|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
|PART 1:||Descriptive and Topographical | Map and Population|
|PART 2:||Early History | The Drought of 1860|
|PART 3:||Indian Troubles | Sale of the Kaw Lands|
|PART 4:||The Greenwood Treaty | Border Troubles | The Cheyenne Outbreak|
|PART 5:||Progress | War Record | First Things | County and Township Organization|
|PART 6:||County Seat Contest | Railroads, Schools, Etc.|
|PART 7:||Council Grove|
|PART 8:||Biographical Sketches (Applington - Huffaker)|
|PART 9:||Biographical Sketches (Jones - Roberts)|
|PART 10:||Biographical Sketches (Sharp - White)|
|PART 12:||White City | Skiddy | Dunlap|
DESCRIPTIVE AND TOPOGRAPHICAL.
Morris County is situated in the center of the eastern half of the State. This county is bounded on the north by Davis County, and a portion of Wabaunsee; on the south by Chase County and a part of Marion; on the east by Lyon County and a portion of Wabaunsee, and on the west by a part of Dickinson and Marion counties. The county contains eleven civil townships, and in shape is square, except that in the northeast corner its square formation is broken by the southwest corner of Wabaunsee County, while in the northwest corner, a strip about two miles wide and four miles long is taken from the square and added to Dickinson County. The county contains 700 square miles, or 448,000 acres, and, except at the points where its square formation is broken, is twenty-four miles from north to south, and thirty miles from east to west.
The surface of the county, in most part, is rolling prairie. Along the Neosho River, however, and especially in the vicinity of Council Grove, the banks of the stream rise to considerable height, these elevations occurring sometimes on one side of the stream and sometimes on the other. From the top of these elevations the land rolls away in gentle undulations, without being marked by abrupt acclivities or sudden declivities. The highest point in the county is supposed to be at Council Grove, and viewing the face of the county from this, it presents a surface resembling, somewhat, that of a great sea or ocean rolling onward in gradual swells. The extreme western portion of the county, however, while the uplands have not acquired that altitude to entitle them to be termed "bluffy," is considerably broken, and does not possess that regularity of surface presented by other portions of the county. The ridges, or watersheds, have an east and west direction, and while sufficiently sloping to afford excellent drainage, are not so abrupt in their descent as to cause any loss of soil by a too precipitate flow of water after heavy rainfalls. The face of the county is considerably scarified by numerous streams and creeks, on nearly all of which are fine belts of timber. Along these streams and creeks are valleys, which vary in width from about one-half to two miles, and the land in these valleys is denominated "bottom" land. Not quite one fourth of the land in the county is comprised in these bottom lands, the proportion being about as 18 to 100.
The timber along the streams and creeks consists of oak, hickory, walnut, cottonwood, hackberry, elm and sycamore, and their average width is between one-fourth and one-half mile. Away from the streams, that sameness of scenery which characterizes large expanses of prairie is interrupted and diversified by numerous artificial groves of forest trees, ranging from ten acres and upwards, the longest containing about sixty acres.
The character of the soil is generally rich and deep, and in ordinary seasons is very productive. The subsoil is limestone, which is located at a depth of from two to ten feet beneath the surface, although in some places, but these are few, it is visible on the top of the earth. Occasionally a gravel knoll is found, but taken altogether the soil is good. Less than one-fourth of the county is denominated "bottom land," being that portion located along the streams and creeks. In these low lands, the soil is extremely rich and exceedingly fertile. Its depth is much greater than that of the higher lands, reaching from four to ten feet, while on the uplands the average depth ranges from two to five feet. There is little, if any, superiority in quality, the only difference being that the bottom lands have the advantage in resistance to drouths (sic). Either on uplands or lowlands all kinds of cereals can be raised abundantly when visited by a moderate rainfall.
Grasses of all kinds grow to great luxuriance in all parts of the county, and of this yield there is never a scarcity, be the season what it may, unless when burned up by scorching "siroccos," which are of very infrequent occurrence. If the superiority of the county for stock-raising purposes is excepted, its chief adaptability is agriculture. In addition to these it offers superior advantages for dairying and cheese making, which follow as a natural consequence from its wide ranges of excellent pasturage. The opportunities offered for the successful establishment of these branches of industry have not for some reason or other, but chiefly from lack of railroad facilities, been taken advantage of, and farmers content themselves by cultivating and raising the usual cereal crops and by giving some attention to stock.
These pursuits, it is true, are those which most closely adhere to the adaptability of the soil, and hence to these the greatest attention is given. Wheat, oats, corn, rye, flax, and barley are sure crops under anything like reasonable circumstances; nor is this the case alone with the bottom lands, as the upland farms are cultivated to great success and yield abundantly.
Horticulture and arboriculture can also be successfully pursued, as the soil is well adapted to forestry and the cultivation of orchards. The statistical history will show that the people are becoming awakened to the great importance attached to both these branches, which, though not pertaining to farming proper, are elements which the farmer cannot disregard without great disadvantage to himself. All that needs to be done to have fine orchards and beautiful groves of forest trees is for the people to plant the seed, and in a very few years the soil of Morris County will furnish the fruit-laden orchard and the sylvan grove.
WATER COURSES AND THEIR NAMES.
The county is well supplied with water, creeks and streams being but a few miles apart. The Neosho River is the principal stream, and to this nearly all the lesser streams in the county are tributary. The upper portion of the river may be divided into the East and West forks of the Neosho, the former rising in Highland Township and running north for a few miles, when its course becomes easterly until it reaches Parkerville. Before it reaches Parkerville, however, it receives the water of Level Creek, a small stream running in an easterly direction through the upper portion of Highland Township. From Parkerville the course of the river is south by east, receiving on its way the waters of Haun Creek and Crooked Creek, which enter it from the south and about a mile apart. Both of these creeks take their rise in the north of Elm Creek Township, one in Section 6 and the other in Section 4. Flowing now in a southeasterly direction, and at a point about five miles from Parkerville, the Neosho receives the water of Lard's Creek, which is a stream of considerable size, and which takes its rise in Ohio Township close to the northern boundary line of the county, and a little below this it receives the tribute of Gilmore Creek, which, rising in Elm Creek Township, flows in an easterly direction until it empties into the West Fork of the Neosho as it passes through the southwest corner of Neosho Township. About one mile from this point Slough Creek adds its tribute. This creek rises a little north of the center of Ohio Township, and is about twelve miles in length, its course being due south. In the northeastern portion of the County, Munker's Creek, and Middle Creek, after being fed by several smaller streams, form a junction, and these constitute the East Fork of the Neosho. The two forks unite at the south side of Section 3, in Council Grove Township, and at this point it may be said the Neosho River proper begins. Still containing its southeast course its waters are swelled by those of Big and Little John creeks, which have their rise in Warren Township and run in a southerly direction until they empty into the Neosho a few miles south of the City of Council Grove. Its last northern tributary in the county is Rock Creek, quite an important stream, and which has its rise in Wabaunsee County, and which enters Morris County at the dividing line between Warren and Valley townships, and from thence it flows due south along the eastern boundary of the county until it mingles its waters with those of the Neosho at a point near the village of Dunlap. After the junction of the two forks is formed, its southern and western feeders are Canning Creek, Elm Creek and Four Mile Creek, which flow almost in a northeasterly direction, and Indian Creek, which runs in a due easterly course along the southern boundary line of Valley Township and the county. After having been fed by these different streams and creeks, the Neosho leaves the county at a point about two miles north of the southeast corner, and one mile south of the village of Dunlap. In Diamond Valley Township, which is the southwest township of the county, there is quite a stream, named Diamond Creek, which flows in a southeasterly direction, whose tributaries are Six Mile Creek, and two or three smaller creeks of but little importance. In the northwest township, there is a stream of considerable size, named Clark's Creek. This creek is about fifteen miles in length and has its rise at the boundary line between Clark's Creek and Diamond Valley townships, and runs almost due north, receiving on its course the waters of the Mulberry and Shoemaker creeks, which are its tributaries, and passes out of the county at Skiddy, a point on the northern boundary line between Morris and Davis counties. In addition to these numerous water courses, there are several very excellent springs in the county, the two most important being Diamond Springs and Hill Springs, so that with the clear running streams and creeks, and her various bubbling springs, the county is well supplied with an abundance of good, pure water.
As it may be somewhat of a curiosity with some as to how the different streams and creeks received their names, we will now give their origin as believed to exist according to the facts, or as established by tradition. The Neosho river was named by the Kaw Indians long before Kansas was thought of as a land of settlement for the white man. The tradition, as it came from the Indians, is that about three-fourths of century ago, a party of Indians traveling westward from the Missouri River, had been long suffering for water, and had come to stream after stream, only to find them dried up. At length they came upon a stream containing water, and in their delight at finding it they cried out Ne-o-sho which being literally translated, means Ne, water; o sho stream-in, or as put in plain English, "Stream with water in it." Hence the name Neosho.
Rock Creek, which is the next largest stream in the county was originally named and known by the Indians as Ne-co-its-ah-ba which means "Dead Man's Creek." This name was given to it by the Indians on account of the terrible slaughter that once took place upon its banks between two tribes of hostile Indians. The modern name of "Rock Creek" was given to it by westward bound travelers on account of the rocky bluffs that line its banks.
The name "Munker's Creek" indicates its origin. It was named after J. C. Munkers, who was the first white man to settle upon its banks.
"Elm Creek" takes its name from the magnificent elm trees by which it is bordered.
When Gen. J. C. Fremont in 1846, was exploring the "Great American Desert" to find a way to the West, he had in the company under his charge a man who was known by his comrades as "Big John." At a point where the old Santa Fe trail crossed the creek, there is a bluff of considerable size from which flows a large spring of beautiful clear water. While Fremont was in this region, Big John, on one of his foraging expeditions, discovered this spring, which is located near the head of the creek, and hence the name of "Big John Creek," by which it has since been known. The rocks about the spring have inscribed upon them the date of its discovery, and by whom discovered.
Travelers on their way to Santa Fe over the old trail, while passing through that portion of Morris County now known as Diamond Valley Township, once came upon a cluster of magnificent springs which they hailed with as much delight as the poor pilgrim hails an oasis in the desert. So pure, clear and sparkling was the water that they named them Diamond Springs, and thus the stream flowing from them derived the name of Diamond Creek.
About 1836 an exploring party under the charge of Lewis and Clark, had found its way as far west as Morris County and encamped on the bank of a stream in the northwestern portion of the county, to which they gave the name of Clark, and hence the present name of "Clark's Creek." "Lard's Creek" is named after the first settler upon its margin, William F. Lard. "Slough Creek" takes its name from the sloughy character of the land along its course. "Canning Creek" and "Gilmore Creek" are named after first settlers in their vicinity. "Four Mile Creek" is thus named because it is just four miles south from Council Grove.
POPULATION. (FEDERAL CENSUS.) =============================================================== | 1870. | 1880. ------------------------------------------------|-------|------ Clark's Creek Township ........................ | 320 | 447 Council Grove Township, incl Council Grove City | 1,080 | 1,632 Diamond Valley Township ....................... | .... | 358 Elm Creek Township ............................ | .... | 931 Highland Township ............................. | .... | 469 Neosho Township ............................... | 825 | 723 Ohio Township ................................. | .... | 595 Parker Township ............................... | .... | 1,002 Rolling Prairie Township ...................... | .... | 509 Valley Township ............................... | .... | 1,996 Warren Township ............................... | .... | 603 |-------|------ | 2,225 | 9,265 ------------------------------------------------|-------|------ Council Grove City ............................ | 712 | 1,042 ------------------------------------------------|-------|------