The town site of Seneca was regarded as a favorable point for a town, by J. B. Ingersoll, who staked off a claim to which he gave the name of Rock Castle. This was early in 1857. A town company was soon afterward organized comprising Samuel Lappin, Charles G. Scrafford, Royal U. Torrey and Finley Lappin, the name of the town, which was immediately surveyed and platted, being changed to Seneca.
The first house built in Seneca was erected in the fall of 1857; it was a double log house, with a wide hall through the centre, or rather, two houses connected with a wall of logs at the rear. It was built by John S. Doyle for Finley Lappin, who immediately occupied one end of it for a hotel, while Downing & Stewart opened a grocery store in the other end. The hotel portion of the building also served as the office of register of deeds, Samuel Lappin holding that position. One end of the structure was afterward used as a dwelling; the other end as a shoe shop and carpenter shop successively. It passed from Samuel Lappin to Albert Clark, finally returning to its former owner, who demolished it to make room for what is now known as the city drug store.
During the same year a blacksmiths shop was put up, consisting merely of four poles covered with brush, with a few boards over the forge. Its owner was Levi Hensel, who was able to utilize his powers either as a son of Vulcan, or as correspondent of the New York Tribune, for which paper he made one of the most valuable contributions descriptive of this immediate section of the county.
The next house properly belonging to Seneca, was Smith's Hotel, John E. Smith came from Derry, N. H., in March, 1858, accompanied by his wife, two sons, W. H. and F. E. Smith, his bother Stephen, and his sister, Addie Smith, and by Charles, George W. and Eliza Williams. He brought with him the machinery of a mill, purchased in Massachusetts, brought to St. Louis by rail, to Atchison by river, and to Seneca by means of ox-power. The mill was erected about half a mile west of the town site, and a log cabin, 10x12 erected, in the immediate propinquity. The hotel referred to was built in the summer of 1858, being the kitchen, and rooms above it, of the present Wilson House. In this building the first school was taught, by Miss Addie Smith, in the fall of 1858.
The next house erected in Seneca was a concrete stone building, put up by Downing & Stewart; the latter soon after selling to A. M. Smith. Downing & Smith sold to L. J. McGowan, who finally pulled down the building and erected the substantial stone structure in which Hazard & Sons now do business.
The building next erected, with the exception of unpretentious dwellings, was the one on Main Street now occupied by Stein's furniture store. It was built by the Town Company, and first occupied by James P. Brace, formerly of Elwood. His stock of goods was afterward bought by C. G. Scrafford, who, subsequently taking Samuel Lappin as a partner, in connection with him built the Central Store on Main Street in 1861.
Prior to this change, however, a second blacksmith shop had been built by John Sufficool, one end of it being used as a grocery store. This was subsequently sold to John W. Furrow, was added to and used as a boarding house by H. H. Lanham and others, and was finally demolished by Finley Lappin.
Succeeding this, in order of time, and omitting residences, came the Court House, built in 1860, and burned during the same year.
The first birth in Seneca was Esther Hensel, daughter of Levi Hensel, born in 1859. She only lived about three years; upon her birth a town lot was conveyed to her by the town company in honor of the event.
The first school in the new city was one taught by Miss Addie Smith, sister of John E. Smith, in the fall of 1858. It occupied what is now the pantry of the Wilson House, and what was then the 'living room' of Smith's Hotel. In the fall of 1859, the overland stages commenced stopping here, continuing to do so for eight years. The immigration to the far West was at that time very great, their frequently being as many as twenty-five passengers at the hotel table, all of whom were charged one dollar a piece. In connection with this becoming a station on the overland road, in place of Richmond, it is related that certain prominent citizens of Seneca, in order to divert travel from the old road, sowed oats, under the most favorable conditions for a long distance along that road, which grew so rapidly and well, as to practically block the comparatively little used thoroughfare. Seneca was also, and for many years, a station of the Pony express from St. Joseph to San Francisco.
For the first seven years of its existence, notwithstanding the civil war which occupied the most of that period, the city grew rapidly. In 1858, she had one house and a blacksmith shop, as unsubstantial as an Indian wigwam. The actual population upon the town site was about six. In 1865, she had three general stores, one hardware store, one jewelry store, a grist and saw mill, two hotels, a newspaper, and various other establishments, the entire number of building, business houses, dwellings, schoolhouse and public buildings, being fifty-six. At that time she had a population of three hundred and one. In 1870 came the railroad, and with it the telegraph, connecting it with the great East and the no less great West. From that time to the present immigration has flowed in, unrestricted by the inconveniences and privations of stage coaching, and the other primitive methods of travel, which retarded to an extent the growth of the great West.
The city in 1879 had a population of 1,000; in 1880, of 1,203; in 1881, of 1274, and in 1882 the number of its inhabitants had increased to 1,519.
CRIMES AND CRIMINALS.Cromes and Criminals
The Nichols' Case - The first murder in the immediate vicinity of Seneca, occurred October 10, 1864, the victim being Joseph H. Nichols, his assailant, John Craig. The cause of the trouble was a dispute in which Nichols so far lost his temper as to apply insulting epithets to Craig, who immediately used his revolver, the result being the immediate death of Nichols. Craig was taken before a Justice and discharged, the plea of self-defense being held good.
The Murder of John H. Blevins. - On February 23, 1865, John H. Blevins, of Holt County, Missouri, accompanied by Edgar Nuzum, of Doniphan County, Kansas, arrived at Seneca, representing himself in search of two horses, stolen in Missouri, and believed to be in the possession of one A. M. Smith. Calling on C. G. Scrafford for information and assistance, and accompanied by him, Blevins and Nuzum proceeded to Smith's stable, reaching it just as Miles N. Carter and Milton R. Winters had mounted the horses preparatory to decamping. As the pursuers approached the premises, Nuzum asked Blevins if the horses were his, and receiving an affirmative reply, ordered the thieves to stop, taking out his revolver to enforce his demand. A. M. Smith also drew a revolver, firing first at Nuzum and then at Blevins, shooting the latter in the left side, the ball passing through his lungs. He survived only a few hours. While this was going on, Carter and Winters rode away, only to be thrown from their horses, the latter returning to the stable, followed by the thieves; Winters fired several shots at Nuzum as he approached, none of which took effect.
At the time of the tragedy, William Boulton, the Sheriff of the county was absent from town, and no measures were taken for the arrest of the guilty parties until his return on the following morning; Smith and Winters taking the opportunity to abscond.
Miles N. Carter was arrested on February 27, and being brought before John W. Furrow, J. P., the case was continued to the next day at one o'clock. Carter was taken to jail, and that night about eleven o'clock, a mob of about twenty men overpowered the guard, George Monroe, took the prisoner from jail, and the next morning his body was found hanging to the limb of a tree, at Baker's Ford, about eight miles from Seneca. An inquest was held, and a verdict found that the deceased came to his death in the manner stated, at the hands of person or persons unknown to the jury.
On March 6, 1865, Milton R. Winters was returned to Seneca, having been arrested by the City Marshal of Atchison. A preliminary examination was held, and the prisoner remanded to jail, held to appear at the April term of the District Court.
At the trial the State was represented by Attorney General Brumbaugh, and J. P. Taylor, County Attorney; the defense, by Byron Sherry, of Seneca, and H. C. Hawkins, of Troy. Two indictments were found, one for aiding and abetting Augustus M. Smith in killing John H. Blevins, the other for assault with intent to kill Edgar Nuzum. On the first charge the jury returned a verdict of murder in the second degree, the prisoner being sentenced to hard labor in the penitentiary for fifteen years. On the second charge he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to hard labor for ten years, making his term of imprisonment twenty-five years in all. The principal criminal, Augustus M. Smith, avoided discovery and escaped retribution.
The Baughn Tragedy. - On November 12, 1866, four men came to Seneca with a team and wagon, and with three loose horses; the latter, as it was afterward proved, stolen by them at Elwood, in Doniphan County. On the 19th, three pursuers arrived at Seneca, procured writs, and proceeding west, on information obtained, found the thieves encamped on the Vermillion, about ten miles from town. Making no attack, the pursuers returned, obtained the Sheriff with a small force of citizens, and again started out to make the arrest, going out on the North road, the men they were seeking coming into Seneca on the same day by the South road, passing through and stopping a little east of the town. Here they divided; two of them, named Jackson and Strange; remaining where they were, and being arrested, while the other two, Baughn and Mooney, started out on foot, eastward. The Sheriff summoned a posse of men, who started in pursuit, and overtook the men they were after, on the Capioma road, at the crossing of the Muddy.
Three of the pursuers, Charles W. Ingram, Henry H. Hillix and Jesse S. Dennis, were in advance of the rest, and on seeing the men rode nearly up to them, Ingram remarking as they did so "We have come for you." At this, one of the men, having a double barrelled shot-gun, discharged both barrels at Ingram, neither of which took effect. The other one had two revolvers, and shot at both Hillix and Dennis, one shot passing through Hillix's clothing, another striking him just below the shoulder blade, making a severe but not dangerous wound. He returned the fire, but without effect.
Dennis received a bullet in the back, which passed diagonally through the body, through the lungs, and in close proximity to the heart. He was fatally wounded, living only a few moments. The one having the gun, after getting over into an adjoining corn field, again fired at Ingram, who jumped from his horse, thus avoiding the shot. Both men escaped.
A proclamation was at once issued by the prominent citizens of Nemaha County, offering a reward of $1,000 for the delivery of the bodies of Baughn and Mooney, to the legal authorities of said county within ninety days, a description of both desperadoes being given.
On January 6, 1867, Melvin Baughn, the chief offender in the tragedy, was arrested in Leavenworth, on a description or warrant sent from St. Joseph for a gang of burglars who had plundered a store in Wathena, a few days before. Upon being recognized as the murderer of Dennis, he was brought from Leavenworth, delivered to the county authorities, and lodged in jail, a preliminary examination having been held and the prisoner bound over to await trial at the next term of the District Court. On January 10 an unsuccessful attempt was made to lynch Baughn, going no further than demands for the prisoner and threats, but being only satisfactorily settled by the crowd appointing a Deputy Sheriff to have special charge of the prisoner until his trial. On February 6, Baughn with another prisoner confined in the jail, succeeded in forcing open the doors and escaping, helping themselves to arms and ammunition in the passage of the jail.
Efforts were made at recapture; unsuccessful until June, 1868, and then only due to the fugitive's committal of lesser crimes that the one for which he was wanted in Nemaha County. On May 25 a house was robbed at Sedalia, Missouri; the next day a suspicious looking carpet bag was expressed by some one, to Joseph King, Otterville. Officers there were posted, but in endeavoring to make the arrest of King, wounded him severely, but nevertheless allowed him to escape for the time being, capturing him, disabled by his wound, two days after he was shot. On its being discovered that the prisoner was none other than the notorious Baughn, and after the necessary legal formalities, he was returned to Seneca on June 27, and recommitted to jail.
On August 2 his trial commenced, concluding on the 6th, the jury returning a verdict of murder in the second degree. On the 7th, Judge R. St. Clair Graham pronounced sentence, that on the 18th of September, 1868, the prisoner should be legally executed.
This sentence was duly carried into effect, at three P. M. of the day mentioned, the condemned man showing extraordinary nerve at the approach of death, and freely forgiving the community who had "tyrannized" over him, attributing their "ill-feelings to ignorance and bad whiskey." It is unnecessary to state that he announced his reconciliation to God.
Thus ended the Dennis murder case, with the first and last judicial execution the county has seen.
Incorporation and City Roster
Prior to the year 1870, Seneca had no government of its own in any way separate from that of the townships: trustees being elected annually who had full control of its affairs, in common with those of the country surrounding it. On February 25, 1868, an act of the Legislature was approved, entitled an act to incorporate towns and villages, and in accordance with its provision H. H. Lanham, Probate Judge, issued a certificate on May 17,1870, duly incorporating the northwest quarter and the north half of the northeast quarter, in Section 34, Township 2, Range 12 east, as a city of the third class. The certificate further appointed as Town Trustees: James P. Taylor, Charles G. Scrafford, J. B. Meyers, Abijah Wells and John F. McGowan. These were sworn into office May 21st of the same year, Charles G. Scrafford elected Chairman, and J. H. Williams, Clerk. An ordinance of the board, approved February 27, 1871, provided for the further acceptance of the legislative act, and ordered an election for city officers, to be held April 3, 1871. At this election 180 votes were cast with the following result, certificates of election being issued to the new officers on April 5: W. G. Sargent, Mayor; George Graham, J. H. Peckham, John H:. Larew, Jacob Meisner, Mathias Stein, Council. Abijah Wells was subsequently appointed Police Judge, the Council approving the act, April 18, 1871. The city has always been well managed, having had no bonded indebtedness, and no floating debt of any moment. Following is the official roster of the town by years:
1871. - Mayor, W. G. Sargent; Council, George Graham, J. H. Peckham, John H. Larew, Jacob Meisner, Mathias Stein; Police Judge (by appointment) Abijah Wells.
1872. - Mayor, C. G. Scrafford; Council, J. F. McGowan, John Kaune, Edward Butt, George Graham, J. H. Larew; Police Judge, Frank H. Hurlbut.
1873. - Mayor, C. G. Scrafford; Council, Samuel King, A. H. Burnett. J. P. Taylor, J. C. Hebbard, J. H. Larew; Police Judge, Abijah Wells.
1874. - Mayor, D. B. McKay; Council, G. W. Williams, D. R. Magill, J. H. H. Ford, J. P. Taylor, J. F. McGowan; Police Judge, R. C. Bassett.
1875. - Mayor, J. H. Larew; Council, J. H. Peckham, D. R. Magill, G. W. Earl, A. Kelm, John Fuller; Police Judge, George Graham.
1876. - Mayor, Abijah Wells; Council, G. W. Williams, P. P. Fuller, Willis Brown, R. E. Nelson, L. J. McGowen; Police Judge, R. M. Emery.
1877. - Mayo, Abijah Wells; Council, Thomas Bennett, J. H. Hatch, G. W. Johnson, R. E. Nelson, J. E. Taylor; Police Judge, D. J. Perry.
1878. - Mayor, R. E. Nelson; Council, J. H. Hatch, D. J. Firstenberger, Samuel King, J. H. Larew. Joseph Behne; Police Judge, Joseph Sharp.
1879. - Mayor, R. E. Nelson; Council, D. R. Vorhes, J. H. Peckham, J. H. H. Ford, Thomas Bennett, George Graham; Police Judge, J. F. Curran.
1880. - Mayor, Edward Butt; Council, S. E. Gallaway, J. H. Larew, James Parsons, Simon Conwell, John Kaune; Police Judge, J. F. Curran.
1881. - Mayor, J. H. Larew; Council, J. H. Hatch, R. E. Nelson, G. W. Johnson, John Fuller, R. M. Emery; Police Judge, J. F. Curran.
1882. - Mayor, J. H. Hatch (declined to serve, Joshua Mitchell elected); Council, R. E. Nelson, J. F. McGowan, J. H. Wilson, A. L. Scoville, A. L. L. Stone; Police Judge, William Histed.
Schools and Churches
In writing something of the history of education in Seneca, it may not be out of place to extend the record - saying something of the attention paid to instruction in the county generally. The first report of school matters in Nemaha county was made in 1860, by J. C. Hebbard, the County Superintendent, to Samuel W. Greer, the Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction. This report shows that in the county at that time, there were 180 persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years, and six organized school districts, the same number of schools being taught.
Twenty years later, in 1880, the county, with a school population of 4,473, had eighty-six organized districts, with ninety schoolhouses. The schools giving employment to one hundred and thirty-three teachers. The total valuation of school of school property at this time was $57,904. As early as 1864 a teachers' association was organized, with T. D. Shepherd, President; Abijah Wells, Secretary, and William Histed, Treasurer. This, in a somewhat different form as to object and method, is still existence, and has done good work.
The first school taught in the county has already been noticed; the first in Seneca was one taught by Miss Addie Smith in the hotel building, erected by John E. Smith. This was in the fall of 1858, a select school of which there is no further record. The school district was not organized until some years later. The School Board of this, the eleventh district, advertised on April 21, 1864, for proposals for building a one-story brick schoolhouse in Seneca, the contract being let early in May, to L. J. McGowen and George Monroe. This building, 24x50 feet in size, and erected at a cost of $1,700, was first occupied in the spring of 1865, the school then being under the charge of Abijah Wells and Miss Kate Webber.
The building was used for the purpose for which it was designed until 1869, when it was found totally inadequate to the increased demands of the school population. The board, forseeing this, advertised in April, 1868, for bids for a new and much larger edifice, the contract for which was let to C. G. Scrafford, and the building completed the year following, the old schoolhouse being sold to the Catholic Society for church purposes. The new building, as originally erected, was of stone, 45x561/2 feet, two stories in height, and with a bell tower and pinnacle sixty-six feet in height above the surface.
In 1879, an addition was built, of the same height as the main building, and in harmony with its design; 30x60 feet in size, the completed structure making not only one of the largest, but one of the handsomest buildings in Northern Kansas. Its entire cost was about $25,000.
On the 12th of September, 1870, the school was graded into three departments: primary, intermediate, and high school. In the spring of 1871 a German department was added. The school is now under the principalship of D. F. Hoover, and embraces the above mentioned departments.
The first sermon preached in Nemaha County, in all probability, was by Elder Thomas Newton, of the regular Baptist Church, who came from Illinois in 1854. For a number of years he ministered regularly to the settlers, first at Central City and afterward at Seneca. Following him, as regards the ministerial profession, was Elder Thomas R. Newton, who arrived in 1855. The Methodists gained a foothold in the county in 1857; the Catholics in 1859, the Presbyterians a few years later, and the Congregationalists, as an organization, in 1866. There are now in Seneca five religious societies: the Universalists, Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists and Catholics, all but one of which have church buildings, commodious, handsome exteriorly, and well fitted up. The combined membership of the societies is about five hundred.
Baptist Church. - The first society of this denomination was the Central City Baptist Church, organized at Central City, August 1, 1857; the members at that time being Thomas and T. R. Newton, H. H. Lanham and their respective families. The first pastor was Rev. T. R. Newton, he and Rev. Thomas Newton alternating as leader of the little flock, for several years, and being succeeded by Rev. Robert Turner. A small church building was erected, afterward used for a schoolhouse. On September 12, 1875, the society united itself with the Seneca Baptist Church.
The Seneca Regular Baptist Church was organized April 25, 1866, in the schoolhouse. The constituent members were Elder Thomas Newton, H. M., Ursula M., John C. and Mary J. Newton; H. H. Mary Ann and M. S. Lanham; Roseanne Cordell, Eli Story and Silas G. Wicks. The pastors have been as follows: Rev. T. R. Newton, April 1866 until his death in January, 1867; Rev. Thomas Rice, to 1868; Rev. Robert Turner until 1870. From 1870 to 1875 a hiatus occurred, Rev. J. S. Henry assuming the pastorate in 1875 and retaining it for one year, there being no incumbent from 1876 to 1879. At that time Rev. E. F. Strickland took charge of the congregation, retaining it until 1880, from May of which year to October, 1881 there was again a vacancy. The present pastor is Rev. D. H. Cottrell. From 1866 to 1875 the society worshiped in the schoolhouse and in private residences; from 1876 to 1881 they made use of the Universalist Church building; under the present pastorate returning to the schoolhouse. The church membership is about forty.
Methodist Church. - As early as the year 1857, Rev. Leonard Nichols was appointed to what was then known as the Kansas and Nebraska Circuit, Seneca or some point in the near vicinity being one of the places visited by him in the line of his regular duty. He served one year. In 1858 Rev. James Lawrence was pastor in charge, and Rev. Williams Robbins, assistant. The first camp meeting in the vicinity was held during this year near Seneca. In 1859, the church was organized, Rev. Asbury Clark becoming its pastor, in connection with other duties he performed in surrounding towns. For years the organization made use of private residences and of the schoolhouse for church purposes, and finally, upon its completion in 1869, of the Universalist building. In 1877, the society erected a handsome edifice, in a convenient location, and with a seating capacity of 216. Its cost was $3,150. This church building was dedicated June 10, 1877, the Rev. D. J. Holmes officiating. The pastors have been as follows: 1859-'60, Rev. George A. Riack; 1860-'61, Rev. Asbury Clark; 1861-'2-'3, Rev. A. G. Channel; 1864, Rev. H. G. Murch; 1865-'6, Rev. J. S. Griffin; 1867, Rev. T. H. Hawley; 1868, Rev. T. B. Gray; 1869-'70, Rev. T. B. Bracken; 1871-'2, Rev. D. T. Rodabaugh; 1873, Rev. L. L. Lence; 1874-'5-'6, Rev. J. A. Amos; 1877, Rev. Nathaniel Taylor; 1878, Rev. W. R. Kistler; 1879, Rev. William Holman; 1880-'81, Rev. R. E. McBride; the last mentioned being the present incumbent.
Presbyterian Church. - The first Presbyterian Church of Seneca was organized June 14, 1863, Hiram Johnson and Demmon Miner being chosen Elders, and J. C. Hebbard, clerk. The only further record of the church known to be in existence, is the following petition, showing the constituent members and the objects of its organization:
"Believing it to be a duty we owe to God, to our fellow-men and to ourselves, to 'let our light shine,' and labor efficiently for our own and others' spiritual elevation, as a means to such an end, we, the undersigned, residents of Seneca and vicinity, do desire you, the Rev. Charles Parker, to organize us into a Presbyterian Church, on Sunday June 14, 1863." (Signed) J. C. Hebbard, J. W. Tuller, Lizzie P. Tuller, Leora Loveland, Henry P. Dryden, Sarah S. Dryden, Demmon Miner, Elvira Johnson, Eliza Williams.
The membership of the Presbyterian Church, up to 1867, was a follows: June 14, 1863, Hiram Johnson, Mrs. Elvira Johnson, Demmon Miner, Henry P. Dryden, Mrs. Sarah S. Dryden, Mrs. Leora Loveland, Miss Eliza Williams, J. C. Hebbard; December 18, 1864, C. S. Knox, Mrs. Jane S. Knox, Mrs. Martha Grover, Miss Harriet Grover; April 1, 1865, Mrs. Rosetta N. Hebbard, A. O. Loveland, Alfred Chilson, Mrs. Mehitable Chilson, Miss Sarah O. Chilson, James N. Weir, Mrs. Mary Jane Weir, John H. Sherman, Mrs. Angeline Boyd; August 5, 1866, Mrs. Francis S. Chilson; October 8, 1865, Mrs. Isabella Smith; February 10, 1866, Josiah Boston, Mrs. Elizabeth Boston, Mrs. Semantha Scofield, David Neal, Mrs. Nancy Neal; November 17, 1866, Mrs. Mary J. Hensel, Mrs. Jane Hornbeck, Miss Marcia McKay.
The Rev. Mr. Nash was sent out by the Board of Missions and ministered to the society for a few months, but the church soon became disorganized, and its members united themselves with other denominations. In 1867 an effort was made to secure a new membership which should be permanent, by the erection of a church building to be known as the Presbyterian, but to be used by all denominations in common. The sum of $2,050 was subscribed, but the Universalists, desiring the honor of the name, offered to do even more for the common cause, and finally built the church, used for many years by the Baptists and Congregationalists. No combined effort has since been made to establish Presbyterianism in this immediate vicinity, most of the members of that organization belonging to the Congregational church.
Congregational Church. - this society was organized in Seneca, on December 2, 1866, its charter members being Reuben and Harriet Cone, E. W., Emily and T. A. Cone, George and Mary J. Graham, Keziah Mitchell and Lizzie P. Tuller. In 1870, a handsome frame edifice was erected, at a cost of $4,000; the dedicatory services being held on Christmas day of the year mentioned. The pastors of the church have been as follows, in the order mentioned: Revs. W. C. Stewart, George Bent, R. b. Guild, A. G. Bergen and G. C. Louckridge, the last named being the present incumbent. George Graham acted as Chairman as the time of organization, and was, until his death, a leading and valued member of the society. The membership of the church is fifty- five.
Universalist Church. - Preceding the year 1867, Seneca had no church buildings, and no combined or energetic effort had been made toward the erection of any. On April 30th of that year a church meeting, in which all the denominations represented in the community took part, was held to consider the matter of building a church. A previous canvass had resulted in getting subscriptions for the purpose to the amount of $2,050; it being understood that the edifice was to be known as the Presbyterian Church, but was to be used in common by all the denominations. At, or immediately subsequent to this meeting, the Universalists offered to pledge $1,600 additional to the $2,000 already subscribed, if the previous subscription should be transferred to them, and consent given that the name 'Universalist' should be substituted for 'Presbyterian,' the church to be used by all, but to be the property of the former organization, when instituted. To this proposition to the Presbyterians and others freely consented, and a new subscription paper was drawn in accordance with the above conditions.
On May 2, the Universalists met and organized their society, electing five trustees, as follows: C. G. Scrafford, J. H. Peckham, William Histed, J. P. Taylor and D. B. McKay. During the same month a contract was let for the erection of a church building, and a site purchased on the south side of Main street, in an excellent location. On October 20, 1867, the stone work was completed, and on January 1, 1868, the building occupied for the first time, the occasion being a donation offered to Mr. Ballou, the Universalist pastor. Soon after, this work was temporarily suspended for lack of funds, the edifice not being altogether finished until nearly eighteen months later.
The first services in the church were held July 17, 1869, Rev. G. W. Skinner, of Leavenworth, preaching morning and evening, since which time, and until very recently, it has been used by the Methodists, Baptists and Congregationalists in common with the organization owning it. The building is of stone, is 39x55 feet in size, thirty-two feet from foundation to gable, with a belfry thirty feet in height additional. It is lighted by size windows, and is, altogether, a commodious and handsome edifice. Its entire cost was about $7,500.
The pastorate of the Universalist organization has been occupied successively by Rev. J. H. Ballou, Rev. R. M. Bartlett, Rev. A. Barnes, Rev. Joseph Wilson, and lastly by Rev. J. F. Rhodes, who has filled the position satisfactorily since. The church membership is abut fifty.
St. Mary's Catholic Church (Wildcat). - A society, as above named, was organized in 1859, at Wildcat settlement in Richmond Township, about four miles northwest of Seneca. It comprised John P. and Joseph Koelzer, Mrs. Margaret Draney and family, P. J. Assenmacher, Thomas Morgan, John Koch, Frederick Shumacher, Thomas Carlin And M. Rogers. During the same year a frame building was erected 18x50 feet in size, this being enlarged in 1864, and again in 1880, it[s] present dimensions being 35x75 feet. It has a bell weighing 1,800 pounds, cast in St. Louis, and costing, delivered in Seneca, $514. The Rev. Peter Augustine was the first priest, the Rev. Ferdinand Wolf, O. S. B., now having charge of the eighty families, which comprise the congregation. In 1861 a small school building was erected near the church, the school being conducted by the Sisters of St. Benedict.
St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church. - This society was instituted in 1869, principally through the efforts of Mathias Stein, who contributed largely toward the purchase of the district brick schoolhouse in Seneca, during the same year; the building, in connection with a block of land, costing $1,000, and being used for church purposed without material alteration until 1880. In the year mentioned a large frame addition was built, prior to which time a parsonage had been erected. The following reverend fathers have had charge: Rev. Father Pemine M. Koumly, O. S. B; Rev. Timothy Luber, O. S. B; Rev. Thomas Bartol, O. S. B; Rev. Emanuel Hartig, O. S. B; Rev. Thomas Bartol, O. S. B. In connection with the church is St. Ann's school building, erected in 1877 at a cost of $4,000. It is a preparatory school under the charge of the St. Benedictine Sisters. From three to five teachers are employed, and the average attendance of scholars is about fifty.
Newpapers, Societies, and Other Organizations
The first newspaper issued in Seneca and in Nemaha County, was the Nemaha Courier, the initial number of which appeared November 14, 1863, with John P. Cone as editor and proprietor. It was a six-column folio, Republican in politics, its principles being evidenced by its motto: "When Freedom is in danger, all who are not for her are against her." In its first issue the editor takes occasion to say: "The Courier, as pioneer of the art preservative in Nemaha County, to-day sends greeting to all, friend and foe - Rebels and Copperheads excepted. Issued upon soil never before settled upon for a 'pry' to the "world's lever," it stands first and yet alone to herald that happy day when types first -
To act the happy messengers of thought."
The office of publication was in Lappin & Scrafford's building on the main street, whence the paper was issued for years without change, until January 23, 1868, when it ceased to profess a protection of freedom, and began to "Protect Home Industry." On March 25, 1869, the name of the paper was changed to that of the Nemaha Kansas Courier, "vincit veritas," being taken as a motto, the principles and proprietorship of the paper remaining the same as before. On February 10, 1871, Frank A. Root and West E. Wilkinson purchased the establishment, taking the name of the Seneca Courier. On March 29, 1872, Frank A. Root withdrew from the paper, since which time West E. Wilkinson has continued its publication as sole editor and proprietor. Notable epochs in its career under its present management have been the publication in its columns of a history of the county, on July 7, 1876, prepared by George Graham, H. H. Lanham and J. C. Hebbard; and of a ten-page immigration edition, presented to its patrons on March 1, 1878. After various changes in form, the paper is now an eight-column folio, and, as ever, aggressively Republican.
The second paper issued in Seneca was the Mercury, established by the Mercury Printing Company, in 1869, the first number appearing on September 19 of that year. Its editor was Thomas S. Kames. After a precarious existence of a few weeks, it suspended publication.
The Independent Press was issued under the auspices of the Nemaha County Printing Association, with George W. Collins, as editor. The first number appeared January 1,1870. Paul Conner assumed editorial control on June 18 of the same year, the paper suspending on December 25th following. On March 8, 1871, it was revived and published by L. A. Hoffman. In August its proprietors were L. A. Hoffman & Co., and in January, 1872, L. A. Hoffman again became the sole owner. On January 19 of the same year, W. D. Wood purchased the Press, and March 14, 1873, changed its name to the Nonpareil. It ceased publication February 6, 1874.
The Seneca Tribune was started by George W. Wrenn and George W. Clawson, April I6, 1879, as a seven-column folio with Democratic proclivities. October 2, 1879, the property was transferred to, and the publication continued by, George & Adams, H. C. Adams becoming sole proprietor on December 18th of the same year. Under his management an immigration edition was issued on January 1, 1880, giving a complete and accurate description of the various townships and villages in the county, with their several advantages. On January 8, 1880, Abijah Wells purchased an interest in the paper and became its editor, the firm name being Adams & Wells. Under the new management the paper assumed a Republican tone. June 1, 1881, Andrew J. Felt, formerly of Nashua, Iowa, purchased the concern, and has since continued its sole proprietor. The Tribune is now an eight-column quarto, and a success.
The Nemaha County Journal, a monthly publication devoted principally to real estate matters, made its first appearance in August, 1879. Its proprietor, J. P. Taylor, continued to issue it but a few months when its light went out.
Seneca, and the adjacent country have always treated the press well. For its part the press has deserved nothing worse, its energy and the ability displayed in its columns having done very much to induce immigration, and to give the county the high relative place in relation to the surrounding counties which it now enjoys.
The first post office in the county was at Central City, with H. H. Lanham as Postmaster, that at Seneca not being established until December, 1858. At this time John E. Smith received the President's commission, Seneca being made a station on the overland mail route. The first post office was kept in the rear part of the present Wilson House, a building which J. E. Smith had erected for hotel purposes in the spring of 1858. In 1861 John H. Peckham became the official incumbent; during his administration in 1864 mails being received as follows: Eastern mails, tri- weekly, by overland daily coach line, received on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, returning on the alternate days. Western mail, semi-weekly, received by horseback from Marysville via Guittard's Station, Ash Point and Fairland, proceeding to Albany, Carson, Hamlin, Ununda, and as far as Highland, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
In January, 1885, J. H. Peckham was superseded by D. B, McKay who retained the office until January, 1875, when West E. Wilkinson, the present incumbent, was commissioned. The office was changed to one of the third class, under an order dated December 17, 1878, taking effect January 1, 1879. There are now daily mails from the East and West by way of the Kansas Division the U. P. R. R., and Eastern mails also received by stage from Centralia on the Central Branch, besides prompt and frequent connection with various parts of the county, away from the railroads.
The Seneca Cemetery Association was organized according to the statute in May 1863, Samuel Lappin being elected President; Thomas Cave, Vice- President; J. H. Peckham, Secretary, and B. Scofield, Treasurer. A necessary amount of land was purchased, about one mile northwest of the city, surveyed and platted and a few years later a substantial board fence put up, at a cost of about $150. The land is admirably situated, its physical advantages being all that could be asked; and while private improvements have been made, and a number of tasteful monuments erected, but little as yet has been done by the city or association beyond the enclosure of the site.
Fire Department. - A preliminary meeting, toward the organization of a fire department, was held in Seneca, December 14, 1880. On January 11, 1881, this organization was perfected by the election of the following officers: President, Simon Conwell; Foreman, A. H. Martin; First Assistant-Foreman, S. E. Gallaway; Second Assistant-Foreman; W. S. Dillon; Secretary J. L. Brockman; Treasurer, J. F. Curran. On March 18, of the same year, the Council decided to purchase hook and ladder trucks, with four Babcock extinguishers; six ladders aggregating ninety-six feet in length, ten oak-tanned fire buckets, and other accessories. These were bought, and a suitable place secured for their reception. The fire company numbering twenty-two members, are provided with neat and tasteful uniforms, and have devoted much time to practice, there having, however, been little occasion for their services up to this time. No change has ever been made in the officers.
Seneca has had no fires of importance, except those which occurred in 1860 and in 1876, by which the county each time lost a court house. The first of these was of little value; the last, costing $29,000, entailed a loss upon the insurance companies of $20,000. A fuller account of both fires will be found in that of the county.
Seneca Lodge, No. 39, A. F. & A. M. - This lodge was organized September 5, 1863, with officers as follows: Byron Sherry, W. M.; A. K. Moore, S. W.; J. H. Peckham, J. W.; L. B. Jones, Sec'y; Hiram Johnson, Treas. The lodge continued under its first charter until October 18, 1876, when it surrendered it, a new one being granted, under which the name and number of the lodge were the same. Its present officers are: Joshua Mitchell, W. M,: R. M. Emery, S. W.; N. H. Martin, J. W.; John F. Curran, Sec'y; J. H. Hatch, Treas. The present membership is about fifty.
A lodge of Royal Arch Masons was organized in the fall of 1877, with Willis Brown, High Priest; S. B. Murphy, King; John F. McGowan, Scribe; J. E. Black Secretary. Its present officers are: Abijah Wells; High Priest; Joshua Mitchell, King; Thomas Bennett, Scribe; W. P. Harrison, Sec'y.
Francis Chapter, No. 9, Order of the Eastern Star. - The organization of this chapter was effected October 16, 1878, with J. H. Hatch, W. P.; Mrs. M. V. Peckham, W. M.; Mrs. Margaret Brown, Asst W. M. Its present officers are: L. Cohen, W. P.; Mrs. Margaret Brown, W. M.; Mrs. L. Cohen, Asst. W. M.
Nemaha Lodge, No. 19, I. O. O. F. - There appears to have been a call issued by Delos Acker, J. H. Peckham and J. P. Taylor, as early as 1864, for a meeting whose object it was to organize a lodge of the above order. Nothing, however, came of it. Nemaha Lodge, No. 19, was instituted March 31, 1866, the charter being granted October 12, of the same year, to George Graham, George L. Squire, John N. Cline, Thomas D. Shepherd and Delos Acker. Its first officers were: Delos Acker, N. G.: William Histed, Secretary. Elections have been held regularly from that time to the present, with the exception of that which should have taken place June 30, 1871, during six months subsequent to which date there is no record of any meetings being held. In the court house fire of 1876 the secretary's books were destroyed. The present officers are: L. Cohen, N. G.; Henry Belshaw, V. G.; J. H. Williams, Sec'y; John Larew, Treas.
Seneca Lodge, No. 60, was organized, September 27, 1880, with twenty-two members and the following list of officers: W. M., T. B. Collins; P. M. W., J. C. Hart; Foreman, A. L. Stone; O., J. F. Curran; G., V. Martin; Recorder, W. Drowns; Fin., C. E. Carter; J. W., C. E. Wilson; O. W., R. M. Emery; Receiver, S. E. Gallaway. Its place of meeting is, and has been, Wilson's Hall. The present officers are: M. W., W. Jenkins; P. M. W., W. Drowns; Foreman, W. E. Young; O., J. F. Curran; Fin., C. E. Wilson; Recorder, J. C. Hart; Guide, L. J. Leeds; O. W., W. S. Dillon; J. W., R. M. Pressler; Receiver, S. E. Gallaway. The membership is now thirty, and the lodge is in a flourishing condition.
Seneca Library Association. - In preface to the history of this organization, it may be well to mention previous attempts at the institution of somewhat similar societies in Seneca. The first of these began its existence in January, 1864, lasting but a few months. It was known simply as the Seneca Lyceum, and all records of value regarding it are lost, beyond the fact that on February 23, W. F. Wells and H. P. Dryden discussed the question whether the miser exerts a more baneful influence upon society than the spindthrift.
On November 16, 1869, a preliminary meeting, with the purpose of organizing a literary society, was held in the schoolhouse, and a week later the question debated whether or not Seneca should be incorporated - the affirmative being taken by Abijah Wells, J. H. Cotton and H. P. Dryden; the negative by G. W. Collins, John Cave and Prof. Gauss. An election of officers was also held, resulting as follows: President, Thomas Moore; Vice-President, S. L. Hamilton; Secretary, J. H. Cotton; Treasurer, Alice Church; Sergeant-at-arms, H. P. Dryden. Considerable interest seems to have been manifested for some weeks, when the society ceased to exist.
The Seneca Literary and Library Association was organized, December 12, 1871, with A. Wells, President; W. G. Sargent, Secretary, and Joseph Sharpe, Treasurer. On the 19th, a constitution and by-laws were adopted, and the question discussed: "Resolved, That the cause of temperance in our midst can best be promoted by licensing the sale of intoxicating liquors" - a question which in one form or another has been under discussion ever since. This, and organizations in legitimate succession to it, lasted a number of years; a library was established, consisting of three hundred dollars' worth of books, in addition to a number of donations.
On September 28, 1878, a charter was secured for the present society, the Seneca Library Association. The library previously referred to was secured, and important additions made, it consisting at present of nearly 500 well selected volumes, in all departments of literature. The officers elected September 30, 1878, were: Edward Butt, President; P. P. Fuller, Secretary; J. H. H. Ford, Treasurer. On September 30, 1880, J. H. Hatch became President; J. H. Williams, Secretary; and Willis Brown, Treasurer. The last election, held January 31, 1882, placed in office A. Wells, President; J. H. Hatch, Vice-President; J. H. Williams, Secretary, and L. Cohen, Treasurer - these, with the following persons, constituting the board of Trustees: R. C. Bassett, Simon Conwell, J. h. H. Ford, R. M. Emery and R. E. Nelson. The society has commodious and pleasant rooms in the rear of the law office of Wells & Curran, and is now in a very flourishing condition, a decided public interest being manifested in its success.
Company D., First State Kansas Militia. - The organization of this company was perfected in the year 1878, with the following list of commissioned officers: Willis Brown, Captain; Lewis Sheeley, First Lieutenant; Edward Butt, Second Lieutenant. In September of the same year arms were issued them by the State, the company went earnestly to work, adopted a suitable uniform of the regular United States Army Blue, drilled regularly, and soon showed fine progress in the art of military maneuvers. In November, 1879, the ladies of Seneca presented the Company with a fine stand of colors. Willis Brown being promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment, preceding his commission as General of the State Militia. Edward Butt was promoted to the captaincy, and Lewis Sheeley commissioned First Lieutenant. In the summer of 1881 the company disbanded.
Seneca Light Artillery Company. - This is both a civil and a military organization, chartered under the laws of Kansas, on July 4, 1881. The officers of the civil organization are: Secretary, A. H. Burnett, President; A. Wells, Vice- President; J. F. Curran, Treasurer; Joshua Mitchell. Those of the military company, which consists of twenty men are: Willis Brown, Captain; W. F. Troughton, First Lieutenant; C. E. Wilson, Second Lieutenant. In the fall of 1881, an armory was erected, a two-story frame building, 30x50 feet in size, in which meetings are held, and wherein is kept a six pound brass cannon, the property of the State. The members of the company are each provided with two uniforms, fatigue and dress costumes, and as an organization, possess a fine fifty dollar flag, presented by the city.
Seneca Band. The organization of a brass band was effected in November 1875, with A. Harden as Leader, a position which he yet retains. Various changes have been made in the membership, the band, as at present constituted, being as follows A. H. Gehr, Eb. Cornet; W. W. Felt, First Bb. Cornet; F. E. Jacks, Second Bb. Cornet; J. W. Larew, First Eb. Alto; N. R. Boulton, Second Eb. Alto; J. H. Gleason, First Bb. Tenor; W. N. Snyder, Second Bb. Tenor; B. C. Weaver, Baritone; F. Smith, Eb. Tuba; F. Doty Snare Drum; W. S. Nash, Bass Drum and Cymbals. The Seneca Silver Cornet Band, a defunct organization was constituted in 1869 with L. A. Hardon as Leader, and Anton Coblitz, John Norton, E. C. Gibbons, J. W. Stickney, J. B. Meyers, George Graham, W. S. Nash and Clarke Smith, as members. It continued in existence but a few years.
The Seneca Orchestra is a comparatively recent organization. Its leader is A. H. Gehr; its other members being: J. W. Larew, Second Violin; J. H. Gleason, Bass; F. E. Jacks, Cornet; J. C. Hart, Flute; __ Weaver, Trombone. The orchestra is provided with good instruments, and is in excellent practice.
Seneca Board of Trade. - An organization, under the above name, and consisting of the principal citizens of Seneca; was elected on March 17, 1882, a preliminary meeting having been held on the 14th of the same month. The election of officers resulted as follows: President, J. H. Williams; Vice-President. J. H. H. Ford; Secretary, Leopold Cohen; Treasurer, J. F. Curran. It was instituted "for mutual benefit, and the encouragement of every local enterprise, to induce and encourage immigration and manufacturing industries to locate in Seneca, to work for low rates of freight, to encourage home patronage, and the maintenance of home manufactures and home institutions," and for various purposes in accordance with the objects above indicated.
But little work has as yet been accomplished beyond that, which must necessarily precede any thing definite, the awakening of public interest in the prosperity of the city. In July, 1882, a committee was appointed, consisting of William Histed, A. Wells, George A. Marvin, C. G. Scrafford and M. Mathews, to devise ways and means for holding a County Fair some time in the fall of 1882. The sum of $2,300 was almost at once raised by subscription for the purchase of land suitable for fair purposes; the land was bought, William Histed, Willis Brown and George W. Williams being appointed as trustees of the same, in behalf of the owners, those buying the land, holding it subject to the acceptance of the county upon repayment of their investment.
Banks, Hotels, and Other Local Matters
Lappin & Scrafford's private bank was established in 1870; the firm as above mentioned erecting a substantial and handsome brick building, for banking purposes on the north side of Main Street. After a successful business of several years duration, other capital became interested, and in January 1875, the affairs of the bank were wound up, the concern being succeeded by the State Bank of Kansas.
The State Bank of Kansas, succeeding to the business and location of Lappin & Scrafford, was organized in December. 1874, with a capital stock of $100,000, and Samuel Lappin, President; Edwin Knowles, Vice-President; Willis Brown, Cashier; Simon Conwell, Secretary; the four officers with C G. Scrafford, constituting the Board of Directors. The bank went into operation January 25, 1875. In January, 1876, Samuel Lappin and C. G. Scrafford withdrawing, Edwin Knowles was elected President and D. B. McKay, Vice-President; the latter taking C. G. Scrafford's place on the board. D. B. McKay was afterward superseded by Edward Butt, who, as Vice- President gave way to D. J. Firstenberger; Edwin Knowles retains the Presidency, and no change has been made as to Cashier since the bank was established. The Assistant Cashier is George Black. The present Board of Directors are: I. T. Hosea, Edwin Knowles, Willis Brown, D. J. Firstenberger and George W. Williams. The amount of capital stock is the same as upon organization.
The Nemaha County Bank was organized in the month of July, 1881, commencing business March 1, 1882, with a capital of $50,000, and with the following officers: E.. J. Emery President; J. A. Hatch, Vice President; J. H. Johnston, Cashier; the Board of Directors consisting of the above officials, together with L. Cohen and T. W. Johnston. No change has been made in the management.
The first hotel in Seneca was also its first business house of any kind. It was a double log house, with a wide hall in the centre; erected in 1857, by John S. Doyle, for Finley Lappin. One end of it was used by the owner for hotel purposes, the other end by Downing & Stewart, as a grocery store. It was situated on the site of the present city drug store, and was only used as a hotel for a few years.
In the summer of 1858, John E. Smith built what is now the kitchen, and the rooms over it of the Wilson House; calling it Smith's Hotel. In 1860, he built the front on Main Street, and continued as landlord of the establishment until the fall of 1879, when he leased it to J. Q. A. Jeffreys, who retained it for one year, when the property was sold to P. Joseph Assemacher. In November, 1880, T. B. Collins took possession, and in 1882 P. Joseph Assemacher built a fine brick addition at a cost of $3,000, leasing the entire building to Charles E. Wilson, the present proprietor, who changed its name from the Collins House, under which it had been run for a time, to the Wilson House. The hotel has eighteen rooms for guests.
The Union House, a frame building, was erected by Edward Ingram, in 1860; a brick addition being put to it in 1862, and another at the end of the first in 1878. At the owner's death, in 1875, the hotel passed into the hands of John Shumway, who called it the Sherman House. Its next proprietor was C. R. Fairchild, the house taking his name. James Martin, who succeeded Fairchild, named it the City Hotel, and no change in the appellation was made by Levi Petty, who was the next proprietor. In 1879, C. E. Wilson became a partner of Petty's, subsequently buying the entire building, remaining landlord of the hotel until July 1882, when he leased the house to H. G. Stites; under Wilson's management it was called the Wilson House, resuming the name of City Hotel when Stites took possession. The house contains thirteen rooms.
The Seneca House was erected by John Kaune in 1871; it is a substantial frame building, containing twelve rooms, and is under its original proprietorship.
Seneca Mills. - The first mill at, or in immediate propinquity to Seneca, was a sew-mill the machinery of which was purchased in Massachusetts, brought to St. Louis by rail, from St. Louis to Atchison by river, and drawn by ox teams from Atchison to a site, just southeast of Seneca, in the spring of 1858. Its owner was John E. Smith, who continued to operate it for several years, It being finally sold to Bolivar Scofield, who moved the machinery to Marshall County, and resold the mill site to Newton & Lanham. This firm in 1864 moved a saw and grist-mill which they had been operating at Central City to Seneca; putting in a wool carding machinery in 1865, which they ran until 1866, when H. H. Lanham withdrew from the firm, the property passing to H. M. Newton and J. C. Newton. In January, 1867, the Newton Brothers sold the mill to D. A. Starkweather and L. Sheeley, the machinery being moved away shortly subsequent. The Seneca mills, as at present constituted, were established in 1871, by Knowles & Son, of Galesburg, Ill., who received financial encouragement to a large amount from the citizens, and notably from the firm of Lappin & Scrafford. The engine, of sixty-horse power, and the machinery were moved from Galesburg to Seneca, and several run of burrs at once put in. In the winter of 1881, improved machinery was purchased, and the capacity increased, there being now four sets of stones. The mill, under the superintendency of J. W. Bergen, does custom and merchant work, and furnishes employment to six men.
Seneca Foundry. - In 1881 W. M. Butler and W. F. Troughton, entered into a copartnership, under the firm name and style of Butler & Co., establishing the Seneca Foundry. They erected a building on Main street, 30x60 feet in size, put in a fifteen-horse power engine, and began work in November of the year mentioned. From five to ten men are employed in general contracting and job work.
Keystone Barb Wire Works. - The manufacture of the L. T. Lostenwing patent, barb wire. was introduced into Seneca in 1879, by O. A. Marvin and W. R. Tyler, who erected a wood frame building on Main street, and put in five barbing machines, and two barb manufacturing machines. These they have continued to operate from the first. The patent covers a four pointed barb on a single wire. The product of the establishment is about 1,000 pounds a day.
Seneca Creamery. - In the fall of 1880, a creamery was started on Main street, in Seneca, by W. H. Fosmer, who continued as proprietor for some months, the establishment passing into the possession of John. A. Gilchrist, in the summer of 1881. A building was erected during the same season, about two miles north of the city, and fully fitted up, the creamery being managed according to the Davis & Fairlam system. It has a five-horse power engine, by which the oscillating churn is operated. Its capacity is 3,000 pounds of butter per day; its usual product being about 1,000 pounds. The actual cash value is $3,600.
Seneca Elevator. - This institution was established during the winter of 1877 and 1878, by W. W. Stewart, who erected a building adjacent to the railroad, 24x30 feet in size, with an engine room contiguous, 12x24 feet. All machinery, other than the engine, is in the basement. The storage capacity of the elevator is 6,400 bushels. In 1879 it was sold to Ferdinand Cleve, subsequently passing into the hands of Gregg Brothers, of St. Joseph, Mo., its present proprietors, represented by William Scott, manager.
Seneca is located at 39°50'8N, 96°3'58W (39.835693, -96.066054). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.0 km² (1.5 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,122 people, 897 households, and 539 families residing in the city. The population density was 532.0/km² (1,375.0/mi²). There were 978 housing units at an average density of 245.2/km² (633.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.82% White, 0.42% African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.05% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.66% of the population.
There were 897 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 22.0% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 27.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 86.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,288, and the median income for a family was $40,819. Males had a median income of $27,875 versus $16,944 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,076. About 4.4% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.