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: Location and Natural Features | Map and Population | The Osage Indians
PART 2: Early Settlements | The Settlers and the Railroads | County Organization and the County Seat | Statistics, Etc.
PART 3: Erie
PART 4: Osage Mission
PART 5: Biographical Sketches (Althouse - Dulling)
PART 6: Biographical Sketches (Fager - Muller)
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (Nathan - Woodworth)
PART 8: Walnut Grove Township (Alton - Hylton)
PART 9: Walnut Grove Township (Johnson - Zimmerman)
PART 10: Chanute
PART 11: Biographical Sketches (Allen - Hysinger)
PART 12: Biographical Sketches (Johnson - Winfield)
PART 13: Thayer
PART 14: Earleton | Urbana | Galesburgh
PART 15: Jacksonville | Ladore | Other Towns | Shiloh Township
PART 16: Grant Township
PART 17: Big Creek Township


NEOSHO County is situated in the second tier of counties from Missouri, and also from the Indian Territory. It is bounded on the north by Allen County, on the east by Bourbon and Crawford, on the south by Labette, and on the west by Wilson County. By the Bogus Laws, the territory now included within the limits of Neosho County was part of Dorn County, as explained in the history of Labette County; Dorn County extending northward about three-fourths of a mile from the township line between townships twenty-seven and twenty-eight, and southward to the Indian Territory - embracing the "Osage ceded lands." The name Dorn was changed to "Neosho," by the Legislature, June 3, 1861, and the county was organized by proclamation of Governor Carney, November 20, 1864.

On the 26th of February, 1866, an act was approved which established the boundaries of the county as "Commencing at a point on the north line of the Osage lands, as established by George C. Van Zandt, in the year 1859, to correspond with the southeast corner of Allen County; thence run due south to the south line of the State; thence due west twenty-four miles; thence due north to the said north line of the Osage lands; thence east along said line twenty-four miles to the place of beginning."

By an act, approved February 7, 1867, the boundaries were changed and established as follows: "Commencing at a point on the north line of the Osage lands corresponding with the southeast corner of Allen County; thence due south to the northeast corner of Labette County; thence due west on the north line of Labette County twenty-four miles to the north west corner of said Labette County; thence due north to the said north line of the Osage lands; thence east along said line twenty-four miles to the place of beginning."

On the 26th of February, 1867, the Treasurer of Neosho County was forbidden by the Legislature to collect of the taxes levied upon property in that part of Neosho County called Labette County more than that levied for State purposes.

Most of the county is within the valley of the Neosho River, which flows from northwest to southeast through it. This valley is, however, mostly upland, with the exception of its own immediate banks, and the comparatively narrow valleys of its immediate tributaries. About twenty per cent. of the surface of the county is properly termed bottom land, the balance, eighty percent., being upland. Weibly Bluff, about three miles northwest of Erie, is about eighty feet high, and Ditmas Bluff, in Tioga Township, is about seventy-five feet high. The latter is of earth, while the former is rock. The highest land in the county is in Shiloh Township, and does not exceed 150 feet in height above the level of the Neosho River.

The soil of the county varies from a few inches to thirty feet in thickness. About one-half of the county is denominated "black limestone"soil, one-third, "mulatto," and the remaining one-sixth "white ash" soil. The name "black limestone" is applied to black soil underlaid with and containing limestone; the name "mulatto" to that containing also sandstone, and "white ash" to that containing fine sand which gives to it a white appearance. All portions of the county are for the most part fertile and produce excellent crops of all the cereals. Coal underlies about ten per cent. of the area of the county, and is found mostly in Chetopa Township near Thayer. The vein is about eighteen inches thick, and the coal is of good quality. The largest amount mined in a single year (1876) is about 100,000 tons.

The native forests are found along the streams. The belts average about one-half a mile in width, and contain the cottonwood, elm, hickory, hackberry, maple, oak, pecan and walnut. There are numerous small groves of cultivated timber, but much remains to be done in this direction.

The Neosho is the principal river. It enters the county near the northwest corner, and after following a quite serpentine course, leaves the county about two miles west of its southeast corner. The total length of the river within the county is forty miles. Its width during most of the year is 100 feet, and average depth six feet. Previous to the construction of railroads the question of its navigability was one of considerable interest to the people, and also even in later years. In 1877, Mr. Graverock constructed a boat named the "Farragut," which traversed the river for a distance of eight miles, and was capable of carrying 100 tons.

The principal tributaries of the Neosho from the east are Hickory, Flat Rock, Four Mile, Canville, Big Creek and Beach's Creek, all running in a southwesterly direction; and from the west, Village, Turkey, Crooked, Rock, and Augustus or Ogee's Creek, all running east or southeast. In the southern part of the county are found Labette Creek and numerous branches, flowing southward, and in the west Chetopa Creek flows west into Wilson County. On account of the generally level surface of the county, springs are not numerous, but good well water is obtainable at depths varying from ten to forty feet.



                                             |  1870. |  1880.
(a) Big Creek Township.......................|  1.077 |  1,036
    Canville Township........................|  1,070 |    878
    Centreville Township.....................|    889 |  1,054
(b) Chetopa Township, incl Thayer City.......|    821 |  1,213
    Erie Township, including Erie City.......|  1,350 |  1,334
(c) Grant Township...........................|    ... |  1,035
    Ladore Township..........................|    839 |  1,055
    Lincoln Township.........................|    745 |  1,228
    Mission Township, incl Osage Mission City|  1,732 |  2,266
(d) Shiloh Township..........................|    ... |    988
(e) Tioga Township, including Chanute City...|    997 |  1,851
    Walnut Grove Township....................|    686 |  1,193
                                             | 10,206 | 15,131
    Thayer City..............................|........|    311
    Erie City................................|........|    270
    Osage Mission City.......................|........|  1,306
    Chanute City.............................|........|    887

(a) In 1871, part to Grant.
(b) In 1870, part to Shiloh.
(c) In 1871, from part of Big Creek.
(d) In 1870, from part of Chetopa.
(e) Since 1870, name changed from Neosho.


Neosho County is situated in the northern part of the Osage ceded lands. These ceded lands lie immediately west of the Cherokee Neutral Lands and are in extent fifty miles from north to south, and thirty miles from east to west. The total Osage Reservation, extending westward from said Neutral Lands 375 miles, was granted by treaty to said Indians, June 2, 1825. It was some time during this year that the body of the tribe moved on to their new reservation. But the Osages had, in 1820, conferred with the Rt. Rev. De Bourg, Roman Catholic Bishop of New Orleans, who was then visiting in Missouri, with reference to the appointment of a missionary to visit their towns and teach them the mysteries of religion. Rev. De Bourg appointed as missionary Rev. Charles De La Croix, who visited Western Missouri and what is now Eastern Kansas, for the purpose of organizing churches among the Osages. In May, 1822, he reached the point in Neosho County now known as Osage Mission, and administered the rite of baptism to two Indians, named James and Francis Choteau, the first persons who were baptized within the present limits of the State, Soon afterwards, Rev. La Croix returned to Missouri, where, exhausted by his labors and exposure, he was removed by death.

Rev. La Croix was succeeded by Rev. Charles Van Quickenborn, who visited many of the Osage towns, and was indefatigable in his efforts to provide education for their youth. In 1824 he established the first manual labor school that existed among them, collecting the boys at the house of St. Stanislaus, near the town of Florisant, St. Louis Co., Mo., and the girls at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, in St. Charles County. But the next year, a new treaty having been concluded between the United States and the Osages, they removed to their new reservation, and as a consequence, Van Quickenborn's manual labor school came prematurely to an end. He, however, continued to visit them in their new home, and to care for them for a number of years.

Upon arriving in the vicinity of the present town of Walnut, which was for the most part destitute of water and timber, one of the chiefs of the Nation, sent forward a deputation to select a location suitable for their camp. This deputation soon discovered a long stretch of timber, and upon entering it came to a beautiful, clear stream of water, the gravelly bottom of which could be distinctly seen. Highly pleased with their discovery they returned to their Chief, reported their success, and guided their comrades to the river. Those who arrived first at the river rode into it and let their horses drink, and, as a consequence, when the Chief arrived a few moments later, the water was quite the opposite of"beautiful and clear." He thereupon gently rallied the discoverers of the river upon the subject, and from the circumstance of the roiling of the water, named the river Ne-o-sho, (Ne, water, o-sho, made muddy - water that has been made muddy.

For a year or two Van Quickenborn remained for the most of the time, with the Osages that were at Harmony Mission, on the Marais des Cygnes, near Pappinsville, in Missouri, but in 1827, he came to those on the Neosho, where they were forming permanent settlements. About this time the Osage Nation was divided into two divisions - one on the Neosho, the other on the Verdigris. The Indian Towns on the Verdigris extended from the mouth of Pumpkin Creek to that of Chetopa Creek, while those on the Neosho extended from the mouth of Labette Creek to that of Owl Creek. Each division had a Chief, the principal Chief being that over the Neosho division.

In 1828, Van Quickenborn, performed a marriage ceremony, the parties united being Francis Daybeau, a half-breed, and an Osage woman named Mary. This was the first marriage solemnized in the territory now included in the State of Kansas. Van Quickenborn died in 1828.

In 1837, the first trading posts were established among the Osages, by Edward Choteau, Gerald Pappin and John Mathews, the latter locating near White Hair's village, now Oswego, Labette County. A half-breed settlement was established between Canville and Flat Rock Creek. The former creek was named after A. B. Canville who came to the Osages in 1844, married in 1845, and settled on Canville Creek in 1847.

From 1829 to 1847 various Fathers of the Catholic Church visited the Osages, but they, desiring a missionary permanently settled among them, requested Rt. Rev. Peter R. Kendrick, Bishop of St. Louis, to make an appointment for them. Consequently the Bishop appointed Rev. Father John Schoenmakers, S. J., Superior of the Mission. Bather S. arrived on the 29th of April, 1847, and took possession of two buildings then in process of erection by the Indian Department. Father Schoenmakers was accompanied by Fathers John J. Bax and Paul Ponziglione, who visited the Osage villages and urged upon them the importance of civilization and Christianity. On the 10th of May, a small number of Osage children were collected, and a manual labor school established. The two buildings, which were now completed, were designed - one for the education of Indian boys, the other for the education of Indian girls. On the 5th of October, 1847, several sisters of Lorette arrived at the Mission from Kentucky, for the purpose of educating Indian girls; a convent was established, which, with the school for boys is still flourishing. As the numbers of scholars increased, other and larger buildings were erected for their accommodation. The principal school buildings are now two large, three-story stone structures, besides which there are two large three-story dwellings - one for the boys, the other for the girls. The church that was first erected, a frame building, 30x93 feet in size, is now being superseded by a magnificent stone church, 75x175 feet in size, and which, when completed, will have cost about $75,000. The spire of this church will be 110 feet high. These schools were always popular among the Indians until their removal from the Reservation, which occurred in 1865, and they have even since then been attended by Indian children to considerable extent. The highest number in attendance during any one year was 236, and for the ten years from 1855 to 1865, the average annual attendance was 150.

During the War of the Rebellion the Osages suffered much from depredations of various kinds. Their newly built houses were torn down, their crops destroyed, their hogs and cattle stolen, and, becoming discouraged with their prospects, they ceded to the United States Government a strip off the east end of their reservation, fifty by thirty miles in extent, containing 960,000 acres for $300,000; the money to be deposited in the treasury of the United States, and to draw five per cent. interest, the interest to be paid to them semi-annually in money, clothing, provisions or such articles of utility as the Secretary of the Interior might from time to time direct. At the same time they also transferred in trust to the Government to be sold for their benefit a strip off the north of the balance of their reservation, twenty miles in width from north to south and extending to the western limits of their reservation. The reservation thus reduced was called the "Diminished Osage Reserve," and was sold to the Government in 1870, and the Osages went to a new reservation in the Indian Territory. After the close of the war, southeastern Kansas was rapidly settled up, and the necessity for educational facilities became more and more urgent. The Osage Mission Manual Labor Schools were the central point of settlement, and it was deemed expedient by the conductors of the schools to provide for the admission of white children. Accordingly, on the 7th of May, 1870, the school for boys was chartered under the name and title of "St. Francis Institute," with the view of making it a high school; and the school for girls was chartered on the 19th of September, 1870, under the name of "St. Ann's Academy." This school is conducted by the Sisters of Loretto. Bridget Hayden has been in charge of the school for girls ever since its establishment, October 5, 1847, a period of thirty-five years. Fathers Schoenmakers and Ponziglione, still live at the Mission, and are among the very oldest settlers in Kansas. With them now are associated three other priests of the Jesuit order, viz: Fathers Kuleman, Condon and Hagan.

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