The founding of the town of Atlanta in northeastern Cowley County resulted from the building of the Kansas City and Southern railroad through that section to the southwest.
This branch of railway afterwards became a part of the "Frisco system" in Kansas.
The townsite was surveyed in April, 1885, and the first train ran between Beaumont and the state line on August 22, 1885. This was before the ties were laid to complete the track.
Atlanta is built on the southwest quarter of section 15 and the southeast quarter of section 16 in Omnia township.
The land was purchased from William H. Day, who had become the owner but a short time previously.
The town was named by Mary Higgins (Moore). A list of names was sent to Topeka, and the one submitted by her was selected. She was the daughter of Wallace and Joanna Higgins who came from Wyandotte county and homesteaded south of Atlanta in 1870. Mary Higgins was fifteen years old at the time the town was named. She became the wife of William W. Moore.
William Earnest Darlington, the son of George and Lettie (Gillard) Darlington drove the stake that established the townsite. He was born in Illinois and was twelve years old at this date.
William H. Day was president of the townsite company.
Robert S. Strother, who homesteaded east of Atlanta, was the first Justice of the Peace.
Chas. M. Grant was the first Constable.
In 1900 the town was incorporated and Willis Wilson, who had homesteaded in Richland township in 1870, was elected the first mayor.
The first church built in the town was the Methodist Episcopal South. Many of the early settlers of this community came from southern states and southern traditions predominated. The Reverend Broadhurst was the first pastor of this church.
The next denomination to establish a church home was the Christian Church. The first pastor was . In the course of time the Methodist Church South was succeeded by the Methodist Church and a new building was dedicated November 11, 1900. This church burned in 1932, and another church was dedicated.
All church buildings were built by the citizens, who contributed their time, money, and labor that the community might have religious teaching and fellowship.
The cemetery was established in l885, and Minnie Craig, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P. W. Craig, was the first person buried there.
The first school was taught by May Kinley in 1885 in the upper room over her father's drug store. It was supported by subscription. The drug store was destroyed by fire and the second term was taught in the old Methodist Episcopal Church South, and Anna Primrose was the instructor. A two-room school house was built in 1886, and Miss Stanley (or Stanberg) was employed by the school board.
The school building was the community center for all social and business gatherings.
A band was organized in the winter of 1885, and George M. Shelley was the director.
Carrie Gray was the first to graduate from Atlanta High School.
The first dwelling in the town was brought in on wheels by George W. Davis, from the village of Polo, located southwest of Atlanta. The village is now extinct.
William Gillard and Willis Wilson both erected homes at about this same date. These dwellings were in the southwest part of the town, not far north of the railroad. They were built before the first train passed through the town.
Roster of Business Men in 1885
Hardware -- Willis Wilson
Groceries -- E. D. Doty
General Merchandise -- Gillard & Darlington; E. M. Dunbar
Drugs -- Mr. Kinley
Lumber -- Snodgrass & Gross
Hotel -- George B. Darlington; A. T. Borrough; Sam Cowley
Real Estate -- Day and Strother
Newspaper -- P. W. Craig
Livery Stable -- Chas. M. Grant; Chas. Work
Blacksmith -- George W. Davis; J. C. Curry
Meat Market -- "Arkansaw" Wilson
Barber Shop -- Ed Haycraft
Shoe Shop -- Bert Clawsey
Station Agent -- A. H. Hickson
Painters -- W. E. Elden and James Simpson
Carpenters -- George Culbison; Williams & Company; Haycraft Brothers; and Zeigler Brothers
Dr. Daniels; Dr. McGinnis; Dr. Archer; and Dr. D. Cunningham were the pioneer physicians of the town. The first three mentioned eventually moved to other localities.
Dr. D. Cunningham, 1837-1901, was born in Indiana, migrated westward in 1851 living in Illinois, Missouri, and Cherokee county, Kansas, before locating in the northwest quarter of section 3 in Omnia township in 1877. He began the practice of medicine in Illinois, which he continued after his location on his claim, having established an office in his residence on the farm where he lived and ministered to the ill of the community until 1900 when he moved to Atlanta and practiced until his death occurred the following year.
He was a man of unique character and devoted to his profession. He was successful in agriculture pursuits and at the time of his death owned a large tract of land located in Cowley and Butler counties. He also owned a number of town lots in Atlanta and built one of the most substantial business buildings of the town on the northeast corner of the town square.
Politically he was a reformer and was an ardent supporter of the Populist Party in 1889-90, and was elected Coroner at that date. His wife was Nancy Kent whom he married in 1860. They were the grandparents of the celebrated Glen Cunningham (son of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Cunningham) who has won world fame as the greatest middle distance runner of his day (1935). His greatest victory, however, was his grim determination to overcome apparently insurmountable physical handicaps to accomplish this distinction.
Willis Wilson, 1835-1920, was born in Indiana and served in the Civil War from that state. He came to Cowley County in a covered wagon and homesteaded on Dutch Creek in 1870. The Indians were still roaming the plains, and it was four miles from his preemption to the nearest settler. In 1885 Mr. Wilson retired from farming and built one of the first store buildings in Atlanta and embarked in the hardware business, which he later sold and purchased the building that W. H. Day had built and engaged in general merchandising. This store he sold to Burns and Grissem in 1893 and engaged in business with his son, Henry Wilson, selling hardware implements and vehicles. After retiring, he moved to Winfield. When the town of Atlanta was incorporated in 1900, Mr. Wilson was elected as the first mayor. He was active in the Methodist Church and all civic affairs of his vicinity.
Robert S. Strother was born in 1840 in Kentucky and served in the Civil War from that state. In February 1870 he was married to Miss Jennie Crawford and that fall they migrated to Cowley County and homesteaded in Omnia township east of Atlanta. Mr. Strother was prominently identified with the early history of Atlanta, conducting a real estate office and acting as a peace officer. He was also associated with J. S. Kidwell in conducting a general store. In 1891 he was elected Register of Deeds and the family moved to Winfield.
J. S. Kidwell homesteaded in Harvey township and in 1883 so1d his homestead to J. E. Griffin and he moved to Atlanta where the town was founded and engaged in merchandising. He received the appointment of postmaster under President Cleveland succeeding George B. Darlington.
William H. Day was born in Kentucky in 1831. In 1869 he was married to Martha Montgomery in Chicago, Illinois. In 1885 he came to Cowley County and purchased the land on which Atlanta was built which later he sold to the townsite company. For a time the new town was known as "Day". Mr. Day built the first business building of the town on the northwest corner of the public square. He engaged in the real estate business with Robert S. Strother and was an enthusiastic promoter of the various activities of the town. At that time his family lived in Augusta. They later moved to Winfield, and he engaged in the hardware business.
A. H. Hickson was the first station agent in Atlanta. His successor was a Miss Burris. During the intervening fifty years, six incumbents served in this capacity. John Jones became agent in 1899 and served for thirty-six years. Other depot agents were Stearns, John DeJean, June Sheets, and Don Stebbens.
P. W. Craig was the pioneer newspaperman of the town. He owned and edited the Atlanta Advertiser in 1885. He later edited the Dexter Free Press.
Milo Copeland established the Atlanta Cricket in 1888.
Ollie Ferguson owned and edited the Atlanta Record in 1905.
A. L. Crow edited the Atlanta Journal at one time.
Byron Darlington and W. L. Reagan owned and edited the Journal from 1909 to 1914.
Chas. W. Brannum also engaged in the publication of the Journal at a more recent date.
Gillard and Darlington were the earliest merchants of the town. They moved their stock of general merchandise from the trading post of Baltimore located two and one-half miles southeast of the new townsite. Their merchandise was freighted in by team and wagon until the railroad was completed. Baltimore was established in 1871, and is recorded as an important geographical point in the early history of Cowley County. It is now listed as one of the lost towns of the county.
William H. Gillard was born in Illinois and came to Cowley County in 1871 and located on section 27 in Omnia township. This was before the organization of the township which occurred February 6, 1873, and Mr. Gillard was elected as the first Trustee of the township. He was also appointed Postmaster at Baltimore in 1878 and conducted the office in connection with their store. Mr. Gillard built one of the first dwellings in Atlanta and was prominent in the early affairs of the town during the organizational days. His wife was Miss Delana Jenkins, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Jenkins, early pioneers of Omnia township.
George B. Darlington, 1845-1926, was born in Ohio, and the family migrated to Illinois. In 1873 Mr. Darlington, his wife and small son, William Earnest, came to Cowley County, and he homesteaded south of Atlanta. He was associated with his brother-in-law, William H. Gillard, in conducting a general store at Baltimore when it was the outstanding trading post of the northern part of the county. Mr. Darlington succeeded Mr. Gillard as postmaster at Baltimore and was the incumbent when Atlanta was established and served as post official in the new town until a political change in the presidential administration occurred.
Mr. Darlington erected a hotel in Atlanta soon after the the town was started and was active in other enterprises, besides merchandising. He was twice married. His first wife was Lettie Gillard--sister of W. H. Gillard--who died in 1885; he later married Miss Ella Williams who was a native of Nebraska and came to Atlanta the year it was founded.
Laura (Haworth) Harris, Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. P. Haworth
Mrs. S. C. Fabian died following a stroke. Funeral was held at the First Christian Church in Winfield where they lived. Rev. P. H. Guy officiated at the funeral and also talked at the funeral of Mr. S. C. Fabian, who died 8 years before. He took for his text the 15th chapter of 1 Cor. Rev. R. W. Gentry assisted in the service.
Mrs. S. C. Fabian was Miss Sarah C. Redpath before her marriage. She was born in Makaska County, Iowa, May 25, 1856. In 1877 she was married to C. G. Fabian. To this union two sons were born, O. T. and J. C. They came to Kansas in 1877 and took as a claim the farm known as the Albert Batch farm. Mr. Charley Fabian was one of the most industrious, hard working citizens the community has ever known. One of the things for which he was admired most was his devotion and kindness to his frail, delicate wife. The two boys went to school at Grand Center. The latter part of their lives, Mr. and Mrs. Fabian lived in their comfortable little home in Winfield.
W. R. Stolp was another of the old settlers who came to Kansas in 1867. In 1870 he settled on a homestead a few miles southeast of Atlanta and died in Atlanta at the age of 80 years. The funeral was conducted by Rev. Hankins. His wife was Lucy Kinsley. To this union was born 9 children. It was on his place in Timber Creek where many obeyed their Lord in the ordinance of baptism. Among the number were Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Stolp and several of their children; Robert L. Ward and wife and several of their children; Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Messenger and their two daughters, Mary Haworth and Salina Crow. It was Dec. 8, 1881 when she, Mrs. A. L. Crow, was baptized. The ice had to be cut, which was several inches thick and her clothes froze stiff as she was taken from the creek to Mr. Stolp's house, where people always went to change.
The S. S. and church use to be held, in 1873, in Old Baltimore school house and later at Grand Center and still later worshipped in the school house in Atlanta and then in the church. Myrtle (Haworth) DeBard was also baptized in the same place in Timber Creek, in Mr. Stolp's grove, Oct. 21, 1887; Laura and Clinton Haworth, March 24, 1889. Bro. Skeggs was conducting a revival in the schoolhouse in Atlanta and did the baptizing. Earl and Ruby Haworth were converted later and obeyed their Lord in baptism Dec. 20, 1900.
John L. Haworth, father of Mahlon P. Haworth, was married Sept. 5, 1837 to Mary Moffat, who was born in Indiana. To this union was born 7 sons and one daughter. They were members of the "Quaker" or Friends church and reared their children in this faith. She passed away at her sons, Chas. Haworth, in Downey, California, at the age of 96. He, John L. her husband, earlier at the age of 66. She (Mahlon Haworth's mother) was an ordained minister of the Quaker church and for a number of years, and in her younger days, practiced medicine. She talked about going to heaven calmly and serenely the night prior to her departure, and united in the family worship by singing the entire song, "I Am Going Home."
She made her home for a number of years at her son's, Mahlon Haworth's near Atlanta, on the farm. Many will remember her, as she always wore the Quakers' dress and bonnet.
Mahlon Haworth, her son, their 6th child, born in Keokuk, Iowa, was converted shortly after his marriage to Mary Messenger in a revival of the Church of Christ, held in a grove on Timber Creek, near Old Baltimore, Bro. Harvey doing the preaching. Mary, his wife, went in the church at the same time. Previous to this she had been a Methodist. A few years later he was made a deacon in the church, later an elder. He remained such until his death, in Atlanta, Jan. 11, 1924, at the age of 76 years.
Mary (Messenger) Haworth is still living at the age of 84, with her daughter, Mrs. Dr. A. T. Harris or Laura, her second daughter, at Dallas, Texas. Her other daughter, Myrtle DeBard, lives in Vista, California, south of Los Angeles. Both sons, Clinton and Earl passed away near Atlanta where all 4 were born and reared.
Jonas Messenger's wife use to be a "Cryer", native of Halifax, England. Elizabeth Cryer came from Halifax to America in the year of 1857. Their marriage was solemnized in the Parish of Halifax in York county, in March 14, 1864. (This Jonas and Elizabeth Messenger were the parents of Mrs. Mahlon Haworth) or M. P. Haworth as he was known.
The Perry family has been very hard to trace, and we have obtained little information relating to them.
Seth Perry, 1799-1848, was born in Cayuga County, New York, May 1, 1799 and married Matilda Smith, the sister of our paternal ancestor, Ebenezer Smith, October 30, 1820. They were the parents of 12 children all of whom were born in Ohio and are as follows: Rufus, 1822; Ralph, 1824; Mary Amanda, 1826; Jerome, 1828; Ira, 1830; Cyrena, 1832; George, 1834; Henry, 1836; Devilow, 1838; Marion, 1840; David, 1842; Lester, 1845. Of this group, Marion is still living.
Marion Perry was born in Delaware County, Ohio. About 1849 he moved with his widowed mother and brothers, Rufus, George, David and Lester; and sister, Cyrena, to Hillsdale county, Michigan. In 1872 he migrated to Butler County, Kansas, homesteaded near Rosalia, and engaged in farming. In later years he moved to ElDorado and now lives in the home of his son, Frank Perry. He served in the Civil War from the state of Michigan and is the only surviving veteran of the G.A.R. post in ElDorado. In 1933 the Sons of Union Veterans organized a post in ElDorado naming it "Marion Perry Camp #93" in honor of Comrade Perry. At that date he was ninety-three years of age. On March 22, 1935 he celebrated the ninety-fifth anniversary of his birth and entered heartily into the open house festivities given in his honor in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Perry. Groups from all the patriotic organizations of ElDorado were in attendance as well as church representatives and pioneers from the neighborhood in which he had lived. His son, David H. Perry; and family from Enid, Oklahoma, and his daughters, Mrs. Alice Vanderslice of Englewood, California and Miss Ethel Perry of Portland, Oregon, were also present. His other children are Fred and Tracy Perry, both of whom have lived in ElDorado for many years.
Lester Perry, the youngest son of Seth and Matilda Smith Perry, was born in Morrow County, Ohio. In his infancy he moved with his family to Hillsdale County, Michigan where he lived for a good many years. He is now a resident of Glendale, California. He is the father of two sons; Harvey and Verne of Las Vegas, Nevada; and one daughter, Blanch, of Glendale. He has seven grandchildren. He died January 20, 1935, aged 90 years.
Seth Perry, father of the above, died October 30, 1847 in Morrow County, Ohio and is buried in Westfield, Ohio. His wife, Matilda Smith Perry, died March 4, 1877, and is buried in "County Line" cemetery, Hillsdale County, Michigan. She died the day Hayes was inaugurated President.
Eunice Perry, 1801-1865, our paternal ancestor and the sister of Seth Perry, was born December 25, 1801. We have no verified knowledge of the place of her birth or her ancestry, but suppose that Cayuga or Onondaga county, New York, was her birth place as that locality seemed to be the residence of the Perrys, Hayes, and Smiths for some years at about that period. Neither do we have the date or place of her marriage to Ebenezer Smith, but judge that it occurred in Ohio, if Ebenezer Smith left New York with his father, Simeon Smith, in 1816 and moved to Ohio. Probably the Perrys were of the 70 families that migrated from New York at that time. (Mentioned elsewhere)
After tracing the lineage of many Perrys, we find David Perry who was born in Orange County, New York in 1757 and served in the Revolutionary War and later located in Elbridge, Onondaga County, New York. In-as-much as Elbridge is located on the county line between Cayugua and Onondaga counties, we feel that he might have been the father of Seth and Eunice Perry. He married a Mary Farrington, and we find that Seth and Matilda Smith Perry have both a David and a Mary in their family, and Ebenezer and Eunice Perry Smith have a Mary which further encourages us to think he might have been the father of these two, but this is not substantiated. This David Perry died in 1827 and is buried in Elbridge cemetery, Onondaga County, New York.
References: D. A. R. Lineage Record; Volume 44, Page 313.
Lester Perry, 2121/2 Lonita Avenue, Glendale, California.
Elizabeth Hayes, the wife of Simeon Smith, and our paternal ancestor was born at Mount Upton, Chenango County, New York, and tradition says that she was a near relative of President Rutherford B. Hayes. This impression prevails throughout all branches of the family, and is strengthened by the marked family resemblance that existed between the President and different members of the family, especially those of the Perry line and my father, James Hayes Smith. The fact that the Hayes family were residents of Branford, Connecticut for a period of years as was Simeon Smith, and that the families were both of Scotch-Irish descent, further substantiates the tradition. Then, too, many of the Hayes family migrated to New York, as did Simeon Smith.
The Hayes family dates back to 1280 when they were of the nobility of Scotland and owned extensive estates. They are recorded as being Scottish chieftains fighting side by side with William Wallace and Robert Bruce.
George Hayes was the first of the family to come to America. He was born in Scotland in 1655 and went to Derbyshire, England as a young man. He came to this country in 1680 locating at Windsor, Connecticut. He was twice married. His first wife died soon after their marriage. His second wife was Abigail Dibble or Dibol. They were the parents of six daughters and five sons.
After reading the "History of the Hayes Family" as written by Reverend Chas. W. Hayes of Westfield, New York, who is a descendant of Samuel Hayes, a son of George Hayes, I am convinced that we are descendants of Benjamin Hayes, the youngest son of George, while the President Hayes family are descendants of Daniel Hayes, the eldest son of George.
President Hayes, who was born in 1822, and my father, James Hayes Smith, who was born in 1823, each being 6 generations removed from the founder of the family in this country.
References: New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 36.
Doctor Florence Smith Goodhue, Cardington, Ohio.