Transcribed by J. Richardson, 09-August-2000

Originally published in the Humboldt Union, Humboldt, Allen County, Kansas 11-Apr-1918.

Sketches of Early History - Part 6

In the Settlement of Humboldt and Allen County

By Watson Stewart

(continued from last week.)


Professional Men.

Col. Thurston was the first attorney in the county; he settled in Humboldt in 1857. R. T. Thompson came soon after. Of those who came after and remained any length of time may be mentioned John R. Goodin, Eli Gilbert, T.L. Byrne, H.M. Burleigh, J.B.F. Cates, L.W. Keplinger; E.A. Barber, Geo. A. Amos and W.J. Larimer.

Of physician who have been most prominent, I may mention Geo. A. Miller, who came in 1857; Dr. Zimmerman, 1858; Wm. Wakefield, 1860; Dr. J.B. Torbert, 1861. At present: Drs. E.R. Russell, Wm. Wakefield, W.A. Beardsley and A.L. Dornbergh.


I am indebted to the Humboldt Union for the following with reference to the newspapers of Humboldt.

The first paper printed in the place was called the Humboldt Herald. It was started by Major Joseph Bond; its first appearance being about the 16th of November, 1864. Soon after its establishment, J.H. Young, a printer from Lawrence, was taken in as a partner. Hon. J.R. Goodin was local editor. The Herald was published nearly a near.

The Humboldt Union began an existence Wednesday, April 18, 1866. Col. Orlin Thurston was editor; W.T. McElroy, published. The paper espoused the cause of Andrew Johnson and was in sympathy with the National Union party. January 1, 1867, Col. Thurston retired. Needham and McElroy purchased the material, changing the politics of the paper to that of the Republican party. W.T. McElroy purchased Mr. Needham's interest August 1, 1868. April 1, 1870, T.C. Sherman was taken in as a partner. October 1, the same year, W.R. Spooner purchased a third interest. This gentleman sold his interest to Hon. D.B. Emmert, April 1, 1872. Mr. Emmert lived with us just one year. June 1, 1874, Mr. Sherman retired, leaving the present proprietor to "go it alone". The Union commenced its career as a sever-column paper. June 26, 1869, it was enlarged to eight columns to the page. It was enlarged to nine column Nov. 19, 1870. January 30, 1875; it was reduced to eight columns.

The Southen Kansas Statesman was started October 27, 1870 by Berry & Campbell. The Statesman ceased to exist the latter part of May 1872.

The first copy of the Southwest appeared June 13, 1872. Col. G.P. Smith and his son, Byron C., were editors. This paper lasted till the close of the Presidential campaign.

The Real Estate Reporter was started in 1870, by emmert & McCullock. It was published for one year.

The Rural Kansan was a monthly publication, started by D.B. Emmert. The first number appeared in November, 1873. After running the Kansan for eleven months, Mr. Emmert sold the material to his brother in Fort Scott, who completed the volume. It had an existence for one year.


Politics and Politicians.

In our earlly history we divided politically into Free State and Pro-Slavery parties, but in the history of Humboldt -- and especially its early history -- our politics were largely local.

We were in the habit of electing men to the Legislature who were thought to be best able to represent the interest of Humboldt.

In 1855-56 the Pro-Slavery party had control; yet in the latter yeat, no doubt; there were a majority of Free State men in the county, but they refused to recognize the laws of what was commonly known as the "Bogus Legislature" of 1855.

In 1857, however, having the assurance of the Governor of the Territory that the election should be conducted fairly, the Free state men determined to secure the control of the Government by the election of its officers. The result was all that could have been desired. The entire Free State ticket was elected in Allen County and in the Territory.

S.J. Stewart was elected to the legislature; J.D. Passmore, probate judge; H.H. Hayward, treasurer; Jess E. Moris, sheriff; each receiving about 65 votes to about 17 folr the opposing candidates.

In the sessions of 1860 and 1861, the writer was a member of the upper house or council, of the Territorial Legislature.

N.B. Blanton was a member of the first legislature under tlhe State organization, in 1861.

Col. Orlin Thurston was in the Senate in 1863 and 1864.

The writer was a member of the House of Representatives in 1865.

Joseph Bond represented us in the session of 1866; John R. Goodin the next year.

N.B. Blanton again in 1868. J. Q. Porter in 1869. He was a young attorney who, after the adjournment of the legislature, left the state, not returning to the county at all.

J.C. Redfield was our representative for 1870 and 1871. Col. G.P. Smith in 1872; Dr. Wm. Wakefield in 1873; Eli Gilbert in 18784; R.V. Blair in 1875; Col. S.H. Stevens in 1876.

J.H. Signor was a member of the Constitutional Convention which met at Wyandotte, July 5, 1869, and framed the constitution under which we were admitted as a state.

Our citizens who have been honored with positions on the state tickets, have not been successful:

Col. Thurston was defeated in 1860 as a candidate of Adjutant General.

Joseph Bond, in 1866, was an unsuccessful candidate for state superintendent of public instruction.

C.H. Pratt ran with like result in 1872, for state treasurer.

And Col. G.P. Smith, in 1874, for auditor of state.


Benevolent Institutions.

Pacific Lodge No. 29, A.F. & A.M., organized under a charter from Grand Lodge of the state, dated Oct. 17, 1860. The charter members were I.N. Phillips, A.W.J. Brown, A.G. Carpenter, Drury Tye and J. R. Frost. I.N. Phillips was the first W.M.; A.W.J. Brown, S.W.; A.G. Carpenter, J.W.

Its present membership is fifty-six. Officer: T.S. Stover, W.M.; Watson Stewart, S.W.; and Geo. A. Amos,J.W.

Humboldt Lodge No. 30, I.O.O.F., was organized under a charter from the Grand Lodge, dated June 24, 1867. Its charter members were Peter Long, J.L. Sansom, J.C. Chambers, G. Wilson and I.N. Phillips. Its present officers are: E.N. Wert, N.G.; P. Pickarts, V.G.;and J. Hafer, Secretary.

A lodge of Good Templars was organized in 1862 or 1863. Suspended work for some time. Was revived five or six years ago; but I believe are not in working order now.


Municipal Organizations.

Humboldt was organized as a municipal town under an order from the probate court, A.L. Dornbergh, judge, April 6, 1866; and the following persons were appointed as trustees, viz: Orlin Thurston, W. Doudna, J.C. Redfield, Geo. A. Miller and N. Kemmerer. Orlin Thurston was elected chairman, and Charles Baland, clerk.

In the spring of 1870, Humboldt was organized as a city of the third class. W.W. Curdy was elected its first mayor. The council men were Moses Neal, Charles Fussman, Wm. Rath, W.H. Andrews and N. Kemmerer. T.L. Byrne was Clerk, and J.C. Redfield, treasurer.

The mayors since have been, for 1871, C.H. Pratt; for 1872, D.B. Emmert; for three succeeding years, Col. S.H. Stevens, and for the present year, W.C. O'Brien.



Humboldt secured thef irst railroad advantages in the completion of the M.K.& T. Ry. to the town site, april 2, 1870. On the 20th of the same month she celebrated the event in a becoming manner.

To secure the road the city voted the company its bonds for $75,000 and a few of its citizens bought for $13,000, 160 acres of land, of which 10 acres were given to depot ground, right of was through the tract, and one-half the balance.

On the 22nd of November, 1870, the city celetrated the completion of the L.L. & G. Railroad to the place. This road cost the city no bonds. The county gave it $125,000 in bonds.

Our efforts thus far to secure an east and west road have not been successful. But in due time we shall reap that harvest -- "if we faint not."



In conclusion, I will remark that Humboldt in its early history was blessed with men who had faith in her, and who were willing to exhibit their fiath by works. Men who worked together as one man for the building up of the town. Men who knew how to bury all political and personal differences for the good of Humboldt.

Such men were: Coffey, Blanton, Dr. Miller, the two Signors and Charles Fussman, and in later days, J.C. Redfield, John R. Goodin, Peter Long, Dr. Wakefield, W.W. Curdy, Moses Neal, C.H. Pratt and other -- for I cannot name them all.

If Humboldt in the future becomes the city that its railroad advantages, with its location in the midst of a fine agricultural country entitles it, it will be by a like united effort of Humboldt men for the interest of Humboldt.