PHOTO 1: JULY 4, 1871.
CELEBRATION ON MAIN STREET, WINFIELD, KANSAS.
On July 4, 1871, a celebration took place on Main Street. The schedule for the 4th of July celebration called for a military salute to be fired at sunrise, a procession to be formed on Main Street at 10:00 a.m., and a march to the grove (location unknown) at 11:00 a.m., accompanied by a band under the management of Prof. Minor L. Palmer. Exercises started at 11:00 a.m. with a song by the Winfield Quartette Club, the “Star Spangled Banner,” followed by a prayer given by Rev. Mr. S. B. Johnson, pastor of the Congregational denomination, who was chaplain of the day. This was followed by the reading of the “Declaration of Independence” by Mr. Leland J. Webb, an attorney who arrived in May 1871 and became editor of the Cowley County Censor in June 1871.
During the course of events on July 4, 1871, the featured speakers (Rev. A. W. Tousey, Judge T. B. Ross, Rev. Mr. Inman, Col. J. M. Alexander, Rev. E. P. Hickok, D. A. Millington, and A. B. Lemmon) gave responses to toasts made, interspersed with songs and music. The program was concluded with a doxology.
Prof. Minor L. Palmer, Band Leader. On October 28, 1871, Prof. Palmer was the superintendent in charge of Fine Arts at the exposition held in Rodocker’s Hall in Winfield by the Cowley County Agricultural Society, which was unable to exhibit them at the late fair due to the unfavorable state of the weather. In August 1872 M. L. Palmer was paid $6.00 for jury duty. In October 1872 he was engaged by the Cornet Band as their teacher during the winter.
On March 13, 1873, “W. H. S.,” a correspondent from Floral, wrote the following letter to the Winfield Courier. “Last October the undersigned landed in Cowley County, and took a claim in Richland township, twelve miles northeast of Winfield. Before coming here I had been induced to believe that this part of Kansas had been settled, to a very great extent, with a rough class of western pioneers, such as generally follow in the wake of the retreating Red man and buffalo. But never was a man possessed of a more erroneous idea. I have had unusual facilities this winter of observing the character and habits of the citizens of a good portion of the county, and I am compelled to say that I have never met with a more agreeable, honest, sober, and intelligent class of people in any country, old or new. And considering the length of time that the country has been open for settlement, progress made in improvements is entirely beyond precedent. Why, in many places, especially in the valleys, it begins to look like an old country—good houses, barns, and farms. But the most commendable feature in the line of improvements is the splendid schoolhouses being erected, or already completed, all over the country. Old Fogy may dwell among such an enterprising people, but he must of necessity occupy a back seat. I had the pleasure of being present at two exhibitions given at the Darien schoolhouse on the Walnut Valley, Feb. 28th and March 5th—at the close of the first term taught in the house—C. L. Rood, teacher. The house although an unusually large one, was crowded early the first evening to overflowing, and quite a number came who were unable to gain admittance. The exhibition was an entire success in every particular. The selections were good and well performed. The essays, and a newspaper gotten up by the students, were such as would do credit to any community. We could not help noticing throughout the performance a tendency among the young lady performers to give the old bachelors a thrust at every available opportunity; that’s a commendable spirit. In fact, I think it would be a good thing for the community to put all the old bachelors up at auction and sell them to the highest maiden bidder, such a proceeding might be a benefit to your humble servant. But to resume my narrative. Perhaps the most noticeable feature in the entertainment was the music which consisted of both vocal and instrumental—the instruments were an organ, and one tenor and one bass viol. The violin was played by a musician from the vicinity of Dutch Creek, the bass by Mr. Palmer of Winfield. The accompaniment was played by Miss Emma Leffingwell, a member of the school. Miss Leffingwell certainly possesses rare musical talents, and is in a fair way of becoming a great organist. The second exhibition was given in aid of the school, 20 cents admission, and consisted of almost an entirely new programme. The house was well filled but not so badly crowded as at the first, if not more so. Instrumental music same except that Mr. Palmer was not present. Had some excellent songs sung by Mrs. C. L. Rood, Miss E. Leffingwell, Miss Ida Davis, and Miss Mary Akers. But the feature of the last exhibition was the “String-bean-Band”—we think that Barnum would do well to employ that set of minstrels to travel with his new show next summer. Mr. C. L. Rood is certainly entitled to great praise for the able manner in which he conducted the exhibitions. I cannot help expressing here my sincere thanks for the kind and hospitable manner in which your correspondent, though a total stranger, was entertained during the exhibitions by Mr. Wm. Grow and his amiable mother, who live in the vicinity of the schoolhouse. Mr. Grow possesses a fine farm and residence, and how he can live a bachelor life among all those blooming maidens that abound in the Walnut Valley, is entirely beyond our comprehension. W. H. S.”
In August 1873 a civil case occurred between D. M. Osburn et al vs. M. L. Palmer, which resulted in a sale being set aside. In the same month Mrs. M. L. Palmer was a member of the Methodist Church committee planning to hold a picnic Mr. W. W. Andrews’ grove
On December 10, 1874, the Winfield Courier printed an item written at Medicine Lodge on November 25, 1874.
“EDITOR COURIER: Please announce through the columns of your paper the death of J. W. Palmer (familiarly known as Chubbie), son of Minor L. and Eula Palmer, early settlers and for a long time residents of Winfield. The deceased came to his death on the 28th day of October, 1874, by the accidental discharge of a shot gun while he was duck hunting. He was seventeen years of age, was a member of Co. A, Barbour County Militia, and took part in the engagements had between the Osage Indians and Company A at Red mounds in Harper County, August 7th, 1874, where he distinguished himself for his bravery in his efforts to overtake the fleeing savages. Though the youngest, yet the foremost in the pursuit. His remains were escorted to their last resting place by Company A and many citizen friends. His death was a severe blow not only to his parents, but to his many friends and associates, as he was loved and esteemed by all who knew him.
“M. W. SUTTON, Co. Atty., Medicine Lodge, Barbour Co., Kansas.”
Featured Speakers: July 4, 1871.
A. W. Tousey. Topic: “President of the United States.” A. W. Tousey became pastor of the Baptist congregation in October 1870, at which time there were only about eight charter members. Rev. Winfield Scott, the Baptist pastor at Leavenworth, was present and preached the first Baptist sermon delivered in Cowley County. Meetings were held wherever an empty shanty could be found, but often in the store of Bliss, Tousey & Co., started earlier that year when Tousey and his brother-in-law, C. A. Bliss, purchased the only stock of general merchandise in Winfield from T. H. Baker and E. C. Manning, partners. Rev. Tousey married Jennie S. Bliss prior to coming to Winfield. In May 1871 Bliss, Tousey & Co. became agents for a lumber yard started by Maj. Beebee of Thayer. A. W. Tousey died some months later. By October 1871 the store name had changed to C. A. Bliss & Co., which handled dry goods, stoneware, syrup, salt, and dried buffalo meat for 12½ to 15 cents. Mrs. Jennie Bliss Tousey was a partner with her brother in maintaining the store, and was involved as executrix of the estate of A. W. Tousey in a civil suit with Wm. Bartlow in October 1871. In 1872 a stone building was built and occupied by the Baptist congregation on a lot previously held by the Old Lagonda block, which later became a boarding house.
E. C. Manning was the first postmaster of Winfield, Kansas, being elected to that position in May 1870.
There were two accounts relative to which man was the second postmaster of Winfield: Rev. A. W. Tousey or C. A. Bliss.
The Cowley County Democrat, July 13, 1876, relating the history of Cowley County from a speech given by Wirt Walton, stated that Rev. A. W. Tousey was the second postmaster.
The second account was printed in the Walnut Valley Times, May 26, 1871, which gave a report from D. D. M., a correspondent of the State Record. “Winfield is the County seat of Cowley County. Last October the site was an unbroken prairie, now it contains half a hundred houses.
“C. A. Bliss, formerly of the firm of Bliss & Lee of Topeka, is the postmaster and stage agent, and has besides a large stock of goods, and is getting rich, I think. He says anybody that can’t make money in that country, should have a guardian appointed to take care of him. He is a generous and true hearted man, and is well deserving of success. As evidence of the public spirit of the citizens, I will relate an incident.
“The Baptist Society had a festival recently to raise a little money towards building a church. A cake to be given to the prettiest girl, brought to the treasury $158, and the total contributions of the evening reached upwards of $300.
“Among the principal men of the town are Col. Manning, Col. Alexander of Leavenworth, D. A. Millington, and J. C. Fuller, of Fort Scott, who are all members of the town company.
“The town site of Winfield is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. From an eminence on Col. Alexander’s claim, adjoining the town, the view is perfectly enchanting. Wells and springs abound, one of the latter flowing from a hillside into a deep rocky basin, in volume sufficient if carried into pipes, to supply the town.
“But enough for the present. If the readers wish to see the land of promise, the country that in a few years will be conceded to be the Egypt of Kansas, let him visit the Walnut Valley, running through the counties of Butler and Cowley. The route is by cars to Florence, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, thence by stage. D. D. M.”
T. K. Johnston was appointed postmaster at Winfield in September 1871.
Judge T. B. Ross. Topic: “The Day We Celebrate.” Thomas Benton Ross was born October 2, 1794, in Georgia, 25 miles from Atlanta. He was of Scotch-Irish extraction. He enlisted in the war of 1812 with Col. Richard M. Johnson’s Kentucky riflemen, a force picked by Johnson of 100 crack riflemen, who fought the British and Indians in Canada. He became a Major in the Black Hawk War in 1832. In November 1868 T. B. Ross, accompanied by his sons, came south to view the country that in time became Cowley County. In January 1869 the Ross family settled on a claim located three miles northwest of the future city of Winfield on section 17, located on the Walnut river. A Methodist minister, Ross was the first preacher in Cowley County. The Osage Indians drove out the settlers in the fall of 1869. When they told him to go, Ross refused unless they returned the team of horses they had stolen. They did not return the horses, but allowed Ross ad his family to remain unscathed. Thomas Benton Ross was the first Probate Judge of Cowley County; in fact, the only judge on all laws in 1870. His name is on all deeds issued from the government to individuals on the original town site of Winfield. On December 31, 1879, Judge T. B. Ross died at home. The Winfield Courier reported that the immediate cause of his death was a violent cold.
Rev. Mr. Inman. Topic: “Cowley County.” Information about this minister was not found.
Col. J. M. Alexander. Topic: “Lo! The Poor Indian.” J. M. Alexander spent his time between Leavenworth and Winfield, Kansas. In October 1870 he became a merchant in Winfield with his partner, R. B. Saffold. They handled dry goods and groceries in a store located on the corner of Broadway and 5th Avenue, south of the Walnut Valley House. Col. Alexander returned from Eureka, Kansas four days before the July 4th celebration, where he attended a meeting of the Directors of the K. C. B. & S. F. Railroad. Col. Alexander reported that if the proper steps were taken, Winfield could secure this road at an early day. Col. Alexander made an unsuccessful attempt to became a Senator from the 25th District in October 1871, a district comprised of the counties of Howard, Cowley, Butler, and Sedgwick. Also, in October 1871 the old stand of Alexander & Saffold was taken over by W. L. Mullen and C. C. Stevens of Baxter Springs, who opened a wholesale liquor store By January 1872 Alexander and Saffold, lawyers, were members of the Winfield bar.
E. P. Hickok. Topic: “The Ladies of Cowley County.” E. P. Hickok was elected as Cowley County District Clerk on November 8, 1870. He held this position until January 10, 1873. Prof. Hickok was elected as Superintendent of Public Instruction, in Cowley County on September 4, 1871. He held this position for two terms.
Rev. Hickok established a farm about three miles southeast of Winfield on the Walnut River, which became popular as a place to hold picnics. He was awarded a premium in 1872 for his entry in the “Mares and Fillies” category and short-horned cattle. Rev. E. P. Hickok became wealthy during the years he held office. Shortly before his term as Superintendent of Public Instruction expired on January 11, 1873, it was revealed that he received $98.49 for office rent and $200.00 as Superintendent of Public Instruction in addition to his monthly fee as District Clerk.
In 1878 E. P. Hickok paid H. C. Loomis $500 for a block in 28-32-4 consisting of three acres and hired J. Hoenscheidt, a Winfield architect, to build his new residence.
D. A. Millington. Topic: “Our Railroad Enterprises.” August 15, 1870, is the date shown in a number of the Cowley County records as the date on which J. C. Fuller and D. A. Millington arrived at Winfield.
The date of August 15, 1870, does not appear to correspond with an item that appeared in the Emporia News, September 2, 1870. “A new town, called Sumner, has just been laid out in Sumner County. The proprietors are: J. M. Steele, C. S. Roe, and J. H. Liggett, of Wichita; J. Jay Buck and E. W. Cunningham, of Emporia; James C. Fuller, Addison Richards, and Mr. Millington, of Fort Scott; Col. J. C. McMullen, of Clarksville, Tennessee; and Maj. Woodsmall, of Gosport, Indiana. This town is situated in the geographical center of Sumner County, on Slate Creek, and about thirty miles south from Wichita. A stock of goods is already on the ground. A full and complete newspaper outfit is already secured, and it is the intention of the proprietors to have a hotel up and a saw mill in operation soon. This place is immediately on the Texas cattle trail, and may soon be a brisk town. The finest wood and water claims are there to be had. We look for the organization of Sumner County at the next session of the Legislature.”
D. A. Millington and J. C. Fuller built the first bank building in Winfield. It was noted in March 1871 that John B. Fairbank, a local attorney, had an office in their building. At first Millington was busy with E. C. Manning in viewing routes to Howard County and other nearby locations. Millington maintained the Winfield Town Company office at the bank. He received and handled declaratory statements of preemption by early white settlers on the Osage Diminished Reserve for the U. S. Land Office, to be handled as soon as the plats could be filed. He also attended to the purchase and sale of improvements on claims, handled the renting of buildings and farms, and other matters connected with a general land agency.
In May 1871 D. A. Millington, one of the viewers for a state road from Florence to Arkansas City, finished his work on the new road which shortened the distance from El Dorado to Florence by 31 miles. Also, a stage company opened a daily route from Florence to Arkansas City via El Dorado, Augusta, Douglass, Walnut, Lone Tree, Rock, and Winfield. The interest in securing a railroad was intense.
Allen B. Lemmon. Topic: “The Rising Generation.” Mr. Lemmon, a resident of Tisdale Township in 1871, was twenty-four years of age when he spoke to the citizens of Winfield relative to educating the youth of Cowley County. Born in Harrison County, Ohio, Mr. Lemmon was reared and educated in Iowa, becoming the principal of the public school at Brighton, Iowa, at the age of nineteen. He there earned the means to put him into the Iowa State University, from which he graduated at the head of his class in 1869. Going directly to Arkansas he organized the public schools at Ft. Smith, and remained there two years. He moved to Cowley County in the spring of 1871 and purchased a farm. He became noted as an educator in the county and state. He married a daughter of D. A. Millington.