“Slanderous Reports:” the Election for County Sheriff in 1908

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

On November 7, the people of Harvey County will have the opportunity to vote on several local issues of importance.  Today, candidates use a variety of methods to get their message out to the voters. Social media, including twitter and Facebook, can have a huge impact on results, both locally and at the national levels. The influence of television was experienced in 1960 and  the first live Presidential debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Where people today rely on TV and social media for information in past years, local newspapers have been an important avenue for candidates.  The race for Harvey County sheriff in 1908 could be one example.

“An enviable record as a soldier, and his bravery, . . . is unquestioned.”

Avery R. Ainsworth was a respected member of the Newton community.  He served as City Marshall in the early 1900s.  In the bid for re-election in 1900, the editor of the Evening Kansan Republican noted:

Ainsworth “has always been on hand when needed, and as a enforcer of the law is cordially hated by the ‘gents’ that frequently float around the community living at the expense of the other fellow. . . he has an enviable record as a soldier, and his bravery . .  is unquestioned.”

Avery R. Ainsworth, Newton City Marshal, Western Journal of Commerce, Newton, Ks 1901, p. 8.

Evening Kansan Republican, 5 February 1900.

While serving as City Marshall, he assisted the County Sheriff on raids “made on ‘refreshment stands'” or “joints” to enforce prohibition.

Ainsworth Home, 1901. Western Journal of Commerce, Newton, Ks, 1901.

He also served on the Board of Education for the Newton schools in 1904.

Avery R. Ainsworth, NHS 1904 Yearbook, Board of Directors.

Harvey County Candidates in 1908.

In 1908, Ainsworth  announced his candidacy for sheriff on the Republican ticket. In the republican primary he faced W.E. Johnston, “one of the staunch and true republicans of Highland township.” In the August primary, Ainsworth prevailed to get the republican nomination for sheriff.

Evening Kansan Republican, 30 July 1908, p. 6.

The Evening Kansan Republican urged party unity. In the section titled “Comments Wise and Otherwise,” the editor S.R. Peters noted;

“If he [a voter] takes part in the primary he is honor bound to stand by the ticket nominated by the system, regardless of his personal feelings or bias.”

In the fall of 1908, rumors and controversy  swirled around Ainsworth and in October, editor Peters, sought to answer the critics.

Good Faith for Public Good?

He posed these questions:

“Are J.C. Johnston and Dr. Boyd opposing Mr. Ainsworth and other candidates on the republican ticket in good faith for the public good, or are they airing sore spots and seeking revenge?or airing sore spots and seeking revenge?”

Evening Kansan Republican, 23 October 1908.

Using more than a full page of newsprint, Peters carefully reviews the facts as he knew them in defense of A.R. Ainsworth and the “republican ticket.” He noted that it was important in this case to name the people involved to understand the motives.

  “These men claim to be republicans, but are outdoing all the others in their efforts to oppose a number of the republican candidates.”

“These men are leading . . . the dirty fight . . . against Ainsworth”

Who were the leaders against Ainsworth? Two well known Newton men, Dr. Gastor Boyd and J.C. Johnston. The editor gave some back story related to the two men. He noted that Dr. Gaston Boyd, was “a life long democrat until he was defeated” in a recent election.  It was observed that Dr. Boyd  secured a promotion for his son when he was Newton’s mayor and appointed his “own son city clerk.”

J.C Johnston was a Republican with a total of 12 years of service in various capacities in county government including County Clerk and County Treasurer.  The recently defeated candidate for sheriff, W.C. Johnston was likely a relative**. The editor of the paper noted: “after a long term in office, his [Johnston’s] luck changed.”

Johnston applied or ran for various positions from pay master in the general army to the superintendent of construction of the new Harvey County courthouse. He was not able to secure any of the positions and the editor noted that after not receiving the position under the McKinley administration “he abused McKinley.” In 1894, a suit was filed against him by  Harvey County “to recover about $5,000.00 in fees which as county clerk and treasurer he had failed to pay into the treasury.” The editor concluded that “by this time he was out with practically all republicans” further noting that “these are the men that are leading. . . the dirty fight . . . against A.R. Ainsworth for Sheriff.”

Boyd and Johnston charged that Ainsworth was “guilty of compounding a misdemeanor about seven years ago.” They claimed that Ainsworth

“accepted $15 from James Riley for his agreement not to prosecute said Riley for crap shooting and he received $50 from Thomas Berry about 13 years ago for releasing him from custody when he was wanted in Nebraska for stealing horses and sheep. “

We have investigated these charges”

Editor Peters set out to answer the charges. The first case was a muddled exchanged involving a forged check issued at Murphy’s Hotel and innocently cashed by Mrs. Van Aiken and a  man by the name of Riley who was involved in an illegal crap game in July 1901.  Peters was adamant, after talking with those directly involved, that Ainsworth had done nothing illegal. He summarized by noting that Ainsworth merely “recovered and returned to its owner the money obtained from Mrs. Van Aiken as a result of a criminal act . . . no extortion was involved.”

The second charge made by Boyd and Johnston involved the release of a man wanted in another state, Thomas Berry, for money.  The editor concluded that it was a matter of poorly timed information from the sheriff in Nebraska that led to the release of the man charged with stealing horses and sheep.

Peters observed that these events transpired thirteen to fourteen years ago and Ainsworth has served in “honorable positions in the community” all of this time. “Nothing,” Peters continues, “is heard of this matter . . . until late day when Ainsworth is a candidate for sheriff.”

Office of Sheriff

Even with the conflict, A.R. Ainsworth was elected sheriff for Harvey County. The November 5, 1908 paper noted that “while the majority for Ainsworth was not as large as his friends expected, it was sufficient to place him in the office of sheriff next January.” 

Principals Have Been Sued”

Ainsworth did file suit against Dr. G. Boyd, J.C. Johnston, and Joseph Hebert “for conspiring to defame his character on the eve of the election.”

Avery R. Ainsworth died at the home of his son, Clayton, in  Newton at the age of 76 in 1921.  Born in Ohio in 1845, he was in the 5th Ill Calvary, Co C during the Civil War.  He married Sadie J. Corey in 1870, and the family came to Newton in 1879. The couple had three children, but only one lived to adulthood, Clayton.  In Harvey County, he served as Newton City Marshall for several years, as Deputy Sheriff  for two terms and one term as Harvey County Sheriff.  He also served on the Newton Board of Education and was involved with the Episcopal church in Newton.


  • ** W.C. Johnston was likely a brother to J.C. Johnston, but at this writing (10/27/2017) it could not be confirmed.


  • Western Journal of Commerce, Newton, Ks 1901, p. 8.
  • Evening Kansan Republican:  5 February 1900, 26 March 1900, 10 April 1900, 12 October 1900,25 March 1901, 21 August 1901, 2 August 190430 January 1905, 15 December 1905, 6 March 1908, 12 May 1908, 5  30 July 1908,  5 August 1908, 23 October 1908,5 November 1908,  20 May 1921, 24 May 1921.
  • For more on the first televised Presidential debate: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/1960-first-televised-presidential-debate/

“A Most Valued Woman:” Elizabeth Clarke Boyd

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

 “Newton thus loses one of her most valued women and one who has done great things for the city along cultural lines.”  Evening Kansan Republican, 13 November 1923.

Some people leave a legacy that stretches beyond their lives. Elizabeth Clarke Boyd, who moved to Newton in 1887,  created a foundation for many cultural activities in Harvey County.

Born in London on July 12, 1852 to Robert and Mary Clarke, Elizabeth Clarke came to the U.S. after her parents died. She graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music and in 1884 from Shimer College (also known as Mount Carroll Seminary).  In addition, she was “recognized  as a concert singer.”  She was the head of the Music Department at Bethany College in Topeka until her marriage to Dr. Gaston Boyd.

Elizabeth Clarke Boyd

Elizabeth Clarke Boyd

Dr. Gaston Boyd was a respected physician in the Newton community.  In addition, he was involved with the forming of Harvey County and the city of Newton since the beginning. In 1868, he married Jennie Williams.  They moved to the rough new town and lived in an apartment above Dr. Boyd’s building at 619 N Main in Newton. They had five children, Two daughters, Lois and Mable died of diphtheria in 1877.  Tragedy struck the Boyd home again on May 5, 1886.  Jennie Boyd was giving her 8 year old daughter, Edith, a music lesson in the parlor.   During the lesson, Mrs. Boyd was “taken with a sinking spell and the child ran first for the house girl and then for her uncle B.Y.Boyd.”  The Newton Kansan reported the events of the next few minutes:

“Her sufferings lasted but a few minutes, and when Dr. Boyd arrived the spirit of the loving wife whom he had but a few minutes before left in good spirits . . . had passed to the world beyond, leaving a husband, two children and a babe two months old.”

The infant son, Gaston Guillam, died six month later. Dr. Boyd was alone with two young children, twins Eric and Edith.

 He met and married 35 year old Elizabeth Clarke in 1887.

The late 1880s were a time of growth in Newton and the interest of the leading citizens was on cultural activities.  The new Ragsdale Opera House was complete, new homes were going up on west Broadway and east 1st. The violent cow boy era was indeed gone.  Into the era of excitement and interest in cultural improvement Dr. Boyd brought his new wife, who had a passion for music and education. They made their home at 408 West Broadway in Newton.

Boyd Home, 408 Broadway, Newton.  Photo taken in 1990.  HCHM Photo Archives.

Boyd Home, 408 Broadway, Newton. Photo taken in 1990. HCHM Photo Archives.

Director of Music for Newton Schools and Local Organizations

Mrs. Boyd immediately put her skill as a musician and concern for education to use. She took a position as the first director of music in the Newton schools.  She had the talent of recognizing and encouraging talent in others and a “number of Newton people were encouraged through her to look toward higher attainment.”

She also felt it was important that adults have the “opportunity for musical expression.” The Newton Musical Union was formed under her direction for that purpose.  Members participated in a music festival in Hutchinson with choruses from all over the state singing some numbers  as one big group with Mrs. Boyd as the director.

Newton Musical Union, Hutchinson, Ks May 1897

Newton Musical Union, Hutchinson, Ks May 1897

Mrs. Boyd also helped with the organization of the Treble Clef Club and served as the first president. The Treble Clef Club still meets today. She was the director of the choir at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Newton.

Composer of music


"Flag of a Thousand Battles" by Mrs. Gaston Boyd, in the Assembly Hymn & Song Collection, 1912, 1914.

“Flag of a Thousand Battles” by Mrs. Gaston Boyd, in the Assembly Hymn & Song Collection, 1912, 1914.

Author of Poetry

johnnyjumpup-1 001

“Johnny-Jump-Up” poem by Mrs. Gaston Boyd, illustrations by Edith K. Woodbury, 1919.

State and National Organizations

Throughout her life, Mrs. Elizabeth Boyd was involved in a number of national and state organizations, often holding leadership positions. Some of the these organizations included the Woman’s Auxiliary for the Diocese of Kansas (Episcopal Church) Educational Secretary, Vice-President of the Kansas State Music Teachers Association, Kansas Authors Club, president of the Women’s Temperance Union, World’s Advising Council of Music and president of the Kansas World’s Fair Music Board.

wtu 001

Words to song written by Mrs. Gaston Boyd for the W.C.T.U. HCHM Archives

Elizabeth Clarke Boyd, mother, teacher, musician, composer and writer, died November 2, 1923. At her memorial service members of the Treble Clef Club sang a song written by Mrs. Boyd.

Typewritten copy of 'Vesper Hymn" by Mrs. Gaston Boyd.  HCHM Archives.

Typewritten copy of ‘Vesper Hymn” by Mrs. Gaston Boyd. HCHM Archives.

“the number that which touched the hearts of most deeply was a Vesper hymn of which the words and music were the composition of Mrs Boyd herself.”

She was 71 years old.


  • “Sudden Death,” Newton Kansan 6 May 1886, p. 3. (Obituary for Jennie W. Boyd)
  • “Dr. Gaston Boyd,” Evening Kansan Republican 22 November 1919, p. 7.
  • Evening Kansan Republican November 13 & 123, 1923, p. 2. (Obituary for Elizabeth Clarke Boyd)
  • Boyd, Mrs. Gaston (Elizabeth).  Women in Music, in The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman’s Building World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U.S.A, 1893, edited by Mary Kavanaugh Oldham Eagle,  Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Co.,  1894. p. 570 – 573.
  •                                                       Teaching Music in Graded Schools without a Supervisor, Western Journal, Topeka, Ks, in Music: A Monthly Magazine  Vol 15, 1899, p. 601-603.
  • Frances Shimer Quarterly 3:2, p. 33.
  • City of Newton Burial Records online at http://newton.harvey.ks.govern.com/cmquery
  • “Pioneer Women in Harvey County,” The Homesteader 3:2, May 2007.
  • Poems for publication by Elizabeth Clarke Boyd, 1919. HC Residents, Box 1B,File Folders 31, 32, HCHM Archives.
  • Sheet Music Collection, HCHM Archives.
  • Photo Archives, HCHM.

The Full and Graphic Account: Newton’s Bloody Sunday, Part 2

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Several newspaper correspondents were in Newton covering the cattle drives that summer.  Murder and revenge filled the headlines in the days following the “General Massacre” adding to Newton’s image of lawlessness. The Topeka Daily Commonwealth reported on the violence on 22 August 1871.

“We received . . . the following full and graphic account of the Newton tragedy, from a correspondent of the N.Y. World.  We publish it to the exclusion of our usual variety of local matter, knowing that it will be read with interest by our readers.

On Sunday last . . . Blood and murder was rampart to an unusual degree. . . .Ever since the shooting affair between McCluskie and the Texas man, Bailey, which resulted in the death of the latter . . . “war” was declared to the bitter end against McCluskie . . .”

Accounts of the shoot out varied.  All agree that Anderson shot McCluskie, and that McCluskie attempted to return fire, but his gun misfired. What happened next, took the fight beyond the two men. After Anderson shot McCluskie, another unknown person began firing.

The Commonwealth/N.Y. World  reporter “Allegro” credited an unnamed “Nemesis” with most of the shooting to avenge McCluskie’s death in an 22 August 1871 article:

“. . . there is an avenging Nemesis on track.  A stalwart figure suddenly appears on the scene.  For an instant he remains motionless, as if studying the situation.  Then a sheet of flame vomits forth, apparently from his hand, and a Texan staggers from the room across the area and falls dead at the door of the “Alamo”.  Another and another and another shot follows, until six men . . . have bowed to his prowess.”

Most accounts agree that Jim Martin, the first person shot by the second gunman, ran out of the door, bleeding from the neck, and fell dead in front of Krum’s saloon, the Alamo.   Martin was a well liked and most agreed that he was an innocent bystander who tried to calm the situation down.  Instead, he was fatally shot.  After Martin, six more men were shot. The original shooter, Hugh Anderson, was severely wounded. Patrick Lee, a brakeman for the railroad, and Texans Billy Garrett and Kearnes were fatally shot, each dying after several days.  Two other men, James Wilkerson and a man known as  Hickey, were wounded and later recovered.

Over the years artists have attempted to illustrate the 1871 "General Massacre in Newton."

Over the years artists have attempted to illustrate the 1871 “General Massacre in Newton.”

At 8:00 o’clock Sunday morning, Coroner C.S. Bowman held an inquest into the deaths of Mike McCluskie (aka Art Donavan) and Jim Martin.  After investigating for four and a half hours, the jury found “that Martin came to his death at the hands of some person unknown, and that McCluskie came to his death at 8 o’clock a.m., this 20th day of August, by a shot from a pistol in the hands of Hugh Anderson.”  The finding angered the Texans, who promised that the bodies of the jury would be found “ornamenting neighboring telegraph poles” if Anderson was arrested. Fear was rampant the next few days in Newton.

The Emporia News reporter concluded that “this was the bloodiest affrays that ever occurred in our State.”

Anderson’s father soon arrived in Newton to insure the best medical care for his son, Hugh. He also appealed to Newton’s leading citizens for assistance with his son.  These businessmen wanted no more trouble and a plan was devised to sneak Anderson out of town on a  train.  Judge Muse recounted Anderson’s escape from Newton.

“The excitement was intense, and the City Marshal, Tom Carson, and his assistants, all heavily armed . . . Were parading the streets, day and night, with warrants for the arrest of Anderson. [His father], a gray-haired and amiable old gentleman . . Bowed down with shame and sorrow at the conduct of his sons,” came to consult with Muse and others.

Once Dr. Boyd determined that Anderson could be moved, a group of men including A. Baker,  George Yocum, Judge Muse and Dr. Boyd began their work. A litter was constructed, and at 2:00 a.m. Anderson was removed from the back door of Hoff’s store where he had been recuperating.

“To avoid detection, we carried him north, past the residence of Dr. Lewis, and there striking the cattle trail, followed it down to the car.  The night was dark and rainy; the grass rank, high and wet, and the ground muddy, and our task a hard one, as we dare not use a light.”

Anderson was placed in a car with a closet that was then locked.  All of this had been arranged with the conductor.  He was to remain in the rail car until he reached Kansas City.

The Abilene Chronicle August 24, 1871 concluded:

“Thus ends the third or fourth chapter in Newton’s bloody history-a town only a little over three months old. . . . But if the worse than beastly prostitution of the sexes is continued, and the town is controlled by characters who have no regard for virtue, decency or honor, it will not soon become fit for the abode of respectable people.”

Despite the efforts of Newton leaders,  violence continued into the fall.  On September 23, Deputy Sheriff Carlos B. King was shot by Thomas Edwards.  While making rounds in a dance hall, King had taken Edwards’ gun.  Later, Edwards shot King as he stood “in the same fated area which drank the blood of Martin and other victims of the Sunday morning horror a month ago . . .”     

By the start of the new year things had begun to change.  The cattle trade  moved to Wichita in the spring of 1872  and with it many of the “cowboy businesses.”  Judge Muse noted many “that depended upon the cattle trade were closed or sold out at very low figures.” A year later the newly established Newton Kansan reported in September 1872 that  “one by one these old barbaric domiciles are being remodeled into fit places for good society.” 

Perry C. Tuttle was one business owner that left early.   Perhaps, he was weary of the violence or realized that the cattle trade was coming to a close in Newton. Tuttle sold his business to shady person whose last known residences was above Tuttle’s saloon, James Shay, in February 1872.

Deed for Block 52, Lot 1, Newton, Ks

Deed for Block 52, Lot 1, Newton, Ks. HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks

Perry C. Tuttle left enough of a paper trail that we know a bit about his life.  Born in Wisconsin in approximately 1845,  Perry was  living with his parents, Chester C. & Betsy Tuttle  in Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin in 1850. His father was a farmer.  By 1860, the Tuttle family, including Perry,  had moved to  Topeka, Shawnee Co., Kansas. From 1862 to 1865, Perry served with the 11th Ks Calvary Co. E . under Maj. Edmond G.Ross along the Kansas/Missouri border. The 1865 Kansas Census lists  Perry C. Tuttle, age 25,   living in Topeka, Shawnee Co., Ks.  He owned a livery stable and was married to a dressmaker named Bertha.

In 1871, he operated a saloon in the new town of Newton, Kansas.

He next appears in the 1880 Census as a 34 year old Saloon keeper, married to Jane with one small daughter, Frances.  Tuttle died in 1898/1899 and was buried in Graceland Cemetery, Creston, Union County, Iowa.


Hugh Anderson reappears in history one more time. He recovered from his wounds in Kansas City.  However, he had to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life.  Mike McCluskie’s brother Art had vowed revenge.   Anderson and McCluskie met again at Harding’s Trading Post in Medicine Lodge, Kansas on 4 July 1873. Art McCluskie challenged Anderson to a dual; Anderson could pick the weapon.  He chose the gun. Both men died in the brutal gun/knife fight that followed. On lookers were “sickened at the brutality.”

New Information has come to light regarding the fate of Hugh Anderson.  See our blog posts on the  Duel that Never Happened. (added on 4 September 2015) and Texas Cowboy, Desperado, Businessman (added 11 September 2015).

Newton’s bloodiest days may have been over, but the stories about  the “General Massacre” were just beginning, including those about the  identity of the unknown gunman. Our next post, “A Boy Named Riley” will conclude our series on Newton’s Bloody Sunday.


  • Allegro,  N.Y. World correspondent; “To the Editor of the Commonwealth,” 21 August 1871
  • Abilene Chronicle 24 August 1871
  • Emporia News, 25 August  1871
  •  Kansas Daily Commonwealth,  (Topeka) 22 August 1871, 23 August 1871,  27 August 1871, 27  September 1871, 28 September 1871
  • Newton Kansan, 26 September 1872
  • Kansas Census 1865, 1875
  • United States Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
  • http://usgwarchives.net/ks/shawnee/shawnee.htm
  • Register of Deeds, February 28 1872  Lida and Perry C. Tuttle to James Shay, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks


  • Muse, Judge RWP. History of Harvey County, (1881) Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives, Newton, Ks. First published in Edwards, John P. Historical Atlas of Harvey County, Kansas. Philadelphia, 1882.
  • Hunter, J. Marvin, ed.  The Trail Drivers of Texas.  2 Vols.
  • McCoy, Joseph G. Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest, 1874.

Secondary Sources:

  • Coke, Tom S. “Fight to the Finish” at http://4jranch.com/cokestories/AndersonH. 2001.
  • Davis, Christy. “Rediscovering Newton: An Interpretive Architectural History”  Master’s Thesis, WSU, 1999.
  • Drago, Sinclair Wild, Wooly and Wicked: the History of the Kansas Cow Towns and the Texas Cattle Trade. New York, 1960.
  • Dunlap, Great Trails of the West, New York: Abingdon Press.
  • Miller, Nyle and Joseph Snell.  Why the West Was Wild.  Topeka, Ks 1963.
  • Toews, Dudley Dodgion.  Newton, Remembering Yesterday Today, 1994.
  • Streeter, Floyd B.  The Kaw: Heart of the Nation.  New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1941.
  • Waltner, John. “The Process of Civilization on the Kansas Frontier, Newton, Kansas, 1871-1873” MA These, University of Kansas, 1971.


This three part blog series is adapted from our Speaker’s Bureau Program, “Newton’s Bloody Sunday.”  For more info on our Speaker’s Bureau and programs available see:  https://hchm.org/speakers-bureau/