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


[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]


In obedience to a proclamation from Governor Reeder for the election of a Territorial delegate to Congress, November 29, 1854, Election Districts Nos. 9 and 10 -- Reynolds and Big Blue Crossing -- two of the eighteen districts formed by Governor Reeder, participated, and their united vote was 77. The number of voters by census was 99; Free-State votes, 66; Pro-slavery, 11. By the census taken early in 1865, by Martin F. Conway, District No. 9, contained 36 voters; 61 males; 25 females; 14 negroes; 3 slaves. No. 10 contained 63 voters; 97 males; 54 females. No. 9 was then known as Pawnee; Number 10, Big Blue and Rock Creek. March 8, 1855, Governor Reeder issued a proclamation for an election to be held March 30, for the purpose of electing a Territorial Legislature. Election Districts Numbers 9 and 10 gave for Martin F. Conway, Free-State candidate for Councilman, 113 votes; for John Donaldson, Pro-Slavery, 53 votes; for Representative, Samuel D. Houston, Free-State, had 120 votes; Russell Garrett, Pro-slavery, 41 votes. Rock Creek was near where Westmoreland is now located, the present county-seat of Pottawatomie. Sixteen Delegates had assembled in March, 1855, at the house of Seth I. Childs, on the west side of the Big Blue, at the crossing at Juniata -- St. Mary's, Louisville, Juniata and Fort Riley being represented. Asahel G. Allen was made Chairman, and a Mr. Hascall, Secretary. Mr. Conway was nominated for Councilman; E. M. Thurston, for Representative. Mr. Thurston lived south of the Kaw from where Manhattan now stands. He was then absent, and it was then ordered that should he not return, Mr. Houston should be the Candidate.

Kansas, December 6, 1859, held an election for State Officers, Members of the Legislature, and Judges of the District Court, under the Wyandotte Constitution. Riley County polled 332 votes, and Dr. John W. Robinson, of Manhattan, was elected Secretary of State. In November, 1861, her vote for George A. Crawford, for Governor, was 245; on location of the State Capital, it was 144 for Topeka; 75 for Manhattan; 21 for Ogden; 3 for Ashland. The Supreme Court -- Thomas Ewing, Jr., Chief Justice -- decided that the term of the State officers then in possession, held till January, 1863.

In 1862 -- the vote of the county -- 275. Isaac F. Goodnow, of Manhattan, elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 1863 -- vote of the county -- 239. B. E. Fullington, for Representative, had 150 votes. in 1864, Mr. Goodnow was re-elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Lincoln's vote for President was 220; McClellan's 51. In 1865 -- whole vote polled -- 295. In 1866, Nehemiah Green, of Riley, was elected Lieutenant-Governor; he had 366 votes out of 392. In 1867 -- whole vote -- 673. D. M. Johnson elected Representative; had 246 votes. In 1868, James M. Harvey, of Riley, was elected Governor. He had 588 votes; General Grant, for President, 587. The whole vote was 719. Lieutenant- Governor Green was Governor from November 4, 1868, to January 12, 1869. Governor Crawford having resigned to take command of the Nineteenth Regiment. In 1869 -- whole vote, 709. Edward Secrest elected Representative; had 372. In 1870 -- whole vote -- 843. Governor Harvey re-elected; his vote in the county, 693. In 1871 -- whole vote, 1,348. On a vote to grant $200,000 in bonds to two railroad companies, there were 494 votes in favor, and 425 against the proposition. In 1872 -- whole vote, 1,398; President Grant, 1,055. In 1873 -- whole vote, 1,348; H. P. Dow, successful candidate for Representative, had 777. In 1874 -- whole vote, 1,239; for Congress, W. A. Phillips had 957; M. J. Parrot, 212; N. Green, 68 votes. In 1875 -- whole vote, 1,330; R. B. Spilman, for Judge of the District Court, had 1,096. In 1876 -- whole vote, 1,426; for President, Hayes had 1,133; Tilden, 223; Cooper, 65 votes. In 1877, whole vote, 1,137; William Burgoyne, for County Clerk, had 1,167 votes. In 1878 -- whole vote, 1,566; for Congress, John A. Anderson, Republican, had 873 votes; E. Gale, National, 416; J. R. McClure, Democrat, 246. In 1879 -- whole vote, 1,655; F. A. Schermerhorn, for County Clerk, had 1,640. In 1880 -- whole vote, 2,207. The following is the vote on President, Governor and Congressman: -- President -- Garfield, Republican, 1,484; Hancock, Democrat, 376; Weaver, National, 347. Governor -- St. John, Republican, 1,387; Ross, Democrat, 436; Vrooman, National, 359. Congressman -- Anderson, Republican, 1,310; Barnes, Democrat, 277; Davis, National, 604. For the Prohibition Amendment, 1,178; against it, 828. In 1881 - whole vote, 1,890; J. M. Myers, successful candidate for Sheriff, had 691 votes.

Ex-Governor Harvey, February 2, 1873, was elected United States Senator by a vote of 76 out of 132, to succeed Alexander Caldwell, who had resigned his seat March 24, 1872, the vacancy having been filled by Robert Crozier, an appointee of Governor Osborn, who had been Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. Senator Harvey's term expired March 3, 1877. Riley County is also the home of Hon. John A. Anderson, a member of the House of Representatives, for the Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh and Forty- eighth Congresses.

The Republican party of Kansas, organized May 18, 1859, at Osawatomie, placed Charles F. DeVivaldi -- the editor and publisher of the Manhattan Express -- and William H. Smyth, on the Platform Committee, and S. D. Houston on the Central Territorial Committee. Robert Wilson was one of the Kansas delegates to the National Democratic Convention, at Charleston, South Carolina, April, 1860. Andrew J. Mead, a delegate to the National Democratic Convention, at New York, July, 1868, and was a member of the State Central Committee.

N. A. Adams was a delegate to the National Republican Convention at Chicago, in 1868; was a prominent candidate for Governor in 1876; a member of the State Republican Committee of 1880; Commissioner of Pensions in 1882. Gottlieb Schauble was the Democratic candidate for Auditor of State, in 1868; Theodore Weichselbaum, the candidate for Treasurer, in 1880; D. E. Lautz, for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, in 1882.

On a vote to amend the State Constitution by striking out the word "white" from the qualifications of electors, Riley County gave 74 majority for it on a vote of 628. Allen, Ottawa, and Wabaunsee counties were the only other counties that voted for it.

Riley County, in a vote of 596, gave 160 majority against striking out the word "male," at the same election. Ottawa gave 2 majority for it, the only county in which it carried in the State.

At the first organization of the Judicial Districts in Kansas Territory, Riley County belonged to the Third, and Davis was attached to it for judicial purposes. The court officers at the term of court held at Manhattan, April 4, 1859, were: Rush Elmore, Judge; Scott Newell, Sheriff; J. D. Patterson, Clerk. Henry Hessen was Foreman of the Grand Jury. Benjamin H. Keyser, who had practiced law in the courts of California, and Joshua E. Clardy, now of Wamego, were admitted to the bar.

At the October term, 1859, W. J. Bassett was Sheriff. J. Frank Cooper, who had practiced in the courts of Virginia, and Walter C. Dunton, in the Wisconsin courts, were admitted as attorneys and counselors-at-law.

The April term, 1863, was held at Ashland; Norman Kinney, Sheriff. The military-famed J. E. B. Stewart, was admitted to the bar. Captain Fred Emory, a United States Mail Contractor in 1856, who had a somewhat unsavory history as connected with the killing of William Phillips at Leavenworth, September 1, 1856, was entered on the records as a judgment debtor in the sum of $700.

April 6, 1860, Julius E. Hibbard was appointed Master-Commissioner for the county of Riley.

September 2, 1860, S. McArthur appears as Clerk, though J. D. Patterson is the Deputy. In December, 1860, Judge Elmore's service as Territorial Judge closed.

Riley County was in the Third Judicial District, with Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie, Davis, and Dickinson counties. Jacob Safford, of Shawnee County was Judge, having been elected by receiving 590 votes out of 1,437. Riley County gave him 10; J. R. McClure 140; R. S. Wilson, 177.

C. K. Gilchrist, of Shawnee County, was elected Judge in November, 1864. Riley County gave him half her votes, 132. Jefferson, Jackson, and Saline counties were added to the district. Four new judicial Districts were created by the Legislature of 1867, and James Humphrey, March 4, 1867, was appointed Judge of the Eighth Judicial District, composed of the counties of Riley, Davis, Dickinson, Clay, Cloud, Ottawa and Saline. He was elected Judge, November 5, 1867, receiving 515 out of 519 votes cast in Riley County. The vote of the District, November 8, 1870, was cast unanimously for James H. Austin, of Junction City. Republic, Jewell, Mitchell, Lincoln, Ellsworth, Rice, and McPherson counties voted at this election.

In November, 1871, Judge Canfield was elected for a full term. The additional counties then in the district were Ellis and Wallace. Riley County gave Judge Canfield 308 votes; H. G. Barner, one of her citizens, 1,076 votes.

Clay, Cloud, Republic, Jewell and Mitchell had been formed into the Twelfth Judicial District.

James H. Austin, of Junction City, November 3, 1875, received the unanimous vote of the district. It then comprised the counties of Riley, Davis, Morris, Dickinson and Ottawa. Judge Austin, re-elected November 7, 1879, received 1,618 out of the 1,635 votes cast in Riley County.

The Third Judicial District, as re-cast by the Legislature of 1881, is composed of the counties of Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie and Riley; John T. Morton, of Shawnee, Judge. The terms of the court for Riley County commence the fourth Monday of February, the last Monday of August, the second Monday of December.


The Territorial Legislature, consisting of thirteen Councilmen and twenty-six Representatives, - of which Samuel D. Houston, registered as a farmer, a native of Ohio, thirty-six years of age, was the only Free-State member -- convened July 2, 1855, at Pawnee, a little town on the Military Reservation, about two miles east of Fort Riley, which had been started in the autumn of 1854, by Dr. William A. Hammond, Capt. Nathaniel Lyon, Robert Klotz, Robert Wilson and others of Fort Riley, most of them Free-State men. Its growth was rapid, scores of houses were erected, and hundreds of people settled on the town site. The Legislature, July 6, adjourned to meet at the Shawnee Manual Labor School in Johnson County on the 16th, and on the 23rd Representative Houston resigned his seat. John Donaldson, the Councilman who represented Election Districts Nos. 9, 10, 11, and 12 - Pawnee, Big Blue, Marsville, Rock Creek, St. Mary's and Silver Lake - July 6, gave notice that he would introduce a bill to incorporate Pawnee. Governor Reeder vetoed the Act to remove the seat of government from Pawnee and July 21, in a Message to the Legislature, said "it was in session, in contravention with the Act of Congress, where they have no right to sit, and can make no valid legislation". Pawnee, Lecompton, Lawrence, Leavenworth and Kickapoo were the incorporated cities of Kansas in August 1855.

By order of Governor Reeder, a two-story stone building, 33x6? feet, about 30 feet in height, had been erected for the accommodation of the Legislature. The Council occupied the upper part, the House the lower part. October 2, 1882, the walls of the building were standing in good condition, save where a cannon ball had gone through the west end. There had been a door on each side of the building; that on the south, the side near the Kansas River, was six feet wide and seven feet high. There had been no windows in the end of the building, but a good supply in each side. From July 2, 1855, to October 2, 1882, the roof had remained undisturbed, but on that day its demolition on the south side commenced. The roof was shingled with a long shaved oak shingle, the roof boards, rafters and cross timbers were cottonwood. The structure is within twenty-five feed of the Kansas division of the Union Pacific Railroad, on the south side thereof, and in close proximity to the river across which stood Riley City. This, and an unroofed store building built by Robert Wilson, are all that remains of what once promised to be the great metropolis of Kansas. Here Governor Reeder had his two-story log mansion of ten rooms, which was removed to Ogden, four miles east, and stood opposite the primitive court building of Riley County in the autumn of 1855. For the ostensible reason that the city had been built on the Military Reservation, Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of the War Department, ordered the town vacated, and in September 1855 its inhabitants removed, a few to Riley City, several to Ogden, and some returned East; several of them thereby were reduced to inconvenient want. Hon. Robert Klotz, now a member of the Forty-seventh Congress from Pennsylvania, was Pawnee's hotel-keeper and it is a tradition that his stock of fluids was usually more ample that that of his solids. Governor Reeder on his way to the capital city stopped with Mr. Seth J. Childs, whose place was at Juniata, on the west side of the Big Blue at the crossing on the Government roads. In the spring of 1855, Governor Reeder commissioned Mr. Childs as Sheriff of the region of country extending north to what is Marshall County, east to the Pottawatomie Reservation, south to Council Grove, west to the Rocky Mountains, as Kansas Territory then extended there. But the Legislature of 1855, on the 25th of August, elected John T. Price Sheriff of Riley County; Clay Thomson, Probate Judge; Thomas Reynolds and William Cuddy, County Commissioners. The county as organized took all the territory between Marshall County and the Kansas River.

At Ogden, Monday, September 17, 1855, the court convened, consisting of Messrs. Thomson and Reynolds. On the 18th, they made choice of Claiborne R. Mobley for Commissioner - Mr. Cuddy having never qualified - and John S. Reynolds was chosen Clerk of the Court.

The First Records. - The journal in which the proceedings of the court were recorded considering its character, has been very well preserved. Standing first on the record is the oath of office taken before Judge Thomson, September 5, 1855, by Commissioner Reynolds, who swears to support the Constitution of the United States, and "An Act entitled, an Act to organize the Territory of Nebraska and Kansas, and the provisions of the laws of the United States commonly known as the Fugitive Slave Act," and to be faithful and impartial as County Commissioner. This done, the official bonds of the Sheriff and the Clerk were each fixed at $1,000; the Treasurer's, Coroner's and Constable's at $500 each. Governor Shannon, October 15, 1855, commissioned C. R. Mobley as County Commissioner, Samuel Dean as County Treasurer, F. C. Sonnomaker as Coroner, and A. A. Garrett and L. B. Perry as Justices of the Peace, and this is made a matter of record. The first financial transaction recorded is as follows: "Ordered, that the account of R. D. Mobley, amounting to thirty-four dollars, for services rendered the county, be allowed, and issue a warrant therefor (sic)."


February 18, 1856, the Commissioners made the following order: "That until the court house be erected in the county-seat of Riley County, the courts of said county are to be held in the town of Ogden, and we will rent a house belonging to C. R. and R. D. Mobley at a stated sum per month." This building stood on the south side of Riley Street, in Block 19, the cellar over which it stood being visible in 1882, the walls of which remain, and west of which stands a large cottonwood that will mark its site. The house was a small, cheap wooden one, illy contrasting with the Reeder mansion across the street.

Some business for the county seems to have been transacted at the hamlet of Riley City, a place south of the Kansas River, not far from Fort Riley, for in the following journal entry for March 25, 1857, stands recorded: "The County Commissioners went to Riley City this day and brought from there the secretary, table, seals and what records they could find, and deposited them in the Clerk's Office."

The Probate Court had been held in a log-house at Ogden, owned by Lemuel Knapp. It was fourteen feet square and nearly minus windows. But June 1, 1857, an agreement was made with J. U. Parsons to lease his most easterly house, on Riley Street, for the purpose of holding Probate and County Courts, at $12 per month, payable every three months.

Preparatory to a vote on the permanent establishment of the county-seat, four Election Precincts were established September 21, 1857, viz: - Randolph Manhattan, Ogden and Montague. At the election on October 5, the vote for Ogden was Randolph, 9; Manhattan, 8; Ogden, 158; Montague, 23; total, 193. For Manhattan, Randolph, 11; Manhattan, 127; Ogden, 3; Montague, 21; total, 162. Majority for Ogden, 31. A belief that fraud had been practiced at Ogden existed so strongly in the minds of the citizens of Manhattan, that they delegated John Pipher and W. M. Snow to go to Lecompton and obtain some remedy at the hands of the Territorial Governor, but he refused to do anything in the matter. Then the examination of the tally-sheet was the next thing attempted, but the officers in charge of it refused to have it examined. But Esquire Pipher summoned Lemuel Knappp before him at his court in Manhattan, to give testimony concerning the names of minors and soldiers at Fort Riley on the list, and through him mainly it was established that there had been over fifty illegal votes cast, which established Manhattan as the shire town for Riley County.

Daniel Mitchell, who had been County Clerk for nine months, a most efficient officer, resigned his office, December 12, 1857, and was succeeded by Dr. J. W. Robinson, of Manhattan. December 10, Judge Westover ordered that the books, papers, stationery, furniture and all chattels belonging to the county, be delivered into the hands of the Sheriff, subject to the order of the Probate Court. On the 11th, the Sheriff made the following return:

"The within has been duly served. Did not get the books on account of the Clerk being under bonds not to give them up. He came to see the Judge.
D. A. Butterfield, Sheriff of Riley County."

Dr. Amory Hunting, one of the County Commissioners, on December 14, deposed and said that on December 12, he as one of the Commissioners received the resignation of Daniel Mitchell, Clerk of Riley County, and recovered from him sundry books and papers, and things belonging to the county. Six or more men assaulted him and Judge Westover, and they thereby embezzled the said county property. The Sheriff having a search-warrant for said property, made this return:

"The within has been duly served by bringing county-seals, desk, table, three blank books, two small blank books and inkstand. Papers and documents on file not found.
D. A. Butterfield, Sheriff of Riley County." December 14, 1857.

The following preamble and order was adopted, December 21, 1857, at the first Commissioners' meeting held at Manhattan: "WHEREAS the Commissioners in and for the County of Riley, in the Territory of Kansas, have neglected and refused to cause to be erected or otherwise procure suitable court house for the holding of the courts in and for the said county, THEREFORE be it ordered that the Probate Court be holden in the Hoar Building, in the city of Manhattan, during the remainder of the December term of said court, and until other suitable rooms can be erected or otherwise be procured for the holding of said court and for the office of the Clerk of said court."

June 1, 1858, the following journal entry was made: "Ordered that the Clerk be authorized to purchase of West, James & Strouse, of Kansas City, Mo., the building and lot in the First Ward of the city of Manhattan, known as the Scammon Building, for county purposes, provided a good and sufficient title can be obtained, at an amount not to exceed $600, payable in county bonds in twelve months, with or without interest, as said Clerk may elect." August 16, 1858, the Clerk was authorized to issue specifications and call for proposals for building a county jail of stone, 14x20 feet, with walls eight feet in height, and to rent of Robert Wilson four rooms in the east end of the Barnes' Building on Poyntz Avenue for the use of the county officers, at a rent not to exceed $60 per annum. November 8, 1858, Andrew J. Mead received $45 for four and one-half months' rent of a stone building for District Court purposes. The Scammon Building was destroyed by fire, August 23, 1859. The Barnes' Building in 1882 stood at the foot of the north side of Poyntz Avenue, by the railroad track, was occupied as a dwelling, and the lettering on it "Cheap Cash Store, Groceries, Rope, etc.", indicated the purposes for which it had been used, and it remains as an "ancient land mark" of Riley County.

The following was an order of May 31, 1859: "That a county jail be erected immediately, 18x24 feet, of stone, and that the Chairman and Clerk be appointed a committee to receive proposals for building the same on the court house lots, provided the same can be done for county bonds, payable in six months, bearing ten per cent interest." July 5, 1860, in noticing some complaints emanating from sundry tax-payers, the County Board declared: "That the purchase of the court house and lot, and the building of the jail are legal and legitimate transactions; that the laws of the Territory make it obligatory upon the county to pay its court expenses in criminal cases as well as in others; therefore we recommend the tax-payers of the county, as law-abiding citizens to bear the burdens for the present year." January 12, 1861, it was ordered: "That the Chairman of the Board and the County Clerk be a committee to sell the wood building standing near the jail, provided the same can be sold for not less than $300; if it cannot be sold, to receive proposals for repairing said building in a suitable manner for county offices." July 2, 1861, the "Old Court House" was sold to Lewis Kurtz for $300.

April 9, 1862, the following order was passed: "Ordered that the building now occupied for county offices be vacated on or previous to the first day of May next, and that the Chairman and County Clerk be authorized to lease from J. E. Hibbard for the use of the county the stone building now occupied by him, on Poyntz Avenue, for one year, at a rent not exceeding $75 per annum." November 10, 1865, on a vote to loan $15,000, for the purpose of erecting county buildings, the vote was 150 for the loan, and 140 against the loan. Douglas County boarded Riley County prisoners in 1866 and 1867, and received about $750 therefor. (sic)

At an election held April 20, 1867, on Jail Bonds, the vote was 262 for, and 46 against. Jacob Winnie had the contract for building the jail for $10,441.33. The jail was located near the southeast corner of the Public Square, 40 feet from the east side and 50 feet from the south side of the Square. The area of the Square is about three acres. The building is 40x50 feet. It contains eight cells, which are detached from the outer walls with hall extending around the cells. The cells are 6x7 feet, and seven and one-half feet high. The jail-yard in the rear is 20x23 feet. The County Board voted bonds to the amount of $8,000 for these cells and appurtenances, and they were sold to George W. Higinbotham & Co. for sixty-seven cents on the dollar. In front of the cells is an open hall, on each side of which are two good sized rooms, which are occupied by the Sheriff as the home of his family. In the upper story are two jury rooms, one on each side of the hallway. The hall enters a fair sized court room, furnished in a manner not at all extravagant.

At the southeast corner of Third Street and Poyntz Avenue, the County Clerk and County Treasurer occupy a commodious room, rented for $2?0 per year. Lower down on the same side of the avenue, the County Attorney's office is that of Spilman & Brown, rented for $60 per year. In the block east, the County Superintendent has an office at the same rent. The Register of Deeds and Judge of Probate occupy a frame building belonging to the county, on lot 197, Poyntz Avenue, and the Clerk of the District Court has an office in a brick building on lot 193, Poyntz Avenue, for which the county pays a rent of $60 per year. The Coroner has his physician's office nearly opposite. The offices are supplied with necessary safes. The county jail is one of the best in the State.

[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]