William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.


PART 1: Location and Natural Features | Map and Population
PART 2: Municipal Townships
PART 3: The Prairie Band of Pottawatomie Indians | Calamities and Crimes | Railroads |
County Organization and County Buildings
PART 4: County Officers | Military Record | Schools and County Societies
PART 5: Holton
PART 6: Biographical Sketches
PART 7: Circleville | Netawaka
PART 8: Whiting | Soldier City
PART 9: Washington Township | Douglas Township
PART 10: Cedar Township | Straight Creek Township | Liberty Township


JACKSON County (formerly Calhoun), was one of the thirty-three counties organized by the first Territorial Legislature of Kansas, at its session in 1858, at the Shawnee Manual Labor School, in Johnson County. Calhoun County embraced upwards of 1,140 square miles.

February 11, 1859, by act of the Territorial Legislature, the names of Calhoun - suggestive of treason of the American nation - gave way to Jackson, in honor of the President who boldly denounced nullification, and "by the Eternal" declared "nation" constitutionally written with a big "N."

The lines of Brown, Jackson and Shawnee counties were changed by an act of the Legislature of 1868, and the county-seat of Jackson County was thereby permanently located at Holton.

The northwest portion of the county was government land; from Netawaka east in the northeast part of the county, having for a southern boundary the line of Straight Creek, was the land of the Kickapoos. Their diminished reserve is now entirely within the limits of Brown County. The Delaware lands lay south of the Kickapoo Reserve, in the east part of the county. In the southwest part of the county was the Pottawatomie Reservation, now diminished to a tract eleven by eleven miles, with an area of 121 square miles, leaving some 530 square miles of territory in the county available for settlement.

The Delaware lands were brought into market July, 1857, at a public sale held at Osawkee, prior to which time settlements had been made on these lands, and the appraisements were from $1.25 to $2 per acre, where the occupant had a cabin and slight improvements on a quarter section. The Kickapoo Reservation was purchased or granted as a subsidy to the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1867, and settlement commenced on these lands in June of that year.

The Diminished Pottawatomic Reserve has been long looked upon as a section exceedingly fertile, and highly desirable for settlement, but since 1875, there has been but little expectation that it would become a part of the taxable domain of Jackson County, until at a somewhat distant period. State Senator John S Hopkins, at Topeka, February 15, 1875, wrote to Frank A. Root, then Editor of the Holton Express and News, as follows:

The prospect is good for the early selling out of the lands and removal of the diminished reserve band of Pottawatomic Indians, located in the bowels of our county. No fact will be left unpresented by those having the matter in hand, showing the situation of our county - the demoralizing effects, both upon the Indians and settlers, of the policy of surrounding a band of Indians by white settlements, the willingness on the part of the reserve band to remove beyond the whiteman's plow. Earnest work in the right direction is now being performed.

The general surface of Jackson County is undulating: the rolling prairies rising and falling in gentle swells; the elevation averaging about thirty feet in a distance of a mile or more. These crestlines of motionless waves are intersecting each other at every conceivable angle, which brings into view the most extensive landscape, and shows the light green of the prairie grasses in pleasing contrast with the dark green foliage of the forest trees of greater or less size, which skirt the many streams of running water that pass through the county. Of upland prairie there is 87 per cent, of bottom land 13 per cent, of timber land 7 per cent. The average width of the creek bottom lands is one mile, of timber belts one-half mile.

Lime and sandstone exist in large quantities. A most excellent whitish magnesian limestone is found in different portions of the county, which though easily worked when first quarried, becomes hard and exceedingly durable when exposed to the air. The Linscott Bank building on the west side of the public square at Holton, and the Campbell University building, furnish excellent specimens of this choice material for public and private structures. To the northeast and south of Holton, on the Elk and Barmer creeks, may be found the best specimens of brick-clay, and large quantities of brick have been made therefrom. Coal has been discovered in some parts of the county, but few mines have as yet been opened; the thickness of the veins not warranting the expense of excavating for it.

In the bottom lands the soil is a rich sandy loam; it is a heavier black soil on the upland prairie, but it is all easily cultivated, and there are scarcely any untillable lands in the county. The depths of soil varies from eighteen inches to four feet. Stagnant pools, common to extensive bottoms along rivers and near the mouth of large creeks, are unknown in this county, hence the easy and rapid drainage of the soil, and the consequent fertility and the salubrity of the atmosphere.

The supply of timber in Jackson County is hardly surpassed by that of any county in the State, and its area is constantly on the increase caused by the rapid diminution of prairie fires, and the very considerable culture of prairie groves. The streams are so numerous that the distribution of timber over the county is very well equalized; the traveler is hardly ever out of sight of timber. Conspicuous among the native varieties are cottonwood, black walnut, oak of the black, white, red, and burr varieties; hickory, elm, hackberry, linden, sycamore, willow, and box-elder. The cultivated groves are generally soft maple, cottonwood, elm, and black walnut.



                              1870      1880
                              ----      ----
(a) Cedar Township                     1,209
(b) Douglas Township         1,760     1,051
(c) Franklin Township        2,325     2,521
(d) Grant Township                       992
(e) Jefferson Township       1,542       826
(f) Liberty Township                     646
(g) Netawaka Township                    758
(h) Soldier Township                     599
(i) Straight Creek Township              976
(j) Washington Township                  723
(k) Whiting Township                     417
                             -----    ------
TOTAL                        5,627    10,178

(a) Organized in 1873, from part of Douglas;
    in 1875, part detached to form Franklin.
(b) In 1873, parts detached to form Cedar and Washington.
(c) In 1871, part detached to form Netawaka;
    in 1872, parts to form Liberty, Straight Creek and Whiting;
    in 1875, part of Cedar attached.
(d) Organized in 1870, from part of Jefferson.
(e) In 1870, part detached to form Grant;
    in 1872, part to form Soldier.
(f) Organized in 1872, from part of Franklin.
(g) Organized in 1871, from part of Franklin.
(h) Organized in 1870, from part of Jefferson.
(i) Organized in 1872, from part of Franklin.
(j) Organized in 1873, from part of Douglas.
(k) Organized in 1872, from part of Franklin.

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