El Dorado, Kansas in 1881
From: History of Butler County, Kansas
BY: Vol. P. Mooney
Standard Publishing Company
Lawrence, Kansas 1916


In March, 1881, El Dorado had reached the dignity of 2152 people; the county had a population of 17,096. From 1870 to 1875 there had been constant bickering and quarreling in the county over the location of the county seat. If no fight was on by reason of Augusta's efforts to wrest the county seat from El Dorado, then Douglass and Augusta combined in efforts to divide the county. These plans and plottings were flustrated by more or less honestly conducted elections in each of which a greater or less number of illegal and bonus votes were cast, not by one but by both sides to the contests. The A. T. & S. F. Railway had extended a branch line from Florence to El Dorado in 1877 and El Dorado's trade was large from the southern part of the county until the Frisco Railway was constructed in 1879 and Beaumont, Leon and Andover, smart little towns, cut off a portion of the trade. There was much depression felt in El Dorado, it was feared that Augusta would again seek to take the county seat which increasing votes would enable her to do. But El Dorado had been hedging. In 1870, largely if not entirely through private subscriptions the east third of what was then the court house was erected. This building steadied the minds of the people in the central portion and northern half. Augusta made her last battle and lost it. Then in '75 the county commissioners "repaired" the court house and in doing so managed to a little more than double its size. Then "Honest John" Fullinwider effectively headed off further trouble in that direction. He was elected to the state legislature and passed an act providing that when county buildings whose cost was $10,000 or more were erected at the county seat, county seat elections should not be called oftener than once in five years and then only when petitioned by two fifths of the qualified electors. Then the dissensions which had annoyed and disturbed the people for ten years forever disappeared. Things began to brighten for El Dorado because the Missouri Pacific railway was being extended from Ottawa southwest to Yates Center and the Fort Scott, Wichita & Western (now the Missouri Pacific) was organized and was building westward from Fort Scott, reaching El Dorado in the winter of 1882-83, bringing in a period of growth and development to the town and ending in the "boom" of 1887.

March 4, 1881, T. B. Murdock, then editor and proprietor of the Times in a "Goodbye" to the people of Butler county, announced the sale of the paper to Alvah Shelden. He called attention to his eleven years of newspaper work, beginning as an inexperienced writer and editor, of his endeavor to give the county a "respectable" newspaper and one that would represent the intelligence, the growth and prosperity of its people; and how well he had succeed, he left his friends to say. He regretted the severance of social and political ties. He commended Mr. Shelden as an "honest, competent, and trustworthy man."

The new editor in his greeting said: "From my youth it has been my desire to be editor and proprietor of a newspaper. There is nothing particularly inviting about the profession except its variety, there is the spice of life about it but it entails hard and constant work to make it successful."

In 1881, according to the "Times," practicing attorneys in El Dorado were A. L. Redden, Robert A. Cameron, C. B. Doughters, C. A. Leland, A. W. Dennison, A. L. L. Hamilton, Lafayette Knowles, F. L. Jones and. S. E. Black; physicians, M. E. Pratt, E. Cowles, J. A. McKenzie, C. H. Davis and C. M. Hughey; blacksmiths, Johnston & (William L.) Pattison; dentist, D. NI. Doty; pork packing, John H. Betts; hotels, El Dorado House, Central, Lutz & Jackman, proprietors; the Whitehouse, Dr. Allen White, proprietor (now home of Vincent Brown); National Hotel, oppositte (north of) the court house, L. B. Snow, proprietor (now the White House), Mrs. Carrie A. Camp, proprietor); boot and shoemaker, Isaac DeCou and John Karouse, James Hughes; secret societies, Patmos Lodge, No. 97, A. F. & A. M.; El Dorado Lodge, No. 74, I. O. O. F., L. C. Pickerel, N. G., Joe E. McKenzie, secretary; Friendship Lodge, Rebeka Degree, W. H. Dulevy, N. G., R. H. Julian, secretary; Knights of Honor, E. W. Hulse, dictator, G. M. Weeks, Reporter; Royal Arch Masons, J. S. Dutton, H. P., C. N. James, Secretary; markets, John R. Stewartson; livery, Nate Roberson, Hecox & Fackler, I. N. and George Phillips (on the site of Ellett's opera house); architect, Charles A. Blanck; lands, loans and abstracts, D. L. Knowles, S. L. DeTalent & Company, (Thomas E.) Woods & (S. E.) Black; coal, J. F. Bartles; auctioneer, A. M. Warren; furniture Abraham Muselman & Son, J. T. Oldham & Company; millinery, Mrs. J. W. Davis; land and loan agents at Leon, J. M. Kilts and J. King; stationery, (Alvah) Shelden & (Marion) Shelden, Dr. A. Barrett; El Dorado mills, Burdett & Weeks, proprietors; money lender, George W. Scott; nursery stock, William Litson, of Benton; dressmaking and sewing, Mrs. Coney; land and loan agents, William J. Cameron and J. M. Lambert; dry goods, clothing, ladies' cloaks, John H. Ewing & Company, H. H. Gardner & G. W. Tolle (who dissolved partnership at this time - Gardner to enter the Exchange bank as cashier), Meyer & Bros. (J. C. and Fred), including groceries; hardware, W. W. Pattison, Maoris & Ream, (Ed. C.) Ellett and (C. L.) Turner; sewing machines, J. B. Marcum; Exchange bank, Neil Wilkie, president, Dr. Allen White, vice president, Samuel L. Shotwell, cashier; Western Lumber Company, M. M. VanDenberg, manager; billiard parlor and saloon, James Thomas; druggist, (C. H.) Selig & (G. D.) Gossard (dissolved partnership about that. time); Dr. Addison Bassett.

The officials of Butler county in 1881 were as follows: E. S. Torrence, judge; C. P. Strong, county clerk; Milton Bradley, treasurer; W. H. Douglass, sheriff; E. a Stratford, probate judge; E. E. Harvey, register of deeds; Lafe Knowles, county attorney; C. N. James, clerk of the district court; J. W. Shively, county superintendent; H. C. Gabbart, county surveyor; J. M. Williamson, coroner; H. N. Pearse, Chelsea; S. F. Packard, Rosalia, and M. Guinty, of Fairmount. county commissioners.

Of course, not all of the business of El Dorado was represented in the "Times," but the larger portion was.

This El Dorado History is in 4 parts

El Dorado History.

El Dorado in 1870

El Dorado in 1881

El Dorado in 1916

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