores were moved in, business and living quarters were in great demand. The town boomed. There is still some drilling and a possibility of drilling into deeper sand.


The Grand Army of the Republic, Post No. 187, of Madison, Greenwood county, Kansas, was organized April 20, 1883 with a muster roll of 104 members. This number was registered from 1883 to 1901, inclusive. Old soldiers' reunions were held in Madison and neighboring towns. An encampment was held west of the old Lovett home, now Eldon Ziegler's, in the summer of 1901. Rainy weather prevailed during the whole camp meeting.

The Women's Relief Corps, an auxiliary of the G.A.R., was organized in Madison in 1887. It was an active and important organization for many years.

A charter was issued November 25, 1921, to the James-Sill-Brown American Legion Post No. 124, Madison, Kansas. The following were charter members: Chester Fellay, Lester A. Cummings, Howard Barnard, Edwin Barnard, Elmer E. Haynes, Clifford C. Neece, Lewis Davis, Bruce Hemphill, Paul Fellay, Earl W. Green, George Wiggins, John Moore, Ernest Templer, Archie Butler, Roy L. Pritchard. L.A. Cummings was first commander. Otho Buster is the present commander.

Charter members of James- Sill-Brown Unit Auxiliary to the American Legion Post No. 124 were Lillie M Sill, Gold Star Mother, Ruth Wiggins, Zena Barnard, Emma Fellay, Eillen Fellay, Effie Templer, Laura Gardner, Rosey Gravatt, Phame Fellay, Olive Rockley, Ruth Taylor, Edith Fellay, Helen Campbell, Leota Campbell, Winifred Campbell. The charter was issued January 15, 1924.

The ladies of the auxiliary are engaged in very worthy work. Among the many deeds they accomplish is to remember each disabled war veteran at Winter VA hospital at Christmas time and at Easter. Before Mother's day, they send each hospital veteran a suitable cards for Mother's day with a pretty handkerchief enclosed, for him to send his mother. At other times boxes of cookies are sent to the veterans.


Advised by his doctor to seek outdoor employment, Aaron L. Sauder gave up his work in the furniture store which he and his brother Ephraim operated. As a small boy' Mr. Sauder recalled, he always wanted to make something and sell it. Mr. Sauder founded the Sauder Tank company at Madison in 1925. Constructing only redwood tanks at first, the company later made steel tanks and other oil field equipment, including oil and gas generators, emulsion treaters, free water knockouts and emulsion line heaters.

The company has three sales branches - at Russell, Arkansas City and McPherson - serving all Kansas and some of Oklahoma. Delivery is made by trucks. During the summer and fall of 1955 a plant was constructed at Emporia. Modern equipment was installed for steel fabrication. Robert A Sauder, a son of Aaron Sauder, is manager of the plant. The president of the company, Aaron Sauder, at the age of seventy is in good health, active and deeply interested in the work of his company.


The Madison Library was organized in 1934 by the women's clubs of the town. It was first located in the National Supply store, then in the Madison Hotel. From there it was moved to the small house belonging to Lee Hilyard on Second street.

The present building was moved in and remodeled in 1950. The library was moved into it in the spring of 1951. The library started with 250 to 275 books; it now has five thousand. Mrs. Charles Gilman is librarian.


Madison's park was started in 1955 as a Lions club project to help the city levy. Also received were donations of mone, shrubs, picnic tables, and many days of labor from citizens of the town. In the summer of 1956 a shelterhouse was built. At the east end of the park is nice shade, where tables, fireplaces and grills are located.

At the west end of the park is a basketball and tennis court. The park has city water and lights and is equiped with swings, slides and merry-go-round, while at the north is space for a ball diamond.


A reception was held Sunday afternoon, June 10, 1956 at the school auditorium, honoring Doctor F.D. Lose, who that week completed fifty years of practice of medicine in Madison. Over five hundred relatives and friends attended, many of them from out of town. Events occurring the past fifty years of Doctor Lose's life were presented by friends. Ephraim Sauder was master of ceremonies, Paul Fellay impersonated Doctor Lose. After the play refreshments were served and a reception was held at the rear of the auditorium. The room was beautifully decorated.


Madison city officials in 1956 were: mayor, Harold Vaughn; clerk, Willis Oliver; treasurer, Chester Fellay; council members, George Barnard, Jasper Hind, John Douglass, Nels Peterson, L.D. Harrington; marshal, John Wolfe; chief fire department, David Rhodes; police judge, Charles Gilman.

Main street 
 looking west about 90 years ago

Main Street, looking west, about ninety years ago.

We are indebted to the following people:

Willis Oliver - City data.
Mrs. Joe Walters - American Legion and Auxiliary.
Mr. and Mrs. Will Crawford - Christian church history.
D.E. Braucher - Old mill, first street lights and other information.
Stephen Gilman - Grand Army of the Republic notes.
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Thornton - Women's Relief Corps, last encampment of the G.A.R.
Mr. E.F. Fellay - Madison Bank and Madison Hotel.
Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Lindsay - Madison Hotel.
Mrs. George Schurter - Presbyterian church history.
Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Bartlett - assisted on Presbyterian church notes.
Mrs. Jack Marks - Catholic church notes.
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Sauder - Sauder Tank company.
Mrs. Glen Sturgeon and Mrs. Richard Hansel - Baptist church notes.
Mrs. Charles Gilman - Library history.
Mrs. F.D. Lose - Early telephone data.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gilman - Early telephone notes.
Mrs. L.D. Harrington - Present telephone system.
W.C. Gilham - The Missouri Pacific's last run.
Mrs. Maribelle Hiatt - Picture of the schoolhouse on the hill.
Mrs. Fred Weidmer - Picture of the first schoolhouse.



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