POST OFFICE

Postmasterer W. J. Helvering standing in front of Post Office
In 1881 the first post office was established in Beattie. It was in a building built by J. J. Sheldon who ran a drug store. Mr. Sheldon was appointed the first postmaster. Since the post office has been located in several of the buildings still standing in Beattie. In October of 1992, the post office was moved to 302 Center Street to a brand new building.
Since J. J. Sheldon was appointed the first postmaster there have been numerous successors: A. J. Patterson, A. J. Brunswig, H. C. Smith, F. W. Hutshinson, J. C. Reed, T. C. Menehan, John O'Neil, Elizabeth O'Neil, S.L. Wilson, Mary Wilson, Roy Wilson, M. A. Tucker, W. E. Ham, Alma Helvering, W. J. Helvering, Fred Larkin, John G. O'Neil, Regina Cannon, and John Robinson. The present postmaster is Kathryn A. Kroeger.
The Beattie Post Office is presently a EAS-11 with one rural route that has an intermediate office at Summerfield. Joe Werner, the rural carrier from Axtell, carries the second rural route out of Beattie.
In 1896 free rural delivery was started. Rural Route 1 was established in 1901 with J. R. Wilcox being the first carrier. He was succeeded by John I. Nettleton. Length of the route was 25 miles. Route II was started in 1902. It was 27 miles long; Guy Totten was the first carrier on that route. He was succeeded by William Lord and Edward Cannon. Due to a vacancy on Route 1 in 1930, the routes were consolidated and length was 62 miles - approximately the same length it is today. At one time the Beattie route was the longest route in Marshall County. In 1942 when the route was vacated, they had a freeze on all routes due to the war, so from 1942-1949 the route was carried by substitute carriers. They were John G. O'Neil, Pete Moore, and Cecil Glick. History says that when Pete Moore carried the mail there were some very bad storms and some days he delivered the mail with a tractor. On January 1, 1949, Lawrence V. Mulhern was appointed the rural carrier after the war had ended.
The present employee at the Beattie Post Office is Lawrence V. Mulhern with 46 years of service. His rural carrier associate is Theresa Kopp. She started on November 6, 1986, and has eight years of service. Connie Ladner was hired as postmaster relief in October 1992. She has two years of service. On March 20, 1993, Kathryn A. Kroeger was appointed the postmaster of Beattie. She has seven and one-half years with the United States Postal Service, one and one-half years as the postmaster of Beattie.
The Post Office is still a very important place in town. It a meeting place in the mornings for people getting their mail and the school children to stop in after school to get a piece Candy from the postmaster.

 

STONE QUARRIES

Early in Beattie history two stone quarries were important industries. One was known as the FitzGerald quarry and the other as the Hawk Quarry. The railroad built tracks into both of these and great quantities of stone were shipped out. At the peak of their production many men were hired and the population of Beattie was between 700 and 1,000. Building stone was taken out of Hawk quarry and both building and bridge stone was taken from the FitzGerald quarry. Several of the buildings at Kansas State College at Manhattan were made from Beattie stone.

BEATTIE ROCK QUARRY WPA PROJECT

Thirty-five years ago about 200 CWA workers were spending 15 hours a week each taking rock out of the FitzGerald quarry for Marshall county roads.
Work was being provided for the men because it was the period of the great Depression when employment of one kind or another was necessary for men and their families to live.
The year was 1934, and the wages of the men were made possible by money paid into the federal government in the form of taxes. The men represented six towns in the county. Before the quarry was opened many tests of the rock were made by being placed on the roads to see how it would stand traffic. It stood the tests and turned off water. Some of the rock virtually cemented together with moisture and wear.

The Advocate referred to the rock surface as "a third cousin to the cement highway."

The Advocate said further:

"Thus, it will be seen, while helping to pull the country out of the Depression by furnishing worthwhile employment to men, who otherwise might be twirling their thumbs, Marshal county is augmenting the program by establishing a solid footing for her own people.
"God must have known when he laid out the foundations of the earth and peopled it, that there would be a Depression some day. He provided Franklin D. Roosevelt, a friend of man, and he tucked away a 12-foot vein of Cottonwood limestone on that eminence overlooking Beattie.
"Over the Cottonwood lode, which has stood up under all tests, He poured an 18-inch layer of shale which would gladden the heart of a cement baron, and over this He spread a three-foot vein of softer limestone, thus making available the necessary binder and sealer. These He concealed beneath a three-foot depth of mother earth, to await the auspicious time.
"That time is now at hand and the county and federal relief workers are taking advantage of it to build a system of primary highways which will link as many community centers as practicable, giving to each its own Appian Way."
A new quarry was installed at the old site, and great ricks of rock arose at the site for distribution on the roads. The quarry crushed the rock from the size of a small pinpoint to the size of an egg.
When the rock was placed on the roads for a time they taxed the patience of the drivers. The rock was rough, some caught in the tires and banged into the fenders and the underparts of the cars. Some persons claimed damage to their vehicles. But after a time the rock wore down and the roadbed was good.
Some drivers describe the initial driving on the roads as trying to drive a car over a plowed field.
The late W. J. Bloss was superintendent. Four foremen were under his supervision. The late M. R. Bridges was in charge of 62 men from Marysville, 32 from Home City and Winifred; C. E. Slater directed the operations of 36 Axtell men, William Graham supervised 26 Summerfield workers, and C. E. Kirlin overlooked the work of 33 Beattie citizens.
Each unit had its own territory and was responsible for carrying out the work in the area. Each unit built a hut of rock fitted with a heater for use in winter months, when the men wanted to warm up.
The huts also served as a place to store tools. All of the doors to the huts were locked when not in use. Above the door at the Marysville hut were these words: "We expect every man to do his share.  If you think anything of your job take warning."
On the door of the Axtell hut was printed in large type: "This place is for your convenience.  Don't abuse it."
A main assembly hall was provided at the quarry, and a space for emergency treatment for workers, who were injured. M. C. Giles operated a blacksmith shop to keep tools in shape, and he worked three or four days per shift at this job.
One stone house provided space for the air compressor which supplied power for the drills.
Ray Tibbetts and Jack Robinson, both of Beattie, were the rock shooters. They drilled the holes and placed the dynamite while the men cleaned up the rock which had been blasted by prior blasts. Charges usually were set off at noon and in the evening. An electric battery was used to set off the charges.
Tire crusher was groomed by C. L. Hiskey of Marysville and C. W. James of Beattie, Nick Koppes, Carden, operated the tractor which ran the portable crusher, W. J. Price, Beattie, was the timekeeper on the job.
Land on which the quarry was operated was owned by John and William FitzGerald. In prior years much stone was taken from the quarry for foundations for buildings in town and country, much of it going to St. Joseph.

 

WOMEN IN OFFICE

In the spring of 1899 the city officials of Beattie were duped by a smooth talking reporter and they became the subject of a news story that left the town in a turmoil. The article, published in The St. Louis Star on April 30, 1899, reads like it came right from the pages of the current National Enquirer.

Editors of Beattie's two newspapers, The Eagle and The Palladium, lashed out at the dirty sheet with its disgraceful conglomeration of photographs that misrepresented the facts and described "glib reporters and sensational journalism."

The publicity Beattie received that spring - both good and bad - began on April 3 when the townspeople elected a woman mayor and an all-women city council. For a town its size Beattie was a little long on saloons and a group of women bent on correcting the situation had run for city offices. The majority of the Beattie residents backed the women's clean-up-the-town campaign.

The Eagle reported Election Day was snowy, gloomy and muddy but the women were out all day driving several carriages bringing voters to the polls. By midafternoon the men got out two carriages and drove them hard until the polls closed.

It was a bitter, hard-fought contest from start to finish. The men gave their female opponents no special consideration and the women were not handing out compliments to the men's ticket.
Kansas's women were allowed to vote in city elections in 1887. The Beattie women were out exercising their rights that day in 1899.
When the votes were tabulated that night Elizabeth Totten had won the mayor's race, defeating J. D. Newton 146 to 96. A big vote getter was Katie O'Neil, who defeated A. D. Stosz 166 to 73 for city clerk. The following votes were polled for positions on the city council: Sheldon defeated F. W Weis 149 to 92; Lulu Smith defeated W. J. Helvering 135-92; Elvira Watkins defeated Ben Bell 142 to 96; Lettie Kirlin defeated P. W. O'Neil 117 to 101; Mary Schleigh defeated D. J. Kelly 149 to 88.
It can probably he said with some degree of certainty that Mrs. Totten was the first woman mayor in Marshall County. And the all women government may have been a first in a wide area because newspapers converged on Beattie from all directions.

"KANSAS TOWN RUN ENTIRELY BY WOMEN" - this was the full page article in the April 30, 1899, St. Louis Star that left the town of Beattie smarting. It was written by T. R. MacMechen and had been picked up by several large eastern newspapers.

The Beattie Eagle editor labeled it a "Villainous Affair" and The Palladium editor regretted the mistake made by the women officials in allowing the smooth guy from the city to change their minds about being interviewed. They overlooked the fact that some of the material in the article had already been printed in the Beattie papers and that other Marshall County papers had carried references to Beattie's problem with saloons, when in fact Beattie had only one saloon. Illegal saloons flourished in most Marshall County towns before the turn of the century.

The Star's article's introductory sentence set the tone for the entire story: "A man can't call his soul his own in Beattie, Kansas. Women are running things and have tamed everything that wears pants."

Beattie men had a right to feel resentment; they were pictured as either whiskey guzzlers or respectable but lacking moral courage and hiding behind women's skirts. The women fared a little better but they were misquoted and MacMechen had embellished the opinions they expressed.

The Star correspondent wrote that he got off at the Beattie station after a hot and dusty 99-mile train ride from St. Joseph and asked a sad-looking man on the station platform where he could find the nearest beer.

He was directed to the Burnett Hotel on the Main Street where he found the door barred and a placard proclaiming: "CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE MAYOR." He asked another sad-faced man what the trouble was and was told, women are running things and this town is going to the devil.

MacMechen found out there was a back door to the saloon and invited the town's leading physician to join him in a drink, but the doctor demurred, saying he never indulged. Then he warned the reporter to keep quiet or the women would be down there and dump out every keg and bottle into the street and that was all that was left in town.
The saloonkeeper John Burnside said the women did know and that he had been ordered to dispose of all his liquor by Saturday night. He told the reporter he was complying with the mayor's order and that he was also closing his hotel and going out of business.
A defeated candidate questioned about the political overthrow was quoted as saying, "The majority of these women was school teachers. It's humiliating enough to be beaten by a woman, but being dictated to by a bunch of teachers is rubbing it in. Ya' know what a school teacher don't know ain't worth mentioning."
In pursuit of sensationalism the St. Louis writer ignored the fact that many men backed the women's ticket, seeing it as a chance to elect a united mayor and council that would take action on the saloon. For two years they had tried unsuccessfully to enforce the prohibition law in their town and got no help from the county attorney even when they presented evidence.
The women's ticket was called "The Broom Brigade," "Mamas Ticket" and "The Soda Water Bottles." The article included descriptions of election-day events as told to MacMechen by Beattie people.  One unidentified man was quoted as saying, "Good Lord! I didn't know there was that many women in Marshall County."

MacMechen wrote that he saw several people bypassing the post office and taking letters to the train. He learned that Postmaster Wilson had backed the women's ticket in The Eagle and the losers were boycotting the post office, hoping to cut down stamp cancellations from which he received most of his "official rake-off."

At their first council meeting the women issued an order closing the saloon in the basement of the hotel. They granted John McCoy a permit to erect a two-story stone building to be used as a hall for fraternal societies and then adjourned.
Mayor Totten had some news for her council members at their second meeting. Marshal Beyer had told the new mayor that the city had its own arsenal - three Marlin rifles. But Beyer could not find them and the mayor could find no record of their purchase in the clerk's records. The previous city officers had purchased the Marlins for their protection from none other than the legendary Beattie Bad Man, Lem Goldsberry.

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Note:
In retrospect the article does not seem a bit bad. It's a quick trip back to the town's exciting past that sparkles with that certain spark and spirit that mark Beattie's personality. The article has been recorded on a 30-minute tape; a transcribed copy was placed in the Beattie file in the Marshall County Historical Society Library in the Historic Courthouse.
I was never able to find the identification of this woman, but when the train came to town, there was a problem with the train hitting her cows. She went to the railroad a couple of time wanting paid for her dead cows. The railroad refused. She was so mad that she would go out after dark at night with a soft soap and actually soaped the rails. This made it impossible for the train to stop. After a couple of sessions of this, the railroad paid her for her cows.

 

THE IRON HORSE COMES TO BEATTIE

McKeen Motor Car at Beattie Depot

In 1870 the railroad came to Beattie. It was known as the St. Joseph and Denver City Railroad and later known as the St. Joseph and Grand Island Railroad. It had many other names during the years. (See railroad schedule for February, 1939)

When the first train bearing engine number 10,112 came to Beattie in 1871 it was operated by George Roof as engineer and John Claus as conductor. The first lady passenger to step off the train in a patch of weeds and grass was Mrs. Horatio N. Farrar, who alighted with her eldest son, Robert K., a one-year-old baby in her arms. She had just arrived from her old home in London, Ohio, to be met by her husband with a team of oxen to take her to her new home, a sod house south of Beattie.
Her husband, Horatio, had come in advance of his family and located on a farm eight miles southeast of Beattie where he had found the sod unbroken, and his nearest post office and market were in Marysville.In later years he added more land to his original homestead including 160 acres in section five and the same amount in section eight. Members of the Methodist Church, in which Mr. Farrar held official place, he was also a staunch Republican and took active part in local politics. He was interested in educational affairs as was his wife, who held a position on the school board where she exhibited excellent judgment in her decisions. They were the parents of 11 bright and interesting children named respectively, Robert, Edwin, Neil, Pearl, Flora, Minter, Lena, Henry, Homer, Dale and Georgia.
By 1872 a short platform was constructed for the passengers to alight and Sam Stedman was the first man to step from the train onto the platform. The first man to arrive after the depot was built was Mike Reiter. The first station agent was John McCoy. He held this position for eight years. He came to Beattie in 1864 and was the sheriff. In 1871 he built the second dwelling house. He took up the practice of law and was admitted to the Marshall County Bar in 1882. He helped with the city government and was the first mayor of Beattie. He also served as justice of the peace and postmaster for four years. In 1884 Mr. McCoy purchased a tract of land north of the city which was known as the McCoy Addition.
Patrick Finnigan, who came with the railroad to Beattie, may be designated as one who was "willing to live and let live." He was numbered among the representative farmers of Guittard Township, owning 280 acres on sections 12 and 22, the residence being on the former. Accredited with being the heaviest taxpayer of his township, he made a specialty of raising high-grade shorthorn cattle and Poland China and Chester White hogs. He often kept 500 head of cattle and 1,000 hogs. It was not uncommon for Mr. Finnigan to ship out a trainload of stock at one time.
Born in County Antrim, Ireland, February 6, 1848, he came to Marshall County in 1871 from Missouri. When the railroad was laid through Beattie, he was boss of the railroad gang that laid the tracks. Boarding at the James FitzGerald home, one of the founders of the town, he met their daughter Miss Mary Ann FitzGerald whom he married in 1874.
He purchased his first 80 acres of land in 1879 and had the distinction of being the first farmer to erect a windmill in Guittard Township. He planted a fine orchard and had 10 acres of apples.
They were the parents of three children, two of whom died in infancy preceding Mrs. Finnigan's death. At the death of the latter in 1879, Mr. Finnigan was left with his small daughter Charlotte (Mrs. Charlotte Finnigan Drisko).
He was married the second time to Miss Catherine Loob of St. Bridge Township in 1880 and to this union were born four children, Thomas William, John Warren, Harry Joseph and Nora E. The mother of these children died August 23, 1889. Patrick Finnigan died August 20, 1901.

 

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