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


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


Franklin County was included in the tract of landed ceded to the Great and Little Osage Indians, November 10, 1808, and re-ceded by them to the government in 1825.

On the 30th day of August, 1831, a treaty was concluded between the "Ottoways" (Ottawas) and the Government of the United States, which treaty was ratified April 6, 1832, by the terms of which the Ottawas, numbering about two hundred, and residing on Blanchard's fork of the Great Auglaize River, and at Oquanoxa's village on the Little Auglaize River in Ohio, ceded to the United States two tracts of land, containing 21,760 acres, and received in exchange for the same a tract of land in Franklin County, containing 34,000 acres, to be located adjoining the south or west line of the reservation granted to the Shawnees of Missouri and Ohio.

By the same treaty, a second band of Ottawa Indians, residing at, and near the places called Roche de Boeuf and Wolf Rapids, on the Miami River, of Lake Erie, within the State of Ohio, ceded to the United States two tracts of land, containing in the aggregate 28,157 acres, and received in exchange therefor 40,000 acres adjoining the lands assigned to the Blanchard's Fork and Oquanoxa's village Indians mentioned above.

These two bands of Ottawas received therefor, in the aggregate, within the present limits of Franklin County, 68,157 acres of land. The tract was situated very nearly in the center of the county, and in shape was nearly in the proportion of ten by twelve miles. The Blanchard's Fork band came to their reservation in 1836, and were soon followed by the Roche de Boeuf band.

The chief of the first band was Notno, the chief of the second was Com Chaw. Shortly after arriving at their new homes the two bands united under one chief, Com Chaw, continuing to elect him to that position until his death. Besides this chief they had a second or subordinate chief, a council, a constable, assessor and collector, the taxes collected being used for the purpose of defraying the expenses of government.

Their subsistence for the first year after their arrival was provided by the Government. During this year they built bark huts in the woods in which they lived until taught by Rev. Jotham Meeker, who met them at Kansas City, and led them to their reservation, to cut logs and make log huts, in which art they soon acquired considerable skill. To aid them in the construction of these houses the Government loaned to the first band $2,000, which was to be paid when the lands in Ohio ceded to the Government was sold; and to protect them from the weather while their houses were building, the same Government gave them "Russian Sheeting sufficient for tents for their whole band" as well as other necessities.

The Roche de Boeuf band were similarly aided to make their settlement and homes.

The change in climate proved quite unfavorable to their health. Chills and fever, common in uncultivated countries, carried off in a few years half of their original number, notwithstanding the watchfulness and diligence of Rev. Jotham and Mrs. Meeker. These and other troubles incident to a new country being overcome, they made considerable progress in agriculture, and gained considerable educational and religious knowledge.

The great flood of 1844 destroyed a great deal of their property, and was a great disaster and hindrance to their progress. After the subsidence of the water, they removed their houses, which had been built in the valley of the Marais des Cygnes for the most part, to the high ground, log by log; afterwards making even more rapid progress than before the flood.

It is interesting to note some of their laws, which may have contributed largely to this result. One of these laws prohibited theft; another, slander; another, the retention of a borrowed article beyond a specified time; another, prohibited the selling or giving away of intoxicating liquors; another, fining drunkards, $5 for the first offense, $10 for the second, and for the third offense the guilty party was to be turned over for punishment under the laws of the United States.

During the first year there were no conversions. In the second year, David Green experienced religion, and became of great assistance to *Mr. Meeker in his labors among the tribe. After becoming somewhat enlightened, they observed the Sabbath with great strictness.

*See biography of Rev. Jotham Meeker, in sketch of the Ottawa tribe.

On June 24, 1862, a treaty was made with the Ottawas, by which they were to become citizens of the United States in 1867. By the same treaty, each head of a family received 160 acres, and other members of the tribe, eighty acres of land in fee simple, and, in order to provide for the education of their posterity, twenty thousand acres of land were set apart, for the purpose of endowing a school, and in addition, one section of land for a school site, said school to be for the exclusive and perpetual use of the Ottawa Indians and their posterity.

The Piankeshaws, Weas and Peorias, by the treaty of October 29, 1832, had set apart a reservation which, in Franklin County, included a tract in the east part, about twelve by fifteen miles in extent, embracing Peoria Township, about one-half of Franklin Township, and about two miles of the north end of Cutler Township.

By the treaty of February 23, 1867, this tribe of Indians agreed to dispose of their allotments in Kansas, and to remove to a new reservation in the Indian Territory within two years. By this treaty the adult Indians were allowed to sell their own lands, and the chiefs to sell the lands of minors and incompetents.

The Sacs and Foxes .--On the 18th of February, 1867, a treaty was made between the Sacs and Foxes and the United States, by which that confederated band ceded to the United States their remaining lands in Franklin County, and received in exchange a tract of land in the Indian Territory south of the Cherokee lands, not exceeding 750,000 acres in extent. In July, this treaty was ratified and immediately thereafter, the lands were thrown open to entry and settlement.

The Chippewas and Munsees .--In 1854, the Chippewas, about three hundred in number, were removed to a small reservation lying immediately west of the Ottawa reserve. Their reserve was about seven miles long by two and a half miles wide. In 1860, the Munsees or Christian Indians, about fifty in number, joined the Chippewas. The reservation has been reduced in size from time to time until now it contains seven sections, or 4,480 acres, one-half in Greenwood, and one-half in Lincoln Township.

The Indians on this reserve now number sixty-three, only one of whom, Edward McCoonts, is an original Chippewa. The total number of Chippewas is twenty-six, and of the Munsees thirty-seven. Two of those counted as Chippewas were originally Ottawas.

The members of this confederated tribe hold their land in severalty without right of alienation, except to other members of the tribe, and this only with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior. A few of them are good farmers, and qualified intellectually to become citizens, but the most of them prefer to subsist by days' work, and upon their small annuity, than to cultivate their little farms. The government holds in trust for them $42,000, five per cent, interest on their annuity.

They were under the Sac and Fox agency until that tribe was moved from the county, since which time they have been attached to the Pottawatomie Agency.

The missionaries (Moravians) among them have been Rev. G. F. Oehler who came out with the Munsees; Rev. Joseph Romig from 1861 to 1870; Rev. Levi Rickseeker, 1870 to 1880; Rev. C. R. Kinsey commencing in 1880. About twenty-five of the Indians are members of the church, which is sustained by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the Heathen. A school is taught by the missionary about six months each year.


Owing to the fact that most of the land in Franklin County was occupied by a number of different tribes of Indians, the titles to those reservations were not extinguished until 1862, 1864 and 1867, the settlement of the county was not so early as that of adjoining counties. Along the northern edge, however, on what was known as the "Shawnee purchase," a strip of land about three miles wide, the Shawnee title to which was extinguished by the treaty of May 10, 1854, a number of the settlements were made in that year.

The first settler in the county was Reuben Hackett, who located near the west line of what is now Hayes Township, on June 7, 1854, on the west branch of the Ottawa Creek, and near the north line of the county. Amos Hanna moved in about the same time. Quite a number of others came into this part of the county during the same year, among them, Rev. William Moore and four or five sons, who settled about a mile east of the present location of Norwood. In 1857, quite a large number had settled on West Branch: Jacob, John, Lemen, William and Elville Copple; Rudolph Miller and seven sons; William Hackett, C. P. Sherman, Louis Allison, Daniel Heverlain, a Mr. Craven, William Sutton, Daniel Storrs, Jesse and John Moore, a Mr. Wright, F. M. Hodges, Thomas Mewhinney, Jacob Brunck and David Hodges; and on the east branch of Ottawa Creek, Esquire Merchant, Calvin and John Leonard and John Heck.

The first settlers in Appanoose Township were Missourians, who came in 1856; C. Shrimp, Washington Baker, James Cleveland and Mr. Foster were of the number. In 1857, Daniel Dean, T. H. Tutcher, Henry Hour, and James Belly settled on the west branch of Appanoose Creek, and on the middle branch, Moses Beamed, J. A. W. Wadsworth, and the widow Critchfield. In 1858, there were added to the above the following persons: Thomas Tutcher, Sr., Alfred Tutcher, M. St. John, W. Beard, J. W. Davis, John Logan and H. Gilbert.

Sometime after this township was settled, J. H. Whetstone conceived the idea of establishing a colony on its western part. To this end he purchased a tract of land north of the Marais des Cygnes, and mostly in a solid body, containing about fifteen thousand acres. This purchase was made in 1869. In 1870, S. T. Kelsey became associated with Mr. Whetstone. They then proceeded to lay out their purchase into small farms, with the view of selling to parties designing to become actual settlers, and thus collect together a colony, each one of whom should own a farm or village lot. To provide for those who might prefer village life, the town of Pomona was platted and laid out in 1870. Appanoose Township was organized May 17, 1871. It was formed out of part of Centropolis Township and part of the Sac and Fox reservation.

The land now included in Harrison Township, in the center of the county was thrown open to settlement in 1865, when the Ottawas were removed. The Indian lands were generally sold to the highest bidder, very little being purchased by speculators.

The first settler was Enoch Pyle, in the fall of 1865. Later in the same year, or in the spring of 1866, the following parties came into the township: John Howell, Mr. Hood, James Hill, J. R. Dailey, Mr. Spencer and Michael Hornbeck. In 1866 these were followed by W. L. John and Thomas Harrison, Henry and Jacob Fouts, E. Walker, Mr. Smith and Charles Howell; in 1867 by N. Latimer, G. W. Castzdafner, Joseph Guy, Mr. Greeves, Mr. Skeeles, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Payne and Dr. Van Schoick. During 1868 there was a large influx of immigration, and this locality became quite thickly settled. Harrison Township was organized, being taken in part from the Ottawa Reservation and in part from Ohio Township. J. R. Daley built the first stone house on the Ottawa Reserve outside of Ottawa. A schoolhouse was built in the Fouts neighborhood. It has since been replaced by a stone one. The first breaking and fencing in the township was done by Enoch Pyle and the Harrisons. The first settlement in Centropolis Township was made on Eight Mile Creek, in 1854, near the present site of Centropolis. This was on the land opened up to settlement by the treaty on May 10, 1854 with the Shawnee Indians.

This pioneer party of settlers consisted of about fifteen members, whose names, as far as can be ascertained, are as follows: Joab M. Bernard, Timothy Keizer, Jacob Clark, I. C. Hughes, Thomas Doty, John F. Javens, Franklin Barnes, Johnson Farris, Perry Fuller, Leander McClellan, John E. McClellan and Mansfield Carter. They arrived and camped on Eight Mile Creek on the evening of June 26. In the morning it was proposed to take a vote on the question of whether Kansas should be a free or slave State; all voting for a free State but two, Joab M. Bernard and Timothy Keizer. This matter being settled, each member settled on his claim. J. M. Bernard's being immediately east of and adjoining the present town site of Centropolis. This was on the 27th of June. John F. Javens built the first cabin on Eight Mile Creek near Centropolis and Perry Fuller built on the town site. The first election these settlers attended was in the fall of 1854, at what is now Prairie City, in Douglas County; but finding the polls in the hands of Missourians, they returned home without voting. The first birth in Centropolis Township was that of Sarah C. Hughes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Hughes, March 22, 1855; the first marriage that of Edwin Fusman to Mrs. Nancy Leverton, about April 1, 1855, and the first death that of Mrs. William E. Crum in the winter of 1855-6.

Sometime early in 1855, J. M. Bernard opened a store on his quarter section, and on the 3d of March was appointed Postmaster, the postoffice being appropriately named after him, St. Bernard. The people thenceforth obtained their mail at St. Bernard instead of at Kansas City, until 1858, when a postoffice was established at Minneola. J. M. Bernard being a Pro-slavery man, the Missouri Legislature of Kansas Territory in 1855, located the county seat at St. Bernard. The town, however, never either grew or prospered, and was at last extinguished by a raid on Mr. Bernard by Free-state men to whom he had become very obnoxious. When Mr. Bernard was gone there was nothing left of the town. No attempt has ever been made to revive it.

In 1855 Perry Fuller built a frame store on the present site of Centropolis, for the purpose mainly of trading with the Indians. A town company was formed the following year, and a thriving settlement grew up here.

The first settlers in Franklin Township, in the northeast corner of the county, so far as we can learn, were William Thornbrough and Lewis Reed, who settled on Walnut Creek, in 1856. In the early part of 1857 Dr. I. Pile located there, also Nathan Mowry, a Mr. Phillips, George E. Sweetzer and Mr. Armstrong. During the same year a large number of squatters made claims as agents of speculators. In time, however, the whole township was taken up by bona fide settlers, and is now thoroughly settled, there being but one vacant quarter section.

The settlement of the southern part of Franklin County was greatly retarded for some years by the purchase of the land by speculators, who persistently held it at prices above the means of the majority desiring land for settlement.

The first settler in what is now Ohio Township, is believed to have been Thomas Ivy, who located on upper Middle creek in 1855. During the same year the following heads of families had selected claims upon the stream: Judge Merritt, James Carter, Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Epperson, Jacob Bolman, William Agnew, D. R. Ricker, Hiram Howard and Calvin Randall.

In 1857 the lands came into market and a large immigration set in, mainly from Ohio. Among these were John Dietrich, Wm. Fugate, Joseph Smith, John E. Baer, Thomas, Ezekial and Emmanual Jenkins, P. P. Elder, W. E. Kibbie, John Hendricks, J. W. Iliff, D. C. Wetherwax, Abram Shanks, Benjamin Briggs, B. C. Sanford, J. H. Cook, A. R. Morton, Reuben Painter, David Baer, John Baer, William Servatus, Robert Cowder, William A. Morton, James Carl, and Mrs. Johnson, all Free-state but the first two. In 1858, William Nightingale and James McFaddin, Pro-slavery, moved in from Missouri.

In 1837, the Pottawatomie Indians were removed to a tract of land on this creek in the southeast part of the county, which has since been known by their name. In 1847-48 they were removed to Pottawatomie County, and this part of Franklin County, a few years afterwards, was thrown open to settlement. The first settlers who came in were two brothers, Henry and William Sherman, Germans. Henry was afterwards known as "Dutch Henry," and the crossing of Pottawatomie Creek near his place as "Dutch Henry's Crossing."

In 1854, a few settlers came to this locality, whose names have become historic: Allen Wilkinson, James P. Doyle and his family, including three sons named Drury, William and John, and also Rev. David Baldwin. In 1855 the following, among others, came to Pottawatomie Township: Joshua Baker; Robert, David and Daniel Sturgen: John Blunt, Sr. (father of Gen. Blunt), Eldridge and John S. Blunt, David Watt, William and George Partridge, John Boutcher, J. A. B. White, and the Kilbourn family. In 1856 the following pioneers came: Judge James Hanway and his two sons, John S. and Brougham, William, Ward and Robert Hodson, Robert Hamilton, Capt. J. G. Reese, John Y. Yerkes, John Powell, William and James Fitten, William H. Ambrose and L. Dunham. In 1858 came Samuel, Asa and Dr. Holiday, Barton Needham and John White.


In 1856 the Pottawatomie Rifle Company was organized by settlers in the Pottawatomie valley. It was composed exclusively of Free-state men, about one hundred in number, John Brown, Jr., Captain. The object in view in organizing the company was to protect the Free-state men against the Missouri border ruffians, and to resist the enforcement of what was known as the "bogus laws" to wit, the laws passed by the Pro-slavery legislature. An incident will illustrate their mode of operating. At the election of March 30, 1855, at which time there were about fifty legal voters in the district, most of whom, however, stayed away from the polls, 199 votes were cast, principally by residents of Missouri. This was exasperating to the Free-state men, as by similar frauds perpetrated on the same day, the Missouri legislature of Kansas, which enacted the "bogus laws," had been elected. A short time after the organization of the Pottawatomie Rifle Company, Judge Cato's court was in session at Henry Sherman's house. In order to ascertain what was to be the attitude of the judiciary in regard to the enforcement of the "bogus laws," the Pottawatomie Rifle Company proceeded to Judge Cato's court, and stacking their arms near "Old John Brown's Cabin," approached the house in which court was being held. The Judge was delivering his charge to the jury. At the conclusion of the charge, they became satisfied it was the design to enforce the obnoxious laws. To satisfy themselves still further, they handed a paper to Judge Cato, upon which the following words were written: "We, the citizens of this part of the Territory would thank the court to state, if he intended in his charge to the jury, to be understood in recognizing and enforcing the laws passed at the Shawnee Mission." After reading this, the Judge threw it aside, and excitedly replied, that "the court could not permit itself to be interfered with by outside parties."

Capt. Brown thereupon cried out to his men in a loud voice, "The Pottawatomie Rifle Company will assemble on the parade ground!" This order was enough for Judge Cato, and the next morning, court, jury and sheriff were all making the best possible time towards Lecompton. It was about the same time or shortly afterwards, that near the postoffice--then called Shermanville, after Henry Sherman--Poindexter Manace was brutally flogged with ox-whips in the hands of ruffians, under the command of Capt. Mitchell, one of Col. Buford's gang. Mr. Manace was considerably advanced in years, and entirely inoffensive. He was accosted by Capt. Mitchell, with "What paper do you take?" Mr. Manace taking a copy of his paper from his pocket, replied "The New York Tribune, and I consider it a very good paper." At this remark Capt. Mitchell said it "was a d----d abolition sheet, an incendiary publication, and ought to be burnt." At this moment one of Capt. Mitchell's party knocked Mr. Manace down with a heavy ox-whip, and while he was prostrate upon the ground, other ruffians joined in and punished him severely for being a Free-state man and a reader of the New York Tribune.

This outrage caused considerable excitement in the neighborhood. The rifle company met next day, and the meeting was attended by more than the usual number. As a consequence the report spread that the abolitionists were preparing to retaliate on Capt. Mitchell and his associates, for their brutal outrage on old Mr. Manace. The next morning Mitchell and his Georgians had left the neighborhood, to the great joy of the Free-state men.

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