Transcribed from Biographical history of Barton County, Kansas. ; Illustrated. Published by Great Bend Tribune, Great Bend, KS : 1912. 318 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, July 2006.

1912 Biographical History of Barton County, Kansas


from its virgin state. The first newspaper published in the county was "The Arkansas Valley," edited by S. J. McFarren. There were but a few issues of this paper, the first edition being published in July, 1872. It was a seven-column paper, well ruled with interesting news reading matter, local news and advertisements. It was printed at the office of the Tribune in Lawrence. Kan., and was owned by T. L. Morris and others. The salutatory editorial in the paper consisted chiefly of an apology for publishing a newspaper in the heart of the Great American Desert. The principal articles were those under the following headings: "Kansas," from the Pittsburg, Kan., Real Estate Register; "Enormous Cost of Fencing Land," "Stone Houses," "Tree Culture," "Swindling Immigrants," from the Kansas Farmer; "Exemption Laws of Kansas," "Barton County—Soil, Climate, Rainfall, Health," "Information to Immigrants," "New Homestead Law," "Homesteads," "Tree Planting," "Bounty for Tree Planting," "Bounty for Hedges," "How to Come to Kansas," and various miscellaneous articles and useful information. Its local columns made mention of T. L. Stone's Great Western Hotel—the Southern; E. L. Morley, hardware dealer; A. S. Allen, druggist; Dahm Brothers, bakery; Rice and Brinkman, lumber merchants; Yoxall Sons and Company, lumber; Poole and Bell, livery stables; John Typer, resaturant building, a 20x60 foot hotel; Markwort's store to have a glass front; A. C. Moses and Sons running the store of W. D. Hart and Company on the north side of the square; Harpham and Giddings, blacksmiths; Samuel Maher, banker; John Cook, grocer; T. L. Morris, postmaster; W. H. Odell, county clerk; A. A. Hurd, M. S. Ketch and others, many of whom have long since passed away.

Judge C. P. Townsley, Found-
er of The Tribune

The advertisements in the first newspaper consisted of a three-column ad from the Western Homestead Co.—A. A. Hurd and T. L. Morris; a column of solid reading matter for the Illinois and Kansas Colony association, and smaller ads from W. D. Hart & Co., grocers; Hubbard and Heizer, groceries, lumber and real estate; John Typer, restaurant; S. Amryne, boots and shoes; Dahm Brothers, bakers; Jacob Collar and Co., millinery; Stone and Williams, dry goods; Great Western Hotel, which was run by Stone and Hudson; John Cook, groceries; Pioneer Grocery, Edward Markwort, Poole and Bell, livery stable; Mrs. J. Holland, news depot; James Holland, furniture; M. S. Ketch, gents' furnishing goods; Ed Tyler, restaurant; A. S. Allen, drugs; E, L. Morphy, hardware; Rice and Brinkman, lumber; Yoxall Sons and Co., lumber, etc.; Samcox and Fry, bakers; A. A. Hurd, lawyer, and Valley Printing office, and a number of smaller ads. The second number was issued in 1873. The outside was printed by A. N. Kellogg of St. Louis and was dated January 14, 1873, the inside—printed later—was dated January 27, 1873, and the advertisements were nearly all dated in April, 1873. It contained a directory of Barton county and Great Bend, articles on society in the country, articles favoring the erection of a court house and the Arkansas river bridge, forest trees, three election notices, an account of the farmers meeting for the organization of the County Agricultural society and a number of local raiders. The new advertisers were: G. W. Nimocks, lawyer; D. N. Copeland, lawyer; J. C. Martin, justice of the peace and police judge; J. H. Hubbard and Co., real estate; Samuel Maher, banker; W. H. Odell, county clerk; Typer House; Wilcox, Lehman and Gray, hardware; Benedict and Moffat, painters; A. Giddens, horseshoeing; E. J. Dodge, blacksmith; J. H. Hubbard and Co., dry goods, and a big advertisement telling about the job office of the paper.

The price of the paper was $2.00 per year and since it was published only twice a year, the paper cost the subscribers $1.00 a copy. Mr. McFarren did not remain in the business very long, his place being taken in the publication of the paper by Samuel Maher, who continued the paper under McFarren's name until March, 1873, when McFarren's name was dropped.

In April, 1873, the name of the paper was changed to the "Barton County Progress." Mr. Maher moved the office to the Dubois building on the east side of the square. In May, Mr. Maher discontinued the publication of the paper on account of his inability to secure competent help. No paper was published until the following June, when H. Perrine Stults purchased the office for $1,000 and continued publishing the Progress until the fall of 1873 when he grew weary and sold out the paper


to J. F. Cummings of Topeka. Cummins paid $1,100.00 and assumed a debt of $750.00 against the plant which was held by Samuel Maher. At first Cummings improved the paper and at the fall election was elected to represent this county in the legislature. During Mr. Cummings' absence the paper was in charge of D. M. Sells.

After Cummings returned from Topeka he did not give the paper the attention necessary to make it a success, and it was but a short time until G. L. Brinkman bought the mortgage against the plant, held by Samuel Maher and took possession. The plant was moved to the old Holland building which had just been moved to the north side of the square. A company was organized for the purpose of publishing a newspaper and conducting a job printing shop. The company was composed of G. L. Brinkman, G. W. Nimocks, D. N. Heizer, W. H. Odell, Joseph Howard and A. S. Prescott.

Cummings, the former editor of the paper, is said to have died of yellow fever at Memphis in 1878.

In 1873, Frank Sheldon started a monthly publication under the name of the Farmers' Friend. It was made up mainly of reprint matter from the Progress and had but a short existence.

S. J. McFarren, First Editor

The next paper to be published in Great Bend was the Register, which was built upon the ruins of the Progress, which in 1874, had ceased publication. It was first edited by W. H. Odell with A. J. Hoisington as business manager. In June, 1874, Mr. Hoisington was placed in full charge as editor and manager. He got out a good paper and made it a powerful influence for good in the community.

In August, 1876, the 12th, to be exact, the first number of the Inland Tribune made its appearance as a weekly paper, it was edited and published by C. P. Townsley who had been circuit judge of the Fifth judicial district of the state of Missouri. For several weeks it was composed of all home print, but finally the "patent inside" was adopted. This paper was the beginning of the present publications known as the Great Bend Daily Tribune and the Great Bend Weekly Tribune Published by Will Townsley, a son of C. P. Townsley, and Warren Baker.

In May, 1877, a stock company was formed under the name of the Great Bend Publishing Company, which had for its purpose the publication of a Democratic weekly newspaper, under the name of the Arkansas Valley Democrat. Isaac T. Flint of Ottumwa, la., was chosen editor and manager.

The first number of the paper appeared July 21, 1877. After four weeks, Jos. B. Fugate, of Ottumwa, Ia., was taken in as a partner and five weeks later Mr. Flint sold his remaining interest to B. B. Smyth of Ellinwood, who had been an employee of the office since it began business.

Election was approaching and it was discovered that a successful campaign would depend on Smyth's being ousted from the office. Accordingly possession was demanded by the company and the demand was refused by Smyth. Then a replevin was issued from the circuit court and a redelivery bond of $2,000 was given by Smyth. Later the company became fearful of losing their interest in the concern and they made a deal whereby they bought Smyth's interest. He was succeeded by J. B. Fugate.

In 1878 the Kansas Volksfreund, a German Democratic weekly newspaper, was started in Great Bend. It was edited by Phillip Schmitz. This office introduced the first power press in the county, a handsome Cottrell and Babcock. In 1879 this paper was consolidated with the Stern des Westens, (Star of the West), of Wichita and the two plants were consolidated and moved to Topeka where the new publication was issued under the name of the Staats Anzieger.

The Ellinwood Express was started in 1878 by Sheperd and Sterling, and for some time it was printed in the office of the Sterling Bulletin. During the same year Thomas L. Powers of Sterling took possession of the paper and established a printing office at Ellinwood. The Ellinwood paper now is called the Leader and is published by John McMullin.

The above gives an idea of the early newspapers in the county and since those days there have been a number of papers started that met with indifferent success and were finally either discontinued or absorbed by other publications.

Among those mey be mentioned: The Item, Graphic, Evening News, Rustler and Morning News.

The Register, after A. J. Hoisington severed his connection with it the first time, was


owned by E. L. Chapman, Morgan Caraway, J. H. Borders, A. J. Hoisington and Ira Clark. Warren Baker and Ed Vollmer bought the Register and Daily Item and consolidated with the Tribune August 1, 1908. In 1909 Vollmer sold his interests to Townsley & Baker, the present owners.

In the fall of 1880 Tracy and Adams started the Barton County Democrat. This firm sold to A. Wolf, who in turn sold to W. H. Bright of McPherson. He sold to D. Langford in March, 1886. Will Stoke bought a half interest in the paper and later bought the remaining half from Langford. Mr. Stoke sold a half interest to W. P. Feder in 1904. in 1905 this firm bought the Beacon which was started by D. T. Armstrong in 1895. Stole sold his interest in the plant to Mr. Feder in 1906. Later Mr. Feder organized the Feder Printing Co.. which has since owned and published the Barton County Democrat.

In January, 1910, the Morning News was started in Great Bend by the firm of Gunn A. Wattson. This paper was consolidated with the Great Bend Tribune in September of the same year.

The newspapers now published in the county are the Great Bend Tribune, daily and weekly, by Townsley & Baker; the Hoisington Dispatch by Roy Cornelius, the Ellinwood Leader by John McMullin, Pawnee Rock Herald by Grant Lippincott and the Claflin Clarion by Bert Fancher. All these papers except the Tribune are weekly publications.


By Ira H. Clark

Ira H. Clark

I MAY be pardoned for mention of an incident at Hoisington in the summer off 1895, which was largely of a personal interest to me. I mention this because it tells of the largest Republican township caucus ever held at Hoisington up to that time and the largest since with the single exception of the caucus held in 1904 about which I will have something to say later. This 1895 caucus was for the purpose of naming delegates to the county convention which was to place in nomination the county ticket. The writer was a candidate for the nomination of county clerk that year and it may be said that he had some good healthy political enemies in his own baliwick as well as some mighty good and true friends. These enemies were determined to keep me from getting the delegation if possible and in that manner take me entirely out of the running, if the entire delegation could not be secured then it was the desire of these people to divide it with me so that neither one of us would stand a ghost of a show when it came to the county convention. The man selected to defeat me for the delegation was Tommy Moore, a railroad shop man, who was popular with the numerous railroad men and at the same time was quite a lodge man. A stronger man locally for the purpose intended could hardly have been selected. He was practically unknown outside of a small territory but he was well known in Hoisington and generally liked. He would not have had a look-in for the nomination even had he secured a solid delegation from Homestead—but the purpose of his backers to defeat me would have been accomplished. The attendance at this caucus was about 110 which was very near the voting strength of the party in the township at that time. The test came in the selection of a chairman and my supporters were successful, although by but a small majority. We pushed the fight on the issue of the two candidates for county clerk—my friends demanding that I either be given the entire delegation or none—with the result that a motion prevailed that I be permitted to select the delegates to the county convention. Right here I want to say that I did something that branded me as a novice in politics, something that my later years of experience taught me was a radical mistake. In politics never give back a concession that has been granted, take all you can get and grasp for more. Upon the granting of the usual privilege by the caucus there was a storm of protests from the opposition, chief among which was Col. Wash. Sowards (now gone to his long rest) who loudly—I speak literally—proclaimed that should I secure the nomination after having taken advantage of this unusual privilege he would spend every minute of the time from convention time until election tramping over


the county electioneering against my election.

I did not at that time fully appreciate or realize the great favor the Colonel was voluntarily proffering me. I thought by conciliating with the opposition and allowing them a fair share of the delegates with instructions that they should support me unanimously for county clerk would make me stronger and bring about a better feeling. And this was the plan followed against the wish and protest of one of my valued supporters—Captain J. P. Francis—who knew politics from A to Z and who though never making a brilliant success himself had keen foresight and excellent judgment on matters of this kind. I found out later that I had made a mistake for it took all the time that I should have devoted to increasing my following outside in keeping my own delegation in line and preventing them frcm violating their instructions. This caucus will always be remembered by those in attendance as the most hotly contested of any held in Homestead township. This was the year that M. B. Fitts was first nominated for county clerk. The writer had the largest following of any individual candidate up to the next to the last ballot when he lacked five votes of a nomination. At this juncture practically all the delegates supporting George Gano of Pawnee Rock, were swung into line for Mr. Fitts.

In the spring of 1892 Hoisington had a very bitter city election. The town had been incorporated for a number of years but there had been no improvements made whatever and a number of the progressives were in favor of electing a city ticket that would mean some much needed sidewalk and street crossings. The moss-back element proclaimed loudly that the city would be thrown hopelessly in debt if this progressive ticket was successful, and this element succeeded in rallying to their aid a certain element in the churches that was made to believe that the progressive ticket was an extreme favorite with the whiskeyites. This was a favorite city election argument, by the way, for a number of years but it mattered not which ticket was successful in any of these years whiskey was sold freely in Hoisington at all times. This progressive ticket was headed by Capt. W. F. Peck and was successful at the polls. The sidewalks and crossings were put in and a great deal in the way of improvement accomplished. I was identified with the progressives and the morning after election six men filed up to my office, paid the subscription on their papers and ordered its discontinuance to their address. I did not enter into any argument with them or attempt to have them continue taking the paper but as courteously as I knew how took their money and gave them receipts. Some of my friends heard of the incident and before sundown they came in with thirty-seven new paid in advance subscriptions by the paper, so I was not very much loser after all.

Speaking of persons stopping their subscription to a newspaper reminds me of an incident when Jerry Simpson was making his second campaign for congress. When Simpson made his first campaign of course I had more or less to say through my paper—the Dispatch—of a disparaging nature relative to Simpson and his fitness for the position he sought. When Simpson was making his second campaign his followers got up a monster demonstration at Hoisington, there was a great parade and the affair was about the biggest political event that ever happened in the county. There was an Irish lady living in Hoisington by the name of Grandma Johnson who had been a constant subscriber to the Dispatch and was a very good friend of the writer. She was, however, an ardent Democrat and a strong believer in the perfection of Jerry Simpson. A grandson was assisting in the Dispatch office on press day having the important position of roller boy for the Washington press in use in the office. Immediately after the big Simpson political demonstration Grandma Johnson sent word by this boy to the editor that if he wrote up Simpson in as lying and contemptible manner as he had done two years before she was coming in and would stop her paper. Of course the Dispatch that week had a great deal to say about Simpson and the Caraway-Simpson episode that was pulled off on the occasion of that particular meeting, and in the editor's own weak way Simpson got his. The next morning after the paper was issued Grandma Johnson went to the postoffice and getting her copy of the paper examined it and found what she was looking for in reference to Simpson. She immediately ascended the steps to the printing office and tearing the paper to shreds, threw the remnants at the face of the editor, placing the amount of her delinquency on the desk said, "There is your old paper, it's the damndest lienest shate in the state, except the Great Bend Register." I was glad she made one exception in the case.

By way of explanation I will say that at that time the Register was in the hands of Morgan Caraway, who was chairman of the Republican congressional committee, and was about as virulent writer and hard a fighter as ever showed up in these parts. Grandma Johnson's temper did not last long and she was soon a valued subscriber to the Dispatch and the writer always counted on her and her family as among our best friends.

During the campaign of 1888 there were two papers published at Hoisington. The Echo, published by Chas. R. Vert, espoused the Republican cause, while the Mascot, published by Tom Shaughnessy upheld the Democratic banner. During the coursing meet, which at that time was the most noted annual meeting in the county, the two papers issued daily edi-


tions. Neither one of the editors were gifted with an over-abundance of editorial gray matter and as this was in the midst of a heated campaign in the nation, state and county, and the two papers were ultra partisan and it was necessary that each edition contain a number of good strong editorials calculated to inform the common voter as to his duty on election day. Neither editor was capable for the task, and be it said to their credit, they both realized this fact. It was therefore necessary to get someone to furnish this necessary copy. The Echo secured the services of Hugo Carlander, a Swedish gentleman who ran a harness shop and who was a rabid Republican who usually expressed himself in very forceful language. The Mascot secured the services of A. H. Baker who at that time, and is yet, a land agent at Hoisington. Mr. Baker was a Missouri Democratic of the rock-ribbed variety and could go some when it came to telling his side of the political story. The editor of the Echo did not know that the Mascot had an assistant in the way of an editorial writer but thought the political stuff appearing in the Mascot was from the pen of the editor. The controversy in the two papers became personal to such an extent that they engaged in personal combat over the accusations, charges and counter charges that were daily appearing in the two papers. It is needless to say that the personal combat of the two editors was a source of much merriment to the two writers who were furnishing the ammunition for the fracas while they themselves were engaged in a bloodless warfare.

There is an interesting story connected with the first nomination of the late Senator G. L. Chapman that is not generally known. This story reveals how very close cur present townsman, Joe Walters,then the candidate of Stafford county for the senatorial nomination, came to being the nominee of that convention, or I might better say how very easy it would have been for him to have secured the nomination had the delegates from his county had any idea of the intention of Mr. Chapman. A little history of the condition of things is necessary before going on with the real story. Senator Robert Findlay had been in the senate but one term and it was generally conceded that he was a one term man. He and General Chapman were very good friends at that time and before General would enter the race for the senatorship he had assurances from Bob Findlay that he would not be in his way but would assist in the nomina- of Chapman. Assurances of support were also secured from other prominent Republicans of Rice county. Senator Findlay wanted to be let down as easily as possible, as it had been the custom to give an office holder two terms and the retirement of Senator Findlay at the expiration of his first term was a divergence from this usual custom. It was therefore agreed that in the selection of the delegates to the senatorial convention from Rice county that these delegates should ostensibly be for Senator Findlay for a renomination, and then the program was that after a vote was taken and the Rice county delegation cast a vote for Senator Findlay—Senator Findlay was to come forward and after thanking his home county for their loyalty was to withdraw from the race. This was the thought of a number of the delegates from Rice county, but it seems that Bob was smooth enough to tie them up with some sort of an agreement by which they were to stay by him until he would personally release them from any allegiance to him. After he had secured the Rice county delegation and had this agreement Bob concluded that he would like to stick in the senate for another term and became a fuilfledged and bonafide candidate for nomination.

Stafford county had not been getting hardly her share of district honors and therefore felt —and very justly too—that she was entitled to the nominee for senator. Findlay knew very well just how the Stafford county folks felt about this and there rested his hope for securing the nomination. While the Stafford county delegates personally felt much more friendly to Chapman than they did to Findlay their soreness for Barton county not coming to their aid might take on such a form as to cause them to go to Findlay before they would to Chapman through a feeling of revenge. This was Chapman's danger and it was right here that a plan was evolved whereby Findlay became an impossibility if the Stafford delegation would be alert and onto their job. By necessity this plan had to be kept very quiet and I may say there were only two persons besides General Chapman that knew of the plan. One prominent delegate on the Stafford county delegation was told to keep a very close watch on the proceedings and be ready to act quickly should anything transpire that needed quick action. Nothing more could be said, and although this delegate could not figure out just what the purport of this intelligence was it is needless to say that he paid mighty strict attention to the proceedings until a nomination was made. This convention was held at Ellinwood and was presided over by Sam Jones of Lyons. By a rule of procedure in conventions of this character when a vote is being taken on a nomination any delegation has a right to change its vote already cast provided the change is made before the vote is announced by the secretary. A large number of votes were being taken with little difference.

In the roll call of counties Barton always cast the first ballot. The plan was that should Stafford county get so sore at Barton as to prefer the nomination of Findlay to Chapman and the Rice county delegates persisted in their support of Findlay then the chairman of the Barton county delegation would immediately, before the announcement of the ballot, change the vote of Barton county to Walters

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