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 | Map and Population | Early History
PART 2: County Organization, Roster and Buildings | Railway Matters | Education | Manufacturing
PART 3: Eureka
PART 4: Biographical Sketches (Brock - Griffith)
PART 5: Biographical Sketches (Harlan - Oddy)
PART 6: Biographical Sketches (Peters - Williams)
PART 7: Fall River | Biographical Sketches (Allen - Marr)
PART 8: Biographical Sketches (Noakes - Wichersham)
PART 9: Madison | Biographical Sketches -- Madison Township (Bitler - Lovett)
PART 10: Biographical Sketches -- Madison Township (McClure - Wicker)
PART 11: Severy | Biographical Sketches -- Severy Township (Beecher - Finch)
PART 12: Biographical Sketches -- Severy Township (Hilyard - Wyant)
PART 13: Miscellaneous (Allis - Humphrey)
PART 14: Miscellaneous (Lamb - Wolcott)


GREENWOOD County was named in honor of Greenwood, United States Land Commissioner, under pierce and Buchanan. It was first laid off by the bogus Legislature of 1855-56, but was for a number of years thereafter unorganized territory. As at first laid out, the county was a very nearly square tract of uniform size with its neighbors, but when in 1867 Madison County was abolished, and its north part given to Breckinridge (now Lyon) County, the lower portion, to a point three miles above Madison, was added to Greenwood. In giving the boundaries at this time, the southern boundary was b accident moved too far to the south, thus cutting off a strip of Howard (now Elk) County, three miles wide. This error was rectified in 1868. As finally laid off its boundaries are as follows: On the north by Lyon and Chase; east by Wilson, Woodson and Coffey, south by Elk, and west by Butler County.

The county has, according to the Government survey, 20 per cent of bottom and 80 per cent of upland. It is also divided in 5 per cent of forest and 95 per cent of prairie. It is watered by Verdigris and Fall Rivers, which flow southwesterly, and by numerous creeks, of which Willow, Slate, Homer and Bachelor flow into the Verdigris, and Otter, Spring, Salt and Honey into Fall River. The average width of the river bottoms is one mile. The principal timber belts fringe these streams, and are about seventy-five feet in average width. The varieties found are oak, walnut, hickory, hackberry, elm, cottonwood, sycamore, mulberry and ash. Cultivated timber, i. e., timber claim plantings, is principally cottonwood, box elder and soft maple. Coal is found in thin veins at a distance of from four to eight feet below the surface, and is used for domestic consumption and to a small extent for blacksmithing and other purposes. Both limestone and sandstone are found in great abundance, and are of excellent quality for building purposes, fully compensating for the lack of large belts of timber fitted for such use.



                                             1870    1880
                                             ----    ----
(a) Eureka Township, including Eureka City  1,040   1,994
(b) Fall River Township                     1,119   1,019
    Janesville Township                       259     588
(c) Lane Township                             320     394
    Madison Township                          284     849
(d) Otter Creek Township                      ...     882
(e) Pleasant Grove Township                   462     509
(f) Quincy Township                           ...     573
(g) Salem Township                            ...     621
(h) Salt Springs Township                     ...   1,293
(i) Shell Rock Township                       ...     459
(j) Spring Creek Township                     ...     295
(k) Twin Grove Township, including Gould City ...   1,072

                                            -----  ------
Total                                       3,484  10,548

    Eureka City                               ...   1,127
    Gould City                                ...     306

(a) In 1872, parts detached to form Salem and Otter Creek;
    in 1873, part of Spring Creek.
(b) In 1872, parts detached to form Otter Creek
    and Salt Springs; in 1873, part to Spring Grove.
(c) In 1878, part detached to form Shell Rock and Fall River.
(d) Organized in 1872 from parts of Eureka.
(e) In 1880, part detached to from Quincy.
(f) Organized in 1880 from part of Pleasant Grove.
(g) Organized in 1872 from part of Eureka.
(h) Organized in 1872 from part of Fall River.
(i) Organized in 1878 from part of Lane.
(j) Organized in 1873 from part of Eureka.
(k) Organized in 1873 from part of Fall River.

Acreage Under Cultivation.--There were sown in the county in 1872, 3,719 acres of winter wheat; in 1874, 5,004; in 1876, 9,129; in 1878, 7,897; in 1880, 9,351, and in 1882, 1,902.

Acres of rye for the same years were: 86, 298, 1,089, 623, 146, 298; spring wheat, 366, 806, 153, 205, 22, none; corn, 12, 682, 20,916, 19,278, 30,540, 38,740, 60,291, and barley, 9, 5, 34, 253, 312, none.

A brief glance at these statistics will serve to show that winter wheat occupied most space in 1876, spring wheat in 1874, rye in 1876, and that the acreage of corn has been steadily on the increase.


The first settlement in Greenwood County was made in the spring of 1856 by colonists from Mississippi, who came with the avowed intention of helping to make Kansas an ally of the Southern slave-holding States. These Pro-slavery people drifted away to more congenial soil on the breaking out of the war of the rebellion or very shortly thereafter, and to-day but one of the number remains, and he has long since changed his views. A few anti-slavery men were sprinkled about the county in the fall of 1856, but real settlement did not take place in any considerable numbers until the following year. This spring saw a party of new comers in Lane and Madison Townships, among whom were D. Vining, Austin and Fred Norton, Anderson Hill, Wesley Pearsons, Mark Patty, Myrock Huntley, E. R. Holderman, William Martindale, E. G. Duke, James and W. F. Osborn, Isaac Sharp and David Smyth. In July of this year came Josiah Kinnaman, Archibald Johnston, Peter Ricker, Adam Glaze, John Baker, Wayne Sumner and William Kinnaman.

In 1858 and the two following years was a rapid growth in settlement, although money was a well-nigh unknown quantity, and the settlers saw their advance in worldly affairs chiefly in the improvement of their lands and buildings. In this condition they had to meet the disastrous drought of 1860. It was a bitter pill, but only such as ever and anon falls to the lot of the pioneer who pushes far beyond the beaten path and calmly faces the dipping of the scale which shall insure him utter defeat or a grand success. Supplies could only be brought from Atchison, a distance of 160 miles, through bitter storms, and with teams enfeebled by scanty rations; and when received, enough must be sold to pay the freighters. Under this grinding pressure, many were forced to forsake all they had obtained by such severe exertions and return to older places; but still many held on with a death grip and weathered through. And they had their reward in the copious harvest which the fertile soil brought forth in 1861. Bright prospects did not, however, long continue. The cloud which far beyond their horizon had been muttering in the South, broke forth in lightning flashes, which awoke the whole country to the prologue of the great drama that for long years made the United States the cynosure of the world. The flash of the lightning made a gorgeous pageant to those who scanned it from a distance, but it seared the near spectator. Greenwood County was the scene of violence from all quarters. Divided against itself in the sentiments of its settlers, its villages sacked and burned, exposed to the attacks of hostile Indians and those who sought in the troubled times an excuse for indiscriminate pillage, Greenwood might well be pitied. During 1861, a rough fort was built at Eureka, and named in honor of Col. James Montgomery, of the Tenth Infantry. It was built by the home guard, under Capt. L. Bemis, and was occupied by them during their entire term of service.

At the close of the war, emigration set in with great rapidity. A new Town Site Company was organized at Eureka, and settlement was very rapid all over the county.

Upon the formation of Greenwood County, a part of it was included in the reservation of the Osage Indians. This reservation was a strip twenty by seventy miles and took in parts of Elk, Wilson and Butler Counties as well as Greenwood. In the latter, it cut a strip ten miles in width from the southern part of the county, the line running about four miles south of Eureka City. These lands were by the treaty of 1870 placed in trust with the United States to be disposed of for the Indians who had removed to the Indian Territory. This was done by placing it for preemption and homesteading at the regular Government price of $1.25 per acre. Many of the best farms in the county are located in this tract as is also the thriving town of Gould or Severy.

At a very early day, itenerant (sic) Methodist preachers occasionally traversed the indefinite circuit known as Southwestern Kansas. In 1860, the first regular circuit embracing this county was cut off and named the Eureka Circuit. It embraced Greenwood, Butler, Woodson and Wilson Counties, and was supplied by Rev. T. B. Woodard who succeeded in gathering a membership of twenty during the year. In 1861, the name of the circuit was changed to Belmont and W. H. Travis, by whom the membership was increased to forty, appointed. W. H. Fisher was appointed in 1862, but served only part of the year and made no report. Rev. C. Meadows served during 1863 and resided at Belmont, then quite a town, but never rebuilt since its burning by the rebels during the war. J. Paine served in 1864. In 1865, Belmont circuit was again divided and Eureka Circuit consisted of Greenwood County and the counties southwest of it. In this year and until 1868, Rev. John Stansbury was preacher in charge. This man deserves more than a passing notice. A true enthusiast in the cause of Methodism, he was a product of frontier life -- a man of the time. Owning a farm on Owl Creek in Woodson County, he pinched from it in the rare intervals, between his pastoral trips, a scanty subsistence. Mounted on his pony, he went from station to station, sleeping indifferently in the scattered houses along the way or upon the naked prairie, and preaching wherever he found opportunity. He removed in 1870 to Cowley County, where a year later he was crushed to death by a falling log. In 1868, Greenwood County was made a separate circuit and placed in charge of Rev. J. E. Cohenour, who by zealous work increased the church membership from 82 to 160. In 1869, Rev. Mr. Cohenour was retained and a parsonage built at Eureka at a cost of $300. In 1870, the county was divided into three circuits and Rev. S. A. Green appointed to Eureka. From this time the history of the circuit is shown in the history of individual churches.

The first capital offense committed in Greenwood County took place in April, 1865. The victims were William and Jacob Bledsoe, who lived in the southeast part of the county and were by some suspected of horse thieving. Between these men and three others, there existed a bitter animosity, growing out of some petty "spites" inflicted. Under these circumstances, any pretext was sufficient and the Bledsoes were arrested. One dark night they were removed from one impromptu guard house to another, but en route were assassinated. The story of their guards, John Taylor, William Brown and Thomas Craig was that an attack was made by Indians who had suffered the loss of ponies, and the prisoners dispatched. The authorities did not, however, take this view of the case and after a weary length of time Brown was convicted and Craig acquitted (sic), the decision being reached in May, 1878. Taylor was never apprehended, and is reported to be dead.

The Murder of Robert Clark.--This was one of the most atrocious crimes ever committed in Southern Kansas. G. W. Petty was a bushwhacker of the war, although connected with neither side and working for his individual profit only. On the conclusion of open war, he is reputed to have still continued a lawless life. Some time prior to 1866, he had lost his wife, for whom he seemed to feel a great affection, and upon whose grave he placed a costly monument. This monument was discovered in May, 1866, so brutally defaced as to be totally ruined. Petty suspected Clark and determined upon his death. The same month, as Clark was sitting with his wife and children in his cabin on the Verdigris, a man rode up to the door and asked the direction of Brazos. This, Clark, still sitting in his chair but bending out of the door, was giving, when another man riding past the window on the opposite side of the house shot Clark, who fell to the floor, but staggered up again and tried to reach his gun. As he fell a second time three men rode up to the window where they remained motionless until Clark was dead. When they appeared, Mrs. Clark recognized Petty and cried out: "For God's sake, Wash Petty, don't kill me and my children, you have killed my husband!" No answer was given, and, seeing Clark dead, the men rode off. An indictment was found against Petty in 1870, and he was arrested and after many delays in May, 1879, found guilty. He is now in the State Penitentiary.

Murder of Crookham.--On October, 1874, Alexander Harman shot O. C. Crookham as he was gathering corn in his field. The circumstances which led to the shooting were, briefly, certain mortgages held by Crookham and the settlement of a claim of Harman for some prairie-breaking. Harman, who appears to have been hardly sane, walked coolly up to Crookham and placing a pistol to his neck discharged it, the ball making a ragged hole. Crookham died two days later, and Harman, after due process, was found guilty and taken to the penitentiary. Here his conduct was so violent as to lead to his removal to the Asylum where he now is.

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