Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 6, 1876.

Frank A. Hunt was the first hardware dealer.


This county was born in the usual way, of “poor but honest parents,” viz: the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives in old Constitution Hall at Topeka, on the 3rd day of March, 1867. Governor J. S. Crawford stood sponsor and named it Cowley, in honor of Lieut. Mathew Cowley, a soldier of the 9th Kansas Regiment.

At that time and up to July 12, 1870, the land embraced within its borders belonged to the primitive red men, the Osage and Cherokee Indians. The Osages used it as a neutral strip from which they made many raids into the country south of us, stealing from the Texans and Indians their horses and cattle. These they sold to white border ruffians, who met them here and drove the stock further north into the older portions of the state.

From this class of whites the early settlers first gained their knowledge of Cowley’s beautiful prairies, rich bottoms, and swift running streams.

Attracted by these reports a party of persons, consisting of James Renfro and sons, Judge T. B. Ross and sons, Shep Sayers, and Frank Hunt, crossing the sombre, stony hills of old Butler, followed down the Walnut River on the 1st day of January, 1869, and “took claims” in the bottom just above the mouth of Timber Creek. In August, 1868, N. J. Thompson built a log house near the Butler County line. This was the first house in the county. Wm. Quimby and family, and a Mr. Sales settled on the Walnut below Thompson’s place about the same time. They were the first actual settlers in Cowley County.

On February 28, 1870, the Governor of Kansas issued an order organizing Cowley County, which designated Winfield as the temporary county seat. On March 23, 1870, the first meeting of the Cowley County Board was held. Cowley County was divided into three townships: Rock, Winfield, and Creswell. Frank A. Hunt was made the first sheriff of Cowley County as a result of an election held on May 2, 1870.


Cowley County Censor, March 18, 1871.

Mr. Frank Hunt, of this place, has seen the follies and ashes of single life to his heart’s content and taken him a wife in the person of Miss Mollie Tovers, late of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Frank has done many sensible things, but none as sensible as this.

Cowley County Censor, March 18, 1871.


Cowley County Censor, May 13, 1871.

The celebrated Buckeye Mowers for sale at Frank Hunt’s hardware store.

Cowley County Censor, May 13, 1871.

Ladies, if you want the best cook stove that is manufactured, buy the “General.” It has no superior. F. A. Hunt & Co. keeps them.

Cowley County Censor, July 1, 1871.



Cowley County Censor, October 21, 1871.

See the new announcements of candidates Walter A. Smith, the present Register of Deeds; thinks his chances good, and acts accordingly. W. H. Dobyns and Frank Hunt are also in the field for that office, and J. M. Pattison and Joseph Hart for Sheriff. They are all good boys, but we must say we go the straight ticket; the one at the head of our columns on the second page.


Cowley County Censor, October 21, 1871.








Winfield Messenger, July 12, 1872.

Board of County Commissioners met in Co. Clerk’s office in Winfield July 1st, 1872. Present: Frank Cox, O. C. Smith, and J. D. Maurer.

Resignation of F. A. Hunt as clerk, and J. S. Hunt as Treasurer of Winfield Township was accepted, and J. D. Cochran was appointed Treasurer, and D. A. Millington as Clerk of said Township.

Speculation on former Cowley County Sheriff, Frank A. Hunt...

It appears that Frank A. Hunt moved to South Haven after he left Cowley County in 1872. He might have been the “Hunt” who shows up as a partner with Capt. J. S. Hunt in a business in South Haven in 1873.


Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 5, 1873. Front Page.

SOUTH HAVEN, Sumner Co., May 25, 1873.

The town site of South Haven was selected and laid out by the Meester Bro’s., in 1871, since which time they have fought the battles of a frontier town, unaided by the great civilizer—a country newspaper—until their own county has reached its present state of prosperity.

The town is located on a splendid tract of prairie upland, between the creeks of West and Middle Shoo Fly, being fifteen miles south of Wellington, the county seat of Sumner County, and four miles north of the state line.

In the vicinity of South Haven there is a class of farmers who for downright industry and close attention to their home interests, cannot be surpassed in any locality. Nearly every claim has an occupant and in almost every direction can be seen a breaking team turning over the sod, preparatory for the fall crops.

The town has three first class country stores. Hunt & Hunt, late of your city, are the proprietors of the largest and best business house in the place. They carry a heavy stock of dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, queensware and provisions. The Captain is an old Kansas merchant and gives general satisfaction.

The newspaper did not give source for the following item...

Arkansas City Traveler, August 30, 1876.

MARRIED. Sunday, August 13, by Frank Hunt, Justice of the Peace, MR. ORVILLE SMITH and MISS MILAM HAWK, both of Sumner County. “Happy may they ever be.”

Winfield Courier, November 30, 1876.

FRANK HUNT, the “original” sheriff of this county, and one of the seven settlers of the Walnut Valley in A. D. 1869, came up from Sumner County yesterday to view the metropolis. Its growth and prosperity surprises him.

Arkansas City Traveler, October 3, 1877.

We met Pattison, Cowley County’s second Sheriff, the other day. His duties began at the expiration of Frank Hunt’s term—five years ago. He has been to Colorado, Arizona, and “all around.”

In 1878 the following appeared relative to “F. H. Hunt” in South Haven. Later entries show “F. A. Hunt” in that location, so I suspect the “H” should be an “A.”

Arkansas City Traveler, January 2, 1878.

SOUTH HAVEN LODGE NO. 175, elected officers Dec. 15th, as follows:

F. H. Hunt, W. M.; C. H. Bell, S. W.; J. Hicks, J. W.; C. W. Wright, Treas.; O. M. Smith, Sec.; S. H. Pickering, S. D.; D. D. Robinson, J. D.; E. Seque, S. S.; H. Goodhue, J. S.; D. P. Robinson, T.

They were installed by J. W. Hamilton, and a nice dinner followed. T. H.

Winfield Courier, January 19, 1882.

Frank Hunt, formerly of Winfield and predecessor of S. H. Myton in the hardware business, has been appointed postmaster at South Haven.

Cowley County Courant, March 9, 1882.

F. A. Hunt, County Commissioner from the third district, was appointed postmaster at South Haven some ten days since. Wellington Press.

This is our Frank Hunt, whose destiny we don’t propose to lose sight of.

Winfield Courier, Thursday, October 29, 1885.

Tell W. Walton, the heavy man of the Caldwell Journal, A. M. Colson, a prominent businessman, and Mayor Bailey, of Caldwell, also F. A. Hunt, a prominent citizen of South Haven, were in the city Monday and paid THE COURIER a pleasant visit. Tell Walton was at one time one of the boys here and is known by many. They returned today.

Winfield Courier, Thursday, November 19, 1885.

F. A. Hunt and Dr. W. S. Chenoweth were over from South Haven last night.

[At the moment, Facts concerning former Sheriff Frank A. Hunt end here.]


[Dr. Sam Dicks informed me that circa 1880 the Topeka Commonwealth printed a daily newspaper as well as a weekly. This paper was considered a source for much of the information throughout the state of Kansas.]

And now we come to the mistakes made by a county paper relative to an article printed by the Topeka Commonwealth relative “Frank Hunt, Caldwell.”

Winfield Courier, October 14, 1880.

Caldwell, Kansas, October 9. Frank Hunt, deputy city marshal of Caldwell, was shot and fatally wounded last night, about half past 10 o’clock, by some unknown party. Hunt was sitting in front of a window in the Red Light saloon, talking with some gentlemen, when the dastardly assassin put a large revolver through the open window and placing it close to Hunt’s side, fired. The ball passed through his body and lodged in the opposite side. Hunt was at once taken to his home, where he lies in a critical condition, although his physicians have some hope of his recovery. No better or more harmless a person lived in Caldwell, and yet he was the terror of all evil doers, knowing not the word of fear, and the shooting is considered by all a most cowardly murder. Commonwealth.

Most of the early settlers of this county knew Frank Hunt as our first sheriff and the original hardware merchant on the premises now occupied by S. H. Myton in Winfield.

Winfield Courier, October 14, 1880.

Rev. John W. Hunt, of Davis County, Iowa, has been visiting in this county the past week. He is the father of Frank Hunt, Winfield’s earliest hardware merchant, now in Caldwell, and of Mrs. J. H. Evans, of Vernon township. He is sixty-seven years old, but is hale, strong, and fine looking, though he has done much work in his calling. Long may he


[It is hard to believe that a newspaper could take the facts and come up with not one, but two false stories, but such proved the case with respect to Cowley County’s first sheriff and first hardware merchant, Frank A. Hunt. Thanks to Janel Hutchinson of Arkansas City, I was able to go to Caldwell, Sumner County, Kansas, on July 28, 2001, and dig up the facts about a murder that occurred in Caldwell in 1880.



Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, October 14, 1880.

Last Friday night, between the hours of ten and eleven o’clock, Frank Hunt was shot while sitting by a window in the Red Light dance hall, on the corner of Fifth and Chisholm streets. The particulars, so far as developed, are about as follows: During the evening Hunt had some difficulty with one of the cyprians belonging to the house, and considerable bad blood was engendered between Hunt, the woman, and her “man.” Shortly before the shooting Hunt had taken part in a dance and after it was over sat down by a window on the north side of the room. A few moments after a shot was fired, and Hunt jumped from his seat exclaiming, “I’m killed! He did it out there!” at the same time pointing to the window.

City Marshal J. W. Johnson and D. W. Jones, who was assisting Johnson that night as special policeman, being present, immediately ran to the east door of the hall, but finding it fastened, Jones made his way out in front. Meantime Johnson forced open the east door, got out, and ran around to the north side of the house. As he did so, he heard someone running near the stage barn and followed after, but it being dark he could not see no one and whoever the fleeing party was he escaped.

Hunt was taken care of as soon as possible, placed on a table in the center of the room, and Dr. MacMillan sent for. On his arrival an examination was made, and it was found that Hunt was shot in the left side, near the back, the ball entering between the ninth and tenth rib. Hunt was removed to a building on Main street, and on Saturday morning a dispatch was sent for his brother, D. M. Hunt, who lives in Ray County, Missouri. Subsequently Hunt was removed to the Leland Hotel, where he died about noon on Monday. His brother reached Caldwell sometime during Sunday night, and was with him up to the time of his death.

Immediately upon the death of Hunt, a coroner’s jury was summoned, by Squire Kelly, and an inquest began. A post mortem examination of the body was made by Drs. Noble & MacMillan, when it was found that the ball had passed through the upper portion of the tenth rib, through the liver and the lower part of the stomach, and lodged to the right of the stomach.

On Tuesday D. M. Hunt returned to Missouri, taking the body of his brother with him, and it will be buried at Lathrop, Clinton County, where his parents reside.

J. Frank Hunt was a young man, aged 29 years, was born in Ray County, Missouri, where he was raised. His parents afterward removed to Lathrop, Clinton County, where they now reside.

Frank came to Caldwell about a year ago. Last year he was appointed on the police force, which position he occupied until the last meeting of the Council, when the force was reduced and Hunt was discharged. During all the time he was on the force Hunt was strictly temperate, quiet, and unobtrusive, prompt and strict in the discharge of his duties. While he made some enemies, as such a man always will, he made more friends, and was generally regarded as one of the best men on the police force.

As to who fired the fatal shot, there are many conjectures, but pending the investigation of the coroner’s jury, it is not worthwhile to give them. Every effort is being made to ferret out the assassin, and if found, it will go hard with him.

The jury is composed of the following citizens: B. M. Odom, L. G. Bailey, S. Donaldson, R. Bates, E. C. Henning, and W. B. Hutchison. When it shall have finished its work and made a report, we will endeavor to give the main points of the evidence brought out in the examination.

From Dr. Sam Dicks, Emporia State University, I received the following.

1880 United States Census

Census Place: Caldwell, Sumner, Kansas.

Source: FHL Film 1254398 National Archives Film T9-0398 Page 255D

Recap: William T. Anderson, age 27, born in Illinois, resided in a house in Caldwell. His wife’s name was Emma Anderson, age 24, born in Illinois. They had two daughters living with them: Matilda S. Anderson (age 7) and Nora E. Anderson (age 4). The also had a sister, Mary Berlien, age 23, and a niece, Lottie Berlien, age 3.

Another occupant living at this house: Frank Hunt, single, age 27, born in Missouri, occupation Policeman.

The second item by Courier, is repeated below.

Winfield Courier, October 14, 1880.

Rev. John W. Hunt, of Davis County, Iowa, has been visiting in this county the past week. He is the father of Frank Hunt, Winfield’s earliest hardware merchant, now in Caldwell, and of Mrs. J. H. Evans, of Vernon township. He is sixty-seven years old, but is hale, strong, and fine looking, though he has done much work in his calling. Long may he wave.

I could not find the Evans in Cowley County referred to above in this news item.

However, there was a J. B. Evans and family living in the county.

Kansas 1875 Census, Vernon Township, Cowley County, March 1, 1875.

Name age sex color Place/birth Where from

J. B. Evans 37 m w West Virginia Iowa

Mary E. Evans 35 f w Iowa Iowa

Chester Evans 11 m w Iowa Iowa

Hester Evans 8 f w Iowa Iowa

Francis Evans 7 m w Iowa Iowa

Joseph E. Evans 6 m w Iowa Iowa

Hattie A. Evans 2 f w Kansas

Another Frank A. Hunt?

Dr. Dicks found a “Frank A. Hunt” in South Haven, Sumner County, Kansas, who was listed as a farmer in the 1880 United States Census.

Source: FHL Film 1254398 National Archives Film T9-0398 Page 228A.

This Frank A. Hunt was 36 years of age, and was born in West Virginia. His wife’s name was Mary E. Hunt, age 29, born in Illinois. They had two children: Ettie M. Hunt, age 6; Frank B. Hunt, age 3.

I do not believe the above “Frank A. Hunt” was the former sheriff of Cowley County, after reading the entry in the Censor, repeated below.

Cowley County Censor, March 18, 1871.

Mr. Frank Hunt, of this place, has seen the follies and ashes of single life to his heart’s content and taken him a wife in the person of Miss Mollie Tovers, late of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Frank has done many sensible things, but none as sensible as this.