Troy, Kansas Territory


The town site of Troy was located on October 12, 1855, by T. J. B. Cramer and A. Payne, Commissioners appointed by the Territorial Legislature. This was done by the driving of a stake at a point supposed to be just south-east of the court-house in the public square. Upon this stake was an appropriate inscription and the signature of the commissioners. Four days later the County Commissioners ordered James F. Forman (now a prominent citizen of Doniphan) to lay out eighty acres of the quarter section, comprising the town site, in town lots, and to make a plat of the same. A public square three hundred feet each way was also to be laid out in the center of the town. The affair does not seem to have been considered very pressing, as from bad weather and other causes it was put off until the following spring. The first sale of lots was ordered to be made on January 1, 1856. The terms being one-half cash and the balance in equal amounts, payable in six months and a year.

The first house in Troy was erected in the spring of 1856 by Nelson Rogers, who also built the first blacksmith shop. Both of these buildings are still standing and in use; the house as a dwelling and the shop for its original business. The latter was purchased in 1857 by James E. Marcum, who has ever since done a general blacksmithing and repair business in it.

The first store building was built by Heed & Hampson in 1857. This was shortly followed by that of Brady & Byrd, and this in turn by the drug and confectionery store of Dexter S. Sergeant.

The first hotel was built in 1857 on the northeast of the public square. A little distance from it. It was opened by John Wilson, and after passing through a number of hands came into the possession of Leonard Smith, who owned it up to the time of its destruction by fire in March, 1871.

This was followed by the City Hotel, which was built by A. Heed, G. Gillham and others. It stood on the west side of Main Street, near the center of the block and was built of a coarse concrete. Its first landlord was J. Fitzmaurice. Like most pioneer hotels, it was not a very profitable house for those who managed it, and passed from landlord to landlord quite rapidly. John Sgart, Roland Strain, Charles Higby, Peter Smith, R. W. Hunt, and John Leight all ran it at successive periods. When destroyed by fire in October, 1879, it was in the hands of Robert Armstrong, now of Wathena.

The first lawyer to locate in Troy was Albert Heed, who came in 1856. He was followed in 1857 by Sidney Tennant.

The first physician to practice in the neighborhood was a Dr. Hereford, who lived about three miles out of town, but no physician located in the town proper until the arrival of Dr. Payne. Then came Drs. Crane, Bowman and Wheeler.

The following reminiscences of early days in the art of hotel keeping in Troy, reminds one forcibly of some of Mark Twain’s petrified facts. It is entitled “Not to be Fooled Again.” In the early and hard days of Troy, the hotel (the nest egg, as it were, of the present City Hotel), ‘was kept by one Fitzmaurice – an overgrown, greasy. rough specimen of humanity, and Pro-slavery to the backbone. He kept a pretty hard old hole, and a person who stopped there once would ride far and late to avoid doing so again. One day a person stopped at the house, and after dinner he asked the landlord for pen, ink, and paper. They were brought, and the man, seating himself in the bar-room, wrote a communication to the Ellwood Free Press, giving the hotel, the landlord, the victuals, the furniture, and all pertaining to the house such a “roaring up” as has seldom been seen. When the paper containing it appeared, the wrath of Fitzmaurice was terrible. The author was a stranger to him, but he vowed if he ever found him out to kill him. Not long afterward a very gentlemanly looking stranger came to Troy to transact some business. After dinner at the hotel he requested writing material to do a little correspondence. “Get out of my house, you d—d, dirty dog !” exclaimed Fitzmaurice. “Have you the impudence to ask me for pen and paper to play that same trick on me? Get out of this, right quick!” “Why,” protested the stranger, “I made a civil request. It is necessary for me to write a letter on important business.” “No, you can’t come that on me,” replied Fitz.; “you’re a d—d Abolitionist, and want to write a letter abusing me and my house. Get out of here, I tell you!” And out he had to go.

The first postmaster of Troy was Albert Heed, who received his appointment in 1857, and held the office until 1859. He was succeeded by Cyrus Leland, Isaac Powers, George Wheeler, A. B. Burr, Anton Brantano, Daniel Bursk, and the present incumbent, Cyrus Leland, Jr. The first post-office was in the store of Heed & Earl, where the dwelling of Mrs. Toner now stands. Thence it moved to the stores of the various postmasters, and was finally located in that of Cyrus Leland, Jr., where it bids fair to stay for a considerable time to come.

Troy, as at first laid out, covered the southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 3, Range 21, east. East Troy was laid out on the southeast quarter of the same section. Upon the incorporation of Troy as a city, the space covered by both Troy and East Troy was embraced in the city limits. Since 1860 three additions have been made to the town. These are known as C. J. Jones’, N. N. Jones’, and Hayton’s additions. They cover the northwest forty acres of Section 20, part of the east half of the northwest quarter and the west half of the northeast quarter of the same section, lying north of the right of way of the St. Joseph & Western Railway. All these additions are now within the corporate limits of the city.


Troy was incorporated as a city in 1860, by a special act of the Territorial Legislature. This bill, after specifying the location of the town on the southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 3, Range 21, conferred upon it “All the powers, privileges, rights, responsibilities and provisions of an act passed at the first session of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Kansas A. D. 1855, entitled ‘An Act to Incorporate the City of Leavenworth,’ except as otherwise provided in this act, shall be and the same are hereby conferred on the said city of Troy in its corporate capacity.”

A later section of the same instrument provides that S. D. Benight, Leonard Smith and John B. Brady are hereby appointed judges of election to hold the first election for Mayor and Councilmen under this act. Troy was the place of holding the election, and the date given was March, 1860, the judges of election being allowed to select the most convenient day of that month.

On the incorporation of Troy in 1860, a full corps of city officers was elected, with Isaac Powers as Mayor and William H. Truesdell Clerk. The Mayors of the city since that date have been as follows: C. C. Camp, elected 1861; Cyrus Leland, 1865; A. Perry, 1867; Leonard Smith, 1869; J. F. Hampson, 1871; Abram Jeffs, 1872; Cyrus Leland, Jr., 1873; John F. Kotach (acting Mayor), 1876; Charles Higby, 1877; Charles Burkhalter 1878- (Mr. Burkhalter served only six months, and his unexpired term was filled by H. Boder); H. Boder, 1879; Robert Tracy, 1880; H. Boder, 1881. Mr. Boder was re-elected in 1881 and 1882 and is now in office.

The records of the city were destroyed in 1872, and in re-writing them all mention of city clerks prior to 1870 was omitted. At that date W. H. Smith was City Clerk and held the position until 1873, when Leonard D. Noyes was elected and served until December 19, 1881. His successor was James F. Wilson, who is now in office.

In 1878, the ordinances of the city having fallen into an imperfect state, Hon. T. W. Heatley, the present City Attorney, was engaged to undertake the work of revision. Under his energetic action it was discovered that many of the old ordinances must be entirely remade and some expunged, while many new ones were needed. A new set of ordinances, numbering thirty-two, was accordingly prepared by Mr. Heatley, and, being submitted to the Mayor and Council, were approved and ordered published in pamphlet form. This was done on May 8, 1878.


The present school house in Troy was begun in 1867, and completed two years later. Prior to the erection of this building there had been in the city a small one-story house of a single room, in which school had been taught by F. Brown. The project of erecting a new school building was agitated as early as 1866, and a vote taken by which bonds to the amount of four thousand dollars were issued. With discussion of the subject came a fairer idea of the needs of the school and a determination to build a far more costly edifice than the modest affair at first designed. Accordingly additional bonds to the amount of five thousand dollars were issued the following year, and the work of construction begun. The contract was let to Mr. Frank Tracy, now of the St. Joseph Herald, and the foundations were soon laid. Soon after there was some hitch in the proceedings and work was for a time stopped. Later there were some alterations decided upon, and it was not until 1869 that the house was finished. Meantime the cost of erection bad been swelled in various ways, and the total expense footed up twelve thousand five hundred dollars. Even then the upper part of the building was not finished off, and two rooms were unused for a number of years. School exercises were begun in 1870, and have been continued up to the present time. The list of teachers in charge of the school embraces Messrs. Lyman, Emmons, T. M. Barrett, Woodworth, C. B. Daughters, Rose, Dinsmore, W. E. Cochran and Alexander Thompson. The latter gentleman was principal in 1881-82, and had three assistants; four departments being taught. Both white and colored scholars are admitted and taught in all branches by the same teachers.

The Troy Presbyterian Church was dedicated on January 16, 1866. It had been a long time in building, the work having begun in 1864. Its cost was two thousand five hundred dollars. The first Pastor of the church was Rev. F. E. Sheldon, who remained in charge for more than five years. To him succeeded Rev. J. L. Chapman., who remained three years, and was instrumental in the building of a parsonage. Mr. A. H. Lilly then became Pastor, and remained until the return of Mr. Sheldon. Rev. Mr. Thompson was the last preacher of the church, which is not now in use, although it is being repaired, and the society hope at some future time to re-establish regular services.

The Sabbath school was a part of the Union and Presbyterian and Methodist school until 1873, when it was made a separate organization under the superintendence of Duncan McIntosh. It now has an attendance of over forty, and is in charge of Mr. Charles Rapelye.

The First Methodist Church of Troy was incorporated in 1866. There had been preaching prior to this date in the courthouse and still earlier in the old schoolhouse in the south-west part of the city, and also in the Wicker building. The first preacher of the church who held service at this point was Rev. A. Bennett, who came in 1858 and preached occasionally during that year and the next. He was followed by Revs. Lloyd, James Lawrence, J. Paulson, Thornborough, James Shaw, D. B. Campbell, James Lawrence, Charles Shackleford, W. F. Mahan, W. L. Leak, J. A. Amos, R. E. McBride, F. M. Pickles, and J. Biddison, the present incumbent, who was appointed in 1882. The church building, began in 1867, and completed in 1868, was dedicated in October of the latter year. It has a seating capacity of two hundred and fifty, and was erected at a cost of $2,800. At the time of organization the society numbered but nine members; some years later it had nearly one hundred, and now has over seventy.

A Sabbath school was organized in 1861, under the superintendence of E. Case. This was a union school, and later a Presbyterian and Methodist organization until the final separation in 1873. It has now seventy members, and is in charge of A. W. Beale.

The Colored Missionary Baptist Church of Troy was organized on January 9, 1881, by Rev. Henry Bacon. The society numbered at that time eight members, but has increased somewhat since. The small size of this body has precluded the idea of erecting a house of worship at the present time, but steps are being taken to secure a church building at some time in the near future.

The publication of the Troy Democrat was began in 1858, by Joseph Thompson, who had published the Geary City Era and brought the office of the extinct paper to Troy. This sheet was, as its name implies, Democratic in politics. After publishing a few numbers Mr. Thompson became discouraged and removed his material to St. Joseph, Mo., where he began the publication of the Free Democrat.

The Doniphan County Dispatch was started in the fall of 1860, by J. W. Biggers, who used the material of the defunct Iowa Point Dispatch. Started chiefly for campaign purposes, the paper went out of existence when the election was over. The material of the paper was sold the following year to Hiawatha parties, and was used on the Brown County Union.

The Doniphan County Patriot made its first appearance in April, 1862, under the management of Dr. E. H. Grant. This was a stalwart Republican paper and an ardent supporter of Gen. J. H. Lane in his contest for presidential honors. The following year Frank Tracy bought an interest in the paper, and the firm remained as Grant & Tracy until the consolidation with the newly started Investigator, early in 1864.

The Troy Investigator was started in February, 1864, by a stock company who had purchased the office of the Holt County News of Oregon, Mo. H. C. Hawkins was editor of the new paper, which was Republican, but opposed to Lane. Like many of its contemporaries, it passed from the stage soon after the election of November, 1864. Its material went to Brown County, where it was used on the Union Sentinel.

The Soldier. – S. H. Dodge published the Doniphan County Soldier for a few months in the early part of 1865, but it never gained a foothold and was merged in the Troy Reporter. This paper was practically a continuation of the Soldier under a new name and the editorship of Joseph H. Hunt. After a tolerably successful career of over a year Mr. Hunt was killed by a fall from the roof of the newspaper building. Mrs. Hunt endeavored to continue the publication, with the assistance of Theodore F. Alvord, but after a short time sold out to Robert Tracy, formerly of the Elwood Free Press. Under his management it was continued until April, 1867, when it was removed to Wathena.

The Republican. – In November, 1868, C. G. Bridges published the Doniphan County Republican. The paper continued under this management until January, 1871, when it was sold to Beale & Sanborn. In 1874 Mr. Sanborn retired and A. W. Beale became sole proprietor. In June, 1875, the office was sold to Sol Miller of the Chief, and the Republican was abandoned.

The Bulletin. – in May, 1877, C. G. Bridges started the Troy Bulletin, an administration paper. On the first of December the publisher made a complete change of base and the paper became Democratic in politics.

The Kansas Chief was started at White Cloud in 1857, the first issue bearing the date of June 4. Its editor had arrived on March 28, but in those days of slow locomotion, the two months the material of the paper was in transit were not considered long. At that time White Cloud contained nothing but a few rough shanties, and the prospects for a successful newspaper were not exceptionally brilliant. However, the Chief had come to stay, and as soon as its type and press could be set up began publication. A building was contracted for, but lumber was scarce and building slow, so the office was opened before the siding was up; its place being taken by canvas or nothing at all. After a few of the genuine Kansas blizzards had lifted type all over the floor, better security was attained. The first issue of the paper was published just at the time of the sale of the Iowa trust lands, and copies distributed to all who had come to the sale.

On July 4, 1872, the paper was removed to Troy, where it has ever since been published. When started it was a seven-column folio of large size (25 x 38), and as such it ran till 1880, when a column was added and the size became twenty-eight by forty. It is the chief paper of the county, and is well known all over the State.

Troy Lodge No. 55, A. F. & A. M., was organized on February 4, 1867, with the following as charter members: J. B. Maynard, W. Monroe, L. M. Lee, S. Tennant, J. C. Power, W. M. Batis, L. Smith, G. H. Mosley, Daniel Bursk, J. B. Wheeler, C. C. Camp, P. S. Soper, Charles Higby, Henry Boder, Jr., and R. T. Nesbit. The first officers of the lodge were: R. T. Nesbit, W. M.; C. C. Camp, S. W.; H. Boder, Jr., J. W.; D. Bursk, treasurer; P. S. Soper, secretary. The society now has a membership of ninety- three. Meetings are held on Monday on or before full moon and the second Saturday after, in Masonic Hall. The present officers of the society are as follows: A. Perry, W. M.; R. S. Dinsmore, S. W.; Thomas Henshall, J. W.; George Harris, treasurer; D. C. Sinclair, secretary.

Troy Lodge No. 38, I. O. O. F., was organized on September 23, 1868. by H. O. Sholes, Grand Master of Kansas. Its charter members were: Leonard Smith, J. C. Gordon, Geo. Shriver, J. F. Hampson, X. K. Stout, W. E. Pickett, Charles Higby, H. A. Dempsey, D. Bursk, W. H. Hambaugh. On the night of forming the lodge C. Leland and F. M. Tracy were initiated and the following officers chosen: X. K. Stout, N. G.; Leonard Smith, V. G.; J. F. Hampson. P. S.; C. Leland, R. S.; F. M. Tracy, treasurer. The society now has a membership of fifty. Meetings are held each Saturday in Odd Fellows’ Hall, over the bank. The present officers of the society are as follows: Frank Brown, N. G.; L. A. Roderick, V. G.; W. Erskine, secretary; X. K. Stout, treasurer. The property of the lodge consists of regalia and money to the amount of over $700.

Troy Lodge No. 1317, Knights of Honor, was organized on December 30, 1878, by deputy G. D. Alonzo Howland, with the following charter members: H. Boder, Jr., Sol. Miller, D. C. Sinclair, L. L. Johnson, J. W. Morse, R. Wilkinson, A. S. Ashmead, Thoma (sic) C. Monson, J. A. Amos, J. B. Byers, C. E. Brown, J. G. Light, J. T. Wilson and the following officers: H. Boder, P. D.; D. C. Sinclair, D.; L. L. Johnson V. D.; J. B. Byers, A. D.; J. W. Morse, F. R.; Thomas C. Monson, R.; Sol Miller, treasurer; J. A. Amos, chaplain; C. E. Brown, guide; J. P. Wilson, guardian; A. S. Ashmead, sentinel. The society now numbers thirty-nine members. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Friday of each month in Odd Fellows’ Hall. The good fortune of this lodge is remarkable, no deaths having occurred since its organization. Its present officers are D. C. Sinclair P. D.; R. S. Dinsmore. D.; A. Breckenridge, V. D.; F. Lang, A. D.; D. W. Morse, F. R.; R. Wilkinson, R.; Sol. Miller, treasurer; D. M. Conklin, guide; C. Moorehead, guardian; William Young, sentinel.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Troy was organized in March, 1882, by Mrs. Cochran, a traveling organizer of the general Union. There were, however, so few at the first meeting that the members of this place, although holding regular meetings to keep the society alive, made no effort in temperance work. A better organization was effected on April 21, 1882, when the following officers were chosen: Mrs. L. V. Reeder, president; Mrs. Helen R. Dixon, vice president; Mrs. N. E. Close, corresponding secretary; Mrs. M. McIntosh, recording secretary; Mrs. M. Reese, treasurer. Meetings are held each Friday afternoon, at the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, alternately. The society now has forty-one members. Its aim is to oppose in every way the sale of intoxicants, and especially to train children and young people to an aversion for these articles and their place of sale. A membership fee of fifty cents per year is collected and divided between the State Union and the home work.

The Public Library is the outgrowth of the desire on the part of the young ladies’ society known as the S. L. K., to continue by a course of reading the education of recent academical study. Books were accumulated from various sources, and funds gained by fairs, festivals and other amusements, and in September, 1879, the library was opened to the public. It has occupied, for the past year, a room in the second story of the court house building, and is open every Saturday afternoon. About five hundred volumes are already in use, embracing good editions of the best authors in history, travel and standard fiction. Additions are made from time to time, and although the society has neither asked nor received aid from any source, it bids fair to have before long one of the best libraries in Northern Kansas.


Troy now has five general stores, three restaurants, one hotel, one bank, two jewelry stores, one each of furniture and hardware, two drug stores, one harness shop, six physicians and six attorneys, and one insurance agent. Besides these, there are a number of other industries, which have either been already spoken of at length or are of minor importance. The population of the town is not far from eight hundred.

In 1870, Henry and Louis Boder started the banking firm of Boder Brothers. Their place of business was in a frame building forty feet north of the present banking house; this was swept away by the fire of 1872. The same year the fine brick structure now used was erected. This is 21 x 57 feet on the ground floor, two stories in height, and has a basement. Its cost, exclusive of the land, was four thousand dollars. To this should be added the massive safe and fixtures, valued at two thousand dollars. The upper floor is occupied as a lodge room by the Odd Fellows.

The Banner flouring mill, at the foot of Main street, was built in 1869, by F. M. Tracy. Shortly after the completion of the mill, Mr. Tracy formed a partnership with D. M. Parker, who took an active interest in the business until July, 1881, when he became sole owner. The mill building is two stories in height, with a capacious basement and attic, making it practically four stories. The size of the main building is 32 x 56. There is also an ell 22 x 44 feet and two stories in height. Four run of buhr stones are in use: two on wheat and one each on middlings and corn. The mill Is also supplied with a set of rollers for making “new process” flour. Power is supplied by an engine of fifty horse-power. The entire property cost its owner twenty thousand dollars. Its capacity is fifty barrels of flour for each twelve hours of operation.

The first lumber yard in Troy was opened In 1869, by S. C. Beach. Shortly after C. Pope opened a yard where the Leland yard is now located. In 1878, Tracy & Co. bought Mr. Pope’s stock and continued the business. In 1879, Cyrus Leland, Jr., who had been Mr. Tracey’s partner, obtained entire control of the business which has ever since been run in his name. A stock valued at from four to six thousand dollars is kept constantly on hand. This is the only yard in the city.

In 1872, Cyrus Leland, Jr., built the pork packing house which still stands a short distance southeast of the railway depot. The building consists of a main part 40 x 70 feet and two stories in height, and an addition 12 x 80 feet, with an engine room 14 x 24 feet, the whole valued at five thousand dollars. Power is furnished by a boiler of twenty-four horse power. The brick for this building was burned on the spot and proved of so good a quality as to induce Mr. Leland to burn all the brick needed about the town – generally a kiln yearly. The pork packing house uses from three to five thousand hogs each season but, owing to the difficulty of obtaining ice, is not run through the entire year.

The Troy Elevator, was built in 1877, by Cyrus Leland, Jr. The following April it was destroyed by fire. A second elevator was built in the summer of 1878, and is now in use. This building is 12 x 40 feet in the main part, two stories in height, and has an ell of one story, 16 x 30 feet. Power is furnished by an engine of sixteen horse-power. The structure with its fittings cost in the neighborhood of three thousand five hundred dollars. Its capacity is nearly four thousand bushels of grain and its facilities for handling such that it can dispose of between four and five thousand bushels daily.

In 1867, Charles Higby, who had up to that time been keeping the hotel on the west side of Main street, opposite the public square, purchased the old court house. This consisted of three rooms, all on the ground floor. The work of adding to the original structure was begun at once, and in 1869 a second story was completed. In 1873 the house was enlarged to its present dimensions. It now has a main part 34 x 36 feet and two stories in height, and an ell 24 x 36 feet, two stories in height. The cost of the property, including the grounds, was not far from seven thousand dollars. With the exception of one year the hotel has been managed by Charles Higby, who still runs it. It is the only hotel in the city.

A Serious Conflagration,- On the night of April 15, 1875, fire broke out in the rear of an unoccupied building on the east side of Main street, just below the public square. Along this row and on both sides of the burning building stood small frame structures of various ages and degrees of dryness. With such material to work upon the rapid spread of the fire was not to be wondered at. Discovered about half an hour before midnight, it had before dawn destroyed the entire row of buildings on the east side of Main street south of the square, and two of those fronting the court-house. The buildings destroyed were a dwelling of H. A. Wright, on the corner, the office of Dr. Hoffmeier adjoining on the east, the shoe shop of Christian Glaman on the south of Mr. Wright’s dwelling, the two story building belonging to William Mann, in which the fire started, the dwelling of William Sears, the two story brick of Henry Wheeler, occupied on the lower floor by the boot and shoe shop of M. W. Bell, and above by Joseph Craney. On the south of this building stood another two story brick, used on the lower floor as a grocery by D. S. Sergeant, and above by L. Merritt. The total loss by this fire is unknown, as but one building carried any insurance. With the exception of the office of Dr. Hoffmeier, none of the burned buildings have been rebuilt.

William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas