|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
The county takes its name from the Pottawatomie tribe of Indians, whose reservation at the opening of Kansas Territory for settlement, and for years afterwards embraced a large portion of the lands of the county. In the latter part of the year, 1856, a petition drawn by Dr. Luther R. Palmer, the Government physician at St. Mary's Mission, and signed by himself and a few other settlers, was addressed to the Legislature, asking for the organization of a new county to be names Pottawatomie, Charles Jenkins and J. A. J. Chapman being appointed to present the petition to the Legislature.
The petition was granted, and on the 23 of February, 1857, Governor Geary appointed Robert Wilson, Probate Judge; George W. Gillespie and Charles Jenkins, County Commissioners, and J. L. Wilson, Sheriff. The first Commissioners' Court convened at St. George, March 21, 1857, Judge Wilson, Chairman, ex-officio, and appointed L. R. Palmer, County Clerk; Josiah D. Adams, Treasurer; J. A. J. Chapman, Surveyor, and W. L. Seymour, Coroner. April 20, 1857, the Board of Commissioners appointed James S. Gillespie, County Assessor, and divided the county into the four townships of Pottawatomie, St. George, Blue and Shannon.
August 17, 1857, Jacob Emmons was the Probate Judge and Clerk of the Commissioners' Court, and on September 21, two municipal townships were formed, named Vienna and Louisville. At the meetings appointed for October 19, November 16, December 21, 1857, and January 18, 1858, there was no quorum present. February 21, 1858, Thomas R. Points was appointed Commissioner, and on March 15, William C. Dyer was appointed Sheriff. Judge Emmons performed the double functions of Chairman and Clerk of the Board, as may be seen in an order, of which the following is a copy:
ORDER NO. 1
Treasurer of the County of Pottawatomie: Pay to Jacob Emmons, or order, the sum of 32.85 out of any money in the treasury appropriated for county expenses. Given at Saint George, this 16th day of March, A. D. 1858. By order of the County Commissioners.
January 17, 1859, at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the townships were represented as follows: Vienna, A. K. Johnson; Louisville, L. R. Palmer; St. George, John Blood; Pottawatomie, A. Cornell; Blue, Mordecai Cockrell; Shannon, Thomas Pierce. A. G. Rowell, was Clerk; A. Bartlett, County Attorney; Jacob Emmons, County Surveyor and Acting County Treasurer. At a meeting of the Commissioners' Court, held April 2, 1860, the members were L. R. Palmer, Chairman: L. W. Crowl, Joseph H. Cornell. April 5, John L. Wilson was appointed Probate Judge, and E. M. Squires, Superintendent of Public Instruction. July 2, 1860, the county was divided into Commissioner's districts. Louisville and Vienna were the first; St George and Blue, the second; Pottawatomie and Shannon townships, the third.
October 2, 1860, Joseph D. Patterson was clerk of the United States District court, and the proportion of the court expenses for Pottawatomie County Was $587.70. July, 1, 1861, Uriah Cook was appointed County Treasurer; October 11, S. Cooper, Sheriff; October 22, John L. Wilson, County Commissioner, and Isaac Walker, County Assessor. April 7, 1862, the board consisted of C. C. Foot, Chairman; L. W. Crowl, and Jacob Van Brunt; John N. Liserbocker was County Treasurer. October 8, A. Benton was appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction. The last term of the Commissioners' Court, held at St. George, was November 7, 1862; the first term at Louisville, January 5, 1863; the first at Westmoreland, in October, 1882. January 5, 1863, Asa P. Smith entered upon the duties of the office of County clerk, and remained as such until his death. He was suceeeded (sic) by Henry P. Smith, who has since held the office and whose term expires in January, 1884.
In the struggle for county-seat location, the aspirants in 1861 were St. George, Louisville and Mount Union. Louisville finally triumphed by a majority of twelve.
A plain two-story frame building was erected for court house purposes at Louisville, and was occupied until the departure of the county officers for Westmoreland, in September, 1882; the election held September 19, 1882, determining its location there. The last contest was between Westmoreland and Wamego, and the former place had a majority of 350 votes. County Clerk Smith, by order of the Board, advertised for bids for the lot and building, to be received on or before January 1, 1883.
The Town Company at Westmoreland have erected a neat and commodious frame building of two stories for court house uses. The Methodist Episcopal Church building for several weeks was occupied by most of the county officers. The jail at Louisville is a small stone building, 12x16, having a limited capacity for holding criminals. During the years of 1865 and 1866, the county paid to Douglas County for the use of their jail $226. There has been a good deal of friction over county-seat matters in Pottawatomie County, and a suit in 1882 is pending over the permanent location of the county seat of Westmoreland, growing out at an alleged fraudulent canvass of the votes that were cast at the election for county seat, on the 23rd of September, 1879, when Louisville, Wamego, Laclede and Westmoreland were the candidates, Wamego and Westmoreland standing as the two highest from the available returns.
Municipal Township. - The county in 1882 is divided into twenty-one
municipal townships. They are named Blue Valley, Shannon, Clear Creek, Rock
Creek, Sherman, Lone Tree, Mill Creek, Vienna, Lincoln, St. Clere, Emmet,
Center, Union, Pottawatomie, Greene, Blue, St. George, Louisville, Wamego,
Belvue and St. Mary's. Shannon will probably be divided in January, 1883, as
petitions are on file at present writing in the County Clerk's office, from
the citizens of the northern and southern portions of the township to that
effect. Shannon has two voting precincts, north and south: Blue Valley has
north, south, and Olesburg; Greene has Carnahan and Garrison; Blue, north and
south: Mill Creek, Onaga, and Havensville (sic). Thus there are
twenty-seven voting precincts in the county. The population of the towns and
villages in 1880 was a follows: Havenville, 180; Onaga, 242; Butler, 48;
Garrison, 145; St. George, 206; Belvue, 100; St. Mary's 884; St. Clere, 22;
Laclede, 32; Louisville, 433. Wamego is included with the population of the
township of the same name. The area of the township in square miles, their
population in 1875 and in 1880 with their gain are presented in the following
NOTE: *Sherman and St. Clere townships have been formed since 1880; their separate areas are given, but the populations includes the old and new townships in one.
POLITICAL STATUS OF THE COUNTY.
St. Mary's Rock Creek and Big Blue are known as the early voting precincts of what is now Pottawatomie County, and of the members in the first Territorial Legislature of 1855, H. D. McMeekin, now proprietor of the Merritt House at Wamego, then a member from Leavenworth County, is one of the surviving ones. At Pawnee, July 6, 1855, he introduced the resolution which carried an adjournment of the body to Shawnee Manual Labor School. In April, 1857, the census of Pottawatomie County showed 205 votes; a population of 641. In the Territorial Legislature, elected October 5, 1857, Benjamin Harding and Andrew J. Mead were elected Councilmen from the district of which Pottawatomie was a part; Abraham Barry and Charles Jenkins were elected to the House from Riley and Pottawatomie. This county gave for Territorial delegate, M. J. Parrott, 148; E. Ransom, 16 votes.
January 14, 1858, on a vote on the Lecompton Constitution, the county gave two votes for it; 207 against it. March 9, 1858, J. D. Adams and Uriah Cook were elected from the county as delegates to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. October 4, 1858, Thomas R. Points was elected as the representative of the Territorial Legislature from this county.
March 28, 1859, on a vote for or against a Constitutional Convention, the county gave sixty-six votes for, twenty-nine against. Dr. Luther R. Palmer was elected as delegate to the Wyandotte Convention, having received seventy-three votes; Uriah Cook, sixty-nine. October 4, 1859, on a vote on the adoption of the constitution, submitted at the Wyandotte Convention, the vote of this county was ninety-three for; sixty-eight against. At the election, November 8, 1859, for a Territorial Legislature, Dr. L. R. Palmer was elected a member of the Territorial Council, and Amasa Bartlett, of this county, a member of the House. December 6, 1859, at an election held under the provisions of the Wyandotte Constitution, the average Republican majority of this county was one hundred.
Samuel D. Houston received 103 majority from this county for State Senator in the district composed of this county and Riley; Ambrose W. Mussey, of St. George, was elected Representative. Jacob Safford, though elected Judge of the judicial district, in which this county was a part, received no votes from this county; thirty-one having been cast for J. R. McClure; 120 for R. L. Wilson. November 6, 1860, Charles B. Lines, of Wabaunsee, was elected as a member of the Territorial House, from Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties. November 5, 1861, Welcome Wells and O. J. Grover were elected as Representatives from this county to the State Legislature. The district was composed also of Riley and Clay counties, and the other members were I. T. Goodnow and Daviess (sic) Wilson from the district.
The apportionment made by the Legislature of 1862, put Pottawatomie and Jackson in one Senatorial district, and they still remain as one district. The representation in the State Senate for this county is reported in the history of Jackson County. In the House of Representatives, the county has been represented since 1862 as follows: 1863, S. V. Lee; 1864, O. J. Grover; 1865, Russell Church; 1866, Henry P. Smith; 1867 and 1868, R. W. Jenkins; 1869, P. Y. Baker; 1870, John H. Clark; 1871, H. C. Linn; on and after 1872, the county has had two representatives. From 1872 to 1877, the districts were numbered 13 and 14; from 1877 to 1883, they were 68 and 69; they are now 56 and 57.
The representatives from the county since it has had two, are as follows: 1872, J. C. Lightcap, Welcome Wells; 1873, R. A. Guffy, Welcome Wells; 1874, O. J. Grover, James H. Shehi; 1875, J. S. Codding, P. Marvel; 1876, Theodore Saxon, W. R. Benton; 1877, James S. Merritt, Thomas Huey; 1879, L. C. Prunty, Elijah Walker; 1881, Cm. N. Points, H. F. Robbins; 1883, O. J. Grover, A. C. Merritt. Since Kansas has been a State, the Judges of the District Court, who has presided at the temple of justice in Pottawatomie County, are Jacob Safford, Charles K. Gilchrist and John T. Morton. At the Presidental (sic) election of 1864, Pottawatomie County gave Lincoln, 213; McClellan, 35 votes. In 1872, Grant had 1,307; Greeley, 692 votes. In 1880, Garfield had 2,139; Hancock, 1,179; Weaver, 224 votes.