KIOWA COUNTY, KANSAS
Kiowa County, in the southwestern part of the state, is the second county north from Oklahoma and the sixth east from Colorado. It is bounded on the north by Edwards county; on the east by Pratt and Barber; on the south by Comanche, and on the west by Ford and Clark. It was named for the Kiowa tribe of Indians and was first created by the act of 1867, which erected 26 western counties. In 1875 the county was extinguished and the territory divided between Edwards and Comanche. In 1886 Kiowa was restored and the boundaries defined as follows: "Commencing at the intersection of the west line of range 20 west with the north line of town 27; thence south along range line to its intersection with the north line of township 31; thence east along township line to where it intersects with the west line of range 15 west; thence north along range line to where it intersects with the north line of township 27; thence west to the place of beginning."
It contains 720 square miles or 460,800 acres. Until its organization Kiowa was attached to Comanche county for judicial purposes. Gov. Martin appointed C. W. Olmstead census taker in Feb., 1886. The returns made by him on March 19 showed a population of 2,704, of whom 549 were householders, and there was $236,622 worth of taxable property exclusive of railroads. In making the proclamation of organization on March 23, the governor named Greensburg as the county seat and appointed the following officers: Clerk, M. A. Nelson; commissioners, H. H. Patten, Jacob Dawson and C. P. Fullington.
During the year 1886 three railroads made propositions to the people of the county-the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, the St. Louis & San Francisco and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. The proposition to issue bonds for the first was not carried, and that company changed its route. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific subsequently built a line from Hutchinson which came through this county, and later the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe built a line across the southeast corner. Greensburg, the county seat, was not founded until early in 1885. In less than months it had 1,000 inhabitants and a number of two-story brick and stone buildings. About May 1, 1887, the ground for a court-house was purchased in Greensburg and the present court-house occupies the site.
The county is divided into twelve townships, Brenham, Butler, Center, Garfield, Glick, Kiowa, Lincoln, Martin, Reeder, Union, Ursula, Valley and Wellsford. The postoffices are, Greensburg, Belvidere, Haviland, Mullinville and Wellsford.
The surface of Kiowa county is a rolling prairie, slightly higher in the center. The southern half lies in the valley of the Medicine Lodge river and the northern half slopes in a succession of gentle foot hills toward the valley of the Arkansas. Rattlesnake creek, the principal stream, enters in the west and flows northeast into Edwards county. It has several tributaries in the northern and central parts. Medicine Lodge river has its source in the south and flows southeast into Barber county. Well water is found at an average depth of 50 feet. Good building stone is abundant.
Kiowa is in the famous winter wheat section. The wheat crop of 1910 sold for $1,674,553; corn, the next in importance, was worth $447,464; milo maize, $120,000; and animals sold for slaughter, $300,000. The total value of farm products was $2,740,959. The assessed valuation of property was $15,484,314. The population was 6,174 in 1910 as against 2,267 in 1900, a gain of nearly 300 per cent. The average wealth per capita is $2,346, which is larger by over $700 than the average for the state. (Source: Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Edited by Frank W. Blackmar, Volume II, 1912, pages 76-77)
Greensburg, the county seat and principal city of Kiowa county, is located about 4 miles north of the center of the county on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific R. R. It was settled in 1885, the year before the county was organized. The first number of the Greensburg Republican was issued on March 22, 1887, by Hollis & Welles, and in an editorial the publishers said "A little more than two years old, yet we are a substantial, thriving and bustling city, with a population of 2,000 earnest, energetic, educated people," etc. Greensburg was then 28 miles from the nearest railroad. The day before that issue of the Republican was published the people of Center township voted bonds to the amount of $20,000 to aid in the construction of the Kansas Southwestern, and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific line was then under construction. By July 1, 1886, the city had two banks in operation, but for various reasons the city did not meet the expectations of some of the pioneer settlers, and many of them moved elsewhere. By 1900 the population had dwindled to 343.
Then began an era of steady, substantial improvement, and in 1910 the population had reached 1,199, an increase of more than 250 per cent, in ten years. Greensburg has 2 banks, 2 weekly newspapers (the Republican and the Signal), an opera house, good hotels, Baptist, Christian and Methodist churches, graded public schools, express and telegraph offices, a number of well stocked mercantile establishments, and an international money order postoffice with 2 rural routes. Large quantities of grain and live stock are annually shipped from Greensburg, which is one of the progressive little cities of southwestern Kansas. (Source: Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Edited by Frank W. Blackmar, Volume I, 1912, page 792)
Haviland, an incorporated town of Kiowa county, is situated in Wellsford township on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific R. R. 10 miles east of Greensburg, the county seat. It has a bank, an international money order postoffice with five rural routes, telegraph and express offices, a weekly newspaper (the Onlooker), a feed mill, hotels, good mercantile houses, etc. Haviland was incorporated in 1906 and in 1910 reported a population of 568. (Source: Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Edited by Frank W. Blackmar, Volume I, 1912, page 831)
Mullinville, an incorporated town in Kiowa county, is located on the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific R. R. 10 miles west of Greensburg, the county seat. It has three grain elevators, a bank, a weekly newspaper (the Tribune), telegraph and express offices, and a money order postoffice with one rural route. The population in 1910 was 289. (Source: Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Edited by Frank W. Blackmar, Volume II, 1912, page 831)
ociations. (Kansas Biography, Part 2, Vol. III, 1912, Pages 1053-1054, Transcribed as written by Millie Mowry)
Copyright © Genealogy Trails