Towns of Sedgwick County, Kansas (Page 3)
From: History of Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas
Past and Present
O. H. Bentley, Editor-in-Chief
C. F. Cooper & Co. Publisher.
Chicago 1910


The history of Sedgwiek county would certainly not be complete without some mention being made of the town of El Paso, now Derby, situated ten miles south of Wichita on section 12, township 29, range 2 east.

The first settlers on the land were John H. Huffbauer and J. Hout Winnich. They laid out the town and had it platted in the spring of 1871. The first store to locate in the place was a general merchandise one, established by Sehlicter and Smith, who immediately proceeded to fail in business when they sold out to Neely and Vance. About this time a ferry boat was put in operation so that the people from the west side of the river could get into town, but in 1873 the two townships, Rockford and Salem, with the help of the county commissioners built a fine bridge. This, of course, put the ferry boat out of commission, but during the flood of 1877 the bridge went out and for two years El Paso was without communication from the west side. At this time another bridge was put in which answered all purposes until the present fine steel bridge was built. The first train to enter was the A. T. & S. F. July 18, 1879. The next improvement being a depot building built the following November. On the first of March, 1879, the town saw its first fire, which nearly destroyed every building in the place, but the citizens being men of the get up and push variety, the town was soon rebuilt and a new town company organized. From this time on the place seemed to jump and some of its inhabitants fondly hoped and actually believed it would beat Wichita. When the town was reorganized, George Litzenberg (afterward known throughout the state as Farmer Doolittle), started a general merchandise store, and after running it successfully for several years sold out in order to take up his new occupation, that of writing for the press. His first endeavor in that line being on the Wichita "Eagle." E. F. Osborn, now residing in Mulvane, built the first hotel but did not run it long until he sold out. Joseph Mock built the first blacksmith shop and did all the plow sharpening for miles around.

As was the custom in those days every town, no matter how small, had to have a place where wet goods were disposed of and so as to be in the push L. E. Vance opened up a saloon and it is needless to say did what in those days was called a landoffice business. In 1880, the Santa Fe railway changed the name of the town from El Paso to Derby, and from that day to this, Derby has always kept in the lime light so to speak. John Brunton built and operated the first grain elevator which afterward burnt down but was rebuilt by other parties. In 1872 Judge McCoy settled in that town and being the only student of Blackstone soon had all the legal business of the community to attend to. The judge had one son, eight years of age, who attended our public school and in a short time he became our fourth of July orator. In after years he studied law and was admitted to the bar, but the practice of law did not seem to agree with him so he gave it up in order to accept a clerkship in the Wichita postoffice, and by strict attention to business he has steadily advanced to assistant postmaster, which position he holds at the present time.

Among the early settlers of the place were Osborn, Eaton, McWilliams, Snyder Bros., Woodard, Pittman and Garrett. Anna Mary Garrett having the distinction of being the first white child born in the county.

The first timber used in the place was hauled from Salina, 118 miles, but at the present time we have a large lumber yard of our own, run by Davidson and Case Lumber Company. In the early seventies the Tucker Bros. came from Ohio and located here, H. C. being a doctor started a drug store and until the time of his death had all the practice in the southern part of the county. John and Wayne went to farming. John in after years held the offices of county clerk and treasurer.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was instituted in 1874, and at the present time is in a flourishing condition, owning their own property, a fine two story building. The Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, German Lutheran and Catholic all have churches of their own, which would be a credit to any town of twice the size of Derby.


Furley is a hamlet on the Rock Island railway, in Lincoln township. It was named in honor of Dr. C. C. Furley, since deceased, and at one time an eminent physician of Wichita. In an early day the medical firm of Furley & Russell was widely known in this locality. Dr. Farley was identified with a prospective railway company, known as the Omaha. Abilene and Wichita Railway Company. It proposed to unite the towns named. When the Rock Island came into Kansas it covered a large portion of the new company's proposed line. In the adjustment of routes the naming of Furley fell to Dr. Furley and his associates, and so the town was named Furley, and it perpetuates the name of an eminent surgeon and an early settler. The town is located upon the northeast quarter of section 16, in Lincoln township, and it is fortunate in being upon one of the great trunk lines of railway. There are railways and railways, and branch lines and feeders and all that, but it is not every town so fortunate in its location as to be upon a great trunk line, and it means something. The building of this line of the Rock Island developed the country fast. It gave the farmers a new market; it gave them easy access to Wichita, the shire town of the great county of Sedgwick. Around Furley are fine farms Uncle Philo Griffin is one of the old settlers. D. R. Bump is a prosperous farmer on the southwest. The Harrison estate owns extensive land holdings near Furley; Jasper Lowrey lives east of the town; Obediah Jordan, Chris Shepard, William Riser, H. I. Merrell, Owen Yazel, James McGrew, Oren Smith, and Oscar Matson are familiar names in Lincolr. township.


Garden Plain sprang into being upon the building of the Wichita & Western railroad from Wichita to Kingman.

Its citizenship is made up largely of a thrifty German population, who own fine farms in its vicinity. Garden Plain, situated midway between Cheney and Goddard, on the Santa Fe, Wichita & Western branch, twenty one miles west of Wichita, is an ideal place to live. The environments are delightful and the climate agreeable. The little city has a population of about 350, and has some of the finest store buildings in the county. It is an old town, having been in existence for over a quarter of a century. The little town has three large and well stocked general merchandise stores, one exceptionally large hardware store, one large drug store, one livery stable, one hotel, one bank, one lumber yard, two elevators, one millinery store, two meat markets, one restaurant, three churches and large and commodious school house, which is practically new. The bank has the largest deposits of any town its size in the state, and is constantly increasing them. The stockholders are all influential farmers and business men of the community and men who have lived there the greater part of their lives. It is located in a handsome one story brick building, erected a few years ago, and its officers and directors have been connected with it ever since its organization. The country immediately surrounding Garden Plain is well adapted to the raising of corn, oats, wheat and garden stuff. Wheat being the principal product, it finds a ready market in Wichita, for the elevator is never allowed to fill up. Before that is accomplished the grain is shipped to Eastern markets or to nearby towns. Corn also finds a ready market, and a great quantity of the grain is shipped annually.

Reaching Garden Plain upon the railroad the traveller always sees the familiar figure of Billy Taylor, who is the postmaster and who carries the mail to and from the trains. Among the active business men of Garden Plain may be named, Wulf Bros., Hahn Bros, and Martin Oebel.


Goddard is located on section 31 in Attica township. It was laid out and a railway station established upon the building of the Wichita & Western Railway. It became a good trading point from the first, and the tourist upon the trains running through that town always expects to see Henry Williams and Smith, the landlord, at the depot. They meet all trains and the town would be lonesome without them. Chris Shepard used to be there and buy hogs and cattle, but growing easy financially he bought some land at Furley and now enjoys the results of his strenuous labors. In an early day Orrin Herron run a livery stable in the town; Orrin used to drive the various candidates about that portion of the county and in those days he could pitch bundles, load hay or feed a threshing machine. Al Lyman used to live there and William Black used to live north of the town; he was a county lawyer and was in all of the early law suits of that section. Goddard is fourteen miles west of Wichita; the country around is essentially a wheat raising country. Ferdinand Holm, Charles M. Miles, Martin Holm, John Roeder, O. M. Pittinger, M. L. Henshaw, Samuel Eberly, Sam Nolan, and C. P. Schafer are familiar names in this, township.


Greenwich is a hamlet in Sedgwick county, and it has a population of about 100 souls. It contains schools and churches and several good stores. The building of the St. Louis, Fort Scott & Wichita railroad called Greenwich into being, it is about twelve miles east of Wichita. The railroad is now operated by the Missouri Pacific Railway Company. Greenwich is located upon the southwest quarter of section 15 in Payne township; this township was named in honor of Capt. David L. Payne, the original Oklahoma boomer. Payne's ranch, one of the old time ranches run by Captain Payne, was located in this township a little south and west of Greenwich. Payne township is a fine body of land, and is in a high state of cultivation. Mess Phillips and son carried on a general store in Greenwich for many years. The Phillips family, Devores, Herman Herr, H. W. Ruble, and Hjadens are very familiar names in and about Greenwich. Payne township is a full congressional township and is six miles east and west and six miles north and south. The township raises hogs and cattle, small grains of all kinds grown in this part of Kansas and Greenwich afford a most excellent grain market.


It was back in 1883 that a small, but determined bunch of men in Wichita headed by the redoubtable Col. J. W. Hartzell, projected a line of railway from Wichita to McPherson, to a connection with the Union Pacific at that point, and in an exuberant moment they drove Colonel Hartzell's black team to Mt. Hope, where a railroad meeting was held, attended by Bill Daily, Tom Randall and Jim McCormick, and the farmers for miles around; Uncle Cooney McCormick was there and so was Uncle Vincent from over the line in Haven township. This meeting was most enthusiastic, and it was resolved to build this line at once. Then began an era of rustle and hot haste along the proposed line, and aid was voted by the townships of Delano, Park, Union and Haven joined, and under the stress of the time and of the prospects, Bill Williams and Henry Haskins put their farms into a town site and the town of Hatfield was placed upon the map of Sedgwick county. The first store was placed in a corn field, streets were laid out and some Wichita men showed their faith in the town to the extent of building several buildings in Hatfield. Grant and Luckel put in a general store and a postoffice was applied for and everything looked favorable for a town; but Colonel Hartzell was a financier only on paper, the railroad was not built on the line proposed, Colwich overshadowed Hatfield, Andale and Maize were actual towns on a sure enough railroad. The Grant and Luckel store was moved to Maize, the town site relapsed into a corn field, it seems that providence never intended it for anything but a corn field. It could not escape its manifest destiny, a corn field it was, and is, and always will be, to the end of time. Exit Hatfield.

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