Monday, August 27, 2007

History of Leonardville-Mentions Watson and Delbert Brees

History of LeonardvilleWritten in August 1956
The actual town now known as Leonardville was started 75 years ago with great hopes and dreams. This was prairie and very little broken land at that time. Settlers were here and the town of Riley Centre was growing. Manhattan, Randolph, Clay Center and Winkler's Crossing were already established. There was a trading center at Fancy Creek started in 1862 by Richard Burk, a German.Rev. L. N. Dalsten in the Jubilee Album of the Walsburg Church has written: "Why did these men choose this vicinity for their future homes? The locality was suggestive of hardships. There were no transportation facilities, distances were forbidding, the conformation of the land itself suggested difficulties in cultivation. The soil was meager on the hilltops and the small plots of valley land were subject to inundation. There were Indians and innumerable rumors of Indians and their fearful depredations. These people however, had the true spirit of the pioneer and nothing could daunt them. There were a great many hardships and obstacles to contend with. They were without money. It was exceedingly difficult to procure building material for their homes, implements with which to work their farms, grain for seeding purposes, and the necessary stock. The markets were distant."When Mr. C.G. Cederberg and his brother, Elof, arrived in Kansas City they were without funds to proceed further and walked overland from Kansas City to Walsburg.The history of the churches of the vicinity is also the history of the territory. Mrs. Oscar Johnson writes: "In 1866 two brothers (Daniel August Ekblad and Frans Jonas Ekblad) came to this vicinity seeking home sites for themselves. They settled near Walnut Creek, a mile north of where Walsburg Church now stands. I said 'settled' for those were homestead days. Soon others arrived on the scene till within a year there were a dozen or more."This was the beginning of the Walsburg community. The country was then rough and untilled, distances and transportation were real problems - no railroads - no bridges - nor any roads of any kind anywhere. These newcomers were poor, they needed implements, tools, and building materials as well as seeds to plant. All they had plenty of were trees and rocks, etc. - and a lot of: ambition, will-power and faith. Some of them lived in dugouts and walked over-land to Manhattan and other places to labor for wages to buy provisions."It is difficult for us, who today enjoy modern homes supplies and transportation to visualize how these pioneers lived."These folks in the Walsburg Community were all Swedish immigrants of the Lutheran faith. They were aware of their spiritual needs and tried to satisfy some of these by having the pastor from the nearest church, namely Mariadahl, come for visits at intervals. At such a visit a meeting was called for the purpose of organizing a congregation of their own. The Mariadahl pastor presided. Eighteen men signed then for membership and some wives and children - a list of thirty-one communicants and seventeen children. The constitution of the Augustana Synod was adopted and request was made to be admitted at its next meeting."At first worship services were held in the homes, then later, in the public school house. Not until in 1877 was the congregation able to start its own house of worship though the question had been brought up several times previously. Now an offer of ten acres of land for a Church site and cemetery was received from G.L. Ruthstrom, with a gift of one hundred dollars added to start a building fund."Others chipped in with money and labor and the building was started - laying stone upon stone, chiseling and shaping by hand - no power tools and no machines then and no big building fund of money to take from."The Church was erected of stone. Dimensions were 55x52 feet and the belfry was 14xl4 feet. Before too long these pioneers were worshipping in their own Church home though the interior was not finished for some time yet. Not until 1880 did they procure an organ and the bell was not hung until in 1883. The pastors of the Mariadahl Church served Walsburg the first twelve years."The congregation has grown now into many branches of service for God's Kingdom. It has a membership of two hundred and twenty adults and over fifty children. It has contributed a number of full-time workers to the Lord's service. Two of her sons will be ordained in the Lutheran ministry at the meeting of the Augustana Synod in Minnesota this year."Our Church is getting old. It has stood through fair and stormy weather, in joys and sorrows, but through it all it appears to bear its age well."The basic structure is still there. To it has been added a Sacristy, Parish hall and kitchen. After a disastrous fire it was reconstructed and re-dedicated in 1918."With a little face-lifting now and then it seems none the worse for its years - standing as a monument to the sturdy pioneers who built to serve toward the Glory of God in their worship and that of their children and their children's children. The fourth generation is now represented on her membership list."This year is our Walsburg Church's 83rd anniversary. For this I shall quote from our hymnal this one stanza: May faith grow firm and love grow warm, and hallowed wishes rise; while round these peaceful walls the storms of earth-born passion dies."The church of our fathers, is it any wonder that we love it? - not only as a House of God, but also for the staunch Christians who built it."In 1876 the Wildcat and Bala cheese factories were started and Winkler's Mill was a going concern bringing industry to this part of the country. In December 1879, Isaac Moon started publication of the May Day Gleaner. This started out as a monthly paper and was printed on a 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 inch press. Two items which it carried were that the Kansas Central Railroad was completed to Garrison in March of 1880 and that Mr. Wm. Schwartz and Miss Louisa G. Schwartz, both of May Day Township, were married November 7, 1880. The subscription list of this little paper was added to that of the Riley Independent in 1881 with Southwick Latchaw and Moon being the publishers.In January 188l, the Riley Independent carried the news that the Germans were making preparations to build a Church at Fairview.From the Riley Independent 1881, February 3. "Now it is decided to build the Narrow Gauge railroad to Clay Centre and next spring is the last chance for Randolph to secure it. Only a few weeks are left them in which to work up the matter and upon their speedy and successful action depends their future chances of becoming a place of any importance. Will the people seize the golden opportunity?"February 17 - "A new post office has been established about five miles north of here (Riley) named Alemibic of which L. Kilbourne's postmaster."Mr. Kilbourne's salary was $1.80 per quarter. Old timers remember that the mail was kept in a sewing machine drawer and a list of unclaimed mail was published at least once a month. Some addresses were as unlikely as "Farmer Johnson, Riley County, Kansas Territory."Also in February the Independent reported that "last Thursday night John Stadel, while returning from Clay Center with a load of coal, was overtaken by a big snow storm, became bewildered and got lost on the prairie. He had to camp out all night, left his wagon, he hardly knows where, and finally found himself near Jerome Walbridges on Madison Creek, Saturday night he had not yet brought in his load of coal."Fashions were also noted in this early paper. "Stripped stockings are no longer fashionable and hereafter the backyards of our first families on washday will not resemble a collection of flags of all nations."It was in early spring of 1881 that the Riley paper reported that the Narrow Gauge Railroad news is very much demoralized. One report is to the effect that the contract for building the bridge over the Blue has been let; another that they are surveying across to Winkler's Mill, leaving Randolph cold. We expect Garrison will be the fizzle end for some time yet. The Alert correspondent reported, "There are so many reports about the Narrow Gauge, I guess it must have went by and we did not see it." And the Bala writer: "We hear that the Narrow Gauge railroad will go by way of Fancy Creek and hope so. We want the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe to come to Bala."Such was the sentiment of the different communities and on such thread was the future of Leonard hung. Three different routes were rumored to have been surveyed; one to Clay Center, one to Winkler's Mill and one six miles north of Riley Centre, to Morganville. That the Kansas Central Railroad is being built across the county.In June the Fairview items noted: "On next Monday, the 20th, McLaughlin and Bros. will open up work at the head of Walnut Creek where the new town will be located - about 4 miles north of Riley Centre. They want 100 men and teams. Wages for man and team $3.00 per day and for laborers $1.50 to $1.75 per day."The rumors were thus settled. The railroad was building a new town and for some time it would be known only as the new railroad town. Complaints were registered that it was hard to get harvest help that year because of the railroad pay.The population census in 1881 showed Bala with 61; Riley Centre 93; and Randolph 262.The work on the railroad west of Garrison progressed rapidly and by August, 1881, it was reported that the central pier of the Kansas Central Railroad bridge across the Blue River is finished and the abutments are hastening toward completion. The proprietors of the new railroad town of Leonard in Riley Co. think Manhattan, Junction City, Clay Center, Blue Rapids, and several little villages are too near that place ever to amount to much. May their brightest hopes be realized.When the rails were laid through, the half way mark between Garrison and Miltonvale was the place the railroad company chose to build a depot and christened it Leonard, in honor of Leonard T. Smith of Leavenworth, who was president of the road at that time.The town site was surveyed and platted in September 1881 and the tracks reached the new town about October 6 of that year. The site comprised a portion of the homesteads of John Ford, Lucien Kilbourne and a part of the Lambert Erpelding section. Mr. Kilbourne donated the right-of-way through his farms and each alternate lot and Mr. Ford gave each alternate lot to the railroad as a consideration for locating the town and surveying and platting the same and recording the town plat which they did in September.The first house built in the new town in 1881 was B.F. Quinn's, Second was Mrs. Tuttle's boarding house, next Sikes Store and the post office.Several buildings were moved from Riley Center that winter.The Riley Independent reported in August that "Rumor says Mr. Quinn who kept a large herd of Texas cattle on the farm of Dr. Crans (of Riley Centre) last spring will establish a lumber yard at Leonard, the new railroad town in this county. And in September items "B.F. Quinn was in town Monday. He intends to have his lumber yard at Leonard running in a couple of weeks."In the early fall there was considerable complaint from hands who worked on the railroad that they could not get all their wages. Residents were warned that a new and dangerous counterfeit silver dollar was in circulation and that everybody should be on the lookout for it. Several cases of rattlesnake bites were reported; the cure being stiff doses of alcohol.Bala items noted the commencement of Sunday School at District 51 at the head of Madison Creek by Mrs. Barkyoumb, Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Davies. J.H. Jenkins of Bala was certified as a physician and also received a license for the sale of liquor for medicinal, scientific and mechanical purposes. Claud Clark was building a neat house on his homestead.On October 13 the Riley paper reported that quite a number of our townspeople saw the smoke of the locomotive on the Narrow Gauge railroad, 6 miles north of here.The first merchandise shipped over the extension of the Narrow Gauge was on October 12 by B.F. Quinn. He also broke the first ground in the new town and expects to have up the first building. =======On November 3, election day, 1881, William H. Sikes moved a small stock of goods to the new town from Garrison and opened business. S. Sikes, a granddaughter, writes:"Sikes Store Company was founded at Leonardville in 1881 by W.H. Sikes. The store was originally located a block north of its present site, near the corner of a Civil War homestead. In the spring of 1882, Mr. Sikes purchased the office building and the lot where the store now stands, subsequently selling the office building and replacing it with his own 20' by 40' shanty in which he had first set up business. The sale price for the lot and building (which had housed the young town's lumber yard owned by Mr. Quinn) was $150. The office building was then sold for $50 and moved across the street and turned into a drugstore."The new location was a good one, and business was thriving. A cellar was dug under twenty feet of the store building, and the store was set twenty feet back from the street so that it was enlarged to 20' x 60'. The store employed both German and Swedish clerks, and much of the trading was done in those languages. The new store carried a variety of goods: groceries, boots, shoes, clothing, dry goods, all of which were engraved on the letterhead stationery of the young enterprise. Business in boots at that time was very good."Flour was brought by wagon from the many mills around the countryside, and salt came in 300 pound barrels from Chicago. Kerosene came from the east and at one time the store was buying and selling gasoline and kerosene in tank cars, filling iron barrels and shipping them to surrounding towns. Butter was packed in empty sugar barrels and shipped to Kansas City."The store also carried much of the pioneering harvesting machinery. Green coffee was sold in the bulk and Arbuckle's packaged coffee at ten and twelve cents a pound was a favorite. Large quantities of tea in bulk, was sold especially to our German and Welsh customers. Horseshoe chewing tobacco was another product in demand and the store still carries it. For many years, the store catered to its tobacco using customers by providing free packages of smoking tobacco, which were usually smoked in clay pipes."The store fixtures were few; two oval front showcases, a tin hopper scale, a platform scale, a hammer, hatchet and nail puller. There was a money drawer instead of the cash register now used, and purchases, especially groceries, were wrapped in heavy brown sheets of paper, for paper sacks were not then extensively used. The town was prospering and in the years following the founding of the store, Leonardville boasted eight general stores. Bad years followed and competition became rugged; Sikes Store Company gradually became the only survivor of the hard times."Many changes have taken place in the methods of buying and selling food, and of packaging it since the store was first opened. About the time Sikes Store was started, mills had begun to put flour in 50 and 100 pound sacks. This soon ended the old custom of grinding. In the early years of trading, many carloads of flour were sold, but later, with the advent of commercial bread, the sale of flour decreased and ready-made loaves were sold instead."Remodeling was not extensive at Sikes Store until 1909 when the original frame building was replaced by a new stone one. The frame shanty was moved to the back alley of the lot and business was conducted there until the new building was ready for occupancy. Souvenirs of the occasion were small plates, green with a rose design, which said: 1881-1909, Souvenir Opening of Our New Store, W.H. Sikes, Leonardville, Kansas."No other remodeling steps of any significance occurred until the late 1940's when Sikes Store purchased the bank building which was adjacent to it, and then, more recently, when the store underwent several drastic changes. The greatest change was again in the grocery department where a self-service market was installed. One might speculate how a customer of the 1880's would regard the new Sikes Store - there is no free tobacco now, and the age-old custom of chatting on Saturday night in the general store is gradually being displaced. Farmers come to town more frequently during the week now, and Saturday night is a good night for that other great change, television."=======From the Leonardville Monitor: "Mr. Sikes was led to the decision to come to Leonard by the impression he formed of the surrounding country while riding over it buying up a lot of young cattle. The character of the country was such that he arrived at the conclusion that a town located in the midst of such country could not but be a desirable business location."Mr. Sikes, just last week, August 1, 1956, celebrated his 98th birthday by riding his horse, Red. He retired from active work in the store several years ago.In the same month of November, 1881, D. Winters purchased the meat market of J. Roberts of Riley Centre and moved it to Leonard. He moved his residence in December. Robert Walker's house left Riley Centre during November on "wheels."The railroad was causing more trouble, too. The Clay County Times reported in November "The town of Leonard, the next station on the Narrow Gauge east of Green is cutting into our hog market considerably. Several parties tell us that they have received 5 cents per pound for hogs that weigh less than 200. This is more than our hog men are offering. What is the matter?" A locomotive set fire to the prairie grass in the edge of Clay County and consumed several tons of hay for W.F. Weaver and a few tons of 0.P. Hainey's hay.Before moving the weekly Independent from Riley to Manhattan in November of 1881 it reported "The 'Iowa' house made one effort to start for the new town but the rig was not found sufficient to carry it. Whether it will settle down quietly in Riley Centre or will make another effort to go we cannot tell."There was a lot of diphtheria during the winter of 1881.A post office was established in the new town and Mr. Kilbourne was the first postmaster. The Alembic post office was discontinued and Mr. Kilbourne secured Robt. Walker to assist him in the post office which he continued until removed by the first Cleveland administration.About two weeks after Mr. Sikes opened his store the Erpelding Bros., Frank, George and John, opened a store in a wareroom they built on the rear of their lot, as they did not wish to wait until the main building was finished. For a number of years the Erpelding store with a public hall upstairs, was the biggest store in town. Lambert Erpelding, father of the Erpelding Bros., owned the section of land adjoining the town site on the south.Mr. Quinn, the lumber merchant, died the first winter and the yard was sold to John Foster and Sons who, at that time, had yards at Randolph and Olsburg. The lumber yard was moved to a location near the railroad tracks. The Fosters continued the lumber business here for several years, later selling and moving west.The various churches were all busy with revival meetings, with several denominations working in the new town. The Lutheran Church at Walsburg was already built, although the interior could not be finished for a time and the very crudest of furnishings were in use. The Swedish Baptist Church, though without a building, was holding regular meetings. The Evangelical Church was gaining converts. There were several Catholic families here and the Methodist Church was holding Bible classes. The Presbyterians also had a society.=======The following is the Methodist Church history as written by Mrs. Bessie Wohler:"An initial step toward the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Leonardville was the organizing of a Bible class which met in the schoolhouse located just south of the site of the present Methodist Church structure. This class was meeting regularly during the latter months of 1881 and the early months of 1882."In March 1882, Rev. John L. Dawson was appointed to the Leonardville circuit which included Sumner and Union. A parsonage was erected during the first conference year on land contributed by Lucien Kilbourne."The first trustees of the Leonardville charge were Sam Foster, Dr. F.M. Thomas, J.H. Klein, P.J. Stafford, P.F. Loofbourrow, Belling Davis and Wm. Ford."In 1883 the Sumner's appointment was discontinued and the members attended services at the new Union schoolhouse or in Leonardville. Rev. Geo. Havermale was appointed to the charge in March 1883. During the next conference year he organized a class at Grandview which was a part of the Leonardville circuit for many years."Rev. Havermale also was instrumental in organizing a Ladies Aid Society whose first officers were President, Grandma Warren; Secretary, Mrs. Wm. Rogers; Treasurer, Mrs. W.H. Sikes. This organization became very active in 1887 when its goal was to help to build a church building. A young ladies society was also quite active at the time under the leadership of the president, Edith Thomas."A very able and appreciated assistant to the pastors and congregation during this decade was the Rev. Lewis E. Sikes, a retired Congregational minister."In May, 1889, ground was broken for a church building east of the parsonage. The cornerstone was laid by Rev. T.T. Rhodes of Topeka, July 26, 1889 and the foundation was completed by John Lawson in 1889."It was not until 1890 that the building was completed and it was dedicated by Bishop W.X. Nuide of Topeka On December 7, 1890."The first funeral held in the new church home was that of Rosanna (Grandma) Warren who died August 22, 1895."Many things such as a bell in the belfry, a carpet and an organ, were added to the church and a west porch was built onto the parsonage. The Ladies Aide helped on these projects during the period of 1890-1895."In March, 1909, the old Union Schoolhouse burned and the members worshipped at Leonardville under the ministry of W.L. Warnock."During a storm in the summer of 1912, lightning struck and burned the church building. The members immediately set to work to rebuild and the present church edifice was dedicated March, 1913."Among those who wrote their names in the cornerstone of this new building was a little girl, Laura Marjorie Anderson, now Mrs. V.R. Rosell, superintendent of the Junior Department and president of the Women's Society of Christian Service."During E.K. Resler's ministry 1916-1917, the church building debt was paid and the Ladies Aid project was a cement floor in the basement."The membership rolls of the Church and Sunday School during 1900 to 1930 included these family names: Aaron Anderson, Wm. Bond, Geo. Coltharp, Riley Coltharp, Henry Diefendorf, George Peterson, Pierre Creevan, A.H. Chaffee, Daniels, Dr. Droll, Nathan Day, Erpelding, Dr. Edgerton, Ford, Finley, Gugenhan, Hadin, Jenkins, Johnson, Kendall, Lagerquist, Maxwell, Moore, Peterson, Pelischek, Paulsen, Quick, Robinson, Simpson, Stone, Scott, Sailors, Thompson."One member for many years the eldest member, was Isaac Moon, the editor of the Leonardville Monitor from 1926 to 1951. He was a trustee and treasurer of the church during all of those years and remained a faithful member until his death January 27, 1954."The next oldest member was Mattie Day Anderson who was a member at Union in the beginning of the Leonardville Circuit. Both Mrs. Anderson and Mr. Moon claimed September 16 as a birth date. Mrs. Anderson's death occurred August 6, 1953."The Grandview appointment was discontinued in 1935 and membership transferred to Leonardville."The Sunday School continued through these" depression years under the superintendency of Merlin Anderson and Howard Hadin. The Ladies Aid continued to function and contributed to upkeep of the budget and the buildings. In 1940 the Kansas Conference reorganized the Ladies Aid and Missionary Society into one conference society, the Women's Society of Christian Service."On August 30, 1938, Ada Dickson and family moved into the parsonage and once more the Methodist church had a resident pastor. The Wesley Chapel, north of May Day, became a part of the Leonardville charge then it was discontinued and members transferred to churches of their choice."Rev. Ada Dickson is now serving her eighteenth conference appointment to this charge for which she received Conference recognition, in June 1955."=======1882 was a very busy year for the new town of Leonard. Not only were people moving into the town; but because of the railroad, business was booming as people from miles around came here to shop and receive commodities.Mr. A.W. Newman, a contractor and builder, was kept busy. He came to the new town from Randolph in 1882 and the Randolph Echo bemoaned their loss of such a fine builder. By 1884 it was said that Mr. Newman had built two-thirds of the town of Leonard.Two native Welshmen, J.H. Jenkins and Chas. Bacon started a drug store on the corner of Erpelding and Second. Mr. Jenkins had come to America from Wales in 1869 and had settled at Bala before moving to Leonard. Mr. Bacon was associated in the drug store only a short time before he went into the real estate and insurance business. He had just come from Wales in 1882. He was later to become the first City Clerk.B. Jones moved a building here from Riley Centre in March of that year and became proprietor of the Leonard House. This is the building north of the present Chaffee Hardware. Ira Wilcox moved his livery stable from Riley Centre here in September of 1882. It would accommodate 30 horses. His son, Hubbard, and D.E. Dupey purchased the stable near the depot.James C. Kelley built the Pacific House on the west side of Erpelding near the depot. It was two stories high and consisted of a main building and wing and was built by Mr. Newman. This is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Brees.=======The family of W.A. Anderson had moved to a homestead about a mile and a half from Leonard in the summer of 1880, Mr. Anderson, now in Shreveport, La., writes;"I am reminded of an amazing occurrence in my early boyhood. It happened in the spring of 1882, about two years after my family moved to Kansas, Riley County, from our old home in Chicago."About the first thing my father, James Anderson, did was to build a new stone house. It fronted east and had a door in the south side from which we could view all the barns and corn cribs."I was standing in the doorway one morning and saw a big black cloud in the southwest, but there was no wind whatever blowing. Suddenly I saw the well buckets and wheels that brought up our drinking water from a 30-foot stonewalled well, not over 30 feet from the house, suddenly pulled out of the well. At the same time I saw all four sides of a corn crib, containing about 3,000 bushels of unshelled corn, go up in the air and loose corn fell around the four sides of the crib."A small wheat granary a little way south of the ruined crib was standing unhurt, but had a corner knocked off by something that fell on it. Afterwards we found all the smashed lumber from the crib over in the stone corral which had sides some ten feet high."We (my father and I and the hired man) went over about 80 rods east of our house where we found the well buckets, rope and wheel and four sides of the open well lying unhurt in a pile on the slope about an eighth of a mile east of the house."There was a small school building on the southwest corner of a section in which we lived that completely disappeared. Not a board of it was ever discovered. So my father got lumber and rebuilt our schoolhouse for the district north of Leonardville, on the northwest corner of the northwest quarter of the section."Evidently at the same moment the schoolhouse which was more than a mile southwest of our house, was picked up by the same tornado that pulled the well buckets out of the well only 30 feet from our stone house and watched the barn and well buckets disappear. Curiously amid all these happenings I did not hear a sound or any sign of wind at all."This certainly was a wonderful demonstration of the extraordinary power of nature. My father, mother and myself moved to Riley County, Kansas, June 1, 1880. Whenever I read about storms, I am always reminded of the storm I saw, but did not hear at all, when our farm house well and corn crib were carried away in that remarkable cyclone of my boyhood."=======The schoolhouse that was destroyed was of District 59, at that time located on Mr. Nickelson's farm. The school district later became the Monitor school. The storm also turned the house of William Donnell in town upside down. They had just stepped outside leaving the baby on the bed and it was found unharmed between the joists of the floor, strange to say.The first schoolhouse in the town was built in the summer of 1882, located just south of the present Methodist Church. The money was secured by selling bonds for about $1000 to College of Manhattan. Clara Ford was the first teacher In later years, two more additions were added to the building, making a three room school.The name of the post office was changed June 28, 1882, by order of the post office department from Leonard to Leonardville because it was claimed the name Leonard was confused with the name Larned.Dr. J. Crans. a graduate of the Medical College at Keokuk, Iowa, came to Riley Centre in 1869 and in the winter of 1882 moved his drug store to Leonardville. He also tried to move his residence but bad roads came and it got stuck on the way and there it stood all winter halfway between Riley and Leonardville.It was also reported in the Clay Center Cresset which shortly moved to Leonardville that "The Republican party is on its last legs in Kansas, as well as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York."It evidently helped in 1882 to carry a gun. "Last week John J. Myers of Alert drove his cattle to Leonard for the purpose of shipping them when some trouble came up about putting them in the stock yard. The station agent drew a revolver and snapped it at Mr. Myers, but it did not go off. The agent has skipped the country."Mr. Kilbourne, who seems to have had a great deal to do with the early town, raised enough money by subscription to purchase a bell for the school house. In 1882 he sold lots to Swanstrom, John J. Myers, Magnus Anderson, Robert Walker, James Noble, Roland Davis, E.B. Fryer, Hannah Harner, the Methodist Church, Wm. Sikes and Catherine Sikes.In February 1883 the German brethren were being preached to every night in Erpelding's hall by Rev. Schreiber. Foster Lumber Company had sold 53 carloads of coal. Dr. Crans reported considerable sickness in and about town. Leonard needed a good shoemaker and a good harness maker and in March I.L. Swagerly opened a harness shop on the south side of Erpelding which he sold in 1884 to C.E. Moffett. Peter Wettstein was feeding a herd of many swine. As for the weather it was noted that Leonard has enough wind, but too little water, but the deficiency would probably be supplied when the public well had been sunk.From the Randolph Echo, February 7, 1883, Leonardville items; "A somewhat amusing incident occurred in Leonard on Saturday nite week before last when constable John Lock with his possee comitatus went to the house of Mr. Talkington to arrest Baxter for his assault upon Mr. Thompson the day before."In searching upstairs at a pretty late hour the constable and two able bodied assistants had their attention directed to a room in the southeast corner of the house by noise from within and thought sure their man must be there. Pushing boldly into the room with drawn revolvers they surprised an innocent Methodist preacher and his wife clad somewhat thinly but very suitable for the place and time."The boys took in the situation at a glance and the good parson wondering through what misdirected train of providence they had been brought there and thinking the occasion not appropriate for preaching a sermon, holding a prayer meeting or taking up a collection, dismissed his congregation without doxology or benediction."Mr. J.N. Talkington's home was located where the Farmers Union Station is now. He kept a small stock of groceries.Since the German Evangelist and Rev. Dawson of the American Methodists were holding meetings, the Dramatic Club, for courtesy sake, discontinued their labor while the spirit was working on the good people."The contract was let to the Helms boys for the drilling of the public well. Mr. Winters had his butcher shop fixed up in first class style in the basement of the Erpelding Store. The Swedish Baptists bought four acres of land from Erpelding Bros. to erect a church on, and the Union Sabbath school was progressing in February, 1882.=======The Baptist church was the first church building in the new town. Mrs. Marie Tucker writes:"On February 16, 1878, Rev. N. B. Rairden, an American Baptist minister came to this vicinity. Meetings were held and a revival came about."In April the same year, Rev. C. G. Erickson, came from a school in Chicago. He went out on the prairies among the early settlers holding meetings in the school houses, otherwise in the homes."A number were converted to the Christian faith and on June 24, 1878, this church was organized, being twenty four members. When Rev. C.J. Erickson left at the end of the year 1879, Rev. John Peterson took up the work, after him came Rev. A.J. Bengtson."One Sunday morning when they came to the school house where the meetings were held the school house had burned to the ground, then they realized the need of a place to worship. Rev. Bengtson, being a stone mason, took upon himself the building of a church. Lots were donated and stone was hauled by the members and others. The church was built in 1883-84."A great revival came and the church reached its largest membership of eighty-one members. Several Pastors served the church through the years, a number of student pastors helped with the work during the summer months when the church was without a resident pastor."In June 1934 this church celebrated its 50th anniversary. Rev. G.A. Dalquist of Enterprise was the guest speaker. From this church has gone out two ministers, Rev. Chas. G. Bengtson and Rev. Carl Victor Anderson of Walsburg. The Y.P.S. and Sunday School were very active through the years. The Ladies Aid contributed much to the Church and missions. Many of its members moved away and others have gone to their reward, so there were too few to carry on the work, but the church has retained a warm friendly influence in the community and precious memories remain of those who have worshipped within its walls."=======The present home of Mr. and Mrs. Roland Skalla, south of the park, was the Baptist parsonage.Late in February, 1883, Mr. Wm. B. L. Bredberg, steamship agent, reported several ticket sales. There was 30 feet of water in the 70 foot deep hole of the public well. Corn was selling at 32 cents a bushel. Mr. Talkington had built a shoe shop. Mr. Schoonhofer of Riley Centre was drilling a well for Mr. Kelley of the Pacific House using an eight horse power drill. A correspondent of the Randolph Echo reported the first birth in Leonardville and mentioned that "the burg has been settled two years and has 200 inhabitants. What kind of people do they have over there anyway?" Leona Bredberg was the first baby girl and Leonard Sumners was the first boy.Leona Bredberg later married John Ericson and lived in Kansas City where she passed away at the age of 73, August 6, 1956.In April, 1883, it was reported that the population had increased 68% in two months, but did not mention the population. Mr. Kilbourne postmaster put in a new letter box rack with over 200 open boxes and 30 lock boxes. Four prairie schooners went through Leonard from Blue Springs, Nebr. They settled 7 miles west of the town.P.H. Dodge put up a feed mill, the Diamond, and chopped all kinds of grain. A Sunday School was organized with Mr. Hall elected Superintendent. Green, next station west had 11 residences and 54 inhabitants.In May Dr. Crans' house arrived from Riley Centre and took up "suitable quarters" in the eastern part of town. The Catholic Church was looking for lots to build on. They were commencing work on the roads and with the new sidewalks, which looked immense, you could walk from the depot clear up to the post office without sticking in the mud.Prof. Cress of Riley Center started building a music store. Mr. J. Barkyoumb's billiard hall was completed that summer of 1883. In August they were still hauling stone for the Swedish Baptist Church. The bakery was nearing completion and the Riley County Nursery, located midway between Randolph and Leonardville was advertising fruit trees, J.W. Blackly, Proprietor.Mr. Wes M. Enlow who played E-flat cornet was the leader of the Leonardville band. The members were; A.W. Nutz, E-flat clarinet, E. Starcher, A.G. Cress, J.W. Beck who all played cornets; Ed Klinor and S.S. Rogers on altos; J. Jones, tenor; H.P. McCord, baritone; Wm. McCord, tuba; F.T. McClary, bass drum; C. Kliner, snare drum.In November the roof was placed on the Swedish Baptist Church. Mr. W. A. Anderson remembers; "My mother worshiped in a stone church. I understood the sermons preached in Swedish quite as well as English, though I never could read or write Swedish. My father served in the Civil War as a seaman, being on an English blockade runner which was captured. They allowed him to enlist in the American Navy. He was mustered out at Fort Monroe at the close of the War of the States." 0.E. Castor sold his hardware business to the Rogers Bros., W.H. and S.S., and spent his time drilling wells, of which he had drilled about 50 by mid 1883. Rogers Bros. in 1885 sold to P.J. Stafford. Dr. F.M. Thomas, who was graduated from a New York medical college in 1869, came to Leonardville on March 8, 1883, and was prominent in the early church of the town. A.G. Cress opened the Music Store with a stock of $600 and then went into association with Enoch Starcher in the furniture business. Rowland Davis who had been in the furniture business at Bala for 14 years built a two story building on the corner of Erpelding and 2nd. Phillip Young built a billiard hall on the east side of Erpelding, but sold to Laflin and then to Bredberg. The Odd Fellows organized in the fall of 1883 and held meetings in the second floor of the Davis building. Richard Burk had moved his stock to town during May, from his location on Fancy Creek where he had been since 1862.=======The Evangelical Church had had a minister for three years, but in March 1884, Rev. Wm. Heiser returned to this work. The following history is taken from the 75th anniversary booklet, December 4, 1955, of the Evangelical United Brethren Church:"The Evangelical United Brethren Church of Leonardville had its beginnings in 1880 when Rev. Wm. Heiser served the Big Blue Circuit in the Kansas Conference of the Evangelical Association. The appointments in the Circuit were: Swede Creek of Big Blue Mission, Hanover, Clay Center, and Mill Creek of Junction Mission. Christian Hoch, who had homesteaded two miles south and one-fourth mile east of the present site of Leonardville, had heard Rev. Heiser and requested him to come to his home to baptize two of the Hoch children. When Rev. Heiser arrived he found a houseful of people to whom he preached the first sermon that led to the formation of a church here. The second time he came to preach, arrangements were made to hold services in the Fairview School House. Regular Meetings were held every two weeks with additional prayer meetings and services held in various homes in the community. The members of the first class that was organized were: Martin Gravenstein and wife, Geelke; Lucas Buss and wife, Greitje; George Buss and Derk Buss. In 1881 a revival was held for five weeks in the winter at Swede Creek. Many from this community were converted there."After which, in 1884 Rev. Heiser returned to the work here. On March 5, 1884 a meeting was held in the home of G.R. Nanninga in charge of the Conference Supt. J. Wuerth. It was decided to build a church and $700 was secured immediately. On March 11, 1884, the following trustees were elected; G.R. Nanninga, Henry Dierolph, Jacob Benninga, Juergen Nanninga. The Building Committee was Rev. Heiser, G.R. Nanninga and M.R. Gravenstein. The present location was secured and a church building, 28' x 44', was built at a cost of $2121. Because of the death of Pastor Heiser, Rev. E.E. Evans took charge of the work. About this time a Sunday School was organized with Derk Buss as superintendent. Long before this Father Reinders Nanninga and Father Lucas Buss used to gather the children for Bible study. They also conducted a school where the German language was taught."Leonardville was taken from the Big Blue Circuit in 1885 and formed into a Mission with T.R. Nanninga as pastor."The first parsonage was obtained in 1888, later it was remodeled. It is located one block west of the present parsonage. In 1943 the new, modern parsonage was built at a cash cost of $6400, exclusive of several thousand dollars of donated labor."The Church was remodeled in 1908. The Mill Creek congregation merged with the Leonardville Church in 1921. In 1923 further improvements were made on the church building, including the east room and the downstairs rooms."The women have had a great part in the progress of the Church. The Women's Society of World Service was organized in 1898 with Mrs. M. Manshardt as President."=======The March issue of the Randolph Echo reported: "As Mr. Gust Brandenburg a young man who lives near Burk's Store on Fancy Creek, was hauling hay on Wednesday, last, his team became frightened and ran away, seriously if not fatally injuring Mr. Brandenburg." The Catholic Church in Leonardville was dedicated, a large congregation being present. This building is the present home of Mr. & Mrs. George Zeisset. Mrs. R.D. Williams was the proprietor of the first millinery shop in town. It was on Erpelding near the business center of town. In April 1884, Mrs. Jennie Rogers and Miss Lizzie Evans had gone east after goods to open a millinery and dressmaking store. Their location was to be over Roger Bros. hardware store.Riley County in 1884 consisted of 617 square miles and 19.67 people per square mile. Bala township listed 1,177 people. Post offices of that year were Bala, Big Timber, Grant, Leonardville, Magic, Manhattan, May Day, Ogden, Randolph, Riley, Stockdale, Vinton, Wildcat, Winkler's Mills and Zeandale. Leonardville's population was listed at 200.Early in the year the Erpelding Bros. donated 3 lots and the railroad company donated three to Mr. Condray for a mill site.It was April 3, 1884 that the Clay Center Cresset became the Leonardville Monitor with P.S. Loofbourrow as the publisher. This made seven papers in the county. The new paper reported how proud they were of the 100 feet wide streets. It also reported some things they wanted: trees, a brick yard, a herder for cattle, flour mills, creamery, a park, side walks. The Masonic Lodge and Knights of Pythias were organized. There was a GAR Post and the first circus came to town on May 6.The market report on April 10, 1884 read; Fat Cows, $3.50 to $4.50, Steers, 2 yrs old, $4.75; Potatoes, 55 cents; eggs, 10 cents; wheat no. 2, 75 to 78 cents; corn 30 cents; rye 35 cents, hogs $4.75 to $5.00; butter 15 cents to 20 cents. The mill was started by Mr. Condray of Manhattan and Mr. E.D. Sumners of Leonardville. It was located on the north side of the railroad near the water tanks. There were four trains running, the cemetery association was formed and the bank was opened on June 1 by P.D. Smith ,late of Osborne. He was succeeded by J.A. Sparks in June l887 who organized, under the state banking laws and took out the first charter. He later sold to Wm. Karrigan and in 1903 it was taken over by Ed. Nickelson.The Randolph Echo had a Leonardville correspondent who reported several of the more interesting happenings in the town. It reported: "One of the most unique sensations was witnessed the other day in Leonardville. The saloon keeper, seeing two ladies sitting in a buggy to which no horse was attached, hitched himself to the vehicle and started pell-mell down the street. Fortunately, his endurance was not very great and he soon gave out, which saved the trouble of filling out the procession with an irate husband and father with shot guns in pursuit."And later: "In Dr. Crans office in Leonardville hangs this beautiful motto: "What is home without a wife." We never saw before this sentiment so beautifully wrought in letters. It is brilliant zepher work, done on perforated card board and constitutes a beautiful ornament to the clean white wall against which it hangs."During April and May of 1884 a newspaper, a bank, a skating rink, a new meat market, a new livery stable, a barber shop, a new millinery store and a number of new dwelling houses were put up. The Erpelding residence, to cost the astounding amount of $5000 was started and there were complaints of hogs running loose.The Cornet Band furnished the music for the big July 4 celebration at Randolph. The Republican County Convention was held here July 12, 1884. Capt. Gordon sold his lot east of Mr. Thompson's for $150 for the site of a new church.T.W. Chaffee purchased the steam thrasher owned by P. Dodge and spent the rest of the summer of 1884 threshing "the immense crop of grain grown in the vicinity." The yield was 35 to 38 bushel of wheat and Mr. Chaffee threshed over four thousand bushels that season. Wm. Raymond opened up a fruit and confectionery store and in connection with it a lunch room and ice cream parlor. Charles Bacon and wife returned from a trip to England. Prof. Walters was engaged in drawing plans for a German Methodist Church to be built soon. "The plans convince us that this denomination will have a building of which it may be proud. The structure will cost about $2500."A dance was given by the boys in the Cornet Band in August of 1884. According to the Monitor "it was a pleasant and enjoyable affair and quite well attended. Dr. Crans was voted the laziest man in town. Then Prof Miller, Starcher, Barkyoumb and P.D. Smith. Miss Lillie Fox was voted the cake for being the prettiest girl in town."Other stores that were opened in 1884 included the Christensen Bros. skating rink; a blacksmith shop by Gustaf Ekland; Smith and Griffith blacksmith and wagon shop; D.D.M. Easton, painter; Wm. Haskins and Mr. Thompson engaged in buying and shipping stock; A.W. Nutz was the station agent; Peter Wettstein had a large hennery adjoining town on the east; Dr. Stewart was the dentist; Magnus Anderson had a furniture store; Judge James Campbell held the honorable and lucrative position of Justice of Peace. The Clay Center Creamery was running several wagons, gathering cream. Dr H.A. Meier was the county coroner, located previously at May Day.Also in 1884 Lewis Laflin had a stone ice house on the rear of his billiard hall lot. Wm. McBryer was building a bowling alley, 75 feet long. Henry Boy, a German, had a boot and shoe shop. Mr. Winters had gone out of business in the meat market because of poor health. The Steinmetz Bros. had a blacksmith shop. The Mill by Condray and Sumners was completed in October with a capacity of 60 to 75 barrels per day.The Erpeldings donated to the town a five acre block south of and adjacent to the present town site. "They will also donate to the city a park consisting of several acres of ground in the vicinity and lay off in connection with these an addition to the town site."School opened that fall on September 1 with fair attendance. Prof. A.J. Swingle was in charge. The Monitor of September 4 asked "shall we incorporate?"A $1000 school bond was proposed to the voters in September. "Two or three projected houses will not be built since school bonds did not carry. Nels Osterberg and Carl Halbert have gone to Fostoria. Leonardville has lost two good carpenters. About one-third of the children of the district will be deprived of school privileges for want of room." In October bonds were voted to build an addition to the schoolhouse.The foundation for the Evangelical church nearly opposite the Swedish Baptist church was being pushed by the pastor.Almost every issue of the Monitor at the end of 1884 was asking for incorporation. "Would it not be well to call a public meeting for the purpose of considering and taking action upon the incorporation question. Our town is sadly in need of systematic direction and its affairs, which can only be secured through a city government.""How about incorporating. We need sidewalks, and graded streets and we want non-resident street hawkers, shows, etc. to help make them."It was almost a year later, August 18, 1885, before the town was incorporated. The first Mayor was Lewis Laflin; Police Judge, James Campbell, and on the city council were R. Allingham, W.H. Sikes, A.W. Newman, Geo. Erpelding and Sam Foster.From the Randolph Echo, Oct 17, 1884: "Several of our young ladies went over to the Republican Rally at Leonardville. They heard one speaker say: Politics make strange bed fellows, and they blushed and said they wanted to go home.The Erpelding residence was finished and they had moved into it in November 1885. This is the present home of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Schrum.In 1885 70% of the county was in farms which were valued at $4,951,827. Bala township had an assessed valuation of $173,249: There was a tri-weekly stage to Junction City from here, and daily mail.The first ordinance of the incorporated town setting the meeting times for the mayor and council was approved and passed Sept. 11, 1885. Charles Bacon was clerk and Lewis Laflin was Mayor. Other early ordinances included the duties of the city marshal, city clerk, police judge, licensing of dogs, licensing of pool, bowling and skating, shows, theatres - these were for traveling shows, the licenses lasted only three days. Ordinance No. 12 was for construction of sidewalks and the first ones built were 10 feet wide built from 2x6's from the Pacific Hotel on the west, north to the post office, and on the east side from the railroad depot to Ira Wilcox's livery stable. Side walks for the side streets, including to the city limits on the east were subsequently built, but only 5 feet wide.In December 1885, $250 was appropriated to buy a cemetery site. In 1886 and '87 duties of the city board of health were set by ordinance, it was unlawful for minors to hitch rides on the railroad and a tax levy of 10 mills was imposed.The Union Pacific bought and widened the railroad in 1890, but the road which was to extend from Leavenworth to Denver was never completed. In 1928 the L.K.& W., popularly called Leave Kansas and Walk, ceased operation and all equipment was removed.The town which had started with such high dreams had prospered, but was never destined to be much larger in size. In 1890 Leonardville had reached its peak in population with 410, by 1900 it was down to 325.There have been several fires in the town. One of the worst was in 1893 before there was a water works. All the buildings were wooden from the livery barn at the south end of Erpelding where the lumber yard is, up to and including the corner drug store. A few years later, a livery stable and a few other buildings in the same block burned. At one time the Schwartz store burned at the site of the present show building.The number of old timers who remember these hectic years of the new town is rapidly decreasing as they pass on. Horace Doyle, one of the few left, remembers: "Early days events of Leonardville as near as I can remember, 75 years ago, if you wanted, your mail, you went 1/2 mile west, 1/2 north to the post office on Kilbourne farm. He was an old soldier. Post office now was a blacksmith shop run by Charley Phelps. Theatre building was a general store run by Swenson Bros. Stock buyers were Sell Thompson and Ike Warren; drayman, Ed Daniels. South and west part of town, Burk's store, Stafford Hardware, Dr. Crans. Spark's Bank, next Erpelding store, run by Frank, George and John. East side before the fire, Bert Kendall's livery stable, Charley Lind store, Cumins pool hall, Pritchard's shoe store, Fred Colt drug store on corner. North side Davis store, later Bardwell's, now Chaffee's, Lewis Pearson meat market. West side: W.H. Sikes, and Doyle Bros. later bought and enlarged by Sikes Co. North of Sikes store was Bredberg toy and novelty store."=======Oliver Lund wrote several years ago about the first settler days in the area that later became School District 52, or Pleasant Hill. "Those old boys didn't just move in, nothing to move into (about 1870) so among other firsts, especially water, a house or shelter of some kind had to be constructed. As this was all high prairie with no springs or running water, we can all think back and realize their difficulties. As I was only 2 years old, I'm not here to tell how they did this or that I feel sure there was plenty of work to do and I'm surprised that they all stuck. All the homesteads on or near streams had been settled before, so no doubt they were a big help in various ways. No real hardships or near starvation was experienced by any one that I ever heard of and I believe they really enjoyed the life, at least after the first year. Of course there was little variety and the sameness became monotonous. The most tiresome to me was herring and salt whitefish and potatoes. I was not old enough for that kind of fare, but it was eat it or else."There was one happening that stands out in my memory and that was the great migration of grasshoppers of June, 1874. Not since has there been anything like it or even approaching the like and never will be again."I went to school at about six years. This was also my first introduction to the English language. School was held in Ole Swedeberg's cellar. The teacher was Nellie Bardwell who was 13 or 14 at the time. We learned to count by the stair steps. No school district had been organized."Now skip a year or two, then to herding our cows. I was eight and don't remember skipping a day all summer. Our cows and Walstrom's and usually Swenson's. The poor calves had to be broke to ride. No one could afford a pony in those days and with only 2 work horses, small chance of riding them. The second year of herding added cows of Hedland's, Louis Lund's and Stoneberg's to the herd. Herding cows was the nicest and easiest work I ever did and what fun. Dozens of nice ponds to swim in and with lots of fish, too, but it couldn't last. The Rus-well barb wire was a new invention so my carefree days were over. I don't think that any of the boys escaped field work after 10 years old or even younger. Monty Rundquist at 8 plowed a whole field probably 6 or 7 acres, when he could little more than reach up to the handles. At corners he would lay the plow down and let horses make turn then straighten up the plow. Round corners of course that had to be plowed last by themselves."With so little money to spend all had to watch the corners. A man with several hundred dollars was considered rich. And to borrow a hundred dollars took close scrutiny."Pleasant Hill finally developed into a big school when there were some seats with three sitting in them. The many dialects of the Swedes was a source of teasing."Next the railroad, and how I watched the smoke coming closer every day. Doyle's, then came in sight on Backlund's place, Louis Lund's and across a tiny corner of Walstrom's. Charley Wickstrom boarded with us while working on the grading."Soon our new address was Green, Clay Co. Kansas. C.L. Caley, postmaster. But he had something better, a sorghum mill. The whole family helped make the best molasses and as good as anyone could. wish."I should have named a few of the first settlers on Otter Creek. Besides Caley's there was J.J. Myers, Bill Dix, and I think Brees qualify, Watson Brees, Jonathan Glovers. Next we'll have to get acquainted with the town people, Nimrod Young, postmaster, with Ted acting postmaster, then a grocery store Young and Iams, Jackson Hainey and son, Jim, grocery and dry goods, hats, caps, boots and shoes the ads read. One time I happened in Young and Iams store when they were plenty worried. Mrs. Walstrom had asked for 'moosket.' They had many shelves bare and things on the counter. 'Nutmeg' sez I."Sol Bardwell and I would ride up to Green on Friday evening to get Golden Argosy when it came about 10 p.m., spend some time at Cochrans restaurant. Thornton's had a hardware store and grain elevator and Thornton and Wilson, hog buyers; Stover Moon, blacksmith; Sol Weichselbaum of May Day soon after quit his store; Sam Byarley at May Day had some farm machinery. Think Mrs. Byarley was postmistress. Some time later M. Senn put up a store at Lasita, also named it that, later was postmaster there. Frank J. Lund took over the store and later the elevator and made Lasita an important center as well as shipping of live stock from there."My folks did nearly all their grocery buying in Leonardville, mostly at Erpeldings as Pa got the biggest sack of candy there, for free of course as was the custom at all grocery stores in those days."======Such were the early life and times of Leonardville. It is still a thriving community, mainly due to the farmers in the surrounding territory who were the backbone of the town in the early days and are still aiding it.=======
Acknowledgement is here made to the following for help on this history: W.H. Sikes, W.A. Anderson, Horace Doyle, Oliver Lund, Mr. and Mrs. Sig Johnson, Mrs. Bessie Wohler, Mrs. Marie Tucker, Mrs. Oscar Johnson, Mrs. B. Sikes, Rev. L.N. Dahlsten's writings, The Riley Independent, The Randolph Echo, The May Day Gleaner, and The Leonardville Monitor.

Written by: D. Marcellus in August 1956

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