The town of Ottawa has a history of flooding due to the Marais Des Cygnes river. One of the first big floods which was noted happened in 1844, twenty years before the founding of the city in 1864. No official measurements were taken, though the river was estimated to be at 40 feet. A flood in 1928 had a crest point of 38.65 in which 6 people died. Other flood years include 1904, with a crest of 35.8 feet; 1909, cresting at 36.3 feet; 1915, cresting at 31 feet, and 1944 cresting at 36.5 feet.
It is the Great Flood of 1951 which is the most famous. It was about five inches higher than the 1928 flood. The flood of 1951 affected much of Missouri and Kansas and 41 people were killed. One-third of the city of Ottawa was inundated duringof this flood.
It seems unlikely that Ottawa will suffer major damage due to a flood again thanks to a series of levees and pumping stations built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1960s. It is actually part of a larger system of flood systems to regulate the Marais Des Cygnes river all the way to the Missouri. The levees built along the river are inspected on an annual basis to insure their quality.
A Contemporary History of Ottawa
by William G. Cutler (1883)
The city of Ottawa is pleasantly located on both banks of the Marais des Cygnes near the center of Franklin County. The original site was two half-sections of smooth prairie land - first bottom - principally on the south side of the river. It derived its name from the Ottawa tribe of Indians, in the heart of whose reservation it was laid out. The beauty of the situation had often attracted the attention of the hardy pioneers, but Indian ownership prevented the settlement until the spring of 1864. At that time title was obtained through treaty and purchase in connection with the founding of Ottawa University.
A town company was immediately organized, with C. C. Hutchinson, then Indian Agent, and I. S. Kalloch as leading spirits, and including in its number James Wind, the Ottawa Chief, and John T. Jones, then minister, Asa S. Lathrop, the company's surveyor and attorney, and a few non-resident politicians and capitalists. The early arrivals pitched their tents at pleasure. But after the survey, J. C. Richmond, on the last day of March, raised the first house in the new town, corner Walnut street and First. This old landmark, somewhat dilapidated, still stands in situ.
One of the first necessities of the settlers was postal accommodations. These were secured, and C. T. Evans appointed Postmaster. The first white child born in the town site was "Ottawa" Smith, son of Ed Smith, whose prompt arrival secured to him a valuable Main Street lot, dedicated to that contingency. Under the liberal policy of the company, the settlement grew rapidly. J. H. Whetstone brought in a valuable saw-mill. The Ottawa House, which has since been, by turns, hotel and post office, stable, railroad depot, and stable, was erected. And the old Capitol building at Minneola was taken down, removed to Ottawa, and again set up on the northeast corner of Second and Main streets.
Here G. S. Holt opened the first dry goods store in town. The rest of the first floor was used for offices. The upstairs was furnished as a hall--known as Lathrop's Hall--and became the general rallying place for the town and county. In it were held the courts, public meetings, festivals and entertainments; and the Baptist Church worshipped here for the space of two years, ministered to by Messrs. Kalloch, Hutchinson, and others. Passing later into the Wilkerson House, this historical building was moved across the alley in 1876, where it still serves the purposes of a hotel.
In July the Chippewa and Ottawa reservations were erected by the County Commissioners into a township, under the name of Franklin Township. On the first of August, 1864, Ottawa was made by popular vote the county seat of Franklin County. The county officers at the time were C. L. Robbins, Sheriff; H. F. Sheldon, County Clerk and Register of Deeds; John Malruff, County Treasurer; and H. P. Welsh, Jacob Sumstine and Mr. Bicketts, County Commissioners. Among other notables early on the ground, should be mentioned P. P. Elder, C. A. Bunting, G. W. Beeman, Judge Valentine, James Davis, E. J. Nugent, and D. W. Zimmerman, who, without special capital, but with indomitable pluck, carried to completion two years later the Luddington Hotel.
By June, 1865, Mr. Kalloch had issued the first number of the Western Home Journal. This paper, ably conducted and widely circulated, became greatly instrumental in attracting settlers and building up the town. One year later Ottawa was incorporated as a town, and the control of its municipal affairs passed from a town company to a Board of Trustees. That fall the brick public school building on Walnut street was completed and school opened. And, under the auspices of the Trustees of the Ottawa University, two departments of the college were started, namely, an Indian school on Hickory and Second streets, with forty pupils, and an advanced grade for the whites in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Main street.
During the winter of 1866-7 a bridge company, organized for that purpose, constructed the fine suspension bridge at the foot of Main street. They continued to operate it as a toll bridge till the city purchased it eight years later and made it free. In October, 1867, the town, by a vote of 127 to 29, was elevated to the rank of a city of the second class; and at the first city elections, held November 30, Asa S. Lathrop, was elected Mayor.
Shortly after, the City Council granted the first license to sell intoxicating drinks. And there were good citizens who suspected the City government was sprung for that very purpose, because license could not be obtained under the former government. As a matter of fact, the outcome of it added nothing to the sobriety or orderliness of the village, but considerable to its budget of expenditures. January, 1865, brought the city the first locomotive over the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad. Then followed three or four years of great activity and prosperity. Many fine buildings were erected, the machine shops secured, a steam fire engine purchased, and a public school building completed, at a cost of $30,000. The year 1878 brought an end to the license system.
The city has three parks within its limits. Forest Park lies north of the river and contains forty acres. Much of the primeval forest remains, affording ample shade. The park is without rival in Kansas for natural attractions. College Park is situated in the southern part of the old city limits, and contains sixteen acres. The Central Public School building stands upon it. Court House Square fronts on Main street, a little south of the center of business. It is unadorned by the jail. The jail, located on the public square, is a substantial two story stone building, erected in 1867. The county voted $20,000 in bonds for that purpose. J. H. Whetstone was the contractor.
The city is divided into four wards and is officered by a Mayor, a Marshal, a Council of eight, Clerk, Attorney, Police Judge, two Constables, and a School Board of eight. The Mayors have been successively: Asa S. Lathrop, 1867; R. E. Jenners, 1868; H. P. Welsh, 1869 70; J. W. Magee, 1871; H. F. Sheldon, 1872-73; J. A. Davenport, 1874; H. F. Sheldon, 1875-76; P. P. Elder, 1877; A. W. Benson, 1878-79-80; L. C. Wasson, 1881-82.
Ottawa has three fine halls, one court-room, four large hardware stores, two stove and tin shops, eleven dry goods, twenty groceries, three clothing stores, three boots and shoes, two book stores, one drug store, four millinery, three jewelry, four confectionery and bakery establishments, five stables, seven hotels, one billiard saloon, half a dozen eating houses, three extensive lumber yards, etc. etc.
It supports eleven lawyers, as many doctors, four dentists, a score of real estate and insurance men, one private banker, and some street brokers. The population is 5,000.
The first school election held in District No. 30, which district included about the same territory as was included in the Ottawa Reservation, was held November 23, 1864, at the office of the County Treasurer, at which time Joseph Wilkin, G. W. Beeman and H. K. Sheldon were chosen directors. On the 6th of January, 1865, a contract was signed by Miss Mary Ward, now wife of H. J. Smith, President of the First National Bank, to teach a four months school in the district for $50 per month. Miss Lottie Meyers was engaged as assistant teacher.
On February 28, 1865, an election was held for the purpose of voting on the question of issuing $2,000 in bonds for the purpose of building a schoolhouse. The bonds were issued and the schoolhouse built in 1866; a two story brick 30X50 feet, and costing, ------- standing on Railroad street between Second and Third. It was dedicated October 1, the dedicatory address being delivered by Prof. P. Fales, at the time, President of the Ottawa University; J. N. Holloway, one of the historians of Kansas, was the first principal in this schoolhouse. His three lady assistants were Miss F. M. Ricksicker, Miss L. M. Hemingway, and Miss Mary Kelsley. In 1867, G. V. Ricksicker became principal, and in 1889 Prof. Arthur succeeded him. In 1870, Prof. William Wheeler succeeded Prof. Arthur, and has been retained in his position ever since.
After 1866, Ottawa increased in population quite rapidly, and more school room was soon needed. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was rented, and after a few years, purchased by the Board of Education. The Whetstone building, standing on Main street, immediately north of the Marias des Cygnes was rented for a term of years.
In the spring of 1872, the school district of which the town of Ottawa forms a part, after numerous failures to do so, voted to issue $30,000 in bonds for the purpose of building a new public and high school building. School was opened in this building in April, 1873. It is a three story, brick, twelve-room building, above a stone basement; was completed without the issuance of additional bonds, and is altogether one of the finest and most convenient school buildings in the state.
The schools themselves have attained and sustained a high rank, which is doubtless owing to the rule followed by the Board in retaining the superintendent steadily in his position.
This institution was organized in 1860, under the name of Roger Williams University. This was the result of steps taken by the Baptist denomination of Kansas, the charter of the school being granted by the Territorial Legislature, February 20, 1860. At that time the Ottawa Indians, through the untiring labors of Rev. Jotham Meeker, had made considerable advancement in the civilization, and had begun to appreciate the value of education. For some years they had been thinking of setting apart a portion of their reservation for the purpose of endowing a school, but no steps to that end had yet been taken.
When, therefore, the Roger Williams University was established, the Ottawas being nearly all Baptists, sent an invitation to its trustees to meet with them with the view of making some arrangement by which their children might attend the institution. The invitation was accepted by the trustees, and a meeting was held December 5, 1860, attended by a committee of four of the trustees and eight of the Ottawas, including the chief and councilmen.
As the result of this meeting, the Indians agreed to donate to the University 20,000 acres of their average lands, and the trustees agreed to raise funds to aid in the erection of buildings, and to educate 50 of the Ottawa children, from four to fourteen years of age, for thirty years, and at the end of thirty years to give the Indians ten perpetual scholarships in the University.
This agreement in substance was put into a treaty concluded June 24, 1862, and on additional section of land was set apart for school purposes. Five thousand of the twenty thousand acres of land were allowed by the treaty to be sold, and were sold August 20, 1862 to John W. Young and I. S. Kalloch for $6,250, and the proceeds devoted to the erection of proper buildings, and to other improvements upon the school section.
This treaty provided for a board of seven trustees, and named the following five members of the board: John T. Jones, James Wind, William Hurr and Joseph King, Ottawas, and John G. Pratt, a citizen of Kansas, and authorized the Ottawas to select two other citizens of Kansas as members of the board. I. S. Kalloch and C. C. Hutchinson, were the two selected.
Nothing is said in the treaty about Roger Williams University for the reason that Secretary Usher deemed it inadvisable to appear to endow a denominational institution. On the 21st of April, 1865, the trustees incorporated themselves under the laws of Kansas, as the Ottawa University, a name preferred by the tribe and deemed more appropriate by the trustees.
By the spring of 1866, a good temporary school building had been procured. The school was opened and remained in full and satisfactory operation one year, when it was suspended to await the completion of the new cut stone building in course of construction. This building was finished in the spring of 1869, at a cost of $40,000. School opened in it May 1, and continued until the fall of 1874. On January 9, 1875, the inside and roof of this building were destroyed by fire, the walls not being materially injured. Within ninety days from the time of the fire, the building was re-roofed, joisted and partitioned, and in 1876 was again ready for occupancy.
The Indians retained their interests in and rights to education in the university until 1873, when, having moved to the Indian Territory, a separation of their interests from those of the white Baptists was effected. Of the 15,000 acres left, about 3,000 acres were sold for $16,000 and 1,280 acres were allowed the trustees to meet their liabilities; the balance of the lands, together with the $16,000, were returned to the Indians. This separation was authorized by Act of Congress.
The "Trust Lands" consisted of the remainder of the reservation after the "head rights," school lands and donations had been set aside, and which were held in trust by the Government of the United States, to be sold for the benefit of the tribe. The trustees of the University purchased from the Government 7,858 acres of these lands for $13,792.22, for the purpose of selling them at a profit for the benefit of the University; 7,247 acres were sold for $34,000, and afterwards the balance was also sold.
The first faculty was Prof. P. Fales, Miss Lucy Hatch and Miss Fannie Thomas. The first faculty in the new university building was Rev. Robert Atkinson, Miss Lucy Hatch, Miss McClelland, Miss Emma Topping, Miss Emma Deford and Miss Ruth Gifen. At the first session of the school, which commenced in May, 1869, there were eighty-three students, only three being Indians, the balance being white. An endowment of $50,000 is in process of procurement.
Ottawa University Building was erected in 1866. The walls of limestone, faced with cut sandstone. The cap-sills, corners, etc., are of limestone. It is three stories high, including the basement, 40X65 feet in size, and elegantly finished. Connected with it is one section of choice land, adjacent to the city. Through the land winds a small stream fringed with timber. It is divided into fields of convenient size by osage orange hedges, and adorned with shrubbery, and forest, fruit and ornamental trees.
The Ottawa First Baptist Church dates its origins as far back as 1837, when the Rev. J. Meeker began his labors as a missionary among the Ottawa Indians, then recently arrived on their reservation, in what is now Franklin County. So devotedly was the work prosecuted that by 1846, sixty-one converts had been baptized. Mr. Meeker entered upon his rest in 1855. On his death, John T. Jones, an Indian convert, as evangelist and afterward as duly ordained minister, ministered to the spiritual wants of his people, and continued so to do until their dispersion in 1870, the greater part going to their reservation in Indian Territory, a part to their old home in Michigan, and a few remaining.
From the founding of Ottawa, the church held services within its limits, as being central, but did not erect a building. Near the old ford on the east side of Main street, Mr. Jones erected a small schoolhouse for the Indian children, and there for a time preached on Sabbaths to the picturesque multitude. Afterwards, in succession, services were held with tolerable regularity in the Mission school building, southeast corner of Hickory and Second streets, in I. S. Kalloch's library, Walnut and Third, and for a few Sabbaths in the brick schoolhouse, now engine house, on Walnut. But wherever held, the gatherings of these strange worshippers always attracted the attention of the new comers.
The Second Baptist Church of Ottawa was organized May 4, 1864. At the time of the organization, I. S. Kalloch was chairman of the meeting, and C. C. Hutchinson, secretary. The New Hampshire Confession was adopted as the articles of faith of the church. In order to complete the organization, a second meeting was held, July 27, and still another August 21. By November 1, there were nineteen members as follows: I. S. Kalloch, Caroline P. Kalloch, I. M. Kalloch, Charles T. Evans, Esther A. Evans, T. C. Sears, G. W. Beeman, J. M. Lackey, C. C. Hutchinson, Martha Hutchinson, Simon A. Keisting, Catherine P. Keisting, A. H. Dow, Fanny Dow, Nancy S. Filson, D. Brinkerhoff, Isaiah Supernau and wife and Pauline Supernau.
The church was incorporated April 9, 1867. Religious services were held in a little building standing on the present site of the Masonic Block, for about two years. The front two-thirds of the present church building was erected in 1865. In the spring of 1871, an extension of about 16X18 feet was made to the church, which made the total length of the building sixty feet inside. In the summer of 1880, an addition was made to the church, to meet the needs of the Sunday school. The church, as it now stands, including this addition, cost about $3,000.
The society owns thirteen lots, twelve of them having been obtained from the Ottawa Town Company, the thirteenth having been presented by Mrs. J. T. Jones in 1877. The first pastor was Rev. I. S. Kalloch, who served from September, 1864, to January 1865. In August following, Rev. Isaac Sawyer commenced his pastorate, which continued until September, 1866. From this time until January, 1868, the church depended on supplies, at which latter time Rev. Frederic Greaves became Pastor, and served one year. In November, 1869, Allen Ridell, D. D., took charge, but on account of failing health, preached only about six weeks, and in about three months died. His death was a great bereavement to the church. Rev. A. B. White became Pastor in August, 1870, remaining about two years.
Rev. A. C. Peck then followed, and remained about a year. In May, 1874, Rev. I. N. Clark became Pastor, remaining one year. Dr. Anderson then served as Pastor one year, from September 1875 to September, 1876. In July, 1877, Rev. J. F. Stephenson became Pastor, and at the present writing, remains in charge. At the first meeting of the church, May 4, 1864, a committee, consisting of Messrs. Sears, Evans, and Lackey, was appointed to organize a Sunday school. This organization was effected in about three weeks, since which time there has always been a good Sunday school connected with the church. The total number of members that have been connected with the church is 490, number received by baptism, 187; number that have died, 26, and the present membership, 227.
The Third Baptist Church (colored), enrolled at its organization in 1868 seven members. Somewhat later a site was secured at the corner of First and Sycamore streets, and a small frame dwelling moved thereon and fitted up as a church. This gave place in 1878 to a good frame building with a seating capacity of 230, and built at a cost of $1,300. The membership is 105. In connection with the church is a Sunday school, started and conducted for a number of years by M. L. Laws, a godly man, then a member of the Second Baptist Church. The average attendance is about sixty-five.
Methodist Episcopal Church.--The members of this church were gathered in 1866 under the leadership of Rev. Mr. Adams. Meetings were held in a room, then known as Robb's Hall. The next spring Rev. Mr. Satchwell, a member of the Kansas Conference, was sent to the church as its first accredited minister. The society then met in Pickrell Hall, Rev. Mr. Nesley succeeded in 1868 and remained two years. During his ministry the present spacious church edifice was erected at the corner of Third and Walnut streets.
This is the largest church building in town, having beside the assembly room, which will seat 600 persons, a basement story containing lecture-room, class-room and study. Rev. Mr. Houts was sent to the church in 1870; but his health was failing, Mr. Fisher completed the year. Then followed Rev. B. Kelly for three years; Rev. Mr. Pye for two years; F. B. Charrington, a returned foreign missionary, for three years; J. H. Hanna for three years, and in the spring of 1882 Rev. Mr. Tucker. A parsonage was erected within the church enclosure in 1872. Two-hundred and sixty-five members are on the church roll. A very flourishing Sunday school is sustained, numbering 300.
The First Presbyterian Church of Ottawa was organized in April, 1866, at the house of A. S. Lathrop, by the Rev. Wm. H. Smith, and consisted of nine members. At the first meeting of the church, Rev. Andrew Parsons, of the Presbytery of Otsego, N.Y., was invited to become their Pastor. He accepted the invitation and began his work with the church in July. He served the church acceptably nearly four years. His successors have been Rev. John Elliott, Rev. R. N. Adams, and Rev. D. C. Milner. Mr. Milner has been Pastor since May, 1875. Services were held at first at Pickrell Hall, and later in the brick schoolhouse on Walnut street. With some aid from the Board of Church Erection, and $2,000 from R. D. Lathrop, a wealthy Christian merchant of New York, the society erected in 1867, on the corner of Main and Fifth streets, the building which they still occupy.
It is of dressed stone, 50X30 feet in dimensions, with a seating capacity of 300. The first cost was $5,000. A frame addition was attached in 1881, with a further capacity of 100 seats. A fine bell was hung in the belfry in 1871, but soon became cracked and discordant. The life of the church is well manifested in its excellent Sunday school, which attracts and holds a large number of the young people of the city. The average attendance is little short of two hundred. There is also a Young People's society for social, intellectual and religious culture which meets bimonthly, and is doing a good work.
The United Presbyterian Church, situated northwest corner of Cedar and Sixth streets, is a frame building erected in 1867, at a cost of $800. The church proper was organized by the Presbytery of Kansas in July, 1867, twenty persons entering into the church fellowship. Rev. E. C. Cooper was the earliest supply. After him Rev. Messrs. Humphrey and Imbrie. Rev. W. R. Hutchinson became pastor in 1873. The membership is eighty-four. The Sunday school enrollment is 114.
Christian Church, southeast corner of Fifth and Locust streets, was organized in 1869, by Warren Skeels. He supplied the pulpit for two years. The house is 32X46 feet, and was build in 1872, or rather in the fall of 1873, for the first building when ready for lathing was blown down; the loss was $2,500. There is no salaried minister, but from time to time protracted meetings have been held by N. Shaw, A. Brown, A. C. McKeever, Mr. Poole, W. H. Wilson and others. The church has had sore trials, especially the schism of 1881, out of which sprung "The Church of Christ," but it is now harmonized. Isaiah Pile and C. A. Sponsier are the elders, Harvey Keiler, clerk. The present membership is sixty-five, and there is in connection with the church a prosperous Sunday school.
The Church of St. Joseph was organized by Father Guindon in 1869. A church building was commenced in 1871 on Poplar street between Fourth and Fifth. The outside had just been completed except that the doors and windows were not in place when a sudden gale tumbled the structure into utter ruins. Disheartened by this untoward event, no further effort was made for some years to rebuild, but services were held at stated periods in the various halls in town. In 1877, a small house with several lots on Mulberry street, between Third and Fourth, was purchased for worship. Four years later, within the same enclosure was erected their present capacious church, and at a cost of $2,500. Father Bogardus, on alternate Sabbaths, ministers to the congregation, which consists of about seventy-five families.
The African Methodist Church, as it is called, was organized in the conference about 1869. The ministerial roll is, Rev. Messrs. Daniel Oaks, J. B. Wallace, W. W. Weir, J. W. Wilson, P. P. Howard, W. I. Harrod, and J. W. Wilson. The successive church houses have been, first, a small frame building on First and Mulberry streets; then a larger building on the east side of Oak street between Fourth and Fifth; and finally, in 1879, on the same site, a substantial stone building, costing $1,600 and capable of seating 300 persons. The membership is 113. The Sunday school has an enrollment of 170.
The First Congregational Church, Ottawa, was organized December 4, 1870, by Rev. James Chew, who became the first Pastor, and ministered to the church until August 9, 1874. He was succeeded by Rev. R. M. Tunnel, who was Pastor from December, 1874 to September, 1875. Rev. James G. Dougherty, the present Pastor, entered upon his work April 19, 1876.
The present house of worship was dedicated November 21, 1871. The church was organized and supported at first by the American Missionary Society, but for the past three years has been self-supporting, and has made considerable contributions toward the support of feebler churches. The present membership is seventy-five. The Sunday school enrolls 100.
The Swedish-American Lutheran Church was organized in 1879, under the ministry of Rev. August Sandberg, with a membership of seventeen. They set about building, the same season, and erected, at a cost of $1,500, on the corner of Fifth and Cedar streets, a very tasty and substantial stone church, which is not only an ornament to the city, but a monument to the liberality of its founders. The Pastor is Rev. A. Lawson. There are thirty-five members, and a Sunday school of fifty members.
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in Ottawa in 1864. Worship was maintained regularly after the Lutheran formulas till 1879. Division having arisen, both wings prepared to build. The old church built for itself a home on the corner of Third and Cedar streets, at a cost of $1,300. There services are conducted every Sunday, though at present they have no stated supply. The church counts forty communicants, and a Sunday school of about the same number.
The Church of Christ, as a body of believers, was organized in the summer of 1881 with a membership of thirty, and on the basis that "there shall not be taught or practiced in the church anything for which there is not a command, an example, or a good and reasonable inference in the New Testament Scriptures." Most of the membership had been previously identified with the Christian Church, corner of Fifth and Locust streets. Their withdrawal was occasioned by the introduction into the service of instrumental music, and by other innovations not commanded by Scripture.
The same summer, a lot was secured on the west side of Main street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, and a plain but commodious frame church edifice was erected, at a cost, for the lot and building, of $2,000. And, warned by previous experience, the church has endeavored to protect itself in its purity of worship and against oppressive majorities by providing in the title deed that the use of instrumental music in the church, the holding of fairs, festivals or socials, lectures--any and all practices, in short, not exclusively religious--shall work immediate forfeiture to the participants of all rights and privileges, legal and otherwise, in the church. Regular services are maintained by the brethren, by evangelists, and by traveling elders or bishops, but they do not permit the services of a stationary paid ministry.
The Press, Banks, and Other Businesss Interests
The Ottawa Home Journal was established in the fall of 1865, by I. S. Kalloch and C. T. Evans. This paper was more literary than political, acquired a large circulation, and was largely instrumental in attracting immigration to the county. In 1857 John Kitts bought a half interest in the paper, but, in a few months, dissolved partnership with Kalloch, took the job department, and started the Ottawa Register, publishing it under the editorial management of M. L. Laws, until March 10, 1858. During this month Prof. P. Fales and John Kitts purchased the Home Journal, changed its name to The Republic continued its politics Republican, and published it under the editorial management of Prof. Fales until September 18, 1869.
On this date C. Godfrey Patterson, of New York, purchased the Republic and changed its name to the Ottawa Journal. Patterson edited the paper. In January, 1870, L. J. Perry bought a half interest, retaining it less than a month. In June, 1871, E. H. Snow and C. W. Nelson bought the paper. On January 18, 1872, Nelson sold out to Warren Anderson, who sold out to Snow in the following month of August. On May 20, 1873, Louis Melins became half owner, and on March 1, 1874, John Bain bought a third interest. The paper supported Greeley for President in 1872.
On December 4, 1874, the firm of Snow, Melins & Bain bought the Lawrence Republican, mortgaging the Journal office, and ran both papers until by foreclosure the Journal fell into the hands of John Hutchings, of Lawrence, who ran it with Mr. Diggs as editor, as a Republican paper, until January 22, 1876, when it finally suspended, was sold and removed to Kansas City.
The Democratic Leader was established by John Rain, October 28, 1871, and was edited by Major A. J. Allen until January 13, 1872. From this time to August 10, 1872 it was edited by H. H. Hand, at which time it was sold to the Liberal Publishing Company, who consolidated it with the Liberal. In March, 1873, the press and material of the Leader were purchased by Dr. Cooper, and removed to Garnett, where they were used to publish the Garnett Journal.
The Ottawa Republican was started in March, 1873, by A. T. Sharpe, who purchased the Liberal and changed the name to the Republican . The editorial department was conducted by George B. Jenness. J. N. Murdock bought a half interest in September, and became editor. At the end of six months, Sharpe again became sole owner, Murdock remaining in connection with the paper as editor. January 23, 1875, Jenness again assumed editorial charge, continuing until May 10, 1877, when Sharpe assumed control.
The Daily Times was started February 11, 1873, by W. C. Paul, G. B. Jenness editor. The paper was suspended October 26, 1873. The Ottawa Weekly Times was started June 6, 1874, by the Paul Brothers, and continued till May 5, 1875, when the subscription list was turned over to the Republican.
The Ottawa Triumph was started August 5, 1875, by E. H. Snow, who continued to conduct it until April 1, 1877, when it was sold to a stock company, and changed from a Greenback to a Republican paper. Under the Journal Publishing Company the name of the paper was changed to the Ottawa Journal and Triumph, F. A. Marcell, editor. Subsequently Mr. Snow became the proprietor of the paper and changed the politics back to Greenbackism.
The State Press was started by M. M. Bleakmore, October 12, 1878, at Ottawa. It was a Democratic weekly paper, and was continued several years. The Queen City Herald was established January 5, 1882 at Ottawa, by D. O. McAllister. It is an eight-column folio, Democratic in politics and is devoted to literature, local news, prohibition and free-trade. At the start the Herald seemed to meet with popular favor, having attained in six months a bona fide subscription list of 800.
The First National Bank of Ottawa grew out of the well-known private bank of P. P. Elder & Co., which was started in 1866 at the southwest corner of Main and Second streets, the locality of the bank ever since. It passed into a national bank in 1870 with P. P. Elder president, E. A. Skinner vice-president, R. W. Thacher cashier, and a capital of $50,000. In 1875 A. M. Blair and H. J. Smith bought most of the stock and merged therein a private bank of their own, Blair becoming president, Smith cashier. Recently, Mr. Blair sold his interest to E. A. Skinner and C. C. Minton. The officers are: Smith president, Skinner vice-president, C. C. Minton cashier. The July statement showed loans and discounts, $155,745; deposits, $192,500.
The People's National Bank of Ottawa, Kansas, was the 1,910th bank organized under the national bank law. It commenced business January 1, 1872, with H. H. Lugington as president and B. C. McQuesten cashier. It soon established itself in the favor and confidence of the people, and has enjoyed ten years of uninterrupted success, paying five dividends to its shareholders and accumulating a large surplus fund. Its present officers and owners are: J. P. Harris president, and Peter Shiras cashier. They have had the management for the past six years, and have had so conducted business as to make it one of the leading institutions of the State.
It gets a large business from the counties of Franklin, Osage, Miami, Anderson and Coffey. They do a strictly legitimate banking business, its owners being engaged in no outside enterprise, but devoting their entire attention to the bank. Its deposits are at the present time $200,000, and cash capital and surplus fund $70,000. The safe and vault of Hall's Safe and Lock Company are of the finest and best modern workmanship, have all the latest improvements, and with time attachment to locks.
The Ottawa Oil Mill, located just north of the river on Walnut street, is owned and operated by G. T. Potterf. It has been in operation since 1873. Capital invested is $9,000. It has one hydraulic press whose power is 500 tons. Three barrels of oil, either linseed or castor, are manufactured daily.
The Ottawa Mill, a substantial stone flouring mill, was erected in 1867 by James Davis, on Main and First Streets, and was first run by Kirby & Wright. Crane & Wightman afterwards enlarged it and added an elevator. E. E. Fuller came into possession of it two years ago. The mill has four run of buhrs, with capacity to manufacture daily 20,000 pounds. The elevator has storage capacity for 15,000 bushels. Capital invested, $32,000.
The Forrest Mill, situated on Walnut street, south of the river, is a large frame structure built by O. W. Baldwin and Frank Pope in 1872, at a cost of $25,000. A dam and elevator were added in 1875 at a cost of $15,000. Water is mainly used as power, but steam is at hand against emergencies. There are five run of buhrs, manufacturing one hundred and twenty-five barrels of flour daily. The storage accommodations are 27,600 bushels. John Kinneard and J. P. Laird, the owners and manufacturers, have made extensive and costly improvements during 1882, some $15,000 being expended in new machinery.
The Excelsior Mill is the name of the superb flouring establishment erected on Main and Tecumseh streets in 1881. It is of plain but massive architectural proportions, and equipped within and without with the best modern appliances and machinery. The cost was about $38,000. There are seven run of buhrs. One hundred and twenty barrels of flour are daily manufactured. H. D. Crane, J. B. Shaffer, and William Shires own and operate the mill under the firm name of H. D. Crane & Co.
All of these mills manufacture fine grades of flour.
The Franklin County Foundry situated on the south bank of the river at the foot of Main street, is owned and carried on by S. D. Clark, who is himself a most capable and ingenious machinist. Almost anything in metal he can manufacture. By a "blast" of his own invention and make he readily fuses large masses of iron in thirty-five minutes. The railroad shops make large demands for his castings. The building is 50X50 feet, two stories, with an annex for the engine. Twenty men are employed.
The Machine Shops of the Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern railroad, are situated in the northern part of the city. To secure them, the city, by a vote of 479 for and 13 against, voted, September 13, 1871, aid to the amount of $60,000 in bonds, besides giving the site which cost $7,000 additional. The shops were erected next year at a cost of $100,000 for building and machinery. The main shop is 110X116 feet, 22 feet high. There are besides, a wing 60X120 feet, two offices 21X23 feet, a store room 21X23 feet, and an engine house 63 feet deep, having fourteen stalls. All these are solid stone structures. The actual force employed in and around the shops is two hundred men. The monthly payroll aggregates $9,000. T. D. Volh is the master machinist; John Johnson, general foreman; J. E. Lindzy, foreman of car shop; Moses Mitchell, foreman of blacksmith shop; W. H. Hodge, foreman of paint shop.
Furniture Factory and Saw and Planing Mill.--This establishment, located on Hickory street just south of the river, is the enterprise of J. Jeffries & Co. At date (August, 1882), it is completed but not in operation. The principal building is frame, 36X60 feet, two stories high. There are attached a large stone drying room and an engine room, 15X30 feet. The factory will employ ten men.
Ottawa Furniture Company.--Under this title a company was organized in 1870, with a capital stock of $16,000. After a year's unprofitable operation, the stock was sold at 50 percent of cost to A. Gottschalk & Co., who have since successfully carried on the business. Their goods are first-class and extensively sold through this State and Texas. Thirty-five men are employed in the factory. Besides the factory, which is just west of the town, there are two extensive warehouses, one at the south-west corner of Main and First streets, the other on Walnut between Third and Fourth.