HASKELL COUNTY, KANSAS
 

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History
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JEAN

Jean, a country postoffice in Haskell county, is located 7 miles northeast of Santa Fe, the county seat, and 24 miles south of Garden City, the nearest shipping point. (Kansas Cyclopedia, Volume II, Edited by Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., 1912, page 22)

LOCKPORT, a county postoffice in Haskell County, is located near the east line, 12 miles east of Santa Fe, the county seat, and 6 miles south of Colusa in Gray county, from which place its mail is distributed by rural route. (Kansas Cyclopedia, Volume II, Edited by Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., 1912, page 179)

HASKELL COUNTY, located in the southwestern part of the state, lies about 30 miles north of Oklahoma and 53 miles east of Colorado. It was created by the act of March 5, 1887, which defined the boundaries as follows: "Commencing at the intersection of the east line of range 31 west with the north line of township 27 south; thence south along range line to where it intersects the 6th standard parallel, thence west along the 6th standard parallel to its intersection with the east line of range 35 west, thence north along range line to where it intersects the north line of township 27 south, thence east to the place of beginning."

The boundaries as thus established are the same as those given to Arapahoe county in 1873. It is bounded on the north by Finney county; on the east by Gray and Meade; on the south by Seward and on the west by Grant. It is exactly 24 miles square and has an area of 576 square miles or 368,640 acres and was named for Dudley C. Haskell formerly a Congressman from Kansas.

The history of the early settlement of Haskell county is about the same as that of the other western counties of the state. A few cattle men established ranches, and emigrants from the older states added to the population. On March 31, 1887, in response to a memorial, Gov. Martin appointed Charles A. Stauber to take a census and make an appraisement of the property in the county. Mr. Stauber filed his report with the goernor on June 27, showing that there were 2,841 inhabitants, of whom 556 were householders, and that the value of the taxable property was $850,119. Upon receipt of this information, the governor issued his proclamation on July 1, 1887, declaring the county organized. He appointed as commissioners James E. Marlow, Joseph Comes and C. H. Huntington; county clerk, Lowry C. Gilmore, Sheriff, J. B. Shumaker, and designated Santa Fe as the temporary county seat. The question of the location of the county seat had been decided by popular vote before the governor issued his proclamation, Santa Fe receiving 562 votes, Ivanhoe 396 and Lockport 1.

At the general election on November 8, 1887, a full quota of county officers were chosen as follows: Representative, M. C. Huston; probate judge, A. P. Heminger; clerk of the district court, W. F. Felton, county clerk, W. E. Banker; county attorney, C. R. Dollarhide; register of deeds, L. A. Crull; treasurer, J. M. Beckett, sheriff J. P. Hughes, county superintendent of schools, L. McKinley, surveyor. W. M. Haley, coroner, J. C. Newman, commissioners James E. Marlow, C. H. Huntington and A. T. Collins. Of these first officials, Huston Banker, Beckett, Hughes, Haley and Collins belonged to the People's party and the others were Republicatns.

The surface of Haskell county is generally level or gently rolling prairie. The only watercourse in the county is the Cimarron river, which flows across the extreme southwest corner and the absence of streams means a corresponding scarcity of timber, though a few artificial groves have been planted. There are a few natural springs in the county, and good well water is obtained at a depth of from 50 to 100 feet.

The opening of new lands in Oklahoma and a lack of railroad facilities caused many of the early settlers to leave the county. In 1890 the population was but 1,077, less than one-half what it was when the county was organized, and by 1900 it had dwindled to 457. Then came a reaction and in 1910 the population was 993, a gain of 536 in ten years or more than 120 per cent. The completion of the Garden City, Gulf & Northern railroad through the center of the county north and south gives the county better shipping and transportation facilities. The county is divided into three civil townships - Dudley, Haskell and Lockport. In 1910 the county reported 19 organized school districts, with a school population of 340. Agriculture is the principle occupation. The leading crops are wheat, milo maize, Kafir corn, sorghum and broom-corn. The value of farm products in 1810 was $214,337, and the assessed valuation of property was $2,321,605. (Kansas Cyclopedia, Volume I, Edited by Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., 1912, pages 826-827)

SUBLETTE WINS OUT

Santa Fe is Defeated in Fight to Retain County Seat of Haskell County

Sublette, May 17 - In the special election held yesterday Santa Fe lost its fight to continue as the smallest county seat in Kansas. The fight was lost by a majority of 136. The total vote was 676. An injuction was defeated in the district court which prevented the removal of the county records to Sublette. J. S. Patrick an abstractor of Santa fe made the effort. The matter was carried to the supreme court and he fought his case on the grounds that the law providing for the election was unconstitutional.

Sublette Has Railroad

Sublette, Santa Fe's rival for the Haskell County seat, has a railroad, Santa Fe has not.

If Santa Fe wins its fight in the supreme court, which seems unlikely it will retain its seventy-five inhabitants. If the supreme court decision goes against it, as the election did, Sublette will gain most of the seventy-five with the prestige of being the county capital. Meanwhile, the site of Santa fe would revert into grazing country, will all buildings possible moved away.

The various moves in the county seat war, which started last year have drawn state-wide interest.

The law passed by the recent legislature permitted counties with a population of less than 2,000 to change the county seat by a vote of three-fifths of the inhabitants.

The law was passed through the efforts of C. G. Dennis of Sublette, elected representative on the platform that he would secure such a law. The law applies only to counties with a population of less than 2,000. Haskell county has 1,720 citizens.

It is under this law, permitting three-fifths majority to change the site, that the election was held.

Supreme Court Takes Hand

Now the supreme court has granted an injunction which will prevent the county commissioners of Haskell county from moving any of the county records from Santa Fe to Sublette until the supreme court has passed on the constitutionality of the law under which the election was held, even though the election in Haskell county went against Santa Fe and its seventy-five inhabitants. The hearing has been set for June 5. Mr. Patrick's attorneys contend that the law is "special class inglalation" forbidden by the constitution.

In the seventies and eighties, county seat fights in Kansas were exciting blood-shedding affairs, value of property was at stake. When the county ? locations were finally settled laws were passed making it almost impossible to change the sites. This was to prevent further fights. Haskell county was made a special exception.

Mr. Patrick representing the side opposed to Mr. Dennis and Sublette, has property at Santa Fe. It won't be worth much if the county court house is moved to Sublette.

Haskell County is located near the southwestern corner of the state and is thinly populated. It is connected with the outside world by a branch Santa Fe railroad running from Dodge City on the Santa Fe main line, through Ford, Gray, Stevens and Haskell counties.

Sublette is on this railroad. Santa Fe is not. The road was built in 1910. (Hutchinson News, May 17, 1919)


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