1901 History of Republic County Kansas

A history of Republic County, Kansas : embracing a full and complete account of all the leading events in its history, from its first settlement down to June 1, '01 ... Also the topography of the County ... and other valuable information never before published. by I. O. Savage.; Illustrated. Published by Jones & Chubbic, Beloit, KS : 1901. 321 p. ill., plates, ports., fold. map ; 23 cm. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, July 2006.

History of Republic County. 191

and commodious livery stable. Another blacksmith shop was built, and an elevator erected.

During the year 1881, the growth of the town was rapid. Many large business houses and several elegant dwelling houses were erected, and its growth has been healthful and continuous ever since, until it has become one of the liveliest little cities in Northern Kansas, being noted far and wide for the vast amount of grain and live stock it ships annually. An elegant city hall 40x80 feet, of which the citizens feel justly proud and which would be an honor to any city of three times its size, has just been completed. Republic City was incorporated as a city of the third class, April 23rd, 1885, since which time the following well known citizens have been chosen mayors.

Ralph W. Folly 1885
R. T. Stanfield 1887 and 1888
J. W. Goodrich 1889
F. W. Craft 1890
R. T. Stanfield 1891 and 1892
J. W. Goodrich 1893 and 1894
R. W. Polly 1895
Gomer T. Davies 1896
H. A Baxter 1897
E. V. Rockhold 1898 and 1899
J. W. Boughner a part of 1899
W. H. Stinson 1900 and 1901

The village of Munden, so called from John Munden, owner of the land on which the town is built and trustee for Jane Ann Stephens, is located on the north line of Fairview township. The original townsite was surveyed by E. W. Wagner, county surveyor, on the 29th and 30th days of September, 1887, containing seven blocks situated north of the C., K. & N. Railway in the northwest corner of section three (3) and the northeast corner of section four (4). The original plat was filed for record October 31st, 1887. The first addition comprising blocks eight, nine and ten lying south of the C., K. & N. Railway, was filed for record August 18th, 1890.

John Washichek built the first general store in the fall

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of 1887 and commenced selling goods in October of that year. Wesley Skocdopole was the first blacksmith commencing business early in the fall of 1887.

A. M. Canfield, postmaster at Bethel, built a store building in the fall of 1887 and commenced business the last of October, 1887. He was the first postmaster at Munden. John Epherson, a Swede, built a millinery store building in the winter of 1887 and 1888. Joseph Kuchera built a hardware store in the spring of 1888, moved to Munden and commenced selling goods May 6th of that year. Anton Stransky built a business house in the summer of 1888 and commenced selling goods August 1st. Amasa Welch built and kept the first restaurant and boarding house in the summer of 1888, running until fall, when he sold out to John Whitlach. The building is now occupied by Dr. G. E. Gray as a drug store. The Odd Fellows' hall, a two-story frame building, was moved from Ida to Munden in the summer of 1888. C. L. Houdek was the first to do business in this building in Munden. It was destroyed by fire June 28th, 1895. Was rebuilt of brick and dedicated April 26th, 1896. This building stands on the Rose Creek side of the line, is the best building in the town and is now occupied by Bowersox & McCall as a general store.

Mr. O. A. Allen commenced business in 1892 as grocer and confectioner and is still in business as a general storekeeper. Joseph Stransky built a general store in 1894 and has been in business ever since. Mr. Stransky is the present postmaster.

The grain business is represented by John W. Kelley and the Davis Elevator Company. The station agent is H. H. Howes.


Neva is the name of the town and Agenda the name of the railroad station and postoffice. This town was laid out in 1887. The first building erected on the townsite other than railroad buildings was a store 28x50 feet, built by Joseph Cox in the fall of 1887. This building was rented

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by Stephen Bradley, who commenced selling goods in November of that year and is still in the business at the same place. Geo. W. Smith built the second store and sold goods for several years.

The grain elevator was built some two years later. The postoffice was kept at the depot for some time, when it was moved to Bradley's store and Bradley appointed postmaster, where it has been ever since, except during the four years of Cleveland's administration, during which time Geo. W. Smith was postmaster.


The town of Wayne was laid out in May, 1884, immediately after the B. & M. railroad was built. It is located on the SE 1/4 of section 9-4-2, this quarter being the homestead of Isaac Walton, and which had been purchased by the Lincoln Land company for a town site. Wm. Hill erected a small frame building in August, 1884, which he occupied as a store, selling the first goods in Wayne.

Olof and Hans England built a store in the fall of that year, which was rented to and occupied by George A. Hovey, as a store. Isaac Walton erected a store building about the same time. The stone block was built in the latter part of 1884 and the spring of '85. The east room was built by M. S. Herring and occupied by him as a bank. John M. and Charles A. Campbell built the next two rooms and V. W. Wimer, the west room. John M. Campbell built the hotel in the fall of 1885.

Wayne is surrounded by a fine farming and stockraising country and is a good trading point, all branches of trade being well represented.


Harbine is located on the NE 1/4 of section 4, town 1 south, range 4 west, in Republic county, and on the SE 1/4 of section 33, town 1 north, range 4 west, in Nebraska, and is on the line of the B. & M. railroad.

The first building erected on the townsite was the

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railroad depot, in August, 1880. The second was a business house, by Boorman & Waite, on the Kansas side of the railroad. The next were a dwelling house, by David Carpenter, and a grain house by Gregg & Keyser, in the fall of the same year. Mr. Noah Miles, an old resident of Republic county, built the hotel in 1881, and Harsh & Son opened a lumber yard about the same time. Boorman & Waite built a second business house on the north side of the railroad, in March, 1883. Since that time as business increased, several business houses have been erected. This is a convenient shipping point, for one of the best agricultural sections of country in northern Kansas and southern Nebraska. Nearly all branches of trade are represented here, and the town is in a highly prosperous condition.


This thriving and prosperous little town is located in Beaver township on the A. T. & S. Fe railroad, is surrounded by a rich agricultural country and is justly noted as being one of the best grain markets and shipping points in Republic county, especially for corn, which frequently commands a higher price here than at any other point in the county.



Every shade of religious opinion and belief is represented, from Roman Catholics to Latter-Day Saints. As stated in another chapter, the first gospel sermon preached was by a representative of the M. E. church, at a very early date in the history of the county; and this denomination seems to have been the pioneers in religious organization and work, and are, perhaps, more widely diffused than any other in this county.

History of Republic County.

Methodist Episcopal Church, Belleville, Kansas.

History of Republic County. 195

The first to organize was the M. E. church in Grant township, known as the Fairview church, during the latter part of the year 1870, and the meeting house was built in the summer of 1872, being the first house of worship erected in the county. Rev. E. R. Brown was the instigator of the enterprise, Thomas Gray being the architect and builder. This house was erected under great disadvantages, as nearly all the lumber was hauled from Waterville. This building is on the farm of A. W. Way and has been used by him for several years as a barn. In 1885 the Evangelical society erected a fine house of worship in Wayne at a cost of about $2600, and it was dedicated as an Evangelical church, but it was also used by the Methodists, who a few years ago purchased the house and now own and occupy it as a place of worship. Preaching once in two weeks, Rev. Mann being the pastor.

I am indebted to Mr. John Fulcomer for the following highly interesting historical sketch of the M. E church at Belleville:


In reviewing the proceedings of the church from its infancy, which is nearly all within the last quarter of a century—that being just the time that has elapsed since the issuing of the charter of its incorporation—Methodistic aggressiveness is clearly visible in all the enterprises that tend to the elevation and eternal welfare of mankind. And to this rule the pioneer settlers of Republic and adjoining counties were no exception, when we remember that not many ages have passed since this vast domain was considered as being a worthless and barren waste, but by the heroic efforts of the people who, by their persistence and the use of brain and muscle have caused it to blossom as the rose, at the same time remembering the source of all blessings. So in order that they might the more acceptably worship God they banded themselves together in Christian fellowship and commenced the holding

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of religious services. The names of the persons thus uniting in the years of 1870 and '71 were in part as follows: R. P. Cheney and wife, J. F. Wells and wife, James S. Price and wife, R. P. West and wife, G. A. Hovey and wife, S. K. Waterson and wife, W. F. Compton and wife, H. B. Buck and wife, Ezra Mackey and wife, J. P. Ball and wife, Charles Counter and wife, Wm. Bond and wife, J. Beers and wife, John Watson and wife, Mrs. Annie S. Humphrey, Samuel Thompson and wife, Mrs. J. G. Rich, Mrs. W. S. Latham, James Anderson and J. Fulcomer and wife.

The first services held in the city of Belleville, according to the best recollection of persons now living here, were held in the log court house the day after the roof was put on. The dimensions of this building were about 16x18 feet, one story high. The sermon on that occasion was preached by Rev. J. W. Reynolds, of the U. B church, and the first Methodist Episcopal sermon was preached by R. P. West a week or two later, which was followed shortly after by Dr. Griffith, Christian, and Rev. Odell of the Cumberland Presbyterian persuasion.

The records show that in the year A. B. 1871 Belleville was embraced in the Lake Sibley and Concordia circuit and Manhattan district. It also shows that the preaching points embraced in this circuit were Lake Sibley, Concordia, Norway, Belleville, Fairview, Rose Creek, White Rock, and all the region lying beyond, which, to my mind, leaves the western boundary very indefinite.

The first quarterly conference ever held in Belleville was on May 27th, 1871, with Presiding Elder G. S. Dearborn officiating and Rev. Freem preacher in charge. Jas. S. Price was appointed secretary; others named as being present at said first quarterly conference were R. P. West, R. P. Cheney, W. F. Compton and G. A. Hovey. There was also appointed at that conference a committee on church building consisting of J. F. Wells, R. P. West, S. K. Waterson and J. S. Price. And the Presiding

History of Republic County. 197

Elder was requested to send a young man to the work who would make his headquarters at Belleville. This implies a resignation on the part of the pastor, and it is claimed that this young preacher, though a college graduate, gave as a reason the cause of his resignation "that there was too much intelligence in 'this neck o'the wood." Admitting that to be the fact, is it any wonder that Belleville has gained the very unenviable reputation of sending away a great per cent of her preachers long before the expiration of their term? It is also very evident that in the early history of the church the ladies were considered an important factor in the onward march of Methodism, as has been demonstrated by the first committee ever appointed, on missions, which was by a Quarterly Conference, held on January 18th, 1872, consisting of Mesdames Latham and Price, for Belleville, Mrs. Hovey, for Rose Creek, Mesdames Fisher and Persinger, for White Rock, Mrs. McCathron, for Norway, Mrs. Bean for Concordia, and on tracts, Mesdames Price, West, Cheney, Raymond, Smith, Silvers, and Scribner. The said quarterly conference also appointed a committee to secure a charter for the legal organization of the church at Belleville, said committee consisting of the following named persons, viz., I. T. Hull, Jas. Wood, Waterson, West, Compton, and Price. It was also ordered that the circuit be divided so as to create a new one, to be known as the Belleville circuit. A committee consisting of the pastor, Rev. Nicholson, Hull and Sprague were appointed to establish the boundary line between the Concordia and Belleville circuits. Under the pastorate of Rev. James Walters in the summer of 1872, a parsonage was built at Belleville, the total cost of which was about $400. Early in January, 1873, application was made to the state for a charter of incorporation of the Methodist Episcopal church at Belleville, in which document the following names occur: Charles H. Smith, Ed. E. Chapman, W. S. Chapman, J. F. Wells, S. K. Waterson, James Price, G. A. Hovey, R. S. A. Tarbell and Albert

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Myers, and on the second day of May, 1873, a charter was issued, signed by W. N. Smallwood, secretary of the state.

Under the careful management and heroic efforts to more thoroughly establish Methodism in Belleville, the Rev. J. T. Shackelford and his staff, which consisted in part of such persons as James VanAkin, J. B. McCullough, W. Bond, W. G. McBride, Samuel Thompson, J. N. Snyder, and James Swan, whose names had not occurred in the preceeding allusions of this sketch, the erection of a church edifice was contemplated. This was in the summer of 1873, after a very noted revival held in the frame court house on the north side of the square in the latter part of December, 1872, and the early days of 1873, conducted by Rev. J. T. Shackelford, assisted by Rev. Jones, pastor of the Presbyterian church. It will be remembered that up to and for sometime after this date no church organization represented in Belleville had a building of its own in which to worship. Thus, under the pastoral management of Rev. J. T. Shackelford, the erection of the first church edifice of Belleville was commenced, near the close of the year, 1873, being completed some time during the summer of 1874, and was dedicated on the 17th day of October, 1875, the sermon being preached by the Rev. C. Holman. There were present Rev. James Lawrence, P. E, Rev. Gray, pastor, Rev. George Winterbourn, pastor at Cuba, also Revs. Jones and Odell of the Presbyterian churches. The cost of this church was about $2,000. The Presbyterian congregation, not having any house of worship of their own, used the M. E. church every alternate Sabbath during the first year after its completion. And the Rev. Joy Bishop, Universalist, who resided at Delphos, Kansas, and traveled the entire distance on horse back, also preached in the M. E. church once in four weeks. In its struggle for existence during and shortly after the memorable year of 1874, known as the grasshopper year, Methodism, in order to hold the fort and more fully establish her borders, found it necessary to take up some new appoint-

History of Republic County. 199

ments. Hence there were added to the Belleville circuit Union Valley and Washington and later still, Beauchamp and Scandia. The first M. E. Sabbath school organized in Belleville was in the new church in the spring of 1875, with J. Fulcomer as superintendent, all previous ones being undenominational or union in sentiment. The first ladies' organization was known as the Mite Society and was organized prior to 1876.

The first Sabbath school organized into a missionary society on Belleville circuit was in 1878, and as time rolled on and the wealth of the church increased and other names were annually added to its membership, it was found necessary to commence the pruning process by lopping off some of its outside appointments. Fairview being the first, which was added to the Seapo circuit in 1877, and Washington, was set out the same year. Union Valley was dropped in 1880 and Scandia which was apportioned $25 per year on the pastor's salary, was set out in 1881, and in the spring of 1884, the Beauchamp appointment was discontinued by request of its membership, thus leaving Belleville circuit with but two outside appointments. Spring Hill was attached in 1886 to Rose Creek circuit, and Belleville was declared a station, which was more in name than practice, as the Grace Hill appointment was not dropped for several years thereafter.

The charter of the Epworth League organized at Belleville bears as date of issue June 8th, 1890.

In the years of 1890-91 it became evident that the old church building was inadequate for the accommodation of its congregation, the natural result was the agitation of the project of building a new and more commodious one, which in the summer of 1893, under the labors of the irrepressible pastor, Rev. D. A. Allen, was commenced with the understanding that its cost would reach $5000. The erection of this church was crowded to its completion with all possible speed, which was accomplish-

200 History of Republic County.

ed by the middle of January, 1893. On investigation it was ascertained that about $3,500 was not yet provided for, thus it became necessary to ask for pledges covering the amount before any further steps could be taken in the line of dedication. And Bishop Warren with his very earnest appeals to the people during the morning and early evening services succeeded in getting pledges to the amount asked for and immediately proceeded with the dedication services, being assisted by Rev. E. P. Michener, P. E., and Rev. D. A. Allen, pastor, thus ended the dedication services of January 15, 1893. And all hearts were aglow with bright anticipations of the future of Bellevifle, realizing that a great work was accomplished for God and the church. But lo, the scene was soon changed when in midsummer the clouds withheld their rain and south winds began to blow and the corn tassels were withered and the ears hung down by the sides of the stalks. Men's hearts began to fail; the condition of pledges were not complied with; interest was accruing every day on the debt. The board of trustees heroically stood shoulder to shoulder, each one becoming personally responsible for the whole amount. Thus having been tried as by fire we have now entered upon a new era. The early and the later rains have descended in copious showers; the husband man reaping such a harvest as has hitherto been unequaled; prosperity has returned; the dark clouds, which for three long years hung as a harbinger of despair over our little city have disappeared, and the glorious sun of righteousness has arisen with healing for the nations. So is it any wonder that with the uplifted eye of faith, men and women are heard every week in the prayer circle crying for a hundred souls in Belleville for God and the church. Who can estimate the value of, or what will a man give in exchange for his soul.

Following are the names of all the Presiding Elders and Pastors since the organization of the church, in their regular order:

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