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


Bash & Gray of Joplin, Mo. It was found, after work had been begun that the original plans were too small to give the city a proper system, therefore, they were enlarged and the work on the sewer was finished in the south half of the town in the spring of 1912. It is expected that the entire city will be afforded sewer connections within the present year. The same council appropriated $35,000 for a drainage system for the city. The work on this was done by home people under the supervision of a construction company.

In 1911, O. W. Dawson was re-elected mayor, and J. F. Lewis, G. N. Moses, D. C. Luse and S. P. Giddings were elected as members of the council. The appointments were the same as in 1910. The following were elected as the members of the board of education: Lester Cox, Porter Young and F. V. Russell. The treasurer and justices of the peace were the same as in 1910.

In 1912, the following councilmen were elected: Louis Hans, R. A. Ewalt, W. P. Deal, L. P. Aber and Warren Baker was elected to fill the unexpired term of G. N. Moses. The appointments were the same with the exception of Clyde Allphin who took the place of E. C. Cole as city attorney. The offices of sewer and electric inspectors were created and Fred Hans, and F. K. Zutavern received the appointments.

The present administration of the city of Great Bend is a most aggressive one and is continuing the work so ably begun by their predecessors in making Great Bend an ideal home city with the best of religious and educational advantages.

A. A. Wemmergren, City Marshal

Frank Hitchcock, Ass't Marshal



IN 1872 H. H. Kidder realized the necessity for a store at Great Bend and to him belongs the honor of having established the first general store on the townsite. The store was located on the east side of the park square. Mr. Kidder soon became aware of the fact that although he had had the advantage of the merchants who came later, in selecting a location, the greater part of the town's business was done by stores on the west side of the square. Therefore, he moved his building to the corner now occupied by the First National bank.

A. S. Allen opened the first drug store in 1872 on the west side of the square and later moved into the first stone building to be erected in the town in 1876.

B. Negbaur from Leavenworth started in the clothing business in the spring of 1874. Later he added dry goods to his stock and had one of the best lines of goods to be found in the state at that time.

In 1874 J. W. and J. Lightbody started in the dry goods business on the west side of the square and their business grew in volume until the building became too small to answer the purpose of the store. In 1878 a dissolution of the firm took place and J. W. Lightbody built a large store building a few doors to the north and, in connection with W. J. Wilson of Burlington, Kansas, and Saunders & Wilson of Newton, Kansas, put in one of the finest stocks of goods ever shown in Barton County. The store occupied two floors and was known as the "People's Store."

A. W. Gray engaged in the hardware business in 1872 on the west side of the square in partnership with E. Wilcox of Hutchinson, and S. Lehman of Newton, Kan. In the spring of 1876, Mr. Gray erected a large brick building. Some idea of the volume of business done at that time can be gleaned from the fact that during the year 1878 Mr. Gray's total business amounted to $130,000 for hardware and machinery.

In 1874 the firm of Burton & Johnson, which was composed of E. W. Burton of Lansing, Mich., and A. Johnson, bought the E. L. Morphy hardware stock and began business at the northeast corner of the park square. Later they moved to the west side of the square and occupied the T. L. Stone building which was later used by Moses Brothers.

In 1876, W. H. Odell and G. N. Moses bought Mr. Johnson's interest and in the spring of 1877 Mr. Odell sold out to Ed R. Moses when the name of the firm was changed to Burton, Moses & Brother.

Sam Maher, (on right) First

In 1878, J. H. Hubbard erected a large stone building 25x140 feet with a basement, and at that time it was said to be the largest hardware store in the state of Kansas. The second floor of the building was used as a hall and was known as Union hall where all kinds of functions were held. The Hubbard store did a total business of $120,000. In 1879 the store was damaged by fire to the extent of $7,000.

None of the stores mentioned above are being operated now by their original owners,

Street Scene in Great Bend on Circus Day, 1910

about the only firm that remained in business that began in the 70s is the E. R. Moses Mercantile Company.

The first attempt to build a flour mill in the county was made by parties from Iowa in 1875 on the banks of the Walnut, near Dry creek. Various subscriptions in the way of a site, riparian rights, rock, etc., were given to the company. It was required that 30,000 bushels of wheat be loaned to the company by the farmers, they to take their pay in flour at stated intervals. A site was selected for the mill but the wheat loan did not come in and although work was begun on the mill it never was completed.

In the fall of 1875 a mill was built at Ellinwood by Musil & Steckel. It consisted of a single vertical burr and was capable of grinding about 100 bushels per day. During the same year the foundation for a mill was built by the firm of Brinkman & Sooy but was abandoned until 1878 when Brinkman's elevator was built on it.

In 1876 W. P. Clement came to Great Bend from Kalamazoo, Mich., and immediately took steps that resulted in a steam mill being erected near where the depot stands, and by August of that year the mill was ready to begin operations. It was completely overrun with work. The mill ran three sets of burrs and had a capacity of 350 bushels per day.

In 1877 Sooy & Brinkman built a large water power mill on Walnut Creek below the railroad bridge. It was nearly completed when a tornado demolished it. This tornado swept a path about six miles wide and came from the north. It did a great deal of damage from Carr Creek in Mitchell County to No. 3 school house west of Ellinwood. This was on August 16, 1877.

This misfortune did not deter Sooy & Brinkman and before long another mill was erected in a better and more secure manner and it began grinding in December, 1877. This mill was a four-burr and had the best appliances known for the manufacture of flour at that time.

It was soon found that there was insufficient water in the creek at times to keep the mill in operation, but the firm with characteristic enterprise, built a race at a point a mile and a half up the Arkansas river in order to get an additional supply of water. The fall from that point was ten feet in addition to that already atttained on the Walnut, and during the high water in the Arkansas the plan worked nicely. When the water fell in the Arkansas, as frequently happened, the head of the race would become filled with quicksand from the bed of the river. After various experiments that had for their object the remedying of this condition the business was finally abandoned and the mill was moved from its site to a point just south of the railroad tracks and it is now one of the biggest and best mills in the state of Kansas and is

Walnut Creek Mill

operated by the Walnut Creek Milling Company.

During the years from 1872 to 1880 there were numerous manufacturing enterprises started in Great Bend but none of them survived any great length of time. These included a broom factory, cigar factory, etc.

In the early days of Great Bend it was the place of residence of a large number of cattlemen who grazed their herds in the valleys of the Ninnescah, Chicaskia and Medicine Lodge rivers. The cattle business seemed to thrive at times when farming life was very discouraging on account of droughts, grasshoppers, wind and other undesirable conditions. The first cattle in the country were from Texas and it was a peculiar fact that high bred stock, natives of northern climates could not live in the vicinity of Texas herds without contracting a fever that ofttimes proved fatal. However, if the native cattle withstood the first year's contact they were immune there after. The best success in the cattle business was achieved by crossing Texas stock with northern cattle.

An effort was made in the early 70s to establish herds of sheep in the county, but all that were brought here seemed to be unable to become acclimated and the industry never thrived as did the cattle business.

The first to attempt to raise thoroughbred stock in the county was C. Q. Newcombe whose farm was known as Bloomingdale Park and was located in Cheyenne township. He came to the county in 1876 and engaged in breeding fine cattle and horses. His horses were of the Messenger and Black Hawk stock. He had one brood mare, known as Nellie Seeley, that had a record of 2:30 when she was 10 years old. His cattle were of the best shorthorn stock. He was also a breeder of Berkshire and Suffolk pigs many of which he imported.



A PETITION signed by E. L. Morphy and fifty-one others was presented to the board of county commissioners on September 2, 1872, asking for an election to be called for the purpose of issuing bonds to the amount of $25,000 for the building of a court house and jail.

On October 8, a special election was held at which the bonds were voted on and resulted as follows:

Township— For. Against. Total.
Lakin 1 32 33
Great Bend 156 1 157
Buffalo 5 3 8

  Total 162 36 19

On March 26, 1873, a contract was made with John McDonald of Emporia to build the court house for $24,200 in bonds of the county, the court house to be completed during that year, according to the plans and specifications on file with the clerk. Bonds in the sum of $50,000 were given by McDonald for the faithful performance of his part of the contract, W. T. Soden and P. B. Plumb being sureties.

In April the A. T. & S. F. railway got out an injunction restraining the issuing of the bonds for the building of the court house and certain bridges. A. A. Hurd was employed by the defense. The matter was finally adjusted, the bonds issued and the necessary taxes were paid by the railroad company.

In May, 1873, John H. Taylor was appointed to superintend the work of construction on the court house building, and at the close of December, 1873, the building was not completed acccrding to contract and McDonald had stopped work after drawing all the money that was due him. Early in 1874, the board of county commissioners took possession of the building and materials on hand in the name of the county. The work was finished and the cost of the part undone when McDonald quit was assessed against his bondsmen and suit begun to collect the amount. This matter hung fire in the courts for some time and was finally settled in November, 1879, by McDonald's bondsmen, Plumb and Soden paying the county the sum of $2,000, and paying all expenses of the litigation.



Ambulance For St. Rose Hospital

IN 1893, after having lived in Great Bend for about a year, during which time the preliminary work was done, representatives of the Dominician Sisters established St. Rose hospital. No public undertaking in the city of Great Bend ever met with a more hearty response from the citizens than did the work of soliciting aid for the establishment of the hospital. On June 9, 1902, the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Great Bend Commercial Club:

"Great Bend Commercial Club, Great Bend, Kansas, June 9, 1902.—To the Rev. Mother Superior of the Nuns of the Third Order of St. Dominic, Great Bend, Kansas:

"I have the honor to transmit to you the following resolutions which were unanimously adopted by the members of the Great Bend Commercial Club at their regular meeting on this date, to wit:

"'Whereas, It has come to the knowledge of the general public that the Rev. Mother Superior and the Rev. Sisters of the Nuns of the Third Order of St. Dominic, now residing in our midst, contemplate, or are considering the expediency of establishing and maintaining a general hospital in our city; Now, therefore, be it

"'Resolved, By the Great Bend Commercial Club, that the movement in question is one which commands our hearty support and most cordial endorscment;

"'That we have long recognized the pressing need of such an institution in this vicinity;

"'That there is a large and well-populated district tributary to Great Bend which is entirely without modern facilities where the sick and afflicted may receive proper hospital care, treatment and nursing;

"'That it is a matter of common knowledge that patients from this large expanse of country are continually traveling to and from the cities east of us in search of expert surgical relief and treatment;

"'That it is equally well known that large numbers of people are financially unable to meet the extraordinary expense of such a trip, or are physically unequal to the fatigue of the journey, and hence are compelled to remain at home, there to languish, suffer and die from lack of expert care, treatment and nursing, such as can be procured only in connection with a modern and well-equipped hospital;

"'That neighboring cities and villages have frequently signified their willingness to co-operate with this city, and to lend their moral and financial support to the promotion of such an institution;

"'That in our opinion the movement is a worthy one in every respect, and will command the instant and profound respect and sympathy of all classes of our people;

"'That we confidently believe that a hospital here under the auspices of these Reverend Sisters would receive a cordial and generous patronage from the entire western half of

St. Rose Hospital
Kansas and from portions of Eastern Colorado; "'That our railway connections are good, our climate unsurpassed, all local conditions most favorable, and the time most opportune; "'In consequence of all of which, we believe the proposition would be a pronounced success from the beginning, and that it would be not only a benediction to the general public but a source of revenue to the founders; "'Wherefore, We bid these Reverend Sisters God-speed in their great and glorious work and give them strong assurances of our cordial sympathy and good will.' "Most respectfully submitted,
"F. V. RUSSELL, Sec."
Interior View of St. Rose Hospital

The only institution of its kind in Central Kansas. Is a commodious, substantial, fireproof, brick structure, fully equipped for efficient hospital service for forty patients.

Situated on the crest of a high ridge of land on West Broadway the hospital is surrounded with beautiful lawns, shade trees, flower beds, and all that can add to its natural beauty.

The building has two stories and a basement. The arrangement is such that sunlight enters every room. Steam heat, electric lights, elevator and all modern conveniences have been installed. A separate building for the laundry work of the hospital is located on the grounds. A brick addition was constructed and equipped in 1910 at a cost of $25,000.

Both private rooms and wards are available. Private rooms are located on the first and second floors. They are egantly furnished by various business firms of the city and every eff:rt was made to impart a homelike atmosphere and eliminate the ordinary features of hospital life.

There are several semi-private rooms tor patients of more moderate means.

The men's ward is on the first floor and will accommodate eight patients. It is large, well lighted and ventilated. The same nursing and attention will be given as to those occupying private rooms.

The women's ward is on the second floor and is neatly furnished.

The drug room has an ample stcck so that all prescriptions can be filled at the hospital.

The hospital is equipped with a Morton-Wimshurst-Holtz machine of the latest design; a new Scheidel sixteen-inch coil X-Ray, capable of taking skiagraphs through the body when desired.

An electrical vibrator is used for patients unable to leave their apartments. An electric bath cabinet and hot air apparatus have been installed especially adapted for the treatment of chronic arthritis and rheumatic cases.

On the first floor is located a room equipped for free dispensary work. There are many of the poorer class who take advantage of this and receive both medical and surgical service.

The operating rooms are located on the second floor; the main operating room is used only for non-infective cases and was so designed as to afford plenty of light and be readi-

Chapel at St. Rose Hospital

ly fumigated. The second operating room is for all infective cases.

The sterlizing room adjoins the operating room and has all mcdern equipments.

Most careful attention is paid to the dietary. Expense, time and attention are not spared in providing the best.

The hospital has two fine ambulances for the service of its patients which can be called at any hour.

They are all Sisters of St. Dominic and of long hospital experience. Special nurses will be provided for patients desiring services of same at additional rates.


St. Mary's Academy, Formerly Central Normal
College, Great Bend

Another Catholic institution that was established in 1901 was St. Mary's Academy. This academy or school was established by the Dominican Sisters, they being of the same order as those who later established the St. Rose Hospital. The school was located in the building on West Broadway formerly used by the Central Normal College and was built in 1880. The school was operated until 1909 when it closed for a time after which it was and is now being used as a school where Sisters are trained for school and hospital work. It is the intention of the Sisters to again take up the school work within the near future. During the time that the school was operated it had a good attendance and was well conducted along modern ideas of education.

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