United States Flag

Ellis County, Kansas

Kansas State Flag






Old Settlers’ Association of Ellis

County, Kansas



President, H. D. SHAFFER.


Secretary, F. E. McLAIN.

Treasurer, M. J. R. TREAT.

Historian, S. MOTZ.




H. W. JOY.










P. W. Smith

T. K. Hamilton

Pat Hickey

Louis Bell

L. M. Fox

M. J. R. Treat

J. C. Bascom

Barney Martin

J. B. Fox

Joseph L. Maquire

Henry Busch

John Hall

J. S. Halman

John Schlyer

W. H. L. Mack

B. T. Miller

Luther M Nellis

Alex Philip

Mrs. I. M. Bay

Mrs. Frank Pestina

Geo. R. Craig

Mrs. M. A. Smith

H. P. Wilson

C. Smith

Charles Miller

D. C. Beverly

C. O. Smith

Mrs. H. P. Wilson

H. B. Kohl

Mrs. Chas. Miller




Mrs F C Montgomery

Raymond Staab

I Jewell

Cornel Staab

John Schueler

Peter Staab, jr

E J Mullen

W T Edwards

Ernest R Sitz

C H Grass

Charles Stadter

Miss Mary Wassinger

John Earlenbaugh

Frank Staab

I M Yost

Mrs E Cavender

Arthula Replogle

O H Reemsyder

William Robbin

H D Shaffer

E W Decker

James Brumitt

Michael Strehmel

John A Dean

Alex Schueler

Justus Walter

Henry Pelzel

C H Wolf

Alfred Barns

Alvis Koerner

Herbert Vine

S S Madden

M Wolf

Fred Karline

O M Straily

Janot Polifka

Henry Meyer

Frank Moore

C Schwaller

Joel Simmons

Eli Fox

B C Arnold

D C Brumitt

Jennie M Grass

J H Downing

Geo B Snyder

John F Burch

Edward Polifka

Henry W Eichbush

Fred Solomon

L M Edwards

Nathaniel Robbins

Philip Jacobs

B J Sites

Mrs J L Brosius

J W Downer

Wm Schrenkler

Charles W Reeder

George Troth

John Rooth

J C West

A D Goetchius

M G Joslin

Elihu Stout

William C Brumitt

H Irwin, jr

C W Bell

W J Wood

George Foreman

J H Birchel

H W Oshant

William Hall

Guy Wing

J L Brosius

A P Brungardt

A W Lamb

John H Gerken

Henry Schultz

George Troth

J H Reeder

John Aich

Alva Miller

A C Thompson

Adie Swiers

A L Saunders

A M Staab

Allen L King

Geo P Griffith

Jonah Nulton

Mrs David Rathbone

Mrs A Hall

Peter Gosser

Frank Slaughter

Emma Brumitt

Cora Brumitt

Nathan Andreas

E R Cole

Andrew Earlenbaugh

Henry Schechter

T G Gosser

Henry Wolf

Ella Brumitt

Charles Brumitt

E A Brumitt

Margaret Brumitt

H J Brumitt

H D Russell

Henry Reemsnyder

Michael Gauss

Mrs Sara Ryan

Mrs H J Penney

F D Nichols

A W Robinson

J A Mains

F E McLain

H C Mains

W F Haddock

W D Butts

Henry Knoche

Tena Knoche

H W Joy

A O Robinson

L L Robinson

Miles Mulroy

W H Early

J M Gosser

Henry Tyler

David Rathbone

H W Grass



The invention of man speeds civilization in its onward move. No enterprise by the American people stands more conspicuous as an absolute illustration of the effect and influence of progressive civilization than the construction of the Trans-Atlantic line of railroad immediately following the termination of the civil war.

The historian says that the colonization of the land of the savage by Anglo-Saxon results in the civilization of the country from which the Indian was forced to retreat. This conclusion was undoubtedly founded upon the conduct of William Penn in treating with the Indians, and must stand as the exception and not as the rule under which colonization was pushed westward.

The founding of new settlements persistently ignored the right of ownership by the savage, so that each successive step of advancing civilization was multiplying the cherished wrong that had its final culmination in the battle of Little Rose Bud, where Gen. Custer and his command paid the penalty of the long contemplated revenge for the method of Anglo-Saxon civilization.

The first settlement of Ellis county differed essentially from the old custom of shooting the Indian further west. That fearless and intrepid element that worked in advance of the actual settler and delighted in holding a position for a period of time between the retreating Indian and the emigrant, was at no time a factor in the

settlement of Ellis county. It was the pick and shovel, followed closely by the whistle of the engine, and not the rifle of the frontiersman that invited the emigrant to move forward. To the savage this was a complete innovation; an epoch in the life of the Indian more potent than the craft of the followers of Daniel Boone in persuading, the Indian of the futility of resistance against this formidable and irresistible civilizing influence. Reluctantly the inevitable was accepted, and after a farewell requiem was chanted over the graves of the loved ones, the aborigines under the new order of things separated, moving north and south, instead of toward the evening sun as had been the custom since the first settlement of the white man.

Dull must be the soul that fells not the touch of mournful sympathy for those disposed to gratify the ambition of progressive civilization. If there is no God, might is right; if there is a God, retribution is as inevitable and dire as the fate of those wrongfully dispossessed of the country they loved.

The county was named in honor of Lieutenant George Ellis of the 12th Kansas Infantry, who was killed in the battle of Jenkins' Ferry, Arkansas, April 30th, 1864. Prior to 1S67 Ellis County was embraced in the unorganized territory of the western portion of the state. The legislature of 1868 defined the boundaries and named the county in conformity with a petition presented to the Governor by the citizens in the fall of 1867, asking for organization, with J. E. Walker, Wm. Rose and Dennis Ryan as commissioners; John W. Connor, county clerk, and M. E. Joyce, justice of the peace. At the time of organization all the officers named resided in Hays City; in fact, the entire population of the county was located within the city limits, except those employed by the government, who temporarily resided upon the military reservation. Some time in June, 1867, prior to the application for organization, the Governor appointed M. E. Joyce justice of the peace, residing at the time in Rome, Ellis county. By virtue of this appointment Mr. Joyce became the only legally constituted civil tribunal of the west half of the state of Kansas. That he appreciated the importance of his position was fully revealed by his oft-repeated declaration, "that there was no higher court than his." One incident alone will suffice to delineate the peculiar characteristics of the judge, and dispell all apprehension as to his own conviction of the authority vested in him by reason of his appointment to the position of justice of the peace. Some time during the early part of the fall the Judge was invited to perform the first marriage ceremony in the history of the county. The contracting, parties met for the first time in Hays City, a few days before their engagement. The bride could not be called handsome, owing to her single-handed contention in the battle of life for sixty years. The groom had a single eye to devotion of his loved one, with the shady side of life obscuring the sun of youth. "For better or worse," the Judge united them as man and wife for the small sum of fifteen dollars. Immediately following the ceremony, the court and contracting couple engaged in celebrating the happy event. Before the festivities had been completed, that green-eyed monster and destroyer of happiness, "Jealousy," inspired the groom to remonstrate with the Judge against his lavish and affectionate attentions to the bride. This was construed by the Judge as an unpardonable insult of his official character. He immediately convened court and granted the offended bride a decree of divorce on account of insults offered to the Court by the groom. The groom employed an attorney and brought suit to recover the marriage fee. The Court duly rendered judgment in favor of plaintiff for $15.00, and offset the judgment with the costs in the divorce case. The Judge was one of the many attractions that abounded among the heterogeneous aggregations of population in the fall of 1867.

The first location or settlement in Ellis County was made on the West Side of Big Creek, north of the grade, by Lull Bros., of Salina. This was in the latter part of May, 1867. Before the middle of the following month quite a town was built on the neck of land between the grade and the creek, on the north.

Later in the month of June, Judge W. C. Webb and Phinney Moore, members of the Big Creek Land Company, surveyed and staked the townsite of Hays City. Quite an animated contention resulted for supremacy between the representatives of the two town companies. Unfortunate for the Romanites the Big Creek Land Company was heartily supported by the Railroad Construction Company, who after repeated efforts to compromise between the rival town companies, deemed it advisable, in order to fully protect the bridge spanning Big Creek against high water, to raise the grade 3 1/2 feet. This determined the fate of the original town site in Ellis county and made Hays City the metropolis for the traffic coming frown the southern, western, and some of the northern territories, for a considerable period of time.

Fort Fletcher was established in the Autumn of 1866. During the summer of 1867 it was considered advisable by the military authorities, owing, in part, to the destructive overflow earlier in the season of Big Creek, together with the change of location of the railroad, to select another and more eligible site for the fort.

The present location of the now abandoned Fort Hays Military Reservation was selected by Brevet Major General Gibbs, United States Army, June 22, 1S67, by order of Major (general Hancock of Missouri.

Fort Fletcher was named in honor of ex-Gov. Fletcher of Missouri. Some time during the winter of '66-'67 the name was changed to Fort Hays, in honor of Major General Isaac G. Hays, who was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness.

The reservation is irregularly triangular. Extreme length six miles; extreme breadth three and a half miles; contains seven thousand five hundred acres. This tract of land and country in the immediate vicinity is situated in a shallow basin partially surrounded by a low magnesia lime stone ridge. The surface of the reservation is gently undulating in general and is drained by numerous gullies or shallow ravines, affording surface drainage to Big Creek, which traverses the reservation almost the entire length, with a belt of timber on either side that in places form groves extending otter the first bottom, varying from a fringe along the creek to 100 feet wide. The elm predominates in numbers and beauty, in this, the only considerable body of natural timber between Salina and the Rocky Mountains. This body of land has recently been ceeded by the United States Government to the state of Kansas for specific educational purposes with a proviso to maintain and protect this original body of timber.

Many of the early settlers contend that a climatic change has taken place by reason of increase of rainfall. Others insist that whatever change is apparent can only be attributed to nature’s process of precipitation, stimulated by the vanquishment of the vast herds of buffalo. Precipitation alluded to has no reference to rainfall, but is the process by which the small lime stone pebbles scattered over the surface have disappeared by the operation of frost, rain and snowfall. The hills west of Fort Hays and north of Hays City were spoken of as White Caps, by the early settlers, being denuded of vegetation by the buffalo, who resorted to these high points during the heat of the day to escape from the flies. With the disappearance of the buffalo, the grass gradually covered the hills under the operation of the process mentioned. The theory of increased rainfall is not supported by the meteorological record at Fort Hays. In comparing a period of five years from 1875 to 1880 with a like period in duration from 1894 to 1899 shows no appreciable difference in moisture from snow and rainfall. In going back respectively five years from the periods named, quite a difference appears by yearly comparisons, but the average for the entire five years is about the same; the slight difference being in favor of the earlier period. The idea of increased rainfall will give way to the real conditions, the same as the desert idea was exploded by accurate investigations and reports by explorers, who had no ambition beyond efficiency and thoughtful data under governmental instructions.

The disappointment of adventurers in not finding fabulous mineral deposits, or the spring that imparted perpetual youth, was atoned for in denunciation of the aborigines and their country. All sought after by the early seeker has since been discovered. The wealth is annually gathered by thousands of industrious tillers of the soil, reported to be a vast belt of arid sand, without water and incapable of sustaining more than nomadic life. The actual spring of perpetual youths welling through the golden sand, has not been discovered. But the health imparting invigorating ozone of the reported terrestrial paradise for the savage, has materially increased ion Levity of life among the people occupying the land described, a veritable Sahara. The reaping follows planting with a degree of certainty' that insures reward for labor expended equal to any portion of the country, not relying upon artificial means. While the desert has not been made to bloom as the rose, the tiller has long since passed the period of doubt, as is fully evidenced by his improvements and expenditures to beautify the home.


The geological formations include a series of groups, constituting the secondary mountain formations of the cretaceous system, which extends over the entire area of the country. Overlaying this strata of the bottom lands, a dark sandy loam exists. The comparative level upland is covered with a dark loam, containing less sand, of a heavier nature and generally considered to be more sure of production and less subject to disturbance by the high winds after cultivation.


The early settler was strongly prejudiced in favor of bottom land but the practical farmer however, soon demonstrated the superiority of the upland in productiveness as well as a recuperative quality in the continuous production of winter cereal that is not excelled in any section of the United States.

The county embraces a territory thirty miles square. Three streams flowing from west to east, through the county-the Saline river through the northern part, Big Creek through the centre and the Smoky Hill river through the southern portion. These streams make two topographical divisions of the county. These divisions are drained respectively by ravines that empty into the streams north and south. The general slope of the county is from west to east with a slight dip tending toward the south. The section between Big Creek and the Saline river is rough, broken and in places bluffy in the west, but gradually diminishes until it merges into a slightly rolling and undulating plane toward the east line of the county, the northern portion fronting the Saline river on both sides, continues broken and bluffy, with strips of rich bottom land along the river side. The southern plateau or division between Big Creek and the Smoky Hill river is similar in formation as the division described forming the divide between Big Creek and the Saline, except the narrow strip south of the river which assumes almost a mountainous aspect in formation from the west to nearly the central part of the county, where it abruptly terminates in the formation of a level plain that extends eastward for a number of miles, where the formation again asumes a broken and bluffy character to the east line of the county.

This descriptive historical introduction to the real object contemplated by the Old Settlers' Association of presenting a reministic history of the early days, seemed requisite, in order to better present incidents of historical interest growing out of the early settlement.

As already stated, Lull Bros. made the first location in the county. The railroad was completed to the town of Ellsworth, in Ellsworth county, sixty-five miles east of Rome. Contracts were awarded during the winter of 1866 and 1867 to build the grade as far west as Park’s Fort in Trego county. This renewal of actual work after a delay of considerable duration, inspired the venturesome to seek locations along the line of the established grade. On the evening of June 4th, 1867, I made my first camp on Eills county soil, near the now prosperous town of Victoria, on the North Fork of Big Creek. I had three teams loaded with merchandise, expecting to locate at Malvern and Show's Camp, who had a contract to grade five miles of the road bed. Early in the morning on June 5th we broke camp and moved west along the staked line of the road. I walked in advance of the teams some distance. As I reached the high point of elevation dividing Big Creek and Norfolk, a full view of Big Creek valley was afforded. Immediately south and extending westward, the scene was one of absorbing attractiveness. While standing listlessly admiring this panorama of nature, my eyes chanced to fall upon a scene the landscape artist would devote years of time in transferring to canvass. It was a picture in and of reality. Not a living picture, but a picture with living, moving features. Down the gradual decline, approaching the level land toward the southwest, the spring blossoms glittered with the morning dew, forming a sheen of silver brightness to the edge of a glittering, vibrating mirage, in which buffalo were moving about and feeding. The scene was almost completely framed by the rich, dark green foliage of the timber along the bank of the creek which described a full semicircle in its meander toward the southeast. It was invested with enchanting beauty of a sublime nature. It was devoid of grandeur or stateliness. It was beautiful in perfection and perfect in beauty-the handiwork alone of the God of Nature. The impression of the scene is as clear and distinct in every feature as upon the morning it was photographed upon my mind. While I stood enchanted over the rich, rare, beautiful and bewitching scene, unconsciously I was communing with the bride of my destiny. Her coquetish captivation had excluded the power of-hesitation frown the adopted process of wooing. The ceremony ended before it was fully inaugurated. I moved forward from where I had been standing, wedded to the capricious vicisitudes of life in Ellis county. We crossed Big Creek a short distance north of where the railroad crosses. Captain Duncan, president of the town company of Rome was standing on the west bank of the creek with tape line in hand to welcome and locate us in the city of Rome. Before the entering of the second day our canvass covered house was ready for occupancy. The limited stock of general merchandise brought from the end of the track was that same evening transferred into the hastily constructed place of business and the teams started back for more goods. On the morning of the third day we opened out for business under the firm name of Bloomfield, Moses & Co. General Supply Store. It was the third merchandise establishment in the city.

Joe Perry was engaged in building a two story frame hotel, which was later moved to Hays City and known as the Gibson House. Scotty had nearly completed a neat four room, one story, stone residence. Rose and Cody had commenced work upon the first stone business house. The brewing company had announced their readiness and ability to quench the thirst of all the following Sunday. With one-half dozen other places of business and industries in operation, depicts Rome as she was on June 7th, 1867. Each succeeding day brought new arrivals. Before the week ended, the town company announced a population of five hundred. The camp of the 18th Kansas one-half a mile west on the creek and the camp of a battalion of the 38th United States Infantry (colored) about the same distance southeast of the town on the creek, furnished a daily quota sufficient to swell the population and impress new arrivals with an apparent activity in business that did not exist. The actual business transacted at the time was very limited considering the number of people constantly upon the streets. Another element that contributes to the busy street scene was the arrival and departure, after a brief rest, of men engaged to work on the grade by agents at Kansas City and other towns along the Missouri river, under direction of the different contractors. The population proper, however, was increased daily. At the end of the second week Front street, the principal street of the town, extended from the bank of the creek west to the narrow neck of land between the creek and the road bed, where now the water tank and pumping station are located. It was a city almost entirely built out of canvass. About this time a report was circulated that Fort Hays was to be removed and located some where near the immediate vicinity of Rome. This inspiring information was deemed of so much importance that it required immediate celebration by the Romanites, without awaiting confirmation. Some days later the arrival of a government ambulance with Major Gibbs of the 7th Cavalry, Captain Loffer, quartermaster, and several other officers, confirmed the previous report. Excitement was soon at fever heat over the good news, which in the minds of nearly all assured a permanent future for Rome. W. C. Webb and Phinney Moore arrived about the time the first report was circulated concerning the removal of the fort, and located Hays City. The contest between the rival town companies was sharp, but good natured, with apparent advantage in favor of Rome, the lonely tent of Messrs. Webb & Moore was the only visible indication of the rival town. Captain Duncan addressed a letter to the lonely denizens of Hays City, offering to bring them and their effects to Rome and present them each with a valuable lot as a recognition of their pluck to fight the then considered hopeless task undertaken. If they declined the proffered generosity of the Rome Town Company they still were inclined to assist them and would upon application furnish a guard to protect the stakes of their city against the vandalism of the camper. A reply was received in due time informing the Romanites that when the time came, which was fast approaching, for Rome to fall, every courtesy would be extended toward the unfortunate victims of the Rome Town Company. Rome continued onward in her whirl of prosperity, all fully believing in her future greatness and sway of influence along the line of the road. It was the town talked about and extensively advertised through the daily papers of the country by correspondents, but Rome was doomed. The end was near. The excitement of her last days were as distressing and painful as her career of prosperity was inviting and promising.

The Indian, with advancing spring commenced to manifest hostile intentions toward the men engaged in the work of grading and small parties doing station work under sub-contracts, isolated from the main camp of the contractor, were compelled to quit work, owing to the menacing demonstrations of the Dog Soldiers. The Indian Dog Soldier was an organization of young buck Indians composed in part of the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Comanche and Kiowa nations. The head chiefs of the nations disclaimed any and all responsibility for the action of these apparent outlaws. The first intrusion of a serious character by this marauding element occurred on June 6th, 1867, early in the morning, at the cut immediately east of the railroad crossing at North Folk, resulting in the killing of six men and wounding of several other of the force engaged in work at that point. The same band killed the two employees of the Butterfield Stage Company, and burned the buildings at Lookout-Hollow, about 6 miles south of Rome. The depredations for some time were entirely directed against the different stage routes. About the middle of June the Indians, however, reappeared along the line of the grade and commenced active hostilities by attacking Parks' fort, the extreme western camp on the line. The timely arrival, the day before, of a company of the 38th Infantry, saved the fate of the camp. One soldier and teamster employed by Parks were killed in the fight. Parks himself with two soldiers were looking for some mules that had strayed away from the herd the day before. The party was returning with the stock about the time the fight terminated at the fort. The Indians discovered their approach. Parks quickly realized the critical situation and retreated back down a ravine toward the Saline to a high cliff of rock that offered them some protection. Parks was killed in the fight that followed and both soldiers wounded. A rescuing party was dispatched as soon as the firing was heard, resulting in the retreat of the Indians and the recovery of the body of Parks end the wounded soldiers. Parks and his two men had no intimation of the attack upon the fort by the Indians, owing to the wind blowing from the north, until he came in sight of his camp, and the loitering Indians, the main body having, moved east along the grade continuing their fiendish work. Messengers arrived from the different camps, asking for assistance. Troops were hurried forward from the camp of the 18th Kansas in response to the appeal, and the Indians completely routed. The body of Parks was taken to the end of track and sent to Wyandotte for burial. The wounded were cared for at the camp of the 38th Infantry. Notwithstanding the fact that else Indians were defeated and scattered, the men at the different grading camps refused to continue at their work. The result was a general stampede to Rome, swelling the population to several thousand people.

The fiendish yell of the savage costumed in his scalp lifting regalia, had instilled a fear. The ample protection assured by the several camps of troops had little if any influence with many to quiet and allay this fear. Many working for Malvern & Shaw had been in America only long enough to make the trip from New York to the camp of their employers. They could not be induced to halt at Rome, or any other point in the United States, if the statement made by themselves could be relied upon. Nothing but the knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean being between them and the American Indian, could establish the equanimity of their fear distracted minds. This sudden influx of frightened people presented a problem in the nature of government that was difficult of solution. The town was without organization of any kind or character. Each individual was law unto himself. Fortunately, no restraining or guiding influence was required. Everyone was orderly and quiet. To the stampeded element Rome was accepted as a haven of rest and safety which they fully appreciate after the excitement of the hurried retreat to Rome. The day following the arrival of these thoroughly frightened people was numbered among the lively days of the town. The majority at least, if not more of those who came from the front engaged in celebrating their escape from the vengeance of the savage by indulging to excess in stimulating nourishment. To the peculiar quality of stimulation imparted by the stuff on tap at the time, must largely be attributed the final wind-up of the celebration with a contest to determine who was the best man on the dump. The fight terminated the drunk, after a day of ribald disorder and confusion; the town dropped back to her normal state of order at nightfall.

Nearly every branch in the mercantile line was represented in the town, with stocks from a few hundred to thousands in value. Those engaged in the liquor traffic being numerically in the ascendancy, ranging in dignity from the small tent with one half dozen bottles and as many glasses, to the more pretentious resort with a display of bar fixtures on up to the wholesale dealer. The retail dealer usually selected inviting and catchey names to designate his place of business. "The Lone Star," "The Occidental," "Dew Drop in," "Graders' Retreat," and "The Last Chance," were among the many signs under which captains, majors and colonels did business.


Some of these distinguished titles were not assumed, out actually- won upon the field of battle. The saloon business was thriving and continuous all day, all night, no halt, no intermission. The fully supplied customer was pushed out into the street to make room for the thirsty one. This apparent ill treatment of customers touched the sympathies or speculative nature of one Joe North, a conspicuous character among the saloon element, who constructed a small annex to his place of business, to be used especially as a stow away for all who had lost the power of locomotion. Some of North's competitors circulated the report that all who enjoyed the advantage of this special hospitality would depart humming the refrain, "not a penny in my pocket." The report, however, did not affect his business; his victims always had a good word for Joe. He was generous, kind hearted by nature, but so thoroughly imbued with the high heeled boot and broad brimmed hat idea, that only- what was reckless and tended toward desperate deeds would satisfy his ambition to be known as wild, woolly and hard to curry. Before he fully established the reputation he coveted his career ended at the end of a rope with the other end thrown over the cross beam of a telegraph pole at Wallace, Wallace county.

A short time after the trouble with the Indians the contractors reoccupied their camps and resumed work. This depleted the population of Rome, and business languished for a short period. The arrival of additional troops and civilian employees in the quartermaster's department was sufficient to continue the activity in the saloon traffic. At this time Hays had more than doubled in population, and three instead of the former one lonely tent, constituted the town. The new arrivals fronted their tents toward the reservation, and in order to induce trade from that direction, a foot bridge was constructed across else creek, (this was a species of enterprise inaugurated by the early Haysite, that prematurely disappeared and has been allowed to slumber for over a quarter of a century, to the disadvantage and detriment at of the property owners and general business interests of Haps City.)

The Butterfield Overland Stage and Express Company, about this time were compelled to acknowledge the true importance of Rome, and established a way station and express office at the Perry Hotel. The arrival and departure of the six horse coaches, express and mail wagons, was of no small significance to the population of Rome. The majority of the Romanites naturally gravitated toward the Perry House about the time the express was due, same as the population of Hays now go toward the post office about mail time. Idle curiosity has not diminished among the curiously curious. After this recognition by the Stage and Express Company, a petition was circulated asking the postmaster general to establish a post office at Rome, with Wm. Rose as postmaster. This move was considered of vital importance, owing to the commercial interests of the town, the petition was signed by every one and all felt confident of speedy, favorable action by the Post Office department. Unknown to the Romanites, however, the Hays City people had forwarded a like application a few days before. Upon investigation by the Post Office Department it was discovered that the rival towns were located on adjoining sections of land. The proximity of location without any settlement outside of the limits of either town, the applications were held for further investigation. While this was the reason assigned and so reported by the Department, development in the contest between the towns was to determine the establishing of a United States post office. The position was fully understood by the people of the respective towns and became for a time the excitable topic of discussion, which was calculated to increase a feeling that was not as amiable as before. The applications for post office had been fowarded during the pending contest, which lasted for some time. Hays had received more new arrivals than Rome which was not a pleasant feature for the people of Rome to consider. M. E. Joyce, who was an active participant in the contests looking to supremacy between the towns, was working with all of his might for Rome. He did not hesitate in using the space of the different eastern papers he represented as special correspondent, in abusing, the Hays City people. His native Irish audacity contributed largely toward the extreme tension of feeling that eventually existed between the people of the rival towns. One evening he, with two others made, as they described it, a friendly visit to Hays City. While engaged in making the rounds of the different places of resort and general industries of the town, considerable discussion was indulged in, of a jocular nature, about the prosperity of the rival towns, which finally culminated in some trouble of a minor nature between one of the Joyce party and an overzealous Haysite. Discretion suggested that the time to return had arrived and immediately started for Rome. When about midway between the two towns, moving along as steadily and quietly as conditions would admit or, they were suddenly fired upon by some one concealed behind the embankment of the road-bed. Mr. Joyce was wounded in the left shoulder. Several more shots, were fired but the others escaped without injury. Fortunately, the wound proved not to be of a serious nature, though very painful. This was the first and only incident of this character over the rival town question. While the shooting occasioned considerable excitement at the time, good and cool judgment averted further trouble. The matter was, fully investigated by a committee selected from both towns, but nothing developed tending to reveal the identity of the guilty party at the investigation. The person, however, who was suspected of having committed the outrage was fully acquitted of the charge. Mr. Joyce was the one man talked about for some time, especially by his fellow townsmen and regarded by them as a hero. The manifested interest and kindness, was to Joyce a complete recompense for the suffering he endured. He was petted and feasted by his lady friends, which was to him all life was worth. Some of his waggish inclined friends reported that his only grievance was over speedy healing of the wounds.

The Indians, not satisfied with the result of their first attack upon the camps west of Rome, renewed hostilities toward the latter part of June. Sufficient troops to insure full protection were speedily distributed along the line and located at the different camps. Supplies could only go forward now under convoy of troops. Occasionally the Indians would make a dash while the stock was out feeding and succeed in getting away with some of the animals, but would avoid coming in conflict with the soldiers. The trouble and loss resulting from the stealthy operations of an organized band of thieves was more annoying to the contractors, about this time, than the damage by the Indians. These thieves confined their operations to night work exclusively. Stock would be missing in the morning, notwithstanding the vigil of the night herders. Strange as it may seem, not a single instance, out of the many thefts committed, was the perpetrator discovered in the act of committing the theft. It was the general opinion that the work was being done by white men and not Indians. This was finally fully verified by the discovery of some of the stolen stock near Salina. This furnished a clue that resulted in the apprehension of some of the guilty parties, who had no further use for mules or horses, soon after being arrested. The quiet disappearance, about the same time, of others who had no special vocation that occupied their time, terminated the stock stealing from the camps of the contractors. The heroic treatment administered had salutary effect upon a class engaged, to the continual annoyance of the contractors, in secretly selling intoxicants to the men employed by them. Not until after their departure did it dawn upon the minds of the contractors what the real mission of these parties had been among them.

The removal of the government stores and property from old Fort Hays to the new site selected for the post, was completed, and work vigorously pushed in constructing barracks, officers' quarters, store rooms, etc. A contract had been let by the quartermaster for several hundred cords of wood for fuel for the post. This was the signal for the commencement of the denudation of the timber along the creek, east and west of the reservation boundary lines. It proved a source of considerable revenue to a number of the town people. Wood, fresh buffalo and antelope meat originally constituted the entire list of marketable native products. Later grass for hay was added, and finally hide of the buffalo was included. These commodities in their respective seasons made money plentiful among those who devoted their time and attention to the exciting pursuit of hunting, and the more remunerative business of furnishing hat and wood to the government under yearly contracts awarded by the quartermaster of the department of the Missouri. Both towns slowly, increased in population. Business was fairly good. While some complained others were jubilant over their success in business. Notwithstanding this condition, a feeling of uncertainty about the trade in the future and the permanency of the town, was strongly in evidence. This was more particularly revealed by the temporary and make shift nature of the buildings in which the business was transacted, with only few exceptions. Where now stands the neat two story dwelling on the bank of the creek, the brewery was located, with a neatly trimmed grove of trees in front. The patrons, and they were many, nightly congregated and listened to the music of a good orchestra under the supervision of longhaired Jones, while seated around rustic tables enjoining the product of Rome's most enterprising business firm-the brewing company. Their investment represented a larger expenditure of money- in construction of place of business and general improvement than that of any other firm or individual doing business in the town. The want of confidence was equally conspicuous in Hays City if hesitation to build was indicative of their doubt of the final success of the town. The tent was equal to every requirement from a business point of view. This doubt about the future of either town was not indulged in bit the town companies. If the amount of money asked for lots indicated a condition of success, and strange as it may seem, neither could give title to the property they sold and offered for sale, or a reasonable assurance of title in the near future. Men speculatively inclined would pay a small bonus, accept a deed at a time stipulated, when balance was to be paid. No deed was ever delivered under the agreement to any of the many lots sold by the Rome town company. The Hays town company obtained title to the land staked and platted, and in due time complied with the terms of their contracts to deliver deeds. At no time during the history of Hays did the value of lots approach the price sold for originally, except for a short period several years ago when additional railroad facilities seemed assured. The reaction following, however, the final collapse of each of the projected lines was more destructive of real estate values than the reaction following the extortion practiced by the town company.

During the last days of June, 1867, the hitherto prosperous career of Rome was suddenly checked by the appearance of cholera. The population at the time was composed of people who had met for the first time only a few weeks before, being in reality strangers to each other in a strange, barren, empty land. The announcement of the presence of the dreaded malady, created consternation among the people. The unfortunate and helpless condition that existed is hard to realize. The fact that the town was without a representative of the medical profession or a drug, store where aleviating antidotes could be obtained, or a minister of the gospel to console and speak words of comfort to those stricken and helpless, will convey a faint idea of the real situation that dismal, gloomy, misty, marked Sunday morning in the town of Rome. It was a condition that made the brave falter in distraction over the pitiful and beseeching impiorations of the dying. Men who had ever courted opportunities to engage in adventures full of privations and danger, who had stood in the fore front of battle with indifference, if not defiance of the death dealing missies hurled among, them, became helpless in the presence of the rapacious malady-. The extreme tension of depression was not in itself It destructive disease, but it was a condition precedent to fatality, with all that were stricken by the contagion. Few, indeed, that possessed the fortitude equal to the demand of the calamitous situation. The work of these few will stand in commendation of the inherent, inner, better self, when contrasted with thee outward of a dual life. The deeds of disinterested and unselfish kindness, were prompted by pure sympathetic feelings for the unfortunate sufferers. Strange and surprising as it was unexpected, this noble and charitable work rendered by those from whom the last and least was expected. All day long they did their utmost to assuage and comfort the sick. At night the flickering rays of light could be seen moving from place to place ministering as best they could and understood to the needs and wants of those afflicted. Surely the better and higher attributes of noble womanhood had withstood and, for the time absolved, the degradations of the outward life in order that the pure sunshine and devotion of her former self might contribute to make the last few moments of the doomed easier and happier if possible. Their only hope of reward was vested in the knowledge of having done the best times could do. Corp. J. H. Towell of the 18th Kansas was the first stricken by- the disease, while seated at a table awaiting breakfast in one of the restaurants. Others succumbed in quick succession in different parts of the town. It came without warning and disappeared as mysteriously. At the end of the third day

the extent of mortality from the malignant rapacity of tile disease during the short duration is best told by the 148 tomb stones erected in later years by the government over the graves of the soldiers that died at the different camps located on the creek in the immediate vicinity of the post. The fact that many of the stones are marked "Unknown." is evidence of the tension and disturbed condition that existed at the time. Only a few of the citizens buried in the fort cemetery had head stones. These have long since disappeared and it is even difficult at this time to trace the outlines of the graves. It is not probable that the accurate number of death resulting frolic cholera was ever known. Including the camps with the town made it a continuous funeral day and night. The sorrowful condition was intensified by the helpless and unfortunate situation under which people were compelled to silently bow to the inevitable. The sudden appearance and the equally sudden disappearance of the infliction was not any more involved in the

mystical speculation and surprise than the absolute escape of those exposed under the strains of continuous fatigue. Another strange feature was the strict sobriety of the people. Liquor was free to all who were inclined to drink. In front of one place of business stood a barrel with the head removed and nails driven in the staves, upon which hung tin cups. A card was tacked on the barrel upon which was inscribed, "free, help yourself." Only few indulged lightly, owing to the accepted medical idea of the time, that moderate stimulation was a preventive. Strange as the statement may seem, there was not a drunken man in the town. This was before prohibition in Kansas, but it was unqualified temperance in defiance of every inducement. The universal feeling was "if my time has come I want to go sober. Incidents of a ludicrous nature transpired, notwithstanding the strong feeling of apprehension, anxiety and doubt, that made life a torment. A typical, good natured Irishman, who made it a point to procure work convenient to wherever the company located, by whom the writer was employed, toward evening of that eventful Sunday, when the gloom was most appalling, this jolly, slim, six and a half foot Irishman was suddenly taken ill. Two of his devoted countrymen gently laid him upon the pump platform, about two feet high and only about three feet square, and vigorously applied the cold water cure for some time. Limp and apparently lifeless, they tenderly removed him to the side of the store tent, believing Chambers was no more. The cook, engaged in the preparation of the evening meal, noticed him, and came in the store and reported him dead. I handed the cook a blanket to throw over his body. Soon after I repaired to the cook tent in quest of a cup of coffee. I found the cook seated on a box with elbows braced on his knees, and his head resting in the palms of his hands. I inquired if he was sick. I was induced to ask this question, owing to his attitude and air of despondency. He said "no, but hadn't this awful; think of Chambers dying." Just then Chambers entered the tent with blanket around him, stretching both his thin, bony arms over the stove saying, in a chattering tone of voice "I am nearly froze." The cook, recognizing the voice, looked up, mistook the reality for an apparition of the poor fellow, and made his exit through the rear of the tent with such haste that left no doubt about his strong prejudice against willingly associating with ghosts. After Chambers was informed of the reason for the precipitate flight of the cook, he immediately followed to assure him of his mistake in identity. It took some effort for Chambers to persuade him that he was really himself, without any transition having taken place. It was some time before fear gave way and confidence resumed full sway after the disease had disappeared. But Rome was never her former self again. The plan for the final destruction of the town, long contemplated by the Big Creek Land Company, was executed in the fore part of July by an order from the engineer department, instructing the contractor to widen and build the road bed, east and west of Big Creek, for some distance, two and one half feet higher. This effectually destroyed the last hope for Rome, situated north of the railroad with embankments of sufficient height to virtually fortify the town against the trade of the post and the different camps; while the Big Creek Land Company denied being instrumental or in any way responsible for the order that caused Rome to finally fall. Each year since 1867 stands as cumulative evidence against the necessity for the order to construct the bridge at the elevation it occupies, on account of high water. It was claimed by the Rome Town Company, at the time, that the necessity for raising the grade was in killing Rome and booming Hays, and not to protect the bridge. Whatever the cause, the grade was raised two and a half feet. Rome gradually died, Hays prospered, and high water has never touched the bridge. This third misfortune of Rome, within the short time of only two months, was not attended with any calamity or frenzy of excitement, but the supposed injustice was keenly felt by those who had money invested in buildings that could not be removed, or if removed, at a heavy loss. The amounts paid under contracts in the purchase of lots was not much loss to each individual purchaser, but quite a gain in the aggregate to the town company. The irretrievable defeat, by the master stroke of policy in the contention for supremacy and acknowledged permanency was the feature that hurt and troubled the Romanites. It was humiliating to be so ignominiously forced out of the contest, and irritable in the extreme to have the successful rival refer to- the vanquished town as the "Walled City, "The Place of Captivity," etc. The tinge of truth involved in these perplexing inuendos made it vexing to a degree that was difficult for a Romanite to appreciate that which seemed so pleasing to the people of Hays. With some outward display of courage the people apparently seemed satisfied with the situation, remembering, no doubt, that things of a most trifling nature, transpiring at the opportune time, changed the destinies of empires. Thus hopelessly hoping and waiting for something to occur to change the forlorn conditions to one of sufficient advantage to be on equal footing with their neighbors. Business, however, continued to grow more languid in tendency, which soon dissipated the inclination to trust in hopes for the trifle to happen that would restore the town to her former prestige. Meetings were held, and the situation discussed without developing any favorable plan of successfully continuing the contest. Motions were made and carried unanimously to stand firm till the lost advantages were fully recovered. While these meetings were being held, diplomacy was busy in the work of disintegrations in the interest of Hays. This was done so quietly and effectually that the announcement that Captain Duncan had concluded it would be unwise to longer continue the contest, and advised his friends to accept and face the inevitable, was entirely unexpected and created a storm of indignation, from which the Captain concluded best to take refuge in the camp of his former rivals. His action was regarded as treacherous in character, and vigorously denounced by his townsmen. During this contention Hays increased some in population, while Rome sustained some loss, which was of little consequence, however, compared with the loss of business and the general prevailing stagnation of every interest. This condition the real business interests could not withstand. So, slowly, one after the other, capitulated under the most favorable arangements obtainable from the Hays Town Company, and quietly moved to Hays.





The process of assimilation, fusing and harmoninzing forever convicting if not hostile interests was of necessity slow. Not until late in the fall had the majority moved. Few held out till the following spring. These few did a thriving business in their line during the winter. Today the larger portion of the original townsite in Ellis county comprises in part one of the best farms in the valley of Big Creek. During the busy and prosperous, followed by the exciting gloomy and disastrous, scenes, the present owner, G. Unrein, was a subject of the Czar of Russia. In approaching the end of this historical sketch of Rome and her people the most praiseworthy fact in connection with the rise and fall of the town, was shown by the

good will and peaceful disposition toward each other and all that came among them. The population was cosmopolitan in every element without any law to guide or restrain them. Not a single homicide was committed, or an attempt made to commit the same, during the life of the town. The record stands as the one exception in the history of the many towns started while the road was being constructed. To assign any particular reason for the phenominal good conduct would be purely speculative. The fact, however, will ever stand in strong contrast with the history of her successful rival, Hays City.

This concludes the historical sketch of facts and incidents of the first edition to the history of Ellis county as arranged for by the Old Settlers' Association. In 1901 another edition will be published, and so on till the history of the county is brought up to date, when the different editions will be combined and published in book form.

[The biographical sketches that follow are of necessity limited in number under the terms of the contract with the publisher. This edition is largely experimental. The completion of the historical and biographical work contemplated by the association will depend, not so much upon the finiancial success, as it will upon appreciation of the effort to acquaint the people of the county with facts and incidents connected with pioneer life in Ellis county.



Mrs. A. M. Wilson, better known as Grandma Wilson, belongs to the Pioneer class of the Old Settlers, coming to Hayes City in the early part of the year 1871, and is among the few residing in Ellis county who can recal1 the interesting stages from the gloom of wilderness to the first scattered rays of civilization.

Mrs. Wilson was born in Mifflin county, Pa. February 27, 1810. Her maiden name was Bowers. Her grandfather, Jacob Bowers, was a captain in the 2nd Pa. Cavalry in the war of the Revolution. May 1st, 1827, she was married to John S. Wilson, of Huntingdon county, Pa. Seven sons were born to this woman, three of whom died during childhood. Her husband died January 1, 1842, leaving her quite destitute, but she reared and educated her four remaining sons by teaching school. She not only accomplished this, but with some assistance from her mother's estate purchased for herself a home in Williamsburg, Pa. She sent, with her blessing, each of these four sons into the service of her country. William, the eldest, served in Co. M. 2nd Pa. Infy., in the war with Mexico, in the same company with Hon. Alexander Caldwell of Leavenworth. Caldwell's father commanded the company. He was killed in the assault upon the gates of the city of Mexico. The other three served in the war of the rebellion. Calvin, her sixth son, was a

sergeant in Co. D., 53rd Pa. He was killed in front of Richmond on the 30th of June, 1862. Citizen James Mains of Ellis countsy, served in the same company. Major General John R. Brooks, U. S. Army, was the Colonel of the regiment.

She came to Kansas in 1871 to make her home with her youngest son, Hill P. Wilson, who was then post trader at Fort Hays. She was active in society and in all good works until the infirmity of years compelled her retirement. She was one of the original members of the Presbyterian church at Hays City, and had much to do with its establishment and welfare. She was a woman of strong, conviction and lovely Christian character. In the shadow of affliction she had learned self-control and could enter into sympathy with the suffering and the bereaved. The ties of old friendship bind her to the hearts of our people who will long cherish her memories with affectionate regard.


The subject of this sketch was born in Norfolkshire, England, in the year 1847. The literature descriptive of the western states in America and the rare opportunities offered for young men with limited means had been eagerly perused by him during his boyhood days. When twenty-three years of age he concluded the time had arrived to execute the ambition of his desires, and sailed for America, remaining only a few days in New York, when he pushed westward and located for the time in Chicago, and engaged with one of the gas Companies in the capacity of common laborer. This not being in harmony with his earlier resolution, he started for Kansas in the spring of 1869, and located, after some investigation, in Lincoln county. For six years he contended with the usual perplexities of farm life on the frontier, devoting the summer season to the farm, the fall and winter to the more attractive and exciting pursuit of Buffalo hunting. These expeditions brought him frequently to the Saline valley. Recognizing the advantages this section offered to engage in the stock business he concluded to move farther west. Returning from one of his expeditions in quest of game late in the winter of 1874, he immediately commenced preparations to move to the Saline valley. Early in April of 1875 he returned and located upon the quarter section now the home of T. A. Parker. The following spring he moved up the river to where he has resided for the past twenty-five years, devoting his time and attention the past quarter of a century to raising and feeding cattle for the market. The result of his care and Good judgment, the rich and nutritious native grass, especially calculated for the industry, made the efforts of John Hall a conspicuous success.


P. W. Smith was born September 4th, 1822, in Rochester, New York. Went to Rock county, Wisconsin, in 1845. Came to Kansas in June, 1874, and located in Ellis county in October following. He was among the few pioneers who had implicit confidence of the final triumph of the

farmer in Ellis county. He was especially active from the time he located, in the church and other work that tends to strengthen and elevate the moral status of a new community. His usefulness in this direction was recognized and appreciated by all. In 1877 he was elected county commissioner. In 1881 he was instrumental in organizing the

Ellis County Agricultural Association. Ever enthusiastic in the cause of the farmer, or whatever he deemed of interest in promoting the farmers' condition, received his unqualified support. To perfect the farmers' alliance in Ellis county he devoted much of his time during the year 1882. The state alliance fully appreciated his successful

work and elected him vice president for 1883. While holding this position he urged upon the association the importance of securing from the general government a portion of the Fort Hays reservation for experimental work under the supervision of the State Agricultural College. Being fully satisfied of the beneficial results, if the cession of the land could be obtained, he persuaded Senator Plumb, in 1877, to introduce a bill in the United States Senate providing for the ceding of part of the reservation for an agricultural experimental station under the supervision of the state. The consumation of this ideal scheme was his ambition. The initiatory step of what has lately been accomplished after 23 years of unrelenting work was taken by our respected citizen, P. W. Smith.


Ellis county numbers among her citizens many descendants of the sturdy, aggressive Alsasian stock. None, however, displayed more determination in making the farm a success by surmounting difficulties, than Uncle Peter Gosser of Buckeye township. He was born on the 29th of April, 1833, in Carroll County, Ohio. The family later moved to Star county. Ohio, near Waynesburg, and engaged in farming. On August 11th, 1862, be enlisted in the 115th Ohio Infantry, and served with his regiment till the close of the war. Immediately after being discharged from the service he returned to the old home and resumed the vocation of farmer. April 28th, 1878, he arrived in Hays City and a few days later located

where he now resides. Frequently during the first decade of his residence in Ellis county he was compelled, on account of crop failures, to seek employment away from home in order to meet the demands of those dependent upon him. Not dismayed by failures, he

eventually triumphed over every difficulty that beset and annoyed him in his effort to make a comfortable home for himself and devoted helpmate, who, without murmur endured the privations of the early reverses upon the farm. Success finally came. Peace and contentment is

the harvest of their determination and busy life in Ellis county.


T. K. Hamilton, one of the pioneers in Ellis county, coming direct from his native state to the frontier in February, 1868, while not locating in the county at the time of his arrival, he was a quasi resident on account of his employment in the fuel department of the Kansas Pacific railroad. He was in care of the wood yard at Ellsworth. Later he had the care of the wood delivered along the line of the road between Victoria and Walker. Still later he was serving in the capacity of brakeman. His actual residence dates from July 1, 1870, when he located in the town of Ellis and engaged in the mercantile business. Some time in 1874 he sold out his business and located on the Saline river. Between cattle thieves, grasshoppers and Texas fever, his first residence on the river proved disastrous. In the fall of 1874 he went to California. The gear on the Pacific coast was divided between hard work and sickness. Upon his return he took charge of the pump and eating house at Grinnell station. After three more years employment with the railroad he returned to his farm on the Saline river, which he later sold, and located on Sand creek, near the Rooks county line and engaged in farming and stock raising. From here he was called into official life and served two terms as sheriff of the county. He is a veteran of the civil conflict, serving with the 57th Pennsylvania,

in the Army of the Potomac to the close of the war. He still conducts his ranch on Sand Creek, in Hamilton township, but resides with his family in the town of Ellis.


Frank C. Montgomery was born in Maquoketa, Iowa, February 10th, 1857, and went with his parents to Lecompton, Kansas, in 1859. In 1861 the family removed to Lawrence, and at the age of ten years Frank entered

upon his apprenticeship as a printer with John Speer, publisher of the Lawrence Tribune. He attended the public schools and spent three years in the Kansas University, but at the age of 16 removed to the northwestern part of the state and engaged in hunting buffalo. In

1874 he returned to Lawrence to take a herd of cattle to Decatur county, and on his way back west, arrived in Hays City, December 14, 1874. A terrible blizzard scattered his herd that night, and after days of search he recovered only twenty-seven head out of the entire ninety

-four, while two of his four horses were not found until the following May, when they were picked up in Hodgeman county. The storm had swept away his hope and dream of securing a fortune in the stock business, and, stranded but not discouraged, be engaged in hauling wood from the Saline to the government contractor at Fort Hays, spending the winter of 1874-5 in this employment. In the spring of 1875 Frank commenced doing the mechanical work on the Hays Sentinel, published by his father. In two years he bought the paper and ran it on his own account. In 1879 he was married to Miss Mary Emma Milner, one of Hays City's most estimable young ladies. In 1881 he moved the Sentinel office to

Washington territory and started a paper at Cheney. Two years later he sold out and became editor in chief of the Tacoma Daily Ledger, very soon being appointed printer for the Territory. When this office

was lost by the election of President Cleveland he founded the Seattle Daily Times, which he continued to publish until the spring of 1887, when he returned to Hays City and commenced the publication of the Sentinal again. During the Harrison administration he held an appointive office of small size in Washington. In 1894 he purchased a half interest in the Topeka Breeze and moved to Topeka. At the same time he became Topeka correspondent of the Kansas City Journal. In

1897 he was advanced to the place of associate editor of the Journal, and this he holds now. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery three sons have been born, the eldest of whom, Terence, is now a member of the scouting regiment in the Philippines. Terrence is a product of Hays City, having been born there in 1880.


John Schlyer was born in Kings county, New York, in January, 1849. At the age of twenty he started for Kansas arriving at Hays City in the

spring of 1869, adopting the vocation of hunting as a means or livelihood. For three years the range of the buffalo was his ever shifting habitation. In he returned to Buffalo, New York, and was married. One year's restraint incident to life in a city, was sufficient, after his three years' enjoyment of unrestricted freedom of Kansas frontier life. He came back to Kansas and located in Johnson county. In the spring of 1874 he moved to Ellis county and established himself permanently four and a half miles southeast of Hays, on Big Creek, engaging in farming and stock raising. For twenty years he contended with the unrequieted promises of the early farmer in Ellis county. In 1877 he was erected sheriff. After two years of official life he returned to his farm. In 1881 he engaged in the mercantile business at Munjor. The same fall he was elected county treasurer and re-elected in 1883. In 1884 he was elected delegate to the Democratic National convention from the Sixth Congressional district. In 1888 he was appointed receiver of the United States Land office at WaKeeney, but resigned before the expiration of his term of office, and engaged in the agricultural, implement and machine business at Hays City. In 1894 he was elected to the legislature from Ellis county and in 1890 was appointed postmaster at Hays City and was elected delegate to the

Democratic National convention from the Sixth district to be held at Kansas City, July 4th, 1900. He has been prominent in the management of Democratic party affairs in the state and singularly successful in all his business ventures since coming west.


Margery Harlan Reeder was born on the 25th day of November, 1818. Her parents moved to Parke county, Indiana, when she was five years of age. Married David Reeder in 1842, and resided near Rockville, in the same

county. After the death of her husband in March, 1860, the care and responsibility of raising a family of seven children, consisting of two girls and five boys, devolved upon her. Eighteen years later she moved to Knoxville, Iowa, remaining only a few months, when she determined to move to Kansas. After a brief visit at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, with her brother, Iowa's distinguished son, Senator Harlan, she started for Kansas, arriving at Hays City on the 22nd day of July, 1878, and located two and one-half miles southwest of town. After a residence in Ellis county, Kansas, of twenty years, she returned to visit the old home in Indiana. While with her son, J. C. Reeder, her life terminated at the advanced age of four score years, amid the loved and familiar scenes of her girlhood days. Her simple unostentatious life engendered a nobility of character that was both attractive and impressive. Though cultured and strong intellectually, her simplicity of speech and demeanor subordinated everything in this life to her ideal conception of Wesleyan duty in the preparation for life eternal. Loved and respected by all, she continued faithful and steadfast from youth to old age in living a devoted and consecrated Christian life, awaiting the final call for the full reward of her devotion and teachings of her adopted church.


D. C. Nellis was born at Oswiegatchie, Palatine township, Montgomery county, New York, January 2, 1849. Attended school in his native town. Later entered Canajoharie Academy and completed his education at the Fairfield Collegiate Institute, New York. Taught school for two years and read law at Canajoharie for a short time. When 22 years of age he started for Kansas arriving in Topeka in July, 1871, and entered the law office of Martin, Burns & Case and continued his studies for two years. Was admitted to the bar in February, 1873. Taught school in Shawnee county, Kansas, two years. Arrived in Hays City in the spring of 1873, and was soon after appointed county attorney by Judge Prescott. At the expiration of his appointive term as

county attorney of Ellis county, he was elected to same position, and reselected for three consecutive terms. June 4th, 1874, was married to Emma S. McAfee of Topeka. In March, 1881, he was appointed judge of the 17th Judicial District by Governor St. John and served until January 12th, 1882. The bar of the district specially regretted his retirement

from the bench, being considered by them well qualified for the position. His courteous, fair and impartial conduct in the transaction of business was appreciated lay the attorneys and litigants alike. His record as county attorney is without parallel in the history of the county. He was conscientiously sincere in the preparation and trial of a case. The welfare of the taxpayer was never neglected or abused by him, and the transgressor never escaped the full extent of punishment under the law by any act of his. After a residence of twelve years in Ellis county he moved back to Topeka and re-entered the practice of law. Three years later he accepted the position of secretary of the Kansas Farmer company, which position he now fills.

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