Coldwater, the county seat of Comanche county, is situated a little northwest of the center of the county, and is one of the most important towns on the Wichita & Englewood division of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway system. It has an elevation of 2,089 feet and is beautifully located in the valley of Cavalry creek, a tributary of the Arkansas river. Coldwater was established as the county seat soon after the county was organized, and in the matter of growth it has had its 'rups and downs." The census of 1890 showed a population of 480, which had dwindled to 263 in 1900. (For the cause of this decline see Comanche County.) Then came a turn for the better, and in 1910 the population was 684. The improvement during these latter years is of a permanent character. Coldwater has 2 banks, 3 grain elevators, 2 weekly newspapers (the Talisman and the Western Star), an international money order postoffice, express, telegraph and telephone facilties, and is the commercial center for a large and prosperous agricultural district. (Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, by Frank Wilson Blackmar, 1912, page 389)
Judges Brown and Houk of Hutchinson, Gillett, of Kingman and several other shrewd politicians have a project on foot of re-organizing Comanche County and reviving the town of Smallwood, the old county seat. It looks to us as if these gentlemen were getting after a pig which they will find difficult to handle. Comanche county furnished one of the grandest swindles the State has ever been treated to, and the present residents of that county will not welcome with open arms, any new outfit who go in there to "organize" things. The cow boys have had their fill of that kind of business, and they will be very apt to "fill" any person who make an attempt to organize the county with an indigestible dose of medicine that will last them for time and eternity. - Sterling Bulletin. (Dodge City Times, April 24, 1880)
COMANCHE COUNTY VIEW OF THE DEAL
Topeka, Oct. 15, R. C. Strain, clerk of the district court of Comanche County was in Topeka to attend the meeting of the Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows.
When asked what he thought of the Comanche County bond deal and what the people of Comanche county think about it he said:
"The deal has an ugly look and the people who are familiar with it do not like it. It looks rather funny when a stranger can draw $9,000 from the county for engineering the deal. The people of Comanche county have to pay this money if it is paid, and they naturally do not like it. They believe that some one in the county got part of the money for helping to put the deal through."
"Do you think that $123,000 is a pretty heavy debt for Comanche County" was asked.
"Why that is more than Comanche county is worth," said Mr. Strain laughing.
"How do people of the county feel about the bonds?"
"They feel rather bitter about them. The county has never had a straw's worth of benefit from these bonds. They were issued at a time when there were no people in the county or there may have been one man and not a penny has the county ever had in return for the bonds. The people have given up trying to beat the bonds and the best they can hope for now is a compromise of some sort - perhaps that can be made now that the state holds the bonds."
"What is the population of Comanche county?"
"It is about 1,600 people and this indebtness bears down pretty heavily upon them, especially since they have never received any benefit from it.
"What is land worth in your county?"
"There is very little land changing hands now but I believe that some sales have been made at from $5 to $6 per acre. Five years ago a great deal of land was sold at $1 per acre, and it was nearly all bought up by cattle men. The mortgage companies then held nearly all the land."
"Where do these cattlemen live now?"
"They are nearly all residents of Comanche County and all their interests are there."
"How long have you lived in Comanche County?"
"I have lived there twenty years and for six years I have been clerk of the court. I was not in Comanche county when the bonds were issued, and for that matter, there is not a resident of Comanche county now who was there at that time, because there was no one there and that is why it is so hard for us to shoulder this debt. I don't believe that people could blame us for not looking with favor upon these bonds." (Meade County News, October 27, 1904)