HISTORY OF BUTLER COUNTY, KANSAS

By Vol. P. Mooney

1916

CHAPTER X

TOWNSHIPS, CITIES AND TOWNS. (Continued.)

FAIRMOUNT TOWNSHIP-FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP-GLENCOE TOWNSHIP-HICKORY TOWNSHIP-

LINCOLN TOWNSHIP-LITTLE WALNUT TOWNSHIP-LEON LOGAN TOWNSHIP.

FAIRMOUNT TOWNSHIP. By M. Guinty.

Fairmount township was organized January 6, 1873. The first election was held in April following. The first township officers elected were: M. Guinty, trustee; A. J. Nation, treasurer; I. J. Davis, clerk; J. Cutler and F, S. Wallace, justices of the peace; D. M, Daffron and G. A. Watson, constables.

In 1870, H. D. Olinger and family, J. C. Olinger, George M. Daffron and James W. Ferguson came from LeClare county, Minnesota, and located in what is now Fairmount township. John W. Williams came in May, 1871, and Asa White in the fall of 1870, but later moved to Story county, Iowa. 'Mace Nickeson, John F. Urton and Samuel F. Urton moved from Illinois in the fall of 1870. Albert Worline, Marion Worline, Jerome Worline Monroe Worline, John Burns and Alexander Kennedy came from Pleasant Hill, Cass county, Missouri, in May, 1871. Evan Jones and Dick Jones came in May 1871 also. J. K. Nellans came from Rochester, Fulton county, Indiana, March 22, 1876. In 1878 he bought and settled on the northwest quarter of section 3, which he made his home until February 27, 1916, when he met death by being run down by a Rock Island passenger train at Elbing, Kan. Peter Dyck, Abraham Regier, J. W. Regier and Bernhardt Regier came from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in 1885. These people were the nucleus of the Mennonite German settlement which has extended at this time to almost one-third of the present township. They are among our best citizens and have some of the finest farms and best improvements there are in the county. They are good citizens, thrifty, honest and hard-working men and' women and attend to their own business strictly, apparently enjoying life to its fullest extent. In May 1871, the following families came from Woodbine, Harrison county, Iowa: I. J. Davis, John A. Baskins, A. Davenport, M. Guinty,

Page 154

William Robinson and Henry Robinson. Singleton Shepherd came from Missouri in 1870 and resided here until 1890, when he- left and moved to Chautauqua county, Kansas. Mathew Stipe came from Indiana in October, 1873, and is still residing in the township. A. J. Nation came in March, 1871, and died on the home place in March, 1905. J. J. Lyon and James Clark came from Missouri in 1871. J. B. Spangler came from Pleasant Hill, Mo., and settled on the south half of the northeast quarter of section 14. He is one of the few that still owns and resides on the land which he homesteaded. Alexander Hewitt came from Keokuk, Iowa, with his family in May, 1871, and still owns and resides on his original homestead. Milton Embry came from Missouri in 1872. A. G. Moore, J. P. Moore, Aaron Branson and A. Brubaker and families came from Iowa in 1871. Hiram Brown located in the township in 1871. In addition to those above named, quite a number of others settled in the township in early days and have since moved away and their whereabouts are unknown.

Fairmount township did not have as many homestead settlers as some of the other townships in the county for the reason that the odd numbered sections in the township were the property of the Sante Fe Railroad Company, having been donated to it by the government to assist it in constructing the railroad, and these sections were not subject to homestead entry, and hence there was not as many homesteaders in our township as in other townships. The township has seven miles of railroad, being a branch of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company. The town of Elbing is an enterprising little place, consisting of a bank, of which Herman Jackson is president, and D. C. Crosby is cashier; two general stores, a hardware and implement store, lumber yard, together with a postoffice, blacksmith shop and other lines of business and all seem prosperous. More live stock is shipped from this point than any other point within 100 miles of it on the Rock Island railroad. For a number of years, the citizens of this town were compelled to go to Peabody in Marion county to get their mail that being the nearest postoffice.

FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP
January 6, 1873

Fairview township is described as follows: Township 25, range 4, east. The first officers were elected April 5, 1873, as follows: For justice, J. M. Randall received 31 votes and Lewis Maxwell received 31 votes. They cast lots and Maxwell won. For clerk, H. H. Hulburt, 31 votes (elected), and G. S. Nye, 31 votes; for treasurer, J. A. Godfrey, 31 votes (elected), and H. G. Whitcomb, 31 votes; justices of the peace, Milton Braley and Isaac Varner were elected; constables, E. A. Mc-Anally and Benjamin Atkison were elected.

Page 155

PIONEERS OF FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP

By H. H. Hulburt, in 1895

It is pleasant to look over the past and to note the events of long ago. In my boyhood days I used to take great delight listening to my father, and an uncle whose name I bear, talking over their early history, incidents of their boyhood days, and of scenes and neighbors of their old home in old Connecticut. There is a fellow feeling the old settlers of any community have for each other, and to recount the scenes and events of which each one is a part and personally interested is pleasant and helps to bind the ties of friendship and the bonds that make us neighbors and friends.

The first settlement made in my township, Fairview, was by a Swede named John Hink, in 1857, near tne mouth of Rock creek. The same year, but a little later in the season, a man by the name of Burge Atwood settled in the northwest corner of the township. Atwood went to the war and died in the service of his country. In 1866 John Fulk bought the place of his widow. Fulk lived on the place ten or twelve years and moved to Elk County. Wesley Hager settled in the southwest part of the township in 1858. He did not own the place and left it, and a man by the name of McKee sold it to Martin Green, who in turn sold it to J. R. Appleman. In 1858 Peter Johnson settled in the northwest part of the. township. He went to California. Isaac Gillian, Daniel Mosier, Anthony Davis, Ben Atkinson and Kirk and Perkins lived on section 19 at different times between i860 and 1870. The first really permanent settlement on this section was made by Lewis Maxwell in the spring of 1872. Christian Jacobs settled in the northwest part of the township in 1866. His time of residence dates back farther than anyone now residing in the township. S. S. McFarlane settled in 1868 and is the second oldest resident. J. P. Blankenship settled on the townsite in 1867. He left years ago and when last heard from was in Arizona. Twenty-four years ago, during the summer and fall of 1870, the following persons made permanent settlement in the township: J. A. Godfrey, Hezekiah Hayman and son Robert. W. H. Fountain, Levi Thompson, E. B. Cook, J. F. Wheaton, F. M. McNally, A. J. Boyles, E. O., G. S. and J. T. Nue, Martin Pierce, A. S. Cory, G. D. McDonald, H. B. Hulburt, L. V. Olin, Silas Welch, Joseph Sharp and Frank Tipton, and of these twenty-nine are still residents of the township. Hezekiah Hayman and wife are both dead and are buried in the West El Dorado cemetery. His youngest son, H. C. Hayman, now lives on the old place; Robert Hayman lives in Middleport, Ohio; Levi Thompson lives in Michigan; J. T. Wheaton, when last heard from, lived near Charlotte. Mich. G. S. Nye left here twenty years ago, married and lives at Galesburg, Mich. His oldest daughter came to Kansas last summer and is teaching the school in the Coppins district in Plum Grove. G. D. McDonald, when last heard from,

Page 156

was in Chicago; Martin Pierce died some fifteen years ago and is buried in the West El Dorado cemetery; his widow still lives on the old farm. Joeph Sharp lives in El Dorado and is an extensive fruit grower; Frank Tipton died in Colorado and was brought back and buried in the Towanda cemetery.

During the spring, summer and fall of 1871, the following persons settled in the township: I. D. Varner, George Byers, Thomas Andrews, William Paul, Levi Varner, H. H. Hulburt, J. A. Haymaker, Bert Olin, William Snyder, J. F. White, D. D. Winkler, William Painter, A. L. Wheaton, Richard Childers, Richard Taylor, J. M. Randall, H. G. Whitcomb, F. Flagg, Jacob DeCou, Mrs. S. J. Foskett, George Foulk, F. Meyers, Martin Reynolds, J. R. Appleman, William Grey, John Edmiston, E. G. Richards, John Hayes, John Stunkard, D. W. Weidman, Milton Braley, Charles Torrey, D. M. Baker, J. S. Dick, Mr. Potter and Charles Girod. Of these thirty-six only nine are still here in the township. Three, Milton Braley, William Paul, William Grey, are dead. Four are living in" El Dorado, Richard Childers, Jacob DeCou, Martin Reynolds and D. W. Weidman. Thomas Andrews and L. M. Varner are in Oklahoma, Bert Olin is in Ohio, J. F. White is in Iowa, H. G. Whitcomb is in New Mexico, J. A. Haymaker is in Colorado and D. M. Baker is in Iowa. The whereabouts of the rest are unknown.

As this is not designed as a complete history, but to recall the early scenes of the county, I will not follow the settlement farther than the year 1871.

The first township election was held in April, 1873, nearly twenty-two years ago. I. D. Varner was elected one of the justices at that election. He is still a resident of the township and was elected to the same office last November. E. B. Cook and H! B. Hulburt killed a deer near where the Springdale school house now stands, during the winter of 1870 and 1871.

There are a few persons who deserve mention as early comers who are not usually spoken of in that connection. They were boys and girls when they came with their parents, but have grown to be men and women and the heads of families. Miss Rosette Childers is Mrs. E. B. Cook and has six daughters to help wash the dishes and make things lively. H. T. Foskett is married and has two pretty little girls and lives within a few rods of where he held the plow while his mother drove the ox team to break the first sod. Henry Hayman lives on the place his father homesteaded a quarter century ago; his wife was Miss Maud Heath, of Towanda. Then there are the Baker boys, Warren, Jake and Milton. Warren went to Iowa and got a wife and Jacob married Miss Minnie Varner, whose parents were among the first settlers here. Milt has rented a farm with a house on it and married Miss Dona Cameron. I. D. Varner has so many girls scattered around here and there that he can hardly keep track of them. Susie, however, is still a resident of the township, the wife of A. N. Torrey, and is prosperous

Page 157

and happy. Emery Varner was a small kid when he came here. He is married now and lives near his old home. Most of the young people who came here at an early day and have married have, like their fathers, gone west or to Oklahoma.

In these early times it used to be a pleasant pastime in the fall of the year for two, three or more neighbors to drive to the Medicine Lodge country and hunt buffalo and lay in a supply of meat for the winter. "Jerked" buffalo is good, but the bison of the prairie, like the noble Red Man, is a thing of the past.

We look back with many pleasant reminiscences, contemplate with pleasure and meditate upon the scenes and incidents of the past. Most of these recollections are pleasing, but there are some that cast a gloom and a sadness over us.

A tragedy occurred during the fall of 1872. On the afternoon of October 20, a prairie fire started in the west part of the township, an& the "head" fire spread in a northeast direction. Al Wheaton, his wife and two children, a girl and boy, were on the prairie with an Ox team near Four-Mile creek. When they saw the fire approaching, Mrs. Wheaton became frightened and took her little boy and jumped from the wagon. There were no improvements near and at that time no hedge rows broken, nothing to stop a prairie fire when once started. There were but few roads in the township at that time except the old California trail, but that would have no effect in stopping such a prairie fire. A prairie fire in those days was a fearful thing. Mr. Wheaton saw the danger they were in and tried to save his wife and boy. The little girl was left in the wagon, the team ran away, and this was the means of saving the little girl's life. The roaring, panting, awful flames came rolling on. They were all badly burned, and in a few hours death relieved Mrs. Wheaton and the little boy of their sufferings. Mr. Wheaton was so badly burned that he barely escaped with his life and was helpless all winter. One of their nearest neighbors saw the sad affair and caught the team and took the family home. The tragic death of Ainsworth Baker, son of D. M. Baker, was another sad event in early history. He was herding cattle for James F. White and went out in the morning as usual and was never seen alive. He rode a mule and it was seen late in the afternoon without a rider. Search was made, but young Baker was not found until the next day and was so mangled as not to be recognizable. Three Indians were seen in the vicinity that day, but whether they had anything to do with the death is not known.
Edwin Corey is one of the boys who grew up here, married and is still a resident of the township.

The early pioneer did not have the easiest time by any means. There were difficulties to overcome and trials and privations to endure. In 1871 Emporia was the nearest railroad point and freighting was a business that gave employment to many, and to be caught out on the prairie with a load of freight in a blizzard placed a low in a trying situation;

Page 158

and yet that was the way many of the well-to-do farmers of the present day paid for their sugar and coffee, their flour and bacon, while they were getting a start.

The grasshopper year of 1874 was peculiarly distressing and fraught with trials and difficulties that tried the pluck and energies and stick-to-itiveness of the average Kansan. Butler county was in an undeveloped condition. Her resources were dormant and what at that time made her grateful for the kindness and help of friends and the charity of the world would at this time be thought to be trifling and insignificant. The summer of 1874 was a dry one; the amount of cultivated land was small, the experience in farming in Kansas was limited and the teams almost invariably small. Added to the drouth was the inevitable chinch bug, and when the first of August came there was little left to encourage the farmer and nothing left to appease the appetite of man or beast. On Saturday, August 7, a little before noon, grasshoppers came in countless millions. They literally obscured the sun, and what little of corn and potatoes and "garden truck" there was was licked up immediately. Something had to be done to relieve the wants of the people and make it possible for the settlers to live through the winter. And let me say right here that a wrong impression prevails in the East to this day in regard to this time and trial. It is still thrown at our State that we had to depend on the charity of friends. The older States seem to think we are not a producing people, and this, too, right in the face of the fact that Butler county has sent train loads of corn and provisions to relieve the flooded districts of Ohio, and the destitute of other places. Dr. Allen White and others went East and solicited aid for the people here. Donations came in generously, for which the people were very, grateful. A county committee, J. C. Riley, Sr., C. C. Currier, J. D. Connor and Dr. Allen White were appointed to receive and distribute the provisions and clothing donated. Augusta also had a committee and made appeals for help. Lewis Maxwell, of Fairview, went to his old home in McLean county, Illinois, and secured a carload of corn. When it came it was divided up into ten-bushel lots and given to the farmers. That ten bushels of corn to each was all that many a man had to feed his team while he put in his next crop.

Those days are of the past, and Butler county and Kansas are able to take care of themselves and are ready and willing to help others of new and stricken lands if need be.

Added by Rollo Hulburt, 1916

S. S. McFarlane died several years ago and his widow lives in El Dorado. J. A. Godfrey moved to Arkansas eighteen or twenty years ago, where he died. E. B. Cook and wife live at Elcelsior Springs, Mo. F. M. McAnally died and his widow lives on the old place. A. J. Boyles lives on the old place, his wife having died in 1916. S. A. Cory and wife

Page 159

live in Towanda. H. B. Hulburt and wife are one of the few couples that live on the old homestead. I. D. Varner lives with his son Emery in Southwest Fairview and is in very poor health. H. H. Hulburt's widow lives on the old homestead. Richard Childers lives in El Dorado. J. M. Randall lives on the old home place with his daughter; his wife died some years ago. Mrs. L. J. Foskett lives on her old homestead with her son, Herman. He has bought the place. John Edmiston and wife live in Towanda. Charley Torrey moved to Colorado years ago. Charles Girod and wife live in the township. J. T. Nye died a few years ago. His son, Roy, lives on the old place. Mrs. Martin Pierce is deceased, and her youngest son Will lives on their old place. Chris Jacobs is dead and his youngest son Charley lives on the old homestead. Warren Baker, wife and family live in Fairview. Jacob Baker and family moved to Sumner county three years ago. Milton Baker and family moved to California years ago.

GLENCOE TOWNSHIP
By L. D. Hadley

What! Shall I write the history of a township? I, a beardless youth with matted hair? Wait! Hold on, old boy, look in the glass. Well, no wonder, when I stop to think, it was more than thirty years ago since I first cast my eyes on the beautiful prairie that constitutes Glencoe township. My first night was spent in the little village of Keighley. On inquiry I found that this town had been platted and deeded by Moses Turpen and Josephine, his wife, August 16, 1880, the same year the Frisco railroad was built, who, by the way, were at this time living in a dug-out or sod house just south of town. These were pious people of Mormon Faith-some of their descendants still live in Butler county. Perhaps the most striking character in the village was Uncle Stephen Thurman, who, for many years, kept hotel; but time has moved him and his good wife on and out. Of the older people living near Keighley, we might mention Allen Brown and wife, both deceased now. A number of their descendants are now figuring in the game of life in and near the town; also John Brown, Alex Husk, H. M. Taylor, the Paynes, G. W. Miller, John McRitchie, Blankenbaker, Benjamin Fillmore and many others who served their time well, but now deceased. I believe the oldest settler of Glencoe township now living is Joel Parker, who still resides where he did thirty or more years ago. John Hoover, who drove his covered wagon into grass as high as the wagon itself and drove the stake on his claim, which was his home for many years afterward, is living in Oklahoma. F. J. B. King, now of El Dorado, was close to the first settler in the township. W. B. Keith was an old soldier and prominent township politician, will be remembered by many. Keith church was due to his energy.

Page 160

Glencoe also has another town, Beaumont, located on the edge of the Flint Hills country. It was platted and deeded by Edwin Russell and Emma, his wife, March 28, 1881. Several additions have been platted, such as Cooper's, High tower's, Summit and Rogers' additions. This thriving little vallage not only has the Frisco railroad, but a branch road built in 1885 leading off to the south and connecting Beaumount with many towns of importance. This town has a railroad turn-table and furnishes work for a number of men. The Beaumount State bank was organized in 19-, and F. T. Hopp is now cashier. This village is quite a healthy place in which to live and contains a number of happy people, and all lines of business are represented and in a prosperous condition.

Glencoe township was formerly a part of Little Walnut township. On May 11, 1877, a petition was presented to the board of county commissioners asking that that portion of Little Walnut described as all of township 27, range 7, and all of township 27, range 8 in Butler county be organized as Glencoe township. The petition was granted and the first officers elected were: John J. Brown, trustee; G. W. Miller, treasurer; John McRitchie, clerk; Charles Taliaferro and W. B. Keith, justices of the peace; F. J. B. King and Peter Johnson, constables.

HICKORY TOWNSHIP
By J. O. Evertson

Probably the first settler that lived in Hickory township was a man by the name of Myers, who, with his two wifes, lived in what is now the David Brittian farm, but, like the element to which he belonged, he was compelled to keep in advance of civilization and so moved on about the year 1870. A child of his was probably the first white child born in the township, also a boy of his was probably the first white child buried in the township.

Dr. J. A. McGinnis, a widower, together with his brother, A. F. Mc-Ginnis, and his two sons, S. A. and W. F., came from Lyons county in the year 1868 and settled on a claim in the forks of Hickory on the southwest quarter of 14-28-7, and a part of which is now owned by Samuel Ramp and the remainder by James Brewer. His brother, A. F. McGinnis, pre-empted the land now owned by Clarence Dillon, the southeast quarter of 15-28-7. Among the next arrivals were J. A. Armstrong, who bought out Mr. Myers, and established a general store at Old Brownlow. Mr. Bartholomew and J. F. Comstock arrived about the year 1871 and settled on the south fork of Hickory. About this time J. M. Hampton and family came from Kentucky. Before they had settled on their claim and while yet living in their wagon, they had the misfortune to lose their only daughter, and, there being no graveyard, she was buried on what afterward became their home, now the farm

Page 161

owned by Frank Comstock. About this time Wesley Cornell settled on what is now a part of the Evertson farm. H. L. Lemon pre-empted what is now the Will Hurt farm. Settlers began to arrive thick and fast. Aaron Surber, John Wing, John Hearne, Will Drury, N. Blunt, A. D. Stone, for whom Stone Branch was named, some of whom settled, and others drifted on away. Jerry Campbell, who now resides at Morrison, Okla., and H. M. Shannon, now of Attica, Kan., were typical happy-go-lucky, carefree bachelors of the frontier. When Hickory township was settled, Emporia was the nearest railroad to and from where most of the provisions were freighted. The first store was operated by Dr. J. A. McGinnis at his residence, where he dispensed green coffee, salt pork, sorghum molasses and corn meal. Few luxuries found their way into these frontier stores. With him from his home in Coffey county, he brought the first seed corn, which he sold at $5 per bushel.
The first regular mail was carried from El Dorado by a son of Wesley Cornell. The trip was made weekly, most of the time upon a bare-backed pony, for which service he reecived the princely sum of $3 per trip. The first school for Hickory township was conducted by a Mrs. Whittlesy, the wife of Fie Whittlesy, on the Hayes farm, now owned by Marvel Kelly. The first church service, which consisted chiefly of exhorting and hymn singing, was conducted at the home of J. A. McGinnis. The audience consisted chiefly of the local bachelors and recruits from the neighboring settlement on Rock creek, near the present site of Latham. Among these visitors were Prosser brothers, Will, James and Alvah, and the VanMeters. The first Sunday school was organized in 1881 by Dr. J. B. Carlisle, who was then just a school teacher, teaching in what is known as the Lost school house. Here the school was organized. When his term of school was out, Mrs. Martin Reecher took up the Sunday school work and continued it intermittently until her death a few years ago. The first court of justice for Hickory township was conducted by a justice of the peace named Lamont, who resided over the line in Logan township. His court was very popular because it was an established rule that all cases in his court were decided in favor of the party bringing the suit.

June 16, 1871, the settlement was visited by a cyclone which, having destroyed the city of El Dorado, lifted and did little or no damage until it reached Hickory township, where it committed havoc in the timber. The Semishes, who had recently arrived from Holton and were yet camping, were all, six in number, in their covered wagon. This wagon was blown over and fortunately no one was hurt. Jerry Campbell and Billy Brown were camped in a shack on their claim on Honey creek; the shack was blown away and the occupants were blown into the creek. The two-story frame house of Dr. J. A. McGinnis, which was at that time the only frame house in the township and probably the only two-story house in the county, was totally destroyed. In this connection might be mentioned the destructive fire which visited the township in

Page l62

the fall of 1873. It originated somewhere near El Dorado and, driven by a northwest wind, swept rapidly across the country, driving the coyotes, deer and other wild inhabitants of the prairie scurrying before it, leaping streams as it came to them and leaving desolation in its wake, surging on toward the Indian Territory. Lumber which Michael Semist had hauled all the way from Humboldt, which he had to build his house, was burned while he looked on helplessly.

A history of the township's early development would not be complete without mentioning the vigilantes; which were organized by Dr. J. A. McGinnis and whose duty it was to dispense practical justice, unhampered by the frills and red tape of court proceedings. To illustrate: A certain Jack Armstrong, of unsavory reputation, was known to import and harbor lawless characters for the purpose of jumping claims of legitimate settlers. The vigilantes waited upon him at night and delivered their ultimatum to the effect that he leave the country within a stated time; a fight or rather a rackett ensued. Some shots were fired, some of which passed through the house of the host. It was never known whether the shots were fired by the visitors or by the host himself, after the party was over, in an attempt to create incriminating evidence against the vigilantes to be used when they should be summoned before the federal grand jury, as they were the following winter at his instigation, claiming to recognize the members of the committee by their voices. However, nothing came of it.

The township was organized, as it now exists, February 24, 1875. The petition for organization was headed by J. L. Moore and signed by fifty-three others. It was granted and an election ordered, and it was held at the residence of J. A. McGinnis, April 6, 1875, at which election the following officers were elected: W. S. Dubois, trustee; J. F. Cornstock, treasurer; A. F. McGinnis, clerk; Thomas Campbell and W. H. Baxter, justices of the peace; R. Joiner and J. W. Hearne, constables; Z. T. Huston, road overseer whose duties were purely imaginary.

From this meager beginning, Hickory township has advanced to an enviable position among the family of townships in Butler county. It now boasts a population of 500, has under fence 23,820 acres, and in 1915 produced animals for slaughter valued at $26,725. It had 2,700 acres of kafir corn, 869 acres of alfalfa, 577 tons of hay, produced 3,830 pounds of butter, and marketed milk and cream amounting to $6,642; poultry valued at $4,495, and has in cultivation a total of 15,495 acres. Hickory has also produced its full total of country school teachers, preachers and missionaries, and the following county officers: W. S. Buskirk, county surveyor; C. W. Buskirk, county surveyor; H. I. French, county superintendent; J. O. Evertson, county treasurer.

Page 163

LINCOLN TOWNSHIP

By George W. Stinson

On the eleventh day of July, 1879, a petition was presented to the board of county commissioners, signed by P. J. Hawes and fifty-two others, asking that certain territory be taken from Chelsea and Sycamore townships and organized as a township, to be called Lincoln township. The petition was laid over until the next regular meeting of the board, and in October, 1879, the petition was granted and an election ordered held at the regular election in November at Woodward precinct, for the election of township officers, which resulted as fol1 lows: George Hobbs, trustee; William Hoover, treasurer; A. H. Rose, clerk; C. Wing and John M. William, justices of the peace; Frank Freeman and James Rhodes, Jr., constables.

A great portion of the northern part of the township was known as "Speculator's Land," that is, land belonging to non-residents, having been located by land warrants or script of some kind at a price of from fifty cents per acre, up to $1.25. The odd numbered sections had been granted the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company by the government to assist in constructing the railroad through the State.

The first settlement was in the southern portion by Charles Jefferson, in the late fifties, who came here with Dr. Lewellyn, followed by Nattie Thompson and John Hobbs in the early sixties. In the summer of 1869, a family by the name of Johnson located on what is now the Nuttle ranch, in the southwestern part of the township, and the whole family, consisting of father, mother and three children, were drowned during that year.

An Englishman, name now forgotten, settled on what is now a portion of the Dowse farm, north of DeGraff. Section 27 was owned by Dr. Allen White and was always known as the Doctor's. Peter Hawes, John and F. C. Riley, Jr., William Bost, the writer, George W. Stinson and a few others were among the early settlers of what is now Lincoln township. A man by the name of Dick owned the land in section 26, through which the F. E, & W. V. railroad now runs, and Dick's Station was at one time the first station north of El Dorado, the postoffice being kept there and was called Woodward, after the maiden name of Mrs. Dick. There was no settlement north of this until you crossed the county line. A public road ran north to Florence and the United States mail was carried through by that way to El Dorado, Winfield and Arkansas City. Later, Col. A. C. Ramsey located near where the town of DeGraff now stands, purchaing nearly all the then vacant land in the township. He laid out the town of DeGraff, moved Dick's Station to that place, was instrumental in having a depot erected and stock yards built to accommodate himself and the cattle men of northeast Butler, and it is a fact that at one time more cattle were unloaded at those

Page 164

stock yards for grazing purposes than at any railroad station in the world.

But very few of the early settlers survive. Some have moved to other lands; some have gone to that country from which they do not return. Some few and descendants of others are still living in the county.

Lincoln township is one of the banner townships of the county, adapted to both agriculture and stock raising, having some of the finest farms and ranches in the county, with a branch of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad traversing its entire length from north to south, a distance of about fifteen miles.

LITTLE WALNUT TOWNSHIP

By Charles R. Noe

The Indian Trust Lands: Terms of Settlement. The Osage Indians owned a strip of land across the south side of the state of Kansas, fifty miles wide, which included the south half of Butler county until the year 1868, when a strip twenty miles wide, which included all of the reservation in this county, was ceded to the United States government, in trust, to be sold to actual settlers. The price and terms of settlement were not promulgated until the summer of 1869, viz., from forty to one one hundred and sixty acres, in legal subdivisions and compact form, i. e., square quarters or forties must adjoin or Z-shape or a forty wide and a mile long or less, to each qualified settler. The price was $1.25 per acre. The claimant must have at least ten acres of sod broken and living water, a well or spring (many wet weather springs at certain seasons served the purpose), and a house (a shanty, a dugout, a sod house, or even a hay house passed muster in those days.) An actual occupation of at least six months was required, but the great majority of the prairie claims were not "proved up" until 1880-1881. When desiring to make his final proof, the claimant appeard at the United States land office, located at Humboldt until the fall of 1870, removed to Augusta and thence to Wichita in 1872, where he received a declaratory statement of his intention to make his final proof. This statement gave the date and the names of two witnesses, neighbors, who could testify to the facts of his having complied with requried conditions of settlement. This declaratory statement was published in a newspaper, as near the land as practicable, for five consecutive weeks, at the settler's expense.

Augusta township extended from the west line of Greenwood county thirty-four and a half miles to the east line of Sedgwick county until 1870, when Daniel Stine was trustee and assessor. In 1871, Little Walnut township was taken from this territory. It extended from the Greenwood county line to what is now the west line of Spring township.

Page 165

It also included what is now the north half of Bloomington township. C. R. Noe was elected the first and only trustee of the township thus constituted. The formation of Bloomington, Spring and Glencoe townships in 1872, reduced Little Walnut township to its present limits of six miles square. H. H. Marshall, who had moved from Indiana the year before, was elected trustee.

Early Settlements-Though these lands belonged to the Indians until 1878, there were squatters along the Little Walnut several years earlier. As far back as i860, a settlement was established at a spring less than one mile northeast of where the Leon high school building now raises its stately form. The ambitious squatters christened their prospective city Crittenden. But the record drought of that year caused the fountain to recede. Excavating a depth of sixteen or eighteen feet and failing to find the living fountain, they loaded their effects into their horse-mobiles and quietly stole away, without even leaving a record of their names. The first permanent settlements were made in 1868. So far as the writer, who came in April, 1869, can recall they were W. Packard, Charles Tabing, bachelors, east; M. A. Palmer, south of the present site of Leon; B. F. Rickey, southwest of Mr. Palmer; Jacob Carey, west of

Page 166

Mr. Rickey; W. T. Galliher, south of Mr. Carey; Addison Sawyer, west of Mr. Galliher; Joshua Tull west of Mr. Sawyer. These had their families with them. Mr. Sawyer was killed while out after his horses, about March 22, 1870. His remains were laid in the first grave in what is now the Leon cemetery. In the years 1870 to 1872, the uplands in this township were practically all settled, but it was a physical impossibility for the settlers to obtain fencing material to protect their little crops of sod corn, sorghum and truck from the Texas longhorns. Hence arose a great cry throughout the State for a herd law. This need was so pressing that the legislature passed a crude law in 1871, which was declared null and void by the courts a year, later. The stock was again turned loose, to the great loss and discouragement of the "uplander." Thousands abandoned their claims. The stock men, as a rule, maintained that the prairies were fit only for grazing. But the stream of immigration was irresistible. Thouands of ex-soldiers and others inured to hardships were determined to make homes on these fertile .plains. Hence the legislature of 1873 gave us the present stock law without any jokers in it. But, say, gentle reader, you who arrived within the last decade or two, you who gather your kafir by thousands of bushels and harvest your four crops of alfalfa each season, and perambulate and do your marketing in auto, cars, it is well for you to know of some of the experiences and hardships of those who made present conditions possible. Here are mentioned a few of the drawbacks and discouragements which beset the pioneer. Whatever he had to. buy, implements, groceries, clothing, etc., etc., were hauled on wagons two hundred miles from the Missouri river. The drought, without the drought-resisting products of today; the cyclone, the chinch bug, the grasshopper and the rapid fluctuation of prices. The horse thief also plied his nefarious industry with relentless persistency.

In the fall of 1870, three horses were taken from the lariat near W. Packard's cabin about dusk one evening. They were recognized as they passed the place of his neighbor, A. N. Sloan, and Mr. Packard was notified, and, in company with two of his neighbors, he started in hot pursuit. Near where is now the Harmony church they noted that the thieves had hastily pulled some grass, presumably used as a substitute for saddles. The third day they returned home with their recovered stock, badly jaded. All the information vouchsafed the inquisitive was, "Them thieves won't steal any more horses." That incident, followed by the lynching of eight men near Douglass, put a damper on horse stealing as a business for a time.

As to price fluctuations-In i860, this chronicler paid $2.25 per bushel for about No. 3 grade of corn; $2.25 per bushel for potatoes; five cents per pound for salt and 35 cents per pound for bacon. In 1872, this same scribe sold Comrade James Dodwell, of Wall street, El Dorado, a nicely dressed hog for $1.75 per hundred pounds, after butchering and hauling it twelve miles. That was the best offer he could get.

Page 167
The first school in the township was taught by J. D. Porter in 1870, a mile west of the Frisco depot. The first school house was the Cheno-weth, on the corner of section 16, a quarter of a mile west of the present stately Leon school building. It was built in 1871. T .0. Shiner taught the first term in it. A lively literary society fourished there and many notable debates were held. The society paper was a gem. Too bad that it was not preserved. This scribe would give $10 for a file of it. The Christian church was organized there in 1872, by John Ellis, author of "The White Pilgrim." This was the first church of Christ organized in the county.

The first village to have a blacksmith shop, a drug store and a physician, Dr. was at the junction of the north and south branches of the Little Walnut in the fall of 1872. Some notable meetings were held there. One held during the winter of 1872-1873 was supposed to be epoch making. Two narrow gauge railroads were pro-projected to cross at that particular point. They were to be built and owned by the people. Neil Wilkie, of Douglass, afterward a State Senator, and C. W. Packard, of North Branch, were the chief speakers. The proposed city was christened New Milwaukee. But the roads never got as far as the bond voting age, and the christener kept the key and stubbed his toe, so you all know Quito.

The drought, chinch bug and grasshopper nearly annihilated the crops in 1874. The little wheat grown, a few patches of oats and the early truck was all that escaped the devastation. The hopper arrived on the afternoon of August 13th. The floating army formed a cloud Ithat dimmed the sunlight. Every blade of corn, even where it was in the shock, disappeared within a few hours. .They literally covered the ground in some places to a depth of four inches. The lint on the lumber was eaten so that it showed spotted for two or three years. Fork handles and other hardwood tools and implements were nicked and married by them. Having done their work of destruction, the bulk of them took wing on the 15th and 16th. However, there were sufficient left to literally fill the earth with eggs in favored localities. Mrs. Hopper drilled a hole an inch and a half to two inches deep and deposited a hundred eggs or more. Then she slimed them over to resist the moisture. In the early spring of 1875 they hatched out in great numbers. But subsequent cold and wet weather was such that few survived and there was no damage to speak of in this vicinity. The field north of the Leon cemetery was a peculiarly favorable locality for the deposit of the eggs. The eld was plowed shallow early in the spring so as to cut the hopper nests in two. The white eggs showed so thick as to give the ground somethinng of the appearance of having received a skift of snow. This was the first and last serious invasion of the army hopper in this vicinity during the forty-six seasons of our residence.

Little Walnut township voted $17,000 in bonds to the Wichita & Western Railroad Company (construction company for the Frisco),

Page 168

whose western terminus was then at Severy, in the spring of 1879. When the line was located across his land, the writer gave the right-of-way and paid the president of the company, B. F. Hobart, $150 to pay for the right-of-way across Charles Tabing's land, upon the promise to locate the depot where it now stands. The Leon "Indicator" was born and the first house erected on the townsite in January, 1880. The first issue of the paper, a three-column folio, bears the date of January 31, 1880. Here are a few of the quips from its local page: "The Indicator may die, its editor will die, but Leon is .bound to make a town." "Look here-Leon expects to have the first telegraph station in Butler county." "Don't laugh at us be cause we are little, it might make us feel bad, and if we should live to get big enough, you might feel bad, too." "If there are not one hundred houses in half a mile of the Leon town well, November 1, 1880, set us down as a poor guesser." At the above date the population of Leon was over 500 and it had taken rank, next to Douglass, as the fourth town in the county. The coming of the barbed wire fence, the early
growing of hedge fences, the introduction of alfalfa and kafir corn and the building of the Frisco railroad set Little Walnut township forward at a great pace.

The first construction train reached the town April 29, 1880; the first regular passenger train from St. Louis arrived May 10th. The second issue of the Indicator, which had been dubbed the "Tri-Yearly." was published May 8th. Up to this date very few of the upland setters had made final proof of settlement. But now the lands assumed a commercial value. Loan companies were established and anxious to make loans on them. Consequently the rush of the claimants to secure publication of their final notice was something fierce. The first issue of the "Indicator," a seven column folio, was printed on its own Washington hand press, June 18, 1880. It made the price for publishing these final notices $3, which, up to that time, had been $4 to $5.

On Thursday afternoon, September 16th, fifty-two of these notices came from the land office to appear in the next morning's issue of the paper-and not a stick of type left in the office. But our printers said they would "stay" with us. So, after supper, wre drove to El Dorado and secured from the late T. B. Murdolk, of the Walnut Valley Times, a big batch of nonpariel type. Reaching home at 11 o'clock p. m. the men fell to distributing that type into the cases. By 7 o'clock p. m. Friday, the work of setting the type, printing a full page supplement, folding and mailing the paper was completed: then home to breakfast and a good forenoon nap. That week the Indicator had one hundred and forty-three of those notices.

F. W. Beckmeyer established the first general store in" Leon; Palmer & Westocott the .first drug store; W. J. Martin the first hardware store; W. L. Beadle the first hotel; Postmaster Kenoyer moved the office up from Tong's watermill and he and T. C. Chenoweth opened

Page 169

one of the first grocery stores; H. Belton was the first man on the ground, and opened a blacksmith shop. S. A. Brown & Co. established the first lumber yard. C. C. Miller was the local manager. A. Mussel-man, the first furniture store. Palmer & King established the first bank. Tong & Fetrow erected a steam flouring mill and T. J. Lindsey and H. P. Morgan started in the packing business in the early eighties. One year, they salted down 800 hogs. But, the hot competition by the big, establishments, high freights, and a lack of capital flattened out both establishments. The loss of half our population, when Oklahoma was opened to settlement in 1889, curtailed business and caused many business changes.

A second paper, the Leon Quill, was established in 1885, by J. L. Stratford. O. W. Meacham became the owner and the two papers were consolidated. He sold to the original "Indicator" man in 1891. He sold the plant to J. B. Adams in 1894. After a few months, Mr. Adams moved the paper to Augusta, leaving Leon without a paper. In the spring of 1895, the business men of the town prevailed upon the original founder to re-establish the "Indicator," which he continued to publish until December 2, 1901, when he sold to L. L. Schmucker, who, in turn, sold to J. E. Hannon. He sold to C. W. King, whose office and building was burned in 1911 and the town was again without a paper. December 7, 1911, C. V. Cole established the Leon News. He was succeeded by J. W. Watkins in February, 1915. May 1, 1915, the present editor, J S. Martin, took the helm and is giving us one of the best local papers, for a town of this size, in the state.

Little Walnut township has furnished two Representatives to the state legislature: M. A. Palmer, (who has also served as a county commissioner and register of deeds), and D. W. Poe, and one state Senator, Fremont Leidy, who also served as U. S. Internal Revenue Collector for a term of four years. James D. Anderson was elected sheriff from this township; likewise, H. T. Dodson. C. R. Noe was appointed a regent of the State Agricultural College, by Governor E. N. Morrill, in 1895, and served three years; filling the position of treasurer of that institution in 1896. The township has furnished a score or more of employees for the Frisco R. R. Co., including George Edgar, claim adjuster, and James Dunworth, a passenger conductor. Leon is perhaps the only town of its size in the state with the distinction of having had two full fledged brass bands at one and the same time. It has for years held the honor of having the best band in Butler county. In 1914, the city voted $10,000 in bonds and had three prospect wells drilled to a depth of 1,500 feet. All proved dry. However, there is little doubt that gas, or oil, or coal, will be brought to the surface in this vicinity within a few years at most. Traces of coal have been found in several open wells, as far back as thirty-five years ago. The Leon public and high school building ranks with the best for a town of its size.

Page 170

LOGAN TOWNSHIP

Logan township was formed May 2, 1874, out of portions of Bloom-ington and Union townships and comprises all of congressional town-ship twenty-eight, range six. The first election was held at the residence of T. R. Kalker and the first officers were: S. M. LeMoins, trustee; T. J. Lindsey, treasurer; C. M. Price, clerk; B. PL Penn, justice of peace; L. A. Drury, constable.

Among the early settlers of what is now Logan township were: John .C, Isaac, Ben and Alonzo Jones; W. R. Burroughs, J. J. Dedrick, W. M. Kelly, Joseph L. Potter, J. W. Shidler, W. A. McCullough, A. Lurzadder, J. S. Bogle, J. M. Cotton, the Dunn family, John B. Holford, James Sears, A. J. Lightfoot, Minos West, Harry Wait, J. J. Getz, B. J. Russel and many others. Very few, if any, except J. J. Getz and Mrs. B. J. Russell now own, or reside on, their original claims. Some
of the best agricultural and pasture land in the county are in this township. Many fine stock ranches and farms are located here. Well watered and plenty of timber along the streams and at one time was the banner portion of the county for the deer, the antelope and wild turkey. No railroad enters or crosses the township but coal, oil, gas and other minerals are to be found in abundance and its people are noted for those qualities that make it one of the most desirable places in which to live, so much so that there has neyer yet been found the person who would not rather live there than die anywere else.

Copyright © 2008 to Kansas Genealogy Trails' Butler County host & all Contributors

All rights reserved