Jewell, Kansas, Today and Yesterday

Jewell is located in north-central Kansas, on highway K-14, 8 miles south of highway US 36 (Mankato).

Wanted real photos or postcards of Jewell, especially of the downtown street in the 20's, 30's, and 40's. If you do not want to send them, have someone scan them on a computer, making a jpg file, and email the file to .

Wanted early family type stories of Jewell and the immediate area. Email them to .

[*] An 1900 Map of Jewell County (credit: The Kansas Collection)

[*] City

[*] Pictures

[*] History

[*] Early Stories


Population 483 (2000 Census)
City Office, 308 Delaware, Jewell, KS 66949, 785-428-3600
Library, 101 S. Washington,Jewell, KS 66949, 785-428-3630
High School, 313 S. Washington, Jewell, KS 66949, 785-428-3233

Jewell Community Center - great place for gatherings, family reunions, parties

Guaranty State Bank, 120 S. Washington, 785-428-3241
Bohnert Welding, 701 N. Columbus St., 785-428-3238
Colson Hardware, 120 Deleware St., 785-428-3572
Jewell Grocery, 320 Delaware St., 785-428-3271
Jewell Motel, 785-428-3600
Jewell Implement Co, 105 S. Custer St., 785-428-3261
Pierce Electronics, 785-428-3601
The Scoop, 300 Delaware St., 785-428-3411

Old Settlers Day, in City Park, second weekend of July.
County Music festival, second Saturday in September
Corn Show, in City Park, High School, second weekend of October.

Palmer Museum
108 S. Washington
Jewell, KS 66949
Established 1993
Open by appointment - Call 428-3288 or 428-33

Jewell Chamber of Commerce
(785) 428-3466
316 Delaware, Jewell, KS 66949


Air View of Jewell looking south (1998 photo)

Air View of Jewell looking north (1998 photo)

Old photos of Jewell's Post Office and Hutchinson Drug Store buildings.

Old Bank photos of Jewell buildings.

Old Street scene showing the telephone office and other buildings.

Early photo of the City Square Park.

Downtown Stable/Theater of Jewell.

Testing the Jewell water works showing the Stable when used by the Lumber-Coal Company.

Roller Mill, Jewell City

Waterworks Dam, Jewell City

Lake Emerson, Jewell City

Early photo of Robertson Mercantile.

Robertson Block Street Scene taken around 1910.

Robertson Block Post Card

Laffer's Clothing Company

Southeast corner of Jewell around 1940

Robertson Block, the whole block taken in 1992.

Block south east of the Park, taken in 1992.


After 1870 the "old home town" of Jewell City evolved from Indian camps into a bustling town of Buffalo trails into paved highways. In 1868 the country was in the possession of Indians. In 1870 of the fifth try the town stuck. By '72 the Indians were no longer a threat. Soon homesteaders came by the groves, and with them needs for towns developed. Then came city homes, stores, churches, schools and newspaper printing office was open. This story is best tol in the Story of The Old Home Town, Jewell City below.

"About the middle of May, 1868, a party of buffalo hunters, six in number, named Lewis Castle, Walter Haines and two Roberts brothers, of Cltifton, Kan., and two brothers by the name of Collins. from near Lake Sibley, Cloud County, Kan., went on a hunting expedition in the southern part of Jewell County. As they did not return within the expected time, their friends, be coming solicitous of their fate, organized a party to go in search of them. The searching party, after two days' hunt, finally struck their trail and followed it to its fatal end, where their sad fate was only too vividly and horrifyingly apparent. There, in a heap, in the bed of the Little Cheyenne lay their putrefying bodies, a most melancholy and sickening sight to behold. The trail leading to this 'valley of death' was still painfully visible and, though silent, was a true witness to the particulars of this horrible Indian butchery. The first four hunters named had a horse team and were hunting on Brown's creek, four miles west Of where Jewell City now stands. When attacked they started east and after going about two miles were joined by the Collins boys, who had an ox team which the Indians killed near where the two trails came together. The running fight was continued east to near the crossing of West Buffalo, where the Indians, supposing the hunters would cross, had lain in ambush. The hunters evidently becoming aware of this, suddenly changed their course due south, thereby gaining ground and safely crossing Dry creek, one mile and a half south, and reaching the divide south of Buffalo creek. Here their trail again turned east, giving every evidence, along its entire course, of a desperate conflict. One of the hunters had evidently been shot before reaching the fatal crossing of the Little Cheyenne, and had been carried along in the wagon. When found, the bodies were so far decayed and emitted such a sickening odor that the most that could be done for the dead was to throw a few shovelfuls of dirt and lay some stones over them, until the following spring, when their bones were carefully gathered up and properly interred. Whether any Indians were killed will never be known. Thomas Lovewell and wife, and Dan Davis (Mrs. Lovewell's brother) and wife were camped, on the day this occurred, three miles northwest of Jewell City, on what is now Oliver Smith's farm, also on a hunting expedition, and distinctly heard the sound of voices calling, probably the first party calling the Collins brothers to apprise them of danger."

Five Attempts at Settlement

Winsor & Scarbrough list five attempts at settlement of Jewell County. The first in 1862, by three Illinois families along White Rock creek near the Jewell-Republic line. The settlers abandoned their claims and shanties after witnessing a Paw nee Indian tomahawked by two Sioux Indians. Four years later, 1866, another attempt was made to settle White Rock creek vicinity. This settlement was attacked in August 1866, and again in April 1867. Several settlers were killed, one woman was dragged into the timber and assaulted by a band of Indians, and another woman was carried away into captivity never to be heard from again. For about a year the Indians were left in complete possession of the county. In 1868 a third attempt to settle the White Rock valley was marked by Indian massacres and the withdrawal of the settlers. Late in October, 1868, a colony of Scandinavians located on the Republican river, and laid out the town of Scandia, in Republic County, and pushed their settlement up White Rock creek into Jewell county. In May, 1869, what was known as the "Excelsior," or New York Colony, came into the county and took claims along White Rock creek, as far up as Burr Oak. A block house was erected for protection. In May, 1869, it is estimated there were more than 100 people in the county, all on White Rock creek. However, the settlers were so continuously harrassed by roving bands of Indians, who burned and killed, that the entire white population withdrew from Jewell County in June, 1869. In August of the same year, however, one settler, Peter Kearns, ventured into the county and took one of the White Rock claims, and to him alone be longs the honor of spending a winter of 1869-70 in Jewell County. The fifth and final settlement came with the influx of settlers in 1870, beginning in February. The story of these settlements may be found in detail in Winsor & Scarbrough's history.

The "Buffalo Pioneers"

William D. Street, who homesteaded in Prairie township May 26, 1869, was one of the first settlers in the south half of the county. Early in 1870, A. J. Davis, Jerry Burnett, L. M. Stults, Benjamin Lewis and Charles Lewis came in and settled on Buffalo creek.

Quoting again from Winsor & Scarbrough concerning the "Buffalo pioneers":

"The first permanent settlers of the Buffalo Valley were Henry Sorick, Geo. A. Sorick, John A. Sorick, Geo. W. Waters, R. F. Hudsonspeller, Thomas B. Hart, and William Cox, who took claims in the immediate vicinity of Jewell City, April 8, 1870.

"The next arrivals were S. R. Worick, John H. Worick, John Hoffer, Joseph W. Fogle, Cyrus Riehart, Chris Bender, David J. Rockey, William H. Camerin. Samuel Krape, C. A. Belknap and A. J. Wise, known as the 'Illinois Colony,' who arrived at the or s of Buffalo creek, April 12, 1870. They all took claims in the vicinity of Jewell City, and all, with the exception of Mr. Cameron. remained until 'the war was over' and very materially assisted in 'holding the creek' during the some what troublous season of 1870.

"The next arrivals on this side of the county were James A. Scarbrough and William Queen, who took claims four miles northwest of Jewell City, April 24, 1870. Mr. Queen went back to Clyde, where he had left his family and remained until the first of the following October, when he returned, and has lived here ever since. Scarbrough remained with 'the boys' and took an active part in the stirring events of the succeeding summer and fall.

"During the month of April, 1870, quite a number of other settlers arrived and took claims in the southern part of the county. Prominent among them were Charles L. Seeley, Isaac A. Sawin, Allen Lightner, Wm. M. Jones, James W. Hall, Richard D. Fardy, L. J. Calvin, F. A. May and John R. Wilson."

Erection of Fort Jewell

In the midst of the activity of 1870 came the final Indian threat, which led to the erection of Fort Jewell. As recounted in Winsor & Scarbrough's history, the settlers of Jewell City community were interrupted in their tasks of breaking prairie, building cabins, digging "dugouts" and otherwise improving their claims on May 12, 1870, by the message of couriers that the Cheyennes were again on the warpath and had killed three white men working on a mill dam on the Solomon river at the present site of Glen Elder. At daybreak on the following day, twenty-eight settlers had gathered at "Hoffer's shanty" near the forks of Buffalo Creek, organized a company of militia, and at the future town site of Jewell City commenced the erection of a sod fort.

The names of the "Buffalo militia," who comprised all the settlers on Buffalo creek at that time, were: William D. Street, captain; Charles J. Lewis, first lieutenant; Louis A. Dapron, second lieutenant; Tames A. Scarbrough, orderly sergeant; L. J. Calvin, F. A. May, W. M. Jones, Samuel Krape, C. L. Seeley, Cyrus Richart, Chris Bender, J. H. Worick, David J. Rockey, James W. Hall, Richard D. Fardy, C. A. Belknap, Sawin, A. J. Wise, John Hoffer, William Cox, S. R. Worick, Allen Lightner, L. A. Sorick, R. F. Hudsonspeller, I. A. Sawin, Henry James F. Queen, J. W. Fogel, J. A. Sorick, and John R. Wilson, Sorick, R. F. Hudsonspeller, I. A. Sawin, Henry Sorick, and John R. Wilson.

The site of the sod fort is the block in Jewell City now bounded on the south by Delaware street and on the west by Belle street. The fort was constructed of sod with walls seven feet high and four feet thick, and covered an area of fifty square yards. The settlers remain ed in the fort until June, 1870. A company of U. S. soldiers arrived about this time and remained at the fort until fall. The settlers, who until this time had been left un aided to fight their Indian battles, looked wih some asperity upon the late arrival of the soldiers.

Other settlers of May and June, 1870, were: Col. E. Barker, 0. L. McClung, W. C. McClung, R. R. McClung, Z. F. Dodge, J. K. Dodge, F. T. Gandy, H. P. Gandy, L. C. Gandy, Gabe B. Wade, C. R. Deal, Samuel Cameron, C. E. Plowman, Jonathan Street, Geo. F. Lewis, James Carpenter, Jacob S. Jackson, W. R. Phillips, and many others. Mrs. Annie Billings, wife of N. H. Billings, arrived at Fort Jewell, May 22, 1870. She was the first white woman to become a resident of the southern part of Jewell county.

On July 4, 1870, a combined celebration of the nation's independence and the departure of the Indians, was held at Fort Jewell. Buffalo were killed for a barbecue, ladies of Clyde and Lake Sibley furnished cakes and rolls, Col. E. Barker presided, and W. R. Phillips was orator of the day. J. C. Postlethwaite made the first public prayer in Jewell county on this occasion.

(Second Installment)

The Founding of Jewell City

Winsor & Scarbrough's history narrates the founding of Jewell City as follows:

"The beautiful town site of Jewell City was selected and filed on under the Town Site Act, May 6, 1870. On Friday, May 28, 1870, Jewell City Town Company was organjzed with the following members: Henry Sorick, Geo. W. Waters, R. F. Hudsonpeller, William D. Street, James A. Scarbrough, S. H. Worick, Dennis Taylor, and N. H. Billings, The company met at the house of Esquire Collins, near the mouth of Buffalo creek, in Cloud county, on Friday, June 11, 1870, and acknowledged the signing of the charter, which was sent to Col. Thomas Moonlight, Secretary of State, at Topeka, and by him recorded and a certified copy returned to them. The town site comprised the sw1/4 section 30, township 4 south, range 7 west. The southwest quarter of the town site was at once surveyed and laid off into town lots, the remainder being left 'until further orders.' No improvements were made, however, until the 30th day of June, 1870, when the first building was erected by James A. Scarbrough, for an office and store. This was one of the most primitive buildings ever erect ed in any country. It was 16 feet square and was constructed by set ting a lot of posts in the ground and boarding them up with box lumber. The roof 'was composed of the same material. The building was commenced in the morning, and by the middle of the afternoon was completed. That evening Scarbrough's goods arrived, and the first store was opened in Jewell City, being al so the first one ever opened in Jewell county. The stock consisted of groceries, provisions, cigars, chewing and smoking tobacco, baking powders and Hostetter's bitters, and in-invoiced just $130.65."

Scarbrough's store, which was soon housed in a more substantial building, was known as the Pioneer Drug Store. Mrs. Mariah Dodge i and David H. Halstead erected residences at this time, and these were the only buildings in Jewell City at the time the county was organized.

From Story of The Old Home Town, Jewell City, Kansas by Everett Palmer. First published in the Jewell County Republican in 28 weekly installments beginning April 28, 1933. You can obtain a copy from the Palmer Museum, Jewell, Kansas.

Naming Jewell

IN THE BEGINNING: In 1859, the family of Lew is R. Jewell migrated to Kansas from Ohio. They were origina1ly from Massa chusetts, but he had spent much of his early life in Ohio. In Kansas, he became afarmer-stockman at Fort Scott.

During the war years, he joined the 6 Calvary Company and as Lieutenant-Colonel saw service in Arkansas. Here he died of battle wounds. His bravery was much acclaimed.

Somewhere along the line in the early history of Jewell County, the decision was made to name the county towns for war heroes. Lieut. Col. Lewis R. Jewell was chosen for this town.

Jewell is truly a jewel set in the heart of the Buffalo Valley. Few villages offer the beautiful sight as meets the eye when approaching the town from any direction. From Scarbrough Hill on the west, well-kept farmsteads greet the beholder. The view from the north presents green fields and trees that hide the farm houses no less well kept. The same general scene delights the viewer as he approaches from the south. Of lesser altitude when neared from the east, the same well kept valley features silos and sleek cattle. From all directions, the elevator and church towers add to the serenity of the community. Roughly, a six-mile square is enclosed by the hills and streams of this mid Jewell County town. All nature has smiled on the valley. May nature continue to shine on this fair town!

No doubt the religious life and prayers of the forefathers who developed this land in the heart of the Buffalo Valley have been a big factor, too. Pride in ownership and labor are much in evidence in the well tilled fields and neatly painted homes and farm buildings.

From a Jewell newspaper (date unknown).


A Splendid Display, A Large Crowd, And A Pleasant Time

Last Friday morning we wended our way through a beautiful country to Jewell City to attend the first annual exhibition of the Agriculture Society at that place. Arriving at the city, we beheld through clouds of flying dust, a large concourse of people and teams assembled on the beautiful fair grounds in the northeast part of town. The grounds are near the stone schoolhouse, which building was used for the exhibit of grain, vegetables, fruit and fancy work.

Upon entering the building we were surprised and pleased at the magnificant display neatly arranged before us. At the left hand in large recitation room of the schoolhouse was piled on long tables ever so many samples of large corn, potatoes, turnips, melons, onions, and other kinds of vegetables too numerous to mention.

In the main room of the schoolhouse was the center of attraction for the ladies and all who love to see beautiful works of art and nature. The first thing to attract our attention was a very large collection of rare and beautiful flowers, and foliage plants, which We learned were from the greenhouse of O. N. Gray, President of the Agriculture Society. The specimens of cactus and century plant were quite curious and interesting, while the boxes of cut flowers, the oleander and forbidden fruit were beautiful and of thrifty growth. One long table was covered with a fine display of peaches, apples, preserved fruits in jars, jellies, cake, etc. There were a few apples raised in Jewell City.

The exhibition of stock was very good. A bull owned by Mr. Neece was the best one we have seen in the county. Mr. Murphy had his Poland China hogs there and other breeds were represented.

A large number of horses and colts were on hand to compete for ribbons. We did not stay to see who gained them, nor did we see any of the racing. There was a goodly number of people present on Friday and we suppose a much larger number on Saturday.

-This article was taken from The Review, October 2, 1879.

A marker in the city park states:

BUILT MAY 13-14, 1870



Start of the Illinois Colony Letter by John Hoffer.

An 1871 Buffalo Hunt and a Small Calf by D. J. Matter (1842-1919) and wrote up by his grandson Clifford Matter (1899-1972).

Start of the Evangelical Church.

Booming Jewell City, 1881 Correspondence of The Champion, Atchison, Kansas, March 30, 1881.

From Farming to a City Restaurant by D. J. Matter (1842-1919) and wrote by his granddaughter Gladys Matter Kuhn (1897-1979).

A City Farmer, D. J. Matter (1842-1919) was ahead of the times. By his granddaughter Gladys Matter Kuhn (1897-1979).

My grandmother, Mary Anne Whitehouse Headrick, by Lori Law.

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This page is presented by Leland M. Haines, great grandson of David J. (1842-1919) and Christena (Elsesser) Matter, grandson of Lorena (Matter) (1870-1948) and John S. Haines, and:

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December 12, 2000