LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

 

Towns & Places of Marshall County, Kansas

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Towns:

 

 

Axtell
Beattie
Blue Rapids
Bremen - unincorporated
Frankfort
Herkimer - unincorporated
Home - unincorporated
Lillis - unincorporated
Marietta - unincorporated
Marysville - County Seat
Oketo
Summerfield
Vermillion
Vliets - unincorporated
Waterville
Winifred - ghost town

 

 

 

Marshall County, Kansas Historic Map

Marshall County, Kansas Map, 1899

 

 

 

 

Axtell, KansasAxtell Unlike most other towns in Marshall County, this settlement was founded in the valley of some stream, rather, it was established on the high prairie land, from which an extended view may be had for miles. Located in the eastern part of the county -- one mile from Nemaha County line -- and was on the line of the St. Joseph & Western Railway, 89 miles west of St. Joseph and 24 miles east of Marysville.


The town received a post office in December, 1871 with R.F. White as postmaster. It was named for Dr. Jesse Axtell, an officer of the railroad company. J. Taylor, J. Hebbard and David Smith donated 160 acres of land for a town site, which was surveyed and laid off in January, 1872, by the St. Joseph Town Company. The first building erected was put up by "Shoestring" Dickinson during the same year, and used by him as a store for one year, before it was taken over by R. F. White. During the same year a depot and side-track was built by the Railroad Company. The first school was built in 1872-1873. Michael Murray, who moved to the newly established town of Axtell from St. Bridget, six miles north, opened a mercantile store on the north side of the railroad tracks, where all of the original businesses were located. Thomas Hynes, another St. Bridget resident, came to Axtell in May, 1874 and built his drug store in 1875.

 

However, the town did not grow rapidly until the fall of 1879 and the winter of 1880, when a colony of 20 families moved to Axtell from Deep River, Iowa. The colony immediately commenced making extensive improvements, which soon made the village of Axtell a thriving community.

 

By the early 1880s the town was called home to four churches, namely the Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational as well as a frame schoolhouse. In 1880, the school building was sold to the Catholic denomination, who used it for church purposes. A new building 26x42 feet, was erected during the same year at a cost of $2,000.

 

By 1910 the town had two railroads -- the Missouri Pacific and the St. Joseph & Grand Island. It also boasted banking facilities, a weekly newspaper, a money order post office with three rural routes, telegraph and express offices. That year, its population peaked at 748 inhabitants.

 

Afterwards Axtell remained a small town, dropping in population over the years. Today, it is called home to about 403 people. Its post office and several businesses remain in operation.

 

Two miles north of Axtell on 30th Road, just south of Granite Road, is a marker for the site of the David Smith Inn, a stage station on the Overland Stage Route. The station and inn “became famous along the stage line on account of Mr. Smith’s management and Mrs. Smith’s culinary accomplishments.”

 

About 6.5 miles north of Axtell is the site of the now extinct town of St. Bridget. The church and cemetery still remain. The church is located on 29th Terrace between Bison and Cherokee Roads. The cemetery is located on 30th Road ¾ mile north of Deer Trail Road.

 

 

Beattie, KansasBeattie - Located on the west branch of the Vermillion River, 100 miles west of the Missouri River, Beattie was settled prior to 1865 by Hugh Hamilton, H. C. Smith, Eli Goldsberry, E. Cain, J. Totten, G. Thorne, James Fitzgerald, P. Jones and others. The town was laid out in June, 1870, by the Northern Kansas Land and Town Company, of St. Joseph, Missouri, on 160 acres owned by James Fitzgerald and J. T. Watkins. One of the first buildings in the new town was moved from Elmwood in the spring of 1871 to be used as a depot for the St. Joseph and Western Railway. A post office was established in July, 1871 and the town was named for A. Beattie, then Mayor of St. Joseph, Missouri.

 

J. J. Sheldon, about the same time, moved a building on the town site and used it as a dwelling. The next building as built by John Watkins. A. J. and L. Brunswig opened the first store, in the spring of 1872. The first hotel was built by a Mr.  Putcamp in 1873, and called the Sherman House.

 

By 1890, Beattie reached its peak population of 648 people. Though surrounded fertile ground and a thick layer of limestone that led to several quarries, young Beattie would grow no more. In 1910, the town boasted banking facilities, a newspaper, telegraph and express offices, churches and schools, and a money order post office with two rural mail routes. The population in 1910 was 500.

 

Over the years, Beattie's population gradually feel and today is called home to about 195 people. It still retains a post office. The city has been called "The Milo Capital of the World" and hosts the annual "Beattie Milo Festival".

Beattie is located about 15 miles east of Marysville.

 


Bremen, KansasBremen - An unincorporated village of Marshall County, Breman is located nine miles northwest of Marysville. The settlement was laid out by Henry Brenneke, a native of Bremen, Germany in 1886. He built the first house on the southeast corner of his farm near the line of the St. Joseph & Grand Island Railroad. The same year he erected a store building in which he carried general merchandise and in March, 1877 established a post office with himself as postmaster. In addition, Mr. Brenneke also carried on an extensive livestock and grain business.


Carl Schultz built a blacksmith shop in 1888 and two years later, in 1890, Joseph Sedlacek built a hardware store with a spacious hall in the second story. Charles Fischer started a restaurant and lodging house soon after, and Louis Pralle built a store for general merchandise. William Raemer, from Herkimer, opened a lumber yard, which he later sold to the Dursee brothers. In August, 1907, the State Bank of Bremen was organized and did a flourishing business.


During the night of March 17, 1908, the little town was entirely wiped out by fire causing a loss of more than $20,00. But undismayed by this calamity, the good people proceeded at once to rebuild in a more substantial manner and soon a much better town was erected. In 1910, the town boasted banking facilities, telegraph and express offices and a post office with two rural mail routes, and a population of 200 people.

 

In 1917, the town boasted Sedlacek & Son, a hardware, furniture and auto supply store; Rengstorft Brothers' Hardware, Prell Merchandise Company, the Bremen State Bank, a grain elevator, a blacksmith, a lumber yard, a hotel, a telephone exchange and an insurance company.

 

Herkimer, Kansas About 1914Herkimer - The first settlement made in the vicinity of what is now known as Herkimer, was by the Fredericks' Brothers and H. Lenker, who settled on Horseshoe Creek in 1858. They were followed in 1859 and 1860 by H. Hibermann, the three Reamer brothers, I. and N. Holloway, James Bartlou, T. Koeneke and others. School district No. 63 was organized in 1870, and a stone schoolhouse built. In 1874, through the efforts of O. Keller, a post office was established under the name Reamer Creek, with F. Reamer acting as postmaster. A few weeks later the office was discontinued.

 

In 1878, a town site was laid off on a tract of land owned by O. Keller, who was its founder. The first business house built in the place was erected by W. Ulch -- who remained about two years. Other business enterprises followed, including a post office on July 18, 1878. It was named for a town by the same name in New York. In 1881 the school was destroyed by a severe storm but was rebuilt in the summer of 1882.

 

Located on the St. Joseph and Western Railroad and in the midst of a rich agricultural community it was the business center for Logan Township in 1910. At that time, it had a telegraph, express and post office, and the population was 225.

 

The post office closed its doors in May, 1974. Though the population of the town is unknown today, Herkimer Township is called home to about 230 people. Herkimer is located on a bend of Reamer Creek, five miles northwest of Marysville.

 

 

 

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