Tuesday, August 30, 2016

1906: When Getting a Home Telephone was News

In the news... Charles Wentworth, L. E. Tibbits, Willard Wentworth and William Peters have put telephones in their residences last week. - Ashton, Kansas, 1906 [see source below]

Alexander Graham Bell placing the first New York to Chicago
telephone call in 1892, only 14 years before "my" family got telephones
installed in Ashton, Sumner County, Kansas (photo from Wikipedia)
It's hard to imagine a time when getting a telephone installed at your house was news! I'm wondering if they were among the first to get phones in this small Kansas town.

I believe these four men (& their households) were all related as follows:

  • Charles Wentworth (b 1855) m. Leni Tibbetts
  • L. E. Tibbetts (b 1838) was father of Leni Tibbetts
  • William Peters (b 1875), brother of my great grandfather, Emil Peters(1877-1955), married Clara Wentworth, daughter of Charles & Leni (Tibbetts) Wentworth
  • Willard Wentworth (b 1866) was a nephew of Charles Wentworth

Source: Charles Wentworth article, Weekly Republican-Traveler, Arkansas City, Kansas, 29 November 1906, page 5, column 5, digital image, newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2016)

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net.


  1. Yup, big news, thanks for sharing this news item. Similarly, when Wabash, Indiana had an electric arc light installed as an experiment (late 1800s) it became the city's claim to fame, touted in newspapers and residents' letters! Supposedly it could be seen for miles around, including on the farm where hubby's great-grandpa lived.

    1. Marian, How interesting! It's hard for us to imagine going from candles to electric light... or from letters to a telephone call. How those inventions must have changed our ancestors' lives!

  2. Very cool. My mother tells me that my great-grandparents were the first in their town to have a home telephone. According to her their number was 1. And even when I was little, you could still call people within their small Quebec town by dialing just the last four numbers. I wonder if I'll ever find news of that phone's installation. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anna, How neat! I wonder if you could find an old telephone book that would prove (or disprove) that their number was "1"! Growing up, my aunt & uncle lived in the country and still had a party line in the '70s. I remember my aunt having to ask one of her neighbors if she could use the phone. And, it was just strange to pick up the phone and hear someone's conversation! Of course, I would put the receiver down, though. :)


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