Home » #52ancestors » Creamery Mess Part 2

Creamery Mess Part 2

After doing some research on Newspapers.com and the web for the Yates Center Creamery, I have been able to put together a better timeline. I even found summaries for two of the Kansas Supreme Court cases.

I still have some major documents to locate that will require trips to Topeka and/or to Yates Center, Kansas.

  • District Court Cases
  • Kansas Supreme Court Cases (entire files)
  • Corporation papers — likely with the Kansas Secretary of State

Below is what I’ve located regarding George Mentzer and the Yates Center Creamery.

19 Mar 1897 – Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) page 5 on Newspapers.com

H.D. Burlingame, president of the creamery association, is doing some good work for that promising new industry. He has been soliciting shares this week and has met with flattering success.

26 Mar 1897, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5

An interesting meeting of the Yates Center creamery association promoters was held at the G.A.R. hall last Saturday. The committee appointed to solicit stock reported that enough stock has been taken and a sufficient number of cows pledged to guarantee a success of the creamery, and we were authorized to say that work will be commenced on the building next week if the weather will permit. An explanation was made by the secretary as to the mode of paying the notes signed by the stock holder for their respective shares, that they would be paid out of the sinking fund provided and profits of the business and would be returned to the maker as soon as the indebtedness on the buildings and machinery was paid. Also that the shareholders would only be responsible for double the amount of the stock they take and not to be responsible for any one elses shares. Everyone present expressed a desire to see the creamery made a success and with that feeling there is no reason for failure. About $215 was reported as having been subscribed as a donation to the association by the business men and citizens of the city to be applied on the building and payable when building is completed. There will be a meeting next Saturday at 2 p.m. at the same place and everybody that wishes to take stock or is interested in the creamery in anyway is earnestly requested to be present. The object is to give all an opportunity to learn more about the methods of conducting the different branches of the work and have more stock taken, for the more that is taken and the greater the amount of milk furnished from the very start the sooner your notes will be paid and the greater the profits will be for each share holder.

27 Apr 1897 The Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital (Topeka, Kansas) 27 Apr 1897, Tue – image 5 on Newspapers.com

New Charters Issued

The Yates Center Creamery association capital stock, $2,500. The directors are D. M. Ray, George Mentzger, A. L. Dutro, H. D. Burlingame, Fred Wilkinson, C. R. Davidson and H. H. Winter.

7 Jan 1898, Fri – Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5

Creamary Meeting

The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Yates Center Creamery Association was held in the creamery building last Monday afternoon. Among other things it was determined to change the constitution of the corporation so that the board of directors could fix the price of butter for every two weeks or one month in advance, that milk to be paid for every two weeks and that milk should be tested twice a month instead of three times a week as heretofore. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, A. Schwenson; vice-president, F. H. Spencer; sec., Fred Wilkinson: treas., H. H. Winter: trustees, Geo. Mentzer, Center township; A. D. Fletcher, Owl Creek township: A. L. Dutro, Liberty township. The secretary reported the total amount of milk received last year: 445,499 pounds, total amount of butter, 17,163 pounds: total amount received for butter, butter milk and cream, $2,959; amount of running expenses, about $1,034: total amount paid out $3,037.72.

14 Feb 1902 – The Toronto Republican (Toronto, Kansas) image 4 – on Newspapers.com

Kirkpatrick & Holmes, attorneys for Geo. Mentzer and Fred Wilkinson, have brought a suit to wind up the affairs of the Yates Center Creamery Association, and to compel the stockholders to bear their proportion of the indebtedness, all of which has been adjusted by Messrs. Mentzer and Wilkinson. The indebtedness aggregates about $4,000.00. There are almost 40 defendants, probably by far the greatest number ever connected with a case in this county. It is safe to predict that these attorneys will make the case red hot, and that the affairs of the creamery will shortly be settled.

21 Feb 1902, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 on Newspapers.com

The stock holders in the old creamery association of this place are engaging in a legal mix-up which will prove expensive to all of them.

7 Mar 1902, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 on Newspapers.com

The stockholders in the Yates Center creamery association are being sued on the double liability clause of the constitution – Fredonia Citizen

19 Mar 1902 The Citizen (Howard, Kansas) image 4 – on Newspapers.com

It Depends

The stockholders of the Yates Center Creamery association are being sued on the double liability clause of the constitution. – Fredonia Citizen

21 Mar 1902 The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 on Newspapers.com

District court

Judge Stillwell convened court here Tuesday morning and the following cases were disposed of up to this morning:

George Mentzer et al vs Yates Center Creamer Association, Deft given leave to plead instanter

20 Jun 1902, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 on Newspapers.com

District Court

District court convened Tuesday, Judge Stillwell presiding. The following cases were disposed of up to this morning:

Geo Mentzer et al vs Yates Center Creamery Association et al, continued.

4 Jul 1902, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 4 on Newspapers.com

The Yates Center News says the creamery at that place never did pay, and the stockholders are in a peck of trouble on account of a threatened law suit. The writer’s sympathy is with the stockholders. He has had some experience in that line. – LeRoy Reporter

30 Oct 1902, Thu – The Fort Scott Weekly Tribune (Fort Scott, Kansas) image 3

D. B. Williams, manager of the Fort Scott creamery, went out to Yates Center this morning to see what arrangements he could make to have the butter fat of that territory shipped to his creamery here. The Yates Center Creamery recently closed down and the farmers out there have no market for their cream. They want to sell it here. The trains now run so that it could be handled here nicely and Mr. Williams wants to do it. Some of the farmers living as far out as the flint hills would like to shop their butter fat here, but the trains do not run so it can be handled to advantage.

31 Oct 1902, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 on Newspapers.com

Court Docket

Mentzer vs Y.C. creamery association et al

14 Nov 1902, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 – on Newspapers.com

Art Dutro came in from Ft. Dodge Tuesday evening to attend court. He is one of the defendants in the creamery case which will be heard before Judge Stillwell this term of court.

10 Apr 1903 – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) 1- Apr 1903, Fri image 8

Final Notice

List of lands and town lots sold at tax sale September 4, 1900

Notice is hereby given that the following list of lands and town lots in the county of Woodson and State of Kansas were sold for taxes by the county treasurer of said county and state on the 4th day of September 1900, under and by virtue of the laws in force for such cases made and provided. Now, unless the owners of such lands and town lots shall redeem the same on or before September 4, 1903, the holders of certificates of purchase will be entitled to deeds therefor. Conveyance will be made to said holders of certificates on presentation of said certificates to the county clerk of Woodson county, Kansas, after the date last above mentioned.

The names of owners, so far as known, and the amounts necessary to redeem are as follows, to wit:

Yates Center City

Y C Creamery Asso., lots 40 and 41 in south add … 243.39

29 May 1903, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 1

Court Docket

Following is the court docket for June term 1903. Term convenes June 9, 1903.

Geo Mentzer et al vs The Yates Center Creamery Association

5 Jun 1903, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 1 on Newspapers.com

Commissioners Court

The commissioners were in session the first three days of the week, all members present, as a board of equalization. Not many people appeared with complaints. They ordered the county clerk to equalize the valuation of all cattle in the various township of the count to $9.50 and the horses at $23.75 per head. The value of the Yates Center Creamery was reduced from $640 to $350.

10 Jul 1903, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 on Newspapers.com

District Court

Judge Foust and Stenographer Finney came Monday to hold an adjourned term of court. The following cases were disposed of:

Mentzer et al vs. Creamery. Taken under advisement

30 Oct 1903, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 – on Newspapers.com

Bar Docket

For the November term of the District Court. Term begins November 10th.

Geo. Mentzer et al vs. The Yates Center Creamery Association et al

13 Nov 1903, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 – on Newspapers.com

Will Holliday has bought the old creamery property. He does not know yet what use he will make of it. Why not covert it into an electric light plant? It would be a paying investment from the start.

20 Nov 1903, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 – on Newspapers.com

District Court

The following cases have been disposed of in district court:

Mentzer vs Y.C. creamery association, find for defendants

26 Feb 1904, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 1 – on Newspapers.com

Court Docket

List of cases for March Term. Term begins March 8, 1904

Geo. Mentzer vs Y.C. Creamery Association

18 Mar 1904, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 – on Newspapers.com

District Court

The following cases were disposed of during the March term of court:

Mentzer vs Creamery Asso., deed to Holiday declared good

10 June 1905 – Kansas Supreme Court Mentzer v. Burlingame 71 Kan. 581 – on Rival

mentzerBurlingameMentzer v. Burlingame

George Mentzer v. H. D. Burlingame et al.

George Mentzer v. H. D. Burlingame et al.

71 Kan. 581

No. 14,171

Kansas Supreme Court

Decided June 10 1905

Kirkpatrick & Holmes, for plaintiff in error.

Lamb & Hogueland, and B. F. Shinn, for defendants in error.

Mentzer v. Burlingame, 71 Kan. 581, 581 (Kan. 1905)

Error from Woodson district court; OSCAR FOUST, judge. SYLLABUS BY THE COURT. 1. Practice, District Court — Joinder of Actions. Under sec­tion 83 of the code of civil procedure (Gen. Stat. 1901, sec. 4517), where several causes of action are joined they must all belong to one class and must affect all the parties, ex­cept in suits of foreclosure. 2. -Petition and Demurrer. Where a trial court, in sus­taining a demurrer to a petition on the ground that it fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action, spe­cifically bases the order upon the ruling that the causes of action are barred by the statute of limitations, and the pe­tition does not show that fact, the judgment will be re­versed. Affirmed in part, reversed in part. The opinion of the court was delivered by In this case the plaintiff, Mentzer, sued the defendant Burlingame, and five other defendants, for contribution to judgments on ten different promissory notes given for different amounts at different times from about May 11, 1897, to February 4, 1902. The plaintiff alleges that all of the notes were given to secure loans negotiated by a corporation organized for the purpose of building and equipping a creamery; that all of the signers were sureties for the creamery company and were officers and members of the creamery association; that the plaintiff and one of the defendants signed all of the notes; that two of the defendants signed four notes each; that one signed three notes, and that two of the defendants signed only one note; that some of the notes were given in renewal of others, and that the indebtedness of the creamery association secured by the notes arose out of the transaction of building and equipping a creamery; that judgments had been ren­dered against him for ..the entire amount and he had paid them in full. The petition purports to set forth but one cause of action and states the sum claimed from each defendant. The defendants severally demurred to the petition on three grounds’: (1) That there was another action pending between the same parties for the same cause; (2) that several causes of action were improperly joined; (3) that the petition did not show facts suf­ficient to constitute a cause of action against this de­fendant. Each demurrer was sustained by the court, upon the grounds that there was a misjoinder of ac­tions and that the causes of action were barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff elected to stand upon his petition and predicates the proceeding in error in this court upon the ruling upon the demurrer. It is apparent from the petition, numbering the notes from 1 to 10, that notes Nos. 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7, at least, were given for independent loans at differ­ent times, and that all of the notes except No. 4 were given to one man, or to a bank owned by him, and that No. 4 was given to one Mrs. McKinney for a $400 loan. Two of the defendants signed note No. 4, and no other, and one of the defendants did .not sign this note. Whatever may be the rule of contribution as be­tween signers of different notes given to secure the same indebtedness, or of uniting in one action for con­tribution all sureties on notes given for the same in­debtedness, it must be conceded that sureties on dif­ferent notes for independent loans are not cosureties, and that each separate loan constitutes a separate cause of action, and that one who, as surety, signs a note which is a separate cause of action is not affected by an action on another note to which he is a stranger. If so, these separate causes of action, even if they arose out of the same transaction, were improperly joined. (L. N. & S. Rly. Co. v. Wilkins, 45 Kan. 674, 26 Pac. 16; Hurd v. Simpson, 47 id. 372, 27 Pac. 961; Rizer v. Comm’rs of Davis Co., 48 id. 389, 29 Pac. 595.) If the entire indebtedness secured by these notes had been established against the corporation, and the plaintiff, as an officer of the corporation, had paid it and sought contribution from the defendants as stock­holders, a different rule would perhaps apply. The two defendants who signed note No. 4 to secure the loan of $400 from Mrs. McKinney are in no sense co-­sureties with the plaintiff or with the defendants who, months before, signed notes Nos. l and 2, to secure loans for $1000 and $1200, respectively, from a bank. Nor did the indebtedness to Mrs. McKinney and to the bank arise out of the same transaction, even if all the money borrowed was used by the corporation for the general purpose of erecting and equipping a creamery. In the judgment of dismissal the trial court spe­cifically stated that it sustained the demurrer not only upon the ground that several causes of action were im­properly joined but also upon the ground that the sev­eral causes of action were barred by the statute of limitations. The petition does not show upon its face that the causes of action are barred. A surety’s right of action for reimbursement or contribution accrues when he pays the debt of his principal or cosureties, and the statute then begins to run. The fact that an action on the original debt is barred at the time the surety begins his proceeding for reimbursement or contribution is immaterial; it is only necessary that the debt be not barred at the time the surety pays it. The ruling sustaining the demurrer on the ground of misjoinder of actions is approved, but the judgment of dismissal must be vacated because of the error in sustaining the demurrer on the ground that the causes of action were barred by the statute. of limitations. By the judgment of dismissal on the grounds stated the plaintiff was denied the statutory right of filing several petitions and proceeding without further serv­ice. The case is remanded, with instructions to pro­ceed in accordance with the views herein expressed. — Mentzer v. Burlingame, 71 Kan. 581, 582-84 (Kan. 1905)

 

14 Jul 1905, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) image 5 on Newspapers.com

About a month ago the creamery case was decided in the Supreme Court adverse to Mr. Mentzer. In connection with the matter at that time we quoted Attorney Holmes who represented Mr. Mentzer, as saying that nothing would be left undone. A motion for a rehearing was made, which was sustained so far as to modify the opinion and remand the case with instructions to the trial court to overrule the demurrer. This means that Mr. Mentzer, who paid the debts of the creamery, has won and will recover from the others who are liable, a portion of what he has paid.

9 Mar 1906, Fri – Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) on Newspapers.com 

Bar Docket

Following is the list of cases for the March term of court:

Mentzer vs Davidson et al

Mentzer vs Wilkinson

Mentzer vs Burlingame et al

Mentzer vs Fletcher et al

Mentzer vs Ray et al

01 Jun 1906, Fri – Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) on Newspapers.com

Court Docket

Following are the cases on the docket for the June term of court:

Mentzer vs. Davidson et al.

Mentzer vs Wilkinson

Mentzer vs. Burlingame et al

Mentzer vs Fletcher et al

Mentzer vs Ray et al

20 Jul 1906, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) on Newspapers.com

In the famous “creamery case,” the court at the adjourned term found that  Burlingame and others were not liable. This leaves Geo. Mentzer and Fred Wikinson to stand the loss sustained by those interested in the old creamery.

6 June 1908 Mentzer v. Burlingame (78 Kan. 219) on ravellaw.com

George Mentzer v. H. D. Burlingame et al.

George Mentzer v. H. D. Burlingame et al.

78 Kan. 219

No. 15,204

Kansas Supreme Court

Decided June 06 1908

  1. S. Kirkpatrick, and S. C. Holmes, for plaintiff in error.
  2. H. Lamb, and W. E. Hogueland, for defendant in error. —

Mentzer v. Burlingame, 78 Kan. 219, 219 (Kan. 1908)

Error from Woodson district court;

Oscar Foust, judge.

 

Error from Woodson district court;

Oscar Foust, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT. Suretyship and Guaranty — Contribution — Limitation of Ac­tions.

A surety’s right of action for contribution against a cosurety accrues at the time he pays the debt of the principal, and the statute of limitations does not begin to run against his cause of action until he has paid the debt. Reversed. The opinion of the court was delivered by A former judgment was reversed for error in sustaining a demurrer based on the statute of limitations, which defense this court held did not ap­pear on the face of the petition. (Mentzer v. Burlin­game, 71 Kan. 581, 81 Pac. 196.) Plaintiff and defend­ant were cosureties for the Yates Center Creamery As­sociation on two promissory notes which were held by the Yates Center Bank. On April 11, 1898, when the notes matured, the bank took a new note for the amount of both, which was signed by the plaintiff and other cosureties but which was not signed by the defendant. Thereafter the bank obtained a judgment against the plaintiff upon the last-mentioned note. He satisfied the judgment on June 10, 1903, and afterward brought this suit for contribution against his cosureties, includ­ing the defendant, Burlingame. The cause was tried to the court without a jury. The court made findings of fact, and held as conclusions of law that the giving of the last note to the bank constituted a payment of the two notes signed by Burlingame; that any cause of action in favor of the plaintiff against his cosureties accrued at that time, and, as this suit was not begun until March 2, 1904, it Was barred by the statute of limitations. In this we think the learned judge erred. The original notes were simply renewed by the giving of the new note. This is shown conclusively by the evidence and findings of fact. No proof was offered which even tended to show an agreement between the bank and the makers of the new note that it should operate as payment. The bank retained the old notes, which were not stamped or marked “paid.” Prima, facie the giving of the new note was merely a renewal, and not a payment. The burden rested upon the de­fendant to show the contrary: (Stetler v. King, 43 Kan. 316, 23 Pac. 558, and cases cited; Webb v. Bank, 67 Kan. 62, 72 Pac. 520.) The statute did not begin to run until the cause of action for contribution accrued, and that was when the surety satisfied the debt. The action was not upon the note nor upon the judgment, but upon the implied promise for contribution. (Reed v. Humphrey, 69 Kan. 155, 76 Pac. 390; Gross v. Davis, 87 Tenn. 226, 11 S. W. 92, 10 Am. St. Rep. 635; Zuellig v. Hemerlie et al., 60 Ohio St. 27, 53 N. E. 447, 71 Am. St. Rep. 707.) A surety’s right of action for contribution from a co-­surety accrues at the time he pays the debt. The stat­ute of limitations does not begin to run against his right until such payment. (Loewenthal v. Coonan, 135 Cal. 381, 67 Pac. 324, 1033, 68 Pac. 303, 87 Am. St. Rep. 115. See, also, extended note to Scott v. Nichols, 27 Miss. 94, in 61 Am. Dec. 504-508.) The judgment is reversed, and the cause remanded for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion. — Mentzer v. Burlingame, 78 Kan. 219, 220-21 (Kan. 1908)

 

19 Jun 1908, Fri – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) on Newspapers.com

The judgment in the case of Mentzer vs Burlingame (old Creamery case) has been reversed by the Supreme court. S. C. Holmes represented Mr. Mentzer and has obtained two reversals in this case in the Supreme Court.

10 Aug 1911

The Toronto Republican (Toronto, Kansas) 10 Aug 1911, Thu – image 1

Delinquent Corporations

There are 15,000 delinquent corporations in Kansas in danger of losing their charters on August 20 for failure to comply with the law by filing their annual statements with the secretary of state. Of this number 20 are in Woodson county. The following is the list:

Yates Center Creamery co., Yates Center

22 Dec 1911 – The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas) on Newspapers.com – image 5

The Old Creamery Case Ended

The case of Mentzer vs Burlingame et al, commonly known as the creamery case which has been in the courts for about ten years, was finally ended this week when the mandate from the supreme court was entered for record. This trial grew out of the failure of the creamery. Geo. Mentzer paid all the debts, being an officer in the company, which was about $5,000, and sought to recover part of it form the other stockholders of the institution and has at last won. S.C. Holmes represented Mr. Mentzer and Lamb & Hogueland represented the other parties. This has been the hardest fought case ever in the courts of the county, and has been in the supreme court three times, but the first two trials the case was decided against the case of the plaintiff, but the last appeal the court reversed itself and found for Mr. Mentzer. Mr. Holmes’ staying qualities finally won the case for him.

2 thoughts on “Creamery Mess Part 2

  1. A. I’m glad I’m not a judge or attorney
    B. How on earth did they so mismanage such a straightforward business?
    C. I hope Metzger managed to collect from some of the defendants in the end.
    D. The lawyers were laughing all the way to the bank (as it ever shall be).

  2. I’m sure you are right about the lawyers. I’m betting that Holmes received most of the money — if it was actually paid back. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything written from my grandmother about this. I do have the feeling that her grandfather did not see the money.

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