Towns of Sedgwick County, Kansas (Page 1)
From: History of Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas
Past and Present
O. H. Bentley, Editor-in-Chief
C. F. Cooper & Co. Publisher.
Chicago 1910


Afton township, in Sedgwick county, is the only township in the county not touched by a railroad. Some of the townships are bisected with the iron rails, others are touched on the corners, but Afton has no railroad, nor has it a postoffice within its borders. Its postoffices are Goddard and Garden Plain, in the townships on the north. The township is finely watered by Clear creek and its branches, and along this stream are raised many fine fields of alfalfa. A number of Wichita people, notably C. W. Southward, Coler L. Sim and C. L. Davidson, have arranged a pleasant fishing preserve on Clear creek and have set trees and built summer homes on the banks of an artificial lake, where they dam the waters of Clear creek. To this resort they often go with their families and their intimate friends. To this resort is a most pleasant ride by automobile. Chas. A. Windsor, S. L. Nolan, W. B. Throckmorton, J. R. E. Payne, Taylor and Crawford, W. H. McCluer, A. Leichart and John Keifner are familiar names in this locality. Some of them are dead, but the good farms they tilled and the improvements they made survive them, blessing the landscape and charming those who come after them.


In an early day in the history of Sedgwick county two important families occupied lands in the neighborhood of the Fifth Parallel school house in Sherman township. These families were the Andersons and the Dales, and when the Wichita & Colorado Railway was built from Wichita to Hutchinson these families were recognized in the name of An-Dale, which is a compound of the two names. Andale is located upon the northeast of section 15, in Sherman township. This township is largely settled by German farmers, who have by constant attention to business and by thrift and careful farming grown prosperous and forehanded. Upon the opening of the new country to the south the Andersons and Dales went southward. Their good farms have passed into the hands of strangers, but the good lands are there and no history of Sherman township can be written without the mention of the Andersons and the Dales, who were among the early preemptors of that section. Andale is a prosperous trading point and a grain center. It has a most prosperous Catholic church and a good, strong parish. It is in the midst of a wheat farming district and there is no better farming community in the state of Kansas. M. Lill, A. M. Richenberger, Ellis Shaner and M. B. Hein are familiar names in this township.


Anness is in the southwest corner of Sedgwick county. Some years since, when the Santa Fe built the Mulvane extension, then called the Leroy & Western, and pursuing its policy of building around Wichita, instead of into it, or out of it, this company ran a line from Augusta to Mulvane and from Mulvane west to Englewood, in Clark county, Kansas. This line of railway from Mulvane west cut the south tier of townships in Sedgwick county. Out in Erie township a man named W. H. Wilson, a nervy land man living in Arcade, N. Y., had purchased through the old land firm of Jocelyn & Thomas 5,000 acres of land and was rapidly putting it in cultivation. The new line cut his land in Erie township, all of which caused him much disgust. As the writer of this article had encouraged Mr. Wilson to purchase this land in the first instance, he came into the writer's office to do a good bit of rag chewing and was bewailing the fact that the line of railway cut his land. After giving the matter some thought, and, in the language of Sam Kernan, "mature reflection," the writer suggested that Mr. Wilson go with him that night to Topeka and make the Santa Fe people a townsite proposition. This was done, the trip was made and the usual deal was perfected with the Arkansas Valley Town Company, which is the land company of the Santa Fe Railway. This deal was made upon the usual terms, to wit, that the railroad company at once acquired the big end and the control of the town. Then came the inquiry as to what the name of the new town should be. As Mr. Wilson had furnished the land and had given the railway people 51 per cent of it to establish a depot on the same, by Mr. Edward Wilder, then the treasurer of the railway company, he was accorded the privilege of naming the town. He said that he would like to name the town after his wife. He was asked by Mr. Wilder what was the name of his wife. He replied, Ann S. Wilson. Call the town Anness, said Mr. Wilder, to which suggestion all parties present at once agreed, and so the town was named and will be so called to the end of the chapter. Anness is located in the wheat belt of Kansas. It is surrounded by fertile farms and its citizenship is of the best. U. E. Baird, A. Small, H. D. Compton, William Gawthrop, Russ Baird, B. F. Forrest and M. L. Coates are prominent farmers in the vicinity of Anness.


The early settlers of Sedgwick county, and the early buffalo hunters purusing the noble game on the divide between the Cowskin and the Ninnescah away to the southwest of Wichita, saw a level plain with an imperceptible slope to the southward where flows the Ninnescah river. Originally this divide was regarded as poor and undesirable land; the settlers were sparse and few, and a large area was used for pasturage for large herds of cattle which were grazed there.

Franklin Fay was one of the early settlers in this region, and so was W. H. Baughman, the late Judge Wall who early had a good nose for land and was a natural land man by reason of his early training in Cumberland county, Illinois, became an investor in the lands near Baynesville. This town came into existence upon the building of the Missouri Pacific railway from Wichita to Conway Springs and southward to Kiowa and the station of Baynesville was laid out and a town established upon the southeast quarter of section 5 in Ohio township,

Judge Wall at one time owned some land directly west and north of the depot at Baynesville, The town was named for Judge Bayne, of Anthony, who procured a large portion of the right of way for the railroad company. Cultivation has changed the entire face of the landscape and good crops are now the rule around Baynesville, which was once the favorite feeding ground of the American bison.


Bentley is a town and trading point in Eagle township in the northwest portion of Sedgwick county, In 1887, the Kansas Midland Railway was built from Wichita to Ellsworth, a distance of 107 miles, and the building of this line bisected Eagle township and established a depot and town on section 11, Eagle township, The town was named in honor of O. H. Bentley, of Wichita, The local railway company was composed of Wichita men; the directors were ex-Governor W. E. Stanley, J. Oak Davidson, Robert E. Lawrence, Charles R. Miller, Orsemus H, Bentley and H. G. Lee. When organized this railway company was officered by C, R, Miller, president; J. Oak Davidson, treasurer, and O. H. Bentley, secretary, It was constructed by the Kansas Construction and Improvement Company, an aggregation of Hartford and eastern capital. The line is now operated as a part of the Frisco system under a 99 year lease, The building of this line called the town of Bentley into existence and it is located in what is known as a very fertile portion of Sedgwick county, Its surrounding farms are finely adapted to the raising of corn, hogs and cattle, and the farmers of Eagle township are a prosperous and contented people. Not only do the farmers of that region raise hogs, cattle and corn, but many of them own automobiles and they are often seen upon the streets of Wichita, From Bentley to Wichita is eighteen miles by rail and by wagon road a little over twenty miles, A short hour's run by automobile from Bentley to Wichita via Valley Center, carries the tourist over a fine road, past some beautiful, well kept farms, with just enough grit and sand in the road to make the tires take hold and keep the machine from skidding.

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