Between 1855 and 1861, the citizens of Fort Scott experienced the violent unrest that preceded the American Civil War on the Kansas and Missouri border. Eastern newspapers described this violence as "Bleeding Kansas", a result of the national controversy concerning the extension of slavery into the new territories. Murder, mayhem, robbery, and arson were committed by bold free-state and pro-slavery advocates in the name of their cause. On January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the union as a free state, but the turmoil of "Bleeding Kansas" continued throughout the Civil War.
During the Civil War, Fort Scott was a U.S Army district Headquarters, quartermaster supply depot, training center, and recruitment station. It was strategically vital to the defense of Kansas and the Midwest. A battle over the fort occurred in August 1861 just across the Missouri line in the Battle of Dry Wood Creek. The battle was a pro-South victory for Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard. Price did not hold the fort and instead continued a northern push into Missouri in an attempt to recapture the state. James H. Lane (Senator) was to launch a Jayhawker offensive behind Price from Fort Scott that led to the Sacking of Osceola. The ill will of these actions was to be the basis for the 1976 Clint Eastwood film The Outlaw Josey Wales.
After the Civil War, Fort Scott was a premier city of the frontier, one of the largest cities in eastern Kansas. On three different occasions, between 1870 and 1900, Fort Scott was in competition with Kansas City to become the largest railroad center west of the Mississippi. During the first half of the 20th century, Fort Scott became the agricultural, small industrial, and insurance center which it continues to be today.
In March 2005, a fire destroyed several historic buildings in Fort Scott's downtown. The Victorian-era buildings were among many that are a symbol of the town.
Early History of Fort Scott
by William G. Cutler (1883)
Fort Scott is situated in the eastern part of the county, five miles from the Missouri State line. It is on the south bank of the Marmation, on ground sufficiently uneven to admit of excellent drainage. It is surrounded by a natural amphitheater of hills, from whose summits a splendid view of the city and adjacent country may be obtained. Fort Scott has been styled by a certain writer and not perhaps unjustly, the "Pittsburgh of Kansas," on account of its present and prospective importance as a manufacturing center. Its natural advantages are both numerous and great. There is an abundance of building stone, lime, cement, coal, water and natural gas, the latter, however, has not as yet been utilized. As the country is settled up and developed, Fort Scott must naturally increase in population and importance; and she may, by a continuance of generous and judicious assistance to such new manufacturing enterprises as may desire or as may be induced to locate there, not only rapidly enhance her own interests and growth, but may also largely aid in the development of the agricultural interests of the surrounding country.
From 1842 to 1854, Fort Scott was nothing but a military post. In the latter year the troops were withdrawn, and on the 16th of May, 1855, the buildings erected by the Government at a cost of about $52,000, were sold at auction. The block farthest toward the west, which was afterward known as the Fort Scott or "Free State" Hotel, was bought by A. Hornbeck for $500; the next block east by Col. H. T. Wilson, for $300; the next by Edward Greenwood for $505; and the next one farthest toward the east by J. Mitchell for $450, or a total of $1,755. The families of Col. Wilson and Capt. John Hamilton were the only ones not in the employ of the Government at the time of the withdrawal of the troops. Col. Wilson continued to conduct his store, which stood on Market street near the present location of Has. Clark's agricultural implement house. The first hotel in the city was opened in the west block of the old Government buildings by Col. Thomas Arnett.
During the year 1855, quite a number of other people came to Fort Scott, among them Dr. Hill, R. Harkness, D. F. Greenwood, Thomas Dodge; and nearly all the land in the country at this time belonged to the New York Indians, hence nothing could be done but to select and hold claims until such time as they should by purchase of or treaty with the Indians be thrown open to settlement. A number of claims were thus taken and held, but nothing was done toward organizing a town company or building up a town until June, 1857. About the first of June George A. Crawford, D. H. Wier, D. W. Holbrook, Norman Eddy, James E. Jones and Charles Dimon arrived on the ground to purchase these claims and lay out a town.
On the 8th of the month Fort Scott Town Company was organized, and consisted of George A. Crawford, President; G. W. Jones, Secretary; H. T. Wilson, Treasurer; Norman Eddy, D. H. Wier, D. W. Holbrook, William R. Judson, T. R. Blackburn and E. S. Lowman. Soon afterward Dr. Blake Little was made a conditional member of the company, and Judge Joseph Williams purchased the interest of G. W. Jones. The town company purchased the "claims" of H. T. Wilson, G. W. Jones, N. E. Herson, A. Hornbeck and S. A. Williams.
The town was incorporated in February, 1860, and obtained title to their land on the 17th September following, through the Mayor, Joseph Ray. The town site then consisted of 320 acres, but subsequently the company purchased 200 acres more. The company dealt liberally with the old settlers, donating to them the lots upon which the houses purchased of the Government stood. They also donated lots to all the religious denominations, one to the Government for a National cemetery, and a square to the county for a court house and jail.
In July, 1857, Ex-Gov. Epaphroditus Ransom, of Michigan, who had been appointed Receiver of the Land Office, arrived and opened the office. He was accompanied by his son-in-law, George J. Clark, and the latter's family, of wife and two children. George W. Clarke also arrived about this time, having been appointed Register of the Land Office, conducting the business after his arrival in the name of Mr. Doak, his brother-in-law. In August, the following named parties arrived: Horatio Knowles, T. R. Roberts, Joseph Ray, Charles Bull, Orlando Darling, B. P. McDonald, J. N. Roach and William Gallaher. A plat of the town site was made immediately thereafter by O. Darling; and a second one by O. Edwards.
Some time during the year, Dr. Blake Little & Son opened a store in the old quartermaster's building. John G. Stewart started a blacksmith shop, and Sheriff Hill and William Barnes each opened a saloon. George A. Crawford, W. R. Judson and C. Dimon bought the "Free State Hotel," which for a long time was a popular resort for travelers. Across the Plaza to the southwest, about the beginning of the year 1858, a Mr. McKay opened the Western Hotel, which at once became Pro-slavery headquarters, and was henceforward known as the "Pro-slavery Hotel."
On the 1st of January, 1858, William T. Campbell, who had just previously moved into Fort Scott from Barnesville, succeeded C. Dimon as proprietor of the "Free State Hotel," and on the 18th gave an "opening ball." One fiddle furnished the music, and the calling was done by Joseph Ray, to the eminent satisfaction of all, except one Pro-slavery young lady, who said she "didn't like that derned Abolition prompting."
During the early part of this winter, Alexander McDonald, E. S. Bowen and A. R. Allison arrived. On the 6th of January, McDonald and Bowen selected a site at the foot of Locust street for a saw mill, which they had purchased in St. Louis. In the early spring the mill was erected, and it sawed all the lumber for the town company's building, and some frame dwelling buildings. In the fall a corn-cracker was added to the mill. In the spring two stores had been erected on Market street--one by W. I. Linn, the other by J. S. Caulkins, the store of the former being the first frame building erected in the city outside the Plaza. The first frame dwelling house was erected in the fall by "Uncle Billy" Smith, on the corner of Locust street and Scott avenue. About the same time, a second blacksmith shop was started by O. H. Kelley, and "Fort Roach" was built at the corner of Jones and Hickory streets. It was a small log structure and often served as headquarters for the "jayhawkers," on the occasion of their numerous raids into the city. George J. Clark and William Gallaher erected a small log building, and B. P. McDonald and A. Campbell, a small house on Main street.
The years 1859 and 1860 were for the most part peaceful and devoted to material interests and the building up of the town; during the war but little progress was made; since the war the city has made steady and sure progress, and is justly entitled to the appellation of the "Metropolis of Southeastern Kansas," as a reference to the histories of the local industries and institutions will amply reveal. There is yet, however, one thing lacking, which will doubtless be supplied in due time--a public library and reading room. Heretofore, public spirit has been mainly active in securing railroads, manufactories and other aids to material prosperity. Hereafter this spirit will to some extent lack fields of that kind in which to exert itself, and will naturally be diverted into providing ampler means of intellectual culture, taste and refinement.
The town of Fort Scott was incorporated by the Legislature of 1865. A Board of Trustees was formed, consisting of six members, as follows: H. S. Wilson, A. Hornbeck, Thomas Dodge, R. G. Roberts, F. Denint and Thomas B. Arnett. This act of incorporation was under and in accordance with the "Bogus Laws" of that date and consequently was ineffectual in law.
The regular and legal incorporation of the town was effected on the 27th of February, 1860. Col. Judson was elected Mayor; H. T. Wilson was President of the Board of Councilmen and Joseph Ray was Councilman. Judson, however, declined to serve, and Joseph Ray became Acting Mayor. In 1861, Joseph Ray was elected Mayor, William Gallaher City Clerk, and John S. Miller Recorder. The place was incorporated as comprising the following described tract of land: The whole of the southwest quarter, the west half of the southeast quarter, the southwest fourth of the northeast quarter, the southeast fourth of the northeast quarter of Section 20, Town 25, Range 25, and including an area of 220 acres.
The Fort Scott post office was the second one established in Kansas, and took place March 3, 1843, John A. Bugg holding the commission as Postmaster. The establishment of the office was made for the military post then located here and was kept in the Government buildings. H. T. Wilson was appointed Postmaster February 26, 1849, and the office was kept in his store-room. A change of place in which it was kept made with the change of Postmasters, having been kept at various times in store-rooms, the Hospital building, Town Company's building, Fort Scott Hotel, Land Office, etc. It finally became fixed in the present building which stands on the east point of Market Square.
The office arrangement at first was exceedingly crude, consisting of a small goods box divided off into pigeon holes, and furnished with two folding doors, so that valuables might be deposited inside and the wooden doors securely locked. In 1857, the revenues of the office amounted to $8; in 1866, they were more than $1,500; in 1875, $11,500; in 1878, $200,000, and have increased regularly since that time.
It was made a money order office in February, 1866, and the first order was issued on February 5th of that year. In 1857, the mail was obtained by means of the stage route from Jefferson City, Mo., a tri-weekly horseback route from Lecompton, also a horseback weekly mail from Westpoint, Montivallo and Sarcoxie, Mo., and from Crawford Seminary, now Baxter Springs, Osage Mission, Coffachiqui, now called Humboldt. The mail is now obtained over the various railroad lines entering the city from all directions, and the office is one of considerable importance.
Schools and Churches
The early school advantages of Fort Scott were such as were afforded under the district organizations. A private school was taught in 1857, and, during the next summer Mrs. C. H. Haynes taught a school which was kept in the old hospital building. Up to 1860, the school population of the city was about 300. In 1863, the attendance was 248, and in 1864, it was only 210. Prior to 1863 the city was without any regular house for school purposes. The ladies, seeing the necessity of the matter, took steps toward some improvement in this direction. Accordingly, a petition signed by Mrs. Jane Smith and thirty-three other ladies, was laid before the City Council, asking them to take steps toward the erection of a suitable school building.
The matter was referred to a committee, who reported that the city had no jurisdiction of the matter and it was consequently dropped. In the summer of 1863, a City Hall was built, which served for hall, church and school purposes, etc. The School Board in 1869, purchased Block 158, and in the next year erected the Central School Building. It is a large three-story brick building, containing twelve rooms, and cost about $60,000. In 1872, the "East Side" school building was erected at a cost of about $12,000; it was subsequently destroyed by fire, and was replaced in 1880, by a two-story brick schoolhouse containing four rooms, and which was erected at a cost of $6,000.
The school population of the city in 1869 was 520. A school was established for the colored children, and the hospital building was purchased and fitted up for this purpose. A missionary was sent by the Freedman's Home Mission to take charge. The school now comprises four departments. The last school census shows the school population of the city to be 2,300; the enrollment, 1,500; and the average attendance, 1,100.
The schools are thoroughly graded, and include in their course, geometry, the natural sciences, etc., such as are usually taught in the best graded schools of the cities. The management of the schools are under Prof. B. Hudson, as Superintendent, and nineteen teachers, and are thoroughly efficient and ably sustained.
The Kansas Normal College was established at Fort Scott in 1878, by Prof. I. C. Scott, assisted by Prof. D. E. Sanders. The design of the institution is to meet the wants of such persons who desire a practical preparation for the demands of life in the shortest time, and at the least possible expense, consistent with a thorough and systematic knowledge of the various and more practical branches of education. The school was first kept in the Congregational Church, and consisted of about sixty students, under the instruction of two teachers.
There is now an attendance of 200 students, under a corps of seven teachers, as follows: D. E. Sanders, Principal and Professor of Greek, Natural Sciences, General History and Methods of Teaching; Charles Vickery, Professor of Elocution and Rhetoric; Ella Wickersham, Professor of Latin; William Stryker, Professor of Algebra; E. H. Robbins, Professor of Penmanship and Drawing; E. C. Merris, Professor of Vocal Music; W. J. Bauer, Professor of German.
There are eight courses of study, namely, the Preparatory, Teacher's Scientific, Special Scientific, Classic, Engineering, Musical and Business.
The college building was erected in 1880, and is a tastefully constructed two-story brick building, costing about $6,000. The building contains seven large recitation rooms and other apartments as are necessary in institutions of learning. Contributions were received from the citizens of Fort Scott toward the erection of the building. A two-story frame boarding hall for the accommodation of students was erected in 1881. The terms are exceedingly low and easy, thus placing the advantages within reach of persons of limited means. Among the attendance are students of both sexes from various of the States and Territories. Judging from the rapidity with which the school has acquired popularity and increased attendance, and the ability and enterprise of those who having it in charge, this appears destined to become one among the foremost of the normal educational institutions of the land.
The First Presbyterian Church was the first Christian organization that was effected in the city. In the beginning, the congregation was extremely small, having been organized in the summer of 1859, by Rev. Mr. Rankin, of Buffalo, N. Y., with a membership of only three persons; these were Mr. John Calkins, Mrs. Emiline McDonald and Mrs. Jane Smith. For some time Mr. Rankin preached in hopefulness to this little flock, and after him, the work was taken up by Rev. Mr. Mitchell, who remained with the charge until 1861, holding services once in two weeks.
The church was then without a minister for some time, until the Board of Home Missions sent Rev. A. Warner to take the charge, who continued to hold meetings at this place, monthly for about two years, and was succeeded in 1865, by Rev. George Irwin, who remained about three years, when Rev. T. Y. Gardner accepted a call and continued pastor up to 1871. In January, 1872, Rev. W. C. Porter accepted the call of the people, with whom he has since remained. The present membership of the congregation is 100. The first trustees of the church were: G. A. Crawford, W. R. Judson, H. T. Wilson, J. S. Redfield, S. A. Williams and A. McDonald.
The early services of the congregation were held in the hospital building. The Fort Scott Town Company deeded to the trustees two lots upon which to build a church house, April 1, 1861. The erection of the building began in April, 1864, and was completed in September of the next year. Rev. George Irwin preached the first sermon in the new house, November 26, 1865, and dedicated the house December 3.
St. Andrews Episcopal Church was partially organized in 1859, by G. J. Clark, Gen. Blair and C. H. Haynes. Later in the fall of that year, the perfecting of the organization took place under the superintendence of Rev. Charles Reynolds, D. D., of Lawrence. Gov. Ransom was made Senior Warden; C. H. Haynes, Junior Warden; G. A. Crawford, C. W. Blair, A. McDonald, G. J. Clark, and W. T. Campbell, Vestrymen. Rev. Mr. Reynolds, as Post Chaplain United States Army, came to the parish through the instrumentality of Gen. Blair. The first services were held in the Government building, used for a hospital at the time. Afterward services were conducted on Sundays in a building used during the week for a theatre, and later in the City Hall, until the church building was erected.
Soon after the congregation was organized, a committee was appointed by the vestry, for the purpose of completing arrangements for the erection of a church. Two lots were donated by the Town Company, and a few of the ladies, headed by Mrs. C. H. Haynes, solicited contributions. In this way enough money was raised to erect the walls of the house and almost pay for roofing it. The breaking out of hostilities between the North and South suspended further work upon the building, as also parish services. The building, in an unfinished state, was rented to the Government as an arsenal, for which the officers in command of the post agreed to floor the building and put in the doors and windows, which they did after a fashion, without reference to elegance or taste.
On the 21st of October, 1866, after hostilities were ended, Rev. J. M. Kendrick took charge of the parish as the first rector. The building was improved and seated with pews, the chancel arranged, and a cabinet organ was donated by the ladies of the congregation. In 1869, still further improvements were added to the house. The chancel was carpeted and a communion set purchased. In 1872, the entire audience room was carpeted; gas fixtures and a font, donated by the Sunday-school, were put in, and the building underwent some internal improvement. A parsonage building was completed in the spring of 1870, costing $2,110. A part of the money for this purpose was obtained from the sale of lots of the eastern part of the city, and the balance was raised by the Ladies' Sewing Society. Shortly afterward, the entire church grounds were enclosed with a neat picket fence.
This was the second church building erected in the city, and is a large stone structure, having a capacity for seating about two hundred and fifty persons. The congregation at present has a membership of forty-five, under charge of Rev. B. Hartley, pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal Congregation was established in 1865. Earlier services, however, had been held by this denomination. During the war, the Methodist Army Chaplains held occasional services at Fort Scott, as they passed through the place, or being regularly stationed at the post. After the close of the war, Rev. S. Brooks was sent to the charge, under whose administration it became organized. Rev. C. R. Rice was stationed here in the spring of 1866, and in following spring was succeeded by Rev. John Paulson. After a continued service of about three years, Mr. Paulson was called to become presiding elder, in place of Rev. J. D. Knox, who resigned on account of failing health, and the vacancy was filled by Rev. J. P. Dimmitt. The first services by the regular church body were conducted in the court house.
In 1869, a church building was erected, under the administration of Rev. Mr. Paulson, and was dedicated the same year by Rev. A. B. Leonard, of Leavenworth, and was the third church built in the city. The erection of a new church edifice began in 1880, which was completed and dedicated in November of that year. It is a fine, large, one-story brick building, with a capacity for comfortably seating 600 persons; 400 in the auditorium and 200 in the gallery. The parsonage building was erected in 1871, when Rev. Allen Buckner was stationed here.
Some indebtedness had accumulated upon the congregation from the erection of the church and parsonage, but which, as early as 1877, had been fully defrayed. The present membership is about one hundred and seventy-five, and Rev. R. H. Sparks is pastor in charge.
The Catholic Church of Fort Scott dates from 1860. During this time efforts were made by Rev. J. Schoenmakers, Rev. P. M. Ponziglione, Rev. J. Van Gach, Jesuit Fathers from Osage Mission, to establish the church, and the first priest in charge was Rev. J. F. Cunningham, who was succeeded by Father Bononcini.
About thirteen acres of land came into the possession of the church. Five acres on the edge of the city limits were donated by the Town Company, and five acres outside of the city limits, adjoining this tract were donated by W. Gallagher, from whom three more acres more were purchased at a nominal price by Father Schoenmakers, and upon which is an excellent stone quarry from which the material for the stone work of the building was taken. A church was built in 1864, under the direction of Father Bononcini and O'Donnell, a lay brother. Alongside of the church a building was erected for a school.
The building of a new church began in 1870, and was completed in 1872. The house was dedicated June 16, 1872, by Rev. Bishop Fink, and Father Phelen, of St. Louis, preached the dedicatory sermon. The church is in a flourishing condition, as also the school, which is liberally supported.
The First Congregational Church was organized on Sunday, February 28, 1869, with twelve members. Previous to this date there had been services conducted here by preachers of this faith, at times, since 1866. The organization was effected by a council of the Congregational Churches of Lawrence, Paola, Oswego, Geneva, Mound City, and Osawatomie, and Rev. J. C. Plumb was ordained pastor. The Trustees were chosen January 12, 1869, with instructions to procure a charter for the church body.
The early services of the congregation were held in the Presbyterian Church, then in the City Hall, and in McDonald's Hall, where they continued until January, 1870, at which time they were held in the old seminary building. Two lots on the corner of Jones and Orange streets were procured in August, 1870, and a church building begun. The house was so far completed as to permit services to be conducted in the lecture room, in February, 1871, and soon following the building was completed and dedicated, August 20, 1871. The building was destroyed by fire March 14, 1872. A meeting of the trustees was held the next day and it was decided to ask for assistance for the erection of a temporary house of worship.
The response was prompt, general and liberal. By the close of the same day the lumber was on the ground and with a force of between forty and fifty carpenters, whose services were donated, the building was ready for services on the following Sunday. No time was suffered to pass until efforts were put forth toward the erection of a permanent house of worship. So successful was the attempt, that a new church was built and dedicated in February, 1874. The house is a substantial brick structure, of neat and attractive appearance.
The Christian Church was formed in the fall of 1871, by the Rev. Dr. Franklin, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Franklin had come on the solicitation of a few parties for the special purpose of organizing the congregation. With the first organization there were only about ten of a membership which has since increased to fifty. Soon after the formation of the church body, Rev. R. E. Swartz was employed as the regular pastor, and was succeeded by Rev. M. N. Parker, who in time was succeeded by Rev. B. H. Smith, the present pastor.
There were services by this denomination at the place, prior to the rebellion, and an organization was effected at that time, but the commotion engendered by the civil strife had the effect to entirely break up the congregation. Following this no services were held here by this denomination until in 1871, at which time the re-organization took place.
The first services were held in McDonald's Hall and then in the court house, until the erection of a church edifice. The church building was erected in the fall of 1882, and is a neat frame structure of the Swiss gothic style of architecture. The house is thirty-five feet wide by sixty in length, and has a capacity for seating 400 persons. The building was erected at a cost of $3,500.
The First Baptist Church of Fort Scott was organized February 18, 1866. This formation, however, was not in accordance with statute made for the regulation of such bodies, as was afterward discovered. For some time the church body continued to transact business in this imperfect state, a deed of the lots for church purposes was made to the trustees, October 10, 1866. Subsequently the defect in the organization was discovered, which showed all acts and proceedings of the church to be illegal, for want of conformity to the laws of the State.
To remedy the matter and to maintain the rights of the body, an act was passed by the Legislature, approved March 2, 1869, by which all acts and proceedings of the church were legalized, and declared it re-organized December 15, 1868, in accordance with the charter filed with the Secretary of State, without surrendering any of its corporate rights or the relinquishment or abandonment of any of its property, real or personal. The deed made by the Town Company to the trustees, October 10, 1866, was legalized and made to vest perfect title to the property conveyed, to the First Baptist Church, as the legal grantee. The first Deacons were David Gardner and N. C. Hood and J. Harris, pastor.
The first services were conducted in the old stone school house for about a year, and after the completion of the court house, were conducted in that building. The church building was erected in 1870, at a cost of about $10,000, and is a commodious stone structure, having a capacity for seating 600 persons. After the erection of the church, the congregation was burdened with a debt of about $5,000, which was mostly in the hands of the church edifice fund of the denomination, and at low rates of interest. The following is a list of the pastors of the church since its organization, namely: J. Harris, J. R. Baldwin, J. C. Post, Rev. Moon, Charles Whiting, G. W. Greene, J. M. Garrison, A. M. Averill and E. Gunn, who resigned the charge in September, 1882, since when the church has remained without a regular pastor. The present membership of the congregation is 150.
The Wesleyan Methodists have an organization of which Rev. Mr. Fisk is now pastor. The church building, a small stone, was erected in 1878.
There are also three church organizations among the colored people of the city. These are the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the First African Baptist Church and the Second African Baptist. Each of these is supplied by a comfortable church edifice.
About one and a half miles from the heart of the city is the National Burying Ground,
Where sleep the brave,
In soil their blood made free.
These grounds were established as a cemetery by the Government, November 15, 1862. It is rectangular in shape, 924 feet long extending east and west, and 478 feet wide, north and south, and comprises a little over ten acres. A part of the ground was donated by the city, a part by the Presbyterian Church body which they had secured for cemetery grounds. The rest was purchased by the government for which they paid $75. The whole is enclosed by a neat and solid stone wall, through which entrance is made by means of iron folding gates swinging from stone pillars, at either end of the cemetery. The surface of the ground is a graceful slope. The crest of the slope is at the east end and for a short distance the descent is extremely light, but soon becomes of greater fall, extending about half the length of the grounds, and again becomes more mild reaching to the other extremity of the place.
The main entrance is in the center of the west wall at the foot of the grade. A wide driveway passes up the gentle slope in the center of the cemetery, and at about half length of the grounds divides, branching to either side around the more abrupt slope to the summit, enclosing a heart shaped plat, tastefully ornamented with shade trees. At regular intervals upon the margins of this plat four mounted cannon are stationed to guard, as it were, these holy and sacred precincts. Upon the summit of the grade, at the east end of the grounds, and near one corner, is the tasty two-story brick residence of the Superintendent, back of which in the corner are the stable and outhouses, which are shut in by a neatly trimmed Osage orange hedge, extending from the corner of the residence building to the outer wall of the cemetery.
Farther along from these buildings and toward the other corner of the grounds and also upon the crest, is the speaker's platform, which was erected in the fall of 1882. This rostrum is 37 feet long by 22 feet wide and of handsome design. A brick wall of these dimensions is built, with paneled sides, to the height of five feet. The enclosure is filled with dirt to the top of the wall and covered with blue grass sod, which constitutes the floor of the platform. Four brick pillars, 12 feet high, are built upon the side walls, and upon these pillars rests a heavy frame of carpenter work, tastefully ornamented with moulding and other artistic mechanism. Upon this frame rests a row of cross ties over which is a festoon of clambering vines.
The platform is approached by stone steps of full width at both ends of the rostrum. On each side of the structure is an iron railing extending from the foot of the steps at one end, along the side of the rostrum and to the front of the steps at the other end. Immediately upon the brow of the crest at about equal angular distances from the residence building and the rostrum, rising out of a large, grass covered mound, is the tall flag staff, upon the summit of which the national emblem mournfully keeps untiring watch over the resting place of its defenders. At the other end of the cemetery and about half its length, separated by the central driveway and surrounded by a driveway on the remaining three sides, are the two rectangular plats or panels occupied by the interments. These plats of equal length are of even and moderate grade. Here, side by side, in rank and file, just like as in solid phalanx they marched, the veterans lie buried.
The surface of these plats is smooth and even, with no perceptible marks of the graves except the little block of marble standing at the head of each. The entire grounds excepting the drives, is covered with a blue grass sod, and the whole is underdrained with tiling, by which the surface is always kept dry. The enclosure is also adorned with a profusion of artistically arranged shade trees, while the burying plats are embellished with numerous evergreens, through whose dark green foliage may be seen the ghostlike whiteness of the marble blocks, giving the whole a weird-like and mournful appearance. There are 557 interments in the cemetery, about 100 of whom are unknown.
The cemetery is reached from the city by a magnificent macadamized drive, alongside of which is a walk, and on either side of both a row of trees. This improvement was made during the year of 1882, at a cost of about $18,000. The cemetery is under the superintendence of Capt. J. A. Commerford who served in the war of the rebellion as Captain of the Third Massachusetts Cavalry, Company B. His appointment as superintendent of the cemetery was made April 15, 1881.
Besides this national burying ground, there are three other cemeteries belonging to the people of Fort Scott. These are the Evergreen Cemetery, situated one and a half miles south of the city; the Hebrew Cemetery, near the same place, and the Catholic Cemetery two miles west of the city.
The first newspaper published at Fort Scott, and the first in Bourbon County, was that published in 1855, called the Southern Kansas. It was Democratic in politics, and was edited by a man named Kelley. The publication of the Fort Scott Democrat was begun in the winter of 1857-58, by J. E. Jones, which he sold to E. K. Smith July 14, 1859. Smith established the Western Volunteer in the spring of 1862, which, in a few months afterward, was enlarged and the name changed to that of the Fort Scott Bulletin. Soon after this the paper was sold to Charles Hayward, and was consolidated with the Monitor in 1863.
The Monitor was established at Marmaton by D. B. Emmert July 15, In August, 1863, it was taken to Fort Scott and consolidated with the Bulletin, the name becoming the Union Monitor, published by Emmert & Hayward, D. B. Emmert, editor. In the fall of 1864, Hayward withdrew and Emmert became sole proprietor. The first issue of the Daily Monitor was made May 16, 1864, but which, after about eighteen months, was suspended. J. P. Taylor, for a part of this time, was interested in the paper. In 1865, the paper was owned by John Scott, who, on March 8, 1866, sold out to W. A. Cormany and Oscar Edwards and Emmert was editor up to the fall of this year at which time he was succeeded by W. C. Webb.
From the time of the withdrawal of Webb, and until the spring of 1867, the editorial chair was filled respectively by Emmert, A. Danford, and W. J. Bawden. Following this S. A. Manlove became editor. During the latter part of 1867, J. W. Harris became interested in the proprietorship of the paper. Cormany sold his interest to Col. Hawley, in October, 1868, who, in a short time, sold out to the other members of the firm. In 1869, it was purchased by G. A. Crawford, by whom it was enlarged, and the large three-story brick building erected in which the paper has since been published. A job office and book bindery were also added at this time. When the railroad was built to Fort Scott, the daily, which had been suspended, was revived, and the Associated Press dispatches secured.
The paper was admitted to the Associated Press, August 4, 1869, and in November following the revival of the daily took place. D. W. Wilder became editor of the sheet January 1, 1871, which position he held for some time. In October, 1873, B. J. Waters and W. C. Douthett bought the paper, and in July of the next year, Flannery & Tice became members of the firm, from which Waters retired in 1875, and in about the same time, Douthett sold out to J. B. Campbell, and in about a year re-purchased the interest. In September, 1876, the paper was bought by D. T. Elson and G. F. Darrow, who conducted it during the Presidential campaign of that year.
T. H. Anable purchased the establishment January 7, 1877. Anable was connected with the M. R., Ft. S. & G.
R. R., to which he became indebted and unable to satisfy his creditors, the railroad company, to secure their debt, was forced to take the office and paper. This change was made November 1, 1878, and G. H. Nettleton took charge of the establishment for the company. The paper was edited by Leslie Winter and W. C. Perry was business manager. On August 1, 1880, J. H. Rice purchased the concern from the railroad company, the paper, material, good will, subscription list and telegraphic franchise passing into his hands. He has since associated with him his three sons, N. M., R. P. and H. V., the firm being John H. Rice & Sons.
Under the able management of this firm, the popularity of the paper has advanced, and the circulation of the weekly issue increased from 700 at the time of purchase, to 2,000 copies, and of the daily, from about the same number as the weekly to the present number of 1,070. The daily is an eight-column folio, and the weekly a six-column quarto, both issues being live and spirited.
The book bindery has been greatly enlarged, and is furnished with two ruling machines, one of which, a Hickock striker, has recently been added, costing $450, also a large lot of various other material has recently been added. All kinds of publication and blank-book binding are substantially and elegantly executed, upon which a force of seven experienced workmen are employed. A job office is also run, in which all kinds of job work is done, requiring a force of nine men. Four presses are used. Those are, a Potter Cylinder Power; a No. 7 Campbell Pony; a Cincinnati Nonpareil; and a one-half medium Gordon press. The machinery is run by steam power, which is soon to be replaced by a No. 5 Eysters' Water Motor.
The building used is a large brick, 25x110 feet, three stories high, including the basement. The basement story is occupied by the newspaper work, the first or ground floor by the office and job room, and the entire upper story by the book bindery. The operation of the entire concern requires the employment of a force of thirty men.
The Fort Scott Press, a Democratic paper, was started in 1866 by Hayward Brothers, who sold out to Warner & Winter. After the completion of the railroad to Girard, Crawford County, the paper was taken to that place. The Fort Scott Evening Post was established in 1869, by E. Schiller, which he sold to W. Coffrey in the early part of 1870. It was first issued as a tri-weekly paper and then as a daily, having been admitted to the Associated Press. Soon after coming into the hands of Coffrey, the name became that of the Fort Scott Telegram, and was discontinued in the year following.
The Fort Scott Democrat was established in 1870, by the Goode Brothers. It was sold August 21, 1873, to J. W. Allen and W. F. Sargent, and the name of the sheet was changed to the Pioneer. Sargent became sole proprietor June 1, 1874. In the following December the office was burned and all consumed except the subscription and account books. This misfortune, however, did not discontinue the paper. In February, 1875, it was consolidated with the Border Sentinel, a paper that had been brought from Linn County by N. G. Barter during the previous year.
The name of the new paper formed was the Sentinel and Pioneer. September 1, 1875, the firm became Sargent & Larkin, Barter having sold his interest to W. K. Larkin, and the paper was published under the name of the Herald. U. F. sic Sargent, who from the first had been editor of the paper, also became its proprietor in March, 1877. The paper afterward came into the hands of D. E. Caldwell, and in February, 1882, it was purchased by Silas A. Day. Along with the weekly a daily issue, called the Evening Herald, was begun in June, 1882. In September of the same year, Day bought out the Republican Record which he consolidated with the Herald in a weekly edition called the Herald and Record, of which he is now editor and proprietor.
Edwards & Winters began the publication of the Occasional in the winter of 1870. This sheet also enjoyed a brief existence when it "passed in its type." The Evening Echo was a "Greeley" paper, published in 1872, by John Shorton, but which died with him whom it labored to support. In October, 1877, John Forbes started the Bourbon County Democrat, which he sold to Caldwell in March of the next year. The paper has since been discontinued. The Emigrants' Guide was established in 1875, by C. R. Camp, as a monthly publication, but has since been given up.
During 1875-76, J. S. Taylor published a sheet called the Rays of the Cross, in the interests of the Baptist Church. This paper preached "red-hot" doctrine, but did not long survive. The New Century was a temperance paper started by Rev. J. Paulson in January, 1877, but has since suspended publication. A paper called the Colored Citizen was started October 1, 1877, by Eagleson Brothers (colored men). It was suspended for a time, and again revived in March, 1878, and during the summer was taken to Topeka. The Banner was established in October, 1882, by Joseph B. Chapman. The sheet is a five-column quarto in size, and is strongly Democratic in sentiment. Although the paper was established but recently, it enjoys the encouragement of a liberal patronage.
Fort Scott Lodge, No. 22, I. O. O. F., was instituted July 1, 1866, with the following charter members: Joseph Oakley, William Males, S. A. Williams, D. B. Emert sic and T. W. Tallman. A handsome lodge building was erected in 1881. It is a three-story brick building, one hundred and twenty feet long by twenty-five wide. The lodge-room, which is in the third story, is sixty feet long by twenty-five wide and is handsomely carpeted and furnished. The ante-room is thirty feet long by ten wide, to which adjoins a preparation room containing six wardrobes for the various societies which hold meetings in this hall. To the rear of these is an elegantly furnished parlor thirty by twenty-five feet. The membership is 122, and the present officers are: John Bruney, Noble Grand; A. Graff, Secretary; M. Rothschilds, Treasurer; J. Henvey, Vice Grand.
Rising Star Encampment, No. 7, I. O. O. F., was instituted April 27, 1868; Augustus Graff, C. A. Morris, C. C. Jerrel, G. W. Jones, G. W. Webb, J. W. Morris and S. A. Williams were the charter members. The membership of the order at this time is forty-eight, and G. W. Katzun as Chief Patriarch; J. S. Bell, High Priest; ----- Warner, Junior Warden; J. Henvey, Senior Warden; A. Graff, Secretary; John Glimz, Treasurer, are the present officers.
Fort Scott Lodge, No. 25, A. O. U. W., was instituted November 23, 1879. J. H. Bowen was Past Master Workman; G. W. Katzun, Master Workman; J. M. Lea, H. W. Pond, Overseers; R. I. Pearson, Recorder; D. A. Williams, Financier; R. Stalker, Receiver. The present officers are: W. M. Dillard, Past Master Workman; Charles W. Green, Master Workman; J. M. Neuberry, Foreman; L. H. Seely, Overseer; D. M. Limbocker, Recorder; G. W. Katzun, Financier; J. H. Brown, Receiver. The lodge has a membership of fifty-one, and meets in the Odd Fellows Hall.
Osage Tribe, No. 1, of the Great Council of the United States of the Improved Order of Red Men, was instituted on the 12th Sun of the Corn Moon, G. C. D. 381, or the 12th of September, 1873. The charter members were: L. M. Havens, H. K. Bates, B. S. Mallory, J. W. Johnston, W. L. Winter, J. D. Rush, W. R. Reid, A. W. Gifford, E. S. Ware, J. R. Williams, W. C. Ware, C. H. Graen, J. H. Liepman and J. B. Bayliss. The order meets in the Odd Fellows hall and has a membership of forty. The present officers of the lodge are: John Gluntz, Sachem; F. Towner, Senior Sagamore; William Patterson, Secretary; C. Loucks, Prophet; M. Hiney, Keeper of Wampum.
Mystic Lodge No. 17, Knights of Pythias, was instituted April 13, 1876, with fifteen charter members, namely: A. Leck, H. E. Potter, B. Neubauer, M. Cohen, J. W. Allen, H. Wolf, E. L. Kohn, M. Crocker, H. Valker, H. R. Perkins, L. M. Havens, T. S. Clark, E. Schott, M. Rothschilds and D. T. Hiatt. The present membership is forty-five, and the officers are: J. Neuberry, Chancellor Commander; J. A. Bryant, Vice Commander; C. A. Benham, Prelate; L. M. Haven, sic Grand Prelate.
Endowment Rank No. 60, was instituted December 27, 1877, with A. Leck, C. J. Neal, H. C. Loucks, J. Smith, B. Neubauer, F. W. Wisbach, A. Keys, H. Neubauer, C. A. Benham, T. S. Clark, charter members. C. Loucks is now President of the society.
Fort Scott Lodge, No. 2,122, was instituted April 19, 1880, with a membership of twenty-one.
G. E. Kincade was the first Dictator; E. A. Deland, Vice Dictator; D. D. Dougherty, Assistant Dictator; Lewis Voss, Reporter; H. Wilcox, Treasurer; John Brunney, Guide. The membership of the lodge is now fifty-one, and the following are the present officers, namely: John Brunney, Past Dictator; Lewis Voss, Dictator; J. Campbell, Vice Dictator; J. Buckley, Assistant Dictator; John Bayliss, Reporter; H. Wilcox Treasurer; Joseph Antrem, Guide. Since the institution of the lodge, there has not occurred the death or suspension of a single member.
Bourbon Lodge No. 19, Select Knights of the A. O. U. W., was instituted October 24, 1882, with twenty charter members. The first officers were: H. W. Pont, Commander; E. A. Blakeley, Vice Commander; J. Conine, Lieutenant Commander; G. W. Katzung, sic Recorder; Charles Graen, Receiver.
Blue Lodge, Rising Sun, No. 81. Officers: S. Dickerson, W. M.; B. E. Langdon, S. W.; P. Dalrymple, Jr. W.; M. Liepman, Treasurer; L. M. Havens, Secretary; E. P. Tresslar, Sr. Deacon; William Armstrong, Jr. Deacon; S. B. Gardner, Sr. S.; J. B. Trinder, Jr. S.; H. R. Perkins, Tiler.
First National Bank of Fort Scott was organized January 10, 1871. Its officers were B. P. McDonald, President; C. F. Drake, Vice President; L. C. Nelson, Cashier; C. H. Osbun, Assistant Cashier. Its capital stock was $50,000. In 1873, the was increased to $100,000, but a few years later it was reduced to the original sum. The present paid up capital and surplus is $75,000, and the authorized capital is $300,000.
Prior to the organization of the First National Bank, B. P. McDonald had been engaged in private banking, having commenced in 1859, under the firm of A. McDonald & Brother. After a period of a few years, B. P. McDonald became sole proprietor of and continued the business until the organization of the First National Bank.
The Planing Mill started in the fall of 1876, by S. S. Peterson and J. H. Gardner. The concern was begun as a sash and door factory, and the light machinery used was run by tread power. As the business gradually increased other machinery was added and horse power was employed. In 1880, a four-horse power engine was procured, and in about eighteen months following a ten-horse power engine was put in. Several machines are employed, and all sorts of job wood work is done. The principal business is the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, stair railings, mouldings, etc. About 10,000 feet of lumber is consumed monthly, and employment is given to a force of eight men.
The Fort Scott Brewery was started in 1865, by a A. Butler, in the manufacture of beer, but which, under the temperance laws of the State, was forced to suspend operations. A part of the establishment is used by C. Herring in the manufacture of soda and mineral waters. This enterprise was begun in 1880, and at present make about three hundred gallons of these waters per day.
The Acorn Flour Mills were started in January, 1882, by D. W. and R. L. Milligan. The mill building is a two-story frame. Four run of stone are employed, with a capacity for grinding 150 bushels of wheat and 200 of corn per day. The machinery of the mill is run by a forty-horse power engine.
The City Brewery was established in 1869, by F. Schultz and C. Smith. It was first started on a small scale, and was gradually enlarged to a capacity for the manufacture of 5,000 barrels of beer per year. The prohibitory law taking effect compelled a suspension of the business, and the buildings representing large investments by the owner are comparatively valueless, on account of not being allowed to run in the business for which they were constructed.
The Fort Scott Woolen Mills were established in the spring of 1873, by A. Polsgrove & Son. The object of the mills is the manufacture of hosiery. At first it was begun in a small way, and during the first year only twenty-five pair of hose were made. The increase and enlargement of the establishment has been remarkable, showing the demand for work of this kind. This year there was manufactured 4,000 dozen pair of hose, of men, women and children's wear. At first only one knitting machine was employed, now there are fourteen. The mill works consist of one set of twenty-four inch machinery besides the knitters, and is run by a combination of steam and wind-mill power.
The building is a one-story stone, eighty-seven feet long by thirty-six wide, with engine house, knitting apartments and other outbuildings, and was erected in the fall of 1879. Besides the supply of a large trade in Kansas, there is a pressing demand for the goods manufactured, in Denver, Leadville, and other cities in Colorado--and the orders are far ahead of the capacity to supply. The production amounts to about twenty dozen pair of hose per day, requiring a force of twenty-two hands. The design is to speedily enlarge the factory, not only to equal the already large demand but to satisfy further extended trade.
The manufacture of castor oil was begun by H. Mahew & Son (colored) in 1873. A horse-power press is used and the manufacture of oil amounts to about eighty gallons per day, for which a market is found in Kansas City, St. Louis and Texas.
The Excelsior Mills, for the manufacture of flour, were started in June, 1871, by E. A. Deland and F. C. Bacon. It was the intention of the firm to establish a foundry, and for this purpose most of the machinery was purchased. The idea was abandoned before anything further was done, and the idea of building a flour mill conceived. Work upon this enterprise was at once begun, and before the end of 1871, a large mill was completed, at a cost of about $40,000. The main building is three and a half stories high, 40 by 36 feet, with an engine house 24 by 36 feet, and an office 16 by 20 feet. The machinery is of the most approved patterns, and complete in every detail, and is run by a forty-horse power engine. The mill has a capacity for the manufacture of about three hundred barrels of flour per day, for which a market is found in Kansas, Texas, Colorado and other points.
Pioneer Wagon Manufactory was established in 1862, by J. A. Bryant. This establishment is operated in the manufacture of the "Bryant" wagon, and enjoys a large and prosperous business.
The Fort Scott Foundry and Machine Shops began operations in the fall of 1869--George A. Crawford, proprietor, who carried on the business until 1874. Mr. Frank J. Nutz became Superintendent in 1871, and one of the proprietors in 1874; Charles F. Drake became proprietor in June, 1875, Mr. Nutz remaining as Superintendent since that time. The establishment now employs about one hundred men, and manufactures boilers, engines and improved machinery of all kinds.
The Goodlander Flouring Mill was built by C. W. Goodlander in 1872, its capacity then being about one hundred and twenty-five barrels per day. It was run under the firm name of Goodlander, Currie & Co. for about three years, and then by Mr. Goodlander alone until the explosion in January, 1876. The mill then passed into the possession of the First National Bank. It is now run by the Goodlander Mill & Flouring Co., which was organized in 1880.
The Foundry and Sickle Factory was started by John E. Petty with one assistant in 1880. They manufacture ploughs, sickles, sickle-grinders, harrows, scrapers, spring wagons, cultivators, shovels, single-trees, neck yokes, shovel ploughs, the "Little Monarch" sickle grinder, and have a foundry connected with the manufactory where they do all kinds of light casting. They give employment to sixteen men, the business having now increased to seven times what it was originally.
The Fort Scott Nursery was started by Shinn & Sons, one mile north of Fort Scott in the fall of 1867, in a very small way. They now do a business of about $30,000 per annum in nursery stock sales, and their fruit sales amount to from $5,000 to $10,000 yearly. They have 270 acres of ground, most of it being in nursery stock and orchard. They ordinarily give employment to about 30 hands, and during the packing season employ about 50. Sales principally in Missouri and Texas. They ship most of their apples to Texas. At the fair at Lawrence two years ago, they took three premiums--taking the third prize for orchard produce.
The York Nursery Company, with home nursery at Fort Scott, and branches at Denton, Texas, and Parsons, Kan., keep a full line of all kinds of nursery stock adapted to the new West. The officers of the company are: J. H. York, President; G. C. Kennedy, Secretary; U. B. Pearsall, Treasurer, and J. F. Willett, General Manager.
Besides the manufactories already mentioned, there are several others of lesser magnitude and importance, yet which in their way contribute to the wealth and influence of Fort Scott as a manufacturing city. These are a baking powder, broom, brick, candy, cracker and tobacco manufactory.
Water and Gas Works
The Fort Scott Water Company became organized and incorporated June 5, 1882. The enterprise was carried out by P. B. Perkins, of Geneseo, Ill., who succeeded in entering into a contract with the city of Fort Scott, whereby upon certain terms and conditions he was to supply the city with water. A company called the Fort Scott Water Company was then formed among a number of the citizens of the city. The number of directors is seven, and the term of the existence of the corporation is ninety-nine years.
At a meeting of the Board of Directors held April 7, 1882, C. F. Drake was elected President; B. E. Langdon, Vice President; F. N. Manlove, Secretary; Charles Nelson, Treasurer; and P. B. Perkins, Engineer. The capital stock of the corporation is $100,000, divided into 1,000 shares of $100 each.
The rights, franchise and contract held by Perkins from the city, were purchased by the company, for which they paid $23,399, by which the company became entitled to and possessed of all and every the powers, rights, privileges and franchises owned and possessed by Perkins relative to the construction and operation of water works for the city and as stipulated in Ordinance 370 of the City Ordinances of Fort Scott, for the construction of the works, the company issued of its bonds to the amount of $50,000.
The Perkins' system of water works is used. This system operates upon the gravity principle by means of an elevated reservoir and tower. The earth reservoir having a storage capacity of two million gallons of water, is constructed upon an elevation of about seventy-five feet above the city, by which water can be raised at least twenty feet above the highest building. A tower of masonry is built to an altitude of fifty feet above the earth reservoir, making it about 115 feet above the city. Upon this tower is a large iron reservoir, from which, by the gravity pressure, four streams can be raised to the height of eighty or ninety feet. This is what is termed the fire pressure and is so combined with the main pipes leading from the reservoir, by valves, that the additional pressure can be applied to the entire pipe distribution in less than one minute, in case of fire.
The pumping machinery consists of two sets of the Perkins and Smith and Vaile & Co. pumping engines, having a capacity and capability for elevating 1,500,000 gallons of water each day to a height of 185 feet. The water supply is taken from the Marmaton River from a well sunk down beneath the sand and gravel in the bed, and extending entirely across the stream. This well is walled up with masonry and covered with sand, gravel, etc., by means of which water is accumulated and perfect drainage is secured.
The pumping house is of stone masonry and has a brick smoke stack fifty feet high. A residence near the reservoir is also constructed for the engineer, and is a stone structure containing six rooms. About eight and three-quarter miles of distributing pipe are already laid leading to all parts of the city, and about $86,000 have already been expended upon the construction of the works.
The Fort Scott Gas Works were built in 1871--finished October 8--by Mr. Buckner, J. H. Ambrose, now of Jefferson City, and Charles Boyle, now residing near Fort Benton. The works then used one bench of three retorts, and one furnace, making from 10,000 to 15,000 feet of gas per day. Their present capacity is 40,000 to 50,000 per day--three benches. Cost about $45,000. Mr. Buckner died a few weeks after the works were opened, but his widow retained his interest, Mr. Peak becoming President of the Company at the death of Mr. Buckner. Soon after the construction of the works, they were bonded for $25,000--J. M. Nelson of Boonville, Mo., getting possession of the bonds, and at their maturity, about five years later, of the works themselves. In the fall of 1877, he leased the works to J. W. Pinkston, and January 1, 1882, L. K. Schofield bought the lease of Pinkston and leased the works from Nelson for six years, with contract for purchasing.
The Fort Scott Driving Association.--The objects for which this corporation was organized were the improvement of the breed and development of horses, through the promotion of the interests of the American trotting turf; the prevention and punishment of frauds thereon, and uniformity in the government of trotting and pacing, also the maintenance of a park and a club for social enjoyment. The association was organized December 14, 1881, authorized capital $5,000--$1,000 paid in. The incorporators were O. A. Cheney, N. C. Perry, C. H. Osburn, W. H. Robertson, H. G. Herrick and C. H. Morley.
Fort Scott is located at 37°50'7N, 94°42'7W (37.835180, -94.702015). Fort Scott is about 88 miles (158 km) south of Kansas City. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.1 km² (5.4 mi²). 14.1 km² (5.4 mi²) of it is land and 0.0 km² (0.0 mi²) of it (0.18%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,297 people, 3,481 households, and 2,081 families residing in the city. The population density was 590.0/km² (1,529.4/mi²). There were 3,914 housing units at an average density of 278.3 persons/km² (721.5 persons/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.53% White, 5.15% African American, 0.93% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. 1.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,481 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 11.5% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 40.2% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 21.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 85.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,871, and the median income for a family was $34,531. Males had a median income of $25,919 versus $20,583 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,997. About 10.9% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.
Fort Scott Community College, founded in 1919, is the oldest community college in the state of Kansas.
The Fort Scott Public Schools USD 234 includes two public elementary schools (Eugene Ware Elementary and Winfield Scott Elementary), one public middle school (Fort Scott Middle School) and one high school (Fort Scott High School). There is also a Catholic school for grades K-5, Fort Scott Christian Heights is K-12 and a few other small private schools for students from grades K-12.
In addition to the restored Civil War-era fort noted above, trolley tours of the historical part of Fort Scott are offered, showing visitors historic buildings and other attractions throughout Fort Scott.
An annual town festival, the Good Ol' Days, has been held the first weekend of June since 1980. The celebration begins Friday evening with a parade and a picnic downtown. Over the rest of the weekend, a street fair, a melodrama and vaudeville-style show are among other features of the festival.
The melodrama is also performed each Friday and Saturday night after Good Ol' Days until the end of July.
Gunn Park is a park with picnic areas, playgrounds, two lakes and a flying disc golf course near the Marmaton River on the west side of town.
The Lyon's Mansion Bed and Breakfast and Spa is located in a historic mansion on South National.
Notable Natives and Residents
The town's most famous resident is Photographer, Author, Filmmaker, Composer Gordon Parks, who was born and raised in Fort Scott. Park's first motion picture, The Learning Tree was filmed in Fort Scott in 1968 using authentic town residents as extras. The Gordon Parks Center For Culture and Diversity is located in Fort Scott at Fort Scott Community College. Parks is buried in Fort Scott's Evergreen Cemetery.
Other notable natives
Clark M. Clifford - Former United States Secretary of Defense.
Charles Hatfield - Rainmaker
Adam LaRoche - First baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates (born in Orange County, California but attended Fort Scott Schools; brother Andy, who was born in Fort Scott, is a third baseman in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor-league system).
Mark Hart - musician extraordinaire, song writer, producer. Belonged to two very popular rock bands, Supertramp and Crowded House, an Australian/New Zealand band.