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START HEARTLAND COMMENT
Route 2 was established I March, 1901, with Leandor 0. Tucker carrying the mail until 31 December, 1905. Dedrich Schlobohm began carrying mail 1 January, 1906. Carriers following him were John Lewis, John Bulkley, Herbert Balding and George Ford, the present carrier. Route 3 was established 1 March, 1901 with Walter E. McFann carrying the mail until 31 December, 1903. John Jacoby carried the mail until 17 September, 1927 when the route was discontinued. Substitute carriers recalled are San Evans, Ralph Simkins, Herbert Balding, George Hopkins, Clifford Jones and Charles Schlobohm. UTILITIES Kerosene lights were the first illumination for the Reading Streets. In 1909 gas lights were installed. Pat King and L. 0. Tucker were lamplighters. The Reading park was founded and named Lincoln Park in 1912 on the one hundredth birthday of Lincoln's birth, A local power plant which began in 1915 furnished Reading with electricity. It was operated by Roy Daggett, In 1925 electricity came from Kansas Power and Light which still serves a large portion of the community. Rural Electrical Association also serves part of the area. The streets were graveled and surfaces and curbing and gutters installed in 1929. A city water system was installed in 1937. Charles Sharp, contractor, installed the water lines. The first truck owned by the City of Reading was a Dodge Truck, circa 1920. It was housed at the electric shop. A 1957 Chevrolet Truck has replaced the Dodge. In March 1963, plans were made to build a fire house and purchase a rural fire truck. The City and rural trucks are housed in this building. The rural truck was purchased in November, 1963. The trucks are manned by volunteers of the community. The first telephone system was installed in Reading about 1904 and operated in the back of Cross Brothers barbershop. The Reading Mutual Telephone Company was owned by Paul Troutman of Chalk Mound. The business was located in West Reading. Mr. Trout- man's business also served the rural area. The second business was operated from the Twin Elm Building, and operated by W. W. Finney of Emporia. Mr, Troutman's business was sold to Jim Fag an. Other managers were Roy Daggett and W. D. McFann. It was later sold to Mr. Finney. During the service of Mr. Finney, the Reading people enjoyed toll free calls to Emporia. Operators who assisted in making calls were Sadie Bryan, Marguerite Swisher, Helen Jane Speece, AnnaLeigh Gunter, Verlene Gunter, Madge Sutton. Edith Saffer, Beulah Daggett, Lula Tucker and Mrs. Mae Fagano The operator- assisted calls ceased in 1957 when Southwestern Bell converted the phones to dial. The sewer system was installed in Reading in 1963. Natural Gas service began in 1959. Cities Service Gas Company supplied the fuel. A solid waste disposal service
Reeves Cowden b about 1800 Bowling Green, Ky. the son of James Cowden m Mary
Prunty d l849. Their children were George Washington Cowden (see below) Lucy Wright,
Mathilda Jane Garroutte, Robert d age 10, Fannie m Elias Landis, Sarah Rhodes, Fred-
erick and James Thomas (see below).
GEORGE WASHINGTON COWDEN
George Washington Cowden b 2 September l846, McLaine Co. Ill d 7 August 1928
Reading bur Reading m 23 August 1865 Boliver, Mo. Elizabeth Lawrence b 15 November
l845 Boliver, d 5 December 1924 Gypsum, Colo. bur Gypsum Cem the daughter of Samuel
and Margaret Reed Lawrence. The family settled in Reading in 1869, remaining until
1892 when they moved to Colorado. Mr. Cowden was a member of the National Guard.
Their children were Mary Margaret (see Henry Price). Samuel R. b 22 November 1867
d 12 July 1868 from a rattlesnake bite, bur Boliver. George James b 15 February
1870 d 13 December 1952 Los Angeles. Edward Reed and Ada Belle, twins b 6 May 1872.
Edward d 2 April 1927 Denver. Ada d 9 February 1934, Pueblo. John William b 23
April 1875 d 27 October 1932 Los Angeles. Lucy Hale b 18 March 1877 d abt 1968.
Lizzie Dell dy. Fred Burl b 24 September 1880 d 18 May 1955 Palmsdale, Calif.
Henry Blaine b 1 August 1884 d 16 April 1932 Coal Creek, Colo. and Albert b 23
March 1887 dy bur Reading.
JAMES THOMAS COWDEN
James Thomas Cowden b 22 February 1829 Bowling Green, Ky d 9 February 1917
Reading bur Reading m 17 November l859 Bloomington, Ill. Mary Ellen Standiferd b
18 February l842 Downs, Ill. d 6 August 1914 Reading bur Reading the daughter of
James and Maria H. Hunter Standiferd. Mr. Cowden came to Reading about 1866 settling
two miles east of Reading in Arvonia twp, remaining until his death. Mr. Cowden
helped build the railroad near Reading. He hauled supplies from Topeka to Read-
ing. There were seven children John R. b 13 October 1860 d 13 November 1860.
Frances b 20 December l864 d 12 September 1937 m Reading Lloyd N. Best. James
William (see below). Charles Thomas (see below). George Edward b 17 October 1870
Reading d 29 September I960 Eagle Point. Ore. m 2 March 1910 Butte Falls, Ore. Grace
Smith. Alice Ann (see below). Elizabeth May b 26 January 1877 d 26 February 1961
m 24 February 1897 James Bernard Fagan. Mr. Cowden served with Co. B, 152 Ill. Inf.
JAMES WILLIAM (BILL) COWDEN
James William (Bill) Cowden b 17 April 1862 d 6 July 1950 Reading m l884 Reading
Elizabeth Haerr b 27 October 1862 Ohio d 21 February 1889 Arvonia the daughter of V.
G. Haerr. After her death, he m in 1889, Los Angeles Elizabeth Schaeffer b 1870 Pop-
lar Bluffs, Mo d 1959. The Cowden children are Lee (see below). Frank b 25 June
1898 who resides at Reading. Ray. Fannie Elizabeth dy bur Arvonia.
ALICE ANN COWDEN -
Alice Ann Cowden b 5 September 1873, four and one half miles east of Reading
d 15 July 1928, Wichita bur Wichita Park Cem m Will Leavell, son of S. J. Leavell
Reading. She m 22 January 1902 Emporia, Elijah Mason Bear b 17 May 1863 Van Wert
Ohio d 9 March 1932 Wichita bur Park Cem, the son of John and Mary Tyson Bear.
The Bear children are Revena b 13 March 1903 m 25 April 1925 Newton William W. Whitaker
and resides at Phoenix. Mason b 3 July 1905 m 30 April 1925 Louise Borland and
resides at Modesto, Calif. Bestor b 4 October 1907 m 14 June 1927 Wichita Evelyn
Campbell. John Bear b 28 December 1909 d 5 January 1928 Wichita. Ilah b 13 November
1914 m 4 September 1953 Wichita, Lawrence Lewellen. Lois Bear b 5 January 1916 m
13 June 1964 Las Vegas, Nev. David E. Adams and resides at Phoenix. There are two
grandchildren, Mrs. William (Jeanne Bear) Anderson, Modesto and W. B. Whitaker,
CHARLES THOMAS COWDEN
Charles Thomas Cowden b 5 December 1867 Reading d 13 April 1945 Reading bur
Reading Cem m 15 January 1901 Reading Myrtle Zelma Hayes b 11 September 1881 West
Virginia d 9 August 1939 Halstead bur Reading Cem the daughter of John W. and Mary Ann
Logsdon Hayes, and the granddaughter of Capt. J. Logsdon. Mr. Cowden was the first non-
Indian child bom in Arvonia township. Mr. Cowden hauled rock for the Sheldon store.
He ran a livery stable in Reading for many years. The Cowden children were born in
Reading. Laura Rowena (see below). Floyd Gomer b 20 September 1902 d 24 January 1958
Ulysses m 1927 Erie, Leonora Mae Ford. Bessie Lemore b 1 February 1912 m 16 August
1928 Emporia Vern Albert Johnson.
LAURA ROWENA COWDEN
Laura Rowena Cowden b 13 June 1901 m 1 August 1920 Reading Earl P. Geyer d
31 August 1920 the son of Edward and Minnie Geyer and the grandson of Peter and
Minnie Kirstner m 21 September 1946 Salem, Ore. Earl C. Bunyan the son of John
W. Bunyan b 11 December 1890 Hammond, Ill. d 23 November 1970 Portland, Ore. bur Portland.
Her children are VeLeda Marguerite Geyer b 12 July 1921 Bucklin m November 1938 Ulysses,
George Conrad, m 6 December 1958 New Mexico, Wm. Elliot, son of Carrie Elliot. Gladys
Mildred Geyer b 21 April 1923 Reading m 15 November 1941 Syracuse, Vernon L. Fulton
son of Ernest Fulton. Mrs. Bunyan was Grant County Treasurer from 1927 to 1931, Ulysses.
She worked in the Post Office for two years and eight years for the A. A. A. Farm Program.
She moved to Oregon in 1941 and was employed as bookkeeper at the State Blind School in
Salem for two years. She moved to McMinnville, Ore. and was bookkeeper in the hospital
for ten years. She retired and moved to Portland in 1953. She moved to Beaver, Okla.
in 1973. She joined the Baptist Church in Reading about 1911. She graduated from
Reading High School in 1918. She attended summer school at EKSC.
The Charles Cowden grandchildren are Mrs. Gale (Norma Jeane Cowden) McFord, dau-
ghter of Floyd, Vern Cowden Johnson b 14 January 1950 m Marlene LaMon. Larry Duane
Johnson b 11 December 1931 m Jeane Amos, sons of Bessie Cowden Johnson. LeVeda and
Gladys Geyer mentioned above. A greatgrandson is Marshall Lloyd Fulton b 4 August
1951 m 27 March 1974, and a greatgranddaughter Judith Lynn Conrad b 16 September 1941
d 29 July 1946 Ulysses.
Lee Roy Cowden
Lee Roy Cowden b 18 October l885 Reading d 10 September 1966 Emporia bur Reading
Cem m 7 March 1906 Reading, Sarah Jane Evans b 8 January 1887 Reading d 1 February
1975 bur Reading the daughter of John and Ann (Pugh) Evans and the granddaughter of
Samuel and Alice Evans. Mr. Cowdens mother died when he was fifteen months old. His
Grandparents Haerr raised him. One of Mr. Cowden's favorite stories was that Grandma
Haerr made only one pie and cut it into as many pieces as there were people at the
table. She said she did not like pie, and Lee could have her piece. He said, "I was
a big kid before I realized she liked pie too." The Cowdens had one daughter, Beulah,
b February 1908 who died during the flue epidemic in February 1918. The Cowdens
were farmers, and lived two miles west and two miles south of Reading. They bought a
pre-cut house from Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 1919. Several of Sarah's brothers helped
them build the house. It was complete with a steam heat furnace, a fireplace, a delco
light system, running water with a kitchen sink and bathroom. When they retired, they
owned 640 acres of land. They had farmed with horses and mules, steel wheeled tractors
and rubber tired tractors. They raised Registered Polled Hereford Cattle, upon which
they won many ribbons and prizes. Mr. Cowden was a member of the Lyon County Republican
Committee, serving as county chairman beginning in 1924. He served in the Kansas
Legislature as a Representative from 1927 to 1931 and from 1933 to 1937. He was an
active member of the Reading Grange and the Lions Club. Mr. and Mrs. Cowden were faith-
ful members of the Reading Baptist Church. Mr. Cowden served as Reading mayor from
1962 to 1964.
Source of information:
Ilah Lewellan, 132 Gordon, Wichita
L. Rowena Bunyan, Box 573, Beaver, Okla.
Marguerite Price Swisher, Reading
Frank Cowden, Reading
Lucille Evans Jennings, Basehor END HEARTLAND COMMENT
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