PHOTO 4: 1878.
Sydal Harness Shop.
The first occupant of the building on the northeast corner of Main Street and Ninth Avenue in Winfield was J. P. Short.
Winfield Courier, August 12, 1926.
James P. Short came to Winfield in the year 1870, and getting from the townsite company the lots on the northeast corner of Ninth and Main now covered by the buildings occupied by the Stafford Abstract company and Olds’s Drug store, he erected thereon first a tent and later a log house in which he kept Winfield’s first hotel. Later he built the building which now occupies the corner and houses the Cowley County Bank.
[Note: The first hotel was called the Walnut Valley House.]
Biographical Record, 1870.
Mr. James P. Short was born in Livingston County, New York, in 1845.
In Livingston County the subject of this sketch grew to manhood, attended the seminary, and was preparing to enter college, when, at eighteen years of age, he went to the war, enlisting in the 8th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, which was raised in Western New York, the home of the colonel, Peter A. Porter, being at Niagara Falls. The regiment was first stationed at Forts McHenry and Federal Hill, Baltimore, Maryland. In the spring of 1864, when Gen. Grant took command of the Army of the Potomac, for the final struggle, the colonel asked for field service and the regiment was assigned to Hancock’s (2nd) Corps, and went through the campaign from the Wilderness to Petersburg, and later on to Appomattox. In this campaign of almost continuous fighting the regiment lost heavily. At Cold Harbor, about 12 miles out of Richmond, 650 men of the regiment were killed or wounded in less than twenty minutes. In one of the numerous battles around Richmond, Mr. Short was severely wounded, and spent most of the time thereafter at Lincoln Hospital, in Washington, until mustered out at the close of the war, in 1865.
Returning home, he again entered school, but found himself far behind the class on account of his two years’ absence, and soon decided to take Greeley’s advice and go West. He started for California, going by steamer from New York, then across the Isthmus of Panama, and up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco, a three weeks’ journey. In 1869, the Union Pacific Railroad was completed to the coast, and Mr. Short, disposing of his restaurant business, returned East on the eleventh through train to Omaha; it was a nine days’ trip in those days. In the spring of 1870, with his mother and sisters, Mr. Short arrived in Kansas, locating then at Topeka. The Santa Fe Railway had started from there and was building westward toward Emporia. Southern Kansas was attracting immigration, and he joined the Cook brothers, of Topeka, who had, early in the spring, located claims on the Walnut River, and had returned for supplies; the trip was made by wagon. There were no bridges over any of the streams in this drive of 200 miles, and in many places the rough road was but a wagon track in the prairie grass. Mr. Short spent most of the summer in a log cabin on the river bank, about nine miles south of Winfield, on what is now part of the noted “Magnolia Farm,” in Pleasant Valley Township.
Winfield had been made the county seat, and a stage route had been put in operation along the Walnut River, from Emporia. Winfield greatly needed a hotel for the accommodation of people who desired to locate, and Col. Manning, president of the Winfield Town Company, induced Mr. Short to erect a hotel building, by offering him two lots on the northeast corner of Main Street and Ninth Avenue. The free offer was accepted, and the building was erected. During the construction, Mr. Short lived in a tent, thus partly renewing the old army life, without the attendant bullets and graybacks. The Walnut Valley House was opened on the first of October, and was the first building erected on the east side of Main Street, and the first two-story frame structure on the townsite. At that time there were only six other buildings, two of which were made of logs. The frame was sawed out of trees from the river, and the pine lumber, doors, windows, etc., were hauled from Emporia, 150 miles away. The old building was still standing in 1901, on Ninth Avenue, and its original site was then occupied by the Cowley County National Bank building. Mr. Short owned an interest in it. In 1871 he started a lumber yard, getting stock from Emporia, which by now had become the end of the Santa Fe Railway, as it built west.
[Note: As indicated above, the Walnut Valley House was a two-story frame structure. This does not correspond with Winfield Courier item on August 12, 1926, which indicated structure was built of logs. Above article indicates that the Short hotel opened on October 1, 1870.]
In 1872 Mr. Short was married to Lissa M. Phillips, a native of New York State, who had journeyed west, to visit her brother, Edgar D. Phillips, one of the first settlers, and the first trustee of Rock Township. To this union were born Philip P., Edna H., and Ethel F. In the next few years, Mr. Short was engaged in various enterprises. As acting treasurer, he collected the first tax levied in the county. He was deputy county clerk, served several terms as city clerk and assessor; was a member of the board of education; president of the Winfield Building and Loan Association; and secretary of the county fair several years. He built several business and dwelling houses, and was always prominent in every public enterprise tending toward the development of the new country. He spent some time and money furthering the various projects which assisted in making Winfield one of the best towns in Southern Kansas.
In 1883 Mr. Short moved to his farm, situated on the west half of the northeast quarter of section 34, township 32, range 4 east, located just outside the city limits of Winfield. He erected large and commodious buildings, and planted about 10 acres in fruit and ornamental trees and shrubbery. The Black Crook Creek, which ran across the corner of his place, was well timbered, and in location, quality of land, and excellence of improvements, his farm was considered as one of the model farms of Cowley County.
A Republican, Mr. Short cast his first vote for U. S. Grant. He was a member of Siverd Post, No. 85, G. A. R., and, universally, commanded the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens.
In April 1874 Nate Roberson married Miss Margaret E. Mentch in Winfield, Kansas. On July 4, 1874, the 98th anniversary of the declaration of American independence was ushered in at Winfield with a round of 37 guns. Over 5,000 people were in the procession which started at 10:00 a.m. Sheriff R. L. Walker, Chief Marshal for the day, aided by a corps of capable assistants, soon had the mass in motion headed for a grove. The Winfield Silver Cornet Band, closely followed by the car of freedom containing 37 beautiful young ladies and drawn by four horses driven by Mr. N. Roberson, headed the procession.
Roberson took over the building formerly used by the Cowley County Telegram in August 1874, when editor W. M. Allison and staff were forced to move into cheaper quarters in the basement of M. L. Read’s Bank. Roberson turned it into a harness shop.
Roberson’s business grew and he soon had the largest stock of saddles in Cowley County. By September 1874 Roberson had a new addition built and had weighing scales. The Winfield Courier commented: “The squeal of the festive hog is heard almost any hour of the day as they are being weighed on the scales of Nate Roberson. We never before supposed there were so many hogs in the county as we have seen in the past two weeks.”
Roberson had a stage barn in El Dorado as well as his harness shop in Winfield. In July 1876 his stage barn was struck by lightning. Nine horses were killed and his barn, carriages, and coaches, worth in the aggregate probably twenty-five hundred dollars, were entirely consumed by the fire that followed. Roberson sold his harness shop in Winfield to Mr. J. C. Franklin in August 1876 and moved to El Dorado, where he engaged in the harness-making business.
J. C. Franklin.
Mr. Franklin continued at Roberson’s old stand and continued selling and repairing harness and saddles. In February 1877 a very fine yoke of four year old steeds were weighed upon J. C. Franklin’s scales. One weighed 1584 lbs., and the other weighed 1586 lbs., total weight 3170. Franklin advertised saddles for sale from $3.50 to $25.00. On March 8, 1877, he ran the following ad in the Winfield Courier. “Long tug, flat-pad, hip-strap harness for 25 dollars at Franklin’s. Short-tug, hip-strap harness at Franklin’s for 20 dollars and other goods in proportion. That self-adjusting hip-strap harness at Franklin’s for $28.00 is one of the many good things found in his large stock.” By 1877 it appeared that Franklin was planning to return to California when he began to over an exchange of harness for wood and announced he would sell his entire stock of harness, saddles, etc., at reduced prices for cash. His plans changed when he married Miss Ella E. Scott of Winfield on January 1, 1878, at the residence of Mr. Rex. In August 1878 Mr. Franklin sold his harness and saddlery to F. J. Sydal of Cedar Vale and moved with his wife to Santa Rosa, California, where he had friends and property. In March 1879 his residence on South Loomis street was sold to J. D. Pryor.
F. J. Sydal’s Harness Shop.
By September 1878 F. J. Sydal’s harness shop, located opposite Manning’s new building, was advertising saddles for cash from $3.00 each up to $20.00 at Franklin’s old location. On September 26, 1878, Sydal stressed bargains in harness and saddles for cash in his building opposite Manning’s new building. In May 1879 Sydal’s ad played up his old reliable Harness & Saddle Shop on Main Street, Winfield, just north of the crossing on Ninth Avenue. On February 12, 1880, F. J. Sydal’s ad was different. “Great Disaster! Three hundred persons lost their lives by the fall of the bridge across the Fay in Scotland, and hundreds of others are maimed for life by using old and worthless Harness. To avoid such a calamity, Buy Your Harness of Sydal. Opposite the Opera House.”
In March 1880 members and adherents of the Episcopal Church in Winfield held a meeting to organize a parish under the name of Grace Church. The following officers were elected: Senior Warden, G. A. Scovill; Junior Warden, T. C. Woodruff; Vestrymen, R. E. Wallis, T. K. Johnston, W. H. Smith, H. P. Vermilye, and F. J. Sydal. J. E. Snow became the Parish Clerk. The parish hoped to secure the services of a settled clergyman at an early date.
Sydal added a new feature in May 1880: single and double buggy tops, ready made. In June 1880 he astounded everyone by shipping 25,000 pounds of wool. It became apparent on New Year’s Day in January 1881 that his business was in trouble when he made an assignment to his creditors. His liabilities were almost $200 in excess of the invoice value of his stock. In April 1881 Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Sydal were sued by James H. Finch.
James H. Finch.
James H. Finch presented a petition in March 1873 for a new township in Cowley County to be taken off from Tisdale and Omnia townships. He was successful and the new township of Silver Creek was the result. Finch later moved to Winfield.
Mrs. Delphine Manning, wife of E. C. Manning, died on February 20, 1873. Finch went to Arkansas on a four weeks’ trip in late October 1874 with Col. E. C. Manning, Mrs. Manning, Judge Ross, John Ross, and Mr. and Mrs. Murphy. Manning’s law partner, T. H. Johnson, Manning’s law partner from June 1, 1871, to June 1, 1874, was appointed as a Probate Judge in June 1872 by the Governor and elected to that position in August 1872. He departed from Winfield in 1875. On January 1, 1874, a marriage license was issued by Judge Johnson and witnessed by W. M. Boyer, Justice of the Peace. It is not known on what date Judge Johnson wrote the following item in red ink on the face of this license: “The license of which this purports to be a copy was issued in the month of November, 1873, to Charlie A. Craine and Maggie J. Foster, and the dates together with the name of Charlie A. Craine were erased by some person unknown to me and without my knowledge and consent and the name of Edwin C. Manning was inserted. I never at any time issued a license to Edwin C. Manning and Maggie J. Foster. T. H. Johnson, Probate Judge, Cowley County.”
J. H. Finch became a constable in Winfield in 1877. He became a deputy sheriff under C. L. Harter in January 1878 and was soon in charge of prisoners at the “Hotel de Finch.” The following item appeared in The Daily Winfield Courier, Saturday Morning, May 11, 1878. “While J. H. Finch was on the witness stand in court, in answer to the question, ‘What official position do you hold in this county?’ replied: ‘Constable, jailer, deputy sheriff, deputy U. S. marshal, and ex-deputy postmaster.’” J. H. Finch was elected as assistant door-keeper of the Kansas Senate in January 1881. A sort of compromise verdict was rendered in the Sydal-Finch case in November 1881, when R. E. Sydal, a relative, took charge.
R. E. Sydal: Interest in F. J. Sydal Farm Harness and Saddle Factory.
R. E. Sydal inserted an ad in the Cowley County Courant on November 24, 1881, relative to the Sydal farm harness and saddle factory at a stand opposite the Opera House in Winfield. R. E. Sydal was a member of the “Merchants and Business Men’s Protection Association,” formed at a meeting held at the Brettun House in January 1882. Their object: mutual protection against the class of men who obtain credit at one place as long as possible, then change to another, and so on around, and for heading off dead-beats of every kind. After the adjournment of the meeting all repaired to the dining room of the Brettun and ate oysters and celery, drank coffee and cream, told vigorous stories of dead-beats and bill-jumpers, and treated each other to little bits of business experience that furnished points for future action. The supper was nicely served and thirty-nine sat down to the long table and took two or more dishes of “Oysters-loony style,” with fruit and lighter refreshments thrown in.
In August 1882 the old scales were removed from in front of Sydal’s to Burden. They had been put down in 1874.
F. J. Sydal Factory: Information about some of the Employees.
The Sydal factory employed a number of good workmen: J. B. Chambers, F. J. Barton, Chas. Sweeney, etc. The Winfield Courier had only one item concerning a bad employee. “April 13, 1882. One Wilcox who has been building harness for Sydal was taken up in an intoxicated condition by the marshal. In default of cash he was taken to the jug.
On December 17, 1885, the Winfield Courier had an item concerning another employee.
“Thomas Lynch, one of Frank Sydal’s harness makers, came in from Caldwell yesterday. He saw the body of Noyes, as it dangled from the beam in the stock yards. He also saw a cowboy on the train, coming out from Caldwell, who was butchered up terribly and claimed to have been waylaid in Caldwell the night before. Some connected this cowboy’s condition with the hanging of the night before. The general belief is that there was a council of war during the four hours between Noyes’s leaving home and the supposed hour of his hanging.
Details about the Noyes’ hanging were given by area newspapers. Frank Noyes was a saloon-keeper at Caldwell, Kansas, and considered a leader among the whiskeyites. In August 1885 he was jailed at Wellington for violating the prohibitory law. On Tuesday morning, December 8, 1885, at about 1:00 a.m., someone knocked at the door of the Noyes’ residence. Mrs. Noyes, who answered the door, later reported that a man who stated he was the sheriff of Sumner County and that he had a warrant for her husband and demanded that Mr. Noyes go with them to Wellington at once. When Mr. Noyes was dressed and started to leave, Mrs. Noyes attempted to follow, but the door was shut in her face and held by the unknown caller. Supposing that her husband had been taken to Wellington, Mrs. Noyes boarded the early morning train and went to Wellington. The train departed from Caldwell a few minutes after 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Up to 5:00 a.m., parties were engaged in loading hogs and passed through the gate to a beam in the depot stockyards where Noyes’ body was found at daylight hanging stiff and cold. At an inquest held in Wellington, Mrs. Noyes testified that she recognized the caller as Deputy Sheriff Jones, a resident of Caldwell. Since she was the only witness, her testimony could not be corroborated. Frank Noyes was a man of about 35 years of age, about six feet high, and good looking. He resided at Caldwell for several years and kept a saloon there. Sometime in 1885 it was determined that he had been running a “blind tiger” or “whiskey joint” in Caldwell. As a result, he served out a sentence of thirty days in the county jail for a violation of the prohibitory law. Speculation persisted on why he was hung for some time: some thought it was due to his possible participation in the house-burning business recently inflicted on Caldwell prohibitionists; others thought it was due to his old partners in crime who feared he would turn state’s evidence on them.
Mr. Glendening, an employee of the Free Press in Caldwell, considered a radical prohibition paper, was the recipient of anonymous notes telling him to resign. On the morning of the warning he received another note: “This is the last warning. Beware!” After hearing the news about Noyes, Mr. Glendening quit his job and moved to Mulvane.
Green’s Drug Store. [First Location.]
A. H. Green, ex-Postmaster, ex-Captain, U. S. A., lawyer, druggist, and insurance agent, was born in Iowa in 1843. He moved to Indiana, where he met his wife, Lettice, and with their first two children, moved to Winfield on February 8, 1871, where he commenced selling drugs on the following day. Green established his first drug store on Main street, Winfield. The Cowley County Censor of March 18, 1871, had an ad placed by A. H. Green, attorney at law, real estate and fire insurance agent. By May 1871 Green had a partner, Jno. C. King. They maintained an office at Green’s Drug Store, commonly called “The City Drug Store.” In October 1871 Green, a Republican, was an unsuccessful nominee for the position of Treasurer in Cowley County. In July 1872 Dr. J. O. Houx hung out his shingle in a building one door south of Green’s drug store; in October Bert Covert opened a meat market one door north of the drug store. Also, in October 1872 a new silversmith’s shop was located in Green’s drug store. Evidently the silversmith folded his tent and faded away in a very short time. Houx moved his dental office one door south of C. A. Bliss in 1875.
In January 1873 A. H. Green made changes, tearing out the old front to his store and putting in an open business front. His store adjoined W. H. H. Maris’ dry goods store, located on the southwest corner of Main Street and Eighth Avenue in Winfield. Winfield at that time had three retail drug houses. Enoch Maris and Dr. W. G. Graham formed a co-partnership for the purpose of engaging in the drug business and secured Green’s newly refitted building. The Maris-Graham partnership soon folded.
In February 1873 A. H. Green began laying the foundation for his new law office, a 16 by 28 ft. frame building with a handsome finished front, on the second lot south of J. C. Fuller’s Bank, which would compliment the bank building of M. L. Read, to be erected in the coming spring. In that same month Green became the senior partner in a law firm with J. B. Fairbank and E. S. Torrance. [In 1880 when Green was publishing his Kansas Real Estate News, his office was listed as being on Main Street, west side, between 9th and 10th Avenues, first door south of Read’s Bank.]
A. H. Green reclaimed his drug store in May 1873 and installed a soda fountain. He also received the appointment of Deputy U. S. District Attorney in August 1873. In October 1873 Green, a member of the 9th Indiana Voluntary Infantry in the late war, joined with others in a reunion of Union soldiers at Winfield on Thanksgiving Day.
In September 1874 A. H. Green was made a General of the Militia of the southwest. This position was questioned by W. M. Allison of the Telegram. The Winfield Courier informed its readers that Mr. Green was a captain during the rebellion, and carried recommendations signed by six or eight generals, among whom was the name of Gen. Sherman. The editor of the Courier commented: “Whether Green is capacitated for commanding the Militia is only a difference of opinion between Allison and Gen. Sherman.”
Green’s Drug Store. [Second Location.]
In 1870 the first occupant of the corner of Main Street and Ninth Avenue in Winfield, Kansas, was J. P. Short, who got his lots from the Winfield townsite company. His first residence was a leaky tent, in which he lived for several months while he erected a log house, which became Winfield’s first hotel: the Walnut Valley House.
In January 1873 Mr. L. B. Paul maintained a wholesale and retail grocery store on Main Street, Winfield, one door south of the Lagonda House. On June 19, 1873, Paul moved his stock of groceries, Queensware, etc., into his new store room, the “Diamond Corner,” on the corner of Main and 9th Avenue, nearly opposite the old log store. Paul was a Union veteran, having served with Co. G., 125 Ohio Vol. Infantry. In January 1874 Paul and family moved to Independence, Kansas. He returned in April and purchased 20 pounds of butter at 25¢ per pound and shipped it by express to Indianapolis, Indiana, where it was worth 50¢ per pound. By February 1876 Paul was a flourishing druggist at Indianapolis, Indiana.
In August 1874 A. H. Green had moved his drug store into the former store owned by Paul and installed a soda fountain. He was doling out what little ice was left in Winfield. By November 1874 John M. Reed, Painter, had an office over Green’s Drug Store. It appears that a new owner took over Green’s drug store in September 1875: J. P. Sloan. Mr. Sloan fitted up the upstairs to his Main Street building, known as Green’s drug store, the front room of which was to be occupied by W. P. Hackney as a law office. J. P. Short was the contact for rental of a nice office room over Green’s Drug Store in October 1875.
Prof. Jno. Nichols, he of the towel and razor of Winfield, moved into the building one door north of Green’s drug store, in October 1875.
In January 1876 A. H. Green purchased the news department and stationery of Police Judge W. M. Boyer, who was the first news dealer in Winfield.
In August 1876 County Attorney A. J. Pyburn formed a law partnership with O. M. Seward, late of the Ann Arbor law school. Their office was over Green’s drug store.
In September 1876 one of the coal oil lamps in the chandelier in Green’s drug store caught on fire and exploded. The fire was quickly extinguished when someone destroyed some pieces of bed clothing and applied a bucket of water. The counter was scorched and glass broken out of the show-case.
On September 28, 1876, the Winfield Courier had an article concerning the involvement of A. H. Green in capturing a prisoner. “Monday evening the crowd around Fuller’s bank and near the apple wagons on Main street had an opportunity to see the neatest magisterial job that has been performed in this county for some time. Information was given Sheriff Walker that one of the apple peddlers from Arkansas on our streets was the notorious Charles Howertson, of Knox County, Missouri, who, in July last shot and killed one Hiner, near Edina, in that county. The informant, one of the best citizens of our county (we refrain from giving his name for prudential reasons), knew Howertson personally a few years ago, and recognized him in his new role of apple vender. Walker prepared to arrest him and to make assurance doubly sure, called in A. H. Green, who performed the part of confidence man to perfection. When everything was in readiness, Green stepped up behind their man and spoke out quick and sharp, ‘How do you do, Howertson?’ at the same time extending his hand for a ‘shake.’ Howertson, taken by surprise, of course, turned round quickly when the name was spoken and advanced a step to meet the supposed acquaintance. At this juncture Walker closed his vice-like grip on the Missourian’s arm and informed him that he was a prisoner. Howertson made an attempt to draw his revolver, which was in his right hand pocket, but of course failed. The boys were too much for him. They unarmed him and marched him off to the calaboose. When informed of the charge against him, he admitted that he did shoot a man in Missouri last July, and added that if the Sheriff hadn’t got the drop on him, he would have shot him. He says the man Hiner that he shot is not dead yet, but the Hiner that his brother shot died. It seems that the two Howertsons got into a difficulty with the two Hiners, which terminated in the death of one of the latter and the wounding of the other. The Howertsons fled to Arkansas, and have eluded the officers up to the present time. Sheriff Walker telegraphed to the Sheriff of Knox County, notifying him of the arrest. The Howertsons are said to be desperate and lawless men. They were ‘rebel bushwhackers’ during the late war and led a terrible life.
In May 1877 an addition was added to the rear of Green’s drug store. In June 1877 two events occurred of importance: Green’s marble soda fountain was in operation and J. N. Harter, who became a druggist some years before, came to Winfield and took full charge of Green’s Drug Store. J. N. Harter had brothers: Charles Harter, who became Cowley County Sheriff in January 1878; and Louis C. and Virgil Harter, Winfield merchants, who at the time were involved with the Tunnel Mills.
In September 1877 A. H. Green became a realtor. A month later he hired John Hoenscheidt to make a county map for his land office. The Winfield Courier on October 25, 1877, had an item concerning Green. “A. H. Green, lawyer and real estate broker, has issued the first number of a newspaper entitled The Kansas News, and devoted to the interests of the county of Cowley and the city of Winfield. He has already printed an edition of 5,000 copies, and proposes to increase it to 10,000. He is circulating the paper throughout the State, in the hotels of the principal cities further East, and on all railroad trains running in the State. It contains a complete description of the county, its productions, industries, trade, and products, and will be an invaluable advertisement for our county and city. We have the best county and the liveliest city in the State, but located as we are, away from the lines of railroad travel, men who have money and brains desiring to locate in Kansas have not visited us in such numbers as have examined other portions of the State, and though we have a goodly number of that class of men, particularly men of brains, yet a still larger number is desirable. If such be induced to visit our county, they will be pretty sure to locate. What they need are the facts, and A. H. Green has been to a large expense in time and money to lay the facts before such men. He is entitled to the gratitude of all who are interested in the growth and prosperity of this county. A man who can exhibit such enterprise will do your business efficiently. Give him a call.” Green’s five column real estate paper contained a map of Cowley County, a history of its growth and prosperity, and other valuable information.
By February 1878 A. H. Green, attorney and land broker, began to advertise extensively that he was buying and selling land on his own account and for others, making loans and investments, and that he would pay taxes and examine titles. He began to list country and city property for sale. It was soon noted that he was inducing immigration into Cowley County, having one man at Topeka, one at Wichita, and four at Winfield to look after parties desiring to locate. He also had distributed 12,000 copies of his real estate register.
The December 26, 1878, issue of the Winfield Courier carried an item written by a special correspondent of the Atchison Champion.
“Mr. A. H. Green, the live and energetic real estate agent, land broker, and attorney of Winfield is one of the most successful business gentlemen I ever met. A person is really at home in his office, which is thronged from morning till night with land buyers, and the amount of business he transacts daily is astonishing. His office is fitted up in elegant style, carpeted, plenty of chairs, writing desks, a large law library, and the walls hang full of maps and plates, descriptive of the lands he is selling. Mr. Green is a thorough businessman, and if there is such a word as success he will succeed. He is agent for a good share of the vacant property in Winfield, and he informs me that residence and business lots are rapidly advancing in prices in anticipation of the railroad, the former selling all the way from $40 to $125, and the latter from $100 to $1,500. Corner lots can be had for less than $2,000. Rents are rising, and there is a big demand for houses.”
In January 1879 the Winfield Courier reported that A. H. Green was still continuing to send off in the mails loads of advertisements and newspapers, commenting that Cowley County was getting to be very well known in the East as a result of Green’s work.
In May 1879 Gov. St. John commissioned A. H. Green of Winfield as Brigadier General of the Kansas State militia, prompting the Winfield Courier to give some background on General Green in an article written on May 15, 1879. “As a civilian, Mr. Green is one of our most active, enterprising businessmen, and whatever faults he may have had, he is always true to his friends and never counts the cost when he can do them a service.
“As a military officer he has a clear and honorable record. Of unquestioned courage, quick perceptions, sound judgment, and ready execution, he is will qualified for his position. Nor is he lacking in military experience. He was a soldier in the Union army all through the war for the preservation of the nation and a participant in some of the hardest fought battles of the war. He is a native of Muscatine County, Iowa; lived in Indiana, where, at the age of 18, he enlisted and was commissioned captain of Company D, 48th Indiana volunteers, before he arrived at the age of 20. Under his command this company made a good record, and was known as the best drilled company in the brigade. He was an active participant in the campaign down the Mississippi, which culminated in the fall of Vicksburg, and was with Sherman in his “famous march to the sea,” serving a part of the time as aid-de-camp on the staff of Gen. W. T. Clark. He received high testimonials for his ability and conduct as an officer from his regimental officers up to Maj. Gen. Sherman himself. He was engaged in the battles of Iuka, Corinth, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, Black River, siege of Vicksburg, Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain, and many others through to the sea and on through the Carolinas.”
Soon afterward Gen. A. H. Green drew up several powers of attorney for a number of Pottawatomie Indians (accompanied by their interpreter, Medore B. Beauheim) to Col. Palmer, empowering him to prosecute their claims to certain lands in Waubaunsee and Shawnee counties. The land in question comprised some of the best portions of these counties, including the north part of the city of Topeka.
A. H. Green had problems. In October 1881 the Courier reported that Green made a fierce assault on Rev. A. H. Tucker, beating him severely about the head and face, knocking him down on the sidewalk, and attempting to kick him in the face, but was prevented from further action by a third party, who heaved Green into the street.
Suits were brought by Rev. Tucker against Green for assault and battery and the matter was settled by a jury who, after 36 hours of deliberation, returned a verdict for $250 damages. On May 25, 1882, several days after the trial, Green wrote a letter to the editor of the Cowley County Courant. “It will be remembered that immediately after the difficulty between myself and Tucker, there were individuals in this town misrepresenting me and trying to create the impression that the said trouble was the forerunner or the initial step of an organized fight against the ministers of the gospel, or in other words, the commencement of a war between ruffianism and vice, against Christianity and morality. Upon hearing this I published a card denying the same in toto. Now that the matter is all over and the smoke has cleared away, and, as many are daily inquiring of me as to the particulars, I desire to recapitulate this huge affair briefly. “On the morning of the 24th of October last, I was told by many of our reputable citizens that on the night previous, Tucker, a professed christian minister, in a speech in the opera house before an audience of some five or six hundred persons, had singled me out, named me, and charged me with having misrepresented and lied to obtain signatures to a certain paper circulated a week previous by Mr. Lynn and myself. That day I met the Reverend gentleman and quietly told him what I had heard, whereupon he in a very haughty, sarcastic, and insulting manner, said ‘he guessed I had heard what he said about me.’ At this time I took occasion to slap the gentleman, which of course I do not claim to have been a christian act nor even right in a moral sense, but yet I believe the average mortal under like circumstances would have done the same. Now, I have the word of a resident minister that Tucker told him about the time the suit for damages was instituted against myself that a certain lawyer had volunteered his services to prosecute the case against me. This minister asked Tucker who that lawyer was, and Tucker replied it was Capt. McDermott. I have the word of a lawyer in this town that about the time said suit was started that the said volunteer attorney boasted on the street that he would make me sick before he got through with me. “These acts of an eminently moral gentleman will evidently be considered by the community at large as emanating from a true christian spirit, especially when they learn that of $250 damages allowed by the jury and already paid by me, Mr. Tucker gets nothing, but that the same is divided up among the lawyers who tried the case, McDermott & Johnson, as I am informed, getting $150, and Hackney & McDonald getting $100 of the spoils, leaving poor Ben. Henderson, who made the only legal on the side of the prosecution, out in the cold, without a penny for his services. And I also was reliably informed that Mr. Tucker is honorable enough to object to this course and demands that Henderson must have at least a small portion, but our Winfield christian lawyers, I understand, don’t like to give any money up. It’s too soft a thing especially when ordinary law practice is light. I have paid the money and the lawyers and their client are now quarreling over it. Of course, it is hard to pay out hundreds of dollars to such a purpose, but I do not regret it. I would feel that I had lost my manhood and disgraced my parentage if I would take such a wanton insult slung at me without cause or provocation without resenting it. If I had been permitted, I could have proven that I was not guilty of the charges made against me by Mr. Tucker, and that they were entirely without foundation. I love a christian gentleman, but a hypocrite I hate. I believe the community will bear me out in the assertion that my actions have proven that I have no fight against churches or christians, but to the contrary have always endorsed all religious organizations and helped them financially. My father and mother have been members of the M. E. church ever since I can remember. I believe they are christians, but the religion they taught me was not the kind practiced by some in this town. The question is, has this affair had a tendency to strengthen the cause of christianity? Did the language used by Mr. Tucker in the hall, with reference to myself, indicate a christian spirit, or did it sound like the ranting of a third-rate ward politician? Did the money I paid into court belong to Mr. Tucker or myself, or was it confidence money? If the suit was brought through good and honest motives, for the good of the community, and for the benefit of society and Mr. Tucker combined, why was it the lawyers forgot Mr. Tucker in dividing the spoils? I may be wrong, and hope I am, but it appears to me that the whole affair would look to an unbiased mind like a robbery under the cloak of a prosecution in the interest of morality and in vindication of the law. Again, is it not a strange coincidence that after Judge Campbell and Mr. Tipton (two gentlemen who never made any pretension toward being possessed of an extraordinary degree of moral virtue) had addressed the jury in my behalf, without making use of a single expression reflecting upon the character of Mr. Tucker. That in the closing argument the gentleman who professed to have the love of God in his heart should so far forget himself as to resort to blackguardism and billingsgate as I am informed he did. Among other things referring to myself and insinuating that I was a coward. Now I desire to address myself to this christian statesman and say to him kindly, but firmly, that he dare not undertake to substantiate that charge of cowardice on any ground, at any time, or in any manner he may choose. A. H. GREEN.”
Soon after this incident, Green’s physical health began to deteriorate. He had opened a branch real estate office at Arkansas City in March 1882, handled by Nat. Snyder. In January 4, 1883, the Winfield Courier had the following item. “Gen. A. H. Green is now issuing the ninth edition of his paper, known as ‘Green’s Real Estate News.’ These papers reflect credit upon the General as a businessman, besides giving land news of both local and general importance. His enterprise, untiring energy, close attention to business, and honorable and upright manner of dealing, make him well worth of having, as he does, the largest real estate business in the West. He is now issuing an 11,000 edition, 6,000 of which is for his home office in this city, and 5,000 for his branch office at Arkansas City, this county, which is under the management and control of Nat. Snyder, his partner in that office, who is an affable, energetic, and thoroughly reliable businessman. The General has been issuing these papers at intervals of from five, seven, or eight months, for the past seven years, and as an evidence of the high regard entertained for his paper as an advertising medium, the reader is referred not only to the advertisements of nearly all of our intelligent, enterprising, and most successful businessmen, but to the large advertisement, on the 4th page, of our best line of railroad, the K. C. S. and S. K. Gen. Green’s enemies are often heard to admit that he is an honorable businessman, and that what he says can be depended upon.”
On August 9, 1883, the Winfield Courier had the following item: “A. H. Green is very sick and his death has been hourly expected for the past three days.” On August 22, 1883, the Arkansas City Traveler reported the following: “We learn that A. H. Green, who has been dangerously sick and delirious for some time past, was, on Monday last, adjudged a lunatic and will go to the Osawatomie asylum. On August 23, 1883, the Winfield Courier made the following report: “On Monday a jury in the Probate Court examined Gen. A. H. Green and pronounced him insane, and a fit person to be confined in the insane asylum. In accordance with the verdict, the court ordered that he be conveyed to the asylum. The decision cited that his condition is the result of excessive use of intoxicating liquors.” On September 13, 1883, the Winfield Courier had an item written by the Grenola Chief. “The sheriff of Cowley County was a passenger on the east bound train Monday morning, having in charge General A. H. Green, who was pronounced insane some time ago. Mrs. Green was accompanying her husband to the insane asylum at Osawatomie. We got a glimpse of this unfortunate man as he lay upon a couch in the baggage car; and he looked like anything but the live, energetic businessman whom we were intimately acquainted with only a few months ago. It is thought that his case is a hopeless one, and in this misfortune Winfield has lost one of her most active businessmen.”
On November 28, 1883, the Arkansas City Traveler had a favorable report about Green. “Gen. A. H. Green has returned to Winfield. He has greatly improved, and says he has made quite a speculation in real estate in some new railroad town in Missouri. We wish him continued prosperity.” The Winfield Courier had nothing to say about Green until December 13, 1883. “Gen. A. H. Green is again running the Real Estate business at the old stand. He has been a leading real estate man in this city for years and has sold large numbers of farms and city lots in this city and county. His success has been remarkable and in all his real estate transactions with all sorts of men, including the suspicious, jealous, and complaining kinds, we have never heard a complaint against his manner of dealing with them.” On March 13, 1884, the Winfield Courier had the following item: “Gen. A. H. Green returned last week from Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he has been for some weeks recuperating. His health is much improved and he hopes for an entire recovery in the near future.” This was followed by a more favorable report on March 27, 1884. “Gen. A. H. Green has recovered his health, gone into business again, and is now issuing the eleventh edition of his paper, known as “Green’s Real Estate News.” These papers have always reflected credit upon the General as a businessman, besides giving land news of both local and general importance. His enterprise, untiring energy, close attention to business, and honorable and upright manner of dealing, make him well worthy of having, as he did for many years, the largest real estate business in the west; and, notwithstanding his few months’ retirement on account of sickness, he will soon take his former rank.”
On December 18, 1884, the Winfield Courier had the following item. “Nineteen years ago last Thursday Gen. and Mrs. A. H. Green were married. The General celebrated the anniversary by presenting his wife with an elegantly and handsomely engraved necklace and charm.”
McCommon & Harter Drug Store.
Ira L. McCommon came to Winfield in September 1876 from Chillicothe, Ohio, and became the druggist at the City Drug Store, run by B. F. Baldwin. He took charge of Dr. Mansfield’s drug store in 1877. Ira’s sister was Nannie J. Platter, wife of Rev. James E. Platter, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Winfield.
In November 1877 Ira L. McCommon and Joseph N. Harter purchased the drug store of A. H. Green, and continued the business under the firm name of McCommon & Harter.
Ira L. McCommon was married by his brother-in-law, Rev. J. E. Platter, to Nina Johnson, daughter of Mrs. S. D. Johnson, on New Year’s eve, 1880, at the residence of her mother. Mrs. S. D. Johnson was the widow of Rev. S. B. Johnson, who crossed the ocean from Manchester, England, in 1854 to Canada, afterward coming to Winfield, Kansas, in 1870, where he organized and was the first pastor of the Congregational denomination in Winfield in 1871 and raised ten children.
Ed. T. Johnson, a brother of Mrs. McCommon, sent the following letter to the Winfield Courier editor on January 3, 1880, from Bedrock, Yavaipai County, Arizona Territory. “Having had letters of inquiry about this far-off territory, and thinking that more of your many readers might, perhaps, like to hear something of the country, I take this means of answering their several inquiries. We are here situated in what will ere long be as good a mining section as is found anywhere, but as in California, Nevada, Colorado, and elsewhere, it requires time and capital to develop the mines. There are gold mines within half a mile of our cabin, that have kept their owners in plenty for years, by simply packing a few loads of quartz on two burros, from the ledge, which is several hundred feet up the side of the mountain, down to the arastra, the most primitive way of pulverizing quartz, and taking out by this crude process $500 a month, when they work steadily, which they seldom do. When questioned by me as to why they didn’t keep the old horses going, they replied that they took out enough gold to keep them in grub and clothes, and that was all that they wanted. They were slowly developing their mines, and after awhile somebody would come along and give them a good price for them; and I suppose their logic was good for they are now in Prescott to receive $35,000 from a Chicago company for some of them, and say they have others just as good left. A Mexican arastra is a circular bed of rock with an upright shaft in the center, to which arms are attached and to which heavy rocks are tied; to the upper arm an old horse is hitched, and dragging the rocks tied to the lower arms over the rock bed pulverizes the quartz, which is broken up into pieces about the size of Walnuts. Quicksilver is put in the cracks of the bed, and water thrown in to form a pulp, which causes the fine gold to sink and coming in contact with the quicksilver, is held there. There are several silver mines that will work from $200 to $300 per ton. It seems almost incredible that such riches should be lying dormant, but considering the inaccessibility of the country a few months since, it is not to be wondered at. The murdering Apaches, too, a few years ago, made mining a very risky business, as several graves not far off conclusively show; but that is over now, and Mr. Indian is about as scarce here as with you in Winfield; and if the Santa Fe road runs through as the talk now is, the country will develop amazingly, and who knows but some time in the future, when Arizona’s stores of gold, silver, copper, lead, etc., are opened out and her population more dense than it is at present, that Cowley will not contribute of her surplus wheat, corn, etc., in exchange. This is not an agricultural country, nor will it ever be, though there is considerable good farming land, but farmers are never sure of a crop except by irrigating, and even that is uncertain as the streams often give out just when the water is most needed. There has already fallen more rain this winter than for any winter for several years, and the mountains are covered with a foot or two of snow; so there are hopes of better times for both farmers and miners another season. It is a good deal harder pioneering here than it was in Cowley, for there a person could drive with a team nearly anywhere. Here, no roads; nothing but mountain trails that even a burro is squeamish about traveling over. My ‘pard’ and I have managed to build a comfortable cabin of three rooms over two miles from the end of the wagon road, and had to pack everything on our shoulders; building materials, eatables, cooking utensils, etc. Your readers may judge this hunting for gold and silver is not all pleasure. Still there is a fascinating excitement about it, unexplainable to those who have never engaged in it. Even the little ones soon learn it. Yesterday my little daughter (4 years old), picked up an old tin can and went down to the creek, saying she was going to ‘wash out some gold.’ Having seen me pan out some, she thought that she must. We have a placer or gravel claim at which we are about ready to commence work. We have had to pack our lumber for sluices over two miles, but hope to get paid for it before long. The climate here is very healthy and invigorating. Excellent drinking water, and any amount of timber; the hills are all covered with good pine timber, oak, walnut, juniper, alder, and ash: the latter all rather diminutive. Flour is $6.50 per sack of 98 lbs., butter 50 to 60 cents per lb., bacon 25 cents, eggs, $1.25 per dozen, when they are to be had, potatoes 4 to 5 cents per lb., and green apples 25 cents per lb. So we don’t have many green apple pies. We are located on Big Bug Creek, 14 miles by mountain trail from Prescott, but over 30 miles by wagon road. Ladies are a scarce commodity: my wife and a lady four miles down the creek, being the only ladies in this section. Two or three companies are going to extensive operations in the spring, when population will come in, but it is a barbarous country, and as soon as we can sell out some mines for a good round figure, we want to go back to Winfield, and have some happy times with the old friends, ‘as in bright days of yore.’ E. T. JOHNSON.”
In February 1880 Frank Barclay, a plumber in Winfield, examined the city pumps and found that the reason they would not work was because there was no water in the wells. The greatest depth in the one on the corner near Harter & McCommon’s was 4¼ inches.
On March 18, 1880, the firm of McCommon & Harter was dissolved.
Ira L. McCommon purchased a farm situated about two miles southwest of Seeley Station on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, and did poorly, losing a valuable bull in December 1881, who died of colic. He began to advertise his 160 acre farm for sale in January 1882, and finally sold it at a loss. He became the successor to E. W. Hovey & Co. drug store in March 1882 and started the “City Pharmacy” on the west side of Main Street south of Read’s Bank in Winfield. In March 1883 Ira McCommon made an assignment to Frank W. Finch, assignee, for the benefit of his creditors. His liabilities did not exceed $500 and his assets were much greater. (Finch, son of J. H. Finch, was appointed as a deputy under Sheriff A. T. Shenneman in January 1880 and later served as a constable in Winfield.) The property of McCommon, consisting of drugs, bottles, patent medicines, oils, etc., was sold at public auction on May 19, 1883. Ira L. McCommon and his family moved to Caldwell, Kansas, where he opened a drug store in 1884.
Harter Brothers’ Drug Store.
Winfield Courier, October 10, 1878.
Joseph N. Harter was married by Rev. J. E. Platter to Carrie Olds, daughter of Mr. J. H. Olds, on October 7, 1878. The newly married pair started immediately for St. Louis to attend the Annual Exposition in progress at that place. Dave Harter, a brother of J. N. Harter, handled affairs at McCommon & Harter’s drug store during the time his brother was gone.
J. N. Harter changed the name from “McCommon & Harter” to “Harter Brothers’ Drug Store after he took charge in 1880. (J. N. Harter had many brothers: Louis C., Virgil, Charles L., and David M. Harter. The Harter brothers became prominent merchants in Winfield and were involved in “Harter Brothers,” the New York Store, and the Tunnel Mills. Charles L. Harter served as sheriff of Cowley County from 1880 to 1884 and later became one of the managers of the Brettun House.)
In October 1880 C. Trump, formerly with S. H. Myton, started a tin shop, hardware, and stove store one door east of Harter Brothers’ Drug Store.
George Emerson, physician, and O. M. Seward, attorney, maintained quarters above the Harter Brothers’ Drug Store.
In 1880 J. H. Stauffenberg, merchant tailor, occupied a store on the east side of Main Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, immediately north of Harter Brothers’ Drug Store. By 1882 Allen Johnson maintained an office at this location, where he sold coal and wood.
A story was told about J. N. Harter in the April 13, 1882, issue of the Winfield Courier. “Joe Harter has the reputation of being benevolent, helpful, and obliging, but the following circumstance will show that he can be wicked too. Last Monday evening after dark it became very cold and the men and boys on the street were shivering in their light spring suits. Jo lighted a lamp and placed it in his heater stove in the drug store and the light shone brightly through the isinglass windows of the stove just as though there was a hot fire in the stove. Seeing this, the chilly chaps would come in, stand around the stove, rub their hands, turn their backs to the stove, wonder why they did not get warm, turn around, feel of the stove gingerly, and then shoot out of the door to escape the jokes and laughter of the uninitiated.”
Mr. and Mrs. Harter became prominent citizens in Winfield and attended many social engagements. The Winfield Courier of November 9, 1882, had the following article.
“Sporting News. The Grand Annual hunt of the Winfield Sportsmen’s Club took place last Thursday. The club met at the Brettun House Monday evening and elected J. N. Harter and Fred Whitney captains. Each hunter, with the advice of his captain, selected his route, and most of them went out to the field the evening before. The following is the score.
J. N. Harter, Capt., 2,700; Jas. Vance, 1,400; Frank Clark, 1,140; Frank Manny, 200; Jacob Nixon, 1,780; Ezra Meech, 620; Sol Burkhalter, 610; Dr. Davis, 310; C. Trump, 150; Ed. P. Greer, 160; E. C. Stewart, 120; G. L. Rinker, 360. TOTAL: 9,550.
Fred Whitney, Capt., 110; G. W. Prater, 290; J. S. Hunt, 1,130; C. C. Black, 1,070; Jas. McLain, 1,000; A. S. Davis, 100; H. Saunders, 130; Q. A. Glass, 240; A. D. Speed, 240; Dr. Emerson, 190; J. S. Mann, 100; J. B. Lynn, 000. TOTAL: 4,660.
The gold medal was won by Mr. Harter. The tin medal will be won by J. B. Lynn. The score made by Mr. Harter has never been equaled in this county.”
Harter Drug Store.
In November 1882 the firm of Harter Brothers’ Drug Store was changed to that of “Harter Drug Store” when Joseph N. Harter bought the interest held in the store by his brother, Charles L. Harter.
In December 1883 a test was performed by the Winfield Water Works during which Joe Harter and Henry Goldsmith, who handled books, stationery, and newspapers in the Post Office, located on the northwest corner of Main Street and Ninth Avenue, sustained damage to their goods by the hose being turned on their respective places of business. The loss was satisfactorily adjusted by the water company. In April 1884 it was announced that Joe Harter had run a branch of the water works system into his drug store.
On Thursday, March 26, 1885, the Winfield Courier printed an item about J. N. Harter.
“Scene: Harter’s drug store. Enter Mr. Broadwell, who looks at a machine that is big enough to be a lung tester, but is not a lung tester. Broadwell asks: ‘What is this?’ and Mr. Harter sees that Broadwell wants to use his lungs for once where it will tell, so Mr. Harter says, ‘That is a lung tester.’ ‘Well, I have always wanted to expand myself on one of them machines,’ says Broadwell, as he commenced blowing through a tube or hose. Harter watches him blow, and Broadwell looks for some kind of figures to arise somewhere on the machine so that he would know how many pounds he had blown. Harter laughs and says, ‘Why, you d f , that’s a soda fountain.’”
The Farmer’s Bank.
On Thursday, June 25, 1885, the Winfield Courier had an announcement.
“The Farmer’s Bank has purchased, through Messrs. Harris & Clark, the J. P. Short corner, where Harter’s drug store is. They get seventy-five feet of the lot for $7,500. They will immediately begin the erection of a fine two story bank building. J. P. Short will also build three two story buildings, one fronting on Main street and two on Ninth Avenue. This was followed by an article in the July 9, 1885 issue. “The Farmer’s Bank folks have about determined to make their fine new bank building, on the Harter corner, three stories, with a basement. Our Masonic order is negotiating for the upper story for a lodge room.”
On August 3, 1885, the Winfield City Council, of which J. N. Harter was a member, met and ordered changes to be made to the J. P. Short landmarks located on the corner occupied by Harter and others. Five structures were to be sold: Headrick building; Harris & Clark office; Bliss & Wood grain office; a harness shop that had been purchased by A. H. Doane; and a tin shed that had been purchased by H. G. Fuller. The sixth structure, the J. N. Harter building was to be moved over in Ninth Avenue. The landmarks were all sold on Monday, August 10, 1885. A. P. Johnson paid $87.00 for the Headrick building; $100.00 for the Harris & Clark office; and $51.00 for the Bliss & Wood grain office. A. H. Doane purchased the harness office for $101.00. H. G. Fuller got the little tin shed for $5.00. It was presumed that the buildings would be moved onto residence lots.
On August 13, 1885, the Winfield Courier had a follow-up article. “The J. P. Short landmarks were all sold Monday and will be moved off to make room for an imposing block, an honor to the city. A. P. Johnson bought the Headrick building, $87; the Harris & Clark office, $100; and the Bliss & Wood grain office, $51. A. H. Doane got the harness shop, $101; and H. G. Fuller got the little tin shed, $5. The buildings will likely be moved onto residence lots. Work on the bank and Short lots will commence at once.”
J. N. Harter moved his drug store into the A. H. Green building, located next to the J. W. Johnston furniture store on the east side of Main Street: 918 Main Street. Dr. Emerson still maintained an office over Harter’s drug store at the new location.
The Winfield Courier announced on August 20, 1885, that E. C. Seward, a brother of attorney O. M. Seward and a man who was involved in numerous real estate activities in Winfield, had bought the Old Harter Drug Store building and was moving it to a lot where Capt. H. W. Stubblefield’s meat market was located. Evidently Seward and Stubblefield could not agree on a price as another article was written a week later by the Winfield Courier. “The post office change of location is finally settled. As no particular location can possibly be satisfactory to all the unterrified, George has finally hit upon a plan that will be sure to suit. He has rented the old Short building lately occupied by Harter’s drug store, now in the street and on wheels, and has engaged Fred Kropp’s mules to haul the post office about town everywhere any Democrat wants it. It will receive and deliver the mails at the depots and then roll off around town. This plan seems to satisfy everybody except Arthur Bangs. He is kicking like a Texas steer, for it will ‘bust up’ his mail carrying business.” The paper did not furnish information concerning the final resting place of the old Harter drug store.
On September 10, 1885, the Winfield Courier had the following item. “A good Democrat informed us that the post office matter was settled. George has concluded to put it in the Ninth Avenue Hotel. The plan of putting it on wheels has been given up on account of the many heavy weights among the Democrats and the necessary travel it would take to follow up the caravan. No doubt there will be some dissatisfaction among the ones who were in favor of having it in their front yards. But all can’t be pleased.” The Ninth Avenue Hotel referred to was built by F. M. Freeland in 1884. Architect S. A. Cook drew up the plans for the 60 by 90 ft. two-story brick and stone hotel on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Menor, a block west of Main in Winfield.
O. M. Seward.
Oscar M. Seward twice served as the city attorney of Winfield and was considered an excellent orator. In November 1880 he participated in a novel parade that took place when the loser of an election wager, C. C. Black of the Telegram, took the winner, D. A. Millington of the Courier, by wheelbarrow down Main Street from the Brettun Hotel to the Williams House. Seward, Chairman of the Republic Committee, was mounted on a fiery steed that looked as though he had just had a race of a hundred miles and distanced his competitor, bearing the legend “This is the Maud S. that won the race,” while S. L. Gilbert, chairman of the Democratic Committee was mounted on a used up mule labeled “This is the mule that beat us.”
No matter what name was given to it. O. M. Seward maintained his law office above the drug store that went through many name changes from Green’s Drug Store to that of Harter’s. In May 1881 both Oscar Seward and Dr. George Emerson had their quarters renovated and repaired until the rooms looked like parlors. He finally moved in March 1885 to a neat law office he erected on east Ninth Avenue, east of J. F. McMullen’s office.
Seward’s name came up several times in the Winfield Courier. On September 24, 1885, a humorous item appeared. “Our reporter had a long and pleasant talk Thursday with one of our prominent barbers, and in answer to his query why it was that a really good barber nearly always kept up a constant conversation while shaving a customer, he bit off the end of his cigar, thought a moment, then said, as an innocent smile played about his classic features: ‘The barber who doesn’t talk isn’t any good. He isn’t popular with the trade and he doesn’t make a good workman. You see, a man comes in and he gets into the chair and the barber commences shaving him without saying a word. The man who is being shaved has nothing to think about except himself and he immediately begins to kick about the razor. It pulls and hurts his face and nothing suits him and he goes away dissatisfied with the shop and the barber. Now one of those good-natured, talkative barbers would take that same man and commence talking politics and the weather, the police and the skating rink to him, and there would never be the slightest kick. No, sir, the barber could use his oldest and dullest razor, and the man would never think of complaining, and when the barber would finish combing his hair by telling him that he had hair just like President Cleveland or O. M. Seward, he’d get up and give him a cigar and go off feeling good-natured and swear that was the best shop in Winfield.’”
On April 1, 1886, the Courier covered a case in which Seward was involved.
“With the court room crowded with anxious spectators, Judge Snow called, yesterday afternoon, the case of the Great State of Kansas vs. C. C. Sullivan and George McCurry, charging them with stealing one chicken of the value of 25 cents, from the hennery of Joseph Bucher, in Rock township. The jury men were: W. B. Little, W. E. Augerman, G. D. Headrick, Bennett Pugh, S. Allison, H. C. Buford, Jno. Bobbitt, Wm. Hudson, C. McClung, Jno. Gill, Jas. Williams, and T. J. Harris. County Attorneys, Webb & Swarts, were there for the prosecution, and Judge McDonald and O. M. Seward for the defense. Judge McDonald, with becoming dignity, demurred to the charge; it was not specific enough—it didn’t state whether the chicken was a rooster, a hen, or a maiden pullet. His objection was overruled and Mr. Bucher took the stand and swore positively that he saw McCurry make a fowl attack on his hen roost under the bright rays of the beautiful moon, that he saw him walk off with a chicken, age, color, or sex unknown, under his left arm, and said chicken did squawk and make diverse other noises, and that the said C. C. Sullivan kept watch while the thievery was going on. Then the court took a rest to this morning, when the case went on. A dozen or two witnesses were examined on both sides, among them three or four women.
“Just before noon today the case went to the jury, which discharged the prisoners, on the ground that there was no evidence proving that the chicken was carried off the place; nobody saw this part of the thievery. The main object of the whole suit was to stop numerous petit thieving that has been going on in that neighborhood and laid pretty surely at the door of these boys, who live in a dugout on the banks of the Walnut. This case will make a memorable record.”
The following account, written on July 20, 1922, relates the sad story of O. M. Seward when he was about 68 years of age.
“The poor house—its very name, to the ears of an independence-loving American, carries a strange note of dreadful fear, fear lest somewhere in life’s course a trick of fate might send him to its doors, destitute, penniless, friendless. For failure, sorrow, trouble, and sickness it is a common synonym—the last place under heaven we want to go—hunger, hardships, and sometimes life itself, but last of all the poor farm. Yet the poor houses, could they speak, would tell unbelievable tales of once wealthy and prominent men and women brought within their doors. A poet, a university graduate, and a bank director are numbered among inmates of the Cowley County Poor Farm—three men, once highly respected, prosperous citizens, leaders of bygone days, forced into the care of charity during their last days by the pitiless hand of fortune. Broken in body and spirit, all three are tramping far down the sunset trail which leads to the land where there are no poor houses—to that land of eternal mansions not built with hands for those who have kept the faith. Reluctantly they told their life stories to a reporter—stories of blasted hopes and shattered dreams—how they had achieved success, enjoyed friends, met with adversity, and sank to the charity of the county.
The first had been gifted with musical and literary talents; the second, with a university degree, had practiced law in Winfield, once being city attorney; and the third was the first resident of Arkansas City and later became a director of a bank in that city.
The second party referred to was O. M. Seward.