Logan County, in the western part of the state, is the second from the Colorado line and the third south from Nebraska. It is bounded on the north by the counties of Sherman and Thomas; on the east by Gove; on the south by Scott and Wichita, and on the west by Wallace. It was first created in 1881 out of that part of Wallace county lying east of range 38, and was named St. John (q.v.). The description of the boundaries in the creative act was as follows: "Commencing at a point where the east boundary line of range 32 west crosses the 2nd standard parallel south; thence west on said 2nd standard parallel to a point where the east boundary line of range 38 west crosses the said 2nd standard parallel south; thence south on said range line to a point where the said range line crosses the 3d standard parallel south; thence east on said standard parallel to a point where said standard parallel crosses the east boundary of range 32; thence north on said range line to the place of beginning."
In 1885, the legislature changed the name from St. John to Logan in honor of Gen. John A. Logan. In July, 1887, J. H. Downing was appointed census taker and made his report to Gov. John A. Martin in September, showing 3,112 inhabitants, of whom 358 were householders. The value of taxable property, aside from railroads was $447,534, of which $123,505 was real estate. In his proclamation of Sept. 17, 1887, the governor declared Russell Springs (which was the choice of the majority of voters) the temporary county seat and appointed the following officers: Sheriff, N. G. Perryman; county clerk, Joseph Jones; county commissioners, J. W. Kerns, N. C. Phinney and R. P. McKnight. The first county election was held the following December, and about all the towns in the county were candidates for the county seat. They were: Russell Springs, Logansport, McAllaster, Elkader, Oakley, Monument and Winona. The Russell Springs town company deeded a site for the court-house to the county and even built a court-house, the ground and building together being valued at $20,000. That town won by 18 votes. The full Republican ticket was elected, except treasurer and the officers were as follows: Representative, Col. J. J. Sears; commissioners, J. H. Morgan, A. C. Sims and James Dermott; treasurer, C. A. Black; clerk of the district court, G. A. Fleming; county clerk, J. W. Kerns; sheriff, N. G. Perryman; probate judge, J. E. Dodge; superintendent of public instruction, J. W. D. Foote; county attorney, K. E. Willcockson; coroner, Dr. F. M. Burdick; surveyor, A. J. Meier; register of deeds, R. P. McKnight. The new county started out with an indebtedness of less than $3,000, not a dollar of which was bonded indebtedness.
Considerable excitement was occasioned in the summer of 1888 by the discovery a few miles southwest of Russell Springs of a vein of nickel. Inside of a few weeks more than sixty mining claims had been taken in the rocky portions of the county. There is plenty of native limestone for building purposes, and a coarse quality of sandstone Chalk formations lie along the waterways. Charles H. Sternberg, who explored the chalk beds of Hackberry creek to its source, says: "the chalk beds once composed the floor of the old Cretaceous ocean, and consist almost entirely of the remains of microscopic organisms which must have fairly swarmed in the water."
The general surface is undulating, some portions being nearly level, a very small portion rough and bluffy. Native timber is scare, but there are a few artificial plantings. The north fork of the Smokey Hill river enters in the northwest and flows southeast for some distance, where it unites with the south fork, which enters in the west, the main stream then flowing southeast into Gove county. Twin Butte, Turkey and Hackberry creeks are important tributaries, and there are a number of other creeks.
Logan is divided into 11 townships, Austustine, Elkader, Lees, Logansport, McAllaster, Monument, Oakley, Paxton, Russell Springs, Western and Winona. The post offices are: Russell Springs, Edith, Elkader, Gill, McAllaster, Monument, Oakley, Page, Poe and Winona. There are 40 organized school districts.
The Union Pacific R. R. enters in the northeast corner and crosses west and southwest into Wallace county. A branch diverges northwest from Oakley in the northeast to Colby in Thomas county. There is a daily stage coach from Russell Springs to Winona.
Less than half of the area of the county is under cultivation, and the farm products are worth over $1,000,000 per year. Corn and sorghum are the leading crops, the former being worth $204,000 in 1910, and the latter $224,000. Wheat brought $125,000 and animals sold for slaughter $135,000. The total value of all products was $1,033,310. The assessed valuation of property was $8,312,854, and the population was 4,240, the average wealth per capita being nearly $2,000, which is above the average for the state. The gain in population during the last ten years was 2,278 or nearly 200 per cent. (Cyclopedia of Kansas, Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., Volume 2, 1912, Pages 180-182)
Oakley, an incorporated city of the third class in Logan county, is located in Oakley township, on the main line of the Union Pacific R. R., and is the terminus of the Colby & Oakley branch of the same road. It is 22 miles northeast of Russell Springs, the county seat, and is surrounded by a rich agricultural district for which it is the receiving and distributing point. It is a well appointed little city with cement sidewalks, electric lights, ice plant, a commercial club, an opera house, a county high school, flour mill, steam laundry, bottling works, creamery, cold storage plant, 2 banks, a machine shop, a weekly newspaper (the Graphic), telegraph and express offices, and an international money order post office with one rural route. The population according to the census of 1910 was 681. (Cyclopedia of Kansas, Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., Volume 2, 1912, Pages 378-379)
Russell Springs, the county seat of Logan County, is an incorporated city of the third class, centrally located on the Smoky Hill river, 10 miles south of Winona on the Union Pacific R. R., the nearest railroad station. It has a bank, a weekly newspaper (the Leader), schools and churches, a fine court-house, a number of retail establishments, and a money order post office. The Garden City, Gulf & Northern R. R., which has been built as far north as Scott City, is in process of construction from that place to Russell Springs. When it is completed the town may realize some of the high hopes entertained by the founders in 1887. The town was laid out in April of that year. The town company spent a great deal of money in improvements among which was a waterworks system, an artificial lake stocked with fish and fowl, a $25,000 court-house and a $10,000 school house. In the election of Dec. 22, 1887 for county seat, Russell Springs won by 276 votes. Land was valuable at that time, the Eastern capitalists having loans to the amount of $1,000,000 on Logan county real estate. The next year the boom subsided, lots which had sold for from $250 up were not considered by the owners to be worth the taxes, and later sold for 10 apiece. The town lost nearly all of its population, the settlers for miles around left and the only thing which kept a single person in the town was the fact that it was the county seat. In 1910 the population was 82. Then came the news that the railroad was to be built. No one had any faith in the report until the railroad company bought 3,000 lots and paid $7,000 for them. The town then began to experience a second boom, which will in all probability prove to be permanent. (Cyclopedia of Kansas, Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., Volume 2, 1912, Pages 615-616)
Winona, a little town in Logan county, is located in Winona township on the Union Pacific R. R., 12 miles northwest of Russell Springs, the county seat. It has a bank, a grain elevator, 3 or 4 general stores, telegraph and express offices and a money order post office with one rural route. The population in 1910 was 100. (Cyclopedia of Kansas, Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., Volume 2, 1912, Page 926)