PHOTO 3: 1877.
ARRIVAL OF STAGECOACH AT CENTRAL HOTEL.
Mr. Sid S. Majors took over the Lagonda House in September 1876 and renamed it the “Central Hotel.” This hotel was located on the northeast corner of 8th and Main in Winfield. Mr. Majors is shown in this scene, which appears to have been taken when it was cold inasmuch as the people seen are wearing light winter clothes.
M. L. Bangs, the Winfield express agent, was mentioned by the Winfield Courier on May 4, 1876. “Bangs, our express agent, has made an improvement in the city express line. He delivers the express matter about town on his back.” On May 11, 1876, the Courier followed up with the following article. “The stage from Wichita last Saturday got sandwiched between Spring and Dog Creeks and the passengers, of which we were one, had to take to the water to find dry land. Hack, horses, and everything went down in the mud. Through the efforts of our worthy local agent, Mr. Bangs, and ‘Tommy,’ the driver, the mail and the females were transferred to a wagon and driven back to El Paso for the night. In getting out of our difficulty, we happened to drive over a field of wheat which was under water that belonged to an idiot on Dog Creek. He swam the creek and chased us on foot for about two miles. That was all the good it did him, however, as we hadn’t time to converse with him. We saw him the next morning. He brandished a weapon in front of the stage and demanded ‘damages or blood.’ Bangs modestly but firmly suggested that ‘This is the U. S. mail line. One man and one shot gun has no legal right to delay these documents of importance; these letters of business; and these epistles of love that are trying to reach their destination. Stand aside, my friend. Lay your troubles before special mail agent Jno. M. Crowell. He will refer you to Senator Ingalls, he to the Department at Washington, and it will give you redress.’ We drove on. The fellow sat down and cried. Bangs was too much for him.”
The stage shown was undoubtedly one that belonged to Henry Tisdale of Lawrence, who became sole proprietor of the Southwestern Stage Company in 1876. Tisdale set up staging stables and stage drivers throughout Kansas and Indian Territory. In 1877 trains arriving at Wichita connected with the Southwestern Stage Company, which had stages arriving and departing daily for Augusta, Douglass, Winfield, Arkansas City, Oxford, Belle Plaine, El Paso, Sumner City, Wellington, Pond Creek Cheyenne Agency, Wichita Agency, and Fort Sill.
In March 1877, M. L. Bangs, the enterprising agent of the Southwestern Stage Company, helped the appearance of the stage barn in Winfield by giving it a good coat of whitewash. He went further than that by giving the corn crib and fence the same treatment.
James Fahey, known as “Mickey Jim,” was a stage coachman for about twenty years in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, and Colorado, arriving in Emporia when that city was longing for a railroad and again at Newton, El Dorado, and finally Wichita. In May 1877 “Mickey Jim,” at that time the driver from Wichita to El Paso, was seriously hurt in crossing the bridge over the little creek at the Dutch Ranche, some few miles south of Wichita. He was driving his four horses and the heavy coach. The leaders became frightened and backed off the bridge, pulling the whole outfit after them. The horses were all more or less injured, and the coach smashed into flinders. “Mickey” went down with the coach and horses, and sustained very serious injuries—his arm being broken and his back badly hurt. Mr. Fahey left the world of upset coaches and broken limbs to become one of Winfield’s quiet citizens in May 1878, dealing fermented spirits over the bar at the National Saloon, located on the southeast corner of Main Street and 8th Avenue in Winfield across from the Central Hotel.
Mr. Fahey replaced the earlier occupants at this location: George P. Townsend and James C. Binner. In June 1877 the Winfield City Council issued a license for a saloon and billiard hall to Messrs. Townsend & Carrol, of Independence, Kansas, whose outfit consisted of a billiard table, a fifteen ball pool table, large mirrors, glassware, etc. The building was repaired and fitted up for their use. Carroll became ill in July 1877 and was replaced in August 1877 with James C. Binner. Townsend advertised their saloon as the “Custom House.” In September it was reported that Binner lost $600 by theft and the money was not recovered. The Winfield Courier gave him advice: “Deposit your money in a bank the next time, James. Winfield has two of the soundest banks that there are in the State.” In October 1877 Binner was granted the privilege of carrying on the saloon business under the license issued to Geo. P. Townsend when his bond was approved at a special meeting of the Winfield City Council. Binner changed the name of the saloon, calling it the “Railroad Saloon.” In December 1877 he purchased four fine oil landscape paintings, which he hung upon the wall, and some fine engravings of the many celebrated trotting and running horses of that day. The saloon closed in April 1878 when it was announced that its proprietor, James C. Binner, was gone, gone, gone, and his creditors were scrambling over what he left behind. The liquor from the saloon was sold on the street at auction in June 1878.
In October 1879 Mr. M. L. Bangs, agent of the Southwestern Stage Company, sent stock to be left at stations on the mail route between Winfield and Okmulgee. In December 1879 he added a new omnibus and baggage wagon to the southwestern transfer line at Winfield.
The Southwestern Stage Company was mentioned in the February 5, 1880, issue of the Winfield Courier. “The excursion to Wichita by the Winfield Rifles last Thursday evening passed off very pleasantly, barring a few hard characters, not belonging to the company, who got too much liquor aboard. The two coaches chartered by the company were comfortably filled by about 100 ladies and gentlemen. At the Wichita depot the Rifles were met by the Wichita Guards and were escorted to their armory where they stacked arms and dispersed to the various hotels for supper. The Tremont House seemed to be the favorite with the boys, and A. N. Deming was compelled to enlarge his culinary department to accommodate them. After supper, in company with Frank Smith, of the Beacon, we took in the town, visiting the principal business houses, and finally bringing up at the Opera House, the pride and glory of Wichita, which is truly a magnificent building. The building is one-story, with very high ceilings, and will seat about 1,000 people. It has a gallery running about half-way around the building, and a large vestibule with box offices and waiting rooms complete. Last but not least is the stage, which is 40 x 60, and has been furnished regardless of cost. The scenery and fixtures will compare favorably with that of any theatre west of the Mississippi. The drama of the ‘Union Spy,’ by the Wichita Guards, was simply immense. We had heard the piece spoken of highly by those who had seen it, but our anticipations were surpassed by the reality of the play. Judge Campbell as ‘Albert Morton,’ in Andersonville prison, brought tears to the eyes of most of the audience, and even Krets, of the Telegram, was suspiciously handy with his pocket-handkerchief. One of the Winfield boys, who had been through Libby prison, excused this unmanly condition by saying: ‘If you-you’d a b-b-been there like I was, y-y-you’d a cri-cried, too.’ At half-past twelve the train started homeward, and the time was passed very pleasantly in the ladies’ car, with music and singing. Special credit is due Conductor Siverd, of the A. T. & S. F. for his accommodating manners and gentlemanly conduct during the trip, and also the Southwestern Stage Co., which furnished free transportation to and from the depot.”
By August 1880 M. L. Bangs was working for the K. C., L. & S. railway at Wellington. By October 1881 he was stationed at Moline, Kansas, with a survey corps of the A. T. & S. F. Railway.
Arthur C. Bangs, brother of M. L. Bangs, became manager of the Southwestern Stage and Omnibus Line for Henry Tisdale in June 1881. Their office was on 9th Avenue. At the same time A. C. Bangs became chief clerk at the Williams House at Winfield. Bangs had a partner in the omnibus line handled at Winfield: Cal Ferguson.
In April 1882 Arthur Bangs took it upon himself to break Charley Black’s trotter. The horse had run away with Mr. Black and his family some days before and Mrs. Black sustained injuries as a result. The horse became frightened and started down the street with Arthur swinging on to the lines like fun. The buggy struck a wagon wheel on Main street, and the concussion sent Arthur flying through the air. He landed on his feet in a wagon bed and the horse went proceeded to run east on Ninth Avenue and was last seen between the mounds. The buggy was somewhat wrecked. Soon after Mr. and Mrs. Black accompanied his grandmother, Mrs. S. L. Brettun, and his cousin, Miss Lou Crapster, to Hampton, Illinois, where most of the party planned to spend the summer. The paper noted that Miss Crapster had left her “bangs.” Arthur Bangs went to Hampton in October, where he was married to Miss Lou Crapster. The couple returned soon afterwards to Winfield.
Mrs. Henry Tisdale of Lawrence, wife of the owner of the Southwestern Stage Line and proprietor of the omnibus lines used in the Winfield area, spent a week with Mr. and Mrs. Arthur C. Bangs in August 1883. By November 1883 Arthur Bangs bought the half interest in the omnibus business owned by Cal. Ferguson, allowing him to pay $1,000 in January 1884 for a new omnibus illuminated with red and gold oil paintings on the outside.