[Cutler's History] KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

ROBERT DAVID CUMMINGS
produced this selection.


William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.

PHILLIPS COUNTY.

PART 1: Location and General Features | Map and Population | Early History
PART 2: County Organization and County Officers | Churches of the County | Press History | Railroads and County Societies | Manufactures and Statistics
PART 3: Phillipsburg
PART 4: Kirwin, Part 1
PART 5: Kirwin, Part 2
PART 6: Logan | Marvin | Other Towns

LOCATION AND GENERAL FEATURES.

Phillips County, in the northern tier of counties in Kansas, on the Nebraska line, is the ninth county west from the east line of the State, and fifth east from the dividing line between Kansas and Colorado.

The surface of the county is generally undulating, with broad valleys, and gently sloping prairies; about fifteen per cent bottom lands, eighty per cent table and upland prairie, and five per cent timber; average width of bottoms one and a half miles; average width of timber belts along streams, one-eighth of a mile.

The climate is exceptionally fine; it is the equable mien between the high cold north and the low, humid south. About on the 39.30 parallel of latitude, mild in temperature; its elevation of about two thousand feet above the level of the sea gives the tone and crispness of a rare, clear atmosphere. Snow storms are not frequent, and snow rarely lies on the ground more than a week or ten days. The rolling prairies are bare most of the winter months, and excepting an occasional storm, the winters are bright, dry and open, admitting of pleasant out-door work. The sun shines the greater part of every day of the year, and the skies are bright and genial. The deep snows, long, cold seasons, mud, alternate freezing and thawing, so common farther east in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana, and New York and New England, are almost unknown in Phillips and adjoining counties. The rare, clear atmosphere gives a wonderful range of vision, tone and vitality to every form of animal and vegetable life. The bright skies, pure water and life-inspiring atmosphere give to man and animals the inspiration of youth. No other section can show a lower rate of mortality than the northern tier of Kansas counties. Malarial diseases are almost unknown.

Phillips County is abundantly supplied with the celebrated white magnesian limestone, which has no superior for building purposes. For beauty and durability it is unexcelled. It is easily dressed by the mason's hammer, or sawed or planed as may be desired. This stone is white as marble and nearly as soft as plaster of paris when taken from the quarry, and, remarkable as it may seem, when exposed to the air it changes from a softened state to a firm and durable rock, which will stand the wear of ages. Clay suitable for the manufacture of brick is also found in all parts of the county, and the quality is pronounced equal to any in the West. The water supply of Phillips County is ample. The north fork of Solomon River, Deer Creek, Prairie Dog Creek and Bow Creek are the principal streams. These all have numerous tributaries, and on each is found abundance of timber for fuel and all practical purposes. Nearly all are fed by springs which never become dry. No county in the state has a better water supply. With its excellent mill privileges Phillips County may become the seat of extensive manufacturing, and it already has, (as will be seen in another place) extensive flouring mills, but it must always depend on agriculture for its wealth.

The soil of Phillips, like adjoining counties, consists of a rich, black vegetable mould, of from two to five feet in depth, in places even deeper. This is underlaid by a subsoil of a porous, spongy nature, which alike forms a system of perfect drainage of the upper soil during wet periods, and retains much moisture during drouth. Owing to this subsoil the lands are capable of enduring dry weather better than those of more eastern states. The soil of the bottom lands is occasionally slightly sandy, and yet is so filled with organic matter and mineral fertilizers as to be practically inexhaustible. The peculiar characteristics of the lands are: First, They are easily worked, and after two or three years cultivation they become as pliable as garden mould. Second, Moisture is absorbed so readily that a plow can be run through within a few hours after the heaviest rain. Third, The land holds this moisture by reason of the retentive character of the subsoil, and gives it back to the plant root by capillary attraction when moisture is needed. Fourth, As soon as the frost has gone the land is ready for the plow, the moisture having been absorbed by the subsoil in the same way that the rains are absorbed and retained: consequently, plowing, harrowing and sowing can be commenced in February and March, and some seasons even earlier. In consequence of the great advantages in soil, only half the usual care is necessary to produce crops, although the good old rule, "no excellence without labor," holds good even here, and the most intelligent, industrious farmers produce the best crops. No section in the world is more abundant in varied agricultural resources. Wheat, corn, oats, rye, barley, flax, castor beans, sweet and Irish potatoes, field and garden vegetables, buckwheat, millet, Hungarian, sorghum, tobacco, hemp and broom corn all find congenial soil. All may be made a success in culture. In a section so well adapted to mixed husbandry no man should confine himself to a single crop.

As a stock-raising county Phillips is admirably adapted, and as the county fills up and the farmers become more able, financially much attention is being paid to this branch of business. Water, feed and range are abundant, the climate is agreeable to all animals, and what more is wanted to insure success? The following figures show a healthy increase during the past three years: In 1879, there were in Phillips County 4,962 head of cattle; in 1882, 9,076, an increase in three years of 4,114 head. In 1879 there were 2,450 sheep in the county; In 1882, 4,686, an increase in three years of 2,450, The natural supply of nutritious grasses make it a superior cattle and sheep country, and next year's statistics will show a marvelous increase over the present figures. Attention is being directed to the culture of artificial forests, which in a few years will furnish an abundance of fire wood, fencing, and timber for other purposes. In 1881 there were 1,134 acres of artificial forests in the county, the varieties of timber consisting of walnut, maple, honey-locust, ash, cottonwood. etc. The amount planted to timber in 1882 will double the acreage of the previous season, and without exception it is having a luxuriant growth.

MAP OF PHILLIPS COUNTY.

POPULATION (FEDERAL CENSUS). 1880

    Township
(a) Arcade .................................   476
(b) Belmont.................................   513
(c) Bow Creek...............................   479
(d) Crystal.................................   674
(e) Dayton..................................   270
(f) Deer Creek  ............................   542
(g) Freedom.................................   391
(h) Glenwood................................   388
(i) Granite.................................   452
(j) Greenwood...............................   407
(k) Kirwin Tp. inc. Kirwin City ............ 1,421
(l) Logan Tp. inc. Logan City...............   626
(m) Long Island.............................   533
(n) Mound...................................   375
(o) Phillipsburg Tp. inc. Phillipsburg ..... 1,043
(p) Plain View..............................   272
(q) Plum....................................   655
(r) Prairie.................................   638
(s) Rushville...............................   248
(t) Solomon.................................   526
(u) Towanda.................................   257
(v) Valley..................................   449
(w) walnut..................................   379

Total...................................... 12,014

Kirwin City ................................   807
Logan City..................................   275
Phillipsburg City...........................   309

(a) In 1879, from parts of Kirwin, Phillipsburg and Plum.
(b) In 1879, from parts of Mound, Phillipsburg and Solomon.
(c) In 1879, from parts of Kirwin and Solomon.
(d) In 1873, from part of Plum; in 1879, part of Greenwood;
    in 1880, part of Glenwood.
(e) In 1879, from parts of Long Island, Mound and Phillipsburg.
(f) In 1879, from parts of Kirwin, Phillipsburg, Plum and Solomon.
(g) In 1879, from parts of L. Island & Phillipsburg.
(h) In 1880, from part of Crystal.
(i) In 1880, from part of Long Island.
(j) In 1879, from parts of Crystal, Phillipsburg and Plum.
(k) In 1872, from original territory; in 1873, part to Solomon;
    in 1879, parts to Arcade, Bow Creek, Deer Creek and Valley.
(l) In 1872, from original territory;
    in 1879, parts to Plain View and Towanda.
(m) In 1872, from original territory;
    in 1879, parts to Dayton, Freedom and Walnut;
    in 1880, part to Granite.
(n) In 1878, from part of Phillipsburg;
    in 1879, parts to Dayton, Belmont and Prairie View.
(o) In 1872, from original territory; in 1873, part to Solomon;
    in 1878, part to Mound;
    in 1879, parts to Arcade, Belmont, Dayton,
    Deer Creek and Greenwood.
(p) In 1879, from parts of Logan and Solomon.
(q) In 1872, from original territory; In 1873, part to Crystal;
    in 1879, parts to Arcade, Deer Creek and Greenwood.
(r) In 1879, from part of Mound.
(s) In 1879, from part of Solomon.
(t) In 1873, from parts of Kirwin and Phillipsburg;
    in 1879, parts to Belmont,
    Bow Creek, Deer Creek, Plain View and Rushville.
(u) In 1879, from part of Logan.
(v) In 1879, from part of Kirwin.
(w) In 1879, from part of Long Island.

EARLY HISTORY.

The first settlement to Phillips County was made in 1869, and the first bona fide settler (who came to stay) was C. J. Van Allen, who pre-empted a farm, just east of Kirwin. He built the first log house in the county, and his father-in-law, Samuel Bales, now of Kirwin) erected the first frame house in Phillips County. Previous to this time, however, the government sent an officer (Col. Kirwin, for whom the principal town in the county was named) who erected a stockade fort; just after the close of the war, to prevent the encroachments of roaming bands of Cheyennes, Omahas, Pawnees and other Indians, and for protection of overland California emigrants. The fort was erected on what is now the Lyman Perkins farm, one and a half miles southwest of Kirwin. This stockade was abandoned by the government with the advent of the early settlers. In 1870 the Indians became troublesome and the following named settlers built a stockade in the east part of what is now Kirwin to flee for safety in case of an attack from the savages: The Van Allen brothers, S. Brigham, N. S. Drew, Wm. Dunbar, I. V. Lee, H. P. Gandy, Adolphus and Albert Hall, J. Stovall, Richard Chutes, Richard Corcoran, Thomas Cox, Sr., and sons, John Butler, W. M, Cadwell, James Forbes. The stockade was constructed of logs, 50x90 feet. The logs, ten feet long, were placed endwise in the ground. Frequent bands of Pawnees and Omahas passed and repassed the neighborhood as they went and returned from hunting excursions, and though they occasionally exhibited hostile symptoms no actual outrages were committed. The preparation to meet any outbreak in a prompt manner deterred the Indians from the commission of outrages. The early settlers were fearless men and would not have brooked insults from the sons of the forest.

In the winter of 1871 a party from Kirwin, consisting of W. T. Belford, J. S. Shurtz, and several others, were hunting on prairie Dog Creek, on the border of the county, when they encountered a roving band of the hostiles who chased them many miles before they reached protection. The chase lasted one day and part of the night, and their lives were only spared by the trusty steeds that bore them from the place or danger.

Following C. J. Van Allen to what is now Phillips County came W. R. Shleppey, who made a settlement in Solomon Township in the spring of 1871. In a short time he moved to Logan, where he still resides. William Roberts staked off the first land in Logan Township. John Mercer was the first settler in Phillipsburg Township, in 1871, and continued to reside there for several years. James Forbes was the first settler in Plum Township, where he entered a quarter section of land under the homestead law in 1871, and despite of threatened danger from hostile Indians, he bravely stuck to his home, and still resides where he "drove his stakes" eleven years ago. Donald McDonald settled in Crystal Township in 1872, and John Wheeler was the first settler in Long Island Township In 1871. The first school house erected in Phillips was built in Kirwin in 1873, and the first church edifice was erected in Phlllipsburg in 1879. Dustin & Cottrell, at Kirwin, and Dustin & Close, at Phillipsburg, were the pioneers in the mercantile business. The first flouring mills were erected by Skinner, of Kirwin, and McClellan and Hanson, in Logan. The first marriage in the county was Frank Gray and Jennie Shleppey, of Logan Township, March 9, 1872. The first birth was John Logan Graff, of Logan Township, April, 1872. The first postoffice established in Phillips county was at Kirwin in 1871. The first settlers directed their attention mainly to hunting buffalo, and it is related that when the first camp meeting was held in the county in 1871, two of the reverend clergy (Methodists) went forth armed with rifles and slaughtering two buffaloes they had them conveyed to the camp grounds and choice pieces were cooked to appease the hunger of all who chose to partake.

The tide of emigration began in earnest in 1873, but was interrupted in 1874 on account of the destruction of the grain crops and all growing vegetation by the grasshoppers, whose ravages were general that year in both Kansas and Nebraska. The season of 1875 brought forth a large yield of grain and many new settlers, and was followed by successful seasons until 1880. at which time the county contained a population or 12,617, and with 90,857 acres of land under cultivation; some fifty church organizations; one hundred and four school districts and four newspapers. The following year of drouth discouraged many and there was a preceptible decrease in population. but this temporary check of 1881 was followed by good crops the present season, and it is safe to predict that during the next decade Phillips County will contain an intelligent population of thirty thousand people.

The Kirwin Land District, up to July 1, 1881, comprised the following counties and parts or counties: Ranges nine and ten, and townships one to ten inclusive of Jewell. Mitchell and Lincoln counties, and Smith, Osborne, Phillips. Rooks, Norton. Graham, Decatur, Sheridan. Rawlins, Thomas, Cheyenne and Sherman. In the district now are the same in Jewell, Mitchell and Lincoln counties, and Smith, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks, and tour ranges, including range twenty-four in Norton and Gra ham counties. The officers up to May, 1876, were A. A. Thomas and J. M. Hodge, now register of land office at Salina, as receiver. From May 1, 1876, to July, 1878, F. Campbell, was register and J. M. Hodge receiver; then L. J. Best was appointed receiver and T. M. Helm register. On the 8th of July, 1882. L. J. Best gave way to R. R. Hays, as receiver. There are at this time 100,000 acres of public land in the Kirwin land district. Since the establishment of the office in Kirwin the following entries have been made: 17,700 home entries; 8,500 timber entries; 19,000 preemption filings: 3,500 homestead (soldier) declaratory; 5,000 final homestead; 20 final timber culture and 2,9OO cash sales.

The following is a list of the postoffices of Phillips County: Big Bend, Bow Creek, Dickeyville, Fredericksburg, Goode. Germantown, Jimtown, Kirwin, Logan, Long Island, Mattison, Mound, Myrtle, Marvin, Nance, Phillipsburg, Pleasant Green, Prairie View and West Cedar.

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