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


[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]


The Ellsworth County Agricultural Mechanical and Fair Association was organized in 1877, for the purpose of advancing the agricultural, horticultural and mechanical interests of the county, and to carry out the objects of the association. Fairs are held annually, at which are exhibited stock, agricultural and horticultural products, cereals, products of the mechanical arts, and the various products of the garden and farm. The fair ground of the association contains forty acres, and is surrounded by a board fence. It is located about one-half mile east of Ellsworth, and about one-fourth of a mile north of the railway track. It is situated on the open prairie, with neither a tree nor bush on the premises. Necessary buildings, stalls and sheds have been erected to accommodate exhibitors, and there is also a good one-half mile track for the convenience of those who wish to interest themselves in trials of speed. Liberal premiums are offered to those who are the successful competitors in the various departments which they enter, and paid to those to whom they are awarded. The fair of 1882 was a grand success, the receipts more than paying all premiums and expenses. The association is under the management of a board of directors, and the present officers are: M. D. Morse, president; A. O. Whaley, secretary, and H. F. Hoesman, treasurer.

The manufactories in the county are very limited in number, and are confined, chiefly, to flouring mills, of which there are five in the county, but on this number there are only four in operation, the other one being just about completed and ready to start. The first mill in the county was built by Foster and Everett in 1876, at the town of Ellsworth. Late in 1879 it was completely destroyed by fire, all that was left of it being the four walls, which were of stone. In the following year it was re-built, and has been in operation since that time. It is a small mill, having only two run of stone, and is operated by steam. It represents a capital of $6,000, and employs six hands.

The next mill erected was by Getty & Larkin in 1879, at Ellsworth. This is the largest mill in the county, and was built at a cost of $12,000. It has five run of stone and one roller, and is fitted up with the latest improved machinery. It gives employment to ten hands.

Latshaw & Bro. erected the next mill in the county, at Wilson. It is a three-run mill and does an immense business for one of its size. It was built in 1880, and supplies a very extensive region with flour. To meet the demands upon it, the proprietors have to run it night and day to its fullest capacity.

A small mill has just been completed and put in operation in the vicinity of Green Garden, and still another has been erected at a small village in the southern portion of the county, named Cain City, which will be ready to be set in motion in the course of a few weeks.

The manufacturing establishment in which the greatest amount of capital is invested, is the sugar-mill at Ellsworth, which was erected in 1881. The amount invested is $25,000. But little has been done yet towards the manufacture of sugar; what little has been done in that direction being more of a test of the works then for profit. There was manufactured in the mill, however, during 1882, thirty thousand gallons of amber cane syrup, pronounced as fine as ever was put upon the market. This mill, as also every other in the county, is operated by steam.

About a mile east of Ellsworth, on the railway line, B. S. Rice has a cheese and butter factory, in which $6,000 are invested. There are two or three creameries in the count, the most important of which is that owned by George Gibson, about five miles east of Ellsworth. This creamery is fitted up with everything necessary to facilitate and perfect the manufacture of butter, of which immense quantities are manufactured, all of which is shipped to the Western market.


The educational interests are among those to which people, generally, pay the most attention, and the people of Ellsworth County have been no way backward in manifesting an earnest desire for the advancement of education. Whenever, and wherever, it has been found necessary to build a schoolhouse for the accommodation of children in the neighborhood, though few in number, it has been erected. There are in the county sixty-six schoolhouses, of which one is brick, twenty stone, and forty-five frame. Excepting those at Ellsworth ands Wilson, they are all located on the prairie, without a tree to shelter them from the storms of winter, or protect the children, in their minutes of amusements, from the burning sun of summer. Naked and exposed they stand, a great many of them without even as much as a fence. In a country where trees are of such easy growth, there can be no excuse for not protecting both the schoolhouses and the children who attend them, by sheltering groves. The number of school children enrolled in 1882 was nearly one hundred less than the number enrolled in 1881. This would indicate a decrease in population, and is accounted for by the fact that parties coming into the county, are desirous of establishing extensive ranches, buy out the settlers, who move away to other counties an States. These transactions have chiefly taken place in the eastern portion of the county, and last year two school districts, in which there were about fifty school children, were, in this manner, completely wiped out. The school population of the county in 1882, between the age of five and twenty-one years, was 2,971, being 1,546 males and 1,425 females. The total number of pupils enrolled, was 2,198, of which 1,116 were males and 1,077 females. Of this number the average daily attendance was 1,465, the males and females being about equal, the former being 747, and the latter 718. The total number of teachers required to supply the schools in the county, was eighty-two, but only sixty-two were employed, forty of whom were females, and twenty-two males. The average salary paid to teachers was: Males, $25.73, and females, $19.72. There were, during the year ending July 31, 1882, seventy-one applicants for teachers' certificates, none of whom were rejected, their average age being nineteen years. Of the seventy-one certificates granted, six were of the first grade, forty of the second, and twenty-five of the third. The receipts for all school purposes during the year, including the balance on hand at the close of the year preceding, was $17,137.82; and the amount expended was $15,878.64, leaving a balance on hand on July 31, 1882, of $1,259.18. The difference between the estimated value of school buildings and grounds in the county, and the bonded indebtedness is $14,464, the former being $39,760, and the latter $25,296. The schools, generally, are well furnished with seats, desks, globes, maps, charts, and other apparatus to aid the teacher and pupils, and facilitate the imparting of instruction.

The following statistics, taken from the latest returns made by the respective Township Assessors for 1882, will show how the county has advanced in material wealth during the decade of its existence, because, virtually, there was little or no agricultural settlement in the county until 1872, and even later. The statistical record in the County Clerk's office shows that the number of acres in farms in the county in 1882 was 237,188, the value of which is set down at $1,528,432. There were ninety farm dwellings erected during the year, valued at $38,510. The number of acres sown to spring wheat in 1882, was 2,306; corn, 36,191; barley, 269; oats, 5,217; buckwheat, 65; Irish potatoes, 469; sweet potatoes, 49; sorghum, 2092; castor beans, 33; flax 30; broom corn, 340; millet and Hungarian, 1,795; pearl millet, 31; rice corn, 164. The number of acres of grass in cultivation and under fence, were as follows: Timothy meadow, 125; clover meadow, 22; clover pasture, 20; other grasses, 436; and prairie pasture, 38,474. There were cut in 1882, tame hay to the amount of 9,871 tones, and of prairie hay, 7,421 tons. The value of garden produce marketed during the year ending March 1, 1882, was $2,044, and eggs and poultry were marketed to the amount of $8,305. The cheese product amounted to 33,265 pounds, and butter to 188,252 pounds. There were in the county 3,118 horses, 445 mules and asses, 2,946 milch cows, 8,768 other cattle, 16,880 sheep, and 6,263 swine. The value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter, amounted to $138,765, and the wool clipped was 72,072 pounds. The interest taken in horticulture was represented by the following number of fruit trees in bearing: Apple, 702; pear, 105; peach, 11,717; plum, 565; cherry, 612. Not in bearing: Apple, 14,343; pear, 1,594; peach, 37,091; plum, 2,980; and cherry, 2,573. The fences of the county represent a value of about $140,000, proportioned as to kind as follows: Board fence, 3,250 rods; rail, 2,062; stone, 9,132; hedge, 24,918; wire, 56,018. Forestry is receiving some attention in the county, the number of acres devoted to this interest, in 1882, being as follows: Walnut, 220 acres; maple 73; honey locust, 25; cottonwood, 617; and other varieties, 368, making an aggregate of 1,303 acres. A good evidence of the adaptability of the soil to arboriculture (sic) is given on the farm of W. S. Gile, who resides on Section 26, Township 16, Range 6 west. It is what is called a bottom farm, the "Colonel" having settled upon it eleven years ago. Since then he has set out with his own hands 30,000 trees of different varieties, the oldest of which is now ten years old. Some of these are forty feet high and eighteen inches in diameter, and all are in a good, healthy condition.


The following is a list of the post-offices of the county, with their postmasters:

Alum Creek     | Empire      | Mrs. S. B. Luni.
Ashmead        | Green Garden| H. B. Mohlman.
Ben's Ranch    | Empire      | W. McLaughlin.
Black Wolf     | Columbia    | Phil Jung.
Bluffville     | Empire      | ____ Williams.
Bradley Springs|   "         | H. W. Coonkete.
Delight        |   "         | ____ Wiesbach.
*Ellsworth     | Ellsworth   | Z. Jackson.
Fairsville     | Empire      | Mrs. H. V. Faris.
Fort Harker    |   "         | H. Johnson.
Green Valley   | Valley      | John Cain.
Hollyrood      |   "         | Ed. Sternberg.
Mule Creek     | Empire      | Wesley Lovens.
Palacky        | Valley      | W. F. Seckaveck.
Tatonka        | Columbia    | A. O. Whaley.
Terra Cotta    | Empire      | S. Loomis.
Trivoli        |   "         | L. R. Johnson.
Venango        |   "         | Mrs. R. A. Stuart.
Wilson         | Wilson      | J. W. Briggs.
Yordy          | Empire      | A. G. McGill.
* County Seat

[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]