William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]


Chase County was established by an act of the Territorial Legislature of 1859, which was approved by Governor Medary, February 11. Its territory was taken from the counties of Wise and Butler; the township line between Townships 17 and 18 was made the south boundary of Wise; that between Townships 21 and 22 the north boundary of Butler.

Wise and Butler were formed by the Territorial Legislature of 1855, and the name of Wise was changed to Morris by an act of the Legislature of 1859. The Legislature of 1800 made the eastern boundary of Chase and Butler counties the range line between 9 and 10. The State Legislature of 1864 provided for the taking off of Township 22 in Ranges 6, 7, 8 and 9 from Butler and making it the southern portion of Chase. In 1878 eighteen sections were taken off of the east side of Townships 20, 21 and 22, Range 5, and made a part of Chase. Governor Samuel J. Crawford appointed J. M. Pherson, Sidney A. Breese and Frank Leonard as a Board of Supervisors to organize Chase County, and on March 15 1859, the Board met and elected Charles S. Hills as Clerk. It also divided the county into three municipal townships: Falls in the northeast part of the county; Bazaar, in the southeast; Cottonwood, in the west. The voting places in Falls Township were established at the houses of S. A. Breese and Milton Ford; in Bazaar, at the house of Josiah Leonard; in Cottonwood, at the houses of Levin Daimes and Mr. Boggs. The election was held on March 26, and the whole number of votes polled was seventy-two.

The Board of Supervisors met April 1, and on the 2nd canvassed the vote. M. R. Leonard was elected Probate Judge; A. W. Smith, Sheriff; Sidney A. Breese, Register of Deeds; R. C. Farnsworth, County Superintendent of Public Instruction; J. F. R. Leonard, Surveyor; J. W. Hawkins, Coroner; C. S. Hills, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. June 8, 1859, the new Board of County Supervisors met at the house of Samuel N. Wood, east of the present site of Cottonwood Falls, the members being Mr. Wood, Augustus Howell and Barnard McCabe. Mr. Howell was chosen Chairman.

At the election of November 8, 1859, Chase County polled 125 votes. Her county officers elected were as follows: M. R. Leonard, Probate Judge; S. N. Wood, Superintendent of Public Instruction; Sidney A. Breese, Register of Deeds; M. A. Morris, Sheriff; J. B. Smith, Treasurer; W. S. Conanty, County Clerk; J. F. R. Leonard, Surveyor; E. F. Williams, Coroner. The counties of Madison, Chase and Morris constituted the Twenty-third Representative District, and T. S. Huffaker of Council Grove, was the Representative. The county of Madison embraced what is now the southern portion of Lyon and the northern portion of Greenwood. Chase County was included in the Thirteenth Council District, and John C. Lambdin was chosen Councilman. In the Territorial House of 1861, S. N. Wood was the Representative, and in the State Legislature of 1861, he was Senator. At the election under the Wyandotte Constitution held December 6, 1859, Chase County gave Charles Robinson 109 votes for Governor; Samuel Medary, 10. Morris, Chase and Butler counties constituted the Thirteenth Legislative District; S. N. Wood of Chase was chosen Senator; A. J. Chipman of Morris and P. G. D. Morton of Butler were the Representatives. Chase County on Judge for the Fifth Judicial District cast 96 votes for O. E. Learnard; 31 for J. H. Watson, and Learnard had 9 majority in the district. In the Legislature of the Thirteenth District. Under the first State appointment the counties of Butler, Chase and Morris constituted respectively the Sixty-seventh, Sixty-eighth and Sixty-ninth Representative Districts, and Fifteenth Senatorial District. The Senatorial Representation has been as follows: 1863-64, M. R. Leonard of Chase; 1865, H. L. Hunt of Chase; 1866, Reuben Riggs of Marion; 1857, S. N. Wood of Chase; 1868, A. A. Moore of Marion; 1869-70, J. R. Mead of Butler; 1871-72, Elias S. Stover of Morris.

Marion became a part of the district in 1865; in 1870 the counties of Cowley and Sedgwick. In the apportionment of 1871, the counties of Chase, Marion and Morris became the Twenty-sixth Senatorial District and its Senators have been as follows: 1873-74, Henry Brandley of Chase; 1875, Samuel R. Peters of Marion; 1876, Stephen M. Wood of Chase; 1877-80, John T. Bradley of Morris; 1881-83, R. M. Crane of Marion.

Under the Apportionment Act of 1876, these counties constituted the Twenty-ninth Senatorial District; under that of 1881, it was the Twenty-fourth.

Chase County since 1862 has been representented (sic) in the House by the following members: E. A. Alfred, M. R. Leonard, S. N. Wood, Henry Brandley, Orlo H. Drinkwater, E. B. Crocker, F. B. Hunt, Stephen M. Wood, J. W. McWilliams, William Jeffrey, T. S. Jones, Stephen M. Wood, Samuel N. Wood, William A. Morgan, J. S. Doolittle, W. H. Carter. In the latter part of the session of 1877, S. N. Wood was Speaker of the House.

The Presidential vote of Chase County has been as follows: 1864, Lincoln, 79, McLellan, 47; 1868, Grand, 243, Seymour, 71; 1872, Grant, 481, Greeley, 187; 1876, Hayes, 594, Tilden, 214, Cooper, 40; 1880, Garfield, 716, Hancock, 324, Weaver, 409. In 1876 Green Clay Smith received 6 votes. On the Prohibition Amendment to the State Constitution, the vote cast in 1880, was 597 for; 660, against. In 1867, on the amendment to strike out the word "white" from the constitution, the vote was 120 for; 123 against. To strike out the word "male" the vote stood 118 for; 125 against.

Chase County was located in the Fifth Judicial District, and on November 5, 1861, R. M. Ruggles was elected Judge, receiving 376 majority over his opponent, W. R. Saunders, in a vote of 1,554. Ruggles had 3 majority in the county. In 1864 J. H. Watson had 235 majority over Ruggles in a vote of 1,781. Chase County had a tie vote on Judge. March 4, 1867, William R. Brown was elected Judge over Judge Wood, both being residents of Cottonwood Falls. Judge Brown was again chosen in 1872, having a majority of 302 votes in a vote of 676 cast in the county of Chase. He had 347 less votes than Frank Doster in Marion.

The Ninth District had taken from it the county of Butler, which was made a part of the Thirteenth, and the new counties of Harvey, Reno and Rice were made a part of the Ninth Judicial District. Judge Brown in 1874 was elected Member of Congress from the Third Congressional District, and Samuel R. Peters of Marion in 1875 was appointed Judge to fill the vacancy. In 1875 Judge Peters was elected without opposition, and again in 1879; the counties of Barton, Rush, Pawnee, Stafford, Edwards, Ford, Pratt, Kingman and Barbour being the newly organized counties of the district, making them fourteen counties in all. In 1881 the district was re-organized, the counties of Chase, Marion, Harvey, Reno, Rice, Kingman and Harper remaining in it. The terms of court in Chase County commenced on the fourth Tuesday in May and the first Tuesday in December.

The roster of county officers in January, 1883, is as follows: County Commissioners, P. C. Jeffrey, Archibald Miller, Aaron Jones; County Clerk, Sidney A. Breese; County Treasurer, J. S. Shipman; County Attorney, S. P. Young; County Surveyor, W. W. Sanders; County Superintendent, Miss Mary E. Hunt; Register of Deeds, A. P. Gandy; Probate Judge, C. C. Whitson; Clerk of District Court, E. A. Kinne; Coroner, R. Walsh; Judge of the Ninth Judicial District, Samuel R. Peters, of Newton, Harvey County, Member-elect of the Forty-eighth Congress; Secretary of the State Senate from 1877 to 1883, Henry Brandley.


April 3, 1863, the county purchased of George W. Williams, a log-house and a lot for a court house for $175. It is situated northwest of the present court house, and its present existence in its primitive condition is an illustrative example of a county "living within its means." Terms of the District Court were held for a considerable time in the Congregational Church.

The voters of Chase County on May 23, 1871, gave 235 votes for public buildings; 107 against. Bonds to the amount of $40,000 were voted for public buildings on August 16, 1871, by a vote of 301 to 234. September 5, 1871, Isaac Alexander donated the west one-half of Block 28, and the east one-half of Block 29, comprising with the street between, about two and one-half acres for court house and jail purposes, whenever Cottonwood Falls was incorporated and could convey to the County of Chase. The Public Square was donated for school purposes. The town became a city of the third class in 1872. Its first Mayor was W. S. Smith; M. C. Newton, City Clerk; C. C. Whitson, Marshal; J. S. Doolittle, Police Judge; George W. Williams and A. S. Howard, were among its Councilmen.

The court house bonds were sold October 1, 1871, at a discount of 12 per cent, and on October 28, a contract was entered into with James Bannan, of Leavenworth, to erect the structure for $36,945. It was finished November 13, 1873, and accepted by the County Commissioners at a cost of $42,599.88, certain additions having been made to it. The jail is on the south end of the building, and it is admirably fitted up for the convenience and safety of its prisoners, being furnished with the best of cells. The court house is one of the best in Kansas, it is built on the Renaissance style of architecture, of the period of Louis XIII. It is three stories high, with a basement and cupola. The jail is two stories high. John G. Haskell, of Lawrence, was the architect.

Diamond Grange, No. 432, organized August 21, 1873, was the first one in the county. William Jeffrey, Master; B. Jeffrey, Secretary. Thirteen granges followed this, which are mentioned in order: Toledo, No. 620, October 14, 1873, C. S. Myser, Master; Thomas Barber, Secretary. South Fork, No. 676, November 14, 1873, E. B. Crocker, Master; C. W. Royler, Secretary; Bazaar, No. 707, November 29, 1873, W. G. Patten, Master; C. M. Brown, Secretary. Silver Creek, No. 863, January 19, 1874, A. B. Ice, Master; M. E. Hunt, Secretary. Falls, No. 913, January 27, 1874, S. N. Wood, Master; J. W. Doolittle, Secretary. Hymer, No. 298, January 29, 1874, D. B. Rude, Master; C. M. Rice, Secretary. Vernon, No. 692, February 5, 1874, J. T. Way, Master; W. P. Martin, Secretary. Cedar Valley, No. 1,403, February 18, 1874, William Jeffrey, Master; Robert Brash, Secretary. Diamond Valley, No. 1,405, June 13, 1874, Hewett Craik, Master; William Osmer, Secretary. Matfield Green, No. 1,106, June 15, 1874, D. W. Mercer, Master; T. A. Bryant, Secretary. Middle Creek, No. 1,218, March 24, 1874, Ellis Smith, Master; Henry Collet, Secretary. Pleasant Hill, No. 1,385, May 7, 1875, Fred Pracht, Master; J. F. Campbell, Secretary. Chase County District Grange, No. 26, organized September 16, 1875, E. Stolts, Master; T. H. Warton, Secretary.


There are four teachers employed in the new schoolhouse, completed in 1882, at a cost of $10,000. This school has a high reputation throughout the State. The pupils number nearly 300. This site is one of the most sightly places in the town; objects here can be seen twenty miles distant. In 1867, there were nine schoolhouses in Chase County; in 1870, 18; in 1878, 35; in 1882, 45, and 53 school rooms. The school population is 2,140. The visitations of schools by the Superintendent in 1882, was 73. There are 44 School Districts in the county; three of which are joint with Lyon, one with Morris, and one with Marion. The average school levy is 9.95 mills on the dollar; the schoolhouse bonds voted in 1882, were $12,850; the total amount of bonds is $16,130. There were 10 teachers of grade one; 42 of grade two; 12 of grade three. There was one Normal graduate.

In 1859, the population of the county was 549; in 1860, 1,046; in 1870, 1,989; in 1875, 3,116; in 1880, 6,081.

The valuation of church property in the county is estimated at $15,000. The organizations are classified as follows: Roman Catholic, United Presbyterians, and Universalists, each one; Baptist, Congregationalist, and Christians, each tow; Methodists, fourteen; Quakers, one.

The county management of Chase has been on a very economical basis. Its early County Officers worked without pay, and acting upon the admonition: "Despise not the day of small things," the early settlers preferred to labor under inconveniences, rather than to place themselves under the burdensome taxation. The first tax levy was made November 11, 1859, and seven mills was levied for county, and three mills for school purposes. In 1859, the valuation of real estate was $43,725; of personal property, $25,811; total assessment, $71,536. In 1860, the assessment was as follows: real estate, $131,147; personal property, $43,137; town lots, $1,794.50; total, $176,078.40. In 1871, the assessment was $749,457; in 1882, it was $1,822,860.90, of which $289,460.90 was the assessment of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company.

Chase County's average yield of winter wheat per acre in 1882, was 24 bushels. William Wood, near Cottonwood Falls, had 24 acres that yielded 44 bushels per acre. Little May and Fultz are the preferred varieties. The spring wheat average was 16 bushels to the acre; corn, 40; oats, 45; rye, 18; flax, 10. It has 3,648 horses and mules; 19,500 head of cattle; 7,697 sheep; 5,047 swine, which are mostly of the Berkshire and Poland-China breeds. Here are six months of good grazing; the cost per head for grazing cattle for the season is $1.25. Prairie hay in stack $2 per ton. There is no herd law in force, and 75 per cent of the county is open range.


Cottonwood Falls, at the organization of Chase County, was made the temporary county seat. At the general election held November, 1862, North Cottonwood Falls received 74 votes; Poland, 26; Bazaar, 21; Cottonwood Valley, one vote. North Cottonwood Falls was located on the northeast quarter of Section 29, Township 19, Range 8. Its plat was filed for record January 29, 1861; its proprietors were S. D. Hinkley, J. M. Pherson and J. B. Smith. Its public square, which is in the site of its new, beautiful and spacious school building, contains nearly five acres, and its valuable and attractive court house, stands on the west half of block 28 and on the east half of 29. cottonwood Falls, proper, was located on the southeast quarter of Section 29, Township 19, Range 8. The plat was filed for record July 25, 1860. Wood's Addition to Cottonwood Falls embraced the west half of the west half of Section 28, Township 19, Range 8. The plat was recorded September 23, 1872. September 19, 1870, J. W. McWilliams and F. B. Hunt recorded an addition to the town, which was located on the west half of the northwest quarter of northwest quarter of Section 33, Township 19, Range 8.

The business of the city is done in what is technically North Cottonwood Falls. In reaching this place by rail travelers stop at Strong City, where there is a conveyance in readiness to take them to the Union House, at the Falls, which is located but a little distance from the Cottonwood, on the west side of Broadway, the main street. This street runs directly south to its termination at the court house ground. At the right of the bridge, on the south side of the Cottonwood River, is an excellent watermill, and the music of the falling waters as they flow over the dam, added to the romantic appearance of the country and the attractions created by art, make the scene at once joyous, impressive and suggestive. D. C. Webb, the merchant prince of Strong City, has his business elaborately lettered by an advertisement on the roof of the mill.

(Image of Courthouse, Cottonwood Falls)

The bridge is of the King pattern, 150 feet in length, and either way from the river margin, is heavily timbered, and the rich bottom lands contiguous thereto are quite expansive. Cottonwood Falls has two hotels, two bakeries, two billiard rooms, two confectioneries, tow meat markets, two livery stables, two coal yards, two blacksmiths shops, two millinery establishments, two furniture houses, two music and sewing machine stores, two hardware stores, two drug stores, two newspapers, the Leader, Republican; the Courant, Democrat; one lumber yard, one brick yard, one feed store, one barber shop, one shoe shop, one paint shop, one harness shop, one carpenter shop, and seven general stores.

The physicians are W. P. Pugh, J. W. Stone, and W. H. Castler, who is also a dealer in thoroughbred shorthorns and Berkshire hogs. The attorneys are F. P. Cochran, T. H. Grisham, S. P. Young, Thomas O. Kelley, C. H. Carswell, the Madden Brothers. C. C. Whitson is an insurance agent, W. H. Hosinger is a real estate and loan agent. J. W. McWilliams established the Chase County Land Agency in 1869, and he has the special agency for the sale of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad lands, of which there are nearly 100,000 acres in the county remaining unsold. A. S. Perrigo is the postmaster.

The Chase County National Bank was organized June, 1882, and began business August 28, 1882. Its capital is $50,000. The officers are President, A. S. Howard; Vice-President, J. D. Minick; Cashier, W. W. Sanders. Directors, Arch. Miller, C. W. Rogler, William Jeffrey, J. D. Minick, F. Bernard, Samuel Baker, J. R. Blackshire, A. J. Crocker, A. S. Howard. A new stone bank building was completed during 1882, at a cost of $9,000, and occupied by the bank January 1, 1883.

The Congregationalists have a neat frame building, at the southeastern terminus of Broadway. It was built in 1870 at a cost of about $1,800. S. N. Wood, S. H. Perrigo and W. R. Brown were among the pioneers in this church work. Its first pastor was Rev. H. S. Brundage. Since then J. G. Freeborn, Harvey Jones and W. B. Fisher have ministered to the church. A. J. Crocker and H. N. Simmons are the deacons. It has about 50 members in its Sunday-school, and the church membership is about the same.

The Methodist Episcopal Church erected a building in 1870, at a cost of about $2,500. This church organized June 12, 1859, with seven members, J. C. Fraker, pastor.

The United Presbyterians are now building a stone structure, northwest of the court house, which will be an ornament to the city. They organized in 1872.

There are a few Universalists and Spiritualists here, and some of other Christian denominations.

The Press.-- S. N. Wood commenced the publication of the Kansas Press, a four page, six column paper, at Cottonwood Falls, May 30, 1859. It was removed to Council Grove, Morris County, in October, 1859, and afterwards the material was taken to Salina.

In the summer of 1866, S. N. Wood started the Chase County Banner and ran it until August 3, 1867, when Theodore Alvord managed it until November, 1868. Mr. Wood continued its publication until the spring of 1859, when some of the business men of Cottonwood Falls purchased it, and W. R. Brown and H. L. Hunt were its editors until April, 1870, and F. E. Smith was publisher. It was then discontinued and its material was taken to Winfield, Cowley County.

In the summer of 1870, Frank J. Beck, Albert Follett and R. J. McClure began the publication of the Kansas Central Index, but soon after John Gifford and Albert Yale obtained it, and in January, 1871, they removed it to Wichita. The above named papers were all Republican in politics.

William A. Morgan established the Chase County Leader, at Cottonwood Falls, February 6, 1871. It is a financial success and is well sustained by the Republicans of the county. The office is well located, being on the corner just north of the Chase County National Banking Association, which was erected in 1882, on corner of Broadway and Friend Street, one of the nicest two-story buildings in the city. Both buildings are of the Cottonwood magnesian limestone.

The Chase County Courant was established at Cottonwood Falls October 26, 1874, by J. C. Martin and W. E. Timmons. Sept. 1, 1876, W. E. Timmons assumed editorial control, and J. C. Martin became local editor. April 13, 1877, Martin again became associate editor with Timmons. May 15, 1878, Martin sold his interest i the paper to A. J. Crutchfield and Timmons again became sole editor. July 13, 1878, Crutchfield retired, leaving Timmons editor and proprietor. The Courant is Democratic in politics, having been Independent up to the retirement of Mr. Martin from it. It is a six-column folio, and Mr. Timmons acts as editor, compositor, "devil," bookkeeper, business manager, etc., getting out the paper entirely alone, except on press day when he gets some one to turn the machine - a Taylor press - while he feeds in the papers. This is the only paper of the same size in the State, or perhaps in the United States, that is gotten out by one man unaided, except about one hour each week, while the paper is being run off.

Two real estate papers have been temporarily published at Cottonwood Falls.

Zeredatha Lodge, No. 80, A. F. & A. M., was organized at Cottonwood Falls, October 22, 1867. William R. Brown was W. W.; W. A. Cormack, S. W.; H. L. Hunt, J. W. This is an active, prosperous organization.

Angola Lodge, No.58, I. O. O. F., was organized at Cottonwood Falls, October 15, 1870. Its officers were F. J. Beck, N. G.; George W. Williams, V. G.

Elmdale Lodge, No. 128, was organized October 5, 1875. Its officers were as follows: S. N. Wood, N. G.; J. Critton, V. G., S. E. Yeomans, Secretary.

Faith Lodge, No. 204, I. O. G. T. organized at Cottonwood Falls, June 15, 1871, made choice of the following officers: W. B. Hackett, W. C. T.; E. A. Thomas, W. V. G. Lodges have been formed in different parts of the county since that time, and they have been in good working condition.

[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]