|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
|PART 1:||Location | Map and Population | Indian Troubles|
|PART 2:||County Organization | Official Roster | School Statistics, Etc. | Concordia|
|PART 3:||Biographical Sketches|
|PART 4:||Clyde | Other Towns | Grant Township | Buffalo Township | Sibley Township|
CLOUD, formerly Shirley County, is on the west side of the sixth Principal Meridian in the second tier of counties from the north. It is bounded on the north by Republic, on the east by Washington and Clay, on the south by Ottawa, and on the west by Mitchell and Jewell counties. The northern third of the county lies in the Republican Valley, and its southwest townships are in the valley of the Solomon, making it agriculturally, one of the finest in the State. The elevated, rolling and quite broken country between the Republican and Solomon rivers at first was considered useless, but a large portion of it is now under cultivation; yet it it is better suited for grazing purposes.
The soil of the valleys is exceedingly rich and friable--a rich alluvial, from three to ten feet in depth. The uplands consist of a black vegetable mould, ranging from ten inches to three feet in depth. In favorable seasons the uplands yield very large crops. There is quite a difference between the soils of the Republican and Solomon valleys, as the latter yields large crops of winter and spring wheat, while the former does not. Along the banks and bluffs of the Republican are extensive quarries of limestone, while the majority of the quarries along the Solomon River are a red sandstone, which is also true of the Smokey Hill River, whose valley, like that of the Solomon is noted for its wheat crops. Like the soil of Nebraska, it is most admirably constituted to stand both drouth and wet seasons, it being very porous to a great depth.
The Republican River enters the county seven miles east of its northwest corner, flows in a southeasterly direction for about ten miles, and then east through Township 5, running in its serpentine course over forty miles in the county. The Solomon, with about ten miles of its course, crosses the southwest corner of the county. Besides the extensive streams, there are numerous smaller ones traversing the county in every direction. Salt, Elk, Upton and Hoy creeks are tributaries of the Republican from the north; Beaver, Oak, Wolf and Buffalo, with its numerous branches, are tributaries from the south. The southern part of the county is most thoroughly drained by numerous branches of the Solomon and Smoky Hill rivers, principal among which are Fisher, Pipe and Chapman creeks.
The Solomon and its tributaries are better timbered than the Republican and branches, although for the present there is an abundance on both streams. The prevailing woods are cottonwood, elm and box elder, although in places, large groves of oak abound. Walnut, ash, honey locust, willow, hackberry, coffee bean, and mulberry are found. In the list of wild shrubbery may be mentioned hazel, black currant, choke cherries, black raspberries, blackberries and grapes.
MAP OF CLOUD COUNTY.
POPULATION BY FEDERAL CENSUS. ----------------------------- 1876(sic). 1880. (a) Arlon Township ............ .... 675 (b) Aurora Township ............ .... 647 (c) Buffalo Township ........... 303 695 (d) Center Township ........... .... 967 (e) Colfax Township ............ .... 607 (f) Elk Township, including Clyde City ............... 561 1,443 (g) Grant Township ............. .... 618 (h) Lincoln Township, including Concordia City ........... .... 2,251 (j) Lyon Township .............. .... 849 (k) Meredith Township .......... .... 597 1870(sic). 1880. (l) Nelson Township ............ .... 722 (m) Oakland Township ........... .... 475 (n) Shirley Township ........... 637 912 (o) Sibley Township ............ 309 758 (p) Solomon Township ........... 518 1,073 (q) Starr Township ............. .... 565 (r) Summit Township ............ .... 977 Total ................ 2,323 15,243 Clyde City ..................... .... 956 Concordia City ................. .... 1,853 ---------------------------------------------------- (a) Organized since 1870, from part of Buffalo. (b) Organized since 1870, from parts of Shirley and Solomon. (c) Since 1870, parts detached to form Arlon, Center, Grant, Lincoln and Summit. (d) Organized since 1870, from parts of Buffalo, Shirley and Solomon. (e) Organized since 1870, from parts of Shirley and Solomon. (f) Since 1870, part detached to form Lawrence. (g) Organized since 1870, from part of Buffalo. (h) Organized since 1870, from parts of Elk and Sibley. (i) Organized since 1870, from parts of Buffalo and Sibley. (j) Organized since 1870, from part of Solomon. (k) Organized since 1870, from part of Solomon. (l) Organized since 1870, from part of Shirley. (m) Organized since 1870, from part of Solomon. (n) Since 1870, parts detached to form Aurora, Colfax, Lincoln and Nelson. (o) Since 1870, part detached to form Lawrence. (p) Since 1870, parts detached to form Aurora, Colfax, Lyon, Meredith, Star and Oakland. (q) Organized since 1870, from part of Solomon. (r) Organized since 1870, from part of Buffalo. ---------------------------------------------------
The first attempt at settlement in Cloud County, according to J. B. Rupe, was made in the fall of 1858, by John and Lew Fowler, hunters and trappers. The next year, they, with G. W. Brown, plotted a town site upon the land now comprising the farm of Donald McIntosh and designated it Eaton City. They also built a house and lived in it during the following winter. Nicholas Eslinger, of Washington County, assisted in the raising. It was situated in the western part of what is now the city of Clyde, and was afterwards called the Conklin House. Before the Conklins occupied it, Mr. Brown lived in it temporarily with his family. The Fowlers were single men. The Conklin house was torn down by a mob in 1862, as hereafter detailed. Some breaking of land was done near the house, and a well commenced; thus showing that the design was to found a permanent home. In 1879 the well was filled by dirt thrown from the track of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. The surveyors had gone East, and intended to return and prove up on the land. The Fowlers selected claims, but did not file on them before they enlisted in a Kansas regiment, and when the war was over, their claims had been taken. Brown must have left the county early in the spring of 1860, as no further trace of him can be found.
In the spring of 1860, John Allen, of Kentucky, and his son-in-law, Sutton McWhorter, took claims north of Lake Sibley, on the military road to Fort Kearney, and laid out a town which they named Union City. Mr. Allen brought with him sixty head of blooded stock. Three other families from Kentucky, comprising Allen's party, settled near him. While this party were building their cabins, Phillip Kizer, Carey Kizer and their brother-in-law, Newton Race, with their wives, children, two hired men and forty head of cattle, passed up the river and selected a location on White Rock Creek, three or four miles from its mouth, and twenty-five miles northwest of Lake Sibley. Messrs. Park, Heffington and Finney settled on Elm Creek about the same time, and during the year, Daniel Wolf, from Pennsylvania, with several sons, located on the creek which bears his name, and some few miles southwest of Concordia.
Jacob Heller took a claim on the 20th of June, 1860, and his father, Moses, and two brothers, David and Israel, came to Cloud the coming fall. In October, 1860, Jacob accidentally shot himself in the mouth while drawing a loaded gun from a wagon, muzzle foremost. He died from the effects of the wound, his death being recorded as the first in the county.
On the 8th day of July, 1860, J. M. Hagaman, J. M. Thorp and August Fenskie came to the county, and on the 15th, settled on Elm Creek. Mr. Hagaman has resided in the county from that time, and is the oldest permanent settler in Cloud County. He has been prominently identified with the growth of his community, and has written a history of Cloud County. This history has been drawn upon to some extent by the compilers of the present work.
In July, 1860, most of these settlers left the county, on account of the Indian scare. None remained except J. M. Hagaman's family, J. M. Thorp and August Fenskie. Mr. Heffington, however, returned to the county in the spring; remained, and died about three years thereafter. His remains now repose in Clyde Cemetery. Mr. Parks sold his claim to David Heller for a yoke of steers in April, 1860.
John and Lew Fowler, the first settlers of the county, enlisted in the Fifth Kansas Volunteers, on the 5th of August, 1861. John was discharged in December, 1862, for disability, but Lew remained in the service until June 22, 1865. Moses Heller had a son in the army, and J. M. Thorp had two--Caleb and Jacob. Besides these, who served in Kansas regiments from this county, of the early settlers, may be mentioned Fred. Chapbanskie, David Robinson, Emanuel Cline, Joseph Berry and Charles Davis.
Emigration to the county was almost cut off by the war. Many who had but just commenced to establish a home in this new country, joined the Union army, and were never permitted to return to their new homes, preempting, with their comrades, only some six feet of Southern soil.
The year 1860, known as the great drouth year, was nearly as disastrous to the emmigration to Kansas as the Civil War. The new settlers were discouraged, and doubts were entertained of the advisability of remaining in a country subject to such dry seasons. Many were disheartened, and either returned to their old homes, or removed to other States. Those that remained, were able to subsist until the spring of 1861, but found themselves without seed, and were obliged to go to Atchison for it. But the spring and summer of 1861 was not a repetition of 1860, as the harvest was abundant. The population at the close of the year 1860, was about eighty. With an abundant harvest, the settlers of Cloud were still in an unenviable condition at this early date, as they were sixty miles from a post-office, and 150 miles from mill or market for their grain.
During the war the increase in population was very slow, and in Kansas, more than in the older States, progress in internal improvements was stopped; hence, for years, Cloud County was without rail or water transportation.
During the winter of 1861-62, the most sorrowful event that occurred was the death of Mrs. M. A. Menzel and her child. Difficulty was experienced in obtaining material for a coffin, as lumber was scarce, and the nearest lumber-yard was fifty miles distant. Enough was finally obtained by visiting the different houses. The mother and child were placed in the rude coffin, and in the silence of the plains, without ceremony, were laid to rest in "mother earth," and consigned to her protection. In 1862, Charles and Peter Conklin, with their two sisters and an orphan child, lived in this first house built in the county, on the town site of Eaton City (before mentioned) that was on the farm of Donald McIntosh. It was also the best house in the county at this time, built of hewn logs and covered with shakes. The citizens of Cloud and adjoining counties suspected that these men were a part of an organized band of horse thieves. A man by the name of James Fox, the founder of Clifton, in Washington County, and seconded by one Rose, organized a company for the purpose of lynching these two men. Fox, it was afterwards found, was as mean and desperate a character as either of the men he sought to kill "honorably." He afterwards joined a band of bushwhackers, and his body was last seen, by one who knew him while here, pierced with bullets. The Conklins, learning of the design upon their lives, secreted themselves near their home. The mob came and not finding their men, tore down the house that sheltered the child and innocent sisters, and still more inhumanly, voted to lynch any one who should, in any way, aid the sufferers. After leveling the house, the assailants scoured the country for the boys, and as one of them afterwards confessed, passed close to their place of concealment, but being well armed, they would have taken some lives before being captured. During the night they made their escape to Iola, where they were captured by United States soldiers, carried to Leavenworth, and confined in the calaboose. They escaped a second time, and Pete eventually died in Missouri. Charles disappeared from sight. For two weeks the two helpless women and the orphan child lived with only a sheet stretched over poles, for a covering from the chilly night winds and storms, and with what little food they rescued from their late home. No one dared to give them aid, until J. M. Hagaman had the courage, in the face of the decree of the mob, to take his ox-team and carry them to the river, where they were among friends. He did more. He denounced the conduct of the mob as an outrage, which required in him more than ordinary courage. It is, perhaps, needless to add that he was never molested. It is doubtless true that only one Cloud County man--Emanuel Cline--was concerned in this affair.
The crops and increase in population of 1863 and 1864 resembled that of 1862. But the year 1864 is noted as the commencement of public religious worship in Cloud County. Until late in the fall, no public worship had been held, but finally, as is usually the case in new countries, the Methodist circuit preacher was the first minister to commence the mission of his life in Cloud County. This honor falls to Rev. R. P. West, of Republic County, as he settled there and made it his home for many years. Mr. West held his first services in the house of Moses Heller, which at that time, was ample enough to hold all the settlers living near enough to attend. Rev. Mr. West was, in a sense, eccentric. He usually enlivened his audience with a few jokes or stories, and then proceeded to deliver his sermon. He was everywhere known as a man of kindness of heart and geniality of manner; ever ready and anxious to do good and relieve suffering in body or mind. His circuit included Jewell, Republic, Washington, Clay and Cloud counties. He was also the first Representative from Republic County, and was twice elected his own successor. Miss Rosella Honey taught the first school in the county, at Elm Creek, in the summer of 1864. In October, 1860, was born the first child--Augustus, son of Ellen and August Fenskie.
The greatest Indian scare in the history of the county occurred during this year (1864). It was reported that the confederates had leagued with the Indian tribes, and were warring on the frontier from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. It occurred just after the great Indian Raid in Nebraska, which extended from Denver, 600 miles east along the great overland stage route. Though the report was not true, it had a disastrous effect among the counties along the frontier. Most of the settlers fled to Washington and Clay counties, where they halted and banded together for defense. Many never returned, and most of those that did were not so ambitious to improve their farms as before. "But one of the most diabolical outrages committed by the savages on this border," says J. M. Hagaman, "was the destruction of six hunters in the month of May, 1865. This party left home about the 4th of May, and were last seen by white men near the forks of Buffalo Creek some two days later. The story of their death will never be fully known, as not one of the party survived, and because of the total unreliability of the Indians who massacred them. But a clue, at least, was obtained by the party who found the bodies of the murdered men and gave them burial, of the manner of their death, and as no attempt has ever been made to describe the fearful encounter, we will attempt to do so, although we are compelled to draw largely upon imagination:
"We find the party, composed originally of four brave men--no braver ever lived-encamped on the banks of Brown Creek, in Mitchell County; their outfit consists of a team of ordinary horses, an old wagon, camp equipage, arms and ammunition, each man having a good rifle, one a Spencer, one a Henry, and two muzzle loaders. Besides these, each man had a six-shooter, and all were good marksmen. Buffalo were plenty, and one or more had been slaughtered and the 'saddles' carried to the camp. Suddenly and unexpectedly, a party of Cheyenne Indians appeared at their camp, and commenced rifling it and menacing the hunters, when Lewis Castle, the captain of the party, and an intense Indian hater, fires upon them, wounding or killing an Indian. The Indians flee, and the hunters, aware at their inability to cope with the large number of savages that it was probable could be brought against them, sought safety by flight. That course proved their destruction, for whilst it was possible for them to successfully resist an attack from under such cover as the timber and high creek banks afforded, it was impossible for them to thus resist the impetuous assaults of frenzied savages on the open prairie. But they chose the prairie and met their death manfully, fighting to the last.
"Immediately after the first trouble, the horses were hitched to the wagon, the camp equipment hastily thrown into it, and the brave men started in a northeasterly direction, intending to reach Buffalo Creek as soon as possible, distant from their camp about fifteen miles. Proceeding a few miles unmolested, they came upon two other hunters, sons of William Collens of Lincoln Township. Thus reinforced, their escape seemed probable, when suddenly forty or fifty warriors, armed to the teeth, dashed down upon them, delivering a shower of bullets and arrows at them, and as suddenly wheeling their fleet ponies and riding away at a safe distance. Of the effect of this first attack, of course it is impossible to definitely determine, but that some of the little squad must have been wounded is almost certain. And that they returned the fire is as certain as anything connected with the affair. Again and again was the assault repeated, and again and again was it repulsed. At one time there seems to have been a terrific struggle between the contestants. Pony tracks were thick in the rear, in front, and on both sides of the wagon, and the coarse of the fleeing men had been nearly reversed. It was, without doubt, a hand-to-hand conflict, but the little band of heroes proved more that a match for their brutal and cowardly assailants, and drove them away again for the eighth or tenth time. In this last encounter, it is probable that at least one Indian got severely hurt, as portions of a dress were found. These and blood spots were seen on the ground. From this time on until within a quarter of a mile of Buffalo Creek and safety, the heroic band were unmolested and would probably have made good their escape, had not an unfortunate accident happened. It was here that one of the linch-pins broke and let one of the hind wheels of the wagon run off, and while replacing it with a wooden pin, the Indians got between them and the creek, and all hope of escape was cut off. The team, too, was sorely jaded, and could make but poor speed at best. Again did the fierce and merciless savages assault them, and drive them from the creek upon the open prairie. From this on the fight was incessant, and at the head of the Little Cheyenne, a small tributary of the Buffalo, the whole party was killed, Castle being the last to surrender, with his head split open with a tomahawk. Thus perished six as good and brave men as the or any other country could boast of, fighting as long as life lasted; dying as only the brave die."
Robberies and outrages of various kinds occurred for several years, commencing with 1860. Horse stealing seemed to be the red man's peculiar weakness. A band of Indians made away with six horses from the Elm Creek settlement in 1865, but were pursued and severely punished. the settlers improving upon the Biblical, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," by taking from the thieves fourteen head of horses and considerable camp equipage besides. In May of this year, the murder by Indians of the six hunters in Republic County, created universal horror and alarm in this section. In August, 1868, Indians made their appearance in the vicinity of Glasco (where the town now stands). Miss Jeannie Paxton was there teaching school, and because of her heroic action, her pupils all reached a house near by, with the exception of one young boy, a son of Hon. H. C. Snyder, who was overtaken, wounded and left for dead. Benjamin White, who lived on Granny Creek, west of Concordia, was killed about the same time, and his daughter, Sarah, taken prisoner. Six months afterwards she was recaptured by General Sheridan in northern Texas. In the spring of 1869 the Cheyennes and Arapahoes again made their appearance. A boy ten years of age, a son of Homer Adkins, living five miles northwest of Concordia, was shot and killed. It was towards evening, and the boy had been sent to look after stock, riding a pony. Neither boy nor pony ever returned. The savages mercilessly murdered the boy in order to steal the pony. At the same time a man named Nelson, a Dane, living near Mr. Adkins, was robbed of his team while plowing in the field. But it is so difficult to separate the Indian troubles of these years and confine them to county limits, that the reader is referred to the State history for a general view of these outrages. All that can be done, in this connection, is to give a few local illustrations of these crimes and outrages, which are fair samples of those occurring all over this portion of Kansas,