"Wayne-co., Indiana, has always been to me what we usually refer to as "back home," said U. G. Stephens to a Western Star reporter recently. "That was the place of my birth and early education. However, like hundreds of other young men, I early made up my mind that I wanted to come out west and look the country over with a view of settling. So, in the summer of 1884 my brother John and I struck out.
We had some relatives in Eldorado, Kans., then, and so came to that town and made a visit there. While there we somehow ran across some fellows who had been out in this part of the state, and they advised us to come to Comanche-co. Two young men - relatives - made up their minds that they would like to make the trip out from Eldorado with us, so we got a young team and a spring wagon and stuck out, coming through Wichita, Kingman and Pratt.
We landed in Coldwater on the 7th day of October, 1884. The town was then only a little over three months old, but there was quite a sprinkle of houses here and building activities were quite lively. We found that the hotels and boarding houses were all full and that there was no place to stay for the night except in a real estate office. In that office a dozen or more of us slept with our feet together and our heads toward the walls.
The town was really having a small sized boom. People by the hundreds were coming in and settling either in town or on some quarter of land, so it was not long until the town was almost like a beehive, and nearly every quarter of desirable land out for several miles from town had been settled on.
Brother John and I took claims up near the present Comanche-Kiowa-co. line. The quarter I settled on is now the north quarter of the R. E. Burkhall land. I had not been on the claim very long when along came a fellow who informed me that that quarter belonged to his sister, that she had settled on it, etc. I asked him where his sister was, and he replied that she was at a friend's not far away. I told him to have her come and talk with me about it, but he very curtly replied, "I won't allow my sister to come and talk with any man." I told him all right, I would stay right where I was until she did show up and convince me that she had a better title to the land than I had. She never came, so I got the land.
Of course I mingled with the town people some, and to some extent caught the spirit of the boom. I got hold of a little money and invested in town lots, and that way made some profit. I recall that Wm. Hungerford and I worked together and went in with the idea of getting rich on town lots. I borrowed $600 on my claim and invested most of the amount in town lots. But we didn't get rich - not by a whole lot. I had $600 worth of experience - and that was about all.
"I finally got started in on a small scale as a land owner. I owned one quarter, and finally got a chance to buy an adjoining quarter for $300. I paid $50 down and gave my note for the balance. Those were days when people didn't have very much faith in land out in this part of the state, but somehow I made up my mind to stay - and I have never regretted that I did so."
STEPHENS - Born July 26, 1900. Mr. and Mrs. U. G. Stephens, a daughter. -- The Western Star, December 28, 1900.
STEPHENS - Born July 30, 1903, to Mr. and Mrs. U. G. Stephens, a son. -- The Western Star, January 1, 1904.
SOME OF ITS BUSINESS HOUSES WRITTEN UP IN GRAPHIC STYLE.
A Good Showing for a Six Months Old Town.
The Western Star, 22 November 1884.
Coldwater Centennial Notebook, 1884 - 1984 by Evelyn Reed
James Rolla & Agnes L. (Wallace) Doig
Protection Store Burglarized
The Western Star, July 30, 1920.
List of Pioneer Settlers Buried in Crown Hill Cemetery
The Western Star, 16 June 1933.
Death List of Pioneer Settlers, 1898 to July 1923
The Western Star, August 3, 1923.
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