HISTORY OF EARLY LYON COUNTY, KANSAS
(Breckinridge and Madison counties)
Written by Lucina JONES, Regent Emporia Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, May 1933
We find the record of thirty-eight settlers coming in 1855 of whom all but a few are located on the map; they are: Christopher WARD, A.L. WATKINS, Thomas SHOCKLEY, R.H. ABRAHAM, W.H. EIKENBERRY, Joel, HAWORTH, Joseph HADLEY (these last two named, possibly came in 1854, at to look the territory over), Charles JOHNSON, Joseph MOON, John FOWLER, John CONNELL, Joe PIGMAN, Jeff PIGMAN, John COTTINGHAM, Lewis COTTINGHAM, Morgan DeLACEY, Mr. WILCOX, James HENDRICKS, H.B. ELLIOT, Mr. LOWRY (who died here that same year), T.H. PAINE, Reverend T.J. ADDIS, Tom ADDES, John ADDES, David VANGUNDY, Christian CARVER, John EVANS, R. KELLEY, C. MORRIS, John ROSENQUIST, G.D. HUMPHREY, James. PHEANIS, Ira HADLEY, Abner HADLEY, Lorenzo DOW, Arthur I. BAKER (Mr. BAKER had a store on the trail near Agnes City), Lemuel H. JOHNSON, Josiah GREGG, Mr. COBINE, Mr. HAYS, and Dr. STIGGERS. (Josiah GREGG and Mr. COBINE had stores near Neosho Rapids, and Mr. HAYS; then later Dr. STIGGERS kept a store at Columbia in 1855).
In 1856 came William GRIMSLEY, David ROTH, C.N. LINK, W. LOCKERMAN, W.H. CARNEY, James NEWLIN, Curtisss HIATT, Milton CHAMNESS, Edward EVANS, Solomon G. BROWN, Andrew HINSHAW, Dr. Thomas ARMOUR, Frederick BRENDEL, John GUNKEL, Henry GUNKEL, Sam LEWIS, Nathan McCORMICK, Wm PAINE, Mr. McVEY, Bert, Bill and Bob COWDEN, Gus STEAD, Mr. SIMMONS, Moses PUCKETT, Silas HOWELL, Isaac COX, Eli DAVIS, P.W. MANNING, Mr. TAYLOR, Solomon PHEANIS, Mr. HEASLEY, D. SWIM, Richard MILLER, Mr. TYLER, George LEWIS, David T. MORRIS, David and Hugh WILLIAMS and their mother, Simon BUCHER, Mrs. Morgan YAGER, Henry STRATTON, L.O. PRIEST, L.J. WILLIAMS, John MAHAFFEYA, Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. QUIMBY, Mr. HARPER, Mr. SHOCKLEY, and the JONES Family. These last eleven settled on Eagle Creek, near Elmendaro, in Madison County.
In 1857, the year Emporia was founded, history states that 2,000 settlers came into the county. Mr. William HAMMOND says that many did not stay, however.
The only mail received by these people came from the office at WITHINGTON's. Joseph HADLEY went from his cabin on the Cottonwood west of Emporia to WITHINGTONS on horseback and brought back the mail to the settlers on the Neosho and Cottonwood, receiving from them his pay for his work. Provisions were hauled by the settlers themselves from Kansas City, at that time a straggling village.
The territory (later Breckinridge County) contained many acres of land set apart for the Indians. To the east we find the west line of the Sax and Fox Reservations and to the west lies the east line of the Kanza or Kaw Diminished Reservation and the east line of the Kansas Trust Lands. An article on "History of the Kanza or Kaw Indians" printed in Vol. 10 of Kansas Collections page 353 reads: "The Kanza made their homes from 1847 to 1873 on the diminished reserve, Cahola Creek village was on a creek of that name south of the present town of Dunlap. For a a long time, Al-le-ga-wa-ho, the head chief, presided at this village. "Fool-Chief's village was near the present town of Dunlap, in the valley. Kah-hege-wah-ti-an-ga Second, governed this village for a long time, having succeeded Ish-tah-le-sah (Speckled Eye) his uncle. This is a really great interest because the Kanza's were the on tribe of Indians that were owners of all or most of that imperial pasture now called Kansas. This state was their home for many generations.
Elmendaro and Columbia were the first towns located, both being in Madison County. A year later, in 1856 Florence, which later was called Neosho City, then Italia and now Neosho Rapids, was laid out. In 1857, we had two more towns - Emporia and Americus. While 1858 brought several more; they were: Hartford, Waterloo, Fremont, and Forest Hill. Reading was located in 1867. Butlertown (named for David BUTLER) was founded in 1877 and in 1879, the town was moved just north of Butlertown, across the tracks of the "Narrow Gauge Railroad" and called Olpe. (NOTE: Olpe was across the tracks from Bitlertown, named for Daniel BITLER, this seems to be a mistake in the orginal document.) Lang (first called Hortonburg), in 1882. Allen, about 1886, as were Bushong and Admire. These three towns being laid out the same year the Missouri Pacific Railway Company built is tracks across northern Lyon County according to Laura FRENCH's History of the County. Miller was founded in 1910.
The Burlingame Road was part of a Government road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Sill, Indian Territory. Laura FRENCH says this was the first official road into Emporia and that Oliver PHILLIPS made the first wagon track over this route when he came to Emporia in February, 1857 to help stake out the town site. Mr. PHILLIPS was the county's first surveyor. In "Annals of Emporia and Lyon County" page 15, we read, "At this time (1857) the government ran mail from Westport, Missouri, out on the Santa Fe Trail to Council Grove; thence to Columbia. This would not do for the wide-awake Emporians at all; they hated every pro-slavery and instead of patronizing this route they took steps to have their mail sent by the way of Lawrence; they had Box No. 500 in Lawrence, from whence the mail was brought by private hands. A weekly hack line to that city was established (going out of Emporia by the Burlingame Road), leaving here every Monday and returning every Friday. It took four full days to make the round trip and one day to rest in Lawrence," and on Page 52, "The mail from Lawrence was required to come through in one day instead of two days as it had always done before. Emporia began to feel she was part of the world." It continues with, "In 1860 a tri-weekly hack line service began on the Emporia-Lawrence route. $15.00 was the hack fare." In 1869 when G.P. JONES, my father came to Emporia, the fare was $5.00 from Burlingame to Emporia. The old Government trail went out of Emporia to the southwest, passed Lakeside and crossed the Cottonwood at Baker's Ford (now on the DIGGS and Sons property), crossed JACOBS Creek just north of "JACOBS Mound", thence to Bloody Creek; crossed South Fork at Bazar, thence to Mercer Springs, Sulphur Springs and the town of Chelsey, El Dorado and the little trading post called Wichita. The hauling over this trail was done by single teams. Food stuffs and lumber were the principal merchandise hauled. Tom EVANS and his brother were the early freighters here. Many gruesome sights greeted the brothers as they traveled across the prairie country.
One of them was a group of eight men hanging to a little oak tree, horse thieves. Another was a settler, lying dead, having been killed by a freighter (who had been angered when hit by a neck-yoke). Mr. EVANS said land along this route was priced a $5.00 an acre. Whiskey was valued at $8.00 a gallon and in Butler County, whiskey had the biggest sale.
In the early seventies, travel to the southwest crossed the Cottonwood at the ford south of Commercial Street, turning west, passed the HIATT home, meeting the other trail just west of PHEANIS Creek and to Walnut and El Dorado. G. P. JONES took this route to Chesley in 1872 on horseback in an attempt to collect some debts for BANCROFT and McCARTER, early merchandisers in Emporia. Mr. JONES had great difficulty in finding a place to stay overnight; also to find food for himself and feed for his horse. The inn at Mercer Springs was full and the farm house that had a place to sleep, had no feed for the horse; he finally found a place that gave him a bed and som bread and milk; he walked back a quarter of a mile to get some oats for his horse.
The Emporia - Eureka Stage Line ran directly south to the county line. At Eagle Creek the SOULE family kept a barn where horses were changed. About ten miles father on to a hill northeast of Madison, another station was located. This was kept by a Mr. John DUNCAN and his wife. Mr. DUNCAN died and Mrs. DUNCAN married Mr. Washington DUNKERLY. These were the parents of Mrs. Roy KRAMM of Emporia. William DUNCAN, a son, says the Southern Kansas Stage route ran between Wichita and Emporia; that his parents were hired to feed the passengers. After leaving their place, the road angled a little to the southeast crossing the Verdigris River at a ford about one-fourth a mile west of the present bridge on Highway 11, north of Madison. From Madison the route went to Hamilton, Utopia, thence to Eureka, to Augusta and on to Wichita. A Mr. William HILL kept a station similar to DUNCAN's between Hamilton and Utopia. J.M. TERRY was general manager of the state line and a Mr. BASSETT (father of William BASSETT) of Emporia, was one of the drivers on the stage. At one time the stage was held up for three weeks on account of mud between the Cottonwood River and Dry Creek. Later, the county hired Ellis OWENS to haul stone to put in the road. As a child, I remember that no one traveled that road unless they actually had to, on account of those awful stones; they were from six to eight inches; big, jagged and rough as I remember them, they had no dirt over them to fill in the rough edges.
It was the 7th day of December, 1869, that the first locomotive came into Emporia. My father says it was on Sunday afternoon and he, with a crowd of people walked to a hill north of town, to see it come in. It came slowly, as slowly as a man would walk, the engine pulling one work car. Somewhere in my reading of early records, I found a statement by a woman from Hartford, who said the tires for the road bed were cut in the timber along the track as they went. Attica, just west of Hartford, was the first railroad station in the county. The M.K. & T. being the pioneer railroad.
The following July 29th, saw the Santa Fe Railroad completed into Emporia. The first station built in the county on this railroad was at Hortonburg (now called Lang). In Emporia, the first Santa Fe Station was located on Merchant Street; the first station built on the present site, was built in 1883 according to Mr. Fred HEATH, the present station agent. The railroad south of Emporia, (now the tracks for the Howard and Chanute branches) was started in 1877; it was a three foot narrow gauge railroad and small cars were brought to Emporia to run on the tracks. Tom EVANS helped to build the road bed. He went to Colorado in 1878 and does not know the date this railroad was finished. The Santa Fe bought the road before 1881 and the road bed was widened, says an early shipper from Madison. The road to Kansas City by way of Ottawa, was owned by the Southern Kansas Railway, says Mr. HEATH, and was taken over by the Santa Fe in 1889.
The Missouri Pacific Railway Company built their track across the north end of the county in 1886 (as was stated above) and the three towns of Admire, Allen, and Bushong were built around their station.
In the late spring of 1901 the Orient Railroad Company began grading for a road bed. It looked as if the Santa Fe was to have competition east and west; this road did not materialize however, and it was left to the bus lines many years later, to compete in passenger and freight business.
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