One hundred years ago in spring, 1869, the first 160-acre homestead near present Arkansas City was staked by John W. Tull. It was south of present East Madison Avenue and is today barely outside the city limits and not far from the junction of the Walnut and Arkansas rivers.
Tull,a veteran of the Civil War, having served under General U. S. Grant, came to this region in early 1869 via Eureka, Kansas, where he stopped off to assist friends with the planting of spring small grains for a short while around the fourth of March. Like so many early settlers, he was attracted to the mouth-of-the-Walnut region because of the proximity of large trees, some of which were two or three feet in diameter, and necessary to the building of new homes.
After laying out the boundaries of his claim (the SW1/4 of Sec. 32, Township 34, Range 4 East) (where the later city canal joined the Walnut River), he began the improvement of his claim as required.
Received of E. C. Manning six dollars for which I, Chetopa a chief of the Osage Indian Tribe, guarantee a peaceful and unmolested occupancy of 160 acres of land on the reservation for one year from date. Signed Chetopa, his mark Witness: Wm. Conner.
This period of Indian hostility also affected the would-be settlers near present Arkansas City, as the Indians forced Tull and his party to leave. His hay and unfinished house were burned, and Tull after some search, located another homestead in October, 1869, in Windsor Township in northern Cowley County, on Grouse Creek, SE1/4 of Sec.21, Township 31, Range 7 east. Profiting from his experience here, he soon took care to obtain a receipt from Chetopa, Chief of the Osages, for one year’s protection, bearing the date of January 25, 1870.
The next year, Windsor Township was organized with J. B. Todd, trustee; H. D. Wilkins, treasurer; and John W. Tull as clerk. Soon these men and S. M. Fall laid out a town on the site of Tull’s claim with his cabin as the town’s first house, and Tull later moved to another claim two or three miles farther north on grouse.
This town of Lazette, as it was called, flourished for almost a decade and acquired several industries and active citizens. Among these were H, D. Gans, proprietor of the first hotel; B. H. Clover, owner of a steam sawmill; Edward Sutton, owner of a flour mill. A church group also began meeting and elder William Gans was credited with preaching the first sermon.
The death-knell of Lazette was sounded by the KCL and S railroad when, in 1879, it bypassed the town and built a railroad station less than two miles further south which was named Cambridge. The people of Lazette moved their buildings to Cambridge and it has since continued to serve the people.
While Tull was being forced to leave his claim here, a party of northeastern immigrants was en route here under the leadership of Captain G. H. Norton. This group was apparently the scouts and the advance guard of the group which planned to found Walnut City (later Arkansas City) above the junction of the rivers. Patrick Endicott, of Fall River, Kansas, joined the group on the way down and, according to the records of Mrs. Bess Oldroyd, gave September, 1869, as the date of his departure from Fall river.
Upon arrival, Endicott promptly claimed as his own the homestead which Tull had so recently been forced to abandon. Other men staking claims along the Walnut at this time were listed as Henry Endicott, George Harmon, Pat Somers, J. Carr, J. Hughes and others. It is thought there were possibly 20 or more members of this group.
It was said the Indians harassed the group by reproaches, threats, petty thefts and begging. In the absence of Norton who spoke the Osage tongue, but who was obliged to return to Emporia for a short time, the Indians communicated with the settlers through an interpreter, the man William Connor whose name was signed as witness of many of Chetopa’s $5 certificates of protection.
Mr. Norton, upon his return, was able to pacify the Indians by assuring them that the United States government would soon pay for their land.
Endicott remained on this Arkansas City’s first homestead and established a brickyard there. The original building of First Methodist Church, still standing immediately north of the Junior College shop building at 107 South Second Street, was built of this brick, some of which still shows through the crumbling stucco cover. Many other early buildings also used this brick. In 1882, Endicott’s advertisement read, P. F. Endicott, manufacturer of a superior quality red brick for building purposes. All orders filled promptly and at prices as low as the lowest. Yards about one mile from the city.
Biographical Record, Cowley County, Kansas, in Newspapers, History Cowley Millington Records ME. Church. Maple City: In 1882, a pleasant village and doing well. No Towns No Longer Here:
TORRANCE, laid out in 1879 along Grouse Creek by citizens who did not like to climb hills to get to town. The people in Torrance are persevering and energetic, and their town is becoming a railroad town of some consequence.
Lazette Post Office established March 05, 1872.
Cambridge Post Office established January 30, 1880.
1880 - Post Office established on July 13, in Torrance and was closed June 15, 1906.
1882 - Post Office established in Grand Summit on June 02 and closed on June 15, 1933.
Kansas Post Offices by Baughman, 1961, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas)