From a series of articles detailing visits to Franklin County townships in the
Ottawa Republican, September 27, 1877
Cornerstone of the County
Early History From the Starting Point
The First Men Here And What They Did
A Three-Headed Creek and its Settlers
Pleasant Prairies, and Rich Bottoms
The Cattle Yards and Corn Granaries of Franklin
A Model Settlement and How It Was Made
Representatives of All Nations Living in Harmony and Prosperity
The Flourishing Village of Pomona
A Practical Author’s Home and Surroundings
Farm Operations in Detail
In point of varied beauty the bit of country confined within the lines comprising the boundaries of Appanoose township, is not surpassed in Kansas. There are choice pieces of scenery everywhere—level stretches of prairie, graceful rolling hills, bold rugged creek descents, and forest covered bottom lands, each of which present a widely contrasting beauty from all the others, and yet please because a harmony or relation is felt, although its precise nature may not be understood. All objects in nature are full of expressiveness in line and proportion—every leaf, flower and pebble—but landscape offers the larger and richer field. And when can a landscape, or rather a quick succession of wonderfully varied landscapes—be found richer or more picturesque than that in Appanoose? The years come around with their appointed regularity, and we know pretty well what we have to expect. Flowers in spring, weeds in autumn; a transcript of real life told in choice English by George Elliott, a novel of impossibilities hammered out in dubious syntax by Mrs. Henry Wood; larks in the sky, frogs in the ponds—we know them all, and accept all with thankfulness or resignation, according to their respective deserts. But in a first trip through any portion of the stream ribbed section of Kansas, we do not know what to expect next. Now here in Appanoose—the bottom lands of the Marias (sic)des Cygnes on the south with their dense banks of green foliage—the high hills that stretch their purple outlines back of the pretty village of Pomona—the fair bits of level, corn-glorified prairie that dot the country everywhere—the ragged, rock cropping crowns that lie along the upper Appanoose—each and all of these make continuous surprises that keep the lover of nature in a perpetual delight.
Appanoose township was organized May 17th 1871. Its area was taken mainly from the western portion of Centropolis township, although it’s southern limits extend into the territory of what was a portion of the Sac and Fox Indian Reservation. The first township board consisted of T.H. Tutcher Trustee, R.W. Kratz Clerk, R.C. McEathron Treasurer, and Daniel Dean and Levi Ricksecker Justices of the Peace. The present board consists of the following officers: M. Hornbeck Trustee, H.
G. Pasley Treasurer, F.D. Coburn Clerk, S.B. McCord, and J.F. Patton Justices of the Peace, and C.B. Curtis and Silas Hughes Constables. It is a notable fact that lawsuits are much less frequent in this township than in most any community in the state, and the offices of Justice and Constable are by no means lucrative ones.
The township is well supplied with drainage facilities, and water for stock purposes, by Appanoose Creek, which stream is divided into three branches, or heads, in the northern part of the township, these branches being respectively known as West, Middle and East Appanoose. The name was derived from the cognomen of an old Indian chief. The township limits are not set according to Governmental township lines, and contain considerable more than six miles square of land. The lines are ten miles long, north and south, and five miles east and west, the total area being about fifty square miles. As we have before remarked, a portion of the township is from the original Reservation set apart by Government for the home of the Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, who occupied it up to about 1860, with their agency first at the old site of Greenwood, and afterward at what is now Quenemo, in Osage County.
The northern part of the township was first settled—up along the branches of Appanoose Creek—as the first comers here, as elsewhere, seemed to have a dread of locating on the prairies. All over Kansas settlements will be found along the creeks and rivers, in the timber. While now, in great contrast, all modern buildings are located on open land and on high ground. The first settlers in Appanoose were Missourians who located principally along West Branch. They came, chiefly, in 1856, and but few of them remain. They did not go into farm operations very extensively, but satisfied themselves with cheap humble cabins, and little patches of clearing in the timber, where they grow a little corn. Among those who settled in ’56 were C. Shrimp, Washington Baker, James Cleveland, and a Mr. Foster, the latter making claim to a portion of the magnificent farm now owned by Dan’l Dean. The year following—1857—Dan’l Dean, T.H. Tutcher, Henry Horr, and James Bellemy settled on West Branch, and Moses Mean?? J.W. Wadsworth and the widow Critchfield, located on Middle Appanoose. The following persons, among others, came in 1858: Thos. Tutcher Sr., and Alfred Tutcher, M. St. John, W. Beard, J.W. Davis, Jon. Logan and H. Gilbert.
A great many settlers were away during the remarkably dry season of 1860, and many of them did not return. Others came, however, and the northern portion of the township is now pretty thickly settled. There is a very considerable settlement of Dunkards in the north-east corner.
A Model Settlement
A few years since, Mr. J.H. Whetstone conceived the idea of getting up a colonization scheme, for the benefit of immigrants from all sections ofr the country, and in the furtherance of his plan, purchased a tract of about 15,000 acres in the central part of Appanoose township, which tract was nearly in a sold body, and which is enclosed with a hedge. This tract is beautifully situated on the north side of the Marias des Cygnes, 10 miles west from Ottawa, and is convenient to timber, coal and stone, and well watered with streams running through the main body of it. Mr. Whetstone purchased the tract in 1869, and in 1870 associated with him S.F. Kelsey. At this time the tract comprised about 12,000 acres. They went to work to lay it out into a town and small farms. The grant central idea of the projectors was that each member of the colony should own a home, whether it was comprised of one lot, or a hundred acres of land. The scheme met with a good degree of success—the colony has never gone backward, but has steadily progressed, until to-day it numbers among its numerous people of culture and intelligence from every State in the Union and from nearly every country under the sun. In members, the colonists are about 325 persons.
In connection with the settlement, Messrs. Whetstone & Kelsey laid out a town, which they named
The site of which is very beautifully located on elevated ground. It is acknowledged to be one of the most picturesque town sites in Kansas.
The town was platted in 1870, and the original site comprised 320 acres. It has already completed, at a cost of $5000, a stone school building, affording accommodation for 200 pupils, which has grown into an academy, and parties are being attracted there from adjoining counties. There is also a large steam flouring mill in active operation, which cost $20,000. There are several church organization, holding religious service regularly, and sustaining a Union Sabbath School, and nearly every branch of business is being carried on except the sale of liquors, which is prohibited. There are three general merchandise stores, one drug store, two blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, paint shop, large furniture manufactory, and a hotel. A Jones erected the first building—a residence. The first business house was built by Rev. L. Ricksecker, which was used as a store and post office. Mr. Scranton built the second business house, which is now the Pomona Hotel, conducted by James Wilson. The next business house erected was built by Mr. Hays, and John Parkinson followed the march of improvement by building a residence. G.B. Ricksecker built the next building, which is now occupied by Hatfield & Hensley. Doctor Mackey was next heard from, with a residence, and David Lowry followed suit with the business house occupied by Pasley & Alexander. A stone blacksmith shop was built by Nelson Reynolds—now occupied by Squire McCord—and Messrs. McCord & Wilson built a wagon shop. John Krouse built a furniture manufactory, where all kinds of furniture is made. The flouring mill was built by H.O. Kelsey in 1870. It has three run of stones, with four-foot burrs, and does a very handsome business. It is now owned by Mr. E.H. Topping, he having recently purchased his brother’s interest.
J.J. Lawrence, near the southeastern corner of the township, has 320 acres, all fenced, and 200 in cultivation. He had 40 acres devoted to pasturing. His principal crop is corn, of which he has 180 acres in this year. He raised 20 acres of oats. Owns 20 head of cattle, 6 horses and mules. There are about 250 hogs on the place. Has a good frame house, and about 200 fruit trees.
S.J. Lawrence lives on the above mentioned farm. He has recently purchased 20 acres adjoining, which he will farm. He owns a number of cattle, a span of horses, and about 40 hogs.
William Willis resides near Pomona, on the east, where he owns 13 acres of the town site. Produces corn and vegetables. He has a good frame house, and owns 12 head of cattle, a good team of horses, and about 13 hogs.
John Baldwin Esq., has a home place of 5 acres on the town site, which he devotes to the production of produce. There are 100 nice fruit trees on his place, and about a fourth of an acre of blackberries. He owns a number of cattle, a good team, and 10 hogs.
Alfred Jones, Esq., also has a five acre lot on the town-site, on which he produces vegetables. He has a good frame house, to w3hich he is building a 14 by 23 addition. Owns a team, 2 cows, and 14 hogs. Mr. Jones built the first box house in Pomona.
W. Waite has 10 acres enclosed near Pomona, on which there is a good frame house and a considerable variety of fruit—50 apple, 50 peach, and 20 cherry trees, and a number of grape vines. Mr. W. has his fruit yard very handsomely adorned. He is a carpenter by trade.
Messrs. McConnell & Wilson are the wagon-makers of Pomona. They manufacture the celebrated “Pomona wagon,” and are doing a thrifty business. They run a blacksmith shop in connection with their other business, where they do jobbing and repairing. They also deal in native wagon material.
We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. E.A. Mott, of Pomona, who is by profession a painter. Mr. M. does house, sign, wagton, carriage and ornametalpaintingof all kinds, and has the reputation of being a first-class artist in his line.
We also met Mr. A.C. Warren, a young man, whose trade is that of a blacksmith. Mr. W. is at present engaged in McCord’s stone shop.
Mr. William Poole operates the Parkinson farm near the east line. He has about 20 acres in corn, this year, which is his principal crop. He owns a good team and a number of cattle and hogs.
Mr. John Parkinson, a well known and prominent man in the county, has a general merchandising store at Pomona, where he has acquired a profitable run of custom.
R.S. Moore, Esq., lives in the vicinity of Pomona. Mr. M. owns 320 acres of land, 75 acres of which are in cultivation—to corn and beans principally this year. He harvested about 12 acres of millet. Mr. M. rents his land out. He has quite a lot of stock and hogs.
Messrs. Pasley & Alexander, general merchandise dealers, at Pomona, keep a full line of everything to be sought for in a general store. They are enterprising gentlemen, who take advantage of wholesale markets, and permit their customers to enjoy the benefits with them.
Wm. Keethly lives about four and one-half miles from Pomona. He has 105 acres of land. 55 acres of which are in cultivation—to corn principally. He owns 7 head of cattle, 3 horses, and 10 hogs. Has resided in the township seven years.
At Krouse’s furniture manufactory in Pomona, we found things in full blast. Mr. Krouse thoroughly understands his business, and the needs and demands of the public, and is prepared to make every quality and character of goods, in his line required.
Prof. D.H. Starky, Principal of the Pomona Academy, resides at Pomona, where he is a prominent and popular citizen. The Prof. was out squirrel shooting when we called, but that is no reason why we should not place him in our budget.
Mr. G.H. Hammons owns a five acre lot on the town site, where on he produces some of the wonderful vegetables for which Kansas is so noted. He has a comfortable home. He is operating land for Mr. Munday, this season—has in about 30 acres of corn. He owns 4 head of cattle, 3 horses, and a fine lot of swine.
D.J. Taylor is operating a farm for Whetstone and is working about 40 acres in corn and 4 in beans. Owns 3 horses, and a number of head of cattle and swine. Mr. Taylor we found to be a very intelligent gentleman.
Munday Bros. operate Judge Usher’s big farm of 1500 acres. About 300 acres of this farm are improved—Munday Bros. have 150 in corn this year. They have also cut 40 acres of timothy hay. They handle stock pretty extensively—generally keep about 150 head of cattle on hand. Own 7 head of horses, and 50 hogs. They have recently sold 37 head of cattle and 40 head of swine.
S.B.M. Holmes owns a steam saw mill, located on the Marias (sic) des Cygnes, near the southwest corner of the township. This mill was built by government, for the convenience of the Sac and Fox Indians, and is of the very best and strongest material. Its machinery is as near perfection as money could get it. The engine is 120 horse power.
W.W. Price, Esq., lives right at the south line, his farm being partly in Greenwood, and partly in Appanoose. He votes in the former township, and milks his cows in the latter. Owns 80 acres—10 in cultivation. He also operates 36 acres of the Cloud farm. Owns 9 head of cattle, 8 horses, and 12 hogs. Mr. P. has some tremendous crops this year—you can find them only in Kansas.
Of course, we could not visit Appanoose, and fail to call on our good friend, F.D. Coburn, to whom, and to Mrs. C. we own many thanks for favors rendered. Mr. C. has a very fine farm, which he cultivates intelligently, but it is to swine rearing that he devotes his most careful attention. He has a number of pure strains of Berkshire hogs, of which any breeder might well be proud. Mr. Coburn will be remembered as the author of a recent valuable work on “Swine Husbandry,” published by Orange, Judd & Co., of New York, to which the Republican has recently referred.
Mr. Clark Fowler operates the Davidson place near the west line. He has 45 acres in corn, and owns 4 head of cattle, 4 horses, and a nice lot of hogs. Mr. Fowler was a former resident of Ottawa, and has resided in Appanoose but seven months.
J.D. Hawes, Esq., has 640 acres of as fine land as is spread under the sun, and all under a hedge fence. Of this, 160 are improved, 100 being in culture to corn and beans principally. Mr. H. took this place a raw prairie, one year ago, and has broke 100 acres since with three horses. He aims to raise corn for hogs. Owns 4 horses, and will keep over about 150 hogs.
M. Wickam, whose farm lies just north of the Whetstone tract, owns 160 acres, 75 of which are in cultivation to corn principally. He has put in 7 acres of wheat this fall. Owns 30 head of cattle, 5 horses, and 40 hogs.
Geo. W. White, on the Whetstone tract, is working 35 acres of corn, 17 of beans, and has harvested a small field of oats. Owns 5 head of cattle, a good horse team, and a nice lot of hogs.
Mrs. Cath. Newkirk, near the west line, has 107 acres, 37 of which are improved. There is a nice frame house on the place, as well as a good orchard—180 apple, and 50 peach trees. Her brother, David Yeck, works the place. There are 45 head of cattle on the farm., 4 horses, and 15 hogs.
Daniel Dean, Esq., has a magnificent farm of 477 acres on West Appanoose, and one of the most picturesque locations in the township. He has 300 acres in cultivation, and the whole tract fenced. He has 150 acres in corn, 30 in beans, and threshed 800 bushels of oats from 30 acres. Owns about 85 head of cattle, 22 horses, and 200 hogs. Raises corn expressly to feed. Has a very fine white frame house, and a 5 acre orchard.
D.L. Montgomery lives near the north line. He owns 37 acres, on which he cultivates corn and beans. Owns 8 head of cattle, 4 horse, and a fine lot of swine.
A way up in the north-west corner, we found our very good friend, Mr. County Commissioner, T.H. Tutcher, located on as fine a farm as we have seen in our travels. Friend T. was pretty busy in the bean line, but he had time to entertain us with a very acceptable dinner. He owns 160 acres, all fenced, and 50 under cultivation to corn, beans and wheat this year. He owns 10 head of cattle, 4 horses, and about 30 hogs. Has a fine young orchard. Mr. T. contemplates the erection of a new house in the not very remote future.
Mr. M. St. John, on Middle Appanoose, owns 160 acres, about 65 acres being in cultivation—10 to beans, 40 to corn, and 13 to a field of wheat. Owns 20 head of cattle, a fine team of horses, and 8 hogs. Has resided in the township since 1858.
T.F. Ankeny operates the Andrew St. John farm, on Middle Appanoose. He has 35 acres in corn, and 15 acres in beans, and has sowed 12 acres of wheat this fall. Owns quite a lot of stock.
Isaac Oberholt, on East Appanoose, owns a 160 acre farm, of which 125 acres are improved. He has 55 acres in corn, and 30 in wheat. Owns 15 head of cattle, 6 horses, and 25 hogs. Has lived there 6 years. Mr. O. began operations on this farm with $200 with which to buy a team, implements, seed, etc., and by enterprise and industry has worked his way to comfortable circumstances.
We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Isaac Solenberger, who has a quarter section on East Branch, where he has resided seven years. Mr. S. is one of the representative farms of the county, and by attention to his regular knitting, has things about him in a thrifty shape.
J.W. Davis, near Middle Branch, has 217 acres, 90 of which are in good cultivation to a variety of crops. He owns 18 head of cattle, 4 horses, and 15 hogs. Has a nice white frame house, and a good orchard of 125 apple and 100 peach trees, and in bearing.
J.F. Patton, located on East Appanoose, owns 152 acres of land, 57 cultivated. He had a in 13 acres of oats, the balance being in corn and beans. Owns 20 head of cattle, a fine span of horses, and 21 hogs. In his orchard are 160 peach and 100 apple trees, all bearing.
Mr. Clark Teft, whose farm is situated just in the forks of east and west Appanoose, on the bottoms, has 240 acres of most excellent land. He produced corn, oats and wheat this year. Owns 53 hogs. We noticed a very fine full bred Durham bull.
M.H. Hornbeck resides east of the East Branch, where he owns 160 acres of land, 60 in cultivation, to corn and beans principally. Owns a nice lot of cattle, 4 horses, and a good stock of swine. Has a good one story frame house, and a fine young orchard.
We found Mr. Albert Thompson at home, but prepared to emigrate to Arkansas, where he has traded for property recently.
Mr. J.J. Whetstone, at Pomona, is a young man, just of age, but full of the vim and enterprise that makes a successful career. He owns 80 acres of land—50 in corn, and 30 in beans—16 head of cattle, and a number of horses and hogs.
Mr. Sylvester Paul owns 160 acres just outside of the town site of Pomona, 90 of which are in cultivation. He produces corn principally to feed to stock, in which business he is extensively engaged. He keeps over about 125 head of cattle, and 150 hogs. Has also 5 horses. Mr. P. owns a handsome residence property in the village of Pomona.