William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]


The most important and exciting incident that occurred in Linn County during the war was the Price raid. On the 25th of October, 1864, it is probable that the whole of that rebel General's command of 20,000 to 25,000 men where with the limits of the county. As may well be imagined, there was hurrying to and fro for a few days prior to his advent, and during his presence. For two weeks previous, he was known to be going northwestward through Missouri on his way to Kansas. on the 15th of the month, the Fifteenth Cavalry, Col. Jennison commanding, stationed at the time at Mound City, was ordered out, and in company with some militia went to Hickman's Mills, Mo. After marching to Pleasant Hill on the 17th, and Warrensburg on the 18th, they reached Lexington, Mo., on the 19th. Here they heard of Price, whose army, under command of Gens. Shelby, Marmaduke and Cabell, was in the vicinity. Here a fight took place, lasting three hours, in which the Federal forces fell back to Independence, where they were met by Gens. Curtis and Blunt with their commands. On the 21st, was fought the battle of the Little Blue, in which the Union forces fell back, but stubbornly contested the ground all day, arriving at Independence about dark. Marching on to the Big Blue, they met the Kansas militia and went into camp for the night. On the 232d, the Union forces, still largely outnumbered, continued to fall back, and on the 23d were driven nearly to Westport. Gen. Pleasanton at this time attacked the rear of Price's army, and the tide of battle turned. Price's turn had come to retreat, and a running fight was kept up from Westport to Hickman's Mills. On Monday, the rebel forces reached the State line in the southeast part of Miami County, and entered Linn County in the afternoon of that day, the 24th, camping for the night near the Marais des Cygnes. The Union Generals held a council of war at West Point, Mo., and their men gained a short rest. Col. Moonlight was dispatched with his regiment to the right, for the purpose of flanking the rebels, and of keeping them from going too far to the westward, and reached Mound City early on the morning of the 25th. He kept his troops close to their right flank until they were finally driven from the State, thus saving the commissary stores at Fort Scott; the commissary stores at Mound City having been moved twenty miles west on the night of the 24th, were all saved.

In the meantime, the main army under Pleasanton came upon Price's rearguard about 3 o'clock Tuesday morning. At daylight the firing commenced, at the Marais des Cygnes, and was continued all day, to Fort Scott, a distance of forty miles. At the first attack in the morning, the rebels abandoned a large amount of stock. A second battle occurred at "Round Mound," six miles from the river, about 9 A. M. Here Price's Generals, Marmaduke and Cabell, were captured (the former by James Dunlavy, sixteen years old), together with some other prisoners and two pieces of artillery. Upon reaching Mine Creek, four miles south of the Round Mound, the rebels made a stand, and here was fought the hardest battle of the day. During its continuance, Pleasanton's battery of seven howitzers was stationed on "Round Mound," on which now stands the Pleasanton High School, and dropped shells into the ranks of the rebels to the southward. The main battlefield was two miles south of the Mound and nearly a mile west of the Antioch Schoolhouse. About 500 prisoners were taken here, and about 100 of the rebels were killed; three pieces of artillery were also captured. After this battle, which occurred at 11 A. M., the pursuit was continued to the Little Osage, where the rebels abandoned a large number of wagons and considerable ammunition to facilitate the crossing of the river. They passed into Missouri just east of Fort Scott, and upon arriving at Newtonia, again halted and gave battle, but were again routed and continued the retreat southward, followed by the Federal troops to the Arkansas River. The total loss of Price in this day's work was 9 pieces of artillery, 150 killed and 1,500 prisoners, besides a large amount of stock, stores and ammunition.

After the fighting was over, the dead were buried and the wounded cared for. Mound City was converted into a hospital. Fifty-six Union wounded and about sixty rebels filled all the available buildings, including the schoolhouse. T. Ellwood Smith, Robert Kincaid and J. P. Way were appointed a committee to receive contributions, and everything possible was done to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded. Many incidents both of a serious and amusing nature might be given were not space wanting. Nearly every house passed by the rebels was pillaged of most that it contained. In many cases even women were stripped of their clothing, and the flannel taken from infants in their mothers' arms. Enforced cooking was an occasional occupation of the women on that day to feed the rebel soldiers. A Mrs. Lathrop, about seventy years old, living just south of Mine Creek, had thus fed rebel soldiers until she had nothing left but a little corn meal, when three rebel officers came up and ordered her to get dinner for them. She replied that she had only a small quantity of corn meal left; whereupon they told her to cook them a few cakes and she should not be disturbed any more that day. While they were eating she told them that if they wanted to escape they had best hurry for "our boys are coming." When going away, they attempted to make her give up a blouse she had put on to keep it from being taken away from her, it having been left at home by one of her five boys, all of whom were in the Union army. On account of her struggles to retain it, these officers were detained until "our boys" came up, and were shot by them, so that instead of gaining the Union blouse they lost their lives. Capt. Belding's fine horse was hitched in front of his house, when a rebel in passing mounted it and rode off, leaving his own, a much poorer one, in its place. Soon another rebel came along and made a similar exchange, and then a third, who left a horse which remained the rest of the day, being too poor for any one to take away. Quite a number of citizens were fired upon and wounded and some wantonly killed. Among those wounded were Harlan Jackson, Elijah Miller and Lieut. D. F. Park. Among the killed, Richard B. Vernon, who was murdered in Missouri; Samuel A. Long, fifty-six years old, who was killed six miles north of Trading Post; John Miller, sixty-five years old, who was killed near the Post, and Levi Ward, forty-five years old. John R. Williams, "Uncle Jacky," as he was familiarly called, was for a time believed to have been killed, but it transpired that when he came to a creek in Southwest Missouri, a prisoner with Price, in the night, he slipped down into the creek, and by concealing himself and remaining quiet until the rebel army passed on, he effected his escape. Most of the citizens of the county manifested commendable courage during those exciting and trying times, but there are a few instances of persons who were entirely unmanned by fear. One excellent citizen who was the only man with a party of women and children, was entirely unable to harness a span of horses and hitch them to a wagon in order that they might ride to a place of safety. A young man at Mound City crawled into a hollow log and there remained until hunger compelled him to come out and reconnoiter, when to his joy he found that the last rebel had long since disappeared. An old gentleman in the vicinity of Pleasanton, after loading up his household goods and family in his wagon, drove into a convenient cove and leaving them there went into the timber and dug a hole in the ground under a log, about four feet in diameter, into which hole he crawled on Tuesday and remained until 'Thursday, when he found his way through his corn-field toward his house. Here he saw a neighbor's wife feeding his hogs, and when assured by her that the rebels had gone, ventured to expose himself to the open air. His fright and exposure caused him a long fit of sickness which nearly cost him his live, but he recovered and still lives.


Linn county was organized in 1855. The first Board of County Commissioners, called the "court," consisted of R. E. Elliott, President, and L. M. Love and Brisco Davis "assistants." By this court the following complement of county officers was appointed: Treasurer, James P. Fox; Clerk, Joseph D. Wilmot; Assessor, James Driskill; Surveyor, William Rogers; Sheriff, Joseph E. Brown; Coroner, Elisha Tucker. The above appointments were made January 8, 1856, with the exception of the surveyor, who was appointed March 18.

On the same day, January 8, that the above appointments were made, the court divided the county into three municipal townships, viz.: Scott, Johnson and Richland. This division was retained until July, 1857, when the county was divided into townships as follows: Paris, Tate, Centerville, Scott, Jackson, Breckenridge, Potosi, Mound City and Montgomery. September 20, 1858, a re-organization of the townships resulted in the dropping of Montgomery, and in changing the name of Jackson to Liberty. On the 11th of January, 1859, a portion of Tate Township was "fused" with that of Breckenridge and the "fused township" named Valley. Lincoln Township was organized April 9, 1866; blue Mound, April 16, 1867; Sheridan, December 3, 1867, and Stanton, January 3, 1870. The townships as thus organized and named are still retained.

The first election for county officers was held in October, 1857, with the following result, so far as can be ascertained, the records not showing: Probate Judge, D. W. Cannon; Clerk, Andrew Stark; Register of Deeds, Jesse Brown; Treasurer, C. H. Stilwill; Sheriff, C. M. McDaniel; Commissioners, Ebenezer Barnes and Samuel Nichols. On the 18th of January, 1856, the County Commissioners appointed a commission to locate the county seat, in accordance with the act of the Territorial Legislature relative thereto. On the 18th of March, James P. Fox and McD. Osborn, the two members of the commission that acted, made their report. They had started at the township corner on the parallel running through Linn county, a little more than ten and a half miles from the Missouri State Line, and had proceeded thence one and a half miles south - this point the had chosen as one corner of the county seat - thence east a half mile, thence south a half mile, thence west a half mile, and thence north a half mile to the place of beginning. The town site thus contained one quarter section - the northwest quarter of Section 8, Township 21, Range 24. C. S. Fleming was appointed Commissioner to superintend its survey. This town was named Paris. On October 7, 1856, P. T. Glover, C. S. Fleming and Joseph D. Wilmot were appointed a commission to "value and appraise the house on the quarter section belonging to James P. Fox, and to make him such allowance as to them may hem proper and just." The allowance made for the house was $100. It was purchased for a court house. The townsite was platted by William Rogers, County Surveyor. The minimum price for which lots fifty feet square, fronting on the public square, might be sold, was $25; those in the second tier one hundred feet square, $25; those more remote, fifty by one hundred feet, $15. The Board of County Commissioners held their first meeting at Paris, August 7, 1856.

An election to re-locate the county seat was held November 8, 1859, at which election Paris received 471 votes, and Mound city 508. The first meeting of the Commissioners at Mound City was held December 15, 1859.

After an indecisive preliminary election to relocate the county seat, held May 22, 1865, an election was held May 30, at which election Linnville received 533 votes to Mound City 502, and Linnville was proclaimed to be the county seat. Linnville is located immediately south of the old town site of Paris.

An election then was held February, 20, 1866, to relocate the county seat, at which time Mound City received 635 votes, and Linnville 575, and Mound City again became the county capital. An election was then held May 29, 1866, on the same question, when Mound City received 617 votes, Linnville 301, and Mansfield 170, scattering 3, Mound City retaining the county seat. The question then remained in status quo until 1871. On February 14, of that year, after an indecisive vote in January, an election was held to relocate the county seat, at which Mound City received 1,226 votes, La Cygne, 1,589, and Pleasanton 1. La Cygne was, therefore proclaimed the county seat, and so remained until, after an indecisive election held March 11, 1873, an election was held on the 27th of March, at which Pleasanton received 1,183 votes and Farmers' City, 1,252. Farmers' City was, therefore, proclaimed the county seat. This was a mere brush patch, located on Section 14, Township 21, Range 23. The county officers declined to accept the hospitable shade of its bushes and shrubs for offices, and thus La Cygne continued to be the county seat de facto until an election was held April 14, 1874, at which time Pleasanton received 1,692 votes to her 1,026, and thus Pleasanton became and was proclaimed the county seat.

The next decisive and last election on county seat matters was held March 9, 1875, at which time Pleasanton received 1,201 votes and Mound City 1,311, thus regaining the county seat for the third time.


Linn County has had comparatively little trouble with the railroad problem. An election was held November 3, 1868, at which the people, by a vote of 1040 for to 588 against, adopted the proposition of the Kansas & Neosho Valley Railroad Company to subscribe for $150,000 of its stock, and pay for the same with a like amount of thirty-year seven percent bonds, said road to be built via Olathe and Paola, and in a southern direction through Linn county. Subsequently numerous propositions were made by the railroad company to the county, and by the county to the company looking to a modification of the terms upon which the railroad should be built, but all having in view the surrender by the county of its right to the $150,000 in the stocks of the company for a nominal consideration. No agreement on this point could be reached, and consequently no exchange of bonds for stock was ever made. The railroad was built nevertheless, and the county has no outstanding indebtedness on its account. But as an offset to this advantage, the people of the central and western portions of the county labor under the disadvantage of the road having been located near the eastern boundary. This is expected to be remedied in the near future by the construction from west to east, through Blue Mound, Mound City and Potosi Townships, of the St. Louis & Emporia Railroad, and from southeast to northwest, through Blue Mound Township, of the Fort Scott, Topeka & Lincoln Railroad. The latter road is to be completed through the township by January 1, 1883, and the former through the three townships in three years from the delivery of the bonds to the trustee. Each township subscribes to the capital stock of the road, agreeing to pay therefor with bonds in the following amounts: To the stock of the St. Louis & Emporia Railroad, Blue Mound subscribes $25,500, Mound City, $29,000, and Potosi Township, $35,000; to that of the Fort Scott, Topeka & Lincoln Railroad, Blue Mound Township subscribes $18,000.

Linn County Agricultural Society. - On the 4th of March, 1871, the citizens of the neighborhood of Elm Grove, in Scott Township, met at their schoolhouse and organized a Farmers' Club. On the 28th of October, this club held a fair at Elm Grove. The second fair was held October 3 and 4, 1872. On the 2d of November, its name was changed to the Linn County Agricultural Society. This society held its first fair at Farlinville, October, 1873, and its second at La Cygne October, 1874, since which time its fairs have been held annually at La Cygne. The society purchased in 1875, thirty-three and one-third acres of land adjoining La Cygne for a fair ground, since when they have built a fine floral hall in the form of a Greek cross, sixty feet long each way by twenty-four feet wide.

Linn County Agricultural and Mechanical Association. - This association was organized in 1875, with a capital of $50,000, divided into shares of $25 each. J. F. Broadhead was the first President, and to him belongs a great deal of credit for the untiring efforts which have built up and made the association a success. The first Secretary was J. H. Stearns. The association owns sixty acres of land which they have fenced and upon which they have erected good buildings. They have one of the finest amphitheaters in Kansas. Their fairs are held annually at mound City, and their premiums have been always paid in cash in full.


The number of teachers required is 109; average monthly salary - males, $36.25, females, $28.26. The total value of all school property is $94,500.

The first normal institute was held in 1877, and there has been one held each year since that time. Since 1879, the institute has been self-sustaining. The average annual attendance of teachers has been about one hundred and thirty-five. In 1860, Linn County had a population of 6,336; in 1870, 12,174; in 1875, 11,974; in 1880, 15,326, and in 1882, according to the Assessor's returns, which are, however, not regarded as having been prepared with sufficient care, 15,838, divided among the townships as follows: Blue Mound, 996; Centerville, 1,550; Liberty, 1049; Lincoln, 2,267; Mound City, 1,515; Paris, 1,048; Potosi, 2,832; Scott, 1,114; Sheridan, 1,823; Stanton, 709; and Valley, 935.

The total number of acres in the county is 407,680; taxable acres, 364,865; taxable cultivated acres, 143,944; total number of town lots, 4,867; value of personal property upon which taxes are paid, $799,086; value of railroad property, $287,485.61; total assessed value of property, $2,999,363.11.

Personal Property. - Horses, 7,543, value, $249,542; cattle, 29,993, value, $359,365; mules, 1,024, value, $45,465; sheep, 10,799, value, $15,004; swine, 13,971, value, $34,501; value of farm implements, $42,293; vehicles, 2,178, value, $47,087; stocks, $7,400; moneys, $47,553; credits, $9,089; merchandise, $112,263; manufacturers' stock, $1,840; notes, $56,331; mortgages, $20,092; shares in national banks, $510 other personal property, $122,529; total assessed value, $1,170,875; conditional exemption, $371,788; net assessed personal property, $799,086. Acreage of some of the principal crops for 1882. The winter wheat crop of Linn county was 2.425 acres; rye, 137 acres; corn, 87,673 acres; buckwheat, 41 acres; oats, 5,860 acres; Irish potatoes, 682 acres; sweet potatoes, 25 acres; sorghum, 361 acres; cotton, 6 acres; flax, 7,568 acres; timothy pasture, 307 acres; clover, 70 acres; other pasture, 1,540 acres; prairie, 44,913 acres; millet and Hungarian meadow, 8,305 acres; timothy, 1,978 acres; clover, 624 acres; and prairie meadow, 33,850 acres.

Owing to the plentifulness of native timber, but little has as yet been done in the cultivation of forest trees. The number of acres of the different kinds reported in 1882 was as follows: Cottonwood, 12 honey locust, 5; maple, 75; walnut, 45; and of other varieties, 1,186. Of fruit trees the following numbers were reported: Apple - bearing, 114,752;, not bearing, 61,353; pear - bearing, 2,318, not bearing, 2,040; peach -bearing, 74,631, not bearing, 27,638; plum - bearing, 2,793, not bearing, 1,523; cherry - bearing, 27,759, not bearing, 8,266; grape vines, 39 acres; number of gallons of wine made in 1881, 126.

The following are the number of rods of the different kinds of fence in the county: Board, 33,786; rail, 260,954; stone, 62,301; hedge, 368,365; wire, 167,942.

Public Schools. - The records of the county do not show when the first school districts were organized. At present there are 100 school districts, and 99 schoolhouses - two of brick, three log, four stone and ninety frame. The number of school children in the county, is - males, 3,151, females, 1,030.

State Senators from Linn County, with date of election: J. F. Broadhead, 1861; David P. Lowe, 1862; A. H. Smith, 1864; D. Underhill, 1866; J. F. Broadhead, 1868; James D. Snoddy, 1870; Andrew F. Ely, 1872; R. B. McMillan, 1874; George F. Hamlin, 1876; R. W. Blue, 1880.

Members of the Territorial House of Representatives from Linn County, with date of election. J. Davis and J. P. Fox, 1856; A. Danford and R. B. Mitchell, 1857, re-elected, 1858; J. H. Jones, 1859; John T. Snoddy, 1860.

Members of the State House of Representatives. - H. Jones and Andrew Stark, 1861; Josiah Lamb and James C. Marshall, 1861; J. F. Broadhead, George E. Dennison and D. Underhill, 1862; William Snooks, J. H. Belding, Samuel Ayers and J. Fleming, 1863; J. F. Broadhead, William Goss, J. Hodgson and A. J. Loomis, 1864; J. M. Arthur, S. M. Brice, O. D. Harmon and J. C. Quinn, 1865; Enoch Estep, O. D. Harmon, J. S. Lane and James P. Way, 1866; Henry Blackburn, J. W. Garrett, A. A. Smith and James D. Snoddy, 1867; S. R. Hungerford, J. H. Madden, A. G. Seaman and James D. Snoddy, 1868; J. W. Babb, John Dixon, W. B. Scott and J. D. Snoddy, 1869; A. Barber, S. M. Brice, D. A. Crocker and Scott Shattuck, 1870; A. W. Burton, J .M. Sayer and W. B. Scott, 1871; S. R. Hungerford, L. H. Lane and J. F. Ward, 1872; Charles Campbell, Herbert Robinson and J. R. Van Zandt, 1873;A. C. Doud, O. E. Morse and H. Robinson, 1874; W. R. Biddle, W. P. Barnes and O. E. Morse, 1875; W. R. Biddle, B. Campbell and A. F. Ely, 1876; W. R. Biddle, W. B. Scott and J. D. Walt, 1878; Henry Carpenter, Joel Moody and James D. Snoddy, 1880.

[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]