Monday, July 20, 2015

A few stories from Corwin, Kansas

To read more on Corwin, click here.

Fight with house wife

A heated argument in the general store of Corwin ended in an amputated finger and court battle in the 1910s. 
Mrs. John E. Cartmill, wife of a section hand at Corwin, went into George McMicheal's general store one day to settler her account. After reviewing the figures, she decided she had not received credit for a pound of bad butter she had returned. 
Both parties got into an argument. One of McMichael's daughters pulled out a knife and ran it into Mrs. Cartmill's hand. 
The lively fight ended in court, as Mrs. Cartmill had her finger removed, several hospital visits and wanted to recover her loss. McMichael left the mercantile business shortly after that. 
Bank robberies
The Corwin bank was built in 1916. Six months later, it had its first robbery.
It was just past 9 a.m. when two young men entered the bank and pointed their guns at Lloyd Glasgow, the cashier, and three customers. The robbers - Sam Mayfield and Jim Dunlap, had arrived in a big Buick roadster that Mayfield had stolen in Wichita two nights before.  
The customers and cashier were locked in a vault. When the robbers realized the cash drawers were empty, they released the prisoners and forced them to bring the money out with them. 
The robbers, with $780 in hand, made a quick getaway. 
The cashier called the sheriff, who put an alert out to every town and hamlet on every road that the car might pass. They were eventually caught by the Alva, Oklahoma, barber. The barber pulled a gun on the robbers, whose vehicle had ran out of gas. 
The next robbery occurred in the 1930s, which were desperate times. "Every day there were robberies on the front page of the papers," wrote Hewitt. 
Another robbery occurred in August 1930. The robbers locked the bank cashier and a woman in the vault.
Then, the Monday after New Years in 1938, cashier, Russell Goodan, never showed up for work. A few days later, it was discovered there was a shortage of $16,595. Goodan later surrendered in California, but with less than $3 in in his pocket. 
The embezzlement proved to be too much for the bank, and it closed not long later, merging with Waldron's bank.


  • Oscar Corwin is is given a post office appointment, putting an office in his country store in Harper County.
  • 1886 - Railroad starts laying tracts toward Corwin. 
  • Jan. 17, 1887 - Corwin Town Co. is organized.
  • 1904 - Corwin starts to receive telephone connections
  • 1893 - Cherokee Strip Land Rush hurts Corwin's population.
  • 1919 - A fire destroys Pryor's Store, as well as a lumberyard.
  • 1920 - The Farmers Co-op was chartered.
  • 1928 - Construction begins on compressor plant by Empire Gas Pipeline Corp.
  • 1957 - Post office closes
  • 1963 - Last full-time railroad agent leaves Corwin.
  • 1966 - School is consolidated.
  • 1972-1973 - Depot closes.

Other tibits

  • Oscar Corwin grew his own farm to 300 acres, which included a grain farm and an orchard. 
  • Business began to move to Corwin as the town started. By March 1887, the Andrew House was open for business, renting rooms for $1 a day. H.H. Funk sold hardware and implements. 
  • Mr. Hittle settled at the new Corwin where he built a residence and a store. Mr. Hittle bought prairie chickens from the early settlers for 20 cents each and shipped them to Kansas City and St. Louis.
  • Jim F. Andrews built a hotel and was the second postmaster. At one time Corwin boasted a race track. The track was built by G. R. Landers at the southwest corner of town.
  • Dutch Andrews, Jim's grandson, gave the following account: "G. R. Landers became a big cattleman and many farmers in the area sold corn to him for 10 cents per bushel. In the blizzard of 1903 all of Lander's cattle froze to death. Facing financial ruin, he boarded a train and was never heard from again. J. F. Andrews and others skinned the cattle and sold their hides for $2.50 apiece."
Source: "Corwin, Kansas the way it was" by Gay Hewitt.
Corwin, Kansas - this is downtown. It once was bustling. Today just the elevator sees much action. (Amy Bickel)

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