|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
This is one of the oldest settled portions of the county. The old military freight road extended across the present township, and in June, 1854, Charles Hardt located at Hickory Point and started a trading ranche (sic) there. About the same time Simeon and Isaac Hull, B. Brinton, Dick Chandler, Jeff Fortner, J. B. Ross, John Hart and Charles Hedrick, selected claims and located within the limits of what now constitutes the township.
At that time there were quite a large number of Musquokee Indians living in the neighborhood, but they moved away in the spring of 1855.
In the year 1855, about one hundred families made a settlement. Among them were William M. Gardiner, Alpha Simmons, James Gardiner, Perry Crobarer, Thomas Lamare, Barney Ornce, Jeff Hull, J. C. Manee, Stephen Stiers-Walkup, William Moxley, and the two Herring brothers.
William M. Gardiner had selected a claim where Wincester now stands, on the 19th of June, 1854, and another on Walnut Creek. He did not bring his family, however, until March of 1855, when he located on the Walnut Creek claim.
The first postoffice established was at Hickory Point, and Charles Hardt was appointed postmaster. The township had been organized as early as April, 1856, by the County Court, who appointed Henry Marshall, Justice of the Peace, and Robert Grant, Constable. The first township election of a full board did not take place until the spring of 1858, when J. C. Manee was elected Supervisor, Jess Ball, Treasurer, and John Bradshaw, Clerk; J. C. Todd and Richard Hull, Justices of the Peace, Jesse Ball, Constable.
The first birth in the township was that of Ella Simmons, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alpha Simmons born June 19, 1855.
The first minister of the Gospel to locate here was Stephen Stiers, who settled in 1855.
The first school district formed in the township as well as in the county was Rothschild District, February 21, 1859, and Miss Esther A. Webb was the teacher.
In the winter of 1856 and '57, religious services were held several times, by Revs. Charles Lovejoy and N. W. Taylor, at Peacock's house, on Walnut Creek, a short distance southeast of the present town of Winchester.
The first religious organization was at Fairfield, early in 1857, by the Methodist Episcopal Church, and under the leadership of Rev. Charles Lovejoy. In a short time the society numbered over fifty members, and flourished for years after. E. McClure was the first class-leader, and continued in this position for twenty-one consecutive years.
Previous to the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, the settlement of the township was rapid, and by that time nearly all of them were Union men. It was among the first to furnish volunteers for the Union Army. It is claimed that Patrick O'Mera, was the first man from the township to enlist. During the war, the township also furnished two companies for the Jefferson County regiment of Kansas State Militia.