|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
|PART 1:||Topography | Map and Population|
|PART 2:||Early History|
|PART 3:||Organization of Townships | Growth in Population | Railroads, Schools, Churches, Press|
|PART 4:||First Events | Manufactories and Mills | Post Offices | Murder - Lynching|
|PART 6:||Biographical Sketches (Bonebrake - Hodge)|
|PART 7:||Biographical Sketches (Johntz - Upshaw)|
|PART 8:||Solomon City|
|PART 9:||Enterprise | Chapman|
DICKINSON County is the third tier of counties from the north line of the State, and in the sixth tier from the east line or about one hundred and thirty miles west of the Missouri river. Measured from north to south, the county is thirty-six miles, and from east to west, it is twenty-four miles. The county contains 544,640 acres, or 851 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Clay County, on the south by Marion County, on the east by Davis and Morris counties, and on the west by Saline and Ottawa counties. The north, south and west boundary lines of the county are perfectly straight, but the east line is somewhat irregular. From the point where the Smoky Hill River leaves the county to the northeast corner, is ten miles, and at this point the county widens two miles to the east. Running south from this point eight miles, it again widens two miles to the east, and four miles farther south it narrows two miles to the west, from which point the boundary line is the north and south. Commencing at the north line of the county and running south, the county for the first ten miles is only twenty-two miles wide; for the next eight miles it is twenty-four miles wide; for the next four miles it is twenty-six miles wide, and thence to the southern boundary line, a distance of fourteen miles, it is twenty-four miles wide. The great stretch of territory embraced in Dickinson County, is divided into twenty-two civil townships, named and located as follows: The eastern tier includes, commencing at the northeast corner, the townships of Fragrant Hill, Noble, Liberty and Union. The next tier includes, Sherman, Hayes, Centre, Logan, Ridge and Hope. The next Cheever, Buckeye, Grant, Newbern, Jefferson and Banner; and the western tier comprises, Flora, Willowdale, Lincoln, Garfield, Wheatland and Holland.
Dickinson is strictly a prairie county, the surface of which is undulating. There is little or no diversity of scenery, but a general sameness applicable to every portion of the county. With the exception of the northwest and southwest portions of the county, which are somewhat broken and bluffy, the face of the county is one vast expanse of beautiful prairie. It is not low and flat, but rises and falls in gradual undulations. Along the Smoky Hill River and the larger creeks, are beautiful valleys ranging from one-half to three miles wide, and along nearly all the streams are fine belts of timber, some much wider than others, ranging from less than one-fourth to a mile in width. The varieties consist, chiefly of ash, walnut, hackberry, elm, oak and cottonwood, although some other varieties are found in small quantities. The timber land embraces about three and a half per cent of the county, the heaviest bodies being along the Smoky Hill River and Lyon Creek. Chapman, Deer, Turkey and Holland creeks are also quite well timbered, but Mud Creek in the northwest portion of the county has but very little timber. Scattered over the face of the county are a great many artificial groves, and fine orchards which tend to break the monotony of the scene. A more beautiful prairie country would be difficult to find. There are neither low marshes, high bluffs, nor sudden declivities, except the irregularities in the surface of the northwest and southwest portions of the county. Streams of pure, clear water are found at intervals of a few miles, and while the surface of the county presents a rather monotonous scene, it is rather pleasing than otherwise.
First in point of importance is the Smoky Hill River, which runs through the center of the county in an easterly direction, entering the county at Solomon City on the west, and leaving it about a mile north of the southeast corner of Noble Township on the east. Its point of leaving is not quite five miles north of its point of entry., Its course is extremely serpentine, sometimes turning due south then directly north, then again bending to the west, when, making another bend, it runs eastward. It is a stream of great permanence, and no matter how long the drought or dry the season it always contains quite a flow of water. All the other streams and creeks in the county are tributary to the Smoky. Its southern tributaries are Holland, Turkey, Lamb, Deer and Lyon creeks. Holland Creek has two forks, east and west, both of which rise in Holland Township, which is the southwest township of the county, and almost at the southern boundary line. The west fork runs almost due north and the east fork north by west, so that when they have traveled a distance of about ten miles they form a junction in Wheatland Township, and at this point Holland Creek proper begins. Still pursuing an almost due northerly course, it empties into the Smoky at the southwest corner of Grant Township. The length of the creek is about twenty miles, and it is well timbered. The next southern tributary of the Smoky is Turkey Creek, which has three branches known as the West, Middle and East branches. The West Branch rises in Banner Township, about three miles north of the southern boundary line of the county; the Middle branch rises in the same township just at the south boundary line; and the East branch rises in Hope Township, at the south boundary line of the county and about five miles east of the Middle Branch. The East and Middle branches are each about seven miles in length, and the former running north by west, and the latter north by east, both meet and form a junction in the northeast corner of Banner Township, from which point the stream takes the name of East Branch and continues its course due north. The West Branch is about twelve miles long, and after running due north about five miles, it inclines to the east and pursues its course through the entire length of Jefferson Township and part of Newbern, where it forms a junction with the East Branch, and from thence its course is due north until it empties into the Smoky at the south of Grant Township and about three miles south of the city of Abilene. Lamb Creek is about twelve miles long and has its rise on Section No. 20, in Logan Township. It runs due north and skirts the town of Enterprise on the west, passing which it inclines slightly eastward and enters the Smoky in Center Township. Deer Creek is east of Lamb Creek a few miles, and while it is only eight or nine miles in length, it is quite heavily timbered. Carrie Creek is quite a stream of some fifteen miles in length, which rises in the northern portion of Ridge Township, and flows in the northeasterly direction until it empties into Lyon Creek, a little north of Lyona at the eastern boundary line of the county. Lyon Creek has also three branches known as the East, Middle and West branches. The west Branch rises in Hope Township, and runs in a northeasterly direction, emptying into Lyon Creek at Woodbine on the south line of Liberty Township. This branch is about twelve miles long. The middle and East branches form a junction in Union Township, about three miles northeast of Aroma at which point Lyon Creek proper begins and flows north by east until it leaves the county at its east line, two miles north of Lyona. The northern tributaries of the Smoky Hill are Mud Creek and Chapman Creek, both of which are fed by several streams of lesser note. Mud Creek rises in the northwestern corner of the county in Willowdale Township, and runs in a southeasterly direction, passing through Buckeye and Grant townships, skirting the city of Abilene on its way and entering the Smoky about two miles south of the town, Chapman Creek is the longest stream in the county next to the Smoky Hill River. The entire length of the creek is nearly, or quite, seventy-five miles. It takes its rise up in Cloud County, and enters Dickinson County at a point named Industry on the northern boundary line of the county. Its course is southeast, running across the western portion of Sherman Township, thence south by east through Noble Township, until it unites with the waters of the Smoky at the east side of the town of Chapman. All the streams, except Mud Creek, are reasonably well timbered and some of them quite heavily so. There are no springs in the county of any note. Good well water, however, can be obtained at depths ranging from twenty to sixty feet.
Dickinson County has but very little waste land, and the acres are but few that are not susceptible of cultivation. No better soil can be found anywhere than in Dickinson County. It is all alluvial, upland as well as bottom land. It is subsoiled with limestone and clay. The soil in the valleys of the streams and creeks is of great depth and richness. Soil has been taken up from the depth of twelve feet which has produced wonderful garden crops, proving conclusively its almost inexhaustible nature. The upland soil is equally as good as that of the bottom, the only difference being in quantity. The soil is not quite so deep on the upland as it is in the valley, although its average depth is from three to six feet. No matter how thriftless the farmer, or how shiftless the manner in which he cultivates the land, it will take many years before nay impoverishment of the soil will be noticeable. The extent of the valleys has to be seen to be comprehended. They are not little narrow strips of level land bordering the margins of the streams, but wide, beautiful valleys of miles in width. Valleys of many of the Eastern rivers, such as the Connecticut and Mohawk, sink into insignificance compared with those of the Smoky Hill. In many places a man can stand on his own threshold in these valleys and view tracts of land three and four miles square, the soil of which is not only unexcelled but unexcellable. There is nothing known to agriculture that the soil is not capable of producing. All kinds of cereals are of easy production. Wheat, oats, corn, rye, barley, all can be successfully raised with the least possible amount of labor. If the adaptability of the soil excels in any one particular it is in favor of wheat. This crop is sown in the fall and is much more certain than corn. It is usually harvested in the latter end of June and beginning of July, and with anything like ordinary rains a good crop is always certain. Corn, however, is not as certain, but this is not owing to any fault in the soil. It is not that the soil fails to produce, or that the cultivation of corn is too expensive, because there is no crop that can be raised with greater ease, but the uncertainty springs from a different source. Frequently, not only Dickinson County, but the entire State is visited by simoons, or hot winds from the south, which usually last for several days. These hot winds generally come in the latter end of July or beginning of August, and before their coming is felt all the small grain is harvested and secured. Not so with corn, however, for this is the time when it has either begun to tassel or has tasseled. While in this advanced state the hot winds come along and in a few days not only the corn but all other vegetation is scorched and parched; and the years when these hot winds come the corn crop is a failure. Were it not for these Kansas would be one of the greatest corn growing States in the Union, and Dickinson would be one of the greatest corn raising counties in the State.
To show what Dickinson county soil is capable of doing in regard to wheat raising a statement made by Hon. J. S. Hollinger, of Chapman, will suffice. Mr. Hollinger said that between September 3 and 5, 1877, he sowed 100 acres of wheat on Section 27, Township 13, Range 4, which was harvested from June 15 to 20, 1878, with an average yield of forty-six and a half bushels to the acre. The soil was upland and the seed was drilled in, one and three-eighths bushels to the acre. The variety was Fultz, of which he had 500 acres in all, which averaged thirty-four bushels per acre. The soil is not only beautifully adapted to all kinds of agricultural pursuits, but is also well suited to horticulture and arboriculture. Apples, pears, peaches, plum, and all kinds of small fruit can be successfully and profitably cultivated. Forest trees grow very rapidly, and all the attention they require after being planted is to protect them from prairie fire. In 1858 one Mr. Bradfield settled on a claim close to where the town of Abilene now stands. In plowing the land he discovered that quite a large number of cottonwoods had sprung up the year before which he did not disturb, and owing to the foresight displayed then, is attributable the fact that on the same spot there is now a beautiful grove, with trees measuring two and three feet in diameter. In addition to the other adaptabilities of the soil is to be added that of stock raising. The wide ranges which the county affords, its numerous streams and creeks of pure, living water, and the superabundance of rich nutritious grasses, make it very desirable for stock raising purposes.
The climate and atmosphere of Dickinson County are not the least of its excellencies and attractiveness. The air is pure and dry, and the atmosphere clear and invigorating and free from all impurities. There is no trace of malaria, nor are there any low marshes, miry sloughs, or stagnant pools to impregnate the air with miasma and spread seeds of fever and disease. Pulmonary complaints are unknown to the natives, and where these exist among newcomers, unless strongly confirmed and of long standing, they soon disappear. Catarrhal affections are unknown, and persons affected with these and similar ailments on coming to the county, soon get rid of them after settlement. The age, by which all surplus water occasioned by heavy rainfalls is carried to the streams and creeks, so that there are neither marshes nor ponds to emit their poisonous vapors. The winters are short, and only on rare occasions do they approach severity. Very seldom does snow lie on the ground longer than a few days, at the farthest. In the summer season, although the mercury in the thermometer climbs away up into the nineties, there is generally a mitigating breeze, and no matter how excessively warm the day, the evenings and the nights are always cool and pleasant.
No mineral has yet been discovered in the county to any extent. Several attempts have been made to discover coal, but the only success met with was the discovery of a few thin veins of very poor quality in the vicinity of Chapman's Creek and Holland Creek, which were not worth working, and gave no encouragement for further attempts at development. Large quantities of good limestone, suitable for building purposes, are found in various portions of the county, and chiefly in the neighborhood of Enterprise. Here, also, are found in large quantities deposits of potters' clay, which is not used to any extent. In the southwestern portion of the county are extensive beds of gypsum which might be profitably utilized both for fertilizing, building and making lime.
POPULATION (FEDERAL CENSUS).
1870 1880 ---- ---- Abilene City 2,360 (a) Banner Township 523 (b) Buckeye Township 561 (c) Center Township Incl. Enterprise City 1,101 (d) Cheever Township 579 (e) Flora Township 388 (f) Fragrant Hill Township 477 (g) Grant Township 849 639 (h) Hayes Township 554 (i) Holland Township 367 (j) Hope Township 647 (k) Jefferson Township 667 (l) Liberty Township 398 893 (m) Lincoln Township incl. Solomon City 894 (n) Logan Township 469 (o) Newbern Township 583 640 (p) Noble Township 553 (q) Ridge Township 405 (r) Sherman Township 177 440 (s) Union Township 574 677 (t) Wheatland Township 816 (u) Willowdale Township 601 ----------------------------------------------------- 2,581 12,251 Enterprise City 411 Solomon City 618 a) Organized in 1877, from part of Jefferson. b) Organized in 1873, from part of Grant. c) In 1873 name changed from Lamb. d) Organized in 1873, from part of Grant. e) Organized in 1879, from part of Willowdale. f) Organized in 1880, from part of Sherman. g) Parts detached in 1873, to form Buckeye and Cheever. h) Organized in 1877, from part of Noble. i) Organized in 1873, from parts of Lincoln and Newbern. In 1878, a part detached to form Wheatland. j) Organized in 1872, from part of Ridge. k) Organized in 1873, from part of Newbern. In 1877, part detached to form Banner. l) Organized in 1873, from part of Union. m) In 1872, part detached to form Willowdale; in 1873, part to form Holland. n) Organized in 1877, from parts of Newbern and Union. o) In 1872, part detached to form Ridge; in 1873, parts to form Holland and from Jefferson; in 1877, part to form Logan. p) Organized in 1873, from parts of Lamb and Union. In 1877, part detached to form Hayes. q) Organized in 1872, from parts of Newbern and Union. In 1872, part detached to form Hope. r) In 1880, part detached to form Fragrant Hill. s) In 1872, part detached to form Ridge; in 1873, parts to form Liberty and Noble; in 1877, part to Noble. t) Organized in 1878, from part of Holland. u) Organized in 1872, from part of Lincoln. In 1879, part detached to form Flora.