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


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


October 16, 1855, by act of the Commissioners' Court, Calhoun County was divided into the three municipal townships of Douglas, Atchison, and Half Day. Douglas, including from the Kansas River northward to the Military road running across the county, known as the Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley road, forming the southern township. Atchison comprised the northeastern and Half Day the northwestern township.

December 15, 1856, Franklin Township was formed seven miles from north to south; twelve miles from east to west, virtually taking the place of Atchison. March 15, 1858, in a recast of boundaries and change of names, there were three townships, located as follows: Douglas - which was the southern township, its northern boundary being the line between Townships 7 and 8: Franklin, embracing the eastern north part, while the western north part was named Jefferson. The Legislature of 1868, in changing the boundaries of Shawnee, Jackson, and Brown counties, made the line between Townships 9 and 10 the southern boundary of Jackson County, Township 5, in Ranges 15 and 16 was detached from Brown and made the northeastern portion of Jackson County, becoming a part of Franklin Township. In 1868, there were three townships; in 1873, eleven. In 1871 Holton became a city of the third class by an act of the Legislature, and in 1882 there were twelve distinct municipalities in the county.

At an election held for electing a Territorial Delegate, October 5, 1857, Marcus J. Parrott, the Free-State Candidate, was chosen. The first Justices of the Peace in these townships were the following named persons:

Half Day Township, George L. Young; Atchison Township, Richard Reese; Douglas Township, Perry Fleshman and Samuel S. Lockhart; Franklin Township, Nathaniel Boydston.

The census taken April 1, 1857, showed a population of 885; voters, 291: yet at the election June 1, 1857, for Lecompton delegates, Oden received 23; Kuykendall, 20 votes.

Following is the early history of the municipal townships, as at present constituted:

Douglas.-- It was meet that the great representative of popular sovereignty - Stephen A. Douglas - should have his name perpetuated in Jackson County. In its southeast corner is an irregularly shaped township by that name, containing sixty-five sections of land. It is watered by the Little Soldier Creek and by branches of the Muddy. Its population in 1875 was 589; in 1880 it was 1,051. Its present boundaries were fixed in 1873.

J. W. Williams, a native of Ohio, settled upon Section 10, Township 9, Range 16, in 1858, one of the first settlers upon the high prairie. He has a hedge enclosing twenty acres, that was planted in 1859. He has been county Commissioner, Representative to the Legislature, and his son, A. H. Williams, has been Sheriff of Jackson County for four years.

John Rippetoe, a native of Kentucky, settled on Section 26, Township 8, Range 16, April 3, 1855, the first settler in the township. He was County Commissioner in 1868 and 1869. Rev. Byron Steward settled on Section 28, Township 9, Range 16, June 21, 1855. He was one of the Board of County Supervisors in Territorial times, and has been in the House of Representatives. Other early settlers were A. W. Bainbridge, William Cunningham, Hugh Piper, John Piper, David R. Rice, Rufus J. Rice, Josiah Soal and John N. Willard.

The first schoolhouse in the township was built in 1858. It was made of logs, 16x18 feet, by the inhabitants of the vicinity, and Miss Harriet Warfield, of Clay County, Missouri, taught the first, a subscription school, in 1857. School District Number 12, was organized November 5, 1859, the first in the township. A. W. Bainbridge was Director; John Rippetoe, Clerk; J. J. Grooling, Treasurer. There are now two stone and four frame school buildings in the six organized school districts in the township. Dr. J. W. Pettijohn is the physician of the township, and Byron Steward is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Eli H. Robinson, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, preached for the settlement in the winters of 1855 and 1856. There are many church members in this township, of different denominations, but no church edifices as yet.

The wife of Alfred Ferrell died in June, 1855. O. F. Cunningham was born in July, 1855. Peter Steward and Lucinda Drum were married in the spring of 1856.

Cedar takes its name from a small lot of cedars found on the banks of the North and South Cedar creeks, which flow in a southeasterly direction out of this township into Jefferson County. The area of the township is 56 sections.

Luther M. Myers settled upon the northeast quarter of Section 22, Township 8, Range 16, in April, 1856. He was Treasurer of Cedar Township in 1874 and 1875, and ended a four years' service as County Treasurer in October, 1882. George Coleman, born in Sussex County, England, November 27, 1815, lived in Canada and in Illinois twenty-two years, and in 1856 settled upon Section 21, Township 8, Range 16. He was three years Township Treasurer: was Treasurer of Douglas Township in 1871 and 1872; its Trustee for 1868 and 1869: Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners in 1874 and 1875.

Stephen J. Elliot came to the township in 1855, and was its earliest settler. James McLellan, a native of Maine, settled upon Section 7, Township 8, Range 16. He was in the Kansas House in 1865 and 1866; in the Senate in 1871 and 1872. At the election in 1874, as a candidate for Senator, he had 203 majority in Jackson County. R. S. Gillies, a native of Scotland, a County Commissioner in 1876 and 1877, settled upon Section 33, Township 7, Range 16. B. H. Bradshaw, a native of Kentucky, a breeder of Short-horns and Norman horses, prominent among the Patrons of Husbandry, settled upon Section 17, Township 7, Range 16.

John Coleman and Phoebe Hastings were united in the bonds of matrimony by William Cornforth, Esq., January 1, 1857. Viola Luddington was born in the spring of 1857 - the first birth in the township.

At Tippinville there is a Union Cheese Factory, owned by a joint stock company. It is doing a very good business and is the only one in the county. John Dult and John Chestnut each have a blacksmith shop; Joseph Kevan, a wagon shop; A. J. Parker, a harness shop; George Warck, a shoe shop; Mrs. J. Bradley has a millinery store, and there has been a firm doing a big business in a general store, whose operations ceased in 1882. The town took its name from Welwood Tippin - its first merchant - but the people have sought to have it named Bloomfield. The post-office here is North Cedar. There are three organized churches in this township - the United Presbyterians, the Christian and the Reformed Presbyterian. This organization at North Cedar was formed on April 1, 1880, with twenty-two members. June 1, 1881, a neat and substantial house of worship, 32x42 feet was erected. Its present membership is about fifty. The Reformed Presbyterians or Covenanters organized their church October 16, 1871, by a commission of Kansas Presbytery, of which the Chairman was Rev. Josiah Dodds. The elders chosen were John M. Law, John L. Wright and Hugh Woodburn: the deacons, Andrew M. Law, Simon McCrory and Samuel W. Patterson. Rev. J. S. T. Milligan, a resident missionary from March 11, 1871, on April 19, 1872, was elected and installed pastor of the congregation. He has been thirty years in the ministry of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. The membership of the church is one hundred and twenty. Its Sunday-school numbers about two hundred. Their church edifice is a nice frame building, 45x63 feet. This body believes the authority of God, Christ and the Bible should be acknowledged in the constitution of the United States of America, and because of its non-acknowledgment they neither vote nor hold office under the constitution, and they thereby rest in the belief that they avoid responsibilities for the sins of atheism and infidelity in the American nation. August 30, 1881, they organized the National Reform Association. Its officers are as follows; President, John Wright; Vice-Presidents, James Keers and Hugh Woodburn; Secretary, John A. Kirkpatrick; Treasurer, Matthew Brown; Corresponding Secretary, James Barnett.

John Early, in 1862, made an appointment for a meeting to organize a Methodist church, and the first one was held at the house of William T. Butson, then living on Section 2, Township 8, Range 13. The organizers of the church were L. Elliot, Luke Finacum, Orlan Jones, Walter Parmenter and H. Mitchell. In 1879 the first steps were taken toward erecting an edifice; in 1880 it was finished, at a cost of about $1,200. The preachers here have been Rev. John Early, Rev. A. G. Channell and Rev. W. G. Campbell. W. C. Jones was the Sunday-school superintendent in 1882.

Washington.-- In the southwestern part of the county the name of the "Father of his Country" is given to a municipal township. Up to 1864 it had been included in the Pottawatomie Indian Reservation. It was organized February 21, 1873. In 1875 its population was 330; in 1880 it was 723. It embraces 84 sections of land.

Edward McNieve, the first settler, purchased several Indian head rights. He was Township Trustee three years; Richard Reddy, five years; H. Holligan, one year, and Michael Brown is the present Trustee.

E. L. Stalker and four others built the first schoolhouse in 1870, in the county without any tax levy. Mr. Stalker is from Indiana. He entered upon the duties of County Commissioner in January, 1878, and was Chairman of the Board for four years. He is located upon Section 19, Township 8, Range 13. W. H. Chase is located upon the north half of Section 22, Township 9, Range 14. He is a native of Maine; has been County Commissioner four years; was Chairman for two years; a Representative to the State Legislature in 1877. Adrian post-office, in this township, is located on Section 32, Township 8, Range 13. Sullivan is upon the southeast quarter of Section 17, Township 9, Range 13. The population of this township is largely of Irish origin, and the Roman Catholic religion is the prevailing one in the township.

Franklin.-- In the east central portion of the county is the township named after the statesman and philosopher - Benjamin Franklin. When organized, December 15, 1856, it contained 84 sections; its present area is 48. In November, 1853, N. D. Lewis, a native of Ohio, but a long-time resident of Platte County, Missouri, laid a foundation for a claim on Elk, near the mouth of Bill's Creek. April 2, 1854, he landed with his family, his children consisting of one daughter and four sons, and now where there was then a howling wilderness, with red men as companions, Mr. Lewis has a magnificent farm of some 600 acres, over 350 of which is in a high state of cultivation, the whole enclosed with good rail and hedge fences. His dwelling is worth $5,000, and his barn nearly as much. In the summer of 1855 Michael Baker and a partner, a Mr. Smythe, brought in a stock of dry goods and groceries and put them in a log building owned by Mr. Lewis, and for a few years this was quite a trading point for the settlers and Indians. In the autumn of 1855 Phineas Skinner, from near Camden Point, Platte Co, Mo., drove a large lot of hogs from his home to this township, and butchering them sold the pork to the Indians, and while here he decided upon locating here with a colony. Returning to Missouri, he came out in the spring of 1856 with quite a number of colonists, and had arrangements made to improve several quarter sections of land, proposing to divide accumulations at the end of five years. A widow, by the name of Cole, and her family were among the immigrants. For her Mr. Skinner built a house, and the men he employed boarded with her. He laid out a town two miles west of Holton, called it Elk City, built a stone house, placed in it goods to the amount of $4,000, and put a son-in-law - Mr. Croysdale - in charge of it. He had not been in very good health, and one day starting out for a ride on his mule, for the apparent purpose of looking after his varied business, one of the farm hands, going to the spring for water, saw the mule tied to a bush on the bank of a ravine near the spring, and found the body of Mr. Skinner lying dead at the spring, his face submerged in the water. His death caused a change in the plans that had been so extensively made, and the agreements he had made were brought to an end. His remains were taken to Missouri for interment. Some of the store goods were taken back; tradition has it that some were used by the Land troops, and Dr. Henry Dent Oden made a purchase of the remainder, and with John J. Preston, his son-in-law, the store was continued at this place. Dr. Oden was a native of Kentucky, and had settled upon a farm four miles west of Holton. He was a member of the Lecompton Constitutional Convention, and was one of the leading Pro-slavery men. He went to California and Oregon, and died in 1879.

Mr. Preston was a native of Indiana. Emigrated to Kentucky; from there he came to Platte County, Mo., in 1843 first settled in Kansas in Nemaha County, on the old Ft. Leavenworth and Ft. Laramie road, northwest of Granada, and came to Elk Creek in April, 1856. He ran a saw-mill at Elk City for a few years, and furnished the lumber for the first shanty that was built on the town site of Holton, which was a store building, put up by Capt. William, F. Creitz and his brother Lewis. This mill was afterwards purchased by Peter Reiderer, who moved it to the northwest quarter of Section 1, Township 7, Range 15, where now, as the proprietor of the Elk Mills, he has a property assessed at $10,000, having both steam and water-power.

Among the early settlers of the township are George Bainbridge, Chauncey J. Cowell, George W. Drake, Simeon Fees, Garret Groomer, Godfrey Hafer, W. K. Lutz, Jacob Morroid, Walter Parmenter, George Smith, Cyrus G. Waynant, John Arnold, W. D. Barnett, Thomas Fennell and B. Hafer.

William D. Barnett was born at Barnett, Caledonia County, Vt., April 1, 1820, and at seventeen years of age came to Alton, Illinois, and, at Brighton, Macoupin County, taught school, having Ex-Governor John M. Palmer one of his pupils. Leaving St. Louis in 1840, on April 1, he reached Fort Leavenworth, and was there for a few years as steward. Settling in Platte County, Mo., in April, 1854, he built a cabin back of the city of Kickapoo, but settled a short time after on the Delaware, in Atchison County, and in April, 1864, he settled on Section 6, Township 7, Range 16, and is now an extensive nurseryman and fruit grower.

Rev. Pardee Butler, of Atchison County, assisted by Rev. J. W. Williams, of Douglas Township, held the first religious services in the township at Elk City in the summer of 1857. South of Holton, School District No 1, was organized in 1859; the school building had been built of logs in 1858, and in 1869, a brick structure took its place costing $1,500. The population of Franklin Township is the densest of any in the county, as it embraces the county-seat, Holton, and Larkin on the eastern border.

Larkin is a little hamlet on the county line of Jackson and Atchison. That portion of it in Jackson County is situated on the southeast quarter of Section 1, and on the northeast quarter of Section 12, Township 7, Range 16. It was laid out in 1880, and took its name from Hon. M. E. Larkin, an extensive farmer, dealer in cattle and hogs and breeder of Durham cattle. The town has several stores, a blacksmith shop, wagon shop and livery stable. Dr. G. W. England is their physician. It has a schoolhouse costing about $1,200.

I. C. Hitchcock was the Trustee of Franklin Township in 1868; H. J. Snyder in 1876 and 1882. J. A. Scott, the County Treasurer, was Township Treasurer for five years. Elk, Banner and Bill's creeks furnish excellent timber and a fine supply of water for this township.

Jefferson.-- March 15, 1858, the name of Thomas Jefferson suggested itself to those who were making a new township in the northwestern part of the county, and so to the satisfaction of all concerned, Jefferson was properly given as the name of the township. Originally large, the township is now Township 6, Range 15. In 1868 R. M. Cook, one of the prominent educators in the county, six years County Superintendent of Public Instruction, was its Trustee; its present one is G. R. Sharp. In 1875, its population was 583; in 1880, it was 826. Its post-offices are at Circleville and Ontario. The township is mainly watered by the Elk and its tributaries. Among the settlers that came in 1856-57, were James H. Baxter, W. H. Chapman, John Deardorf, Aaron Foster, W. S. Hoaglin, S. W. McComas, Charles Poppy, S. W. Richardson, J. B. Sympson and Thomas Taylor. Rufus Oursler, the first member from this district in the Kansas State Senate, had the first store in the township; Mrs. H. S. Hart taught the first school, one of her patrons paying her tuition with a flat-iron; Rev. William Knipe, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held the first religious meeting in a saw-mill, where now stands Henry Stanley's fine flouring-mill and carding machines.

Grant.-- September 6, 1870, this township was organized from the southern portion of Jefferson. It embraces sixty-two sections, and takes its name from the "Captain of the Age," who was then serving his first term as President. S. Stephenson, the first and present Trustee, has served five years. There are post-offices at James Crossing and at Avoca. Among its early settlers are Peter Bryant, William Cruzan, Peter Dickson, J. P. Faidley, R. P. Hamm, John James, T. Keir, J. F. Pomeroy, Abraham Ray and S. Stephenson. The first schoolhouse was built on the farm of Mr. Keir in 1860; Mr. E. S. Hulan taught the first school in 1858. School District No. 5 has one of the finest schoolhouses in the county, built of the fine, white magnesia limestone common to their region. There was an organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church here in 1858; Rev. E. H. Robinson preached the first sermon at the log house of Abraham Ray, on which site a neat church was built in the autumn of 1880, and dedicated in the spring of 1881, by the Rev. S. D. Madison of Leavenworth. Its cost was about $1,600. Rev. Mr. Gray was the pastor in 1882; Mrs. Hollis superintends the Sunday-school work. This township is well watered by Banner, Cross and Soldier creeks. George Groomer, an early settler, gave his name to what is now Banner Creek, but as Groomer was a somewhat distasteful name, and this was a Banner Republican locality, the name became changed. There is a Methodist Episcopal Church organization at Buck's Grove, but it is not numerically strong. There are a few Dunkards scattered in the township, but they have no church organization. J. F. Pomeroy, born in Hampshire County, Mass., 1832, settled on Section 23, Township 7, Range 14, in 1859. He has been County Commissioner and Township Treasurer, and has wielded large influence in the community. Rev. R. P. Hamm, a native of Kentucky, has been County Commissioner, and is a local preacher of considerable prominence. The first marriage in the township was between Dr. Francis and Maggie Ray in 1858.

Liberty.-- "Where liberty dwells there is my country," was probably the sentiment that animated Mr. J. W. Taylor as he named this township at its birth, January 19, 1872. It is watered by Spring and Straight creeks, and by branches of the Elk. Its population in 1875, was 515; in 1880, it was 646. Among the early settlers were A. Ash, a native of Pennsylvania, a farmer and breeder of draft horses; J. H. Bateman of Ohio, the present efficient Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, and James Piper from Ohio. Sophia Lattimer taught in a log schoolhouse, the first school, which was supported by subscription. School District No. 15 built the first school house, in 1861. In February, 1858, the first marriage occurred, which was that of W. T. Wilcox to Lucretia Green. W. R. Hodges was its first Township Trustee; Edson Wolverton is the present one.

The southeast quarter of Section 10, Township 6, Range 15, was historic ground in February, 1859. Here is the home of Albert Fuller, a native of Lebanon, Conn. His wife, the daughter of Deacon Joel Button, of Griswold, Conn., had for her guests old John Brown, Aaron Dwight Stevens, other free persons and nearly a dozen of sable hue, in whom a title of ownership had conventionally vested in American citizens residing in Missouri. Here was New England Congregationalism, proving true to the immortal declaration of nearly a century previous made in the home of old Ben Franklin; "All men are created equal; endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Captain John Brown, with his precious freightage, had successfully passed his Concord - Holton - on his northern march, and high waters at Straight Creek Crossing at Fuller's Place had unwillingly detained him. The marching of a Marshal's posse on the part of the Federal Government, and an opposing force on the part of Free-State Topekans, have been chronicled by the historian.

The Battle of the Spurs, the ironical martial history of a memorable though unsanguinary battle, has been so well described by the fertile pens of James Ridpath and others that it were a work of supererogation to further elucidate any incidents of the conflict that ensued on the high prairie north of Straight Creek, between Holton and Netawaka. But, as "One shall chase a thousand and two shall put ten thousand to flight," these knights of chivalry furnished in themselves a forcible illustration of the couplet:

He who fights and runs away,
May live to fight another day.

Old John Brown's body and soul went marching on, with his little band of emancipated slaves, to pass into Nebraska, move across Iowa, and through Illinois and Michigan, go over into the Queen's Dominions, where Cowper says; "Slaves can breath the air of freedom." Liberty Township had a fresh baptism of its gospel, and it might be said of the whilom brave, though vanquished foe:

Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral note,
As this corpse of slavery, here was buried;
Quoth many a fellow, "Hard is my lot,"
As on horse, or with heels, he quickly hurried.

Straight Creek.-- This township takes its name from the creek which runs in a northwesterly to a southeasterly direction across it. It is Township l, Range 16. The northeastern portion of the township was a part of the Kickapoo Indian Reservation until 1869, when the reservation was diminished and the land was opened to settlement. The municipal township was organized April 15, 1872. G. A. Waynant was its first Trustee; T. W. Easly is Trustee in 1882. In 1875 its population was 359; in 1880, it is reported 976, which must be too large by a few hundred. J. H. Thompson had claim to a piece of land on Section 26 in 1854, and settled in 1855; John Hibbard in 1856 and S. J. Rose and R. L Thompson in 1857. Mary, daughter of S. J. Rose, was born in 1857, the first birth in the township. James B. Hastings' wife and child died in 1857, the first death in the township; and his marriage to a second wife, was the first one; and he was the first teacher in the township. The first schoolhouse was built in 1859, in what is now School District No. 4, on the southwest corner of Section 22. George W. Weister, on the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 17, has a water-power grist-mill, which is valued at $3,000.

Soldier.-- This township takes its name from the creek that runs through it, and which, with the Elk, makes it well watered. It was detached from Jefferson Township July 4, 1872. Its first Trustee was P. M. Hodges; its present one is John Nuzman. William Cline was the oldest settler; he came here from Illinois in 1857, and bought a claim of a man by the name of Smithland, and here was the first post-office, now the same name, removed to Soldier City, on the Kansas Central Railway. W. Branham, E. Fairbanks, William Knipe and Henry Rancier, were among the early settlers. The first death was that of Louisa M. Cline, in May, 1857. She was the daughter of William Cline. He died in January, 1882. In the fall of 1857, was the first child born in the township, a son to David Rancier and wife, The marriages of John Rancier to Emily Reynolds and a Mr. Dean to Hannah Rancier, were the first in the township.

Netawaka.-- This word signifying "fine view," is the only township of Indian name in the county. Its east part belonged to the Kickapoo Reservation until it came into possession of the C. B. U. P. R. R. Company. The township was organized October 4, 1871. L. D. Nichols was elected Trustee; Ralph Westover is the present one. New Eureka, situated three miles at little west of south of the village of Netawaka is where the first post-office in the township was, and I. N. Seaman and P. B. Rust, were the oldest settlers about that point. Daniel H. Sutherland, a resident of Section 20, Township 5, Range 15, was in the Kansas House of Representatives in 1865. This territory was then in Brown County.

Whiting.-- The maiden name of the wife of ex-Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy was Whiting, after whom this township was named. Until 1867 this territory Township 5, Range 16, was included in the Kickapoo Reserve. When obtained by the C. B. U. P. R. R. Company, it was opened for homes. Among its first settlers were Andrew Brown, John M. Duff, Henry Haub, Michael O'Neill, George T. Watkins, George C. Weibles and D. R. Williams. The township was organized January 1, 1872; its first Trustee was Charles Shedd, who held the office six years; its present one is D. J. Nash. The first schoolhouse in the township was built in District Number 38. George T. Watkins, a native of New Hampshire, now living in Whiting, was in the Kansas House of Representatives in 1877 and 1881. This, the last settled section of the county, improves relatively faster than any other part of the surrounding country.

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