DOROTHY REYES 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: Early History | Map and Population | County Organization, Etc. | Lincoln Center
PART 2: Biographical Sketches | Other Towns


Lincoln County, situated just north of the center of the State, is bounded on the north by Mitchel (sic), on the east by Ottowa and Saline, on the south by Ellsworth, and on the west by Osborne and Russell counties. The major portion of the county is rough and undulating, only about fifteen per cent of the surface being bottom land. The Saline River runs through the center of the county, from west to east; while Salt Creek runs diagonally through the northeast township of the county. The tributaries of the Saline River are Wolf, Spillman, Lost, Beaver, and Twelve Mile creeks on the north; and the Twins, Bull-foot, Spring, Elkhorn, Brush, Owl, and Tablerock creeks. The Rattlesnake, Battle and Prosser creeks run in a northerly direction and empty into Salt Creek.

In the bluff and highland in Range 9 large quantities of coal are being mined for fuel. This coal burns very readily but is not so solid as the Leavenworth or Fort Scott coal. Considerable quantities of zinc are found in the cinders. New banks are being opened in Grant Township, at present writing.

On Salt Creek several salt springs and marshes occur. They are not being utilized at present, except by holders of large herds of cattle who occasionally drive them over this salt lick or range.

Lincoln County is largely open to range and is considered a good grazing county. It has never been a very productive corn county, the average yield this year (1882) being less than eighteen bushels per acre, the total crop of the county being about 600,000 bushels. Winter wheat, however, is more to be relied upon and is consequently the favorite crop of the farmers. In 1882, 33,609 acres were devoted to this crop with an average yield of twenty bushels per acre, making a total yield of 672,180 bushels. This is hauled to Salina, Ellsworth, Minneapolis and Beloit for shipment. Spring wheat has almost entirely gone out of date. Rye and oats are generally a good crop, 127,260 bushels of the former, and 123,640 bushels of the latter being raised in 1882. About 2,000 acres of broom corn were planted and a yield of 1,120,200 pounds was the result.

Lincoln County reports about 11,000 head of cattle and 6,000 head each of swine and sheep. Many more are herded here during the summer but are withdrawn to feed during the winter.

The Indians did not abandon the Saline Valley peaceably by any means, as many of the early settlers live to testify. In June, 1867, a party of "Dogs," as unauthorized bands of renegade Indians are called, made a raid down Spillman Creek and captured Mrs. Bacon, wife of David G. Bacon, Mrs. Shaw and her sister, Miss Foster. After subjecting them to the most brutal treatment the brutes could conceive they tied them hand and foot and staked them out on the prairie, where they were found nearly two days after by their friends who had escaped. As early as 1864, four buffalo hunters named Houston, Taylor, and brothers named Moffat were surprised in camp near Rocky Hill and killed by the Cheyennes.

It was at the mouth of Spillman Creek in this county, in August, 1868, that Martin Hendrickson found two little girls, aged six and nine years, who had been nearly three days without food. They proved to be the daughters of Aaron Bell, who had been captured near Beloit (see Mitchell County History). Mr. Hendrickson felt an uncontrollable impulse to go up the river six miles, and, although urged to remain at home by his family, he went, with the result stated. Mr. Hendrickson thinks an allwise Providence ordered him to go for the special purpose of saving the little ones.

On the 30th day of May, 1869, quite a large party of "Dogs" appeared in the Saline Valley and commenced their fiendish work. Their first victim was J. H. Strange, a son of J. S. Strange, one of the earliest settlers. Young Strange and a German boy named Smoots were hunting in the breaks of the Spillman when the Indians came upon them and, professing to be good Pawnees, managed to get close enough to shoot Strange with an arrow, and crush his skull with a war club. Smoots ran for his life but was hit by a bullet from a rifle, from which wound he died shortly after. Two Danes were killed four miles west of Lincoln Center; and six miles up Spillman Creek a woman escaped, and an attempt to recapture caused an Indian to brain her with a tomahawk. Mrs. Alderdice and her little child, six months old, and the wife of one of the Danes above mentioned, were captured. Mrs A. was afterward killed by her captors, and on the second day of the retreat her little child was left hanging to a tree in sight of their camp. A four-year-old son of Mrs. A., named Willis Daly, was shot through the back by an arrow and his mother supposed him to be dead, but two days after the raid Thomas Noon found the boy, being attracted by his moans. The arrow had gone through his body and was sticking fast in his breast bone. In his struggles he had broken it off underneath the skin on his back. Phillip Lautz and Washington Smith, by the aid of a pair of cobbler's pinchers, pulled out the arrow and saved the boy's life. In order to get hold of the arrow with the pinchers, one pressed down on the boy's back until the arrow protruded from the inflamed wound. Willis Daly is now a resident of Lincoln County. Seven were killed and four wounded on this raid. (It is impossible to get the names of the Danes, as they were land-seekers and had not made their names known.)

The settlement of Lincoln County commenced in 1865 by George Green, E. E. Johnson, R. B. Clark, D. C. Skinner, J. M. Adams, Isaac DeGraff, and W. E. Thompson. In the spring of 1866, about June 25, Washington Smith, W. T. Wild, John Dart and two young men named Peate and Gaskill became permanent residents of Lincoln. October 4, 1866, M. D. Green, Martin and William Hendrickson, Volany Ball, John S. Strange, David G. Bacon, M. Zeigler, Thomas Noon, J. C. Parks and families settled throughout the county. For several years buffalo hunting was the chief pursuit.



FEDERAL CENSUS                      1880
(a) Battle Creek Township            459
(b) Beaver Township                  472
(c) Cedron Township                  574
(d) Colorado Township                504
(e) Elkhorn Township,
    including Lincoln Centre City  1,009
(f) Franklin Township                354
(g) Golden Belt Township             318
(h) Grant Township                   576
(i) Highland Township                250
(j) Indiana Township                 463
(k) Logan Township                   383
(l) Madison Township                 323
(m) Marion Township                  467
(n) Orange Township                  578
(o) Pleasant Township                803
(p) Salt Creek Township              429
(q) Scott Township                   412
(r) Valley Township                  208

Lincoln Centre City                  422

(a) Organized in 1875, from parts of Indiana and Salt Creek;
    parts detached in 1879 to form Marion and Scott.
(b) Organized in 1879, from part of Salt Creek.
(c) Organized in 1879, from part of Grant.
(d) Organized in 1870, from original territory;
    in 1879, parts detached to form Logan and Madison.
(e) Organized in 1870, from original territory;
    in 1873, parts detached to form Pleasant and Valley;
    in 1879, part to Franklin.
(f) Organized in 1879, from part of Elkhorn.
(g) Organized in 1879, from part of Pleasant.
(h) Organized in 1873, from parts of Indiana and Salt Creek;
    in 1878, part detached to form Orange;
    in 1879, part to Cedron.
(i) Organized in 1879, from part of Pleasant.
(j) Organized in 1870, from original territory;
    in 1873, parts detached to form Grant and Valley;
    in 1875, part to Battle Creek;
    in 1879, part to Marion.
(k) Organized in 1879, from parts of Colorado and Salt Creek.
(l) Organized in 1879, from part of Colorado.
(m) Organized in 1879, from parts of Indiana and Battle Creek.
(n) Organized in 1878, from part of Grant.
(o) Organized in 1873, from part of Elkhorn;
    in 1879, parts detached to form Golden Belt and Highland.
(p) Organized in 1870, from original territory;
    in 1873, part detached to form Grant;
    in 1875, part to Battle Creek;
    in 1879, parts to Beaver, Logan and Scott.
(q) Organized in 1879, from part of Battle Creek.
(r) Organized in 1873, from parts of Elkhorn and Indiana;
    in 1879, part detached to form Franklin.


It was not until 1870 that any move was made toward a county organization. On the 6th of October of that year a meeting of the Special Board of County Commissioners appointed by the Governor for the purpose of organizing the county was held. Present: John S. Strange, Washington Smith and Isaac DeGraff; F. A. Schermerhorn, Special Clerk. The board divided the county into four townships and ordered an election Nov. 8, 1870. Colorado Township was composed of townships 12 and 13 in range 6.

Elkhorn was composed of townships 12 and 13 in range 7, and south half of township 12 in range 8, and south half of 12 in range 9, and south half of 12 in range 10, and townships 13 in ranges 8, 9, and 10.

Indiana Township comprised the congressional townships 10 and 11 in range 6, and 10 and 11 in range 7.

Salt Creek Township included townships 10 and 11 in range 6, and 10 and 11 in range 7.

The election resulted in the choice of the following county officers: County Commissioners, John S. Strange, Cornelius Deits, James Wild; County Clerk, A. S. Potter; County Treasurer, Volany Ball; Probate Judge, D. C. Skinner; Registrar of Deeds, Thomas Walls; Sheriff, R. B. Clark; Coroner, Francis Seibers; County Attorney, M. D. Green; Clerk of Court, J. A. Cook; Surveyor, Patrick Lowe; Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Lyden; Representative, Ira C. Buzick. In the county seat contest 158 votes were cast, of which Abram received 75; Lincoln Center, 58; Elkhorn, 10; northwest quarter of section 9, township 12, range 7, 15. The last named votes were not counted because the words "county seat" were not written thereon.

The county-seat location turned out in Lincoln to be the source of much strife. In April, 1871, the Board of Commissioners were petitioned to call an election to re-locate. At their May meeting another additional petition was presented and both were laid over until the July meeting. At a special meeting June 10, called by the order of Judge Canfield in a writ of mandamus demanding action of the board on the laid-over petitions, the petitions were rejected.

The town company of Abram presented the county with a deed to the lot on which the temporary court-house was then standing. On the 19th of February, 1872, an election was held to re-locate the county seat, at which 408 votes were cast. Lincoln Center received 232; Abram, 176.

During the time that the last election was pending, a quarrel arose between Ezra Hubbard and John Haley in reference to a stick of timber which Hubbard was about to place in his mill then building just below Abram. The dispute grew fierce and Hubbard seized a carbine and shot and killed Haley. Hubbard was arrested and placed under guard at Abram, and in the evening a mob of forty men in several degrees of intoxication forced open the doors, wounded Hubbard and left him to die. Ascertaining shortly after that he was likely to recover, they again entered the building and, placing a stone under the wounded man's head, beat his brains out with a mallet. This incident was used as an argument for the removal of the county seat. Hon. Ira C. Buzick was tried for the murder of Hubbard and acquitted. The armed guard who had Hubbard in charge was, three years later, murdered and thrown in a well, where his body was discovered nearly three weeks after his disappearance. This murder, however, had no connection with the Haley-Hubbard affair of 1872.

On the first of April, 1873, bonds amounting to $4,000 were voted to build a court-house. The present county officers are: Commissioners, M. A. Jackson, J. S. Nygaard, James Little; Probate Judge, A. Artman; County Clerk, H. Hammer; Sheriff, Harry Trask; Registrar of Deeds, A. S. Robinson; Clerk of Court, J. D. Miller; County Treasurer, Ed. M. Harris; County Attorney, Geo. W. Finch; County Superintendent of Public Instruction, A. T. Biggs; Surveyor, Samuel Bloomfield; Coroner, Dr. Frank Coggswell. The Representatives in the State Legislature since the organization of the county have been in regular order; Ira C. Buzick, Alonzo Schermerhorn, George Green, Volany Ball, J. B. Goff, E. S. Pierce, Reuben Williams, W. S. Wait, George W. Anderson, R. F. Bryant.

Lincoln County has ever been ambitious to excel in school matters. The first school taught in the county was at the house of Martin Hendrickson in 1868 by Marion Ivy. The second school was taught in 1869 by David G. Bacon in a dugout near the same place. The first public school was in District No. 2, at Monroe, by Mrs. Skinner, in 1870. The county now has seventy-eight school districts with good comfortable buildings, valued at $19,250. The school expenses for the year ending July 31, 1882 were $10,935. The county has 2,888 children of school age, 2,267 of which are enrolled, and 1,510 of which are in daily attendance. The average salary of male teachers is $25 per month, and females, $22.


Lincoln Center, the county seat, is located on the north side of the Saline River, about half a mile from the first bottom. It was originally platted on the 9th of May, 1871, and included the northwest quarter of section 6, township 12, range 7. The members of the Town Company at that time were: W. L. Gilmore, D. W. Henderson, J. S. Strange, Washington Smith, Thomas Boyle, S. M. Bobelette and James Askey. Efforts were made from time to time to re-locate the county seat, and in 1872 Lincoln Center became successful, and its success as a town assured. It did not assume municipal honors until the 23d of September, 1879, when Judge Prescott ordered an election for city officers under the act for the formation of cities of the third class. The result of this election proved favorable to the following: Mayor, George M. Lutes; Councilmen, D. E. Coolbaugh, George Green, Luther Stewart, H. Holcomb, Joseph E. Cheeney; Police Judge, Mortimer Gragg; Clerk, Lon A. Minx. The city has not found it necessary to indulge in any very extensive police or fire departments. The building in the business part of the town is nearly all of stone, of good style and well built; hence the feeling of security against fires. The present city officers are: Mayor, C. J. Brown; Councilmen, R. F. Bryant, W. S. McNitt, H. C. Angell, D. H. Malone, Thomas Thompson; Clerk, C. J. Wood.

Early in 1872, when it had become fairly settled that Lincoln Center was for all time to be the capital of the county, the people of School District No. 6 voted $3,500 in bonds for the erection of a handsome stone school-house, which was built the following summer. It is 38 x 42, two stories high, and built of magnesian limestone. The present School Board are: R. F. Bryant, C. G. Wood, J. B. Goff. The school is now enjoying an average daily attendance of 103 and is presided over by James Mallory, assisted by Mrs. Burress.


Lincoln County was without a paper from its organization in 1870 until March 3, 1873, when F. H. Barnhart, whose biography appears in the Osborne County History, commenced the publication of the Lincoln County News. April 3 he associated with himself in the publication of the News Mr. W. C. Busick, who afterward became County Clerk, and now resides at Sylvan Grove, in this county. Mr. Barnhart sold his interest in the News, Dec. 22, 1873, to Rev. P. Barker, who assumed editorial management of the paper and published it until Dec. 22, 1874. July 16, 1874, Barnhart commenced the publication of the Farmer, which he maintained until January 1, 1875, when it was moved to Osborne, where it is now published by him.

The News passed into the hands of J. W. Newell early in 1875, and the following fall he moved it to Stockton, in Rooks County. At the time Mr. Barker abandoned the publication of the News, F. M. Beatty started a paper called the Western Democrat, which was continued under that name until June 15, 1875, when it was sold to G. W. Wellman, who changed the name to the Saline Valley Register, and made it the county paper until January, 1879, when it was sold to Messrs. Watson & Kime. During the last six months of the regime of Wellman, Albert Springer owned a half interest in the Register, and assisted editorially in its publication. Watson & Kime ran the paper until the following September, when it was sold to Hon. George W. Anderson, its present publisher.

On the first of December, 1879, Ira Lutes brought material from Illinois and commenced publication of the Lincoln Argus, which after seventeen weeks he sold to Hon. Walter S. Wait, who changed the name to the Beacon. It is now owned by Mr. Wait, who is assisted in the editorial work by his wife and son, A. H. Wait.

The press on which the News, the Democrat and the Register were printed was brought to St. Mary's Mission, in Kansas, and the St. Mary's Star, one of the first papers in Kansas, printed thereon. It is now at Cain City, in Ellsworth County. Mr. P. Barker, the second editor of the News, was aged about fifty years, and a native of the State of New York, where he had studied for the ministry. He came to this county from Chicago, where he had been a local preacher for the Methodist Episcopal church for many years. He often occupied the pulpits of his church at various places in this county. While publishing the News at Lincoln, he also published papers for Brookville and Wilson, on the Kansas Pacific Railway. He is now a resident of the State of New Jersey.

A Presbyterian Church was organized in Lincoln Center in June, 1874, by the Rev. H. C. Bradbury, who was for several years its Pastor. The church building, an elegant stone edifice, was commenced in 1875, and dedicated in July, 1879. It is valued at $2,500. The church numbers some thirty-five members, the following named being the present Trustees: D. E. Coolbaugh, Pres.; Geo. M. Lutes, Capt. J. T. Smith, C. J. Brown, John Stein.

The Vesper Presbyterian Church, in Pleasant Township, is also in charge of Rev. H. C. Bradbury. This class contains twenty-four members and was organized Sept. 3, 1875. They have no church building. A Sabbath-school is regularly held with an average attendance of seventy-five scholars.

The Blue Stem Presbyterian, in the southwestern part of the county, was organized in March, 1882, and now has twenty-eight members and a regular Sabbath-school of eighty-five scholars. Rev. H. C. Bradbury is also the pastor of this church.

Rev. John Kelley, of Ellsworth, was instrumental in founding a class and building a Catholic Church at this place. The congregation numbers over 300, and services are held monthly. They have a plain frame building in the northwest part of the city erected at an expense of $1,000.

The M. E. Church Society was organized in this city in the fall of 1872. It now numbers 115 members. The first pastor was Rev. J. D. Mattson. They have built no house of worship, but regular services are held each Sabbath in the commodious hall in Cummings's Bank Building. The children and members assist in maintaining the Union Sunday-school. Rev. J. M. Miller is the present pastor. Arrangements are being made to build a church during the year 1883.

The Bible Christian Church society was organized in Lincoln Center in the winter of 1876. It now numbers twenty-one members, and is under the care and pastoral guidance of Rev. J. S. Strange. The Baptist Church is used as their regular house of worship. Their Sabbath-school scholars attend the Union Sabbath-school.

A Lutheran Church was organized Dec. 17, 1882, with a membership of thirteen, Rev. J. A. Bright, pastor. They are at present occupying the Baptist Church, a frame edifice on Main street, which is not now needed by the Baptists as the society has moved away in detail until only one of the original members remains a resident of Lincoln.

At Denmark, in Salt Creek Township, the Lutherans have a church building which cost about $1,500, and was built in 1880. The society was organized in 1877, and now numbers about forty-two members.

The various churches of Lincoln Center have formed a Union Sabbath-school which is held regularly every Sunday in the Presbyterian Church. Capt. J. T. Smith is the popular and able Superintendent who keeps up the interest in the work. The average attendance is seventy- five. They have a well-patronized library.

The National Woman's Suffrage Association, an auxiliary branch of which was formed in Lincoln in 1881. At present writing the officers are: Mrs. Emily Biggs, President; Mrs. E. Lutes, Vice-President; Mrs. Anna C. Wait, Secretary. This auxiliary numbers sixty-five members, and has two auxiliaries in the county, one at Pinon postoffice and the other at Tower Springs.

Lincoln Intrenchment, No. 62, of the Sir Knights of the Grand Army of the Union, was organized in this city in December, 1881. It now has enrolled over sixty members, of whom D. H. Malone is Colonel-Commanding, and Chas. G. Wood, Adjutant.

Center Lodge, I. O. O. F., was organized in Lincoln, March 23, 1874. The Lodge has grown in wealth until now its property is valued at $500, and has twenty-eight members. The present officers are: D. B. Day, N. G.; Geo. M. Lutes, V. G.; S. A. Alton, Sec.; S. Holcomb, Treas.

Lincoln Lodge, No. 154, A. F. & A. M., was organized in this city on the 28th day of March, 1874. It now numbers about fifty members. This lodge united with the bank in erecting an elegant stone building, and their hall is estimated to be worth about $1,500. The present officers are: D. H. Malone, W. M.; J. S. Strange, S. W.; M. Robertson, J. W.; J. D. Miller, Sec.

Lincoln Center has only developed as a trading point, but in this particular is a town of considerable note. Several large stores of considerable pretentions in regard to size of buildings and greater as regards stocks carried are scattered about the town. Nearly all the business houses are built of stone while the majority of the dwellings are frame. South of town a handsome iron bridge spans the Saline River. It was built and put in place by the King Bridge Company, of Kansas City, and the towns of Elkhorn and Indiana have put up their bonds in the sum of $4,000 in payment for the same.

Just above the bridge is the handsome and substantial stone mill building, commenced in the year 1872 by Elias Rees. The mill is now complete and the estate of E. Rees values the property at $12,500. The mill contains four run of stone and has every later improvement for custom mills. A dwelling and store building adjacent causes the crossing at the bridge to have the appearance of a town.

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