Cherokee County,  Kansas

C O U N T Y   S E A T

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.
Cherokee County, Part 4

Originally, the county seat was temporarily located at Freepoint, but so far as can be ascertained no business was transacted at this point, and in 1867, the county seat was temporarily located at Pleasant View. An election was held November 5,1867, for the permanent location of the county seat. The total number of votes cast was 139, of which Baxter Springs received 136, and Cherokee Center 3. The last meeting of the Commissioners Pleasant View was held April 10, 1868, and the first at Baxter Springs April 14. Thomas Little was allowed $5 for moving the records from one place to the other.

A vote was then taken May 12, 1868, but as no place bad received a majority of the votes, another election was held May 26, and as the result of this election Baxter Springs was declared to have received a majority of the votes, and so retained the county seat. The geographical center of the county had competed with Baxter Springs for the prize and had lost, as many believed, through fraud. The Commissioners, therefore, upon application, granted another election which was held February 17, 1869. It was firmly believed by those who favored the geographical center, that if a fair election could be held, the question would be decided in their favor. But they learned through espionage that certain parties at Baxter Springs were determined to win as they had done before - by stuffing the ballot box. It was therefore decided by these favoring the geographical center (Columbus), to cast if necessary more fraudulent votes than Baxter Springs, and thus to win in any event. One township was thereupon selected to cast the number of votes necessary to defeat Baxter Springs no matter how many fraudulent votes the latter place might cast. This township was Lola. The vote was canvassed on the 20th of February, and it was found that Baxter Springs had in her favor a total vote of 1,118. Of this number the town of Baxter Springs had furnished 1,045, the balance of the county having cast 73 in her favor. The returns from the whole county were in except those from Lola Township, and it was found that Columbus had but 799 votes. The party intrusted with the transmission of the returns from Lola Township, upon arriving at the court where the vote was being canvassed, found that he had "lost" the returns. He thereupon immediately set out to find them. He soon returned, having found them "in the lining of his overcoat," and then it was found that little Lola had done her duty nobly, she having come up smiling with 352 votes for Columbus, thus bringing up the total vote for Columbus to 1,151 - a majority of 33 over Baxter Springs.

As showing the fraudulent character of the vote cut at this election, the following comparisons are useful: The total vote on county seat was 2,276, while the total vote for President in November, 1868, was but 1,358, Lola Township having cast but 102, and Baxter Springs but 112. And in 1882, the total vote for Governor in Lola Township was only 203, while in Baxter Springs, it was 182, and the total vote in Spring Valley Township in which Baxter Springs is located, including the vote of Baxter Springs, was but 376.

Columbus having become the county seat, a "temporary court house" was erected in the winter of 1870-71, at a cost of about $1,400, on the northeast corner of the public square. It is an incommodious two-story frame building, and still is occupied for the purpose for which it was erected.


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