Crawford County, Kansas

As a railroad was built, points were established along the line for supplying construction crews with provisions and working supplies. The present site of Cherokee was chosen in 1870 as a supply point because of its strategic location, lying at the junction of the road and narrow-gauge branch line running from Fort Scott to Cherryvale. It became necessary for the railroad to designate the supply points by name. The railroad men believed that the site was in Cherokee County, they named the supply point Cherokee. Later when it was discovered that it was actualy just north of the Cherokee County line, no one felt the need to change the name.
The land that the supply point was located, was owned by John J. Hoke and John G. Know. the land was donated to the railroad, and the site was surveyed and laid off in April 1870. A fast influx of new settlers arrived due to exagerated claims by the railroad and because of its fertile land. The first building constructed was by William Sharp. It was a storage site for groceries, feed and general supplies. At one time, there were seven passenger trains stopping in Cherokee, but the automobile took over and the town became a thriving farm community..

Crawford County High School - Cherokee
- photo 1905
Public School - Cherokee
- no postmark (1901 - 1907)
Cherokee Methodist Church
- postmarked 1909
Cherokee First Presbyterian Church
- no postmark (1907 - 1914)
Cherokee Frisco Depot
- photo 1910

More About Cherokee

" Cherokee is situated on the southern part of Crawford County twelve miles south of Girard, at the crossing of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, by the branch running from Fort Scott to Cherryvale, formerly the narrow gauge, but now a part of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad. The town dates its beginning from the early part of 1870, when the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad was in process of construction. Various points were established along the line of the road for the accommodation of construction hands, in supplying them with provisions etc. The first institution of this sort, and the first building on the town site, was a small box house erected by William Sharp. This was occupied as a store room in which was kept a stock of groceries, feed, and bad whisky. In a short time after this, the railroad section house was built. It became necessary for the company to give names to these various boarding stations, along the line as it was built, for purposes of facilitating the consignment of supplies. This place was supposed to lie just within the north line of Cherokee County, and from this took the name Cherokee. It was afterward discovered to be in Crawford County instead of Cherokee. The land which forms the site of the town was originally the property of John J. Hoke and John G. Knox, by whom it was entered and deeded. The country, at this time, was sparsely settled, and the land was held at a very low price. The town site was donated to the railroad company, by which the original plat was surveyed and laid off in April, 1870. Through the attraction of a naturally fertile and promising country, and the extravagant advertisements of the railroad company, was induced a rapid influx of settlers. The town occupying a favorable position received a proportionate share of emigration. At no time has it, by any cause, been impelled to unnatural and inordinate growth, having from the beginning progressed with the natural demands as a point of trade and supply. For this reason the growth has always been healthy, stable and permanent. As the surrounding country, which is finely adapted to agriculture, improves the town, also progresses to a suitable degree. The city has a population of about 1,200, and is an active trading point, full of thrifty, enterprising and energetic business men.
The first marriage ceremony was performed in the town by Capt. Jamison, Justice of the Peace. The contracting parties were a Mr. Cook and a widow lady living on Cow Creek. The bridal procession consisted of the two parties in wagon drawn by an ox team. The compensation for the performance of the ceremony consisted of two bushels of potatoes and half a dozen chickens. The first marriage of resident young people was that of Jared Bartee and Miss Sarah Nance. The first birth was that of Willie Manlove, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Manlove, in the summer of 1870. In the following spring, he died, which was the first death. The first saloon was kept by Tom McGraw. The first lawsuit was that of Thomas Pursell against John Pennington. The action was brought against the latter for "jumping a claim," to which the former claimed title. The case was adjudged in favor of the defendant. The defendant's attorney was E. A. Perry, who afterward said that neither of the parties to the suit had title to the land. The post office was established in Cherokee in 1870. W. R. Sharp was the first Postmaster. The office has since been held by Joseph Lucas, S. Manlove, and since April 1, 1878, by J. C. Gove, the present incumbent.
The first school taught in this vicinity was that established in 1870, by Capt. Jamison. During the summer of that year Jamison built a house about a mile south of the town, furnished the teacher, his daughter, now Mrs. M. H. Alberty, and books to those unable to procure them, free of charge. A mounted herald was sent abroad through the land proclaiming its establishment and inviting all who wished to come and drink from this Pierian Spring. This, in truth was a "free school," since Jamison furnished its support and extended its accommodations to all the children of the neighborhood without charge. The average attendance was about thirteen. The first school in the town was taught in 1871, by Miss Sarah Jamison, Now Mrs. E. A. Perry. It was kept in the old section house. The attendance was extremely small, the enrollment numbering seven, and the school was short continuance. A school building was erected in 1872. The plan of the house was only one story, upon which the lodges erected a second story. This building continued in use for school purposes until the completion of the new schoolhouse in the latter part of 1882. It is a large two-story brick structure of elegant design and finish, costing about $8,000. The schools, enrolling 324 pupils, comprise four departments, under charge of as many teachers, as follows: C. E. Cory, principal and teacher of the higher grade; E. E. Shafer, teacher of the first intermediate; Matie Wilkinson, teacher of the second intermediate, and Jennie Coman, teacher of the primary department.
Christian sentiment early found expression and promulgation in this section. Perhaps the first public organization of this sort was that of the Union Sunday school, which was made early in 1870. Thomas Graham was the first Superintendent, and the exercises were conducted in a hay shed on Mr. Heiner's farm. During the summer it was held in Jamison's schoolhouse. The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1872, by Rev. B. Combs, with a membership of six. It was effected in the school building, in which services were held until the erection of a church house in 1874. It is a one-story frame, 36x68 feet, and cost $2,700. A parsonage was built in 1878. It is a neat frame cottage costing $600. The membership of the congregation is 110. The following is a list of the names of the pastors who have labored in this charge: B. Combs, C. A. King, H. Carter, T. Audas, James Murrey and W. T. White. The Christian Church was organized March 24, 1877, by Rev. E. R. Childers, of Fulton, Mo. The church began with twenty-one members and now has forty. The organization and early services were conducted in the Methodist Church. Meetings are now held in the Presbyterian Church. The United Brethren Congregation was organized in 1875. In 1879 the church building was finished. The body at present is without a regular pastor. The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1876. The church was built in 1880. The building was finished with a steeple, which was blown off by a wind storm, July 3, 1882, doing considerable damage to the entire structure. The colored people have an organization and hold meetings in the United Brethren church building.
The city contains three secret organizations, the Odd Fellows, Ancient Order of Workmen and the Masonic. The Cherokee Lodge, No. 107, I. O. O. F., was instituted March 24, 1872 by District Deputy Grand Master N. Sennett, of Girard. The lodge began with seven charter members and nine initiates. The present membership, in good standing is forty. The Cherokee Lodge, A., F. & A. M., was instituted in October, 1873. This order contains a membership of fifty, in full standing. The Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen was organized in August, 1879, and now has a membership of forty-five, in full and regular standing. The Odd Fellows and Masons together own a hall, in which all the lodges hold their meetings.
The Cherokee Pharos was taken from Girard to Cherokee in May, 1874, by W. K. Goode. It was continued at this place only till the fall of the same year, and, in September, was returned to Girard. The Cherokee Index was started by Mrs. Mary A. Spring June 3, 1875. In July of that year, H. C. Brandon became editor, who in a few weeks was succeeded by P. J. Coston. After editing the paper until November 5, 1875, Coston gave up the editorship. On the 17h of December, Mrs. Spring sold out to G. W. B. Hoffman and John T. Metcalf. In April, 1875, Metcalf sold his interest to Hoffman, by whom the paper, which had hitherto been published as an Independent sheet, was converted into a Democratic organ. March 16, 1878, Metcalf bought back his interest and re-formed the partnership. On September 21, 1878, it was taken to Columbus, Cherokee county.The Young Cherokee was established by H. H. Webb and H. L. St. Clair, two boys. It was started as a small amateur concern, the number of which appeared May 13, 1876. St. Clair retired in June, and, in the following month Webb largely increased the size of the sheet. At the time of the great lead excitement at Short Creek, in the spring of 1877, the paper was taken to that place, the first issue being made May 26, 1877. The paper afterward became the Mining Echo. The Cherokee Banner was started in the fall of 1877, the first issue appearing on the 6th of October. H. H. Webb was also the founder of this paper. It was purchased July 12, 1878, by S. Smith, who continued its publications. The paper finally suspended. The Temperance Rural was established July 4, 1878, by J. F. St. Clair and J. S. Moore. It was devoted to the advocacy of temperance, but was subsequently suspended. The Cherokee Sentinel was established in April, 1879, by Charles M. Lucas. It was begun as a four-column quarto, but at the end of the first year was enlarged to an eight-column paper. New presses, machinery and material have since been added. Besides the publication of the paper, considerable job work is also done. The paper since its beginning has enjoyed a constantly increasing patronage and prosperity, and has become one of the firmly established institutions of the city.
There is but one monetary institution in the place. This is the banking firm of G. W. Pye & Co. The business of the firm began in October, 1881, since which time they have conducted a prosperous business. G. W. Pye is the head of the concern and J. C. Smith is Cashier. The Cherokee Flouring Mill was built in 1871 by Alberty & Vaughan. The cost of the building, machinery, etc., was about $20,000. It contains three run of stone, etc., and a steam corn-sheller. The mill is held under lease by the firm of Morley & Moore, who are engaged in its operation. The Anchor Flouring Mill, the property of S. E. Leigh, was built in 1873. It contains two run of buhrs, and is operated in connection with a flourishing business. The Cherokee Machine Shops were established in 1874 by Frank Webster. They were begun as a blacksmith shop, and gradually machinery was added. The shop contains a lathe, polishing and grinding machinery, drill press, full set of pipe tools, etc. The whole is run by a ten-horse power engine. This enterprise, it is safe to predict, is the ground work for machine shops of considerable magnitude in the future. A broom factory was established in 1882 by Edward & Robertson. They run two machines, and are turning out considerable work of an excellent quality."- History of the State of Kansas, William G. Cutler, 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL
"The town of Cherokee was laid out in 1870 and first named Litchfield. Among the first who settled in Cherokee were Captain Jameson, who built the first hotel, the Grand Central. J. W. Fletcher built a small frame store building, and Grandpa Price built one also. Dr. Cushenberry (now of Girard) was the first druggist. George W. Brown and G. W. B. Hoffman also erected a store building known as the "Blue Front."It was in the immediate neighborhood of Cherokee, that Hon. Eugene F. Ware, late commissioner of pensions, and the Kansas poet laureate, had his first experience as a frontiersman. He had taken a claim here, and with a long whip and several yoke of oxen broke prairie. Here he farmed, batched, and cracked jokes, and was as entertaining a talker then as now. Later he taught school, studied law, and by his energy, vim and push has gone to the head of the procession, but he belongs to Crawford county, and especially to Cherokee, even though he resides in the city of Washington and rides in the president's carriage.Like all western towns, Cherokee in her early days had her rough side. Among the first of her business enterprises was a saloon, kept by Thomas McGrath, his place of business being a lumber shed. Here were enacted some of the wild west scenes common to such places.The town of Cherokee was surveyed and laid out by Colonel Percy Daniels, since lieutenant governor of Kansas, and who resides on his farm near the site of Crawfordsville. Among the first settlers of Cherokee were George W. Brown, G. W. B. Hoffman, J. Manlove, Joseph and George Lucas, A. N. Chadsey, Captain Jameson, J. W. Fletcher, Dr. Bailey and J. F. Price, the present editor of the Cherokee Sentinel, Some of these reside at Cherokee yet, honored citizens, who have faithfully enacted their part, in building a thriving commercial and educational town. Others have moved away, while some have joined the great majority, and are peacefully resting from their labors. The county high school, a prosperous educational institution, is located here.The first school in the town was taught by Sarah Jameson, afterward the wife of Hon. E. A. Perry, a prominent attorney at Cherokee. The first child born in the town was Willie Manlove, who lived but a short time, and his funeral was the occasion of the first sermon preached in the town, and his burial was the first in the now beautiful cemetery, the location of which was made by Captain Jameson and J. F. Price. The first churches organized in Cherokee were the Methodist Episcopal and the Presbyterian, the former by Rev. B. Coombs and the latter by Rev. Hawkins, now connected with the Mid-Continent, a religious paper published in St. Louis. The Christian church was organized on the 24th day of March, 1874, with twenty-one members. Other churches came later. The first mayor was J. M. Dennis. Three railroads furnish transportation to the people of Cherokee and vicinity. They belong to the Frisco System and the Missouri Pacific." - A Twentiety Century History and Biographical Record of Crawford County, KS, Home Authors, 1905 by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL
"One of the principal incorporated cities of Crawford county, is located near the southern boundary, at the junction of the St Louis & San Francisco and the Missouri Pacific RR, 12 miles south of Girard the county seat. When the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf RR was under construction, supply camps and boarding shanties were established at suitable places along the line for the workmen. A building of this nature was erected by William Sharp on the site of Cherokee early in the year 1870, which was the beginning of the present city. The land had been entered by John G. Knox and John J. Hoke, but it was donated to the railroad company, which in April, 1870, laid out the town and began selling lots. A school house was erected the following year, and in May 1874, W.K. Goode removed his newspaper outfit from Girard and began the publication of the Cherokee Pharos, which was the first newspaper.
The Cherokee of the present day is one of the busy cities of southeastern Kansas. It has two national banks, flour mills, grain elevators, an ice plant, a broom factory, a telephone exchange, good hotels, churches of principal denominations, a graded school system, telegraph and express offices, a number of first class mercantile establishments, and a weekly newspaper (the Sentinel). The post office at Cherokee issues international money orders, and from it emanate two rural routes which supply a large district with daily mail.
Sheridan township, in which the city is situated, is one of the finest agricultural regions in that section of the state, and Cherokee is the shipping point for large quantities of grain and live stock. Coal of fine quality is extensively mined near the city. According to the US census of 1910, the population was 1,452." - Kansas - A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Person, Etc., Frank W. Blackmar, editor, copyright 1912.
Map of Cherokee, "The Official State Atlas of Kansas," L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1887