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: Introduction | Map and Population | The Shawnee Indians
PART 2: The 'Black Bob' Reservation | Early Political Troubles
PART 3: War History | Local Battles and Raids | County Organization Official Roster, Etc. | Railroads | County Societies
PART 4: Statistics | Olathe
PART 5: Biographical Sketches (Ainsworth - Dow)
PART 6: Biographical Sketches (Egelston - Holcomb)
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (Hubbard - Ott)
PART 8: Biographical Sketches (Parker - Wiley)
PART 9: Bonita | Shawnee | Lenexa | Hector
PART 10: Spring Hill | Ocheltree
PART 11: Monticello | Lexington | Prairie Centre | De Soto
PART 12: Waseca
PART 13: Gardner | Edgerton
PART 14: McCamish
PART 15: Oxford
PART 16: Aubry


JOHNSON County is located in the eastern part of the State. It is bounded on the north by Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties, on the east by Missouri, on the south by Miami, and on the west by Douglas County. It is twenty-one miles from north to south and twenty-four from east to west, containing 475 square miles, or 304,000 acres. At the first organization of the county, in 1855, the Kansas river constituted its entire northern boundary, but in 1859 the present boundary was established.

The surface of the county is generally undulating. About ten per cent is bottom land, ninety per cent, upland. The bottom lands are from one-half mile to two miles in width. The central and southwestern are the highest portions, the streams having their sources there and flowing thence toward the north, east and south.

The soil is from one foot to six feet in depth, is very productive and adapted especially to winter wheat, corn, oats, potatoes and wild and tame grasses.

The timber belts along the streams average one-half mile in width, and comprise sixteen per cent. of the surface. The principal varieties that grow are ash, hackberry, hickory, oak, sycamore and walnut.

The streams are not large, but sufficiently numerous. The Kansas river runs along the west two-thirds of the northern boundary, and receives as tributaries, Cedar, Clear, Captain's, Kill, Mill, and Turkey creeks. Blue and Indian creeks run eastward, and two forks of Bull Creek run south. There are numerous springs, and good well water is obtained at an average depth of twenty-five feet.

There is considerable limestone and some sandstone in the county, the former being extensively used in building, and a tough variety of the former is now being sawed into flagging stone, window sills, etc. There is also excellent brick clay.

The first white hunter to behold the soil of Kansas, is believed to have been Jacob Pursley, who in 1802 crossed the eastern part of the present State to New Mexico. Other adventurous spirits followed and soon quite a trade was established between Santa Fe, N. M., and Booneville, Mo., the latter place being then the frontier town of the West. In the course of time Independence, Mo., secured the trade, and became for a time the starting point for all westward bound expeditions of whatever kind. The trade grew to such an extent that about the year 1825 the Government employed Maj. Sibley to establish a wagon road from the Missouri line to Santa Fe. This road ran through Johnson County about four miles south of Olathe, and crossed the Missouri line near the present location of Little Santa Fe, Mo.


Aubry Twp 1,125 1,216
Gardner Twp 944 1,321
Lexington Twp 1,256 2042
McCamish Twp 908 1,330
Monticello Twp 1,093 1,396
Olathe City 1,817 2,285
Olathe Twp 1,205 1,545
Oxford Twp 1,926 1,950
Shawnee Twp 2,451 2,477
Spring Hill Twp,
incl. Spring Hill City
959 1,291
Totals 13,684 16,853
Spring Hill City  502



Previous to the advent of the Shawnee Indians in 1828, but little was known of what is now Johnson County, by white people. In common with the whole of the present State of Kansas, it was occupied, when occupied at all, by the Kaw or Kansas tribe of Indians. The whole territory abounded with game of every description. Along the streams, where they could find shelter in the timber, were to be found bears, beaver, mink, otter, wolves, etc., and on the open prairie, antelopes, deer and elk. Buffaloes ranged in immense numbers but seldom east of Morris and Chase counties. In 1825, the Shawnee reservation in Kansas was set apart for these Indians, in accordance with a treaty concluded with them that year.

In 1828, the Fish band, so named from their Chief, about one hundred in number, were removed here, from the vicinity of Cape Girardeau, Mo. In 1829, Rev. Thomas Johnson, a Methodist Episcopal missionary, came to the reservation under the auspices of the church and established a school for the education of the Indians. This school was located about six miles west of Westport, between the Kansas river and Turkey Creek. In 1830 some members of the tribe on their way from Ohio to this reservation, were exposed, in St. Louis, to the smallpox. Upon arriving at the village located near the site of the present Glenwood depot, they halted and infected the portion of the tribe living there. The disease broke out with great virulence, most of the Indians in the village died, the others fled to other localities. In 1832, the remaining band of the Shawnee Indians were removed here from Auglaize and adjoining counties in Ohio. After all had been removed here they numbered about 1,000. For a number of years after their removal they continued their accustomed mode of dress, habitation and of making a living--living in wigwams and subsisting on the products of the chase; but as game grew scarcer, attention to the tilling of the soil was forced upon them, and they began to erect buildings more substantial than wigwams.

They also at length effected a change in their form of government. At the time of the removal of the Shawnees from Ohio, they were divided into three bands, each band being presided over by a Chief. The principal of these three chiefs was John Perry, who retained his position at the head of the tribe until his death in 1850. He was succeeded by John Francis, who reigned four years when he died. The young men of the tribe attempted, at the time of Perry's death, to introduce the principle of electing their chiefs, but the old men defeated them. At the time of the death of Francis the young men made a second attempt to overthrow the hereditary principle of government, and were this time successful. Capt. Parks was elected Chief for two years, and remained in office eight years. Graham Rogers succeeded and served two years; Charles Bluejacket then served four years; Graham Rogers was then re-elected and served two terms, when he died, and Charles Tucker was then elected.*

*For more special mention of Shawnee Indians and Missions, see sketches of Indian Tribes in General History

The boundaries of the original Shawnee Reservation in Kansas, as fixed November 7, 1825, and conveyed to them by deed, May 11, 1844, contained 1,600,000 acres. Almost precisely ten years afterwards, on May 10, 1854, they ceded to the United States all of this magnificent reservation but 200,000 acres, which they reserved for homes for themselves.

Under this treaty the "Black Bob band" of the Shawnees, a distinct organization within the tribe, received, as was their choice, and had "assigned and set apart in a compact body to be held in common" by them, such a portion of this 200,000 acres as was equivalent to 200 acres for each member of the band; or more accurately, according to the survey, 33,392.87 acres. Black Bob was their recognized Chief. Being of limited intelligence, they preferred to maintain their tribal organization and customs, and to hold their lands in common. An article however was incorporated into the treaty under which they might at any time "make separate selections from the tract assigned to them in common." This privilege they did not avail themselves of until 1866, but continued to live as had been their wont, making but little progress, and spending most of their time in visiting other tribes and hunting, until the breaking out of the war, when on account of the losses and suffering to which they were subjected from bushwhackers on the one hand and Kansas thieves and jayhawkers on the other, they left their homes, went to the Indian Territory in a body, where they remained until peace was proclaimed, when about one hundred returned for the purpose of disposing of their lands.

The other community of Shawnees remained on the reservation as they were until the survey of their lands into head rights of their own selection was completed, as contemplated and provided for by the treaty of May 10, 1854. By this treaty they each received 200 acres in severalty in any part of the reservation they might choose, surrendering all claim to the rest, which was thus thrown open to settlement by white people. The Indians very naturally made their selections where there was timber, along the creeks, and when their selections had all been made there was but little land left for the white man but open prairie. As a consequence of this state of affairs numerous conflicts arose between the two races over the timber question; and as so often before and since, the civilized man conquered, and it was not long before he was allowed to help himself to the Indian's timber unmolested.

As soon as it was know that a large portion of the reservation was thrown open for settlement large numbers rushed in to secure claims. Many claims were thus taken, "improved," and sold at the first favorable opportunity, so that but few of the earliest settlers remained in the county. Those who came to buy, usually came to stay.

A. Coffman secured the contract for surveying the Shawnee lands as selected by the "head right" community, and was sworn to secrecy in relation thereto. Instead of living up to his oath he permitted a young man in the employ of Dr. John T. Barton and Ed. Nash to accompany him, and each evening to make a copy of the day's field notes, and received $1,000 for the privilege. It was thus easy for the Dr. and his partner to dispose of the choicest lands not taken by the Indians at a considerable profit to themselves, and the settler was certain that no Shawnee could dispute his claim.

Among those who settled in the county during this year (1857) were the following persons, on the Free-state side: Thomas E. Milhoan, William Williams, Rynear Morgan, William Holmes, Dr. Irving Jaynes, J. D. Allen, J. C. Forrest, and L. F. Bancroft; and on the Pro-slavery side, Dr. J. B. Morgan, Col. J. T. Quarles, T. H. Ellis, A. Slaughter, James H. Nounan, C. C. Catron, W. S. Gregory, Johnathan Gore, A. J. Turpin, Dr. Shuck and M. T. Wells. There was a considerable number of others in different parts of the county, as may be seen by referring to our sketches of the separate towns.

During the time of the occupancy of the entire county by the Shawnee Indians, but few white men became residents of it, and they only in some connection with the Indians. The earliest were the Choteau brothers, Frenchmen who built trading houses among the Shawnees and Delawares in 1828 and 1829.

Rev. Thomas Johnson and family came in 1829. His son Alexander S. Johnson was born in Mission, July 11, 1832, and was thus the first white child born in the county. Other children of Rev. Mr. Johnson born at the Mission were Eliza S., A. M., W. M., Laura L., Cora and Edna, seven in all with Alexander S.

Samuel Cornatzer came to the Mission in 1844. Mr. Crockett, nephew of Davy Crockett, January 24, 1847; and at different times, Perk Randall, John Bowles, Isaac Parish, Samuel Garrett, John Owens, John Boyle and Calvin Cornatzer.

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