1871-1971 - Dorothy Dey's Scrapbook of the Wellington Daily News Centennial Edition published 23 August 1971.


1871-1971 - Dorothy Dey's Scrapbook of the Wellington Daily News Centennial Edition published 23 August 1971.


Sumner County, Kansas--History

Sumner County, Kansas--Businesses

Sumner County--Founding

Sumner County--Settlement

Wellington, Kansas--History

Wellington, Kansas--Founding

Wellington, Kansas--Schools

Sumner County, Kansas -- Schools


The 1871-1971 Centennial Scrapbook includes typewritten articles written by Dorothy Dey, Sumner County and Wellington Historian, on many aspects
of Sumner County and Wellington history.

Many of the stories in this scrapbook are copies of
newspaper articles that Dorothy Dey wrote for the newspaper, and include stories about the first
men and women settlers and the hardships that they faced, endured and overcame when settling
Sumner County.

The articles include descriptions of the founding and demise of several small towns in the area that include their former location.

The scrapbook includes a Sumner County timeline,
the battle between several towns for the county seat, including one town, Meridian, that
never existed, and photographs of the county’s early founders, doctors, and businessmen and woman.

While many of these stories are now included in various newspaper articles, this scrapbook is a
one-of-a-kind, 100-year history of the town of Wellington and Sumner County’s early history.


Wellington Daily News
Wellington, Kansas


Wellington Public Library
Wellington, Kansas


Wellington Public Library
Wellington, Kansas




Published articles used by permission of Wellington Daily News In Copyright In Copyright

Other content Copyright Undetermined Copyright Undetermined


Dorothy Dey's Historic Collection, Sumner County History, Wellington History









Wellington Daily News Wellington, Kansas, “1871-1971 - Dorothy Dey's Scrapbook of the Wellington Daily News Centennial Edition published 23 August 1971.,” Wellington Digital Collections, accessed December 1, 2022, https://wellington.digitalsckls.info/item/106.


BOX 86
1871 - Wellington Centennial - 1971
Wheat Capital of the World
Kansas - .Souvenir Commemorative MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 1971



From a 70-Year-Old "Youngster" .... the


The staff of The Daily News takes pleasure in publishing today the largest single edition in its entire 70-year history. It is sincerely hoped that the reader will find the special Centennial edition a truly commemorative one.

Jack Mitchell Ralph Rusher
Jeanne Mitchell Willisene Hoyer
Kenneth Daniels Dorothy Dey
James Kinney Jud Mitchell
Jackie Mitchell
Norman Sunderland
Alda Boyd
Marvin White
Darlene Woods
Hylas Seimers Randy Sunderland
Eddie Shaw John Locke
Pat Deschaine Pat Halloran
Marilyn Rudd Richard Dawes
Betty Totten Lela Oglesby

WELLINGTON, KANSAS, SATURDAY AUGUST 29, 1970 Volume No. 66—No. 306
THE FINEST IN ALL KANSAS—The Arlington House, a new hotel in 1883 and dubbed “The finest in all Kansas”, closed its doors as a hostelry and checked out its last roomers a few days ago. After nearly a century of accommodating travelers’ through Kansas, as well as permanent residents of Wellington, the Arlington House hotel closed its register books and plans to sell the fixtures at public Auction today at its site on the corner of Washington and Harvey streets. The above picture was taken sometime around 1890. It shows the then and nearly new Arlington House hotel building (Just to the right of center) from Washington Avenue. Near the center is the old
Joe Smith building which was equally impressive and made of native marble. The street scene here is of one of the many old parades that the grand old hotel paid silent witness to during her lifetime. The occasion for the parade in this picture was that of a carnival or Circus parade. Note the people seated and standing on the awning at the second story level of the Arlington House hotel building; the wagons, buggies and other horse-drawn vehicles; and the total absence of motor carriages. (Photo courtesy of the Chisholm Trail Museum Archives)

by Dorothy Dey

With an auction on Saturday, August 29, at the corner of Washington and Harvey avenues in the heart of the business district of Wellington, Kansas, the story of an historical landmark in south Kansas will come to an end.

This week the Arlington Hotel, which opened in 1883 and has been in operation continuously since that time, checked out its last guest and closed its doors. Handbills announcing the auction sale listed such things as 150 blankets, 100 pillows, 250 sheets, 50 electric fans of various sizes, 50 metal beds and springs, 75 mattresses and pads, 50 antique heaters, large oil paintings and tapestries, old-time wicker furniture, 10 commodes, 25 small antique dressers and 20 carved ornate dressers. It seems a sad end to what once were some of the proudest days in the history of Wellington, Kansas.

In 1881, fire swept through the city’s business district completely destroying all the business buildings in a whole block. On March 20, 1882, C. C. Larned and Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Pearson, pioneer citizens of Wellington, announced that they would build a new building on the corner of Washington and Harvey avenues to replace their store destroyed by the fire. The building was to have a 50 foot front, 140 feet in depth, with a basement 9 feet deep under the whole building. A windmill was to be erected on the roof to draw water from a well in the basement in order to keep the water tank on the roof full at all times.

During the latter part of September 1882, a Wellington newspaper reported that a hotel man from Mulvane, Kansas, would lease the building for $3000 a year provided that Larned and Co. would add a third story to the projected building. The upper two floors would provide 50 sleeping rooms, an office, dining room and kitchen. Plans to add a tower for a town clock were being discussed.

On the ground floor would be a drug store, two doctors’ offices, J. D. Decker’s Books and Stationery, Ed Roser’s Jewelry and Larned and Company’s Hardware Store where it was now possible to purchase new round wire nails instead of the old square ones.

On July 9, 1883, the magnificent new hotel, “the finest in all Kansas”, was christened the Arlington House.

The building was built by Squire Smith and Frank White, pioneer contractors who built many of the buildings still standing in Wellington, using brick made locally by the Spicknall Brick Factory. An especial feature of the building was the finely crafted woodwork used throughout the building. Mr. Larned had specified in the original contract that only Ben Smith, brother of Squire Smith, and Harve Mitchell, father of Everett Mitchell, former Wellington mayor and widely known contractor, be allowed to work on the woodwork. It took the two men almost a whole year to complete their task.

Four years later in March 1887, Mr. Larned and Mr. and Mrs. Pearson, the owners, returned to Wellington from Scott City where they were then living to plan an extensive addition to
the hotel which would greatly increase its capacity and move the office, dining room and kitchen to the ground floor along Harvey avenue.

On October 14, 1887, a gay house-warming ball was held in the new dining room. At half past eleven an elaborate oyster supper was served with oysters prepared in half a dozen different ways. The dancing continued far into the night until the early morning hours.

In the early days of Wellington before the streets were paved and downtown buildings had the modern type of awnings, wide wooden porchlike roofs, supported by poles along the edge of the street, stretched across the walking area to protect shoppers from sun and rain. Whenever there was a parade or celebration, people liked to stand on these wooden shelters so they could see better, but after several accidents when people fell through the flimsy wooden roofing and one very bad accident when a whole wooden awning gave way and crashed down on the crowd below severely injuring and killing several people, the Arlington House awning was pulled down.

A balcony ran along the second floor above the entrance on the Harvey street side for many years, and one of the legends concerning the Arlington House relates that George Woods, a long time dealer in second-hand goods in Wellington, decided he wanted to be married on the old Arlington balcony. So the wedding took place with a throng of Wellington residents watching from the street below.

In 1909, another fire at the opposite end of the block destroyed the building which housed the National Bank of Commerce. As a result of this loss, the directors of the bank decided to purchase the Arlington building and convert the stores along the main street side to a bank.

The brick building was remodeled again and covered with a coat of stucco shortly after World War II. The tower on the roof was torn down because it was feared that, weakened by many years of Kansas sun, rain, and wind, it might fall and injure someone below. Although originally it had been planned to put a clock on the tower, that was never done. The bank leased the hotel area to various managers and continued to operate the bank on that comer until 1967 when a new bank building was completed in an adjoining block. The corner was then leased to Joe Locke who completely remodeled and modernized the old bank building, inside and outside, and now has a most attractive modern jewelry gift and china store in the front of the building.

On July 1, 1926, Mr. and Mrs. Walter LaHaye leased the old hotel dining room and kitchen and for 33 years, until they retired in July 1959, the LaHayes’ White Way Cafe was one of the most popular eating places in south central Kansas. The dining room area, in recent years, has again been rebuilt and is now leased to the National Life and Accident Co.

This week, having heard about the projected closing of the hotel, a Wellington business man said that recently, while searching for a temporary home for an expected influx of workers, he had toured the old hotel from top to bottom with the last managers of the building, Mr. and Mrs. D. D. Glick. He found the rooms old-fashioned, the furnishings antiquated, the conveniences nothing to brag about, but everywhere, throughout the building he found things spotlessly clean.

Mr. George Harbaugh, long time president of the National Bank of Commerce, announced this week that he hoped to lease the lobby area of the hotel for some kind of business and that the upper two floors would be closed off and left empty.

Perhaps on some dark night the ghosts of the lovely ladies in long frillly evening gowns and handsome gentlemen in dark frock coats will come back to stroll down the long hallways and wander through the deserted rooms and recall memories of dancing in the huge ballroom until the early morning hours and eating oysters prepared half dozen different ways as they did on that galmorous night so long ago when the magnificent Arlington House was given its never-to-be-forgotten h o u s e-warming.

Historic Old Arlington House Closes After 87 Colorful Years
NO EXPLANATION NEEDED for this photo. Taken at the entrance of the Arlington House hotel, it tells its
own story
It All Began On Slate Creek
Slate Creek Even Today Puts On A Spectacular Shown When It Has Surplus Water To Churn.

South Haven

They Came to Slate Creek from Many Directions

It seems peculiar that although he was the first man to settle in Sumner county we know nothing about him except his name — John Degolia, who settled in Sumner Township early in 1839. A few days later a man by the name of A. Cadou staked out his claim in the same area.

In March of 1869, D. W. and C. F. Horner settled on the Ninnescah river near Belle Plaine and in July 1869 Tom V. McMahan and his brother John S. McMahan marked out claims and built a cabin on the west side of the Slate Creek about where the creek runs through Woods Park in Wellington today.

In April 1870 J. M. Buffington settled on the Arkansas river near where Oxford is now and in May of the same year Charles Wichern came into London Township and Lafayette Brinkley and John Horton to Oxford and in June James Wells settled in Palestine Township, and Edson Wiggins, Charles Russell and Frank Holcroft moved near the location of Sumner City.

D. Holmes, J. L. Ferguson, and J. O. West also arrived during June 1870. A. D. Clewell, G. C. Walton, T. L. Cambridge and the
Leforce family settled in the county in July. On July 9, 1870 Thomas Boyle and his wife and three children staked out a claim in London Township, the first negro family to come to Sumner County. Also in July, G. W. Foraker, Nelson Holmes, Thomas Fuller and James Sullivan came up the Slate creek valley and laid out their claims.

When he was twelve years old, Andy Jordan left his native Tennessee to become a Texas cowboy. He joined the Confederate army and was away from Texas during the war, but when the war was over he returned to his cattle herds in Texas. In 1870 he came up the famous Chisholm Trail with a herd of cattle and, having learned that the Diminished Osage Reserve was open for settlement, he took a claim where Wellington’s huge Woods Park is today.

Meanwhile in 1868 John P. McCulloch, who had been living with his family near Fort Worth, Texas, decided to join a large covered wagon train with seventy-five people and two herds of cattle that was heading out for California. It took four months to reach Denver, and by the time spring came and the snow began to melt in the
mountains so that they could go on, many had become discouraged and decided to return to Texas. But John P. McCulloch had somehow heard of the rich land just opened up on the south border of Kansas so he decided to turn back to Wichita where he left his family and he too in February of 1871 set out to search along the banks of Slate Creek for a suitable claim and selected one not far from where the McMahan brothers and A. A. Jordan had settled. Having cut logs for a cabin and arranged for his family to stay at the Jordan house for awhile, he returned to Wichita for his family.

It had been raining for days, the mud in places seemed bottomless and several times they had to unload the wagon so the oxen could pull it out where it had mired down. The trail became worse and finally Mr. McCulloch went to a house near the Ninnescah for help. At that time about twenty-five men were bunking in the crude prairie cabin.

In reward for a night’s shelter for herself and her four small children — one a tiny baby, Mrs. McCulloch cooked breakfast the next morning and made real hot biscuits for that
big group off men who thoroughly appreciated once more a taste of home cooking.

Finally at the end of two day’s hard travelling from Wichita, they reached the Jordan house where they stayed until the summer of 1871 when their own cabin of one-room and a dugout cellar near the spot where Cedarview Nursing Home is today was finally ready for occupation.

Born in Tennessee, Robert A. Davis moved to Texas in 1851 and served four years as a Confederate soldier. In 1870 he drove a herd of cattle north from Texas up the famed Chisholm Trail, and having reached Sumner County in August 20, he built a shack on Slate Creek and spent the winter there. While waiting for the long cold winter to end, he must have become acquainted with the McMahan brothers and Andy Jordan and John McCulloch.

That same winter in February of 1871, Capt. L. K. Myers set out on a prospecting trip from his home in Missouri to find suitable land to settle on. He had been informed that a new town of Meridian in Sumner County was destined to be the county seat so he made arrangements with the members
of the Town Company of Meridian to return to Missouri for his family and return to settle there. He ordered cottonwood trees growing along the creek bank cut down for a cabin.

In February 1871 Dr. P. A. Wood and C. R. Godfrey also rode into the valley of the Slate and discussed with the Meridian Town Company founders plans to settle in that area. Returning to their home in Paola, they told friends about the fine prospects in Sumner county and so what has come to be known as “the Paola Crowd” began making arrangements to settle along the banks of Slate Creek. During the first part of March Major A. N. Randall rode out from Paola to survey the possibilities and seek a suitable spot for a claim.

In 1871 Wichita was already a year old and in that thriving cowboy center, John Shearman had opened a general store. In March of 1871 his brother Abb Shearman visited the county to the south with the idea of opening a second Shearman store there.

Thus they came, by one’s and two’s, each from a different direction — to build a future for their families in the Slate Creek valley.

Everyone who has ever lived in Sumner County has seen it, but few people, even those who have been here all their lives, know it as it really is.

On June 25, 1942, the WICHITA EAGLE published an unusual description of the little creek that has been so much a part of our lives during the past one hundred years.

“Slate Creek, an all-Sumner
county stream, staged one of its occasional rampages last Sunday. Little known outside southern Kansas, the creek can put on a real show when it has surplus water to churn. Its source is in some of the richest wheat land in all Kansas — Eden township, whose north boundary borders on Sedgwick county. Kingman county forms its west boundary. Sumner county often takes first place in Kansas
wheat production and Eden township frequently ranks first in township yield.

“The creek starts in sandy loam. It slashes its way through many forms of soil and its banks are lined in places with slate rock — hence the name. It skirts Conway Springs to the north, and from the gravel bed that gives Conway Springs its fountain-pure water, Slate Creek picks up its main flow.

East of Conway Springs, it hits a formation that fills the water with chemicals. After passing Wellington, where it stages its most spectacular shows, it heads for the Arkansas River, skirting Geuda Springs to the north.

“From the sands, soils and chemicals Slate Creek meanders through, Geuda gets its seven different mineral waters in its almost forgotten but famous

“It is perhaps forty miles from Milton, near the source, to Adamsville, near the mouth. But no stream in southern Kansas wrinkles through a more interesting, varied and productive land than does Slate Creek, the home of bass, sunfish, catfish and frogs, and pure mineral soft and hard water, and flash floods that really wash the slate clean.”

House on Oxford Road
Typical Prairie Home...

February 3, 1946, the Wellington Daily News published a written by A. C. Whealy. Mitchell, Kansas, which a fascinating picture of farm life in the early 1870’s.

“The sale of the Whealy quarter last fall lessens the possession of preemption quarters until only a very few are left in the hands of the descendants of the original owners. On the 23rd of April 1871, the late W. G. Whealy preempted N.W. of 22-32-1-E. He had come from Illinois the year before and stopped in Woodson county. In the spring of 1871, he and some friends came to Sumner county to get land. He brought enough lumber to build his claim shanty from Woodson county, a distance of 130 miles. This little house he called Prairie Home for it was the first house built on the road between Wellington and Oxford. In the fall of
1877, he moved his family of a wife and two sons, Tim and George, to the home on the prairie. When he came there were only a few houses in Oxford and Wellington.

Soon the railroad came to Wichita. That was the shipping point for wheat. It took the best part of three days to make the trip to Wichita and back. It took about the same amount of time to go down into the Indian territory to get a load of wood for fuel.

“In the fall, to protect the homes and hay in stacks, fireguards had to be burned. The streams abounded in fish and prairie chickens were plentiful
and some antelope were still to be found.

“Then came the grasshoppers of ‘74 and the exodus of settlers leaving to go back to their old homes. But his people lived in Canada and it was too far to go, so he just stayed.

“1875 will be remembered as the year when everything grew spontaneously. No Indians had been seen for several years. Then came a snow storm, and as the government could not get supplies from Wichita to the Indians, permission was granted to them to beg.

“The road to Wichita and to the Oxford mill passed through our yard and divided about a
quarter of a mile from our home. People from down on the Shoo-Fly around South Haven came that way going to the mill. The road angled across the country; there were few section lines at that time.

“Faith of our fathers! Well, they surely had faith. How my father ever paid for the farm is more than I know. He borrowed the money to prove up the farm from a man by the name of Pilcher at 36 per cent; he redeemed that with money from a Mr. Ogden at 20 per cent; that he paid off with Eastern money brought in by a Mr. Forney of Belle Plaine at 12 per cent.

“These pioneer parents who braved the hardships of frontier life are no more and few of their children are left on the farms their parents preempted.”

The Wellington Daily News Centennial Edition.
Copyright Mitchell Publications. Inc. Including Sections A through G.
WELLINGTON, KANSAS, MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 1971 Volume No. 69-No. 299

Happy 100th Birthday
Wellington & Sumner County

The original "Wellington" was SUMNER CITY located on the pioneer Chisholm Trail.

It’s site (yr 2000) is four miles North on the "oil field road", from Wellington, thence two and four tenths miles west to the Headley farmstead with the house on the South side of the road.


1870 - 0,000
1880 - 2,694
1890 - 4,391
1900 - 4,245
1910 - 7,034
1920 - 7,048
1930 - 7,405
1940 - 7,246
1950 - 7,747
1960 - 8,809
1970 - 8,072
1980 - 8,212
1990 - 8,411
2000 - 8,470
Secured from: Mark Galbraith/Ann Derkes
Topeka, Kansas Tel. # 785-296-3296
Dec. 22, 2000 LFB
They Came to Slate Creek from Many Directions

It seems peculiar that although he was the first man to settle in Sumner county we know nothing about him except his name — John Degolia, who settled in Sumner Township early in 1869. A few days later a man by the name of A. Cadou staked out his claim in the same area.

In March off 1869, D. W. and C. F. Horner settled on the Ninnescah river near Belle Plaine and in July 1869 Tom V. McMahan and his brother John S. McMahan marked out claims and built a cabin on the west side of the Slate Creek about where the creek runs through Woods Park in Wellington today.

In April, 1870 J. M. Buffington settled on the Arkansas river near where Oxford is now and in May of the same year Charles Wichern came into London Township and Lafayette Brinkley and John Horton to Oxford and in June James Wells settled in Palestine Township, and Edson Wiggins, Charles Russell and Frank Holcroft moved near the location of Sumner City. J. D. Holmes, J. L. Ferguson, and J. O. West also arrived during June 1870. A. D. Clewell, G. C. Walton, T. L. Cambridge and the
Leforce family settled in the county in July. On July 9, 1870 Thomas Boyle and his wife and three children staked out a claim in London Township, the first negro family to come to Sumner County. Also in July, G. W. Foraker, Nelson Holmes, Thomas Fuller and James Sullivan came up the Slate creek valley and laid out their claims.

When he was twelve years old, Andy Jordan left his native Tennessee to become a Texas cowboy. He joined the Confederate army and was away from Texas during the war, but when the war was over he returned to his cattle herds in Texas. In 1870 he came up the famous Chisholm Trail with a herd of cattle and, having learned that the Diminished Osage Reserve was open for settlement, he took a claim where Wellington’s huge Woods Park is today.

Meanwhile in 1868 John P. McCulloch, who had been living with his family near Fort Worth, Texas, decided to join a large covered wagon train with seventy-five people and two herds of cattle that was heading out for California. It took four months to reach Denver, and by the time spring came and the snow began to melt in the
mountains so that they could go on, many had become discouraged and decided to return to Texas. But John P. McCulloch had somehow heard of the rich land just opened up on the south border of Kansas so he decided to turn back to Wichita where he left his family and he too in February of 1871 set out to search along the banks of Slate Creek for a suitable claim and selected one not far from where the McMahan brothers and A. A. Jordan had settled. Having cut logs for a cabin and arranged for his family to stay at the Jordan house for awhile, he returned to Wichita for his family.

It had been raining for days, the mud in places seemed bottomless and several times they had to unload the wagon so the oxen could pull it out where it had mired down. The trail became worse and finally Mr. McCulloch went to a house near the Ninnescah for help. At that time about twenty-five men were bunking in the crude prairie cabin.

In reward for a night’s shelter for herself and her four small children — one a tiny baby, Mrs. McCulloch cooked breakfast the next morning and made real hot biscuits for that
big group off men who thoroughly appreciated once more a taste of home cooking.

Finally at the end of two day’s hard travelling from Wichita they reached the Jordan house where they stayed until the summer off 1871 when their own cabin of one-room and a dugout cellar near the spot where Cedarview Nursing Home is today was finally ready for occupation.

Bom in Tennessee, Robert A. Davis moved to Texas in 1851 and served four years as a Confederate soldier. In 1870 he drove a herd of cattle north from Texas up the famed Chisholm Trail, and having reached Sumner County in August 20, he built a shack on Slate Creek and spent the winter there. While waiting for the long cold winter to end, he must have become acquainted with the McMahan brothers and Andy Jordan and John McCulloch.

That same winter in February of 1871, Capt. L. K. Myers set out on a prospecting trip from his home in Missouri to find suitable land to settle on. He had been informed that a new town of Meridian in Sumner County was destined to be the county seat so he made arrangements with the members
of the Town Company of Meridian to return to Missouri for his family and return to settle there. He ordered cottonwood trees growing along the creek bank cut down for a cabin. In February 1871 Dr. P. A. Wood and C. R. Godfrey also rode into the valley of the Slate and discussed with the Meridian Town Company founders plans to settle in that area. Returning to their home in Paola, they told friends about the fine prospects in Sumner county and so what has come to be known as “the Paola Crowd" began making arrangements to settle along the banks of Slate Creek. During the first part off March Major A. N. Randall rode out from Paola to survey the possibilities and seek a suitable spot for a claim.

In 1871 Wichita was already a year old and in that thriving cowboy center, John Shearman had opened a general store. In March of 1871 his brother Abb Shearman visited the county to the south with the idea of opening a second Shearman store there.

Thus they came, by one’s and two’s, each from a different direction — to build a future for their families in the Slate Creek valley.
Everyone who has ever lived in Sumner County has seen it, but few people, even those who have been here all their lives, know it as it really is.

On June 25, 1942, the WICHITA EAGLE published an unusual description of the little creek that has been so much a part of our lives during the past one hundred years.

“Slate Creek, an all-Sumner
county stream, staged one of its occasional rampages last Sunday. Little known outside southern Kansas, the creek can put on a real show when it has surplus water to churn. Its source is in some of the richest wheat land in all Kansas — Eden township, whose north boundary borders on Sedgwick county. Kingman county forms its west boundary. Sumner county often takes first place in Kansas
wheat production and Eden township frequently ranks first in township yield.

“The creek starts in sandy loam. It slashes its way through many forms of soil and its banks are lined in places with slate rock — hence the name. It skirts Conway Springs to the north, and from the gravel bed that gives Conway Springs its fountain pure water, Slate Creek picks up its main flow.

East of Conway Springs, it hits a formation that fills the water with chemicals. After passing Wellington, where it stages its most spectacular shows, it heads for the Arkansas River, skirting Geuda Springs to the north.

“From the sands, soils and chemicals Slate Creek meanders through, Geuda gets its seven different mineral waters in its almost forgotten but famous

“It is perhaps forty miles from Milton, near the source, to Adamsville, near the mouth. But no stream in southern Kansas wrinkles through a more interesting, varied and productive land than does Slate Creek, the home of bass, sunfish, catfish and frogs, and pure mineral soft and hard water, and flash floods that really wash the slate clean.”

House on Oxford Road
Typical Prairie Home...

February 3, 1946, the Wellington Daily News published a written by A. C. Whealy Mitchell, Kansas, which gave a fascinating picture of farm life in the early 1870’s.

"The sale of the Whealy quarter last fall lessens the possession of preemption quarters until only a very few are left in the hands of the descendants of the original owners. On the 23rd of April 1871, the late W. G. Whealy preempted N.W. of 22-32-1-E. He had come from Illinois the year before and stopped in Woodson county. In the spring of 1871, he and some friends came to Sumner county to get land. He brought enough lumber to build his claim shanty from Woodson county, a distance of 130 miles. This little house he called Prairie Home for it was the first house built on the road between Wellington and Oxford. In the fall of
1877, he moved his family of a wife and two sons, Tim and George, to the home on the prairie. When he came there were only a few houses in Oxford and Wellington.

Soon the railroad came to Wichita. That was the shipping point for wheat. It took the best part off three days to make the trip to Wichita and back. It took about the same amount of time to go down into the Indian territory to get a load of wood for fuel.

“In the fall, to protect the homes and hay in stacks, fireguards had to be burned. The streams abounded in fish and prairie chickens were plentiful
and some antelope were still to be found.

“Then came the grasshoppers of ‘74 and the exodus of settlers leaving to go back to their old homes. But his people lived in Canada and it was too far to go, so he just stayed.

“1875 will be remembered as the year when everything grew spontaneously. No Indians had been seen for several years. Then came a snow storm, and as the government could not get supplies from Wichita to the Indians, permission was granted to them to beg.

“The road to Wichita and to the Oxford mill passed through our yard and divided about a
quarter of a mile from our home. People from down on the Shoo-Fly around South Haven came that way going to the mill. The road angled across the country there were few section lines at that time.

“Faith of our fathers! Well, they surely had faith. How my father ever paid for the farm is more than I know. He borrowed the money to prove up the farm from a man by the name of Pilcher at 36 per cent; he redeemed that with money from a Mr. Ogden at 20 per cent; that he paid off with Eastern money brought in by a Mr. Forney of Belle Plaine at 12 per cent.

“These pioneer parents who braved the hardships of frontier life are no more and few of their children are left on the farms their parents preempted.”

Construction of Our Beautiful Court House

In 1874 Wellington built the little stone courthouse and leased it to the county for ten years. Since the lease was to expire in 1884, the county commissioners hired Squire Smith and Frank White to construct a new court house at Washington and 10th. It was a proud day indeed
when the beautiful building was finished and opened for business in 1884. The jail building was added in 1899.

In 1940 as a Wellington man was entering the courthouse, the front steps caved in and the man narrowly escaped serious injury. As a result, the
building was thoroughly inspected and condemned.

All during the World War II the county offices were in the Harvey House. After the war was ended, a new courthouse was built in the same location where the old one had been.

By 1952 the new courthouse
was almost completed. Modern in style, the appearance of the present building was very different from the old building. Very plain in architectural form, the main decoration was a central window framing in panels, a representation of light, with streamers diverging upwards past a symbolic figure holding the scales of justice. Near the base are small representations of freedom and liberty.

Bids were asked for the removal of stone from the old courthouse but none were received. The road and bridge department were authorized to proceed with the removal and much of the stone was run through a crusher and used in road work.

First Session Court

The first session of court held in Wellington met on April 10, 1872 when Judge W. T. Campbell, sometimes called by the name "Tiger Bill”, arrived in Wellington to conduct the court session. Judge Campbell had been assigned a huge area made up what today are the counties of Butler, Cowley, Chautauqua and Sumner.

Since the little Stone Courthouse was not completed until 1874, it has not been definitely established where the first court session was held. D. N. Caldwell arrived in Wellington from Illinois on Sept. 11, 1871 and generally is considered to have been the first practicing lawyer in Wellington. Mr. Caldwell once said that the first session of court was held on the west side of Washington just north of Lincoln in a double-deck frame building. Several county officers had their offices upstairs.

It was from a little cubbyhole room at the back of this building that Willis Jackson, the murderer of Wm. McDowell, escaped after having been brought back from Texas. The night before he was sentenced, his guards imbibed a little too heavily in liquor. Jackson leaped out of the back window onto a low shed at the rear of the little building and mounting a horse he found hitched near by, he made off in the midst of a very hard rainstorm storm. One the hardest storms to have hit the area in years, for a long time it was spoken of as Jackson’s rain.

It is likely that another session of court was held in the second floor of a house that stood where the back part of the Baptist church is today. The upstairs room had an outside stairway and was also used as the first Schoolroom in Wellington.

1909 — July 7, Monitor Press Chautauqua Opened Monday

The second annual session of the summer Chautauqua conducted by the Western Redpath Chautauqua system opened in Wellington Monday afternoon July 5. The big tent as before is pitched on the west side of the Third Ward School grounds but this year in the northwest instead
of the southeast quarter of the block, the grading that is going on the street side of the building prevented the use of the old location. The tent is somewhat larger than the one used last year and as before, the side canvasses are left off to allow free transmission of air while a canvas fence clear around the enclosure effectually screens it from the street.

The program opened with a concert by Alexander’s Jubilee Company, a troupe of colored singers. Other items to be heard are an address by Father Daly, an eloquent Catholic priest; Ernest Harold Baynes, the well-known naturalist, who speaks on birds and wild animals. Mr. Baynes will also deliver a lecture on the American Bison illustrated at each point with rare views of this wonderful
animal which is threatened with extinction. Adam Bede, the Congressional wit and the Kirksmith Concert Company
will also appear on the week’s program. The Chautauqua starts out well and promises a successful and profitable season.


All About the Centennial Edition

Today we write the traditional “30” at the end of our Centennial edition and send the paper out to you, our readers.

The staff, of the Wellington Daily News, Willisene Hoyer and myself have devoted many walking hours and quite a few of our sleeping ones for a great many weeks in trying to make this history of Wellington enjoyable and worthwhile.

When a long job is finally finished, one looks forward happily to time to pull a weed or two, to catch up on sleep, or to go fishing, but this task is also finished with a sense of sadness, a little because it has been fun, but a great deal because there is so much we could not do, so many wonderful pictures we could not crowd in, and so many stories we did not have time or space to tell. If we had energy left, there is easily enough material in Wellington’s history for another sixty pages.

Some of you will wonder why we chose the material we did and left out some you would have chosen. Sometimes a story was left out because we searched and searched and just
could not find it; sometimes a story did not fit into a particular theme for some section or space we had available.

No one has ever tried to fit all the pieces of Wellington’s history together in logical sequence before. Sometimes in working the jigsaw puzzle, we just could not figure out where the story went. Then too, we tried to keep in mind the stories that included the most people. In the end, Centennial week arrived and we ran out of time.

But that and that alone explains the choice of pictures
and stories.

You will find many mistakes in the paper. Although I come from a newspaper family, I have never worked for a paper before and I have learned a lot. School machines frequently act up when a person needs them most, but a linotype is a cantankerous old creature that sometimes has a terrible disposition. The more you feed into him, the more he feeds back wrong, and he always acts worse when you need him most. Then there is the human element. I have discovered that
when one has worked long hours, the eye sees what it wants to see. Every story in this paper has been through my typewriter at least once, some several times; every story has been read at least five or six times. How could there be so many mistakes? I do not know, but if I have learned anything at all this summer, it is to be more charitable to newspaper people.

The Centennial paper is far from perfect, but we hope you like it anyway.

Dorothy Dey


by Norman Sunderland
...as I see it
Did you ever feel the need to especially thank someone for a job well done? Most of us have. But how many times is that thanks due to someone for doing the near impossible? . . . for dedication far above and beyond the call of duty? ... for working unheard of long hours — not just for a few days, but for several weeks straight? . . . for extreme tolerance of your insistence on perfection even though all other sorts of handicaps and hardships have been piled upon them? . . . for staying on the job 16 to 18 hours a day in spite of the fact that they were sick and had every reason to be home in bed? ... for practically divorcing themselves of family duties weeks at a time because they felt the work just HAD to be done regardless of anything else . . .

Well, I’m talking about the very finest employees it has ever been my pleasure to be associated with . . . I’m talking about the gang at The Wellington Daily News ... the people who are responsible for having produced the finest issue of this newspaper’s 70-year history, the largest newspaper ever produced in Wellington; the most carefully planned, written, and printed publication this town has ever had; and the most accurately-researched historical production ever put together about Wellington. I’m bragging on none other than today’s Wellington Daily News Centennial Edition, which counting today’s “regular” section (actually used as a part of the Special Edition) totals Sixty-four Pages!

In my 22 years of newspapering, working in all departments — from Kansas, Montana, Alaska and back (on 12 different newspapers) — I’ve helped in the production of numerous special editions for a lot of different kinds of occasions. Some of them were larger — like the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News - Miner “Progress Editions”, which numbered as many as 188 pages — and some were smaller. But, none of them has provided the kind of personal satisfaction and pride in product than has this Wellington Daily News Centennial Edition. Why? Because everyone connected with its production has given it “everything he has”! Their personal sacrifices and effort applied has beaten anything else I’ve ever seen.

And, while I’m at it I’ll take advantage of the occasion to call special attention to the fact that had not Jack and Jeanne Mitchell been willing to risk potential financial loss of no small proportion, this entire publication would not have happened at all. Few people realize it, but the fact of the matter is, a newspaper can lose a considerable amount of money on this kind of publication. You never know how much advertising revenue you will wind up
with to pay for all the overtime wages and untold of other extra costs which go into its production. Notoriously in the newspaper industry, special editions are considered very successful if they even ‘break even’ as far as profit or loss to the business is concerned. They are produced more as a public service rather than as a money-maker.

The Mitchells may or may not have come out financially on this issue — until the books all are tallied up no one knows — but they were willing to take the chance . . . they thought enough of this town to allow its history to be told in this way, and we employees realized the great trust the Mitchells placed in us when they said, “Okay, Let's Do It!”

So, here it is, folks. Here’s your Centennial Edition of The Wellington Daily News. It is chock full of historically accurate and thoroughly researched stories about early-day Wellington and area. Some of the tales are rib-tickling funny, and a few of the frontier ordeals told within will bring tears. There are stories about the pioneers and builders . . . men and women who had dreams and ambitions that they nourished and laboured into realities.

There are stories of the land, the oil and other natural resources given by God to the fruitful plains of Sumner County, and others about the building of churches and schools by reverent and thankful people who virtually put their hearts into this community; some tell about the coming of the railroads, the great benefits derived from the rails by local businesses, farmers, and cattlemen; on nearly every page are stories of people . . . some of them possibly your own ancestors . . . and all of the accounts of historical progress has been well documented with dozens of actual pictures which have survived through the years.

Every era in time, since 1871 through the present, has been covered: the post-Civil War years, the “Not-So-Gay” Nineties, the early 1900’s, the Great War years, the roaring twenties, the great depression, World War II and the manufacturing plants that resulted, and etc., on into our present-day Wellington area. Agriculture, Industry, Railroading, Local Government, Schools, Churches, Culture, Business, Environment . . . you name it . . . it’s all covered here with stories and pictures. Our hats are off to Dorothy Dey and Willisene Hoyer who laboured most diligently providing for its news and advertising content.

Some of the dates stated herein about significant events may not jibe with other previously published versions of when and what happened, and some of the accounts may take on a little different twist than what previously has been told, but we assure you that each and every significant fact as stated herein has been thoroughly researched and documented from either micro-filmed newspaper files, records at the courthouse, the public library, or the archives at the Chisholm Trail Museum and Kansas Historical Society.

We are sorry that all material submitted to us could not have been published in this issue, but the simple truth is that neither time nor space would allow for its entirety. However, we offer no apology for the end result. We are proud of it, and we are proud of ourselves for having produced it. We hope you will like it, too.

Happy 100th Birthday, Wellington! —NRS

Thank You for Your Help
Many people have loaned us pictures and materials to make the Centennial edition possible. Thanks for your help to:

Mrs. Thomas Frack, Louise Newberry, Luther Parker, Shields Barber Shop, Chet Wilcox, Helen Baker, Laura Headley, Paul Holman, Walter Rerick, Hazel Manley, Charles Fulkerson, Ernie Smith, Velma Harris, Lillian Hainsworth, Louise Sargent, Wilbur Gaines, Ray Burson, Ed and Violet Fein, Frank Orb, Bob Romig, Francis Smith, County Extension office, Orville Miller, Helen Louise Hepler, Albert Felt, Mary Carter, Gary Hutchison, Mrs. Tom Wood, Mrs. Roy Summers, Jack Amberg, Edna Arnett, Floyd Bruton, Clark Nichols, Ruth Felt, C. O. Herrington, Eddie Shaw, Bill Murphy, Willard and Jessie Voils,
Jennie Bowers, Virginia Ralston, Harry Russell, Mrs. Arthur Champeny, Claude Whitfield, Haines Butler, George Gwynn, C. E. Boatright, Earl and Fay Clarkson, Hugh Bruton, Alice McCorkle, Opal and Whitey Holt, Deryl Johnston, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Theurer, Louise Lowry.

Jean Young, Pearl Hyten Blue, Mrs. Stella Hill, Norma Briley, Mrs. Nona Somers, Paul Turner of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Wendell Wyatt of Salina, Edwin Stocking of Lakewood, Colo., Helen Schonert Prock of Loveland, Colo., Grace Moffitt of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, Bill Fisher of Kiowa, Charles Fisher of Denver, Colo., Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Welton, Fountain Valley, Calif., and any others whose names we may have overlooked.

The beginning history of Wellington

Usually called the Gay ‘90’s

From 1901 to 1946

People who served the community during two World Wars

The development of agriculture and other uses of the land

The development of industry

Church, school, work and play

About Pictures in This Section
Most of the pictures used in this section of our centennial edition were collected before 1900 by Mr. Emil Roser, a Wellington jeweler. Around 1925 Mr. Roser gave them to the Wellington chapter of the DAR who have carefully preserved them in all the time since then. Some of the pictures in the collection are so faded that they would be useless except for the fact that Orvie Rhea, for many years a Wellington photographer, made copies of a few of them at the time they came into the possession of the DAR. Mr. Bradley, our present photographer, has also successfully recovered another faded but very valuable picture which appears elsewhere in this paper, which is also part of the very valuable DAR collection.

Two sets of cyclone pictures were taken. Some were made by E. B. Snell, Wellington photographer, but Mr. Snell worked so hard at the time of the cyclone that he suffered a severe heart attack two days later and was critically ill for days after that. Mr. Caman, a Winfield artist, came over to Wellington and took a series of pictures but his were taken a day or two after Mr. Snell’s.

A few of the pictures we have used are the personal property of Mrs. Al Hepler (Helen Louise Smith.), granddaughter of Squire Smith. Mrs. Mildred Snyder was the original owner of the Caman pictures and gave them to the DAR in 1935.

Wellington News and myself are deeply grateful to the staff of the Chisholm Trail Museum for taking the time and trouble to assist us in getting the negatives from which the pictures were made.

We hope that the people of Wellington will appreciate what Mr, Roser, the DAR, Mrs. Snyder and Mrs. Hepler, the staff of the Chisholm Trail Museum and the Wellington Daily News have contributed in time, thoughtfulness, knowledge and money in preserving this part of Wellington’s history. One would think there would be dozens of pictures of the stand-pipe that stood on the comer of 12th and B street for so many years, but apparently there is only one. With sincere appreciation to all the people who helped in this particular part of our history, many thanks,

(signed) Dorothy Dey.

...The Paola Crowd ...
CLARK REYNOLDS GODFREY was born in Sheldon New York on July 3, 1829. The family moved to Wisconsin and later he joined the Pikes Peak gold rush in 1849. In 1870 he was living in Paola, Kansas where he had a drug store and had served three terms in the legislature from that district. He was Sumner County’s first county clerk, Wellington’s first postmaster and third mayor and was an expert fiddler. He moved to Colorado around 1884 and died in Colorado City, Colorado in 1901.

ALFRED N. RANDALL was born in Westchester County, New York, November 5, 1826. He married Lavira Adelaide Harper in Avon, Wisconsin in 1855. He served as a lieutenant in the 74th Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. In early April 1871, Mr. Randall was called back to Paola by his wife’s serious illness. After her death he returned to Wellington in July with his four children. By trade he was a boot and shoe maker, but spent twenty years mining in New Mexico. He died in Illinois sometime after 1900.

DR. P. A. WOOD came to Wellington from Paola, Kansas and was Wellington’s first physician. He worked first out of Mr. Godfrey’s drug store and then later started his own. His son John also practiced in Wellington for a while. Dr. Wood spent his last days in California.

The Paola Crowd Moves West

Scott Cummins, famous author, in his book Musings of a Pilgrim Bard under the heading “Founding a City — How Wellington Came to Be” tells how he happened to settle on Slate Creek.

"In the month of February 1871 C. R. Godfrey and Dr. P. A. Wood of Paola, Kansas, started out on a prospecting tour to the great southwest, with a view to bettering their financial condition.

Their conveyance consisted of a spring wagon, well stocked with camp equipage and supplies, including plenty of “Godfrey’s Cordial”, a medicine that afterwards became a household necessity in the days ‘that tried men’s souls”. I have often thought had it not been for the cordial and Shearman’s prepared flour the little colony might never have pulled through and the name Wellington might be among the dust and debris of the forgotten past. To the wagon was hitched a span of sleek ponies and taking all in all everybody pronounced it a pretty good outfit.

After drifting southwest for several days Godfrey and the Doctor arrived at Meridian, a townsite that had recently been designated by the state authorities as the capital of the new county of Sumner. Here they were cordially received by the town company whose members were driving stakes and boasting of the bright future that lay before their infant metropolis.

Alas, how oft do fairy dreams deceive,
And air-built castles vanish into mist.

The oldest of the Slate Creek Valley have well nigh lost trace of the proposed city of Meridian. The recent Pop legislature of Kansas should have passed a bill appropriating funds to erect a cast-iron monument of folly on the site of each of the busted boom towns in western Kansas, Meridian among the number.

Returning to Paola, Messrs. Godfrey and Wood at once began preparations to move their effects to the new ElDorado. I and my family had wintered in Paola and were billed for the Smoky Hill country, when Doctor Wood came to me and offered a good round price if I would haul a load of the Godfrey drug store to their destination. One way was as good to me as another, provided it led in the direction of the sunset.

Everything being in readiness a start was made early in the month of March with the roads in horrible condition. The names of the party as far as I can remember were C. R. Godfrey, Dr. P. A. Wood, Major A. N. Randall, Henry Fargo and his wife, Frank Fargo, the Thralls brothers — Joe, Elsie and Ed, Fess Clayton, George McWilliams, Doc Murlin and the writer.

As we journeyed westward, the roads became smoother and we made better time. Nothing worthy of note happened until we reached the town of Douglas in Butler County. Here within the past few days had taken place one of the largest lynchings ever occurring in Kansas. Five men had been strung up in a grove in which we were camping, the ends of the ropes from which the victims had been cut down still remained on the trees.

We arrived at the Arkansas River at Richard’s Ferry and gave the old man fifty cents per team to carry us to the middle of the stream and dump us out in the quicksand. Shortly afterward we saw in the distance what all at first took to be a mirage, but it proved to be a ‘‘sure enough” town. As we neared the suburbs, it seemed to me that the carpenters at work on the four or five buildings in process of erection made all the racket possible to attract the attention of the emigrants. On inquiry we learned that the name of the thriving little city was Belle Plaine, the future county seat of Sumner County. Here upon inquiring the way to Meridian, we were informed that the road went no further, but that a couple of laden teams had passed the day before enroute to that place. So we took the trail and late in the afternoon hove in sight of some tents and shanties.

‘‘Yonder, she is, boys,” cried the enthusiastic Dr. Wood; ‘and by all the gods there wasn’t a house there when we left.”

Soon we had halted in front of a tent on Main street wherein the proprietor, Old Newt, stood behind a cottonwood plank that filled the place off a bar, ready to dispense Hostetter, Home or Log Cabin Bitters. As the Doctor entered extending his hand to the proprietor, he remarked: ‘This is Meridian, I suppose?”

“Meridian —!” exclaimed Old Newt. “Mister, this is Sumner City, the county seat of Sumner County.” We all laughed but the Doctor, who remarked as he turned around, "Boys, it’s on me. What will you have?”

Whether the fellow at Belle Plaine who gave us the information of the destination of the teams was mistaken or whether he maliciously lied, we never
knew, but of one thing we were morally certain, Sumner County was to have plenty of county seats, and we afterwards learned (in the language of the classics) “There were still others.”

After camping over night on Slate Creek, we turned down stream, for on this same stream the city of Meridian was located. About noon we reached our destination and went into camp. After caring for our teams, we strolled out in search of the town company. We knew we were in town for the lots were carefully staked, but the houses had not yet materialized. At last we came upon an old dilapidated tent in which were seated four members of the town company playing seven-up as if their lives were staked on the result off that particular game, and they never let up until the game was finished.

We all returned to camp except Godfrey and Wood who remained a short time in council. They soon joined us and informed us that the company had given them to understand that all former overtures were off, and that they, the Meridian Town Company, had a sure thing of it and proposed to hold on to it, but they would give Mr. Godfrey and the Doctor each a town lot whereon to build.

Godfrey, Wood and Randall held a council, and the next morning they rode up the creek to reconnoiter. We stayed in camp and had a good time. About noon they returned and after dinner they directed the teams to pull up the creek, and that night we camped on what afterward became the original townsite of Wellington. It was then unclaimed government land.

With Especial Thanks

to the Chisholm Trail Museum and to Marie Sellers Vandeventer without whose help it would have been impossible to record the early history of the Wellington Community.

The First Known Description of Wellington...

The first description of Wellington of which we have any record today was published in the OXFORD TIMES, Oxford, Kansas, on June 29, 1871 and reads as follows:

“Last week we made a flying visit to our neighboring town of Wellington. The place wore a lively aspect and had every appearance of a go-a-head and prosperous village. The proprietors are liberal enterprising men, and will undoubtedly build up a town worthy of their efforts.

“We first dropped in upon Mr. C. R. Godfrey, the wide awake druggist, and found him up to his eyes in business. He has a large and excellent stock of drugs, stationery, etc., and is selling it off rapidly. Mr. G. is a thorough business man, and manifests his enterprise by advertising in the TIMES.

“Next we proceeded to the hotel, where we wrestled one of the best dinner it has been our fortune to sit down to for a long time. Mr. Rosecrans and his estimable lady know how to run a hotel.

“After dinner we called on Shearman, and found him unpacking new goods, which stretched in from floor to ceiling barely leaving room to turn around. His stock comprises dry goods, groceries and in fact, everything required to make settlers comfortable. Mr. S. appears to be quite a favorite with the settlers, at which, we are not surprised.

“Cap't. Myers was busy surveying claims, improving his residence, and looking after some blooded cattle he had just received from Missouri; his Durham and Devin stock is about the best we have seen west of the river.

“Mr. Davis is erecting a spacious building which, we believe,
will be used for a store. The public well is completed, and many other improvements are being made which, in our haste, we failed to notice.

“The citizens of Wellington are anxious for a mail route to Winfield via Oxford and seems, perfectly willing to do the fair thing in the matter. It would be of great benefit to both towns, and we hope it will be worked up without delay.

“On the whole we like the manner in which the leading men of Wellington are working to build themselves up. Surrounded by the fertile valley of the Slate, susceptible of sustaining a dense population, they are working earnestly and persistently to make their town a source of pride to the settlers. We wish them abundant success in their enterprise.

The Original Wellington Townsite

The original townsite was located in the west half of section 14, township 32 south, range 1 west. All the streets were laid out sixty feet wide except Washington, Jefferson, Harvey and Lincoln which were one hundred feet wide.

In the August 18, 1929 issue of the Monitor-Press, John G. Campbell wrote that for some reason not clearly understood,
the townsite was not proved up for more than a year after the town had been started and the Town Company began laying and selling lots. It was not until July 13, 1872 that the plat was filed in the office of the register of deeds. The plat now on file bears the signature of M. A. Ramsey, the first county surveyor and George M. Miller appended his certificate as probate judge certifying that the plat had been established in
accordance with public land laws. L. K. Myers signed as notary public and Will Nixon as register of deeds.

In 1872, because of promises made in the county seat fight, the public square was broken up into business lots. Between 1873 and 1879 the original town was enlarged and several additions added — L. K. Myers, Woods, Godfrey and Northwest.

In February 1880, the city was divided into wards.

Strangers Meet and Reach Important Decision

No one has ever really explained how it happened that Capt. L. K. Myers, the Paola Crowd consisting of Dr. P. A. Wood, C. R. Godfrey and Major A. N. Randall, happened to meet together with the four ex-cattlemen from Texas at A. A. Jordan’s house high on the rolling plain above Slate Creek on that April 2nd morning, 1871. Certainly with the exception of the four Texans who had been living along Slate Creek’s bank and the three from Paola, they were strangers.

We know that Captain Myers rode into Meridian, found the tent and the men more intent on winning a card game than a future, and in disgust at unkept promises rode northward along Slate Creek’s banks
We know too that Dr. P. A. Wood, C. R. Godfrey and Major Randall came upon the same bitterly contested card game and they too rode northward following Slate Creek’s twisting curves until they came to the big bend that ran past the McMahan and Jordan cabins.

But how they all happened to get together we do not know. Somehow on that April morning those eight men met at the Jordan house and planned a future and a real town that would have real houses and real stores and people who would work to make the dream of a future come true.

In later years the only person who remembered that day was Betty McCulloch (Mrs. H. W. Andrews), but in 1871 she was too young to understand why a group of men were carrying on such a serious conversation out in Mr. Jordan’s barn.

At noon Mrs. McCulloch cooked dinner for them and then the eight men walked across the prairies to the high dry land to the east where the Paola crowd had camped the night before. There was nothing to be seen but the wide sweep of prairie grass, not a house anywhere in sight, not a tree or shrub of any kind, just two small twisting creeks with a broad expanse of level land between and acres, and acres of unclaimed government land.

The eight men who had pledged that morning to be founders of a town that would be another claimant for the county seat of Sumner county, marked off with their eyes the center part of the broad expanse for their town and agreed that Captain Myers would take the land bordering their new town on the south for his claim, C. R. Godfrey the land to the east and south, A. N. Randall the northeast and Dr. P. A. Wood the land lying to the west along the West Slough.

Today when a newcomer comes to Wellington and looks at a map of the city for the first time, he may wonder why Wellington has a P. A. Woods addition, a Myers addition and a Godfrey addition, little dreaming perhaps that it goes back to a decision made that very first day in April 1871.

Someday Wellington may grow far enough north and east to add another addition to the town but by then whoever is in charge of naming things will probably have forgotten that had the town happened to
grow in that direction the land once might have been called the Randall addition.

Captain Myers was a skilled surveyor so on April 4th, he measured off the area and marked out the streets of the little new town. He left a square in the center surrounded by Washington and Jefferson, Harvey and Lincoln that was to be left vacant for a public square.

No one knows by whom and when the streets of the new town were named nor do we know how many and what names were suggested for the town itself nor whether they argued about a name for their town. The only information that has come down to us is that R. A. Davis was a great admirer of the conqueror of Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, and so the little town was called after the great general, Wellington.

When the sun went down on April 4, 1871, as Scott Cummins so aptly put it ‘Sumner County had another county seat.”

JOHN S. MCMAHAN was born June 9, 1938 in Pennsylvania. He married Charlotte Wells after he came to Wellington and had two daughters, Dorothy and Mary Ann. He devoted his time to farming, cattle and running a mill. From Wellington he moved to Rogers, Arkansas and later to Kiowa where he died in December of 1912.

CAPTAIN LEWIS K. MYERS was born in Ohio in 1832. In 1853 he went to Indiana and then moved to Iowa where he engaged in fanning and as a surveyor. He served in the army three years and was wounded in the battle of Spanish Forts.
He was Clerk of the District Court and also served as Sheriff for several years in addition to his extensive cattle interests. He was a charter member of the Wellington Masonic Lodge. He died in Wellington on June 10, 1890.

Three From Texas
ANDREW A. JORDAN was born in Tennessee but went to Texas when he was twelve years old. He served as a Confederate soldier during the War. In 1870 he drove a herd of cattle up the Trail. He had a crippled right arm but was a dead shot. Not much is known about him after he left Wellington. He moved to Idaho and died in Oregon.

ROBERT A. DAVIS, better known as Tex Davis, was born in Wilson County, Tennessee on April 5, 1821. In 1851 he moved his family from Tennessee to Texas where he engaged in the cattle business. He served in the army four years. In 1870 he drove a herd of cattle up the Trail to Wichita. He was the father of six children. From Wellington he moved back to Texas where he died at Waxahachie March 30, 1903.

JOHN PETERSON LENOIR MCCULLOCH was born Feb. 27, 1835 near Jackson, Tennessee. He was married in Texas to Sarah Ann Wilkerson. He moved from Texas to Denver to Wichita by covered wagon and then settled on Slate Creek. He was the father of six children. After he left Wellington, he spent the rest of his life in Caldwell, but died Oct. 9, 1914 while visiting in Hoisington, Kansas.

Pioneers Come and Pioneers Go

Some pioneers were a roving lot. The same spirit that led them into south Kansas drove them on as soon as the country became a little too settled and civilized and too crowded with people. Of the eight men who formed the Town Company, only one continued to make Wellington his permanent home and many of the first settlers moved on after a few years.

John Degolia, that very first settler, who with his neighbor, A Cadou, built a stockaded ranch in the north part of the county, abandoned it after a year.

John P. McCulloch left his claim along Slate Creek after a couple of years and moved into town where he ran a general store for two or three years. Around 1875 he sold his one-eighth interest in the Town Company to R. A. Davis for $400 and around 1881 he moved to Caldwell. His daughter Betty, however, married H. W. Andrews, pioneer grocer and long time citizen, and stayed in Wellington all the rest of her life. Their daughter, Miss Helen Andrews still lives in Wellington.

Dr. P. A. Wood practiced medicine here for a number of years and then moved to Cali
fornia in 1887.

In 1880 or 1881 C. R. Godfrey sold all his property here and moved to Denver where he opened up a grocery store.

Major A. N. Randall had met with real tragedy even before he settled in Wellington. He had left his wife and children in Paola and was called back there by the serious illness of his wife. After her death he brought his children to Wellington in July of 1871. Perhaps this sorrow explains why one corner of his claim was set aside for a cemetery when that need arose in the little new town. In 1881 Major Randall went to New Mexico where he spent twenty years mining until about 1900 when he moved back to Illinois to live near his daughter. One of his great grandsons is a physician in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

R. A. Davis never did really live in Wellington. He stayed here long enough to satisfy legal requirements to establish his claim, but he was too used to herding cattle to settle down here. Mr. Davis and his wife and daughter did spend the winter of 1879 in Wellington and then returned to Texas to live permanently.

Very little is known about A. A. Jordan. In the spring of 1872 he was appointed deputy sheriff and then sheriff, an office in which he served until
November 1872. He had a reputation of being the best and most fearless officer in the county, tout he seems to have gotten into financial difficulties. Perhaps he over-extended himself and borrowed money at too high a rate of interest and then as business became bad nationally and crops failed here, found himself unable to pay his debts. His land, a quarter section and town lots, was offered at a sheriff’s sale on Sept. 18, 1873 for $998.62 and costs in favor of the First National Bank of Wichita. Around 1875 Mr. Jordan moved to Idaho Territory and died in Oregon sometime after 1900; the exact date of his death is not known.

The McMahan brothers continued to live along Slate Creek and sometime around 1875 built a dam and a mill there. Farmers in the area forced them to tear the dam and mill down. They are said to have moved the mill down on the Chickaskia but that has never been established as true. John McMahan moved to Kiowa and when his daughter, Miss Mary McMahan, died in August 1968, the last living child of a member of the Town Company was gone.

Capt. Myers did spend the rest of his life here dealing for
the most part in livestock. Both his daughters married here and all five of his grandchildren were educated in Wellington — Edith Mary Martin of Wichita, Anita Martin and Ruth Martin Weber who live in the East, Dorothy Garland Weed of Kansas City and John Walter Garland who still lives in Wellington.

The Shearman brothers, John and Abb also stayed in Wellington for the greater part of their lives and both were very active in business and community affairs for many years.

J. M. Thralls, another member of the Paola Crowd, lived out his life here as a very important citizen — a fearless sheriff, a very efficient manager of the Water Company and later mayor, known always as an outstanding public servant.

One other man who arrived in Wellington that very first summer in August 1871 and became Wellington's first mayor, D. N. Caldwell, lived all the rest of his long and useful life here as a prominent lawyer, loyal citizen giving devoted community service. It was he who helped get a mill for Wellington and the many accounts he wrote during his later years of the early days in Wellington furnish us with invaluable material today.

Several Main
Street Buildings
Went Up Fast
No one sat around playing cards in a tent in Wellington. Everyone was too busy and within a short time several buildings were taking shape around the public square.

Capt. Myers drove down to Meridian and hauled the logs he had planned to use there back to Wellington and started a log house on the west side of Washington south of 4th street.

C. R. Godfrey and Scott Cummins rode out along Slate Creek and chopped down a few hackberry trees and hauled the logs to Wellington to build a log drug store on the southwest corner of Washington and Lincoln, facing north toward the square.

Abb Shearman was in Wellington on April 2nd with the Paola Crowd but for some reason he did not become a member of the town company. He and his brother John took out claims on what is now North A in the vicinity of St. Lukes Hospital, and before any of the other buildings were completed Abb Shearman had his new store up and open for business on the southeast corner of Washington and Lincoln.

The lumber for the Shearman store was hauled overland from Emporia where the railroad ended. The store was rushed together in crude pioneer fashion and the sheeting from the covered wagons was used to cover the doors and windows. Goods hauled down by wagons from Emporia and Wichita were piled around inside the wooden shack in very disorderly fashion.

By April 15 the building was finished and open for business. In addition to serving as a general store, all the men slept there, ate there and on Sundays used the building for church services.

C. R. Godfrey build his log drug store more slowly and more solidly. In the wagon which Scott Cummins had been hired to drive, there was not only an ample supply of the stock needed for a drug store, but a large piece of plate glass to make a real store window. Serving not only as the first drug store and doctor’s office, Godfrey’s store also became the first post office when Mr. Godfrey was appointed postmaster the latter part of April in 1871.

Capt. Myers’ house was finally finished in May so he sent for his wife and children. Mrs. Myers, with three small children and a negro woman, Lottie Butler, who had made her home with the family since 1866, travelled from Brookfield, Missouri to Cottonwood Falls by railroad and then from the end of the railroad to Wichita by stage coach. In Wichita they transferred their possessions to a spring wagon which carried mail twice a week from Wichita to Wellington. They must have been weary indeed when they had completed the long, long ride to Wellington by such a conveyance.

The Myers family lived in the log cabin until February 1872 and then moved into a frame house that had been built on their claim and stood on south C street near where Maple crosses today just south of the present Santa Fe tracks.

Once in later years Mrs. Myers was asked if she was afraid of Indians when she first came to Wellington and she replied that she never worried about Indians but she surely did about rattlesnakes. The floor of the log cabin was made of cottonwood logs which warped badly and sometimes a rattler would stick its head up through the cracks in the floor. With three small children, Mrs. Myers and Lottie were kept busy making sure that none of the children got bitten.

The Myers log cabin was destined to have a history during the ten years of its life in Wellington. Having started out to be a home in Meridian, when the Myers family moved out, George W. Winn, Wellington’s first harness maker lived in the cabin for a number of years until finally in September 1880, the old log cabin was torn down to make room for a better house.

Another small wooden store, which was completed in the business district of Wellington in the spring of 1871, also would play a prominent part on Wellington’s main street for all of the town’s first one hundred years.

Joseph C. Smith came to southern Kansas in the spring of 1870 by railroad as far as he could and then overland to Sumner City where he had been informed he would find the future metropolis of south Kansas. He built a small wooden shack and hung out his sign: Boots and Shoes.

However a few months after he arrived in Sumner City, Wellington was founded and Mr. Smith decided that the future looked brighter eight miles southeast. So he had some cottonwood trees chopped down and built a small framework on wheels, loaded his little business building on the makeshift moving apparatus and rolled it down to Wellington where it was placed on a new foundation and again Mr. Smith hung out his sign: Boots and Shoes. Thus the Smith family began their business in Wellington.

A Town Without Residents

D. N. Caldwell once said that when he arrived in Wellington in the early part of September 1871, the town had five buildings, one dugout, a number of tents and several covered wagons that were being used as sleeping quarters. About 50 people were living on the townsite, but there was not one legal resident in the city.

The reason was that everyone who had come into the area was proving up a claim and to prove up a claim, a person must “live” on the claim for at least six months. “Living on a claim” was usually interpreted as meaning building a little shack on the claim and staying in it at least occasionally.
A. W. SHEARMAN was bom in 1842 in New York state. He ran a grocery store in that state for a while and worked for several years on a farm near Niagara Falls. He married in Ohio in 1865 and had one daughter. After his wife’s death in 1868, he came west. During the years he lived in Wellington he ran a store, a wholesale grocery house, worked for Wells Fargo, as a male nurse, and then as a cattle dealer and butcher. He was under-sheriff for two years, a city councilman for four years and owned quite a bit of property. His second marriage was to a young Wellington school teacher.

ABB SHEARMAN’S STORE - The Shearman store was built of lumber hauled overland from Emporia. It was started after April 2, 1871 and opened on
April 15th. The men used it for a store, a place to sleep and to eat and the first church service was held in the building before it was finished, on April
9, 1871. The Rosecrans Hotel was built back of the Shearman store.

Frontier House A 7

Often times when trying to unravel some piece of past history, a person runs into a problem, a missing link, something that does not seem quite correct or logical. Strangely whenever that happens, one is likely to discover that the solution of the problem almost always leads to an interesting anecdote or story. A good example of this can be found in the story of Scott Cummins’ Frontier House.

Of all the people who were here on the banks of Slate Creek on that first day, April 2, 1871, perhaps none is more interesting than Orange Scott Cummins, in later years known as the famous “Pilgrim Bard”. During his lifetime he wrote three or four books, a number of magazine and newspaper articles and some really good poetry.

Scott Cummins was born in Ohio and was taken to Iowa by his parents when he was two years old. The area where the Cummins family settled was wilderness and young Scott roamed wild and free with Indian children as his playmates, from whom he learned many Indian Skills and customs. At fifteen, he enlisted in the 3rd cavalry and served with distinction during the War between the States.

When the war was over, he found Iowa too thickly populated and so headed for Kansas. He had not meant to come to Sumner county at all, but since fate led him here, he took out a claim, stayed awhile, but around 1875 he found this area too crowded with people, moved on to Medicine Lodge for awhile, then into Indian Territory and finished the days of his life at Winchester, Oklahoma.

In his writings he has written much of his experiences while
in Wellington, but one statement has always proved puzzling — the fact that he speaks of himself as the manager of the “Frontier House” and relates in one of his stories how one day when most of the Wellington men were setting out on a buffalo hunt, he remained on duty at his Frontier House.

There were a number of two story frame buildings in the town area in those days with a lunch room on the ground floor and a few beds on the second floor where a traveler could spend a night. Such primitive "hotels" are almost always dignified by the name “House”. But students of early day Wellington history have never been able to solve the location of Scott Cummins’ Frontier House.

Scott Cummins loved a joke and when the mystery was finally solved, Frontier House proved to be one of his best. In the OXFORD WEEKLY PRESS for September 12, 1872, this little item solved the mystery.

“Hotel changes are frequent in Wellington these days. O. S. Cummins has moved from the old Bates House to a neat little shack owned by himself in the south part of town which he has dubbed Frontier. Scott says he can save sixty-five dollars a month rent and give his table that many dollars worth of extra fare.”

Wm. C. McDowell stayed at “Frontier House” for some time before he was murdered in a cattle camp near Austin (Sumner City — eight miles northwest of Wellington) in July of 1873.

Frontier House and Scott Cummins played an important part in the election that finally made Wellington the official county seat of Sumner County, but that is part of another story and need not be repeated here.

Shoes — by Scott Cummins

Some people are a hankerin’
for other peoples’ gear,
While some whose jobs are threatened are a-shiverin’
with fear.
I am proud to think I always
tried to treat my fellers right,
An’ I'm glad no trickin’ shyster
has a string on my old kite.....
I never fished for office and I
never crunched for pie,
An’ I’m glad I ain't a-waitin’ for
no other feller’s shoes.

Probably this is the best known of all the early Wellington pictures since it has been copied and published many times. It depicts an Indian supply train carrying supplies from Wichita to the Indian agencies located at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Note speaker’s stand with old fashioned school desks and the old town well just beyond. On the west side of the street is the New York Store; across the street where the trees are the office of the Sumner County Press and just below Bates Hardware.

A Child’s View of the Situation — by Scott Cummins

No, I can’t have any Christmas
an’ I’ve half a mind to cry;
Just listen to my story an’ I’ll
tell the reason why; .
Pa says a’fore a great while
we’ll be wearin’ gunny sacks
If we live upon our homestead
an’ must pay such a fearful tax.
We are livin’ in a dugout — just
a hole dug in a hill —
An’ all our bread is made of
corn cracked on an old horse mill,
An’ the sand about our door-
way shows our little barefoot
For Papa couldn’t buy us shoes
an’ pay such awful tax.
We use to go to Sunday School
away up in the State
An’ they told us about streets of
gold an’ Heaven’s golden gate;
Wellington City Government Saw Changes

On November 13, 1872 D. N. Caldwell with seventy-eight other citizens presented a petition to W. P. Campbell, Judge of the District Court, requesting that the city be incorporated as a third class city as of Nov. 13, 1872 and ordered that the first city election be set for November 30, 1872 at the Court House. A mayor, police judge and four councilmen were to be elected.

When the election was held on November 30, 1872, D. N. Caldwell was selected as Wellington’s first mayor, James A. Dillar as police judge, and A. W. Shearman, W. P. Hackney, A. N. Randall, John G. Tucker, and J. T. Riley were selected as councilmen Why five instead of four were chosen is not known.

The newly elected council met for the first time on December 4, 1873 at which time T. C. Gatliff was appointed the first city clerk, Dr. S. Mann the city treasurer and W. H. McClelland the town Marshall. The marshall’s salary was set at thirty dollars a month.

The council form of government continued to serve the city for thirty-seven years until March 8, 1910 when the city government was changed to three commissioners, each elected for some specific duty such as the street commissioner.

In 1966 the city voted to return to the mayor and councilmen form of city government

This picture of D. N. Caldwell was taken when he was about eighty years old. Mr. Caldwell who came to Wellington from Illinois arrived here on Sept. 11, 1871. It was he who was responsible for the town's incorporation as a third class city and when the first city election was held on Nov. 30th, 1872, there were 66 votes cast for mayor. Mr. Caldwell received every one of them.

After he proved up his claim, he purchased a lot on the corner of 8th and F streets and built a two-room shack on it. Later a larger and more comfortable house was built there where Mr. Caldwell lived all the rest of his life, more than fifty years in that one spot. When the house was moved off after his death to make room for the Ramada parking lot, it was the oldest house in town.

A Few Can't Do it . . . Everybody Must Hum

Back in 1888 when every well-dressed woman wore high-buttoned shoes, the proprietor of the Camel Shoe Store ran an ad in one of the Wellington newspapers for several weeks which pleaded with the Wellington ladies to aid him in solving a problem. The ad ran as follows:

“My friends and customers living in town will very much oblige and greatly aid me in pleasing all, as well as having to wait less time themselves, they will not ask us to change or reset buttons on Saturdays, but bring their shoes in on other days. Saturdays we are obliged to wait on our customers from the country as they cannot come in every day. I also want to apologize to those who have had to wait long before being waited on at my store the last
several Saturdays. We do our best to wait on all promptly and give satisfaction. But sometimes we are taxed beyond our capacity.

Signed: Lee Campbell”

During the 1870’s Wellington grew slowly from a single wooden shack on Washington Avenue to a thriving little market center set amid increasingly prosperous farms. Then around 1882 and 1883, word seemed to spread all over the eastern states of the wonderful advantages of moving to south central Kansas, and between 1884 and 1886, settlers came in by the hundreds. New additions were added to the original town and dozens of houses began to go up in all parts of Wellington. Street car tracks were laid down the length of Washington avenue and the population of
the little pioneer village reached a figure almost equal to Wellington’s 1970 population.

Then, as always after a period of great growth, a period of relaxation, a slowing-up, a time to recuperate from strenuous energy set in.

But the editor of the Sumner County Press, as is usual with editors, was not content to permit the little city to grow more slowly for awhile, and so in his New Year’s edition for 1888, he spurred his fellow citizens on to greater efforts:

“Why not make things hum in Wellington this summer? Why not, as soon as the new $25,000 depot is under way, get a $50,000 jail started? Why not have a $50,000 government building commence this fall? Some say we can’t do it. We can try. The people of Wellington
can do almost anything they will.

“There is work that ought to be done on our streets. There ought to be several miles of good sidewalks built, and Washington avenue ought to be paved in a first class manner from the north end to the south, “Then why not have a canning factory, a furniture factory, a soap factory, and a cigar factory?

‘Let us make Wellington hum this summer. The way to do it is for each individual citizen to hum and all to hum together.”

Eventually after a certain amount of political manuveuring, Wellington did get a new jail and a new post office, and sidewalks finally protected the residents from mud and dust; and all the carriages down town
rode over the new smooth pavement on Washington Ave.

We do not know whether those Wellingtonites of 1888 hummed individually or whether they all hummed together. Wellington finally did have three small cigar factories which were in operation here during part of the 1880’s, and a furniture factory operated here for a time in the 1950’s, but Wellington never did get a canning factory nor a soap factory.

For fine new factories Wellington had to wait for the air and space age of the 1970’s and for forward-looking, progressive women who, by working together with the men of the community, added their abilities, energies and vision to building fine manufacturing plants and a future for Wellington.

The Wellington Street Railway
Sometimes people ask if there really were street cars in Wellington. There really were.

In September, 1885 the “Wellington Street Railway was granted a charter by the state of Kansas. On April 22, 1886 a newspaper complained because the streets had been torn up for months laying the track. But in May the cars finally appeared and the same paper that had complained earlier announced on May 16, 1886 that “the crack of the street car drivers’ whip will be heard from one end of "the city to the other.” Six days later the paper reported the cars were grossing twenty dollars a day.

The cars were mule drawn coaches and tracks were necessary
because the streets were not yet paved and heavy coaches would mire down in the mud and dust. The original line ran from the Santa Fe depot at Washington and Seventeenth to the Southern Kansas depot about where the freight depot is today. The line was extended out east on Harvey to the cemetery and out west on Harvey to Poplar, then north to Sixteenth and west to Plum and the Fairgrounds.

It is said that sometimes when the cars were heavily loaded going out west the mules could not make it up the grade west of the Rock Island Slough and boys would get out and push.

A huge barn was built on North Washington near Sixteenth street and every morning the
cars started out at 6:30 and ran until 10:00 at night.

The franchise had provided that no one could be charged more than five cents and no child more than three cents.
Apparently this was not sufficient to maintain the line. In May of 1886 the company was sold to a Wichita man who ceased operating the cars an 1889. A. H. Smith was given a franchise to open up the line again in 1890 but by December the company was in financial difficulties and was sold to a St. Louis company who pulled up the tracks and spikes and shipped everything to St. Louis.

For years Harry Johnson did have a piece of the track which he kept at the Fire station.

There Really Were Salt Mines in Wellington!

In 1888, a spirit of excitement permeated downtown Wellington. On. April 20th of that year, a number of prominent business men gathered in the City Council chamber and organized a new corporation to which they gave the official title, the Wellington Salt and Mining Company. Eleven men were chosen as directors and a committee was appointed to secure a charter from the state.

Having received their charter on May 4, the group elected A. H. Smith president; George H. Hunter, vice president; John D. Share, secretary, and M. V. B. Holmes, treasurer. An agreement was worked out whereby each stockholder in the Coal and Mining Company would be given equivalent shares in the new salt mines company.

By July 1888 the machinery for drilling the salt well had arrived at the Santa Fe Depot which at that time was about where 17th Street crosses Jefferson.

A month later the salt well had reached a depth of 285 feet, the last 50 feet being solid salt, thought to be of very fine quality.

It really was very fine quality. A few months later the State Agricultural College at Manhattan finished tests on samples and reported “No other salt known to commerce reaches so near a standard of purity."

During the late summer and early fall throngs of people gathered in the vicinity of Washington and 15th streets to view the activity of the salt works. The building was a wooden structure, 58 by 100 feet, with an evaporating apparatus consisting of a shallow pan seventy feet long made of 3-16 inch steel plates and resting on top of a brick furnace heated with three separate grates.

City water was piped into the well through two inch mains. When the salt became saturated
with water, water pressure forced the salt solution up to the surface. The thick briny solution was then poured into the long flat pan. As the water bubbled and clouds of steam rose upward workmen with long rakes kept the salt turning until the heat evaporated the water leaving the pure white crystals. The Santa Fe built a branch track so the salt could be loaded immediately into railroad cars. A large 600 barrel tank was soon to be built to store the salt brine when it came from the well until it was drawn off into the drying pan.

By Dec. 7, 1888, the plant was in full operation and over a ton of salt was turned out each day. The method used by the Wellington company was said to be much cheaper than the one used in Hutchinson and the future looked bright for the Wellington business men who had organized the company.

In January 1889 three new
salt companies were organized in Wellington — the Crystal Salt and Mining Company. The Star Salt and Mining Company, and A. J. Bowers’ privately owned firm set up to mine salt in the east part of town near Prairie Lawn cemetery. Meanwhile the Wellington Salt Company had decided to double their plant.

A year later, in Dec. 1890, A. J. Bowers leased his plant to the Wellington Salt Company for a small royalty to be paid on each barrel produced.

Business was booming; a dozen car loads were being shipped out each week; the future looked bright.

Today the question is frequently asked: “What happened to the salt mines of Wellington?”

So far no one has ever been able to unravel that mystery. In 1892 Wellington reeled and almost collapsed from the force of a devastating cyclone. Was
restoring the salt mines to operation too costly? The railroads had been engaged in very stiff competition; there was a severe financial panic in 1893. Did discriminatory freight rates make the production of salt unprofitable? Or, as some people believe, since their salt was not as good quality as Wellington’s, did the Hutchinson salt companies pay the Wellington companies to cease operation?

No one knows for sure. Nor is there any estimate any place how much salt still lies beneath the soil of Wellington. In 1908 a Chamber of Commerce bulletin said: “It is confidently believed that steps will be taken in the near future to develop the immense body of salt known to exist immediately under the city. When this is done, it should increase the population by many thousands.”

As yet, it has never been done.

To Get Riches Underground Is A Hazardous Venture

Some of the men, who in the early days of Wellington invested in the various mining activities, must have taken rather extensive financial losses. When the first plans for coal mining were proposed, a Coal and Mining Company was organized and a now-long-defunct newspaper of that time, the WELLINGTON REPUBLICAN, on April 10, 1886, announced that Mr. P. L. Crasson had been given a contract to bore for coal a short distance west of the Santa Fe depot. His engine was in position, his derricks were up, and he would start to work on the following Monday morning.

But two years later in April of 1888, when the Salt Mines Company was first organized, the coal company shares were exchanged for salt mine shares.

Meanwhile Mr. P. L. Crasson seems to have vanished from history.

But the people who hoped to
get riches below the earth were not yet through because in 1890 someone apparently decided it would be a good idea to have the City Council vote bonds to dig for coal. John G. Campbell, editor off the WELLINGTON MONITOR, was horrified at such reckless expenditure of public funds.

He wrote to Robert Hay, chief geologist for the State of Kansas, for his advice and gave Mr. Hay’s reply prominent space in the Jan. 2, 1891 issue of the MONITOR. Briefly, it was Mr. Hay’s opinion that he could see no reason for boring again in the Wellington area unless they proposed to go down 2500 to 3000 feet and he ended his letter with the words: “The chance they (coal and gas) will be found is very slim.”

Mr. Campbell continued to campaign in his paper vigorously against the coal proposition, but Mike Burns proclaimed that on his farm near Corbin he had
found coal, 80 to 100 feet below the surface that was equal to the finest found in Pennsylvania.

So the fight was on and on January 9, 1891, the Wellington City Council voted to hold a special election on January 26 for $10,000 in bonds to bore for coal. Evidently a lot of people in Wellington believed a man could get rich from under the earth because on January 30, Mr. Campbell in his MONITOR sadly had to admit that the bonds had carried.

Unfortunately, like Mr. Crassan and his coal derricks, what happened to the ten thousand dollars also seems to have vanished into the realm of long-lost history.

Nevertheless the coal and salt get-rich-schemes were not yet completed. In 1899 the City Council struggled long over what to do about $5000 in salt bonds on which they had paid no interest since 1895. The salt
bond committee of the City Council proposed a recommendation that if the bonds were legal, the holders should take the matter to court; if they were illegal, the city had no right to pay. The committee furthermore closed their recommendation that the salt bonds be treated as illegal and therefore not one of the city’s liabilities.

Apparently, as far as we have been able to ascertain, the matter never was tested in the courts.

Maybe the City Council is richer now. Maybe if somebody still has an old coal or salt bond, he should take it up to City Hall and see if he could collect. And maybe — just maybe — the whole thing of coal and salt bonds might be straightened out in the courts 100 years from now.

Meanwhile it probably would be a good idea to keep on producing oil.

The County Seat Fight—

There is in existence an old map published in Nuremberg Germany 250 years ago which correctly shows the great bend of the Arkansas river, the Missouri and the Kaw rivers. The south portion of what today is the State of Kansas is marked “The Land of the Osages”.

In 1825 the United States government made a treaty with the Osages whereby they gave up all claims to lands in Missouri for a strip of land thirty miles wide across the south border of Kansas. In 1867, for some unexplained reason, the Kansas legislature divided this strip into counties and named the center one after Charles Sumner, the senator from Massachusetts.

The Osages possessed good and legal right to their “Dimished Reserve” but they were not
using it so on July 15, 1870 at Drum Creek, Montgomery county, the U. S. government traded the thirty mile strip for lands in eastern Oklahoma and paid the Osages $1.25 per acre for the Kansas land. No one knew it at the time, but on that day the government had just given away the richest oil land in all of America.

The Indians were wise to make the bargain because white settlers were already crowding into their Diminished Reserve so fast that they would have been pushed out anyway.

The first steps toward the organization of Sumner County occurred on February 7, 1871 when Governor Harvey signed a proclamation creating a provisional county government and declaring the town of Meridian as a temporary county seat.

Thereby rose quite a problem because the newly designated county had for a county seat a town that did not exist.

According to the story that has been handed down to us, Col. A. J. Angell, who had a good deal of political influence, had received the contract to survey the county and he is supposed to have arranged with Major Wm. J. Uhler and some of his friends that they meet on the banks of Slate Creek to form a town company to locate a place that would be designated as the county seat. Thus they hoped to enrich themselves by the profits accruing from such a designation.

The men met on Slate Creek on Dec. 26, 1870 and again on Jan. 15, 1871 when they placed a few stakes and named their mythical city “Meridian.”

Before any of the other towns were aware of what was taking place, they completed the official census, hurried to Topeka and had the governor make the official declaration that created Sumner county. The governor appointed Wm. J. Uhler, J. J. Abeel and John S. McMahan as temporary county commissioners and C. A. Phillips as temporary clerk.

The first meeting of the county commissioners took place on June 4, 1871 and supposedly was held at Meridian, but actually was held on the open prairie. One commissioner and the clerk did not appear. J. J. Abeel and Charles Phillips had moved out of the county and so were not eligible to serve. The two that did attend found no buildings and could not locate the spot where Meridian was supposed to be so decided hereafter to hold their meetings in Wellington. David Richards was appointed as the third commissioner and Clark Godfrey as clerk.

The commissioners met again in Wellington on Aug. 23, 1871 and called a special election to be held on Sept. 26 to locate a permanent county seat. On Sept. 26 Belle Plaine received 384 votes, Wellington 221, Oxford 119, Sumner City 79 and Meridian 2. Since no town received a majority, the selection of a county seat was voted on again at the regular election on Nov. 10, 1871 and at this time Belle Plaine received 420 votes, Oxford 129, Wellington, 385, and Sumner City 111.

A petition was circulated to call another election which was finally set for Jan. 29, 1872.

At this election the immense vote made it clear that a great many bogus.... votes had been cast so the county commissioners did not canvass the vote. There were charges and countercharges of fraud and it was commonly believed that people from as far away as Texas had come into the county to vote.

The fight over the county seat by this time had become very bitter and the issue was aggravated by the fact that the commissioners were meeting in Wellington rather than the legally designated temporary county seat. So they were ordered hereafter to meet in Meridian in spite of the fact that no such place existed.

The legislature was in session and a bill was introduced to legalize the actions of the county commissioners and to permit them to meet in Wellington henceforth. The bill also included a provision that an election should be held on March 26, 1872 and that if at that time no town received a majority vote, another election should be held on April 9 on the two towns receiving the highest number of votes in the March election.

And now the jockeying for place and the political manuvering really began. There is a legend that Belle Plaine bribed Sumner City to vote for Oxford in order to eliminate Wellington because the people of Belle Plaine felt sure they could beat Oxford in the second election.

If the story is true, the idea backfired because when the votes were counted after the March election, Wellington had 98, Oxford 297, Belle Plaine 82 and Caldwell 2. At least no one any longer believed
Meridian existed because it received no votes at all. In the April election Wellington received 571 votes and Ox-
ford 426. The long hard-fought political battle was over and in a short time Sumner City ceased to exist.

In an article that Scott Cummins wrote entitled “An Injunction That Disappeared”, he told an interesting story about this final election to select a county seat.

At the final test every vote cast was challenged and sworn in. When Oxford heard how the unofficial returns had come out, they secured an injunction to prevent the commissioners from canvassing the vote and declaring the result.

On the evening before the commissioners were to meet, the district clerk, a man by the name of Thompson, “camped out” at Scott Cummins’ Frontier House to save the price of a hotel bill and, during the evening, pulled the injunction out of his pocket and read it to Scott Cummins. It occurred to Mr. Cummins that if that paper was missing at nine o’clock the next morning, the commissioners would have to canvass the vote and declare Wellington the winner.

The next morning, April 9, 1872, almost fifty buggies arrived from Oxford and there was a lot of commotion on Wellington’s main street. The commissioners arrived and started to canvass the vote and soon declared Wellington the official winner. Meanwhile Mr. Thompson presumably was still down in the south end of Wellington at the Frontier House searching desperately for the paper he had somehow misplaced the night before.

Reading the story of all these events connected with the selection of the county seat that took place so long ago, a reader cannot help being struck by one fact that has always been of great significance to the people of Sumner County. The battle for the county seat was bitterly fought, but unlike similar fights in many other counties, the battle in Sumner county was fought legally and politically and not with guns and stones and fires and property damage.

From the very beginning Sumner county has had shrewd and skillful lawyers who have always used the law to reach their goals and never resorted to hand to hand fighting.

As one reviews the whole history of the legal maneuvers that took place in Sumner county in 1871 and 1872, that fact is amazingly clear. Men like D. N. Caldwell, our first lawyer, and those other fine lawyers who joined him here in those early days, set a high standard to be upheld during our first century and for all the future to come.

Wellington Township Hall, known as the “Old Stone Courthouse” was located on the northwest corner of Washington avenue and 7th street. The site was selected, by vote of Wellington Township, August 31, 1873, and bonds to the amount of $500 for its erection were voted October 4, 1873.

The court room on the second floor was the largest hall in town and was used for Sunday School and church services of the various denominations before church buildings were erected, for political meetings, for entertainments, and various other types of gatherings.

The building was occupied by the county officers and the court from 1874 to 1884 without charge to the county. After the new courthouse on Tenth street was completed in 1884, this building was used as a city hall until its destruction by the cyclone of 1892.
... Buildinq Material Was Scarce .
Probably few people living in south Kansas today comprehend the extreme shortage of all types of building materials which settlers faced when they arrived here in the early 1870’s.

Although some trees grew along the banks of Slate Creek, they were mostly cottonwoods and unsuitable for lumber. Elsewhere there was nothing but miles and miles of tall prairie grass waving in the wind.

The first buildings in Wellington for the most part were built from lumber brought by railroad to Emporia, and later on, as the tracks were extended, by rail to Wichita, and then hauled overland in wagons to Wellington; or else the pioneers made a long hard trek down into the Indian Territory to cut the more plentiful lumber to be found there.

On Sept. 25, 1873, the Sumner County Press, Wellington's only newspaper at that time, reported that “parties from Liberty, Missouri, talk of burning a large brick kiln during this autumn at this place (Wellington).”

But apparently this hope did not materialize, since on Nov. 6, 1873, the Press told its readers that “Mr. N. H. Ritchie and brother will soon open a lumber yard in Wellington to further assist in supplying the increasing demand for lumber material. They will have a large stock of both native and pine shingles and so forth.” Having secured lumber, the Press went on to comment, “We ought to have a brick yard.’

In 1879 an item in a local paper explained that all building must be halted until more bricks could be supplied in the spring. Wellington had had her first brick building in 1874, the Woods and Share Bank, on the corner of Washington and Seventh where the J. C. Penney Store is now, but this was the only brick building until 1880.

Finally on March 16, 1883, a man, known thereafter as “the brickman”, W. R. Spicknall, arrived in Wellington. Within a week he had purchased several acres of land from A. H. Smith, and on April 20, 1883, he started molding bricks about where the bridge crosses Slate Creek on
in Highway 81 south of town.

An item in the Wellington Daily Standard on April 24, 1887, says that “Mr. Lee Warsiter of Louisville, Ohio, the expert who is here setting up the machinery for manufacturing pressed bricks on the premises of W. A. Black in the northeastern part
of the city, has nearly completed his job. Mr. Heriff, proprietor of the works, will commence the erection of sheds next Monday,” but recent research has failed to turn up any further information about this brick plant.

Mr. Spicknall continued to make brick to erect buildings in
Wellington until sometime after 1890 when bricks made from a better quality of clay were beginning to arrive in Wellington from other parts of the state. Coffeyville bricks were considered especially fine. As the demand for his bricks fell off, Mr. Spicknall became interested in other activities. He helped to establish the Wellington salt mines; he served as mayor of the city of Wellington in 1889-1891 and was active in a number of other community projects for many years until he retired and moved to California. The tall-towered red
brick Spicknall home on South Jefferson below the Santa Fe tracks was a long time well-known landmark in Wellington until it was tom down in January 1970.

Around 1873 a sort of marble had been discovered southeast of Wellington. During the 1880’s local marble was being used along with brick in building construction. Some of the older buildings still to be seen downtown in Wellington were constructed from Spicknall brick with window and door frames and trim made from Smith marble.

If people of the present time perhaps would find it difficult to comprehend the shortage of building materials 100 years ago, the early settlers probably would find it equally difficult to understand the ease with which we order all types of already prepared materials for construction today.

Not Gold, But Stone and Marble Would Make Men Rich

The rich farmland of Sumner County first beckoned men to seek a home here with the promise of golden grain and other profitable crops. Later, as the early settlers became more familiar with their new abode, they began to sense the possibility that the “gold” which Coronado hoped to find in Kansas perhaps might lie beneath the soil of Sumner County.

In December of 1873, it was reported that one of the fine stone quarries in Sumner County had been opened up two miles south of Wellington. The building rock was said to be of excellent quality and could be purchased as such reasonable rates there was no longer any need to use wood for construction of buildings.

No one seems to know why but one building was built of stone during those first years — the little stone courthouse which stood for many years where the City Hall is today.

As early as 1880 a type of marble was discovered fifteen miles southeast of Wellington in an area of about seventy-five acres. The vein was about four feet thick and was found from a depth of from one to seventy feet.

On May 13, 1880, a man by the name of Henry Zuber, the owner of the Sumner County Marble Quarry, announced he would deliver this stone to the railroad at Oxford for fifty cents a surface foot. Plain window dressings, cap and sill, were priced at seven dollars and fifty cents.

The stone was of very unusual variety, with snowy whiteness, beautifully variegated, entirely inelastic, not yielding to any pressure. It was said that its texture was so close an urn would hold coal oil for weeks without leakage. It was also said that it could be as easily cut with a saw or chisel as wood and that, exposed to light and air for months or years, it changed not at all.

Between 1883 and 1888 many new brick buildings were built along Washington Avenue, and even today, almost one hundred years later, many of the brick buildings still wear their marble trim, cut from Mr. Zuber’s mine.

J. C. Smith, who had moved over to Wellington from Sumner City in 1871, decided to ornament main street by building a whole building from Sumner County marble. Gleaming white and lovely, the Marble Block at the corner of Washington and Harvey, in 1884 was indeed something of which to be proud. Sturdy it was also. In the big fire of 1888 which broke out in the Hotel de Barnard halfway between Lincoln and Harvey on the west side of Washington Avenue, the Marble Block was the only building that did not burn.

Unfortunately the promise of riches from marble mines proved a delusion for the gold-seekers of Kansas. The marble vein ran out in a fairly short time, and the marble itself was not quite as non-porous as its discoverers believed, as is indicated by the fact that the famous Marble Block down through the years has been re-enforced with coats of stucco.
The Indians who led Coronado’s men to Kansas were not totally wrong; riches did lay beneath the soil of Kansas, but they were black and one day would gush forth from the beneath the layers of the earth.

But all that was to come many years later.


Fire Was A Constant Threat
In Those Early Days

Of all the hardships and dangers that threatened the early pioneers, none was more feared than fire.

In the tall prairie grass, unbroken in any way for miles and miles, fire, if fed by a Kansas wind, could sweep across the land with incredible speed. On October 9, 1873 the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS commented: “We are pleased to observe that prairie fires are much less frequent this fall than ever before, yet we feel it is a duty to continually warn people of Sumner county that it is necessary to take the usual precautions to preserve their buildings, crops, hay and other property from the fire fiend. Let no farmer feel safe until his property is protected by fire guards and even then let all unite in an effort to save the prairies from being unnecessarily deluded of their winter protection.”

A month later on Nov. 17, 1873 the fire which afterwards was always referred to as the “great prairie fire” burned fiercely and swept into Wellington from two directions and for a time it seemed the little town was doomed.

The fire started a few miles northwest of the city and driven by the furious gale threatened destruction of the residences in that part of town, but was thought to be diverted from the main part of town. It destroyed Ritchey’s barn, T. S. McMahan’s hayricks and then entered the Slate Creek timber where it expended its fury on very inflammable material.

North of town where the danger was greatest a force of men battled long hours and the flames were finally thought to be checked. As a result many people left to go aid in the fight west of town hoping particularly to save the bridge over Slate Creek which caught fire around noon.

But suddenly about two o’clock someone noticed that the fire to the north had revived and was sweeping before the strong wind straight toward the town. The flames jumped the fire guard and soon reached the rear of businesses on Washington avenue. Once again the fire was thought to be checked but only for a few minutes.

The SUMNER COUNTY PRESS recorded the rest of the story thus: “Bursting out again, a sheet of flame a hundred yards wide, lapping up the dry grass, filling the air with smoke and cinders, drove it to the very center of town. Rallying from every point more than a hundred men who were soon on the ground but their united exertions with the appliances at hand could not stay the fiery tide and the flames swept on.

“A barn in the rear of G. W. Stipp and Co.’s Dry Goods store caught fire and the pine material burned like tinder. Grass, hay, lumber, wood piles, everything in fact of a combustible nature was burning with the intensity that bid defiance to the efforts made to stay the progress of the flames. At this juncture several merchants began moving their goods and the county books and records were hastily loaded into wagons. Wellington once more was threatened with the loss of the county seat.

“The confusion resulting from this seeming abandoning of all hope promised for a time victory to the destroying elements, but reeniforcements from the bridge and other points came and the battle was renewed. By almost superhuman effort on the part of determined men store buildings were saved and the general conflagration averted. The fires had now reached the point almost due west from the Press office but a few feet to the rear of the Southwestern
Valley House when by determined effort it was finally subdued. The wind was still blowing a gale and a hundred men remained on duty and for hours the utmost vigilance was required to prevent the flames from bursting out afresh. Too much credit cannot be given to noble men from the country who after having been singed by fire themselves, came to rescue the village and render valuable aid.

“With few exceptions every team that came to town was freely tendered for service in hauling water. Only one man we heard of took advantage of the dire necessity to charge an
exorbitant price for the use of his team to remove goods from a threatened area. We did not learn his name and we do not wish to cultivate his acquaintance.

“After the danger was passed, inquiries were instituted as to origin of the fire when it was ascertained that the prairie fire was started by a party of well-diggers on a farm three miles northwest of town. We understand that a warrant has been issued and they will be prosecuted to the extent of the loss for criminal carelessness. The damage will amount to thousands of dollars.”

In 1881 on Nov. 3 another disastrous fire broke out, this time in the heart of the business district and everything on the west side of Washington avenue from Harvey to 7th street burned. The first started in Fred Markwort’s bakery which was about seventy-five feet south of 7th street. The total loss ran about $75,000.

The third great fire in Wellington’s early history came on Sept. 6, 1888. Sleeping citizens were awakened about five o’clock in the morning by the ringing of the fire bell.

The Barnard House, an old frame building stood in the middle of the block on the west side of Washington halfway between Harvey and Lincoln and it was here the fire started. Judge Reed, afterwards involved in a tragic murder, discovered the fire and Fred Garland at the butcher shop ran to the fire bell to give the alarm.

People dressed in a very peculiar array of garments rushed to help and many of the contents of the buildings were carried out and saved from destruction. While people were busy emptying one store, gas exploded and the plaster came tumbling down but no one was seriously hurt.

So men rushed out to start the fire, using bacon to speed up the process, to get the steam to start the water pumps working. Most of the buildings had burned before water began running in the mains. The Smith Marble Block was damaged but was saved; everything else in the block burned.

One of the most famous stories that have been told about the fire was the story of a very large and expensive Showcase that was carefully carried out of a burning building, taken across the street and then dropped with a bang by the men rushing to get back to carry out more goods. The showcase was a total loss. One man was seen carefully carrying several pieces of sheet iron down a stairway while another man threw three fine lamps out of a second story window.

1886 and 1887 were the boom years in Wellington’s history and many expensive fine new buildings had been built along Washington avenue at that time so that the losses suffered by this disastrous fire of 1888 were tremendous.

Wellington did not have a real fire department until after 1900 and real fire fighting equipment until 1909. In the early days people had to depend on the “bucket brigade” and volunteer fire companies. Somehow, frightening as fire is today with all our modern equipment, it seems almost impossible to imagine how terrified our pioneer forefathers must have felt when faced by such a devouring monster while they were so powerless to deal with the situation. Fire was a constant threat and a terrifying one.

Churches Are for Everyone
The First Religious Service

As far as eye could see there was only the broad expanse of prairie. To the west the land lay upwards with gentle rises and valleys. To the north and east, later spoken of as “The Flats”, the level plain extended off to meet the horizon.

Five days ago they had marked out a new town and planned where one day wide streets and avenues would run. They had decided to have a town square and already on Lincoln street two buildings were taking shape. On the east side of Washington Abb Shearman’s store had progressed rapidly and although it was not yet finished, they were eating and sleeping there. Across Washington facing toward Lincoln, C. R. Godfrey was building his drug store. A block below, south of 4th street, Capt. Myers’ logs would soon be a home for his family.

No one has ever told us for sure, but probably tethered around the town square were several horses and wagons and maybe even a covered wagon or two. The past five days had been very busy days. Men and uninhabited prairie to make homes without working hard to survive.

But now on this first Sunday morning they paused in their labors to observe the Sabbath and worship God. They might have gathered outdoors on the town square but the first of April is frequently raw and cold in south Kansas, so probably, as the traditional report handed down to us has said, they gathered in Abb Shearman’s unfinished store.

These pioneers, probably quite by chance, came well-equipped as far as professional
services were concerned. In the group that rode together into Sumner county from Paola was a doctor and a druggist and a minister. So Rev. Shaeffer conducted worship service that April morning and preached the first sermon in Wellington.

In 1927 in a paper written for the Cary Circle Edith Myers Martin said that the first sermon was in a dugout of Tom McMahan by a cattleman who had been a Congregational minister. Mrs. Martin with her fine mind, her keen memory and unusual writing skill can usually be depended on in the facts she has related about Wellington’s history. She was seven when she came to Wellington and her parents lived here for many years after and without doubt often told tales about those first days here that helped to keep her childish memory fresh.

But Mrs. Myers and the children did not join the Captain until the log house was finished sometime around the first of May, so maybe what Edith Myers Martin meant by her statement applies to the first preaching after she came.

Or perhaps, with her always careful accurate reporting of facts, she is relating the first religous service in the Wellington area. The McMahans had settled on Slate Creek many months before the townsite of Wellington was selected on April 2, 1871. Perhaps even before the others came, a Congregational minister did stop at Tom McMahan’s and hold religous service.

But in Abb Shearman’s store or Tom McMahan’s dug-out, it matters not. The important thing, is that from the very beginning of Wellington, Church has always been a part of the people’s lives.

Wellington Becomes a
City of Churches

George Fultz, real estate dealer, in 1892, in an advertisement made an interesting statement about our churches.

Our church b u i l d i n g s both in town and country are superior and almost every neighborhood has a church organization with at least a fair edifice. The leading denominations are the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, United and Cumberland Presbyterian, Christian, Lutheran, Congregational, Friends, Dunkard, Episcopal and Catholic. Members of other churches can at least find a temporary home with one of the above named denominations until they organize a church of their own creed.”

In 1971, one hundred years after Wellington’s beginning each Saturday the Wellington
News carries a religious page and lists all the services that are available here for those of the various faiths — St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Christian Science Society, Church of Christ, First Baptist Church, Mayfield Federated Church, Hillside Baptist Church, Victory Church of God in Christ, Immanuel Baptist Church, Wellington Baptist Temple, First Southern Baptist Church, Second Baptist Church, Perth Baptist Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church at Oxford, Free Will Baptist Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-Belle Plaine Branch, Seven Day Adventist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Cavalry Lutheran Church, First Christian Church, St. Rose of Lima Church, Church of the Nazarene, St. James A.M.E., First United Methodist Church, St.
John’s Lutheran Church and the First Assembly of God.

Wellington is indeed a city of churches and Mr. Fultz was correct in his statement that anyone should be able to find a temporary religious home until he can organize one of his own faith.

People have been organizing churches in Wellington for one hundred years.

The Denominations Begin to Take Shape

At first the few citizens all worshipped together.

By June of 1872 the population had increased enough that some people were longing for services in their own faith and so the first denominational church was organized. Rev. W. W. Boggs of Oxford met together with seven people, all of whom had been members of the Presbyterian church in the East and they organized their church in Wellington on June 23, 1872. The charter members were Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Baine and their two daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Willis Shawl and Mr. John S. McMahan. They held service at the schoolhouse every other Sunday when Rev. Boggs came over from Oxford.

In 1873 there were enough Methodists to make it possible to organize their church. At the annual Methodist conference of 1872, Rev. E. A. Graham had been appointed to the Oxford circuit which included Oxford, where he made his residence, Straw’s, Slate Creek and Morris. One Sunday in April 1873 after conducting service in the little schoolhouse, he asked those who had belonged to the Methodist faith to stay after the service. Six or seven people stayed and a short time later the Methodist church was organized with eleven members - J. T. Herrick, Mrs. Z. Miexsell, Miss Lizzie Campbell, Dr. and Mrs. J. B. Cory, Mrs. Mary Bates, Mrs. Louisa Cleveland, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bowers and two children, and Mrs. D. W. Cooley, who was also Wellington’s first teacher.

The new church grew rapidly that the annual conference of 1874 made Wellington the head of the mission and the Rev. E.
J. King and I. N. Boicourt were appointed to the Wellington and Belle Plaine circuits. Later Rev. Boicourt was removed by the Bishop and since 1874 was the year of grasshoppers and drouth, Rev. King was forced to leave because it was impossible for the people to support a pastor. Rev. J. C. Morse who was living in the area was placed in charge but died a short time later.

The people of Wellington were aware that they would not have a preacher to stay until they had some place for him to
live so Mrs. Bates and Miss Lizzie Campbell called together a number of Methodist ladies to make plans for a fall festival that would take advantage of the new hotel’s opening and at the same time provide money for a parsonage fund.

Nearly everybody in town was assigned to some committee — tickets, refreshments, fish pond, mush and milk, music, supper and so on. The proprietor of the new hotel offered the use of his building. The affair was a tremendous success and nearly one hundred dollars was raised to build a parsonage and by the end of the year the three-room parsonage was nearly finished in the 300 block on North Jefferson.

In 1874 the Methodists were able to have a little church of their own. They purchased the frame building that had been used as the Woods bank and moved it a few feet north where the Memorial Hall now is and remodelled it for a church. In 1878 they purchased a lot at the corner of Jefferson and Harvey and built the first real church with a spire and a bell in the tower. Built of brick with a stained glass window, at a cost of $4,600, it was debt free and dedicated on July 13, 1879. The bell was added in 1882.

In 1880 the Presbyterians built a frame structure that would seat 300 on the corner of F and Harvey.

On May 27, 1879 a meeting was held to organize a Baptist church which met in the Stone Courthouse. Three years later on Easter Sunday 1882 they dedicated their first church.

Also in 1879 the Catholic Church was established here and met in a little frame building on East Lincoln.

In 1884 Rev. Watson, a circuit rider, accompanied by Harry Epperson from the Home Valley Church eleven miles northeast of town, met in the Old Stone Courthouse with the residents of Wellington who were of the Christian church faith. There were only a few families but the church was organized and a charter issued to them on April 4, 1884. Rev. Watson came to meet with them every 4th Sunday. The service was held in the afternoon in the Courthouse because another
group used the room on Sunday morning. Later one of their members, J. T. Hickman, erected a stone building down town and the Christian Church services were held on the second floor for some time. Rev. W. S. Rehorn was their first regular pastor.

The years of 1885, 1886 and 1887 were the boom years in Wellington’s history. The population soared and so did land prices. The Methodists were offered $14,000 for their lot in the business district. They accepted the offer and built a new church at 4th and G, with a parsonage next door.

Meanwhile before anything was done with their former church, the boom collapsed and the building stood idle. In 1888 the Congregational church was organized and began meeting in this former little Methodist church.

The people of the Lutheran faith gathered together in 1887 in the meeting room of the beautiful new State National Bank and were permanently organized on July 14, 1888. A few months later they built a little white wood church at 9th and Jefferson.

The Episcopal Church had also been organized and when the new Third Ward building was completed in 1890, they purchased the little white frame schoolhouse for $101 and moved it to 7th and F for their church.

In 1810 the Cumberland Presbyterian church had started and gained quite a following in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. During the 1880’s a great many settlers moved into Sumner County from Kentucky and so the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized and they built a church at Lincoln and F in 1888.

The first Union church services was held July 4, 1890.

In 1891 the Colored Baptists purchased a lot and began to collect funds to build their own church and about the same time the AME church was started in Wellington.

The churches of Wellington had advanced a long way since that first service in 1871. It was well no one could foresee the disaster that lay just ahead.

The Churches Start Over

On May 23, 1892 Wellington was once again a town with one church. Only the Methodists Had escaped damage and three churches, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Episcopal, were total losses.

Two days later all the ministers in the town gathered at the Methodist church for the combined funeral of six of the peo-
ple who had lost their lives in the tornado.

Then the devout, faithful people of Wellington gathered together and started the building of churches again.

The Presbyterians rebuilt their church with a lovely stone Gothic one with beautiful stained glass windows to which was added a pipe organ a few years later. Money was difficult to get and it was several years before the church could be dedicated. Then that church was torn down and a new one built in Westridge while the post office took over their old corner.

The Lutherans rebuilt their church with another white frame one which was in time pulled down to make room for a supermarket and they too built a new church in Westridge. The Christians stayed on their corner opposite the old Lutheran corner and built a much larger church and educational building.

The Catholics ran into financial difficulties but eventually the white frame building on C street was replaced with a fine school and a beautiful church.

The Congregationalists had a
lovely Gothic style church which was torn down to make room for a new bank.

New churches were organized with the passing years. The Church of Christ, Scientist, organized in 1899, has had two churches on their corner at 7th and Jefferson. The Adventists, organized in 1901, worship in a little white church at 11th and Jefferson. The Church of Christ has had three churches, one on 10th street, one east of Washington on 9th and now a beautiful new church on North F. Cavalry Lutheran, after a small beginning, built a lovely church across from Washington School.

The Assembly of God, organized in Wellington in 1930, purchased a lot on North H and dedicated their church in 1934. Since that time they have expanded and enlarged several times to meet their growing congregation. The Methodists and the Baptists have built new churches and then additions to their churches to serve increased membership. When the present Baptist church was built, bricks were purchased from the old Slate Creek power plant and months were spent cleaning the bricks for reuse.

All of the smaller congregations have found a suitable place to hold their worship and carry on their work.

A recent visitor in Wellington was amazed and impressed at the number and beauty of our churches, and rightly so because, in Wellington, churches have always been an important part of our history and of our lives.



Who Ever Heard of Expecting a Post Office to Stay in One Spot!

W. R. Savage was a very unhappy man. He had come to Wellington in 1879 and built a little building where he opened his Headquarters grocery. Then in 1881 he became really progressive and built a fine brick and stone building on main street and fixed up the second floor to be used as a public hall.

Down on the corner of Washington and Fourth he turned his little wooden building into the Sunflower Hotel where a man could get a room or a short order lunch without spending a fortune.

Now suddenly in July of 1909, the government had decided to build a big fancy new building and locate the post office in one spot to stay there permanently.

It just wasn’t fair. Mr. Savage wanted to keep his own land and his own hotel and there wasn’t any sense in the government talking about quit moving the post office around. Everybody knew that whenever they got a new postmaster, the post office moved. Since 1871, it had already moved eight times.

The first post office was established in April of 1871 in Clark Godfrey’s log drug store on the corner of Washington and Lincoln where the Stewart Building is today. The little log drug store was the second store built in Wellington and Clark Godfrey, who was a member of the Town Company, got the first appointment as postmaster. So naturally the post Office would be in his store.
Then in 1873 Dr. Sylvester Mann was appointed postmaster and moved the post office a
block north to his drug store. O. J. Hackney moved it across the street to the east side of Washington avenue. Then in 1877 Loren F. Blodgett put the post office on West Harvey back of the Marble Block. In 1884 J. Y. Coffman decided the fine new Arlington Hotel ought to be a suitable spot for a post office so they penned off a little corner for him there. Warren R. Holmes moved it across the street to the south side of Harvey. Mrs. Edith Love, Wellington’s first woman postmaster,
picked East Harvey as her spot, about where the Security Bank drive-in is today.

In Mr. Savage’s opinion it just didn’t make sense to tear down a fine building like his Sunflower Hotel and build a fancy permanent post office. He’d fight ‘em; he wouldn’t let ‘em do it if he could help it.

But unfortunately for Mr. Savage, on August 11, 1909 0. C. Knowles, who was acting as agent for the property owners, received word from the supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury to have the “improve-
ments” moved off and the site cleared at once. According to a local editor of that time, that meant putting the rollers under Mr. Savage’s Sunflower Hotel, if such a place “could be called an improvement’’.

The post office moved into its “permanent” headquarters on Nov. 22, 1912.

One cannot help wondering what Mr. Savage would have thought if he could have known that someday the government would tear down the Presbyterian church so the post office could move again.
OLD SUNFLOWER HOTEL taken around 1900. The Sunflower was located at Washington and 4th Streets. Note the dirt streets and arc lights. Old Farmers State Bank can be seen in the distance.


POST OFFICE STAFF— Wellington has had two women postmistresses: Mrs. Edith Love—appointed after her husband’s death—1887—1891: Miss Nettie Cox —
—1923 until her death in 1933 (pictured takenaround


American Legion Bldg. Added to Downtown Area

The Tom Schwinn Post of the American Legion, which had been organized in 1920, in January of 1935 decided to purchase the dilapidated old R. J. Smith Implement building, on the corner of Lincoln and Jefferson which the Ivy Produce firm had vacated some time before.

The Legion also planned to buy the adjoning building which at that time was occupied by Guyer Furniture so that they would have a hundred foot frontage on Lincoln for their proposed new building.

By March of 1936 the corner, almost deserted for 50 years, was humming with activity as
the new Legion Hall was taking shape under the direction of foreman Ed Blecha.

It was planned that the new hall, budgeted at a cost of $30,000 would provide work for a great many men needing jobs because of the depression and, when finished, would serve not only the needs of the Legion but as a recreation and meeting hall for the community activities, conventions and other large groups needing such space. The city itself paid none of the fund but did help the Legion secure a WPA grant to assist them in financing the construction.
New City Hall, 1907 Library in Room on third floor


The Beginning of Wellington Water Works
In all Wellington history there is no story more fascinating than the story of the Wellngton Water Works, a story that reads more like a plot for a novel or movie script than routine business carried on by a city council.

Wellington’s water story begins, like all its history, in 1871, when on June 29 the few settlers who had arrived set about digging a town well, a well that probably was located on the east side of Washington between Harvey and Lincoln. Like all wells, it was very likely a rope and bucket affair with which a pioneer family could pull up cool clear water to carry home in a pail.

Several other wells were dug in the down town area and used until 1886 when a newspaper reported that finally the old town filled up. Also as time went by and more houses were built, many people had wells dug near their homes.

Then in 1882 the City Council began to discuss some kind of a water works system. In May Mr. N. H. Coverdale presented a plan and proposed costs for water works, and in September the City Council decided to take up the issue.

The first bonds were passed by a large majority and on July 12, 1883, a franchise was given to a Mr. C. W. Hill and his
associates to construct a power plant, to sink wells in Slate Creek as a source of water, to build four miles of water mains for the town including a line to serve Prairie Lawn cemetery, and to furnish the city with 30 double-tipped fire hydrants for eighty dollars a year per hydrant. After ten years the city would have the privilege of purchasing if they so desired. In the excitement of at last having real waterworks, no one foresaw that this generous, ambiguous franchise would cause untold difficulties in the not to distant future.

By July 1, 1884 the streets of Wellington were full of men laying the water works pipes. The pumps were sunk into Slate Creek, the power plant and the filter system with a capacity of two million gallons was completed, and a stone tower was constructed to provide pressure in the mains at a cost of $75,000.

1883, the boom year, came and the waterworks were extended to serve the town’s seven thousand citizens. But with the boom, the troubles began. The REPUBLICAN complainingly asked what had become of the public drinking fountains the citizens had been promised when the old town wells were filled up. In May mischievous boys were warned not to interfere in any way with the water system and the City Council passed an ordinance for the
punishment of anyone who took water without a permit.

Then came the end of the1880 and financial disaster. Stores, banks, and firms of all types were bankrupt and closed; more and more houses were empty as mortgages were foreclosed. Unfortunately Mr. C. W. Hill was also bankrupt.

So was his Waterworks Company and also so was the Gas Company and the Light Plant he had so nobly built for the city. The power plant was shut down and the sturdy citizens who survived the crash were greatly disturbed by empty water mains. Particularly frightening was the constant fear of fire.


In January 1888 very severe weather descended on the people. Water mains all over town burst and for some reason the water company did seem to get them fixed. Having the water shut off in the dreadful heat of August and September was even more difficult for the public to understand.

Mr. C. W. Hill offered to sell his waterworks to the city, first in August for $10,000, then in September for $1,000. But the city, sad to say, was aware that it was not quite the bargain it seemed since the purchase would include the assuming of a $100,000 debt held by an eastern bonding company plus another $10,000 for needed repairs.

The fire everyone had expected would come broke out on September 8, 1888. Men rushed out to the long deserted power plant to fire up the boilers. Loads of coal were rushed from town out to the plant and pounds of bacon were thrown into the fire to get it burning faster and build up steam. But everything
Sumner County Press. Oct. 9, 1873

Sumner County is one of the best watered portions in Kansas. In addition to numerous streams, wells are unfailing.

Sumner County Strandard, Feb. 25, 1887

Our first great improvement was WATER WORKS. When they were put in, other cities less courageous, and with lack of confidence in their future, stood back in amazement at the bold step. No cheap systems would satisfy the people for they wanted the best, and they got the finest, most complete and effective water service in the state. It is as pure as the meltings from snow-cappd peaks in “Greenland’s icy mountains”. We can say without the slightest fear of contradiction that we have the best water works in the state.

BOILER IRON STANDPIPE 12th & B—1889-1946




from Lincoln to Harvey on the west side of Washington avenue burned except the Marble Block in the two hours it took to get a fire burning in the Power Plant to get steam to get water to put out the fire.

Another time there was fear of quite a fight at the Power Plant when three different groups of people tried to take possession. The St. Louis company which had never been paid for the boilers sent the Marshall to take possession and padlock up the place. Mr. C. W. Hill and his cohorts arrived bravely to defend their Power Plant and the ensuing fracas was finally calmed down when representatives of the city appeared.

But still no water ran through the water mains.


Finally the bonding company decided the only way they could hope to erase their loss was to rebuild the whole waterworks and make it a profitable venture. Mr. Charles Perry of Providence, Rhode Island, president of the bonding company, along with J. Herbert Shedd an engineer of national reputation, and Mr. William M. Brown, Jr., his chief assistant, arrived in Wellington in late September 1888. Having ascertained that nine-tenths of the annual rainfall occurred in the spring, in May of 1889, they decided to build a great dam across Slate Creek and back up a large reservoir of water to maintain a year around supply.

The details of the building of the dam, which was to be seventy-four feet long, sixteen feet wide and thirty-nine feet high, to be firmly anchored to the slate bottom of the creek — as it is described in the WELLINGTON MONITOR for Nov. 22, 1889 — is an intensely interesting story. Included also in the plans was a great new standpipe, one hundred and five feet high, twenty- four feet in diameter, built of boiler iron, to hold 30,000 gallons of water which was to cost $16,000. Based on a massive stone foundation, it was said the new standpipe would serve the city for years to come (which it did until it was finally torn down in 1946).

When the waterworks were done, the company had sunk almost another $100,000 to save the original investment. But the
citizens of Wellington were relieved and proud of one of the finest water works in the West.

However the water problem was not yet solved. In 1890 Slate Creek went dry and for weeks there was no water in the mains. It was not entirely Engineer J. Herbert Shedd’s fault because farmers upstream on Slate Creek had objected to his original plans and refused to allow him to build the dam as high as he had planned which would have backed up water to create a lake a mile long. Then too, being an Easterner, he probably could not have foreseen how severe the drouth in Kansas sometimes can be.

Charles Perry of Providence, Rhode Island, holder of the $100,000 mortgage plus the second $100,000 he spent in Wellington must have taken a terrific financial beating here, and yet he must have had some fond memories of the little town he tried to help because in June of 1892 he sent a check for $200 to the tornado relief fund.

Perhaps he just thought Wellington was un unlucky town, and when it came to water, it was.


On August 8, 1890, the City Council gave up and ordered two public wells dug on Harvey and Lincoln, the same area where the first public well had been dug in 1871. Forty feet down, they struck solid slate and had to blast their way through to water.

FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS, at meeting after meeting, the City Council struggled with the problem of what to do about the Water Works.

In 1891 the Waterworks Company claimed $2025 hydrant rental was due them, but City Council refused to pay because they thought water ought to run out when a hydrant was turned on.

In 1892 the Wellington Waterworks company built a huge stone smoke stack north of the pump house, 12 feet in diameter at the base and 80 feet tall. Mr. Thralls, the manager, explained that with the stone smokestack it would not be necessary to build new sheet iron ones every few years. Who paid for the new smokestack is unknown, but surely sometime, someday somebody would have to.
In May 1895 the city was supposed to be paying $4050 hydrant rental, but after there was a fire at the Santa Fe and no water pressure to fight the fire, in October the City Council decided just to take possession of the Waterworks and Mayor Savage appointed W. R. Spicknall as superintendent although the members of the Council were frank to admit that they knew it was illegal.

In 1897 legal manuveurs forced the city to return the water work to the rightful owners.

On August 23, 1899, knowing that the Waterwork Company franchise would expire on January 1. 1900, the City Council discussed at length a proposal for the purchase of the Waterworks for $50,000. George Crouse and J. M. Thrall, who had been and out of the water problem for twenty years, thought it was a bargain. A. Graff was vociferously opposed and insisted his Ninnescah river project was a much better solution.

As the century ended, a special bond election was called and finally the day came when a Wellington paper blazoned across the front page:

Only it wasn’t.

In 1910, they were busy digging another city well on West Harvey; then they drilled some wells out by Mayfield, then they dug a lake ten miles southwest of town, finally to arrive at the realization in the 1970’s that the cowboys ‘‘cool, clear water” had almost disappeared from the earth.

Today in Wellington, like city councils everywhere, instead of discussing the proposition of where and the best way to dig a well, Wellington’s City council is beset with the problems of pollution, sewage disposal, water purification and such difficult problems.

When a Wellington housewife of today turns on a faucet, water doesn’t run out, but it does not in any way resemble the water that came near Mayfield. Likewise experts in the field are greatly concerned because the water table that once underlay most of Kansas falls lower and lower.

Today, in 1971, the people of Wellington no longer worry about the absence of water, but one cannot help wondering, a hundred years from now, what will the City Council be doing about the WATERWORKS problem.


a record of many stories

Probably no one spot in the whole Wellington area has recorded more of our history for the last fifty years than Lake Wellington.

On warm summer evenings people often drive out to the lake to watch and enjoy the boats, the water skiing, the fishing, the beauty of the sun’s rays lighting up the water, the many trees and the curved drive around the shore. But one wonders if ever, in their imaginations, people recall all the history of our times that is recorded on that one spot and if, as they gaze at the present day scene, anyone remembers the chain of events that led to 1971.

Once the lake was farmland across which meandered a little stream known by the name of Prairie Creek. The story of the transformation from tiny creek to broad expanse of water really begins with the terrible business crash of 1929. Thousands and thousands of people soon were out of work hunting vainly for a job, any kind of a job, but there were no jobs anywhere. Banks closed; people were forced out of their homes. In the cities long lines of people waited for a handout of an apple or a bowl of soup. Fright, futility, doubt, panic stalked our land.

Out in the prairie country Mother Nature wrought even more havoc on the country people. Day after day, week after week, the temperatures in Kansas soared above one hundred degrees — 110, 117, 114, 121, 106, 113, 108, 112 and on and on.

No rain fell for month after month. The water table dropped tower and lower and water restrictions became even more strict. No one was allowed to water his lawn, to wash his car or porch, to use more than three inches of water to take a bath. The city power plant ran its run-off water into tanks where people could carry it home in buckets to water a cherished plant or tree. Fear of fire was rampant with the extreme shortage of water power. People began to wonder if the time would came when there would not even be water to drink. Farm pounds were
already completely dry and the people in town shared what they had with farmers who hauled water in whatever kind of tank they could find.

In the late winter and early spring the columns of the Wellington Daily News reported even worst hardship for the people to endure.


“Feb. 20, 1935: Huge clouds of dust reached Wellington about 8:30 Friday night. The dirt filled the air like dense fog making it impossible to see street lights at any distance. Motorists on the highway said driving was treacherous.”

“March 22, 1935: Dust Clears Today. Everybody Busy Cleaning Up After Severe Storm. Today for the first time since the early part of the week was the atmosphere cleared of the clouds of dirt which resulted in the most severe dust storm an the history of this vicinity. The dirt was believed to have been blown out by a southeast wind Thursday afternoon. Housewives and business men were busy today cleaning up after several days’ storm that laid a coat of dust everywhere. Many were seen today scrubbing off their sidewalks and porches. This was the case downtown as well.”

“April 10, 1935: A dust storm which started here Tuesday morning was the worst in the history of Wellington. At 3 o’clock visibility was less than two blocks and the storm was rapidly growing more severe.”

“April 27, 1935: Another duster, one of the most severe of the recent storms, blew in on Wellington Friday afternoon. The skies were clear by morning. Many persons declared that more dust settled during the night than in any recent storm.”

“April 29, 1935: Plowed ground in this section that had lain quiet during past dust storms just could not stand it any longer and quietly rose and joined the black and cooper dance of dust, putting fear into the hearts and dust into the eyes.”


Gradually the new laws passed by Congress in the early 1930’s began to restore some hope and teach men how to fight back. On July 26, 1934, the Wellington Daily News carried a story that would have great importance in toe future of the area.

“An application was signed last night by Mayor Haslet and taken to the offices of the Emergency Relief Administration at Topeka, in connection with the City’s application for the building of a big lake five miles west of the city.

Those in close contact with the matter have little doubt that it will be allowed. The plans have already been approved by the engineering department and the men at the state office evinced enthusiasm over the project here.

The project calls for the purchase of between five and six hundred acres of land. A little over three hundred acres of this will be under water. The lake will, of course, be for recreational purposes but the city will be permitted to make necessary use of it for water supply. One of the most recent provisions in all plans for large lakes is that the county commissioners will be permitted in severe instances to declare an emergency and open the water supply to all residences of the county.”

The Topeka Capitol on August 5, 1934, reported that a lake to be built on Prairie Creek near Wellington had been approved by John G. Stutz, executive director of the Kansas Emergency Relief committee, provided the city could furnish a statement how the land was to be paid for. Mayor Haslet replied that the city had the funds available. Lake Wellington, the first lake to be approved in the State of Kansas, would encompass 605 acres, 320 under water. It was to be one and one-half miles in length, fifteen hundred feet wide and have an average depth of eight feet. When filled, it would contain 250 million gallons of water, the largest body of its kind in this section of the
state. Planned to drain 22 square miles, the (lake would be built by the FERC (Federal Emergency Relief) at a cost of $95,000 including the cost of the land. 30 per cent of the cost would be paid by the government for labor and 25 per cent was furnished by the government as an outright grant. The lake project would provide work for 120 men.

The Wellington Daily News on Aug. 14, 1934, added the additional information that the relief office was swamped with applications. All men must be on relief and all teams and trucks must be owned by men on relief. It was planned to use as many teams as possible so that enough money might be earned to feed the animals, many of which were badly in need of feed. The rate was 10 cents per hour per horse.

In the weeks that followed many items in the Wellington paper told the story of the change taking place.

“August 13, 1934: Work began on Wellington’s new $95,000 lake, southwest of here with 75 men reporting for work the first day.”

“Sept. 9, 1934: Rain, three inches of rain, the first rain in months, finally came. The people are rejoicing, but now keenly aware of the value of a good water supply, are watching the progress of the new lake.”

“Sept. 2, 1934: Beginning soon hot soup will be served to relief workers engaged in the construction of the lake southwest of Wellington, O. R. Mulvaney, poor commissioner, announced this morning.

The soup will be made from beef slaughtered for those on relief rolls. Equipment will be furnished by the state under the direction of the state home economics department. Miss Carrie Davis, home economics adviser, will supervise the project. An average of eighty men are employed daily at the lake.”

A story in the Topeka Capitol for Jan. 27, 1935, contained some interesting pictures and gave more details about the project being carried out at Wellington’s new lake. Strict government
regulations applied to the soup program. It must be under the supervision of the county poor commissioner and a home economics adviser or home demonstration agent. The beef soup was to be made according to a recipe furnished by Miss Connie Foote, state home economics supervisor, the beef and other ingredients being furnished by the commodity department. Personnel serving the soup must be uniformed and have health certificates and must be on the relief rolls. The period for the project was to run from Sept. 15 to April 15.

The recipe for 50 men for one and one-half pint per man read as follows: 1 gallon tomatoes, 4 pounds potatoes, 12 cans meat, salt and pepper to taste, 2 cups onions, 1 quart rice, 4 gallons water, 3 quarts either carrots, cabbage, turnips, corn or beans.

A little wooden shack, looking much like an old-fashioned chicken coup, was built on the shore of what one day would be a lake. Inside was a kitchen containing a 30-gallon cauldron mounted on an iron and brick fire box made from a discarded furnace base. Planks of wood to serve as a table were mounted along the walls and make-shift wooden benches made from strips of lumber.

One might think that hard-working men might rebel at the idea of eating day after day exactly the same thing — one bowl of hot soup made from a recipe that was never changed. But when whole families were glad to have $11.19 to live on for an entire week, a bowl of hot soup, any kind of soup, tastes pretty good.

On Jan. 22, 1935, it was reported that cold weather had halted the work at the lake. Between 100 and 110 men had been working until the work was halted temporarily. On Feb. 18, 1935, when the work was resumed, the daily paper announced that six days of dirt work remained and three of the six slabs on the spillway must still be finished.

On Feb. 19, 1935, a new project was sent to Washington for approval, a $106,000 water plant to be built at Lake Wellington that would include a filtration plant off one million gallons daily, a settling basin, clear water reservoir, and 16,000 feet of 16-inch water line connecting to the present water system.

And finally on July 26, 1935, the Wellington Daily News bore the headline: “Lake Wellington Completed Today. When the men leave the lake site today, everything except the filtration plant will have been completed. A group of men was sent out to the lake today to clean up the grounds, move off the temporary buildings and finish the job. According to E. W. Merrifield, city superintendent of utilities, the filtration plant will be started in about ten
days. The lake is ready to be filled. It is estimated that the lake covers 150 acres of water at present. When it is filled, there will be 300 acres.”

On August 29, 1935, the city condemned 6.43 acres more land to have ample space for the filtration plant.


On August 22, 1935, word was received in Wellington that Sumner County’s hope for a CCC camp had been realized and that officials would visit soon to choose a site. Three sites were being considered, two on the Chikaskia and Lake Wellington. City officials, the Chamber of Commerce, County Agent T. W. Kirton, and other business men had worked diligently on the project and were jubilant when the news was announced.

The following day Col. Wm. C. Christy and Major John Rice Ft. Riley, Kansas, selected the site at the lake which they considered almost perfect as it offered everything necessary for a camp. The city was to furnish the location, lights and water. Barracks would be built by the government and a soil conservation expert would be assigned to the camp to supervise the work that would be done on Sumner county farms.

The Wellington Daily News on June 25, 1941, in a long feature article, described the 32 buildings on the shore of Lake
Wellington which at that time housed 165 negro youths between the ages 17 and 23 1/2 who worked in the fields of Sumner county planting trees, practicing soil erosion projects, fighting weeds and insects and helping farmers produce the crops that at that time were considered necessary for national defense. Five nights a week William Nofsinger taught auto mechanics to the young men at the CCC camp.

Lieut. R. J. Lyman was camp commandant, Doctor Frederick Koehne the camp physician and W. P. Cropp assisted by Roger Young were the educational supervisors who taught 13 classes each week in everything from reading and writing to soil conservation and farming. Charles Thresher supervised the soil conservation projects being carried on, and Grant Bradshaw presided over a spotless kitchen as chef, responsible for seeing that strong healthy young men were sent back to their homes when their term of enlistment was completed. At that particular time 36 graduates were completing enlistment and receiving honorable discharges in a special ceremony to be held at the camp. New enlistments were expected to arrive on July 1 to bring the camp up to its full 200 complacement. Five youths had already left to join the armed forces and five more had been called by selective service.

In addition to the dormitories, the buildings at the camp included office headquarters, a recreational hall, a camp hospital, an educational building, and a mess hall and kitchen. The barracks with regulation
army cots resembled army barracks everywhere and were operated according to army rules.

Added to the recreation planned at the camp, at least once a month the young men were brought into the Memorial Hall for a dance or party and entertainment provided by the townspeople.

Finally on October 31, 1941 the whole era of the disastrous depression, and the hardships it entailed, followed by all sorts of government programs to provide relief for stricken people, came to an end as far as Wellington was concerned. Headlines in the paper for that day read: “Local CCC Camp Ends Existence Here Tomorrow.”

Due to selective service and the national defense programs, the enrollment at the camp had gradually declined. The sixty negro youths still at the camp were to be transferred to Parsons, the only negro camp left in this area.

Charles Thresher, the camp soil conservationist, was to remain in the area to complete work started. Plans were being made to establish a soil conservation district in Sumner county. The camp buildings were to be left standing for the present.

After experiencing all that history and so many impressive events, Lake Wellington became just Lake Wellington as people know it today, a source of much needed water and a place of recreation.

Someday when you are there, look out across toe wide expanse of water and see if you too in your imagination can recall all our history recorded in the story of Lake Wellington.

Rural Water Available to Meet the People's Need

Today drivers travelling north on Highway 81 see a tall white water tower marked with the words “Rural Water District No. 2” — one more mark of progress in the development of our land.

Nine months of difficult work finally brought about the desired end on April 18, 1966, when the city commission approved unanimously a contract, to run for forty years, which provided for rural water districts in areas north and east of Wellington. A year later on June 5, 1967, a similar contract was signed to establish Water District No. 3 to serve users south of Wellington.
Since the acute water problem in Wellington appeared finally to have been solved after years of struggle, the commissioners, with the exception of Mayor Matt Dwyer who made clear his opposition, felt there was sufficient water to extend water service to rural users.

According to the contract made with the water districts, the water should “not be used for any other purpose than domestic or commercial or industrial uses in the District by users now in existence.” It further provided that new users becoming established in the District could be served provided that before serving any new commercial or industrial user not in existence on the date of the contract, the District would give thirty (30) days notice of intention to serve the user and “will not serve the user over the objection of the city”. The agreement also contained the provision that the Water District should not furnish any person, firm, association and corporation within one mile of the present existing corporate limits of Wellington without prior approval of the city.

Likewise the Water District was not to serve more than sixty users without the approval of the city.

Provision was made in the agreement that in case of catastrophe, drought, or disaster that might interfere with the water supply, the contract would be nullified.

The city agreed to build a four inch water line a mile and a half east of the water tower on 15th street to be connected to a line built along the south side of Highway 160 to Dalton. A six-inch line was to be built through the middle of the Wellington Industrial District, then a four-inch line north to the Airport and thence along Highway 81 to Riverdale. Forty - three per cent of the users served by this line were part of the Wellington water district. For those outside the Wellington district a master meter, installed on the main line, measured the amount of water used by each water district and the district water board paid Wellington directly and then collected appropriate fees from their users.

Without Lake Wellington, no such program would have been possible.
Rural Water District # 2


He Died and Was Buried in Wellington

On Thanksgiving morning 1884 a man, still in his forties, came down to breakfast at the old DeBarnard Hotel on Washington avenue. His breakfast was served and then suddenly he became very ill and died before a doctor could be summoned.

The night before he had attended a big public gathering and was said to have given the best speech of his life. Even when he entered the dining room that morning, he seemed to be in good spirits and feeling fine.

He did not have even a dollar or two in his pockets so his friends collected money to pay for his funeral and a Wellington woman who admired him offered one of her lots for his burial. Later there was no money for a monument so a simple soldier’s marker was ordered from the government to mark his grave.

Yet his funeral was probably the biggest funeral ever held in Wellington. The funeral was arranged for the first little Methodist church that stood on the corner of Harvey and Jefferson where the Anderson store is today. Because the room was so tiny that only a few people could get in to hear Rev. Samuel Price’s sermon, hundreds of the man’s friends and admirers stood outside and it is said that when the first carriage reached the gates of Prairie Lawn cemetery carriages were still waiting at the church to get in line. The longest funeral procession Wellington has ever known for a man who died penniless.

All that happened a long time ago in 1884, but in the 1930’s quite a large group of Oklahomans organized a campaign to have his body moved to Oklahoma where they said he would be put to rest in a place of honor and a suitable monument erected over his grave. The issue had been raised several times before and once it was even brought up in Oklahoma Legislature.

As the years went by after his death, his GAR friends in Wellington had raised money to replace the white soldier’s marker with a much nice marble one, but no one in Wellington cared very much until the Oklahoma people began to demand the right to take someone they felt belonged to them.

Today the marker just west of the road that leads north from the Mausoleum tells us that in this spot lies David Payne. Probably not one person in ten in Wellington today has ever heard his name, yet he is a man who sacrificed everything he had for something he believed in and be is usually spoken of as the “Father of Oklahoma”.

His life is a fascinating story. He was born in Indiana in 1838. His mother was a cousin of Davy Crockett so she named her baby David after the great pioneer hero. He had ten brothers
and two sisters and he was the middle one. In 1858, when he was only a little past twenty-one but stood six feet six inches tall in his boots, he came to the territory of Kansas and staked cut a claim. But he was so careless he lost his land, probably because he was always going hunting and fishing.

When the war broke out, he was one of the first to volunteer and served three years with the Kansas 3rd Infantry. After the war he served in the legislature from Doniphan county. About that time the Indians were harassing the men who were building the Kansas Pacific railroad (now the Union Pacific) so David Payne volunteered to lead a company of men to protect the railroad workers. An epidemic of cholera broke out and 27 men in Captain Payne’s company died.

After that he joined General Custer in his battles against the Indians. He was appointed postmaster at Leavenworth, but lost his farm paying the debt of a friend. In 1870 he came to Wichita and started a store in a dugout but everybody in the country knew that if a man was hungry and had no money, Payne would give him what he needed. Settlers travelled miles to get provisions at Payne’s stores; if they told a convincing story of need and hardship, they got groceries and meat. Some paid eventually; most ne-ver paid a penny. It was not exactly a successful way to earn a living. The mortgage on his farm at Wichita was foreclosed.

In 1879 David Payne had a job in Washington, D. C.

Many people thought of David Payne as a ne’er-do-well, improvident, reckless, undependable. What people did not understand was that all his life David Payne had been learning and more and more all his thinking was becoming dominated by one thought. He believed that the land in Oklahoma was public land and that people, poor people, had a right to share in the riches the land could offer.

The eastern part of Oklahoma had been set aside for the Indians. The government said that all the rest was also Indian land, but whenever anybody along the Kansas border needed lumber, they went down into the Territory and cut what they wanted. Farmers in places like Sumner county had acquired huge herds of cattle, but the cattle usually grazed on the so-called Indian lands of Oklahoma.

David Payne came to Wellington prepared to fight for what he believed. For all the rest of his life he called Wellington home and Dave Leahy, who got his start in Wellington and was a good friend of David Payne, said that David Payne loved Wellington, loved it more than any place he had ever lived.

David Payne started a newspaper in Wellington, THE OKLAHOMA WAR CHIEF, but his paper was likely to be raided; the government did not approve of it; so he had to keep moving. Sometimes the paper was published in Wellington, sometimes in Hunnewell, sometimes in other little towns along the border.

In 1880 he started from Wichita with a group of settlers destined for Oklahoma. Soldiers brought him back. In December 1881, he was in Gainesville, Texas, preparing to lead a band of “boomers” into Oklahoma. On May 10, 1883 he started from Sumner county with fifteen wagons and sixty people determined to prove to the government that Oklahoma was public land and people had a right to settle there. On May 27 United States soldiers brought him back. In the summer of 1884 he organized another big party of “boomers’ to move to Oklahoma.

He had owned three farms and lost them all. In 1875 he
returned to Indiana to settle up his father’s estate and a few months later all his inheritance was gone. On November 28, 1884 he walked into a hotel dining room for breakfast and dropped over dead. He did not have a penny, probably not even enough to pay for a breakfast in that shabby little hotel on Washington avenue.

In 1889 and again in 1893 on September 16th thousands of people lined up on the south border of Kansas to make the run into Oklahoma. David Payne had been right all the time. The lands in the Territory were public lands and the poor people had a right to share in the fruits of the land.

He lies forgotten in Prairie Lawn Cemetery but he is the “Father of Oklahoma”, the man who gave everything he had, who fought without ceasing to make Oklahoma the rich and wealthy state it is today.

He called Wellington home but no school, or street, or public building in Wellington has ever been named for him.

Alexander Hannibal Smith Worked for Wellington's Future
Deeply religious, idealistic, yet a very successful business man, he had qualities of real leadership.

In the 1880’s whenever Wellington needed a booster or a leader to get things started, Alexander Hannibal Smith was on the job.

He came to Wellington in1881 from Kentucky with his wife and thirteen children and joined a real estate firm here.

He owned the land where the brick factory was started. He was on the First Board of Directors of the First National Bank and he was the founder and president of the State National Bank and built the fine building on the corner of Washington and Lincoln.

He was mayor of Wellington in 1885 - 1886 and had to deal with all the problems of the boom years. He helped organize the people in the various wards and arranged meetings to develop a suitable method to allow all the people to have a part in choosing candidates for the city council and the school board.
He wanted a college for Wellington and tried to get one of the “Normal” schools to come here. In 1887 he worked very hard to get the “Dunkard” college to locate in Wellington and for awhile it looked as if the Wellington committee would be successful, but the college finally located in McPherson.

On October 25, 1887 the Commercial Club, which later changed its name to Chamber of Commerce, was organized in Hannibal Smith’s office and he served as the first treasurer and membership chairman of the new organization.

In addition to all the land he owned in and around Wellington, he gave his daughter Anna as a birthday gift the land that is today the business district of Garden City.

The three little girls in the quaint dresses are Ritchey Pace, Dudla Smith and Carrie Pace. Dudla Smith (Robinson), youngest daughter of Hannibal Smith, now 92 years old, lives near her daughter in
Tucson, Arizona. She was named Dudley for a Methodist bishop but changed her name to Dudla when she went to school.
The Pace children are the children of Hannibal Smith’s oldest daughter, Linnie, who died in Wellington in 1889.

WOODS BANK — First Brick Building South and West of the Arkansas River


Capt. John J. Woods and John D. Share set out from their homes in Liberty, Missouri, in 1873 and headed West with the hope that they might find a better place for their families to live.

Having arrived in the new little town of Wellington and looked the scene over, the two young men quickly decided that they had reached their goal, a very happy decision for Wellington since the two families, were destined to be an important part of the Wellington scene for many years to come.

The newly established banking firm rented a little wooden building on Washington avenue near 7th street and as usual the SUMMER COUNTY PRESS, always eager to promote community growth on which it depended for its own success, used the columns of its October 1873 issue to introduce the new firm to the paper's readers and thereby preserving for us some interesting information concerning pioneer banking. It would seem that all it took in those days to create a bank was some cash and a good stout safe.

“The banking house of Woods and Share is now numbered among the institutions of Wellington and Sumner County. . . and supplies a want long felt by the merchants, stock men and people of all classes in our growing community. Messrs. Wood and Share are gentlemen of large practical business experience, large capital, and come among us recommended as men of worth and sterling integrity. Their safe having arrived, they are ready to enter upon the transactions of all business that pertains to banking in all its branches. The safe, the largest by far in the county, was purchased from the National Bank of Wichita at a cost of $750. It was used by that institution until the erection of their new building and fireproof vault. It is one of the finest and largest safes in the southwest. Its weight is nearly five thousand pounds. We dispute for the pioneer banking house of Sumner County abundant success.’’

A year later Mr. Share decided to turn his efforts to other ventures and sold out his interest in the bank. Mr. Woods continued to operate his bank, the only bank in Wellington, seemingly with success, because by 1874 he decided to build a brick building to house his business, the first brick building in the whole area which was built from brick made locally in Wellington.

In 1881 a fire swept away the entire west side of the 100 block on North Washington including the little brick Woods bank. As a result, John G. Woods decided it was time Wellington should lose its western cowboy wooden shack appearance and
begin to look like the real progressive city he thought it should be.

Work on Mr. Woods’ new building started in the spring of 1882 and on July 13, 1882, the paper reported that the new bank building was almost complete. It was a building for all Wellington to be proud of — two stories high, fifty by eighty feet, built at the princely sum of $20,000, no small price in those days.

On the first floor the bank would occupy the corner room and C. E. Flandro planned to move his clothing store into the south room. On September 28, 1882, “the first gas light ever to gleam out into Wellington’s darkness illuminated Mr. Flandro’s fine new store”.


Upstairs over the Woods Bank and the Flandro store was an immense assembly hall with an excellent stage which would be a very important part of Wellington’s social life for many years to come.

No finer opera house could be found anywhere in the West. The floor was built on an incline so that even in the back row, people in the audience had a clear view of the stage. Elegant opera seats made fine comfortable seating for an evening’s performance and with the semi-circular balcony above the lower floor, there was ample seating capacity for 800. The stage ran the full width of the building, was twenty-five feet deep and had full sets of scenery, easily handled, suited to all types of stage scenes that might be desired for any performance.

The doors of the famed Woods’ Opera House opened for the first time on October 3, 1882, with John Dillon playing the lead in a play called “State’s Attorney”. On that stage during the next twenty years famous names and some not so famous cast their dramatic spell
over Wellington audiences. Some fabulous parties, such as New Year’s balls, also filled the hall many times with beau- smartly tailored men.

A little boy used to crawl up the back fire escape and peer in the back door and sometimes after the end of the first act, young Harry, Mr. Woods’ son, who managed the Opera House, would let the lad in to watch the play from a better vantage point, but who would have dreamed that that shabby tow-headed urchin in the old Woods’ Opera House, drinking in every movement and word on the stage, was acquiring a hunger for the theater that someday would make him one of America’s richest and most famous performers? Or that his name would be blazoned in bright lights across the front of New York theaters in some of our best known plays?


By now it was 1886. Business was booming in Wellington, land was bringing fabulous prices, and people were moving into Wellington by the hundreds.

A group of young men from Grundy Center, Iowa, arrived in town one day in the spring of 1886 with an idea of setting themselves up in the banking business. After they had conferred at length with Mr. Woods, on May 7, 1886, the men agreed the Woods Bank would become the Sumner County Bank with Mr. Woods as president, Paul Weitzel as vice president, A. Branaman as cashier and J. L. Weitzel as assistant cashier. The group from Iowa who established their new bank with a capital stock of $50,000 also included M. J. Thompson, J. S. Dey and M. W. Morris. Mr. Thompson and Mr. Dey, both lawyers, were appointed legal advisers to the new institution.

A short time later the new bank received its charter and became the Sumner National
Bank. Later, around 1890, with a capital stock of $100,000, the bank moved into the corner room of the Press Block, on the northeast corner of Washington and Harvey.

When Wellington’s first bank failure occurred in 1830, that of the State National Bank, the Sumner National, considered a completely sound bank, under the leadership of Dr. S. W. Spitler, president of the Sumner National for a number of years moved in and tried to save the State National from going under. But they did not succeed, and in 1896, the same hard fate befell the Sumner National although Dr. Spitler made several trips to Washington, D. C. and other eastern points trying to secure the capital needed to avoid the bank’s failure.

The Press Block which had housed the bank in its last years was sold by Barney J. Sheridon, receiver for the Sumner National Bank, to Thomas B. Brown of West Chester, Pennsylvania for $7000 plus assuming an $8000 mortgage. In 1902 the Security Bank, formed in 1897, purchased the building for $20,000 and has occupied that corner since that time.

The Woods Building, on the corner of Washington and 7th, having lost its tower in the cyclone, also fell into a receiver’s hands during the 1890’s but continued to serve as a main street building until it was destroyed by fire on Feb. 2, 1909. After that the corner came into the possession of C. A. Gambrill who had an immense department store there that included clothing, groceries and hardware. The Jett Merchantile company occupied the corner for a time and finally J. C. Penney moved their store to the corner, with Bob Anderson Paint occupying the old Culver Grocery and the Gambrill Hardware using the remainder off the building up to the present time.

Two First National Banks Makes for a Confusing Story

A Walk Into History
The Security State Bank 27
Unraveling the bank history of Wellington is sometimes confusing because there have been two First National Banks here.

The first First National Bank was founded in Feb. 1883 and opened up for business in the front part of the County Treasurer’s office until their new building at 105 North Washington, next door to the Press Block, was completed.

The founders and first Board of Directors included some of the most respected names in Wellington — George W. Baird, J. L. Kellogg, John T. Stewart, John Share, Hannibal Smith, George M. Miller, W. R. Savage, J. M. Thralls, George R. Fultz, Reuben Harpham and O. M. Dye. Unfortunately Mr. Miller, serving as cashier, made an extensive loan to Mr. C. W. Hill and therefore got involved in all Mr. Hill’s maneuvering in both the waterworks and the gas works. Mr. Miller also loaned huge sums to George Hargis to build the Aetna mill. The bank lost heavily in their investment in Mr. Hill and was forced to take over the operation of the Aetna mill when Mr. Hargis defaulted on that mortgage.

In the early 1890's the bank’s crippled condition was well-known in Wellington but people hoped that W. H. Berry, the new president, and R. L. Beattie, the new cashier, might be able to place the bank on a firmer foundation. They could not do so and on October 24, 1895, the notice “Bank Closed” was posted on the front door, and when the bank closed, so also did the Aetna mill.

The story of the second First National Bank begins in 1879 with a private banking firm of Baird, Kellogg and Co, which before the year’s end became the private firm of J. E. Neal and Son that was housed in a building on the west side of Washington about where Riley Jewelry is today.

In 1882 the two Neals combined with a number of Wellington business men to set up a more extensive private bank which they named the Wellington Bank. The new firm built a handsome red brick two story building, trimmed in white marble, on the southeast corner of Washington and Harvey
where Woolworth’s is today. A Wellington paper of that time called THE DEMOCRAT, in its issue for Jan. 19, 1884, gave an extensive description of the fine new building that had been added to Wellington’s business district. At the time they moved into the new building, the bank secured a charter and became the Wellington National Bank with James P. Holland, H. H. Davidson, John Murphy, Peter Stewart, J. H. Allen, William Funk, J. P. Flint, J. A. Maggard, and F. P. Neal as the Board of Directors.

In 1921 the Wellington National Bank and the Farmers State Bank merged and in order to avoid confusion with the first First National Bank of Wellington, Kansas, the second First National assumed the name the First National Bank in Wellington, Kansas.

Since the present or second First National Bank really dates back to the Baird, Kellogg firm of 1879, it is the oldest bank now in business in Wellington.

Completely remodelled in 1967, the Security State Bank - with its modern stone front, handsome new carpeting and interior decoration, and very latest equipment — gives every appearance of being a new building. Yet it is actually housed in one of the oldest buildings in Wellington and presents a fine example of how an important landmark can be preserved from the past and made suitable in every way for the future. Even the stairway elevator which carries patients unable to climb the steep stairway to the doctor’s office on the upper floor indicates how modern ingenuity can be used to solve the problems from the past and save the priceless treasure of earlier days.

Originally the building was constructed by Capt. John Folks and L. W. Bishop, owners of the oldest newspaper in the county. Squire Smith and Frank White, Wellington’s noted architects and contractors, drew the plans for the building in 1879 and started excavating for the basement in January, 1880 on the lot at the northeast corner of Washington and Harvey avenues. The plans provided for a solid stone structure, fifty by eighty feet, with two stories above ground and a full basement below the surface level. At this time there were no other buildings on the north or east so the new “Press Block”
as it came to be called, was surrounded by plenty of light and air.

The stone was mined from a quarry two miles southeast of the city which was owned by J. R. Gregson. Capt. Folks advertised in his paper that he would accept a load of stone as a year’s payment on the subscription to his paper and soon there was a huge pile of stone on West Harvey back of the Smith store, where the Marble Block is now. Apparently in 1880, it was easier for a farmer to use his horse and wagon to haul a load of stone to town than it was to rake up a dollar to pay for a year’s subscription to the newspaper.

Gus Glamann, father of H. W. and Chris Glamann and grandfather of Jack and Heine, Jr., all of whom have been well-known in Wellington, was in charge of the masonry work for the building.

Some time after the building was started, some one called the attention of Capt. Folks and Mr. Bishop to the beautiful white marble that had been discovered in Valverde and Guelph townships, and so Hank Zuber, owner off the marble quarry, was given a contract to furnish white marble to adorn the front of the building.

By July 1880, the building was near enough completion for the Sumner County Press to
move to the basement. A short time later Johnson and Scandrett opened a dry goods store in the corner room on the main street floor and H. W. Andrews moved his Bee Hive Grocery into the north room and stayed in that one spot until his death in 1934.

Mr. Andrews’ beautiful arrangements of groceries and fruits in his windows were for many years one of the delights of window shopping on Washington avenue. And to hear him describe where all the coconuts and peanuts and dates and pineapples came from charmed innumerable Wellington children who listened entranced while peering into his windows with delight at the array of red, yellow, green and brown objects so interestingly displayed.

Auditorium on the Second Floor

Upstairs, the second floor of the new “Press Block” became known as the “City Hall” and for a number of years was the only auditorium Wellington had. With a seating capacity for 300 people and stage measuring 25 by 80 feet, the hall was used for all types off gatherings, business, political and just plain entertainment.

Sometime later the room was converted into a billiard parlor, afterwards Orvie Rhea had his photography studio there and a number of Wellington’s doctors have had offices on the second floor of the Security State Bank Building.

The Sumner National Bank occupied the first floor corner room for a time and then on January 15, 1902, the Security State Bank purchased the building, later taking over the north store room and thus doubling the bank’s area along Washington avenue.

He who walks into Wellington’s Security State Bank walks into history.

Wellington National—Showalter Mortgage Co.—Andy Graff
First National Bank
Wellington, Kansas
the Can Do bank
Banks have played an important part in the growth and development of Wellington and Sumner County, and The Security State Bank is proud of its role in the first 100 years in its service to the people of this community.

The Security State Bank, organized in June of 1897, has been in the same location for nearly three-quarters of a century, and has seen a good deal of Wellington's history and changes take place from its vantage point at Washington & Harvey Streets.

Sad Story of a Beautiful Building...


A little over a year ago a present resident of Wellington, who by chance had a camera down town one morning, snapped a scene that the amateur photographer thought perhaps would make an interesting picture.

Today if that slide should be flashed on a screen, the viewer might find it as appealing as any picture of a cathedral or historic building of Europe. Bright blue Kansas skies, fleecy white clouds and a tall imposing building towering above Washington avenue, old, dilapidated, run down, having endured many changes of businesses in its interior, and yet somehow still proudly lifting its head, even today still showing that once it was created by the hand of an artist.

Long time ago the building had a tower that proudly wore its name, but like most of the other old buildings on main street, the tower has long since disappeared, but still today, sharp and clear as when they were first carved on the facade below the tower, 1886, stands out for all to see.

The State National Bank was the dream and product of a man who was both a dreamer and a shrewd business man and who worked long and tirelessly and bent every effort to build Wellington into the city he believed one day it would become. In the spring of 1886 two men, W. H. Glaize of Washington,
Iowa, and Dr. R. H. Brown of Kirksville, Missouri, arrived in Wellington and quietly began investigating the possibility of establishing a third bank in the booming town. During May of that same year Hannibal Smith and W. R. Spicknall purchased several lots on the northeast corner of Washington and Lincoln. A short time later it was announced that Mr. Smith had hired C. V. McDonald to draw the plans and the architectural firm of W. A. Ritchie and Co. to construct a fine three story building along the fifty foot frontage on Washington and extending 140 feet to the alley on Lincoln. No expense would be spared to make this one of the finest and most beautiful buildings ever built in the Southwest.

Some time later the organization of the new bank was completed with Hannibal Smith as president, Will Myers vice president, W. C. Glaize cashier and J. G. Smith assistant cashier.

A year later the new bank building was completed and on June 3, 1887, the MONITOR published a large picture and a complete description of the elegant, imposing new addition to Wellington. Today when new buildings are described usually the efficiency, the new gadgets, the modern engineering are stressed by the reporter; a hundred years ago reporters always seemed impressed by fine
mahogany and walnut woods, the carving, the ornate marble mosaics the handsome furniture and fine staircases. The imposing State National was described in such a fashion.

Unhappily by 1887 the boom was ending and troubles were beginning to mount up in Wellington and the State National bank was not yet well enough established to survive the storm and closed its doors in 1890 to be followed during the next few years by two other of Wellington’s banks.

In 1891 another bank was organized under the name Farmers State Bank and continued to occupy the Lincoln avenue corner until the Farmers State was merged with the Wellington
National and moved a block north.

Since then the State National Building has been used for many things — bus depot, beauty shop, barber shop, liquor store and so on — but sometime when you are down town gaze up at upper stories of the old brick buildings that line the east side of the 100 block on South Washington and notice even now how the old State National - Farmers State Bank building still proudly rears its head in the sky and even yet still bears the mark of an artist’s hands and a dreamer’s dream of the city that would have been except for the terrible catastrophes of the 1890’s.

Our First Bank Holdup

From the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS, Jan. 25, 1934: “Banks have been operated continuously in Wellington since the banking house of John G. Woods and John D. Share began business in the spring of 1873. Sixty-one years have come and gone and in the first six years of that time Wellington was without a railroad and only eighteen miles from the Indian Territory, which at that time was the hideout of the worst criminals of civilization, but January 25, 1934, marks the date of Wellington’s first bank robbery.

Some fifty odd years ago Henry Brown’s gang robbed a
Medicine Lodge bank and killed the cashier. They were followed into the hills, captured and soon after were hanged by the citizens. Henry Brown had been city marshall of Caldwell and was well known here. While in charge of his captors after the Medicine Lodge robbery, Brown told of looking over the Woods bank in Wellington with the then intention of robbing it, but said it was decided there was too little chance of getting away. So far as is known that is the closest Wellington ever came to a real bank robbery until the late successful robbery of the First National.

One Man Spans History of
National Bank of Commerce

The National Bank of Commerce has one peculiar distinction that is rare for such an organization. Having been started in 1906, it is the youngest of Wellington’s three banks, and yet at the age of sixty-five years, it can still boast in 1971 that one man has been part of its organization since the beginning.

George Harbaugh had started out his career by teaching the Concord school two and a half miles east of Rome when one day George Robinson of Wichita asked him if he would not like to learn to be a banker, So the young man went to Wichita and worked all summer learning his new trade in the Union Bank and the Merchants State Bank, now the Union National.

On July 24, 1906, George
Harbaugh was one of the group who organized the new National Bank of Commerce in Wellington which opened for business on December 3, 1906 in the old Woods Bank building at the corner of 7th and Washington. Mr. Harbaugh was elected to the first Board of Directors and has been with the bank in some capacity ever since that time although for several years around 1910 he worked at a bank in Oklahoma.

On February 1, 1909, the Woods Bank building and Opera House burned and the National Bank of Commerce sought temporary shelter first in the E. B. Roser Jewelry store and then in the Stewart Building. A little later, in October of 1909, the bank took over the corner room of the old Arlington Hotel where they remained until
moving into their new bank building.

Three times during his years with the Bank of Commerce, George Harbaugh has been a part of transforming the old into the new — first when the Spahr store on the corner of Washington and Harvey was converted to bank use, second in 1938 when the National bank of Commerce was completely remodeled and modernized and for the third time in 1937 when the bank built its new building on the corner of Harvey and Jefferson where the Congregational Church had stood for so many years.

In 1971 George Harbaugh is still at his desk in the bank everyday.
The Keystone Mill ...
Ask any farmer in those first days of Sumner county what he wanted most and without hesitation he would have replied “A mill.” Someone estimated that it took half a farmer’s time just to get his products to market and after the farmer had made the long trip overland to haul his grain, he would discover that the market or the price had changed and his trip had been made in vain.

Typical of the eagerness for a mill was the following statement that appeared in the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS on Sept 23, 1875:
"To Mill Men: The
undersigned citizens of Sumner County pledge ourselves to enter into a written contract to pay the amount set opposite our names to any responsible party who will build a steam flouring mill within one mile of the courthouse in the city of Wellington provided the work shall be commenced within six months and completed within one year.” The list of pledges totaled $2700.

In 1870 the McMahan brothers had come into Sumner county and taken out claims along Slate Creek not far from where
the Highway 160 bridge crosses Slate Creek today. Along about 1879, about the same time plans were being made to move a mill from Illinois to Wellington, the McMahan brothers decided to build a dam on Slate Creek and a mill. Thus the Keystone mill came into being. The first dam was washed out by a flood and after a second dam was built, farmers up-stream objected and forced the McMahans to pull it down. In 1880 it was announced that the McMahan brothers were going to move their mill down to the Chikaskia, but no record exists that they ever did so.

At Last A Mill For Wellington

Two women seeking to make a good investment, a bright young business man and “chance”, which produced a peculiar chain of events, had a great deal to do with saving a dying little town in the 1890’s.

The latter part of September of 1878, two young men from Normal, Illinois, appeared on Wellington’s main street and rented a little building in the new “Shearman Block” opposite the “Godfrey Block” on Washington avenue, then just a dirt road line, with similar wood shacks. They unpacked and arranged the stock of goods they had brought with them and then walked up the street to the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS office and announced that their New York Store was open for business.

Meanwhile more than a year earlier in Bloomington, Illinois, not far from the town where the future proprietors of the New York Store would soon set out for Kansas, a mill burned. The wooden mill building was destroyed, but the machinery was damaged very little. The owner of the mill, wishing to erect a new mill on the same spot, offered the old mill for sale provided the purchasers would move the old mill away.

Margaret S. Moore (Mrs. J. B.) and Hannah E. Mayer (Mrs. Wm. J.) and John Stetler, a friend of their families, saw an opportunity to make a good investment and so arranged to purchase the mill if they could find a suitable place in Kansas. Thus Mr. Stetler and the husbands of the two women set out for Kansas. They visited many towns and finally came to Wellington, but having discussed the matter thoroughly with D. N. Caldwell, who also had come to Wellington from Bloomington, Illinois, having been a member of the first graduating class oif Illinois Wesleyan of that city, they decided that it would be much too costly to ship the mill to Wichita and then haul it overland to Wellington.

However Wellington was not to be denied the chance to make a dream come true so the people of the community agreed to provide the necessary
transportation from Wichita to Wellington. The three men, after selecting a suitable site in the south part of Wellington, returned to Illinois and later in the spring of 1877 notified Mr. Caldwell that the mill was being torn down and would be in transit about May 15th and ready for grinding, by August 1st.


Mr. Moore arrived in Wellington on May 30th and started workmen digging the basement and preparing the foundation for the building. The mill was in Wichita waiting on a side track to be hauled to Wellington.

All Wellington celebrated — a dream come true — a mill at last!

Only, as sometimes happens on the dry Kansas prairies in June, it began to rain and it rained and rained and rained. The roads were a bottomless mire of mud. The creeks and streams were flooded. Wagons could not possibly haul such a heavy load as equipment for a mill.

Wellington’s sturdy pioneers were not giving up. Finally R. W. Stevenson, commonly known as “Uncle Dick”, selected
ten men to go with him to Wichita where they planned to build flatboats and float the mill down the Arkansas river to Oxford. P. H. Aldrich, grandfather of James Taggart and Mrs. C. E. Russell, who once had captained a steamboat on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, was placed in command of Wellington’s newly organized “navy”. Abb Shearman, who had been a sailor, and “Uncle Dick” piloted the other two fiat-boats. One raft ran aground on a sandbar near Mulvane but was soon started on its way again and the mill reached Oxford without difficulty, and then was hauled overland to Wellington.

By the end of September, the mill soared forty-five feet in the air, three stories high over a full basement, with a capacity of 40 barrels of flour every 24 hours.


Apparently the two ladies from Illinois were not completely satisfied with their investment because the following June the Moore, Mayer and Stetler Mill became the Mayer and Stetler when Mrs. Moore sold her interest to her former partners. A few months later W. H. Keefover bought a third interest in the mill and the name changed to the Keefover,
Mayer and Stetler Milling company.

A couple of months after that, H. M. Hickman sold his half interest in the New York Store to his partner George H. Hunter and bought the mill and changed its name to the Hickman mill. Two or three months went by and then apparently Mr Hickman persuaded George Hunter to take over a half interest in the mill. Several years went by with the mill doing business as the Hickman and Hunter Milling Company. Then finally George Hunter took over Mr. Hickman’s interest and the mill became known as the Hunter Mill and later was incorporated as the Hunter Milling Company.

As the years went on, the business increased, the mill was enlarged, expanded, modernized. By 1883, its capacity for storage was 30,000 bushels and 150 barrels of flour and a carload of feed daily.


During the 1890’s, although times were bad, the type of wheat grown in Sumner County had changed from soft wheat to straight hard wheat which the mill was not equipped to handle so Mr. Hunter purchased the needed equipment. He had long wanted and planned to rebuild
the old wooden mill with a new stone structure, but in the early 1890’s drought ruined the crops and so he postponed building the new mill.

By 1899, the mill had built a new elevator that increased its capacity for storage to 150,000 bushels of grain and 50 carloads of flour a day with two new sidetracks connecting the mill to the Santa Fe. But the stone mill building Mr. Hunter had planned so long did not get built until after the arrival of the 20th century.

Once during the 1890’s the city council was finding it very difficult to decide what to do about an electric light plant and Mr. Hunter wisely counselled them to do nothing. He himself had been considering the problem of electric power for the mill and had travelled widely in the South and East studying the problem of electric power. He asked the city council for permission to put up a few light poles between the mill and his home and said he himself would try out electric power for the mill and lighting for his home and suggested that the city wait to see how his electric power plant worked. He could afford to experiment and in those difficult days of the 1890’s the city could not.

It was a lucky thing that when the site for the mill was chosen it was put in the south part of the town where it escaped the wrath of the cyclone.

And the day George H. Hunter decided to walk out of his New York Store and set himself to the task of making Wellington’s dream of a mill a real success was a very fortunate day for Wellington. During the 1890’s Wellington could not have survived without George H. Hunter's business acumen, wise counsel, steady hand and public service — director of the bank, civic leader, serving on various boards and committees, schools, city council, mayor — three times, state senator - wherever he was needed, he was there to help.

After him, his son Charles, and his sons-in-law, Will T. Voils and J. Harris Carr, followed the same wise and public-spirited example Mr. Hunter had set for them.



Hunter Mill Burns

On the night of October 8, 1943, about half of Wellington spent several hours in the vicinity of the Hunter Mill watching the Wellington Fire Department fight a very spectacular and damaging fire.

The fire had started at the top of the Plant A Elevator, which had been constructed nearly fifty years before, and spread rapidly through the wood crib type bins. The elevator was full of wheat, close to 125,000 bushels, all of which was a total loss. The heat was so exceedingly intense that it damaged heavily wheat in other nearby tanks to the south.

The fire was discovered about eight o’clock; no one was in the building since all the men had left around five in the afternoon when they finished work. There was no sign of any trouble at that time.

By the time the Wellington fire department had arrived and got their hoses connected, the fire already had a big headway and flames were rolling out of the top and shooting high into the air so that they could
be seen blocks away from the mill. Four lines of hose were laid, but firemen knew from the start that they could do little about the elevator and spent most of their effort on saving the other buildings connected with the mill. People in the neighborhood got out their own hoses and tried to wet down the roofs of their homes to keep the sparks from setting additional fires.

The loss, which was later placed at $300,000, was confined to the older part of the mill which had been constructed in 1895, and forced the mill to shut down for only a few days.

Firemen worked all night and at midnight still had three hose lines pouring water on the ruins. The south wall toppled as did most of the north wall and the fire continued to smolder for many hours, keeping the firemen watching well toward noon the following day.

Without doubt many people in Wellington still remember that spectacular fire at the Hunter mill in 1943.

A New Era Begins


As always, in life there comes a time when the old era changes. For Wellington’s Hunter Milling Company, after seventy years of continuous ownership by the Hunter family, the end of the old and the beginning of the new era arrived on June 13 of 1948 when public announcement was made of the purchase of the two Wellington mills by Ross-Zimmerman and Associates for a reported price of $800,000. With the sale, Mr. Will Voils and Mr. Harris Carr announced that they planned to retire.

At the time of the sale the Hunter mill had a production capacity of 2800 hundredweight of flour daily and the Wellington mill of 1200 hundredweight daily. The two Wellington mills
had a combined storage capacity of 750,000 bushels.

With the purchase of the Hunter Milling Company, the Ross-Zimmerman and Associates group were adding to their already very extensive holdings in Kansas which included mills and storage facilities in Wichita, Newton, Ottawa and Whitewater. At that time Paul Ross was manager of the Wichita Terminal Elevator, Inc.; A. Murray Ross was manager of the American Flour Mills at Newton; Carl B. Ross was manager of Ross Milling Company at Ottawa and L. E. Zimmerman of the Whitewater Flour Mill Company.

The two Wellington mills have continued to operate under the name of the Hunter Milling Company, but have been managed by members of the Ross family since the change in ownership in 1946. Shortly after the sale of the mill by the Hunter family, Floyd and Tom Ross moved to Wellington and took over the management of the mills here. After Floyd Ross’s untimely death in an automobile accident, his son Frank Ross became part of the management of the mill.

Under the Ross family’s guidance the mill has continued to grow and expand and serve the needs of the area around
Wellington. A report in 1960 showed that the mill had about sixty-five employees with an annual payroll of approximately half a million dollars. The firm purchased over eight million dollars of wheat for grinding and also handled almost three million dollars in wheat certificates in 1960. The company at that time was paying about $50,000 in local taxes.

During the 1960’s the Hunter Milling Company as a part of Ross Industries, Inc., has continued to grow and progress to meet present day needs. In 1971, as of April 30th, Ross Industries, Inc., had a total grain storage capacity of 22,655,000 bushels and a flour mill capacity
of 37,500 hundredweights. The share of the Hunter Milling Company Division in this total capacity was 4 million bushels storage and 7,000 hundred-weights mill capacity. Total sales by Ross Industries, Inc., amount to almost 80 million dollars, a growth of approximately 28 million dollars since 1962.

At the present time G. M. Ross is President of the Board of Directors and Thomas W. Ross, Vice President and General Manager. In addition to Vincent Canzoneri, Vice-President and Secretary.

Key personnel in Wellington includes Harry Schierling, plant manager; John Tracy, mill superintendent; James Lamkin, chief chemist; Troy Osenbaugh, elevator superintendent.

The Hunter Mill was a very great asset in helping Wellington survive the disasters of the 1890’s and likewise today is still an important factor in Wellington’s stability.

Hargis and Clark Enter Milling Scene
Also in 1879, along with the coming of the railroad, George F. Hargis and W. W. Clark came to Wellington with a proposition to build a mill. Mr. Clark, a quiet, gentle man, was a miller by profession and would guide the operation of the mill.

Mr. Hargis, the business manager of the newly proposed concern, was quite different in appearance from the usual male inhabitant of the thriving prairie town according to a description in an old paper. He was small, nattily dressed in tailored clothes and a plug hat and had heavy black shiny whiskers. He must have been a persuasive talker though because he was able to borrow enough capital to build a four-story solid granite mill on East Lincoln at a cost of $65,000, an astronomical sum in those days.

The new mill had 18 sets of rollers, 125 horsepower engine that weighed 7500 pounds, 2 large steam boilers, a brick chimney 90 feet tall and all the very latest and finest equipment. The mill was built next to the East Slough where it had a plentiful supply of clear good water for steam.

Later Mr. Hargis built a house east of the mill and for a short time served on the City Council from his ward. One day a newspaper reporter, being very sarcastic about some of the actions taking place at City Hall, in his paper, in a moment of derision, called the East Slough “Hargis’s creek.”

The mill was indeed a fine mill but almost from the start seemed to be under a bad luck spell. Mr. Hargis had greatly over-extended his resources and in 1885 the first First National Bank was forced to foreclose his mortgage.

Mr. Hargis worked for the Hunter mill for a while and finally went to California. Mr. Clark met with a tragic fate. Having gone to Harper and started another mill with his brother, he found himself involved in even worst financial difficulties because of his brother’s escapades and began to drink heavily. Then in October 1890, in spite of the fact that he had been married less than a year, he shot himself through the heart.


As for the Aetna mill, in 1894 the first First National Bank spent a great deal of money over-hauling and putting new equipment in the mill, but in 1895, when the bank was bankrupt, the mill was forced to close. At the end of 1895 millers from various places were visiting the Aetna mill since it was believed that one of the best equipped mills in the whole state would be sold at a fraction of its actual cost.

In 1896 William Brewer, former head miller at the Aetna, had a contract to grind 7000 bushels for A. Graff. He hoped to get similar contracts from other local farmers.

Finally in 1899 the Kramer brothers took over the mill and started building a huge new elevator.

But the bad luck of the mill was not yet finished. During the 1930’s a dust explosion caused great damage and not long afterwards the mill burned down. Meanwhile it surely must seem strange to many people who have lived in Wellington for a long time that of all the streets, schools, public buildings and parks, only three bear names to remind us of the people who have contributed so much to the building of Wellington - Sellers and Woods Parks and Vandenburgh avenue while the East Slough, because of a reporter’s clever ironic remark, reminds us of a man who was here only a short time and did nothing much for the town. He was, however, a part of the disasters of the 1890’s.



We Continue to Serve with Elevators at both
Rome and Dalton
We Buy and Store Grain-Sell Hardware - Farm Supplies-Ammo-Phos and other Olin Fertilizers
McDaniel-Waples, Inc.
Wallace McDaniel, Mgr.
Elevator & Hardware
Phone Wellington 326-3203
Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc.

In 1930, a group of Wellington business men, feeling there was a great need for additional elevator facilities in Wellington, worked out an agreement with Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc., a Kansas City, Missouri, corporation, for an issuance of stock to be purchased by Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc. and the Wellington investors for the purpose of building a 500,000 bushel elevator. The corporation was to be known as the Wellington Terminal Elevator Company.

As a result of this project, Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc., opened an office in the Masonic Building in May 1931 under the management of Price Feuquay. The elevator was completed in September of that year, and, in accordance with the original agreement, was turned over to the management of Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc. The original agreement had also contained a clause giving Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc., the right to buy up the stock of the Wellington investors and during the years between 1931 and 1935 this was done.

By 1938 Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc., in Wellington had doubled its storage capacity to two and a half million bushels A
private telegraph wire maintained constant communication with the Kansas City and Chicago Board of Trade and with other Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc., offices such as those in Wichita, Salina and Hutchinson. Elevators located at Perth, Corbin, Milan, Mayfield and Riverdale increased capacity by another half million bushels.

The down town office in the Masonic Building was maintained for a number of years until May 1, 1963, when the office was moved to the new location adjoining the elevator east of town on Route 1, south of the Santa Fe tracks near the tie-treating plant.

Wolcott & Lincoln, Inc., first organized in Kansas City in 1926, has been a tremendous asset during the years it has been in Wellington in the efficient handling of grain produced in Sumner county. Mr. R. E. Cartmill, well-known Wellington business man, retired recently after forty years of service with the company. Mr. Leon Shurtz is the present manager in Wellington with Melvin Schalk so serving as office manager and Bill Hardiman as elevator superintendent.

Terminal Elevator at Wellington
Leon Shurtz, Mgr.
Betty Lewallen, Bkkr.


Elevator & Feed Mill at Corbin
Kenneth Guisinger, Mgr.

The Elevator at Rome Has Served the Farmers

of South Sumner County Since the Beginning of the Century


Provides ...
Wellington Kansas Mayfield

Early Day Wellington Newspapers Seemed to
Always be Going Broke

Wellington Has Always Been A Newspaper Town ...

They began with high hopes that soon turned to despair — this was the customary procedure for newspaper publishing ventures in Wellington and Sumner County before the turn of the century.

Some lasted for only a few issues, some for several months and a few for several years, but always the mortgage holder was standing guard with the key and ready to lock the door. Even more rapid than the rise and fall of the publications were the changes in editors and managing personnel.

Wellington’s first newspaper had an official life span of only three and one-half months, with only a few issues actually published. This newspaper, The Wellington Banner, first appeared on October 2, 1872. G. P. Garland was the editor and took it though until January, when it froze out and the office was sold to T. J. Hadley, who took it to Oxford.

The Oxford town promoters would have been somewhat chagrined if they had been able to foresee the future for within a few months Wellington had a newspaper whose lineage can be traced to the present-day Monitor-Press.

In the spring of ’72 the Oxford Town Company had offered Folks and Ludlow a defunct newspaper office and $400 if they would publish fifty-three issues of a weekly newspaper.

This offer was duly accepted, but with the year completed and the $400 gone the proprietors were ready to move to Wellington. Some difficulties were encountered for Folks owed a board bill at Oxford and had no funds to pay. In addition no one would help move the newspaper to a rival town.

At this juncture a good Wellingtonian came to the front with a cash in advance payment for ten copies. The move to Wellington was soon completed and the first issue of the Sumner County Press appeared July 27, 1873.

Although there were several changes in publishers, this newspaper did reverse the trend of financial disaster until the crash following the boom of ‘86. In December of 1873 L. W. Bishop bought Ludlow’s interest. On August 16, 1801, A. A. Richards bought out Folks and became the sole proprietor July 1, 1882 with the purchase of Bishop’s interest. Fees received for the publication of prove-up notices were credited for enabling Folks and Bishop to build the Press Block in 1880.

Other papers accepted anything of value in lieu of cash.

Before its early demise the Banner had advertised, “Wood will be received at this office in payment for the Banner. Don’t all come at once, but come quick. We need it these cold mornings.”

When L. W. Bishop came back into the newspaper field with the Republican in the spring of ‘86, he stated in his opening ad, “Will take all kinds of farm produce on subscription such as horses, chickens, cows, hogs, corn, wheat, etc. at market prices. Come and subscribe.”

A fellow editor of the Belle Plaine News was not too optimistic about the venture for he wrote, “Bishop is a good newspaper man, but we venture to say that if he were the best in the state, he and the sheriff would have a hard race for the paper, if located in Wellington. Here’s wishing you the success you deserve, Bish, and if the News ever has anything you want, take it and welcome, but don’t steal it like the Honorable Jake, please don’t.”

Other Wellington newspapers that appeared during the fifteen-year period from ‘72 to the collapse following the boom of ‘86 included that Sumner County Democrat established February 11, 1876 by L. C. Crawford and M. M. Edminston.

After several changes in management the Democrat was suspended in 1881.

The Wellingtonian started as a consolidation of the Democrat and the Vidette of February 1, 1882 with W. M. Allison as publisher. It claimed a circulation of 1,800 before it ceased in 1885. This was a Republican paper, published on Thursdays.

The Wellington Democrat was started with the office and subscription list of the defunct Hunnewell Independent. The first issue bore the date of August 12, 1882. A seven-column paper, it was all home printed and bore the legend T. P. Richardson, editor. Circulated Saturdays, it claimed a circulation Of 700 before its demise.

After the ill-fated boom years, everyone in the newspaper business went broke and consolidation, new financing and new publishers were necessary to continue the newspaper tradition in Wellington.

Yet even in September of 1901 when Harry L. Woods and William R. Stotler started the Wellington Daily News, money was still scarce.

In later years Stotler wrote, ‘‘Next day Bill Spears came to the office and bought a dollars’ worth of papers to send to relatives. I believe that was the first actual money that came over the counter. With me, it was the last for a week or more for it was dull as well as hot and many of the towners read their news in Frank Synder’s drug store downtown.”

It is difficult today to appreciate the problems of publication of these early newspapers. Besides the lack of capital and dubious income, transportation of supplies was at time almost impossible as the roads were just rails across the prairies. The lack of mail service made
the distribution of the newspaper very uncertain.

Yet in spite of all, these men started papers and had courage to set up their type, one letter at a time, and turn their old hand presses in order to do their part in helping a sparsely settled prairie become the scene of a future flourishing community.

Famed Printing Press Here for a Few Years

The first newspaper published in Sumner County was the Oxford Times which made its appearance on June 22, 1871 and was suspended November 25, 1871 after five months publication, due to the great difficulty in securing supplies and the inclement weather.

It was subsequently sold to the Oxford Town and Emigration Co., by its owners, W. H. Mugford and E. S. Hughes.

The equipment of this old paper consisted off an old Washington hand press and an accumulation of type and other materials from several of the first newspapers in Territorial Kansas. Among these were the Wyandotte Democrat and the Harold of Fredonia.

A short time after the Oxford Times was suspended E. R. Trask revived the paper and issued a few numbers,

The Populist cause was championed by an unusual publication venture in the last decade of the century. A published by the name off Naugle had a PEOPLE’S VOICE in Wellington and also a VOICE in Corbin, Milan, Argonia, Belle Plaine and Mulvane. They were all printed in Wellington and were all the same newspaper, but carried a different editor’s name in each town.

Late in the fall off 1909 consolidation had reduced the newspaper field in Wellington to three groups. Such a consolidation and condensation had long been hoped for by business men off the city as well as the newspaper fraternity itself, and now it had come about everybody is satisfied and glad that the old political feuds are no longer to be perpetuated to keep unnecessary newspapers alive.

When the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS entered the field in 1901, it was as a political independent, although competitors charged the paper had a Republican leaning. In recent years, politics has not been such an issue, but frequently Wellington’s two papers, the NEWS and the MONITOR-PRESS have waged hot battles over local issues.

this the old Washington press was dumped by the owner of a little cottonwood shack where the newspaper office had been housed out on the prairie, and the type and material had been dumped into a leaky old shoe shop.

The old Washington hand press had a very colorful history. Used for printing “free state” literature during the turbulent time of the Border Warfare, it had been twice thrown into the Missouri river, and as many times fished out and used again in spreading free state doctrines.

Captured by General Price in 1864, it was used for awhile in the interest of the Confederacy. Following the end of the Civil War the press was moved from place to place along the border of Kansas and Missouri until at last it settled down at Pleasanton in Linn county where it rested until bought and removed to Oxford about the first of June l871 by Messrs. Mugford and Hughes.

The old press continued in use for seven years, both, in Oxford and Wellington and was sold around 1879-80 to an Anthony newspaper.

Early Papers Became Tools For Politicians
by Hart Dey

Politics was the most lucrative and income certain business in the days when Kansas was settled and town promotion important, so the politician and promoters endowed newspapers to shout their wares in both news and advertising columns.

There were no postal requirements of annual statement of ownership and separation of news and advertising content as today, so no reader could be exactly certain whose cause was being proclaimed by the exuberant messages. No one could doubt that everything was “slanted”.

The WELLINGTON BANNER was the first newspaper to be published in Wellington, appearing in 1872, and its editor left no doubt of his belief in the Republican party and that everything General Grant had ever done in his lifetime was above reproach. The BANNER was equally eloquent in its promises to new settlers for the open prairies:

“We shall also encourage immigration to this part of the country by giving the westward-bound immigrant the FACTS in regard to its resources being developed.”

Evidently the BANNER did not read its own cue lines too well for it was published for only a few months.

Political power meant legal printing — the one secure source of income — for the early newspapers, so all attempted to gain control of local and state office.

In later years John G. Campbell wrote, “Politics, which isn’t one hundred percent pure yet by any means, was as crooked in those days as a dog’s rear limb. It took money then to get a nomination in either party and after a man was nominated, he was the victim of all manner of panhandler hold-ups. Each party printed its own tickets and it was deemed something very cute to get out a ticket similar to that of the opposition with one or more of your candidates slipped in to deceive the enemy.”

Over the years Republican newspapers dominated the local field. Democrat papers appeared from time to time but they didn’t last very long as they could not control elections. Near the end off the century some Populist papers began publication.

Two Historic Buildings Are Part of Newspaper History

Two buildings still standing in down town Wellington preserve the memory of Wellington’s colorful newspaper history.

The Press Block, built by 1880 by Captain John H. Folks and L. W. Bishop, now the Security Bank, was never used as a newspaper office. The SUMNER COUNTY PRESS was published in a basement room of the building, but the owners, well aware of the perilous life of a Wellington newspaper, thriftily rented out both the main street floor and the second floor to other business firms.

The history of the Standard Block, still standing at the corner of Harvey and C street, and still used as a newspaper office, enfolds within its walls a great deal of the newspaper history of Wellington, and illustrates well those that have risen and fallen in the last one hundred years.

The SUMNER COUNTY STANDARD, which began publication in 1884, caught the boom spirit of 1886, and built for itself a fine building, suitable to the type of publication it considered itself to be. No coal oil lamps for them, but the latest in gas lights. No battered old machinery and presses, but the most recent in equipment. The STANDARD saw itself as the important paper in the future of Wellington.

Meanwhile Mr. Campbell had started his MONITOR. When The SUMNER COUNTY Press was ready to disappear into Wellington’s newspaper graveyard, the MONITOR took over the equipment and subscription lists and became the MONITOR-PRESS. Needing a somewhat larger place for his presses, Mr. Campbell rented a little corner room on the second floor of the fine new
Standard Block.

Apparently the two papers got along very successfully in that one building, on the main floor the STANDARD with all its fine equipment and the MONITOR-PRESS in the corner second floor room. The very successful Standard might have some real competition except for the fact that the owner of the STANDARD died suddenly and his widow was at quite a loss what to do. So Mr. Campbell once again quietly took over the equipment and subscription list of the STANDARD and moved his paper to the first floor of the Standard Block where the MONITOR plus the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS plus the SUMNER COUNTY STANDARD plus the SUMNER COUNTY STAR is still publishing a paper under the heading the MONITOR-PRESS.

Eight Papers During Boom

The fever pitch speculation of the 1886 boom caught newspaper people in its trap, just as it did everyone else, and at the height of the boom eight newspapers were published in Wellington.

This folly was apparent elsewhere, if not to dream maddened Wellingtonians for a Winfield paper commented, “Wellington has more fool newspaper fools than any town of its size in existence. Scarcely had the QUID NUNC turned its boney toes up to the sea weed, when the DAILY NEWS appears and on its heels the SUNDAY MORNING QUID NUNC. This gives Wellington eight newspapers and blights the town as a newspaper graveyard.”

Added the WELLINGTON MONITOR, “The DAILY NEWS must have been beloved by the gods for it died so young. Its last faint chirp was heard in the Sunday issue and now it sleeps peacefully in Wellington’s crowded newspaper graveyard.”

W. M. Allison was one publisher who must have sensed the coming disaster for he sold his subscription list to the WELLINGTONIAN and left for Winfield at the beginning of 1886.

1884 and after the bitter years were over and the consolidation process had begun was one of the papers that went into the MONITOR-PRESS group of Campbell and Hood.

L. W. Bishop came back on the newspaper scene at the beginning of ‘86 and published the REPUBLICAN for one year. His entry was noted by the POSTAL CARD, “A week ago Wellington had three newspapers and now it has five. On Sunday morning THE POSTAL CARD, a single sheet, 12 column daily, published Stivers and Taylor, made its appearance, unheralded and unexpected. On the following day the first issue of the REPUBLICAN, L. W. Bishop, proprietor, struck the town, the latter a four-page, 8-column weekly resembling the STANDARD in form and make-up.

“Ideas differ as to the number of papers a town can support, but we don’t believe that anyone will question that Wellington has a sufficiency, if not a surplus. The experience now being tried may throw some new light on the point.”

The POSTAL CARD was just an enlarged government postal card and then later it was converted into a bigger paper and they just put the little postal card at the top as their name. There was a DAILY POSTAL CARD and a WEEKLY POSTAL CARD.

One story is that there were two young ladies in WelIington who were working in a print shop on some other paper and got fired, so they started their own paper with the little postal card. Their names were Daisy Allen and Lulu Jenkins and were formerly employed by THE MAIL and THE VOICE.

Another fascinating newspaper
of 1886 was the MORNING STAR, a morning daily. It contained considerable news of a certain kind. It was written with some ability and a good deal of vinegar, but its advertising columns were very meager. It labored under very great disadvantage for its editors were not free to roam the community. This publication was produced in the Sumner County jail.

A man by the name of Keeler was one of those caught up in the speculation fury. He owned a paper in Oswego, New York, and somehow heard about the great promises of Wellington so he sold his newspaper and for a very brief time published the TYPOGRAPHICAL ADVERTISER in connection with his job shop and real estate business. He didn’t arrive until the early winter of ‘86 and by then it was too late.

The experience of the QUID NUNC was typical of the era. It tried a weekly, it tried a semi-weekly, it tried a Sunday morning, a daily and finally went back to Sunday morning.

But it ran into trouble — because the holder of the chattel mortgage took possession and “closed the Office last Tuesday evening”, as quoted by the WELLINGTON MONITOR. The property had been sold under a prior mortgage held by Chicago parties the previous week, but the Chicago parties had left possession in the hands of the newspaper to give a chance for redemption. Unfortunately the holder of the second mortgage
moved in when the first mortgage did not foreclose, seized the paper and closed it.

The one apparently success-publication was the SUMNER COUNTY STANDARD, but it too had a tragic ending, and was taken over by the Monitor.

This is where all the boom newspapers ended — in the hands of Campbell and Hood of the MONITOR-PRESS. As young men John G. Campbell and Charles Hood came from Illinois to Wellington and began publication of the SUMNER COUNTY MONITOR in 1886. Hood was an expert printer and did the mechanical work. Campbell handled the office and did all the necessary reporting and editing. It was a successful business from the start and as the other publications failed it gobbled their equipment or subscription list — or both.

Other publications entered the Wellington and Sumner county field in the years that followed although eventually all were consolidated with either the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS or the MONITOR-PRESS.

Want Landmark
Shack Removed

As related in the MONITOR-PRESS off August 25, 1909 the DAILY MAIL was making a roar about the old frame building standing down on the corner of C and East Harvey, which was once the publication office of the old SUMNER COUNTY PRESS.

The MAIL wanted it condemned by the city and torn down, though it really was not doing a great deal of harm where it was.

The old building had been erected by Folks and Bishop along about 1874 and once had stood where the Security Bank is now. In 1881 Folks and Bishop who had made a pile of money publishing prove-up notices, built the present Press Block, leaving the little frames office to the rear of the lot facing it around on Harvey avenue.

Wellington Editors Known
Throughout State of Kansas

by Hart Dey

From its beginning Wellington produced newspapers editors and reporters who gained state and national recognition.

John H. Folks was one of Wellington’s earliest publishers and was not only successful in a field that was known as a newspaper graveyard, but also engaged in numerous other successful ventures including real estate, banking and farming.

After serving one year as the financial agent and member of the Oxford Town Company, he moved to Wellington in 1873 and published the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS until 1881. During this period the firm built the Press Block at Washington and Harvey.

A native of Ohio, Folks was born in 1837, reared in the agricultural profession and had a fair education. At the age of eighteen he was teaching school and in the meantime reading medicine. He joined the army in August of 1861 and had been promoted to the rank of captain when mustered out in September, 1864.

In the later years of his life he had accumulated considerable property, was elected secretary of the Kansas senate in 1875, was first elected Sumner county coroner in 1877 and held the first legal inquest ever held in the county.

Another early day editor was T. P. Richardson, who founded the WELLINGTON DEMOCRAT in August, 1882. Born at LaGrange, Mo., in 1857, Richardson was graduated from LaGrange College in 1874. He studied law for two years and then engaged in the dry goods business at Quincy, Ill., for three years before entering newspaper work, serving as a correspondent for Missouri papers to the Centennial. After some time as the city editor of the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS, he took charge of the HUNNEWELL INDEPENDENT, then started his newspaper at Wellington.

Next editor of the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS was A. A. Richards, who was born in Maryland and who was a teacher and lawyer before entering the newspaper profession. Richards, who spent his early life at school, was graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania
in 1875, taking the prize over all his class in mathematics, then occupying the chair of mathematics in Neophogen College, Galletin, Tenn. He was admitted to the bar at Marshall, Texas where he remained until 1879.

Beginning his career in Wellington as a teacher, Richards became editor of the PRESS in 1880, purchased a half interest in the paper in 1880 and became the sole proprietor in 1882.

For forty-four years John G. Campbell was active in the newspaper field at Wellington, where he gained wide recognition as a fine writer and able editor.

Opening his Wellington career with the founding of the SUMNER COUNTY MONITOR during the boom year of 1886, Campbell and his partner, Charles Hood, captured the entire field when the boom collapsed and after his partner retired, Campbell published the MONITOR-PRESS until 1928. A native of Vermont, Campbell was graduated from Williams college when he was only 19 years old. He lived in Illinois for a while before coming to Wellington, He served his district in the state legislature following World War I. He was keenly interested in politics, was active in a Wellington building and loan association and an active member of the Congregational church.

At his death in Los Angeles, Calif., at the age of 82, tributes paid to him by fellow newspapermen were that Campbell enjoyed a reputation as a splendid writer. He wrote sharply with exchanging thrusts with opposing editors or politicians, but usually his writing ran along smoothly and reflected the intelligence and training of a fine mind. John G. Campbell was always what we call a leading citizen — a leader in religious, civic and educational advancement. In his editorial and news writing he was conservative. Wellington has known many editorial writers, but none with better educational background, none more intelligent, and one of his contemporaries said that John Campbell wrote the purest English ever found in Wellington’s periodicals. He was never sensational, rarely a crusader, but his news and editorial output was always interesting, always strong, always clean, and always dependable for accuracy.

On Labor Day in 1901 Harry L. Woods began publication of the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS and continued publication for nearly forty-six years, when he sold an interest in the paper to John Berkebile June 2, 1947.

During his long tenure Woods received acclaim throughout Kansas for the character of his publications. Sometimes he was in hot water with his readers and advertisers, but always maintained his sincerity of purpose.

He was almost a native of Wellington as his family moved to this city when he was a young boy. After managing Woods Opera House, serving as city and county attorney and being partner in a law firm for a time, he withdrew to enter the newspaper business.

During the nearly half century that followed, Woods noted many eventful happenings in his news columns and expressed his determined viewpoint in his editorials.

At the close of his career, the EL DORADO TIMES declared that Mr. Woods filled a unique function in the newspaper affairs of this state, and it is comforting to know that his sturdy and common sense viewpoint on all matters of public interest will continue to be expressed.

A fellow publisher, Henry J. Allen, noted, “I regard Harry Woods as one of the rarely successful. He had done exactly what he wanted to do with his newspaper, kept faith with himself, with his community, and never belittled his opportunity as editor of the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS and SUMNER COUNTY NEWS during the years that have made them a pattern of the highest accomplishment in country journalism. “He has been at all times an honest, courageous and enterprising publisher, yet I have never heard him rise any of these adjectives in connection with himself. They describe perfectly the natural attributes of his and his paper is what it is because Harry Woods is what he is.”

Changes that Took Place in 45 Years

“Forty-five years ago today, Monday Sept. 2, 1901, Labor Day, came the first issue of the Wellington Daily News. Three days later, Thursday, Sept. 5, we published the first issue of our weekly paper, THE SUMNER COUNTY NEWS. It has been a tremendous forty-five years for news, good and bad. The first big, bad news came on Saturday of the first week when President William McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo. But it was years later that there came the worst news of all history, when two World Wars took the lives of men by the millions, and left a trail of human misery beyond the power of man to measure or comprehend.

“But on the good side, those same forty-five years had added much to human comfort and entertainment. The words “diptheria”, “small pox”, and “yellow fever” no longer bring terror to millions, and medical science has added years to life’s span and conquered many pains which were the former lot of man. So competent and rapid has been the march of this science that the casualties of the last war were notably less than in the first World War. Sulfa drugs and penicillin, though recent discoveries, already have worked miracles. Early in the century motor vehicles arrived, but only for the rich, until Henry Ford introduced mass production and put millions of families on wheels. In 1903 the Wright brothers put the air in harness at Kittyhawk and the resulting developments have made the far continents of the world our next door neighbors.

Indeed men can now move so swiftly that breakfast may be eaten in New York and noon luncheon in San Diego. Motion pictures emerged forty odd
years ago and sputtered in silent films for twenty years before finding competent vocal cords in 1926. Then came technicolor and now television. Radio, squeaking and squawking through earphones in the early twenties, now informs and entertains the inhabitants of every city and hamlet around the world. Recent arrivals are home refrigeration, air-conditioning, stream-lined trains, frozen food lockers, canned soups, nylons, ice cream cones, hot dogs, and Coca Cola. The ladies, meanwhile, have exchanged their hooped skirts, corsets, and bustles for permanent waves, lipstick, short skirts, finger nail polish, bare legs and open toed shoes.

“More than one fourth of all our presidents have served during the life of the NEWS; nine of them as follows: McKinley, T. Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, F. D. Roosevelt and Truman.

“In no other span of time has civilization made such progress as during the four score years of my life. In my early years coal oil lamps were so new that most homes used only tallow candles. We had a lamp in the “sitting room” in our home in Liberty, but only candles in the kitchen and bedrooms. We had a candle mold, and I remember helping to make candles. But Thomas Edison already was at work and in the late seventies produced the incandescent electric light, soon followed by the arc light, electric fans and other useful gadgets. Soon, then, came the reproduction of sound on the phonograph, telephone and the X-ray pictures actually taken through blocks of wood. Then came the Linotype with which one operator could set more type than a dozen persons could set by hand.”

Wellington Daily News Harry Woods, Editor 1901—1946

The Dedication of a Professional Newsman
Between '01 -'46 Wellington Saw Many Changes Come About

“Wellington was much different forty-five years ago and about half its size. There was no Antlers Hotel no Stewart Building, no Harvey House, no Santa Fe division building, no natural gas, no Post Office Building, no Washington school, no City Library, no Memorial Auditorium, no Legion Building, no movie theater, no automobile row, no filling station, no hospital, no park, no bus station, no chain store, and not one foot of street paving.

“The city was run by a mayor and council of ten men, two from each ward; the post office was just across the alley, east of the Security Bank; the DAILY NEWS was just across the alley back of the First National Bank; Woods Opera House stood on the J. C. Penney corner and burned in 1909; the high school was at Twelfth Street between Olive and Popular; the fire truck was drawn by horses; the Methodist church was at the corner of Fourth and G street; the Santa Fe had no California line through Wellington; and the
Power Plant was near the dam and often shut down by floods.

“The DAILY NEWS began with 150 subscribers, served by five carriers, one for each ward. They were Joe Schwinn; Glenn Bowers, Harry Hatfield, John Flandro, and — Christianson. Of these, three enlisted in the first World War as privates, served overseas where all three advanced to the rank of Captain; these were Schwinn, Bowers and Flandro. Today there are sixteen carriers delivering more than 2000 copies each day, and the total paid circulation stands at 3090. The SUMNER COUNTY NEWS, issued every Thursday, has a paid circulation of 1302. For the first dozen years all type was set by hand, and mostly by girls.

The first Linotype was installed in 1914; the second in 1918; the third in 1922, and the fourth in 1930. We joined the Associated Press in 1918, taking the “pony” service of 500 words a day. Several years later a wire was run into the office and an operator installed to deliver about 5000 words a day. A dozen years ago or more, the Teletype came in and is still operating
from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and delivering 39,000 words each day. No other daily in the world has, or can have, any better, faster, or more complete service for an evening paper. Other plans we had for additional service to NEWS readers were interrupted by the war, and the confusion which followed and still continues. These plans have not been abandoned, just delayed by events not under our control. Development will be possible in a few more months we hope.

“While confessing many failures with sincere regret, I have tried hard to make the NEWS A REAL SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY. I did not resent the passing years which race on by winged feet, and I am grateful to God for such excellent health at four score. For such added time as may please Him to spare me, I only ask to have wisdom and strength to join earnestly in the work of preserving and promoting the welfare of our beloved country, to the end that it may continue to be free, just and happy, always as now, world leader and the hope of mankind.”

Nearly Half A Century
With The Daily News
Business Manager

77 Years With
The Daily News

Eddie Shaw and Lela Oglesby together have worked a total of 77 years for The Wellington Daily News and neither have ever missed a pay check. Good and faithful employees, both are devoted to the paper and to the town, and have contributed much to making the town’s daily newspaper the part of the community that it should be. May the Wellington Daily News continue to be a daily part of Wellington life for the next 100 years!


It was a new experience working for two bosses after working for nearly 25 years for the same one as I started work on The Daily News in August of 1924 after finishing high school here that year. Harry L. Woods was the only boss that I had known up until the time that John W. Berkebile purchased half interest in The News on May 29, 1947. It came as a surprise, but working for two bosses soon was no different.

John Berkebile carried on running The News in the same style as by Mr. Woods who started the publication in 1901. The news staff remained the same following the change with some new employees coming through the later years. John Berkebile was a fine man to work for and he himself was a good newspaper man and The News became a better newspaper as time went on and the circulation of the paper continue to increase in years.

During the years that Berkebile was part owner of the newspaper The Sumner County News was published once a week. It was not until after Berkebile left The Wellington News that The Sumner County News was discontinued. There were no publications of that paper after October 1953.

John Berkebile sold The News
in 1953 when it was purchased by Stewart Newlin who took charge in August 1953. Stu and Margaret Newlin were two wonderful persons to work for and I enjoyed working for them.

The News continued to make progress during the years the paper was owned by The Newlins and in September 1962 the newspaper won the sweepstakes honors in the Kansas Better Newspaper Contest at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. It was also at that time that Reporting Mainstreet written by yours truly won first place in column writing.

The Daily News was again sold in July 1965 when it was purchased by Jack and Jeanne Mitchell the present owners. The Mitchells’ like the Newlins’ are wonderful people and it is a pleasure to work with some great bosses.

The Mitchells’ have carried on with the making of The News a better and better newspaper since the Newlins’ 1eft. It was on Sept. 16, 1967 that The Daily News, owned by the Mitchells’, was again judged the best in its division and won top honors in the Newspaper Contest held at the State Fair at Hutchinson.

My hopes are to be working for Jack and Jeanne Mitchell when I have reached my 50 year mark as an employe of The Daily News which will be August 1974, three years away.

Wellington’s Pioneer Doctors
Probably no other pioneer prairie town in all the Southwest ever started out as well equipped from a medical stand-point as Wellington did. On that very first day, April 2, 1871, Wellington had a well-trained skillful doctor and a druggist which would figure out at a ratio of one doctor and one druggist for every ten people — a medical standard that few communities could ever hope to achieve.

Not only that but the second store built in Wellington was a

drug store, built out of logs, on the corner of Washington and Lincoln, where the Stewart building is today, but facing on Lincoln.

In those early days educational requirements and licensing had not been firmly established yet so when a man is called “doctor”, one cannot be sure just what the term means. Most of the medical men of that early time though had served in the War between the States where they would have had ample opportunity to develop medical skill.

We know that our first doctor, Dr. P. A. Wood a member of the Town Company that started Wellington, must have been well-trained and very skillful. He was summoned all over the county in times of critical illness and serious accident. C. R. Godfrey, who was also a member of the Town Company, brought his drug supplies with him so his log drug store was well supplied as soon as it was finished. Some of the early papers speak of Mr. Godfrey as “doctor” but that was probably a nickname more than a title. From newspaper accounts we know that Mr. Godfrey frequently accompanied Dr. Wood on calls probably to assist him as a nurse would today.

Most early day physicians practiced from drug stores. Dr. Wood first worked out of Mr. Godfrey’s store, then later started a drug store of his own. Dr. Wood’s son John also practiced here awhile and then moved to Kansas City. Dr. P. A. Wood left Wellington for California in 1887.

Another very early doctor, Dr. E. Parks Ritchie, arrived in Nov. 1871 and has left us a most interesting description of his first day in Sumner County. Just married, he and his bride arrived to find a few wooden, shacks and endless miles of space and prairie grass and wondered why they had ever followed the slogan “Go West”. Dr. Ritchie stayed and in addition to his medical practice served as Wellington’s second mayor. In 1881 he moved to St. Paul where he served as Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School for a number of years. His son, Barry Parks Ritchie was a nationally known plastic surgeon in St. Paul.

Another name found in early records is that of Dr. Sylvester Mann who opened a drug store where Glasco Drug’s south room is today. Apparently there has always been a drug store in that location. Reports from the early days indicate that the title “doctor” was honorary and that his medical service consisted of selling pills.

Of all the early doctors, the one who practiced longest in Wellington is Dr. Samuel Wesly Spitler who came of Wellington in June of 1886. He had graduated from Ohio Medical School in 1875 and practiced in Ohio before coming west. Because of failing health, he retired in 1928 after practicing here for forty-two years, a long time for a pioneer doctor who had no telephone and only a horse and
buggy for transportation and who travelled miles across the prairie in all kinds of weather, hot and cold. At the time of Dr. Spitler’s death, June 7, 1929, the Wellington Daily News said: “that well beloved of thousands during his long and useful life, was, for more than four decades indispensable to many families in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Keen in diagnosis, gentle in ministrations, untiring in service, with a great kindly heart in tune with human need, he was a doctor, friend and counsellor to thousands in the days of his strength.”

During the first ten years Wellington had no dentists, except a Dr. W. L. Doyle who would come down from Wichita once or twice a year and set up “shop” in the Moreland House, an early hotel, for about ten days. The newspaper carried warnings not to delay seeking dental treatment as it would
be a long time before he came again.

In 1888 Wellington had two lady doctors, one a Dr. Tyler, whose given name is not known and another who signed herself as Kate A. Mason, M.D.

In the first years of Wellington there were innumerable lawyers since people seemed to have lots of legal difficulties. There were only a very few doctors since most people used home remedies except in times of acute illness or accidents, when those emergencies came Wellington had skillful doctors to call upon as it has had throughout its hundred years of history.

from a real estate ad put out by George Fultz in 1892:

“It would be impossible to exaggerate the attractiveness of Sumner county in regards to health. Malaria is unknown and ague, so common to the swamps and low-lands of so many portions of the country, is a stranger here. The lay of the land, the character of the soil, the purity of the water, the absence of ponds, swamps, and sluggish streams taken in connection with our altitude, all combine to produce good health. The atmosphere is ever pure and bracing. Many cases of catarrh, asthma, and consumption are cured by the climate without aid of medication.

Monday, August 23, 1971


The town was growing and progressing and needed a hospital so the Commercial Club began conferring with the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese to consider a proposition of taking charge of a projected hospital.

Quoting from the Bishop’s journal for 1910: “In due time I accepted, provided certain terms can be carried out; they to give $2000 a year for three years for its charities. They will have to raise or will raise $12000 and 4 acres of ground for a site a half a mile from the center of the city. If they succeed with the charity fund, we shall take charge.”

Somewhat later, the Bishop’s journal continues: “On December 13, I laid the cornerstone of St. Luke’s Hospital, a project of the citizens, not our church people, of Wellington. They gave a beautiful site a half a mile from the center of the city, $11,000 and will give $2,000 a year for charity besides and a reduction for light and heat. The structure will cost nearly $15,000.

from the Monitor Press, Nov. 20, 1918

Sumner county physicians report 1350 influenza patients and 22 deaths. 3 per cent of the nation have died. Strict quarantine is being enforced and all houses where there is flu must be placarded.

The new hospital was dedicated on Oct. 9, 1911 and by the beginning of 1913 had cared for 260 patients, the grounds had been beautifully landscaped and a training school for nurses established, the first class graduating in 1918.

Without such a hospital and available nurses, the awful flu epidemic of 1918 would have been worse than it was. Sometimes they put two patients in one bed and for the first time Wellington learned what the indomitable spirit of Mrs. Carrie McKee could accomplish in face of emergency.

By 1925 the Episcopal Church had decided that it should no longer assume the operation of St. Luke’s; therefore the management was reorganized by the people of Wellington and turned over to a private Board of Trustees who assumed the control of the hospital.

St. Luke’s, little changed from World War I days, managed to serve Wellington, under Mrs. McKee’s limitless devotion to duty, as the only hospital in Wellington during all of World War II. With very limited staff, with almost antique and certainly
out-of-date equipment, with endless hours of tireless work, the sick of Wellington was as patiently and skillfully cared for as in the finest modern hospital of today.

At the end of the war, in 1946, the hospital became a municipal hospital and the city voted $98,000, which, added to some very generous gifts, permitted the erection of a new modern hospital in front of the original building.

In 1971 another new and much larger hospital was completed north of the earlier building.

From the Wellington Daily News, Sept. 1, 1903

Drs. Spitler and Martin have installed one of the new X-ray machines in their office in the Security Bank building. It was used very successfully to diagnose the trouble with Rev. J. G. Cunningham’s leg.



For some reason until 1930, Wellington’s hospitals had always been in the north end of town, but on June 1, 1934, Dr. Warren Youle opened a hospital in the south part of Wellington. At that time the huge old Hunter home was standing vacant so he rented the house and converted it to the care of patients.

When four years later in 1937 the Hunter family decided to tear down the old house and convert the land to other uses, Dr. Youle moved his hospital across the street to another large early day home of Wellington where the French family had formerly lived.

Having started with himself as the only doctor and a very small staff of nurses, by 1956 the needs of the Wellington Hospital had made imperative a new and modern building. A three-stage construction plan was developed with the first third built in 1956, the second unit in 1959 and the third in 1967. What once had been an old house converted to medical purposes had now become a fine hospital completely equipped for every medical and surgical need.

In the middle 1960’s Dr. Youle also added Lakeside Lodge, built at a cost of a half a million dollars, to provide skilled nursing care for the elderly.

The care that the people of Wellington provide for the sick and helpless has moved a long way from the days of the old “Poor Farm”.


Two other hospitals, both privately owned, have also served Wellington’s needs. In 1915 Dr. A. R. Hatcher gave a contract to J. H. Mitchell and Son for $18,000 to build a hospital building at the corner of Washington and Tenth.

When World War II arrived and most of the hospital’s staff was called into service, the hospital was closed. It was reopened after the war, but the requirements of modern hospital standards created problems in a building as old as the Hatcher Hospital, and after Dr. Albert Hatcher’s death the hospital was permanently closed. The building is now used to house Wellington’s Chisholm Trail Museum.

During the time the Hatcher Hospital was in operation, it was enlarged and modernized at various times with the latest and finest equipment available for a very fine staff to give the best possible care to the hospital’s patients._
"In appreciation of: Carrie McKee, Dr. A. R. Hatcher Dr. Warren Youle, and the many other doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who have served the people of Wellington

Page 7

The Pattern of Life:
People Who Care for The Sick and the Helpless!
For many years the nearest thing Wellington had to a hospital was the County Poor Farm which was built west of town this side of Slate Creek, and it was not really a place to care for the sick but a place to put paupers who had no shelter and no money for food. Gradually however the “poor farm’’ came to be a place for the indigent elderly who were no longer able to care for themselves and for the mentally retarded who were unable to manage their personal lives.

In the beginning of 1882 the Sumner County Press reported that the county commissioners had let the poor farm and poor house to H. F. Landis for one-third of all the produce off the farm. He was to board all paupers for $2.25 per week. A few weeks later the Press reported that the county was prosperous because there was only one pauper at the county farm.

The management of the Poor Farm was sometimes a sort of political “football” with various persons trying to secure the financial advantages of managing the farm that went with the
Poor House. In 1895 the Conway Springs Star was boosting T. S. Richardson and urging the county commissioners to accept his bid and reappoint him to the job he had been handling in such a fine manner. Evidently somebody managed to exert more pressure on the county commissioners for Mr. Richardson did not receive the appointment he desired much to the Star’s disappointment.

By 1915 the need for much more adequate quarters was apparent and Mr. Adam Winger, local contractor, who had come to Wellington in 1885, was hired to construct the new building near Slate Creek which at that time was given the name “County Infirmary”, rather than “Poor Farm”. The management of the new building became the duty of the County Health Officer.

Gradually the County Infirmary more and more came to be a place for the care of the helpless elderly. In 1948 the county commissioners began to make plans to rebuild, modernize and bring the old County Infirmary up closer to present day nursing home standards.

A gradual building program was inaugurated which has today resulted in the fine building we now know as Cedarview Skilled Nursing Home.

The Senior Citizens Of This Community
For Helping Make The Past 100 Years
So Successful.
Lakeside Lodge—Opened June 23, 1967
State Licensed
Warm, Friendly, Homelike Atmosphere
104 W. Botkin Wellington

1901 -- There Was No Library

Although there was no public library in Wellington on the day the DAILY NEWS was first published in 1901, the idea was already well developed and the beginning of such a library was taking shape.

In 1895 Mrs. Katie Sniggs, Mrs. Lulu Frantz Whitson and Mr. W. H. Schulte sponsored a reading room and loan library which was placed first in Coverdale’s clothing store and then in a little frame building south of the ANTLERS Hotel.

People in town donated furniture, books and some money and the young people’s societies of the different churches furnished the necessary labor, each society being responsible for one week at a time. For about four years the room was open evenings. For a small fee young people could come to the reading room where refreshments were available and spend an evening reading or playing games, but the place was actually more of a youth recreation center than a real library.

In 1899 a group of young girls just out of high school decided to organize a club. Since at that time Mrs. Noble Prentis was a greatly admired Kansas woman, they named their club after her. A short time later Mrs. Prentis found it possible to visit the club which had done her such honor and during her visit suggested to the young women, mostly interested in dates and good times and parties, that if their organization was to be worthwhile, they should find a real objective for their ener gies. So the Prentis Club decided to establish a library for Wellington.

On New Year’s Day, 1900, they held a big reception at the F. K. Robbins home and invited all the gentlemen off the town to come and bring a book for the library.

Harry Buttrey offered the Prentis Club members a few shelves in the rear of his shoe store, and so with books and
shelves, the young ladies were in business and Wellington had a real lending library.

The library was only open on Saturday afternoons and at first the young ladies took turns working at the library. Later Miss Maud Barrett was elected librarian and served for two years.

On May 16, 1914 the first meeting of the Wellington Library Board was held with Mayor George H Hunter serving as president, M. C. Burton as president, Mrs. Ellen R. Clayton as secretary and E. B. Roser as treasurer. Other members were Mrs. E. T. Hackney, Mrs. W. H. Maddy, H. L Buttrey, Miss Maude Price, and W H. Burks For the next twenty years Mr. Burks and Mrs. Hackney served faithfully as library board members until the public library was firmly established.

At that time Andrew Carnegie had inaugurated his program of sprinkling his name all over America in the form of grants to build library buildings that would henceforth be called by his name. On April 10, 1915, the Wellington Library Board voted to purchase the Long Bell Lumber Company property at the corner of 7th and Jefferson for $3,500.

In accordance with the provisions of a grant of $17,500 received from the Carnegie Foundation, the city hereafter agreed to spend ten per cent of that amount, or $1750 each year to maintain the public library in Wellington.
Today, due to rising and inflated costs, growth in population and increased library services, the public library spends every year for operation and maintenance almost as much as the whole building cost in 1916.

But library service is one thing a town can ill afford to do without. A number of years ago a member of the Wellington library staff received a letter from a former resident that so well expressed what a library means to a town.

“Libraries have always fascinated me. They house so many mysteries of the world. I remember very vividly the first time I set foot in the Wellington Public Library. Miss Anabel Williams, my first grade teacher at old Third Ward, had one day imparted the exciting news
to me that I could find many books to read in a wonderful building and furthermore could take them home with me for two weeks without paying a cent.

“That afternoon instead of going home immediately, I walked the two blocks to the library, and with a rapidly beating heart, mounted the stairs on my wonderful quest. I didn’t know what to do, and the large counter looming just inside the door stopped me in my tracks. A very kind lady asked me what I wanted. I stated simply that I wanted a book. Did I have a card. That bit of a question ruined my dreams. I was completely crushed. I had never heard that a card was needed. The lady must have sensed my disappointment. She promised me I could take a book home with me if I would also take a card home for my parents to sign. I was overjoyed, and after looking over several books carefully, I selected my first book, ‘A Boy’s Life of George Washington.' A new world was open to me and I must admit that the gingerbread boy seemed pretty dull reading after that.

“For the next twelve years the Wellington Library was as much a part of my education as any class at school." By means of the library, I explored the length and breath of our country. I fought every battle in the Civil War. I wandered through every country in Europe. I found that there were other newspapers in the world besides the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS. And in later years discovered the rich history of my own town and county.

“From that day to this I have been hopelessly under the spell of libraries and I always shall be. It has been my great privilege to visit some of the greatest libraries in our own country and Europe, but the strongest attachment I have to any is to the public library in Wellington for there I met the world for the first time.”

‘In the meantime on June 22, 1899, the county commissioners had let the contract for $16,754 for the new stone county jail that stood so long on the C street side of the courthouse square.

When the building was completed, the Prentis Club members saw a wonderful opportunity to further their library plans and secured permission to put on a huge house warming carnival to dedicate the new building. Everybody came to the gala affair and quite a tidy sum was added to the library fund.


In 1907 the Lecture Course committee turned over their entire season’s profits of $340.48 to the Prentis Club library and since the new City Hall was now completed, the club was
given two rooms on the third floor for their public library and a social hall provided they would furnish the rooms.

In February 1908 Mayor W. T. Hubbard called a public meeting to discuss some different arrangement for the library which had grown too much for one small club of young women to handle successfully and shortly afterwards the Wellington Library Association was organized and incorporated under the state law as relating to public libraries. At that time it was voted that the library would be called the Prentis Library.

A number of organizations and individuals donated money for furniture and books to equip the new library on the third floor of the City Hall and the Santa Fe gave a gift of $500 worth off books. Miss Katherine Hackney was elected librarian to work each Saturday afternoon the library was open and her salary was to be whatever she collected in fines on over due books.



Public librarians seem to have a habit of not roving very much if those who have served our Carnegie Library are typical. Since 1916 the librarians have been Miss Jeanne Flower, Miss Kate Hackney, Mrs. Lucy Nichols, Miss Marie Rowland, Miss Florence Williams, Mrs. George Hepler, Miss Ruth Warnock, Mrs. DeWitt Dey, Mrs. Fred McCoy, and Mrs. Leroy McGaughey.

Modern library service has changed a great deal in the years since the time the Prentis Club members set a few books on shelves in the Harry Buttrey’s shoe store.

Today the beautiful upstairs reading and reference rooms, the delightful children's library down stairs, the microfilm reader and an abundance of films of old records and newspapers, the gorgeous paintings, the music records, projectors, copying service, and many thousands of books and periodicals of every type offer marvelous resources for people of all interests and all ages.

In 1901 there was no library; in 1971 Wellington has a public library that far exceeds anything a person could have dreamed of seventy years ago.

In Appreciation of the Public Library

Those of us who have been especially concerned with the production of the Wellington Centennial edition are most grateful to the City of Wellington, the many people who have served on the library Board since 1916 and the staff of the Wellington Public Library, both past and present.

Without the resources available at the library, the material in this special edition of the News would have been impossible to secure. Many times in the last two years we have searched for information concerning events of the various events of the various eras of United States history that we might understand better some of the things that happened in Wellington. The information we needed about our town and county has been endless, and the items gleaned from microfilms of old and long since defunct newspapers invaluable.

So it is with much appreciation that the DAILY NEWS says thank you to the Wellington Library for all the help given in producing the Centennial paper.


On Oct. 30, 1924, Mrs. Noble Prentis returned to Wellington to visit again the club she had visited so many years before when she had challenged a small group of gay, pleasure-loving young women that they
should find something worthwhile to do for their town.

After a delicious dinner at the Harvey House, the Prentis Club and their guests assembled at the home of Mrs. Sophia Knowles while Mrs. Prentis listened with great pleasure at the accomplishment her suggestion had brought about.

It is too bad that Mrs. Prentis cannot return today to see the real result of that long ago challenge.

The present library staff includes Mrs. Leroy McGaughey, Mrs. Charles Mallory, Mrs. Fred Erker and two student assistants, Patty Kreifels and
Elizabeth Locke. Serving on the Library Board are Mayor Herman Zoglmann, Mrs. Willard Voils, Mrs. C. E. Russell, Mrs.
J. W. Garland, Mrs. Garland Mountz, R. G. Morris, R. J. Renn, and Howard Frazer.

As of Jan. 1, 1971, the annual circulation figures included 41,059 adult and 23,759 juvenile or a total of 64,818. At the Wellington library 4072 people have a library card of which 738 are rural patrons. There are 30,477 books on the shelves; and 174 magazines and periodicals are received during the year. The average daily circulation figure is approximately 200 each day.

'Not One Foot of Street Paving'-1901

During the 1890’s the City Council passed a new sidewalk ordinance that produced a good deal of resentment from the average citizens. Most people agreed that something should be done about the rickety old wooden sidewalks and cinder covered pathways, but they doubted the wisdom of requiring home owners to put in vitrified brick or cement sidewalks, particularly when some of the worst walks were in the down town area and around city property.

But when mail delivery was inaugurated in the early 1900’s and the government regulations specified that the mail would not be delivered unless a suitable walk was available for the mailman, the complaining died down.

In 1909, the problem of sidewalks was forgotten as people began to turn their attention to the paving of streets, and in July of 1909 the City Council was busy arguing the merits of brick or concrete pavement. Most of the Council seemed much opposed to brick so in September the first contract was let for paving Washington avenue with concrete, but by the end of September it was announced that the paving company had failed to comply with specifications and four hundred feet of paving north of the Santa Fe tracks must be pulled out and done over.

Plans for paving Harvey were progressing. Residents on Jefferson were objecting to a proposal to pave their street and the residents on C street were unhappy because it had not been proposed to pave theirs.

Many people believed that 12th street should be paved to make access to the Sumner County high school better.

Then in August of 1910 the City Council discovered another unhappy problem. When streets are only dirt, a sprinkling wagon to lay the dust in the hot summer months when people have their windows wide open had been considered necessary.

But now in 1910 the startling discovery was brought to the City Council’s attention, that paved streets get dirty and must be swept — not only during the summer but all year long.

So street sweepers became part of the Wellington scene.


In 1920, the town was pretty well equipped with pavement but it appears that people are never satisfied. Some people began to talk about paving roads out in the country.

The rural people south of Wellington were so eager for a paved road that they organized themselves and arranged to
have the pavement put down at their own expense just like the people did in town. A farmer could pay the total cost of his share of the pavement in a lump sum or spread it out over twenty-years as in town.

But by the time highway 81 south was paved for nine miles south or almost to South Haven, the state legislature had somehow been made to believe that paving roads should for some reason be the business of the state. The farmers south of Wellington were finally reimbursed for the money they had paid for their new pavement, but only a little each year and with no interest on their money. Time passed on, and more and more cars filled the pavement that had been so difficult to obtain. On Nov. 20, 1934 the new viaduct on West 8th, built at a cost of $55,718.66 was open to traffic.

On June 3, 1941, the city’s new two hour parking ordinance went into effect in the downtown area. Five years later on April 2, 1946, the citizens voted on a proposal giving the city government authority to repair paving if it was more than ten year old. Probably some home owners would be taxed to repair pavement before the original pavement was paid for, but the proposal was approved by the voters anyway.

And in April 1948 at City Hall they were talking about parking meters.


Merchants Call-In & Delivery Store

In the early days of Wellington, each morning the grocery boy would call at the house and take orders for groceries, which he would then deliver in the afternoon.

After telephones came into use around 1900, the ladies could phone their orders into the grocery store. Mel Wyatt, who came to Wellington in 1881 and with his three brothers operated Wyatt Brothers General Store, founded the Wellington Merchant Free Delivery System, first using horses and wagons and later Ford trucks, which lined up on Washington avenue to load meat and grocery orders for all the down town groceries.

Ralph Stocking and his brother-in-law Mr. Downs formed a partnership to provide this service. Later Mr. Downs moved
to Newton and Mr. Stocking bought out his share of the business. Around 1915 Mr. Stocking sold his delivery service to a Mr. Bell and in the transaction received a farm near Conway Springs, but Ralph Stocking did not like living away from Wellington and after a couple of years moved back to Wellington. Mr. Wyatt operated several businesses in Wellington, and served on the school board and city commission.

...And Good, Rich, Fresh Milk!..
Probably most Wellington pioneers either brought a cow with them when they came or purchased one as soon as possible, or was lucky enough to have a neighbor who would share his cow’s product with other people in the neighborhood.

Recently Mr. Wilbur Gaines of 412 South G street told us an interesting story about the development of the dairy business in Wellington. Quoting Mr. Gaines:

“When we first came here around 1910, the milk business wasn’t very sanitary. People would go around with a spring wagon with a ten gallon can on it. The can would have a faucet and the driver would ring a bell to let people know he was coming down the street. There was no paving; it was pretty dusty and dirt would get on top of the milk.

My father, John Warner Gaines, was the first person to put milk in bottles in Wellington. Our farm was about two miles southeast of Wellington. Dad bought a few cows and we started in the milk business.

“Considering the way it is done now days, our equipment was pretty crude. We had a great huge ice chest out home that was full of ice. We put the milk in there and then bottled it. Then we would crack ice and put it around the containers that held the milk in the wagon; Everything was done by hand. Later on we did get a bottle washer that was done by steam and that made it a lot easier. We put the caps on by hand. We tried a capping machine but it was not a success. Eventually we did have a big bottling machine that saved a lot of time. It didn’t take very long to bottle 100
gallons of milk.

“We delivered milk twice a day which was pretty rough in the winter time. We got up at 3:30 a.m. and started milking and always started out with the wagons not later than 6:30. We would start milking again promptly again at 1:00 p.m. and by 3:00 p.m. we would be through and ready to start out delivering again. When we got home, all the cans and bottles had to be washed by hand ready for the next day, and by the time we finished supper, we were ready to go to bed. There was no pasteurizing; people were suspicious of anything but fresh milk.”

When questioned about the financial renumeration from this first bottled milk business, Mr. Gaines said that in those days, between 1910 and 1920, they sold milk for 7 1/4 cents or 14 quarts for a dollar. Once when they jumped to 8- one-third cents or 12 quarts for a dollar, the people howled, but wanting good milk, yielded to that first step toward modern inflation. Mr. Gaines added that they paid their help $30.00 a month, which was $10.00 more than the average farm worker got at that time The pay also included board, room and washing, and frequently farm workers came to town on Saturday night and blew in their whole week’s wages.

In addition to selling milk to Wellington families, the Gaines dairy also sold cream and cottage cheese, butter and buttermilk. “We sold lots of cream to the Harvey House,” Mr. Gaines remembered.

By 1920, town dairies were beginning to appear and so the custom of farmers’ bringing raw milk to town to sell began to develop.

Imagine! - No Ice Cream Cones
The people who went to the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 were introduced to a startling new delicacy.

The city had spread out a vast array of buildings and exhibits to entice the public to meet their friends at the Fair, but today the Fair is best remembered for a song used in a movie and a hunk of ice cream lodged on top of a cone-shaped pastry that a person could pick up and carry away with him and eat as he walked.

Probably modern children may be bewildered at the news that somebody invented ice cream cones not so very long ago; nevertheless that is true.

Recently Mrs. W. H. Gill went over to visit with Frank Wright and see what she could learn about the history of ice cream in Wellington. Mr. Wright told her many interesting facts during the visit.

His parents came to Wellington in pioneer days and he was born on a farm northwest of Wellington. After finishing school, he served in the Navy during World War I, worked for the Santa Fe for a while and then in 1926, he bought a milk distributng business, and using a very crude pasteurizing system compared to today, he processed about sixty gallons of milk each day with deliveries morning and evening.

In 1930 he decided to add ice cream to his business, but the depression hit, soon after that and his milk business had rough
going for the next few years. Milk sold for six and a fourth cents a quart and many of his employees were Santa Fe men, temporarily out of work because of the depression, who worked out their milk bills at the rate of a dollar and a half day.

By 1938 business conditions had improved a great deal and Mr. Wright moved his milk and ice cream business to the little building across the street from the library. In addition to milk, they made cheese and ice cream. The late ‘30’s were the heyday of the ice cream business. School youngsters hung around the place every day after school and on many a warm Sunday afternoon 200 gallons of ice cream would disappear before the day was over. Strawberry, chip chocolate, black walnut and plain chocolate were popular and also the various sherbets, but vanilla ice cream always outsold all the rest put together.

Chocolate milk became popular along about that time too and Wellington young people used to make way with about 200 gallons of chocolate milk day after day. Bottled orange was very popular too.

World War II brought a sugar shortage and very poor ice cream; nevertheless the people of Wellington, young and old, seemed to continue to eat their quota of ice crearn cones anyway.

After the war chocolate malts became popular and people were especially fond of chocolate and strawberry sundaes. A world without ice cream cones, imagine that! But there really weren’t any until St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

The Old Schonert Carriage Works


Wellington’s first real factory was the result of the great boom that occurred in 1885-1886 when Wellington’s population soared and real estate changed hands almost faster than deeds could be recorded. Lots, many blocks from town, sold at astronomical prices and transportation became an urgent necessity for such a thriving community.

Thus it was that in 1887 John F. Schonert opened his carriage factory on the south side of Harvey Avenue not far from the Jefferson street corner across the street from where the Wellington Daily News office is now. The business was later expanded when his brother-in-law W. M. Sasher, joined him in a partnership. Sometime later Simon Green replaced Mr. Sasher as a member of the firm. For a period of thirty years the Schonert Carriage works produced many types of fine carriages, surries, phaetons, buggies, spring wagons, and road wagons.

In 1918 when motor cars were taking the place of horse-drawn vehicles, the Schonert firm began manufacturing auto tops and continued in that business until ill health forced Mr. Schonert to retire in 1927. John F. Schonert was born in Indianapolis, Ind., March 4, 1853, moved to Wellington when he was around thirty years old where he spent the rest of his life until he died on May 24, 1929. He made the “run” into Oklahoma in one of his well built carriages on April 2, 1889, and was greatly disappointed when his claim was reclaimed by the Federal government for school purposes. But his loss was Wellington’s gain as he returned to
carry on his factory here.

It is interesting to note that Wellington’s first industrialist was commonly called by the nickname “Honest John” due to the reputation he built among Wellington business men during his forty years in business here.

Another story about Wellington’s first industrialist was found in an old 1903 edition of the Wellington Daily News. It seems that John Schonert and several Wellington bachelors were quite popular with the young ladies of the town but very successful at evading the female wiles that might entrap them into settling down to one particular young lady.

That is, young Johnnie Schonert was successful along that line until a pretty young widow came from Kentucky one spring to visit at the home of Ed Sunderland. On October 1, 1903, John Schonert and Mrs. Kate Midler took everyone by surprise when they were quietly married by the Methodist minister without previously announcing their plans to anyone. That early day News reporter who told the tale ended his story with the words:

“About the best man in town got married when Johnny Schonert left the single life. He hasn’t an enemy on the townsite and is just as good as he can
be. He is very industrious, frugal, honest, and he couldn’t get mad to save your life. He is a model man and will make a model husband.”

A few years later Mr. Schonert built a pony car for some Wellington children and many older Wellingtonians will remember seeing them enjoying rides in carts around the streets of Wellington.

Mr. Schonert built his carriages well. A ten-passenger coach was used to carry later day 'Wellingtonians down Washington Avenue in 1946 at the time of the 75th Diamond Jubilee parade.


Sumner County Democrat, Jan. 29, 1879 Messrs. Luening and Hiddessen—This is the only cabinet and furniture establishment in the city. Both members of the firm are practical workmen who have been in the business before com-
ing here. They are gentlemanly businessmen and deserve success. Sumner County Press—Sept. 14, 1882: C. F. Luening has in addition to his large line of Furniture and Coffins just recevied an immense stock of Carpets.
Wyatt Brothers, 1881-1905, Jim, Del, Mel Wyatt, Mel Wyatt—Left forefront
Pioneer Merchant and Good Citizen

In 1873 the United States mail route was established between Wichita, Kansas and Ft. Sill, Indian Territory. Intermediate post offices were at Wellington, Caldwell, the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency at Darlington and the Wichita-Caddo Agency at Anadarko. The mail was carried on horseback and there were stations for a change of horses, rest and meals along the line.

In 1874 the Southern Stage Company was organized and the stage coaches came into use. These were Concord stage
coaches drawn by four mules for each coach.

To start such a stage line when there was only a mere trail, no bridges and fear of Indian attacks took courage and skill indeed.

The stage barn in Wellington was built around 1872 or 1873 on the northwest corner of Jefferson and 4th street. After the railroad was built into Wellington the barn was used for the hacks that met the trains such as are shown in this picture. The old barn was finally torn down around 1900.
“Would you have time this fall to haul out all the manure around stable and old straw stacks that is possible and scatter same on the farm where it needs it most? I will pay you the customary price 25 cents per load as Eastern landlords pay, and hope you earn $25.00 by Christmas. You will get two-thirds of all the increase thereby in addition to the sum I give. Will you do it?

“Hoping leases are found satisfactory and that we may hear from you soon and often, I beg to remain — Very Truly Yours,

In its day, the finest mode of transportation

July 1904 — According to the NEWS “automobiles are getting to a common sight in Wellington. A year ago there was not one in town. E. R. DeYoe bought an Oldsmoibile and for a while that was the only one. Then W. E. Worden caught the fever and bought one; Dr. Stevens also became victim of the fever

About six weeks ago Fred Garland made a purchase.”

July 1904 — Fred Garland and wife returned from Kiowa by automobile, the trip requiring seven hours. Jake Mosier said he had a horse that could beat that time for 84 miles.

Sept. 1904 — Dr. F. G. Emerson was said to hold the automobile record for “Wellington horseless hustlers”. He and three others came in from Mayfield in fifteen minutes — a good eight miles.

June 1908 — In a speed test from Drury to Wellington last Saturday evening F. W. Sellers demonstrated the advantage of the high wheel over the low wheel kind and also proved his skill as an expert chauffeur. Sellers, George Hunter, Jr. and Ed Rothrock, in different vehicles started from Drury at the same time, and Sellers had reached home, eaten his supper and was sound asleep when the next man behind him pulled across Slate Creek Bridge and Rothrock abandoned his car in the country. Sellers received a telegram of congratulations from Barney Oilfield.

THE AUTO AGE ARRIVES on Sumner county farms. Riding in their fine new 1915 Overland car, in the back seat are Lucy Strain, Martha Greene Summers, and Ruth Greene Munn and in front Lawrence Greene and Henry Greene.
Oldest Filling

During World War II when gasoline rationing went into effect, Joe Byler closed his North Standard station for the duration and thus Wellington’s oldest filling station went out of business for the first time Since it was built by T. L. Spence in 1916.

The station was built on the site of the famous old Dutch Henry refreshment parlor in those days when an automobile was still a “horseless carriage” to the comedian who hoped to get a laugh. Mr. Spence, the first Standard Oil agent in Wellington made his deliveries of gasolene with a team of horses hitched to a spring wagon. The gasolene was carried to the various stations in milk cans.

Before the first real filling station was opened, cars were services by garages. In many cases the garagemen would put a large funnel in the gas tank.

G. E. Stone's Jitney Service

G. E. Stone who started a five cent jitney service in Wellington thirty years ago, has sold his business and is retiring. In March 1916, Stone started in the taxi business when he purchased some Model T. automobiles with side curtains and opened up at the south Cox pool hall. As the years passed Stone bought later model automobiles and in 1917 he started a 24-hour service which he has continued since that year. Just how many miles he has driven in the thirty years and how many dollars he has spent for tires and gasolene is unknown, but he commented that he did see a lot of taxi companies come and go in Wellington during his stay in business.
From The Monitor-Press
July 7, 1909

Most of the local automobilists now have their machines equipped with the new metallic tags and numbers which the city ordinance requires them to display. The numbers begin at 100 and are (followed by the abbreviation “WE” for Wellington. Mayor Hunter secured the first number given out for his Winton touring car. The ordinance requires that the tag be displayed at the back of the machine.

When (Mrs. Grace Collins, who used to live at 804 North Washington, asked her husband, Morg Collins, if she might drive their 1907 Reo shortly after they purchased it, he answered ironically, “Whoever heard of a woman driving a car.”

But she did learn to drive it and we believe she is the first woman in Sumner County to drive a car without a man along.

Mrs. Collins recalled vividly her first afternoon out alone with the car in 1908. At that time she lived in Caldwell, drove to a meeting of the Research Club and then went for a ride out in the country.

1909 Overland ... and It Really Runs!!

story by Dexter and
Barbara Felt Welton

When Harry Woods started publishing the NEWS in 1901, there were no automobiles, but in 1971 when the Centennial parade moves down Washington avenue, people will have a chance to see the changes that Mr. Woods saw come to pass during his years as editor of the NEWS.

Returning for the Centennial Celebration will be the first four cylinder automobile in Wellington. The sixty-two year old car, a 1909 Overland Roadster, has been completely restored for the parade in August by Dexter and Chris Welton, son-in-law and grandson of the original owner, the late Allan C. Felt.

Mr. Felt gave the car to his daughters, Mrs. W. K. Moore (Mary Margaret) and Mrs. D. Welton (Barbara Ann).

After it was last driven in 1914, the car was stored in the old barn behind the Felt home on South H. There it gathered dust and a few wrinkles from eight active Felt grandchildren until 1965 when the barn was torn down and replaced by a new garage.

After a lengthy and fruitless search for someone to restore the car, the job was given to the Weltons. Up to that time their only experience was restoring Chris’ 1931 Model A Ford.

In the summer of 1969 the car was partially disassembled to to fit into a rental trailer for its long trip to Fountain Valley, California, for restoration. Its first experience in California was the amazed comment of the agricultural inspector at that state’s border, “Man, Oh, Man, Look at that!” There was some delay while the Overland was examined by the other inspectors.

The car, in relatively good condition for its many years of disuse, was completely taken apart for the restoration. There was little rust and no rotted wood. Mechanically the car left much to be desired. During its years of active use, the engine had thrown all four of its rods through the crank case pan. Later it was discovered that the clutch was cracked completely through.

The car boasts a 30 horsepower engine with each of its cylinders cast separately. It was returned to operating condition with new bearings, new pistons, cylinder reboring and careful balancing by a machine shop specializing in this type of work on antique cars. The pan with its collection of four large copper patches, was left as it was found after determining it was oil tight. While the engine was being rebuilt, Dexter Welton, a civil engineer by profession, undertook the painstaking
and time consuming job of removing the old paint from the body and chassis and repainting it all its original green. It wasn’t until he started removing the black paint that the green showed up along with the extensive black pin striping.

While the restoration proceeded well on the rest of the car, the transmission remained a problem. None of the several old time car experts in the area were able to take this work on in time to assure its completion for the Centennial Parade. Attempts to locate usable replacements from other Overlands were not successful. Chris, who attended Washington School in Wellington for two years while his father was overseas, was a junior in high school at the start of the restoration. He came up with the solution to the hardest problem. An iron casting was made using the cracked clutch as a pattern. In his high school shop class Chris machined the casting to an exact copy of the original.

Chris also made many other smaller parts for the car including all of the unusually shaped spring bolts, and the bronze inserts for the hood latches.

In October 1970, after 56 years of silence, the old engine was cranked into life and the following March moved the complete chassis around the block. The final coats of enamel were sprayed on, the countless pieces of brass polished and newly upholstered seats fastened down.

The Weltons, members of the Newport Beach Horseless Carriage Club, took their car on its
first outing, the annual shake-down tour. After successfully arriving at the starting point, the plucky car found the rather steep hills of the tour route too much to handle and accepted assistance in the form of a tow from a friendly Pierce Arrow, some 17 years its junior. It was decided that the car’s earlier training over the plains of Kansas wasn’t too useful for the California hills.

A minor adjustment to the planetary transmission quickly remedied this problem. On a later overnight tour in the San Jacinto valley, the colorful green roadster showed its tail light to many younger cars.

The car, called a Mother-in-Law Roadster because of the once popular single rear seat, has caused much comment on its outings. In the May Strawberry Festival Parade in neighboring Garden Grove, Ann B. Davis, Alice of TV’s Brady Bunch and who earlier appeared as Shultzy in the Robert Commings Show, was a delighted and delightful passenger in the rear seat. The mayor of Fountain Valley rode in the car at the Huntington Beach Independence Day parade observed by estimated 200,000 persons, 90 per cent of whom shouted to Welton “Honk your Horn.”

While all this has been rather exciting for the Overland and the Weltons, it remains for the Centennial Parade to provide the real reason for its resurrection from the dusty barn. On that gala occasion, the family of Mrs. Allan Felt has long planned that she will again ride as the car’s most important passenger.

Restored Overland showing the once the name of the original owner, Allan
popular “Mother-in-law” seat. The C. Felt.
special Kansas antique car plate bears
The completed Overland on tour in San Jacinto, California. Dexter and Chris Welton, son-in-law and grandson respectively of the original owner, Allan C. Felt, spent two years restoring
the car for the Wellington Centennial parade. Chris is shown driving the car with his father as passenger. Photo courtesy of the Parris (Calif.) Progress.
The first 4 cylinder car in Wellington, a 1909 Overland roadster before restoration. Chris Welton, grandson of Allan C. Felt, the original owner, guides the car out of the garage.


In 1871 the Santa Fe extended to Emporia or Cottonwood Falls, and from there a stage line ran into Wichita. Goods, lumber, whatever materials the pioneer needed had to be hauled overland in wagons by horses or oxen. There were no bridges so the wagons had to ford the rivers.

The next year the railroad was extended into Wichita and the stage line to Wellington, but there was still the long journey to haul goods from Wichita to Wellington and either the Arkansas or the Ninnescah to ford.

Promoters came to Wellington and made big promises to build a railroad. Twice the little town, influenced by such promises, voted bonds to help finance a railroad, but somehow all the various propositions came to naught.

One day in the fall of 1878, a smooth, persuasive orator by the name of Major W. H. Schofield, president of the KANSAS CITY, BURLINGTON AND SOUTH-WESTERN R.R., appeared in Wellington. Many people in town believed they were being greatly deceived by his promises, but others believed.

The Santa Fe, seeing real competition at last, immediately sent Ross Burns, attorney for their railroad, into Summer County. Soon the county commissioners had called a special election for Dec. 3lst to vote bonds for the KANSAS CITY, BURLINGTON & SOUTHWESTERN and for the COWLEY, SUMNER & FORT SMITH, the Santa Fe’s proposed southern branch. The campaign was a hot one, but the Santa Fe waged a very skillful battle to counteract Major Schofield’s liquid tones of oratory. The Santa Fe
proposition won by 665 votes; Major Schofield’s proposition lost by 832 votes.

In the spring of 1879 the contractors for the Santa Fe went to work. They built south from Wichita to where Mulvane is now and started a two-pronged affair, one headed toward Winfield and the other toward Wellington.

The crowd stood quietly and yet somehow with an excited air of anticipation, along a partly completed wooden platform. Behind them was a wooden building, also not yet finished. The day was September 9, 1879; the time almost noon.

Peering into the distance to the east, the people chatted, laughed and waited for the dream to come true. They had been disappointed so many times.

Then somebody saw it and pointed and shouted. The air of excitement increased. Sure enough there it was, the little Santa Fe work and supply train was backing into what soon would be Wellington’s new Santa Fe depot.

Twenty minutes later, talking, visiting, rejoicing, the crowd was about ready to start home when suddenly somebody caught sight of a whiff of smoke. Then the people heard the sound, and watched with amazement as a real train, the first real train that ever pulled into Wellington, ten cars long, drew up before the unfinished station and came chugging to a halt.

In Wichita the special train had been gotten up hastily on an hour’s notice by business men and other citizens who had come down to help Wellington celebrate the long-awaited day. They took Wellington completely by surprise as no one had had any idea that the second train would be coming in.

On Saturday, September 13, 500 people who had come to another excursion train pulled in from Topeka, loaded with celebrate the arrival of the Santa Fe in Wellington. The band played; Wellington citizens provided carriages and hacks to haul the visitors down to the center of town where the ladies had prepared a sumptious dinner in the little stone Court House.

At last the dream had come true, but it had taken a long, long time.

A Lot of History Began on Day
Dream Came True


In April of 1871 a man by the name of Abram Marlin, commonly called Doc, had taken out a claim just north of where the 16th street bridge cuts off from highways 81 and 160 today. He built a little one story, two-roomed shack where he and his wife lived. He filed proof of ownership on his claim on June 18, 1872, and paid the customary $1.25 an acre required by law. On December 17, 1875, he sold the land to Henry Bowers who built a very large two and a half story house for his large family about where Jefferson runs north today from the highway.

When the survey was made for the railroad, Mr. Bowers sold twenty acres in the southeast corner of his land to the railroad company.

The track came into Wellington just north of where the new St. Lukes Hospital has been built and then ran in along 17th street not far from where Washington school stands at present.

Back in 1928, the columns of the Wellington Daily News for several weeks waged quite an argument as to whether the first Santa Fe depot was on the west side or the east side of Washington avenue. Every day some old timer would write a letter to the News and explain why he believed he was right in saying it was east; then the next day another old timer would be sure it was on the west side.

Later on in 1936 some one found an old map which proved none of them were right. Of course in those days Washington avenue ended south of 15th street; then there was a large area of the salt mines and then the Santa Fe property. If today someone wanted to put that first little Santa Fe station back where it was originally, it would have to set diagonally northeast and southwest partly sticking out into Washington avenue and partly into 17th street.

In the years between 1879 and the time when the new, “Union Depot” was built in 1888, hacks met the trains and carried the people down to the center of town. Then a street car line was built to run from the Santa Fe depot to the SOUTHERN KANSAS depot which was out where the freight depot and shops are now. Sometimes a passenger would be stranded in Wellington overnight and then kindly Mrs. Bowers would give them shelter in her big house. It happened so often that some people got into the habit of calling the Bowers home, the Bowers hotel. The old house was later purchased by the Gruber family and stood in the original spot for many yeans until not long ago it was finally torn down.

The SOUTHERN KANSAS railroad built into Wellington not long after the Santa Fe and when the two were consolidated, Wellington voted bonds to build a new depot. The contract for $18,750.95 was awarded on Jan. 24, 1888; work started in June and the station was completed on Nov. 14, 1888. The Harvey House with dining capacity for 100 and 18 hotel rooms was added to the building in 1907.


All during the boom days of the 1880’s and the disastrous days of the 1890’s the Santa Fe served Wellington well and contributed much to the community as it has done since. In the 1930’s each year more than 7000 locomotives were serviced in the Wellington Santa, Fe shops, and over 4000 passenger trains and more than 5000 freight trains ran along the Santa Fe tracks through Wellington each year.

Then came changes. The long low charming limestone building with its red tile roof, so familiar to the people of Wellington so long, was torn down in 1965 and the stone taken out to Lake Wellington and used to prevent erosion.

Then on Sunday morning, May 2, 1971, the last passenger train pulled away from Washington avenue and headed east toward Chicago, and that day on September 9, 1879, when the crowd watched and waited with such excitement as a little construction train chugged and backed down a brand new piece of track seemed a long, long time ago.

But in the 1890’s Wellington could not have survived except that the Santa Fe trains kept running.

from an advertising put out in 1892 by George R. Fultz Wellington real estate agent

Kansans never go to sleep. . . They are the best advertisers in the West

They Learned This from the A. T. & S. F. R.R.

Come via the Santa Fe Route Kansas has its ‘off years, just like other States, when a single crop fails to pay all the land cost. Bad farming cannot raise 75 bushels of corn, years of plenty. Grit, common sense, some money, some stock — bring success
sooner or later. Muscle and brains count and cash helps. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Route has an immense mileage in Kansas, touching almost every town of importance. That shows what confidence the railroad has in the state.

Speaking of the Santa Fe route — it is the line you should patronize in coming to Kansas. In respect to equipment and fast time, it is unequaled. At the Kansas City Union
Depot there is choice of two trains to Sumner County; one via Topeka and Newton; the other via our Southern Kansas Division through Ottawa and Independence.



In the Wellingtonian for July 3, 1884, is found a little story how the railroads cooperated in encouraging new settlers to come into south Kansas. To quote:

“The Southern Kansas Railroad is now offering unequaled advantages to the land seeker, for examining the well-improved lands of Southern and Southeastern Kansas. They have placed in the Kansas City Union Depot a ticket known as the “Grand Circuit Ticket.” The ticket will take passengers to Winfield or Wellington via Independence to Harper and return via Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, passing through the finest portion of Kansas for fruit, grain, and stock raising, with the privilege of stopping off at almost any station on our line or on the Santa Fe.”

House Warming
At the Shops

On October 6, 1909, there were great doin’ out in the Santa Fe Round House district in the east end as a large audience assembled to do honor to an important occasion— a good-luck-to-you celebration for the opening of the new shops. The railroad people and their employees acted as hosts and a large audience of the town fold were recipients of their hospitality.

A special train which left the union depot at 8:10 o’clock had been placed at the disposal of all who wished to attend and of all who wished to attend and pulled out immediately after the departure of the passengers east and west, loaded to the platform. Many drove out in their carriages and a line of hacks also furnished transportation for many.

The program was held in the machine shop, brightly lighted by arc lights and decorated with signal flags. Then while the band played, the crowd was invited to partake of ice cream and delicious cake.


In view of present day concern with over-abundance of waste materials and pollution, a little item in the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS for July 12, 1883, seems to be of special interest.

“The wooden sleepers under our railway tracks consume an enormous amount of wood every year; 70,000,000 railroad ties are needed annually in this country alone, and the life of this underlying timber is only five years long. 300,000 acres of forest are cut down to supply the wood needed for railroad construction and repair.

“It has been found that paper made from straw can be manipulated so as to supply the sleepers and ties which are now wholly made of wood. It will last ten times longer than wood and does not cost much more originally. There is no end to straw and other fibrous materials which can be used in the manufacture of paper, while our woods are disappearing, each tree of which it takes nearly 10 years to mature. Paper has been used to make every part of a house, including all the furniture and utensils. Of late years, it has been used in the construction of car wheels. Its employment for railroad ties will save our forests.”

1925—A Train A Mile Long

According to the MONITOR-PRESS for Aug. 19, 1925, Santa Fe officials reported that a train one mile long left Wellington one day during the past week. The train consisted of nineteen express refrigerator cars and the balance straight refrigerators. The train was pulled by Mallet 1193. The average length of the cars composing the train was better than forty feet, which would easily make the train at least a mile long.

1871 * 1971
Almost from the beginning Santa Fe people have been an important part of Wellington, both from the standpoint of economics and community service.

Santa Fe people have served on the city council and the school board. Santa Fe people
have taken an active part in church life and schools and civic organizations.
Santa Fe people have helped to build Wellington as it is today.

When We Watched The Trains Come In

-by Charles A. Fisher, formerly of Wellington, now Denver, Colo.

Recent news that the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, like a good many other railroads was discontinuing much of its passenger service stirs memories of an era when the railroad brought romance and adventure to Small Town, U.S.A.

Wellington, Kansas, when I visited there as a youth, was a Santa “Fee” town as homeowners were apt to put it. In the ‘Twenties and early ‘Thirties, more than 1,000 out of Wellington’s population of about 7,000 worked in Santa Fe yards, roundhouse, offices and on the trains. The road’s direct economic importance to the town was second only to wheat, which during the summer harvest covered the countryside like a golden sea. The Rock Island railroad also came through Wellington but its minor passenger service was of secondary importance.

The Santa Fe brought more than wealth to Wellington. It brought live drama, presented each evening at the Depot. The Santa Fe depot and Harvey House was a long graceful, two-story, limestone block building with a wide brick platform fronting it. For a brief hour each evening it was the stage for a traveling America that coursed over the Santa Fe rails.

Going to the depot during the suppertime hours to see the trains come in was entertainment for all ages, from grandfathers to kids. In those pre-airplane days, as many as four of Santa Fe’s crack trains steamed into the Wellington station at intervals each evening to disgorge hungry passengers. The hometown folk parked in their sedans and touring cars along the streets at each end of the block-long station to watch the passengers detrain for their evening meal, for the Santa Fe had no dining cars then.

As the passengers stepped off a tall porter dressed in white beat a huge gong outside the Harvey House beckoning them to the dining room. While the trains across the long platform, the natives studied them, noting their dress and manners, wondering if some might be famous in movies, politics or sports.

We wondered what were the travelers’ errands and what stories their travels might tell. One might wonder who was the beautiful lady, richly dressed and smoking a cigarette in public. Who was the husky, good-man with a diamond stick pin and why was he frowning? Who was the old man with six kids clustered around him? What about them? Where were they going? Why? These wonderings broke the dull farm-town routine as we peered from our cars while the sun began to set in the west.

Across the street from the depot a small cafe owner added to the hubbub of trains and people as he vigorously rang a bell and waved a sign which advertised a less expensive menu than Fred Harvey’s. Inside the Harvey House, waitresses in starched black and white uniforms hurried to serve some of the nation’s best restaurant food on fresh laundered
Irish linen tablecloths and with solid silver utensils.

Years later some wag would say that Fred Harvey’s dying words were, “Slice the ham thin, boys; slice the ham thin!” But travelers and townsmen alike knew the food and the cooking in his restaurant chain was the best. His coffee was renowned and it has been said that when Harvey himself inspected his Houses, his first act was to draw a cup from the spigot. If the coffee failed to please his taste buds, his second act was to ruthlessly drain the entire urn.

Out on the platform, baggage handlers, redcaps and trainmen in neckerchiefs dashed about mindful of the watches in their pockets. Newsboys sold their papers, screaming the scary headlines of the world. A local reporter with a fistful of copy paper, a pencil and an excited air looked for a personage, a celebrity, or a human interest story. At windows facing the platform, busy telegraphers took messages to be sent clacking across the nation.

A local personality named John Horton performed his famous eating feats for the travelers. For a wager of the right size with a group of travelers, he might, for instance, eat a stalk of bananas, skins and all. Or be might, for a $2 bet, offer to drink two cases of pop in three minutes.

While travelers ate, stretched, got their shoes shined, strolled over the bricks or goggled at the amazing John Horton, the trains put on new engines or crews. The railroaders ate at the Fred Harvey counter or checked into the room upstairs. When I was a boy growing up in Wellington, I loved to hear them tell tales of Roswell, Gallup, Helen, Amarillo, Albuquerque or Barstow, which to a dreamy youth were strange places, as enchanting and remote as the watering holes on Marco Polo’s route to China.

The Santa Fe ranged from Chicago, the hog butcher, to sunny Los Angeles with its glittering Hollywood. Its tracks were — and are — the sinews of the great. Southwest and its strong black locomotives and superb trains brought life and romance to Western towns and cities that it had helped to build.

Too soon the summer shadows lengthened into the twilight hour and the conductor, palming his watch, could cry, “All Aboard!” The travelers climbed back on. Next was the band signalling of the trainmen. The steam whoosed, the bells clanged, the big engine whistled, and the train headed out on the lonesome track to those strange places.

The interlude, when a bit of the outside world came to our
town, was over, and the curious town folk drove home. But as we drove away from the depot, we continued to wonder. Who was the stylish young lady smoking a cigarette in broad daylight? Why was the handsome man looking so worried? What was the mission of the old man and all the kids? Just what were all those people travelling for?

Now almost forty years later the Santa Fe depot in Wellington has been torn down. No passenger trains stop daily and the broad brick walk is all but vacant. Only the memories remain.

In 1890 the Santa Fe advertised round trip excursion tickets to Geuda Springs and back on Saturdays for $1.80.




In 1946 when Wellington was 75 years old and celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, after the parade on August 19, 1946, a few of the Santa Fe men had their picture taken From left to right:

B.C. Houser—Track supervisor,
R. W. Prentice — Superintendent
R.J. Galewood Division engineer
N. R. Bowlin — Transitman in engineering department,
J. R. Lieurance — Agent at Wellington
A. B. Claiburne — Rodman in engineering department
J. E. Hooper — Maintenance clerk in the engineering department
W. B. Ellis — Signal supervisor
James Gatewood — Son of R. J. Gatewood and chauffeur for the day
G. A. Brown — General foremen of bridges and buildings
Santa Fe Retirement Party
In honor of three employees, retiring after long years of service, a party was held on June 8, 1960 at the Freight House. The three honorees represent
150 years of service with the Sana Fe railroad. Earl Clarkson, chief clerk, started to work for the Santa Fe in 1904 as a messenger boy while in grade school and has 51 years
of service to his credit. Paul Edmondson, billing and rate clerk, worked 47 years and Roy Moore, agent, retired after 50 years of service with the railroad.

Called Gay 90s Elsewhere...
Diamond Jim Brady gave Lillian Russell a gold plated bicycle studded with real jewels.

Sanford White built famous Madison Square Garden where a box seat for an afternoon at the races cost a mere $400.

William K. Vanderbilt paid eleven million dollars for his wife’s birth
day present, a marble pseudo-palace, at Newport, Rhode Island, and his daughter Consuelo married the Duke of Marlborough and went to live in real palace where she entertained real kings and queens, while Evelyn Nesbitt swung back and forth, back and forth, in her red velvet swing.


The 1890’s were anything but gay. Bent, beaten, battered, bruised, Wondering what blow would strike them next,
The little town struggled to survive. The railroads did keep running; the Hunter Mill did keep grinding; for ten
long years the City Council worked to solve the waterworks problem, and along main street, business men and bankers with Faith, Integrity, and Hope for the future, looked ahead to the new century.


The rural people were also having their difficulties. In 1890 there was no rain for months, the drought was bad that the Santa Fe hired track walkers along the tracks at night and watch lest a fire should get started. The shortage of crops, the lack of work on both farms and in town, resulted in a report from the Woman’s Relief Corps that
they were finding many cases of severe destitution and they asked for donations of clothing, furnishings and money. The commissioner of the poor received an unusual number of requests for help.

On Sept. 16, 1893, the government permitted a run into the Cherokee Strip as a result both the town and the county lost heavily in population.


The Santa Fe, upon which the town’s economy depended so much was deeply involved in difficulties. In 1893, because of declining business and the fact that county commissioners refused to lower the railroad’s assessment, the Santa Fe refused to pay its taxes and therefore the city, the schools and the county were short on funds. The school board met on Christmas Day and
decided to let several teachers go and double up classes to save money.

In 1894, the railroad abolished its Panhandle division point in Wellington and many people lost their jobs.

In May of 1895, the freight depot burned and in October the Santa Fe was declared bankrupt and placed in the hands of a receiver.


Wellington’s first major disaster of the 1890’s occurred on Aug. 8, 1890, when news of the town’s first bank failure, the State National, spread among the people. Then on May 24, 1895, Wellington’s financial security was rocked again with the closing of the First National Bank, and the situation became truly alarming on May 14, 1896 with the unbelievable news that the Sumner National, a bank thought to be entirely solid, had closed its doors.

The town was appalled on Jan. 2, 1891, with the sad news that Share Brothers Dry Goods had been placed in the hands of a receiver—John D. Share, loved, honored, respected, one of Wellington’s first citizens. Mr. Share pledged his home, what real estate he had and all his property to meet his creditors and it was hoped that Wellington’s largest store could be reopened. Eventually it did, but meanwhile the list of bankruptcies grew longer and longer—Brunswich Arcade Clothing closed, the gas company was bankrupt, the electric light plant was sold to the highest bidder, Dr. West’s Drug Store, Woods Opera House which paid nothing on either interest or principal for several years, Camel Shoe Store closed, Sanders Cafe, R. J. Smith Implements, Frantz Lumber, M. E. Spahr’s store, and when the First National Bank closed so did the Aetna Mills, since the bank was the major stockholder.


Then finally in 1898, when the town had almost reached the end of the disastrous ten years, came the final blow —WAR—and for the first time began a process the town would repeat several times in the future, that of seeing young men march off to go overseas to fight on foreign soil. Many of the men in Company B were quite young, just out of high school. It was not long until they were in Cuba where they discovered that their real enemy was not the Spanish, but mosquitoes that carried a deadly form of malaria. Many soldiers died from the dread Cuban fever, and of the Wellington boys who did
return from Cuba, not a single one lived to old age. The boys that were sent to the Philippines in some ways were luckier. They fought harder, they stayed overseas longer but those that came home, came home healthier.

So ended the tragic, calamity-filled ten years of the 1890’s.

Battered, bent, reeling from disaster after disaster.

Somehow the railroads kept running, The Hunter Mill kept grinding; Business men worked in the face of disaster and rebuilt their businesses, and a Future for Wellington.

But all those troubles of the “gay ’90’s” were very small compared to the real disaster that came to Wellington— May 27, 1892—the death-dealing cyclone that destroyed almost the whole business district, churches, schools, and nearly half the residences, leaving eleven deaths and uncounted injuries.

In June of 1894 another tornado hit the northwest part of town and took the roof off the school building that was
then called 4th Ward but soon would become Sumner County High School. The storm also completely flattened and crushed the grandstand on the Fairgrounds which on that day disappeared from Wellington’s history. Today sometimes from the air, in the alfalfa field across from the Zeck farm, it is possible to distinguish the oval shape of the track where once the horse races were held.




"DEVASTATION... A Whirling
Tornado Sweeps Through the City"

Once Wellington dreamed of being a metropolis — with industries, successful businesses, wide streets, beautiful homes and many people, and during the 1880’s Wellington grew as fast as Wichita.

Then on May 27, 1892 — a day forever etched in black in Wellington’s history — the dream ended. A devastating tornado, called a cyclone in those days, one of the worst in the history of Kansas, came in from the southwest, touched down near Harvey and the Rock Island slough, swept straight across town through a large part of the business district and heavily populated area and finally lifted beyond A and Ninth streets.

The day had been peculiar, sultry, oppressive, a day when people somehow sense that something impended and did not quite know what it was they feared. As the sun went down, heavy clouds, banked and railing in the western sky, were shot with lightning.

Around eight o’clock in the evening it began to rain, gently at first and a few minutes later quickly in sheets and the wind rose. At 8:45 p.m. there was a lull and after that suddenly the violent roar of the whirling cyclone, the din of collapsing, crashing buildings, and then a few minutes later the wild clanging as someone rang and rang the fire bell. A clock on a downtown building stopped at three and a half minutes before nine.

In the south end of the town people slept peacefully undisturbed by the wild noises.


The storm had first been seen at Medicine Lodge. Today the tornado warning would have immediately gone out, but on May 27, 1892, tornado warnings were not yet known. The tail dipped down in Harper and did quite a bit of damage. The storm lifted and travelled through the air parallel to the Santa Fe tracks.

As it came into Wellington, the tail dangled low and caught the house of William Hodges on West Harvey, just inside the city limits. A heavy stove landed on Mr. Hodges, his wife was cut and her jaw broken and their daughter had a broken leg. There was no other real damage in the neighborhood.

The funny kite-like thing lifted, ran a straight path down the alley-way between Harvey streets. Barns and outbuildings collapsed in splinters, but no house on either street felt the heavy blow of a tornado.

As it crossed the Rock Island slough and the Rock Island tracks, it picked up two freight cars, swung them southwest and
west and placed them near the
Santa Fe tracks and then let them roll down into the ravine adjoining the tracks.

Having finished that playful gesture, the monster wind apparently decided it was time to go to work. G street, F street, Jefferson, Washington, C. street, B street, and A street — mostly six hundred feet wide, sometimes wider — Harvey to Ninth — straight through the heart of the little city.

At the corner of Ninth and A streets, just north of the present Junior High building, was the house of Capt. John G. Woods. The whirling wind carried away the second story of the house and then soared heavenward.

A mile and a half northeast of town it dropped down again, destroyed a farm home and killed a bachelor farmer who lived there. Three miles east on the Oxford road, in one last gesture of defiance, barns and cattle sheds came tumbling down. Then it was gone.


The stories a tornado leaves behind are always very strange. In almost the exact center of all that massive destruction, Squire Smith’s bouse was the only one left standing. Mrs. Smith believed that when a storm is approaching, one should always shut inside doors of a house as well as the outside doors and windows. It braced a house better. Squire Smith’s huge stoutly built barn was ground to powder and some of his heavy tools were found a block or so away.

But the house stood. The windows were broken and some of the doors were jammed so that afterwards they could not be opened. But the house stood.

People began carrying in the injured. Twenty-nine battered people were carried into the house that night. Mrs. Smith hurriedly pulled out her fine linen sheets and began tearing them into bandages.

The fire bell was ringing because the Cole-Robinson block on the corner of 8th and Washington somehow had caught fire. Before it could be brought under control, Sasher’s and Kirk’s Carriages and the big Alliance store also caught fire. It seems queer but that proved an advantage when it came time to figure insurance coverage.

Sometimes in the darkness a cry led rescuers to one needing help. It was daylight before anyone could really comprehend the extent of the damage, but all but three bodies of the eleven killed were found during the night. One was the farmer northeast of town and no one knew about him. Two bodies lay beneath the ruins of the Phillips House which stood where the Antlers Hotel now stands.

One of these, a young girl from Topeka, had been working as a waitress there. Her parents were down in the Indian Territory someplace. Her body was taken back to Topeka and buried without their knowing.

A meeting had been held earlier that evening in the little Stone Courthouse which had been converted to a City Hall when the new courthouse was finished. The meeting had broken up a little early and the people started home — else there would have been more deaths, that night.

Three young men across the street on the east side of Washington avenue were not so fortunate. To get out of the rain, they stepped inside a cafe. Two never knew what happened to them, the third died early the next morning.

Young Charlie Millard was luckier. He was standing in the doorway of Dutch Henry’s restaurant for shelter. A heavy timber pinned him down so he was unable to move; and then the wind picked both the timber and him up and carried him clear over to the First Ward School grounds and dropped him down gently, unhurt. Close beside him, the wind dropped a frightened little negro boy who had flown through the air all the way from G street.

Nothing was left of the Hastie livery stable, but not a horse was hurt.

At least half of the business buildings were gone, also the Presbyterian church, the Episcopal church; the nearly new
First Ward school lay a mass of ruin on the ground. The Lutheran church was picked up, turned upside down, its steeple pointing downwards on a house smashed flat which had stood next door to the church, but the building did not fall apart.

The people in the south end slept and did not know about the storm until the next day, but somehow the wind sucked the bran house at the Hunter Mill, a building 112 feet long, and shifted it on its foundation.

One telegraph wire still worked and the news went out to the world. At 4:00 a.m. the Santa Fe started a special train from Wichita filled with doctors and reporters and men who came to help.

All day Saturday and Sunday members of Company B patrolled the devastated area. On Sunday 15,000 people, some as far away as Herington and Hutchinson, wandered around sight-seeing where three days before a town had been.

On Sunday too six coffins were lined up in the Methodist church and all the ministers in town assisted at that one funeral for six victims who had fallen before the wrath of the wind.

All night Friday, all day Saturday and Sunday, continuously until Monday morning, Mr. Shirley, the Western Union operator, bent over his telegraph key. His office was jammed with people.


Some of the reporters who thronged the town sent out wild exaggerated untrue tales. They need not have. The reality was
bad enough and many were the stories that people had to tell of their experiences on that terrible night.

Years later when visitors came to “Grandma” Millard’s house, she would show them one saucer — the only thing she had left of all the lovely furniture and dishes and wedding treasures she had had in her house.

Four miles east of Wellington someone picked up a sheet of paper that looked like a sermon. Rev. Keyes of the Presbyterian church had left it lying on the pulpit when he had finished the service the Sunday before.

All of Wellington’s newspapers were totally destroyed but on the following Thursday, thanks to a Wichita publisher, the MONITOR PRESS and the PEOPLE’S VOICE recorded the news of Wellington as usual for their subscribers. Across the front page of the Monitor-Press in big headlines was the word “DEVASTATION” and just below “A Whirling Tornado Sweeps through the City” which today makes one wonder why the storm has always been spoken of as the “Wellington cyclone” rather than the "Wellington tornado”. As far as is known there was no particular reason why one word was chosen over the other.

But probably of all the stories that came out of the storm most impressive is the repetition of families who moved from one particular room in a house to some other room and survive.

What instinct, what happy fate somehow impelled so many

A Time to Live A Time to Die

A Place For Eternal Sleep

In every community some land must always be set aside as a place for eternal sleep. Lost in the dim shadowy past, because there were no records nor newspapers to record the happenings of the community, is the story of how and why the “Old Cemetery” east of town on Highway 160 was started. It is known that it was part of Major A. N. Randall’s claim and a legend lingers that he offered to give a corner of his land for a cemetery when that need arose shortly after Wellington was founded in April of 1871. There is preserved at the present time a chart showing the names and lots allowed to each family who either purchased or were given a portion of the Old Cemetery.

In past years the old cemetery sometimes had a very neglected appearance. In 1929, a local citizen, concerned about the city’s neglect, took time to wander through the cemetery and wrote to a local editor about a very intriguing epitaph he had discovered on one stone:

“Here lies a poor woman who was always tired,
Who lived in a house where help was not hired.
Nay mourn for me now, nay mourn for me never;
I am going to do nothing for ever and ever.”

Perhaps it is only a story or perhaps the marker described was readily there in 1929; however a tramp all over the Old Cemetery in 1971 and a careful reading of all the inscriptions still to be found, revealed no such marker. But after all these years, in a far distant corner, one marker catches one’s attention and interest. It says simple “Colored Soldier” — no name, no date, no record of service — just “Colored Soldier.”


In 1882 the city council decided to purchase land at the east edge of town for a new cemetery. As soon as the deal had been completed with Z. Meixsell, a pioneer merchant here, the City Engineer S. T. Wood began to survey and grade the area. Mr. Wood planned that the cemetery would have a center circle filled with ornamental plantings surrounded by four ellipses reaching from the circle to the boundaries of the cemetery. Spacious drives were built, throughout the area, and when the individual lots were laid out, alleys seven feet wide were left between the lots. On Feb. 1, 1883, the city council decided to name the new cemetery “Prairie Lawn”.

The city has enlarged the cemetery at three different times: first, the area immediately west of the far east road; second, the area along the round house road; and finally the land east of the east road, the north end of which had originally been set aside for paupers’ graves.

In 1903 Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Martin purchased seven and one - half acres immediately north of Prairie Lawn and laid out the area now known as Sumner Memorial Gardens. Since the selling of lots in this area began in 1964, five acres of the tract have already been developed. Under the provision of its incorporation, twenty per cent of the sale price of each lot was set aside in an endowment fund which is invested to provide perpetual care under the direction of Francis Carr of the First National Bank, Harold Sanner of the Security State Bank, and John Walter Garland of the National Bank of Commerce.

Among the many interesting old markers in Prairie Lawn cemetery, one that stands out especially is the enormous highly polished gray granite ball that marks the grave of Squire H. Smith, the man who, with his friend Frank White, changed Wellington in the 1880’s from a little village of wooden shacks to a city of tall three-story brick and stone buildings, many of which still stand today.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith had seen a monument off similar design at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. After Mr. Smith’s death on May 20, 1902, Mrs. Smith decided to honor her husband, who all his life had loved architectural beauty and had formed so much of it himself, with a copy of the beautiful work of art he had admired at the Fair. Mr. Park and Mr. Marsh, proprietors of the marble works at that time, left immediately for Massachusetts and Vermont to purchase the stone. The base is five feet four inches square and six feet deep. The Lovely, highly polished ball of dark Quincy, Mass., granite is five feet four inches in diameter. Mr. J. C. Peniwell of the Wichita Marble Works, supervised the erection of the monument which represented a cost of $1,400. Today the monument which so beautifully preserves for future generations of Wellington’s citizens the memory of the man who “built Wellington” would probably cost twenty times that amount.


On July 12, 1920, the city commission granted a franchise that would make a complete change in the appearance of Prairie Lawn cemetery and sold, for $1500, the center ornamental circle to the Kansas Oklahoma Mausoleum Company, of which Amos Belsley and 0. C. Steinheuser of Wellington were major stockholders. The plans for the proposed mausoleum to contain approximately 425 crypts were carefully supervised by Albert H. Jewell, State Sanitary Engineer, and Dr. S. J. Crumbine, secretary of the State Board Of Health, to make sure that all requirements
relative to sanitation and preservation would be met. So that the buildings would stand for ages, not a particle of wood was used any place in the building.

The Wellington Memorial Mausoleum, cruciform in shape and Doric in style, with it exterior walls off Bedford limestone and interior of Alabama marble, and with its heavy bronze and leaded glass doors, costing $1000 each, took approximately $50,000 to construct.

On May 13, 1922, the completed building was dedicated. After a quartet composed of H. C. Beckwith, Glenn Shoffner, H. D. Rankin, and R. L. Hopkins sang, Judge O. P. Fuller of the Cowley-Sumner District Court delivered the address. Judge W. T. McBride, who presided at the service, turned the care of the building over to Mayor J. M. Thralls, since the mausoleum company’s contract provided that the city was to control the endowment of $4,500 which the company had provided for perpetual care of the building.

The first funeral held in the Mausoleum was that of Mr. John W. Gaines. A few days later Capt. L. K. Myers, founder of Wellington, and his son Will were moved from their original place to crypts in the mausoleum.

People Who Must Deal With Sorrow
The last funeral at which a horse-drawn hearse was used took place around 1911 or 1912. Picture shows a funeral cortege in the 200 block of South Washington with a horse-drawn hearse and four of the town’s hacks or cabs, also pulled by horses. The man in the frock coat and high silk hat is Dale Deweese, for many years owner of a Wellington funeral Home in the Luening building of West Lincoln. The hearse had been purchased by Mr. Luening around 1900, and, with its glass sides and back, painted black with black draperies, was considered one of the finest in the entire southern part of the state.

different people to move from a bedroom to a kitchen or a living room to a bedroom and survive, when had they stayed where they were very likely they would have been killed? Some people had storm cellars but apparently very few had time or sufficient storm cellars but apparently very few had time or sufficient warning to seek shelter. Yet time and time again in the old records one finds stories of people without reason moving to the one spot in their homes where they would be safe. Except for this one unexplained instinct the loss of life would have been tremendous.


As news of the disaster spread, help came from many sources. The first donation to arrive was $200.00 from F. P. Neal of the Union Bank of Kansas City, a man who had formerly lived in Wellington and owned one of the first banks here and who had helped start the Wellington National Bank which later became the First National Bank of the present day. The Santa Fe added $500 to the fund which before many weeks had reached $15,000. Some people had insurance that helped a little, but many had none or very little.

In the business district there was hardly a building that did not suffer some damage and many were totally destroyed. By the middle of June the town was a busy place with carpenters, stone masons, plumbers and mechanics hard at work.

There was talk along mainstreet of organizing a company to build a brick hotel that would be a safer place for travellers to stay than the Phillips House had proved to be.

The county commissioners

decided that only bare lots would assessed in 1892. It would be hard to evaluate a house or business building that had disappeared; it was too early to know the value of what would take its place.

Only the City Council seemed paralyzed into inactivity. In Sept. 1892, they looked at the pile of rubble on the corner of
7th street and Washington avenue and argued whether to build a new city hall there or some other place in the downtown area. Some thought a lot on Lincoln would be a better location.

In 1894 plans for a new city hall were drawn up and then wisdom prevailed as the City Council decided they just did not have the money to build.

The Standard Block on the corner of Harvey and C street was bankrupt and in the hands of a receiver, but the City Council managed to rent a room in the building for place for the council to meet and a fire station.

It was 1907, fifteen years after the cyclone, when the new City Hall finally stood on the 7th Street corner.
World War I and Wellington’s Co. L
Wellington, Kansas — Camp Doniphan, Oklahoma — Camp Mills, Long Island, N. Y. — Liverpool, England — Winchester, England — South Hampton
— Le Havre, France — Abbeville — Mellville — Jerminel Pouxeux — La Bresse — Kruth — Alsace Lorraine — Wesling Sector — Carnimont — Epinal
— Andilly — Langres — St. Mihiel — Meuse — Argonne — Abbruville — Vichey — Balny— Charpenery — Cheppy — Exermont — Verdun — Monte Carlo — Nice — Saint Cagnan.

In every war there are always two stories to tell — the men who go away to fight and the people who wait at home.

Colonel Elmer Holt, better known as “Whitey”, who entered military service in 1917 as a private, and who, for years, has acted as secretary for the Company L organization and never misses one of their annual reunions, told us the story of the beginning of Company L.

In the spring of 1917, the 3rd Kansas Infantry was authorized by Congress. Tom Crow, who had had ROTC at college, was commissioned as a captain and told to organize a National Guard unit in Wellington. Aided by Asa Black, appointed Lieutenant to assist him, and also by Byron F. Winn, Raymond Greenway, Eugene B. Hyndman, Arthur A. Hamil, Joseph N. Infield, and George S. Renn, the necessary enlistments were secured by volunteers of Sumner County and the company organized with 131 enlisted men and 3 officers.

Billeted at the Arlington Hotel, with the Wellington men being allowed to stay at their homes, the company drilled in Woods pasture and sometimes on the streets of Wellington.

On August 5, 1917 the company was federalized and was called to duty a month later. At five o’clock in the afternoon on September 24, 1917, at the Rock Island Depot, cars filled with Company L men were added to a train carrying the rest of the 3rd Kansas Infantry and the company headed out for Camp Doniphan, adjacent to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

THE DAY COMPANY L LEFT WELLINGTON — from a radio broadcast by Jessie Wiley Voils in New York City, May 7, 1939

A picture from the past flashed into my mind, an actual happening that took place twenty-one years ago. Picture a prosperous Midwestern city of some 7,000 population. The time is late afternoon, Sept. 24, 1917. The streets, generally deserted, are full of people. Flags are out and a bandstand, draped in red, white and blue has been placed in the middle of main street. The scene might be set for a county fair, happy, jovial, but I do not remember a single happy face on that day. About the only noise was the uneasy shuffling of the crowd. Even the air was still, flags hung limp in the murky weather, a bank of clouds foretold a storm, and yet no one — not even the farmers — started home. Those people had gathered to see the boys of Company L, Wellington’s own company, start off to war.

I was a young girl in high school at the time, a member of the town band. We had been told to report, early to play a farewell concert.

For weeks troop trains had been pouring through our town carrying boys of other states to the East coast, and now a long line of empty cars had been drawn up on the sidetrack waiting to carry our own boys away. The approaching storm caused it to get dark quite early. The concent had hardly started when Company L came marching up Main Street and stood at attention in front of the bandstand.

I shall never forget looking down into their white, drawn faces and realizing that those boys were being sent away to fight, to kill or get killed. They were going to France to join other troops to fight Germany. France, Germany, England , sounded remote to our ears.

The rain started to come down in sheets. The Company was ordered to the train and our little band, completely demoralized by the rain and emotion, brought up the rear as best we could. We tried to play a march but it fizzled out.

I wish I could tell you the anguish I saw on faces as that train pulled out.


At Camp Doniphan, the 4th Missouri National Guard Infantry was consolidated with the 3rd Kansas Infantry to make up the 139th Infantry of the 35th Division, and L Company of the 4th Missouri was joined with L Company of the 3rd Kansas. Captain Tom Crow was transferred elsewhere and Captain Ray Carter at that time was assigned to the company and stayed with them until after they reached France.

After completing their training at Camp Doniphan, Company L was ordered to the East coast and after a stay of two weeks at Camp Mills, near Garden City, New York, the men boarded the “Adriatic”, a White Star liner.

The 42 ships in the convoy were escorted by 10 “sub” chasers for the eleven day crossing. On May 7, 1918, the men in Company L docked at Liverpool, marched through the streets to the railroad station where they were loaded on a train and taken to Winchester, England.

After three days in England, they moved out to Southhampton and took a mail boat at night across the Channel to LeHavre. Here Merle Banghart
and “Daddy” Wilson came down with diphtheria so several of the company were held in quarantine for a number of days.

Through June and July the company continued their training for combat and on July 20th they were moved up into the trenches in the Volges mountains, at that time considered a quiet sector and a good place for fresh troops to get their initiation into battle.

By the end of September they were in the Argonne Forest and in combat continuously until Oct. 1, 1918. They had started out with 220 men and when they were finally relieved only 25 men were left in the company. A few had been killed, many had been wounded, a few had been transferred and some had just gotten separated from their company and were finally united with them again.

When the Armistice came on Nov. 11, 1918, the men of Company L were still under fire most of the time.

Meanwhile the “Spanish influenza” had struck in Europe and the United States. Mr. Holt said that in October in the part of France to which he had been transferred at that time, a funeral procession went by the doorway of his tent every fifteen minutes, twenty-four hours a day, day after day.

In the army camps in the United States, in the cities and in the little towns, deadly plague struck down young and old with equal force. Like the black death of ancient times, the flu of 1918 scourged the land with sickness and death.

In the spring of 1919 Company L was ordered home and mustered out at Ft. Riley on May 8, 1919.

Today about seventy-five Company L men are still living and each fall those that are able gather together for a reunion to recall old times and the war experiences they shared in the bitter days of 1917, 1918, and 1919.


At first in Wellington the war seemed far away and not too real. There were lots of weddings, young girls, just out of high school, hastily married, without much planning or frills, before their loved ones were ordered overseas.

There were shortages of sugar and flour and appeals to buy war bonds and to contribute to the Red Cross.

In October the war moved closer to home and more and more gold stars appeared in windows of Wellington homes— Lloyd Russell, Leslie Edmonds, Ralph Branch, Tom Schwinn were the first and each week the list grew longer.

Downtown people were talking about the heroic feat Vic Nichols had performed in France.

In April of 1918 a big auction sale was planned for the corner of Washington and Harvey to raise money for the Red Cross. Women contributed cakes and pies and fancy work; stores made contributions from
their stocks and farmers brought in grain and stock and even gray mules.

“Auntie” Marshall pieced a quilt on which she embroidered all the names of the Company L men. When the auctioneer Lafe Burger put the quilt up for sale, George Hunter bid $500 and then returned it to be sold again. It sold over and over until finally there was $1000 in the Red Cross fund. Today that quilt is on display at the Chisholm Trail Museum.

Another quilt had been pieced by Mrs. Chas. Dougherty, a blind woman living south of Wellington and it too was bid in again and again and added another thousand dollars to the fund.

There were so many items for sale that the auction had to be continued until Monday and then to the following Saturday. When the sale was finally completed, over $3700 had been added to the Red Cross fund.

On November 11, 1918 when the Armistice was signed that ended the “War to End Wars”, businesses and schools closed. A program was held down town at noon and the celebration extended until far into the night.

Whitey Hot on one end, Wilbur Gaines on the other. Two middle men unidenified.

This picture was taken in 1917 at Fort Sill’s Camp Doniphin, Lawton, Okla. Back row, left to right, Elmer Laird, Glenn Winsor, Fawn Brown, Front row—Delbert McCabe, John E. Young, Floyd Collins, Carl Ash and Ray E. Burson. ____________

People in Public Service

What Can A Man in A Raging Blizzard

People who have lived in Sumner County for many years are well aware that the weather is full of surprises and frequently presents many problems, but in the early 1970’s it must have been a strange feeling for many of the new settlers who had just arrived in south central Kansas from far distant states to be facing a long winter and have no idea at all what to expect.

In the fall of 1871 Thomas H. Mason was elected, the first county superintendent of schools. He purchased a black horse named Comanche and spent considerable time traveling over Sumner County to spect school lands and organize school districts. During January of 1872 he went to the south
part of the county where he spent a couple of days locating and inspecting some school land. The weather was fair and pleasant for that time of year. In an early day newspaper, Mr. Mason recounted what happened to him as he started back to his home near Belle Plaine:

“One evening after completing work, I returned to Wellington where I spent the night. On the following morning there was a decided change in temperature. A brisk wind was blowing from the northeast with snow flurries. However, after breakfast I concluded to proceed on my way home, which was three miles northeast of Belle Plaine. I had not proceeded more than five miles until I became aware that it was growing intensely cold. The fine snow driven by a fierce northeast wind which I was facing filled my eyes and penetrated my clothing, and not being very well supplied with wraps for such an occasion and sighting a house near the trail where a Mr. Deyo lived, I turned in for shelter. Upon getting thoroughly warmed Mr. Deyo very kindly wrapped my feet and legs in burlap and I mounted my pony and was away.

“In a very short time I realized that I would surely freeze riding. While I could make more speed on my pony, I was not getting the pep necessary for the occasion. So, dismounting. I beat my hands and whipped my arms around my body as I trudged along, thus getting a little circulation; but my pony pulled so hard on the lead that I was handicapped in my efforts. So I turned him loose and drove him ahead of me until I came in sight of a vacant log house on the divide, where again I turned aside and sought what protection its unchinked walls would afford. There with all the power I possessed in my most gesticular manner I danced and thrashed my arms and hands, placing my hands under the saddle blanket occasionally. I soon was ready for the final onslaught, which I encountered without any serious difficulty except the driven snow which made it difficult to follow the trail. However fortune smiled on me and I arrived home safely without even a frost bite.

“This was the storm the old settlers remember well, which Dick Stevenson, Stacy Douglass, Capt. Myers, Judge Reuben Riggs and others encountered on their way to Medicine Lodge, where Judge Riggs was
so badly frozen he died and his son and another young man whose name I have forgotten received badly frozen hands and feet. Fortunately my luck was a little better.”

It might be interesting to add to Mr. Mason’s story that he had enlisted in the Union army when he was seventeen years old and came to Sumner County in 1871 from Madison, Iowa.

It would be nice if it were possible to report that the blizzard of January 1872 was the only real hardship faced by our forefathers, but unfortunately weather in south Kansas is not like that.

Probably the worst snow storm ever to hit our pioneer settlers struck on Jan. 10, 1886, a storm that stretched from Texas all the way to Michigan and as far east as West Virginia. All reports of the time agreed that the storm was unprecedented in its severity and the newspapers off the day recorded many lives lost and great losses in live stock. The Wind blew seventy-five miles an hour, accompanied by drifting snow, gravel and dust; the mercury was zero at noon. Typical of the hundreds of freezing victims was the stage coach driver on the Caldwell route who was found frozen insensible and had to be lifted from his seat. Two physicians were summoned to treat him.

As is true today, a real blizzard was a rare occurence. Much of the time, snow one hundred years ago was part of nature’s beauty just as now and for that reason a little item published in the Sumner County Press on December 4, 1873 which was entitled “The Beautiful Snow” read as follows:

“About one inch of snow and sleet, the first of the season for this latitude, fell night before last; and the beautiful weather of the past several weeks was converted into genuine winter. Great coats, overshoes, and warm mittens are now the envy of those who during the long summer invested all their capital in linen goods.”

But whether he has purchased linen clothing or warm woolen coat and mittens, to be caught out or a country road in a Kansas blizzard, even in 1971, can be a terrifying experience. Many people for years to come will tell tales of what happened to them in the big snow which began on February 21, 1971.

Nov. 26, 1874 — Sumner County Press

The storm covered the earth with a coating of sleet and was followed by two inches of snowfall. Several parties promptly proceeded to construct outfits from loose boards somewhat resembling sleighs of olden times. John Shearman mounted a dry goods box on a couple of boards and with his Black Bob in the shafts, got away in good style. Messrs. Hastie and Holmes, having secured a string of sleigh bells, drove the nobbiest turn-out that appeared upon the street. Other persons were engaged in planning the construction of additional vehicles with pleasant visions of moonlight excursions, but the snow disappeared.

The Pattern of Life

A child picks up a kaleidoscope and shakes it and watches entranced as myriad bits of color-some light, some bright, some dark — fall into a delightful pattern.

He shakes it again and another equally entrancing pattern falls into place. Another shake and another pattern.

Such is the pattern of life—little bits of color, some bright, some dark—each in itself of little meaning each different but falling together in first one way and then another to form the Pattern of Life.
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ONE: The People Who Serve Their Country


On April 12,1940 the Sumner County Draft Board composed of William Knox, C. C. Smith, Harley Hyten, Bert Church, L. H. Sarchet, with Miss Helen Cobb as office secretary, was named and by October 17, 1940 the WELLINGTON NEWS announced the 670 young men had registered for the draft.

The first draft order was filled Nov. 19, 1940 when four young Sumner County men were sent off for military duty. By June of 1941, 341 Sumner County youths had been called to military duty to a war that had not actually even begun yet.

Anyone who was alive on Dec. 7, 1941 probably remembers vividly where he was and what he was doing when he first heard that unbelievable news, but somehow for those who are too young to remember that day, there are no words that adequately describes the sinking heart, the terror, the disbelief, the ghastly awful sense of the future that the news portended.

World War II was different from World War I. The government had learned that it was unwise to send all the young men from a small town in a single unit so no Company L gathered at Washington and Harvey to march down to the railroad station. Instead little groups of three, seven, ten, fifteen were called up and sent off to Europe, to Africa, to the South Pacific, to the Orient, to Alaska, to South America, to the broad waves of the Atlantic and the Pacific, to the high thin atmosphere of the heavens and to the bottom of the seas.

At home in May 1942 ration book number I was issued. On Dec. 15, 1942 the first blackout test was successfully concluded and only seven lights were spotted
in the whole of Wellington. By October 11, 1943 six hundred names had been painted on the big board hung on the outside wall oif the Memorial Hall and the daily paper predicted that two hundred more soon would be added.

In December 1945 General Eisenhower reported on his tour of the military cemeteries in Europe, and in March 1946 plans were made to plant a veterans forest of pine trees north of the swimming pool, one for each man who had given his life in three wars—1898-99, 1917-18-19, 1941-45.

Today in the foyer of the Junior High, the building that for many years was Wellington’s Senior High, there hangs a simple plaque:

Dedicated to Former Students of Wellington High School Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice in World War II 1941 - 1945.

Glenn McEachern, Wilford Brooks, Paul Kingsley, John Serrioz, Darrell Bliss, Clifford Wright, Lindley Zimmerman, Dale Kingsley, Richard Casper, Ned Stoelzing, Frank Dasher, Eugene Gore, C. F. Railing, Robert Roberts, Eldon Kile, Grier Stewart, Josef Peters, Lyle Oyler, Claude Hetrick, Dean Hull, Robert Trekell, Robert Ricord, Dale Scrivens, Paul Barnett, Stewart Zimmerman Philip Hackney, Charles Rogers, Harry Moss, Raymond Cobean, John Adams, Roy Huffman, Jack Hutchison, Edward Long, Carl Millard, Marion Friedman, Neil Dunlap, Joseph Baumgartner, Walton Buck, and Bruce Martin.

No description of the horrors of war, however vivid, could portray more completely what war means to a small town than that simple bronze plaque listing the names of some of the finest youth of Wellington.

City’s Most Decorated Soldier: Brig. Gen. Arthur S. Champeny

General Champeny was first commissioned in 1917 and served in France during World War I. He was in Hawaii at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was transferred to the European theater of operations during World War II, served in the Korean War and acted as assistant military governor of Korea. He retired at Camp Roberts, California in 1953 and has made his home in Wellington since that time.

Without doubt he is Wellington’s most decorated soldier. In World War I Gen. Champeny served in France with the 356th Infantry of the 89th Division, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the United States and the Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honor by France.

During World War II he served with the 351st Infantry of the 88th Division in Italy, the troops that were the first to enter Rome. He was wounded three times and for his service was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, the French Croix de Guerre, the Italian Commander Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, the Italian
Bronze Medal of Honor, and the Military Valor Cross of Italy.

His third Distinguished Service Cross with two Oak Leaf
Clusters and another Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster were awarded for his service in Korea where he fought until



Approaching Dust Storm in Middle West
Dust Storm Damage

Census figures for 1930 and 1934 dearly show what drouth, and dust did to Kansas farms.

In 1930 there were 24 1/2 million acres that produced a crop; in 1934, only 17 million crop producing acres — a loss of 6 1/2 million acres in crops.

150 million bushels of wheat were harvested in 1930; 83 million bushels in 1934 which is a net loss of 67 million bushels of wheat. Figured at approximately 50 cents a bushel, means that Kansas alone suffered a loss of 33 1/2 million dollars in just wheat production.

In 1930 the average value of an acre of land in 1930 $48.56 but by 1934 the price had dropped to $30.80, a loss of $7.76 per acre. The total value of Kansas farms dropped $800,000,000.00 in four years.

Herds of cattle increased from one million to one and a half million because farmers had no place to sell their cattle and this made as added burden by proportionally increasing the cost of feeding cattle.

There were 10,000 more farms at the end of the four years as big farms were broken down into smaller ones.

Building Liberty Hall

Shortly after World War I a program was started to build a “Liberty Hall” to serve as a civic auditorium and to honor the men and women who had served their country.

On April 26, 1919 the City Commission accepted the recommendation of the committee that Liberty Hall be located on lots between the City Hall and the office of the Southern Kansas Mutual Insurance Co.. W. S. Longman, who owned the land west of the alley facing Jefferson offered his land to the city at a very reasonable sum, but the owners of the lots on Washington and the City Commission could not agree on a fair price. An appraisal committee composed of B. F. Zook, K. C. Shabinger, Charles P. Hangen, E. B. Roser, and M. H. Kirk finally arrived at $4270
for the land owned by Edwin Bwell’s lots and $2500 for Mrs. Luella Stewart’s property, making at total of $11,350 for the land for the new civic hall.

All over Kansas, towns were voting bonds for similar Memorial auditoriums and for some reason the state legislature decided to pass a bill controlling such bond issues. But somewhere between the passage of the bill and the final printed copy, there arose quite a disagreement of just what the bill was supposed to say.

Time is too short for us to attempt to unearth the exact details of this legislative fiasco fifty years ago, but for awhile it appeared that many towns who had voted bonds and started to build Memorial Halls, might not be able to do so legally.

WHETHER IT’S 50-STAR OR 48, Old Glory yet waves proudly in Wellington. The above picture was taken in 1970 during a patriotic display of the American colors and it shows a 48-star flag flying right below a 50-star banner.

The matter was taken to the Supreme Court and the War Memorial Law was declared invalid on Jan. 20, 1921. But during the months of struggle, the word “Memorial Hall’’ became a commonly used phrase in Kansas, so when our Liberty Hall was finally being built, its name was changed to Memorial Hall.

At last on March 24, 1922 the building had progressed far enough to hold a cornerstone-laying ceremony. The AMERICAN Legion met at the B. of R. T. Hall, marched up Washington accompanied by the Wellington Band. The Treble Clef sang and Rev. Joseph E. Coe of the Methodist Church delivered the address and explained that the purpose of the building was to keep alive the memory of the valor and self-sacrifice of the men who offered their lives in their country’s service in the “Great War”. The box placed behind the cornerstone, in addition to the traditional items, contained a list of all the Sumner County men who served in World War I.

By June of 1922 J. H. Mitchell and Son, the contractors, had the front pillars in place
and the huge letters “Memorial Hall” across the front. On July 26, 1922 the City Commission ordered from the American Seating Company $6,500 worth of seats, 1250 for the balconies and 600 folding chairs for the arena.

Finally on Nov. 19, 1922, on land purchased in April of 1919, the people of Wellington were invited to the opening ceremony of the new building, built at a cost of $160,000. Especially outstanding was the beautiful and very large stage with the finest possible stage rigging and sets and an intricate switchboard that had cost $1100.

But most eye-catching of all was the gorgeous roll-up stage curtain, called a “thing of beauty”, a copy of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, done by the Kansas City Scenic Company in a blaze of flashing color.

After that first night for many years the building served faithfully for high school commencements, conventions, dramatic and musical presentations, public meetings and athletic contests.

Whether anybody remembers today that it was built as a tribute to Liberty we do not know.


When the Memorial Hall was built, somehow the stone mason who carved the corner stone misunderstood and made a corner stone with Masonic emblems and references to the Masonic Lodge. After the stone was in place, townspeople expressed much dissatisfaction. Of course the mistake was investigated and the stone removed and a new one put in. So our Memorial Hall has the unique construction of a building which has two cornerstone sayings.

from the Wellington Daily News, July 4, 1946

Wellington has an on-the-job training program for veterans. The G-I Bill of Rights gives any eligible veteran the privilege of taking training in an approved institution or training on the job in which he has enough interest to prepare himself for an occupation through which he may make a living for himself and his family in the future.

Fifty-three firms in Wellington have already been approved for job training for ex-service men. The firm must act to get his establishment approved for such training. The veteran must apply for benefits.

Friend or Foe?

During World War II there was a prisoner-of-war camp down near Alva, Oklahoma and there was lots of excitement in Wellington on Jan. 2, 1945 when two Nazis were found hiding in a hay stack not far from town.

In the middle 1960’s some Wellington people were driving through the Black Forest of Germany. They had left the main road and were travelling down a narrow country road when they stopped during the noon hour at a little fishing resort to get some lunch. But much to their dismay the proprietor of the little eating place did not understand a word of English nor did he seem at all able to comprehend the very crude and limited German the Americans were trying to use.

Suddenly a blond-headed man, dressed in fishing gear, stuck his head in through the window from where he had been eating lunch outside and began giving the proprietor instructions. Soon on the table before the travelers was set a delicious dish of meat and cheese and vegetables, hard bread, rich thick coffee and some sort of delicious pastry.

Ever now and then the fisherman would poke his head in the window and ask the travelers if the food was good, if they had what they wanted, if there was anything more they wanted.

His English was very crude and he was difficult to understand, but once the people from Wellington understood the word prairie. Then suddenly the story he had been trying to tell them became quite clear. He was trying to help in gratitude for the friendly treatment he had received while held a prisoner of war on the broad prairies of the Southwest.

To this day probably the people who benefited so much from his friendly kindness would say that meal in the Black Forest of Germany was one of the best they had ever eaten.


No one ever loved Wellington better than Harry Woods. Seven years old when he arrived in 1873, he was a part of Wellington’s history almost from the beginning, and from 1901, when he started the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS, he constantly used the columns of his paper to record the town’s history and to support the causes he believed would benefit the city’s future.

Almost every morning he drove around Wellington in his little coupe and whenever he noted a beautiful tree or an exquisite flower bed or some unique sight, he shared his joy and discovery with his readers.

Harry Woods especially wanted for Wellington a junior college, plenty of water, cooler houses in summer and most of all some way to share in the beauties of the out-of-doors and the right kind of recreation.

Almost single-handed, nearly a year before the event would take place, he started a campaign to have a real observance for Wellington’s 75th birthday. The Golden Jubilee was a marvelous celebration, so perfect people are still talking about it.

Harry Woods loved Wellington, and when he was eighty years old, after forty-five “NEWS”-packed years, on Sept. 2, 1946, he sat down and recorded on paper all the changes he had watched take place in Wellington and in the world.

Now that Wellington has reached her Centennial year, it seems appropriate to repeat his words.

The Woods Family Moves to Wellington

He began with the story of how and why the Woods family, came to Wellington:

“John” Gardner Whitcomb Woods and Louisa Melanethon Wentworth, my parents, were born and reared near Belfast, on the rocky coast of Maine. They were married in Worchester, Massachusetts; my eldest sister was born there, and then the family came west to St. Joseph, Missouri, where father opened a law office. He enlisted in the Union army in 1861 and wound up four years later as Captain of Company M, 12th Missouri cavalry. I think he must have been a pretty good soldier because he was kept in service after Appomattox and sent with his troops to watch the Indians in western Nebraska.

“Less than one year after Lincoln was assassinated, I was born on Friday, March 8, 1866. A few weeks later the family moved to Liberty, Missouri, father having been appointed circuit attorney for Clay and several adjoining counties. Many Clay county citizens favored the Confederacy and were called “Rebels”. The county and district officials were called “Carpet-baggers” or “Abolitionists”,
and the feeling between the two factions was very bitter.

“The James boys, Jesse and Frank, lived in Clay county with their mother, Mrs. Samuels, a few miles from Liberty and were wanted for many sensational bank and train robberies. They had many friends in Clay and adjoining counties. Father and the sheriff’s force made a number of trips to the Samuels’ home, on tips which weren’t reliable, and neither of the famous brothers was ever captured until years later. There were many clashes between the officers and some of the rowdies of the other faction, usually on Saturday afternoon or evening where there was lots of drinking. On two occasions there were attempts to take over the courthouse on the claim that the “carpet-baggers” had no right to the office.

“Mother was in poor health and lived in terror because of the many quarrels. Father was away much, of the time, trying criminal cases in other county seats, and on such occasions written threats were sometimes pushed under the door of our house. One such, on a long sheet of paper, showed at the
top a clumpsy scrawled drawing of the gallows, with a man and a dog hung side by side, and underneath the writing: “on the -----day of ----- the following damned abolitionists will be hung an the courthouse square”. Then followed the names of the officers leading with Capt. John G. Woods.

“After seven years of this strife, father yielded to mother’s appeal and decided to move to Oregon. But someone advised him to try southern Kansas, recently opened to settlement. He took the advice and came to Wellington in the spring of 1873, starting the first bank southwest of the Arkansas river in partnership with John D. Share, also from Liberty, and forming with James T. Herrick, the law firm of Woods and Herrick.

“On Thanksgiving Day of that year, Nov. 2, the family arrived by stage from Wichita, crossing the Arkansas river on a pontoon bridge and stopping for dinner at Belle Plaine. We found a hunter’s paradise, abounding in quail, prairie chickens, wild turkey, deer and antelope. Buffalo herds were moving west, but during the winter Father went with three other
men twenty miles west and brought home four buffalos. Blanketed Indians outnumbered the white men and for several years frequent “Indian scares” kept the white inhabitants in constant terror. Scares were accentuated by such incidents as the burning of Pat Hennessey on the Chisholm Trail and the Custer massacre on the Little Big Horn.

“In 1883 Father built the Woods Opera House and named me as manager, a position I held for several years. In 1888 I was admitted to the Bar and practiced law for several years, holding office as City Attorney and County Attorney for some time; and in 1899 I joined with the late W. W. (Tip) Schwinn in the law firm of Schwinn and Woods. In the summer of 1901, I withdrew from the law firm to enter the newspaper business.

“As the years passed, other members of our family left Wellington until I alone was left. Father and Mother and my brother Albert died in Kansas Ciy; my sister Etta sleeps in Salt Lake City, and Winifred, six weeks old when we came to Wellington, has lived for many years in ElPaso, Texas.”



Love of Town and Country

Probably no man in all Wellington is more representative of love of town and country than is Bill Murphy who has devoted uncounted hours both to patriotic organizations and to City of Wellington.

In 1967, having been selected to run for office in Wellington, Bill Murphy wrote a statement as his “platform” that we think perhaps should be read again and again:

“Citizens of Wellington, Voters, Friends and All who believe in Progress: It is with humility and pride that I accept the indorsement of our Party of Progress and I trust that I will be able to carry its BANNER honorably and with success.

AS WE MOVE FORWARD UNDER THIS PROGRESSIVE BANNER, let’s all try to understand what it means.

A BANNER that tells the 9000 citizens of Wellington that we believe in a strong government with a Council that will build toward Happiness and Prosperity of all the people of Wellington.

It is a BANNER that declares each and every person has, CHERISHED RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES that should be protected.

It is a BANNER that assures our youth and senior citizens that we will work and support the recreational program and tend toward improvement whenever possible.

A BANNER which leads our council in doing the things that are best for our city. A new water line to our source of supply assuring us of all the water needed at reasonable cost, clean and safe streets, utilities that are home owned and serve both homes and industries honestly at reasonable costs.

It is a BANNER that tells the world that Wellington has acres of beautiful parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, swimming pool, golf links open to anyone that wishes to make use of and enjoy them.

It is a BANNER that waves over fine churches and good schools and shows that they are the heart of our community.


God Grant That We May Be Faithful to All It Means.


1921 — Jan. 29, Wellington Daily News Women’s Club organized.

About fifty women of this city met at the park House Friday evening at six o’clock and made plans for the organization of a civic club for Wellington. A dainty lunch was served, during which the temporary chairman, Mrs. H. C. Plumb, called on each one present to speak concerning the value of such an organization. The opinions were unanimously in favor of the movement after Mrs. F. W. Sellers mentioned the reason for the club’s being organized.

Officers were elected as follows: President, Mrs. W. F. Lynch; First Vice President, Mrs. Will Rush; Second Vice President, Mrs. Amos Belsley; Recording secretary, Mrs. Thomas Frack; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. W. G. Kingsley; and Treasurer, Mrs. H. L. Woods.

These officers, together with Mrs. Sellers, will form the executive body to draw up a constitution and by-laws and to decide on dues and the exact time of the next meeting which is to be within two weeks. All the ladies of the town are cordially invited to attend this meeting and become members of the organization. The women feel the necessity of joining forces in order to make a better Wellington, both as to beauty and cleanliness, and to stand behind the men of the Commercial Club in the drive they are now putting on.

The Park House or Youth Recreation

Another war project to which many people devoted countless hours of time created quite a problem after the war's end. Shortly before World War I the club women of Wellington, led by the Cary Circle, took an old dilapidated building and made from it a lovely women’s club house where, for a nominal fee, wedding receptions, recitals,
club meetings, reunions, luncheons and dinner's of all kinds could be held. The building, known as the Park House, was a busy plaice and served a real need in Wellington.

But when the war came and fathers went to war and mothers were working, the need for some sort of supervised recreation for youth became apparent
and so the proposal was made to turn the Park House over to the high school students during the war. There was, of course, a good deal of opposition but American Associatiion of University Women volunteered to undertake the publicity campaign to win city support and finally an agreement was worked out for the use of the building by the youth during the war.

A committee of Wellington citizens was appointed to supervise the project and Mr. and Mrs. Earl Mercer, who agreed to serve as managers of the “Rec”, earned the deep appreciation of both parents and young people for service far beyond the call of duty.

The contract expired on June 30, 1946. As a result the problem
arose whether the building would be returned to the use for which it had been intended and for which the club women of Wellington, had sacrificed so much, or whether it would continue to serve the needs of the youth. Feelings ran high and people were badly torn in trying to decide what was fair to the rightful owners of the building and the young people.

Typical of how rapidly times have changed is the fact that twenty-five years later, the young people of Wellington are amply supplied with recreational opportunities, other buildings furnish the needs of Wellington club women and the Wellington Art Association has found a much needed home in the old forsaken gas works building.

Harry Woods' Most Magnificent Dream Comes True

For many years the extensive area on the western limits of Wellington which lay between the 8th street road and the Santa Fe tracks had been surrounded by a fence and was known as Woods pasture. Mr. Woods and his brother and two sisters had inherited the land from their parents. Extending from Slate Creek to the city limits, it comprised about 145 acres. There was both high and low land together with some timber.

For a small fee each summer the families in town were permitted to take their cows out each morning to graze all day on the rich native prairie grass that covered the rolling land. It was the daily chore of many people to walk out each morning with family's cow and go again in the evening to bring her home.

But Harry Woods had long dreamed that the land some day would be converted to another use. With his usual canny newspaper and political skill, he used the columns of his paper to help in bringing about his dream.

Wanting to see the property made into a public park and playground, he persuaded the other heirs to offer it to the City for $12,000 with the suggestion that it be called “Roosevelt Park” in honor of Theodore Roosevelt, Spanish - American war hero and former President, whom Harry Woods admired greatly.

There were many people who thought the price too high. Likewise
Community Park was getting a good start and people felt that perhaps it would be wise to concentrate on the park already started rather than undertake another. Mrs. Sellers, the Park Commissioner, did not agree. She saw the future possibilities of the big park on the west edge of Wellington in addition to the charming small park in the heart of the city and aided the cause of the new addition to Wellington in every way she could.

The City Commissioners finally authorized a special election to be held on August 5, 1919 to vote bonds to the amount of $18,000, $12,000 for the purchase of the Woods land and $6,000 for improvements in Community Park.

Mr. Woods’ publicity campaign was well-planned because the Commercial Club had decided to stage a big Fourth of July celebration with all the Sumner County soldiers and sailors, recently returned from World War I, as special guests. Wellington and all of Sumner county would have clearly demonstrated just what a marvelous asset the huge area on the west of Wellington could be for the community. It was said that the area was large enough to accommodate ten or fifteen thousand people if needed to. Some people scoffed but the plans for the big Fourth of July Victory Celebration went ahead under a community committee consisting of Clyde Stewart, R. W. Hitchcock, G. E. Bailey, superintendent of schools at that
time, and W. P. White. Claude Scott was the manager of the Commercial Club and served as genera! over-see-er of the whole big affair. Of course the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS kept the people informed concerning all the big plans being made.

The 1919 Fourth of July Victory Celebration even today is still remembered by many people as one of the highlights of Wellington history.

In preparation by the event, a large area was selected at the top of the hill. Here there was generally a good breeze and there was adequate space for the large crowd expected. This area, called the “Zone", was approximate!y three hundred by six hundred feet in size and the space within was sufficient to accommodate thirty and forty thousand people.

Around the four sides were located concession stands and several large tents, the two at the ends being the largest, each eighty by a hundred feet, and providing seating as well as shade for the crowd. Other tents served as comfort stations, and one was a Red Cross and hospital center with Dr. J. C. Caldwell in charge, to care for any sickness or accidents that might occur.

In the center of the “Zone” was built a large stage, thirty by sixty feet, and of sufficient height for a person to see the entertainment from any position, regardless of the number of people who might be standing in front. On this stage, the hippodrome acts, the boxing
bout, and the other attractions were shown.

On the east side of the “Zone” was the large dance platform, and on the west, the band stand. West of the band stand, and protected by a fence, was the “Aviation Field", and south of the “Zone” an athletic field was laid off, to the west of which was the area set aside for the balloon ascension.

At the entrance or the east side of the grounds parking for cars was provided. All parking south of the road was free, but on the north side, where policing was provided, there was a small fee.

Though the weather man had predicted showers, the Fourth of July 1919 was bright and clear with a good breeze from the south. By nine o’clock the streets of Wellington were thronged with visitors from near and far.

The day’s events started with a big parade that formed at Washington and 10th near the Court House. Led by the Wellington band, the parade moved south to Harvey and then west to the Woods Pasture. Following the band, came the veterans of World War I, dressed in uniform, and led by Captain Joe and Lieut. John Schwinn; then a hundred or more veterans were followed by the Corbin band. Bringing up the rear was the recently organized “Ed Hampton’s Colored Band”.

Following athletic events and the Smith Comedy Circus on the
big stage and in the areas provided, baskets lunches were enjoyed by all the people who had come to take part in this memorable day. They had been invited to eat their lunches on Wellington’s school grounds, in Community Park at the Court House, anywhere where there were a few trees to offer shade from the hot Kansas sunshine. Many family gatherings assembled in some particular

Lynn Burris’ lovely trees now cover this land. The Golf links now are on part of this area. The building is the old county poor farm.

area and at one location all who were originally from Ohio gathered together.

The Governor of Kansas, Henry J. Allen, spoke during the afternoon and other performers of various types entertained the people from the big stage. The balloon ascension had to be postponed because of a strong wind. The airplane exhibition was one of the big highlights of the day and greatly enjoyed by the vast crowd. The government had promised a plane for stunt flying and it arrived during the afternoon and gave a fine performance. At one time it flew over the town showering the crowd with leaflets concerning the Air Force.

Late in the afternoon, one event marred the success of the day when the plane that had been carrying passengers for a ride in the air had to shift its direction, flew too low and became tangled in the wire around the field. Several people in a car along the highway were hurt, but were quickly rushed to the hospital. The crowd was stunned, but when the word began to spread through the crowd that the news from the hospital was good and the accident was not as serious as first thought and the people not critically injured, interest in the evening’s activities revived.

A band concert, featuring
three bands, a dance, and a spectacular fireworks display ended the historic day. Hundreds of set pieces were lighted, the likes of which many in the crowd had never seen before.

It was estimated that at least fifteen thousand people had enjoyed at least some part of the big Victory Celebration.

Mr. Woods’ idea of the cow pasture as a future recreational area had been clearly demonstrated and the bonds passed when the day of the election came. A short time later in 1919, plans for a golf course began to be developed, and the Wellington Golf Club was organized with John T. Stewart as president, Charles F. Martin as vice president, and J. Harris Carr as secretary - treasurer.

Not long afterwards, Mr. Woods succeeded in persuading Lynn Burris to come to Wellington and take over the development of the big park and thus the old cow pasture became a place of beauty and enjoyment for as long as people will continue to take care of it and aid in preserving what those who have gone on, provided for the people of Wellington.

Woods Park—Lovely Summer and; Winter

Roosevelt Park
Wellington, Kans
Happy Day for Harry Woods
When Fred Stone Comes Home
Probably one or the happiest days in Harry Woods’ life occurred on July 11, 1928 when Fred Stone came to Wellington to visit his old home town and renew his boyhood memories.

Flying across the country in his own plane with his personal pilot, en route to California to spend a brief vacation with his equally famous friend Will Rogers, Fred Stone stopped in Wichita to visit relatives and also flew down to Wellington for a day.

The plane landed on the golf links at Roosevelt Park where Gene Rowers, Clyde Stewart and Harry Woods met him with the Rowers automobile and the four men spent several hours touring the old town. Many of the sights that Fred Stone remembered best had disappeared, but a number of buildings along main street were much the same and many old timers he had known as a boy were still here.

The group stopped at Clyde Stewart’s brand new Pine Lodge Tourist Camp at the corner of 15th and A for some picture taking as Orvie Rhea recorded the memorable visit.

Then another stop was made at Wellington’s new Memorial Hall where the townspeople of Wellington had a chance to meet Mr. Stone as the famous actor recounted some of his boyhood life in Wellington. When such an affair had been mentioned to Mr. Stone, he insisted that there be no charge made and that anyone who wished could come into the hall and enjoy his visit.

Begged by the huge audience to dance and show off some of his famous acrobatic skill, Mr. Stone looked down at the tennis-type sneakers he had worn on the plane and then called out to the audience and asked if anyone had a size 8 1/2 shoe. Someone tossed a pair on the stage and the home town saw a performance of head-spinning acts, the likes of which had never been seen in the old Woods Opera House which had once stood just across the street.

It was a wonderful day for Fred Stone, for Wellington and for Harry Woods.


A short time after his visit to Wellington, Fred Stone’s plane crashed in Connecticut and for weeks he lay critically injured with almost every bone in his body broken.

Usually he used a private pilot but on this particular day he had been flying the plane himself.

Fred Stone kept saying after the accident that he was not through yet.

He wasn’t. In 1932 he was back in Wichita performing at the Orpheum Theater in a new play, “Smiling Faces,” with his daughter Paula.

His performance schedule was too tight to allow him time to make another visit to Wellington, but the Wellington Chamber of Commerce sent a huge bouquet of flowers to the theater and many local people saw the play and had a brief visit with the actor afterwards.

Mr. Stone told his old friends that his family would not let him fly any more, but if a fool proof plane was ever invented, he would come flying back to Wellington.

Old Picture Part of Famous Story

Of all the old pictures that have come down to us from Wellington’s early days, none is more interesting than the one taken on July 4th, 1884. Not only is this true because the recovery of the faded dim old print is an example of the skill of modern photography as displayed by Wellington’s Harold Bradley, but especially because, as far as is known, it is the only picture of our most famous citizen when he was a boy here in Wellington.

In the picture, at the left the man on horseback is Capt. L. K. Myers, usually considered the founder of Wellington since he surveyed the townsite on April 4, 1871. On the balcony playing the drum is a man who usually worked in the basement off the Press Block as a barber, Fred Stone’s father, L. P. Stone. In the center, below the band, are the members of the G.A.R. of that time and leaning against the lamp post at the far right are three little boys. The first one is Earl Evans, cousin Of Pawnee Rill, and the second is Fred Stone. The store is on the east side of Washington avenue about where Frazer’s Clothing store is today.

The Stone family lived for a time at 904 West Lincoln and then in the house on the north side of Harvey at G street, across from the present day Lincoln school.

A number of legends have come down to us concerning the
time when Fred Stone lived here and sometimes it is hard to separate truth from fiction. Since both Mr. Woods and Mr. Stone have told the story several times, it is well established that Fred Stone spent many an evening on the fire escape at the back of the Woods Opera House hoping that young Harry Woods who ran the place would let him in to see the last part of the play. Mr. Stone has also described how sometimes when the house was closed and dark, he would sneak in and practice performing on the big stage all alone.

Another story, usually accepted as truth but not entirely verified, was that one day when he did not have money enough to see a circus, he shinnied up to the top of the tent and watched the performance through the hole around the center pole.

It is well established that he frequently turned hand springs in front of Roser’s Jewelry store for pennies and that, having seen tight rope walkers perform, he learned to walk his mother’s clothesline.

Another story, not verified, concerns the day he won a prize by climbing a greased pole because he had filled his pockets full of Kansas dust and the gooey, clayey mess on his hands that resulted from the mixture of grease and dirt aided him in achieving his swift ascent to the top.

Mr. Stone himself has described
how, when he was a boy, his mother baked doughnuts which he carried in a basket down near Slate Creek at the juncture of the Santa Fe and Rock Island tracks and sold them to the passengers when trains stopped at the junction. As soon as the doughnuts were sold, he was off to join the other boys in Slate Creek’s old “high banks”, favorite swimming spot for many boys in past days.

Also, there seems little reason to doubt the fact that on another circus day when Fred Stone challenged the circus owner that he could perform one of the acts better than the scheduled performer, the circus owner took the young lad to his father to discuss that matter and when the circus left town, Fred Stone left too. He has often admitted that in those first years the going was rough and circus performers were pretty much looked-down on.

He had climbed a lot during his days in Wellington but no early climbing could compare to the ascent he made in the following years when he reached the pinnacle of both fortune and fame and was known throughout the land as one of America’s greatest performers in many famous shows, some of which included his daughters Dorothy, Paula and Carol.

In later years, Fred Stone's father lived near the family home on Long Island, New York.

Town had changed, but not the people

Fred Stone
at Pine Lodge
July 11, 1925


Eddie remembered Fred Stone's visit.

Schools: Are for Children
Children Have a Right to an Education

The coming of September always means that it is time for school again and that was as true in the little pioneer town of Wellington in 1871 as it is today. By the time the fall of 1871 had arrived, several small buildings had been completed around the town square and a number of homes had also been finished on the new townsite. Parents now faced the problem of providing an education for their children.

We do not know exactly how many school children there were in Wellington in 1871. Major Randall had brought his daughter and three sons here in July after his wife’s death in Paola. At least two or three of John McCulloch’s children were old enough to go to school. Mrs. D. W. Cooley was caring for eight year old Helen, daughter of Abb Shearman who was also a widower, and Capt. Myers’ daughter Edith was six or seven years old and thus old enough to go to school. There may have been several other children also.

But there was no school.

The A. P. Rounds family were living in a two room, two-story house, 16 by 30 feet, one room on top of the other with a lean-to kitchen, which stood on West Lincoln where the back part of the Baptist church is today. There was an outside stairway to the second floor room which was used to hold court and for similar public purposes.

The parents of the various children agreed to pay Mrs. Cooley a small sum for each child if she would take the children in the Rounds’ house and teach them. Thus a private or subscription school held in a private home came to be Wellington’s first school and Mrs. Cooley, Wellington’s first teacher.

Mr. Cooley had taken out a claim southeast of town where Rosedale is now. The Cooley’s continued to stay in Wellington for a few years and Mrs. Cooley taught again a few months in the fall of 1872. Later they moved to Missouri and then to Oxford, Kansas, where they lived for many years.

In November of 1871, at the first county election, Thomas Mason of Belle Plaine was elected county superintendent of schools and set out riding over the county on his pony, carrying his papers in saddlebags, until he had organized all the 73 school districts.

During the summer of 1872 the first schoolhouse in Wellington was built on the corner of 9th and B streets, a little one-room building painted white. John T. Showalter, who later became a well-known real estate and mortgage agent, was hired to teach the school.

He was assisted by first, Mrs. Cooley and later, Miss Mary Evans, who became Mrs. Will Cox later on.

It has been said that in those early years the prairie grass grew so tall that fathers feared the little children might become lost and so a furrow was plowed across the prairie to the town for the children to follow back and forth to school. It is not known how many pioneer families had moved into the vicinity of Wellington by the winter of 1872, but by judging from the fact that two teachers were hired to teach, it would seem the little one-room school must have been crowded.

The children’s playground around the school had no limit for there were no houses in the area around the school, no busy streets, no cars to watch out for. Some of the land near the school had buffalo wallows and when the spring rains filled them with water, wading was lots of fun.

Hargis Creek was not far away and it is said there was more water in the creek then than now and during the cold winter days the children loved to skate on the creek.

At recess they could roam all over the prairies, picking wild flowers and playing Run! Sheep! Run! Blackman’s Bluff and other old-fashioned games including some more modern games such as baseball.

In the fall of 1873, the SUMNER COUNTY PRESS announced that the committee appointed by the Sumner County School Officers Convention to
select textbooks for use in the common schools of the county for the next five years had held their first meeting.

The October 11 issue of the PRESS listed the books selected and then went on to say: “To the Honorable T. H. Mason, County Superintendent of Public Instruction, We have the honor to recommend the fore-going list of textbooks for use of the common school of Sumner County. We hereby recommend that you correspond with publishing houses and make arrangements by which these books can be furnished to dealers in this county at a uniform price, at introductory prices if possible. Also that you cause this list to be published in several newspapers in this county. We think you might make arrangements with some publishing house to furnish books to one or more agents, in this county thereby saving the profit usually made by dealers here. Signed: L. K. Myers, J. M. Corbin, Gary W. Weeks

“To the School officers of Sumner County: The committee appointed by you at the School Officers Convention held at Belle Plaine Sept 17, 1873, have accomplished the important and responsible duty assigned them. The committee may not have made just such selections as some of us would have done had we been in their places, but they have used good old favorite standard works just such as many of the patrons of our school are already supplied with. Yet it matters (Continued to Page 2, Col. 1)
not so much the kind of books our teachers and pupils use but this uniformity will do more for the advancement of our schools than the best textbooks extant. Notice will be give speedily as possible concerning introductory prices. I would respectfully urge upon the district boards immediate and united action now that this important work may not be left unfinished Signed: Thomas H. Mason, Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The school of Wellington had started on its way to providing a good education for its children.

A little story published on Dec. 11, 1873 in the sumner COUNTY PRESS would probably make any modern teacher gasp and should have warned the parents of the community of problems they would be facing in the near future. “We visited school in this place (Wellington) last Friday afternoon and found the teacher, J. A. Ryland, surrounded by sixty as bright and intelligent boys and girls as any country can afford there are eighty-four pupils enrolled and the average daily attendance is about sixty."

But times were hard. Drouth and grasshoppers had taken a heavy toll and money was hard to come by. The pioneers in Sumner County were more concerned with struggling to survive than with how crowded a one-room school house might be.

It was not until Aug. 1878 that the paper mentioned that the people were considering building a new school that would cost around $10,000.

Early in 1879 the school was finally started. Built of brick on a solid stone foundation in the same location where Lincoln school is today, it was a two-story building which cost the other thousand or two for equipment and furnishings.

As the people of the town saw the tall seventy-five foot cupola towering above the prairies, it was a proud day for Wellington indeed. The huge bell in the tower weighed five hundred and forty pounds and when its clang! clang! boomed out in a land that had been silent for centuries, everyone knew that good education for its children was indeed available in Wellington.

Today portables are a common solution for the overcrowding of public schools, but it may surprise people to learn that Wellington got into the portable business early.

In 1881 two years after the fine new school was completed, it was much too crowded, so the little wooden white school was moved over to Harvey and F from B street and used for additional classroom space.

In 1890 this brick building was condemned and torn down to make room for a much larger school building that would be built in the same location. The little white wooden school was sold to the Episcopal church for $101 and moved to a lot near by and used for church services for some time after that.

New Buildings, New Curricula,

At the end of 1882 the total school indebtedness of Sumner county was $68,402.00. There were 164 organized school districts.

One of those school districts, the third one organized in the county, was about to make an important change that would have a profound influence on for the children of Wellington.

The SUMMER COUNTY PRESS for Nov. 2, 1882 announced the proposed change to its readers, "The principal of the Wellington city schools has established, in addition to the graded school course, a high school course to be taken up by students after they have finished their common school course. This course will consist of three years of study and all the higher branches will be taught. About thirty students have already been admitted to this course, and from the present indications the Wellington High School is an established institution. The students in this course will recite in the school building and prepare their lessons elsewhere. This has been one of Wellington’s necessities for several years and Mr. McClean certainly deserves the thanks of the citizens for making this move in the right direction.”

Such a simple statement to lead to Wellington High School as we know it today!

Many changes would take place in the Wellington educational
system between that first announcement and the public schools of 1971.

In the fall of 1883, thirty pupils entered on the new course. Also that same year a contract for $14,000 was given to Smith and White, architects and builders, to construct a school at 7th and B, the school that in later years came to be known as the First Ward School. It was hoped that the weather would permit the building to be finished by January 1st since additional space was greatly needed to carry out the new high school program.

Three years later in the spring of 1886, the first graduating class was ready to leave Wellington High School. The Commencement exercises were held in Woods Opera House and the hall was crowded from pit to gallery. When the curtain rose at 8:45, seated on the stage were Professor Jay, several lady teachers, the Board of Education and their wives and the six members of the first graduating class, each of whom was required to deliver an oration before receiving a diploma. Miss Blanche Snell gave the salutation and explained the purpose of hardship and sorrow in life for her oration. Fred Bohanna’s speech dealt with the power of the Press, while Morgan Martin, later to become for many years one of Wellington’s prominent doctors, chose to discuss. Parasites and the harm they do. Fred Buttrey
traced the progress of civilization from central Asia to the western plains and Lyman Edwards spoke with spirit on Patriotism. He was followed by Miss Louise Simmons, the valedictorian, who chose as her topic, “What Can We Do” and gave an earnest plea for more opportunities for women, probably the first “Woman’s Lib” ever given in Wellington. The president of the Board, Mr. E. Barrett then handed each graduate his diploma and thus began the long, long line of high school graduates that have marched out of Wellington’s high school from that day in 1886 until now.

In 1890, the brick building at Harvey and F was condemned and the next year the splendid new building of Augusta limestone, that many old timers remember as Third Ward, took its place, a three story building that would serve both as an elementary school and high school, later as a junior high and then an elementary school again.

Some people will remember climbing all the stairs to the big auditorium on the third floor that was used so often for plays, concerts, and programs of every type. Others may recall the childish daring when they summoned courage to try cut for the first time the bold experiment of sliding round and round in the black abyss of that towering circular fire escape on the south side of the building. But probably the thing most people remember best are the lovely hard maples, so dear to the hearts of Wellington's people that when the contract for the present Lincoln school was made, it included a provision that the contractor was to make sure that no harm was done to the trees in the course of constructing the building.

The boom years of 1885 and 1886 brought such great crowding that a large red brick building was built at the corner of 12th and Chesnut now called
In 1872 the Kansas school laws stated that sections 16 and 36 in each township were to be set aside for the exclusive use of the common schools. At one time there were 202 school districts in Sumner county. By 1930 the number had been reduced to 150 and those districts
were working to achieve a rating of “standard school”. In 1957 there were only 64 school districts in the county. Today since the Unification Act of 1963 there are 6 school districts plus South Haven which was unified under a special law.
Olive) streets.

In 1897 Ed Hackney, representative from this district to the legislature, introduced a bill that was to create a great deal of political discussion, but eventually the bill passed and the Wellington High School thereby became the Sumner County High School. The county leased from the Wellington School Board, the building on 12th street, previously called Fourth Ward, and converted it to high school purposes.

In 1892 the First Ward building was destroyed by the cyclone but a new building was rebuilt on the same spot.

In 1886 the first 5th Ward school building was built which was replaced with a new one in 1916. In 1909 the 4th and 2nd Ward buildings were added to the system. Today all three buildings have been torn down and the land converted to playgrounds to give in a small way to modern children the freedom to run that the prairies once provided pioneer children.

Overcrowding in the north end of town added Washington school to the system and after World War II the 1st and 3rd Ward, buildings were replaced with the present day Lincoln and Roosevelt schools.

Redistricting, the doing away with small rural districts, changes in methods of teaching and goals in education finally brought about the Eisenhower and Kennedy school which opened in September 1970.

Similar changes took place
on the secondary level. Sumner County High School became Wellington High School again in 1921. In 1929 the high school students moved into the new building on North A and a couple of years later the Junior High was moved from the old 3rd Ward building to the new building on North A also to take advantage of the constantly increasing number of teachers who were specialists in one particular field.

The two upper levels were separated again when the new senior high building was opened in the fall of 1961.

It may be interesting to note that by the time Wellington’s 100th birthday arrived, there are perhaps three or four times as many teachers as there were pupils in that first little school on B street, and instead of being concerned with textbooks that are “old favorite standard works”, today schools are supplied with a great variety of changing materials and a multitude of complicated machines of many types plus all sorts of innovative methods to motivate learning.

One wishes somehow that we could find some way to give back to the children to today the sheer joy that was the privilege of the prairie children as they ran across the tall waving grass to join the other children in the little one-room school and the wonderful freedom after a day’s learning as they set out to explore the whole big out-of-doors.

The young ladies in the home economics class of Sumner County High School in 1914 learned proper decorum and how to serve a formal dinner in addition to cooking.

Seated at the table are Fay Smith (Clarkson), Viola Carrothers, Ruth Barner (Leinhardt) and Mollie Harbaugh. The waitress is Ethel Thraillkill.



Teachers Are Important

Now days it is not at all uncommon to hear teachers talk about Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and going to summer school.

A century ago a high school education was considered sufficient training for a teacher, but each year the teacher had to demonstrate how much knowledge he or she had by taking a series of rigorous tests which were graded numerically and then the teacher received his or her classification according to the test score made.

Each summer in every county for two or three weeks before the examinations, teachers attended Normal Institute to prepare.

In August of 1875, the first Sumner County Normal Institute was held in the Old Stone Courthouse under the direction of John P. Jones, at that time county superintendent of schools. Fifty prospective teachers attended, most of them young ladies.

In 1937, according to a little
item in the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS, four of those early day fifty teachers were still living. Allie DeArmand who married Abb Shearman was living in Artesia, New Mexico; Leila Aldrich, later Mrs. I. N. King, still lived in Wellington; Charlotte (Lottie) Wells married one of Wellington’s founders, John S. McMahan and lived at that time in Kiowa; and Charles Morse, who married Emma DeArmand, made his home in Salt Lake City.

Normals continued to be held almost every year until some time between the first and second World Wars but gradually they became teachers’ meeting to take care of the routine of operating a school rather than cram courses to pass tests for permission to teach. Probably the teachers’ meetings that every school system has at the beginning of the year are an outgrowth off the old-fashioned Normal Institute which was held each summer.

In January 1929 the high school students moved from the old high school on North Olive to the new Wellington High
School on North A. For a number of years the building was used for a combined junior-senior high school and in 1961 the
upper three grades were moved to a new building and the 1929 building became Wellington Junior High School.

Sports Play an Important Role
In the Development of Wellington
Then, As Now— Wellington
Was a Lively Sports Town

Authorities were ready to blow the whistle on high school football in Wellington about as soon as it started. There were no player eligibility requirements, too many serious injuries, little organization and no provision for meeting expenses.

The Monitor-Press of Dec. 5, 1895 relates details of a Thanksgiving day game with Harper that was called with sixteen minutes to go because so many Harper players had been carried off the field there were not enough left to continue. “The unfortunate termination of the
game has dampened the enthusiasm for the game locally, and football in Wellington is under a ban at present.”

But the powers must have relented for in the following season the Thanksgiving series with Arkansas City that lasted for many years was inaugurated.

Earlier finances had reared its ugly head in negotiations with Winfield for a game. When the high school eleven attempted to schedule a match with Winfield, the Winfield manager refused to make arrangements
for travel expenses to and from Winfield and added insult to injury with the demand that the players pay admission to the grounds. Then if enough tickets were sold Wellington would be given part of the money.

Word was sent back to Winfield that the boys would not do business on that basis so the game was indefinitely postponed.

But a game was played with Arkansas City about the same
time. Pete Burcham, one of Wellington’s all-time great fullbacks, carried the ball on nearly every play and usually gained two or three yards. He suffered a knee injury in the game which he carried with him all the rest of his life. The Ark city fans surprised him by sending over $21 they had collected to help pay his medical expenses, and the Ark City manager expressed regret for the accident and good wishes for Pete’s speedy recovery.

Earlier this year we asked the people of Wellington to help us recall the names of former coaches and athletes. The response was very small; apparently Wellington has had too many athletes even to attempt to single out a few. But here are some of the names that were sent in:

Coaches — Wilbur Doty, Norval Neve, John Floyd, Monk
Edwards, Jim Hooten, Ducky White and Marvin Vandeveer.

Players — Sumner Roberts, Fred Stemas, Butch Rose, Harold Rogers, Chris Chapin, Mike Payne, Frank Cornejo, Dink McEachern, Ernie Barrett, Gene Merryman, Alex Graham, Pete Burcham, Bob Dare, Charles Rogers, Dett Merryman, Claude Whitfield, Joe Seay and Marvin Landes.

1970 ELKS National Ritual Champions
State Class 3-A Football Champions
1970 Babe Ruth World Series
State Golf Champions


The question about who were the best athlete and coach will stir memories of Wellington’s past heroes and the name, Merryman, will immediately rise. When old timers talk about sports from the perspective of half or more of the town’s 100 years, they will also probably conclude that it was and is an unusually lively sports town. The writer belonged to the 30's, class of ‘34 to be exact, and has little knowledge of sports since then except that Clearly the greatest players and teams came in the last three decades.

But there were colorful athletes in the 20’s and 30’s. The Merrymans were legendary. Burdett “Dett” Merryman was a great all sport star and he made a big name in the early years of the Ark Valley League, which Wellington joined with El Dorado in the 1920’s. I remember my brother James telling excitedly that Dett had made something like 150 yards from scrimmage in a game. That was like a Red Grange those days.

Many old sports fan will say without hesitation that Gene was the greatest Merryman of them all. Gene preceded Dett and broke track records with his speed and he was amazing when he had a football under his arm. I recall one Sunday seeing Gene play for Wellington Santa Fe Railroad Apprentice team. How I, when I was just a little kid, got down to Community Park on Sunday afternoon I don’t know, but my memory of Gene that day will never leave me. With incredible dash, shiftiness and stiff arm, he zig-zagged down the field and across the goal. The entire opposing eleven had two good shots at him but he sailed right through. Another Merryman of great promise was Lindell, but he died before his high school years. Harold Merryman played on Wellington teams and Earl Merryman later managed the Wellington Dukes baseball team.

There were other good football players in the 20’s. I remember the Grant twins, Warren and Walter. The latter was an exceptional punter. Gerald Kelso was an All Valley tackle. Everett Baumgartner, Tom Claytor, Flip McCormick, and Snow Johnson were some of the others I remember.

In the late 20’s it was a special treat for some of the masculine fans to go out on the field at half time and hear Coach Doty talk to the team. Coach Doty would put on quite a dramatic show with his pep talk and his scolding as the team lay on the ground battered, dirty, torn but ever so heroic. At the end of the session there would be a wild shout from the team and the fans circled around them and everyone would go into the second half, convinced that the Crusader
spirit was magically revived. We were unconquerable, player, man and boy.

The grid teams of the ‘20’s were fairly good but were not champs. The games were first played on a field north of the old high school on North Popular before they moved to Sellers Park, which in those days was dust and mud at the south end due to its use for baseball.

Some believe that Ducky White was the best coach that Wellington ever had. He was quite an athlete himself and later a grocer and Mayor of Wellington. He was followed by “Swede” Dalbom who had been a Southwestern star. After Dalbom left, Wellington had Doty, Otto Kliewer and then Harold Hunt. Hunt was followed by Dan Emrich, Monk Edwards and Norval Neve. During the ‘30’s and ‘40’s Wellington became tops in the Ark Valley football. Those were great years. I’ll probably forget a few of the important players but there were the Denny brothers, Ed and Don; Mose Belshe, Marvin and Ed Vandeveer, Junior Aldrich, Leon Langley, Bill Beeson, Floyd Slack. Then were was Gail Clark, and Morris Gile.

But the Crusaders did not always shine. Fans will remember the first night game when the big lights were turned for the first time and Wellington played Argonia, little old Argonia. Big Deal! Only Argonia, a bunch of tough farmers, beat the Crusaders 28 to 0.

Another never-to-be-forgotten memory of those exciting days is the memory of the long Santa Fe special trains that hauled fans to the various towns in the Ark Valley for games. Crammed to the last inch of space, riding the train back and forth to the games was a thrill that unfortunately has disappeared from history forever. On the first such train the team rode in a special car, but the coaches decided the excitement and late arrival was not good and so after that, the team had their own transportation.

Once Wellington played basketball in the old Sumner County High School cracker-box gym and then the games were moved to the huge Memorial Auditorium. Many names of former stars come back to memory — Carson, Tooley, Whitacre, Shriver, Carrol Greer, and Walker. Then there was Charlie Rogers, Claude Whitfield, Joe Byler, Jake McDonald.

The Twilight baseball games were an important part of life in those days and so were the Packard-Hyten teams which won several championships.

My favorite ball player was Carl Spence, For twenty years or longer Carl played in the Twilight League and for the Dukes with the dedication of a player in the 7th game of the World Series.

In 1920 Wellington High’s football team was unusually heavy and unusually strong as volunteers in World War I returned to finish the schooling they had so abruptly left.

Today the symbol of the Wellington High School is a Crusader head, but in the old Sumner County High days, it was Lige, the Alligator, and the students had a real live alligator for a mascot.

Lige was born in the Nermentauk river near Jennings, Louisiana. He was captured by C. A. Richardson, a former student of SCHS in 1905 when he was five years old and three feet long. By 1909 at eleven years of age he had grown to four feet. During the winter he stayed in the high school basement and was fed crawfish, frogs or beefsteak once a week, one feeding a week was all the alligator needed.

During Christmas vacation in 1917, the severe weather proved too much for him and he froze to death. Mr. C. E. Johnson, science teacher mounted him and he continued on exhibit at the high school for some time. Today old Lige may be seen at the Chisholm Trail Museum.

THE SUMNER COUNTY FOOTBALL TEAM, 1919 Just after the end of World War I, only 17 boys came out for football that year. Back row: Dave Neptune, Ellis Braughn,
Swede Murrell, Zip Kice, Wayne Crouse, Chet Tooley, Clif Carson.
Middle row: Marion Malone, Everett Baumgartner, Coach W. P. White, James Whitacre,
Front row: Leo Malone, Kenny Johnson, Owen Rider, Kent Snare, Burns King.

Sumner County High’s Girls’ Basketball team won the championship at the Southwestern Inter-state meet, March 1919. Front row: Murlie Franklin, Ilomay Bailey, Elvis Whitten. Middle row: Alva Moss, Ruth McKowen, Eunice DeVaney, Josphine Rogers. Back row: Coach W. P. White, Charlotte Neptune, Willisene Pilant, Nan Wade, Mrs. W. P. White

WJHS CAGE TEAM of 1923 -Back in the early 1930s Wellington Junior High had an outstanding basketball team playing in what then was the O-K League (Oklahoma-Kansas), teams from Winfield, Arkansas City, Blackwell, Ponca City, Chilocco. The team drew capacity crowds to the Memorial Auditorium where games were played at that time. Claire Markley of Belle Plaine was the coach. Pictured is the 1923 team: back row left to right: unidentified, Harold McDonald, Kenneth Rankin, Coach Markley, Herald Jones. Front row left to right “Cotton” Mosby, Herschel Baker, Gene Merryman, Glenn Holt.

Mar. 17, 1947, Wellington Daily News
Hail WHS Crusaders! State Class AA Basketball Champions Wellington today proudly hails and honors her fighting Crusaders, Class AA State Basketball champions — Donald
Raine, Gerald Rogers, Buddy Tomlins, Jack Templton, Ernie Barrett, Harold Rogers, Eddie Howell, Jerry Wilson, Jerry Smith, Warren Arnspiger and Coach John Floyd.
Harold Rogers and Ernie Barrett were selected on the all-state team.

Babe Ruth Tournament of Champions
From August 12 to August 20, 1970 Wellington experienced without doubt the biggest sports thrill in the whole one hundred years of her history — the Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament of CHAMPIONS.
Teams came to the tournament from Yuma, Arizona; Stamford, Conn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Prince George, Maryland; San Gabriel, California; Brookfield Ill., and Holland.

Among the distinguished visitors were Lefty Gomez and Mrs. Babe Ruth.

Various visiting teams soon had Wellington supporters who were happy or sad when San Gabriel finally won the tournament depending on which individual team happened to have
won the local person’s allegiance.

Wellington players in the tournament were Jim Bert, Steve Oliver, Bill Thompson, Mike Glasco, Danny Sawyer, Ryan Phillips, Anthony Leddy, Terry Rader, Phillip Turnis, Bradley Bennett, Gale Engels, Larry Warner, Kevin Marks, Fred Stoot, Steve Gragg, Larry Rader, Kent Worth, Kent Nugen, and Coaches Sam Cornejo and Ron Reed and Manager Dale Crouch.


Other Baseball Teams

Wellington Has Had Many Baseball Teams

Interest in baseball is nothing new in Wellington. The history of baseball in Wellington goes back a long time and includes many different teams and types of teams.

1886 — Wellington Browns; 1891 — Wellington Maroons; 1908 — Wellington Grays; 1909 — Twilight League composed of the Methodist Sunday School, Courthouse, Merchants’ Delivery and the Millers.

In 1921 the first All-Negro team was formed and at first was called the Red Sox and later the Yellow Jackets; and from around 1920 into the 1930’s the Wellington Dukes provided much interest during the summer baseball season. One of the town’s most picturesque players was Lee Watkins; tall and broad-shouldered, he hit many home runs and had a high batting average. Each spring he would gather his Yellow Jackets together and prove himself a great manager.

During one of the depression years, Lee brought into town three outstanding negro players, a pitcher named Peterson who threw a fast ball, a catcher who was a talented clown, a real stunt man, and a huge short stop who could hit the ball clear out of the park.

There used to be a lot of fine “farmer” players too, especially from down around Perth — the Stovers, the Wilsons, the McEacherns, a Valdois and Frank Whitten.

And Bryan Packard did a lot for baseball in Wellington. The Packard- Hyten Ford Motor company had a championship team for three years. Some of the well-known players that will be remembered are Darle Robinson, Norman Ehlers, J. B. McGillicuddy, Herman Graves, Joe Byler, Bryan Packard, Vayne Hinshaw, Clarence Munro Babe Mosby, Marion Downen, John Owens, Merle Shannon, R. D. Brown, and Carl Fetters.

The Ford company also had a championship soft ball team — Harley Hyten, E. B. Bernard, Salty Mountz, Frank Dwyer, Carroll Merrick, R. D. Brown, John Prather, Marion Downen, Ethridge Willis and Bryan Packard.

In August 1970 Cleve Reed, 1969 Wellington High graduate, earned an All-State Tournament Certificate of Merit from the National Baseball Congress at the Oklahoma State Tournament for semi-pro teams.

Sept. 18, 1885, Sumner County Press

Another polo team has been organized with the following members — Frank Owens, captain of the club, and Ralph Folks, business manager. The members are well known around town by the following letters — Frank Owens, Ralph Guthrie, F. G. Savage, Fred McMillen, Will Bear, Charlie White and Same Garnell. All are good skaters and should play a strong game, the team will be known as the “Monograms”.




From the Wellington Daily News, Dec. 29, 1945

Gene Bowers is curious and properly confused. On Christmas eve a man dressed as Santa Claus visited his household, wished all a “Merry Christmas”, carried on a bright and friendly conversation and then moved on without revealing his identity. The same voice and figure had appeared at other Christmas eves in recent years, and while the voice sounds familiar, no member of the family can definitely place him. Gene is becoming quite curious about the visitor and wanders if he calls at other homes. Anyway Gene says he appreciated the call and wishes the unknown Santa Claus to know that the visits are appreciated. (Note Santa did call at other homes, but as far as is known
was never identified.)

New Years Reception

1888 — Jan. 5, The Sumner County Press The New Year’s RECEPTION

We do not know who is entitled to the credit of conceiving the idea of celebrating New Year's by tendering a public reception to the ladies of this city but it was a most happy one.

The preparations began by the signing, of a paper by the gentlemen who would attend, as the affair on the grand scale that was proposed would cost quite a sum of money. Certain it is that the preparations were most complete, and we have heard nothing but praise since for an excellent manner with which the gentlemen bore themselves throughout. Over a hundred gentlemen took part, and the ladies flocked to the Woods Opera House by the scores. They found the hall beautifully and tastefully decorated and arranged for their comfort and convenience. The seats had been removed and the floor covered with canvas. The floors were decorated with beautiful carpets and rugs, and fine furniture and pictures were artistically placed so as to give the large room the appearance of a large parlor. The ladies found also a delicious supper awaiting them composed of the best meats, game, salads, relishes, pastries, fruits and candies.

The fine toilettes of the ladies were a noticeable feature of the occasion.

Wellington ladies display unusual good taste in dressing for such an occasion many of the costumes were pronounced as fine as are seen in the large cities.

The New Year’s reception was an incident in the social life of this city which will long be remembered because of its novelty and because of the complete success in every particular. As a departure from the old-style and wearisome New Year’s calls, it was a refreshing innovation. Young and old, gay and sedate mingled together in happy hours of enjoyment, and the parting came only too soon. We venture that a proposition for another such reception by the gallant Wellington gentlemen will meet with universal favor among the ladies and the pleasing expression of delight and surprises from the
latter heard in all parts of the throng that night will be an incentive for the gentlemen to try again.

We hear the New Year’s reception cost each gentleman $6.00.

1873 Oct. 9, The Sumner County Press

A party consisting of three ladies and an equal number of gentlemen, returning from the party at Mr. Foreacre’s Tuesday night, surprised Jake Allen at his bachelor residence, on his farm just south of town, by a call and demand for the wherewithal to satisfy the craving of appetite sharpened by several hours of terpsichorean exercise. Jake was equal to the emergency and served the party mush and milk, twelve quarts of which were consumed at one sitting. This we have on the authority of one who was present.


1904 - Jan. 20, The Wellington Daily News


Probably the most elaborate and costly of all the social functions ever given in Wellington was the one given last night by George H. Hunter and his daughter, Miss Edna. At the party last night there were forty guests, most of them being members of the Congregational Church.

The dinner was in seven courses and most elaborate. A caterer from Kansas City was in charge. The decorations were in charge of a Wichita decorator and electrician, and to say they were beautiful hardly furnishes an idea of the appearance of the Hunter home last night. The guests spent a most delightful evening.

A Grand Christmas Ball

A Christmas ball and supper will be given at the Moreland house in this city on Wednesday evening, Dec. 24th. Preparations are being made to make it one of the most successful affairs of the kind ever held in Sumner county. Good music has been secured and no effort will be spared by the proprietors of the Moreland House to insure the comfort of their guests on that occasion.

The ball and supper promises to be a grand affair. Nearly everybody will attend. Tickets only $2.00 per couple.

Early Day Wedding

On May 5, 1878 Henry Garrity married Mary Ann Moran
and settled on homesteaded land in Jackson Township. Today there are 152 grandchildren
and great grandchildren, many of whom still live in Sumner County.

Sumner — Banner County of the Nation

LAND — rich, fertile land

LAND—in a state now ten years old, thriving, prosperous

LAND—a bit of land for their own LAND—to make a home, to build a future

LAND—that was why they came

In those first years many who came had served in the War between the States. Used to travelling over countless miles of country and with little to keep them home, they followed the vision of the prairies and the dream of land for their own.

Later it was the advertisements that drew them — the railroads who urged emigrants to move into the promising new territory recently opened for settlement; and the real estate agents, who wrote in glowing terms of the fertility of Sumner county soil, the fine sturdy, devout people who had already come to seek fame and fortune, the schools, the churches, the thriving towns, markets for produce and manufactured goods. Pamphlets flooded the East and many believed and came.

In the hard times that followed the great influx of emigrants, some left but most stayed.

LAND — rich, fertile land to make a home!
It was not a dream; it was reality.
Wheat fields, mills, oil, roads and highways, produce and manufactured goods, thriving cities and flourishing farms.
LAND — a bit of land for their own.

First Farmers Endured Hardships And Experimented With Many Crops
Some Think Grasshoppers Did lt
After Trying Corn and Cotton Farmers Began Turning to Wheat

No one has ever written a complete account of what farming was like during the first years of Sumner County’s history compiling items excerpted from the newspapers of those early days, it is possible to learn a little about the that time.

The first farming operations, breaking the sod, commenced in May of 1871. The first quarter section of land was proved up on July 18, 1871. By the end of the year 73 claims comprising 11,386 acres had been proven up.

The wee bits of news from the Wellington Banner and the early issues of the Sumner County Press are disconnected and in themselves inconsequential, but the total composite give a fairly good picture of the prevailing agricultural practices. One soon comes to the conclusion that almost as soon as a settler arrived, he started planting and apparently, being totally unfamiliar with the climate and soil of the area, the new settler tried to grow whatever he would have grown in the place from which he came.

In those first days of Sumner County, the newspapers recorded almost every crop a person can think of. The present day wheat fields of Sumner County once were planted with cotton, tobacco, corn, Irish potatoes and many other crops no longer commonly grown here.

In 1875 George Armstrong introduced a totally new crop into Sumner County, the crop known today as alfalfa. He first became acquainted with the plant in California where it was called ‘‘Chili-clover” because it had been brought to the United States from Chile, South America.

In October of 1872 the editor of the Banner felt an urge to give the farmers some advice. There are comparative few of our farmers that seem to properly appreciate Fall plowing for Spring crops. The advantage of Fall plowing by actual experience is found to be so great that it ought to become a common practice. Not long since we were shown a field of corn, part of which was plowed in the Fall and the balance in the Spring. The whole field was planted in one day and it all received the same attention in the way of cultivation. The difference can be seen to the very row. The part that was plowed in the Fall will yield at least twenty bushels more to the acre
than the Spring plowing. Now allowing corn to be worth twenty-five cents per bushel, the gain by Fall plowing will be five dollars. We were shown a piece of oats where the difference was still greater. We do not profess to know as much about farming as Horace Greeley, but we feel certain that a farmer having twenty acres deeply plowed in the Fall will reap as much as forty acres plowed in the Spring. Farmers should try it.”

A year later in September 1873 the farmers commenced taking care of their castor bean crop. The yield was large and should prove a profitable crop. Cotton picking had commenced. About three hundred acres were planted in cotton in the county that year; some fields would yield well.

At the same time a committee was appointed by farmers around South Haven to meet with the farmers of Sumner Township to form a Farmers Party. In Wellington the streets were full of teams every day the week past because it was the only place in Sumner County where farmers could get cash for corn and other grains. Again the newspaper felt moved to give advice to the farmers of the area:

“In travelling over the county I find many families who are discouraged and want to sell their land and go elsewhere. Some of them have lost their teams and are without means to buy. Others have expended the money they brought with them, and, not having raised sufficient crops to sustain them, find themselves in straightened circumstances. Still others, having borrowed money at high rates of interest, cannot satisfy the mortgage on their homes. Such difficulties are enough to dishearten brave men, but the flight should not be given up. We have full confidence that in the near future a brighter season will be ours. We believe our county has passed the severest ordeal and that renewed effort should be put forth to retain our homes.”

A month later more advice was given to farmers under the heading “Is Stock Raising a Failure?” The article went on to say that many men engaged in raising cattle were going out of business for the reason that there was little or no profit in it at present. After paying interest money and the expense of
herding, plus the tax levied in every school district— mainly by men who had neither property or cattle — there was nothing left. A large number of men along Slate Creek, including Messrs. Jordan, McCulloch, McMahan, Brodbent, Loofbourrow, the Pilcher brothers, who the year before had large herds, have either left the county or have engaged in other occupations. This was very serious because no farming country could become wealthy without stock. The paper concluded by saying that the “only remedy will be to be more careful in voting heavy taxes and in giving capital the encouragement to stay here instead off driving it away.”

Somehow the advice recorded in the paper seems to have a very modern sound!

At the same time the outlook was not completely dark. At the Press Office local farmers were bringing in produce to be used for Sumner County’s exhibit at the State Fair — corn stocks and sorghum of amazing length, oats, castor beans, big pumpkins, a few fruit trees, a litter of pigs, a twelve pound beet “that beats all beets except dead-beats”, an ear of corn that weighed one pound and ten ounces, a Poland China pig four and a half months old that was a “little beauty”, a 21 1/2 inch turnip that weighed nine pounds.

When the State Fair was over, Sumner County had covered herself with honor. The Berkshire pigs won first prize; the corn was the best in the whole state; the stock won sweepstakes, and there were many other awards. The exhibits would be sent on to St. Louis and Chicago to win further honors for Sumner County. C. S. Brodbent, chairman of the committee on state exhibitions, assured the readers of the Sumner County Press that soon hundreds of men would visit the county because of what they had seen and heard at the State Fair.

In a new county, that ten years later in 1882, still had 15,480 acres of public lands open to settlement, one could easily guess that the newspaper might think it fitting to exaggerate at least somewhat the successes of the county.

Does it seem a little strange, though, that, in reporting the glorious agricultural successes, never once did the paper use the word “wheat”?

On July 4, 1872, V. Bussard and his son finished harvesting the first crop off wheat raised in Sumner County, 250 bushels.

In 1876 the county had 30,202 acres of winter wheat and according to the Sumner County Press, that was an increase over the previous year of nearly 100 per cent. Two years later the county ranked the 5th wheat growing county in the whole state.

At that time a familiar modern problem began to harass the farmers of Sumner County. The Sumner County Democrat, newly established rival to the Sumner County Press, called it the “Wheat blockade” and announced that sixty cars a day were necessary to remove the wheat to market. Every elevator was overflowing. The city was full of teams and wagons loaded with wheat and no one was buying. The Santa Fe Railroad had purchased 500 additional freight cars at a cost of $300,000 and was “moving heaven and earth to accommodate the trade”.

Meanwhile Cowley County and eastern Sumner farmers were hauling their wheat clear to Independence where they could get better rates and prompt shipment. What Sumner County’s wheat farmers needed, according to the Democrat, was another railroad direct to St. Louis.

Thus in less than ten years Sumner County moved from corn, tobacco, cotton, turnips and peanuts for hogs to wheat and the resulting shortage of railroad cars. Records of that time show 3000 bushels of wheat and 23,800 off corn produced in
1874. Two years later the wheat yield had increased tenfold to 30,000 bushels.

Some people think the grasshoppers did it. When they came in 1874, the wheat had been harvested, but the herds of grasshoppers devoured all the corn and other green vegetation.

On August 1, 1881, G. F. Hargis, owner of the Aetna mill, purchased wheat at $1.00 a bushel, the first dollar wheat ever purchased in Sumner County.

By the 1890’s the county felt impelled to advertise its success in agriculture to the rest of the country. In 1890 the Rock Island started out a special train of 25 gaily decorated cars, with a flag-waving Clem Spruance riding on top, to carry Sumner County stock to Chicago.

Two years later in 1892, a Missouri Pacific train made up of one passenger car, an engine and caboose and twenty-five cars of wheat, carried the virtues of Sumner County all the way to New Orleans by way of Kansas City. The nine flag-waving, speech - making citizens who accompanied the train included S. Dixon, Alex Gigoux, L. A. Salter, W. G. McGee, J. F. Miller and George Linn, of Argonia and C. A. Gambrill, James A. Ray and Ret Millard of Wellington. The train ran only during the daylight hours and stopped frequently at all the towns along the way for Mr. Gambrill and Mr. Millard to distribute all the advertising matter with which they were very liberally supplied.

Thus did Sumner County start the upward track toward becoming the banner wheat county of the nation.

Early Day Soil improvements

A letter found in an old file gives a picture of soil improvement practices in the days before scientific farming.

The letter bears the heading GOOD ROAD ASSOCIATION, Kansas City and is dated October 3, 1916 and was addressed to a Mr. L. L. of South Haven, Kansas. It reads as follows: “We are glad to correct the lease by giving you credit upon same for the amount paid by Mr. F------ covering the time from Aug. 1, 1916 to Sept. 1916. We beg pardon for this oversight and stand ready always to make things right. Father did not think when writing out the lease about this extra payment.

“How are you getting along with wheat sowing? Have you about finished? Is the soil in good order for sowing?

Land Could Be 'Preempted' or Homesteaded
Two confusing words are frequently used in connection with the settlement of Sumner county “preempted” and “homesteaded”.

For many years after the opening of the West, FREE LAND or FREE SOIL was a widely argued political issue in the United States. In 1841 Congress passed the Preemption Act which permitted settlers to locate 160 acres in lands that were part of the public domain and after six months’ residence, purchase it for $1.25 per acre.

All! during the 1850’s free land continued to be a political issue. In 1852 a bill providing for the distribution of free land was defeated in Congress, and in 1860 another such bill was vetoed by President Buchanan.

Finally on February 13, 1862, the United States Congress passed a law that, as such laws usually are, was wordy and complicated with a number of different sections and many “if’s” and “Provided That’s”. But simply stated it provided that any man who had served honorably for ninety days in the War between the States and had remained loyal to the government, could secure a homestead of 160 acres on lands that were at that time part of the public domain. Having located his claim, he must commence settlement and improvement within six months and must reside there for five years. However he could subtract the time he served in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, or if discharged because of wounds, he could subtract the whole period of his enlistment from the time of residence needed to secure title to the land. As a result of the 1841 and the 1862 acts, it appears that a settler could reside on his claim for five years with no payment or one year with the payment of the $1.25 per acre. Regardless of this various and sundry provisions of the various land acts, most settlers who came into Sumner county seem to have resided on the land for six months to a year and then by paying $1.25 per acre, became the official owner of the land.

Because of the two laws with varying provisions, often times there was a good deal of confusion concerning the ownership of public lands, but in Summer county the word preempted is much used for early claims and the word homesteaded seems not to have become common usage until later on. Some people think that it became the custom to use the word preempted for a claim taken out in Sumner county before
the legal survey in 1872 and the word homesteaded was used after the legal survey of 1872. Actually however preempted should have been used for land taken under the provisions of the 1841 act and homesteaded for land taken under the 1862 act. The confusion of terms was probably increased not only because of the provisions of the two separate acts but also by the provision of allowing time needed to establish a claim to be shortened by the term of service in the war between the States. Most of the early settlers in Sumner county, regardless of the word used apparently lived on their land from six months to a year and then paid $1.25 per acre.

Today $200.00 to buy a good Sumner county farm would be a bargain indeed, but in the early 1870’s, to secure a claim in the boundless fields of tall waving grass, to haul wood many miles to build some sort of habitation, to live in the unbroken prairie for a year and then to try to find the money to pay the government fee took courage indeed.

Unfortunately as the West developed and life became easier on the prairies, preemption was used more and more by dishonest land speculators so finally in 1891 Congress repealed the Preemption Act and henceforth a homesteader must live on his land for a full five years before he could establish his ownership.


Unknown Early Pioneer Farm Family

Land Ownership Changed Hands Fast in 1871

The first land title recorded in Sumner County is found on Page One of Deed Record “A” in the office of the register of deeds at the courthouse, according to a letter written by D N. Caldwell, Wellington’s first mayor and well known early day lawyer, to the Wellington Daily News on October 26, 1937. Mr. Caldwell goes on to explain:

“This first land title is the land office receiver’s receipt and reads as follows — No. 1009 Receiver’s Office at Augusta, 25 September 1871. Received from Daniel Chesnut of Sumner County Kansas, the sum of two hundred dollars and no cents, being in full for the
northwest quarter of Section No. 8 in Township 32, Range No. 1 West, containing 160 acres and no hundreds at $1.25. Osage Indian Lands, Under Act 15, July 1870. W. A. Shannon, Receiver $200.

“Following this record on the same page is a deed from Daniel Chesnut and Mary E. Chesnut, his wife, to C. J. Barlow of Michigan for the $800.00 dated September 26, 1871, being the next day after Chesnut proved up the land. The land in question now adjoins the Wellington oil field.


“The first mortgage placed on record in Sumner County bears the date of November 22, 1871. It was made by Marion Franklin of Sumner County, Kansas, to James R. Coffman of Clinton county, Missouri. The mortgage was for the sum of $281.37 1/2 — on E 1/2 of S.E. Sec. 23 and Lot 4 and 5 of Sec. 24 in Township 31 S, Range 2 East.”
EMIGRANT CAR -- Above is a reproduced copy of an original weigh-bill of an ‘Emigrant Car’ for Samuel Felt dated Feb. 4 1893, which contained 10 head of
horses and household items. Total weight was 20,000
for which a charge of $62 was marked paid from Ferris, Illinois to the Rome, Kansas station. The weigh-bill was signed by Perry Miller.

The First Vacation Trip In Sumner County ...
What did Wellington and Sumner County really look like in the summer of 1871? Fortunately for us, three men from Belle Plaine decided to take a little vacation trip in August of 1871.

Of course the fact that they took such a trip would be of little importance except for the fact that Col. H. C. St. Clair of Belle Plaine put down in words what they saw and published it under the title “On the Wing" in the SUMNER COUNTY HERALD, printed in Belle Plaine on August 14, 1871 probably one of the first newspapers ever printed in Sumner County.

Come travel with Colt St Clair and his three friends— W. P. Hackney, J. L. Kellogg and George A. Hamilton, and see what they, saw exactly one hundred years ago in August 1871.

“Messrs. Hackney, Hamilton, Kellogg and myself started out on the 10th on a trip over the county. After crossing the Ninnescah south of town, we loaded our express with melons at Berry’s. We crossed the divide to the Slate Creek valley, found good land and some few settlers trying to improve their claims and make homes.

“We arrived in Wellington about noon, where we stopped to wood and water. Wellington has a fine location, on the table land or second bottom, one mile north of the creek, and contains eight houses of medium quality, two fair stocks of goods and a good class of citizens, who mean business.

"They have a good well of water on the square. As soon as the county settles up, the town will make quite a business place. Here we found the county commissioners had been in session several days, organizing the county. The two commissioners had appointed Richards as the third commissioner, and Godfrey, clerk, to fill vacancies. They will soon complete districting the county for voting purposes.

“We then started for Sumner City but missed the route and struck the cattle trail three miles south of the city, and from the commanding and prominent appearance of the city from our standpoint I think it will make a noted summer resort in course of time for pleasure seekers. It has some good houses, but for some reason the settlements around the town
are far behind some of the younger towns of the county; yet the location of the town is good.

“From this point we traveled south on the cattle trail to the Showcaspia [Chikaskia] river over a plain similar to the Platte country. There was nothing to obstruct the vision of the eye for miles to the west. Good grazing and plenty of of water for the stock is to found in the little valleys on the plain. We met several large herds of Texas cattle. There have been over 300,000 pass this year. That looks like a big business. The Showcaspia river is somewhat smaller than the Nennescah, does not afford near as much water or timber, has some good farm land but is better adapted to grazing than farming. We found a good ranch here keeping almost everything that a weary traveler might need. The proprietor, F. Barrington, was chief cook and business man. He could say that none came there and went away hungry. We crossed here, went down one mile into camp; Hackney and Hamilton acted as hostlers, while Kellogg and your humble servant got wood and water, struck a fire and prepared supper, which was well done in short order. We had all the luxuries the country afforded and felt under obligations to Mrs. Hackney for the many luxuries we found in our mess chest. We slept quietly until morn and then rose with the sun.

Our next point of importance was a dog town of several thousand inhabitants. They have fashions of their own, yet are very social and love to show off to the best advantage. They had company, I should think, from the number of owls I saw on the house tops. By 10:00 a.m. we arrived in Caldwell, a town on the cattle trail, located on the north side of Bluff Creek, three miles above the junction of Fall and Bluff creeks. Here we found four enterprising firms with stocks of goods on the trail. Their sales have been astonishingly large during the summer. The scenery at this point is lovely beyond description; the valley is low, hedged in by high bluffs on the south; the stream very crooked and lined with timber, making the bottom resemble some well cultivated park, which must be seen to be fully appreciated. We are under obligations to Messrs. Stone, Cox and Sullivan for the favors shown us. Long may they wave and prosper. Our trip now lay down this beautiful valley dotted with homes and cornfields and hay stacks to Judge Riggs’s farm, located in the valley with all the natural advantages surrounding him to take a fine stock farm. The Judge is strictly a frontiersman having moved from Tennessee when a boy and being identified with the interests of the West ever since. In his life time he has improved seventeen farms. He had just returned from a buffalo hunt on which he killed
two. Here is the finest cattle raising country in the West, located within three miles of the Territory which will remain unsettled for years to come. It will afford unlimited grazing.

After dinner we turned our course toward home, by the celebrated locality called Shoo Fly City on Shoo Fly Creek. At this place Mr. Seymour Dye has the pleasure of officiating as postmaster. He, like a noble Spartan subscribed for the SUMNER COUNTY HERALD. He has a rich farm, a good herd of cattle and a fair prospect before him. The town is located on a beautiful site and undoubtedly will make a first class “border town; situated twenty-five miles from Arkansas City, Oxford and Belle Plaine. Here we met Mr, G. W. Peters, who is improving a fine farm and has a good herd of cattle grazing and is one of our country’s noble sons, raised in old Tennessee. When the War broke out, he raised a company and offered his services to Uncle Sam and fought through many a hard battle for his country’s honor. We sympathize with him on the loss of his beloved wife who died in June.

We camped at has father-in-law’s, Mr. Adam Helm’s. He has a fine ranch near Shoo Fly City, well stocked with nearly 200 head of well-blooded cattle, 35 horse, hogs, and chickens. We are indebted to Mrs. Helm for the substantial favor shown us in a fine loaf of bread, a cup of butter and a bucket of fresh milk. The valley is narrow but rich, the streams skirted with timber, fine grazing on the high lands and very likely will be for years.

From Shoo Fly City we Crossed the divide, Showpacaspia river and a plain or plateau upland fourteen miles wide without any road. We saw an abundance of antelope that bounded over the prairies as though they occupied undisputed their own grazing ground. The coyotes would shun us as though opposed to civilization. We arrived on Slate Creek twelve miles south of Belle Plaine and took dinner. From there we travelled through a fertile valley and over upland northeast of Oxford.

The lower Slate Creek valley is settling up fast, the people mean to be self-supporting from the appearance of the corn, sorghum and potatoes growing and all looking well. We made several interesting and long to be remembered acquaintances whom we hope to meet again.

Upon arriving at Oxford, we were surprised and delighted to find a neat town nearly as large as Belle Plaine, well built and doing a lively business. They have two steam saw mills near the town, one good hotel, several stores, a wide awake paper, and many other things indispensable to a new town. The country is high and rolling, soil good, and settling up fast. It will doubtless make a good commercial town, one of the foremost in the valley, south of the Arkansas river loomed up before us and beckoned us home. Take the trip through, it was pleasant and it will long be remembered as well as the many agreeable acquaintances we made. Yours etc., St. Clair.
Our grandfathers who came to south-central Kansas as pioneers were good farmers. They understood that a good farmer works hard and puts in long hours of hard physical, exhausting labor. A good farmer breaks the prairie sod w i t h horse and plow, row by row. He plants his seed, watches the weather, and prays to God for a good crop.

Usually those pioneer farmers were lucky. Their long hours of work paid off. God was good to the sturdy reverent stock who settled the prairies and the rich fertile lands of Sumner County produced abundant food and grains for all.

That is, most years the harvest was plentiful — unless the prairie fires spread across the open plains, or the grasshoppers came, and the rains didn’t. As time went by, it began to look as if for some reason the rich soil was no longer rich. The beautiful flocks of white chickens looked spindly and unhealthy. The veterinarians rushed about trying to save sick farm animals.

As so often happened in American history, the tragedy and problems of war concentrated attention on indications of trouble, heretofore mostly ignored or accepted. The food shortages of World War I brought a new era in farming practices and the realization to the Sumner County farmer that he must seek scientific knowledge as a solution for his problems.

In the spring of 1918 the Sumner County Farm Bureau was organized with F. M. Sumpter as president, Otto Wenrich as vice president, and J. W. Finn as secretary-treasurer. Representatives from Wellington were E. E. Laney and J. R. Fyock; from Belle Plaine, E. W. Evers and C. H. Glover; from Caldwell, Manuel Kolarik; Clearwater, F. B. Matthews and D. H. Roberts; Geuda Springs, G. W. Buffington; Riverdale, H. B. Malone; Argonia, H. D. Hammond, Mayfield, Geo. M. Corbin; South Haven, I. E. Knox; Conway Springs, Fred C. Orr; and from Milan, H. T. Cheesman. The first county agent, W. A. Boys, began working here on August 1, 1918.

Many farmers felt doubtful about the new organization, but fortunately one of the first projects undertaken proved so successful that farmers from all over the county began to understand what advantages cooperation in certain areas could gain for them.

In 1918 there were about 8000 sheep in Sumner County with individual flocks of anywhere from 25 to several hundred, Many farmers had had very little experience with sheep as a profitable farm enterprise.

The new Farm Bureau organized a shearing circuit and hired an expert shearer to come into the county. As soon as one flock was completed, the farmer owning the flock was to have his automobile ready to take the shearer to the next farmer on the list. Various farmers were warned ahead of time when their time for shearing would arrive so that, in case of wet weather, they could keep the sheep under cover and the wool dry. Flocks of less than fifty were sheared at twenty cents a head and larger flocks at fifteen cents a head.

The plan was so successful that a second shearer had to be hired. In a short time 2185 sheep were sheared by the two experts, and then the farmers pooled their wool and sold it at an average of forty-five cents per pound.

In 1921 a number oif new projects were undertaken under County Agent Boys’s supervision. Twenty-one meetings were held in various places in the county with speakers from the Agricultural College who gave much valuable information relative to the improvement of livestock. Various varieties of wheat, oats, corn and sorghum were tested as to suitability for this area. Other projects included poultry control, fertilizers, pruning and spraying of orchards and pest control. The Sumner County Farm Bureau was also actively interested in Near East Relief and donated a carload of grain to aid Europeans who were starving as a result of the aftermath of World War I.

The farm families Of Sumner County, became interested in preparing exhibits at various community fairs and proudly carried off First Prize at the Wichita Wheat Show for Sumner County's collective exhibit of farm products.

During several years in the early 1920’s, programs for improving the quality of soil were carried on. The first test was made with soy beans, but jack rabbits ate up the whole crop and the county agent’s annual report for 1921 stated that soy bean experiments were not sufficiently successful to advise farmers to raise soy beans as a commercial crop.

In 1923 a sweet clover project was started, but much to the farmers’ surprise, the clover failed to grow. In 1924 the Farm Bureau purchased a scarifier to help in germination, but the 400 bushels of scarified seed failed to thrive and could not stand the dry weather of the hot summer months. The
next year a project using artificial inoculation of clover seed was started and by 1926, on land “that had been wheated to death” Sumner County farmers were experimenting with great success with sweet clover as a soil builder, as a pasture crop, and as a seed crop.


In 1951 the Farm Bureau and the County Extension office dissolved relationship and since that time the Extension Homemaker Unit groups, the 4-H clubs and the arm projects have been carried on from the County Extension Office. Today the main purpose off the County Extension office is to provide liasion between Kansas State University and the people of Sumner County and to make knowledge developed at the University available to all citizens of the County.

The Extension educational program for the youth of the county is guided by 4-H Agent Bob Davis.

Boys and girls taking part in 4-H live on farms and in towns and cities. Membership in 4-H is not limited; its programs are concerned with education, growth and development of youth.

4-H programs can range from taking part in a TV series, or a short course on lawn mowing to a tractor-machinery operators safety training or to learning the skills of parliamentary procedure or giving a demonstration.

Sumner County has over 400 boys and girls enrolled in 13 regular 4-H clubs and an additional 300-400 other youth are reached with special interest programs.

Mr. Sam Rowe, the present County Agent, works with the adult farmers in many projects to improve farm operations and production. At least a dozen county wide meetings are held each year including a number of tours whereby farmers can learn the latest methods in such things as dairy, sheep, cattle, insect control, chemical control of weeds, crop improvement and soil fertility.

Mrs. Hilda Schrag and Mrs. Dorothy Cole assist in the office at the Sumner County Courthouse. The work is funded by Local, State and Federal funds.


If, in 1918, the farmers of Sumner County had been doubtful concerning the need for an organization such as the Farm Bureau, a statement in the annual report for 1952 proves their wisdom in inaugurating and supporting the program:

"In Sumner County one single variety of wheat increased rural income enough to operate the Extension program for ten years."

Financially, it may be possible to measure to some extent what the services of the past Farm Bureau and the present Extension Service programs, the Agricultural Agent, the 4-H Agent, the Home Economist, and the members off the office staff have contributed to the people of Sumner county, but it would be totally impossible to even guess what 4-H Clubs have meant to boys and girls in the terms of education, personality development and lasting friendships. It would be equally impossible to make a similar evaluation of what the projects of the various EHU groups have done toward better living and cultural improvement; and similarly no could possibly measure what the hundreds of projects supervised by the various county agents who have served Sumner county have contributed to all phases of town and rural life.

At the end off a century of progress, sometimes it is hard to imagine what life was like before people had all the things so commonly accepted today. There was a time in history when there were no wheels. How did prehistoric man survive for boys and girls.

As a nationally known scientist, when a recent visitor in Wellington, stated: "It is one of the single most important movements of modern times."

People Who Take Time to Improve Their Environment
1926—Jess Walton farm—Chamber of Commerce agricultural committee inspects irrigation project; from left to right:Jess Walton, Sr.. Ellis Carr;
Charles Martin; Fred Beckmeyer; Harve Plumb; A. L. Meisinger (sec. of C. of C.); Jess Walton, Jr.

1926—shows difference in sweet clover Montgomery farm north of Caldwell.
inoculated and not inoculated; Fred

1940 Memorial Hall—Miss Minnie Peebler, home demonstration agent giving a baking demonstration

Women’s Extension Work Begins

The first mention of a horne economics project for farm women was made in a 1919 report when a canning demonstration was held. In the early 1920’s farm men and women frequently attended meetings and worked together on poultry and garden projects. In 1921 a visitor from the State Agricultural College inaugurated a millinery project which proved very popular for several years. In 1922 a special nutrition project was also developed. In 1923 dues for women were set a $2.00 and six clubs for women were organized, the main interest of the women at that time being millinery. Some women made as many as three hats a year at a saving of an average of five dollars per hat.

It was not until Nov. 1, 1937, that Miss Minnie Peebler, Sumner County’s first home demonstration agent, arrived in Wellington to take over the supervision of the women’s work. At that time 320 women were enrolled in various projects with the greatest interest in clothing, home management and furniture repair.

By 1939 there were 28 farm bureau units with 491 members and twelve 4-H Clubs with 307 members under Joe Smerchek as county agent, Ralph Krensin as assistant county agent in charge of soil conservation, Miss Minnie Belle Peebler as home demonstration agent, and Miss Jean Young as office secretary.

Before 1940 the custom of a number of county-wide programs, which has been carried down to the present day, had already been started — the 4-H Fair, the picnic for business men, the annual dinner meeting, Achievement Day and such activities.

At present Mrs. Carol Young, Extension home economist, directs an educational program aimed at the interests and needs of women, both urban and rural. Special interest classes and workshops are offered regularly year-round, primarily in areas of family-life, food, clothing, and housing. For example, 400 women enrolled in sewing classes alone during the past year to learn to how to handle the latest fabrics, to take some of the pressure off the family clothing budget, and for some to use leisure time more creatively.

Around 500 women take regular advantage of the educational programs offered by their enrollment in one of 26 Extension Homemaker units.

Threshing Crew In Action




MAY 28, 1914 — One day’s shipment of reapers to Wellington. One purchaser was John Hartsell, son
of Samuel Hartsell (homestead 1876) father of Mrs. Leona Cochran

Metz Bros... international Harvester

Metz Brothers, Incorporated is the latest in a long line of implement dealers in Wellington who have handled International Harvester farm equipment and IHC trucks. Bob and George Metz bought the store from Mrs. Paul Bacon in 1969 following the death of Mr. Bacon, the owner at that time. Bob is the manager, and George who is retired, lives in Mexico.

The historv of International Harvester dealerships in Wellington begins early in the century. One of the first was Fisk and Heald Farm Machinery which was located in a stone building on the site of the present American Legion Building. A few years later the firm name became Fisk and Walker. The business was owned by Bert Fisk and John Walker and they moved to the 200 block on South Washington at about the location where Renn & Co. is now.

Fisk apparently bought out
Walker, and the business was again moved into a building just south of the old First National Bank building. It was then known as Fisk Mercantile Company and they handled hardware and other supplies as well as farm machines. Among the employees were John Walker, who later moved to Winfield, Ed. Laney, the father of Mrs. Maurice Miller, and A. J. Frank, who later became the owner of the Frank Funeral Home.

Fisk closed out in 1922 and the next dealer in International Harvester equipment was Max Carrington. He was also the agent for Maxwell cars.

In about 1926 Carrington sold the business to Erwin Melcher who had run the firm for only a little over a year when he died from a heart attack.

The I.H.C. then contracted with Mr. Doty, the high school athletic coach, and his father-in-law to handle their farm equipment. The father-in-law managed the business that was
known as the Farmers Hardware and Implement Co.

In 1931 Doty and company sold out to Frank J. Pliant, Sr. who had formerly been a blockman for the International Harvester Company, and he and his son, Frank, Jr. became partners in the firm.

They remained the dealers, with Frank, Sr. as the manager, until his death in 1935. At this time Mrs. Pliant became the senior partner, with Frank, Jr. as the manager. They continued their partnership until 1937 when they sold out to the Moore Implement Company of Winfield.

Moore remained the I.H.C. dealer until the summer of 1940 when he closed his store here. Then in November of 1940 the Company contracted with Frank Pliant, Jr. to handle International Harvester equipment, and he opened his business in a building located on South C Street just across the alley from the present First National

The Pilant Equipment Company remained at that location until 1946 when Frank built and moved into the building that is now occupied by McDonald-Ate Motor Company.

Until the fall of 1952 when Pilant sold his business to Paul Bacon, the stare was located at 1400 North A Street. Bacon changed the firm name to Wellington Equipment, and in 1958 he built the building and moved to the present location at 2121 North A Street.

When the Metz brothers bought out Mrs. Bacon the name of the International dealership was again changed to Metz Brothers, Inc.

Bob Metz is the president and manager, and George is vice-president. Mrs. Mary Shoults is the office manager and Richard Legan is shop foreman. There are seven other employees including partsmen, salesmen and the bookkeeper.

Wellington Implement Co.

The Wellington area dealer for John Deere Farm Equipment and for GMC Trucks is the Wellington Implement Company located at 1417 North A Street.

The owner, R. E. Wilson started working with the Wellington Tractor and Implement Company in 1930. He purchased the business from the John Deere Co. on June 30, 1943, establishing the present firm.

The business at that time was located at 124 West Harvey where it remained until 1950. At that time a move was made to the new building at the present location on North A. Additions to the facility were constructed in 1958, 1965 and again in 1969. These expansions have nearly doubled the original floor area.

Mr. Wilson’s son, Dale, has been with the company from its start. He worked after school and during the summers until his graduation from Kansas State University in 1951. Since then he has been with the firm full time.

Dale’s son Craig, is now working at the store, making him the third generation of Wilsons to be associated with the business.

Currently Wellington Implement has 18 full-time employees. They carry a complete line of farmers’ needs.

Allied implement Co.

The Allied Implement Co., Inc. became one of the farm equipment dealers in Wellington on July 1, 1969. The company also has stores in Arkansas City and in Blackwell, Oklahoma.

Dickensheets Implement Co. had been the Allis Chalmers dealer in Wellington prior to 1969. At that time Herman B. Dickensheets, the owner and operator, sold out to Allied.

Dickensheets began his business here in 1948 and until 1958 the firm was located downtown on East Eighth Street. Dickensheets built the new building and moved to the present location at 2115 North A Street at that time.

Allied is the dealer for Allis Chalmers tractors and combines, and also handles Wilbeck Farm Equipment and Blackwell Porta-tillers and Porta-harrows. They maintain a complete parts department for all the lines and a shop for farm equipment repair and overhaul.

Following Dickensheets sale to Allied, he remained as manager of the Wellington store, a position he still holds. John Haggard is the manager of the parts department, and Glen Gayer is the shop manager. Gaylen Brown and Dennis Cooney are mechanics.
Western Grain, Inc. Comes to Wellington

In the fall of 1970 Western Grain, Inc., purchased the business property of Coffel Seed and Grain. Bob Miles of Wellington was appointed manager of the business in Wellington and Anson, and Charles Sumpter in Belle Plaine. A grand opening of Western Grain, Inc., 523 W. Harvey, Wellington, was held on April 24, 1971.

Western Grain was incorporated in 1956 in Garden City, Kansas, for the purpose of becoming engaged in the Agra Business Industry. Its beginning was with a small group of individuals primarily involved in farming and sharing the same basic interest in agriculture.

From this small beginning it has grown to become a well-known and well respected organization and now owns businesses in Garnett, Galva, Junction City, White City, Council Grove and Wichita in addition to the Wellington business.

The general office is located in Wichita. John W. Severe of Valley Center is general manager and Mrs. Edna Jenkins of Wellington the office manager and chief accountant. The current officers and directors of the corporation are Lynn Russell of Garden City, G. W. Meeker of Garden City, Leo L. Meeker of Dighton, Kenneth Lyon of Wichita, and D. L. Sampson of Salina, manufacturer of Agra Business Products. Western Grain, Inc., is a member of the Wichita Board of Trade, Kansas Grain and Feed Dealers Association, and the National Grain and Feed Dealers Association.

...Fried Chicken and Fresh Eggs..

Who brought the first chicken into Sumner County?

On August 31, 1871, the OXFORD TIMES recorded for its readers, this enlightning comment: "We were awakened about daylight last Monday morning by the shrill crowing of a chanticleer. It was the first music of this kind we have heard west of the Arkansas river and his lusty voice brought to memory many happy visions of the life back in the States’. All Hail, brave pioneer.’’

Apparently it took ten yeans for this claim to fame to get around because it was not until March 31, 1881, that the SUMMER COUNTY PRESS took up the challenge with this bold statement:

“Editor, Press: I see in your paper of March 24th, the following:

Chickens were first introduced into Sumner County August 31, 1871. Now the facts are that E. M. Potter of Belle Plaine landed on his claim one mile north of Belle Plaine May 20, 1871, with a half a dozen hens and a fine chanticleer with lungs equal to the historic one which raised the sleeping inhabitants of Oxford on August 31, 1871. (signed) M. A. Potter.

A week later the PRESS was forced to renege on its Statement of the previous week, thanks to a letter the paper had received from J. L. McCammon which it published under the headline “That First Rooster — Palestine Ahead as Usual” and which read as follows: “Editor, Press: In regard to the introduction of chickens in Sumner County, I can beat M. A. Potter’s time
seven months and twenty days. W. B. McCammon, W. R. Meek, T. McCammon and W. L. Spencer, with their families crossed the Arkansas river September 30, 1870 and camped four miles west on the north bank of the Ninnescah river, where they all took claims, and on the morning of November 1, 1870, they were awakened by the crowing of not one but four chanticleers.”

Whoever brought the first chicken may never be known, but one thing is sure. Chickens must have been very popular in Sumner county because by the spring of 1886, the local papers each week were carrying an advertisement from the meat market. “Knowles and Garland wants to buy ALL THE LIVE HENS in the county.”

Then finally our widely-known Sheriff, Water Company Manager
and Mayor, J. M. Thralls, speaking about the poultry show being held in Wellington the first part of December 1927, had this to say: “We had no chicken shows like this in the seventies. There were not many chickens of any sort then except a few ordinary farmyard fowls belonging to some of the farmers, though there were thousands of prairie chickens.” Mayor Thralls went on to describe one day when, in six or seven hours, he and a companion killed 160 prairie chickens a few miles from town, and added that then there were still buffalo as near as Milan, deer and antelope west of town, and one day a party of hunters killed a black bear not far from Medicine Lodge.

Pioneer Farmer’s Wife Was Victim
of Tragic Accident

In the early era of Kansas history many weekly newspapers struggled to outdo all competitors in the sharpness of the witticisms found in their columns. Thus it was that late in September of 1873 the Leavenworth Commercial thought it had gleaned a real juicy tidbit from the news that seeped out from the new county on Kansas’s southern border and proudly proclaimed to all readers:

“Mrs. Bailey Pilcher, who resides about six miles south of Wellington in Sumner County, we learn from the Press, had the ague (malaria) and took a dose of strychnine for it. She didn’t shake any more.”

A few days later the editor of the Commercial found on his desk a letter from Wellington signed simply with the initials C.S.B. After all these years it would be impossible to ascertain the real identity of C.S.B.

One of the most prominent citizens and true leaders of Wellington in those days was a man named C. S. Brodbent, who was Sumner County’s first elected county clerk. Perhaps Mr. Brodbent wrote the letter or perhaps C.S.B. was someone entirely different, but whoever he may be, certainly in those days Wellington had at least one very effective writer. The letter read as follows:

“I clipped the enclosed item from the Commercial of the
17th. For the past year our newspapers have vied with each other in giving short curt witty accounts of similar occurences that have caused many a thoughtless laugh, but seldom has the unfeeling nature of the squibs struck my mind and I am gratified rather than otherwise that it has been vividly brought before my attention. If newspaper men knew or thought of the deep grief caused by such an affliction, and of the additional pain inflicted by these careless announcements, I am sure they would employ more suitable language.

“Mrs. Pilcher was a lovely young lady who only a little more than a year ago left a pleasant home and devoted friends in Illinois to commence life with her chosen partner on our frontier. Being in good circumstances, they had already surrounded themselves with the comforts of life and the future looked cheery and promising. In her sad and early death our country lost one of its brightest ornaments and the whole neighborhood in which she lived mourns. The bride of a year was carried back to her early home to rest and no one without similar experience can know how crushed is the soul of her husband.

Have we not the right to request that newspapers reform in this respect? And will not
the Commercial whose watchword is enterprise and justice be the first to head off in this praiseworth work?

The Commercial published the letter C.S.B. had written and offered a suitable apology, but strangely the tragic story of lovely Mrs. Bailey Pilcher did not end when her grieving husband took her back to her former home for the last long sleep.

On November 27 the Sumner County Press, under the title “Arrested” told a very peculiar tale beginning with the words: “Our readers will remember the tragic death of Mrs. Bailey Pilcher which occurred on the fifth of September at the home of her husband, five miles southeast of this city.

The mysterious circumstances connected with the event had almost passed from the minds of her neighbors and friends until last Saturday when William Clark, Sheriff of Pottawatomie county, arrived in this city with A. B. Peltier in his custody.”

The paper went on to relate that Peltier was a half or quarter breed Indian who had taken a claim southeast of Wellington not far from the Pilcher home. During the time Peltier had remained in the county, he had boarded with another neighbor, a man named Jackson and had frequently cooked for the two of them.

One day the Indian fixed some mashed potatoes which for some reason Mr. Jackson refused to eat and so the potatoes were fed to a little dog. Having dined on the potatoes, the little dog a short time later showed signs of having been poisoned and Mr. Jackson thus assumed that Peltier had intended to poison him.

A short time after this the Indian left the country and no one was sorry to see him go. Mr. Jackson frequently suffered from attacks of malaria and was accustomed to treat his illness with doses of quinine which he kept in the house. When Mrs. Pilcher fell victim to the same ailment, her neighbor shared his medicine with her. Mrs. Pilcher became very ill and died a short time later after having displayed symptoms of acute strychnine poisoning.

Several days later Mr. Jackson dosed himself with some of the quinine and became very ill.

Thus it was that Esquire Van Smith was hearing the examination of Peltier on a charge of having mixed strychnine with quinine for the purpose of procuring the death of Mr. Jackson. At the time the paper was published the prosecution had failed to develop a theory in the case or to show motive. The county attorney Chas. Willsie
was assisted by J. Wade McDonald, while the prisoner was ably defended by Messrs. Blodgett, Tucker and Herrick. And thus the story of lovely Mrs. Bailey Pilcher, Mr. Jackson, her neighbor, and the half-breed Indian ended. For some reason the old papers never seem to satisfy our curiosity and tell us all the story and so we were unable to discover how the trial came out and we do not know whether the Indian was acquitted or convicted.

County's Largest Dairy Operation
The Zech Farm Story...



An artificially bred dairy herd of 116 cows, a large herd of beef cattle and extensive crop farming tell the story of the achievements of the Burton Zech family. But the story really begins, and the background for Burton’s success was established when his father, Harry Zech, bought what is now known as ‘the home place’ back an 1923.

Harry Zech, his wife Mable and their two sons moved from McPherson County to their farm northwest off Wellington in 1924. The younger son Marvin, only lived four years after they came here. He died in1928 leaving Burton to remain the only child of the Harry Zechs.

Burton attended the old Fourth Ward school, graduated from Wellington High school and attended Kansas State University for one year. Although his college training was short, he has kept up a relationship with K.S.U. and has profited much from information furnished him by the school of agriculture.

Early in his farming career, Harry Zech began to raise cattle. Burton recalls that when they shipped cattle to the Kansas City markets, they would get up at three or four o’clock in the morning and drive the cattle on foot from the farm to the Rock Island loading docks about a quarter of a mile south of the depot. After the loading was done they would have to wait for a north-bound freight and flag it down so it would pick up their cars of cattle. After the switching was done, and the Zech cars were lined into the train, there was no delay. The engineer began to move his train out and Harry, who always accompanied his stock to market, had to swing onto the moving caboose. Burton recalls how his heart was often in his throat for fear his father wouldn’t make it. But he always did.

The Zechs, the same as other farmers of that time, were very self-sufficient. Their primary crop was wheat, but they raised their own alfalfa, hay and silage, as well as enough corn to feed the cattle. They raised their own chickens and garden, butchered their own beef and pork, preserving and canning the meat for winter use. They even made their own lard and soap, and churned their own butter.

During these years Harry was buying more land in Sumner County. One piece was the quarter section just across the road from the home place. This land had in early years been a fair grounds and race track
and Wellington at one time had a trolley line that ran out to it.

After finishing school, Burton started farming by forming a partnership with his father. A few years later he purchased his father’s share of the farm business and home place of 160 acres.

Burton married Dixie Wood, a native of Sumner County, and they established their home on the farm in the house which is now about 100 years old, and which they remodeled into a modern farm home in 1951. The house which had been remodeled several times previously has an interesting beginning. The original builders dug a full basement by hand, carrying out the dirt by bucketfuls and dumping it on the yard making the terrace which still surrounds the house. The lumber for the house was hauled down by wagon from Wichita and the front steps which still remain are the original ones and are made of solid slabs of stone.

During the next ten years Burton expanded his farm operation in many ways. He has received several awards for his innovations in farming and in his dairy business. His first award came in 1953 when he was honored for his participation in soil conservation by terracing. He and his family were the sub-district, district, and the state award winners for Balanced Farming and Family Living during the years 1958 and 1959.

In 1962 the Zechs built new dairy barns equipped with the most modern milking parlor. He now has 116 head of dairy cows, one of the largest in the county. All of them are artificially sired.

The artificial breeding was begun in 1951 and at the present time it is all computerized. Burton explained that in genetic mating to produce better dairy cattle, a comprehensive record is kept of each cow, including what she eats, her milk production, the percentage of butter fat in the milk, etc. These records are sent to Ames, Iowa where all the information is recorded in I B M sheets. Then from this record, each cow is rated and copies of all the records are returned to Burton.

In turn these records are sent to the American Breeders Association at Madison, Wisconsin, where they are fed into computers to determine the best first and second choice sires for the cows. The two best sires for each cow is determined after the computers make 2,068 decisions about the
cow. The cows records and siring are not only used to improve the milk cow and her production, but also to select future sires used by A.B.S.

The Zech herd is all Holstein and their steer herd is made up of the offspring from the dairy herd. They deliver an average of 500 gallons daily to the distributing dairies in this area.

His son Richard is now associated with him in his business. Besides the dairy and beef herds they farm about 1500 acres of land. Wilbur Smith and his son, Wilbur, Jr., work as herdsmen, but Burton and Richard do most off the crop farming.

The Zechs have one of the most modern and well equipped farm shops in Sumner County. It was recently featured as the cover picture on the SUCCESSFUL FARMING magazine. The farm office is also located in the shop building and Burton does all his own bookkeeping and accounting with help from the Farm Management Association of which he is a member.

They have a pick-up truck with a mobile phone, and it is equipped as a small shop too. With this they go to the fields for minor repairs or a broken-down machine. Burton is also a Flying Farmer and owns his own plane. He says when it is necessary, he can phone to Wichita for repairs and make a round trip there to get them in about 30 minutes.

Burton and Richard have been active in Boy Scouting, and the entire family has taken an active part on 4-H work over the years.

Another interesting phase of the Zech family life was created by the foreign visitors whom they entertained in their home. Some of them were in this country to learn our farming methods and about family living in the U.S. The Zechs have entertained three people from Turkey, one from Israel and two from Yugoslavia at various times. Another foreign visitor of the Zechs was the Belgian Consulate from Kansas City who was attending the Little League of Nations at Conway Springs several years ago.

Besides their son, Richard, the Zechs have a daughter, Ann, who is now Mrs. Don Stewart. She and her husband and their three children live in Dallas. Richard is married to the former Mary Ellen Horsch, and they with their two children live just north of Burton and Dixie.

Sumner county has many large agricultural operations of which it can be proud and certainly the Zech’s is one of them.

Rusk Bros., Inc—Modern Cattle Feeders

One of the largest agricultural ventures in Sumner County is the Rusk Bros., Inc. cattle business, specializing in prime beef. Ralph and Ray Rusk and their families form the corporation with headquarters located about six miles southeast of Wellington.

The story of their vast cattle business begins back in 1900 when their parents, Ira and Ethel Rusk, came to Sumner County from Illinois and settled on a farm east of Wellington. Their migration was by way of railroad in what, at that time, was known as an Emigrant Car, which they leased to bring the family and all their possessions, even their live stock, to Kansas.

In 1901 brother Will and his wife Ella also came to Kansas from Ohio and settled on a farm close to Ira, and thus the agricultural saga of the Rusk family began.

Ira and Ethel had three sons, Rupert, Ray and Ralph and a daughter, Ruth, all of whom have stayed in Sumner County.

Will and Ella Rusk had three daughters. Two of them are deceased and the remaining daughter, Mrs. Ralph Brown (Helen) lives in Belen, N.M. However Helen’s three children all live in Wellington. They are Larry Norris, Mrs. Richard Walker (Sharon) and Mrs. Glenda Sanders.

Ralph recalled, with pictures to illustrate, the early days when farming was done with horse-drawn machinery. Always interested in efficiency and in doing the best possible job of farming, Ira and Will became breeders of purebred Percheron horses, which were considered the finest animals for farm work.

The brothers recalled how they would get up at dawn during the busy farm seasons, go out to the barns, feed and water the horses, and do the other chores, and then return to the house for a hot and hearty breakfast. After breakfast they would hitch the horses to the machinery and spend a long day in the fields. There was little time for fun or recreation during the seasons of intensive farm work, but it paid off in good crops to harvest and sell.

Ira bought this first tractor in 1918, but it was used only to provide power for the threshing machine at harvest time. He never permitted it to be used in the fields where his Percheron horses could be used for pulling machinery. After all, horses didn’t use gasoline. He raised plenty of feed for them.

However, as the years went by, their farms became more and more mechanized and modernized in every way.

As the sons grew older and established their own homes and families, they continued to farm, and by this time the Rusk-owned farms were all to the south and east of Wellington. For the last number of years the three brothers and sister, Ruth, have been engaged largely in cattle business.

The Rusk Ranch, east of Medicine Lodge, owned by Ray, Ralph and Arlos (Ray’s son) produces only purebred Hereford cattle, and is well known all over Western Kansas.

Rupert, the oldest brother, raises sheep and hogs, in addition to cattle.

It was in 1959 that Ralph and Ray started in the feed-lot business. It was then they formed the corporation, Rusk Bros., Inc. and for several years fed cattle for one of the large meat packing plants in the state. They also ‘boarded’ some cattle for individuals, and at the same time increased their own herds.

After the business was firmly established, the brothers began to buy and sell more cattle on their own and for the past several years all the cattle handled have been owned by the corporation.

Rusks feed an average of 5,000 beef cattle daily and during the year they sell an average of about 15,000 head, largely to the packing plants in south-central Kansas, although they have delivered some as far north as South Dakota, and as far east as Tennessee.

The actual feeding of the cattle is a mountainous task. Each day they consume 60 tons of grain and 25 tons of silage, and they use 10 tons of hay and straw a day. Most of the grain they feed is produced by farmers of Sumner County, but the
Rusk’s raise and put up their own silage. The yearling cattle which come to their huge lots to be fed-out for market are brought mostly from Sumner County stock producers.

Another operation is their spring and summer grazing program an the Flint Hills. Rusks buy from two to three thousand young calves early each grass growing season and pasture them until fall when they are put in the feed lots and fattened for market. These calves too, are purchased largely from Sumner County farmers.

There are twelve families involved
in this operation and Ruth is the bookkeeper for the firm. She also purchases cattle, feeds them out, and gets them ready for market.

All three brothers married into pioneer Sumner County families. Rupert married Lottie Walcher and they have three children, Mrs. Thaine Hunt (Carol) of South Haven, Raymond Leroy of Wellington, and Alvin of Marshall, Minnesota.

Ray is married to the former Roberta Frankum and they have three children, Mrs. Raymond Allen (Arieta) of Belle Plaine, Mrs. Emmett Ramey
(Ardella) of Elgin, Texas, and Arlos.

Ralph is married to the former Georgia McGeorge and they have three daughters. They are Mrs. Robert Clark, (Willetta) i- of Oakland, California, Mrs. Don Shores (Clare), of Portland, Oregon, and Miss Jeannette a student at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley.

For a look at one of Sumner County’s major agricultural industries, drive down some day and watch the activity at Rusk Bros, Inc. It’ll be worth your time.

200,000 Bushels of Barley Feed Rusk Cattle About 90 Days


Proud to be a port of the history
of Wellington and Sumner County
We buy Sumner County Yearling Cattle - Feed Sumner-County-Grown Grain

15,000 Go To Kansas Markets Each Year
Ralph-Raymond Rusk-Owners Ruth Rusk-Mgr.
It Takes People As Well As Equipment

The Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative, inc., operating as a non-profit corporation, controlled by its members, holds an annual meeting once a year at which the members of the cooperative elect a Board of Trustees who direct the affairs of the cooperative.

No electric cooperative could achieve the success of the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative without quality personnel to carry on the work. It would be impossible to name all the people who contributed to the success of the endeavor, but perhaps a few should be recorded as an example of the many.

The first Board of Trustees elected by the cooperative included: Harold Kroger, Belle Plaine; H. C. Swanson, Ashton; Mrs. H. R. Wenrich, Oxford; Peter Landwehr, Wellington; B. D. Hutchison, South Haven; George McGinn, Winfield; Louis Ratley, Udall; and Mrs. Paul Bossi, Arkansas City.

Some of these original board members have continued to serve on the board at various times down through the years; and many other members of the electric cooperative have contributed their time and service to the Board of Trustees.

Harold Kroger of Belle Plaine was president of the Board of Trustees from 1933 to 1949. Howard Strickland of South Haven served from 1949 to 1955. The president of the board for the years 1955 to 1966 was Henry Wencl of Caldwell. Then in 1966 John Bossi of Arkansas City was elected president of the Board of Trustees to carry the cooperative up to the present time.

Some one has compared the terms of the various presidents to the building of a modern highway. Mr. Kroger took over in the formative years, years of great doubt on the part of the people, and stayed on until the major hurdles were solved, the pathway marked out and the way cleared. Mr. Strickland’s term saw the beginning of success and symbolically the farmers now had a good gravelled road. During Mr. Wencls term, service became smoother, quicker, better as if now there was a smooth paved road over which to travel. Mr. Bossi's term has brought the Sumner Cowley Electric Cooperative to high success and great expansion as if a four-lane express highway now ran where once there was only a shadow

One other person whose unfailing support and many hours of hard work in endeavoring to bring electric service to south-central Kansas perhaps also should be singled out. Mrs. Howard Wenrich, who lived northeast of Oxford and is a native of Sumner County, was the daughter of John and Martha Reece who came to Oxford as young pioneers in a covered wagon. Mrs. Wenrich, who has lived all her life in the same community where her parents settled so many years ago, is a member of the Oxford Methodist church, pianist and organist, active in women’s clubs. Down through the years she has braved the air filled with cigar smoke and attended each board meeting faithfully and as secretary - treasurer helped guide the destiny of the electric cooperative. Ardent supporter of the cooperative that she has always been, she spent a great of deal of time attending meetings such as state and national conventions in order to keep abreast with developments in bringing better service to local consumers.

During the years the cooperative has been in operation six managers have served the cooperative — C. L. Webber, George Riker, Robert Anderson, James Guthrie, Reed Price and Garland Price. A staff of approximately 25 skilled employees is maintained by the cooperative.

Mildred Lange Price (whose grandfather, Job Davis, came to Sumner County in the early 1870’s and whose mother was one of the first children born in Sumner County) retired on March 31, 1969, after having acted as bookkeeper and office manager for the Sumner - Cowley Electric Cooperative, Inc., for almost 25 years.

Strange to say, none of the three ‘Prices” who have contributed so much to the affairs of the cooperative in recent years are related to each other. Mildred Price has lived in Wellington all her life; Reed Price came to Wellington from Caldwell, Kansas, after several years of experience with the Western Light and Telephone Co., and Garland Price became manager on Dec. 1, 1970, after extensive experience with the Kay Electric Cooperative in Blackwell, Okla.


A Single Kilowatt Hour

A single kilowatt-hour of electricity will:

1. light a 150 watt reading lamp for 6 & two-thirds hours
2. run a dock 20 days
3. run a vacuum cleaner for 3 hours
4. run the average electric refrigerator 1 day
5. run a deep freeze 12 hours
6. run a washing machine hours
7. operate a black-and-white television set for 3 hours
8. pump 1000 gallons of water from a well
9. milk 30 cows
10. heat 5 gallons of water
11. grind 200 bushels of grain
12. shell 30 bushels of corn
13. cut 1 ton of silage and elevate it into a 30 foot silo
14. cool 10 gallons of milk

— a single kilowatt-hour of electricity
from the Kansas Electric Farmer, Nov. 1958

Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative, Inc. Grew Rapidly


Not long after Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, Sumner County farmers, aided by their county agent, began to meet and talk and plan toward bringing rural electric service to this area. On June 27, 1938, a charter was granted and the articles of incorporation were signed by 22 Sumner and Cowley farmers and thereby the State Corporation Commission issued a certificate of convenience giving the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative the right to serve the farmers of this area.

On August 23, 1938, the local newspapers reported that the REA in Washington had altoted $300,000 to the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative. A survey of possible lines was to be furnished by Sept. 1 and the laying out of lines started with actual construction planned to begin in February of 1939. C. L. Webber of Arkansas City, formerly connected with Kansas Gas and Electric, was hired as superintendent with an office at 122 East Harvey in Wellington. Harold Kroger was elected the first president of the board of trustees. The goal for 1939 was set at 275 miles of line, 503 members, with an additional 250 miles cf line to be added in the near future. The original loan received was approximately $241,000. At that time it was projected that eventually the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative would serve 1,088 square miles.

One of the first problems to be faced was the job of getting farm homes in the two counties wired for electricity, a job that had to be completed before connecting lines could be constructed. J. R. Rohn was sent out from Washington, D.C., to meet with, instruct and train contractors and appliance dealers who would be involved in the huge project the local cooperative organization had undertaken.

The actual construction began on May 1, 1939, with 14 trucks assigned to work in the two counties. On May 23, 1939, a memorable ceremony was held three miles east of Wellington where Pete Landwehr had an 80 acre pasture that was considered suitable to hold the crowd of 300 people who tack part in this history-making event. With the mayors and city commissioners of Wellington, Winfield, Arkansas City, South Haven, Oxford and Belle Plaine, and many other dignitaries from over the state, the first pole was christened with an old-fashioned kerosene lamp, and then put in place and raised. With the raising of this first pole, the fact that electrical power was becoming a reality was demonstrated to all the people of this area.

August 15, 1939, was another
banner day for the Sumner-Cowley Electric, Cooperative - for on that day power was turned on and for the first time in this area 96 miles of line serving 160 consumers were energized.

By 1940, the Sumner -Cowley Electric Cooperative had 27 miles of line and was serving 402 members. Although during the war years from 1941 to 1945, of necessity, continued growth was halted, immediately after the end of World War II, growth began again when the first post-war loan was granted on Sept. 15, 1945. Between 1945 and 1949 loans of 1.2 million dollars were granted and 933 miles of lines were added to the system to serve 1685 new consumers with 4 sub-stations at Rome, Miller, Norwich and Caldwell. A contract to furnish power had been made in 1939 with the Wellington Power Plant, which had first been constructed in 1902, and the Wellington Power Plant continued to furnish part of the power until 1949. At that time, since increasing demands for the city itself were being made on the Wellington Power Plant, contracts with Kansas Gas and Electric and Western Light and Telephone were agreed upon to furnish the power needed by the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative.

At the end of 20 years, in 1957, the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative, Inc., was operating in four counties Sumner, Cowley, Harper and Kingman — with 2678 consumers served by 1580 miles of lines.

1958 and 1959 were giant years for the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative, Inc., highlighted with the completion of the beautiful new headquarters building, north of Wellington on Highway 81, in May of 1958. A year later the A T and T microwave tower six miles east and one mile north of Wellington could be seen for miles in all directions. This station relays microwave signals, both telephone and television, from a station in Wichita to the next town south across the Kansas border in northern Oklahoma. The growth of 1958-59 also included electric service to four of the Titan II missile complexes and some 300 other rural and commercial and industrial consumers. This non-farm load amounts to approximately one half of the kilowatt-hours sold by the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative.

In 1959 the Sumner - Cowley Electric Cooperative became the first electric cooperative in Kansas to purchase a special Hydro-lift truck, a truck with a special type crane that permitted the crew to dig a hole, raise and set a pole inside the fence along a farmer’s land without the truck’s leaving the
roadway. By using this truck and an insulated basket truck, poles can be changed out, insulators and crossarms replaced without interrupting the electric power.

Occasionally problems such as boys’ shooting off insulators, lightning, wind and ice storms have created outages for short periods of time. A crew of skilled employees, who come when called, day or night, in good weather or bad, have always been able to restore service as soon as humanly possible with an average outage time of less than one and one-half hours per year per consumer. Some time ago, in the early 1940's, a problem of repeated outages in the Ashton area proved baffling and repeated checks failed to disclose the real source of trouble. After checking and rechecking, the linemen found a single insulator with a tiny hole, almost invisible to the human eye, but large enough occasionally to let a bit of moisture seep in. With the replacement of that one small insulator, an annoying problem was solved.

In June of 1968 the management of the local cooperative decided to complete inspection of all poles and lines. As a result, the first pole, set up on May 23, 1939, was finally replaced with a new one.

When that first pole began to furnish electric power for farmers in this area, surely no one could possibly have foreseen that by 1971 it would result in an investment of over four million dollars in south central Kansas which provides an urban type standard of living for rural people including central air-conditioning and electric heating, the use of every household appliance known to modern housewives plus huge labor-saving farm machines of every type.

All this came to be because a little over thirty years ago 22 forward-looking farmers signed the articles of incorporation to establish the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative, Inc.


Mrs. Howard Wenrich

REA Grew from Nothing Into Tremendous Asset...
The story of the development of rural electrification is one of incredible tales that could happen only in the United States. Around 1870 the first arc-lighting equipment was developed; 1880 brought incandescent lighting equipment and in 1890 electric power equipment was added.

The first real power project in America was begun at Niagara Falls in 1895 to serve the trial center of Buffalo 20 miles away. In April of 1906 a few farmers living along the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railway became the first rural consumers in the United States. In July of that same year five miles of line were built in Oregon along the Hood River. By 1910 Kansas had a few rural consumers who were served by a line running from Troy to Atchison. During the 1920’s and 1930's all around the country some farmers were able to equip themselves with electric power by purchasing either wind or engine driven generators but these were very costly as well as unreliable since they were subject to frequent break-downs. Few farmers could afford such electric service.

Then at last in 1935, after years of hope and talk, the United States Congress passed the Emergency Relief Act which allowed the President to create the Rural Electrification Administration. The act was aimed as much at giving people as it was at lighting up the farms of America, but finally on May 20, 1936, the Rural Electrification Act was signed into law and years of dreams became a possible reality.

Simply stated, the act provided that the government would make loans to cooperatives or public bodies — the interest at the cost to the government — for the purpose of furnishing consumers with electric power.

The Rural Electrification Act has been amended many times
in the years since 1933 and several times the interest rate on loans has been increased, but the over-all result of REA has changed all of rural America from dark to light, from old-fashioned backward ways of living and working to the most advanced equipment and machines known today.

At the time of World War I less than 10 per cent of the farms were electrified. Only those farms along main lines between towns were connected with power. Running lines at longer distances was prohibitive to farmers because of the cost.

Today 99 per cent of all farms have electricity. The thirty-six cooperatives in Kansas provide service for all farms regardless of the distance from the main line at a cost the farmer can afford and no farmer is penalized because of his distance from the central power.

In the beginning of the electric cooperative movement, consumers averaged less than 100 kilowatt-hours per member while today the average rural consumer in Kansas uses 980 kilowatt-hours per month per member.

Rural electric cooperatives in Kansas are considered public utilities and as such are regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission both with respect to rates and area served. Members of electric cooperatives are greatly benefited in that adequate reserves are maintained and thus the cooperatives remain in sound financial condition and each cooperative is able to meet its responsibilities to its members during years of successful operation and also years of adverse conditions.

Local cooperatives are affiliated with a state organization, the Kansas Electric Cooperative, Inc., which provides promotional and legislative information to increase the potential of electric cooperatives to serve the rural areas.


25,000 KVA Substation
First Pole
Left, Pole Going Up, Right, Ready for Wiring
Transformers North of Oxford
Hydra Lift-trunk installs a pole

Crew Moves Pole Into Hole

THE FIRST POWER PLANT was constructed on Slate Creek in 1903 at a cost of $25,000. The plant was moved to its Present location in 1915, and additions were made in 1923 and in 1937.

Investments to 1937 amounted to $734,320 and all but the original investment had been made from earnings of the utility.

Other improvements were made in 1939, 1948, 1950 and 1956. The plant and system investment through the 20 years period, 1938 to 1958, was $2,682,000. Revenue bonds were issued for about one-half this amount, the other half came from earnings.

IN 1970 A NEW COOLING TOWER, Substation and 20,000 KW steam turbine were ordered. The total cost of this project will be approximately $4,000,000. $3,600,000 of this is being financed by revenue bonds, supported by the utility. The new turbine will be in operation by late in 1972.

Gross generation of the utility in 1970 was 57,296,000 KWH. 50,383,584 KWH were sold.

For years Wellington has enjoyed an excellent supply of good water. Our water system is now undergoing an extensive overhauling and up-dating which was made possible by a recent bond issue.

THE NUMBER OF KILOWATT HOURS Metered and sold in 1937 was 3,633,861 and in 1958 it increased to 21,252,589. During this same period the cost of production per KWH was reduced by 68 per cent.

Also during the years 1938-1958 the electric utility added a cash contribution of nearly a million dollars to the general city operating fund. To provide this amount from extra tax levy would have greatly increased the levy.

The Latest Byler Development—Westborough Estates
Developers Of Pinecrest Drive, Westridge, Westborough Estates And Pinecrest Acres.

Pinecrest Drive was the first housing development started by J. L. (Joe) Byler in 1953. It was located west of the City limits at that time and north of Highway 160. it has since been taken into the city limits. Twenty-two spacious lots were laid out and offered for sale.

Stacy Albin built the first home in Pinecrest Drive and since that time some of the finest homes in Wellington have been constructed in this beautiful area.

By January 1955 a newly-formed local corporation had completed plans to start building 28 new homes in another residential area in the west section of the city. It was later named Westridge and provided 325 desirable residential building sites.

By 1958 approximately 70 per cent of the improved lots in the first and
second additions had been sold and a number of homes had been built. On the third anniversary of Westridge the first custom-built luxury home in WelIington was for sale. It was 504 Morningside Drive.

The latest development is Westborough Estates, consisting of 29 sites lying between Westridge and Pinecrest Drive . . . This area was opened in 1961. The philosophy behind the development of Westborough Estates is cultural; that there is a community of interest in the old tradition of HOME LIFE in good architecture, in beautiful lawns and gardens and in a peaceful atmosphere.

The other Byler Development, Pinecrest Acres, lies to the north of Highway 160 and to the south and east of Westborough Estates.


Site of the Westridge Development which was started in 1955

WELLINGTON'S FIRST PLANNED And Restricted Residential Area

Storms Cabinet & Woodwork Shop

Storms Cabinet and Woodwork Shop produces custom-built cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms, bookshelves and other handcrafted, made-to-measure built-ins that are a part of modern homes today. The plant is presently housed in an attractive and substantial new building erected in 1967 in the highway 81 industrial area, is equipped with the best machinery available for this type of production, and has ample work area and storage space. Sufficient parking is available for all customers.

P. M. Storms moved to the Wellington area from Enid in 1951 and purchased a farm six miles south of town. In addition to farming, for a number of years, Mr. Storms carried on his own construction business based in his warehouse at 115 South Poplar. In 1960 ill health forced him to give up his work for several years.

Having recovered from the illness, Mr. Storms moved into his new plant north of town where he now serves both
contractors and private home remodelling all over the Wellington and Sumner County trade area with handcrafted cabinets and cupboards of all types.

J. C. Moore, Jr.
Storm Doors & Windows

Located at 815 West 12th Street in Wellington is another small Wellington industry — J. C. Moore, Jr. — Storm Doors and Windows, where a person can secure handcrafted, made-to-order doors, windows, patio covers, or awnings no matter what special problem must be solved. Mr. Moore uses some steel, but mostly aluminum, most of which is purchased form the well-known Mason Corporation of Birmingham, Alabama.

Among the items that are especially popular in the Wellington trade area which Mr. Moore serves is a skillfully constructed self-storing storm door that serves the year around without any changing and likewise adds an attractive and artistic entrance to any home.

The building which houses Mr. Moore’s business has an interesting history to the many Wellington people who perhaps remember it as it was in former years. Around 1932 Frank R. Myers, who had been a clerk at the old Lichty store down town, purchased a home at the corner of Olive and 12th streets and built an attractive grocery on the back of his lot which was long known as “The High School Grocery”. The store was a popular place with the high school students during
the years that the Sumner County High School, later known as the Wellington High School, was located at 12th and Olive streets. After Mr. Myers sudden death during the early 1920’s, the Canatsey family took over the store for awhile. Johnny Walker purchased the business and after 1929, when the high school was moved over to A street, the store continued to serve as a popular neighborhood grocery. Following Mr. Walker’s death, Leroy McGaughey operated the grocery for some time.

Then the building was emptied and closed for a couple of years. Meanwhile Jack Woodring had been operating a small storm door and window business in his garage and, needing larger quarters, decided to convert the old High School Grocery into a modern shop for his handcrafted door and window business.

In 1967 J. C. Moore Jr. pur chased the business from Mr. Woodring. Today the building which once was a popular hang-out for high school students and of service to the neighborhood housewives is still serving homeowners of Wellington as a place where they can purchase accurately measured, carefully constructed storm doors and windows, awnings and patio covers.

Dixon Welding & Radiator Shop


Dixon Welding and Repair Service does both farm and general welding for a trade area approximately fifteen miles in radius which includes most of Sumner County. The firm’s equipment includes portable welding equipment and a portable disc roller so that they can do on-the-farm repairs when necessary. About 75 per cent of their work is brought in and 25 per cent done with the portable equipment in rural areas.

Howard Dixon, although a native of the Wellington area, grew up in the East, but returned to Wellington in 1953 and worked for a number of years as an electrician at the Wichita Boeing plant.

In 1982, with his father, Mr. Dixon purchased a welding business at 1901 North A street and began operations under the name Dixon Welding and Repair Service. Since 1963, the father having turned the business over to his son, Howard Dixon has continued as sole owner of the business.

Wellington Ready-Mix & Material Co,...
Wellington Ready-Mix and Material Co., Inc., recently completed a new plant on the Highway 81 South By-Pass between the 4th Street exit and the Santa Fe tracks. The commodious plant, which is easily visible from the highway although it is several hundred yards west of the roadway, prepares ready-mix concrete, sand and rock for all types of construction from huge truckloads for major building to small tubfuls for “do-it-yourself-ers”. Their trade area includes all of Sumner County and adjoining counties Kansas and northern Oklahoma.

Wellington Ready-Mix actually had its beginning in July, 1935, in Oxford when a company was organized by C. E. Feaster. In 1956, Mr. Feaster’s company was incorporated under the name Oxford Sand and Gravel Company with Mr. C. E. Feaster and his three sons, J. D., Elbert and Max as owners.

On May 1, 1959, the Oxford
Corporation purchased the Glamann Material Company of Wellington from H. W. Glamann, Jr., and thus formed the Wellington Ready-Mix and Material Company, Inc., with J. D. Feaster as president, Elbert Feaster as vice-president, and Max E. Feaster as treasurer.

The Wellington corporation expanded again in 1964 with the purchase of the Gibson Ready-Mix Company from H. A. and H. L. Gibson; and after the completion of the new plant on Highway 81 South, all operations were combined in that one location.

Wellington Ready-Mix and Material Co., Inc., plans to extend its services and operations further as the need and opportunities arise in order to serve Wellington better in providing materials needed for construction.

At the present time the officers of the company are: President, J. D. Feaster; Vice-President, Elbert Feaster; and Secretary - Treasurer, Max E. Feaster. Robert Schuelein is


plant manager and Faye Storms, secretary and bookkeeper. The company maintains
also a staff of several truck drivers and a mechanic on duty at the plant.
Ulysses Roming, Wellington tinner since the early 1880’s. The first shop was on main street between 7th and 8th and after it was destroyed in the cyclone, the Romigs moved to west Harvey where they have been since 1892.

W. A. Romig came to Wellington from Illinois in the early 1880's. With him came his young son, Ulysses Romig. In 1889 when W. A. Romig left to make the run into Oklahoma, twelve year old Ulysses was left in charge of the tin shop, In these days almost everything made out of tin such as cups, bread and cake pans, pie tins, were hand made. With his father gone, the young lad carried on with surprising success.

One day a traveler stopped in and wanted a canteen. When the boy said he did not have one, the stranger left to look elsewhere. Knowing that the man would not find one, the lad got busy. He had never done any soldering but he had watched his father many times. Using two pie tins and soldering a band between to give height, he was just adding metal straps when the stranger returned. The man was delighted and threw down a dollar. Other travelers saw the canteen and soon the lad had more orders than he could fill. He refused to take any paper money, but demanded payment in silver.

Not all Wellington’s pioneers came here in the 1870’s. Starting out in 1947 with a few tools and a truck and working mostly on their hands and knees, two Wellington brothers have built what has become one of Wellington’s very successful businesses — Johnson Brothers Oil Field Service. Today O. H. Johnson and G. L. Johnson with O. H. Johnson’s son, W. O. Johnson, operate a partnership concern. Their headquarters is the office building and mechanical repair shop which they built in 1962 along the oil field road north of the Derby Oil tanks.

With a fleet of trucks and a crew of service men, they provide labor and equipment for completing new oil wells or repairing wells within a radius of approximately fifty miles. The company operating an oil field calls in Johnson Brothers when the need for repairs arises.

The wells in the Wellington Oil Field average a depth of 3650 feet. Above ground a pumping unit works continuously pulling the oil to surface. But below ground extends the long pipe or tubing that reaches from the surface to the oil approximately two-thirds of a mile down. Sometimes part of this casing becomes clogged or
in need of some sort of repair and then the Johnson Brothers Oil Field Service is summoned to perform the task.

Recently the Johnson firm has extended into a new venture, Arrowhead Petroleum of Kansas, Inc., in which they will assume the responsibility of drilling new wells, using hired drillers and drilling equipment.

At present they are investigating oil possibilities in the area of Sumner and Harper counties.

In the early days when pioneers first came to Sumner county, some saw the value not only of what could be produced
the land.

They tried marble, which was somewhat successful; they tried coal with no success, and they tried salt which for a time showed a great deal of promise. But our modern pioneers, Johnson Brothers Oil Field Service, have proved that real economic success can be found by developing and maintaining the right kind of equipment to help the oil wells keep operating.

Oil Slush Fire

The Wellington Oil Field at present is a part of the Kansas District of Terra Resources, Inc., under the supervision of Carl A. Lambrecht. The Kansas Division of Terra includes all of Kansas and Oklahoma with its, headquarters in Tulsa and Mr. Lambrecht’s central office in Great Bend, Until the first of August of this year, Terra maintained both an office in Wellington at 116 West Lincoln and the office at the field. Hereafter Terra will operate the Wellington Oil Field from its field office at the north end of the oil field road.


Interest in oil in Wellington began with the spreading of news concerning the big strikes found in Oxford along about 1925. Ten years later in 1935, three of the largest wells ever found in Kansas were discovered in Oxford within two weeks time.

Meanwhile in 1929, northwest of Wellington, Slick, Pryor and Lockhart drilled a well of the Peasel land and three offsets but none appeared very promising. The market for crude oil at that time was very slow so nothing more was done to develop the field for some time.

Then in January 1935, E. B. Shawver, a private producer from Wichita, decided to drill what most people considered a real “wild cat”, in other words a big gamble with little prospect of making a big strike.

For once the pessimists were wrong and Mr. Shawver opened up a pool that in the next few years became the wonder of the whole state. Well after well was drilled — ten — fifteen — twenty — and not a dry hole was found.

Of course a new discovery concerning oil field production had come into use between 1929 and 1935, acid treatment that increased production of lime wells. Acid treatment, stated in simple language, means that where oil is found in limestone or dolomite formations, acid can be used to enlarge the pores and channels in the rock so that the oil will drain more easily into the well bore. Dolomite particularly contains a great portion of magnesium carbonate and is especially benefited by acid treatment. Acid treatment takes great skill and geological knowledge, but it has been a tremendous advantage in increasing oil production.

When the new treatment was applied to the four wells drilled in the 1929, the Wellington Oil Field came alive.

On October 22, 1935, The WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS featured a little article on the front page under the title “The Wellington Oil Field” with this comment: “Going along quietly, developing week by week, the Wellington Oil Field is something of which we should be proud. Starting in the middle of the depression, it has moved deliberately until now derricks are numerous enough to attract attention from both federal highways. The Wellington oil field isn’t the largest oil field in the country but it never disappoints. Sixteen wells now producing and holding up in an amazing way, with not one dry hole and none showing water. So far there is nothing to indicate certainly the limit of the Wellington field in any direction which means that it will be widened extensively and for many decades will add to Wellington’s prosperity.”

Drilling went on and the field was extended east, then north, then south and finally west. By 1936 there were 50 producing wells with a potential figured at that time at 24,000 barrels. Finally on Feb. 4, 1937, after 55 producing wells had been drilled, drillers struck a dry hole which indicated that they had apparently reached the north end of the field.

A ROAD NEEDED The oil field had been developed skilfully, conservatively and without much unusual publicity and no serious accidents. Meanwhile, in town, the Wellington Chamber of Commerce for several years had been working to secure a better road to the oil field. Finally on March 17, 1938, the committee — Robert Cobean, George Renn and Frank Wright, working with Harry Bennett, county commissioner, and T. F. Faugh and Frank Hackney of Wellington
and Roy Gift of Seventy - Six Township, were able to announce that they had secured the land needed for right-of-way, that the county would furnish machines and materials, and that 50 men, working under a WPA project grant, would immediately set to work to build a sixty-foot wide, gravelled all-weather road to the oil field. The road was planned to run a mile north from Cedarview Skilled Nursing Home, then a mile west and thence two and a half miles north, a total of five miles. Burns King, county engineer, was assigned to supervise the construction.


In the early development of the Wellington oil field there was a great deal of high pressure gas so in November of 1936 work was started on a gas compressor station at the field. It had been estimated that six million cubic feet of gas was being wasted daily that could be utilized by the addition of the new compressor station. A four-mile line was run to connect the Wellington Oil Field compressor station to the Cities Service line which ran from Kansas City and Topeka to Oklahoma City.

For a number of years the Wellington field produced sufficient gas to supply that needed for the operation of the field and also to supply, the gas needs for the city itself.

Today the gas is all gone and both the city and Terra Resources, Inc., purchase the gas produced elsewhere and piped in from Cities Service.

A DOUBLE DRUM working rig used for new well completions and rework-
ing old wells—rod and tubing work, in addition to swabbing and bailing wells.


Up until 1952 most of the wells were operated by rod lines from a central unit. At present each well has its own pumping unit.

In 1956 another major change took place when Terra pulled down all the old derricks. If, as the WELLINGTON DAILY NEWS stated in 1935, the field could be seen from both US 81 and Highway 160, that surely is no longer true today. A person a mile away would be totally unaware that he was near a large field, so unobtrusive on the landscape and so quietly do the pumps operate.

A few years ago occasionally people would see the black smoke rising from a sludge fire, but that too is something that has disappeared. Partly because better means have been found, partly to avoid pollution, the sludge today is converted to other uses such as oiling roads.

Through all its history the field has been remarkably lucky as far as accidents and major problems are concerned.
There have been a few injuries, but no one killed or seriously injured. The most serious problem in recent years occurred
during an afternoon thunderstorm when lightning struck a Derby oil tank, but the Wellington Fire Department, by using
foam and water, was able to control the fire before a major calamity developed.
Terra Resources, Inc
Wellington Unit Number 75 One of Largest Pumping Units.

Turning north from Highway 160 just this side of Slate Creek and following the oil field road north and west about four miles, one is soon in the heart of the Wellington Oil Field. The whole area consists of rolling country, fine farm land, and here and there pumps extending a few feet above ground, quietly pumping up and down. Along the road are three fenced areas, one marked with the name of the Derby Oil Company, the second the Johnson Brothers oil service and the third Terra Resources, Inc., the company which today operates all of the wells in the Wellington Oil Field.

Terra Resources, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Farmland Industries, Inc., maintains a field office and the production facilities of the Wellington Oil Field to collect and separate, oil and water, and automatically meter and ship oil at the rate of approximately 750 barrels of oil per day. Terra’s metal building houses the injection pumps that automatically reinject the produced water into 43 injection wells. The plant is completely automatic with electrical controls and handles
the production of approximately 14,000 barrels of water per day. The Wellington unit of Terra was formed in 1953 and at present has 65 producing wells, 43 injection wells and 1 water supply well which produces around 5000 barrels per day. Over 8 million barrels of oil has been produced since 1953 when the waterflooding operation be gan, one of the most successful waterfloods in all Kansas.

When an oil man talks about "flooding”, he means the injection of water into selected wells within a depleted field to create a body of fluid under pressure that will force the remaining oil through the reservoir to other wells that have been selected
to produce oil. In the Wellington field between 18 and 19 thousand barrels of water is injected each day. Since Feb. 1953 a total of over 84 million barrels of water has been used and recycled for use again.
Central Battery On Injection Plant

Once No Planes Over

Airplanes were not totally strange to Wellington before World War II, but they were not exactly common either.

On July 4, 1919, a big celebration was held in the part of the area now known as Woods Park where the golf course now is. One of the main features of the day was a plane that both did stunts and took people riding.

Late in the afternoon the wind shifted and what had been a very exciting day almost turned to catastrophe. The pilot, with George Hyten as passenger, did not have sufficient breeze to become airborne and the plane tangled in the fence along the roadway and hit a car parked along the 8th street road. Three people in the car, seriously injured, were rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Livingstone of Freeport fortunately had only cuts and bruises and were soon released. The little girl with them, Leona Jones, required surgery, but made a remarkable recovery and was released thirteen days later much to the joy of all the people in town who had witnessed the accident. Neither the pilot nor Mr. Hyten was injured, but the pilot who had flown many years was deeply distressed to experience his first accident in such a way.

After this long-to-be-remembered occasion, occasionally Sykes’ field, across the road north from the golf course, was used for exhibitions and stunt flying to entertain the crowds that gathered to watch.

By 1938 air mail had become an important asset in communication in America, with a total of seventy million miles of air
mail being flown in 1937, but Wellington had had little part in the system which had been inaugurated between New York and Washington, D.C., in 1918, a distance of 218 miles covered in two relays.

Thursday, May 19, 1938, the 20th anniversary of air mail service, was set as the date to move Wellington into the age of air mail service. A few days prior, air mail stamp's were placed on sale in the Wellington post office. On Tuesday of that week, Miss Nadine Ramsey of Wichita, one of two women in the United States appointed to fly air mail, came to Wellington to look over Sykes’ field. Pronouncing it much too rough for her twin engine Yellow Cub, she asked to land on the golf course south of the park road.

On Thursday, May 15, 1938, she left Wichita at 12:00 and arrived in Wellington at 12:20 p.m., where the Wellington High School band, city and post office dignitaries and a huge crowd greeted her. The sheriff’s patrol, the local police and Boy Scouts helped handle the crowd and make sure that all cars were parked west of the flag house or east of the bridge up near the swimming pool.

Every precaution was made to avoid an accident.

Arch Hendon, assistant postmaster, handed Miss Ramsey
a fifteen pound bag of mail with the Wellington postmark at the conclusion of the ceremonies. She then flew on to Caldwell, Anthony and back to Wichita, and thus Wellington moved one step nearer the air age.


In 1940 Wellington applied for a grant from the government for $29,117 to develop an airport. Many other Kansas towns made similiar application, but the coming of the war interfered with that program.

When Wellington secured a defense industry in 1942, a real need for an airport developed almost immediately. There were many people here and in Wichita who wanted to learn to fly and Wichita officials were eager to get all student flying out and away from Wichita. In addition, with the pressure of war industrial process and lack of surface transportation, it was frequently imperative that defense plant personnel have the means of travelling rapidly in conducting defense plant business.

Thus it was that, in spite of all sorts of “red tape” that had to be unravelled, several Wellington men leased land north of town from the Hummel family. The ground was levelled off somewhat, three rather makeshift hangers were hurriedly put up, a gasoline pump was set nearby and a repair station
was added as soon as possible.

On July 17, 1942, the flying field, one of 36 such airports in Kansas, was given government approval. That facility, meager as it was, served Wellington well all during the war and many people came down from Wichita to take flight training at the Wellington airport.

Once the war was over and materials again available, interest in developing the airport was slow to take hold. On March 27, 1946, Frigidmist and G. W. Startz sold the airport to Murray Dresback, Frederick Mitchell and Norville Eaton. A couple of years later Steve Tuttle purchased the airport from them and tried to interest the city in better support for a local airport. Some improvement was made, but it began to look as if Wellington was never going to have a real airport until Dr. Ward Cole purchased the airport in November 1962. Dr. Cole moved into Wellington's airport history mostly as civic service because he believed an airport was essential for Wellington’s future, and partly because he and his sons, particularly his son Harold, were very interested in flying.

Under the guidance of the Cole family, the airport came of age. Good hangers and other needed buildings were added. The hamburger stand gradually became a fine restaurant; the gasoline pump a real service station, and the field was modernized to serve local flyers adequately under present day conditions of flying.

After devoting many years to the development of a real airport for Wellington, Dr. and Mrs. Cole, on June 24, 1971 announced they had sold the airport to Mr. and Mrs. Don Struble of Mulvane.




Precision Machining, Inc....

In April 1968, Precision Machining, Inc., (PRE-MAC), completed their fine new office and plant building north of the Wellington Airport on the west
side of Highway 81, thereby adding an additional 8000 square feet to their operation. The former building, south of the new one, was converted into a ware

The firm, which was incorporated and started production on May 2, 1966, and thus is one of Wellington’s newest industries,
was originally organized by Mary Miller Olson, Ural Langford and Bill Meridith. Later Percy V. Simpson, Charles Langford and Gary Sinclair also became co-wners in the firm.

PRE-MAC is engaged in the subcontracting of precision machined parts, assemblies and tooling, producing both military and commercial products.

At present the company has contracts with Beech Aircraft Corporation, Cessna Aircraft Company, the Boeing Company and Cardwell Manufacturing, all of Wichita, Kansas; General Dynamics Corporation, Fort Worth, Texas; McDonnell; Douglas Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma; General Electric Company, Arkansas City, Kansas; Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, and Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Future plans of the company include the increasing of their commercial work.

All the owners are engaged actively in the company business.. Mrs. Mary Miller Olson serves as president and is in charge of administrative management and accounting; Bill Meridith, vice president, in charge of procurement and sales; Percy V. Simpson, vice-president and plant superintendent; and Mrs. Ural Langford, secretary-treasurer, in charge of purchasing and personnel.


A Defense Plant For Wellington

Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Wellington — like large and small towns everywhere — was intent on “getting a defense plant for our town”. The desire for a local defense plant stemmed partly from an intense eagerness to aid the war effort and partly from the vision of the future advantage such an industry could bring to a town. The fact that the Wichita airplane factories were so close aroused even greater interest in securing a defense plant.

Thus it was that a committee was appointed by the Chamber of Commerce to accomplish the goal. Since there were no cars for sale, a former automobile garage at the southwest corner of Washington avenue and 9th street, then owned by Mrs. Tacy Halliday, was leased as a suitable site. Ralph Hangen, president of the Chamber of Commerce at that time, and a committee composed of H. C. Davidson, Bill Murphy and A. L. Sigley were assigned the task of securing a defense plant for Wellington. The committee soon discovered that two young men, one of whom had been reared in Wellington, were operating a small airplane parts plant in Wichita and were badly in need of additional space.

On March 17, 1942, Earl M. Clarkson and William G. Startz, assisted by C. W. Mann, started operations in Wellington with a projected monthly payroll of $6,000 and the agreement that the Chamber of Commerce would underwrite the rent of the former garage.

The two young men had received training in the Aircraft business at East High in Wichita,
one of the earliest government schools of this type. Upon completion of their training, they worked first at Stearman Aircraft in Wichita, later at Douglas in Santa Monica, California, and then returned to Wichita after having been selected as instructors in the Wichita National Defense School. Teaching during the day and at night working to build for themselves a rope Drop Hammer, in July of 1941, they set up shop in a small building in the east part of Wichita after securing contracts for steel stampings for various subcontracting firms in Wichita.

Gradually adding to both their equipment and contracts, the firm had completely outgrown their space in Wichita by February of 1942, and thus were happy to contract for the move to Wellington.

Wellington's Defense Factory A Funny Looking Place

Wellington’s defense factory grew by gigantic leaps and soon was spread all over the business district.

The old garage at Washington and 9th became known as Plant I; across the street a little building that formerly had been a blacksmith shop soon became known as the Mule Barn or Plant II. Next was added the old Motor Inn garage, a huge gaunt brick building that used to stand at the corner of 7th and C streets where the city parking lot is today, became
Plant III. In 1943 the automobile agency building at 215 North Washington was added to the chain as Plant IV. Early in 1944, the defense plant contracted with the City to take over the Memorial Hall as an assembly line.

In three years the projected monthly $6000 payroll soared to more than $104,000 a month. Housing in Wellington became more and more acute as new families moved here almost every week and local families doubled up in order to share their
living quarters with newcomers.

An ever-increasing number of the older women of Wellington contributed to the war effort by joining “Rosie, the Riveter” and learning skills far different from those needed in the kitchen. There were few cars and very little gasolene so the city established a bus line serving all parts of Wellington day and night to transport the willing women workers back and forth from Wellington’s various defense buildings.

Both Mr. Startz and Mr.
Clarkson left Wellington to enter military service, but the defense plant — under the guidance of an office staff consisting of C. M. Mann, Johnnie Ames, Bob Stewart, Bob Webster and Reva Johnson, with 450 faithful employees working far beyond the call of duty — greatly aided the war effort and moved Wellington from its previous agricultural existence into the modern industrial age. The reality far exceeded the 1942 vision of what “a defense plant could do for Wellington”.

The Canteen
Another war project that was successfully carried on all during the war was the canteen at the Santa Fe depot which was sponsored by the local Red Cross under the leadership of Mrs. Will H. Rusk, assisted by Mrs. Myron Vandenburgh and aided by hundreds of Wellington men and women.

No troop train ever stopped in WelIington without every service man and woman aboard receiving coffee, doughnuts or a piece of pie. The friendly service given by Wellington people to military personnel on transcontinental trains became known all over the United
States. There were only three such canteens in the whole country.

At the end of the war, the official record showed 28,847 hours of local service donated and 457,506 military personnel served. The cost of operating the canteen was $10,982.99, an average of two cents per person. $8931.52 was donated to the local Red Cross in cash, the remainder by Wellington firms in the form of flour, sugar, coffee, cream and such supplies.

And when the war was over, the little canteen was moved to Sellers park and continued to be used as the ticket sales booth.

Not only did the people of Wellington aid the war effort with long hours of work in the defense plants, but in many other ways contributed to the war effort. M. D. Utterback, owner of the Lyric Theater for many years, suggested that the people buy enough war bonds to pay for a bomber. On Dec. 14, 1944, the little town reached its
goal and the City of Wellington was christened by Mrs. G. J. Roberts, whose son had been Wellington’s second casualty in World War II. Bob Roberts, 1938 graduate of Wellington High School, a navy pilot, lost his life on patrol duty in South American waters.

Also taking part in the christening ceremonies were Ellis
Carr, president of the First National Bank; Claude Kissick, superintendent of schools; Harley Hyten, local automobile dealer; G. J. Roberts, owner of Roberts Dry goods, Martin Gravette, at that time president of the Chamber of Commerce; all of whom had contributed much toward making the bond sales project a success.

The Ration Books Problem

One of the major wartime tasks; that fell upon big cities and little towns alike was the issuance of ration books. In this complicated task, it was easy to make a mistake and yet very important that no mistake be made, but for which there was no group of trained personnel. Most towns decided that their teachers could probably be trained the quickest to perform this demanding task.

In Wellington the head of each family was instructed to report to their lineal elementary school at the specified time. The high school teachers were apportioned out to the various grade schools to lend assistance to the task and in Wellington the issuance of the various ration books went along quite smoothly.

Nationally the government found itself in a “terrible mess” in trying to work out a suitable program for the entire naton in a very short time. Joe
Dey, who, a short time before the beginning of the war, graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Hotel Administration, was immediately commissioned in the Navy and assigned to the problem of helping feed vast numbers of Navy personnel in Norfolk, Virginia, told us an interesting fact about the beginning of rationing.

In their urgent speeds to get the program going as fast as possible, the government patterned American rationing after the British system and failed to take into account entirely the difference in the eating habits of the two nations. In a short time vast stores of such items as canned tomato juice and canned peaches, staples in the American diet but little used by the British, accumulated in warehouses all over the United States while patriotic Americans tried hard not to complain at the stringent regulations placed upon them.


The Industrial Age Arrived Late From Covered Wagon Over The Prairie Grass From Horse And Carriage To Modern Campers From Stage Coach To A Sky Full Of Planes . . . We Built Our History
The Coming of Peace Brought on Many Problems

After five years of suffering, battling and waiting, peace finally returned to the world in 1945. The war ended; the men came home again; and everyone thought things would return to normal as they had been before the war began.

But the reality of 1946 was very different from the dream of what peace would be like. There were shortages everywhere of every kind of goods and materials. Farmers who had struggled along with patched up, makeshift machinery found that needed parts and machines were even more difficult to obtain. There were still no cars, no gasolene, few tires and great shortages in food and clothing. In Washington, D. C., the OPA decided against allowing clothing manufacturers to add even one inch to the specifications concerning the length of women’s skirts. There actually was not enough material available to do it.

Men by the hundreds returned to their hometowns, and even though many of the womenfolk gladly gave up their war
jobs, there simply were no jobs to be found until industry could get back to the usual type of manufacturing, and as labor struggled to return to peacetime, huge disastrous strikes crippled the whole nation.

Gradually as a few tires and some gasolene became available, another problem developed. People whose driving had been drastically restricted, seemed to go mad and drove wildly any place they could as fast as they could. The accident rate soared and with each additional crash, automobiles, and automobile parts became more scarce.

In Wellington, in 1946, industry turned from the war effort and geared itself for peacetime profitable industries. Many young promising industries were enthusiastically cheered on by the citizens of the little city. An item in the Wellington Daily News for October 20,
1947, lists 10 new industries from Wellington that were displaying their products at the Kansas Manufacturers’ Show in Wichita. Not one of the ten was able to survive the awesome problems of the return to peace of 1946 and 1947.

Probably the most promising of all the post-war Wellington industries was the Toadroy Manufacturing Co. In 1946 Roy Greer and O. W. Thrailkill (Toad Thrailkill) purchased an old skating rink on Highway 160 just east of Highway 81 where they planned to manufacture a series of household appliances for cleaning and maintaining floors.

Typical of the orders that poured into the plant were orders from such huge firms as Marshall Field of Chicago, Macy’s of New York City, Gimbel’s of Milwaukee, and May Company of Baltimore. One week in January 1946 Toadroy received an order for 250 floor polishers from Reyjavik, Iceland. In a short time the firm had 15,000 orders for their polisher which was marketed under the name of “Toadroy, Whirling Friction Floor Polisher’’.

But because of the paralyzing strikes in the East, they were unable to get motors for their machines. Production never reached more than 50 a month; orders were cancelled and finally the firm was forced to cease operations due to shortage of materials.

The old skating rink, however, managed to survive and today —- remodelled, rebuilt, and much added to — is the site of one of Wellington’s successful industries, Oxwell, Inc.

The Wellington C of C An Aid To Industrial Development
Industry has come to Wellington and continued to develop here mainly because of the great interest and support given by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor Day when it was very clear that the United States must not only develop immense and efficient military forces fast and soon, it also was equally clear that so-called “Defense plants” must be developed with incredible speed if the military forces were to be provided with the necessary equipment. Wichita, as is well known to everyone, the home of Stearman, Beech and Cessna, pioneers in aviation, soon became the center of almost unbelievable activity.

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce, wishing to contribute as much as possible to the success of the huge war effort, appointed a committee composed of H. C. Davidson, William Murphy, and A. L. Sigley to investigate the possibility of Wellington’s aiding the war effort in defense production. On March 9, 1942, three months after the beginning of World War II, Mr. R. E. Hangen, president of the Chamber of Commerce, announced that a suitable building had been secured and that the manufacturing of airplane parts would begin in Wellington immediately.

After the end of World War II, the Chamber of Commerce continued its interest in industrial
development for Wellington and through its industrial committee, several Wellington men were encouraged to form the Wellington Industrial Development Corporation. This is a completely separate unit from the Chamber of Commerce, but since its beginning, has had the interest and support of the industrial committee of the Chamber.

The first directors’ meeting of the new corporation was held on October 10, 1956. It became immediately apparent to the directors that the first step in developing industry for Wellington was the purchase of a suitable track of land for industrial development. Sometime later 32 acres on Highway 81 north, east of the Rock Island tracks and north of the township road was secured by the Wellington Industrial Development Corporation. The corporation has encouraged and helped several new industries to get a start in Wellington and still has ample land for future development. One new building was built a few years ago in the industrial track as a speculation without any prospective tenant. In 1989 a suitable industry was found for this building and a new industry for Wellington began production.

The industrial committee of be Wellington Chamber of Commerce has also been interested in aiding industries in other parts of town. An agreement was worked out with the Wellington City Council for some land at the Wellington airport to be used for industrial purposes and likewise help has been given in other areas in or near Wellington.

Midwest, Inc
A Story of Expansion, Success
FLOOR SPACE 46,820 Sq. Ft.
One Storage Yard

Drop Hammer Room

Pent Insp
Air Comp
Aircraft Fabrication

No positive discussion of Wellington's industry should exclude Midwest, Inc. This plant was established in 1957 as a result of the area need in the aircraft industry for fabrication and assembly facilities.

While the aim of its owners was primarily to service the needs of the aircraft industry, it was not long until the company found itself diversifying into other areas and the growth of Midwest started on its rapid pace to its present size. Midwest has, at its peak, had employment of over 150 people and its present facility size encompasses 46,820 square feet of manufacturing area. Sales figures have exceeded $1,500,000,000 and the annual payroll exceeds $500,000.00.

Some of the primary machines in Midwest’s business include a 20 foot Farnham roll, a 550 Ton punch press, a 16 foot power shearer, five Ceco hammers, and a 12 foot power brake.

Today the company derives its business from both the military and commercial field. Its work encompasses everything from farm machinery parts to power packs for Army field hospitals to parts used on the Apollo Moon Program. In addition the company still services the aircraft industry for a major part of the overall business. Many of the outside sections of commercial and military aircraft are now being produced by Midwest, Inc. Although diversification into the communications area and other areas looks apparent, aircraft needs will remain a main part of Midwest’s business.

Like its sister company, Welco Aerospace Corporation, Midwest became a part of Alloys Unlimited, Inc. in March of 1969 and is now a subsidiary of Plessey, Inc., when Alloys was acquired by the Plessey Company, Limited of England in July of this year. It is Management’s hope that this new alignment will bring additional work to the company of Midwest, Inc. and its benefits will be apparent on Wellington’s economy.

Ted E. Davis
President and General Manager

John T. Stewart III Vice President

Jack Glamann Vice President

Donald E. Schultz Secretary and Plant Superintendent

T. Dean Morton


J. D. Koeppen Business and Purchasing Manager

Floyd Davis
Assistant Plant Superintendent

Kendall Brundage Quality Control Manager



Sportsman Coach, Inc
Produces Quality Pickup Campers


In September 1964 Sportsman Coach Inc. was added to Wellington’s industrial complex when the newly erected plant on the industrial road leading west from Highway 81 began production. The firm was organized in Wellington by Wellington men to produce a special type of quality pickup campers and also to manufacture pick-up covers, or canopies, which, in a very effective way, convert an open pick-up into a completely waterproof, tamper-proof covered truck.

The owners of the firm — Ted Davis, Dick Popham, Don Schultz, Orville Miller and Jack Glamann — originally began construction of the Sportsman Coach in an old skating rink in the east part of Wellington. When it looked as if the venture had great potenial
for success, it was decided to construct the new plant which would give them a fine building with 10,000 square feet of space for efficient operation. In 1967 the growth of the firm led to doubling the plant in space to 20,000 square feet.

At the present time Sportsman Coach Inc. is producing 8 foot, 9 foot, and 11 foot pick-up campers with quite a range in choice of floor plans and equipment. The 8 and 9 foot campers can be used on a one-half ton pick-up; the 8 foot will sleep four persons and the 9 and 11 foot campers sleep four to six persons depending on the equipment selected.


A few years ago many homes were sometimes disrupted by a conflict between a desire to travel and get out and enjoy fishing, hunting, camping and similar outdoor activities and a hesitation to leave the comforts of home. The lady of the house saw a vast difference between cooking over a bonfire, washing clothes in a creek and trying to perform needed household tasks in such a crude way or using all the kitchen conveniences at home. Sportsman Coach Inc., seeing a real need to solve this problem, produces quality campers, with beautifully pre-finished birch interiors,
convenient and comfortable in every way.

The man of the house also recognizes the value of Sportsman Coach. He uses his pick-up truck for vacation traveling and camping and knows that he has a vehicle suitable for the task it is performing and thus feels that his family and friends are travelling safely no matter what the terrain involved. The Sportsman Coach varies in weight from 1160 to 1750 pounds. With standard loading jacks, one man can easily handle the Sportsman Coach.


The Sportsman is built to take rugged abuse, is fully insulated and also designed to prevent wind resistance. Jalousie windows and a choice of single or the new double French, doors add to the comfort and convenience of the camper. Sportsman pick-up campers are completely equipped with more than adequate living and storage space. During the daytime two sofas, comfortable dining space and efficient kitchen area provide all the facilities of home. Sink, range, oven, hot water tank, refrigerator —with choice of ice or butane operated — add to the enjoyment of living away from home. Bathrooms have vanity, toilet and shower. The beds are full-sized and especially comfortable with foam mattresses.

Sportsman Coach pick - up campers are available in a wide range of prices, sizes, equipment and floor plans, but each camper produced by Sportsman Coach Inc. bears their well-known mark of quality.

Administrative personnel for Sportsman Coach Inc. include:

President — Ted Davis Vice President — Jack Glamann Vice President, in charge of sales and purchasing — Orville Miller
Vice President, in charge of production — Dick Pophan Secretary-Treasurer — Don Schultz
Sales Manager — Bob Richardson
. . . Camping Was Different 65 Years Ago .

Camping is fun, gorgeous fun. Out there beyond the boundaries of the town is all the whole wonderful big beautiful outdoors. Today when people live crowded close together in polluted towns and cities, it is truly a blessing that any family with an average income can travel near or far in convenient, compact, comfortable campers.

But it was not always that way.

In the early 1900's on a lovely July day, a son of one of Wellington’s early day settlers was married in a town about a hundred miles from Wellington. The newlyweds traveled by train to Winfield where the young man’s father had arranged to have a horse and carriage and camping gear waiting.

The lovely bride and the happy groom drove blissfully over the dirt road towards Oxford, turned north along the Arkansas river to the then very popular Krell’s Grove, favorite recreation spot of local lovers of the outdoors.

As the Sumner County blue sky turned to rosy sunset, the happy couple set up a canvas tent, opened up two canvas cots and carefully fastened the racks that held white mosquito netting above each one. A camp table and two folding chairs
were placed in the shade of a tall walnut tree and a red and white hammock stretched between two other trees nearby.

Perishable food, stored in a water-tight container and tied to the river bank, floated in the cooling water; and after a crude wire rack was set up over a small bonfire, the two busily embarked on the exciting adventure of cooking their first meal together.

Night fell. The stars came out. The katy-dids began their nocturnal chirping and the bull frogs and tree toads joined the chorus. So did the mosquitos. Then the night-flying gnats decided to haunt the campers.

The young people did not mind. They were young. Life was beautiful. It was such fun to be outdoors.

The next morning it was not quite so much fun. As often happens in dry hot Kansas in July, thunderstorms moved in. It rained all day and the next day and the next. The tables and chairs and cooking rack went sailing off with the wind. Rising waters tore away their makeshift refrigerator and carried the stores of food down the river. Sturdy ropes held the tent upright, but the rain came pouring down the center pole and blew in under the flaps. Our
hero and heroine, attempting to satisfy healthy young appetites, plowed around in a sea of mud, pausing now and then to wring water out of their sopping clothes.

The sun finally came out, but so did chills and sneezes and runny noses. Utterly miserable and mindful of the comfortable little home they had prepared for themselves in Wellington, the bedraggled bride and groom packed their camping
equipment, harnessed their horse and carriage and headed down the Oxford road toward Wellington and real shelter. As they rode past prosperous farms and sturdy waterproof homes, the young lady vowed she would never go camping again.

When many years later a little brown-eyed eight year old heard this camping tale for the first time, she sat still a moment deep in thought.

“Grandmother, didn’t you ever go camping again?”

And the elderly gray-haired lady in the comfortable rocking chair emphatically replied, “Indeed I didn’t. I like to be comfortable.”

The little broiwn-eyed girl shook her head finding such an attitude difficult to comprehend. But then, she belonged to the generation of “roughing it” “with all the modern conveniences”.


First Camper Seen in Southwest Manufactured Here

The first camper ever seen in the Southwest was manufactured in Wellington.

Present day people may think that the use of campers along with cars or trucks is a very modern idea. But old-time Wellingtonianiars can remember away back around 1920 when automobiles were taking the place of horses and carriages, that a Wellington man invented a camper box, named the Wellington Auto Camper, which could be attached either to the running board or rear of any car. The camper, which was 4 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and 3 feet tall, held a tent, a table, and folding cots and chains. A two passenger camper sold for $98.50 and the four passenger camper for $150.00.

In spite of a great deal of research, only a little accurate information about Wellington’s first venture into the manufacturing of campers has been discovered.

It appears that Tom Long, who was born on November 10, 1885, in Buchanan County, Missouri, and moved to Oxford while still quite young, designed
and built the Wellington Auto Camper himself. Mr. Long, who operated the Dodge agency in Wellington and Oxford, is believed to have produced the first camping equipment ever made in the Southwest in a plant just south of the Santa Fe tracks on South H street. It has been said that later he turned his camper over to the agency of the Mac-Stewart Motor Co. and changed the name to the United Manufacturing Co. The outfit was displayed as far away as Kansas City and St. Louis and probably about 250 sets were produced and sold under the advertising slogan, “Travel Home of Wheels”.

Although the contents of the camper trunk, being mostly cloth, have long since yielded to the deterioration of time, one of the camper trunks is among the unique treasures to be seen at Wellington's Chisholm Trail Museum.

Tom Long continued to make
his home in Wellington for many years and before his death in 1967 at the age of 82, without doubt, must have been quite familiar with the modern counterparts to his invention in Wellington. In his later years he became quite well known as a skilled watch and clock repairman. People in Wellington were accustomed to saying “Tom Long can make any timepiece run”, but perhaps few of the many who left clocks and watches for repairs at his shop at 123 West Harvey were aware that those same skillful fingers, in his younger years, had fashioned the first camper ever known in the Southwest, an area that produces campers by the thousands locally.



Many present-day Wellingtonians probably recall Friday, May 24, 1946, as an exciting day for Wellington. On that night the doors of the fine new factory, just completed on the north edge off Wellington, by Star Manufacturing Company of Oklahoma City, were thrown open to the public and all the townspeople thronged to the site of their new industry.

Few people had either cars or gasoline to make the trip two miles north of the business district so it was arranged that the city bus service, which had been carrying defense workers back and forth from various parts off the city all during the war, would be available this one night for everyone’s enjoyment.

Lee Hopkins off the bus line announced that two trips would be made, the first to leave the Security Bank Building corner at 7:15 p.m. and the second at 8:15 p.m. Return buses would be ready to bring the visitors back to town after the Open House.

The new 100 by 400 foot steel pre-fabricated building, said to be the largest structure of its kind in Kansas, was started shortly after the end of the war to be used for assembly, painting and shipping of the Frigidmist air-conditioned vegetable cooler and humidifier. Those who attended the Open House were told they would see the Frigidmist in all stages off manufacture and could follow it right up to the box car which stood on the Rock Island spur at the west door of the building.

In the down town area of Wellington a number of business firms had special displays Wellington’s first modern factory.

Hundreds of Wellington’s citizens walked, rode the buses, or used what cars were available to attend this important event in local history.

Unfortunately the excitement was not to last. Post-war conditions brought insurmountable problems to young struggling industries. For a time the plant, so eagerly toured in May of 1943, fulfilled its intended purpose, then turned to the manufacture of aluminum storm and window awnings. Later the factory was leased for the rnanufacture of furniture and fulfilled the purpose successfully for several years. Finally in 1964 the building was leased to Concord Mobile Homes and became at last the home of a successful Wellington industry.

Recently a Wellington business
man who had worked hard to make the Frigidmist concern a success, in recalling the postwar struggle in getting industries started for Wellington and recounting the events of those long past days, summed up the whole Frigidmist story with the words, “It could have been a very wealthy company, completely successful, except for the circumstances and the time.”

As has happened so often in Wellington’s history, the business changed but the building remained to become of real service to industrial Wellington and is today, remodelled, enlarged, with new equipment, the home of the Wellington division of Concord Mobile Homes.
At Last...
Modern Factory For
Years of Experience
* * *
Wide Choice

Bring Success To Concord Mobile Homes

Concord Mobile Homes, a Division of Champion Home Builders Co., 2124 North Washington, began producing mobile homes, the Titan and the Conestoga, in Wellington in 1964. In 1969 the building was remodeled and new equipment installed to convert production facilities from recreational vehicles to mobile homes twelve feet wide and sixty or sixty-five feet long. Present production averages four units per day.

First founded in Elkhart, Indiana, by E. B. Jeffries, Concord Mobile Homes now has seven plants, building both mobile homes and recreational vehicles. These plants are located in Elkhart, Ind., Lake City, Florida, and Wellington.

In February 1968 the company merged with Champion Home Builders whose executive offices are located in Dryden, Michigan. Of Champion Home Builders seventy- two
separate facilities scattered around the country, twenty-three manufacture mobile and modular homes, seven manufacture recreational vehicles, fifteen component supplies, and twenty-nine mobile home retail sales centers.

One of the advantages of being a part of a large company with a number of plants producing an extensive range of items is the ability to switch the type of production to meet the demands of the market at any particular time. Thus steady employment, constant production and continued growth is maintained. In the years Concord Mobile Homes has been in operation in Wellington, an average of approximately sixty employees have been included in the payroll.

During the years the Wellington plant has been in operation, the type of production has occasionally been changed. In 1964 the Wellington division of
Concord Mobile Homes produced two types of mobile homes. In 1965 a third type, given the name the “Wellington”, was added. In 1966 the plant added the production of a travel trailer called the “Concord Traveler”; the next year, 1967, saw homes discontinued in Wellington and the facility here was entirely devoted to the production of travel trailers. During the recent remodeling program in 1969, the plant was converted to the production of large mobile homes.

Such diversity predicts great success for the future of Concord Mobile Homes, which is under the supervision of the following administrative personnel: Henry E. George, President; Howard Brandt, Regional Director; Guy A. Leith, Divisional Manager; Thomas W. Mulkey, Sales Manger; Delbert Fiene, Purchasing Agent; and John R. DeJarnett, Production Superintendent.


Edgetown Homes, Inc.
. . . Hometown Industry by Hometown People

Edgetown Homes, Inc., an industry that has grown steadily since it moved to Wellington in 1967, is housed in one of the fine new buildings that is part of the Wellington Industrial complex on Highway 81 north.

The major part of Edgetown’s output is the Mobile Villa, an 18 foot long camper — compact, unbelievably efficient for its size, charming and comfortable — produced at a cost which any family of average income can afford. The company holds a patent which gives their Mobile Villa a unique feature, a sliding glass door and patio porch which opens up and out to provide a pleasant sheltered outdoor area in addition to the comforts of home contained inside the camper.

The Mobile Villa camper, which can easily be pulled by any private car except small foreign compacts, has a dining area in one end. At night the table drops down and bolsters from the benches convert to a restful double bed. A surprising amount of storage is provided in and around the dining area.

Complete kitchen and bathroom facilities, including its own water supply and septic tank, are provided in the middle section, with a refrigerator and three burner range and oven in the kitchen area and shower, lavatory and stool in the bathroom. The camper contains its own furnace and hot water
heater which can be operated in remote areas by a self-contained, electrical plant or bottled gas. Electric lighting is
provided throughout the Mobile Villa camper plus a Coleman light at one end and a gas light at the other for emergency use.

At the patio end in the attractive living room area, the two daytime sofas convert to beds that will sleep two adults or three children. Throughout the Mobile Villa, the woodwork, colorful draperies and other decorative features give a feeling of a real home on wheels.

The company also makes a 35 foot Mobile Villa for use by construction workers and such who must be constantly on the move. The big camper can easily be pulled by an ordinary pick-up truck even in mountainous areas.

Edgetown Homes, Inc., trade area extends from the eastern slope of the Rockies to the Mississippi and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. All units produced by Edgetown Homes, Inc., are retailed through dealers scattered throughout their trade area. At present Edgetown is in the process of making new contracts with dealers to extend their area west of the Rockies and east Of the Mississippi.

One of the most interesting facts about Edgetown, Inc., is that the history of the plant is the story of local boys educated in the Wellington schools, who left Wellington for advanced education, military service and professional training, and then returned to their home town to help build a sound industrial foundation for the future of Wellington. All of the top management grew up and were educated in Wellington.

Fred Weir, president of Edgetown, Inc., after working ten years for a major trailer factory and having obtained the special patents that provide Mobile Villa with its unique features, decided to branch out for himself. Darrel McGee, after college, military service and business training in Wisconsin, returned to Wellington to serve as joint owner and executive vice president of the firm; Doyle Kinyon, also a product of the Wellington High School, is vice president in charge of sales.

In an age when it seems most farm and small town young men leave for the big city, Wellington is lucky indeed to have a progressive, fast-growing industry such as Edgetown Homes, Inc., which at present is producing around 45 Mobile Villas each month.



Oxwell, Inc.

Has Shown Phenomenal Growth

In March 1951, a new industry was organized for the Wellington area and given the name Oxwell, Inc., a name which was coined from the words Oxford and Wellington. At that time Jack Jenkins converted the building on Highway 160 east of Wellington that once had been a skating rink and then a polisher manufacturing plant into an industry for aircraft sheet metal production. The outward appearance of the old building remained unchanged except for the addition on the north side of a little better protected front entrance and some protective fencing.

The industry struggled along and grew very slowly until 1957 when it was purchased by Dwight Thompson and Eugene S. Veail. At this time Oxwell had only four employees and no government contracts. The first major change was started with a remodelling program that would transform in the next few years what once had been an abandoned skating rink into a fine highly productive plant.


During the ten years following 1957, the industry grew far beyond original expectations and by 1968 employed 215 persons
with an annual payroll of over a half a million dollars. Oxwell, Inc., by this time held a number of valuable contracts to overhaul and repair aircraft parts for U.S. bases all over the world, and to do a tremendous amount of precision welding, including a relatively new type of gas welding, “Heliarc”.

A wide range of aircraft parts and instruments were being finished and made ready to go directly into airplanes, including hydraulic pumps, valves, cylinders and accumulators. The plant was also overhauling oil coolers and shipping them to points all around the world for many different types of aircraft. Industrial type X-ray was being used extensively in this type of restoration process.

With the growth in additional orders and new contracts, the need for larger and better facilities was met by transforming the original plant into one much
larger. Today Oxwell, Inc., is spread out over 11 acres of land with 23,000 square feet of floor area consisting of six separate shops:

1. the overhaul facility for small aircraft components for both government and commercial users;
2. the complete metal fabrication shop;
3. the tool and die shop;
4. the machine shop for the manufacture of machine parts;
5. the engine and cooler repair station for use on big planes; and
6. the commercial diesel shop.


Some of the work done by Oxwell, Inc., is highly dangerous since exceedingly flammable materials are employed. In the past the industry has suffered several costly fires. Today this type of work is done in a separate building set back from the others under carefully planned devices with the latest and most efficient automatic controls possible.

Typical of the growth of Oxwell, Inc., is the fact that the company began with a 60-ton press, then added a 140-ton press, and then a 500-ton press. All three are at present in operation. Also typical of the growth of Oxwell, Inc., is the recent expansion to Wichita and the acquiring of additional facilities there, now known as Oxwell, Inc., Wichita Division.

The conversion of an old skating rink to the processing of aircraft components in 1951 which has grown into the highly successful and productive industry such as Oxwell, Inc., is today is a story of industrial growth of which all Wellington can be proud. The present employees of Oxwell, Inc., are highly skilled with many years experience in various aircraft plants.


Officers and key administrative personnel include:

M. D. Thompson — President
H. J. Thompson — Secretary-Treasurer
O. R. King — General Manager
W. E. Snyder — Plant Superintendent
H. F. Bayer — Contract Administrator
R. L. Boyd — Production Planner
Harold Jones — Engineer
J. A. Holsonback — Purchasing Agent
J. F. Roberts — Chief Quality Control
D. M. Etter — Accountant
George Haigh — Manager, Wichita Division






WELCO Aerospace Corporation

A Story of Growth and Expansion...

Growth in people and facilities, new innovations, mergers, and then further expansion fairly well tell the history of Welco Aerospace Corporation.

From a small building and a few employees, modern Welco’s present picture includes over 200 employees with an annual payroll of $2,000,000.00, 22.9 acres of land, 119,513 sq. ft. of building floor space and a complete and modern precision machine facility.

In 1951 when Welco was incorporated, the aim of the company
was an attempt to secure simple operations that needed to be machined for the ultimate use for the structural strength needed in aircraft. Through the years the company began to increase its capabilities by increasing its abilities to work on large and more complicated parts. In addition, the goal of the incorporators, Mr. C. M. Mann, Mr. Herb Davidson, and Mr. Elton Hilt, was to provide special equipment that was new to the industry. The company would then have experience
in these areas when a small need mushroomed into real demand. The founders and officers stayed intact until May 7, 1967, when John T. Stewart III and Ted E. Davis purchased the stock of Herb Davidson.

Because of the need for increase of capital for further diversification, Welco merged with Alloys Unlimited, Incorporated of Melville, New York, in March of 1969. A further merger saw Alloys merge with Plessey Company, Limited in July of 1970. Welco has now
become subsidiary of Plessey, Inc., the North American Division of Plessey Company, Limited.

While most companies have been seriously hurt by the slowdown in the aircraft business, Welco has been able to maintain most of its work force and a satisfactory backlog of business. It is the hope of Management that the company will soon be experiencing vigorous growth in facilities and people as the economy turns around.

Welco in its eighteenth year of operation received its highest honor when it was awarded the coveted “Small Business Subcontractor of the Year” recognition for the Rocky Mountain Area consisting of eight states.


C. M. Mann
President and General Manager

John T. Stewart III Executive Vice President

Ted E. Davis Executive Vice President

Richard LeMaster Vice President — Manufacturing

T. Dean Horton Controller and Secretary


Duane L. Creveling Plant Superintendent
Bob Harding Purchasing and Personnel Manager
Loren W. Hitt Production Control Manager
Glen L. Norton Quality Control Manager
Charles Rayl Night General Foreman
Dale Crouch Assistant Plant Superintendent
Ralph Elsass Engineering Consultant

On April the 30th in 1971 Cleo Mann retired and new officers were named.


John T. Stewart III Chairman of the board
Ted E. Davis President
Richard LeMaster Vice President-Manufaturing
T. Dean Horton Controller and Secretary









Land Area 22.9Acres
Floor Space

Employee Parking

Manufacturing Area

US Highway 81
Warehouse, Tools & Mat'l


Machine Products. Inc.

Machine Products, Inc., was organized in 1952 and engaged in the manufacture of automatic scales at Oxford, Kansas. In 1956 the necessary equipment was purchased for the fabrication of aircraft machined parts, assemblies, and tooling.

During the first year of operation in this field, work has performed for three major aircraft companies with whom excellent relations have been maintained through the years, and are still among the best customers of Machine Products, Inc.

In 1965 due to the requirement
of a larger facility, the operation was moved to the Industrial Park in Wellington where a two acre site was purchased, new offices and complete year around air conditioned manufacturing facility erected.

While production of machined pants and assemblies are the major products, the necessary tooling is designed and fabricated for these products, and the necessary equipment and skilled personnel to engage in the design and manufacturing of tooling for customers, has been accomplished very successfully
several times in the history of the company.

During the years since the company was started, excellent sources have been established for all necessary heat treat and processing to military and customer specification. At Machine Products, Inc., emphasis is placed on quality parts and strict maintenance of production schedules.

The owners and management of Machine Products, Inc., are Vernon E. Goodrum, Robert E. Goodrum, J. Richard Seagraves, C. L. (Corky) Howell, and Richard L. Goodrum.


Clark Manufacturing, Inc.

Clark Manufacturing, Inc. was incorporated May 7, 1951, as Clarkson & Clark, Inc. for the purpose of aircraft sheet metal fabrication and assembly. The original incorporators were Gail Clark, Ted Clark, Tom Clark, Everett Groh, Earl Clarkson, Sr. and Sue Clark Wright.

The company started in an old barn on South Blaine Street. Early in the 1950’s they also produced the “Wellington” Truck Top for which they started production in 1953.

In 1955, the stock of Everett Groh and Earl Clarkson, Sr. was purchased by the company and the name changed to Clark Manufacturing, Inc. On the death of Tom Clark, his stock was purchased by George Clark of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Clark Manufacturing, Inc. now has five buildings on North A and concentrates its production on aircraft sheet metal fabrication and assembly. Present management is Ted Clark, President; C. Richard Wright, Vice President; C. S. Wright, Secretary and Treasurer.


Lamar Electro-Air

Lamar Electro-Air, Inc., a home owned corporation, is involved in the manufacture of new and used components and accessories for the aircraft industry.

The company is at the present time committed 100 per cent to supplying these parts for Military aircraft, although the company is approved for the Commercial Market which it expects to enter within the next few months. Lamar’s facilities are said to be the finest of their kind. The new buildings which total 23,000 sq. ft. in floor space are located at the Wellington Airport.

The company deals with components and accessories such as electrical, electronic, pneumatic, air, hydraulic instruments and regulator parts which function as intrical components in making aircraft operational and functional. These parts are required to move the flight controls, regulate cabin pressure, temperature and transmit along with operating many
other functions of the aircraft. Because of the delicacy of each part, Lamar’s facilities are completely temperature controlled, of which 9,000 sq. ft. of the operation is humidity controlled and electronic filtered to remove dust particles from the air. All floor space has seamless eurthane floors. With these facilities and the capabilities of the company’s equipment Lamar has the ability to manufacture along with proving the operations and functions of 90 per cent of all aircraft components and accessories.

In its five years of existence Lamar has manufactured and reconditioned over 5,000 different types of aircraft parts. The future plans are to expand the capabilities of the company for more complex jobs by the purchase of additional equipment and increasing the floor space.

Lamar was started by R. J. LeJuerrne in July of 1965 and was incorporated on September 23 of the same year. It was originally located at 1500 North
“A” Street in a small building containing 1,600 sq. ft. The present location was occupied on October 1, 1967 at which time the name was changed from Lamar, Inc. to Lamar Electro-Air, Inc. There is an additional 480 feet along Highway 81 for future expansion. The present employment is 75 with an annual company payroll in excess of $350,000.00.

This year Lamar was awarded a three year contract to furnish Tinker Air Force Base with the AP-10 turbo pump assembly used on the B-52 bombers, which is scheduled to fly until 1977. This contract will assure the company of stability in employment.

John T. Stewart III Chairman of the Board
Ted E. Davis

Chairman of Executive Committee
R. J. LeJuerrne President and General Manager
Jack Glamann Vice President
Don Schultz
Secretary - Treasurer

Paul Harms
Vice President — Operations
Ronald Wheeler Plant Superintendent
Raymond Dry Chief Quality Control
Don Lafferty Assistant Quality Control
Clarence Korbel Shop Foreman
Ralph Dry
Assistant Shop Foreman

Faye LeJuerrne Administrator and Office Manager
Eleanor Cleous
Phyllis Frazee
Sharon Phipps
Emma Fitts





THREE SETS of matched Centennial coins were purchased by Dr. J. C. Hill Saturday night as they were auctioned off at the Ball. He received 10, 50 and 100.

SUMNER COUNTY WHEAT KING, Beryl Paxson of Argonia was chosen from among 47 entries. He was presented a trophy and a placque.

CENTENNIAL QUEEN—Miss Sharon Holefelder, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Holefelder, was crowned Saturday evening at the Ball held at the Elks Lodge. She will reign over Centennial festivities this week in Wellington observing the town’s 100th birthday.


For 100 Years Washington Avenue Has Been A Busy Place!
A Walk Down Mainstreet;

Main Street, U.S.A. In a way they are all alike and yet each one is different. Come stroll down Washington avenue with me and let’s see what we can remember about our main street. Memory is a tricky thing. We’ll probably forget more than we remember and I’ve already told you about some of the buildings, so let’s concentrate on the rest.

Way back there were little frame buildings between 9th and 8th streets, but ever since cars came into use, the 300 block has always been automobile row until recently. Over there on the east side the Conoco people have been on the corner for fifty years. The little empty building was once a blacksmith and during the war was used as part of the defense plant; then it was an auto repair shop and later a grocery. The rest of the block where Gibsons’ and Vince Erwin Glass and Etter Motor Service is now was always Ford Country with a big service station on the 8th street corner. It used to be Ferguson Motor, later Packard and Hyten, then Packard Motor. Several other Ford dealers were there until Don Hill closed the agency and sold out.

On the west side of the street a new Ford agency is temporarily where Etter Motor was located with Plymouths and Dodges. I think maybe one time Mr. Davidson had that corner too. The middle of the block has been Chevrolet since way back, Will Rush, Jack Lane, Mclntire and now Yates-Brandt. It seems as if there has always been a lumber company next door, Barbour, then Hangen-Halliday and now Byler. On the corner where Schrag Radio and TV is now used to be the Buick agency, first Stayton Motor, then Herb Davidson, Cleo Mann, and McDonald-Ate until they moved
out on the highway.


Going on down from 8th street on the west side, before the Cyclone the big Cole-Robinson Block was on the corner with Sasher Carriage Co., the Washington hotel, a small rooming house concern, and a blacksmith and a bakery and two or three groceries and a couple of restaurants, a farm implement store and the Adams Express office. Across the street there was a livery stable and a coal yard, the Wells-Fargo and Franz-Mann hardware. All of them were completely destroyed in the cyclone.

After that on the west side there was a Standard service station on the corner and then the Southern Kansas Mutual Insurance which is an old, old firm. They’ve been in Wellington since 1888 and in their present building since 1914. They used to insure just farmers, but now they do everything but automobiles. I’ve already told you about the Memorial Hall and the City Hall, but you might be interested in one thing. Before World War I there was a Civil War cannon in front of the court house that was donated to be melted down for scrap. So when the war was over, the city was given some modern big guns. There used to be fish pond between the two city buildings but they needed more parking space.


Across Seventh street from where the City Hall is today, there was the bank building but I’ve already told you about that. After the Woods Opera House burned, Mr. C. A. Gambrill, who had started in business here in 1897, had a huge department store there, big as any department store in a city, with clothes and dry goods, furniture, shoes and hats, groceries
and hardware. Later the Jett Mercantile bought the dry goods section and Mr. Culver and then Mr. Murphy ran the grocery store, but Mr. Frank Gambrill kept the hardware as long as he lived and it still goes by his name. Now on the corner Penney’s still operate a dry good store and where the grocery used to be, a man by the name of Snowday in 1950 started a paint store that Andersons bought in 1952.

On down the block, long time ago there was a candy store and a restaurant, another grocery and the big Richardson Dry Goods which started in 1879 and then the Arlington Hotel.

In the early days, Larned Hardware had the corner room which later became the C. C. Curtis Hardware, and Dr. P. A. Wood, one of Wellington’s founders, had his drug store. Then in the Pearson building which was built at the same time as the hotel was J. D. Decker’s bookstore and Miss Lizzie Campbell’s Stationery and Sewing Machines.

You may think it is funny, but out of all the people who lived in Wellington, there are four people I would have loved to have known — Scott Cummuns and David Payne, and then I wish I could have met and talked to Alexander Hannibal Smith. I would like to know what he really was like, and especially Miss Lizzie Campbell fascinates me. I wish I could find a picture of her and learn more about her story. Way back in the beginning in the early 1870’s she was the only lady who had a store on main street and she was into everything, serving on committees, help organizing this and that. I wish I could learn more about Miss Lizzie Campbell.

I guess, however, we better keep on walking and seeing what happened on main street down through history. In the middle of the block, around 1920, where Paydens’ is now, there used to be a Mrs. Blackman’s
store where everybody bought gorgeous hats, and then there was a Goodrich store where Gamble’s is and the Canfield Drug where Lawrence’s is now.

Beginning along about 1903 Sellers Jewelry was in the middle of the block; then it was sold to Broderson and finally became Jaggers Jewelry. Beginning around 1932 Stewart Florist used be along there too. Muellers owned the flower shop earlier and then Mrs. Charles.

At one time Woolorth’s was in the middle of the block and between Roser’s Jewelry, which was started around 1880, and the hotel there was Tolles Clothing until they closed out in 1925 and I think before that it was Spahr’s. Next door was the United Grocery. Later Casey’s Ben Franklin and Stewart Pitzer’s Model Grocery were in that spot. Now Lockes have it all along there — Simpsons, the Men and Boys shop, Pick n’ Choose Shoes, and the Locket.


Across Harvey, from way back in 1871, there always was Smith’s, first Boots and Shoes, later Men’s Clothing. The second building has always been a drug store, Mann Drug in the early days; Selig until it was sold to Songsters; then around
1930 Cook’s Pharmacy which Glasco’s bought in 1963 and took over the whole corner.

Perry Miller at one time had a jewelry store with Songster Drug. Mr. R. H. Riley, Sr. bought the jewelry part in 1916.
Around 1928-29 Rileys moved around on Harvey and then down to the other end of the block where they are now. Long time ago the old Isis theater was next to the Songster Drug store; then there was a hardware store there, the Orr-Sigleys put in a shoe store and now it is Valentines. The Fashion has been in the next building for a long time. Before 1920 when Mr. and Mrs. Harry Baker bought the store, it was called
Zugs. Then Mrs. Frambers had it; even now with the present owners, Elvira McDonald and Dorothy Zoglman, it hasn’t changed very much. The Western Union and Belsley Real Estate and the second Culver grocery came next. I think originally maybe that was one of the locations of the Wyatt grocery, one the very early grocery stores, but maybe I am wrong, maybe Wyatt’s was across the street. We will have to ask somebody and see if we can find out. Anyway later on Albin Furniture and Hazle Harper’s Ready-to-Wear moved into that spot and then Dwight’s took over where the furniture store was. Herman’s Shoes which comes next was known as the Smith Shoe Store for many years. There has always been a drug store in the next spot. Way back in 1879 it was called Maggard’s, then H. F. Smith, who sold it to Gallup and Crowe in 1909. Wheelers bought it in 1922, then it was changed to Walters and now the Chief. Long time ago next door there was a Saylor-Meyer Men’s Clothing, then Heckerman Variety store, until the Chief enlarged their store. And there has always been a dry goods store next. Harlan’s started it in 1884; Jacob Engle bought the store in 1892 and sold it to Tom and Grier Stewart in 1926 and now it is McGee’s.

On the other side of Riley’s in the next little building there has been the New York Sample Shoe Store, Beach Grocery, Waugh Office Supply and now Imogene’s. Once Mr. Brown had a little shack real estate Office on the corner. When the Masonic Building was built in 1909, he just moved his shack out in the middle of Lincoln avenue. In 1913 with his daughters, Mr. Brown started a book store; the Brown sisters sold the store to Bill Flaming in 1946, then Schierlings bought it, but the book store was moved across the street a number of years ago. A few years ago Anderson Electric was in the old Brown store location and now Sears has the building.

looking north from Harvey

Washington Avenue about 1915 looking south from Harvey


In 1871 Godfrey’s log drug store, was built on the corner of Lincoln and Washington.

In 1903 a newspaper commented that something was going on at Stewart’s park but nobody knew what it was going to be. Some people thought that the long-talked-about Palace hotel might be going up there.

Somebody else suggested it might be going to be the Central Station for the great Wireless No Pole Telephone Co. Of course what it really proved to be was the Stewart Building with its very unusual gray marble column. The corner room in the Stewart building where Evelyn’s was until the fire, for many years was a confectionary, called the Cat ‘n Lantern. In 1959 it was remodelled for the Epperson studio.

The Roberts Dry Goods, where Lanvin Ready-to-Wear once was and the Schwinn-Ferguson offices are now, was a lovely store. When they closed and sold out, people mobbed the place on the morning of the sale, and Mr. and Mrs. Roberts knew that many people were just picking up merchandise and carrying it out. Then a strange thing happened. That afternoon and the next day after the crowd thinned out, people brought all the stuff they had taken back and paid for it. People knew the quality of the goods the Roberts carried and what they wanted, so they got their merchandise and got out of the mob and then paid for it when they could. A town with people like that ought to be a pretty nice place, don’t you think?

Next to the Roberts store is the Luening building. There was once a Manhattan Cafe and Curley Goodman’s barber shop
and later Vaught Shoe Repair and around 1945 Hamilton’s barber shop. In the old Luening Furniture store, later Mayer, Harrison and Zook, in 1933 Friedmans’ started a grocery and later Raymond Schalk had his grocery there until he moved on down the street in the Safeway building. Where Tibbs Furniture is used to be the Lyric Theater. Long time ago in the
building where Wayne Ellis started his business in 1939, where Retail Liquor, Shields Barber shop and Dot’s Grill is now once was Prcok Music Store, Seaton’s Dry Cleaning, A. E. Croan’s barber shop, and a Greek candy kitchen
luscious candy! Then there was Arnold’s Furniture, Huegel Cleaners, Webbs Photo and Aday Pastry. Siddons Plumbing was there too.


We have already talked about the story of the Post Office building; the gas office was put next after the post office was finished. Next to the gas office across the alley is Richards’ Paint which used to be Kaisers’ Paint store and then came Hoppel’s, one of the oldest meat markets in Wellington. Many old-timers will remember the T-Bone cafe, Teal’s Barber Shop and Cox’s Pool Hall and tell you lots of interesting stories about all three. In addition in that part of the block there was Adams Electric and Holefelder Appliance. Virg Nichols’ first store was in that block too. The First Federal Savings and Renn Insurance in 1939 used to be together in one building until recently when they remodelled and took over the adjoining building. At one time there was a little print shop, the Ogden Press in part of one of the buildings. Recently Horton’s Furniture moved out of the corner where Cox’s Pool Hall used to be and now part of the building is occupied by Earle’s Carpets. The first store in Wellington stood right here on this corner, Abb Shearman’s store opened on April 15, 1871.


The story of the State National Bank which later was the bus depot and a barber shop and beauty shop has already been told. At one time the shop was Reeder’s, then the Etters had it for awhile and now it is Hansen’s barber shop. Next door is Smith Clothing and we have already told you about that too. Reed Home Improvement, next to Smith’s, was once Collins Drug store which became the Douce Drug in 1921 and later Watkins Drug that Glascos took over in 1956 and then moved it across the street in the Marble Block. Schierlings’, formerly the Brown Bookstore, is in the old Ott’s Cafe Building which had been remodelled for Moodie’s Men Clothing. The J and J Cafe originally was The Grill and was the place where people had club dinners and parties and such. In 1928 it was changed to Harry's and the Glenn Hyten's
ran the restaurant for many years. Kleeman-Simon, later Munro Clothing, is now Frazer’s. The old Bowers Bakery, started in 1990 has been converted to Dr, Moberg’s office. Where Nichols Electric is now used to be Garland and Knowles Meat Market, started back in the 1880’s. Then it was Garland and Archer and finally just Garland’s.

The lot next to the Nichols store has seen a lot of history. Around 1906 a couple of young men rented the building to put in the first movie theater but the owner would not let them make a single change in the structure. They had to use movable seats and were not allowed to fasten anything down. The owner felt sure that movies were a fad that would not last more than a week or two. The two young men finally gave up and moved to Seattle where they were successful theater operators for a long time. Not long after they left Wellington, A. Graff and Dr. Halliday put in a nickel theatre, the Hallgraff which later was called the Majestic and was a popular place for a long time until the Ashland was built on Lincoln where the Regent is now. After the Majestic closed, for several years the lot was used for a pop corn machine and Nanny Garnand’s Hotel de Hamburg. Then the present building was built and Nichols had their store in that spot along with Sherm Oyler’s Snappy Shoe Service. Today the building is occupied by Tower Loan which was started in 1963 and Sober Jewelry who took over the Nuttle Jewelry in 1988. Before that way back in
1926 Charles Shobe had his barber shop there.

The next big building originally in 1880 was A. Graff’s Mercantile, an important store in early days, then it was Fisk Hardware and in recent years J. C. Penney occupied the building and so did the Safeway grocery. When the new Woolworth building was built in 1959, they took over both the old Wellington National Bank and the adjoining building.


You have already heard the story of the Press Block building and H. W. Andrews Bee Hive grocery which was next door so many years. Palmer Drug was formerly the Keuneke Drug Store and before that Snyder Drug which was started around 1880. The Kroger store, Green Electric and Klein’s Shoe and Harness Shop later became Kroger’s and Western Auto. Long time ago around 1886 Stephen Crane had a book store in the middle of the block and some of the stories about Mr. Crane are famous in Wellington’s history. Two ladies bought the Crane store, Miss Lillian O’Brien and Miss Clara Baumann and named it the B and O Book Store and in 1924 Pearl Miller bought the store and ran it for awhile.

Price Barber shop also was once in the middle part of the block where Oklahoma Tire and Auto Supply is now and the Montgomery Ward Store, started in Wellington in 1936,
took over the big French and Hitchcock Furniture and Piano store. Roger’s Recreation used to be Mercer’s, a very popular place with good food, according to the men. Of course the ladies never had a chance to sample it. The Army Cafe and then Collins Abstract is where the telephone office is now. The Phillips House, a big frame hotel, stood on the corner and was destroyed in the cyclone. Then the Antlers was built to take its place.


Around 1920, from 7th to 8th was Hale’s Men Clothing, McGeorge Hardware, Dugan Electric, Fowlie Sports, North Star Cafe, the Hunter Garage, Eagle Bowling, the Commodore, Alex Howe’s grocery, the Gadeke bakery and Spence Tire.

After Mrs. Fossett closed the furniture store and Hepler's Grocery moved to Harvey, the appearance of the block was somewhat changed today with Daylight Donut, Jarvis Auto Supply, Boatright’s Accounting Office, Cooley Insurance, Sporting Goods, Commodore Lunch, Wellington Baptist Temple and the Auto Parts Store.

And that’s Wellington’s main street. I have probably forgot

dred years has been a busy place and people have surely moved around a lot, but I think each move was probably a
mark of progress.

It is quite a trip up and down main street. Let’s go get a coke and rest a bit.

100 Years of History: This is What Happened

Chronological History of Events During the Past 100 Years

An enormous number of events have taken place in Wellington during her first one hundred years. Below we have tried to list some of them. Without a doubt there are some errors in dates that will need correction, but we have tried to make the list as accurate as possible.

1866 — Treaty with the Cherokee Indian territory set aside for the Indians.

1868 — Kansas legislature created Sumner county and named it for Charles Sumner, senator from Massachusetts.

1869 — John Degolia settled in Sumner county, Feb.
— Tom V. McMahan and John S. McMahan settled on Slate Creek, July.

1870 — Began moving Osages into Indian Territory, July.
— Andy Jordan settled on Slate Creek.
— First census showed 16 families, 16 white males, 14 white females, 3 foreign-born, July.
— Robert A. Davis arrived, Aug. 20.
— Ninnescah laid out, Sept.
— Union City laid out, Oct. 1.
— Sumner City laid out, Dec. 20.

1871 — Sumner county organized and Meridian named as temporary county seat, Feb. 7.
— Capt. L. K. Myers came to county, Feb. 21.
— John P. McCulloch settled on Slate Creek, Feb.
— Dr. P. A. Wood and Clark Godfrey arrived, Feb. 25.
— A. W. Shearman arrived, Mar 20.
— Major A. N. Randall arrived, Mar. 30.
— Wellington Company formed, April 2.
— Wellington Townsite laid out, April 4.
— First church service, April 9.
— First store opened, April 15.
— Godfrey Drug Store opened, May 1.
— Myers family arrived first family to keep house in Wellington, May 8.
— Rosecrans hotel opened, May 11.
— Articles of incorporation, Wellington Town Company, signed and acknowledged, June 2
— Tri-weekly hack line to Wellington and Winfield established, June 26.
— Town well dug, June 29.
— First celebration, which was held in the town square, July 4.
— First deed for property changing hands recorded, Aug. 10.
— County commissioners set saloon license at $200 per year and ferry license at $5.00 per year, Aug. 10,
— D. N. Caldwell, first lawyer, arrived, Sept. 11.
— First county seat election, Sept 26.
— First school held in private home on West Lincoln.
— First time county commissioners paid bills, Oct. 18.
— Second county seat election, Nov. 10.
— First stage coach line, Nov.
—- First marriage license, George Clark and Mary Catherine Wright, Nov.

1872 — Legislative act passed concerning the selection of a county seat for Sumner County, Feb. 12.
— 4th county seat election, Mar. 26.
— 5th county seat election, Apr. 9.
— First session of court, 13th Judicial District, Judge W. P. Campbell, Apr. 10.
— County commissioners canvassed the vote for selection of a county seat and declare Wellington as selected, Apr. 13.
— First lynching, Apr. 28.
— Mail route established to Winfield via Oxford, Wellington and Sumner City, May 11.
— Republican party organized, June 22.
— Presbyterian church organized by Rev. W. W. Boggs, June 23.
— First post office opened, C. R. Godfrey, postmaster, July 21
— First wheat harvested, July 4.
— First schoolhouse completed, 9th and B, Sept. 19.
— Moreland Hotel started, Sept. 25.
— First newspaper, The Wellington Banner, Sept. 2.
— Republican party convention, Oct. 12.
— Democrat and Liberal party convention, Oct. 17.
— First Sheriff’s sale, Oct. 19.
— Masons and Oddfellows Ball at the Southwestern Hotel, Oct. 24.
— First public school, Nov. 1.
— Wellington incorporated as a city of 3rd class upon petition of D. N. Caldwell and 78 others, Nov. 13.
— Moreland House, Wellington’s fine new hotel, opened, Nov. 23.
— First city election, Nov. 30.
— First city ordinance, appropriation to purchase record books for city officials, Dec. 4.

1873 — New town well dug, Harvey and Washington, Jan. 22.
— First annual election, April 6.
— Methodist church organized, April.
— Sumner County Press began publishing in Wellington, in July 17.
— Wm. McDowell of Wellington murdered five miles south of Austin (Sumner City), July 29.
— Site for Township hall selected, Aug. 31.
— First bank and first brick building, Oct. 9.
— First grand jury, Nov. 13.
— Disastrous prairie fire, Nov. 17.
— First city ordinance dealing with crime, Nov. 27.
— Bonds voted for Township hall (Stone Courthouse), $500, Dec. 4.
— Stone quarry opened.

1874— Eight horses stolen, Mar. 30.
— Horse thieves hung, July 3.
— Indian scare, July 8.
— Wellington militia organized, July 20.
— Grasshoppers, July 25.
— Stone courthouse completed, Aug. 29.
— First rain in months, Sept. 1.
— Coal discovered.

1875— 100 wagons go through loaded with freight for Cheyenne Agency at Ft. Sill, Apr. 1.
— Oxford mill, Apr. 29.
— Alfalfa introduced from Chili, South America.
— Three room Methodist parsonage built.
— Willis Jackson, one of McDowell’s murderers arrested at Sequin,Texas by Joe Thralls, sheriff-elect of Sumner county, Oct. 2.

1876 — Centennial Fourth of July celebration, 1776-1876.
— First Methodist church, corner of Harvey and Jefferson.
— Eastern Star organized, Oct. 13.

l877 — First May queen crowned.
— Moore, Mayer, Stetler mill.
— bids for a new school house, Sept. 23.

1878— First jail built.
— Second Methodist church built.

1879— Keystone mill
— Hargis and Clark Mill started.
— Santa Fe built into town.
— Baptist church organized, May 21.
— Catholic church organized.
— New brick school building built at F and Harvey.

1880 — Southern Kansas railroad built into town.
— Fire company organized.
— Wellington became a second class city, Feb. 20.
— Marble quarry opened.
— First Presbyterian church dedicated, June 13.
— Open saloons were closed.

1881 — Poor Farm completed, Jan. 2.
— First church organ.
— Fire, west side of Washington avenue, 7th to Harvey, Nov.

1882— Arlington Hotel started March 20.
— Board of Trade organized, Dr. P. A. Wood, president, May 11.
— First church bell mounted to Methodist church spire, July 10.
— Telephone wires strung for 10 telephones, May 25.
— Land purchased for new cemetery, Aug. 24.
— First gas lights, Sept. 28. — Petitions for bridges: over Slate Creek between Oxford and Geuda Springs, over the Ninnescah, over the Arkansas river in Gore township.
— GAR organized with 32 members.
— Drury mill.
— Still 15,480 acres of unclaimed land in Sumner county.

l883 — New cemetery named Prairie Lawn, Feb. 1.
— Wellington now had 14 telephones.
— Horse races at the Fairgrounds.
— Baptist church dedicated, Apr.
— First waterworks franchise granted.
— Bonds voted for new school house, $18,000, First Ward.
— Woods Opera House
— Cumberland Presbyterian church organized by Rev. E. C. Ferguson, Dec. 8.

1884 — Total county population 27,886; Wellington 5,797.
— Woman’s Relief Corps organized, Feb. 6.
— Man hanged in unfinished court house.
— On July 4th a drunken cowboy, Ed Welles Minor, shot a little eight year old girl, Olive Perry, on main street.
— Episcopal church organized.
— Catholic church built.
— Christian church organized; first regular minister.
— Gas company organized.
— Telephone lines extended, 47 telephones.
— Wellington becomes a 2nd class post office; can issue foreign money order.
— Water works plant built; water pipes laid in city; stone water tower built.
— Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, David Payne died at Hotel de Bernard.

1885— New courthouse completed on 10th street, May 5.
— Wellington Street Railway company organized, Aug. 28.
— Balloon ascension at Harvey and Washington, caught on Arlington.
— 25 public gas lights.
— Coal and Mining company organized.

l886 — Worst blizzard in history, Jan. 4.
— Boom year, new buildings, people arrive by the hundreds, prices soar.
— Gas plant built on East Harvey.
— Seven newspapers started.
— M. E. church struck by lightning.
— 5th Ward school built.

1887 — Four new additions added to Wellington, Feb. 4.
— On Feb. 11, land prices reach all time high; population reaches 10,000.
— Campaign for college for Wellington, June 10.
— St. Johns Lutheran church organized.
— Red brick 4th Ward school built at the corner of 12th and Olive.
— Rock Island entered city.
— 3rd Methodist church built, 4th and G streets.
— Commercial Club organized, Oct. 25.
1888 — Union depot built on First Street.
— Salt mines company organized.
— St. Johns Lutheran church built.
— Cumberland Presbyterian church built.

— Water mains burst all over the city.
— Expensive fire, west side of Washington, Harvey to Lincoln.

1889 — Iron clad, stand pipe built on north B street.
— Dam built.

1890 — Drouth and prolonged hot weather.
— Union church services started.
— Two public wells dug on Harvey and Lincoln.
— Street car tracks pulled up and shipped to St. Louis.

l89l — Negro Baptist church.
— Two commencements to have time for nineteen orations.
— Baby left on D. N. Caldwell’s door step.
— Supreme court ruled Township Hall belonged to city of Wellington.
— New 3rd Ward school building.

1892 — A group of Englishmen on their way to Runnymede stopped in Wellington.
— Cyclone, May 27.
— Smoke stack added to Power Plant.
— No Commencement; change high school from three to four years.
— Sumner County Missouri-Pacific special train to New Orleans.
— Famous murder case; Judge I. G. Reed shot Isaac Hopper on Washington avenue.
— New First Ward School building.

l893 — Cherokee Strip run. Santa Fe refused to pay taxes.
— Rebuilt Lutheran church dedicated, Jan. 15.

1894 — Football game on New Years Day.
— A. Hayden Keyes art exhibit.
— Presbyterian Church rebuilt.
— Fire department asking for donations for new fire whistle.
— Weather bureau observer appointed, Capt. Ed Hayes.
— Merchant police organized.
— First library reading room, not free.
— Grandstand at Fairgrounds destroyed.
— Panhandle Division abolished.

l895 — New fire bell on tower back of old city hall.
— City council divided; no action passed including payment of salaries.
— Judicial District changed to include Cowley and Sumner.
— Wellington band travelled to St. Louis with McKinley campaign.

1897 — Old Rosecrans hotel, built in 1871, torn down, Feb. 18.
— First county high accredited in state.
— Presbyterian Church, with new pipe organ dedicated.

1898 —- Company B left for Spanish-American War.

1899 — Campaign to bring new state asylum to Wellington.
— New jail, Aug. 3.
— First free public library.

1899 - Cont'd.
— Church of Christ, Scientist, Aug. 3.
— Hunter mill put in electric plant.
-- City ordinance provided that there were to be no more wooden sidewalks; must use brick or cement

1901— Wellington Daily News began publication.
— City purchased the light plant.
— Adventist church.

1902 — Rural mail delivery, 6 routes.
— Contract for new city light plant; lights turned on, July 30.
— Catholic church built.
— Wellington Ice and Cold Storage built.

1903 — New school truancy law.
— Robber robbed someone’s house every night for a month.
— Railroad ordered to put up gates.
— Surprise party for Abb Shearman's 70th birthday, Sept. 28.
— Three telephone companies competing with each other.

1904 — 3 cars in town.
— Ice coupon books go into effect.
— Ice cream cones invented.
— Jacob Allen victim of $10,000 gold brick scheme.

1906 — First movie.

1907— City Hall built.
— Gas plant built.
— Harvey House built.

1908— First Chautauqua.
— Terrible Hargis creek flood; several people killed.
— Second Christian Church built.

1909 — New post office building 4th and Washington.
— First paid fire department.
— Masonic Hall.
— First pavement.
— Woods Opera House burned down.
— New Santa Fe shops.
— City ordinance to require car tags.

l910 — First street sweeper.
— St. Lukes Hospital built.
— All wooden awnings pulled down on main street.
— City well dug west of Rock Island depot.
— National Guard moved from Wellington.

1912 - Church of Christ, Scientist church built 7th and Jefferson.

1913 — Community Park project started.
1914— 4th Methodist church, Jefferson and Harvey.
1915 — Hatcher Hospital.
— New County Infirmary building.
— Water wells at Mayfield.
— Mrs. Sellers made park commissioner.
— New Power plant.

1916 — First filling station.
— Public library building opened, June 27.
— Park House opened, Apr. 3.
— Second 5th Ward building.

1917 — Company L organized in May and left Sept. 24.

1918 — Baptist church.
— Company L moved up to trenches, Aug. 15.
— Big Red Cross auction down town, Apr. 17.
— First war casualty, May 26.
— Southwestern Bell company formed.
— Sumner County Farm Bureau organized.
— First commencement for nurses, St. Lukes Hospital.
— Armistice, Nov. 11.

1919 - Company L mustered out May 8.
— Biggest 4th of July in Wellington’s history.
— Bonds voted to purchase Woods park.
— Contract to pave 81 south.
— Mausoleum.
— American Legion organized.
— Sumner County High becomes Wellington High.
— First paved highway.

1920 — Golden Jubilee Year.
— Rotary organized.
— Knights of Columbus organized.
— Wellington Teachers organized.
— Ordinance to create Welfare Board.
— 2nd Baptist church, dedicated Nov. 20.
— Contract to pave highway 81 north.
— South area added to cemetery.
— Pillars built for gate to Community park.
— Commercial Club back bond issue for $25,000 — 12,000 for Home Foundation; 8,000 Parks, 5,000 Jubilee celebration.

1922 — Memorial Ball.
— Park Board took over golf links.
— Klu Klux Klan causing trouble for business men.
— Lions charter, May 10.

1923 — Highway 81 north opened to traffic, Dec. 20.
— Daily weather reports given by radio.

1924 — 3rd Christian church building.

1925 — AAUW organized.
— Milk inspection.
— State gas tax.
— St. Lukes turned over to direction by Board of Trustees.
— BPW organized.

1926 — Presbyterian Education building.

1928 — Fred Stone visited Wellington.
— First American Legion carnival.
— Lynn Burris hired as park supervisor.
— New high school on North A.

1930 — Assembly of God church organized.
— Severe blizzard, 17 below zero, 15 inches of snow.

1931 — Everyone played miniature golf.

1932 — Commercial Club changed name to Chamber of Commerce.
— Relief office moved to the county shop building.
— WPA project; trees for the parks.

1933 — First farm allotment checks - Jan. 25.
-— 3.2 beer on sale, July 22.
— WPA project: sewage disposal plant.

1934 — Wellington Hospital, June 1.
— Red Carson, desperado, killed at Antlers Hotel.
— First bank robbery, First National Bank held-up.
— Sunday movies made legal, July 16.
— Assembly of God church dedicated.
— Ark Valley football championship.
— WPA projects: Lake Wellington, 8th street Viaduct, dredge Slate Creek, road to the Lake, Scout cabin in the park.

1935 - COC camp.
— Traffic lights installed.
— County shops destroyed by fire.
— New Church of Christ; WPA projects: Waterworks and filtration plant, nursery school. WPA projects: city warehouse, landscaping at the lake, power plant doubled, electric system enlarged.

1937— Year of storms: snow, dust, freeze the last of April, torrential rains in May, crickets, severe ice in December.
— Milk ordinance and milk lab.
— First Social Security deducted from pay checks.
— High school students staged strike and walk-out over firing of coach.
— Joe Maddy returned for big band festival.
— First stream-lined train, Rock Island Rocket.
— First home demonstration unit.
— WPA projects: swimming pool, highway 81 north rerouted, oil field road.

1931 — Sumner County Soil Conservation Asso.
— Home Foundation dissolved.
— Extensive plans for park improvement.
— Ark Valley football championship.

1940 — Lynn Burris appointed weather observer.
— Shelter houses built in park.
— Two hour parking ordinance.
— First draftees, Nov. 19.
— New grid field, east bleachers.
— St. Paul’s Episcopal church.
— Ark Valley football championship.
l94l — Wellington pageant presented to 10,000 people.
— Lights and west bleachers, football field.
— Junior Chamber of Commerce organized, Mar. 25.
— CCC camp closed, Oct. 30.
— Pearl Harbor attacked, Dec. 7.

1942 — Defense plant and airport.
— Practice black-out.
— First ration book.
— Canteen at the Santa Fe.
— Catholic school.
— Curfew law enforced.

1943 — Recreational center opened.
— Honor roll of service men hung on Memorial Hall.
— Civil air patrol formed.

1944 — City of Wellington B-12 dedicated.
— Gas main exploded.
— First frozen food bank.

1945 - VFW opened hall over Cook's Drug.
— First modern factory.
— Two Nazis found in haystack.
— Cavalry Lutheran church.
— Jail break.

l946 — Diamond Jubilee.
— Veterans’ forest planted.
— B street standpipe torn down; new one of 15th street.
— Ross Milling purchased Hunter mill.
— St. Lukes became a city hospital.
— Near riot outside the Memorial Hall.
— Rural telephone switchboard closed.

l947 — Police radio, new fire truck, new life-saving equipment.
— City bought parking lot,
— Restaurant control ordinance.
— Nazarene church building.
— State basketball championship.

1948 — Parking meters.
— Neff trial.

1950 - $98,000 voted to rebuild St. Lukes hospital.
— New courthouse started.
— New Catholic church.
— First air-conditioned car.

l95l — Big flood.
— VFW built new building on Harvey.

1952 — Wellington shaken by earthquake.
— New courthouse opened.

1953 — Pinecrest opened.
— Stewart Chapel built.

1955 — Westridge opened.
— Hundreds of trees crushed by ice.

1956 — Mary Ann McGrew, runner-up in Miss America pageant.
— New buildings: Armory, First National Bank, Cavalry Lutheran, Roosevelt school, Wellington Hospital.
— Santa Fe engine placed in park; Elks provided funds for installing.

1957 - Vandenburg avenue opened.

1958 — Fifteen new or remodeled buildings down town and on North A.

1959 — New Christian church building.
— Titan II missile base.
— Potted evergreens on main street.

l960 — May Williams Ward’s “No Two Years Alike”.
— First Saturday morning newspaper.
— Little U.N.; Eleanor Roosevelt here.
— Mr. and Mrs. Tom Stewart killed Christmas.

1962 — New senior high school.
— Santa Fe division closed.
— First night-time city commission meeting.
— Mrs. Carrie McKee taken for plane ride on 80th birthday.
— Ginger Alder, homecoming queen, killed two weeks later.
— Children’s library opened.
— New Lutheran church.
— Ramada opened.
— School book rental program started.
— Six foot aluminum Crusader head gift of the class of ‘62.

1963 — Wellington Art Association.
— Sumner Memorial Gardens.
— Baseball stadium at Sellers Park.

1964 — Zip code numbers.
— Bill Ferguson ran for governor.

1965 — Chisholm Trail Museum opened.
— Presbyterian church torn down for new post office.
— Harvey House torn down.
— First rural water district. 1966- KLEY
— City Commission changed to council, new voting districts.
— Old post office became School Administration building.
— New Presbyterian church.
— Congressional church torn down.

1967 — Lakeside Nursing Home.
— New Bank of Commerce building.

1968 — First Atlas of Sumner County in fifty years.
— Tornado warning installed.
— Babe Ruth team went to Klamath Falls, Oregon.

1969 — Monument east of the swimming pool dedicated.
— State wrestling championship.
— Class III A State football
— Class III A State Track championship.

1970 — Lynn Burris retired as weather observer; Ed Hundley took over.
— Babe Ruth Tournament.
__ Fire Department ambulance service.
— Wheat Capital Manor, Aug.
— Eisenhower and Kennedy schools.
— Jimmie Little, police chief for 25 years, retired.
— Arlington Hotel, closed Aug 29.
— Twelve hour black-out Sept. 15.
— State championship in indoor track.
— Red bows on parking meters.

— Snowbound, Feb. 20-24.
— New St. Lukes hospital.
— Last passenger train.


CENTENNIAL Celebration

From a 70-Year-Old "Youngster" ... the


The staff of The Daily News takes pleasure in publishing today the largest single edition in its entire 70-year history. It is sincerely hoped that the reader will find the special Centennial edition a truly commemorative one.
Jack Mitchell, Jeanne Mitchell, Kenneth Daniels, James Kimzey, Norman Sunderland, Marvin White, Hylas Seimers, Eddie Shaw, Pat Deschaine, Marilyn Rudd, Betty Totten,
Ralph Rusher, Willisene Hoyer, Dorothy Dey, Jud Mitchell, Jackie Mitchell, Alda Boyd, Darlene Woods, Randy Sunderland, John Locke, Pat Halloran, Richard Dawes, Lela Oglesby

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