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


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


In an old volume published in Washington in 1856, is a report of the troubles of the "border ruffian" times, with the detailed accounts of various residents of Doniphan County, of the withdrawal of the Free-state ticket, and the workings of the party who came from Missouri to elect a ticket for Kansans of this county. A. A. Jamison, being sworn, was examined by Gov. Reeder and gave the following testimony:

"I was at the election of March 30, 1855, at the Burr Oak precinct. On the 29th day of the month, in the afternoon, towards evening, some ten or dozen wagons came over the ferry from St. Joseph's to the place and camped upon the ground west of the place. They brought provisions with them. There was a firing of firearms during the evening until late in the night. I saw them passing as I was at the road. The next morning the firing began again. I went up to the place of voting early in the morning, and they soon began to come in from St. Joseph and continued coming; I did not count them but as near as I can make an estimate of the numbers who were not citizens of the precinct, I should judge there were something like two hundred. They were well armed with rifles, pistols, bowie knives, and even 'war clubs' as they termed them. About fifteen minutes before the polls were opened, the candidates of the Free-state party proclaimed that the whole party would be withdrawn and the Pro-slavery party could have the field to themselves. Gen. Stringfellow, of Weston, was there - I was not acquainted with him but he was pointed out to me by those who said they knew him - stepped up to Major Fee, who was a Free-state candidate, and asked him to get up on the fence and proclaim it aloud so that the party might hear him. He did so, and there seemed to be great rejoicing, hats flying, hallooing, etc. There were two opposing candidates of the Pro-slavery party for the council, Maj. William P. Richardson and Capt. John H. Whitehead. Capt. Whitehead mounted a stump and made a speech * * * (sic) and requested the Missourians to stand back and let the actual residents of the district settle the question between him and Major Richardson, as the field was then clear. The voting commenced and was continued from that time till sundown. There was a party selected, towards evening, of good fighting men to stand and protect the polls until they were closed, and they saw all was right. Their reason for forming such a party, as they said themselves, was that they were afraid the Free-state men would come in and vote towards evening. No reply was made to the proposal that the Missourians on the grounds should stand back and not interfere with the voting of actual residents, and Major Richardson in his testimony swears that he did not see a single Missourian cast a ballot. On the other side, many of the residents of the county swear positively that the men from the Missouri side of the river were the principal voters, and Hon. Willard P. Hall, now and then a resident of St. Joseph, acknowledges seeing several Missourians vote. After the withdrawal of the Free-state party there could be no struggle except between the opposing factions of the Pro-slavery men, and in that Missouri was not so strongly interested."


In the early days of the county a craze for new towns took possession of the settlers. Almost everyone had his pet town project as, a little later, many had their railroad hobbies. Among the first of these was Charlestown, which was taken by a stock company consisting of Michael Bird, Isaac S. Jones, Miles W. Brown, A. G. Clarke, Charles F. Holly, E. W. Wood, and Charles B. Hamilton. Charlestown was located on the northeast quarter of Section 22, Township 2, Range 21. In their petition the owners of the new town "pray the court to make the proper entry at the nearest land office." This town reached some little prosperity and had twelve or fifteen houses - a respectable size for the times - but was finally vacated and is now a farm.

In September, 1857, a petition was filed by T. H. McCulloch, H. Miles Moore, James Skinner, Thomas Bell, Daniel Bauman, Henry Wilson, Robert Hayes, James Craft, David Cowger, J. W. Wilson, and Philip Rush, for the location of a town to be known as Columbus City. This town had already been located, having been laid out on May 25, 1857, on the southeast quarter of Section 20, and the southwest quarter of Section 21, in Township 2, Range 22. This town had some growth, and was for a number of years assessed as a town site, but has been long since vacated.

Evansville was located on the north half of Section 25, Township 3, and Range 21. The projector of this town was Col. D. M. Johnston, who filed his claim on June 1, 1857, in behalf of the proprietors, the Evansville Town Company. The proper filings were made by Hon. Joel P. Blair in the land office in Doniphan. With this entry the town's official record ends, and it is extremely doubtful if it ever came into being.

Lafayette was laid out on December 23, 1856, by J. B. McAllister, C. F. Bowron and Thomas B. Glenn. It comprised the land on two fractional parts of sections. These were the east half of Section 14, Township 2, Range 20, and southwest quarter of Section 13, of the same Township. Like so many projected towns, Lafayette never achieved actual existence of any notable amount.


In the summer of 1855, the first Territorial Legislature divided Kansas into counties establishing the boundaries of Doniphan substantially as they exist at present. Governor Reeder's proclamation issued November 8, 1854 divided the territory into sixteen election districts. What is now Doniphan County was designated the "Fourteenth Council District," with three voting precincts - Doniphan, Wolf Creek, and Burr Oak. James R. Whitehead, constable of this district, was commissioned November 25, 1854 as the first officer of Doniphan County. After the county was created by territorial enactment in the summer of 1855 the Court of Commissioners duly met September 18, 1855, and elected Mr. Whitehead County Clerk, ex officio Clerk of the Probate Court and Recorder of Deeds. Joel P. Blair, Alex. Dunning and E. V. B. Rogers were the commissioners present. Places for holding the election in October for delegate to Congress were designated, and the judges appointed. It was also ordered that an election for Brown County be held at the house of W. C. Foster, on the south fork of the Nemaha.

The commissioners appointed by the Territorial Legislature to locate the seat of justice of Doniphan County met at Whitehead on the 11th and 12th of October, and driving a stake in the southwest quarter of Section 17, Washington Township, inscribed on one side thereof "The County Seat of Doniphan County is located on this quarter section," and on the other they signed their names - A. Payne and Thos. J. B. Cramer, on October 12. Pursuant to order James F. Foreman had, by November, laid off eighty acres of the county seat (named the town of Troy) into lots, and surveyed the public square of three hundred feet "upon the summit of the eminence near where the commissioners erected a stake," A public sale of lots was therefore ordered for January 1, 1856, one-third cash.

On December 17, 1855, the County Commissioners authorized the Clerk to advertise for bids for constructing a one story court-house, 36x20 ft., with an "L" 18 ft. square, to be completed by the third Monday in April, and a jail 20 ft. square, two stories, to be finished by the third Monday in June, 1856. The Time for opening bids was postponed, but the contract for building the court-house was awarded to B. O'Driscoll in April for $1,760. The building was completed in the winter of 1856-57.

In June 1860, bids for the construction of a new court-house were invited, and those of J. J. Johnson and Edwin Straughn, of St., Joseph, Mo., were accepted. Work was at once begun, and the edifice which stood on the northern portion of the "square" was rapidly pushed to completion. In this building all county business was transacted until its destruction by fire in 1867. It also was used as a jail.

The present court-house was built immediately upon the loss of its predecessor and is one of the largest of its class. It stands in the center of the square. On the lower floor are the offices of the County Clerk, County Treasurer, Probate Judge and Recorder of Deeds. On the second story are the County Court room, and the offices of the Clerk of the District Court and Prosecuting Attorney. A few years since, the lack of suitable vaults was so severely felt that an addition was built upon the west of the main building for this purpose. This addition was carried up two stories and the upper part furnished the library room of the Young Ladies Library Association.


On February 18, 1856. the County Commissioners issued a license to Jesse & Blackiston to run a ferry across the Missouri at St. Joseph, and fixed the rates of toll to be charged. This apparently arbitrary measure was enforced in the cases of all who undertook similar business at the time, and was intended to prevent over charges and the consequent diversion of travel to other routes.

On May 19 of this year. the commissioners licensed Timothy Bancroft, of Wathena, to run a grocery for twelve months from date, and assessed him thirty dollars for this privilege; other grocers were licensed, shortly after, at the rate of twenty dollars per year.

On May 5 the boundaries of the first four school districts, all in Township 3, Range 22 were thus defined:

No. 1. - From the northwest corner of the township, east three miles and one-half; south three miles and one-half, thence west to the west line of the township.

No. 2. - From the southwest corner of the township east four miles, thence south two and one-half miles to the Missouri River, thence along the river to the center of the town of Whitehead, thence to the southeast corner of the town, west to the township line and south to the point of beginning.

No. 3. - From the northwest corner of district one east to the Missouri, south along the river to the northeast corner of the town of Whitehead, thence south to the initial point.

No. 4. - From the northeast corner of district two, south to the south east corner of the same, east to the township line, north to the Missouri and thence to the place of starting.

At the same time the County Surveyor was ordered to survey the west line of Doniphan and the south and west line of Brown County.

At the June, 1859, term of the County Commissioners, the following is reported: "Geo. S. Hough and D. W. Wilder, being duly sworn, depose and say the on this 14th day of June, A. D. 1859, they delivered to A. Larzelere, chairman of County Board, the following counterfeit bills: One hundred and seventy-nine $10 bills on the Bank of Commerce, Cleveland, Ohio; six $10 bills on the Northwestern Bank, Virginia; twelve $5 bills on the Central Bank. Connecticut; and deponents further say, that with the said A. Larzelere, they threw into the Missouri River the following bogus coin: Two hundred and ninety-five half dollars, three hundred and thirty-five dollars, and one hundred and fourteen two and one-half dollar pieces, and that they left with Geo. S. Hough a portion of one galvanic battery."

These bills were presented to the Board of Supervisors of Doniphan County, and being found to agree with the report, were destroyed by the sheriff in the presence of the board.

On the books of the Register of Deeds of the county, is spread a curious deed, bearing the date of March 1,1859, which serves to point an explanation of some phases of the county history. It reads as follows: "Know all men by these presents that the Doniphan Town Company, for and in consideration of inducing Robert Graham, late member of the legislature, to leave the Town of Doniphan to them in hand, paid, by S. C. Pomeroy, of Atchison, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have remised, released and quit claimed, and by these presents do remise, release and quit claim unto the said S. C. Pomeroy, and to his heirs and assigns forever, all our right, title, estate, interest, claim and demand in possession, or in expectancy of, in and to the following described land: * * * lots one and two in block seventy-four. Signed by J. W. Shepard, agent D. T. E. Co." This Graham was a strong Pro-slavery man, and in his course in the legislature had made himself so obnoxious to the people of his town as to secure their hearty connection that the place was too small to hold both. Many of the towns started at an early day were simply due to political opinion. There were Free-state and Pro-slavery towns in which a man of the opposite stripe could find himself in a regular Nessus shirt.


The first County or Probate Judge of this county, was Joel P. Blair, appointed August 27, 1855, by Governor Shannon. He was followed by Augustus J. Allison, elected in 1857; Lyman Nash, 1858; A. A. Daugherty, 1859; J. B. Maynard, 1861; J. C. Gordon, 1864; R. Wilkinson, 1872, and J. F. Wilson, in 188O. The latter is still in office.

The first County Clerk was James L. Whitehead, appointed in 1855, by Governor Shannon. His successors were elected as follows: Egbert M. Lee, 1857; H. Boder, Jr., 1859; F. J. Jenkins, 1861; Charles Rappelye, 1863; J. T. Kirwan, 1867; Charles Rappelye, 1871; D. W. Morse, 1877. Mr. Morse was re-elected in 1879 and 1881, and is still in office.

Robert J. Porter was elected County Treasurer in 1857; E. S. Dans, 1859; F. M. Tracy, 1863; Charles Rappelye, 1867; O. Craig, 1869; Robert Tracy, 1871; R. Flickinger, 1875, S. N. Johnson, 1879 and 1881.

The first Register of Deeds was E. M. Lee, elected in 1859. He was followed by B. Harding, elected in 1861; D. McIntosh, 1865; A. Hargan, 1873; F. H. Drenning, 1875; J. P. Hampson, 1877; E F. Dixon, 1879 and 1881.

Cary B. Whitehead was made Sheriff on August 27, 1855. and was succeeded by the following: S. V. Jameson, 1857; Joseph Randolph, 1859 (to fill vacancy); R. J. Porter 1859; George S. Hough, 1860; W. D. Beeler, 1861; E. G. Crabb, 1863; B. S. Campbell, 1867; S. Maquilken, 1871; T. J. Vanderslice, 1873; Charles Burkhalter 1875; N. C. Bailey 1881.

The first record of the Clerk of the District Court mentions James R. Whitehead as Deputy. This was in 1855. H. Boder, Jr., was elected in 1861; J. M. Stirgis, in 1864; Frank Brown, in 1866, and F. J. Close in 1878. The latter is still in office.


The Doniphan County Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Association was chartered under the State law on January 5, 1867. The capital stock was placed at $5,000, and shares at $5 each, but were very shortly placed at $10. A Board of Directors was elected, and numbered fifteen. The first fair was held In August, 1868. The grounds of the association embrace twenty-one and sixty-five one-hundredths acres, located one and one- quarter miles south of Troy, and were purchased of J. N. Zimmerman for $1,640. Upon them the association has erected a floral hall, of circular shape, 100 feet in diameter. Ample stalls for horses have been built, and a half mile track laid out. The improvements of all sorts, exclusive of the track, are valued at $3,000. On three sides the ground is enclosed by a well kept hedge, and on the fourth is a high board fence. Shade trees have been planted liberally, and are already of sufficient size to be useful, From the grounds can be had a fine new of the Missouri bluffs and St. Joseph, while inland in full new lies a beautiful vista of fertile fields, stretching away to the north, south and west for a number of miles. The first President of the association was B. O'Driscoll. The first Secretary, William H. Nesbit. Mr. Nesbit held the office but a short time, and was followed by J. N. Zimmerman, who in turn was succeeded by J. A. Oder. In 1873, A. W. Beale, now of the chief office, assumed the position, and held it until 1877, when the present Secretary, T. W. Heatley, was elected. The present directors of the society are: R. Flickinger, J. N. Zimmerman, Cyrus Leland, Jr., M. R. Townsend, C. O. Turkelson, J. P. Johnson, William Chapple, T. W. Heatley, N. B. Wood, Lucas Fetter, John F. Wilson, C. Maynard, R. P. Shulsky, J. Hoverson, Edward Ege, Thomas Henshell and W. H. Deckard. For a number of years, Cyrus Leland, Jr., has acted as general superintendent, but at the last election he was made president, and John F. Wilson, the present Probate Judge, took his place. Financially, the association has been both well managed and fortunate. None of the annual fairs have failed to show a balance of profit and besides the property at the fair ground, valued at $5,000, there is a surplus of between $300 and $400. The yearly premium foots up fully $700 and in no case has it been scaled or paid pro rata. The last fair took place in September, 1881. That of 1882 surpassed its predecessors, and the association may well feel proud of its enviable success. While sustaining itself it has done work for the farmers of the county that it would be hard to fully estimate.


The first State Legislature convened on March 26, 1861 and contained as representatives of Doniphan County, T. A. Osborn, of Elwood, and H. N. Seaver, in the Senate, and F. W. Emery, T. P. Herrick, W. C. Kimber and A. Low, in the House. Since that time those elected to the Senate are as follows: 1861 - T. A. Osborn and H. N. Seaver; 1863 - Sol. Miller and A. Bennett; 1865 - J. T. Lane and F. H. Drenning; 1866 - Sol. Miller and F. H. Drenning; 1867 - A. Low and N. G. Clark; 1868 - A. Low and N. G. Clark; 1869 - E. J. Jenkins and W. H. Smallwood; 1870 - E. J. Jenkins and W. H. Smallwood; 1871 - Sol. Miller and J. Wood; 1872 - Sol. Miller and J. Wood; 1873 - N. Price; 1874 - N. Price; 1875 - C. G. Bridges; 1876 - C. G. Bridges; 1877 - R. M. Williams; 1878 - R. M. Williams; 1879 - R. M. Williams; 1880 - R. M. Williams; 1881 - R. M. Williams; 1882 - R. M. Williams.

The names of the Representatives elected are as follows: 1862 - Sol. Miller, Jas. Penny, Ed. Russell, F. Grube; 1863 - J. P. Johnson, N. C. Clark, E. Russell, W. H. Harrison, J. W. Forman; 1864 - J. P. Johnson, W. J. Orem, F. H. Drenning, C. C. Camp, J. W. Forman; 1865 - D. Detrick, D. L Payne, E. Russell, C. Leland, Jr., A. Low; 1866 - C. E. Fox, R. H. Montgomery, L. Nash, N. Harrington, F. E. Mix; 1867 - W. R. Parker, G. H. Robb, B. D. Evans, E. J. Jenkins, R. Flickinger; 1868 - T. J. Vanderslice, H. C. Moore, W. H. Smallwood, E. J. Jenkins, J. H. Philbrick; 1869 - J. S. Martin, G. W. Wood, A. J. Mowry, H. C. Hawkins, D. Whitaker; 1870 - S. F. Nesbitt, A. Hazen, A. J. Mowry, E. H. LeDuc, D. Whitaker; 1871 - T. H. Moore, A. Bennett, A. J. Mowry, S. G. Whitaker, J. B. Kennedy; 1872 - T. M. Pierce, R. C. Mailler, Ed. Searcy, B. F. Bowron; 1873 - M. J. Bowers, B. O'Driscoll, E. Searcy, B. F. Bowron; 1874 - N. Springer, X. K. Stout, F. H. Drenning; 1875 - G. A. Briggs, M. F. Landon, J. L. Motter; 1876 - A. S. Campbell, M. C. Reville, A. J. Mowry; 1877 - J. S. Long, R. Tracy, P. Manville; 1878 - J. S. Long, R. Tracy, P. Manville; 1879 - P. Kelly, J. B. Kennedy, A. J. Selover; 1880 - P. Kelly, J. B. Kennedy, A. J. Selover; 1881 - J. F. Dunwoody, G. V. Hagerman, Jas. Dans; 1882 - J. F. Dunwoody, G. V. Hagerman, Jas. Dans.

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