The Hays House

Hays House 1868

This 1868 photograph captures the frame warehouse built by S. M. Hays & Company in the summer of 1859. Courtesy Morris County Historical Society.

Since the old Hays House has had a facelift, I thought it might be appropriate to give a briefly abridged history of the property.  To begin with, in 1847 Boone & Hamilton of Westport had a crude log structure built on the west bank of the Neosho River at the Santa Fe Trail crossing.  According to local historian Ken McClintock that structure stood immediately east of the present Hays House.  Seth M. Hays was employed by Boone & Hamilton to do business with freighters there.

In February of 1858, Hezekiah Brake came through Council Grove on his way to New Mexico.  Brake writes, “An old negress who worked for Mr. Hayes (sic) roasted coffee, made cakes, and gave us a keg of pickles and sauerkraut as relishes.”  Sarah Taylor, commonly called Aunt Sally, was Hays’ slave that accompanied him to Council Grove.  Sally continued with him until the end of her life and is buried in Hays’ lot in Greenwood Cemetery.

By 1852 Hays had bought out Boone & Hamilton, and around 1856 took on a partnership with Goodson M. Simcock.  It was Hays and Simcock who, under the title of S. M. Hays & Company, built a new frame warehouse to accommodate the growing trade on the Trail.  According to newspaper accounts of the day it appears this structure was completed in early summer of 1859.  At that time it had a gable roof; it wasn’t until about 1888 that the roof was raised in the fashion we see today to make a full two stories.

July 21st of 1859, Hays held a little party to celebrate the opening of the new store.  Hall’s Quadrille Band of Emporia came to provide music for the dancers, and a generous supper was provided for the attendees.  The Lawrence Republican of September 1859 also mentions the new warehouse opened by Hays & Co., and how it was suitable for a town such as Leavenworth or Lawrence.

Upon moving to Colorado in 1861 Hays sold his interest to Simcock, which took effect January 1st 1862, but retained ownership of the building.  Upon Hays’ return in 1866 Simcock relocated to what is currently the Trowbridge building which the two had built as a harness shop in 1860.  The final years of Hays involvement in the building is a bit sketchy, but it is safe to say he ultimately ended his interest in it February 5th 1873 when he passed from this life.  It wasn’t until 1878 that the administrator of Hays’ estate sold the property.

Prior to 1885, which is the earliest Sanborn Insurance Map in the Morris County Historical Society’s archives, the function of the Hays House is uncertain.  Using these maps we can draw a pretty good picture of the evolution of the building over the years.  We know that in February of 1885 it was divided into three separate businesses.  There was a store on the west end, restaurant in the middle and dwelling on the east side.  At that time (1882-1888) it was operated as Farmer’s Hotel by J. F. Atchison.  By July of 1887 the partitions are not noted and the whole building was designated as Farmers Hotel, except for a little insurance office in the southwest corner of the building.

Then from about 1890 to 1902 it was called Grove Hotel.  Another partition noted in the Sanborn Maps was made on the west side behind where the insurance office was located and extended to the rear of the building.  By this time the vacant lot west of the building had been developed and was listed as a restaurant.  It’s not clear if this restaurant was part of the structure or a separate entity, but it stood where the western most end of the Hays House is presently.  The building that once occupied that space was a barber shop in the 1870s but at the time of the September 19th 1886 fire was vacant.  It was ‘torn down’ with the intent to prevent the Hays House from catching fire.

Main St. Hotel circa 1908

Main Street Hotel circa 1902-1911.

In 1902 the front porch was built on by W. L. Stickel, who sold the building the following year. The building changed owners several times at this period, but by December of 1908 the name had been changed to Main Street Hotel and a restaurant and confectionary were listed as well as hotel rooms. From around 1914 to 1930 the building was called the Ar-Way Hotel which boasted a café and confectionery.

Hays House 1934

Although this photo is dated 1934, the cars are obviously from the early 40s. Notice the striped porch post advertising a barber shop which occupied the eastern front portion of the building. It is believed that a barber shop occupied this space as late as 1958.  Courtesy of Morris County Historical Society.

Over the following decades the building housed a number of other businesses as well, such as a barbershop, appliance, restaurant, hardware and dry goods store to name a few.  It is also known that rooms were let in the upstairs through WWII, as late as 1947.  In 1954 V. A. Ward was proprietor of the Hays Tavern and it was then advertised as ‘the Oldest Place to eat between Council Grove and Santa Fe, N.M.’.

In 1974-75 Charlie and Helen Judd took over and renovated the Hays House Restaurant and Tavern and made it the destination eating establishment we all know and love today.  The recent renovation of the Hays House façade is intended to emulate the appearance of the building as it stood shortly after the turn of the 20th century.  And so it stands offering good food within, and historic charm without.

Council Grove Barber Shop

Circa 1880 back bar and circa 1923 Paidar chairs.

June 14th of 2003 I completed my 1500 hour course at the Old Town Barber and Beauty College in Wichita, Kansas.  After having passed the State Board examination I set out to seek employment around my home near Lyndon in Osage County.  After much searching and disappointment I recalled one of the instructors at barber school mention that Council Grove had no barber shop.  At the drop of a hat, with no further thought, I jumped in the car on a hot summer afternoon and drove to Council Grove to investigate.  Arriving in the Grove shortly before the town closed up, I pulled up in front of Bluestem Brokerage and there met Bill Wilkerson who would afterward prove a faithful and entertaining customer.

Tools of the trade.

Well, to skip ahead, I purchased the old Council Grove Telephone office at 210 W Main, which also had living accommodations above, making it a very convenient opportunity.  The deal was closed on September 22nd of 2003 and by the last week of October the Council Grove Barber Shop was open for business.  It hasn’t changed all that much since then, but the first thing patrons saw when they entered was a five mirrored oak back bar with marble top dating to the 1880s. There were two antique chairs, one an Archer from 1894 and a Climax from 1887.  The Climax chair was used for a number of years to cut hair in.  Since it had no hydraulics a box was used to stand on while cutting hair much as was the custom 150 years before.

The clock that hung in the first Frisco depot at Augusta, Kansas in 1880.

On the wall was an oak clock that originally hung in the Frisco Depot in Augusta Kansas when it was first built in 1880.  When the depot was torn down my great uncle Melvin ‘Hap’ Bailey, rescued the clock from the trash heap and it has run faithfully ever since.  Many have often pointed out to me that the second hand on my clock is broken.  Much to their surprise I tell them it doesn’t have a second hand.  The red hand with a crescent moon points to the day of the month.

Eventually newer chairs were purchased for the shop.  Two matching Emil Paidar chairs dating to about 1923.  I got a good deal on these chairs and drove to Oklahoma to get them.  Some other additions since opening were a National cash register from the turn of the century, glass display cases for the tonic and talcum powder, and an ongoing collection of shaving mugs and other paraphernalia.  The Council Grove Barber Shop has always made an effort to fit the historic atmosphere of the town and to give patrons the feeling that they are walking into a turn of the century barber shop.

It was about a month after opening that the barber shop started hosting a weekly jam session for musicians.  Every Tuesday at 7 people from all over would gather in or in front of the shop depending on the weather.  This went on for maybe a year when the jams were held on the last Tuesday of each month only.  Sometimes the last musicians didn’t leave until 2 in the morning.  That made it very difficult to get up and go to work the next day.  The final jam was held this past Tuesday with food and drink to mark the 10th anniversary of the barber shop.  I will not be hosting any more jams at the shop.

Personalized shaving mug collection.

I have many special memories in the Council Grove Barber Shop.  One is of my regular customer from England; at least he was more regular than some in this town.  About once a year John and his mother would fly to the states to visit a friend in Emporia and they always made an effort to come see me.  My wife and I also received a card from them when we got married.  It’s the only wedding card we have that came from England.

Ten years have passed and young boys that I remember sitting on the booster seat are now about to graduate high school.  I’ve witnessed some, whose hair has turned grey over the years and others whose hair has turned loose.  But I have noticed some grey in my hair as well.  I’ve also had many patrons go to their long home in this time.  And so, thinking back on the past decade I have mixed emotions; joy, sorrow, excitement, disappointment, frustration, anticipation, a sense of achievement but at the same time a feeling of inadequacy.  I think, however, that the good has outweighed the bad.

One of the original cigar advertisements on the old back bar.

I have been very fortunate to make the friendships I have, which in turn have lead me to discover my family’s deep roots in this area.  So much of my family history here was unknown to me until I started meeting folks who turned out to be relation.  They were generous enough to share what they knew.  Now, instead of feeling like I have made Morris County my home, I feel that I only just returned home.

Addendum:  The Council Grove Barber Shop closed its doors on July 17th, 2015, just three months short of 12 years in business.  Although my customers have been very good to me over the years and very supportive, the increasing cost of keeping a business operating, along with the poor economy and continual decline of the town, have left me no choice but to throw in the towel.  I will very much miss visiting with customers and hearing their stories.

Cemetery Tour (continued)

Continuing with our Cemetery Tour from last week, we will look at some of the living history presentations that have been given, symbolisms of the stones and forgotten practices of funerals.

Christy Alexander played the role of Susie Huffaker at our first Cemetery Tour.  She told her tale of how she drowned in the swollen Neosho River on the night of May 14th 1872.  Susie’s funeral announcement is preserved in the archives at the Morris County Historical Society.  It is a plain half page piece of paper with a black border that gives details for the service.  This was very typical of 19th century announcements.

Another grim artifact in possession of the Morris County Historical Society is a wicker coffin.  In the last half of the 19th century these wicker ‘body baskets’ were primarily used by funeral parlors to transport the body from the home to the parlor, but they were also used for burial.    These decomposing coffins were very popular in the crowded graveyards of England, and supposed to allow the corpse to decompose quicker and more efficiently.  One Englishman was purported to say, “Bury me, when I am dead, bury me in an earth-to-earth wicker coffin, so that I may get out again into God’s pure air just as soon as possible.”   From the Dallas Weekly Herald of July 10th 1875: “Willow coffins are now the rage in England. They are more comfortable in hot weather, it is claimed.”  Going ‘green’ is not a new idea at all.   In fact, wicker and decomposable coffins are still made and used by those who are concerned about their carbon footprint.

Beside wicker coffins were the common plain wood coffins the wagon maker often turned out upon demand.  One documented story we have is the drowning of the Poole children near Parkerville in November 1879.  The wagon maker at Parkerville made two coffins and two children were placed in each.  Also in use in the 1870s were coffins with a glass window so one could look upon the countenance of the departed.  Early Morris County pioneer Percy Ebbutt mentions the funeral of a young girl near Manhattan who was buried in such a coffin.

IMG_8376

Headstones tell us a story through the images carved on them.  Some symbols are easy to interpret such as a broken tree trunk or column signifies a life was cut short.  Others can be less evident.  An urn, wreath or ivy vine symbolizes immortality or eternity.  The willow and anything that is draped represent mourning.  A dove or lily indicates the resurrection.  Two hands clasped together are indicative of a farewell handshake as Earthly acquaintances are parted.  A hand pointing upward seams to say ‘do not look for me here, but look to Heaven,’ while a hand pointing downward represents God reaching down for the soul.   The Bible or books often stand for the Book of Life in which the departed’s name is written.  A lamb is often found on the stone of a small child and symbolizes Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.   A sea-shell signifies baptism or rebirth.

The variety of stones is endless.  You can make a family outing by going to your local cemetery and seeing who can find these different symbols and who can find the most.  Also see how many different fraternal organizations you can find, such as Grand Army of the Republic; Free Masons; Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias; Modern Woodmen of America; Ancient Order of United Workmen, etc.

Besides marble, granite and other stone markers, there are white bronze markers.  White bronze markers, which are actually sand cast zinc, were manufactured by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The company produced these markers from 1874 to 1914.  They were about one third the cost of what a stone monument of similar size would be, and they held up better in the weather.  I am aware of two white bronze markers in the County, perhaps my readers know where there are some more.  There is one in Greenwood Cemetery and one at Kelso Cemetery.  The one at Kelso has Western White Bronze Co. cast in it.  The Western White Bronze Co. at Des Moines, Iowa was a subsidiary of the Monumental Bronze Company at Bridgeport.  Western White Bronze operated from 1886 until 1908.  Although it doesn’t make sense to me, information I have come across claims that Western White Bronze never cast these markers, they only assembled them.

White bronze (zinc) marker in Greenwood.

A notable historic figure that was portrayed at the first tour was Jack McDowell, who was hung by persons unknown.  D. J. Bremer dressed the part with army revolver and all, and made quite the impression on folks.  McDowell is one of the numbers in Greenwood whose final resting place is unknown.  Another obscure character who lies in an unmarked pauper’s grave is Indian Juan.  The early years of Indian Juan are unknown, but he is said to have been half Apache half Mexican.  Charles Parker adopted the orphaned boy in his Santa Fe freighting days.  It may be possible that Indian Juan was a victim of a Navajo raid on Mexicans, but this we surely can never know.

The Alliance Herald-Guard of Friday, June 19th 1891 announced the death of Indian Juan.  “Indian John, commonly known as ‘Juan’ died at the poor farm east of Council Grove Tuesday night.  He was brought from New Mexico by C. G. Parker, of Parkerville, twenty-four years ago, and has lived around in different portions of the county ever since.  He was a character well known in Council Grove, Kelso and Parkerville and was kindly regarded by everyone who knew him.  He has been under the weather for the last six months and suffered terrible agony, but he has now departed to the ‘happy hunting grounds’ of his forefathers where trials and tribulations will no more molest him.”

No one attended the burial of Juan, save the grave diggers and a curious Republican ‘imp’ who followed the wagon to the cemetery to discover who had died.

The final resting place of Indian Juan may not be known, but at least we have this only photo of him. (Courtesy Bob Strom collection.)

It occurs to me here that we could easily continue with this subject, but I’m a feared I must stop at this.

Cemetery Tour

Sarah Conn, the first interred in Greenwood Cemetery.

There is no Greenwood Cemetery Tour planned in Council Grove for this October.  For my readers who have not taken one before, I have decided this would be a good opportunity to give you a tour without leaving the comfort of your home.  At previous tours we have asked five or six locals to dress up as individuals buried in Greenwood.  As groups are lead through the cemetery we stop at each grave and hear a short biography of the individual.  Besides biographical information we also like to learn about the stones and the cemetery’s history.

In 1862 Samuel Wood donated a tract of land just west of the original town site for a city cemetery.  Shortly after, Seth Hays donated another tract just inside the city limits adjoining Wood’s.  Sarah Conn, wife of merchant Malcolm Conn, was the first interred in the new cemetery in 1863.  However, if you pay close attention as you walk around the cemetery, you will find stones that pre-date Greenwood Cemetery.  Council Grove historian Ken McClintock has done considerable research that explains why this is and points to the first white burial ground in the County.

Stone of James White.

On August 27th 1846 the Mormon Battalion arrived at Council Grove on the Santa Fe Trail.  They just crossed what was commonly called Council Grove Creek and camped upstream about half a mile.  This Council Grove Creek we know today as the Neosho River, and a half mile up the Neosho from the crossing puts the campsite in the vicinity of the Kaw Mission (which of course was not yet built).

In company with the battalion was an elderly couple by the name of Bosco.   Jane died on the 27th and her husband John followed her the next morning.  William Bigler, who was present, described the burial of the Boscos.  “John Bosco by the side of his wife Jane.  As rock was handy we overlaid and enclosed in one, their graves, with a stone wall to prevent wild beasts from disturbing them.”  Other diaries also mention the burial site and describe the stone wall as two feet high, seven feet wide and ten feet long.  No doubt this grave was recognized as such for many years after.  We can only suppose that this heap of stones may be the reason the Kaw Mission was later built nearby.

As Council Grove grew from a small trading post to a hamlet, there was obviously need for a graveyard.  Since the Bosco’s grave was clearly known, others were buried next to them and the old graveyard grew.  Early settler Christopher Columbia passed away November 16th 1861 and was laid to rest in the graveyard near the Mission.  After Greenwood Cemetery was established Columbia’s remains were removed to that new cemetery.  Bonnie McClintock has stated that Mahala Milleson was also moved from the old graveyard; her grave can be found directly north of the restrooms.  In light of this evidence it is reasonable to presume that the others in the old graveyard were moved at the same time, and that is why there are stones in Greenwood that pre-date its establishment.

Stone of Nicholas Shamleffer.

Prior to 1870, when the Odd Fellows took over the cemetery, it was not platted and burials were made in a somewhat haphazard fashion.  The Odd Fellows purchased additional land from Hezekiah McNay to square up the cemetery.  Then in 1871 they erected a stone wall around the cemetery.  Only the south wall along Main Street remains today.  In 1917 the Odd Fellows turned the cemetery over to the city.

In August of 1979 between the hours of 2:15 and 3:05 a.m. the cemetery was vandalized.  140 feet of the limestone wall was knocked over as well as 74 tombstones, mostly the tall pillars, which is why so many stones you see in the old part are broken or the finials are missing.  One crowbar, wrecking bar and two sledge hammers were found at the scene.  The following day citizens went to work uprighting the stones.  The damage was estimated at more than $5,000.

At the highest point in the cemetery is a group of stones originally from a small cemetery four and a half miles north of Council Grove.  Sometime before the reservoir was completed in 1964 these graves were removed from the floodplain and placed in Greenwood.

We will continue this subject next week by deciphering the symbols on tombstones and uncovering some obsolete practices of body preparation and bygone customs revealed by artifacts and documentation at the Morris County Historical Society.

Mistur Editur…

I found this cryptic letter to the editor from 1859 amusing and hope you do too.  But before you read it I must put it into context, otherwise you’ll be left in a state of befuddlement.

This letter came after, and in response to, the incident between the Kaw Indians and Seth Hays on June 2nd 1859.  In short, the Kaw had stolen a couple horses from a Mexican trader and Hays demanded the return of them.  About 90 Kaw rode into town and met Hays in front of his store.  Words were exchanged; Hays was irritated and fired off his revolver[s]; in return two Kaw each shot a white man and fled town.  After a council between whites and Indians the two Kaw were handed over and hung by town folk.  Thomas Hill, who was at the ‘Last Chance’ store when this event played out, was the first to write an account of what had occurred for the paper.  The following week H. J. Espy wrote another letter to the paper to correct a few things that Hill had said.

It is not clear who wrote the following letter but it appears to come from someone in Council Grove and is addressed to the editor of the Kansas Press, Sam Wood, who was operating out of Cottonwood Falls at the time.  The coaxing in this letter must have worked to some extent, because Wood moved his paper to Council Grove September 5th of 1859.  It appears to be a jab at Council Grove for their eagerness to hang the Kaw Indians and an insult to their intelligence is evident by the phonetic spelling.  There is also a jab at Tom Hill as the ‘stoan stor-house, on the hill’ was the location of the day long hanging.  Hill had exaggerated in his letter that the people were ‘perfectly blood thirsty’ after the Kaw.

“Counsel Groave, Kanzas June 29, ’59.  Mistur Editur—Deer Sir: The peeple hear hev selected me as a sootable, purson to rite to you.  We wont you to moove up, and fetch your paper, and fixens to make papers with you.

            The peeple will pleg themselves to firnish local mater ennuff every weak, to fabrickate a substanshal sheat.  You will not then be rejuced to the necescity of saying at the cloase of an article, “Exchange,” as Editurs hev to doo sometimes.  Yu cood hev a winder too your sanctum , overlooking the city; and thor yu cin set and rite with one hand and look out at the winder with tother, and let your hed run along to keep hit in a condishun for publickashun.  Then wee wood not  heve to rite yu the nuse, or ecspress the wooshes of the peeple; fur tha cood poak in thare heds nou and then and speek fur themselves.

            Sense yu wor up hear times hev, bin poorty brisk, we hev haid one hangen, but the material warent good—nuthen but Cau Injens, you ort tu hev bin here to witnessed that.  They gin them ar Caus one of thee jewhilicanest stretchens ever yu sou.  They hung em tel they war ded ded, ef yu call a day and nite any thing.

            On the 21st ov next munth, we or gowing to hev a hangen what is a hangen.  That is general hang day fur this county.  We will hev materal selected that cant bea beet in these parts.  It is expected that ther will bee quite a number of specktaters; allso a good meny that wood rather be specktaters than tu take as active a part as thare populararity will foce on ‘em.  Hang ours, from ten A. M. tel, foar P.M.; and continued from day tu day tel, all ar hung, ef yu sea any body down your way that wants hangen, tel them tu bea hear, at the stoan stoar-house, on the hill [the Last Chance store], at the time pinted, with there meeten close on, and wee will try  mity hard to commodate them; as wee Counsel Groave fokes make it a pint of oner tu alwaze tend tu strangers furst.

            Wee will look fur yu up on that ‘kashen; and yu will spair no meens in given it publikashun threu the country.

            I must close my letter for feer thee peeple think that I am gowing fudder nor I was ‘structed, and rote all I knowed; theirfour I am dun.  Respeckfully, yours, FESSOR.”

First Congregational Church

First Congregational United Church of Christ in Council Grove. Taken after 1902 (Courtesy of Morris County Historical Society.)

This past Sunday the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Council Grove marked its sesquicentennial.  Along with the festivities of the day (such as ice cream, pie and the releasing of 150 balloons) Pastor Christy Alexander was officially installed as minister.  It was a fitting time to reflect upon the past and look forward to the future.

On December 17th 1862 a group of interested citizens met in the home of Robert M. Wright for the purpose of organizing a Congregational Church in Council Grove.  Then on January 23rd 1863 a meeting was held at the Brown Jug school house to incorporate the new church.  The trustees elected at that meeting were Robert Wright, Charles Columbia, Henry Akin and Samuel Wood.  For a number of years the congregation continued to meet in the Brown Jug.  Brown Jug or Little Brown Jug school house (as it is known either way) was built in 1860-61.  It got its name from the native wood that remained unpainted for many years causing it to turn brown.  In later years it was painted brown to perpetuate the name.  In 1919 the Brown Jug was moved north of its original location to 218 Chautauqua Street where it stands today as a residence.

When the Brown Jug became too cramped the congregation moved to Huffaker Hall which was located on the second floor of the building at 200 West Main Street.  July 27th 1871, the trustees discussed constructing a church building the congregation could call their own.  In September of that year, brothers Benjamin and James Scott began construction on the new brick building.  It was erected a bit up the hill north of the present structure.  On the 10th of April 1872, a strong wind storm damaged the church while in construction, but repairs were made and work continued.

Samuel Scott gives us an amusing anecdote concerning construction.  “While B.R. and J.P. Scott was building the old brick Congregational church in Council Grove (as it has been razed) they were raising the steeple or spire, with a very high “gin” pole, and had a colored fellow turning the windlass.  The “gin” pole broke, and everyone yelled.  The darkey started toward Elm creek, which was about one-half mile south, on a swift run, and has never been seen since.  The Scott Bros. contractors owed the darkey $17.00, and to this day.”

The first Congregational Church as seen in the 1873 photograph of Main Street.

The Reverend Lauren Armsby served as the first ordained minister there beginning June 17th 1873, and served until 1902.  In 1898 it was feared the walls of the church building were not sound and so services were held elsewhere until a new building could be made.  Construction on the new church began in March 1899 just south of the old building.  It was completed in time for dedication August 6th 1899.

The house which stands at 19 North Belfry Street was built in 1902 as the parsonage for the Congregational Church.  It stands on the site of the original church.  A barn was also built at that time west of the house.  In 1926 an addition was made to the north part of the sanctuary and the barn was torn down at that time and supplied some of the lumber.

Many other changes occurred over the years but one of particular note was in 1965 when the present lights were installed in the sanctuary replacing the chandelier which now hangs in the Cottage House above the main stairway.

Black Diamonds

The coal mine that never was. From the 1873 Bird’s Eye View of Council Grove drawn by E. S. Glover.

In 1903 coal was discovered near Council Grove while men were drilling a well.  They kept things quiet until there was some certainty that it might be a profitable mine.  The vein was six feet thick and supposed excellent quality coal.

This was not the first time coal had been discovered in the county and certainly not the first attempt to develop a coal mine.  In 1871 W. B. Wilson, P. S. Roberts and several others had been boring for coal west of Council Grove.  The site of this ‘mine’ is located south of highway 56 approximately opposite the highway department.  Folks were made to believe it was a sure thing and so the new city council was persuaded to donate $500 to the project.  John Maloy said, “The five hundred dollars went like a comet glimmering into the dream of things that were.”

In the December 7th 1871 Council Grove Democrat there was a report on the development of the coal mine.  The shaft was down to about two hundred feet and a vein of white marble eight feet thick had been struck.  By January 1872 work had ceased at the mine due to lack of funds and or equipment breaking down, but sometime later drilling started up again.  E. S. Glover, who drew the 1873 Bird’s Eye View of Council Grove, included an inset depiction of what he (as well as others in town) believed the coal mine would become.  He shows a large factory with several buildings situated next to Elm Creek while a steam locomotive pulls a presumptuous string of coal cars off into the west.  This of course was never realized.

Maloy tells us how the coal mine came to its end along with abundant utterances of anathema for the swindlers.  “On the 28th day of January (1874) a proposition to loan or donate to the coal company the proceeds of $65,000 of County bonds which had been received in lieu of $165,000 of our County’s stock in the M. K. & T. R. R. Co. was by the people voted down, after a most exciting and vigorous canvass. This put a settler on the enterprise, and sealed the fate of some of our business men who had conscientiously put every available dollar into the project.”

Maloy goes on to say that W. B. Wilson was a “sanctimonious old fraud” who, through “his knavishness,” soon attracted a professed coal miner by the name of A. B. Stitts who also proved to be a “self-convicted fraud and thief.”  After these two men had got a good amount of investors in their coal mine, they kept their dupes encouraged by salting the mine with coal they had stolen from Strieby and Columbia’s blacksmith shop, and gained a few more investors!  Wilson and Stitts absconded taking about $35,000 of the townsfolk’s money.  The heaviest loss in the town was suffered by Shamleffer, Armstrong and Company.

Maloy ends his narrative on this “nefarious business” thus; “Out of all this was left a shaft several hundred feet deep-too wide for a well and too deep for a cellar.  The only things that could be found to any way relieve the dismal dreariness of the outcome was a vein of excellent salt water, enough of which was manufactured to ascertain that it was of the best, and an eight foot vein of the purest gypsum.  So perished our dream of becoming a mining and manufacturing city.”

One would think after having this magnificent lesson in hoodwinkery and humility that no one would ever entertain the thought of mining coal again.  But alas, coal was a big deal and many individuals continued to find coal and dream of the possibilities for industry in the area.  In December 1880 Frank Parker discovered a good outcropping of coal on Shaffer Creek in Chase County.  Then in January 1882 a Mr. Stump found coal on Humboldt Creek in Davis (Geary) County.  Osage City was leading the way in mining in the area and no doubt Morris County had an itching to get in the running and produce its own cheap fuel.  In 1889 there were 118 coal mines in Osage County employing over 2,200 people.

Parkerville had their own Coal and Manufacturing Company, however there is no evidence that they ever produced or manufactured anything.  In November of 1887 Charlie Parker decided to begin mining on his land.  He had been certain for years that there was coal beneath and so hired an experienced miner and a couple assistants to dig for it.  The Parkerville Times reported that indications were good for a vein of coal, and in fact they eventually hit a small vein.  But, it does not appear that the men had great expectations of their find for we hear no more about coal at Parkerville.  What a boon coal would have been for Parkerville.  It may have changed everything as we know it today.