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


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


In the names of the municipal townships and election precincts, with shifting boundaries, there has been many and frequent changes. Ogden, Manhattan, Dyer and Pierce were the names given to the townships of the county, April 2, 1856. Dyer lay between the Big Blue and Calhoun County, and Marshall County and the Kansas River, becoming afterwards the most of what became Pottawatomie County. Rock Creek Township was formed from it May 18, 1856. Pierce, Manhattan, and Ogden were wholly in what is now Riley County. Deep Creek, McDowell's Creek and Douglas townships were in territory, belonging now to Davis County. Reynold's Township was formed out of the territory between the Smoky Hill and Republican rivers, September 16, 1856. Dixon Township embraced territory north of it.

January 17, 1859, the municipalities were designated Ogden, Manhattan City, Blue Mont, Kent, Indiana, Randolph, Madison and Kansas Falls. March 21, 1859, they were known as Manhattan, Madison, Ogden and Junction City. Clay County, then unorganized, had a voting place established at the house of Isaiah Scott, near Mount Pleasant, Dickinson County, unorganized November 14, 1859, had a voting place established at the house of John Erwin. November 17, 1859, the townships were Jackson, Junction, Manhattan and Ogden. April 14, 1868, Milford was formed from Jackson, and a little later South Milford was created, the latter territory being, in 1878, a part of Davis County. Milford Township, as such, is now Madison and Bala townships. Manhattan is a city of the second class; Ogden one of the third class. The other villages are not distinct from their municipal townships. Commencing with Manhattan Township, as the political center, adjoining it on the southeast is Zeandale, westward of Zeandale is Ashland, west and northwest of Ashland is Ogden. Jogging out six miles westward on the north line of Ogden, and northward of it, is Madison; north of Madison is Bala; Fancy Creek is north of Bala; Center north of Fancy Creek; May Day north of Center, terminating on the county line of Washington. Swede Creek is in the northeast part of the county; east of it is the Big Blue, separating it from Pottawatomie County. Jackson lies south of Swede Creek; Grant south of Jackson; Wild Cat south of Grant, being northwest of Manhattan Township.

County Commissioner Districts. - The first district embraces the townships of Manhattan and Zeandale. There are three voting places in the city - First, Second and Third Wards; a precinct in the township north, and one south of the Kansas River. The population in 1875 was 2,508; in 1880, 8,635. The second district embraces Ashland, Ogden, Madison, Bala, Fancy Creek, Center and May Day. The population in 1855 was 2,713; in 1880, 3,957. The third district comprises Swede Creek, Jackson, Grant and Wild Cat. The population in 1875 was 1,844; in 1880, 2,838. In 1875 the population of the county was 7,?6?; in 1880, 10,430.

School Districts. - There are sixty-five districts in the county; one joint district, with Pottawatomie, one with Marshall, one with Washington, and six with Davis.


While Kansas was a Territory, the County Commissioners for Riley were: Clay Thompson, Thomas Reynolds, Claiborne R. Mobley, Fox Booth, Thomas N. Lilly, Stephen B. White, Lorenzo Westover, Amory Hunting, F. N. Blake, Jesse Ingraham, George Taylor, Jonas Kress, Amasa Huntress, O. E. Osborne and J. K. Whitson.

County Clerks. - John S. Reynolds, Daniel Mitchell, John W. Robinson, William M. Snow and R. J. Harper.

County Treasurers. - Samuel Dean, John M. Morris, Henry Condray and Amory Hunting.

Sheriffs. - John T. Price, Stephen B. Williams, William H. Davis, David A. Butterfield, Scott Newell, W. J. Bassett, C. M. Dyche, George W. Higinbotham and Samuel Long.

Probate Judges. - Clay Thomson (sic), Thomas Reynolds, John S. Randolph, Washington I. Gilbert, Lorenzo Westover and John Pipher.

Register of Deeds. - William M. Snow and R. J. Harper.

Surveyors. - Daniel Mitchell, Davina Furrow and Davies Wilson.

County Attorneys. - Abraham Barry and M. L. Essick.

Superintendents of Public Instruction. - William A. McCullom and Washington Marlatt.

County Assessors. - Richard D. Mobley, John M. Morris, Henry Condray and J. P. Ryan. Since Kansas was a State, Lewis Parish, Rudolph Nienke and Amasa Huntress.

Coroners. - F. C. Sonnamaker, Henry Condray, Ambrose Todd, R. C. Whitney and Jesse Ingraham. While a State, Ingraham, A. Carlton, E. L. Patee, W. P. Higinbotham and H. S. Roberts have had the office.

Riley County has kept several of her public servants in long employ. Amasa Huntress was County Clerk, Treasurer and Register of Deeds four years each; three years Assessor; two years County Commissioner. R. J. Harper was sixteen years Clerk of the District Court; twelve years Judge of Probate; County Clerk and Register of Deeds each two years; Samuel G. Hoyt was Register of Deeds eight years; County Clerk six years. William Burgoyne was County Clerk eight years; in October, 1882, he entered upon the duties of County Treasurer. Henry C. Crump has ten years service as Register of Deeds. R. B. Spilman has been eleven years County Attorney; one year Superintendent of Public Instruction, and one year in the House of Representatives. J. H. Pillsbury and J. W. Paul each eight years County Surveyor. Jesse Ingraham and H. S. Roberts were each nine years Coroner; J. F. Billings was nine years Superintendent of Public Instruction. John Pipher was seven years Probate Judge. William H. Bower was five years Clerk of the District Court. John M. Morris was four years Treasurer; two years Assessor; one year in the House of Representatives. J. W. Blain and John Tennant have each been four years Treasurer. John C. Peck, Jacob Van Antwerp, Jeff. D. Brown and A. L. Houghton have each been four years Sheriff. W. J. Hunter, George Pickett and T. S. St. John have each been four years Commissioners; one year Representative. Howard Secrest was two years Commissioner, two years Representative. George T. Polson was five years Commissioner. E. Warner, S. I. Childs, M. Condray and J. M. Meyers each four years. James Humphrey was one year County Attorney; two years Treasurer; three years Judge of the District Court. Below are tables of court and miscellaneous county officers:


District Judge. - 1861-64, Jacob Safford; 1865-66, C. K. Gilchrist; 1867-69, James Humphrey; 1870-74, William H. Canfield; 1875-80, James H. Austin; 1881-82, John T. Morton.

District Clerk. - 1861, N. D. Horton; 1862-66, William H. Bower; 1867-82, R. J. Harper.

County Attorney. - 1861, M. L. Esseck (sic); 1862-63, A. H. Case; 1864, C. K. Gilchrist; 1865-66, A. M. Burns; 1867, James Humphrey; 1868-70, R. B. Spilman; 1871-72, George S. Green; 1873-74, R. C. Walter; 1875-82, R. B. Spilman.

Sheriff. - 1861-62, Samuel Long; 1864-65, G. J. Haulenbeck; 1866-69, John C. Peck; 1870-73, J. Van Antwerp; 1874-77, J. D. Brown; 1878-81, A. L. Houghton; 1882, J. M. Meyers.

County Commissioners. - 1861, A. Huntress, O. E. Osborne, J. K. Whitson; 1862-63, J. P. Ryan, Ambrose Todd, E. Warner; 1864-67, S. J. Childs, M. Condray, E. Warner, (in 1866, J. M. Myers was elected to take the place of E. Warner); 1868-69, Edward Secrest, R. Allingham, J. M. Myers; 1870-71, W. J . Hunter, W. W. Taylor, J. M. Myers, (in 1871, William K. Rich); 1872-73, W. J. Hunter, William K. Rich, George Pickett; 1874-75, T. S. St. John, C. E. Eastman, George Pickett; 1876-77, T. S. St. John, A. D. Phelps, G. T. Polson; 1878-79, Samuel Long, C. M. Dyche, G. T. Polson, (in 1879, P. W. Ziegler was elected to take the place of Samuel Long); 1880-81, P. W. Zeigler (sic), Henry Tidyman, G. T. Polson, (in 1881, John Condray was elected to take the place of G. T. Polson); 1882, Cyrus Foltz, Henry Tidgman (sic), John Condray.

County Clerk. - 1861, R. J. Harper; 1862-65, A. Huntress; 1866-71, S. G. Hoyt; 1872-73, William Burgoyne; 1874-79, William Burgoyne; 1880-82, F. A. Schermerhorn.

Treasurer. - 1861, Amory Hunting; 1862-63, James Humphrey; 1864-65, E. L. Patee; 1866-69, A. Huntress; 1870-73, John M. Morris; 1874-77, J. W. Blain; 1878-81, John Tennant; 1882, William Burgoyne.

Register of Deeds. - 1861, R. J. Harper; 1862-65, A. Huntress; 1866-73, S. G. Hoyt; 1874-82, H. C. Crump.

Probate Judge. - 1861-66, John Pipher; 1867-78, R. J. Harper; 1879-82, D. Hungerford.

Superintendent of Public Instruction. - 1861-62, Washington Marlatt; 1863-64, J. M. Lackey; 1865-68, J. E. Platt; 1869-71, Elbridge Gale; 1872, R. B. Spilman; 1873-80, J. F. Billings; 1881-82, J. H. Lee.

Surveyor. - 1861-63, Davis Wilson; 1864-71, J. H. Pillsbury; 1872-75, J. W. Paul, 1876-77, C. D. Greeley; 1878-80, J. W. Paul; 1881, S. D. Moses; 1882, J. W. Paul.


Since 1868, trustees of municipal townships have been the assessors for their respective townships. The following named person (sic) have filled the positions since that date.

Manhattan Township. - B. W. Powers in 1869; George S. Green in 1870 and 1871; C. L. Wilson in 1872; John Elliot in 1873; James Gahan in 1874 and 1875; Joseph Davis, 1876 - 1878; J. P. Peckham in 1879 and 1880; R. H. Kimball in 1881 and 1882; J. P. Peckham was assessor of Manhattan City in 1882.

Ogden Township. - C. M. Dyche in 1869; J. D. Warner, 1870-1873; D. O'Malley, 1874-1877; Charles E. Eastman, 1878 - 1882.

Jackson Township. - Samuel Long in 1869; Rudolph Niehenke in 1870 and 1871; William Fryhoffer, 1872-1874; H. H. Rice in 1875; John Condray, 1876-1880; George C. Woods in 1881 and 1882.

Grant Township. - J. W. Paul in 1870, 1874-78, 1880-82; H. P. Dow in 1871; Charles McGiloray in 1872; James E. Freeman in 1873; W. H. Edelbute in 1879.

Zeandale Township. - T. S. St. John, 18710-73; Cyrus Foltz, 1874-76, 1878 and 1880; E. St. John in 1874 and 1875; R. Stewart in 1881; James M. Fostner in 1882.

Ashland Township. - E. L. Foster, 1873-75; M. Vandewort and Hamilton Irish, in 1876; William Stone, 1877-80; S. A. Black in 1881; S. J. Yenawine in 1882.

Bala Township. - G. B. McCord in 1872 and 1873; W. A. Ensign, 1874-76; W. E. Ford, 1877-79; J. W. Kettleman in 1880; J. R. Warren in 1881 and 1882.

Madison Township. - Jefferson D. Brown in 1872 and 1873; C. C. Adams in 1874, 1875, 1880 and 1881; George Avery in 1876 and 1877; Henry Tidyman in 1878 and 1879; William Woodbury in 1882.

May Day Township. - M. V. Jerome in 1872 and 1879; N. E. Dickery in 1873; J. A. Reece, 1874-76; T. W. Osborne in 1877; J. J. Myers in 1878; S. A. Byarlay in 1880 and 1881; J. E. Powell in 1882.

Fancy Creek Township. - J. Hamer, 1879-81; J. J. Myers in 1882.

Center Township. - S. A. Byarlay in 1881; T. W. Osborne in 1882.

Swede Creek Township. - H . H. Rice in 1879; Frederic Toburen, 1880-82.

Wild Cat Township. - W. W. Taylor in 1882.

Manhattan City. - J. P. Peckham, assessor, in 1882.


Riley County has been first and foremost in the various political movements of the Territory and State of Kansas. Below is given a brief note of her delegates, councilmen, senators and representatives.

Dr. Amory Hunting and Robert Klotz were elected from Riley County, October 9, 1855, as delegates to the Topeka Convention, which assembled October 23, 1858. Dr. Hunting, the oldest member of the body, sixty-one years of age, was Republican in his politics, a native of Massachusetts, but came from Rhode Island to Kansas.

Mr. Klotz was a merchant, thirty-five years of age, a Democrat, a native of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Forty-seventh Congress from that State.

Martin F. Conway was elected from the St. Mary's and Silver Lake Precincts; at that time a part of Riley County.

Pawnee polled forty-five votes for the Topeka Constitution, December 15, 1855; St. Mary's, fourteen votes.

Lecompton Convention. - June 15, 1857, Riley and Pottawatomie counties elected C. R. Mobley, J. S. Randolph, P. Z. Taylor and Robert Wilson, delegates to the Lecompton Convention which met September 7, 1857. Under this constitution, N. Berry was elected a Representative, and Dr. Hunting a Senator from the district of which Riley formed a part.

Leavenworth Convention. - Riley County, March 9, 1858, elected J. T. Goodnow, Freeman N. Blake and George W. Higinbotham, delegates to the Leavenworth Convention, which convened April 30, 1858. At a Free State Convention held to elect officers under this constitution, Dr. John W. Robinson, of Riley, was nominated for Commissioner of School Land.

Lecompton Constitution - English Bill. - The vote of Riley County, August 2, 1858, on this constitution as submitted by the bill drafted by Congressman English, of Indiana, was: Proposition rejected, 258; proposition accepted, 22.

Wyandotte Convention. - March 28, 1859, Riley County gave 119 votes in favor of a constitutional convention; against it, 54.

In June, 1858, S. D. Houston was elected as delegate from Riley County. October 4, 1859, the county gave 296 votes for the constitution, 128 against it.


John Donaldson represented the Council District, of which Riley was a part. In 1855, Samuel D. Houston was a member of the House. In 1856, Russell Garrett was elected to the House. In 1857, Abraham Bary and Charles Jenkins were elected from Riley and Pottawatomie counties; Benjamin Harding and Andrew J. Mead, councilmen from the district comprising the counties of Doniphan, Brown, Nemaha, Marshall, Riley and Pottawatomie. In 1858, Abraham Barry and Thomas R. Points were elected Representatives from Riley and Pottawatomie counties. In 1859, J. B. Woodward was elected Councilman from the counties of Riley, Clay, Davis, Dickinson, Wabaunsee and Morris. Daniel L. Chandler was elected Representative from Riley and Clay counties. In 1860, Walter C. Dunton was elected Representative from Riley and Clay counties, the last Representative from Riley County, while Kansas was a Territory.

State Senators. - Riley and Pottawatomie counties were represented in the State Senate of 1861 by Samuel D. Houston; in 1862, by M. L. Essick. Mr. Houston had been appointed Receiver of the Land Office at Junction City.

Riley, Marshall and Washington counties constituted the Seventh Senatorial District, 1863-1866. Thomas H. Baker, of Marshall, was the Senator in 1863 and 1864; E. C. Manning, of Marshall, in 1865 and 1866.

These counties, with Republic and Cloud, remained the Seventh District, 1867- 1872. James M. Harvey, of Riley, was the Senator in 1867 and 1868; A. A. Cornahan, of Cloud, in 1869 and 1870; Phillip Rockefeller, of Washington, in 1871 and 1873.

Under the legislative apportionment of 1871, Riley, Davis and Dickinson constituted the Twenty-seventh Senatorial District. Under the apportionment of 1876, the Thirtieth District. V. P. Wilson, of Dickinson, was the Senator in 1873 and 1874; Harlow P. Dow in 1875, 1876 and 1877. The biennial sessions of the Legislature commenced with 1877, and Mr. Dow having become connected with the Internal Revenue Department, resigned his place in the Senate and T. C. Henry, of Dickinson, was Senator in 1879. In 1881, F. H. Burris, of Dickinson, was the Senator. He resigned in the consequence of removing from the State, and in November, 1882, was chosen to fill the unexpired term.

By the apportionment of 1881, Riley, Davis and Wabaunsee constituted the Nineteenth Senatorial District; the first election of a Senator therefrom (sic) will be in 1884.

Members of the House of Representatives. - Riley and Pottawatomie counties were represented in the State Legislature of 1861, by Frederic N. Blake, Ambrose W. Mussey, Thomas Pierce and William H. Smythe.

Riley County was the Seventy-second representative District, 1863-1871; the Twelfth, 1872-1876. From 1877-81, the county had two Representative Districts, Nos. 76 and 77. Under the apportionment of 1881, the county had one district, which is numbered 58.

The following table shows her members from 1863 to 1883:

1863, District No. 72, Bradley E. Fullington;
1864, District No. 72, Bradley E. Fullington;
1865, District No. 72, James M. Harvey;
1866, District No. 72, James M. Harvey;
1867, District No. 72, Henry Booth;
1868, District No. 72, D. M. Johnson;
1869, District No. 72, Edward Secrest;
1870, District No. 72, Edward Secrest;
1871, District No. 72, John M. Morris;
1872, District No. 12, John H. Pinkerton;
1873, District No. 12, W. J. Hunter;
1874, District No. 12, Harlon P. Dow;
1875, District No. 12, George Pickett;
1876, District No. 12, Charles F. Little;
1877, District No. 76, T. St. John;
1877, District No. 77, A. S. Edgerton;
1879, District No. 76, R. B. Spilman;
1879, District No. 77, J. J. Myers;
1881, District No. 76, George S. Green;
1881, District No. 77, Nehemiah Green;
1883. (sic)


Settled with the kind of people that Riley County was, it would have been expected that they would have taken a great interest in the common school, and in academic and collegiate course of instruction. This they have done and their present and prospective privileges attest their zeal and devotion to these things. With seventy-five school districts, ten of which are joint ones with the surrounding counties, and with seventy school houses, the children of school age have good facilities for an education, as the superintendence of them has been good. The report of the County Superintendent of Public Instruction for 1882, shows 3,887 persons of school age; number of enrolled pupils, 2,641; average daily attendance, 1,525; number of teachers required, 37 males, and 58 females. The average pay of male teachers is $34.70 per month; of females, $29.19. During the year male teachers have taught 213 months; females, 312. The average number of weeks of instruction for a district is 25. There have been four private schools, taught by females; one by a male teacher. The average levy of district school tax is 11.3 mills for the year 1882. The bonds voted for schoolhouse purposes in 1882 are $12,200. Bonded indebtedness of the district is $18,700.

Manhattan has a corps of ten teachers; Prof. D. E. Loutz, principal. The main public school building is a little to the north of Poyntz Avenue, quite centrally located. It is 73x96 feet, two stories high above the basement. It has four large rooms upon each floor, spacious halls, and neat cloak rooms. It is a nice stone structure, and cost about $15,000. The block upon which it stands is exceedingly well supplied with shade trees, that were set out years ago, and it has ample and neat play grounds. To the southwest of this near the outskirts of the city is a nice new stone structure two stories high, built in 1882, to supplement the needs of the increasing population, which now reaches 2,500.

Randolph, which has a population of about 500, employs two teachers in its graded school. Ogden has a population of about 400; Leonard, a thrift growing town, the station in this county on the Kansas Central Railway, has about 400; Riley Centre about 300; Bala, about 250. All these place have excellent schools. The schoolhouses in the rural districts, in many instances are not adequate to the needs of the people, and another year, there will be an increased number of new houses.

The first record in the Commissioners journal, relating taxes, reads as follows:

Received of the Clerk of the tribunal transacting county business of the county of Riley, Kansas Territory, the tax-book of said county, upon which I am to collect $243.91 in territorial tax; $185.93 county tax, and $93 as Assessors fees. All the above amounts I promise to pay over or return the book as the law directs. This August 5, 1856. Stephen B. Williams, Sheriff of Riley County.

The amount of territorial sent to the Auditor of public accounts for the Territory of Kansas. August 5, 1856. John S. Reynold, Clerk By L. B. Perry, Deputy.

July 5, 1860, the County Commissioners in a manifesto say:

The county was organized in 1855 and no tax was levied until 1858, and the small amount of property subject to taxation on the valuation of 1859, was only $103,000.

The published expenditures for the county in 1860, was $1,392.13; 1861, $2,175.57; for 1864, $3,434.76; for 1865, $4,462.24; for 1866, $3,403.37; for 1867, $6,931.05; for 1868, $10,040.50. The levy for county taxes for 1870, was 7.5 mills on the dollar, so as raise $10,600. In 1871, it was 9 mills; the amount to be raised was $11,640. In 1872, it was 10 mills, three of which was to meet the interest coupons on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds. In 1873 and 1874 it was 13 mills; six of which was to pay interest on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds. In 1875, the levy was 15 mills, seven of which was for the payment of interest coupons on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds. In 1876 the levy was 13.5 mills; five and one-half was for the bonds of the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway. In 1877 there was a levy of 12.5 mills, six of which was for the railway bonds. In 1878 there was a levy of 7 mills. There was no levy to meet the bonded indebtedness arising out of the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway, a petition having been signed by 1,155 residents that none be made. In 1879-1882, 6 mills was the county levy.

The aggregated judgments against Riley County, consequent upon the refusal of her Commissioners to levy taxes to meet the accrued and accruing interest on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds is $20,558.09. The assessed valuation of the county for 1882 is as follows: Reals estate, $1,109,407; city property, $335,166; personal property, $540,153; railroads, $243,031; total, $2,217,757.

There are four railroad lines, which may be mentioned in connection with the assessment in the following manner: A few miles of the Manhattan & Blue Valley Railroad is assessed at $12,500; the Manhattan & Burlingame, 9.2 miles, $40,043; the Kansas division of the Union Pacific, 14.16 miles, $123,252; the Kansas Central, 18.11 miles, $67,236.29.

The county has been singularly free from crimes and its court calenders are comparatively exempt from cases of persons charged with capital crime. The latest case was the trial of Charles W. Bates, charged with the murder of P. W. Peak in the Christian Church at Manhattan on the evening of February 3, 1879. At the first trial the verdict of the jury was manslaughter in the first degree, but at the second trial in December, 1879, the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty. This killing had a connection with the procurement of evidence furnished against persons in the liquor traffic, Mr. Bates playing the role of a detective in the matter. The good morals and high civilization of this county stand unsurpassed anywhere.

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