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


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


The Legislature of 1860 enacted a statute, prescribing the limits of Cloud County, and appointing F. F. Blake. M. S. Essick and M. Gates, of Clay County, three non-residents, as commissioners. Fortunately the statute became a dead letter. During this same year it was suggested that the county be named Sherman, in honor of John Sherman. But a representative of but little forethought and possessed of a hilarious spirit, proposed the name of a then unsavory character, Jane Shirley, phonetically somewhat similar to John Sherman, which by mistake, rather than design of the member of the Legislature, was adopted. By request, Hon. J. B. Rupe, the first representative, had the name changed. It now bears the name of a gallant Kansas soldier, Col. W. F. Cloud, of the Second Kansas Cavalry. Col. Cloud is now (1882) the Republican nominee for Congress of the Thirteenth Missouri District.

In 1865 the first political convention was held at the house of Moses Heller. It was a joint convention of Republic and Cloud counties, for the purpose of nominating a candidate to defeat G. H. Hollenberg, the nominee of Washington County. The prominent candidates at this convention were J. M. Hagaman, of Cloud, and Rev. R. P. West, of Republic County. The latter secured the nomination, but at the election was defeated by M.(sic) Hollenberg. The county was legally organized on the 6th of September, 1866. Moses Heller, G. W. Wilcox and Dr. Lear were appointed County Commissioners; N. D. Hagaman, County Clerk, and Elk Creek was designated as the county-seat, there being no organized town in the county. On the 1st of September the first convention for the nomination of county officers was held at the schoolhouse on Elm Creek. The representation was small, not exceeding forty members. J. M. Hagaman opened the convention by nominating Thomas Williamson for Chairman, and making a short speech. Mr. Williamson was elected Chairman, and Matt Wilcox, Secretary. J. M. Hagaman and J. B. Rupe were put in nomination for representatives. Mr. Rupe defined his political position and made prominent note of his being a soldier, which was the means of his election. J. M. Hagaman was elected a delegate to the State Convention, which met at Topeka, September 5. William M. Willcox was nominated for County Clerk; Quincy Honey for Sheriff; Z. Swearingen for Treasurer; Joseph N. Hagaman for Probate Judge; John Fowler, County Assessor; Dr. Lear, County Superintendent of Schools; Lew Fowler, William Smith and William English, Commissioners. Ed. Neely ran independently for Probate Judge and was elected. Moses Heller ran for Commissioner and was elected instead of Mr. Smith. All of the others nominated were elected. The question of the location of the county-seat was voted upon, and by throwing out ten votes, on account of an alleged irregularity, the question was decided in favor of "Rochester," a town situated at the mouth of Oak Creek, two miles east of the present Concordia. A little log hut had been erected, called the court house, and that was all there was of Rochester. The commissioners refused to recognize her claims, and met at Elk Creek, now Clyde, until 1870. The county-seat was then permanently located at Concordia. The county court house is a small one-story frame building, built in the form of a Greek cross, and is situated in the center of a square occupying an eligible position in the flourishing town of Concordia. The square has been beautifully ornamented with shade trees to befit the large stone court house, it is the design to erect in a few years. The county jail is scarcely more deserving of mention than the court house, in which the county records are not well cared for. The poor farm, situated about two miles south of Concordia, is provided with good buildings. The farm has become about self-sustaining.

The political history of Cloud County has had so little diversity, that it is easily summed up. From the organization to the present time the county has been Republican by a large majority. Republicans have filled the offices, with the exception of a few independents who were elected by the opposition and their Republican friends, as they generally were Republicans. The Republicans were the first to organize. At the first convention, held September 5, 1866, nine-tenths of whom were of that faith, the party organized by appointing a county central committee. The official vote of 1880 placed Cloud County sixty-four majority against the Prohibitory Amendment, but when the vote was corrected, it was 193 for the amendment.


County Commissioners - Moses Heller, G. W. Wilcox and Dr. Lear (appointed); Moses Heller, William English and Lew Fowler (elected).

County Clerks - N. D. Hagaman, Charles Davis, Eb. Fox, W. E. Reid, E. Martin, E. E. Swearingen and L. N. Houston.

County Treasurers - Z. Swearingen, David Heller, W. J. Campbell, W. E. Reid, H. M. Spalding and E. E. Swearingen.

Register of Deeds - J. S. Bowen, M. Reasoner, C. W. Whipp.

Superintendent of Schools - Dr. Lear, B. H. McEckron, S. Doran, J. C. Dana, W. T. Root.

SheriffsQuincey Honey, G. E. Hibner, James Woodward, J. D. Wilson, D. C. Wilson, J. D. Wilson.

Probate Judges - Edward Neeley, S. Doran, D. J. Fowler, C. W. McDonald, S. D. Huston(sic), Jr., W. F. Compton.

County Attorneys - L. Westover, H. A. Hunter, F. W. Sturges, T. Laing.

Surveyors - J. A. Sawin, S. Doran, L. H. Smyth, R. S. McCrary, J. Short.

United States Land Office - Amos Cutler, Register from 1870-'75; B. H. McEckron, 1875-'82, E. J. Jenkins has been Receiver since its location at Concordia in 1870.

Representatives to State Legislature - J. B. Rupe, 1867; J. M. Hagaman, I. N. Dalrymple, A. J. Shelhamer, B. H. McEckron, 1871-72; H. C. Snyder, B. H. McEckron (speaker), C. K. Wells, G. N. Nichols, C. W. McDonald, 1877, for One Hundred and Third District; county having two representatives; length of term two years. D. C. McKay, One Hundred and Second, 1877, two terms. J. Cool, One Hundred and Third, two terms. W. S. Crump, One Hundred and Second.

State Senators from Cloud County - A. A. Carnahan, 1869; N. B. Brown, 1880.


The first schoolhouse in the county was built by J. M. Hagaman and John Thorp in 1864, on Elm Creek, in Shirley Township. They were liberal, progressive men, and could not wait the course of law to establish a district and commence a school. On the completion of the building, Miss Rosella Honey was employed, and taught the first school. She was an excellent teacher, giving entire satisfaction to her patrons; one parent valuing the acquirements of his offspring under her instruction at $500. From this time on a great interest has been taken in education, both in the towns and country. There are now 107 organized districts, requiring about 160 teachers, with about 4,000 pupils enrolled. Most of the schools have an adopted course of study, and a number have school libraries, consisting principally of books of reference. It costs now about $15,000 annually to run the schools, and the value of all school property is nearly $l00,000. That the schools of Cloud County and of Kansas have in so short a time become so prosperous, is largely due to the large State Endowment Fund which, when the lands are all sold, will amount to over $15,000,000. Yet this would have been comparatively useless without the energy in education displayed by the people.

The population by last census numbered 15,465 souls. The number of acres of land under cultivation and taxable were 133,091; not under cultivation, 228,136; total 361,227; valuation, $425,000. Number of town lots, 5,963; value, $290,347. Aggregate value of all personal property, $539,748; railroad property, $581,683; total taxable valuation of the county, $2,276,592.

Number of acres of winter wheat, 26,895; rye 4,194; spring wheat, 3,779; corn, 97,985; broom corn, 447; barley, 17; oats, 4,355; buckwheat, 250; millet, 1,772; Irish potatoes 1,317; sweet potatoes, 37; sorghum, 354; castor beans, 805; flax, 239; tobacco, 11; cotton, 1.

Bushels of corn on hand, 410,832; tons of hay, 25,245; pounds of cheese, 72,105; butter, 322,784; wool, 54,117.

Number of horses, 6,642; mules, 616; cows, 4,647; cattle, 8,210; sheep, 14,706; swine, 29,112.

Number of trees bearing: apple, 3,362; pear, 150; peach, 58,550; plum, 2,385; cherry, 2,522; not bearing: apple, 46,493; pear, 1,318; peach, 113,655; plum, 5,352; cherry, 11,621.

Four railroads cross the county, thus: The Central Branch of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, built by the Union Pacific, runs east and west across the county, along the Republican River, until that stream turns north into Republic County, from which point it runs in a southwesterly direction, until it strikes the Solomon River in Mitchell County. From the mouth of Buffalo Creek the Scandia Branch continues on up the Republican to the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska. Six miles west of this point the Jewell County Branch starts from Jamestown. The southwestern part of the county has the benefit of the Solomon Valley Branch of the Kansas Pacific, which runs along the Solomon River within Cloud County.

With the exception of the great grasshopper scourge of 1874, Cloud County has not materially suffered from natural calamities, barring the droughts which have, from time to time, scorched the entire State. During that year the early crops were fair, but corn; the late crops and fruits were carried away, almost bodily, by the pestiferous insects. The storm which passed over the county in June, 1873, did considerable damage to crops and weak frame buildings. It came from the northwest, doing most damage at Jewell City. A few years later a storm passed over the southwest corner of the county, doing considerable damage to property at Glasco.


When Concordia was made the county-seat, by vote of the people, in the fall of 1869, there was not a solitary building upon the town site, and the only houses subsequently embraced within its limits, then in existence, were two small structures owned, respectively, by G. W. Andrews and J. M. Hagaman.

At first there were two town companies, Messrs. G. W. Andrews, J. M. Hagaman and S. D. Houston, Sr., comprising one, and J. J. Burns, William McK. Burns, Frank Burns, S. D. Houston and N. H. Billings the other. The former owned the deeded part of the site, and the other what was known as the congressional town site, There were two surveys made, the first in 1869, by G. W. Andrews and J, M. Hagaman. This survey was, however, abandoned and a new one made in the fall of 1870. During the winter of 1869-'70, a small one-story building, 16x20 feet, was erected for county purposes, but the commissioners met in it but twice - the second time adjourning to Clyde. A. A. Carnahan also built a house a little later. It was sold in the summer of 1870 to E. Linney, who opened a store and kept the post-office there. The previous spring, Mr. Linney had opened a store in the abandoned court house. He served as postmaster until the autumn of 1878. Hon. James Strain of Illinois, was the next person to commence the erection of a house, but the success of the new town did not seem to be assured until the United States Land Office was fairly located here. It opened for business January 16, 1871, a building having been erected at a cost of $2,000. The rush of applicants was tremendous and continued for days. The Gliddens commenced the erection of a hotel about the same time, Hon. C. W. McDonald opened a law once, and in November the Truesdell House was "seen moving over the prairie from the west," and H. Lanoue commenced to operate a saw-mill. The officers of the Land Office were Amos Cutter, of Massachusetts, Register; E. J. Jenkins, Doniphan County, Receiver - a position he still holds. In 1875, Mr. Cutter was succeeded by Mr. McEckron, of Cloud County. It was upon the recommendation of Hon. S. C. Pomeroy, United States Senator, and Hon. Sidney Clarke, Representative in Congress, that the land office was definitely located at this place in October, 1870. Hon. S. D. Houston, one of the members of the old town company, however, was the prime mover in securing the location, which did so much to give Concordia her first business start. McKinnon & Co. opened the first lumber-yard and hardware establishment, and in January, 1871, H. Buckingham moved his Republican Valley Empire from Clyde, and continued its publication at Concordia. Several stores started up about this time, and by the following spring and summer Concordia was firmly established as a thriving business town. In August, 1871, $5,000 in bonds was voted for the erection of a commodious schoolhouse. In December, 1872, the prosperity of the young city was increased by a fire which destroyed $10,000 worth of property - its prosperity was increased because it marked the era of the erection of a better class of buildings, such as Hagaman's Block, Merchant's Block and Union Block.

On the 6th of August, 1872, Concordia was incorporated as a city of the third class, R. E. Allen being the first Mayor. Present city officers (1882): Mayor, Thomas Wrong; Clerk, L. N. Houston; Councilmen, William Conner, W. F. Groesbeck, C. L. Drake, C. W. Whipp, F. LaRocque; Police Judge, A. A. Carnahan; City Marshal, A. W. Whitehead; Chief of the Fire Department, H. M. Spalding. In 1879, the two town companies, previously noticed, were consolidated under the title of "The Concordia Town Association."

The Concordia of 1882 is the largest and most flourishing town of the county; nearly at its center, on the south bank of the Republican River. The site is an admirable one, being sufficiently above the river to be free from overflows and to afford a good system of drainage. From the more elevated portions a commanding view of the surrounding country can be obtained. The great river meandering down the valley, fringed here and there with groves and massive trees, and the far off bordering hills and bluffs that seem to be guarding the valley, during certain portions of the year, compose a picture at once interesting and beautiful.


Concordia was settled, as a rule, by Eastern people, who had enjoyed educational advantages, and her school system early showed the good effects of their ideas. Its departments are the primary, intermediate and high school. The work is comprehensive and thorough. The large school building was commenced in August, 1871, and a $5,000 one was erected. Extensive additions have since been made.

The Presbyterian Church was the first established here, their organization dating from June 4, 1871. Their first pastor was Rev. M. P. Jones, who has been succeeded by Rev. Messrs. B. F. Havilland, S. F. Farmer and Horace Bushnell, the present incumbent. They have one of the finest churches in Concordia. Their membership has increased from twenty to over sixty.

The Methodist Church was organized in 1874, with Rev. Mr. Gray as pastor. This denomination has the honor of furnishing the first sermon preached in Concordia. It was delivered in the old land office building by Rev. R. P. West, of Republic County. Rev. Messrs. Talmand, J. C. Dana, George W. Wood and F. L. Tuttle have been the pastors. The church has a good building and parsonage, and 100 members.

The Baptist Church was organized by Rev. J. F. Raridan in February, 1877; October 23, 1881, they dedicated their church edifice, which cost $3,500. Rev. C. H. Nash, the present pastor, succeeded Rev. Mr. Raridan. The membership, which was very small at first, is now seventy.

The Notre Dame Catholic Church was made a branch of the Clay Center Church in 1870. Since 1873 it has had a separate pastor. There are ninety families in the parish. Rev. Joseph Perrier is the priest. The church, built in 1876, cost $9,500, and the parsonage $2,500.

St. John's Lodge, No. 113, A. F. & A. M., was instituted October 11, 1871. The first meeting of Masons in the county was June 24, 1871. First officers: M. D. Sutherlin, W. M.; W. E. Reid, S. W.; A. A. Carnahan, J. W.; J J. Burns, Treas.; Herbert Patrick, Sec. Their membership has increased from thirteen to seventy-five. Present officers; Benjamin Lake, W. M.; E J. Carlyle, S. W.; J. C. Gafford, J. W.; J. C. Elliot, Treas., and A. A. Carnahan, Sec.

Concordia Chapter, No. 45, R. A. M., was instituted, as Chapter, April 25, 1881. There are thirty members. Officers: W. E. Reid, H. P.; Ed. Weck, K.; W. C. Patrick, Scribe; A. A. Carnahan, Sec.; J. C. Eliott, Treas.

Concordia Lodge, No. 92, I. O. O. F, was instituted October 8, 1872. First officers; Pius Bean, N. G.; Edmund Martin, V. G.; C. W. McDonald, Sec.; L. J. Crans, Treas. Thomas Wrong, N. G; L. N. Huston, V. G; W. C. Whipp, R. Sec.; J. C. Mossburg, Per Sec.; E. E. Swearingen, Treas.; W. T. Root, Rep. G. L.

Rebekah Degree Lodge, No. 17, I. O. 0, F, was instituted October 10, 1877. Officers: Mrs. D. H. Judy, N, G.; Mrs. S. Case, V. G.; Mr. J. Wilson, W.; Mrs. E. E. Swearingen, Sec.

Lincoln Lodge. No. 27, K. of P., was instituted May 6, 1881. J. C. Gafford, C. C.; W. F.Groesbeck V. C.; L. G. Hull, K. of R. and S.; C. L. Drake, M. of F.; Ed. A,. Belisle, M. of E; G. A. Beauchamp, M. at A.

The Endowment Rank (K. of P.) was instituted April 25, 1881.

The Cloud County Temperance Union was organized in May, 1882, with 300 members, for the purpose of sustaining the prohibitory law of Kansas. Pres., F. L. Tuttle; Vice-Pres., J. B. Rupe; Sec., R. S. McCrary.

The Republican Valley Empire, the first newspaper started at Clyde, was established in 1870 by Henry Buckingham. In the following year it was removed to Concordia. It was sold to H. E. Smith in 1872, and has since passed through the hands of Honey & Davis, H. R. Honey, Chaffee & English, and is now owned and edited by C. J. English. Mr. English is a young man, having been born in Nodoway County, Mo., in 1855. He has been a resident of Cloud since 1864, so that the Concordia Empire is edited by a man educated in Cloud County. It is, and always has been, Republican in politics, and is one of the leading journals of the county.

The Concordia Republican was established as the Watchman, at Clyde, in 1871, by Mark J. Kelly. Subsequently revived by J. S. Paradis & Bro.; published for a few months and removed to Concordia in 1875, and the name changed to Concordia Expositor. In January, 1881, it was changed to the Republican. It is owned and edited by W. E. Reid and L. G. Hull. It is Republican and religious; the only one in the county with a religions inclination.

The Cloud County Blade was established April 23, 1879, by J. M. & J. E. Hagaman. It was at first only a 6x9 inch folio, a little larger than a respectable sized hand-bill. In July it was enlarged to a six column folio; in September to seven and in 1880 to its present size, an eight column folio. It has a good circulation, and is independent in politics.


The Commercial House, one or the leading hotels of Northern Kansas, was built by Elson Crill in 1873. Additions were afterward made by himself and E. D. Crandall, who became part proprietor. Mr. Crandall retired in October, 1882. The Commercial House, as it stands, is a solidly constructed stone building, three stories and basement in height, 76x50 feet dimensions. It contains fifty-five rooms, well furnished, and obtains the bulk of the commercial travel. The entire property is valued at $15,000, There are several other small hotels and boarding-houses here, but the Commercial House takes the lead.

There are three banking houses in Concordia - the Cloud County Bank, N. B. Brown & Co. and Concordia State Bank. The first, owned by Eastern capitalists, has the finest bank building, and represents the most capital. It was established in 1880; T. B. Smith, president, and F. T. Atwood, cashier. N. B. Brown and J. C. Elliott own the second mentioned, which is the oldest, and is considered a safe and reliable bank. It was established in 1878. The Concordia State Bank was established in 1880; W. C. McDonald is president, and H. R. Honey cashier. Its capital is quite large. At present it is in a small rented building, but the design is soon to erect a suitable one.

The Concordia Mills, owned by H. Lanoue, G. R. Letourneau, A. Berard, A. Gosselin and E. Gustineau, was first started in 1872 by Mr. Laneaue as a steam grist-mill, but changed to water-power in 1874. The Republican River is not well suited for damming, its banks being low and the bottom quicksand. In 1875, 120 feet of the dam was carried away, and the following year another portion went out, which compelled him to form a company. At an expense of about $70,000, with repairs and improvements, they have secured one of the best dams on the river. There are five run of burrs, with seven feet head, and enough water to run twenty burrs and the necessary machinery throughout the year.

The Republican Valley Agricultural and Stock Fair Association was organized in the fall of 1881, with $20,000 stock. They have an excellent tract of land, east of Concordia, with a half-mile race course and necessary buildings. The fairs have been very successful.

The coal fields of Republic County and the northern part of Cloud are of great value to Concordia, for they furnish the principal part of her fuel at a reasonable price.

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