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. 231

Other pioneer schools are referred to in the chapter on Townships, all of which clearly indicates that the early settlers of Republic county were not only interested in securing homes for themselves and families, but used all the means at their command to secure educational advantages for their children. And, kind reader, do not for one moment iwagine that because these primitive conditions existed that there were no good teachers or bright pupils in those days, for there were as thoroughly well qualified teachers in Republic county in the early 70s as there has been at any time since; some of them holding state, and several holding first grade certificates, among whom I mention: N. T. VanNatta, David C. Gamble, R. H. Galloway, E. W. Wagener, J. C. Price, H. O. Studley, Miss Clara Jones, Lou Arbutnot, Cordelia Bradley, Clara Turner and Mrs. Eliza G. Latham.

I am indebted to Mr. E. E. Baird, our gentlemanly county superintendent, for the following highly interesting sketch of the present conditions of the schools of the county: "Republic county has one hundred and twenty-six organized school districts, one hundred and twenty-one of which lie entirely within its boundaries, and five of which are joint districts—Joint No. 1, Republic and Jewell counties; Joint No. 1, Republic and Cloud counties; Joint No. 1, Republic, Cloud and Washington counties; Joint No. 2, Republic, Cloud and Washington counties; and Joint No. 1, Republic and Washington counties. One hundred and forty-eight teachers are required to teach these schools. The school population at this time is 6,541, with an enrollment for last year of 5,478 pupils. The districts having the largest school population are No. 14, with 712; No. 6, with 268; and No. 111, with 214. These districts include the cities of Belleville, Scandia and Cuba respectively.

"To maintain our schools requires an expenditure of nearly $60,000 annually. Of this amount $40,250 is paid for teachers' wages. The average salary per month paid to male teachers being $40.37 and to female teachers $34.77.

232 History of Republic County.

The school districts are now comparatively free from debt, the bonded indebtedness at present being only $15,350.

"For the better preparation of teachers the county normal institute is held at Belleville four weeks each year, as has been the custom since the law was enacted providing for institutes. The largest institute ever held was in the year 1899, when 226 bona fide members were in attendance. This was the largest institute held in the state that year.

"The Republic County Educational Association is a permanent organization of the teachers of the county for the mutual benefit of the teachers and for the promotion of education. Seven sessions are held annually at the various cities in the county. Each teacher in the county is considered a member and it is his duty to attend, and to take a part in as many of the meetings as possible.

"At no time have the schools been in better condition than at present, and at no time has the teaching force been so well prepared for the work of the profession. Even district schools are graded and a definite course of study is followed. A system of graduation from the common schools at the completion of the eighth grade work has been in vogue since 1892. The number of graduates for the different years is as follows: 1892, 15; 1893, 21; 1891, 117; 1895, 113; 1896, 113; 1897, 40; 1898, 69; 1899, 59; 1900, 74; 1901, 88; total 709. Each year commencement exercises are held at convenient places in the county. Each graduate delivers an essay or an oration of his own preparation. Representatives of each class take part in a central commencement held at Belleville at the time of the normal institute.

"The teachers' Reading circle has been an impetus toward the reading of professional books by a majority of our teachers, and this has been one means of raising the standard of the profession."

History of Republic County.

Residence of J. C. Humphrey, Belleville City.

History of Republic County. 233



The Belleville Telescope, the pioneer newspaper of Republic county, was established by James C. Humphrey, in September, 1870, when there were only two buildings on the townsite. The paper was issued regularly for sixteen months, when its publication was discontinued, the last issue being January 19th, 1872. The reason for so doing, as briefly stated by Mr. Humphrey in his valedictory, was "to make room for a larger paper, as he had not the capital to enlarge to such a size as the county demands." After a lapse of eighteen months he resumed its publication, the first issue being July 3d, 1873, greatly enlarged and improved and fully up to the demands of the town and county at that time, Mr. O. A. A. Gardner assuming editorial management of the agricultural department of the paper, Mr. Humphrey being the editor-in-chief, proprietor and publisher until October 23d, 1884, when the late Mr. E. B. Towle took the place of Mr. Humphrey as editor, remaining in charge of the editorial columns until September 29th, 1887, when the paper was sold to E. E. Brainerd, who took possession October 6th, 1887, having sole control until March 22, 1888, when a partnership was formed with J. W. Shackelford, which continued until November 1st of that year, when the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Brainerd again assuming entire control until September 1st, 1889, when Humphrey and Shackelford purchased the paper, Mr. Shackelford becoming editor, continuing as such until November 14th, 1890, when Mr. Shackelford retired, leaving Mr. Humphrey again the sole owner of the paper, remaining so until July, 1900, when he formed a partnership with his daughter, Adela, which continued until July 1st, 1901, when they sold the paper to Mr. A. J. Bayse, who is now conducting the paper. The Telescope

234 History of Republic County.

has always been republican in politics, has labored earnestly and persistently for the advancement of the material interests of Belleville, Republic county, and northern Kansas.


The paper now published as the Scandia Journal was first published in Belleville under the name Belleville Republic. The first issue was printed February 7, 1872. For eighteen months it was the only paper in the county, having taken the place of the Telescope, suspended in January, 1872. A. B. Wilder was the founder of the paper and was associated with it off and on until 1888. At different times other men were associated with him or bought it from him, but none of them made a success of the business. During the time Mr. Wilder had the paper it was Independent Republican in politics. Since that time it has been radically republican. Mr. Wilder's first partner was a Mr. Kirby. From May, 1872, to February 5th, 1873, it was under the editorial control of Hugh M. Sawyer, a scholarly man, afterward a prominent school man in Iowa. May 6th, 1874, it was sold to Frank Kirk and the office removed to Jewell Center, re-established under the same name at Belleville August, 1875. The last issue of the Belleville Republic was August 9th, 1876. The next issue came out as the Scandia Republic, Mr. Wilder having moved the plant to Scandia during the week. On January 1st, 1878, the paper was sold to L. H. Tibbitts, a Scandia lawyer, who changed the name to the Republic County Journal. Mr. Tibbitts did not become a shining light in the newspaper field and on August 21st of the same year the plant was returned to Mr. Wilder. He now associated with him A. P. Wilber, who remained on the paper until November 15, 1879. At this time it was sold to S. W. Moore, who edited it until June 4, 1881. On this date it was sold to Charles F. Woodward. Mr. Woodward continued in control of the paper until after the tragic death

History of Republic County. 235

of his brother, Dr. Wm. H. Woodward. On April 29th, 1882, Mr. Wilder again came into possession and continued to wield the editorial pencil until January 1st, 1887. During the month of August, 1885, the Journal was published as a daily, the only daily paper ever published in Republic county. On the first day of January, 1882, Mr. Woodward changed the name from Republic County Journal to Scandia Journal, which name it has since borne. From January 1st to October 7th. 1887, George F. Page was editor. On May 18th, 1888, Mr. Wilder sold the Journal to Stoy E. and I. C. Ware and finally severed his connection with newspaper work. The paper was published by Ware & Co., until September, 1890, when Stoy E. Ware was appointed postmaster, and I. C. Ware continued the publication alone. In August 1889 the Journal absorbed the good will and subscription accounts of the Scandia Independent, deceased, since which time it has been the only newspaper in Scandia.

Mr. Ware retired from the newspaper work December 1st, 1891, being succeeded by George F. Page as editor and proprietor. In September 1892 the plant was burned and was a total loss, there being no insurance. Through the generosity of friends Mr. Page was put on his feet and not an issue was missed. Entirely new equipment was put in and the paper became a five-column quarto and one of the handsomest in the state. This form has been retained and the paper is now issued with from eight to twelve pages as the business requires. In 1895 Mr. Page contracted the California fever and on March 1st sold the plant to Albert B. Kimball, who has conducted the business ever since. In his hands the paper has been more of a success, financially than ever before. From time to time material additions have been made to the office, until at this time it is probably the best equipped newspaper and job office, size of town considered, in the state of Kansas. In July 1900, the proprietor bought as a home for it, the two story stone building it now occupies, and last spring

History of Republic County.

Editor Scandia Journal and Post-
master, Scandia, Kansas.

236 History of Republic County.

put in an engine so that all the machinery is run by power. Mr. Kimball has been postmaster at Scandia for the past four years and has the postoffice in the same room as the Journal.


The Scandia Sentinel was established at Scandia by William H. Ketchum early in the year 1881. In May of that year Mr. Ketchum found that it would be to his advantage to move his plant to Republic City, which was done, and the name of the paper changed to the Republic County Sentinel. Ketchum was a practical printer and a newspaper man with more than the average ability. His editorials possessed a vigor which made the Sentinel a popular country newspaper. He was a staunch republican and was fearless in his advocacy of republican principles. But like many another—liquor and convivial habits got the better of him and in May 1882 he was forced to suspend publication. He next moved his plant to Table Rock, Nebraska.

The place of publication at the time the Sentinel was first issued in Republic City, was in the top story of a large frame building known as the 'Garside Block." Later it was moved into a building which yet remains on the townsite, and on the front of which may be seen to this day the sign "The Repubic County Sentinel." It may be of interest to say something of the building itself. It was first built on Rose Creek, for a store, 15 or 16 miles east of where now stands Republic City. Along about 1879 or 1880 it was moved to a site on Otter Creek, on the farm where Mr. John Sumbler now lives, where it contained "a large and complete stock of general merchandise, "—it having the prodigous dimensions of 16x24, with a Boston front. Shortly thereafter, when it was determined to have a town on the site of Republic City, the building was once more put on to a truck and moved to "the city," and set down on the corner of Broadway and Republic avenue.

History of Republic County. 237

There it was occupied as a drug store where behind its capacious prescription case the early denizens of "the city" were wont to slack their thirst with liberal libations of "squirrel whiskey"—"squirrel," because as soon as two or three drinks were imbeded in a man's frame he wanted to climb a tree, or a telegraph pole, for a lack of a single tree on the townsite. A Kansas zephyr came along one day and blowed the shack down and the badly fractured remains were gathered together and moved "up the avenue" a bit further, to its present site. The Sentinel was moved into the building in the new location and remained there until its early demise, which incident happened, as near as I can remember from the hearsay evidence, before it was yet a year old. The editor and proprietor might have done well, in fact did do well, if he had devoted his time to his business, but he had very little time for that, as he was very busy most of the time "looking for another drink." The town was for some time without a paper.

In March, 1883, one Charles E. Wolfe, learning the necessity of a newspaper at Republic launched the News. He was lacking in all the essential traits and qualifications of a newspaper man, and after six months' experience sold the venture to Gomer T. Davies, a native of Wales, the purchase price being $150. Gomer developed into a practical and fearless newspaper man, possessing rare qualifications for the work in which he was about to engage, and who made for Republic City, through the medium of the News, a reputation that will live for many years to come. Gomer T. Davies is one of the few men who have in Kansas made a success of a country newspaper. While editor of the News he was twice elected as a republican to represent his district, comprising the north half of Republic county, in the state legislature, sessions of 1887 and 1889. Later he became an earnest advocate of the principles of the populist party, and is at the present time the editor and proprietor of the Kansan, a paper of state reputation. D. A. Davies, a brother of Gomer, succeeded to the proprietor-

238 History of Republic County.

ship of the News in 1897 with George H. Litsinger as editor. After a few months Litsinger severed his connection with the paper to take a course in medicine, and in 1900 graduated at the head of his class of 125, from the University Medical college of Kansas City, Missouri. He is now engaged in a successful and lucrative practice at Riley, Kansas. Following D. A. Davies, Tom Charles, a half-brother, became editor and proprietor of the News in 1898. He was ably assisted in the editorial work by his mother, Mrs. Lydia Charles, a woman of rare attainments, and a vigorous writer. Under the management of D. A. Davies and Tom Charles the paper remained populist in principle. In 1900 the paper again changed hands and political policy. It is now owned and edited by Don Patterson who is keeping the paper up to the demands of the times and the satisfaction of its patrons. Tom Charles has taken charge of the Belleville Freeman and is running a paper of which a much larger town might feel justly proud. In conclusion it is but fair and just to say that the Republic City News has not been at any period of its history altogether obscure in the newspaper world of Kansas, nor is it now.


The Belleville Democrat was established at Belleville, August 1st, 1885, by J. and C. M. McLaury and was published as a democratic paper for about ten years. Its publication was suspended for about one year, while John, the senior member of the firm, was postmaster at Belleville. The paper came from Chester, Nebraska, where it had been published about seven months. It was a reliable newspaper, always taking a lively interest in all measures calculated to promote the best interests of the city and county.


The Belleville Astonisher was first issued as a weekly November 24th, 1886. The prospectus stating the objects and giving subscription rates was as follows: "The As-

History of Republic County. 239

tonisher is published, for the social and financial benefit of the residents of Republic county, Kansas, and also for the benefit of the editor. With the latter object in view the price is six dollars per year. If you do not think it is worth that amount please leave your name with the editor and you will receive it free. W. A. Godard, Editor and Proprietor." Under the last clause of the prospectus quite a large number of our best citizens were induced to become subscribers. This paper was published for some time as a weekly and afterwards as a monthly. It was neutral in politics.


This paper was established in June, 1860, by H. N. Boyd, as a greenback paper, at Logan, Phillips county, Kansas. In October, 1890, at the solicitation of the Republic County Alliance it was moved to Belleville. During the period from 1880 the paper supported for President, General Weaver twice, Mr. Streeter once, and Mr. Bryan twice. In January 1889 he sold it to the Kimball Publishing Company, which again sold it in 1900 to Tom Charles, who is now publishing it as a populist paper and which has the largest circulation of any paper in Republic county. Mr. Boyd mentioned with some pride the fact that during his nineteen years ownership of the paper there were births, deaths and marriages in the family and the paper was moved 120 miles without missing an issue.


This paper was established by James A. Harris, ediitor and publisher, the first issue being on June 22nd, 1893. Mr. Harris published the paper about one year when he sold to J. L. Addington, editor and publisher, who made it a spicy and readable paper, weilding considerable influence. During most of the time that it was published by Mr. Addington it was a Peoples party organ. After about six years proprietorship he sold to H. E. Moore, who

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took charge in September, 1900, and who published the same until August, 1901, when he sold to W. H. McCurdy, who is now publishing it as a republican paper. The News during its entire history has been ably edited, its columns always bright and newsy, and a credit to the town in which it has been published.


The Talmo Enterprisc, a six column weekly, V. D. Bullen, editor and proprietor, was published at Talmo, the first issue being September 22nd, 1887. This was quite a breezy paper, republican in politics, devoted to the interest of Talmo and vicinity, had quite a liberal advertising patronage, but like many other ventures of a similar character, died young.


The Warwick Leader, republican in politics, was published at Warwick by J. H. Price in 1885 or 86.


The Advanced Leader also republican, was published at Warwick in 1888. Peter McHutcheon being editor, publisher and proprietor. This paper like many others did not live to an advanced age.


The Cuban Record was published at Cuba, commencing in August, 1900 till March, 1901, by L. L. Moon. Republican in politics.


The Cuban Union, a republican paper, was published for a short time at Cuba by T. A. Cordry in 1887 or 1888.


The Union and Pilot were merged and formed the Cuba Daylight, which is now being published weekly as a

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