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: Location and Natural Features | Map and Population | Early Settlements of the County | Criminal Matters | Political Organization | County Roster
PART 2: Statistical | Mankato | Biographical Sketches
PART 3: Burr Oak | Biographical Sketches | Jewell City |
PART 4: Biographical Sketches | Salem | Biographical Sketches | Omio | Biographical Sketches | Other Towns
INDEX: [A-G] | [H-O] | [P-Z]


JEWELL COUNTY is located in the northernmost tier of counties, 150 miles from the Missouri River. The county is thirty miles square, divided into twenty-five Congressional townships, and contains 900 square miles, or 576,000 acres of land. The county is among the first in the State in agricultural resources. Its central portion is rolling, and in places somewhat broken, but contains many fine farms and much good pasture land. The valley of Marsh and Buffalo Creeks - a tract embracing the southeast quarter of the county - is, next to the White Rock Valley, the finest, richest and most densely settled portion of the county. It is about fifty or seventy-five feet below the central portion, and is exceedingly fertile, and just rolling enough to afford proper drainage.

The valley of Limestone Creek in the southwest, is a well settled and fertile district, but the finest and most noted portion of the county is the valley of the famous White Rock, to which the Indians clung with most desperate pertinacity to the last. To them it was the paradise of the surrounding country, and to-day it is the richest, most thoroughly developed and well improved portion of Jewell County. This valley extends east and west through Towns 2, south; the creek being wholly within that tier of towns. The first attempts at settlement were here made, but for years proved fruitless, owing to the determination of the savage occupant never to yield his possession. The Republican River touches the northeastern corner of Jewell County.

The principal streams are: White Rock, Buffalo, Limestone, Marsh and Brown's creeks. White Rock flows east, and empties into the Republican River, in Republic County. Its principal tributaries from the north are: Burr Oak, Walnut and Montana, and from the south: Porcupine, Troublesome, Big Timber and John's creeks. Buffalo has three principal branches, all rising near the center of the county, and flowing in a southeasterly course, forming a junction six and one-half miles from the south line of the county; thence running east and emptying into the Republican River in Cloud County. There are three branches of Marsh Creek that drain the eastern middle portion of the county, and, uniting, empty into Buffalo in Cloud County. There are five branches of the Limestone, all having a southerly direction, draining the south-west corner of the county, and emptying into the Solomon River, in Mitchell County. All of these streams have numerous small tributaries, which, with the main streams, are belted with from fifteen to seventy-five rods of timber, consisting principally of cotton-wood and elm; but including burr oak, ash, hackberry, walnut, red and white elm, box elder and red cedar.

The soil is a rich, black vegetable mould, from one to twenty feet deep, underlaid principally with a porous clay. The valleys will produce good crops with far less rain than the upland, and are more seriously affected with too much rain. Good water is found at greatly varying depths in different parts of the county, ranging from the level surface or springs to 125 feet.

The principal building stone is magnesian limestone, it being found in every township except Highland. When first quarried it is generally soft and easily cut with a common saw, but by exposure becomes hard. Sandstone is found in the extreme south.



(Organized in 1870.)

Allen Township ...........................    653
Athens Township...........................    746
Brown's Creek Township....................    666
Buffalo Township, including Jewell City ..  1,050
Burr Oak Township, including Burr Oak City  1,237
Calvin Township...........................    503
Center Township, including Mankato City ..  1,017
Erving Township...........................    565
Esbon Township............................    557
Grant Township............................    674
Harrison Township.........................    638
Highland Township.........................    658
Holmwood Township.........................    698
Ionia Township............................  1,142
Jackson Township..........................    496
Limestone Township........................    702
Montana Township..........................    788
Prairie Township..........................    701
Richland Township.........................    715
Saint Clair Township......................    584
Vicksburg Township .......................    725
Walnut Township...........................    666
Washington Township.......................    544
White Mound Township......................    751
                Total..................... 17,475

Jewell City ..............................    372
Burr Oak City.............................    425
Mankato City..............................    506



In the spring of 1862, William Harshberger and wife settled upon land adjoining the present town of White Rock, and John Furrows took a claim just west of Mr. Harshberger's farm. A. Clark, wife and child, settled just over the western boundary of what is now Republic County. Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Harshberger were sisters, the whole of the little colony coming from Knox County, Ill. They formed the first settlement in Jewell County, built cabins and broke ground, but were soon driven away by well-grounded fears of Indian raids. A battle between the Pawnees and Sioux, was fought near Mr. Clark's cabin, and one of the former tribe was literally hacked to pieces. Upon this occasion these settlers were warned of a threatened outbreak, and were told that it heralded no good to the whites of White Rock Valley. They therefore left, and a second attempt at settlement was not made until four years thereafter - in the spring of 1866. At that time William Belknap took a claim five miles west of the present town of White Rock; John Marling with his wife and child, settled near the present town of Reubens (sic); Nicholas Ward, his wife and adopted son, Mrs. Sutzer and son, Al. Dart, Arch. Bump, Erastus Bartlett and a man by the name of Flint, took claims within two miles east of that town. This settlement was broken up by something more than presentiments. In August of this year a party of forty Cheyennes attacked Marling's cabin, and while he was gone for assistance the savages entered his house, dragged his wife into the woods with a rope around her neck, and horribly outraged her. They then stole everything they could find, set fire to the cabin and dashed off before Mr. Marling could obtain assistance from the stockade below White Rock City. After this, the entire settlement took refuge there, where they remained two days, and then went to Clyde, Cloud County. A few days afterwards, learning that the rumors of a general massacre were groundless, the settlers returned to their claims. They rested in fancied security until the following April, when occurred a horrible event which effectually destroyed the little settlement from the face of the earth. A detailed account of the massacre is taken from the county history prepared by M. Winsor and James A. Scarbrough, and from which many of the facts of the early history of Jewell County are condensed: "On the 9th day of April, 1867, the Cheyennes made another descent upon this devoted settlement, killing Bartlett, Mrs. Sutzer, her little son, and Nicholas Ward, and desperately wounding Ward's adopted son, leaving him for dead, and carrying Mrs. Ward off a captive. The particulars of this horrible massacre are as follows: "The Indians came to Mrs. Sutzer's cabin, where Bartlett was boarding, and demanded dinner, which she proceeded to prepare, in the meantime sending her little son across the creek to Ward's to inform them of the presence of the Indians. Bartlett was down in the timber, splitting rails, and returning for dinner, was met by the Indians and tomahawked as he was passing around the corner of the house. He was found lying on his back, his iron wedge near his right hand and his own knife - a dirk - sticking in his throat. It is thought that when Bartlett was killed Mrs. Sutzer started to run. She was found dead about thirty yards from the house with her skull crushed with a rock. It appears that the cunning fiends had refrained from using fire-arms for fear of raising an alarm. After completing their bloody work at Mrs. Sutzer's the Indians crossed the creek to Ward's cabin, and again called for dinner which Mrs. Ward prepared for them. They ate their dinner, smoked their pipes and chatted away in the most friendly manner. At the conclusion of their "smoke," one of them very coolly loaded his gun and asked Ward if he thought it would kill a buffalo. Ward replied that he thought it would. Whereupon the Indian instantly leveled his gun at Ward's breast and shot him through the heart, killing him immediately. The two boys - Ward's and Mrs. Sutzer's - then started to run. The Indians pursued them, following them to the bank of the creek, and shooting them down in the bed of the stream. The Sutzer boy was shot through the heart; instantly killed. The Ward boy was shot through the neck and left for dead. Some time during the succeeding night, however, he recovered his senses, and groping his way back to the cabin in the dark, found the door broken down and entered. Feeling around in the dark with his hands he stumbled and fell over the dead body of his adopted father. Procuring some blankets from one of the beds, he returned to the timber, where he remained during the night, and was found the next morning by a party of claim hunters, to whom he told the sad and harrowing tale. It appears that when the Indians ran out to shoot the boys, Mrs. Ward must have shut and bolted the door, when the Indians returning, broke it down and took her prisoner. Her sad fate will probably never be known, as up to the present time, after the lapse of eleven years, nothing definite has ever been heard of her."

Of the original members of the settlement who were not victims of this massacre, Mr. Flint was absent at Clyde, the Darts were absent, Mr. Marling, wife and child, had returned to Missouri, and Messrs. Bump and Davis had been waylaid and shot in Cloud County during the previous May. The survivors, including Mr. Rice, all left the county, after this horrible affair.

In the winter and spring of 1868, Richard Stanfield and Carl G. Smith took claims in Sections 7 and 9, Township 2 south, and Gordon Winbigler and Adam Rosenberg near White Rock Creek and the town of Rubens. Mr. Rosenberg was with General Custer in his famous expedition to the Indian Territory, where Mrs. Morgan and Miss White were rescued from the Indians. When the Chicago colony of Scandinavians laid out Scandia, Republic County, in the fall of 1868, their settlements extended into Jewell County, though none remained here permanently until the spring of 1870. In May, 1869, the Excelsior, or New York Colony, "under the lead of one Walker, came into the county and took claims along White Rock Creek, as high up as Burr Oak, and as far down as John's Creek. About two miles east of the present site of Holmwood, a block house was erected for protection, and surrounded by two lines of earth-works. Here the whole colony resided during its short stay in the county. Immediately after their arrival, they gave public notice that all claimants of land on the creek must be on their claims by a certain date, or they would be contested. This had the effect to bring to the creek a number of Swedes and Norwegians, who laid claim to nearly all the most valuable land. At this time, the latter part of May, 1869, there were over one hundred people in the county, all on White Rock Creek." During this month a force of men was raised, and proceeded to the scene of a late massacre in the northwestern part of Jewell County, in which four hunters from Nebraska had been killed. Previous to their return John Dahl, one of the Scandinavian settlers, was killed by Indians, Peter Tanner's cabin was burned, and other outrages were committed. The Excelsior Colony, consisting of Mrs. Frazier and her two sons, Mr. Walker, President of the company, and others, considered that they were "wanted elsewhere" than in this locality, and made immediate preparations to depart. While a portion of them were moving their household effects from their fort to the protecting care of Mr. Lovewell and his band, they were attacked by Indians, robbed of all their possessions, but escaped alive. Mr. Walker was at Junction City at the time, and hearing of the raid, sent up a lot of men and some teams, and in June moved away. All the Scandinavian settlers had already gone, which left Jewell County entirely deserted. It remained in this desolate condition from June until August, 1869, when Peter Kearns ventured hitherward and took the old Nicholas Ward claim. He worked it all of the following winter. In the spring and fall of this year, however, such men as James A. Highland, N. S. Cederberg, William D. Street and James McCraith, took claims, and finally became permanent residents of the county. In February, 1870, the great tide of immigration commenced to set into Jewell County. In that month John O'Roak, William Scott, Samuel Sweet, Wilson McBride, Chris. Erns, John W. McRoberts, Samuel Bowles, T. Bowles, Phil. Baker, Adams and Gregory came in, all taking claims on White Rock. In the same month, A. J. Davis, Jerry Burnett, M. L. Stultz, Benjamin Lewis and Charles Lewis came in and settled on Buffalo Creek.

The first permanent settlers of the Buffalo Valley were Henry Sorick, George A. Sorick, John A. Sorick, George W. Waters, R. F. Hudsonpiller, Thomas B. Hart and William Cox, who took claims in the immediate vicinity of Jewell City, April 8, 1870. The next arrivals were S. R. Worick, John H. Worick, John Hoffer, Joseph W. Fogle, Cyrus Richart, Chris. Bender, David J. Rockey, William H. Cameron, Samuel Krape, C. A. Belknap and A. J. Wise, known as the "Illinois Colony," who arrived at the forks of Buffalo Creek, April 12, 1870. They all took claims in the vicinity of Jewell City, and all, with the exception of Mr. Cameron, remained until "the war was over" and very materially assisted in "holding the creek" during the somewhat troublous season of 1870. On May 13, 1870, twenty-eight settlers gathered at John Hoffer's shanty, to discuss means of defense against a rumored invasion of the Cheyennes. William D. Street called the meeting to order, and suggested the building of a fort. His suggestion was at once adopted, and the following gentlemen organized themselves into a company - the Buffalo Militia - for the purpose of building that structure and protecting their homes: L. J. Calvin, F. A. May, W. M. Jones, Samuel Krape, Louis A. Dapron, C. L. Seeley, J. A. Scarbrough, Cyrus Richart, Chris. Bender, J. H. Worick, David J. Rockey, James W. Hall, Richard D. Fardy, Charles J. Lewis, C. A. Belknap, A. J. Wise, John Hoffer, William Cox, S. R. Worick, Allen Lightner, James F. Queen, J. W. Fogel, J. A. Sorick, R. F. Hudsonpiller, I. A. Sawin, Henry Sorick, William D. Street and John R. Wilson. Mr. Street was elected Captain; Charles J. Lewis, First Lieutenant; Louis A. Dapron, Second Lieutenant; James A. Scarbrough, Orderly Sergeant. At once selecting a spot fifty yards square, they plowed around it, laid a wall four feet thick and seven feet high, and in two days "Fort Jewell " was completed. It is upon the present site of Jewell City, and the well which they dug, the first in the county, was situated at the edge of the present Delaware street. The Buffalo Militia "held the fort" until June, 1870, when it was taken possession of by the Third United States Mounted Artillery. They held the fort, but they never were called upon to repel an attack, although there is no knowing what would have happened had they not taken these wise precautions.

During the months of of May and June, the numbers of those who located at "Jewell City" were increased by the arrival of Colonel E. Barker, Jesse N. Carpenter, O. L. McClung, W. C. McClung, R. R. McClung, Z. F. Dodge, J. K. Dodge, F. T. Gandy, H. P. Gandy, L. C. Gandy, Gabe. B. Wade, P. R. Deal, Samuel Cameron, C. E. Plowman, Jonathan Street, George F. Lewis, James Carpenter, Jacob S. Jackson, W. R. Phillips and others.

During the month of April, 1870, quite a number of other settlers arrived and took claims in the southern part of the county. Prominent among them were Charles L. Seeley, Isaac A. Sawin, Allen Lightner, William M. Jones, James W. Hall, Richard D. Fardy, L. J. Calvin, F. A. May and John R. Wilson. The majority of them remained.

The first white woman who became a resident of the southern part of Jewell County, was Mrs. Annie Billings, wife of N. H. Billings, who arrived at Fort Jewell, May 22, 1870. She was accompanied by her little ten-year-old sister, Miss Jennie Jones, who is now married and lives on Wolf Creek, in Cloud County. The second invoice of white women who came to cheer the bachelor pioneers with their refining presence were: Mrs. Adaline Sorick, Mrs. Jennie Halstead, Mrs. Annie Waters and Mrs. Mariah Dodge, all of whom arrived at Fort Jewell on the evening of July 3, 1870.


In 1871 Guy Whitmore and Jake Hanes, noted horse-thieves, were arrested at Grand Island, Neb., by William Stone, the Sheriff of Jewell County. When taken, they had eleven stolen horses in their possession. When the Sheriff reached his home near Salem, in Jewell County, he remained over night with the prisoners. Leaving them with his Deputy he went out on an errand, and during his absence a mob overpowered the deputy, and hung the prisoners to a tree. Efforts were made to discover the perpetrators, but without success. The Sheriff never received his pay for the capture, as the County Commissioners claimed that he did not "produce the prisoners dead or alive."

The most noted murder trial in the county, was that of Daniel Davidson, a Swede, for the murder of his wife, November 29, 1878. The first trial resulted in conviction; but in the second he was acquitted, by the disappearance, it is claimed, of a part of the evidence found by the coroner's jury. The circumstantial evidence was strongly against the accused. He had been separated from his wife for some time; she refusing to live with him, and receiving marked and suspicious attentions from a man named Swartz.

For some weeks previous to her death she had been ill, and her husband had remained with her during the time. On Friday, the 29th of November, 1878, having recovered sufficiently to attend to her family - a girl of twelve and a child of one and a half years - she told her husband she had no further use for him, and that he could go to his own home, which was a mile and a half distant. She further told him that he must pay for the divorce which she had applied for, and that she intended to marry Swartz as soon as it was obtained. He returned home, and that night she was shot through the window while undressing to retire. The two children were in bed asleep, and Mrs. Davidson was near the foot of the bed, facing the window, when the shot was fired, which took effect in her breast close to the heart, and must have killed her instantly. The concussion blew out the lamp and awoke the children. The younger began to cry, and the older calling to her mother, and receiving no reply, arose, and in going to the bureau to light the lamp, stumbled over the dead body of her mother. Toward morning the frightened, lonely and weary children fell asleep, and slept until a neighbor coming to the house on an errand, discovered the awful and touching situation. Fresh footprints of a horse going and coming between the house of Davidson and that of Mrs. Davidson through the fields, were traced the next morning, the horse having been fastened at a spot where none had been seen for several weeks, according to the recollection of the little girl and the neighbors. This testimony, although strong against the prisoner, being circumstantial, was not deemed by the jury sufficient for conviction.


In July, 1870, Col. E. Barker and Orville L. McClung presented a petition to Governor Harvey, asking for the organization of the county. On the 14th of that month, C. L. Seeley, F. T. Gandy and A. J. Davis were appointed the first Commissioners, James A. Scarbrough, County Clerk, and Jewell City was designated as the county-seat. The county and the city were named in honor of Lieut. Col. Lewis R. Jewell, of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, who died of wounds received at the battle of Cane Hill, Ark, November 28, 1862. Col. Barker, had been commissioned Notary Public on the 16th of June, being the first public officer of Jewell County. That functionary presented the new officers with their commissions, and in August they called upon him at his shanty on Middle Buffalo, one and one-half miles north of Jewell City; held an open-air meeting on the banks of that stream, and were sworn into office on the 20th of that month, 1870. The duly-qualified Commissioners held their first meeting at the office of the County Clerk in Jewell City, on August 22, Mr. Seeley being chosen as chairman. The county was divided into three commissioners' districts, and five municipal, viz.: Vicksburg, Buffalo, Limestone, White Rock and Big Timber. At this meeting it was ordered that on the twenty-seventh day of September, 1870, an election be held for the purpose of electing county and township officers, and locating the county-seat, Result was as follows: For County Commissioners - First District - Dennis Taylor; Second District - Thomas Coverdale; Third District - Samuel C. Bowles. For County Clerk - James A. Scarbrough. For County Treasurer - Henry Sorick. For County Surveyor - N. H. Billings. For Register of Deeds - S. O. Carman. For Probate Judge - Charles L. Seeley. For Sheriff - A. J. Davis. For Coroner - William Cox. For County Superintendent - S. R. Worick. "Springdale," a paper town, supposed to be located on the divide between White Rock and the head of the East Buffalo, received twenty-four votes for the county-seat, and died a premature death - or rather, died before it had ever been born. In April, 1873, Jewell Center, now Mankato, concluded that, owing to its central location, it was more entitled to be the county-seat than Jewell City. In response to a petition, on April 7, 1873, the County Commissioners ordered an election upon the re-location of the county-seat, to take place the 13th of May, 1873. Jewell Center was the successful candidate for the honor, by a vote of 861, to 626 for Jewell City. On the 28th of June, 1875 another election for the re-location of the county-seat took place, at the request of Jewell City. This election resulted again in favor of Jewell Center - 971, to 756 for Jewell City, and nine for Midway, a town on Middle Buffalo, and another aspirant for the county-seat. The question has not been agitated since, and it is, probably, definitely and fairly settled.

The county buildings of Mankato are small, inconvenient, and unsafe for keeping the records of so large a county. The present court hose (sic) is a small frame building, donated by the citizens of Mankato to secure the county-seat. A courthouse square has been set apart in the most elevated portion of the town, where it is intended to soon erect a court house commensurate in size and elegance with the importance of the county.

The county poor-farm, of about 200 acres, situated one mile south of Mankato, is provided with a good poor-house, costing about $4,000.


First County Commissioners (appointed in 1870) - A. J. Davis, C. L. Seeley and F. T. Gandy; present County Commissioners - J. B. Davis, M, D. Ross and M. Daily; County Clerks - James Scarbrough, William Allen, W. M. Stephens; Treasurers - H. B. Kellog, L. M. Butts, John Burns, W. C. McClung, John Burns and O. S. McClung; Probate Judges Abraham Jackson, J. W. George, J. W. McRoberts; Recorders - J. W. Worick, S. F. Scripture, M. Stone; Sheriffs - E. E. Blake, A. B. Smith, J. Q. A. Chives, O. F. Johnston; County Superintendents of Schools - T. R. Cumstock, T. J. Patterson, D. S. Kenney, E. Smith; Coroners - A. H. Studley, Dr. W. Crew, Dr. Powell; State Representatives - D. W. Pate, G. S. Bishop, C. E. Parker, D. S. Palmer, S. E. Wilson, G. S. Bishop, North District; J. M. Hutchison, South District; David Heron, North District; M. F. Knappenburger, South District; State Senators - Col. E. Barker, T. B. Carpenter, G. H. Case.

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