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: Topography | Map and Population | Indian Inhabitants | Early Explorations and Settlements
PART 2: Early Political Troubles, Part 1
PART 3: Early Political Troubles, Part 2
PART 4: The Marais des Cygnes Massacre | War History
PART 5: The Price Raid | County Organization, Etc. | Railroads and County Societies | Schools and Other Statistics
PART 6: Mound City | Biographical Sketches (Alexander - Durbin)
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (Fisher - Wilson)
PART 8: Pleasanton
PART 9: La Cygne
PART 10: Prescott | Blue Mound | Trading Post | Other Villages and Postoffices
PART 11: Defunct Towns | Paris Township | Scott Township | Centerville Township | Stanton Township


LINN County is situated in the eastern tier of counties next to Missouri, and in the third tier south from the Kansas River. The southern boundary of the county is three miles north of the thirty-eighth parallel of north latitude. It is bounded on the north by Miami County, on the east by Missouri, on the south by Bourbon County and on the west by Anderson County. The county was named "Linn" in honor of Lewis F. Linn, a distinguished United States Senator from Missouri. The Bogus Legislature passed an act bounding Linn County, as follows:
Beginning at the southeast corner of Miami County; thence south twenty-four(24) miles; thence west twenty-four (24) miles; thence north twenty four (24) miles to the southwest corner of Miami county; thence east twenty-four (24) miles to the place of beginning.

As thus defined the county contained 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres. These were the boundaries and area of the county until March 3, 1868, when an act of the Legislature was approved by which the boundaries were defined as follows:

Beginning at the southeast corner of Miami County; thence south along the west boundary of the State of Missouri to the corner on said line to Fractional Sections thirteen and twenty-four, Township twenty-three south, of Range twenty-five east; thence west along the section lines to the corner of Sections fourteen, fifteen, twenty-two and twenty-three, Township twenty-three south, of Range twenty-one east; thence north along the section lines between the second and third tiers of sections to the southwest corner of Miami County; thence east along the south boundary of Miami County to the place of beginning.

By this act a strip varying in width from one-half mile at the northwest corner of the county to nearly a mile and a half at the southwest corner, was added to the west side of the county, and the area was increased to something over 400,000 acres.

A local chronicler writes that the authorities knew so little about boundary lines that they "exercised jurisdiction over a three mile strip of Miami County territory up to 1858, and held elections upon it and made their returns to the County Seat of Linn County!"

It also related of some of the early settlers on the Miami Indian Reservation that they were equally as anxious to take advantage of such residence and thus avoid the payment of taxes, as they were to exercise the right of suffrage at election time. The general surface of the county is undulating, about eighty per cent being uplands and the balance bottom land. The uplands average from fifty to seventy-five feet above the bottom lands, and the highest elevation in the county, Silver Hill near La Cygne, is about three hundred feet above the waters of the Marais des Cygnes. The valley of the latter stream averages a little more than two miles wide, while those of the other streams average half a mile in width. The soil of Linn County is no exception to that of all Eastern Kansas, being exceedingly productive all over the county. On the uplands it is from one to three feet deep; in the valleys from two to five. It is generally underlaid with limestone, but in some places is found a species of "cotton" stone or magnesia limestone, similar to the "Fontana marble" in Miami County, and in the vicinity of Barnard and La Cygne an excellent quality of sandstone has been quarried. In the eastern part of the county coal crops out of nearly all the hills, shafts have been sunk and the coal, which is generally of good quality, is quite extensively mined for local purposes.

Timber. - The timber belts are generally of about the same width as the valleys, and in the aggregate cover about 10 per cent of the county. The principal varieties are ash, box elder, elm, hickory, cottonwood, oak, sycamore and black walnut. The Marais des Cygnes and its tributaries are heavily timbered. The principal stream in this county, as in Miami, is the Marais des Cygnes. It enters from the north and flows southeastwardly into Missouri. Its tributaries from the east are Middle Creek and North Sugar, both of which rise in Miami County, and flow southward, emptying into the Marais des Cygnes within a short distance of each other. From the west this stream receives Elm Creek, which rises in Liberty Township; Big Sugar Creek, which rises in Anderson County, besides a few smaller streams. Little Sugar Creek rises in Blue Mound Township and flows into Big Sugar Creek about four miles from its mouth. Goodrich and Deer Creeks are the two branches of Big Sugar. Mine Creek flows northeastwardly into the Missouri, emptying into the Marais des Cygnes a short distance from the State line. Lost Creek rises in the southern part of the county and flows southeasterly into Bourbon County. The county is well supplied with springs, and good well water is obtainable at an average depth of twenty-five feet.



                     POPULATION (FEDERAL CENSUS).
                                           |        |
                                           |  1870. |  1880.
Blue Mound Township........................|    341 |    911
Centreville Township.......................|  1,034 |  1,553
Liberty Township...........................|    480 |    994
Lincoln Township, including La Cygne City..|  2,012 |  2,113
Mound Township, including Mound City.......|  1,374 |  1,471
Paris Township.............................|  1,396 |  1,500
Potosi Township, including Pleasanton City.|  1,779 |  2,347
Scott Township.............................|  1,306 |  1,427
Sheridan Township..........................|    828 |  1,291
Stanton Township...........................|    528 |    689
Valley Township............................|  1,096 |  1,002
                                           | 12,174 | 15,298
La Cygne City..............................|........|    835
Mound City.................................|........|    443
Pleasanton City............................|........|    709


The Miami Reservation originally extended southward to within three miles of the southern boundary of the county. In 1858, the reserve was diminished, and the southern boundary of it established about two miles north of the fourth parallel, and, in 1882, the residue was finally disposed of by congressional enactment opening it up to ownership and taxation.

In 1838, a tract south of the Miami lands and extending to the Cherokee lands was set apart for the New York Indians. This reservation was bounded on the east by Missouri, was twenty-two miles wide from north to south, and extended westward far enough to embrace 1,824,000 acres, 320 acres for each member of the tribe. Before that time, however, a permanent settlement was made by white men at Trading Post, for the purpose of trading with the Indians then in the vicinity. This was in 1834, when Girard and Chouteau established the post as agents of the Northwestern Fur Company. The value of the furs collected at this and other posts in this region amounted annually for a number of years to $300,000. The Indians received payment therefor in tobacco, trinkets and whiskey.


With the exception of M. Dutisne, Girard and Chouteau were probably the first white men in what is now Linn County. Hale says in his "Kansas and Nebraska:" "M. Dutisne, a French officer, was sent from New Orleans in 1719 by Bienville, the Governor, into the territory west of the Mississippi. He visited the villages of the Osage Indians, five miles from the Osage River, at eighty leagues above its mouth." These Osage villages were probably near the southeastern part of Linn County, and Dutisne's line of travel would hence be through the counties of Linn, Miami, Franklin, Osage, Lyon, Morris, Davis, and then on westward, passing near Port Riley. As early as 1827, United States troops were stationed where now stands Fort Leavenworth. Up to 1832, it was called a cantonment; then it became a fort. In 1842, Fort Scott was selected as a military post, and the troops stationed here, as well as at Fort Leavenworth, were employed to protect the trade of the frontier. A military road was constructed between the two forts soon after, and the roadway thrown up in the valley of the Marais des Cygnes, and remains of some of the bridges are still to be seen.

Previously, the deposit of lead near Mine Creek, at the place subsequently known as Potosi, was discovered by the French. The extent to which this metal was mined by them and the Indians is now merely conjectural; but the operations of mining seem to have been carried on for a considerable time, and to have been discontinued only because they were unprofitable. And it is probable that it was during the continuance of these operations that the Marais des Cygnes River received its name; as the tradition is that the French, after passing up the Osage above the mouth of the Little Osage, observed that the marshes of this river contained numerous swans, applied the name, Marais des Cygnes (marsh of swans) to the river above that point, the mouth of the Little Osage.

During the winter of 1853-54, as soon as it became reasonably certain that the territory west of Missouri would be thrown open to settlement, numerous squatters established themselves on claims in the timber along the many wooded streams in Linn County. Their primary idea was to get away from progress. After becoming located, then, in many cases, their primary idea was to keep progress away from them. They were Pro-slavery. The first to settle in the county with the view to making improvements were James Osborne and Adam Pore. They took claims in January, 1854, at the head of Little Sugar Creek, about two miles from the present site of Mound City. D. W. Cannon, John Brown and William H. Murray, all Pro-slavery, and William Park, James Osborne and James Montgomery, Free-State, came in the same year; the latter, in August, buying the claim on which he lived the rest of his life, for $11, paying $5 down, and promising to pay the additional $6 sometime in the future.

In Liberty Township, in 1854, William Kirk, P. H. Thomas, James Walker, Thomas Day and Robert Cottle made settlements. These went away during the troubles of 1856, the last three returning in the fall of that year. In 1857, D. Underhill with his family, and Thomas Cottle moved in. When this township was first organized, it was named Jackson, after Isaiah Jackson, the only Pro-slavery man in it. In 1858, after Jackson had left the Territory upon the kindly advice of Montgomery, the name of the township was changed to Liberty. Jackson had done many things which made him obnoxious to the free-State men, and in their behalf Montgomery gave him notice to leave. Acting upon this notice he left, but returned in August and resumed his residence. In November, a couple of unknown men called upon him ostensibly to look at his claim with the view of buying it, and attempted to decoy him away from his house for the purpose of killing him, but could not get him away from home. One of them fired upon him, slightly wounding him in the shoulder. He then left the county the second time, and in about a month returned again to make preparations to leave the Territory permanently. The Free-State men, supposing him to have returned to again resume his residence, captured him and took him to Montgomery. Montgomery received him kindly, kept him all night at his house, preached him a sermon and sent him away with the admonition that, as the Free-State men were determined he should not stay, he had better leave for good. Expecting to be murdered immediately upon being placed in Montgomery's power, he was overjoyed at his kind treatment, and praised Montgomery very highly, saying he was one of the finest men he had ever met -doubtless a truthful tribute. In Valley Township, the following parties settled in the years named: Samuel Nichols, 1854; James Martin, Thomas Polk, Jacob McCoy and others, in 1855; John R. ("Uncle Jacky") Williams, N. M. Hawk and others, in 1856; William and Asa Hairgrove, and Amos and Austin Hall in 1857; C. C. Hadsall and Joseph and William Goss, in 1858.

In Stanton Township the following were early settlers: John Speer, in 1855; Jonathan Swaggerty, in 1856; Charles Campbell and Levi P. and E. M. Tucker, in 1858.

In Potosi Township the following were among the first settlers: Chesley Hart, in 1854; David Lindsey, John Baugh and Washington and Russell Hinds, in 1855; John Elsrode and John Turner, in 1856; Thomas Speakes and John W. Garrett, in 1857. In Scott Township, Samuel Scott was the first settler, in 1854.

In Sheridan Township the first settlers were Thomas Ferguson and Fabian Rice, in 1855, and Frank Laberdy and Joseph Smith in 1856.

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