Robert Kincaid, from Mound City, was promoting a railroad through Anderson and Linn Counties. The railroad was to be known as the Interstate or the St. Louis-Emporia Railroad. The town of Equity was close to where Kincaid is today, and the railroad planned to go through it. The venture failed when the townspeople of Equity did not come through with an agreement with the railroad promoters. With the failure of the railroad going through Equity the prospects for the towns of Kincaid and Lone Elm became probabilities.
The survey for the proposed town of Kincaid was sponsored by Robert Kincaid and Calvin Hood, Mound City, John Carpenter, Chanute, and a Mr. Martindale from Emporia. Land for the townsite was purchased from Henry Miller and C.C. Elkins by the Osage Valley Townsite Company. The town plat was filed May 11, 1885, by John C. Carpenter, president of the Osage Valley Town Company. Later the Osage Town company sold its rights to the Kincaid Townsite Company headed by Dr. S.D. Whittington. The town was named Kincaid after Robert Kincaid, the town promoter.
The first building in the town was the office for the Kincaid Townsite Company. Later Dr. R.C. Splawn used it for 50 years of his practice in Kincaid. After the doctor’s office closed the building was a barber shop and it burned in the 1930’s. David Tate moved his building and general store from Ozark to become the first business in Kincaid. Other businesses moved their buildings from Equity and Ozark to Kincaid. The first house moved to Kincaid belonged to Dr. G.D. Munger from Equity.
General Merchandise stores, a bank, the barbershop, a drug store, hardware store, restaurants, and livery stables were all built or moved from Equity and Ozark to Kincaid. W.C. Routzong became the first postmaster when the post office was moved from Ozark to Kincaid in 1886.
George Sisson built a grist mill in 1880 and later sold it and the equipment and moved away. A.P. Caldwell built a flour mill in 1917 near the Katy tracks. Later it was used as a feed mill grinding feed for livestock. In 1885 J.C. Scruggs arrived in Kincaid from Independence, Missouri. He built the Commercial Hotel. The Scruggs family operated the hotel for several years and then sold it. In September 1912, a fire destroyed the hotel. A new fine brick hotel was built with twelve rooms between 1912 and 1914. It stood in the same place as the old Commercial Hotel. Over the years the hotel was operated by many proprietors.
The first garage in Kincaid was established by Howard Lockwood in 1914. He owned the Ford Agency from 1914-1929. In 1929 he expanded his business and became a Chevrolet Agency. Dan Lawrence started the newspaper, the Kincaid Kronicle in 1887 and was the editor until W.C. Routzong took the business over. A second newspaper was started in 1888 by J.E. Scruggs and John C. Cash and was known as the Kincaid Dispatch.
Mont Van Buskirk opened a hardware store in Kincaid. He was later joined by his son-in-law, Ern Booher in the business. The Van Buskirk and Booher Hardware carried a large stock of hardware, furniture, and rugs. They also operated a well-known funeral home in the area. The first hearse in Kincaid arrived in 1888 and was horse drawn. It was used until 1917 when a new motorized funeral car was purchased.
There was a bank in about every town and the Bank of Kincaid was organized and chartered in 1889. Robert Kincaid was the owner of the bank and John McCaslin was the cashier. A new bank building was erected in 1890. The upstairs of the bank was occupied by the Masonic Lodge, the Odd Fellows Lodge, and the Kincaid Telephone Office. Access to the second floor was via a stairway on the outside of the building.
The night of July 20, 1916 was disastrous for Kincaid. About 2 a.m. Dr. Manley Forsythe was up possibly after visiting a patient when he heard an unusual noise of glass breaking. Thinking there was possibly a burglary in progress he went to investigate. On investigation he discovered a fire in the local meat market owned by I.N. Roe. He immediately rang the telephone operator, Mrs. Anna Foster, and she began sounding the alarm. The fire was soon into the Gibbs and McCaslin store and broke through into the bank. The bank with the telephone office, and the two Lodges upstairs were destroyed.
It was decided by the city council to use the brick, sand, stone, and plaster debris from the buildings to “pave” the alleys of the town. The debris was removed, the alleys were out of the mud and new buildings could be erected. The children of town had fun looking up and down the alleys for coins from the cash boxes never recovered from the debris from the businesses and was incorporated into the alley paving. Many bottles of pop and sacks of candy were bought from the coins the children found.
A new building was erected for the bank and in 1985 a second building was built immediately north of the bank. The bank moved out of their old building and into the new building. The Kincaid post office now occupies the old bank building.
The first school in Kincaid was a private school taught by Miss Molly Hardy in her home with thirty or forty pupils. In 1886 a one room school was built and the first teacher in the new school was L.F. Kempton. Kincaid District No. 87 was formed in 1886 or 1887 from Ozark No. 20 and Hickory Grove No. 46. In 1889 a four-room brick school was erected. The bricks were made on site from local clay and fired. After the new school was built the wood frame building was sold to the Baptist Church. By 1914 it was decided to build the Rich Township High School and it was used until condemned and in 1935 a new high school was built with the aid of Public Works Administration funds. Kincaid’s first high school graduation was in 1890 when ten students finished the two-year high school course and graduated.
Maurice L. Smith became superintendent of Kincaid schools in 1913 and started a course in printing at the high school. The school paper, The Tattler, was published and printed at the school. They also printed the school annuals. The Kansas Historical Society has microfilmed The Tattler from October 9, 1914, to February 21, 1923. Through library loan at your local library, you can get these microfilmed school papers and read them on a microfilm reader.
In 1885 Kincaid had its first newspaper, the “Kincaid Kronicle”, started by Dave Laurence. The paper was printed in Blue Mound and then mailed to the subscribers from Kincaid. The second newspaper was the “Kincaid Dispatch” founded by John E. Scruggs and John G. Cash. It was published until 1938. There are copies of some of the Kincaid newspapers in the Anderson County Historical Society Museum in Garnett, Kansas. The Kansas Historical Society has also microfilmed the Kincaid Dispatch, Kincaid Kronicle, and Kincaid News. These newspapers can be requested through your local library and viewed on a microfilm reader.
When the subject of a city hall came up there was much opposition in the town. Mr. Brosius and Mr. Irwin talked about all the possibilities a city hall would have with a stage, offices, and room to do many special activities. They drew up the blueprints for the building and did legal work, then presented the plans to the city commissioners who immediately voted the proposition down. It finally came to a vote whether a city hall would be built, and it passed by only twelve votes. The building was completed in 1908 for $3,300. They even bought a set of dishes, of heavy porcelain, to be used for activities with the identification to where they belong printed on each piece, “KINCAID CITY HALL”. The building is still standing in 2021, although it is no longer used as a city hall.
The Kincaid Fair was originally known as the “Kincaid Farmers Institute” and started in 1904 by Sam S. Irwin with the help of Mr. Irwin’s co-worker O.C. Brosius. The first meeting with the help of the State College at Manhattan was a lecture by Professor Popenoe and Clarence Norton of Moran, who lectured on fruit trees and farm implements respectfully. The meeting was a great success, and this was considered the first meeting of the future Kincaid Fair. In 1905 farmers brought in corn and kaffir corn to display. The Fair has been held for over 100 years and continues to go strong.
Kincaid residents have been served by four churches over the years. The United Methodist Church is the only one the date of organization is known. At the time of organization, it was known as the Methodist Episcopal Church, and it was organized in 1886 under the leadership of Rev. J.A. Hunter. The first building erected for the Methodist Church was also used by the congregation of the Presbyterian Church until 1913 when they built their own church. In 1914 the Methodist Church built a new two-story brick building with a basement.
In 2001 the Kincaid Methodist Church and the Selma Methodist Church disbanded and joined together to form the Kincaid Selma United Methodist Church. The buildings of both the churches did not meet the needs of either congregation. As they united as a single church a plan was made to build a new building for everyone to come to and be accessible to everyone. The new church building was started in December 2001 in Kincaid, and a year later in December 2002, the first service was held in the new building.
The Baptist Church was organized a short time after the Methodist Church. For a church building they bought the wood frame school. The congregation added a vestibule and bell tower making it a very suitable church building. Due to the building’s state of disrepair in the 1920’s the Baptist Church formed a Union congregation with the Presbyterian Church for many years. Sometime in the 1920’s the Baptist Church built a new building with a basement and bell tower.
The Presbyterian Church was abandoned and sold when the congregation became too small, they could not operate. Sometime during the 1920’s the building was torn down by Dick Carr from Selma, and he used the lumber to build his home. The Seven Day Adventist Church had a building in the east part of Kincaid. The building still stands with a padlock on the door. There have been no services held in the building for many years.
Electricity came to Kincaid sometime between 1915 and 1920. Charley Caldwell, set up an engine and dynamo and started electric service in Kincaid. The electric plant was housed in the Caldwell Building. Electricity was not on 24 hours a day, going off about 10 p.m. at night and coming back on in the morning.
The St. Louis-Emporia Railroad was built to Kincaid in the fall of 1885. The railroad was a branch of the Missouri Pacific and was referred to as the Madison Branch extending from Butler, Missouri, to Madison, Kansas. It extended from Butler through Kincaid, Lone Elm, Colony, Northcott and on to Madison. The railroad had a depot where tickets were sold to ride the passenger trains. Water for the steam engines was obtained from the North Fork Little Osage River. A dam was built on the creek and water hauled into town by mule team. Later a water tower was built on the west side of Kincaid south of the highway. The tracks for the St. Louis-Emporia Railroad were taken up in 1935.
Two years later the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad built track from Parsons to Paola. It was referred to as the M. K. & T. or more commonly the “KATY”. The M. K. & T. Railroad was bought by the Union Pacific Railroad and still runs through Kincaid in modern times. The Katy also had a depot. However, in the 1970’s a flat car jumped the tracks and crashed into the depot. The debris was cleaned up, but no depot was ever built to replace the old depot.
The oil industry was important to the Kincaid area. A Texas Oil Company built the Kinco Refinery one and one-half miles east of Kincaid. In a Kincaid newspaper on March 9, 1933, it noted the oil refinery would be completed in ten days. The lake located behind the buildings had been completed and the buildings and machinery were being installed. A filling station would be built on the south side of the highway in Kincaid. In March of 1934 Clovis Rodrock bought the Kinco Refinery. On June 14, 1934, a fire occurred at the refinery causing some damage. The fire had started in a still room, charring the walls. The workers at the plant extinguished the fire by throwing dirt on it. Rodrock and Bennet had a filling station on the highway and In 1940 Clovis Rodrock was selling Kinco Gasoline in Kincaid and Iola. The refinery closed in 1941.
Today most of the old buildings are gone in Kincaid. The bank building erected after the fire of 1916 is used by the post office and the building to the north is the bank. With schools being consolidated there are no schools in Kincaid. The old high school now houses the city hall, museum, and rooms for community activities. The elementary school is owned by a private individual. There is a restaurant and bar in town and the fair office. The old city hall still stands. On the south side of Highway 31 is a large grain elevator and there is no depot in the town. There is a filling station on the highway.
Information for this history came from the book, Kincaid, the First One Hundred Years, compiled by Albert Irwin in 1985 and Anderson County Histories by the Anderson Historical Society and Kincaid, Kansas, Newspaper Clips by Dorothy Kipper Lickteig. A special thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Andy McAdam, Blake Thompson and Jim McCollum for information about Kincaid and the local area.