Another glimpse of early Winfield is told by George G. Gentry in a letter to the Winfield Courier editor, which was published June 2, 1928.
Fifty years ago the past week was the first week I spent in the city, then but a settling of a few stores and homes. I accompanied my parents and several brothers and sisters. We arrived in the city on May 20 after six weeks traveling in an overland Pullman (covered wagon) from Sangamon County, Illinois.
Go west, young man, and grow up with the country, was the advice of Horace Greeley to his audiences in his many lectures. My parents decided to follow his advice and start their youngsters right. Of course, they also had thought out the economic advantages and wanted to try for a homestead for our future home. At Fort Scott the head of the house met a man who had been to Winfield and thought it the best place to start expanding and so for Winfield we headed to expand with the town. Our informant believed that railroads would reach Winfield by fall.
His presumption proved true for the Southern Kansas pounded its way into Winfield just 10 days after the Santa Fe in October 1878.
However, we arrived in Winfield by driving our team between the two asylum mounds on which the state oil-fields are now located. From there we drove west to the cemetery and to Third Avenue on which was located Frank Mannys brewery. The road led west to Schmidts greenhouse, then south to Fifth Avenue to the home of the late Dr. Graham, father of Alva and Erney of this city, and west to Main street. Then we were told to go north to the creek and did so, making our camp just east of where the office building of the Rogers nursery now stands. We camped under a black oak tree which is still standing.
The next day we moved into a house located on the lot where the Brettun park now is. The lot which the hotel is standing on was then a corral for roping wild ponies and a livery stable. The spot was also the collecting and distributing point for the town herd of cows and the herd usually consisted of about 80 head. Joe Hudson was manager of the establishment.
On down the street where Noah Davis now has his business of car top repairing was the Rodocker photograph gallery. The hotel was located where Goodmans store now is and just south of the hotel was a saloon. A livery stable was on the plot where the Calvert-Cheek department store is now and just south of it was Jacksons bakery and restaurant. In the same block were Wallaces and Wallaces grocery, a pool room, and on the corner was Joe Harters drug store with the offices of the chief of police and Dr. George Emerson on the second floor.
The White Way café holds the location then occupied by Jim Fakays saloon; Fakay also built the house now being remodeled for the Durrin and Swisher funeral home. John McGuire had a grocery store on the corner where the First National bank now stands, and just east on the alley was the shop of Douglass and Wilson, colored barbers. Where Kings confectionary now is was a carpenter and washing machine shop and the proprietors were Jake Crawford, Mr. Gary, and S. S. Gentry. On the corner east was Dr. Mendenhalls office. His residence was located on the lot occupied by the Courier building recently vacated and if the doctor had a patient or was wanted on a call, said patient pulled the rope at the office door ringing a dinner bell and calling the doctor to his duties.
The first door south of the First National bank building was Joe Sea Kiskys saloon and 50 feet west of the west side of Main street on West Ninth was the public well. A small white frame building occupied the corner where the Winfield National bank now stands. The original home of the Winfield National Bank occupied the corner across the street from the Brettun Hotel east. The plot occupied by the Shenneman meat market was occupied by a meat market then and has been a meat market owned by various parties since the early days. The Davenport café was then a bakery and restaurant and has been through the years. At the corner where the Wallace store now is was the William hotel or Williams house and was the headquarters of all the stage lines which came from many points. The hotel was in (a) constant war zone for it was the Mecca of all the bootblacks of the town. The rightful owner of said territory being William, or Billy, Farringer, boot polisher. The regular price was five cents but occasions have been known when one boot polished, the bootblack would demand a dime before he would complete the other boot.
The Farringer residence was situated on the lot now occupied by the L. Moore Implement company and was Winfields first Conservatory of Music. The well in the jail yard was at that time the Winfield water works. The constable, Ed Nickelson, was engineer and sprinkler, and as the pavement was 8 or 9 inches deep it took constant care. Mr. Nickelson would drive his sprinkler under the filler pipe and then unhitch one of his horses, put on the power and pump the tank of water.
History tells a story of a prisoner who escaped from the jail when sent for water at the well. This well was located just north on the sidewalk going west from the sidewalk to the alley in the court house lawn. By the well was also a coal house for fuel for the court house and jail. The jail was on Ninth avenue due north of the court house and was also the sheriffs home. The first school house was recently torn down on the old Central grounds. The primary grades were taught in the Alexander Milling company office.
The yard on which the Jarvis-Thompson lumber yard now is was then a lumber yard and has continued such.
I helped cut wheat on land east of Andrews and north of Ninth avenue. A Mr. Thompson owned the land. He was the original owner, and built the present Courier building. We also cut three crops of flax on Southwestern campus which was owned by Dr. Davis, a doctor with Cherokee blood in his veins.
Just north of the fair grounds was Captain Lowerys corn field and hog pound. The Consolidated Mills (dam) was built of log and a dirt, stone and brush dam was later replaced by the present one (concrete). Fish in trying to get down stream would get stranded in brush and the boy who got up earliest would be sure of a mess of fish if he arrived soon enough.
Year by year the old town has changed but the change has been so gradual that it has not been so pronounced.
Signed George G. Gentry.
RKW obtained the Gentry letter when doing research. MAW
I am not about to correct it as it is priceless, in my opinion.
However, I did notice several things.
Wallaces and Wallaces grocery. Believe he meant Wallis Bros.
Jim Fakays saloon. Believe he meant Jim Fahey.
Joe Sea Kiskys saloon. Believe he meant Jo Likowski.
SOME WINFIELD BURIALS:
Gentry, son, to Eugene, May 11, 1897.
Gentry, daughter, born July 15, 1905, to George, July 17, 1905.
Gentry, Roger Eugene, born February 20, 1927 to O. D. February 21, 1927.
FROM THE NEWSPAPERS.
Cowley County Courant, March 2, 1882.
S. S. Gentry, contractor and builder on 10th avenue, has just made for the COURANT office an improved miter box, which proclaims Mr. Gentry as a first-class workman. Anyone in need of good work in his line at reasonable prices should call on him.
[OLD VETERANS REUNION.]
Winfield Courier, September 7, 1882.
VETERANS OF THE LATE WAR WHO WISH TRANSPORTATION TO TOPEKA DURING THE REUNION IN SEPTEMBER, 1882.
S. S. Gentry, Co. F, 87th Illinois Infantry
Mary Gentry marries T. J. Rude...
Winfield Courier, September 28, 1882.
MARRIED. T. J. Rude surprised his many friends Sunday evening by appearing at the Christian Church with Miss Mary Gentry, and they were then and there united in marriage. T. J. and his bride have both engaged the Burden school, and will double team on the young folks. We congratulate them.
Winfield Courier, July 12, 1883.
Sunday School Report.
The Secretary of the Baptist Sunday School furnishes us with the following report.
No. of teachers and officers: 23.
Average attendance: 19.
Total attendance of the school: 187.
The following named teachers have been present every Sunday this year: B. F. Wood, J. S. Mann, and Miss Mary E. Miller.
Roll of Honor.
The following named scholars have been present every Sunday this year.
Adult Department: J. M. Fahnestock, Mrs. Deacon Sherrard, Mrs. Dora Coe, Deacon Miller, and A. B. Arment.
Intermediate Department: Charlie Plank, Harry Hunt, Abbie Rowland, Ella Gentry, Laura Herpich, and Johnny Trezise. The last named scholar has been present every Sunday for more than three years.
Primary Department: Otis Wood.
The financial account for six months shows a total received of $115.91, with $89.77 paid out, leaving a balance of $26.14.
Winfield Courier, October 4, 1883.
CLASS M. FANCY WORK.
Linen or cotton flowers, Miss Minnie Andrews, city, 1st premium; Miss Dora Gentry, city, 2nd.
Best paper flowers, Dora Gentry, city, 1st premium.
Ella L. Gentry, nine years old...
Winfield Courier, December 6, 1883.
The pupils in Miss Crippens room, West Ward schoolhouse, were shown a picture of a boy and rabbits and requested to each write a composition on the picture. The following are some of the results. The compositions are given verbatim et literatim et punctuatim.
THE. PET. RABBITS.
These is a little boy with his pet rabbits. There are seven of them. They are white as they can be. I think his mother has sent him one to feed them. He is feeding them carrots. He has very curley hair. And blue eyes And red cheeks. He is not more than two years old. The rabbits have very pink eyes. The little boys name is Frank.
Ella L. Gentry, Age 9 years.
Winfield Courier, September 25, 1884.
Cowley County District Court, First Tuesday, October 7th, 1884.
CIVIL DOCKET. SIXTH DAY.
91. J. A. Bullen & Co. vs. S. S. Gentry, et al.
S. S. Gentry, Eliza A. Gentry, and C. G. Oliver...
Winfield Courier, December 4, 1884.
RECAP. Sheriff Sale to be held Jan. 5, 1885. James H. Bullen and C. A. Bullen, partners as James H. Bullen & Co., Plaintiffs, vs. S. S. Gentry, Eliza A. Gentry, and C. G. Oliver, Defendants. Property involved: Lot 13, block 48, Mannings addition to City of Winfield. Appraised at $900.
Dora B. Gentry passes away...
Winfield Courier, Thursday, July 9, 1885.
Miss Dora B., aged seventeen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gentry, was laid away in South cemetery yesterday afternoon. The funeral took place from the residence, conducted by Rev. B. Kelly. She had been a victim of white swelling from her early childhood.
The following Gentry is definitely not related to Winfield family...
BASTILLED FOR NINETY DAYS.
John Frost Gets Full of Liquid Hell and Raises the Dickens.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, February 18, 1886.
Sam Leffler, city marshal of Burden, came down Thursday and took Jack Frost, whose real name is John, to Burden for a trial before Justice Harvey Smith. Frost is a tough case about thirty years old. The other night Frost and a chum got a rig at Burden and went to a lyceum between Burden and Atlanta. They were pretty well boozed up and when they started home, met a rig in the road, and refusing to give an inch of the road, had a square collision. Frost swore that the other rig would get out of the road or hed blow h out of it! The other fellows werent to be bulldozed, and Frost jumped out, knocked one of the opposition horses down with his six shooter, fired a few shots on the desert air, and made the air blue with profanity. The other fellows were Wm. Gentry and G. L. Burril, and they got up and dusted as soon as possible. Frost and pard went on and soon made another malicious, unlawful, and felonious attackon a schoolhouse, smashing in the windows, kicking down the stove, and doing other deviltry. Gentry and Burril swore vengeance and went to work to bring the penalty of outraged law, peace, and quiet. Frost was raked in first, but his pard got wind and skipped for Colorado or some other foreign clime. There were two counts, one for an attack on Gentry and one on Burril, and Justice Smith gave Frost thirty days in the county bastille on one count and sixty days on the othera nice little dose of ninety days in durance vile. Mr. Frost is undoubtedly convinced that he cant nip everything he runs across and that the way of the transgressor is harder to get over than a barbed wire fence. Both Frost and pal were peregrinating individuals, who imagined that, accompanied by a little rot-gut and a wicked gun, they could rule with high-handed despotism.
[Note: I have checked through mid-April 1886, which is as far as I have gone with the Winfield Courier. I did not see any reason to check the Arkansas City papers since it was apparent family basically stayed in Winfield. MAW]
SOME MORE ENTRIES FROM A LATER DATE...
[Note: Winfield Monthly Herald was a publication by Winfield Baptist Church.]
Winfield Monthly Herald, March, 1892.
New members received since our last publication.
KEY: B - RECEIVED BY BAPTISM. L - BY LETTER. E - EXPERIENCE.
Ella L. Gentry, B.
Ethel Gentry, B.
Winfield Monthly Herald, June, 1892.
Ella Gentry has been spending a few weeks with her sister, in Burden.