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


[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]


In 1872 the county was organized, taking its name from a gallant private soldier of the Union army, and was originally divided into seven townships, as follows; Crystal, Long Island, Solomon, Kirwin, Phillipsburg, Logan, and Plum. Phillipsburg was selected as the county seat. An ineffectual attempt was made to change the seat of justice to Kirwin two or three years since, but the Commissioners refused to call an election.

The first election for county officers was held in the fall of 1872, and the following named persons were elected: Treasurer, Thomas Cox, Jr. Clerk Henry McDowell; Register of deeds, J. W. Kidd; Surveyor H. W. Bean: Probate Judge, J. S. Shurtz; Superintendent of Public Instruction, P. I. Hitchcock Commissioners, Thos. Cox Sr., A. W. Tracy and James Large; County Attorney, W. H. Gray. The last named gentleman failing to qualify, Geo. W. Stinson was appointed and discharged the duties. Of those first chosen county officials, A. W. Tracy, Thomas Cox, Jr., J. W. Kidd and Geo. W. Stinson are still residents of the county.

The following named persons have filled the several county offices since the election of the above named:

County Clerks. - The first County Clerk was I. V. Lee (appointed by the Governor), Henry McDowell, Cyrus Hinkenlooper, J, H. Laird, J. H. Lowe. now serving his second term.

Sheriffs. - Frederick Divers, T. A. Marvin, Abraham Troop, T. A. Marvin, John Wood, present sheriff.

District Clerks. - Frederick Dutton, F. E. Winship, G. A. Spalding, present Clerk.

Treasurers. - succeeding Thos. Cox, Jr., came Geo. W. Young, Frank Strain,(two terms) D. L. Smith present Treasurer.

Surveyors. - H. W. Bean, W. H. Barker, Frank Weeks, Luther Sawyer, W. B. Stubert, J. P. Bernard, present incumbent.

Commissioners of Public Instruction. - P. A. Hitchcock, C. J. Van Allen, Thos. Trull, Cyrus Hinkenlooper, Theodore Bracken, C. A. Lewis, present incumbent.

County Attorneys. - Succeeding Geo. A. Stinson came A. G. McBride, A. D. Wilson, W. H. Pratt and A. G. McBride, present incumbent.

Probate Judges. - J. S. Shurtz and H, C. Spalding, present incumbent.

Commissioners. - James Large, Thomas Cox. Sr., A. W. Tracy; Second election - James Large, Samuel Plattner, W. L. Troop: Third election - W. L. Troop, Jacob Close, M. Fisher, Fourth election - M. Fisher. L. Johnson, J. Applington; Fifth election - H. S. Granger, Horace Moulton, L. Johnson.

Representatives. - Noah Weaver, John Bissell, (three terms) Rev. E. J. Jewett, Frank Lozier, W. L. Morgan.


The first Congregational Church in the county was organized in Kirwin, October 1875. Rev. G. O. Blake, Pastor. The following members were present: Rev. G. O. Blake, Rev. M. Young, Martha Young, Emily Hershey, A. H. Rugg, Angeline Clipt, William Clipt, Jr. Rev. Mr. Blake ministered to the church two and a half years. He was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Jarrold, who remained one year. In March, 1880. Rev. T. F. Norris was chosen as pastor, and has since acted as pastor. Under his supervision a handsome church, 28x40, has been built at a coat or $2,000. A flourishing Sunday school is connected with the church. There are five other Congregational Churches in the county, to wit: Bissell Creek, Iowa Union, West Cedar, Plum Creek and Prairie View, There is but one church edifice of the denominations in this county. The number of persons attached to the several Congregational Churches in Phillips County is 154.

Rev. Allen Enyart, now on the Germantown work, organized the first Methodist Episcopal class in Phillips County. It was called Kildare class. John Sheckler was first class leader, The meetings were held seven miles west or Kirwin, in what is now Marvin. The Members were Thomas Cox, John Sheckler and wife, William Ray and wife, Allen Ward and wife, and Harry Hill. The first meeting was held at John Sheckler's house, September 11, 1870. The first camp meeting in this county was held on Deer creek, eight miles northwest of Kirwin. The fruit of the meeting was seventy-five additions to the Methodist Episcopal. United Brethren, and Baptist Churches. The meeting commenced by Rev. A. Enyart and Rev. Henry Worley, a local preacher of the M. E. Church. The United Brethren and Baptists date their church organizations from the time of that meeting. Elder Hitchcock, of the Baptist Church (who preached the first sermon in Phillips County), and Rev. Thomas Curry, of the U. B. Church, assisted in the camp meeting. Previous to the commencement of the religious exercises, Messrs., Enyart and Worley took their rifles, and, after a short hunt, returned to camp and brought two buffaloes. The meat was barbecued, and all partook of a hearty meal before the real work of the meeting began. The animals were killed at the foot of Sugar Loaf Mound. twenty miles southwest of Kirwin, The Methodist Episcopals have nine church organizations in this county, at Phillipsburg, Marvin, Logan, Kirwin. Bow Creek, High Prairie, Prairie View, Sugar Loaf and Long Island. They have five clergymen in the regular ministerial work, and two local preachers. The total county membership of the Methodist Episcopals in Phillips County is estimated at 250 - considerably larger than other branches of the Christian Church. Their largest membership and most commodious house of worship is at Kirwin, where they have a house 36 x 50, Rev. Mr. Casley, preacher in charge.

The Baptists organized in this county (at Kirwin) early in 1873. Elder Hitchcock was the first clergyman, succeeded by Elders Homan, Higgins, and the present Elder is W. C Archer. The first deacons of this organization were Peter Donn, J. Pasko, Mrs. Hall; Trustees, F. W. Donn, Martha Nobles; Mrs. Ollie Charles, clerk. The Baptists of this church hold their meetings every alternate Sunday in Kemp's hall, Kirwin. The Baptists also have church organizations at Phlllipsburg (Elder Archer), and at one other point in the county. They number 162 members.

The Presbyterians have two church organizations and thirty-five members: three Methodists, two churches, and fifty-five members; Roman Catholics, two organizations and seventy-five members; Protestant Episcopalians established a mission at Kirwin, July 8, 1882., with a membership of fourteen. T. J. Pickett is lay leader.


Since the organization of the county the following newspaper ventures have been started and suspended: The Sentinel, started in Phillipsburg in 1874, but discontinued in a few weeks, The Kirwin Progress, established in 1874. was continued a few years and failed. The Phillipsburg Advance, a five column. Republican paper, started in 1877, was continued until the following year and then stopped. The Phillips County Democrat succeeded to the Advance in July, 1878, and was the first Democratic paper started in northwestern Kansas. After a fitful existence of one year its publication was discontinued.

At the present time there are four weekly journals published in Phillips County - two at Kirwin, one at Phillipsburg and one at Logan.

The oldest paper in northwestern Kansas is the Kirwin Chief, established in August, 1872, by W. D. Jenkins, under the direction or the Kirwin Town Company. It was continued under that management until the winter of 1874, when the press was purchased by A. A. Thomas, then of the United States land office, located in Kirwin. In the fall of 1876 it passed into the hands of A, G. McBride, and was moved to Phillipsburg, but the following spring was returned to Kirwin. Mr. McBride purchased steam machinery, a large jobbing outfit, and made the office first-class in every respect. During his management the Chief secured business from a wide extent of country. In July, 1881, he disposed of the office to Horace Moulton, L. J. Best, A. Stockman, A. Weaver, H. C. Wey, Thos. Fife, W. T. Belford, the Bank of Kirwin, W. E. Rowe, and several other parties. These parties, under the name of the "Kirwin Chief Steam Printing Company," with Geo. W. Wood, Thos. G. Nicklin, and A. L. Topliff, as editors, during their term of ownership, conducted the paper until July 1, 1882, when it passed into the hands of T. J. and H. G. Pickett, by whom it is now managed. The Chief has been a Republican journal from the start.

The Phillipsburg Herald, (Republican) was established in the early part of 1878, with Charles F. Jenkins as editor. In September following, G. W. Stinson purchased the office and again started at No. 1, Vol. 1. Soon afterwards Ed. F. Korns purchased a half interest, and excepting three interregnum, Mr. Korns has been and continues the principal manager of the Herald. He is now editor and manager for the Herald Printing Company.

The Independent was established in Harlan, Smith County, December, 1879, by Wm. A. Garritson and Charlie H. Topliff. In December, 1880, was removed to Kirwin, where its publication is continued by the same firm. The Independent is a five column quarto, and is an exponent of the Greenback or anti-monopoly party.

The Logan Enterprise, a neatly printed seven column folio, was started in July, 1879 by Fouke & Swartout, and in April, 1880, W. W. Gray, the present publisher and editor became connected with the office, and made it one of the brightest and most newsy Republican papers of the northwest. Connected with the Enterprise is a well stocked job office. Mr., Gray is receiving a fair share of patronage.


During the year 1880 the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad was finished through the southern border of the county, passing through Kirwin on the east and Logan on the west, extending beyond into Norton. This road is of incalculable benefit to the people of the county, furnishing them transportation facilities with Atchison and the Eastern markets. As a goodly portion of the products of Phillips and other northwestern counties could find a profitable market in Colorado, it is hoped at no distant day the Central Branch will be extended to Denver.

Horticulture,-Little progress has yet been made in horticulture, though the soil and climate are well adapted for apples, peaches, pears, plums ms, and cherries. At the present time there are a few hundred of these trees in bearing. The present season exhibits an abundant yield, and it is to be hoped more attention will be paid to this interesting branch of the farmers' business. Two Fair Associations have been formed in this section. In the year 1877 the counties of Rooks, Osborne. Smith, Norton and Phillips organized a District Fair Association, and for three years had very successful meetings at Kirwin and other points.

The first elected President was James Scott, of Philips County. He held two terms, and was succeeded by D. H. Moulton, also or Phillips County. The meetings were then discontinued, probably caused by the organization of county agricultural societies in the counties composing of the district. The Phillips County Fair Association held its first meeting in 1878 at Phillipsburg, and had a successful meeting on that and two succeeding years, but the short crops of last year caused a temporary suspension. The present season, however, revives the interest, and the friends of agriculture in the county have again come together and elected officers, determined to have another annual exhibition. The following is a list of the officers of the association: D. L. Smith, President; W. F. Woodward, Treasurer: J. W. Lowe, Secretary. The Board of Directors consists of D. L. Smith, J. W. Lowe, J. H. Hebencroft, J. M. Crosier, J. B. Ham, W. F. Woodward, J. J. Clark. The annual meetings are held at the county seat.


The manufacturing interests of Phillips County, aside from grist mills, are insignificant. The first saw mill in the county was that or Dean & Parsons, in Kirwin, in 1872. There are at this time several portable saw mills in various parts of the county. The grist mills of the county are Skinner & Adams' mill, at Kirwin, built in 1873. There are at this time several portable saw mills in various parts of the county. These gentlemen are the pioneers in the flour making business in Phillips County; Long Island mill, on Prairie Dog Creek, built in 1877 by Birdwall, (two run on stones), and now owned by Mitzke; Peter Hanson's Logan mill, built in 1875, has four run of stone; Marvin has two mills; the stone mill, built in 1879 by Baker, now operated by Osterman Bros., and run by Hanson & Troup, of Logan. The grist mills manufacture excellent brands of flour, and in addition to supplying the home demand, some of them ship their products East and West on the line of the Central Branch Railroad.

In the beginning of 1882, Williams, Duff & Co., of Kirwin, established a creamery on the Solomon, near the southern limits of the city, and the first six months since its establishment, shows it to be a perfect success, They use the cream from 200 cows, and their butter is pronounced A No. 1 in both the Denver and Chicago markets, readily commanding the highest prices. They make at the present time (August 14, 1882), about 1,500 pounds per week and are gradually increasing their sales.

The first census, taken in 1875, showed the population of this county to be 2,813. Three years later it had increased to 5,436, distributed in the several townships as follows: Crystal, 483; Long Island, 800; Solomon, 449; Kirwin, 1,118; Phillipsburg, 1,287; Logan, 481; Plum, 818. Two years later the population had more than doubled, but during the last year, owing to discouraging drouth, there was a slight falling off.

The first school in the county was in District No. 1, and was taught by Wm. Albaugh, in September, 1872. In 1878 when the first reliable school statistics were gathered, there were sixty-three school districts in Phillips County, and thirty school houses. In 1879 the number of school districts has increased to seventy, with seventy-three teachers. The average pay of teachers in the county during 1879 was $35.69 for males, and $25.00 for females. Twenty school houses were built during the year, and school property was valued at $7,950. The entire assessed valuation of property for 1879 was $380,986.00. In 1880 the number of school districts had increased to 103. The United States census of 1880 showed a population of 12,042. The census of school population for the year was reported as 3,703, an increase of 778 in one year. Number of pupils enrolled in the public schools, 2,244, with a daily average attendance of 1,188. Ninety-seven teachers were employed, at an average salary of $21.42 per month for males, and $16.91 for female teachers. Eighteen school houses were built during 1880, against twenty in 1879. The value of school property had increased to $10,856. Assessed valuation of property for the year, $668,783.96. In 1881 the number of school districts and joint district in the county was reported as one hundred and sixteen. Number of school houses, ninety-six. One hundred and twenty-two teachers were employed, at an average salary of $20.50 per month for males, and $15.50 for females, School bonds to the amount of $4,687 were issued by the county for refunding and building school houses. Eleven private schools were taught in the county, and $1,150.71 was paid out for school buildings. Total amounts paid out during 1881 for school purposes, $11,552.07; value of school buildings in the county on the 31st day of July, 1881, $11,017.00 No report has yet been received for the year 1882.

[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]