The Early History of Moline
by William G. Cutler (1883)
In the spring of 1879, James Beard, N. Hankerson and H. H. Lamb located claims in the south part of Elk County. During the spring of 1879, a portion of laud was purchased from each of these parties by the Town Site Company upon which they proceeded to lay out a town, the survey being made by Maj. J. H. Chapman. The town is located on the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad, about forty miles west of Independence.
The first building erected on the site was a blacksmith shop belonging to H. Gallatin, which he brought from the town of Boston and located at this place. M. Carter and S. B. Hemmenway next opened a general storehouse in a building erected for that purpose. A dwelling house belonging to Carter was then brought from Boston, and was the third structure, and Jones & Hackerman built a storeroom in which they put a stock of hardware.
D. C. Pierce next erected a hotel, which he continued to run up to 1882, when it was sold, coming under the proprietorship of S. F. Brown. During the year 1880, D. C. Pierce started a livery barn, which he afterward sold to R. Keith, and the latter soon sold out to F. C. Vance. S. A. Brown started a lumberyard at the same time.
The railroad was completed in December of 1879, and the town witnessed a slow but regular growth. It now contains three general stores, one furniture store, two hardware stores, one grocery, two drugstores. two millinery and one harness shop, two hotels - the last hotel being built during the summer of 1882, by Joseph McGee - and the population of the town numbers about 200.
In May, 1879, the post office was brought from Boston, a little village on the line between the counties of Elk and Chautauqua and located at Moline. The removal was made in a covered wagon in which the office was kept for three days, the mail being delivered from the wagon. At the time of the removal of the office, M. Carter held the position of Postmaster and which he has since retained.
The town derives its educational facilities from the regular country school district within which it is situated, thus, properly speaking, having no regular school of her own. The building erected in the district for school purposes was removed to the town and is now used as a schoolhouse. The school has a membership of 100 pupils, and is divided into intermediate and primary departments.
For some time the ground in the region of the town had been trod by men shod with the Gospel of Peace, who zealously proclaimed the Gospel to fallen man. Services were usual in schoolhouses and residences in different parts of the neighborhood. In connection with the adjacent country this was made the central point for the holding of services by the churches of which there are now two in number, viz.: the Methodist Episcopal and Baptist.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was established in the spring of 1881 with forty members, under charge of Rev. Mr. Bristow, and at the present time the congregation numbers sixty of a membership with Rev. William Goodwin pastor. Services are conducted in the schoolhouse and town hall. During the summer of 1882, a parsonage was erected at a cost of $600.
The Baptist Church was organized in the fall of 1881 with eight members and T. A. Walker pastor. At present the congregation numbers fifteen members. With the first organization, services were held in the schoolhouse, but soon afterward were held in the town hall, in which they are now held.
The first attempt at journalism was made by W. C. Parker and I. N. Boicourt in March, 1881, and after an existence of six months it was sold to Thomas Copeland who continued to issue it under the name of the Elk County Signal for about one year and was taken to Cherry Vale.
On April 22, 1882, Jasper Carter issued the first number of the Moline Mercury. It was first issued as a five column folio but since increased to a seven column folio; is independent in politics and has a circulation of 415.
This of all the attempts has proven successful, the paper being now in a flourishing state. Jasper Carter, editor and proprietor of the Moline Mercury, was born in Scott County, Ill.; when ten years of age he came with his father to Nemaha County, Kan., with whom he followed farming, and subsequently went to Missouri and followed farming for four years in that State. In 1872, he came to and engaged in farming, selling out his farm property he embarked in the mercantile business, which he gave up in March, 1882, and began editing the Moline Mercury.
Moline is located at 37°21'50N, 96°18'8W (37.363769, -96.302086). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.9 km² (0.3 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 457 people, 211 households, and 116 families residing in the city. The population density was 504.1/km² (1,318.6/mi²). There were 255 housing units at an average density of 281.3/km² (735.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.65% White, 0.44% African American, 0.66% Native American, 3.06% from other races, and 2.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.94% of the population.
There were 211 households out of which 17.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.0% were non-families. 42.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 28.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.75.
In the city the population was spread out with 17.7% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 17.7% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 37.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 55 years. For every 100 females there were 84.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,143, and the median income for a family was $31,667. Males had a median income of $27,750 versus $14,792 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,076. About 16.7% of families and 28.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 55.6% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.