[Replaced Lazette due to Railroad.]


Cowley County Heritage Book, 1990.


The site for Cambridge was plotted on May 3, 1880. The north half of the land on which the town was built was preempted by Soloman Hisler and the south half by M. V. Gardenhire. The Cambridge Town Company was comprised of Joseph P. Craft, Benjamin H. Clover, O. B. Gunn, S. M. Fall, Joe Clover, McDonald Stapleton, S. B. Sherman, and Henry F. Hicks. Officers were Benjamin H. Clover, president; McDonald Stapleton, secretary; Joseph P. Craft, treasurer. Mrs. Benjamin Clover named the town.

Most of the buildings and residents of Lazette relocated in Cambridge to be near the railroad. The first train service began in February 1880. The Cambridge businessmen in 1880 were: merchandise, McDonald Stapleton, C. W. Jones, and F. Henrion; drugs, P. G. Rule; Hotel and Livery Stable, Joseph P. Craft; lumber, P. T. Walton; flour mill, Benjamin H. Clover; blacksmith, Cass Patterson; physician, J. H. Pleasants; newspaper, Henry F. Hicks and R. E. Hicks. The first postmaster was D. A. Dale, who resigned in a few months. A. J. Pickering succeeded him, serving until his death in 1881. R. E. Hicks resigned after serving a few months and was succeeded by Henry F. Hicks, who served for four years.

A schoolhouse was built out of native stone, which was replaced in 1917 with the high school building. It served as a grade and high school until the grade school building was erected on the west side of main street in 1927. The high school gymnasium was completed in 1936. This building has been razed, but the gymnasium remains and is used for meetings and civic functions. The grade school houses the Senior Citizens Center and the library. Mrs. Marian Rowe is librarian.

The Cambridge Presbyterian Church was constructed in 1887 by the Evangelical Denomination. B. H. Clover furnished lumber for the building. The church enrolled in the Emporia Presbytery on September 20, 1906, with fifteen members. The annex was added by local labor between 1952-1956. Frances Broadhurst is pastor. The Centennial Celebration Day was observed on July 26, 1987.

The Cambridge Church of Christ was built in 1898 and was moved to its present site in 1905. The church is still active today.

The Cambridge Southern Baptist Church was organized on October 16, 1946, with Keith Hamm, pastor. The first annex increasing the auditorium size and adding two classrooms was constructed in 1963. The second annex constructing a baptistry, pastor’s study, kitchen, and two restrooms, was added in 1980. Dennis Fowler is the pastor.

Fires have played a prominent role in Cambridge history. A hotel on south main street was destroyed by fire in 1923. The Mary Miller grocery, a restaurant, and the I. O. O. F. Lodge Hall on the east side of main street were destroyed by fire in 1927. Then in 1933, a fire destroyed all of the west end side of south main street. A garage, barber shop, lumber yard, and two residences were destroyed by the 1933 fire. Mary Miller’s grocery and notions store was replaced with a brick building, which now houses the post office. The I. O. O. F. building was replaced with a two story native stone building. The I. O. O. F. Hall was on the top floor. Wilbur Overman operated a drug store and Cecil Hendrickson, a Skelly filling station on the lower floor of the building. After Wilbur Overman retired, a succession of restaurants have occupied the building. At present, Harry and Gladys Groom operate the Stockman’s Café.

Today Cambridge has a very active community club supporting civic projects and the annual Cambridge “Possum Run” held in August. The Cambridge High School Alumni Association holds its annual dinner meeting the Saturday preceding Memorial Day.

Many of the early pioneers and their descendants are buried in the beautiful and well kept Cambridge cemetery. [Article was submitted by Sam L. Pickens, Jr.]

                                               FROM THE NEWSPAPERS.

Winfield Courier, January 22, 1880.

The new station on the railroad, one mile east of the Grouse crossing, is named “Cambridge.” It is 1¼ miles south of Lazette, and the buildings of Lazette are to be moved over to Cambridge.


Winfield Courier, February 12, 1880.

TORRANCE, KANSAS. FEBRUARY 11, 1880. ED. COURIER: Dear Sir: The Town Company of Torrance was organized on the 2d inst., and has among its members some of the most substantial businessmen of the county, and a lively interest is being taken by the people of this vicinity in the success of the town. This is undoubtedly the best location for a town on the line of the railroad east of Winfield, and the company cannot fail to realize this fact. When men of business put their capital and brains together, nothing but success can await their efforts. Torrance has more capital, more friends, and more energy than any town in the county east of Winfield, and I say let the few who oppose the town look well to their interests, for inside of five years the queen of the Grouse Valley will be the town of East Cowley, and where the town sites of Burden and Cambridge have been laid out will be nothing but fields of waving grain, to be manufactured through the mills and carried through the elevators of TORRANCE. Some of the most substantial busi­nessmen of the state are seeking investments at this point, and have flatly refused to invest a dollar either at Burden or Cambridge. Very respectfully, EDWARD.

Winfield Courier, February 12, 1880.

David Dale has been appointed P. M. at the new town of Cambridge, on the Grouse. The post-office at Lazette has been discontinued, and that classic burg will soon be only of the past.


Winfield Courier, February 26, 1880.

Correspondents from this part of the county have from time to time sent items to the Semi-Weekly for publication that have deserved severe criticism, but the citizens who feel an interest in the new town, Torrance, thought it best to let it go—envy would punish itself. But that of the 7th contained three signif­icant articles, one a correspondence, and two editorials which are a libel on both country and people. I do not own a foot of land in Cowley County, and don’t know that I ever shall; but being an old settler and throughly acquainted with both people and country, no wonder my sympathies are identified with their interests, and it is with no little interest that I have watched the progress of Torrance, and our neighboring towns, Burden and Cambridge.

I have often heard it repeated, “but now is the times that try men’s souls”; but now is the time that tries men’s princi­ples; but fortunately, too, many in this county know how the sanction of the railroad company was obtained in favor of Burden and Cambridge. It was through deception, fraud, and misrepresen­ta­tion, and when the editor of the Monitor, as it is now called, devotes his columns to the prosperity of such ill-born schemes, he gives a flat contradiction to the editorial entitled “Redivivns,” and is also injuring the circulation of his paper, which is to be regretted on account of its sound republican principles. He has too fine a talent to be used in an undertak­ing that can certainly do him no good. Notwithstanding all this Torrance is going ahead, and will make a good town without a switch; though the people are not without hope and prospect of getting a switch and depot. E. M.



Winfield Courier, February 26, 1880.

                                                      [Birth of Cambridge.]

                                                   CEDAR CREEK, Feb. 20.

You have doubtless heard of the town we are about to build on Cedar Creek. It is astonishing, and not a little amusing, to one who knows all the facts in the case, when he hears how the fame of our prospective city has preceded its birth.

Having just returned from a little run through the counties of Elk and Chautauqua, where I found the name of Cambridge in everybody’s mouth, I thought it would be well to try and correct, through your columns, some erroneous impressions which prevail with respect to the magnitude of the city in question. It would not be surprising if you had been led to suppose from current reports that within the last few weeks a mighty metropolis has sprung into being on our side of the county, with Grenola and Burden as suburban appendages.

This, however, is only true with certain modifications. We are unwilling that the public should be misled by exaggerated accounts of the growth of our town, although such exaggerations are quite natural when the splendid resources of the country which will soon become tributary to it are taken into account.

Although we promise you a brilliant record in the near future, yet at present, the town site is about all there is of Cambridge.

We might have been a considerable town long before the railroad reached us, as well as Burden and Grenola, had it not been for the generosity and self-abnegation of the people along Cedar creek. They were promised a depot by the railroad compa­ny, and the site was actually selected, but with commendable liberal­ity, for which they are noted, they consented to divide the distance with the Grouse creek folks, well knowing that the latter would never be guilty of a selfish act unless they had an opportunity. Thus, much valuable time was used in determining upon the new site. But happily the delicate point has been disposed of in a manner creditable to the railroad company and satisfactory to the mass of the citizens, and I am glad to say that a result of such importance to the community has been attained without trickery, misrepresentation, or threats of social ostracism as against those who hesitated about investing in the town stock. Without any attempt to ditch trains, or the writing of anonymous letters of intimidation to railroad offi­cials, or the employment of any of the questionable methods occasionally resorted to by shallow persons, who through lack of business capacity are prone to use dishonorable expedients in attempting to force forward unfruitful enterprises.

Within the next thirty days a great change will take place.

The little towns in the vicinity which were left off by the railroad are already on wheels and moving Cambridgeward.

The railroad company have ordered the workmen who are engaged in building depot buildings for Burden to repair hither and perform a like service for Cambridge.

Some Eldorado businessmen have been looking over the ground with a view to the erection of elevator and flouring mills.

It is said the company will put in the best stockyard at this point that is to be found on their line west of Independence.

At the recent election it was decided by an overwhelming vote to have the township offices located here.

We are backed in a most substantial manner by the railroad company. Gen. Nettleton recently sent parties to view the ground, and they reported that there was absolutely no other place to compare with this point between Burden and Grenola, as a suitable site for a town.

Our venerable Uncle Samuel has ordered the Lazette post-office discontinued, and a new one, to be called Cambridge, commissioned in its stead.

Supported by the Government, backed by the railroad company, enriched by a country of boundless resources, inspired by faith in our own energies, lofty in our virtues and republican in politics, what but an earthquake can up-trip us? MODOC.

Winfield Courier, March 25, 1880.

The town of Lazette has been imitating the Arabs, “folding their tents and silently stealing away.” Fred Kropp has had the work in hand, and much of that ancient city now belongs to Cambridge. The Yellow Steer, the Blue Goose, the Black Bear still stand, but their glory is departing.

Winfield Courier, May 6, 1880.



Winfield Courier, July 1, 1880.

Mr. N. B. Holden, who owns 1,900 head of sheep near Cam­bridge, called in Friday and added his name to our list. He brought his sheep from New Mexico last fall, and is well pleased with the change.

Winfield Courier, July 15, 1880.

The Normal Institute for 1880 has opened with a large attendance of teachers. Four instructors have charge of the divisions, and the aim of all is to make this summer’s work especially practical. The morning exercises begin at 7:30, in the courtroom, and the recitations end at 1 p.m. There are at present enrolled 79 teachers as follows.

Cambridge: R. C. Stearns.

Winfield Courier, August 12, 1880.

A. J. Pickering, of Cambridge, was in town Monday.

Winfield Courier, September 2, 1880.

Dr. S. Wilkins, of Cambridge, called last Thursday and reports late rain and a probable fair corn crop in that section.


Winfield Courier, September 2, 1880.

CAMBRIDGE. H. T. Albert. - Grade B; H. F. Albert. - Grade B; M. Hemenway. - Grade B; R. O. Stearns. - Grade C.

Winfield Courier, September 9, 1880.

Mr. Shannon, the state man at Cambridge, met with a terrible accident last week while coupling cars. He got his arm pinched so as to tear off the flesh to the bone above the elbow. He was brought to Winfield for treatment, and we hope his injuries may not prove dangerous as well as frightful.

Winfield Courier, September 23, 1880.

Parks & Campbell, of Cambridge, have sold 1,700 sheep this season. Their wool clip was about 18,000 pounds.

Winfield Courier, September 23, 1880.

John W. Tull, of Cambridge, has bought the farm formerly owned by W. Titsworth, a few miles north of Cambridge.

Winfield Courier, September 30, 1880.

Mrs. Pickering and daughter, who have been visiting Prof. Story and family, returned to Cambridge Monday.

Winfield Courier, October 7, 1880.

Mr. Hibbs, an old gentleman, and father of Mrs. Dr. Lear, was found dead near Cambridge last week. He had had a paralytic stroke from the effect of which he is supposed to have died.

Winfield Courier, October 14, 1880. Front Page.

                                                      BY OUR SOLICITOR.


This beautiful town is situated on a gentle slope on the west side of Cedar Creek, and east about one mile of Grouse Creek. It overlooks the fertile valley of Cedar Creek, and the scenery is grand and romantic. On the east of Cedar and west of Grouse is a range of gentle mounds, oval shaped, running for a distance of ten miles south. On both of these valleys, you will find some of the best land in the state of Kansas. It produces splendid crops of wheat, corn, or any other product. Cedar Creek is quite heavily timbered at this point, and its waters are supplied with fish of all kinds. The people here are intelligent and industri­ous and vie with each other in making this the paradise of eastern Cowley. They manifest a friendly feeling toward all new comers, and succeed in settling many in the vicinity. They have ample room for a large town and the advan­tages of the place can be seen at a glance. The town company are merchants of wealth and standing in the community and are liberal with all settlers who come to make a home among them. A. J. Pickering, Esq., who is land agent and notary public, is solici­tor for the company, and is constantly at work making deeds, titles, etc. He is also postmaster of the town and druggist. Mr. Pickering is a gentle­man who is widely known throughout the county and state. It is strongly represented that an enterpris­ing merchant of this town has under consideration the erection of a large elevator for the accommodation of the farmers who ship their grain at this point. The town is already represented by all classes of trade, school facilities, church organizations, and other institutions to accommodate every person who wishes to settle in this prosperous town.

I will name a few of the solid and enterprising merchants who are now permanently located here and who have invested extensively.

B. H. Clover, Esq., has erected an extensive flouring mill, which will turn out 8,000 pounds of flour daily. His flour is from wheat grown on Grouse and Cedar valleys, which is of the finest quality. He ships flour to all the surrounding towns and settlements and can scarcely supply the demand. They have to run the mills at night in order to fill the various orders. Mr. Clover is an old pioneer in Kansas, and is well and favorably known throughout the state.

McD. Stapleton keeps a general supply store. There is no article necessary for the household or other use but what you can get it at this monster establishment. The dimensions of the store are 25 x 110 feet. From the number of wagons distributed about his store tells how much business he does. As he purchases his goods directly from the manufactories, he monopolizes the trade of the town and surrounding country.

Henrion & Walton also run a general supply store. These gentlemen are very extensive dealers and are doing a splendid business, both here and in the surrounding country. They keep every necessary called for, pay cash for their goods, and sell low. In connection with their store (which is 25 x 90 feet), Mr. Walton keeps a lumber yard and distributes his lumber as he does his groceries: cheap for cash.

“The Cambridge House,” J. P. Craft, proprietor, contains twelve large, spacious sleeping apartments, well ventilated, elegantly furnished throughout, large dining hall, which will seat thirty persons at a time. Every appointment about the hotel is first class and the table is always supplied with the best of edibles. Mr. Craft is untiring in his efforts to make guests comfortable. Both he and his good lady superintend in person to see that nothing is deficient. Mr. Craft, being an old hotel keeper, understands hotel keeping to a letter, and in connection with his house keeps a livery, feed, and sale stable in order to accommodate the commercial public. He furnishes the fastest turnouts in this section of the country.

Dr. J. H. Pleasants, a graduate of the St. Louis Medical College, has an extensive practice here. You can always know the doctor’s house, as there is generally a carriage at his door waiting for him. From what I can learn in this vicinity, the doctor’s medical attainments are second to none in this part of the country.

L. C. Patterson runs a general blacksmithing shop. Mr. Patterson is a mechanic who has had considerable experience in that line. He makes a specialty of agricultural implement work. His rates are very reasonable.

Mr. W. M. Gooch, blacksmith, does a large share of the work done here, and his customers are always satisfied. Give him a call. Horse shoeing is one of his specialties.

W. S. Chandler is a general mechanic. He is now doing a lucrative business and monopolizes the trade of the vicinity, is well known, and commands the respect of all through his untiring energy and industry. Mr. Chandler will soon have to extend his place of business to more spacious quarters.


Winfield Courier, December 16, 1880.

                                             GRENOLA, Kans., Nov. 24, 1880.

On Saturday, the 20th, I started by way of private convey­ance from the thriving, bustling, little city of Winfield for the eastern portion of Cowley County. It was with regret that I left my comfortable quarters among my new made friends of this beauti­ful little city. But to see the country and test the climate is my object here. I started east. Leaving the Walnut Valley we went up, up, until we reached the high table land, from whence the most beautiful scenery stretched out before us that I had ever seen, even among the Alleghenies and Blue Ridge. Up here the land is gently undulating and very rocky, yet many farms are being opened out. I would consider it “up hill” business farming here. Land can be bought at from $1.25 to $8 per acre, good grazing land. About sundown we entered Grouse Creek valley at the little town of Dexter, snugly ensconced among the hills, forcibly reminding me of the pictures of New England villages often seen in our school books. Here I spent Sunday with an aged farmer, formerly from Indiana. The valley is from 80 rods to a mile wide, lands very fertile, and farms rate from $8 to $12 per acre.

Monday I came across the hills to Cambridge, where I spent the day clambering over the bluffs to Cedar creek. Cambridge, the metropolis (in anticipation), of Kansas. In the evening I boarded a freight for this place, arriving at 8:30 p.m. Here are to be found good accommodations for travelers. Grenola is a town of about 400 inhabitants, twelve business houses, some of them carrying large stocks of goods. Indeed, I find in all of these towns evidence of thrift and intelligence. The town is located in the Cana valley; which averages about two miles wide, and is of rich land. Nine miles below here are being opened and worked several coal mines, and old miners say there are strong indica­tions of minerals; this of course is prospective. In all of these towns a good, nice, and substantial schoolhouse is the first public building that is erected. Elk County has a popula­tion of about 11,000. The surface is generally rough and lime­stone predominates. The valleys are productive. The Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern Railway affords an outlet to the East. I would not recommend Hoosiers to come here to raise grain, but would consider stock raising, cattle, and sheep a good business.

Corn is worth here today 22 cents; wheat, 60 cents; wild hay, $2; hogs, $4.

The weather is yet cold; today it is snowing briskly from toward Indiana. I will start for Kansas City tomorrow, and if the weather is favorable, will take a run west on the Kansas Pacific. Fowler (Ind.) Era.

Winfield Courier, December 16, 1880.

McD. Stapleton, of Cambridge, illuminated our office with his smiling countenance last Thursday.


Winfield Courier, December 23, 1880.

Cambridge is building a new schoolhouse which is a credit to the enterprising citizens of that town.

Winfield Courier, February 10, 1881.

We have received vol. 1, No. 1, of the Cambridge Commercial, published at Cambridge in this county, by Messrs. Hicks Bros. It is a neat six-column quarto, with much reading matter. We hope the editor may grow and prosper, although his paper is the seventh in the county.


Winfield Courier, February 17, 1881.

Eggs are worth ten cents per dozen in this market.

It is a nice, plump baby boy—a regular nine-pounder—and Joe Clover is the happiest man in town.

Dr. Chapman, of old Lazette, was out riding Thursday evening when his horse became frightened and ran away, throwing the doctor out of the buggy, bruising him about the head and face.

Uncle John Brooks has recently bought six hundred and fifty head of sheep from Mr. Yancy, of Grenola. As a stock country, Southern Kansas cannot be beat, and no one knows it better than Mr. Brooks.

Winfield Courier, March 3, 1881.

R. L. Adams, from Missouri, and Messrs. Ellis and Shaw, from Illinois, with their families, have recently settled just north of Cambridge on farms recently purchased.


Winfield Courier, March 10, 1881.

We learn that a man living over on Cana, in Elk County, was bitten by a mad dog the first of the week. The dog was raving mad, but we understand the man, as yet, has shown no signs of the disease, although great fears are entertained by his friends.

Mrs. W. H. Primrose met with a very frightful accident Wednesday by her dress catching fire. There was no one present with her at the house at the time of the accident; and if she had lost her presence of mind, it might have ended in a very serious affair. We are glad to state, however, that she received no serious injuries.

This school district is the third in wealth in Cowley. There is over twenty-five thousand dollars worth of taxable railroad property in the district, besides a few of the wealthi­est men in Southern Kansas. If you desire to locate in a town to educate your children, you can find no better inducements than are offered at this place.


Winfield Courier, March 17, 1881.

H. F. Hicks, the senior proprietor of the “Commercial,” recently purchased the house belonging to Mr. J. C. Gates, and had it moved from Torrance to this place Wednesday.

Dr. B. R. O’Connor, accompanied by his mother and six-year-old son, and also Mr. E. M. Baldwin, of St. Joe County, Indiana, arrived on the nine o’clock train Thursday night. The Doctor has purchased the Todd farm, seven miles southeast of this place on Otter creek, and will fit it up for a sheep ranch. His wife and daughter will arrive in about two months, accompanied by Mrs. Baldwin.


Winfield Courier, March 24, 1881.

Mr. Bullington is preparing to build a new residence on his farm.

Joseph Furman is just finishing one of the finest residences in the country; it is a stone two stories high.

Mr. John Smith, of Silver creek, has rented L. B. Bullington’s farm, and will engage in the cattle business.

Bullington & Elliott’s new mill will be running in a few days as there is water enough to grind now, for the first since the mill has been built.

The station here does more business than any other town on the K. C., L. & S., outside of Winfield. Mr. C. S. Jenkins has furnished us the following, showing the amount of business done since the first day of March, 1881, up to Thursday, the 17th. It is now in order for our neighboring towns to produce figures that will beat these or forever hold their peace.

Number pounds freight received: 121,275.

Number pounds freight forwarded: 13,275.

Amount of cash received: $380.50.

The citizens of Torrance shipped last Saturday a carload of rock to Kansas City, to be inspected by stone masons at that place; and if found saleable rock, we understand the railroad company has promised Torrance a side track, provided they will make to the railroad company a good bond as a guarantee that one hundred carloads of rock will be shipped from that point in one year from date of contract. They have worked hard for railroad accommodations, and if they succeed by fair means, no one has a right to complain.

Note: More items appeared about Cambridge, but I quit after above item.