July 15, 1871: Arkansas City Town Company is formed by C. R. Sipes, M. R. Leonard, H. B. Norton, G. H. Norton, Wm. M. Sleeth, H. O. Meigs, Daniel Beedy, L. B. Kellogg, and A. A. Newman.

                                                               Flour Mill.

By 1871 Newman was hard at work with Beedy at flour mill and assisting O. P. Houghton with clothing store. On November 1, 1872, the Arkansas City Water Mill was in operation with Beedy & Newman, proprietors.

Arkansas City Traveler, January 26, 1876.    

                                                    Arkansas City Water Mills.

                                                   J. P. Woodyard, Proprietor.

Arkansas City Traveler, June 7, 1876.

Mr. J. P. Woodyard, of the Arkansas City Water Mills, lost last Saturday on the road from the mouth of Grouse to Winfield, a large pocket book containing some valuable papers. The finder will be liberally rewarded by leaving it at this office.

Arkansas City Traveler, June 14, 1876.

MR. NEWMAN has charge of the Water Mills on the Walnut once more, and will see that all who come with grists are accommodated.

Winfield Courier, June 29, 1876.

Several farmers were heavy losers in consequence of the unexpected departure from Arkansas City by Mr. Woodyard, the miller. He bought wheat on sixty days time, gave his notes, which the holders endorsed and left at the banks, thereby secur­ing a loan for almost their face. He skipped the country and the farmers are “left to hold the bag” while a man with a chattel mortgage holds the wheat. Amos Walton disposed of his wheat before starting to the Centennial. He will lose about $400.

Arkansas City Traveler, July 26, 1876.

AT LAST!  The Arkansas City Water Mills are now prepared to do custom grinding. All work done in short order, and satisfac­tion guaranteed. Bring in your grists. A. A. NEWMAN.

Arkansas City Traveler, September 27, 1876.

                     Civil Docket October Term: A. A. Newman vs. Jno. P. Woodyard.

                                          Newman Involved With Two Banks.

Newman helped to organize the second bank in Arkansas City. He was president of the Cowley County Bank from 1874 until 1878 when Wm. M. Sleeth took over. This bank was located on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Summit Street (now a portion of the Home National Bank). A. A. Newman was one of the founders of the Home National Bank.

It is interesting to note that under Sleeth the Cowley County Bank opened up in a new building in January 1884 on the northwest corner of Summit Street and Fifth Avenue. This is now the location of the Union State Bank.


Newman divided his time between his clothing store in Emporia, run by his younger brother, George, and his wife in the latter part of 1870 while O. P. Houghton went to Arkansas City and handled the first clothing store in that city until Newman arrived to assist him as well as Daniel Beedy with the first flour mill in Arkansas City.

                             Emporia. Mrs. Newman Helps With Newman Store.

Emporia News, September 23, 1870.

It was our pleasure to spend a few minutes in the handsome millinery establishment of Mrs. Newman the other day, examining the wonderful works of art in that line. The perfection to which the manufacturer of artificial flowers has been brought is one of the wonders of the age.

The skill of human hands, as demonstrated by the exhibitions of Mrs. Newman and Mrs. Kidder, is not confined to their flowers. We were shown a “perfect love of a bonnet,” which our knowledge of terms peculiar to the world of women and fashion is too limited to attempt to describe. Suffice it to say that it cost sixty dollars, and is the prettiest object of the kind we ever beheld.

                                            Newman Stores in Arkansas City.

                                                               First Store.

1870:       A. A. Newman and O. P. Houghton. First clothing store in Arkansas City.

205 South Summit Street. Frame: 20 x 40 feet.

Houghton ran store by himself from June 1870 until Newman arrived in 1871.

Men’s clothing and furnishings; boots and shoes (high-laced shoes were popular).

Store was south of James I. Mitchell’s harness shop.

Arkansas City Traveler, August 27, 1879.

                    Historic Building Torn Down. [Built late in 1869 or early 1870.]

The old Jim Mitchell building, that has weathered the elements for so many years, is now no more, having been torn down last Monday to make room for Matlack’s two-story brick. In this house Cresswell Grote was born: the first child born on the townsite of Arkansas City. Another item of interest connected with this structure is the manner in which a perpendicular was determined. Instead of using a plumb-line for this purpose, the carpenter spit to the ground, which explains why the building always leaned to the north.

                       [Note: This is now Taylor Drug Store; 201 South Summit Street.]

                                                             Second Store.

Newman moved across the street to 206 South Summit Street, where he had three times as much space as he did in the first store. He added groceries and dry goods to his stock, most of which were staples. This occurred sometime in 1872.

                                                              Third Store.

According to Lura Newman, A. A. Newman bought a two-story frame building at 116-118 South Summit Street, about the present site of the Burford Theatre, gaining another 500 square feet, which allowed him to add some more piece goods and other necessities. This occurred sometime in 1873.

                                                             Fourth Store.

In January 1876 it was noted that Newman & Co. had started a brick store room, 25 x 50 feet, located at 126 South Summit Street (now part of the Home National Bank location). Groceries and dry goods were added to clothing stock at store. Newman’s brother-in-law, R. C. Haywood, and S. P. Channell built a brick of the same size besides Newman’s store.

Rube Houghton & T. H. McLaughlin have become partners and have a grocery store called “The Green Front” on opposite side of Summit Street.

In February 1876 R. A. Houghton sold his half-interest in the dry goods store to A. A. Newman. Rube said: “It don’t pay to sell goods on close figures, and then have a man run off every now and then owing him a hundred dollars.”

In March 1876 Newman purchased the entire stock of Joseph H. Sherburne & Stubbs, moving all the groceries to his store room. R. A. Houghton purchased the groceries from Newman and started another grocery store for a short time. Sherburne became a trader with the Ponca Indians and in time other tribes. Rube Houghton joined him in this occupation.

Arkansas City Traveler, April 26, 1876.

NEWMAN and CHANNELL & HAYWOOD are building two two-story store rooms, with fifty feet front by 100 feet deep, of brick.

Arkansas City Traveler, October 25, 1876.

The crowd at Newman’s store is astonishing. They have worn a hole through the floor where they go in and out, and it is so crowded that goods have to be handed out to customers.

Arkansas City Traveler, October 25, 1876.

The largest sale of merchandise ever made in this place was on last Saturday. Newman, and Houghton & McLaughlin retailed $500 worth each, and in the evening Mr. Newman sold $1,000 worth at wholesale.

Arkansas City Traveler, May 23, 1877. Front Page.

The brick blocks of Newman and Haywood are among the new buildings. The former is one hundred feet in depth, and two stories in height, with a handsome iron front. The finishing touches are being put upon it, and the goods for its shelves are arriving.

Mr. Haywood is already occupying his block with an immense hardware store.

Arkansas City Traveler, May 5, 1880.

It is with much pleasure that we call attention to the “ad” of the new firm of A. A. Newman & Co., which appears in this issue. Their magnificent store and show rooms occupy the base­ment and first floor in the corner brick on East Summit street and Fifth avenue.

It was at about this time that Newman brought his brother-in-law, Wyard Gooch, into the firm. Gooch was invaluable.

Lura Newman tells the following story.

“Calico was a popular material in those days, and Newman decided that calico was going to be his “special,” and that women would not be able to buy calico for any less anywhere than for what they could buy it in his store. He bought bolts and bolts and bolts and bolts of material. Every time he went to market, he bought bolts of calico, and it ranged in price from 3 ½ cents to 7 cents. That was the wholesale price. He would sell it for 4 cents regardless of the market cost. If he and his brother, George, who accompanied him to New York City, thought that the price was too high, George would dicker with the salesmen—sometimes getting the price lowered from ½ to 1 cent per yard because of the volume of the material they purchased. The family always said A. A. couldn’t argue over price, but it didn’t bother George at all. He was the ‘dickerer.’

“When the new merchandise arrived, the calico was put on the tables and in the windows with the 4 cent price mark. Knowing what an excellent value this was, the ladies in town hurried in to get yardage. Many thought it would be a one-time buy, but Mr. Newman kept on and continued the sale of calico at 4 cents for a long, long time; consequently, some of them jokingly used to say that the Newman Dry Goods Company was built on ‘four-cent calico,’ and maybe it was.”

                                                               Fifth Store.

Arkansas City Traveler, November 12, 1884.

A. A. Newman & Co. have already begun to move some of the heavier of their unpacked goods to their new store room in the Commercial block, but we presume it will be at least one week before they can welcome their patrons in their new quarters. [This store was located on the east side of the 200 South Summit Block, about where Graves Drug Store is now situated.]

                                                              Sixth Store.

According to Lura Newman, A. A. Newman bought a three-story and basement building with a seventy-five foot front at 302-304 South Summit Street, remodeling the building to be suitable for the various departments that he was enlarging, and installing an open elevator with grill work out in the center of the store. Newman’s became a complete department store, carrying everything except groceries and furniture. During this time they began using a delivery wagon drawn by two horses.

                                                            Seventh Store.

The Newman Dry Goods Company built its last store in 1917 at 402 South Summit Street.

From Lura Hodges Newman...

There may be some taller buildings but none built better than the Newman building. It is 100 x 134 feet. It is five stories high and has a basement and sub-basement. The heating facilities are in the sub-basement, and steam heat is used throughout. The building is constructed throughout of concrete and fireproof material; and this certainly was proved in 1953 when there was a big fire on the top floor of the store. Had this fire occurred in the previously occupied building, everything would have been lost. If you remember, it was along in the ’50s, I think, when Montgomery Ward lost their store by fire, and that is when Montgomery Ward moved into the building they now have.

The present Newman store has a large freight elevator that runs from ground level to the loading dock and to the basement and on up to all floors above. There is also a passenger elevator in the basement and to all floors.

The basement floor when the store was first built was really a department store and had lower-priced merchandise. Mr. A. A. Newman always made it very clear that he did not buy cheap merchandise. The merchandise in the basement was not cheap but less expensive from what Newman’s carried upstairs, and that is what I mean when you knew how to buy. Here is an example of his lower-priced merchandise. Lorraine, a popular selling lingerie today, was carried in the basement when we had a full basement store. It was good merchandise. It wasn’t fancy and lace-trimmed at that time, but it was good and it was made of good material and well stitched. The basement store also had shoes, all kinds of general merchandise, clothing, and hardware. Better china and gift wares were in one section, and then they had the regular kitchen ware things. Also, there was a tea room which was back along the north wall where there is the basement now. Now a lot of you would remember the tea room, but there are a lot of you who wouldn’t. It was really lovely, and it would seat from seventy-five to ninety people, and they had elegant food. They served civic clubs, and they were open for the noon meal, which made it nice for the men who worked downtown. They had a nice place to go to and could get back to work easily; and also they would serve parties for the ladies. If they wanted to have a bridge party down there, they could, or they would take teas or have a special party at night; but the only night they were open regularly was on Saturdays, and everybody came in to shop on Saturday night from the towns around and the countryside, and so they would open for Saturday evenings. It never made money, but it didn’t lose money, so for a long time until things got hard and really difficult after the first world war and into the late ’20s and just before the ’30s was when they closed it.

The first floor, at the time the store was opened, had the men’s clothing and all kinds of men’s furnishings. The shoes were in the far east end of the store—rows and rows of shoes—and I’ll tell you (I had forgotten this) but Terry said I goofed—tell about the x-ray machine. A lot of you probably stood on the x-ray machine. She said that was the reason she liked to go shopping for shoes there because she could look at her feet through the x-ray machine. They later decided it was not a good thing to x-ray feet so often, so they did away with it. The medical group decided on this action.

Also on the first floor was a large piece goods department with everything from the very finest ginghams to satins and silks and all of that.

Toward the back part of the store we had other domestic things and the lower-priced cottons. There were purses, jewelry, and really there was a drug department where you could buy almost anything you wanted except prescription drugs, and a transfer desk. Now at the transfer desk almost all the people—if they were going to do very much shopping and if they were going to pay cash—would have the merchandise sent to the transfer desk. It was right there by the elevator on the first floor. If they were going to charge it, they could still have it all sent there, put in one big package, and they didn’t have a lot of things to carry out.

And for his out-of-town customers, Mr. Newman gave a rebate for coming to shop with him, and that was when they came up on the train from Newkirk or down from Winfield. He gave a percentage discount—enough they thought to pay for their way up and back to shop; or if they drove up and brought five people in their car, there was a rebate depending on what they spent in the store to the person who drove the car. So when I was little, if it was under a dollar, I could go get it; but when it was $3, $4, or $5, Dad got it.

The balcony had the boy’s department where the gift department is now. Down the south side was the beauty shop with a number of booths along there with the manicuring tables out by the railing of the balcony. Around the corner there was a shoe shining chair at the end of the beauty shop. Then around the corner from there was the knit shop and art gift work and a shop where they had packages of things, and around the corner from that were the towels and linens and now they had the luggage department. Everybody had wardrobe trunks with lids that lifted up in sections that would come out, or the little steamer trunks. And they couldn’t stack them because if they wanted to show them, they were too heavy to lift down, so they were just lined all the way around the room, and the Chilocco Indians used to come up on—Well, I don’t know how they come now but for a long, long time the girls would come one Saturday and the boys would come another Saturday. They came up on a train that got into Arkansas City around 11:00 o’clock—between 11:00 and 11:30. They all had a sac lunch, and they marched up the street from the depot in their uniforms with capes and everything right to Newman’s. They came in the north door, went right up those steps to where the luggage was, and that is where they would sit and eat their lunch except if there were too many of them, some would go on down and sit at the side of the balcony because there were some chairs there.

Floyd Wright told me about this when I was talking to him one day. “One Saturday morning there was a salesman there—he was from the east—and a lot of you know the people from the east think (at least I think some of them still think) we are kinda heathenish out here. Salesmen were in the habit of putting their shirts out on a table. Oh, yes! They decided the luggage should be covered because the children just weren’t too careful—the boys and girls! I mean they weren’t doing too much, but they had a clean-up job to do. They would have to wipe them all off. So one Saturday morning the salesman was in and showing merchandise in the men’s department. He laid his shirts out—about ten or twelve of them, one on top of the other so that you could see the stripes and the color and the little figure in the pattern and what not. All at once John Robson, who was standing by the door, looked out and saw the little Indians from Chilocco come marching up the way. He came running and said, ‘Get the covers! Here come the Indians!’

The salesman started screaming and started out the door, running down the street,  because he really thought the Indians were coming. Well, they were! They were coming to eat lunch. I asked John what happened, and he said that the salesman had dropped some shirts along the way. That took care of the balcony, and it’s been quite a joke since then.

On the second floor was ready-to-wear. It was carpeted and had a large ready-to-wear and millinery department. You could buy an array of beautifully trimmed hats. From the last of 1917 through the ’20s you didn’t go downtown if you didn’t wear a hat. The women would make fun of us! If you didn’t like the way the hat was trimmed, Newman’s had all kinds of trimmings: they would take the trimmings off a hat and put on what you wanted.  Or they had hats that were just plain. Ada Dewey, who was here for many years, was the milliner at that time and did the hat trimming. Lillian Sanderson helped Ada with the trimming of the hats. I guess that is really where Lillian and Sandy met. Sandy worked in the shoe department and later opened his own shoe store.

Some of you may remember all those pillars on the second floor had mirrors around them. The prettiest hat I ever had came from Ada Dewey. It had daisies all around the brim.

The children’s and infants’ wear was on that floor and the corset and lingerie department.

                                                  The A. A. Newman Home.

A. A. Newman and his family lived at 301 North B Street, Arkansas City, Kansas.

Arkansas City Traveler, November 8, 1876.

A gentleman asked A. A. Newman what he would take for his house the other day. He said $800. “Make out your deed,” he remarked. “Well, but, ah, are you in a hurry?” “Yes.” “I guess I don’t want to sell.”

It is interesting to note that Newman never did succeed in building a fine residence. It is evident that he meant to in 1885 as he held a block on the west side of South Summit Street for the purpose of erecting a family residence that would have cost about $25,000.

In 1891 he started the erection of a new home.

C. M. Scott’s diary reported that Newman’s house burned on March 12, 1891. It cost $40,000 and took a hour and a half to burn. The fire was at 9:30 p m.

C. M. Scott’s diary also reported that on March 14, 1891, A. A. Newman leased one-half of the Ponca reservation (65,000 acres) for one year, but the price was not given. [RKW thought the price was 8 or 10 cents per acre.] G. W. Miller, of Winfield leased the other half of the Ponca reservation.

Oral History. 1978.

From Lura Hodges Newman:

Another thing that I was very much impressed with was the story about Mr. A. A. Newman told to me by a very dear friend of ours in Newkirk, Oklahoma. He and his wife were married after 1895 and had a little girl, and they lived up here, and he worked for the Santa Fe. He said they didn’t have much but they were happy. One fall day they decided they would take their little girl, Laura, and go for a walk. They didn’t live too far from town. They wrapped her in a blanket and went walking downtown; and as they were going along, stopped in front of Newman’s store and were looking at things in the window and saw among other things a coat for a little girl. He stated: “The wife and I turned around and I said, ‘Now, Anna, when I get paid on Friday, we are coming down and get Laura a coat.’” About that time Mr. Newman came by and spoke to them, commenting that it was a pretty chilly day to have that little girl out without a coat. Roy told Mr. Newman that was what he and his wife were just talking about and that they were coming in on Friday to buy one. Mr. Newman took the keys out of his pocket and said: “You are coming in now to get a coat.” He opened the door and took them in, and they chose the coat. Mr. Newman said: “If you can’t pay for this on Friday, it is all right. You can come in next Friday—and if you can’t pay all of it, pay what you can, and you tell them I said so.”

Oral History. 1996

From Ernestine Finch Reynolds:

“My grandfather, Phillip D. Finch, died October 7, 1887, leaving his wife, Mary Elizabeth, with six children: Hugh, Blanche, Roy, Jacie, Otus, and Stacy.

“Grandfather’s wish was to be buried in the family plot in Indiana, but Grandmother didn’t have the means to do this for Grandfather.

“A. A. Newman, hearing about the wish and the circumstances, outfitted all of them, gave them a trunk and the means to take Grandfather’s body to Indiana for burial.”

Oral History. 1978

From Lura Hodges Newman:

Reference to Floyd Wright (worked for Newman from age 14 to 85)...

I was talking to Floyd about Mr. Newman. “You have been here so long. What can you tell me about him? Did he have a way or something? Floyd thought for a minute and said, “Well, let me think. When Mr. Newman talked, you listened. He didn’t talk if he didn’t have something to say, I guess.

Mr. Wright also stated that Mr. Newman told him about due bills. “Another thing he said (and I don’t know whether you know about these things), but I didn’t, was in regard to due bills. He asked me, ‘Do you know what a due bill is? Do you? Do you know what it is? Well, maybe you do, and maybe you don’t, but anyway I am going to tell you and I hope this is something new. A long time ago some of the hotel managers back east would send advertising things out to the Arkansas City Traveler, and not only the Traveler but other newspapers all around in some of the towns smaller and a little larger, and oftentimes they came about market time.’ Floyd was informed by “Mr. A. A.” before going to market to go by Oscar Stauffer’s before leaving for the east to see if there was a due bill. Apparently Mr. Stauffer then would give the Newman buyers a statement to present to the hotel, and they would stay in one of these hotels that had sent out the advertising. Floyd remembered staying in the Pennsylvania Hotel a number of times. When they got ready to pay for their rooms for the time they were in market, they would take Mr. Stauffer’s bill to the manager; he would give them credit for that amount on their bill for the time they were in market. In the meantime, the buyer or whoever was there would give the statement to the manager, who would mark the bill paid, giving Newman’s credit for that much on their bill, and then when the buyer returned to Arkansas City, Mr. Stauffer paid fifty percent of whatever the hotel owed him.  Mr. Wright said, “It made that trip that much less than what it used to be, and I guess they did quite a little advertising with Mr. Stauffer and probably did it with others—I don’t know—but we were always told to go by Stauffer’s to get the due bill before we went to market. I thought that was kinda funny.”


Mr. Newman was president of the Newman Investment Company, president of the Land & Power Company of Arkansas City, and was president of the Three K Cattle Company, owning and operating an extensive cattle business in old Indian Territory.

[Note: A. A. Newman was involved with T. J. Gilbert and H. B. Hallowell in Arkansas City Cattle Company.]


Winfield Courier, August 7, 1884.

Gilbert, Newman, and Hallowell contracted 1,000 head of cattle of Mackay, of Texas, to be delivered on their range on the Kaw Indian Reserve. The rivers were high all summer on the way up and the Arkansas River has been bank full for two months. Mackay got here and waited two weeks to cross the cattle and finally drove them over the bridge and through the state. In the settlement he claimed $900 for extra mileage and expenses. Hallowell refused to pay it and Mackay fired at him with a Winchester rifle. Hallowell returned the fire and 20 shots were exchanged before Mackay rode off. Mackay has been arrested. Driving the Texas cattle through the state has caused considerable alarm for fear of domestic cattle taking the Texas fever.

             [Unknown which is correct: Mackey or Mackay. Courier article showed both.]

                                                        NEWMAN PARK.

Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Monday, August 22, 1921.

What has heretofore been known as the Paris Park No. 2, at the southernmost part of Summit street, this morning was offi­cially titled “Newman Park,” in honor of A. A. Newman. This was made upon recommendation of Ulman Paris, promulgator of the park idea, and the name of Newman was advised following a drawing from the names of the contributors to the park, at which time Mr. Newman’s name was selected. The commissioners voted to call the park, Newman Park. The number drawn was 115.

Mr. Paris this morning before the commissioners read the report of Otis Fowler, secretary and treasurer for the new park fund. Twenty-five hundred dollars was spent on the lots and for incidentals, and interest thirty-nine dollars and eighty-six cents was spent. From subscriptions over the town $2,234.18 was raised. The request was made from the city that the deficit of $305.50 be paid by the city, and the commissioners voted to pay this deficit.

Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, April 12, 1922.

At a Chamber of Commerce meeting, it was learned that the Lions Club was already working on the establishment and equipment of an auto tourist park.

The Chamber named a committee composed of Ol Paris, Geo. Cornish, and O. B. Seyster to assist Lions. The Lions have decided on the Paris park site for the camp, while others seem to think the camp should be located at the New Newman park on South Summit street. This matter to be decided later. R. W. Oldroyd, W. N. Harris, C. E. St. John and others gave their views on this subject. Pat Somerfield suggested that local Boy Scouts could assist.

Chamber will urge city commission to establish the park board, which is to be composed of five members with the mayor as the chairman of the board.

                                    THE TELEPHONE AND A. A. NEWMAN.

[One of the members of the Arkansas City Town Company, A. A. Newman, was in the habit of making trips to New York City, Boston, and his home state of Maine. As a result, he knew about the infancy of the telephone and developed his own primitive use of this form of communication.]

Arkansas City Traveler, August 14, 1878.

The string from Newman’s block to Benedict’s upper story is the conductor of the telephone. You can put your ear at one end and your mouth at the other and hear everything that is said.

Arkansas City Traveler, September 28, 1881.

Most of the fair sex in our city are decidedly against the introduction of the telephone. They don’t like to have a fellow whispering in their ear with his mouth like Sheridan at Winchester, twenty miles away.

                                    First Telephone Company in Arkansas City.

            Merchants Telephone and Telegraph Company of Kansas and Missouri.

Arkansas City Traveler, April 18, 1883.

Permission has been granted by Ordinance No. 108 to the Merchants Telephone and Telegraph Company of Kansas and Missouri, the right to construct and maintain a telephone line in the city of Arkansas City, Kansas.

                                   NOTES BY MAW RE NEWMAN STORES.

Larry Rhodes has an item that was distributed by the Newman Company relative to the seven stores that Newman handled in Arkansas City...


Pictures are given of seven stores followed by dates...

#1: 1871-1873

#2: 1873-1874

#3: 1874-1879

#4: 1880-1884

#5 1885-1895

#6 1895-1917

#7 1917

I do not have any information on the first three stores. It does seem very odd to me that no credit is given to O. P. Houghton for starting the first store, and indications are that he did so in 1870.

Starting with store #4, we do have information from 1876 newspapers and it turns out that was the year Newman started his first brick structure.

                                              MAW SEPTEMBER 25, 2000.