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|Location and Early History | Map and Population | County Organization, Officers, Etc. | Statistics | Rush Center|
LOCATION AND EARLY HISTORY.
RUSH County took its name from Alexander Rush, Captain of Company H, Second Colored Infantry, who was killed in battle April 3, 1864, at Jenkins' Ferry, Ark. By the general statistics of 1868, it embraced Ranges 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 west, in Towns. 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 south.
By an act of the Legislature, which took effect March 20, 1873, the south tier of townships was taken off and its area was reduced from 900 to 720 square miles, being now thirty miles from east to west, twenty-four miles from north to south. Between it and the State of Missouri are nine counties; five between it and Colorado; Ellis, Rooks and Phillips lie between it and Nebraska; Pawnee, Edwards and Comanche Counties are between it and the Indian Territory.
The general surface of the land in the county is gently undulating, eighty per cent being upland, twenty per cent bottom, one per cent timber land. Limestone and sandstone are found throughout the county; gypsum and pottery clay exist in small quantities, and there are some traces of coal.
The Walnut is the main stream, passing nearly centrally through the county from east to west. Otter Creek and Old Maid's Creek are its southern tributaries; Sand Creek is its northern one. The Smoky Hill River touches its northern boundary about the range line between Ranges 17 and 18, and here it receives the Big Timber Creek, which waters the northwestern part of the county.
The early settlers found buffalo in abundance, and derived much of their living therefrom. F. E. Garner built the first frame house in the county. William Basham and P. C. Dixon came to Pioneer Township in the fall of 1870. Mr. Basham was the first white settler in the county. The first family was that of J. S. Templeton, who settled near the present site of Walnut City, now Rush Center, August 1, 1871. Samuel Alpha, son of Mr. and Mrs. Templeton, was the first child born in the county. James Corrall and Joseph Shaw Brown settled in Brookdale Township in 1871. A. Harvey and J. C. Young settled in Alexander Township in 1872; A. Reiner in Banner Township in 1873; D. A. Stubbs and S. W. Taylor in La Crosse Township in 1876.
Adolph Aschoff and Dora Gein were married in Pioneer Township, December 25, 1872; J. H. Garner and Phebe J. Graves in Brookdale Township, February, 1873; Martin Sage and Flora Clapsattle, February, 1876, in Alexander Township; George W. Cooley and Sarah F. Butler, in Center Township, April, 1876; O. C. Prescott and M. Burge, February, 1878, in La Crosse Township. John H. Hubbard established a grocery store in Center Township in 1874; George H. Green a general store in Pioneer Township in 1876; Joseph & Parker a general store in La Crosse Township in 1877.
The first post office was Economy, Pioneer Township, N. S. Gilbert, Postmaster; established in 1871. It was served by military couriers, but abandoned in July, 1872. J. H. Hubbard was Postmaster at Rush Center, Center Township, in 1874; W. C. Fisher, Postmaster at Brookdale Post Office, Brookdale Township, in 1875; A. Harvey, Postmaster at Alexander Post Office, Alexander Township, in 1875; E. F. Brown, Postmaster at La Crosse Post Office, La Crosse Township, in 1877; Mrs. Sally P. Galbreath, Postmistress at Ryan Post Office, Banner Township, in 1878.
The Press. -- The first issue of the Walnut Valley Standard was in December, 1874. W. P. Tomlinson was the editor and proprietor. Soon after his return from his service as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives in the spring of 1877, the paper was removed to La Crosse, where the county seat was sought to be established. In the summer of 1877, Mr. Tomlinson took his office to Ellis, Ellis County. He was elected County Commissioner in November, 1877, and was Chariman of the Board of Ellis County. His paper was the Ellis County Standard. In February, 1879, he came to Russell and sold his newspaper office to W. A. Lewis, and the Russell Independent was established, Lewis & Irwin, editors and proprietors. Mr. Tomlinson came to Topeka in 1880, and in January, 1883, went into the office of Gov. Glick as his Executive Clerk.
The Rush County Progress was started at Rush Center in June, 1877, by R. H. Mitchell. In the autumn following, it was removed to La Crosse. It has ceased to exist. Before its removal, E. N. Gunn was its editor. Eugene N. Gunn and F. S. Stumbaugh started the Blade at Walnut City, now Rush Center, July 19, 1878, E. N. Gunn, editor. Later, it was conducted by Gunn & Longacre. Its last issue was July 21, 1882, when it was consolidated with the North Topeka Times. The La Crosse Chieftain was established by Taylor & Goodwin, January 1, 1881. At this time, 1883, H. C. Fish is editor and proprietor.
POPULATION (FEDERAL CENSUS). (ORGANIZED IN 1874.) --------------------------------------------- 1880. (a) Alexander Township . . . . . . . . . 367 (b) Banner Township . . . . . . . . . . 532 (c) Belle Prairie Township . . . . . . . 265 (d) Big Timber Township . . . . . . . . 277 (e) Brookdale Township . . . . . . . . . 504 (f) Center Township . . . . . . . . . . 572 (g) Hampton Township . . . . . . . . . . 675 (h) Illinois Township . . . . . . . . . 504 (i) La Crosse Township . . . . . . . . . 531 (j) Pioneer Township . . . . . . . . . . 549 (k) Pleasant Dale Township . . . . . . . 474 (l) Union Township . . . . . . . . . . . 240 ----- Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,490 --------------------------------------------- (a) In 1874, from original territory; in 1878, part to Hampton; in 1879, part to Belle Prairie. (b) In 1877, from part of Pioneer. (c) In 1879, from part of Alexander. (d) In 1879, form part of La Crosse. (e) In 1874, from original territory; in 1878, parts to Hampton and Union. (f) In 1874, from original territory; in 1877, part to La Crosse. (g) In 1878, from parts of Alexander and Brookdale. (h) In 1879, from part of Pioneer. (i) In 1877, from part of Center; in 1879, part to Big Timber (j) In 1874, from original territory; in 1877, part to Banner; in 1879, parts to Illinois and Pleasant Dale. (k) In 1879, from part of Pioneer. (l) In 1878, form part of Brookdale.
COUNTY ORGANIZATION, OFFICERS, ETC.
Gov. Thomas A. Osborn, on the 22d of September, 1874, appointed William S. Wood Census-taker of Rush County, and on December 5, 1874, he appointed P. C. Dixon, John Shaftsbury and Frederic R. Smith, Special County Commissioners, and Frank E. Garner, Special County Clerk.
Since the organization of the county, it has been represented in the Senate by Solomon Stephens, of McPherson; Thomas T. Taylor, of Reno; J. C. Strang, of Pawnee; and Simon Motz, of Ellis. It has elected members of the House of Representatives as follows: In 1876, William P. Tomlinson; in 1877 (to fill vacancy), A. Mott; in 1878, F. S. Steinbaugh; in 1880 and in 1882, John Hargrave. By the apportionment act of 1881, it is the One Hundred and Fifteenth Representative District; Rice, Barton and Rush Counties constitute the Thirty-sixth Senatorial District, which elects a Senator in 1884.
The religious statistics show six Baptist organizations, with a membership of some 150; two of the Church of the Disciples, with a membership of about 125; four Congregational organizations, membership, 75; one Luther, 50 members; five Methodist Episcopal organizations, membership about 125; one Presbyterian, membership, 20; two Roman Catholic, membership, 400. There are, as yet, but few church edifices.
The first sermon preached in the county was on the third Sunday of May, 1873, by Rev. A. Hartman, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the first Sabbath school was organized the Sunday following. The Methodists effected their organization - the first in the county - in June, 1873, at the house of P. C. Dixon, Rev. A. Hartman, pastor.
In 1875, there were 635 acres of corn in the county; 265 of Hungarian and millet; 252 of oats, 232 of spring wheat; 185 of winter wheat; 89 of barley; 40 of Irish potatoes; 20 of rye; 20 of broom corn; 24 of sorghum. There were 920 cattle; 538 sheep; 207 horses; 25 mules; 34 swine.
In 1878, there were 7,400 acres in winter wheat; 3,620 in corn; 986 in spring wheat; 422 in oats; 161 in Irish potatoes; 60 in broom corn. It had 835 horses; 592 milch cows; 1,239 other cattle; 585 swine.
In 1879, there were 19,163 acres in winter wheat; 11,274 in corn; 4,430 in Hungarian and millet; 2,584 in oats; 2,519 in spring wheat; 537 in Irish potatoes; 367 in sorghum; 1,627 horses; 1,051 milch cows; other cattle, 1,583; swine, 1,351; 45,120 pounds of butter; value of slaughtered animals, $5,008.
In 1880, there were 27,000 acres in winter wheat; 17,298 in corn; 2,920 in rice corn; 448 in broom corn; 702 in sorghum. It had 1,144 milch cows; its butter product was 53,858 pounds; cheese, 490 pounds; value of slaughtered animals, $11,655.
In 1875, there were six organized school districts in the county. In 1876, there were nine, with value of school property, $4,015; in 1877, there were sixteen districts; in 1878, there were twenty-two; in 1879, there were forty-two; in 1880, there were forty-three, with value of school property at 12,948; in 1881, there were forty-four; and in 1882, forty-six organized school districts. In 1881-82, Normal Institutes were held in this county; O. E. Olin, conductor. The enrollment was fifty-one.
Rush County has 2,080 acres of vacant public land in the Western Land District subject to entry at Wa Keeney, Trego County. It has 69,161 acres of the Kansas Pacific lands; 62,118 acres of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe lands, of which, up to October 1, 1882, there have been sold 8,740 acres.
The assessed valuation of real estate and personal property in Rush County for the last eight years, has been returned as follows: 1875, $156,878.25; 1876, $164,438.60; 1877, $176,033.96; 1878, $188,720.25; $1879 (sic), $267,115.38; 1880, $274,382; 1881, $286,084; 1882, $329,301.30.
Rush Center was the temporary county seat when the county was organized in 1874. Since 1876, there has been a county seat struggle between it and La Crosse, which is in the geographical center of the county, five miles north of Rush Center. Each place, in January, 1883, had about 250 inhabitants. La Crosse is situated on Sand Creek. Rush Center, or Walnut City, is on the north side of the Walnut, situated in a beautiful valley about 200 miles from Topeka. There is no railroad in Rush County, it lying about midway between the Kansas Division of the Union Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroads. Hays City, on the Kansas Pacific, in Ellis County, is the most accessible railroad point to Rush Center. Larned, in Pawnee County, is the nearest point therefrom on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, though the nearest eastern point by which this road is reached is Great Bend, Barton County.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES - MISCELLANEOUS.
A. J. BELLPORT, stock-raiser, Section 26, located two miles east of Rush Center. He has a large stock ranch, and keeps about 200 head of cattle, and makes stock-raising his entire business. He came to Kansas February 19, 1866, locating at Leavenworht. He followed freighting across the great plains three years, then kept a livery in the latter city eighteen months, and then engaged in the cattle business. In 1876, he bought a large herd of cattle in Texas, and brought them to Dodge City, and has followed cattle business since. He was born in Brown County, Ohio, January 3, 1845, and lived in his native county until he came to Kansas. Married in June, 1877, to Miss Mary Bower, a native of Ohio. They have three children -- Mary M., Augustine J. and Phillip B.
P. C. DIXON, dealer in general merchandise, La Crosse. He opened his trade September 1, 1882. His store is 23 x 63 feet, and a warehouse 16 x 32 feet. He succeeded the firm of Friend & Dixon, who began business in March, 1881. He now carries a stock of $7,000. He first came to Rush County in March, 1871, and is now the first settler in the county. He followed agricultural pursuits and stock-raising until 1878. He then engaged in merchandising at Walnut City, and continued until he came to La Crosse. He was born in New Berlin, Chenango Co., N. Y., May 29, 1844, and was raised in Detroit, Mich., and was a student until he enlisted on board U. S. steamer Michigan, then recruiting for the naval service. He served on board New Ironsides a year, and was honorably discharged at Philadelphia, Penn. He then drifted into various places, and finally went to Chicago, Ill., where he engaged as a book-keeper on South Water street, and was in that capacity until he came to Kansas. He married, in 1869, Miss Helen Dammers, of Chicago, Ill. They have four children -- William E., Leroy E., Lavina C. and Ida. He is a member of the Blue Lodge, A., F. & A. M. and Dahlgren Post, No. 60. He as served as County Commissioner, Clerk of District Court, and several township offices, and helped to organize Rush County.
FRANK E. GARNER, stock-raiser, Section 22, Town. 18, Range 19 west, P. O. Brookdale. He came to his place in March, 1872. Has 400 acres of fine grazing land, fifty of which are cultivated. He keeps an average of 225 head of cattle, and is improving into Short-horn, Durhams, etc. He was born in New Haven, Conn., October 7, 1843. Came with parents to Kane County, Ill., in 1850, and was raised on a farm, following agricultural pursuits until he came to Kansas. He enlisted in August, 1861, in Company K, Fifty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and participated in all the battles of his command. Was seriously injured in service, and now draws a pension. Mustered out July 5, 1865. Was married, in 1877, to Miss Laura L. Graves, of Burlington, Kane Co., Ill. They have three children -- Medea E., Myrtle B. and May L. He is a member of Dahlgren Post, No. 60, G. A. R. He has served as County Clerk four years, and Clerk of Court a short and a long term.
H. L. GULDIN, proprietor Pen House, Rush Center. This hotel was erected in 1877; size 56 x 24 feet, three stories high, partly two stories. There is a good barn and corral in connection. Total cost, $6,400. He came to Walnut City in 1877. Born in Montgomery County, Penn., in 1820, and was raised in that county. He has traveled extensively in many portions of the United States. He finally settled in Philadelphia, Penn., and afterward in Reading, Penn., where in either city he kept a wholesale grocery four years. He then kept hotel at Beer Gap, Northumberland County, Penn., four years. He then farmed two years in Columbia County, Penn., two years. Married, in 1852, to Sarah Mengel, of Berks County, Penn. They have three daughters and three sons -- Elvina S., George B., James L., Susan C., Alice L. and Penrose W.
HON. JOHN HARGRAVE, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. La Crosse, was born in Inverness, Canada East, January 23, 1847. Removed with his parents to Ripon, Wis., in June, 1854. Educated in the public schools of Fond du Lac County, and at Brockway College, Ripon. Taught school in Fond du Lac and Green Lake Counties prior to coming to Kansas, July 4, 1874. His first location in this State was in Pioneer Township, Rush County, where he taught (free of charge) the first school which was taught in that county. January 14, 1875, he was elected (at a special election) County Superintendent of Schools. Resigned that position a year later to engage quite extensively in the cattle business, which he still continues in connection with his other farming interests. He is now serving his second term as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives from Rush County. Mr. Hargrave was married in La Crosse, Kan., October 16, 1881, to C. Retta Smith, a native of Ohio. They have one child, David Waldro.
ALEX. HARVEY, County Treasurer of Rush County, P. O. Rush Center, came to Rush County in February, 1872, locating at Alexander, in the western part of the county, where he engaged in ranching for two years. He then became Postmaster and Notary Public, and followed agricultural pursuits and the stock business until October, 1880, when he moved to Walnut City, being elected to the above office in the fall of 1879, and re-elected to the same office in the fall of 1881. He is also engaged in the stock business, and has a ranch. He was born in Scotland March 15, 1843. Came to America in 1859, locating in Canada, where he engaged in merchandising for some time. Thence to Ogdensburg, N. Y., October 25, 1861. He enlisted in Company F, Sixtieth New York Volunteer Infantry. After a year's service, was transferred to Company A, Sixth United States Cavalry, as a bugler. He participated in all the actions of his command, and was mustered out October 25, 1864. He was then in the employ of the Government for two years in the South. He then enlisted at New Orleans, La., in February, 1867, in Company G, Sixth United States Cavalry. Served in the West principally, in scouting and hunting desperadoes. He came to Fort Hays, Kan., in the spring of 1869. He was mustered out at Fort Dodge, Kan., in February, 1872, as First Sergeant. He was married in December, 1877, to Miss Mattie King, of Decatur County, Iowa. They have one son -- William K. He is a member of Dahlgren Post, No. 60, G. A. R., of Walnut City, Kan.
W. J. HAYES, of the firm of Hayes & Mullay, dealers in general merchandise, P. O. Rush Center. Mr. Hayes has a stock ranch of 480 acres on Section 24, Town 18, Range 18 west, where he keeps about 100 head of cattle, all improved stock, including Galloways. He has also forty head of thoroughbred stallion horses. He came to Rush County, Kan., and settled on his place the early part of 1874, and opened his ranch. He was born in Belfast, Ireland, December 5, 1848, and was raised a linen manufacturer. He came to America in 1873, and lived in Chicago, Ill., for some time. He was married in 1877, to Miss M. F. Kennedy, of LaSalle County, Ill. They have one son -- Arthur William. His wife died in December, 1882. He is a member of the Blue Lodge, A., F. & A. M.
HAYES & MULLAY, dealers in general merchandise, P. O. Rush Center, opened trade January 1, 1883. They have a fine store building, 20 x 80 feet. The building cost $1,800. Their stock of goods is the largest in Rush County. The individual names of the firm are W. J. Hayes and E. F. Mullay. E. F. Mullay came to Larned, Pawnee Co., Kan., in 1877, and clerked in the dry goods house of G. Krouch, until he came to Walnut City in May, 1878, where he clerked for L. Wolfe & Co. until he became a member of the above firm. He was born in Fleming County, Ky., in 1860, and was raised in his native county. He moved to Hernando, Miss., in 1866, and lived there two years, and then returned to Kentucky, where at a proper age he began clerking. He was married in 1882, to Miss Annie Howe, of Athens County, Ohio. He is a member of Blue Lodge, Masonic order.
DR. F. W. LONGACRE, physician and surgeon, and dealer in general line drugs and medicines, P. O. Rush Center, came to Kansas in spring of 1878, locating in Harvey County, Ness County and Rush County. He was born in Chester County, Penn., September 4, 1849, and was raised in his native county; educated in Norristown, Penn. He received his medical education at Jefferson College, Philadelphia, Penn., graduating in the class of 1877, where he practiced medicine until fall of 1877. He was married, in 1880, to Miss Mary L. Wise, of Pottstown, Penn. He is a member of Blue Lodge, A., F. & A. M., and is United States Examining Surgeon for Pensions in Rush and adjoining counties. He is a member of the Pharmaceutical Association of Kansas.
ALLEN MCCANN, County Clerk, Rush County, P. O. Rush Center, came to Cherokee County, Kan., in 1869, and engaged in making rails and cutting saw-logs. Soon afterward, he went to Neosho County, and engaged in farming, railroading, etc. He came to Rush County in March, 1872, and engaged in stock-raising and farming. He was elected County Clerk in February, 1875, being the first officer in that capacity elected in Rush County; was re-elected in 1876, and served one term; re-elected November, 1881. He was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, August 19, 1840, and was raised on a farm in his native county. He was married, in 1878, to Miss Jennie Ely, of Washington County, Iowa. They have two children -- Samuel and Frank.
THOMAS H. MCDOWELL, Clerk of the District Court of Rush County, P. O. Rush Center, came to Kansas in 1878, and engaged in farming in Rush County. He was elected to the above office in the fall of 1880; re-elected fall of 1882. He was born in Franklin County, Penn., 1843, and raised in his native county. He enlisted in July, 1862, in Company A, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry; participated in all battles of his command. He was mustered out in 1863. He was taken prisoner during the rebel Gen. Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, after his army life, and was confined in rebel prisons one year and eight months. He went to California in 1866, and engaged in mining until January, 1871, when he returned to Chambersburg, Penn., where he engaged in merchandising until he came to Kansas. He is a member of Dahlgren Post, No. 60.
DANIEL E. MILLER, Sheriff, came to the State July 23, 1875, and engaged in farming and cattle-raising in Rush County; elected Sheriff of the county fall of 1877; re-elected fall 1881. He was born in Hampshire County, Va., November 21, 1839, and lived in the latter county until twenty years old, when he went to Clinton County, Ill., and engaged in farming until he came to Kansas. Married, 1861, to Miss Cecelia Edmonds, of Clinton County, Ill. Her parents were among the first settlers of that county. They have six children -- Alexis M., Edward R., John T., Lee P., Mary B. and Daniel M., Jr.
FRANK B. SMITH, agent A., T. & S. F. R. R. lands, and stock-raiser, horses, etc., east half northeast quarter of Section 30, and southeast quarter of Section 20, P. O. Rush Center; owns 240 acres of land; he keeps a fine lot of horses and a few cattle. He first came to this place in March, 1873, and engaged in raising sheep and cattle. He now has the agency for 60,000 acres of land and trades in land claims, etc. He was born near Bangor, Me., February 23, 1841, and lived there until ten years of age, when he moved to Belmont, Allegany (sic) County, N. Y., and lived there five years, when his parents moved with the family to Wisconsin, and located finally in Winnebago County. He enlisted in November, 1861, in Company C, Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and participated in all the battles of his command. He was shot through the head at Corinth, Miss., and was discharged July 3, 1863. He soon afterward went to Monona County, Iowa, where he followed agricultural pursuits until he came to Kansas. He was married October 26, 1867, to Miss Sarah A. Grow, of Charlestown, Vt. They have six children -- Bertha E., L. Guy, J. Glenn, Clyde E., Nina W. and Ross Dene. He is an A., F. & A. M., and is Commander of Dahlgren Post, No. 60, G. A. R. Was County Treasurer of Rush County over four years.