The building of the Kansas
City, Lawrence and Southern Kansas railroad through southern Kansas
in 1879-80 fulfilled the highest hopes of the early settlers and
marked a new era in the development of progress of Eastern Cowley
Now a market for their crops
and livestock would be assured, and the tedious task of 'freighting'
across the plains would be forever ended.
Along the route of the railroad
new towns sprang into existence almost overnight, and earlier
landmarks were soon abandoned and many of them are now listed
historically as 'extinct important early geographical locations' .
Thus, Burdenville, Kansas
(later to be known as Burden) was founded in the fall of 1879. The
chosen location was surrounded by broad and fertile fields, green
pastures, flowing springs and running brooks, each contributing in
its own way toward the creation of a productive and prosperous
agricultural community, which was the ambition and crowning
achievement of this particular section in the spring of 1871.
Burden was platted at the
crossroads of an eighty acre tract of land. Robert Goforth Sr. owned
the northwest corner, which had been homesteaded by Richard
Fitzgerald in 1872. Isaac Gatton owned the northeast corner, having
homesteaded it six years earlier. J. P. Harchett owned the
southwest, and Thomas Wood the southeast corner.
The Burden town company was
organized September 24, 1879 with the following directors, who were
elected to serve five years: 0. B. Gunn, J. Wade McDonald, of
Lawrence, Kansas, J. M. Alexander, R. F. Burden, T. K. Johnson, and
W. P. Hackney of Winfield, Kansas. Mr. Burden was elected president
of the company, and the town was named in his honor. "The
purposes of the said company are: the purchase, location and laying
out a townsite in Cowley County, Kansas, and the sale and conveyance
of the same in lots and subdivisions or otherwise. The capital stock
of said company shall be four thousand dollars, and shall be divided
into two hundred shares.
On September 29, 1879, papers
for the incorporation of the newly organized company were filled. At
the expiration of five years the personnel of the Town Company
changed, and R. R. Phelps, E. A. Henthorn and E. Q. Burden were
elected, and R. F. Burden and 0. B. Gunn were re-elected as
There were no buildings on the
townsite with the exception of a deserted claim shanty which stood
on what was later to become the Main street of the town. The early
growth of the town was rapid and uninterrupted, and it was destined
to become a substantial business center. Its citizens were
energetic, resourceful and intelligent. They came from all sections
of the country, and represented many shades of thought. They
transplanted to the new town a knowledge and experience gained in
other environments, which well qualified them for the task of
overcoming obstacles, and be successful in establishing the worthy
enterprises and l cultural attainments for which the town has
already been noted.
On February 6, 1883, Judge E.
S. Torrance issued an order for the incorporation of the town. On
February 27, 1883 the first election was held, electing R. R.
Phelps, mayor, H. P. Snow, H. W. Young, E. A. Henthorn, J. L. West
and Thomas Dyer, councilmen, Harvey Smith, Police Judge, and H. N.
Hulse, City Clerk and Marshall.
At this time the population was
more than four hundred, and continued to increase until it was
listed as "one thousand and upward."
The newcomers were becoming
acquainted with each other, and adjusting themselves to the new
surroundings. Much in the way of planning and building was
accomplished. Churches, schools and lodges were being organized and
built. Commercial activities were many, and almost all lines of
business that would contribute to the needs of the pioneers were
In the early years there were
the usual land agents and money lenders along with grocery, dry
goods and hardware stores. In just a few years we had drug stores,
two or three hotels, blacksmith shops, lumber yard, livery stables
and various other businesses.
Ford and Leonard were the first
merchants of the town, and built the first store building, which
stands on the southwest corner of the main square of the business
street. The first load of stone for the structure was hauled by John
Fitzgerald, Sr. Mr. Ford was known as a promoter, and Mr. Leonard as
a man with money and mercantile ability.
William Leflingwell was one of
the first grocers of the town, but like Ford & Leonard seemed of
migratory inclinations and did not remain long after the
C. W. Jones moved his stock of
general merchandise to Burden soon after the town was founded. In
1882 he formed a partnership with H. P. Snow, who with his family
came from Kentucky, and they erected a substantial two story stone
building on the southeast corner of the main square. The upper floor
was used for a public hall for a number of years, and later became
the property of Clinton Lodge No.233 A.F. & A.M. Messers Jones and
Snow carried an extensive line of general merchandise, and were
recognized as the leading merchants of Eastern Cowley County for a
number of years. Both men were prominently associated with the early
local affairs of the town.
Dr. J. A. Chapmen had located
in Lazette in 1872, and practiced his profession for some time, and
then embarked in the mercantile business. Soon after Burden was
founded he moved his stock to the new town and later purchased the
building built by Ford & Leonard.
James H. Wood carried a general
line of merchandise and continued in business for many years. He
occupied many positions of trust during that time, and was
representative citizen of Eastern Cowley County.
In 1882, Jesse L. West and
Thomas Dyer came from Tampico, Tennessee and established a general
store. They were actively identified with the early organization of
the town. Mr. Dyer's untimely death occurred in 1885, and later Mr.
West embarked in the grocery business.
Joseph 0. Reed and his son, Ed.
E. Reed, came from Illinois in 1882, and established the New York
Store, dealing in dry goods and groceries.
Cunningham and Williams (Matt
Cunningham and J. B. Williams) were also early merchants, and
carried a general stock.
Brooks Bros. (Nathaniel Brooks,
T. J. Brooks and David Brooks) were among the early merchants of the
town, and eventually David Brooks purchased the interest of the two
HARDWARE & IMPLEMENTS
D. B. Cunningham was one of the
early dealers in hardware and implements, and continued until his
death in 1904. Much of the time his brother, C. A. Cunningham, was
associated with him in the business. Mr. Cunningham was one of the
town builders and occupied a conspicuous place in all local affairs.
John M. Clover, who had
homesteaded in Silver Creek township in 1871, established an
implement store in the town soon after it was organized. John
Glotfelter and Add Smith were employed as salesmen, and were
succeeded by George Chenoweth, who came from Illinois in 1881.
A "Professor" Sherrod was also
a dealer in implements for a short time.
Then came Tolles & Hon, who
remained for several years, and were actively identified with the
local affairs during their residence in the city.
Hooker & Phelps (J, M. Hooker
and R. R. Phelps) owned the first drug store in the town and their
store building was the second business house to be erected.
The residence of Mr. and Mrs.
Hooker was one of the first dwelling build. Later this firm
dissolved partnership with Mr. Hooker moving to another location
where he continued in business for many years. W. J. Frazier
became associated with Mr. Phelps in the management of his store,
and eventually he and J. M. Henderson succeeded Mr. Phelps in the
business. Later J. M. Henderson became the owner of the drug store
and he was succeeded by his son Ralph, who is still operating the
drug store in Burden.
FURNITURE & UNDERTAKING
The first gesture toward the
undertaking business in Burden was by Thomas Walch, who was a coffin
maker. He was born in England, and located in Lazette in 1872.
James Cunningham was the first
dealer in furniture and funeral supplies in Burden. In 1889 he moved
to Oklahoma and was succeeded by his brother, Chas. A. Cunningham,
who conducted the business for a number of years.
Mr. J. M. Hooker was in the
furniture and undertaking business for a number of years. He sold
out to Ray Denbo who was the first licensed embalmer in Burden, and
who also brought the first motor hearse to Burden. He sold out to E.
L. Gann, who served the community for many years. In 1948 he sold
the business to H. M. Miles who is presently serving the area.
LAND & LOAN FIRMS
Through these firms much of the
advertising and booming of the new country was accomplished. E. A.
Henthorn established the first land and loan business immediately
after the town was platted, and was an enthusiastic booster for its
In 1880 S. S. Moore became
active in the land and loan business which he conducted for a number
of years. He was also an early township trustee, and a member of the
Board of Education in 1883. R. D. Lake embarked in the land and loan
business in 1883, and conducted a real estate office for many years.
LUMBER & BUILDING SUPPLIES
building era of the town the lumber business was very important,
although its history was continually shifting. S. A. Brown &. Go.
are listed as being early dealers in the lumber and building
G. B. Shaw established a yard
at an early date, which was managed by Henry Rowland.
P. T. Walton, who was the first
lumberman in Cambridge, (1880) soon started a yard in Burden.
In 1884 J. G. Crawford came
from Girard, Kansas, as the manager of J. B. Carey Lumber Co., which
was later purchased by the Rock Island Co. By consolidation the
Long-Bell Co. became the only yard in town, and Mr. Crawford
continued as manager until 1889, and was succeeded by Henry Rowland.
A. B. Tanner was one of the
first blacksmiths to settle in the new town.
David McIntosh located a shop
near the crossroads soon after the town was platted, and enjoyed a
splendid patronage from the early settlers. He later moved his shop
to south Main street, and continued his trade until failing health
compelled his retirement.
Robert Ogilvey, who came from
Scotland was an early day blacksmith. Courtney Skinner operated a
wagon shop for years and his sevices were much in demand.
GRAIN & FUEL
John W. Ledlie was one of the
early grain and coal dealers. His office was located near the
railroad tracks on the east side of Main street, and he bought and
shipped grain on an extensive scale. He was prominently
associated with the early growth of the town, and held various local
T. M. James was another dealer
in grain and fuel at an early date, and was identified with the
local history of the town. He was a member of the Board of
Education, and organist in the Methodist church for a number of
LIVERY & FEED STABLES
H. W. Young was the pioneer
liveryman of the town and during the boom days his turnouts were
much in demand by the land seekers.
Aaron Tredway, in partnership
with his brother, Harvey Tredway, embarked in the livery & feed
business in 1884. For a number of years Mr. Tredway operated the
"Blue Jay" bus between the depot and the hotels of the town. This
bus was the outstanding public conveyance of the town, and was
engaged by the early citizens for parties, picnics and fishing
J. A. Willison and William
Bernaud operated livery stables at a later date.
The first hotel was owned and
operated by J. H. McCumber, who had moved a dwelling in from the
country and remodeled it to meet the fast growing demand for housing
of the new citizens. W. B. Slaten later became the manager of the
hotel, which was known as the "Commercial hotel--home for
Another hotel was built by the
Town Company north of the depot, on the west side of Main street,
and was managed by Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Hisler, and was known as the
In 1880 S. S. Moore moved to
Burden from Tisdale township, and built "The Summit House" which he
managed for several years.