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.

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pleasure of listening to the very able and interesting addresses of General J. C. Caldwell and Governor George T. Anothony.

RESOLVED—Second, that to these gentlemen our warmest thanks are due for the services they have rendered, in adding to the enjoyment and permanent interest of the occasion.

RESOLVED—Third, that we will hold them in grateful remembrance, and cherish the truths they gave us, and will be delighted to have them visit us again, assuring them of a warm and soldierly welcome.


Camp John A. Logan, Belleville, Kansas, August 9th, 10th and 11th, 1888. This was the largest and most successful reunion ever held by this association. A large number of tents were obtained and pitched in the public square for all who wished to spend the night there, and on Friday night they were all filled.

The music was by Walker & Wagener's martial bands combined, a martial band from Concordia, and the Belleville K. of P. band. The officers were: H. C. Swartz, colonel; C. H. Hansen, lieutenant colonel; Sam. M. Stewart, major; W. W. Wait, adjutant. Officers of the day: John R. Bowersox, first day; T. F. Marlatt, second day; John H. Crane, third day.


Address of welcome by H. O. Studley and address by Rev. Don A. Allen. Camp fire at night when short addresses were made by several comrades.


Hon. Lewis Hanback, of Osborne county, delivered an able address in the forenoon and Rev. Geo. W. Wood, of Guthrie Center, Iowa, in the afternoon.

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In the forenoon Col. John W. Foster delivered the principal address. In the afternoon a sham battle was fought in the open field west of the city, C. N. Hansen, colonel, commanding the Union forces, and Colonel James Smith commanding the Confederate forces. The boys labored under disadvantages in not having enough guns, and the few they had were muzzle loaders, consequently the firing was neither heavy nor rapid. Of course the Union forces were victorious and marched triumphantly back to town with the whole Confederate army as prisoners. Taking everything into consideration, this was the most complete success of any celebration of the kind ever held in the county. The weather was exceptionally fine and the attendance the largest ever known in Belleville up to that time. It was estimated by good judges that on Saturday there were at least 6,000 people in attendance. Seventeen states were represented by ex-soldiers, Illinois having sixty-six, being the largest number from any one state.

September 12th, 13th and 14th, 1889, twelfth annual reunion. Eminent speakers from abroad who had accepted invitations failed to put in an appearance, consequently home talent had to be called into requisition, of which there was no lack. Still it was a disappointment to many who never appreciate home talent anyway. The speakers were J. F. Close, E. L. Meek, W. H. Pilkenton, E. W. Wagener, D. A. Allen, H. O. Studley and Rev. Shackelford. The Bellevile juvenile band, the Scandia cornet band and the Mosher-Sheeks martial band furnished the music throughout the reunion.

On Friday afternoon the grand review took place and it was quite a creditable exhibition. Captain Wm. Walker of Scandia, commanded the column, which was reviewed by General Dixon, and staff, consisting of Captain Studley, Jacob Beck and C. G. Bulkley. The exercises, though

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not quite as interesting as on some former occassions, were of a creditable nature, when everything is taken into consideration. The following criticism of this reunion appeared in the Belleville Democrat, at that time edited by by Charlie McLaury, and although perhaps a little severe, very nearly portrays the situation at that time:

The twelfth annual reunion of the soldiers and sailors of Republic county closed on Saturday. We do not say that the reunion was an entire failure, but do say that it bordered very closely to one, had but a small margin to go on, and in saying that it was not a fizzle we are making a distinction where but a slight difference exists. This is attributable to several causes, first and chief, perhaps, was the unfavorable weather the second day; second, disappointment in the speakers who were advertised, and third, the mismanagement, or rather total lack of management all the way through. Last week we questioned the propriety of sending off for United States senators and other celebrities when the committee inviting them feel pretty certain that none of them will show up and we are of the same opinion yet. But if the managers persist in this course, let us suggest a program something like the following for next year:


Addresses by Right Hon. William E. Gladstone and Charles Stuart Parnell.


The following distinguished speakers will address the assembled multitude: James G. Blaine and William Windom.


Twenty minute speeches by Ben. Harrison, Secretary Noble, Assistant Secretary Bussey, Corporal Tanner and Private Dalzell.

(It might be proper to append a footnote to the pro-

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gram, in small letters, stating that in all probability not a single one named would be here.)

Whether the above criticism by Charley or a general feeling of apathy on the part of the members of the association is responsible for the collapse of the annual reunion meetings is left to the careful consideration of the unprejudiced reader. At any rate no meetings have since been held.




DEAR SIR:—In view of the fact that Republic county will this year harvest the most bountiful crop of corn in its history, it is deemed just and proper that this event be celebrated in an appropriate manner; therefore a mass meeting of the farmers, and any and all others interested, will be held at the court house in Belleville on Monday, August 28th, at 2 o'clock p. m., for the purpose of making the necessary preliminary arrangements for the holding of a Corn Carnival or Fall Festival not later than the first week in October, to continue not less than three days, at which the agricultural and horticultural products of the county are to be exhibited, the display of corn being made a leading feature.

It is also recommended that one day be devoted to exercises conducted by the Old Soldiers' and one by the Old Settlers' Reunion Association of Republic county.

The railroads running through the county have already signified their willingness to cooperate.

Fellow citizens, let us for one week lay aside our ordinary business cares and celebrate with songs and rejoicing the fact that it is our good fortune to reside in one of the grandest and most fruitful counties on earth.

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You are earnestly requested to attend, also to give this circular the widest possible publicity in your neighborhood and see that your township is represented by a large delegation of your leading farmers at the meeting on Monday, August 28th.


In pursuance of the above call, a meeting of the farmers and others, interested in Republic county, was held at the court house in Belleville, August 28th, for the purpose of considering the propriety of holding a Fall Festival or Corn Carnival that fall. The meeting was called to order by Hon. John M. Doyle and the object briefly stated by I. O. Savage. After an interchange of views, all present favored the project, a permanent organization was effected by the election of John Harris of Richand, president; I. O. Savage of Belleville, secretary; Capt. C. A. Potts of Lincoln, treasurer; and a vice president from each township in the county. The meeting then adjourned to September 9th, when all necessary committees were appointed and the association was declared fully organized, the general management and very many of the details being left to the executive committee, of which Senator R. B. Ward was chairman. A mammoth tent 70x110 feet in which to make the exhibit was procured and pitched on the vacant lots on the north side of the public square, also a tent suitable for secretary's office. The time was fixed for October 4th, 5th and 6th, only twenty-five days after it was definitely determined to hold the jubilee.


The first day, Wednesday, was devoted to getting everything in position in the tent where the display of products was made, and when evening came it presented a scene of interest and beauty. Broad tables extended around the tent and upon these were placed exhibits,

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those upon the south side being set apart for individual exhibits and they were all well filled. Below we give a complete list of the entries, which tells the reader what the tables contained.

John A. Swenson had an individual exhibit of the products of his one farm, which was extraordinarily fine. The articles were numerous in variety and unexcelled in quality and took the first premium in its class.

John Fulcomer also had a very fine exhibit of products from his several farms. It consisted of several varieties of every farm product, in the aggregate numbering about thirty, and all of the very best quality. In addition to these his table was handsomely decorated with plants and flowers, canned fruits, etc., of his own raising. It was a fine display, attracted much attention and took first premium.

The township displays of Jefferson, Rose Creek and Freedom were in place and the only ones until Union pulled in her float after the parade the next day, and these were the only townships that made a display in the tent. Imagine what it would have been had all the townships participated.


All nature seemed to smile upon this effort of the people of Republic county to display her (nature's) bounties, for day never dawned upon finer weather for such an occasion. Early in the morning people began to pour into town from every direction, and by 10 o'clock the streets were crowded and, but for the wise precaution of the committee in roping in the square to exclude vehicles, there would have been a complete blockade. The parade, which was to be the first and principal feature of the day, was a little late in starting, but the immense crowd kept itself interested by looking through the tent and listening to the music by the Clay Center and Belleville brass bands, both of which organizations were lavish with the

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highest order of music, but finally the parade started.


The parade was beyond all expectation, magnificent beyond description, and it is impossible to give a description of the floats that would convey to the mind of the reader who did not see them even a faint idea of their beauty, or of the artistic decorations made of corn, kaffir corn, the various varieties of grasses, wheat, oats and vegetables, all blended in perfect harmony, in designs that were really artistic, beautiful and pleasing to the eye and perfect beyond criticism.

The line commenced to form at the ball grounds, and as the floats took their places the head of the line moved up into town, so when the parade was ready for the final start the head was on the south side of the square while the rear end was yet on the ball ground, and at about 11 o'clock the final start was made and everything moved along with the precision of clock work.

The Belleville Military Band, one of the solid and most admired institutions of the city, led the parade and during the march of more than an hour was playing almost constantly which, with the Clay Center band that rendered similar good service, and the schools on floats that were almost continuously singing, made music in abundance.

The next, and one of the prettiest and most unique attractions in the parade, was a vehicle constructed of bicycles, upon which was a platform and on this a pedestal, and upon this pedestal about ten feet from the ground stood Miss Effie Chapin, representing the Goddess of Liberty; this was drawn by three bicycles, little Miss Ethel Lord beautifully representing an angel, leading, followed by Mr. M. J. Chappius and M. Ed. Gratingny riding abreast, the former representing John Bull and the latter Uncle Sam, all apparently driven by the Goddess who had lines extending to each of the riders.

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Next came the Union township floats, which were drawn by a large traction engine, nicely decorated and driven by Clint Brackney. The float was one of the handsomest in the parade, and but for the failure of the township to make the proper showing in the tent, which they could have easily done, it would certainly have taken one of the premiums. The float consisted of a platform nine or ten feet wide and probably twenty feet long on low wheels. On this was a neatly constructed and gracefully proportioned boat about fifteen feet in length, two and a half feet deep and nicely rigged with masts and yard arms, etc., all made of cornstalks and grasses firmly bound together. The platform from the outer edge in to the bottom of the boat was laden with the products of Union township farms so arranged as to present a very attractive appearance; and the trimmings, which were unexcelled by any other float, were strikingly beautiful and artistic and all made from the products of the farm. And here we will mention another article—the result of genius backed with patience and perseverance which was on the float the second day. It is a rocking chair made of sixty-four horns from Texas steers. The chair was made by Capt. Dancy, and each horn represents one year of his age at the time he made it. Each horn is polished as smooth as glass and so arranged that every curve of bottom, back and arms were perfect. It was a pretty piece of work, solid and substantial, and required many hours of the Captain's leisure time to complete it.

The float was followed by Union Valley school in full force on a neatly trimmed float, all singing as merry and happy as larks.

Freedom township came next with a magnificent float drawn by six beautiful gray horses, followed by individual floats and other amusing and interesting features that attracted great attention.

The main float, which in connection with their splendid display within the tent, gave that township first

History of Republic County.

Freedom Township Float.
Awarded First Premium at Corn Jubilee,
held at Belleville, October 4th, 5th and 6th, 1899.

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premium, consisted of a platform at least 10x20, decorated nicely about the edges, in the center of which was a pyramid about six feet at the base and gradually tapering to a point ten feet above with a nice red pumpkin at the top. The sides of the pyramid were richly ornamented with corn wrought into various pretty designs, producing a very pleasing effect. The portion of the platform not occupied by the pyramid was covered with the products of the township and so arranged as to make a splendid showing. At each corner of the platform stood a sheaf of grain and beside each of them, with an old time sickle in hand, one of Freedom's handsomest girls. Large as it was, but well proportioned and handsomely trimmed, it combined the grand with the beautiful and delicate in such pleasing harmony that the result was perfect.

One of the very nice and suggestive floats was that of H. J. Slutts. The fore part of his covered spring wagon showed Kansas in her primitive state, that is it was ornamented with buffalo grass, nothing more, while the latter part was well laden with the products of farm—corn, potatoes, pumpkins, squashes, apples, and various kinds of grasses. On the front end of a board attached horizontally to the wagon on either side was the word "before" and at the latter end the word "after" and between the words was a plow nicely outlined with grains of corn. It took first premium.

Another beautiful float with a young lady standing upon a pedestal with the sword of justice in her hand and in front of a banner bearing the words "protection, peace, prosperity," was very elegant.

Next came Scandia's contribution to make the parade a success, and no float excited more curiosity or attracted more attention. To many it was a moving mystery. The design was a large boat, longer and wider than the wagon upon which it was built. The top of the hull was as high as the wagon box, shaped and curved in to graceful form; from this to the ground, representing the part that would

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be in the water, was suspended a matting made of heads of kaffir corn, so closely and perfectly put wgether that at only a short distance away they closely resembled the dark, gracefully curved sides of the lower part of a boat in dry dock. On top of the craft was a small deck, and steering rigging. The propelling force was a mystery, no horses in sight, no smoke or steam or noise escaping, and yet a man at the wheel guiding it at his will as it moved noiselessly along, it put a good many to guessing. But by getting close enough to look through or under the mysterious force could be seen the form of a pair of mules. It was a unique and ingeniously constructed craft, and had its builders not quit too soon; that is to say, had they gone ahead and put on decks and masts and other rigging they would have been a winner.

Next in line came Center Valley School, District No. 92, Washington township. Their float was handsome and loaded down with bright, happy, healthy children, all of whom seemed to be enjoying their day of recreation.

Washington as a township, made no display, nevertheless ex-sheriff H. C. Swartz, here showed up in the line with a very handsome individual float, upon which he received a premium. Hank was determined his township should not go unrepresented, notwithstanding the fact that he could not get the people to see that it was to their interest to make a township display.

The Sons and Daughters of Justice, Lodge No. 106, followed with a large, elegant and tastily ornamented float, Miss Mabel Penfield, appropriately attired as the Goddess, standing upon a high pedestal blindfolded and holding in her hands the scales and sword of justice. The portrayal was complete.

Next in the line was the Clay Center brass band of eighteen pieces, and as fine a musical organization as can be found in Kansas. Each member is a first class musician and a gentleman, and during their visit here they gained the respect of everybody.

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