About Us
Museum Membership
Event Schedule
Museum Newsletters
Museum Displays


Judge Colbert Coldwell

Am printing entire article, which includes mention of Judge Coldwell...
Winfield Courier, February 28, 1878.
                                 MILLINGTON & LEMMON, PUBLISHERS.
                                                     SOUTHERN KANSAS.
                             THE REMARKABLE PROSPERITY OF WINFIELD.
A Glimpse at a Few of Her Palatial Residences—Episode in the Life of One of Her Citizens.
                            “A Fine Old Southern Gentleman, One of the Olden Time.”
                                  [From the Kansas City Journal of Commerce.]
                     CENTRAL HOTEL, WINFIELD, KANSAS, February 13, 1878.
A recent census shows a population of 1,611 in this town—an increase of about fifty percent within a year. Without question, it is the most prosperous interior town in the State, and presents more evidence of wealth and permanence and offers greater inducements to businessmen and capitalists than any other.
Real estate is appreciating rapidly, and comfortable tenement houses are in demand and high. Some enterprising mechanic with a little capital could make a fortune by building cottages to sell. There are two dozen houses in course of building now, one-half of which are residences to cost from three to seven thousand dollars, and transfers of lots to parties intending to build others are of daily occurrence. As several of these buildings are being gotten up on a scale of elegance (very unusual for a new county, and especially the frontier), I may be pardoned for a brief description of them.
Mr. J. C. Fuller is building a mansion in the eastern part of town. It is a frame with brick veneer—a style new to Kansas, but in successful use in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin for the last ten years. It is elegant in all its appointments and will be supplied with hot air furnace, water, baths, speaking tubes, and all modern conveniences. The interior will be finished with walnut and ash, and the grounds will be handsomely ornamented with terraces and fountains.
M. L. Robinson has chosen the southwestern portion of town for his residence, and is building a stately mansion upon an eminence which commands a landscape of surpassing loveliness. The building has only recently been commenced, but the designs according to the drawings of the architect are elaborate and costly. A large force of workmen are engaged and the pleasant weather is being improved.


A short distance south of this, and far enough removed from the heart of the town to give it a suburban air of quiet and seclusion, Col. McMullen has decided to build his home. This also can only be seen on paper as yet, but the contract has been awarded and the material is being delivered. The design is no less extensive than the others, and in some respects shows a more elaborate style of architecture.
Hon. Colbert Coldwell, until recently one of the associate justices of the supreme bench of Texas, has removed to this town and located near Mr. Fuller’s place, in the eastern part. His mansion is completed and occupied. It is built after the good old southern style, with high ceilings, grand old halls, and wide verandahs, and an interior finish massive and imposing, suggesting the ancestral halls of history whose occupants were in the royal line.
Too much cannot be said in praise of Mr. John Hoenscheidt, the architect, and Messrs. Ray and Randall and Mr. W. B. Gibbs, the joiners, for the eminent taste and skill displayed in these buildings, which challenge comparison with any in the state.
Among the business houses now building or just completed are a brewery, a two-story brick billiard hall, a foundry and machine shop, and Manning Hall, a two-story brick block, 60 x 100 feet, the lower story for stores. Two handsome iron bridges have also spanned the Walnut River since my visit last fall, making three bridges across the river within a mile of town.
Speaking of Judge Coldwell calls to mind an episode of the campaign of 1860, that is told with gusto in Texas to this day. The judge was a presidential elector on the Douglas ticket, and was stumping the State in company with Roger Q. Mills, present member of Congress from the Galveston district, I think, who occupied a similar position on the Breckenridge ticket. They were speaking to an acre of people at Marshall, and Mills insisted, and truly, too, that the real contest lay between Lincoln and Breckenridge, and that in the event of Lincoln’s election, it would be impossible to maintain a government at the South, as no true Southerner would accept an office under him; consequently, it was either Breckenridge or secession. He impressed this idea by graphically portraying the haughty south crushed under the heel of the “tyrant Lincoln,” and turning to Judge Coldwell, asked derisively if there was a man present who would accept an office under such a monster. Coldwell, himself the personification of Southern chivalry, “one of the olden time,” six feet two, straight as an arrow and dignified as Henry Clay, arose and straightening himself to his full stature, said: “I will not assume to speak for any considerable portion of this audience, but for one citizen of the State of Texas only; if Mr. Lincoln should be elected president and should see fit to tender me the office of district attorney, I would not only accept the honor, but would signalize my accession to the office by indicting, convicting, and hanging you, sir, for treason!”
The prolonged applause which followed showed that even at that late day the heart of old Texas was in the right place. JOE FLUFFER.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum