J. B. LYNN RECAP. PART II.
J. B. Lynn, Winfield merchant and hog handler, was a witness to some exciting events in Winfield when Judge W. P. Campbell issued an attachment for contempt of court against some of the Winfield newspaper editors in May 1880.
District Court Judge W. P. Campbell.
Kansas was divided into judicial districts at an early date. On May 23, 1871, the first session of the district court in Cowley County was held in Winfield on May 23, 1871, by Henry G. Webb, Judge of the 11th judicial district; the same judge held a second session on October 9, 1871. In February 1872 Governor Harvey of Kansas appointed W. P. Campbell, 27, of Eldorado, Butler County, as Judge of the 13th Judicial District. [It must be noted that in its infancy El Dorado was known as “Eldorado.”]
John A. Campbell, a son of William Pitt Campbell, wrote a letter March 25, 1963, to Judge Doyle E. White of Cowley County, Kansas, giving him information on his father.
“William P. Campbell was born in Stanford, Kentucky, February 13th, 1845. He enlisted in the First Kentucky Cavalry as a musician in 1861 at the age of sixteen; re-enlisted as a private in 1862 in the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry; was a prisoner of war for six months in Belle Isle, Virginia. At the close of the civil war he was mustered out as a Sergeant Major, the highest ranking noncommissioned officer.
“He was admitted to the bar in Pulaski County, Kentucky, October 10, 1866. In 1869 he married Mary Katharine Barnes, daughter of a distinguished Kentucky lawyer, Colonel Sidney M. Barnes. The same year, he and his young wife arrived in El Dorado, Kansas. Ten children (four boys and six girls) were born to this union.
“The young lawyer rented an office built of cottonwood boards, size 14 by 16, from old Doc White, the town druggist and father of William Allen White. Doc White’s greeting was ‘Young man, if you can live on sowbelly, drink creek water, and will leave whiskey alone, I think you can make it!’ He obtained his first case three days after he set up his office, and his fee was a pony. Money was scarce in those days. It was said that they sent O. L. McCabe to the legislature because he was the only man in the county with a cloth coat.
“Young Campbell was first appointed County Attorney of Butler County by Governor Harvey, and later was elected to the legislature but declined to serve. El Dorado soon became a thriving community and politics became important. These were the stormy days of El Dorado’s fight for the County seat. It was during this fray that Bill Campbell earned his title of ‘Tiger Bill,’ for his fiery conduct when hecklers tried to break up one of the county meetings.
“He was appointed Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District by Governor Harvey in 1872 at the age of 27 years, was elected for two four-year terms and served to 1881. There were six counties: Sedgwick, Sumner, Cowley, Butler, Howard, and Greenwood. Judge Campbell covered the territory by pony or horse and buggy to hold court in the county seats. Many important and famous cases were decided during his nine-year tenure on the bench. He served in his profession when a man’s character was tested to the limit. He chose the hard way, the way of the builder and the creator.
“Judge Campbell moved to Wichita in 1874 with his family. He became active in the civic and cultural life of the community. After he retired from the bench, he was appointed City Attorney of Wichita. He was one of the founders of the City Library and Garfield University (now Friends University), and afterward was Department Commander of the G. A. R. of Kansas (1894). There were 20,000 Union Soldiers living in the state at that time. In 1895, he was appointed Asst. Attorney General to enforce the prohibitory law of Kansas and closed up the ‘blind tigers’ in Wichita. His title of ‘Tiger Bill’ was revived because of his vigorous fight on the violators of the law. He was a talented amateur singer and actor, with a good baritone voice and a flair for the dramatic. He played the title role of the ‘Union Spy’ in 28 performances at the Turner Opera House, and sang in numerous musicals—including the Mikado, Belshazzar, The Persian King, and others.
“At the turn of the century, he moved to Howell County, Missouri, where he ran a fruit farm and continued his law practice in Willow Springs and West Plains. He returned to Wichita in 1910 and resumed his law practice. In 1920, at the age of 75, when most men have retired, he was elected Judge of the City Court and served for one term. This is now Common Pleas Court. He was honored by his fellow lawyers by being chosen president of the Wichita Bar. He had retired to his books and flowers after his long and eventful life. He was again honored by the bar with a banquet at the Wichita Club to celebrate his 90th birthday anniversary on February 18, 1935. He held their rapt attention for an hour recounting his experiences in the legal profession and on the bench. He fell and broke his hip January 3, 1935, and passed away ten weeks later, March 12, 1938, at the age of 91 years and 22 days.”
District Court Judge W. P. Campbell first held court at Winfield on March 25, 1872. He was re-elected many times and was fully prepared to run again in 1880, at which time the six counties comprising the 13th Judicial District in Kansas were Sedgwick, Sumner, Cowley, Butler, Chautauqua, and Elk.
Elisha S. Torrance, County Attorney.
Elisha S. Torrance was born at New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, in 1846, the son of the Rev. Adam Torrance, of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania [1801-1881], of Scotch-Irish extraction, an ordained minister of the Presbyterian church, who served as chaplain of the 11th Pennsylvania Reserve Corps in the war of the rebellion; and grandson of an officer in the war of the revolution. Torrance graduated at the Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania in 1867 at the age of 21. He then continued the study of law under various attorneys. Between January and September 1870 he became a member of the bar and was connected with an attorney at Emporia, Kansas, the Hon. Almerin Gillett. He moved to Winfield on September 14, 1870. He served as the Cowley County Attorney from January 1871 to January 1875, during which time he built up a large collection of law books. He read, studied, and practiced law tirelessly and incessantly. On January 11, 1875, Torrance resigned as county attorney and dissolved his law partnership with J. B. Fairbank and A. H. Green. On January 19, 1875, E. S. Torrance and L. J. Webb were admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Kansas. In June 1876 Torrance and Webb started a law firm in Winfield. On December 20, 1876, their partnership was dissolved. On February 1, 1877, E. S. Torrance married Virginia Stewart at the residence of the bride’s sister in Winfield. He also took in Mr. Henry Asp as an assistant in his busy practice, where he became noted as a brilliant criminal lawyer. He easily won election to become county attorney again on January 1879.
In January 1880 Torrance became a partner in the Manzanares Mining Company in New Mexico, which found silver, copper, and lead in a mountain three miles from the Santa Fe railroad within two miles of the Rio Grande. Individuals from Cowley County who became involved with this venture started the town of “Torrance,” named after E. S. Torrance.
Ed. P. Greer.
Ed. P. Greer was the oldest son of Samuel W. Greer, who was born in Alleghany County, Pa., on June 2, 1826. Samuel W. Greer moved to Oskaloosa, Iowa, and married Clotilda Hilton in 1855. They moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1856. Edwin Patterson Greer was born in Leavenworth on September 13, 1857. In October 1858 Samuel W. Greer was elected Territorial Supt. of Public Instruction in a campaign that was the first free state triumph at the polls, holding this office for three years. On April 14, 1861, he became a private in the Frontier Guard, which protected President Abraham Lincoln.
Jno. K. Bartlett, a resident of Leavenworth, Kansas, became a member of the Frontier Guard. He stated there were 180 men in the Guard. On April 19, 1861, he wrote a letter to the Daily Times at Leavenworth, telling about the assignment of the Frontier Guard to the post of honor, the East room of the President’s House, where they took up their quarters, being furnished with arms, ammunition, and “put through” a short drill after which Gen. James H. Lane, acting as Captain, was presented with a sword by Major Hunter.
“The people at the Capital were greatly agitated and excited all day yesterday. The news of the secession of Virginia and the rumors that Harper’s Ferry had been taken, together with the fact that many secession families have been moving out of the city within the past few days, induced the belief that an attack was about to be made on Washington. This naturally gave rise to much anxiety and apprehension, for this place is at present unprepared for an assault from any considerable force. Defensive operations have been vigorously pushed ahead for the last twenty-four hours. Many volunteer companies have been formed, composed mostly of strangers now visiting the seat of government.”
Samuel Greer assisted in protecting the White House until other troops were transported, when he returned to Kansas and was enrolling officer at Ft. Leavenworth for a time, after which Gov. Carney gave him a commission of Second Lieutenant as a recruiting officer, and he recruited Company I, 15th vol. Cav., after which he was unanimously elected captain and commissioned by the Governor, in which capacity he served until mustered out in October 1865. Mr. Greer was engaged in active business in Leavenworth until January 1871 when the family moved to Cowley County, settling on a claim southwest of Winfield. Samuel Greer became an early merchant, selling school desks, etc. He had two different partners (W. M. Boyer and A. B. Close) before retiring from business due to consumption. J. B. Lynn purchased the building formerly occupied by Close and Greer in February 1874. Samuel W. Greer died at the age of fifty-seven at his residence in Winfield on September 30, 1882, survived by his wife, four boys, and two girls.
Edwin Patterson Greer started working at an early age doing odd jobs. In 1873, when he was thirteen, he worked in a brick-yard near Winfield. He became an apprentice in the Courier office on June 1, 1874, under James Kelly, then the editor of the Winfield Courier.
Ed. P. Greer married Lizzie Kinne, daughter of E. P. Kinne, in Winfield on Wednesday morning, October 30, 1878. Their first child, Edwin Prentis Greer, was born in 1879.
In September 1877 D. A. Millington, and his son-in-law, Allen B. Lemmon, were the owners of the Winfield Courier. By April 1879 Millington was the sole editor and publisher. On May 1, 1880, Ed. P. Greer became a member of the Courier Company, with a third interest in the concern. He continued running the local and business department of the Winfield Courier; D. A. Millington continued as editor in chief.
Will M. Allison.
Will M. Allison learned about printing in Illinois. A mere boy with a handful of type and a cheap press, he commenced publication of the Cowley County Telegram at Tisdale, Cowley County, Kansas, on September 12, 1872, with a dozen or two subscribers and very little patronage to “fill the great want of a newspaper at the geographical center of the county.” After issuing five weekly numbers at Tisdale during a time when settlers were scarce and poor and it was a struggle to make a living at anything much more to build up a great newspaper from such small beginnings, Allison removed to Winfield. In its first years the newspaper was independent or granger in politics, but in its last years it was democratic. Allison had others associated with him: Arthur H. Hane, Abe B. Steinberger, and Bret Crapster. In May 1880 Allison was running both a daily and weekly Telegram.
Fight Between Judge W. P. Campbell and Winfield Newspaper Editors.
In April 1880 the Winfield Courier advocated the election of Mr. E. S. Torrance because they thought he was the best man for the position of district judge.
On May 13, 1880, Editor Millington wrote an article about the trial of Chas. H. Payson.
“The trial of Chas. H. Payson, for obtaining property under false pretenses, terminated last Monday by the jury bringing in a verdict of guilty. While this case was pending, we carefully avoided saying anything that would tend to prejudice the minds of our readers for or against the unfortunate victim; but now that the matter has been fully tried, a verdict rendered, and the case no longer before the jury and court, we shall attempt a review of the testimony and facts pertaining to the prosecution and conviction.
“On or about the 26th of January, Mr. Payson filed for record a deed from Lena McNeil to himself, conveying certain real estate known as the ‘Curns property.’ This deed he claimed to have obtained for services rendered in the trial of Dick Rhonimus (a brother of Mrs. McNeil who was then in jail charged with stealing cattle), and for legal services to be rendered during the year. Soon after obtaining the deed, he mortgaged the property to James Jordan for $480, and subsequently sold it to G. H. Buckman, subject to the mortgage, for $200. About this time Rhonimus escaped from jail, and soon after Payson was arrested for obtaining the deed under false pretenses, and after a preliminary examination, was remanded to jail until this term of the district court.
“At this trial the examination was full and searching, every effort being put forward by the prosecution and the defense. Mrs. McNeil, and her daughter, Lena, testified that their intention was to convey the property to Mrs. McNeil, and that Payson produced and read to them a deed making such conveyance; but afterward, while going from Mrs. McNeil’s house to the notary public’s office, substituted another conveying the property to himself, which was signed and acknowledged by Lena upon his representation.
“These are the facts as gleaned from the evidence; and in our opinion, the jury brought in a verdict in accordance, as they were sworn to do, ‘with the law and evidence in the case.’”
On Monday, May 17, 1880, Judge W. P. Campbell presented an attachment for contempt of court against W. M. Allison of the Telegram and D. A. Millington and E. P. Greer of the Winfield Courier. A fine of two hundred dollars each was assessed against Messrs. Allison and Millington, and one dollar against Mr. Greer, parties to stand committed until paid. A stay of execution, without bond, for ten days was granted to allow the defendants to make a case for the Supreme Court. The alleged contempt was the publication of certain articles relating to a criminal case tried last week.
D. A. Millington responded on May 20, 1880. “Last Monday morning we were taken completely by surprise by an attachment issued for us by Judge Campbell for contempt of court. On examining the complaint, which was written by the judge himself, we found that the contempt consisted in, and was entirely made up of, articles which appeared in last week’s COURIER.”
The articles referred to, printed in the May 13th issue, were as follows.
“Probably no case was ever tried in this county which has created so much interest as the trial of C. H. Payson, just terminated with the verdict of guilty in the District Court. After the verdict large squads of men were gathered on each corner discussing it with much warmth, and criticizing scathingly those who took part in the trial either as witnesses, attorneys, jury, or judge. The majority seemed to sympathize strongly with Payson; eulogized his plea in his own defense as one of the best forensic efforts ever heard; thought that though Payson was probably guilty of something bad, he was not guilty of the offense charged in the indictment; and that if he was guilty of another offense, the prosecuting witness was equally guilty of the same offense. They criticize the county attorney for being too zealous in the prosecution; and the judge as acting as prosecuting attorney, and ruling out evidence supposed to be favorable to Payson. The minority seemed to be equally sure that Payson was guilty as charged, and had been given a fair trial; that Torrance had done his whole duty and nothing more; that the judge was fair and impartial; and that the jury could not have done otherwise than it did. The new jury of the whole public will probably never be able to agree.”
“The boys tell us that in the trial of Payson, when the witness Goodrich was on the stand for cross-examination, Judge Campbell took the witness out of the hands of the attorneys and cross-examined him for an hour in an effort to make him contradict himself. This reminds us of a case before Judge Davis, of Illinois, in which the attorney for the prosecution demanded that the case proceed to trial at the time set, though the attorney for the defense was absent. Judge Davis said the case could go to trial, but would mention that a similar case happened in La Salle County, and this court looked to the interest of the absent attorney for the defense, and said Judge Davis, ‘You remember that we beat ’em.’
“The argument of E. S. Torrance for the prosecution, and of C. H. Payson for the defense, in the trial of the latter are both spoken of as remarkable for power and brilliancy.”
Newspapers throughout the state of Kansas began to criticize Judge Campbell. An article printed in the June 3, 1880, issue of the Augusta Gazette, was typical of the complaints about Judge Campbell registered by the editors of many papers in the state of Kansas.
“The people of the Thirteenth Judicial District will be called upon, next fall, to elect a successor to Judge W. P. Campbell. The more prominent candidates thus far mentioned are Mr. Torrance, present County Attorney for Cowley County; Judge M. S. Adams, of Wichita; and W. P. Campbell.
“Judge Campbell has filled the position for eight years. His decisions have been subjected to much criticism, sometimes warmly approved, other times condemned by many people. The bulk of our readers are conversant with his demeanor, both on and off the bench, but the majority of them do not know that he has been ‘stage struck.’ The Wichita Guards, a military organization, prepared a play entitled ‘The Union Spy,’: and Judge Campbell essays the roll of the spy. He appears possessed of considerable dramatic talent and having given excellent satisfaction as an actor, his services appear to be in demand in various parts of the State. During the latter part of March, the play was performed at Emporia, with the Judge as the bright particular star. In order to be present and participate, we are told that he adjourned court in Chautauqua County. Last week the play was performed at Topeka, and large pictures of the Judge’s handsome person were profusely posted, throughout the city. But another difficulty was in the way, Court was in session with a full docket in Cowley County. There was but one way to remove the difficulty—an adjournment. Notwithstanding the presence of the litigants, who were ready for trial, we are told the Judge refused to listen to the appeals of interested parties and adjourned court.
“A few weeks since Court was in session in Sumner County, the Judge’s wife wished to visit her friends in Colorado and New Mexico, and he wanted to accompany her. Notwithstanding the two hundred cases on the docket, and the many pleas for him to continue the court, reporters say he adjourned the same until about the first of June.
“Now the Judge has a perfect right as a man, to develop any dramatic talent he may possess, and no one should say him nay. At the same time the people have a right to demand of the person whom they elect to this responsible position, a prompt, faithful, and efficient discharge of the duties pertaining thereto. Again, there is a certain dignity belonging to the office of Judge, and some queer-minded people might imagine that going about the country playing the buffoon for the amusement of the populace would have a tendency to degrade that office and win the contempt of the people for the occupant. . . .”
On June 21, 1880, Judge Campbell called upon the editors of the Winfield Courier and Telegram. He announced that he was no longer a candidate for re-election. By December 1881 Campbell had purchased the Wichita Daily Times.
E. S. Torrance was easily elected as Judge of the 13th Judicial Court. He donned the judicial ermine on Tuesday, January 11, 1881, in Wichita where he sat down before the bar and jury to listen to the testimony of a witness in his first case, being a suit for damages.
C. H. Payson was pardoned out of the penitentiary by November 1881 and began to hold lectures. He was later arrested and lodged in jail at Topeka for embezzlement, where his parents sent him $250 to pay back the money. The Winfield Courier printed the following item relative to Mr. Payson in its March 23, 1882, issue.
“The criminal genius of Charles Payson is something remarkable and will lead him either to glory or the grave. His getting the money sent him by his father while he was in jail at Topeka and getting away with it in his possession was an act calculated to call forth admiration for a brilliant criminal exploit if such a thing could be done. This man slides around in society plundering wherever he goes, and escapes from the meshes of the law like an eel through a man's hand. The fact that a man just out of the penitentiary should use his disgraceful punishment as the foundation for a lecture, and travel around as a high toned gentleman, is enough to take a man's breath away to contemplate. Wherever he has gone he has played the dead beat, and at the same time made friends who would be ready to swear to the purity of the man's character, and consider him an unfortunate and much abused gentleman. The man is inherently bad and can no more keep out of the penitentiary than a piece of wood can drift against the current of a river. . . .”
Charles C. Black.
Charles C. Black graduated at Hampton College, Rock Island County, Illinois, after which he came to Cowley County and herded cattle during the fall of 1872 when he was nineteen years of age. Mr. Black was the grandson of S. L. Brettun and a cousin of Brettun Crapster, Illinois citizens. He formed a partnership with James J. Ellis in January 1873. Ellis & Black took over a store formerly owned by T. H. Benning, located on the corner of Main and Ninth in Winfield, Kansas, where they first handled groceries.
Also in January 1873 Charles Black became acquainted with the family of Col. Thomas E. Braidwood, who lived in a country home six miles east of Winfield. The Braidwood family became noted for entertaining the young men of the county and had two charming girls: Marian E. and Annie. Many an evening was spent in partaking of an excellent repast, dancing, singing, and general amusement. Col. Braidwood left for New York in October 1873. Both Marian E. Braidwood and Charles Black participated in the cantata of Esther, held at the courthouse for two successive nights in March 1874. Marian Braidwood was one of the maids of honor and Mr. Black was the King’s chamberlain. They were married at the Congregational Parsonage in Winfield on July 4, 1874, by Rev. J. B. Parmelee.
By 1874 Ellis and Black handled groceries, dry good, queensware, and house furnishing goods. Chas. Black became the sole owner when he purchased the interest of Mr. Ellis on September 14, 1874. J. J. Ellis remained at the store as a clerk. In October 1874 S. L. Brettun and family arrived from Illinois with Mr. Black’s cousin, Brettun Crapster, commonly called “Burt,” and stayed until July 1875.
The Winfield Courier had the following item on November 26, 1874.
“A small conflagration, which might have been more serious but for the energetic efforts of those present, occurred last Saturday evening at the store of C. C. Black. Shortly after the lamps were lighted in the evening, Charley Harter bethought him that the chandelier needed filling, and being at the time in the oil business, having just drawn some for a customer, he took a quart measure and proceeded to replenish the illuminator. While thus engaged the oil in the measure unexpectedly ignited from one of the burners, and Charley, with the blazing can grasped firmly in his fist, glided swiftly toward the door. The air from without upon coming in contact with the flames carried them back into the face of the torch-bearer, and compelled him to deposit his burden upon the floor. His somewhat excited tones brought J. J. Ellis to the rescue with a couple of blankets, which he spread over the blaze, overturning the can, and giving the flames a new impetus.
“The excitement now became intense, as the window curtain went up like a flash and the fire started along the counter. Jack Cruden pushed the calico from the counter, and grasped a blanket with which to whip the fire into submission.
“Tom Braidwood pulled down and dragged out the line upon which was suspended shawls, scarfs, etc., while Ellis leaped the counter and rescued the mosquito bar which hung in front of the shelves.
“Just at this juncture a new actor appeared upon the scene in the shape of Burt Crapster staggering under the weight of a pail of water in each hand, a skillful application of which put a dampener upon the ardor of the flames, and quiet was soon restored.
“The total loss amounted to about twenty-five dollars.
“This experience goes to show that while blankets may be just the thing for extinguishing blazing coal oil, water is what is needed for gasoline. It is a well known fact, also, that as a fire extinguisher, water has but few superiors, and one pail-full at the commencement of a fire is worth a cistern-full when the flames are well underway, and as no precaution has as yet been taken by our citizens, we would suggest that each businessman follow the example of Charley Black by keeping a full barrel of water standing at their doors ready for use in case of an emergency.
“We hope our citizens will attend to this matter without further delay. Remember the adage, ‘An ounce of preventative is worth a pound of cure.’”
J. J. Ellis and family departed from Winfield in February 1875 for Kentucky.
On March 31, 1875, W. M. Allison was married to Annie Braidwood at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Black by Rev. N. L. Rigby.
C. C. Black was elected as a city councilman in Winfield in April 1875. On April 14, 1875, Mr. and Mrs. Black had a daughter. The child died in August 1875. Mr. Black lost interest in the store and sold it in March 1876 to Charley Harter. Black, a Democrat, began to take an interest in local politics and became a “capitalist” when he was not engaged in social pursuits and hunting expeditions. Mr. and Mrs. Black took in the Centennial and often visited with her mother, Mrs. Braidwood, who had moved to Leavenworth. He was a charter member and director of the “Evening Star Club,” formed in October 1876. In December 1876 he was an officer of Adelphi Lodge, No. 110, of A. F. and A. M. in Winfield. On January 22, 1877, he was installed as Secretary of Winfield Chapter No. 51, Royal Arch Masons. He was an active member of the Philomatic Society. In August 1877 Charles C. Black was admitted to the bar of Cowley County after a rigorous examination. Mr. Black invited the officers of the court and members of the bar and press to refreshments at Jim Hill’s, in the evening, which were served up in the best style, and it was an occasion of festivity and enjoyment. Mr. Black acted as secretary of the local Democratic party. In April 1878 he became the Winfield agent for the New York Life Insurance company and the law partner of L. J. Webb. In June 1878 he defended his law partner, accused of killing Jay Page: “Various statements in relation to this affair have appeared in the newspapers or been told about the country which have no foundation in fact; but have grown out of the surmises of excited men. Much interest and a desire to learn the facts are manifested.”
By July 1878 the Black residence was fitted up amid a profusion of cut stone walks and steps, bay windows, French windows, verandas, and other fixings to make their home light, airy, and cosy on their quarter block well filled with luxuriant fruit and shade trees, grape arbors, and shrubbery. The Fourth was spent in viewing Newman’s dam and “Aunt Sally” in Arkansas City while awaiting the arrival of Black’s grandfather, S. L. Brettun, for a visit.
The partnership between Leland J. Webb and Chas. C. Black was dissolved in September 1878, one week before Mr. Black was nominated at the State Democratic Convention for State Treasurer. He received a flattering vote in Cowley County for the position in the state election that fall.
Black joined with others in defending his former partner, L. J. Webb: Judge W. C. Webb of Topeka; E. S. Torrance, Coldwell & Coldwell of Winfield; H. G. Webb of Oswego; James D. Snoddy of Linn County; and Sluss & Hatton of Wichita.
In October 1878 Black was a delegate to the Masonic Grand Lodge held at Atchison. He was selected as W. M. of Adelphi Lodge in December 1878. In January 1879 he became secretary of Winfield chapter, No. 31, R. A. M. In February 1879 Mr. and Mrs. Black kindly loaned their magnificent parlor furniture to the Winfield Dramatic Association for their play.
In the April 1879 Black easily won election as the short-term city councilman from the first ward in Winfield. Charles C. Black was one of the charter members of a commandery of Knight Templars instituted in Winfield on August 27, 1879.
On January 22, 1880, the Winfield Courier printed two items about Mr. Black:
“One of the most important property exchanges we have yet chronicled was made last week. Mr. Chas. C. Black purchased from W. H. H. Maris the building now being occupied by J. B. Lynn’s store, the one occupied by W. C. Root & Co.’s boot and shore store, and his residence on Elm Row, for $12,000. Mr. Maris receives in part payment the J. G. Titus farm of 640 acres, southeast of town, and the balance, $5,000, in cash.”
“Charley Black, on Saturday night, was awakened by a burglar trying to raise his windows. He got out his pistol as soon as convenient and fired it twice to hurry up the retreating burglar.”
In May 1880 Black went to Topeka for several days to fight the Allison-Millington contempt case started by Judge W. P. Campbell before the Supreme Court.
Arrangements had been completed by June 1880 to build a new $12,000 hotel on lots opposite the new stone building on north Main street after subscriptions were made by the citizens of Winfield and lots purchased and deeded to Mr. S. L. Brettun, who gave bond for the erection of the building. Black became involved in looking out for the interests of his grandfather in construction of the Brettun and purchasing the interest held by his cousin, Brettun Crapster, in the Cowley County Telegram, at that time owned by both his cousin and his brother-in-law, W. M. Allison. Black was soon hard at work editing and controlling the paper’s contents. In July 1880 he purchased lots and began constructing a stone building for the Telegram. In September 1880 he began running on the Democratic ticket for State Senator against the Republican incumbent, Senator W. P. Hackney.
A Most Unusual Parade.
Black realized the value of publicity. He engaged in a lively dispute that started in September with editor D. A. Millington of the Winfield Courier relative to the November 1880 election when voters would decide whether the Republican ticket (James A. Garfield for President and Chester A. Arthur for Vice President) or the Democratic ticket (Winfield S. Hancock for President and William English for Vice President) would be the victor.
Black proposed that if Garfield and Arthur won, he would push Millington on Main Street, Winfield, in a wheelbarrow from the Brettun House to the Stewart House, the party being wheeled furnishing suitable music for the occasion; if Hancock and English were the victors, then Millington would wheel Black. Millington responded: “All right. It is a bargain. We accept on the ground that the election returns will sound to Charley so like ‘the rack of empires and the crash of worlds,’ that he will certainly go daft unless his mind is diverted at once by good vigorous wheelbarrow exercise.”
On Saturday, November 6, 1880, the citizens of Winfield were provided with a memorable spectacle: a most unusual parade that started at the intersection of Main and Seventh streets where the Brettun House was still under construction.
The Winfield Cornet Band, reorganized in September under the leadership of George Crippen, started the parade. Members of St. John’s Battery marched behind them, without their leader, watchmaker E. E. Bacon, who was in the process of moving to Topeka.
O. M. Seward, city attorney and Republican Committee Chairman, came next. A resident of Keene, Ohio, Seward was twenty-two years old when he arrived in Winfield in June 1876, a graduate of Ann Arbor law school. Within a month Seward became the junior partner in a law firm with A. J. Pyburn. Seward was mounted on a fiery steed that looked as though he had just had a race of a hundred miles and distanced his competitor. The horse bore the legend, “This is the Maud S. that won the race.” (Seward never married. In July 1922 he was a resident at the Cowley County Poor Farm.)
Next came Samuel L. Gilbert, chairman of the Democratic Committee, on a used up mule labeled, “This is the mule that beat us.” Samuel L. Gilbert teamed up with S. M. Jarvis in 1878 when Gilbert was a notary public and Jarvis was an attorney in Winfield as real estate and loan agents. In August 1880 Roland R. Conklin was admitted as a member of the firm, at that time called “Gilbert, Jarvis & Co.”
Mayor Lynn, bare-headed and bare-footed, in overalls and flannel shirt, was next. He wheeled a large load of rock.
The loser, editor Black of the Telegram, followed, wheeling the victor, editor Millington of the Courier. They were followed by forty strong working men from the Brettun House, with their trowels, hammers, saws, hods, etc. The Courier force, with plug hats and canes headed by Ed. P. Greer, came next.
The postal service department was represented next by Charles Kelly, with the motto: “A clean sweep. No post-offices for rent.”
Next came the Telegram force, mounted on a huge dray with a large job press printing Telegram extras and passing them out to the crowd.
When the procession reached the Courier office, both Millington and Black addressed the crowd from the top of a chair placed on their wheelbarrows.
Frank Barclay, Plumber and Gas Fitter.
Mart L. Robinson, cashier at Read’s Bank in Winfield, was the first resident in Winfield to install gas works in his new home, constructed in 1878. Mr. Frank Barclay, a plumber and gas fitter, installed them for Mr. Robinson. In 1879 Col. J. C. McMullen was able to light his new house throughout with gas, having jets in every room, from garret to cellar. He also heated his residence with hot air, using a system of warm and cold water pipes installed by Mr. Barclay. In 1879 Frank Barclay became connected with J. L. Horning & Co., a local hardware store. In September 1879 he had fitted Mr. Jochems’ new store building with gas fixtures and the store was heated by hot-air furnaces. Barclay fixed up Mr. J. C. Fuller’s new 30 ft. by 30 ft. barn in October 1879 with gas lighting. He allowed S. H. Myton to light up the addition to his store building with gas in January 1880. In September 1880 Lynn & Loose moved into their new store room, lighted with forty gas jets as a result of Barclay’s work.
In October 1880 the Opera House in Winfield was remodeled. Barclay’s work allowed the main hall to be lighted by two large chandeliers, of twelve lights each; over the stage were two rows of gas jets, with reflectors for throwing lights down upon the stage. The dressing rooms under the stage were also lighted by gas, which with the foot lights, made forty jets that were used in lighting the Hall.
By December 1880 Barclay finished work on J. L. Horning’s house so that it was heated by steam. Mr. Horning, often referred to as “76,” believed in enjoying life with all its comforts and blessings, and never begrudged a dollar spent in that direction. He had a Turkish bath room for his private use in which he could, if he wanted to, run the heat up to 185 degrees.
In December 1880 Frank Barclay made arrangements in Kansas City to engage several plumbers and gas fitters to help him in putting in gas and steam piping in the Brettun House, which was being constructed in Winfield. It was anticipated that the Brettun House would contain about 1,500 feet of gas pipe, 1,250 feet of water pipe, and including that in the radiators, 3,600 feet of steam pipe—a mile and a fifth of pipe being used in the building. This estimate did not include the earthenware sewer. The Brettun opened in August 1881, featuring gas and bath rooms, with hot and cold showers.
The December 22, 1881, issue of the Cowley County Courant had an article relative to Mr. M. L. Read, president of Read’s Bank. “M. L. Read has been adding to his dwelling house some modern conveniences such as are not often found outside of large cities. The home is thoroughly supplied with water from a tank above, and the rooms are furnished with stationary wash bowls. The improvements of most consequence are an automatic steam heating apparatus and an automatic water supply for the boiler. The heating apparatus is of the newest style and most convenient form. It consists of a boiler which runs a steam radiator in each room of the house, including the bath room. The radiators are small and take up scarcely any room, being of small size and standing close against the wall. The boiler will carry 120 pounds of steam, but only five pounds are necessary to thoroughly heat the house. The boiler can be set to carry any amount below 120 pounds, and the temperature is always kept between certain degrees by the automatic arrangement. When set at five pounds, the pressure can never get above that weight nor below three pounds. When the pressure reaches above five pounds, it closes a draft below the fire and opens a valve above; and when it reaches below three pounds, the operation is reversed, the valve closing and the draft opening. The boiler is furnished with an automatic supply of water from the tank above, a certain quantity shutting off the supply and a certain lesser quantity opening the supply. The fire magazine is filled only twice in twenty-four hours; there is no danger anywhere; there can be no freezing in the water pipes and the temperature is always between certain comfortable degrees. Mr. Read has about as near an automatic regulation of his household affairs as one could wish. All he wants is an automatic booster, run by clock work, to bounce him out of bed in the morning, and he has the acme of bliss. Of course, he might have a steam transfer arrangement for carrying hot buck-wheat cakes to his mouth while he reposes in bed; but this would be too soft a thing for Mr. Read, who is known not to be lacking in energy when occasion requires.”
The March 2, 1882, issue of the Cowley County Courant played up the progress due to Frank Barclay’s efforts, noting that on January 1, 1882, there were in the public and private buildings of Winfield in round numbers: 13,000 feet of steam pipe; 11,400 feet of water pipe; 8,000 feet of gas; and 1,600 feet of sewer pipe—a total of 34,000 feet of piping. Of this amount the Brettun House had over 15,000 feet. It also stated that the principal business houses on Main Street and several private houses were now lighted with gas, by machines with from fifteen to one hundred burners; and that in addition to the public buildings, there were ten residences supplied with hot and cold water throughout, with copper or galvanized iron water tanks, stationary washbowls, bath tubs, and waste pipes. The paper estimated that nearly one hundred marble slab basins, costing from $15 to $35 each, had been procured. They proudly announced that the Brettun House, Courant office, and the residences of M. L. Read and J. L. Horning were now being heated by steam: the two former by high-pressure boilers and the latter by low-pressure boilers.
M. G. Troup.
M. G. Troup, born in Ohio in 1841, came from Iowa to Tisdale Township in Cowley County, Kansas, where he was a merchant. When he was about twenty-nine years of age, Troup became the County Clerk in November 1870 on the Republican ticket and was re-elected two years later. Troup was a member of the city council in Winfield in 1875 and 1876. He bolted from the Republican party and ran as an Independent candidate on the Democratic ticket in 1877 and was again elected as County Clerk. In May 1878 Troup became a member of the Winfield bar. In 1880 Troup moved to the second floor of the new bank building that had been built by Col. J. C. McMullen of the Citizens’ Bank and J. C. Fuller of the Winfield Bank when the two banks were consolidated and called the Winfield Bank. McMullen became President and Fuller cashier of the new bank. Troup’s law partner in January 1880 was Allen B. Lemmon. A year later he had another partner: Lafe Pence.
In 1881 M. G. Troup became Mayor of Winfield and was a member of the city council. Prior to January 1882 he moved from his office in the Winfield Bank to Read’s Bank and by January 1882 had a new law partner, Frank S. Jennings, who was then the County Attorney. Troup was Mayor in April 1882 and was eligible to vote on matters along with the four city councilmen at that time: Col. J. C. McMullen, President of the Winfield Bank; M. L. Read, President of Read’s Bank; R. S. Wilson, a partner of A. D. Hendricks in the Hendricks & Wilson hardware store; and Capt. S. G. Gary, who ran a furniture shop.
Winfield Water Works.
Mr. Frank Barclay was located in the basement of Read’s Bank in 1882, when he purchased from J. M. Alexander land east of Winfield known as “Alexander’s Mound,” located between 7th and 8th avenues. On Monday, December 18, 1882, after circulating a petition, Barclay approached the city council and announced that he and his associates would build water works in the city of Winfield if the city council passed an ordinance granting them an exclusive right of way, etc., pressing vigorously for passage that very evening. His proposal called for a reservoir to be built on the mound, which would be used as a basin for water pumped from the Walnut river and then conducted by mains throughout the whole city, the height of the mound giving the hydrants of Main Street a throwing capacity of sixty-nine feet. Some of the councilmen insisted on more time for examination of his petition. More meetings followed in 1882: Dec. 18; Dec. 22; Dec. 23. At a meeting held on December 26, 1882, D. A. Millington, senior editor, Winfield Courier, proposed an alternative worked up by Ed. P. Greer, junior editor. First ward citizens wanted action on water works postponed.
The city council met on January 15, 1883, and the Greer water-works ordinance was considered by sections. It was then moved that the Council accept the proposition made by Mr. Barclay and certain others with amendments that incorporated Greer’s changes. Those voting aye were Councilmen Read and Gary; those voting no were Councilmen McMullen and Wilson. Mayor Troup voted aye. The council met on January 16th and 17th to iron out amendments. At the January 17, 1883, meeting Ordinance No. 167 was passed. This lengthy ordinance stated that the right of way along the streets and alleys, and the privilege to construct, operate, and maintain a system of Water Works within the corporate limits of the City of Winfield, for supplying the City and citizens with water for domestic, sanitary, and other purposes, as well as for the better protection of the City against disaster from fires, was granted to Frank Barclay, J. L. Horning, J. Wade McDonald, W. C. Robinson, J. B. Lynn, W. P. Hackney, and M. L. Robinson, of the City of Winfield, Cowley County and State of Kansas, their successors and assigns for the term of ninety-nine (99) years from its passage.
The city agreed to pay $3,000 a year for 40 hydrants; $65 a year for each hydrant in excess of 40 up to 100; $60 for each in excess of 100 up to 150; $50 in excess of 150 up to 200; and $25 in excess of 200: out of which to pay the interest on the company’s bonds to the extent of the amount due the company for hydrant rents but not in excess of such amount. The ordinance provided that the city could locate the mains and hydrants and buy the works at the end of ten years and every five years thereafter at the appraised value of “the works, choses in action, property, and franchises belonging or appertaining to said water works.
(This ordinance was amended on December 17, 1883, to reflect that the Winfield Water Company was the successor in interest and assignee of the rights of Frank Barclay and others named in Ordinance No. 167 on January 17, 1883.)
On March 1, 1883, Ed. P. Greer wrote the following editorial in the Winfield Courier.
“My attention has several times been called to a card in the Telegram of last week from S. G. Gary to the effect that I had offered him ten thousand dollars worth of stock in a water company as a consideration for his vote and influence in support of my proposition. The statement is a Democratic lie, pure and unadulterated, without the usual embellishment given to utterances of like character.
“As the gentleman has taken upon himself to draw so largely on his imagination for a question of fact, I may be pardoned for briefly referring to his official action in the water-works matter—a thing I have refrained from doing thus far only through the personal solicitation of his friends.
“When the Barclay ordinance was first proposed, I thought it was a steal. When I learned its origin and studied its provisions, suspicion became conviction. Observation had taught me that faith without works accomplished little—especially when combated by wealth and the prestige of success. To defeat the proposition with three of the council pronounced in favor of water-works, was out of the question. A better proposition must be secured, and that speedily. On Tuesday evening the Barclay ordinance had been passed by sections, and adjournment was had until next Monday evening, when the question of final passage would come up. In the four succeeding days I traveled a thousand miles, secured the backing and necessary data for a proposition infinitely better for the city, and broke the Sabbath day getting the papers in shape to lay before the council. I did this at my own volition and at my own expense. When the council met on Monday evening and my banker friend had gathered himself there to carry away the spoils, my proposition was presented. It was received with derision and sneers by Mr. Robinson and his co-laborers—that gentleman going so far as to assert that it was simply a ruse to defeat, and that no man could build the works under such a proposition.
“Up to this time Mr. Gary had been the sturdy defender of the city’s interests. Messrs. Wilson and McMullen declared themselves in favor of water-works on the best terms that could be had. Mr. Read’s position was conceded to be for it, regardless of the interests of the city, while Mr. Troup acted but at the beck and call of M. L. Robinson.
“During the pendency of the question, I interviewed all of the council except Mr. Read. Councilmen McMullen and Wilson unhesitatingly said that my proposition was much the best and they would support it until a better one was offered. Mr. Gary said he wanted to ‘investigate,’ and when I put the question squarely to him whether he would support my proposition until a better one was offered, he evaded it by saying he would ‘support the best one.’ I had unbounded confidence in his integrity as a man and an officer, believed that he meant what he said, and did not question him farther. In this I erred. Others who had less confidence than I in integrity and official honor, were at work. Sunday evening a caucus was held and plans laid to ‘fix Gary.’ What those plans were I do not know, but they were eminently successful, and the results were clearly apparent at the council meeting on the following evening. Mr. Robinson then appeared with his ordinance modified to cover some of the salient improvements in mine and Gary seemed to be supporting him.
“On Tuesday evening Mr. Robinson had further modified his ordinance until it embraced exactly the same material provisions contained in mine. I then reduced my proposition, making the terms of the franchise sixty years instead of ninety-nine, and the price on extension hydrants sixty-five instead of seventy-five dollars, making a better proposition for the city than any that had been presented by possibly five thousand dollars.
“In this shape the two propositions were placed before the council in committee of the whole.
“Before a vote was taken, Mr. Gary rose up and said that he wished to ‘explain himself.’ That he considered the two propositions about equal, but that the Robinson proposition had a little the best financial backing, and for that reason he should vote for it. I then told him that I would quiet his fears on that score and produced a paper signed by citizens representing probably two hundred thousand dollars of capital, guaranteeing the erection of the works under my ordinance if accepted by the council. In a rather confused manner Mr. Gary replied that ‘it was too late as he had indicated how he intended to vote.’ I told him he was supposed to be acting in the interest of the city, had not yet voted, and would be expected to cast his vote for the best proposition regardless of any previous condition of mind.
“The question was called, Messrs. Gary and Read voted for the Robinson ordinance and Messrs. Wilson and McMullen against. Mr. Troup, after a lengthy apology for so doing, cast the tie for Robinson, and the council adjourned.
“On the next evening the council again met for the consideration and final passage of the ordinance. Mr. McMullen was absent. When they came to the section relating to extension hydrants, Mr. Wilson moved to amend by making the price sixty-five instead of seventy-five dollars each, and stated that while he did not wish to obtrude his ideas upon the council, he must insist upon this reduction, as Mr. Greer had offered to do it for that and a contract for a higher price would never receive his vote. Mr. Gary would not second the motion. Without Mr. Wilson’s vote, in the absence of Mr. McMullen, the ordinance could not pass, and after an hours’ wrangle, Robinson consented to allow the reduction; and then, and not till then, did Mr. Gary consent to vote in the interests of the people whom he pretended to represent, as against the man whom he evidently was doing his utmost to assist.
“Mr. Wilson, by his firm and determined stand, forced Robinson & Co., to consent that Gary should vote for the reduction.
“The ordinance as finally passed is exactly the same in every material point as the one I proposed, with the exception of the term of franchise, which in mine was reduced thirty-nine years.
“That some subtle influence guided Mr. Gary’s actions in the matter, no sensible man will deny. What that influence was, no one but Mr. Gary and those interested will ever know. The facts will remain, however, and he will be regarded with distrust that it will take years of penance to remove.
“The result of the water-works was not a disappointment to me. Mr. Gary’s action was. I had always regarded him in the highest estimation and felt that his spirit of fairness, aside from his duty as an officer, would accord any citizen the common courtesy which a bidder at a street corner auction never fails to receive—namely, the precedence of bid until a better offer is made. When I found that he, too, could be suborned to act in the interests of a Shylock, regardless of every principle of justice, fairness, and his duty, I was painfully surprised and disgusted.
“Mr. Gary claims to publish this card in order to refute certain ‘innuendoes’ which have appeared in this paper against him. If any innuendoes appeared, it was at least five weeks ago. Since that time the assassin’s bullet has taken from our midst a true, noble, honest officer—one whose highest aim was to serve the people faithfully and well, and who would have scorned to do a questionable act. While his remains lay yet unburied, surrounded by weeping kindred and embalmed in the heartfelt grief of thousands of sympathizing friends, seventeen persons met at the call of men whom Mr. Gary’s action had most benefitted, and nine of them decided upon him as a fit and proper person to fill the dead sheriff’s place. One of the parties went immediately to Topeka, urged the appointment, and succeeded in having it made. The intelligence was conveyed by telegraph to M. L. Robinson, which telegram he exultingly displayed to me and industriously exhibited upon the streets.
“Mr. Gary holds the office of sheriff of this county by virtue of his action in the water-works matter. Under such circumstances it is meet that he continue to do the master’s bidding. He seems to have treasured up his righteous indignation for five long weeks, during which time the changes above referred to have taken place, and during which time the COURIER, aided by the people of this city and county, have been making it exceedingly warm for his benefactor.
“It is but consistent that he do all he can, even to the sacrifice of his little remaining character, to assist in diverting public attention from a much abused subject. In the roll he has been following, this action is much more creditable to him than any he has yet attempted. I must at least accord him the one virtue of gratitude. If this seeming virtue proves but a cloak for avarice, then I know not where to turn for another. ED. P. GREER.”
[Sheriff A. T. Shenneman died on Thursday, January 25, 1883, after being fatally shot by Charles Cobb. Cobb was taken from the jail by a masked group of men and hanged from a railroad bridge. Sheriff Shenneman’s funeral took place on Sunday, January 28, 1883. S. G. Gary was appointed by Governor Glick as Sheriff of Cowley County on Saturday, February 3, 1883.]
A reporter from the Emporia Republican stated that a contract was let in May 1883 for six and a half miles of cast iron pipe to be laid, connecting with a reservoir of 2,000,000 gallons capacity, supplied by a Worthington pump. His report indicated that the reservoir was 108 feet above the level of Main Street and that the cost would be about $75,000. In December 1884 the “Real Estate News,” a publication put out by two Winfield men, Harris & Clark, indicated that the mound was 150 feet above the city and that the capacity of the reservoir was 2,500,000 gallons.
Work was started on the reservoir by James Conner, contractor, in October 1883, who engaged about thirty men and ten teams. It was completed and water turned in by the middle of December 1883 and it was soon announced that the water works were completed and ready for a test on or before January 15, 1884.
In January 1884 the reservoir was frozen with ice twelve inches thick, making it necessary to keep a man there to keep the ice open and relieve the strain upon the walls when the thermometer registered ten degrees below zero. The water company cemented the reservoir, making it tight and substantial as a cistern, in October 1884.
Location of Pumping House Creates Problems.
The ordinance called for an engine house built of either brick or stone and roofed with metal, not less than 24 by 40 feet, containing a pump and boiler room, and a coal shed capable of storing 25 tons of coal. The boiler had to be of sufficient size to make with easy firing ample steam to supply the pumping through the connecting main of one million gallons of water into the reservoir in twenty-four hours, the reservoir capable of storing not less than two million gallons of water. The original pipe system was to be not less than five miles with 1270 feet of main, composed of standard iron water pipe varying in size from ten inches to four inches in diameter with six-inch post and two and one-half inch double discharge with frost jackets with four inch connection.
The waterworks company changed the location for the pumping house in March 1883, purchasing ground near the Santa Fe depot. This movement was rebuked inasmuch as the ordinance called for the location to be above the sewerage of the city. In May 1883 a contract was let to Russell & Alexander to take water direct from the river above Bliss & Wood’s flour mill. A request from M. L. Robinson, President of the “Winfield Water Company,” was presented by their attorney, J. Wade McDonald, to the city council to condemn in the name of the City of Winfield, the right to perpetually divest from the Walnut River, at a point thereon northwest of the north end of Walton Street, of said city, all such quantity or quantities of water as may be necessary to enable the Winfield Water Company, its successors or assigns, to supply the said City of Winfield and the inhabitants thereof, with water, in pursuance with the provisions of section 14 of ordinance 167. The council presented a petition to Judge Torrance requesting the appointment of three commissioners to lay off and condemn to the use of the city the right to forever divest from the Walnut River at a point thereon northwest of the present north end of Walton Street of said city, so much of the water of and from said stream as may or shall be or become necessary to forever supply from day to day and from year to year said city and the inhabitants thereof with an abundance of water for the extinguishment of fires and for domestic, sanitary, and other purposes as specified and provided for in and by ordinance numbered 167, of said city.
In July 1883 County Commissioners Gale, Burden, and Sleeth, appointed to condemn the water privilege for the Winfield Water Company, made an award of $20 to Bliss & Wood as their share of the damage and $20 to the Tunnel Mill. The mill owners were not present to forward their claims, and it was believed that they would contest this in the courts. Bliss & Wood brought action against the water company in January 1884, restraining them from taking water from their Mill pond. The demurrer was argued in district court in late January 1884 by McDermott & Johnson for the plaintiff and J. Wade McDonald for the defendant.
In February 1884 Judge Torrance rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, Bliss & Wood, pointing out that if the legislature had intended that the power of eminent domain should be invoked in aid of water works to be constructed by private water corporations, it would have delegated the right to exercise such power to such corporations themselves, or to some other agency empowered to act on their behalf. The legislature had omitted to do so, which was satisfactory evidence that it did not intend to delegate the power in such cases.
In March 1884 the litigation between Bliss & Wood and the Winfield Water Company ended in a compromise, the water company paying $10,000 for a water franchise of 99 years.
Winfield Fire Department...
Winfield Gas Company.
Lynn became a member of the “Winfield Gas Company,” formed on October 18, 1883, to build gas works under franchises granted by the city to Col. Whiting. The incorporators of this company were J. C. Fuller, Col. Wm. Whiting, J. B. Lynn, Ed. P. Greer, and Frank Barclay. Officers: J. C. Fuller, President; Col. Wm. Whiting, Vice President; Ed. P. Greer, Secretary; J. B. Lynn, Treasurer.
James C. Fuller, President of Winfield Gas Company.
In early August 1870 J. C. Fuller and D. A. Millington, residents of Fort Scott, Kansas, became proprietors of a new town called Sumner located in Sumner County, Kansas. Among others who formed this town were J. M. Steele, C. S. Roe, and J. H. Liggett of Wichita; J. Jay Buck and E. W. Cunningham of Emporia; Maj. Woodsmall, of Gosport, Indiana; and Col. J. C. McMullen, of Clarksville, Tennessee. Col. McMullen stayed in Sumner County for some time before going to Arkansas City, where he started a private bank.
Fuller and Millington left the town of Sumner soon after its formation in August 1870, becoming members of the Winfield Town Company. In late November 1870 the first newspaper printed in Winfield, the Winfield Censor, had the following item: “The President of the town Company, Mr. J. C. Fuller, informed us the other day that twenty-three business houses were now under contract and in course of construction. How’s that for a town only four months old?”
A small frame structure, the “Winfield Bank, of J. C. Fuller,” the first bank building in Winfield, was completed in the spring of 1871 at the corner of Main Street and 9th Avenue.
Col. Wm. Whiting, Vice President, Winfield Gas Company.
Col. Wm. Whiting became the active U. S. Indian Agent for the Ponca Indians upon his arrival at Ponca Agency in April 1880. He was replaced in June 1881 by Thos. J. Jordan.
Col Whiting and his sons began running a meat market in Winfield in July 1881. In August L. C. Woodruff was arrested, accused of stealing a steer from the Deer Creek ranch in Indian Territory during the sale of stock by Whiting Bros., and drawing a revolver on Capt. William O. Whiting. The case was settled in November 1881 by Woodruff paying for the cattle and the costs of the suit. In December 1881 Whiting Bros. erected a large cook room and smoke house in the rear of their shop on Main Street, Winfield. They advertised that they kept fresh, salt, and smoked meats as well as poultry, game, and fish in season.
The following article appeared in December 29, 1881, in the Winfield Courier.
“Among the many nice displays made in show windows and shops Saturday, that of Whiting Brothers carried off the honors. In the evening it was lit up with Chinese lanterns and presented a beautiful sight. Great quarters of beef trimmed in evergreens, trees with little roast pigs crawling up the trunks, and stuffed birds swinging in the branches, live raccoons, and red-birds, and everything that would make the thing look cheerful, bright, and airy, filled the room and made it look more like a miniature forest than anything else. Crowds of people thronged the market all day looking at the display and congratulating Col. Whiting and his enterprising boys on the good taste exercised in the decorations.
“Our reporter dropped in during the evening and went home with a roast pig under his arm, which played no small part in the festivities of the next day.”
Winfield Gas Company.
In September 1883 the Winfield City Council passed an ordinance granting to Col. Wm. Whiting and assigns a franchise to lay gas pipes in the streets and alleys of Winfield and to erect gas works in the city. On October 18, 1883, the “Winfield Gas Company” was formed to build gas works under franchises granted by the City to Col. Whiting. The incorporators of the company were J. C. Fuller, Col. Wm. Whiting, J. B. Lynn, Ed. P. Greer, and Frank Barclay. The officers of the Company were J. C. Fuller, President; Col. Wm. Whiting, Vice President; Ed. P. Greer, Secretary; J. B. Lynn, Treasurer. Steps were taken to push the work through as rapidly as the material could be laid on the ground. It was estimated that the cost would be between $40,000 and $50,000.
The Winfield Courier announced the completion of the gas works on July 3, 1884.
“For the past three months the Winfield Gas Company has been piling up brick, mortar, and stone, laying mains and erecting machinery without creating any particular sensation, and at eleven o’clock Saturday evening, President Fuller and Superintendent Whiting threw into the furnaces the first shovels-full of coal that set the works going for all time to come.
“The ordinances granting the rights and franchises to Col. Wm. Whiting were passed by the city council last September. Soon after the Winfield Gas Company was organized and chartered. In the organization Mr. J. C. Fuller was chosen President; J. B. Lynn, Treasurer; and Ed. P. Greer, Secretary. To this company was assigned the franchises given by the city to Mr. Whiting. In the month of March the task of erecting the works was begun. The completed works will cost about forty thousand dollars. They are first-class throughout and have a capacity sufficient to supply the city until it contains twenty thousand inhabitants.
“From the time the first charge was put into the retorts Saturday evening until the present writing, not a leak has been found, nor mistake in arrangement or the placing of complicated machinery detected. This is a record heretofore unknown and due to the mechanical skill and high honor and ability of Mr. John Maxwell, under whose direction every section of pipe and every piece of machinery was placed. Of Mr. Maxwell’s ability as a workman and integrity as a contractor, we cannot speak too highly. Suffice it to say that both the Winfield Gas Company and the Winfield Water Company (whose works he also put in) will back him ‘to the uttermost ends of the earth.’ He is one of the few men we have met thus far who fulfill the spirit as well as the letter of his contracts.
“About forty connections to stores, offices, and residences have been made, in addition to the sixty street lamps, and most every business house and a large number of private residences will be connected as soon as the plumbers can get to them. The consumption guaranteed the Gas Company insures the financial success from the start.
“The gas will probably be turned on next Friday.”