From "Memory Lane - A History of Lane, KS & Lane High School"
In 1837, The Pottawatomie Indians were moved here to a tract of land on this creek, which has since been known by their name. In October 1837, Mr. Simerwell arrived here to teach the Indian children. The children were taught to read both in English and Pottawatomie. By January 1838, many were taught to read both in English and Pottawatomie. By January 1838, many adults along with the young chief, To-pe-ne-bee, were willing to be taught to read and seemed determined to learn. The Pottawatomie Baptist Mission under the patronage of the Boston Board, was established. The mission was erected in 1840. June 28th, 1840, Rev. Jotham Meeker visited this station and preached to twenty Indians in the Ottawa language. This was the first religious meeting held in the mission. At this time, there had been built at Pottawatomie a dwelling, a schoolhouse, a cook house besides the mission building. In the report of the Secretary of War of 1840, regarding the school at Pottawatomie, he stated. “That the school taught by Mr. Simerwell had been suspended, and that arrangements had been made to start a school for females called the ‘Shields Female Academy.’” This school was to be taught by Mrs. Simerwell and Miss Elizabeth Stinson. Cynthia Mercer, wife of the government carpenter and a worker at the mission died here September 11th, 1840, and is the oldest known marked grave in Pottawatomie Township. She was buried on mission grounds. In the 18946 treaty, the Pottawatomie’s’ here were granted new lands in the present counties of Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Jackson and Pottawatomie. The Indians were to move there within two years.
On September 27th, 1847, the Pottawatomie’s were called together to receive their annuity, improvement and removal money. The first to leave here was on December 5thand by the middle of December nearly all had left their settlement here. Shortly after, the area was thrown open to settlement, with the first settler, the Sherman brother, Henry, William and Peter, already here. In 1854, a few settlers began to arrive in the area.
A post office was established here March 32, 1855, and named Shermanville, after the Sherman brothers, who then lived here. Allen Wilkinson was the first postmaster. The place was for a long time popularly known as “Dutch Henry’s Crossing,” because Dutch Henry lived near the crossing on the creek. The crossing was within the limits of the original Emerson town, and Dutch Henry’s Cabin was during the early border troubles a resort for pro-slavery settlers and border ruffians.
At a meeting of pro-slavery men at Shermanville on the night of May 20, 1856, a resolution was passed declaring that all free-state men must abandon their territory or suffer the consequences. This word passed quickly throughout the territory.
The “Pottawatomie Massacre” occurred on the night of May 24thand early morning of the 25th of May 1856, along the Mosquito Creek above its junction with the Pottawatomie. A small band of abolitionists led by John Brown murdered five pro-slavery men. Brown and his group returned from the sacking of Lawrence and camped that night in a deep ravine, some distance from the main traveled wagon road, and about a mile above “Dutch Henry’s Crossing.” (This ravine is known as “Pat Brown’s or Belt’s Hollow”.) here they remained unobserved until the next evening.
Sometime after dark, the party left their hiding and proceeded on their “secret mission.” Late in the evening, they called at the house of James P. Doyle, and ordered him and two of his sons, William and Drury to come out. They were marched down the road about a quarter of a mile and were bludgeoned to death. They then went down to Mosquito Creek, to the house of Allen Wilkinson. Here, as at the Doyle home, Wilkinson was ordered out and marched a short distance south and killed by one of the sons of John Brown with a short sword, after which his body was dragged to one side and left lying by the side of the road. They then crossed the Pottawatomie at the crossing and went to Dutch Henry’s cabin. Here, as at the other two housed, the left part of the party behind, while Brown and three of his sons entered the house, and brought out William Sherman, Dutch Henry’s brother, and marched him down into the creek where they slew him with their short swords and left his body lying in the creek. It was their intent to kill Henry Sherman also had he been at home as well as George Wilson, Probate Judge of Anderson County, had he been found at Dutch Henry’s house, as it was hoped he would be.
The killings were done with swords in order to avoid alarming the neighborhood by the discharge of firearms. This massacre in “Bleeding Kansas” was one of the most famous events leading up to the American Civil War. The object of the massacre was to protect the free-state settlers, by terrorizing in the most effectual manner the pro-slavery men, settlers, and non-settlers.
The key to the selection of the victims of the massacre almost certainly lies in the personnel of the District Court held at Dutch Henry’s Crossing, April 21, 22, 1856. The victims were James P. Doyle, a grand juror, his son William P. Doyle, bailiff to the grand jury; Allen Wilkinson, District Attorn, pro-tem; William Sherman, on the brothers at whose house the court me. Drury Doyle was on 20 years of age, so apparently had no political office. Henry Sherman and George Wilson were on the list, but they were not there. They also had inquired about a Mr. McMinn who was foreman of the jury and lived on the claim adjoining Wilkinson on the east.
After the burning of his house, Henry Sherman is said to have lived with William Saling from October 6, 1856, to January 10,1857, although frequently he was absent. Apparently, Sherman then lived with Samuel H. Hunter from January 10 until March 2nd, the day he was shot while riding on the prairie. He found refuge and died at the home of William Saling on May 4, 1857. About the time of his murder, a townsite company was being organized, the project being announced in the Lawrence Herald of Freedom, May 9, 1857, under the name of “Sewanoe” after a Pottawatomie Indian Chief buried on the brown of a hill to the southeast; “This town is located on Pottawatomie Creek, at the crossing of the California road at an old established point known as “Dutch Henry’s Crossing.” The land office tract books record that William Saling filed the Sewanoe townsite entry May 16, 1857. The charter did not become a part of or appear in the estate proceeding of Henry Sherman in any capacity. Apparently, the brother Peter Sherman, had died prior to the murder of Henry as his burial expenses were filed against Henry’s estate.
The legislature of 1858, the first one controlled by free-state men, chartered the Lane City association, February 9, with the power to purchase and hold land not to exceed one thousand acres in the vicinity designated in sections 34 and 35, with the right to acquire more land.
But the best laid plans sometimes go wrong and among them, the Lane City failed to complete title to any part of its site. In the meantime, the post office of Shermanville, closed from August 28, 1856, was reestablished March 14, 1857, possibly the house of successive postmasters serving as an office. On January 28, 1863, the name was changed to Lane, at the suggestion of Mrs. Judge Hanway, in honor of General James H. Lane. The first store, and the only one here for a number of years, was started and kept by Duncan Holiday. He was also postmaster.
Lane began with the building of the railroad from Paola to Leroy. The first attempt to build this road failed in 1873. In 1879, Commodore Garrison, who owned the Missouri Pacific, worked up the franchises along the line, and built from Paola to Leroy. In 1880, Jay Gould bought the Missouri Pacific, and gave to Pottawatomie township her $12,000 in bonds, receiving therefore the $12,000 in stock of the road held by the township.
When the road was built, a new town was laid out and platted, adjoining Lane on the northeast, and named Emerson. This new town E.R. Beeson & Co., built a store, D. Drummin opened a lumber yard; the grange store was removed here from Amo; (Amo being a settlement on the 40 acres on the southwest corner of the intersection three miles east of town.) Mr. Johnson built a hotel; Mr. Fowler, a blacksmith shop, and a number of dwellings were erected.
Soon after, a disagreement sprang up in regard to the name. Original Lane is that portion of the present city located west of Kansas Avenue and south from the Baker house, Original Emerson is the portion of the city from the main intersection of town east one-half mile, then north 160 rods, then west to the center of the Pottawatomie Creek, thence up the center of the creek to the present-day bridge, thence back south to the place of beginning, which included all of the railroad and the depot. Mr. Garrison of the railroad selected the name Avondale, which was given to, and retained by the station until 1881. In 1880, a petition was circulated and largely signed to have the post office removed to and called by the name of Avondale. This project was strongly opposed by some of the old settlers, and after a bitter fight, Elder Henderickson was made postmaster and the name “Lane” was retained.
The Lane Town Company wrote their Articles on Incorporation of March 10, 1879 and filed them for record with the Secretary of State on March 11, 1879. A warranty deed to the Lane Town Company for the N ½ of the Southeast Quarter Section 33, Township 18, Range 21, was dated June 30, 1879, and recorded August 4, 1879. Their plat subdividing into lots, blocks, streets and alleys and name Lane, was dated August 27, 1879, and filed for record on September 5, 1879.
For eighteen months, the two rival towns of Lane and Emerson each tried to build itself up at the expense of the other. During the latter part of 1881, the strife ceased, prosperity began, and peace reigned.
The Lane mills were built in 1881, and a new two-story, rough coralline marble schoolhouse, costing $3,000, besides about thirty dwellings. The original school which stood on the west side of the street in the extreme south end of town was started in about 1861 and first appeared on the tax rolls in 1864. In recent years, it was used as a chicken house of Mr. M.R Crites. It was demolished when Harry Adell purchased the property from Crites and moved the house from the Silas Pratt farm to the location.
During the first six months of 1882, about twenty dwellings were erected, making the total number in the town sixty. Besides these, there were about twenty-five businesses, among them one hotel, three general stores, one drug store, one boot and shoe store, two millinery stores, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one agriculture implement depot, a marble shop, a number of church organization, and about three hundred inhabitants.
Lincoln Park was located just across Pottawatomie Creek, north from the village. In the park, T.J. Crowder erected in the spring of 1882, a tabernacle 40x40 feet, to which all the denominations resorted for religious services, there being no church building nearer than that owned by the Society of Friends, (Quakers) three miles east.
The site of the present church, Lot 6, Block 4, Wasson’s and DeVore’s Addition to the city of Lane, was deeded to the Trustees of the Lane Methodist Church on December 5, 1883, by W.A. Wasson and wife for the sum of $25.00.
Lane’s first newspaper was the Lane Advance and established July 1, 1861. It was an eight column, four page weekly, independent in politics, and devoted to the temperance, morality and public improvement, with the editor being a strong prohibitionist.
To the southwest of Lane, a species of granular limestone, or statuary marble is found. It was about one hundred and twenty feet above the creek, in the bluff above the river which is almost perpendicular. It was named “Coralline Marble,” being the same as the coralline marble which had attracted so much attention in the Derbyshire quarries in England. It was overlaid by five feet of dirt and three strata of common limestone, averaging about twelve inches in thickness. The average thickness of the coralline layer being about twenty inches, texture fine, and very tenacious. The color was a light chocolate, and the marble when polished made beautiful furniture, mantels, windowsills, and monuments. Judge John S. Hanway received the patent on this land and opened up their quarry. They were considered pioneer marble cutters of Kansas, and by 1879 had built up a very large business. A great many monuments and tombstones to be found in the counties of eastern Kansas were erected by them. In 1880, the put in a engine to run the machinery necessary in the working up of the marble. Many houses in the Lane vicinity were built from this limestone, including two of his own, and are still standing today. In July 1885, heavy rains undermined the Hanway Brothers lime kiln causing it to fall and throwing stones across the railroad track. It was in this area threat Judge Hanway, a member of the underground railroad, successfully hid several run-away slaves from Missouri. The cave was not easily visible from either below or above. Access had to be gained by dropping about six feet by rope. In December 1889, the poles for the telephone lines were scattered from Garnett to Osawatomie. By mid-month, the line was connected, and Lane was conversing with Garnett and Greeley.
In August 1892, Frank DeVore and D.H Glore moved into the new building on the west side of the street which was finished in fine style and as neat and commodious as any bank. The bank failed in 1923. For several years, it was used as an insurance office by I.J. Cornelius and by several different beauty shops and even living quarters. The building still stands today.
The District Fair Association of Franklin, Miami, Linn and Anderson counties was organized in 1892. By mid-July, the association had finished their premium list for the fall fair and the dates for the fair was set for September 13, 14,15 and 16. Large purses were arranged for the races so that good horses would be attracted here. The fair was held in the already established Lincoln Park. They had a week of beautiful weather, a good display and good attendance. The tabernacle had been cleared and was to be seen as the lady’s department of the fair. Much corn was on display as was tobacco., The display of stock was decidedly good and there were horses of most every age and breed. The racetrack was in splendid condition and there were entries to fill very race. The track here was pronounced by horsemen one of the finest in the state. The array and number of trotters, pacers and runners had not been excelled anywhere in the state.
On January 6, 1893, Clark Luzzadder and his wife Lucinda, deeded to the Fair Association their hoe and surrounding buildings on the west side of the park for use as a caretaker’s home. The house set just north of the bridge on the east side where a clump of trees and a well curb stands yet today.
On January 14, 1893, the District Fair Association held their annual meeting of stockholders and elected the following officers for the ensuing year: President, J.C. Wakefield, vice-president, C.H. Glinkman; treasurer, Dana Needham; secretary, D.H. Glore; assistant secretary; G.W. Nofsinger; and also elected seven directors as follows: W.H. Campbell, J.J. McCabe, W.B. Lafollette, Hen. Chambers, Clark Luzadder, G.A. Long, and Jim M. Byrd. The date for the second annual fair of the District Fair Association was set for September 19, 20, 21 and 22, 1893. Their show of livestock was good, and that of arm products. The speed program attracted a large share of attention and entries. One of the special premiums offered this year was a highchair of $3.00 value to be presented to the best baby (white) in the show. The award went to the baby of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Coulter. (This was probably Ward Coulter, brother of the late Estella Bump.)
By 1892, some thirty families had settled here from Kentucky and had engaged in tobacco farming, with some 100 acres planted in the early years. Seven large tobacco barns were to be erected in the area and a cigar factory was placed in operation. Their tobacco was bringing top prices on the Cincinnati market. The large barn of John Cumber’s was destroyed in 1911 tornado which struck the area, others were eventually torn down. The last one to stand was on the “Ote” LaFollette place about one and one-half miles south of town.
The Lane Cemetery Association was formed in 1901 and procured the grounds just east of town. It is reported that Finley Brownlee, father of John, Eddie and Effie, was the first to be buried there. For a number of years, a colored slave family resided in the Hanway cabin before moving into Lane. They were the first coloreds to be buried at Lane. Minnie Branch in 1904, Arenna Johnson in 1907 and Nelson Johnson in 1910.
The period of prosperity came to an end, when in 1907, a fire destroyed fourteen business buildings on the east side of the street. The fire broke out in the Morrow building in mid-block and spread each direction. The Post Office building near the north end of the row of structures was dynamited to check the advance of the flames. The fire was confined to the east side of the street. The only building left standing was Lock’s Drug Store – the present day “beer Joint” on the north and Dana Needham’s store on the south.
The Farmer’s Union Elevator was built in 1918-1919 by the Star Elevator Company of Wichita. Through mismanagement, the Farmer’s lost it. It was privately owned for several years. In about 1980, it was razed as it stood on leased ground from the railroad, and they terminated their lease in order to add additional line.
In 1930, Loy Gerth started his hatchery business in a one-room building 24x32 feet with a 500-egg brooder. It expanded in 1934 with another room and 5000 capacity brooder. The building continued in 1940, 1946, 1948. 1949 and in 1952 the main office, sales room and living quarters were completed.
At that time, there were 16 brooders of 5,000 capacity each. Eight men were hired to take care of the year-round hatching and raising of breeders which began in 1940. About 1,500 grown chickens were sold for slaughter each week.
In the late 1880’s, the school was expanded to include a two-year high school, which continued until graduation from the 10thgrade ceased in 1912. At that time, the system was changed to include four years of high school with the first-year class graduating in 1914. The new gymnasium was built in 1928. Through consolidation, the high school portion of the school closed with the 1964 graduating class. The grade school continued for a few years until the new “Central Heights” building was completed and all students from Richmond, Princeton, Rantoul and Lane were transported there.
The above information was furnished by Homer White and only covers the “tip of the iceberg” as space in this in this publication is limited.
Acknowledgements: Life and Works of Robert Simerwell, Andreas History of Kansas, John Brown; The legend of ’56, Gleanings from Lane, Ottawa and Lawrence newspapers, Jotham Meeker’s Journal, Manuscript tiles of Judge Hanway, Franklin County Register Deeds, Biennial reports and quarterly publications from Kansas State Historical Society, Court proceeding of the estate of Henry Sherman and personal interview with “old timers’” held years ago.