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. [11]-84, 166, [2] p. front., plates, ports. 24 cm.





The sketch here presented is from the St. Joseph Gazette of date December 22, 1901. It presents matter that has not appeared in any of the histories of the County, and, as the Gazette always took great and kindly interest in the affairs of our County, we may rest assured that the sketch is well worthy of our confidence.

The New York, Daily Times, December 18, 1861:

"Elwood is one of the most promising places in Kansas, and from the eligibility of its position and great local advantages, bids fair to become the chief commercial metropolis of the future state."

Forty years have elapsed since the prophecy was made, and now the residents of St. Joseph's Kansas suburb believe it is about to be fulfilled.

A city directory of Elwood and St. Joseph combined for the years 1860-61 contains the foregoing extract from the New York Daily Times. Continuing, the article says:

"Situated directly opposite St. Joseph, Elwood is placed by the Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad in direct communication with the most populous and wealthy cities of the East, and by the first of April will be within fifty hours' travel of New York. It is the starting point of the railroad chartered to Palmetto, on the South Pass route to Salt Lake and California, and of the St. Joseph & Topeka railroad, which will command a great portion of the trade of New Mexico. It lies on the west bank of the Missouri, on the verge of extensive, elevated and thickly wooded bottoms, which require no grading; its streets are broad and rectangular and its levee can be approached with safety by the largest boats and is sufficiently spacious for an immence commerce."

The New York Trubune of January, 1859, commenting upon the prospects of Elwood, said:

"The rapid growth of Elwood, the principal town in Northern Kansas, is due to its position on the Missouri river directly opposite St. Joseph --- the second city in Missouri. Since 1849, when the overland emigration to California commenced, this point has been an important one. The largest overland emigration to Kansas, has been, and continues to go through St. Joseph and Elwood. The government trains and the Salt Lake wail have long made this their starting point. It is the only town in Kansas that can be reached by railroad."

This is Elwood as it was looked upon forty years ago. The town did not progress as was expected, but, on the other hand declined for years. The city directy for 1860-61 is owned by Charles M. Betts, a local real estate dealer. It contains 165 names, and among them are found those of persons who later figured prominently in the history of Kansas. The town was at one time known as Roseport, but the name was changed to Elwood a short time previous to the date that the directory was issued. The town was an active rival of St. Joseph in early days. The old directory seeks to advertise the town as an outfitting point in the following terms:

"All persons who have determined to undertake the journey over the plains are quite anxious to learn the best route, and the best place for procuring teams and an outfit. An experience of 10 years has fixed upon the route beginning at Elwood, Kansas, (directly opposite St. Joseph, Mo.) and proceeding thence by Ft. Kearney and the valley of the Platte as the shortest, safest and best route from the Missouri river to the great West. Elwood, Kan., is connected with St. Joseph by the best ferry on the Missouri; it has first class hotels and large business houses, where everything in the line of provisions and outfitting articles can be obtained at low prices. Oxen, wagons, mules, tents, blankets, and everything needed for a trip over the plains, can be bought better at Elwood than at any other point on the frontier.

"Elwood is situated at the eastern terminus of the old California road, which has been the route taken by the overland travelers since 1849 and is now establislied as the best road to the gold mines of the Rocky mountains. The road from Elwood to the prairie has been recently entirely repaired and is now a firstclass road in all kinds of weather. Elwood is situated in a rich valley where grass shoots early and those who wish to spend a few days in getting ready for a trip to the mines will find excellent camping ground there, and plenty of wood to burn and grass for cattle. Elwood is the terminus of the Elwood & Marysville railroad, which is already graded for many miles. It is expected to be in running order to Troy, twelve miles west, in a few months. It is the first railroad built in Kansas."

In the lowlands of eastern Kansas, Elwood has peacefully slumbered since the optomistic views expressed in the foregoing. The war put a quietus, for a time on the railroad prospects and the equipment of the one lone railroad of the state was returned to St. Joseph, whence it was first taken on a ferry.

It was in Elwood that men who made the long trip to the Eldorado of the Rocky mountains, purchased their supplics. Some drove oxen across the plains, while others were satisfied with but a wheelbarrow containing food, water, a shovel, a pick and a few other implements necessary for mining. History records the successes and failures of the unsophisticated patriarchs of the Missouri Valley in the gold fields. History of late years has recorded little of Elwood for the town died --- it is believed forever.

The historical town has put on new life during the last few weeks. When the announcement was made that the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad intended to build a bridge across the river to Elwood, the people of the hamlet awoke from their slumber of nearly half a century. Many of them had hoped, during all of those years, that the tide which had swept on to the great west would some day recede, and that Elwood would, by some unknown chance yet become a figure in the world of commerce and manufacture. There was little tangible basis for the hope, it is true, but the fulfillment of the dream is said by railroad men to be near at hand.

The bill authorizing the construction of the Rock Island bridge has been introduced in the senate. It is believed that it will pass without trouble, and to Elwood this will mean much, if the reports that have been current recently can be relied upon. It is stated to be the intention of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad to build switch yards on the Kansas side. A large grain elevator, with the capacity of a half million bushels has been built during the last few years at Elwood, and those who never lost confidence in the town, say that the day is near at hand, when, from the sleeping burg, there will arise a big town; that the natural advantages of the place will no longer be overlooked, since abundant railroad facilities are assured.


From the appendix of the old directory of the town are gathered the names of men who were well known to the early settlers of St. Joseph. Some of them have since become famous in other parts of the state and country. The city government of Elwood in 1861 was represented by the following officials.

Mayor, George W. Barr.
Clerk, Dr. J. W. Robinson.
Assessor, William H. High.
Attorney, T. A. Osborn.
Treasurer, R. S. Sayward.
Collector, Charles O. Smith.

City Council, William H. High. D. B. Jones, J. H. Hatcher, A. Disque, W. L. Lewis, L. C. Roth, William Luke, W. Croff, A. W. Tice.

Police Department. The police force consisted of the chief, or city marshal, and three policemen, the latter of whom were, immediately responsible to the mayor.

Marshal, Charles O. Smith; office corner Fifth and Douglas streets.

Policemen. Andrew Neal, Arthur Carroll and Richard Howell.

Let it be known that, at the present day, the city government of Elwood is vested in two or three men.

There was but one incorporated company in Elwood in 1861. It was the Elwood Building association, the office of which was located at the corner of Sixth and Douglas streets. The concern was incorporated in 1860 by D. W. Wilder, A. L. Lee, Charles H. Hatcher.

There was one regular church at Elwood. At St. Mark's Episcopal church, located on Foreman street, between Soventh and Eighth streets, services were held at 3 o'clock each Sunday afternoon. Rev. J. E. Ryan was its rector in 1861. Religious services were held occasionally by persons attached to the Congregational church in a public hall.

Of the Elwood & Marysiveill railroad the directory says:

"This road is graded to Troy with iron enough on hand to lay it, and trains will be running regularly by August 1.

Reference is made to the Marysville & Denver City railroad as follows: "This railroad is a continuation of the Marysville & Roseport railroad and will be surveyed immediately."

The business directory of the town in 1861 shows the following number of persons engaged in different business enterprises at Elwood. Insurance agents, 1; real estate agents, 1; attorneys at law, 3; bankers, 2; bank note detector, 1; billiard balls, 2; blacksmiths, 2; breweries, 1; brickmaker, 1; butcher, 1; carpenters, 6; coffee house, 1; dentist, 1; draper and tailor, 1; druggist, 1; drygoods stores, 4; gardener, 1; grist mill, 1; groceries, 3; hotels 2; justices of the peace, 1; livery stable 1; meat market, 1; millwtright 1; newspaper, 1; painters, 2; physicians, 3; plasterers, 1; restaurants, 1; saloons, 5; shoemakers, 3; steam saw mill, I; stockk dealer, 1; stove and tinware dealers, 1; wagon makers, 3; watch maker, 1; wood merchants, 2.

John Broder, ex-chief of the police of St. Joseph, drove the first spike on the first railroad west of the Missouri river at Elwood.

John T. Warburton, justice of the peace of Washington township, is one of the men who remain to recall the early fortunes of those who settled Elwood. Mr. Warburton came to St. Joseph in the fall of 1850 and moved to Elwood in 1858, when he went to work on the Elwood Free Press, where he was nothing more, nothing less than a printer's 'devil.'

Elwood at that time was almost as large as St. Joseph. A large hotel stood on the river bank on the Kansas side, and as the current of the river shifted, the ground began to crumble away from the foundation of the structure, which subsequently made necessary the tearing down of the building.

The hotel covered a block of ground. Mr. Warburton was well acquatinted with T. A. Osborn, "Tom" Osborn, as he was known in those days, who afterwards became governor of Kansas. Osborn was a printer by trade, and while acting as city attorney at Elwood, he used to go to the Free Press office and set type for a few hours "just to keep in practice," as he expressed it.

Mr. Warburton was one of the men who pulled on the rope that brought the first locomtiove into the state of Kansas. The engine was taken across the river from St. Joseph on a ferry. Ropes were attached to it on the other side, and men and boys pulled the locomotive up the bank. In those days engines were named instead of numbered, as now, and this, the first iron horse to visit the land of sunflowers, was called the "Albany." A mile of track had been laid toward Wathena at the time the engine arrived, and the day following the town was in holiday attire.

The engine was placed upon the track and ran back and forth over the rails, midst, the cheers of the throng of spectators, to most of whom the mass of iron and steel was a revelation. When the track had been completed to Wathena, a free excursion was run to that town. All day long the woods was crowded with an excited throng of people, who thought they saw in the arrival of the strange visitor, a power of civilization unsurpassed.

This was the beginning of the St. Joseph, Roseport & Topeka railroad and its equipment in the state of Kansas then amounted to the engine "Albany" and three flat cars. The road changed hands at different times and became a part of the St. Joseph & Denver City, now the St. Joseph & Grand Island.

Romantic Elopement.

On the lips of a few of the old timers is a legend telling of a romantic elopement which took place in the vicinity of the historic old town of Charleston-on-the-Missouri. The hero was a widower, lacking a few years of fifty, but he was a handsome man, possessing dash and courage, two manly qualities greatly admired by all the daughters of Eve. The heroine was young, possessing rare beauty. She laughed out of a pair of the sweetest brown eyes; her cheeks were of the tint of the June rose; her lips rivaled the carnation, and her dark curls hung bewitchingly on her gracefully rounded shoulders, half screening, half revealing a neck that a sculptor might have given a year of his life to see. But the girl's parents objected to the match, not only because of the advanced age of the man of her heart, but on account of the depleted condition of his pocketbook, and his poor worldly prospects, he being in possession of but one $5 gold piece and a skittish mule which like his owner and master, was well advanced in years. But, as everyone knows, love laughs at locksmiths and dissenting parents, and one moonlight night, early in the sixties, when the houses were few and far scattered over the country, the hero of this story-legend astride "Old Jack," rode to a secret spot near the home of his prospective father-in-law, where he met his dark eyed sweatheart, with a smile on her face and a bundle of clothes under her arm, ready to elope. Without delay the hero, reaching down his strong right arm, crooked it around the lissome waist of the girl, and lifted her to a seat on a gunny sack, on the mule's hack behind him. Immediately "Old Jack," having received a communication from the spur on the heel of the hero, sprang forward on the journey. Casting a single glance over her shoulder, the girl waved a silent adieu to her old home; then, as the spur bit deeper into the flank of the skittish mule, her white arms found their way around her lover's waist, and a flying, romping curl tickled his ear and cheek, in a most tantilizing but delightful manner.

Over the prairies dark and lonely they galloped, "OId Jack," the skittish, plunging and snorting; our hero riding proud and straight and happy; our heroine holding tightly, her dark eyes sparkling like stars, and her raven curls tossing on the waves of the night wind. Across the rolling prairies of old Doniphan Caunty[sic] they flew, covering many miles before the good mule was permitted to come to a walk; and just as the sun began to emerge from the mouth of the cave of night, hero and heroine found themselves in front of the door of an early rising preacher, who, without unnecessary delay, tied into a fast knot their heart strings, which for so long a time had been happily entwined.

The Court House Fire.

From the Troy Reporter, March 14, 1867, we copy the following account of the burning of the Court House in Troy, March 12, 1867.

"On Tuesday afternoon, about half past one o'clock, the Court House in this town was discovered to be on fire in the roof of the building. Mr. Stout dashed a pail of water on what could be seen of it, around the flue in the ceiling of the court room, and thought the fire was extinguished, but he gave the alarm and several came running with water. The hatchway was raised, when it was discovered that the whole of the roof was in flames. All hands, when this was announced, began to carry out and save the records and the papers. The wind was blowing very hard and it was impossible to save the building. The wood work was all pine, dry as powder, and it burned very rapidly.

Two prisoners were in the jail, who were removed and placed under guard.

The Sheriff had stored in his office about two thousand dollars worth of clothing attached for some parties in St. Joseph which was all saved.

A great many of the loose papers were scattered by the wind, and in gathering them up they were somewhat "mixed." The books and records of all kinds, together with the safes, were all saved in good order.

The court house was insured for four thousand dollars, in the "North American" of Philidelphia. The policy had only been issued about six weeks.

Three stoves, some desks, a few lamps and some thirty singing books, belonging to the Methodist society, were about all the property burned with the building.

The building was put up under the old border ruffian rule, costing the county nearly $15,000--enough to erect a much better building. It had been "cursed" enough to be "charmed," but it seems the charm departed about the time it took fire. The Sheriff will secure another room for the District Court, which will open next Monday. The District Clerk will have his papers all straightened up for court.

Our citizens are taking steps for the erection of a new and good Court House, which will be built with little or no expense to the County."

The present citizens of the County have not forgotten that a very bitter County-seat war followed.

As this page is being made ready for the press, the bricklayers are about to begin work on the construction of a new Court House, which will be one of the finest in this section of the state.


Dear Editor:--Having spent the last week in canvassing Doniphan County, upon the all-engrossing topic of the enfranchisement of women, I feel bound to make a report of my proceedings, through your columns. I used to hear that the southern counties were the paradise of Kansas, but I believe there is no finer scenery, no better soil, no place of richer promise in all the West, than is afforded in Doniphan County; and the best feature of it is, that Doniphan County will give us a large majority in favor of Impartial Suffrage. In several different localities, they promised me almost the entire vote, in favor of woman's enfranchisement. This looks hopeful. Through some misunderstanding about the appointments, the meetings were failures in one or two places; but I promised myself the pleasure of returning and reviewing the fine fields and pleasant villages of Doniphan, and at that time we shall make up for all failures of the past. At Highland I met old school friends--classmates of years ago---and in talking over old times and old friends of other day, in relating adventures and experiences, the time flew away before we were scarcely aware. The meeting at Highland was a decided success. True, I was not allowed to occupy the chapel, or the school room in the university, because some persons thought politics must of necessity be separate from the influence, both of religion and education; but then, a kind gentleman very generously offered me the use of his store, supposing, no doubt, that polities and commerce are intimately connected. An attractive audience, composed of thinking and earnest people, rejoiced the heart of the weary lecturer. There are good friends of liberty in Highland, and our cause will have a strong vote, if not the najority. A celebration of the colored people took place on the 21st, in the grove near Highland. It was largely attended and was an occasion of real enjoyment. The Hutchison family were present, and sang several of their stirring freedom songs. Every one who hears them sing is made better and happier by their sweet music. The colored people unanimously adopted a resolution, recognizing, in the advocates of female suffrage. the best friends of the colored man, and planted themselves upon the broad platform of Impartial suffrage, without regard to sex or color. Mr. Langton made a stirring speech, in which he, at three different times, declared himself in favor of the enfranchisement of women. He is an elegant man and his words produced a marked effect upon the audience. He spoke a little too severely and contemptuously of the white race, making at some points rather disparaging comparisons; but when we remember the wrongs thee colored man has suffered, we cannot blame him if, at times, he forgets that there are good, intelligent and generous men and women even among the whites. But let every one speak as the spirit moves, and let us all, men and women, speak and act as conscience shall dictate, and I have no fears for the result.

The heart of the people of Kansas is in favor of liberty and enfranchisement for all.


Robinson, Kans., Sept. 23, 1867.

The St. Joseph and ElwooI Bridge.

Construction of the present bridge, now owned by the Grand Island was begun September 26, 1871. The contract was let to the Detroit Iron & Bridge Company in June 1871 for $710,000. The bridge was erected under the super vision of Engineer E. D. Mason, and in January, 1872, the following board of directors was elected: W. P. Hall, W. Z. Ransome, J. D. McNeeley, Peter G. Gonlisk, G. H.H Koch, Dr. Robert Gumm, Jeff Chandler, John Pinger, J. D. Bitlinger, Fred Smith. T. B. Weakley, R. It. Jordan, and S. P. Hyde. W. B. Johnson, James McCord, W. N. Wyeth, Milton Tootle and Louis Hax afterward served on the board. The first train passed over the bridge May 20, 1873.

The opening of the bridge was formally celebrated on May 31, 1873, and of this occurrance an early history of Buchanan County says: "This was beyond doubt the most brilliant pageant ever witnessed in the city. Not only was every civic association and benevolent society represented in the vast procession, but the German citizens of the north west had selected St. Joseph as the place for holding their annual Sangerfest on the same day. The procession which traversed the streets of St. Joseph, was never equaled west of the Mississippi. Every trade was represented. The cooper was hooping barrels in his improvised shop on wheels, the shoemaker was pegging at his last, the axhandle manufacturers were using their drawing knives, and turning out handles with the same celerity that marked their labors at home, lathes, looms, steam engines, collar factories, trunk establishments and an endless variety of other trades and appliances of mechanical labor, were in full blast, in the vast stream of human industry, that moved along the streets to the enlivening music of six or eight brass bands. The procession was fully six miles in length and both in the novelty of its character and the immensity of its magnitude, astonished even the people in whose midst the industries existed. At night hundreds of Chinese lanterns illuminated the structure.

An immense amount of brilliant oratory was set off in a bunch. Ex-Governor Hall, Joseph Brown, the mayor of St. Louis, Gen. James Craig, James B. Eads, Jeff Chandler and Honorables I. S. Kallock of Leavenworth, and A. C. Parker spoke.

At 3 p. m. a sumptuous banquet was served in Tootle & McLaughlin's hall to which five hundred guests sat down. Bands played during the feast. Numerous toasts were given and eloquent responses made. The last of these was to Joseph Robidoux, the founder of St. Joseph, which was drank in silence by all standing."

Notwithstanding the immense importance to St. Joseph commerce, the bridge not only did not, for several years, pay the dividend, nor even pay interest on the $200,000 of bonds issued by the bridge company, and nobody protested when the city presented the structure to Jay Gould and his associates as an unconditional gift.

The $500,000 of city bonds have never been paid. They have been refunded from time to time, and the rate of interest cut down, but the principal is still outstanding. Jay Gould was so short sighted as to permit the bridge to be sold a few years later, to the holders of the bridge bonds for $5,000 at a foreclosure sale--St. Joseph Gazette, Dec. 22, 1901.

A Brave Girl.

During 1863, the Jayhawkers were the boldest and did the greatest amount of mischief in the county. There was scarcely a settler that had not had cause to complain of their thievishness and sneaking meanness. The following sketch, concerns the Jawhawker known as Chandler, who belonged to the Cleveland gang and who was killed at Geary City, in 1863. It was prepared from a letter written by an old settler.

In August, 1862, Chandler in company with a tall red haired man whom he called "Sandy," while on their way from the Atchison country, to a well known rendesvous on Wolf River, stopped at the house of G. R. Wilson, at Walnut Grove, Wolf River township, and asked for a drink of water. Wilson was not at home. The oldest daughter sent the men to the well, but they soon returned to the door and demanded that she prepare supper for them. The girl, who was scarcely fifteen, informed them that her mother was sick and needed all her time, it being then about four o'clock. Chandler was displeased at this. Turning to his companion he said, "Hear that. Sandy? Says she won't; let's make her." Sandy shook his head, advising that they move on; but Chandler was in an ugly spirit. However, after some argument, he consented to go on. The brave little woman holding fort at the door sent this shot after them: "Its well for you that you've decided to go on, for you would have had a happy time making me get supper for you." Chandler went on his way reluctantly. "She's a saucy cub, isn't she?" he growled to his companion as they retired.

A short time after this the Wilson family were aroused about midnight by hearing someone pounding on the door. Wilson, rising and going to the door, met Chandler and "Sandy." Chandler held a pistol to Wilson's face, demanding that he behave himself while the house was being searched for arms. Wilson protested that he had no arms in the house, and this was true, for a short time before this his daughter, having heard that men were on the rounds, taking up the arms of some of the citizens, determined to forestall them by hiding the gun in an outbuilding. Chandler would not be satisfied with Wilson's statement that there were no arms in the house. He ordered "Sandy" to get a rope. The rope being brought, it was thrown over a beam of the porch, but that was as far as the "bluff" was carried. At that moment, Emily, the brave little girl, who sent the men on their way without their supper, stood concealed behind a door, with an axe in her hand, ready to leap out and strike, when the men should begin to place the rope over her father's head. The idea of hanging was abandoned and Mrs. Wilson, who by this time arrived on the scene, was ordered to light the way, while the men made a search of the house. Chandler did the rummaging, while "Sandy" stood guard at the front door. It seems that "Sandy" did not consider it worth while to watch Wilson, since it was evident he had no arms, and not being watched, Wilson slipped out of the back door. A hasty search of the house was made. A trunk was broken into and robbed of its contents. On the wall a watch was found hanging, and that was taken. On the way out, Chandler found a saddle on the porch, which he took with him, remarking that he had ridden bareback and that he would borrow it for the occasion. In the meantime, Wilson had secured the rifle where his daughter had concealed it, and had hidden himself near the road, where he believed the men would pass on going away. He had his gun pointed and ready for Chandler, but the men, instead of coming his way, turned in the opposite direction and made their escape with their booty. Shortly after this, when Chandler was killed at Geary City, he had on him some of the clothes he had stolen from Wilson's trunk in the bedroom.

The Shooting of Wilson.

The following account of the shooting of Grandison H. Wilson, by a squad of soldiers of the 13th Kansas, is based on an account written for us by Wilson's oldest daughter, who, at the age of fifteen, was an eye witness to the whole affair.

Between eight and nine o'clock, on the morning of September 2nd 1862, Wilson started with his team for the field where he had some plowing to do. At his request his daughter, Emily, who was at the same time on her way to school, carried to the field for him a scythe, to be used to cut some weeds that were in the way of the plow. The girl arrived at the field before her father, but instead of going on to school, she waited there till he came. Wilson began to cut the weeds while his daughter gathered them into a pile. Suddenly there was heard on the hill quite near them, the crack of a gun, and looking up they saw seven or eight men coming toward them down the hill. Wilson speaking to his daughter cautioned her to sit down, that the men might not see her at work in the field; but the men were soon there. Without a word of warning Wilson was fired on.

One ball entered his breast near the heart and he sank on the new mown weeds, almost falling on the handle of the scythe. On seeing her father fall the girl screamed with all her might. This urged the men to complete their dastardly work, and, obeying the leader's order, the men fired two or three more shots, which took effect, and the deed was done. The girl, who was scarcely fifteen, stood paralized with fear. When the men turned to go away she crept to her father's side, and realizing the awful truth, felt her heart grow sick with horror. She thought to turn to the house for help, but as she rose to go, she saw her mother coming across the field. Again kneeling by the prostrate form of her father, she raised the hat that covered his face just in time to see him gasp for his last breath. It was given out by his enemies that Wilson, seeing the men approaching, undertook to make his escape, that the leader of the squad had commanded him to halt, and that the command, having been disregarded, he was fired on. This, however, is not true. Wilson's body was found tying on the new mown weeds. He had not retreated a step, and was shot down without a moment of time and without a word of warning. The whole affair was over in a moment, and every part of it had been witnessed by the girl who was kneeling on the pile of weeds only a few yards away.

When Mrs. Wilson arrived on the scene she was helpless with grief. There was no one near to render her assistance; but her daughter, young but brave, arising to the emergency, faced the situation and found a way out of the distress. She unhitched the horses from the plow, and pulling the harness off one of them, got a saddle at the house and rode away to the school on Wolf River to seek the aid of Josephus Utt, the teacher, who was her father's intimate friend, and to bring her little brother and sister home from school. At the river she found her father's slayers seated under the trees near the place where she had to cross. The men recognized her at once and fled, fearing to face the gentle courage of a mere girl, whom they had made an orphan in that hour.

The Boys of Kansas.

(Extracts from an address by the Honorable Daniel Webster Wilder, at Wathena, Kansas, July 4, 1884.)

"Members of the Grand Army, Old Friends and Neighbors:--- Your invitation for me to join you here was received with genuine pleasure. You knew that I was not an orator, that I should have to write and read what I said, but you asked me to come as an old friend and citizen---one of the boys of the old days, when Washington Township was yet young, and you and I, now gray haired men in spectacles, were also young. The glasses we used then were not to look through but---for some other purpose, that the prohibitionist, Andrew Disque, might explain.

"Nelson Abbey, of this township, used to say that he preferred Kansas. He said that there was good water here; good to wash with; you did not have to put ashes into it. Nelson Abbey, Heaven rest his soul! What fun we boys did have in those days! One summer day in '58 or '59 a lively party of Free State boys came up from Leavenworth. They came on a steamboat and stopped at Elwood. Nelson Abbey was there and full of glee. In ten minutes all were intimately acquainted. They fraternized. A journey was proposed to Troy, and a dozen boys trotted off, Abbey leading the way. Along the road made by Arnet Grooms, through Wathena, along Peter's Creek, past Smahiwood's and Widow Thompson's, and a half a dozen houses on the road, galloped this merry party. It was a stream of laughter and jokes from the river to the County seat. Arrived there, they went to the little shop on the east side, where eatables were sold. Abbey called for pies, and the ordinary American and Kansas pie was produced. "What, round pies," said Abbey, "Great God! do you expect us to eat round pies? Make a dozen square pies." And he led the procession out of the shop. All waited on the high prairie 'til the square 1 pies were made and cooked; and then they were eaten. Every man in the party would have starved rather than eaten a round pie, after their leader, Abbey Nelson, in a momentary and whimsical edict, had declared that the only straight out Free State and Black Republican pie was a square pie. "Of course, square pies," they all roared and yelled. "Who ever heard of a Free State man eating a round pie?" And Abbey Nelson and his square pies were never forgotten by any man who was there that day. The story went all over the territory.

"The greatest man that ever set foot on this Township, arrived here en the first day of December, 1859, to warm the beautiful day. The late Judge Delahey and I met him at the depot in St. Joseph that day, and rode up town with him; took ho, to a barber shop on Francis street, and I went up to Woodworth's news stand in the next block, and bought him the latest papers. Then the three went down to the ferry landing, near the old Robidoux building, and sat down in the dirt on the banks, waiting for Capt. Blackiston's boat. As we sat there I remember being impressed with the wonderful length of Mr. Lincoln's legs. They were legs that could fold up; the knees stood up like that high and hind point of the Kansas grasshopper. He wore a hat of the stovepipe shape, but made of felt, unglazed, not shiny, and needing no brush. The buttons were off his shirt, as I had noticed them the summer before, when, by a lucky accident, I spent several days in the law office of Lincoln & Herndon in Springfield.

"Mr. Lincoln made a speech that evening at the Great Western hotel, in the dining room, a very great speech, to an audience called together by a man who went through the town sounding a gong. The next day, December 2, the day on which John Brown was hanged, he spoke at Troy, and I think Colonel Ege replied to him, and fully vanquished the future president. He also spoke in Asahel Low's hotel in Doniphan, and that completes the great man's connections with this county.

"Another event will always give this Township and County historical interest. On March 20, 1860, the first railroad iron received in Kansas came here, and track laying was commenced on the Elwood & Marysviile railroad. On Monday, April 23, 1860, the locomotive "Albany" was pIaced on his track. M. Jeff Thompson, Willard P. Hall and Governor R. M. Stewart, the great men of St. Joseph, made speeches on that occasion. On the 19th of July, 1860, (twenty-four years ago) the completion of the railroad from Eiwood to Wathena was celebrated. I recollect having made a brief speech here on that day. 1 think it was at the April jollification, and not in July, that Harmon Hunt in the excess of peasantry and patriotism knocked Jeff Thompson down. It was a "big hit" for this side of the river, and greatly added to the local renown of the quiet printer who struck the blow.

"It was from this Township that the Doy rescuers departed on the night of July 23, 1856, led by John Tracy.

"The first rebel flag ever captured by Kansas soldiers was taken from Iatan, Missouri, June 3, 1861, by a party of twelve soldiers of the First Kansas, then in camp at Fort, Leavenworth. Seven of the soldiers were members of the Elwood Guards company of this Township. Sergeant Frank Drenning demanded the lowering of the flag "In the Name of Abraham Lincoln and the Congress of the United States." That trophy is now in possession of the State Historical Society.

"It was Thomas Merrick, a citizen of this township, who captured the first Rebel flag raised in St. Joseph. It was brought over here and burned.

Let us reverently and devoutly thank God that our lot has been cast in this fair land, even in Kansas, the best of all states because the most tolerant, kindly, brotherly; and let us trust that even we have done something in our day to make our town, county and state better worth living in."

Mr. Wilder closed his remarks by paying a glowing tribute to the worth and nobility of character, of Judge Nathan Price, quoting at the end the last verse of the Judge's favorite poem "The Chemistry of Character."

Prehistoric Race.

Relics of a lost race have been found at Eagle Springs, in this County, buried from four to eight feet under the ground. Enough has been discovered at these Springs, to show that there was once a city there, which, like Herculaneum and Pompeii, has been overthrown, and covered up by the accumulating rubbish of ages.

"In excavating for an icehouse there were found four different places where fires had been kept burning for a long time as the earth underneath was burnt red as a brick for some distance down, and scattered all around were broken pottery, bones, shells, arrow-points, and other evidences of the place having once been the abode of man. This place is some six or eight feet under the ground, and on top of the ground over it, there has grown a large burr-oak tree which was blown down, perhaps before the country was settled, and is all decayed now, except some of the largest roots and a small portion of the body. Thus far there has been no metal instrument of any kind found, that has been used by the race of men, who once trod these hills and valleys, nor has there been a single bone of any domestic animal found, which shows that their earthly possessions must have been very limited, and of the most primitive character. The flint arrow points, the stone axe, and a few pieces of rude pottery, seem to have constituted the sum total of their effects. The motive that prompted the selection of this locality as a place of abode must have been the healthful waters of these springs. The probability that the very place from which I write was once the home of a race of men of whom we have no record in history, fills the mind with many interesting and curious thoughts. Could we cal[sic] back to this, their once peaceful and happy home and habitation, those strange people, whose record is sealed up in the great unwritten history of the past, what strange stories they could tell, and with what amusement they would view the changed conditions of their surroundings."--Extract from an article by Pryor Plank, published May 3, 1883.