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


[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]


At the close of the war with the increased prosperity of the country, movements were soon made to secure a railroad. In September, 1865, bonds were voted to the Lawrence & Emporia Railroad and to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. The first named road was never built. To the latter, $100,000 additional bonds were voted in June, 1867, making $150,000 in all. The road was built in 1869, and the bonds issued in September of that year.

In November, 1870, bonds were voted to the Lawrence & Carbondale Railroad, to the amount of $50,000, to which Ridgeway Township in 1872, added $25,000, and the road was completed in due time.

For several years succeeding 1870, many lines of railroads across various parts of the county were projected and bonds voted, but the roads were never built.

On August 12, 1879, bonds were voted to the Manhattan, Alma & Burlingame Railroad, for the amount of $24,000, and the road was completed the next year.

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad crosses the northern line of the county near the center, and extends in a southwesterly direction across the townships of Ridgeway, Burlingame, Dragoon, Superior, and Barclay, crossing the western boundary of the county about on the north line of Township 18. The stations are Carbondale, Scranton, Burlingame, Peterton, Osage City.

The Lawrence & Southwestern Railroad extends through the extreme northeastern part of the county, connecting with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad at Carbondale.

The Manhattan, Alma & Burlingame Railroad starts from Burlingame, extends a little north of west, and leaves the county about on the south line of Township 14.

The first schools in the northern part of the county, when a part of Shawnee, were established in Burlingame and Ridgeway. The first school in what was first called Osage County was at Superior. From the very first the schools of the county have steadily advanced, keeping pace with the settlement and improvement of the country. No part of the State has better educational advantages than Osage County. The school districts now number 100. Nearly all of these have neat and substantial schoolhouses of frame and stone, and in many of them great attention is given to the beautifying of the grounds by the planting of shade trees. The schools are all in a good condition and are steadily improving. Under an efficient Superintendent of Schools the better class of teachers are fast getting control of the educational interest of the county, crowding out the indolent and inefficient.

Early in the year of 1859, the first agricultural society in the Territory was organized at Burlingame. Of the first officers chosen, Judge P. C. Schuyler was President, and C. R. Pollard, Secretary. Its name was the Burlingame Agricultural and Horticultural Society. Meetings were held each week during the winter and topics relating to crop and fruit growing were discussed. The Society afterwards, became the Osage County Agricultural and Horticultural Society, which existed until 1877, when it united with the Burlingame Union Agricultural Society.


It has been less than a quarter of a century since the organization of the county, but except for short periods, its progress has been continued and uninterrupted.

The first county tax for Osage was levied May 5, 1859, for $450. This was on the 19th of the following November cut down to $400, and one of the commissioners objected to this, thinking, it too much. On November 14, 1859, the valuation of property in the county was $59,635; in 1870, the assessed valuation of property was $1,612.47; and in 1878 it was $2,730,268; and in 1882 it was $3,575,291.62. Considering the low rates of assessment, it is reasonable to estimate the real value of all property in the county at fully $10,000,000.

The population of the county in 1860 was 1,113; in 1870, 7,648; and in 1875, 10,268. In 1878 the population was 12,618; and in 1882 it was 20,727.

Besides the coal interest described in another place, the farming and stock-raising resources have developed until in 1882, there were 8,302 acres of winter wheat yielding 190,946 bushels; and 52 acres of spring wheat producing 676 bushels. Exception yields were on the farms of E. A. Edmondson, Dragoon; Henry Rubo, Carbondale; and T. A. Bailey, Lyndon; which produced respectively, 40, 35 and 39 bushels to the acre. Oats, 6,519 acres, producing 234,684 bushels; corn, 85,467 acres, yielding 3,247,746 bushels. Of millet and Hungarian there were 7,949 acres, producing 20,000 tons. There were 36,253 acres of meadow yielding 54,823 tons of hay. There were of cattle in the county 33,355 head; sheep, 6,591; hogs, 19,991; and of horses and mules, 8,225.

[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]