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: Topography and Geology | Map and Population | Primitive Occupants and Early Settlers | War Record | Neutral Land Troubles
PART 2: County Organization | Railroads and Schools | Statistical | Tornado | Girard, Part 1
PART 3: Girard, Part 2 | Biographical Sketches (Alford - Cushenberry)
PART 4: Biographical Sketches (Daniels - Grantham)
PART 5: Biographical Sketches (Harris - Lyons)
PART 6: Biographical Sketches (Mason - Rushton)
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (Sams - Sunderland)
PART 8: Biographical Sketches (Van Syckel - Wolf)
PART 9: New Pittsburg | Biographical Sketches - New Pittsburg (Anderson - Hollibaugh)
PART 10: Biographical Sketches - New Pittsburg (Jennings - Walker)
PART 11: Opolis | Cherokee
PART 12: Biographical Sketches
PART 13: Monmouth | McCune | Biographical Sketches - Osage Township (Andrew - Lucas)
PART 14: Biographical Sketches - Osage Township (McCaslin - Winters) | Walnut
PART 15: Biographical Sketches | Biographical Sketches - Walnut Township (Alexander - Kyser)
PART 16: Biographical Sketches - Walnut Township (DeLambert - Webster) | Other Towns
PART 17: Biographical Sketches - Sherman Township
PART 18: Lincoln Township | Washington Township (Auston - Geary)
PART 19: Washington Township (Herrin - Stoops)
PART 20: Washington Township (Taylor - Wilson) | Baker Township (Abel - Gardner)
PART 21: Baker Township (Hall - Row)
PART 22: Baker Township (Sanderson - Warren)
PART 23: Sheridan Township | Grant Township | Brazilton


CRAWFORD County lies in the eastern tier, and in the second tier from the southern boundary of the State. It is bounded on the north by Bourbon county, on the east by Missouri, on the south by Cherokee County, and on the west by Labette and Neosho Counties.

The boundaries of the county were defined by an act of the Legislature, approved February 13, 1867, in the following language: "That the territory included within the following boundaries shall constitute the county of Crawford, to wit: Commencing at the southeast corner of the county of Bourbon, thence run south on the east line of the State of Kansas to the southeast corner of Section 13, Township 31, Range 25; thence west to the east line of Neosho County as defined in an act approved February 26, 1866; thence north to the southwest corner of Bourbon County; thence east to the place of beginning." As thus defined the county is twenty-three miles from north to south, and nearly twenty-six miles from east to west, containing 592 square miles, or 578,880 acres.

The general surface of the county is undulating. A water-shed extends from the middle of the western boundary northeasterly until near and to the west of Farlington, when it turns southeasterly and leaves the county at the middle of the eastern boundary. Most of the county slopes toward the south, but Lincoln Township slopes toward the north. The highest land is in the center of the county about 1,100 feet above the level of the sea. The bottom lands average in width three-fourths of a mile, and comprise fifteen per cent of the area, uplands comprising eighty-five per cent.

The principal streams are Drywood, Bone and Coxes Creeks in the northeast; Cow Creek, with its branches Middle Cow and Little Cow Creeks, flowing southeasterly; Lightning Creek rising in the northern part of the county and flowing south into Cherokee County, with its tributaries, Elm, Thunderbolt and Lime Creeks; Hickory Creek flowing southwest into Neosho County. Springs are not numerous, but good well water is obtainable at depths varying from ten to forty feet. The native timber belts are in the bottom lands, and average one-half mile in width. About ten percent is covered with forests. The principal varieties are cottonwood, elm, hackberry, hickory, black, burr, post and red oak, poplar and walnut.

The soil varies in depth from one to five feet, is exceedingly fertile, and well adapted to the growth of all the cereals. The subsoil varies in depth from ten to twenty feet. Beneath this lie various kinds of stone, clay, etc. - sandstone, limestone, slate, fire and pottery clay, hydraulic cement and coal. This valuable mineral underlies the entire county, but the vein is thickest in the southeastern corner, across which it extends from Cherokee County into Missouri. In Baker Township, the vein is four feet in thickness, lying at from thirty to fifty feet below the surface of the ground. In Lincoln Township there are also valuable coal mines. There are two and three different strata of coal underlying all the eastern third of this county, with a thickness of from two to five feet. The surface vein is about twenty-two inches, the lower vein, from thirty to sixty feet deeper, is from four to six feet. It is thought that the lower vein underlies the entire county.



                                            | 1870. |  1880.
Baker Township, including New Pittsburg City|   962 |  2,612 
Crawford Township, including Girard City....| 1,535 |  2,799
Grant Township..............................|   421 |  1,034
Lincoln Township............................| 1,490 |  2,912
Osage Township..............................|   980 |  1,663
Sheridan Township, including Cherokee City..| 1,042 |  2,348 
Sherman Township............................|   567 |    967 
Walnut Township.............................|   568 |  1,244 
Washington Township.........................|   595 |  1,282
                                            | 8,160 | 16,851 
New Pittsburg City..........................| ..... |    624 
Girard City.................................| ..... |  1,289 
Cherokee City...............................| ..... |    556


Crawford County lies within the tract known as the "Cherokee Neutral Lands," a history of which is given in connection with Cherokee County. White men began to settle on the lands about the year 1850, Harden Matthews settling in Sherman Township in that year. Quite a number of white men entered the county in 1852, and in 1857 some settlements were made in Walnut Township, and in 1861 W. Banks settled in Crawford Township on Big Cow Creek. From this time on, quite a number of settlers entered different parts of the county.

John Lemans, a blacksmith, settled in Osage Township in 1848, and resided there until 1861, at which time he was driven out by United States soldiers under command of the Cherokee Indian Agent. Pleasant M. Smith settled in Baker Township in 1851. He lived here only a short time, building no house, but instead living in a tent. In 1856, a Mr. Sears made the first permanent settlement in this township, building a log house near the mission crossing on Cow Creek. Quite a number of settlers had commenced to make houses here, when, in 1859, Cherokee Indian Agent Cowan, under orders from James Buchanan, President of the United States, came in from Missouri with a company of regular soldiers under command of Capt. Sturges, and drove them from their homes, lighting their pathway by fires made of their burning haystacks, houses and barns. In 1865, other settlers came into this part of the county, among them Marion Medlin, John Hobson, Frank Dosser and S. S. Georgia; Hobson selecting for his home the spot formerly occupied by Mr. Sears. In 1866, S. J. Langdon and A. J. Georgia came in. During the winter of 1866-67, the Government surveyors sectionized the township, which made lively times among the settlers making rails and fencing in their claims. At that time the only obtainable substance from which flour could be made was corn. The corn had to be hauled from a distance of from thirty to forty miles in Missouri, and cost $2 per bushel.

J. F. Gates, Stephen Ogden, W. J. McWirt, Capt. John Hamilton and others, settled in Sheridan Township in 1865. Lincoln Township was settled in 1852 by the Hathaways and others, and Walnut Township in 1857.

At the election of April 15, 1867, A. T. Crawford was elected a Justice of the Peace. The first case that came before him was of assault and battery upon a Dutchman named Osterman by Jeremiah Elixison. The case was tried before a jury of six, who brought in a verdict of guilty, and imposed as a penalty a fine of $5 and costs, amounting in all to $14. This amount was turned over to County Treasurer S. J. Langdon, and was the only money received by him as such officer during his term of office.

The first Justices of the Peace in the county were Levi Price and Heman Martin. Price was appointed by the County Commissioners. During his Justiceship, he performed a marriage ceremony, in March, 1867, the parties united being Homer Howell and Mrs. Rachel Turney. This was the first marriage in the county, and as there was then no Probate Court, Justice Price issued the license, performed the ceremony and signed the certificate, which was sent to Bourbon County for record. it was afterward ascertained that the marriage was void, and an act of the Legislature legalizing it was passed - the bill having been prepared by James T. Bridgens and passed through the influence of Capt. John Hamilton.

The first legal marriage license was issued December 27, 1867, to W. M. Breckenridge and Miss Elner Stone, the ceremony being performed by James F. St. Clair. The first saloon license in the county was issued April 6, 1868, to Charles L. Russell in Lincoln Township. The Crawford County Agricultural Society was organized February, 5, 1870, with thirteen Directors. The first officers were J. W. Earles, President, S. A. Atwood, Secretary. Dr. William H. Warner served as Secretary of this society for six years. As editor of the Girard Press, he urged the necessity of such an organization. The old, or first organization, held fairs every year, and purchased forty acres of land on the east of Girard, which was sold by the new organization and another lot purchased west of Girard. Dr. Warner represented this society in the State Board of Agriculture at Topeka several years. The society was re-organized May 27, 1882, and the following officers elected: W. H. Braden, President; James Evans, Vice President; A. P. Riddle, Secretary; Albert Allen, Treasurer; A. N. Winchell, Superintendent, and C. Zigler, Chief Marshal.


During the war, many of the settlers suffered severely at the hands of rebel guerrillas and bushwhackers. Most of the outrages were committed by Livingston's men. The following are the names of some of the men killed by his and other bands: Capt. Dobbins, of the Sixth Kansas, and a number of private soldiers; a Mr. Manly; Capt. John Rogers, who lived in Lincoln Township, while home on a furlough in 1863, was called out of his house at night and shot in his own door yard; H. Howard was killed on Bone Creek while home on furlough; John Simons was killed in his own house; Heman Martin lost all his property in the same year by bushwhackers; and John Pearson had his house burned. In May, 1866, four brothers named Tippy came into the county for evil purposes. Two of them visited Ralph Warner and a Mr. Shannon and talked about buying cattle. After they had gone away, Warner and Shannon were apprised of their character and so put on their guard. Warner asked some neighbors to stay with him at night, but only one neighbor besides Shannon came before night. After dark another neighbor came, and soon the other two Tippy brothers approached. Shannon and one neighbor named Lamb were in the house, Warner and the other neighbor on the wood pile. The two brothers, passing warner and his companion, approached the house, opened the door, and fired upon Shannon and Lamb. Shannon and Lamb returned the fire, when the women interfered, but Shannon fired the second time. The Tippys between them fired five times. One of them was wounded and afterward died in Missouri from the effects of the wound. Shannon was killed almost instantly, having been hit twice. Warner escaped into the brush. The neighborhood was alarmed, a posse collected, organized, and started in pursuit of the two that had purchased Warner's cattle and were driving them away. The posse soon overtook the cattle drovers and brought them back to Monmouth for trial, as accomplices in the murder of Shannon. The trial was regular, before a jury of twelve men, and resulted in a verdict of guilty and sentence of death. They were hanged on a tree three-fourths of a mile southwest of Monmouth, one having confessed, the other having denied being an accomplice.


As supplementary to what appears in connection with the sketch of Cherokee County, a few instances of violence on the part of the settlers in opposition to the building of the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, and to "proving up" under the "Joy contract," are here introduced.

The survey of the road was made in the early part of 1869. A portion of the settlers were in favor of the road being built, and in favor of purchasing their claims from Mr. Joy; others were opposed to both. The questions were debated with earnestness and on some occasions with a great deal of acrimony. Meetings were held on either side, at which resolutions expressing the sentiments of the participants were passed and promulgated. A meeting of those favorable to the road was held at Girard, April 24, 1869, which was addressed by A. A. Fletcher, C. H. Winsor, C. Dana Sayrs and D. S. McIntosh, in favor of the road. E. E. Parker responded in opposition to it. After the speaking was concluded, a series of resolutions was adopted, one of which was as follows:

"That the enterprise (the building of the railroad) meets with our entire approbation, and that we will in all suitable ways aid and encourage said company in the speedy construction and completion of the same."Another resolution was to the effect that the building of the road could not in any way affect the title to the lands.

This reasonable proposition was not satisfactory to the minds of some of the settlers, and the fact that a large and respectable portion of all within the county entertained the views and sentiments expressed in the above-quoted resolutions, had little or no weight with those who were opposed to Mr. Joy. They were firmly set in their opinion that he had no title to the land, and were fully determined that he should build no railroad on their property. In order to make their will effective, they had to resort to violence. On the 30th of April, six days after the above and similar resolutions were adopted, a shameful and criminal outrage was committed by a body of misguided settlers upon the engineers of the railroad who were locating the road. The engineers were taken prisoners, and their wagons, tents and instruments destroyed by fire. The engineers were ordered never to come upon the line again under penalty of hanging, and then released. One thousand railroad ties were burned on Cow Creek about the same time. In addition to this, railroad employees were driven from their work, and Anti-League settlers were driven from their homes under penalty of hanging if they should return. The animus of, at least, the leading Leaguers may be plainly seen by reading the resolutions of the Lincoln League, given in connection with Cherokee County, and their effrontery by reading the following resolution, which is one of a series passed at Cato, Crawford County, June 2, 1869, by members of the League: "That we assert to the world that civil law is unobstructed on the Neutral Lands, and that not one man has ever been hung or shot here on account of our land difficulties, or during the last two years for any cause."

But notwithstanding these and other instances of violence were committed, justice demands the recording of the fact that at the most but very few of the Leaguers were mobocrats. The majority of them believed themselves in the right, and this because they had been misled as to the nature of the title of the Cherokee Indians to the Neutrals. They acted upon the advice of men who were knowingly holding out to them illusive hopes and inciting them to the commission of deeds which could but check their prosperity and bring disgrace upon their names. One of these advisors was W. R. Laughlin, whom the Anti-Joy or Settlers' Unions had employed to represent them in Washington, and who was pleased to prolong the contest in order that he might live as long as practicable a life of ease upon the contributions of the settlers, who earned their own livelihood by their daily toil. An extract from his address to the settlers, delivered June 4, 1869, will suffice to show the character of the advice he gave them:

"We may be called mobs and outlaws. The same cry was raised at the Boston Tea Party. * * * The same cry was raised against the Vigilance Committee of California, and to-day the people of that State bless them for what they did. Then look at the Rensselaer Anti-Renters. They shot a Sheriff dead in violation of law and nothing was ever done with them, because they defended their rights. 'If this be treason, make the most of it.' I have asked Judge Lawrence what the people should do if Joy forced himself upon them with his railroad. He replied, 'I cannot advise shooting or killing, but if a man wanted to force himself into my house, I'd kick him out.' Ben Butler said, 'If they come to disturb you, damn them, hang them.' Senator Sprague said to Gen. Cameron, 'Tell them to fight.' 'Tis vain to call you a mob when two-thirds of you have your discharges as good and faithful soldiers in your pockets. We must fight them legally if we can, forcibly if we must. They may try to stigmatize us, but they cannot stigmatize a United States soldier. * *"

But Mr. Laughlin was not alone in giving advice of this kind. Hon. Sidney Clarke delivered an address at Iowa City, Crawford County, about July 8, 1869, from which the following is a well-authenticated extract: "I do not advise violence to be used to prevent the construction of the Missouri River, Fort Scot & Gulf Railroad through the lands occupied by the settlers; but I do advise you to stand firm and united to a man, and no road ever can be built without your consent. Why? Because if a weary traveler should come along, and wishing to rest, sit down upon a pile of railroad ties, and, while smoking his pipe, a spark should happen to fall and burn up the ties, could any one blame you for it, and say that you were using violence to prevent the construction of the road? I reckon not. Or suppose the prairie grass should, by some such accident, take fire and burn up the wagons, tents and instruments of the engineers, could that be charged to you? I think not. Now, who ever heard of railroad cars running through a country without rails or ties? I never did. Yet I don't advise force to prevent this most damnable railroad swindle, but I know that these accidents do and will happen in the best regulated communities. Now, gentlemen, if any such thing should happen to this swindling road, you must all be in bed and asleep when it happens, or as soon after as possible."

The meaning of this harangue was patent to the assembly, as was soon afterward demonstrated. The speaker was scarcely off the neutral lands when, in the night a large party of men wet to the Assessor's house in Osage Township, called him out, put him under guard, went into his house, took the abstract of lands owned by the railroad company, and carried them away in order to prevent the assessment of the lands. A similar attempt was made in Baker Township, but the abstract could not be found. On the 17th of July, a large armed force attacked the workmen on the railroad in Bourbon County, near the north line of Crawford County, and burned all the wheel barrows, shovels, picks, tents, shanties, everything that belonged to the workmen and contractors. At this time, the troops were at Crawfordsville, twelve miles away, and could render no assistance to the workmen who were unarmed and could themselves offer no resistance. But the most fiery speech of all was made by a Methodist minister - Vincent by name. He was, he said, determined to "fight Joy until hell froze over, and then fight it out on the ice."

The presence of troops on the neutral lands was extremely annoying the Leaguers. In consequence, a select committee was appointed under resolutions of the Legislature for the purpose of investigating the question of the necessity of their presence. In February, 1870, this committee took testimony at Fort Scott, Girard, Columbus and Baxter Springs. After concluding their labors, a report was made to the Legislature, which was signed by Col. John T. Burris, of Johnson County, Hon. J. K. Wright, of Davis County, and Hon. E. H. LeDuc, from which the following is an extract: "We find from the evidence that as early as February, 1869, an organization existed on those lands known as 'The Land League;' that such an organization still exists there, and that its name now is, 'The Neutral Land Home Protecting Corps;' that it was and still is a secret quasi military organization numbering about 1,500 men, commanded by a general and drilled into regiments, battalions and companies commanded by colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors, captains, and other officers with military designations; that one of the objects of said organization was to prevent the building of the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad through the neutral lands until James F. Joy should relinquish his right to claim these lands; that in accordance with the settled purpose of the League, about 200 of their number being fully armed, marched upon Baxter Springs to break up the railroad land office at that place, and did by threats and intimidation compel its removal therefrom; that during the spring and early summer of 1869, members of "the League" forcibly burned about 26,000 railroad ties in Cherokee County on those lands; also that they arrested Col. J. A. J. Chapman and Capt. John Runk, Jr., engineers on the road, together with their party of assistants and laborers, and after burning the wagons, tents, surveying instruments, blankets, commissary stores, etc., drove the subordinates of the surveying party from the lands with orders never to return in the employment of the railroad company under penalty of death, and that they then marched Col. Chapman and Capt. Runk several miles south, stripped off the coats from their prisoners, blindfolded them, administered to each of them fifteen lashes, and then ordered them to leave, never to return, and to never mention what had occurred under penalty of death; also, that they forcibly drove from the line of the railroad laborers, agents and other employes (sic), and from the neutral lands many persons because of their opposition to the League and their friendship for the railroad company." The opposition of the settlers to the building of this railroad was a strange anomaly. While others before and since have been so anxious to obtain railroad facilities that they have in some instances bonded themselves almost to bankruptcy, part of the citizens of Crawford and Cherokee Counties were for months attempting to prevent a railroad from being forced upon them, and it was necessary, in order that the road might be built, that the workmen should be guarded by soldiers. The people of these two counties who caused the troubles could not then realize that progress is irresistible. But gradually the opposition ceased. During the closing months of 1869, a more peaceful condition of society obtained, and so numerous became the applications for contracts for the lands that the whole clerical force in the office of Gen. Clark, commissioner for Mr. Joy, was constantly employed in preparing the necessary papers. Yet when a test of strength was made early in November between the Leaguers and anti-Leaguers, the former out-voted the latter nearly two to one, Langdon, the League candidate for Representative, receiving 546 votes, while all the opposing candidates, three in number, received but 282. The majorities were about the same for all the League candidates for county offices, and, in November, 1870, eight months after the railroad was completed to Girard, at an election for State and county officers, the friends of the League were still largely in the majority in the county. For State Representative, Langdon, the League candidate, received 676 votes, while Mason, the Republican, received but 387, and Fletcher, the Democratic candidate, received but 210.

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