produced this selection.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.


PART 1: Boundaries, Topography and Geology | Map and Population
PART 2: The Cherokee Neutral Lands | Early Settlements
PART 3: Lead and Zinc | Massacre at Baxter Springs
PART 4: County Organization and County Seat Troubles | Schools & Other Statistics | Columbus, Part 1
PART 5: Columbus, Part 2 | Biographical Sketches (Adams - Dresser)
PART 6: Biographical Sketches (Ferris - Lykins)
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (McClain - Rodgers)
PART 8: Biographical Sketches (Saunders - Woodruff)
PART 9: Baxter Springs | Biographical Sketches - Baxter Springs (Amos - Foster)
PART 10: Biographical Sketches - Baxter Springs (Gardner - Wright)
PART 11: Galena | Biographical Sketches - Galena (Andrews - James)
PART 12: Biographical Sketches - Galena (Leeper - Wadleigh)
PART 13: Empire City | Crestline | Weir City
PART 14: Other Towns | Cherokee Township | Ross Township | Sheridan Township | Lola Township | Neosho Township
PART 15: Lyon Township | Garden Township | Lowell Township | Crawford Township | Mineral Township | Scammonville
INDEX: [A-B] | [C-F] | [G-J] | [K-O] | [P-S] | [T-Z]


Cherokee County is situated in the southeast corner of the State. It is bounded on the north by Crawford County, on the east by Missouri, on the south by the Indian Territory, on the west by Labette County. It lies within what was originally McGee County, which according to the "Bogus Statutes," was bounded as follows: "Beginning at the southeast corner of Bourbon County; thence south to the southern boundary of this Territory: thence west on said boundary twenty-four miles; thence north to a point due west from the place of beginning; thence east twenty-four miles to the place of beginning."

The name of the county was changed from McGee, which name had been applied to it in honor of A. M. McGee of Kansas City, a noted Pro-slavery leader of those early days, to Cherokee, in honor of the Cherokee Indians, on the 18th of February, 1860, by the Territorial Legislature in the following language: "That the name of the County Magee (McGee) be and the same is hereby changed to that of Cherokee, and detached from Bourbon County, and the town of Freepoint shall be the temporary county seat thereof." By the same act John Sears, John Lemon and B. M. Blanton were appointed Commissioners to divide the county into townships, not exceeding three in number, each township to be an election precinct; and a special election was appointed for the fourth Monday in March, for the election of county and township officers. On the 27th of the same month, the western boundary of Cherokee County was declared to be the line between Ranges 21 and 22.

The next legislation, with reference to the boundaries of the county, was had February 13, 1867, when the following was enacted: "That the boundary of the county of Cherokee shall commence at the southeast corner of the county of Crawford; thence run south on the east line of the State of Kansas to the southeast corner of Neosho County, as defined by the act approved February 26, 1866; thence north to the southwest corner of the county of Crawford; thence east to the place of beginning."

Thus the boundaries remained until October 31, 1868, when an act approved March 3, 1868, went into effect, Section 12 of which act is as follow: "The county of Cherokee is bounded as follows: Commencing at the southeast corner of the county of Crawford; thence west with the south line of the said county of Crawford to the southwest corner of Section 14, Township 31 south, Range 21 east, of the Sixth Principal Meridian; thence south on section line to the Neosho River; thence with the channel of said river to the south boundary line of the State of Kansas; thence east on said boundary line to the southeast corner of the State; thence north on the east line of the State of Kansas to the place of beginning; Provided that at the next general election the legal voters on the strip between the west line of the Cherokee Neutral Lands, shall decide by ballot for or against being attached to Cherokee County, and the ballot so cast shall be returned and canvassed as other election returns, and the result certified to the Governor, who shall issue his proclamation in accordance therewith. If a majority of the votes cast shall be in favor of being attached to Cherokee County, the west line of said county shall remain as above defined, but if a majority be against being attached to Cherokee County, then the line between said Cherokee County and the County of Labette shall be the west line of the Cherokee Neutral Lands, anything in this act to the contrary notwithstanding." This contemplated election not being held, the boundary between Cherokee and Labette Counties has not been settled, but supposing it to be the west line of the Cherokee Neutral Lands, the area of the county is about 588 square miles, or 376,320 acres.

The general surface of the county is gently undulating prairie. A water-shed extends through it from north to south, dividing it into two nearly equal areas. The east half is drained by Spring River and its tributaries, while the west half is drained by the Neosho and its branches. Nowhere are there any high bluffs or precipitous descents. The variation in the elevation of different parts of the county is not over 200 feet; Baxter Springs being 831 feet above the sea level, while the highest land, which is in the vicinity of Columbus is about 1,000 feet above the same level. The average width of the valleys is one and a half miles. The bottom lands constitute twenty per cent of the surface, balance upland.

The principal streams are the Neosho and Spring Rivers. The former enters the county from the west, about the middle of the western boundary, and flows southward, leaving it in Section 16, Township 35, Range 22. It receives as tributaries, commencing with the most northerly one, Lightning Creek, Cherry Creek, Fly Creek, Four Mile Creek and Tar Creek, the three latter forming their junctions with the Neosho in the Indian Territory. Spring River receives as tributaries, commencing similarly with the most northerly one, Cow, Shawnee and Brush Creeks, from the northwest, and Short Creek, from the southeast. In addition to these constantly flowing streams, there are numerous springs of soft water in all parts of the county, and good well water is found at depths varying from ten to fifty feet.

Spring River, flowing through the southeastern corner of the county, is, on account of its beauty, worthy of special mention. Its entire length within the county is fifteen miles; its average width is about 100 feet, an it is fordable in many places. It is fed by innumerable springs, hence its name, and, flowing over a rocky bottom, its water is remarkably and beautifully clear. Having quite a number of rapids, it furnishes illimitable water powers, which is already utilized to a considerable extent. It is one of the most, if not the most, beautiful of the rivers in Kansas, and in its beauty the people of Spring River Valley and of the entire county feel a just and pardonable pride.

The timber belts are along the streams, and average one-half mile in width. The heaviest growth is along the Neosho River and its branch, Cherry Creek. Not over 10 per cent of the area is covered with native forest. The principal varieties are the ash, cottonwood, elm, hackberry, hickory, maple, mulberry, oak, pecan, sycamore and black walnut.

The soil varies in depth from one to five feet. It is of a dark vegetable mold, underlaid by a reddish brown clay subsoil. It is exceedingly fertile, and well adapted to all the cereals and garden vegetables. The heaviest yield of wheat so far reported is that of M. Martin in Shawnee Township, of fifty-four bushels per acre. The heaviest yield of oats is ninety-two bushels per acre, and of corn ninety bushels. Sweet potatoes sometimes grow to enormous size, one specimen having been raised which weighed fifteen pounds. Cotton also is an excellent crop, two bales per acre having been raised.

There is an abundance of building stone, both magnesian limestone and sandstone. The variegated sandstone quarried near Columbus is one of the most beautiful varieties found in the world. It is susceptible of the highest finish, and continues to harden the longer it is exposed to the air. Had the Tower of Babel been erected from this quarry, it would probably have been in a perfect state of preservation today. Coal is found most abundantly in the western and northern portions of the county. The vein enters the southeastern part of Labette County from the Indian Territory, then it enters Cherokee County, crossing it in a northeasterly direction into the southeastern corner of Crawford County, and extending in the same direction toward Boonville, Mo. This vein is within sixty feet of the surfaces and varies in thickness from twelve to fifty-four inches. One-half of Townships 33 and 34, in Ranges 23 and 24, is underlaid with it, and it is also found in Townships 31 and 32, in Ranges 23, 24 and 25. Here it is from three to four feet thick.

Fire clay is found in the northern part of the county, and pottery clay, lead and zinc in the southeastern.



                                                1870.   1880.
(a) Cherokee Township including Weir City ....    370     996
Crawford Township ............................    593     893
(b) Garden Township ..........................    ...   1,134
Lola Township ................................    650   1,052
(c) Lowell Township, including Empire City
    and Galena City  .........................  1,612   5,224
Lyon Township ................................    378     909
(d) Mineral Township .........................    ...   1,144
Neosho Township ..............................    900   1,246
Pleasant View Township .......................    971   1,107
Ross Township ................................    449   1,071
Salamanca Township, including Columbus City ..    708   1,993
Shawnee Township .............................    894     995
Sheridan Township ............................  1,149   1,642
Spring Valley Township,
  including Baxter Springs City ..............  2,364   2,499
                                               ------  ------
     Total ................................... 11,038  21,905
Weir City ....................................    ...     376
Empire City ..................................    ...   1,367
Galena City ..................................    ...     ...
Columbus City ................................    402   1,164
(a) In 1879, a part detached to form Mineral Township.
(b) Organized in 1877 from part of Lowell Township.
(c) In 1877, part detached to form Garden Township.
(d) Organized in 1879 from part of Cherokee Township.

[TOC] [part 2] [part 1] [Cutler's History]