KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

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


COWLEY COUNTY, Part 2

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

COUNTY ORGANIZATION, ELECTIONS AND OFFICIAL ROSTER.

Cowley County was organized on February 28, 1870, by the appointment by Gov. Harvey of three Special County Commissioners and a Special County Clerk. A copy of the document which effected this organization is found on the first page of the County Commissioners' journal and gives the reasons for the act. These were, briefly, that a census had been taken and the county found to contain upward of 600 inhabitants, and that a petition signed by more than twenty bona fide inhabitants, citizens of the United States, praying for organization, and designating a place for the seat of justice, had been presented to the Governor. This document was signed by Thomas Moonlight, Secretary of State, and James M. Harvey, Governor.

The first meeting of the County Commissioners took place on March 23, 1870, at the house of W. W. Andrews. The first work undertaken was the laying out of the county in three townships. The first of these, known as number one, comprised all north of an east and west line touching the mouth of Dutch Creek. Number two embraced all south of this line, "to include the E. P. Hickok claim on Walnut and to within ten miles of the mouth of the Grouse." Number three took in "all south of E. P. Hickok's claim on Walnut and the lower ten miles of the Grouse and Arkansas to the State line."

The same meeting provided for an election, to be held at the house of Edward Philips at the mouth of Rock Creek in number one, at Winfield in number two, and at Cresswell in number three. All the various county and township officers were to be elected and the county seat located. After electing W. W. Andrews chairman of the board and ordering notices of the election of May 2, the board adjourned, having accomplished a remarkable amount of business for a new board in a brand new county.

Pursuant to the notices issued, the spring election was held on May 2, 1870. On the 6th, the Commissioners again convened, and after canvassing the vote declared the following persons elected: County Commissioner in number one, Morgan Willett; number two, Thomas Blanchard; number three, G. H. Norton. H. C. Loomis was elected County Clerk; E. P. Hickok, Clerk of the District Court; F. A. Hunt, Sheriff; John Devore, County Treasurer; W. F. Cook, Register of Deeds; T. B. Ross, Probate Judge; F. S. Graham, Surveyor, and W. S. Graham, Coroner.

In November, 1870, occurred the first general election. It resulted, as such affairs generally do, in new counties, in a vote showing a great Republican balance of power. For member of Congress, D. P. Low had 250 votes, R. C. Foster 94, and S. Clark 6. For Governor, James M. Harvey received 255, and Isaac Sharp 92; for Associate Justice, D. J. Brewer had 254 and R. N. Ruggles 98; for Secretary of State, W. H. Smallwood had 254 and Charles C. Duncan 94; for State Auditor, A. Thoman 254, H. M. Mahon 94; State Treasurer, J. F. Hayes 254, S. C. Gephart 94; Attorney General, A. S. Williams 274, A. W. Rucker 94; State Superintendent of Public Instruction, H. D. McCarty 254, Thomas S. Murray 94. The vote on county officers stood: Senator Fifteenth District, E. S. Stover 322, H. S. Hunt 15; Representative, F. C. Manning 253, H. B. Norton 150; Probate Judge, T. B. Ross 212, H. B. Norton 150; Sheriff, J. M. Pattison 186, S. H. Ehley 148; Clerk of the District Court, E. P. Hickok 351; County Clerk, A. A. Jackson 200, R. J. Pond 146; Treasurer, G. B. Green 193, T. McIntire 140; County Attorney, E. S. Torrance 178, T. H. Johnson 135; Register of Deeds, Walter A. Smith 150, W. F. Cook 124, A. J. Patrick 94; County Surveyor, H. L. Barker 199, Samuel Thompson 144; Coroner, H. B. Kellogg 206, T. J. Raybell 7; Superintendent of Public Instruction, L. B. Wamsey 206, John Dudley 150. Upon examination of the returns, several serious irregularities were found, and four precincts having sent nothing with the ballots to show where they were polled, were thrown out. The returns from Dexter Township were also rejected, no such township having been created.

The election of November 7, 1871, raised no special issues. J. M. Alexander was elected Senator from the Twenty-fifth District and T. McIntire Representative. The county officers elected were: A. A. Johnson, County Clerk; James Parker, Sheriff; J. T. Paul, Register of Deeds; E. B. Hazen, Treasurer; M. Hemingway, Surveyor G. P. Wagenor, Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The general election of 1872 gave Horace Greeley 277 votes, U. S. Grant 631, and Lyman Trumbull 1. The county officers from 1872 to the present time, with State Senators and Representatives are as follows: Senators, Twenty-fifth District, M. M. Murdock, 1872; H. S. St. Clair, 1874; A. J. Pyburn, 1876; W. P. Hackney, 1880. Representatives: James McDermott, 1872; William Martin, 1873; Thomas R. Bryan, 1874; W. P. Hackney, 1875. The Eighty-eighth and Eighty-ninth Districts were formed this year, and Representatives elected as follows: L J. Webb and C. R. Mitchell, 1876; E. C. Manning and M. R. Leonard, 1878; A. B. Lemon and C. R. Mitchell, 1880. Cowley next became the Sixty-eighth, Sixty-sixth and Sixty-seventh, and elected in 1882 J. W. Winner, J. J. Johnson and C. R. Mitchell. County Clerks have been: A. A. Johnson, 1873; M. G. Troup, 1875-77; J. S. Hunt, 1879-81. Sheriffs, R. L. Walker, 1873-75; L. Lipman, 1877; A. T. Shenneman, 1879-81. Registers of Deeds: N. C. McCulloch, 1873; E. P. Kinne, 1875-77; Jacob Nixon, 1879-81. Treasurers: E. B. Kager, 1873; T. B. Bryan 1875-77; James Harden, 1879; L. B. Stone, 1881. Probate Judges: T. H. Johnson, 1872; H. D. Gans,1874-76-78-80-82. Clerks of the District Court: James Kelley, 1872; E. S. Bedilion, 1874-76-78-80-82. County Superintendents of Public Instruction: T. A. Wilkinson, 1872-74; R. C. Story, 1876-78-80; A. H. Limerick, 1882. County Attorneys: E. S. Torrance, 1872; A. J. Pyburn, 1874; James McDermott, 1876; E. S. Torrance, 1878; F. S. Jennings, 1880-82. Coroners: Sim Moore, 1873; J. A. Headrick, 1875; W. P. Graham, 1877; H. S. Wells, 1881. Surveyors: W. W. Walton, 1873-75; N. A. Haight, 1877-79-81.

COUNTY SEAT, BUILDINGS AND RAILROADS.

At the first election in the county, held May 2, 1870, Winfield was selected as the county seat. This was taken in high dudgeon by the Arkansas City settlement whose chief aim had all the time been to found the future county seat. It was, however, evident from the location of their town by the new survey, that it could never attain the prize and some expedient must be resorted to if they would not see their hopes forever dashed. A new town company was accordingly formed, and on June 13, 1871, the Tisdale Town Company, laid claim to the land immediately about the geographical center of the county and began to build. This move was met by the Winfield settlers, who appeared on the ground with claimants and lumber, but were finally beaten by their rivals and compelled to retire. A petition for a new election to locate the seat of justice was at once put in circulation, and the election set for August 22, 1871. A lively contest at once sprang up and the contestants on each side left no stone unturned to win the day. A canvass of the votes gave Winfield 721, and Tisdale 523. Charges of fraud and illegal voting were fully indulged in, and, as an old settler states, with reason, but the contest was never renewed, and Winfield remained the possessor of the coveted prize.

The year 1873 saw the erection of the present county buildings. The court house, 40 x 50 feet, was begun in the summer of this year, and completed at a cost of $11,500. It stands upon a full block, half of which was donated by the Town Association in 1873, and the remainder purchased for $1,000 in 1879. Several minor additions bare been made to the building, bringing its total cost to $15,000.

The county jail, which stands a short distance north of the court house, was built by the city of Winfield at a cost of $27,000 and donated to the county; like the court house it is of brick, and though unpretentious is a very substantial structure.

The first railway project affecting this county was county was broached in March, 1873, by the Kansas Nebraska Railway Company. The proposal of the company was for a subscription of $150,000 to its stock and the issue of an equal amount of county bonds. The matter was voted on at a special election April 15, 1873, and 1,138 votes were cast for and 798 votes against the proposition. The road was not, however, constructed. Early in 1877, the Memphis, Parsons & Ellsworth Narrow Gauge road proposed to run through this county, but failed to receive sufficient encouragement. On April 16 of the same year the K. C. E. S. Railway was voted $26,000 in Cresswell, $21,500 in Bolton, $20,500 in Rock, and $19,000 in Beaver Township. These bonds were to run thirty years at ten per cent, and were redeemable at any time after five years at 85 cents on the dollar. They were to be issued on the completion of the road, and as it was never built were never made out.

On December 24,1878, the county decided by a vote of 1,853 to 955 to issue bonds to the Cowley, Sumner & Fort Smith Railway to an amount not exceeding $144,000. This is a branch of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe road. The road was completed to Winfield on October 1, 1879, and on October 13 the county issued $72,000 in six per cent bonds to the road. In December of the same year, the railway reached Arkansas City, and December 30, $56,000 more bonds were issued. On April 29, 1879, the county voted $68,000 bonds to the Southern Kansas & Western road, a branch of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Gulf. These bonds had thirty years to run, and drew seven per cent. They were carried by a vote of 1,612 to 438. The road reached Winfield on February 17, 1880, and $51,000 bonds were at once issued. On March 16, it reached the west line of the county, and $17,000 more were issued. In March, 1881, the county sold $66,000 of the stock of this road, taken in exchange for bonds, at 68 cents on the dollar, and with the proceeds purchased $38,500 of the county bonds.

Prior to 1877, there was no report of the farm animals owned in the county. An idea not only of the growth of the county but of the shape of that advance may be formed from a glance at the following statistics: Horses in 1877, 4,501; in 1878, 5,160; 1880, 7,479; 1882, 7,873. Mules and asses: 1877, 881; 1878, 1,027; 1880, 1,619; 1882, 1,478. Milch cows, 1877, 3,891; 1878, 4,061; 1880, 5,695; 1882, 6,862. The wool clip of 1877, was 23,070 pounds; of 1880, 30,658; 1882, 142,706 pounds. In 1877, there were 5,754 apple trees in bearing, in 1880, 22,872; in 1882, 37, 044. Apple trees not in bearing; in 1877, 68,566; 1880, 92,466; 1882, 85,784. Pear trees in bearing, 1877, 1,425; 1880, 704; 1882, 1,630; not in bearing, 1877, 2,795; 1880, 4,222; 1882, 4,504. Peaches in hearing 1877, 196,554; 1880, 243,095; 1882, 308,685; not bearing, 1877, 101,409; 1880, 180,093; 1882, 173,361. Plums in bearing, 1877, 7,582; 1880, 6,262; 1882, 5,235; not bearing, 1877, 4,258; 1880, 4,244; 1882, 7,611. Cherries in bearing, 1877, 3,846; 1880, 6,708; 1882, 13,367; not bearing, 1877, 14,629; 1880, 16,096; 1882, 22,454. Total value of garden produce in 1877, $3,293.25; in 1880. $12,489; in 1882, $13,764. The total acreage of land under cultivation was in 1880, 305,855 against 151,394.37 in 1877. The total valuation of all manufactories in the county was in 1882, $151,800. The population of the county was in 1870, 1,175; in 1875, 8,963; in 1880, 20,649. None but the Assessor's census was taken in 1882, but the population may be very nearly estimated at 22,000.

The following carefully prepared statistics show the acres devoted to the principal crops during the past ten years. Their perusal will afford eloquent evidence of the county's prosperity:

                     1872.   1874.   1876.     1878.      1880.    1882.
                     -----   -----   -----     -----      -----    -----
Winter wheat          353  10,999  38,749    61,988.11  71,222     35,226
Rye                    22     415   2,471       621         57        661
Spring wheat           82   2,198      47       ...         30          9
Corn               18,500  34,358  30,084    48,824     66,193    111,037
Barley                ...      30      26       211        531          2
Oats                  732   3,558   8,271     8,108      7,055      5,142
Buckwheat              73      35      20.25     29.50      23.75      14
Irish potatoes        469   1,235     965.37    928      1,377.03   1,175.06
Sweet potatoes         11      20      29.72     45.64      84.48      98.18
Sorghum               253      41     278.87    481.10     517.89   1,345.50
Castor beans          ...      97       7.75     23         47.75     656.25
Flax                  ...      33     366.75    400.25     428.60   1,062
Hemp                  ...       3     ...         1           .50     ...
Broom corn            ...      12      47.87      6.25      38.50     234.25
Millet and Hungarian  115     447   1,736.25   2,850     6,883     15,142

The following table gives the educational history of the county in full:

For the school year
ending July 31                   1871    1872    1873    1874    1875    1876
                                 ----    ----    ----    ----    ----    ----
No. of school districts...         37      77      97     107     108     112
No. of children of school age...  659   2,478   3,038   3,555   3,013   3,541
Pupils enrolled...                122     624   2,237   2,381   2,288   2,460
Average daily attend'nce...        70     120     949   1,354   1,317     716
No. of teachers emloy'd...          5      50      76      79      84      91
Total school expenditure...            18,151  27,636  28,920  12,451  13,778
Value of school property...            22,500  40,842  57,000  63,476  62,570
School house bonds outst'd'ng...  ...     ...     ...     ...     ...  28,866
---

For the school year
ending July 31                   1877    1878    1879    1880    1881    1882
                                 ----    ----    ----    ----    ----    ----
No. of school districts...        111     115     122     126     132     135
No. of children of school age.. 4,680   5,681   6,779   7,457   7,236   7,496
Pupils enrolled...              3,220   3,766   4,855   5,212   4,983   6,192
Average daily attend'nce...     2,050   2,293   2,580   2,630   2,987   3,870
No. of teachers emloy'd...        122     159     147     146     135     169
Total school expenditure...    17,852  27,092  25,614  32,444  48,665 $43,157.45
Value of school property...    64,922  66,799  70,754  72,946  80,000 $79,758
School house bonds outst'd'ng. 48,365  51,212  36,538  40,480  35,630 $26,912

Balance on hand July 1,  1882...            $9,156

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