Rice County

Story of
Early Rice County

Published, December, 1928



Wildwood -Violet Springs - Glen Sharrold - Allegan -Voyls. All of which, from their phonetics, might be proper nouns from "Lady of the Lake". But they are not. Mere names now, they were once towns and post offices of Rice county, Kansas.

There are others, too, in the list of phantom cities of Rice county. Some of them will be remembered with difficulty even by those who came here as late as the '70s. Others are still to be found on the map but mean nothing to "Uncle Sam" who has, in every case, discontinued mail service to them.

Foremost among the lost towns are Atlanta and Peace. Atlanta, as is generally known, was the original Lyons, having been located on the old Santa Fe trail a little less than two miles southwest of the present city of Lyons. But even Atlanta was not an original name. The post office was first known as Brookdale. Major Muscott, in an early historical sketch, says Atlanta was established January 24, 1871. Frank Hoyt, pioneer settler now living in Lyons, and an early mail carrier, declares that Brookdale was located two and one half miles south of what is now Lyons, and that Early Joslin was its first postmaster as well as of Atlanta and Lyons, moving from Brookdale to Atlanta upon the establishment of that town. Then he moved his office again in 1876 when Lyons was voted the county seat and Atlanta was transferred bodily to that place.

The Sterling post office was known as Peace as long as the town retained that name, which was until April, 18, 1876. Peace was established in 1872, and S. P. C. Stubbs was the first postmaster.

A post office, the name of which has been forgotten, was located on the farm of H. Orndorff, three and one-half miles east of Lyons. Mr. Orndorff was its postmaster. Lodiana post office was established on the farm now owned by Tom Carter, about 10 miles southeast of Lyons, the first postmaster being J. W. Crawford. At the old stone corral location at the eastern edge of the county was a post office known by that name. Stone Corral post office was housed in a sod structure which served also as a store and hotel. The three offices just mentioned were on a star mail route between Lyons and McPherson and at the sod hotel the carriers always took dinner. J. W. Givens who lived two miles southwest of Lyons was the contracting carrier between the two towns, neither of which was entered by a railroad. Lodiana was incorporated with Little River, which came into being along with the railroad. J. W. Crawford and a Mr. Morehouse were among the early day postmasters. The office at the Orndorff farm was then discontinued, the patrons receiving their mail at Lyons.

Allegan was on section 5, Lincoln township, and J. L. Deeds was first postmaster, being followed by James A. Underwood. When the Missouri Pacific railroad finally came through Frederick the office was taken over by that town, where E. L. Drake and George F. McClelland were among the early postmasters, serving for many years.

Kansas Center post office was another to later be absorbed by Frederick. It was located in a sod building between two and three miles southeast of the present town of Frederick, on section 18, Victoria township. The postmaster was L. R. Rosencrantz. Mr. Rosencrantz comprised the greater part of the town for there he operated a general merchandise and implement store.

The former patrons of the old office of Prosper, in the northwestern part of the county, or those who remain of them, now get their mail either from Bushton or Claflin.

Cain City, a few miles southwest of what is now Bushton, was one of the earliest "boom towns" of the county, except for the fact that it would not boom. Chicago promotors who brought it into being predicted great things for it, but the people failed to take them seriously and the town was short-lived, tumbling into the discard with other of Rice county's "ghost cities". Sorghum, on section 15, Farmer township, held on for a few years but eventually did likewise.

Riverview, with Clay Hodgson as postmaster, Coopersburg over which J. E. Purdue, afterward county treasurer, presided, and Bartgestown, all were located in the eastern part of the county, along the Little Arkansas river or in the vicinity of the present town of Little River. Coopersburg was in section 15, Odessa township, and Bartgestown in section 2, Gait township.

New Cincinnati was in what was earlier known as "the valley", southwest of the center of the county. Its patrons finally began getting their mail at Sterling, Lyons and Alden, and it went the way of others.

Wildwood and Glen Sharrold were both in Farmer township, the former having been established in 1873.

The latter was in section 30, near the county line. Fairpoint was another of those located in Union township. Voyls was on the Voyls farm in Wilson township.

The names of Gait, Noble and Pollard are more familiar to the present generation, altho they have passed so far as their listing in postal records is concerned. John Berwick was postmaster for many years at the former place where he ran a large store, owned by a Mr. Trotter. Noble, on the Missouri Pacific in the northern part of the county, had a post office for some time, where George Manwarren and John Diggs officiated at different times. The office was discontinued because of an insufficient volume of business.

Pollard is the most recent post office to have gone out of official existence, having been removed from the lists and service within the past few years. Patrons of the Pollard office are now served by Route 5, which runs north out of Lyons.

Perhaps the most unique community ever established in Rice county, while neither a post office nor an incorporated town, enjoyed a brief existence in comparatively recent years in the form of a ranch immediately west of Raymond.

Here it was that in 1911 and until 1914 a bit of old England was transplanted to the rough and open middie-west. The families were those of the Cutlers, the Cartmels and the Brinkmans. The head of the former household was Sir Lawrence Cutler, an English baronet who, becoming incensed over some proposed legislation in his homeland, surrendered his noble rights and in disgust fled to America where he joined the Brinkmans who had previously moved onto the ranch in southwestern Rice county.

The estate was known as "Cutler Ranch", altho the home had been built by the Brinkman family. On the walls of the house were pictures of Sir Lawrence in his hunting togs-photos brought from England as had been much of the furniture and many of the other appointments.

Customs of England were observed, such as that of the hunt, for the men of Cutler ranch had their dogs and followed them in chase. They frequently invited people of the vicinity to participate.

Sir Lawrence soon became plain "Mr." Cutler, for he was so thoroughly displeased with England that he was not long in taking out naturalization papers. He had come from Lankashire. He was the only son of a prominent and wealthy family and even the threat of being disinherited had not stopped him after he became determined to leave. The Cutlers were related to the famous Manners' of Haddon Hall, where, in fact, they had spent their honeymoon.

Upon leaving the ranch these fine English people took up residence in other places. The Cutlers are now at Lawrence, the Brinkmans in Great Bend and at least one member of the Cartmel family is now living in Kansas City.

Cutler ranch in its entirety consisted of more than 1,000 acres, much of which was across the county line. The home, however, was in Rice county on property now known as the Clyde Yoe farm.



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