LISA LEE produced this selection.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.


PART 1: Location, Topography and Natural Resources | Map and Population
PART 2: Early History
PART 3: Growth | Railroads, Schools, and Manufacturers | County Societies | Post Offices
PART 4: Salina, Part 1
PART 5: Salina, Part 2
PART 6: Biographical Sketches (Addison - Groger)
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (Hagler - Norton)
PART 8: Biographical Sketches (Palmer - Wolsieffer)
PART 9: Brookville | Bavaria | Assaria
PART 10: Miscellaneous Biographical Sketches (Baldwin - Kingman)
PART 11: Miscellaneous Biographical Sketches (McEntee - Ziebell)


SALINE County is situated almost in the center of the State. Let a map of Kansas be taken and folded once from west to east, and then once from north to south, and the point where the fold-marks cross each other will be just three miles west and one mile south of the southwest corner of Saline County; so that were a line drawn through the center of the State from north to south, the west line of the county would be only three miles east of said central line. The county is bounded on the north by Ottowa County, on the south by McPherson County, on the east by Dickinson County, and on the west by a portion of Ellsworth and Lincoln counties. The county contains 460,800 acres, or 720 square miles this territory is divided into twenty civil, or municipal, townships. The line of the sixth principal meridian passes between Dickinson and Saline counties, so that the eastern tier of townships of Saline County is in Range I, west of that meridian. The formation of the county is square, being twenty-four miles north and south, and thirty miles east and west. This square formation is uninterrupted, excepting one point in the northeastern portion of the county, where Dickinson County by some legislative invasion has acquired a small piece of territory about a mile long and one-half mile wide, which constitutes part of the limits of Solomon City. Saline County is about 180 miles west of Kansas City, or the Missouri River.

The surface of the county may be classified into: first, level or flat land; second, rolling or undulating; and, third, high or upland, each of which bears about the same proportion to the whole as the other. The level land is confined, chiefly, to the creek and river bottoms, which vary in width from three to ten miles. These vast stretches of bottom land, while they appear perfectly flat, possess excellent drainage, but the gradations of the surface are so gradual as to be almost imperceptible. The center of the county seems to be one great basin, with the city of Salina located in its center. This basin extends for miles, when the land rises and forms the sides. The tops of these sides are not uniform in height, but break of into waves, dipping here and rising there, but still maintaining their circular form. North of Salina, the country is much more uneven, and the land much higher than it is south. Away to the north, and almost on the northern boundary line of the county, rises up far above all the other elevations in that locality, what is known as "North Pole Mound." To the east, plainly visible for many miles before it is reached, looms up "Iron Mound," which is distant from Salina about eight miles. A little south of west, jutting away up from surrounding altitudes, rises what is known as "Soldier Cap," this name having been it from the resemblance to a soldier's head dress. South from Salina, about fifteen miles, and close to the southern boundary line of the county, is a range of very high hills which loom up in the distance like mountains. To this range of hills is given the name of the "Smoky Hill Buttes." On the outer edges of the county the surface is considerably broken, but on the uplands, between the valleys, it is undulating. A good deal of the high land in the county is altogether unfit for agricultural purposes and fit only for grazing. The county is almost exclusively prairie, and what little timber there is, is confined to narrow strips along the margin of the streams and creeks, the aggregate area of which does not exceed one percent of that of the county. These timber belts seldom reach a half mile in width, and very frequently not one-fourth. The varieties of timber are ash, oak, elm, and cottonwood, the latter kind being by far the most plentiful. The county is well supplied with streams of pure clear water, and along these streams are beautiful valleys, varying from three to ten miles in width. The lands included in these valleys embrace about thirty percent of the entire land of the county.

Very few counties in the State are better supplied water courses than Saline County. First in importance is the Smoky Hill River, which enters the county from the south, at the southwest corner of Smoky View Township, and runs almost due north for a distance of about eighteen miles, until it reaches Salina, when its course becomes nearly due east, which direction it maintains until it leaves the county at its east line about one mile south of Solomon City. The Smoky is not a wide river, but the permanency of its flow is never interrupted by drouths (sic), no matter how long or how dry the season. Next in importance is the Saline River, which enters the county from the north, twelve miles from the northwest corner, and flows in a southeasterly direction across Elm Creek Township, part of Cambria, and empties into the Smoky Hill at the northeast corner of Greeley Township. Mulberry Creek and its branches, flow in a southeasterly direction from the northwestern portion of the county, while Spring Creek and its branches flow in northeasterly direction from the southwestern portion of the county, both creeks uniting about four miles west of the city of Salina, from which point the course of the stream is northeast until it empties into the Saline River at the southwest corner of Elm Creek Township. The east and west branches of Dry Creek have their rise at the south line of the county, and run in northeasterly direction until they reach Solomon Township, whence its course is due north, skirting Salina on the west on it sway, emptying into Mulberry Creek about two miles north of the city. Gypsum Creek and its branches constitute the water courses of Solomon, Eureka, and Gypsum townships, these being the three eastern townships of the county lying south of the Smoky Hill River. Gypsum Creek is a stream about forty miles long and has it rise in McPherson County. It has, however, several branches in Saline County, and among them are Hobb's Creek, East branch of Gypsum, Middle branch, and West branch, with two or three other lesser branches, all of which empty into the Gypsum proper on its way north to join the waters of the Smoky. Some five or six miles of the Solomon River run in a southeasterly direction across the northeastern corner of the county, the mouth of the river being at Solomon City, where a junction is formed with the Smoky Hill.

There are several very excellent springs in different parts of the county, the largest of which is on Dry Creek. The creeks, with the exceptions of Dry Creek, which occasionally goes dry, are as permanent in their flow as the rivers. Mulberry Creek is a stream about twenty-five miles long, and Spring Creek is about twenty miles in length. There is no scarcity of good water in any portion of the county, the streams and creeks being so distributed as be only a few miles apart. Good well-water can be obtained at depths ranging from thirty to seventy feet.


The climate of a country may be such, notwithstanding its richness of soil and other natural advantages, as to render it a very undesirable locality in which to reside. This, however, is not the case with Saline County, because one of its greatest attractions is beauty of climate and healthfulness. Were there no counteracting influences, the heat in summer would be rather excessive, the thermometer often indicating ninety degrees and upwards. In an atmosphere heavily charged with humidity, this would be almost intolerable, because the heat, if not regulated by moisture, is, nevertheless, subject to its influence, and in cases where the air is deeply impregnated with moisture, the heat is felt to be much more oppressive than in places where such humidity does not exist. Thus it may happen that the heat may be more oppressive in places where the thermometer indicates eighty degrees of heat, than it is in others where it indicates ninety. Now, while the thermometer in summer may indicate in Saline County ninety or ninety-five degrees of heat, it may be more easily borne than in other places where it indicates ten or twelve degrees less, and this owing to the humid condition of the two atmospheres. The atmosphere of Saline County being dry and clear, considerably modifies the heat, and brings it to a temperature which enables it to be borne without being oppressive. This is one compensatory influence, or condition, to counteract the excessive thermometrical heat Another is to be found in the fact that there is always a constant current of air in circulation, and calms but seldom take place. Another feature about the climate is that no matter how warm the day, the nights are cool and pleasant, without any of that sultriness or oppressiveness as to render sleep impossible. As a rule winters are open and seldom severe. Snow rarely falls at one time to a greater depth than six inches, and seldom lies long on the ground. The winters vary, however, as to severity, and also as to duration, but generally they are mild and open. There are no ponds or pools of stagnant water to impregnate the air with impurities, nor are there any sloughs or marshes to breed and spread malaria. The atmosphere is dry and clear, and the air invigorating, and bronchial and pulmonary affections are unknown unless where the person coming to locate brings the seeds with him, and these, unless too deeply rooted, soon become eradicated under the influences of the reviving and health imparting climate, by which this section of country is characterized.

The nature of the soil is that which chiefly characterizes that of all central Kansas. It is a very dark loam, composed in most part of decomposed vegetable matter and sedimentary deposits left upon the surface as the waters receded. In the formation of the soil a certain amount of alkali was added from time to time by the ashes created from the tall rank grasses and other vegetation consumed by prairie fires. The soil is very rich and very deep, both on upland and on lowland, in many of the valleys reaching to a depth of fifteen feet. This, however, is not the case on what may be set down as highland, a distinction being made between high and upland. The land included in the latter classification is that embraced in the ridges of rolling prairie dividing the streams and the valleys thereof, while the highland is that on the outer edges of the county in the neighborhood of "Smoky Hill Buttes," "Iron Mound," "North Pole Mound," and "Soldier's Cap." The soil of this latter class of land is very far from being equal to that of the upland or valleys, and for agricultural purpose is next to worthless. It affords good pasture, however, and for grazing purposes it is quite valuable. The soil is well adapted to the cultivation of all kinds of cereals, and all kinds of tame grass can be cultivated to great luxuriance. There is probably no soil anywhere that requires so little labor to produce abundant crops. Roots of all kinds are of easy production. Fruit culture, both large and small, can be successfully and profitably conducted, and with any degree of reasonable care and attention large fruit crops can be realized. Trees grow with surprising rapidity, and the wild grasses of the prairie grow to great luxuriance. The quality of the soil is such is to afford the husbandman rich rewards for the smallest possible amount of labor. The county is, strictly, one adapted to agricultural pursuits, and its wide stretches of prairie, covered as they are with rich and nutritious grasses, with an abundance of pure, clear water, makes it a very desirable locality for stock raising.

No mineral deposits have yet been discovered in the county. Several borings have been made in quest of coal, but none has yet been found. A good quality of sandstone can be found in almost any part of the county. A very excellent quality of fire and pottery clay has been found to exist in considerable quantities in several portions of the county and also extensive quantities of pure gypsum. At the mouth of the Solomon River are very fine salt wells which are being extensively and successfully operated. These works are close upon the limits of Solomon City, in Dickinson County, in which place the company offices are located. In writing the history of Dickinson County, the Salt Works are set down as being located at Solomon City, leaving the inference that this extensive manufacturing enterprise is located in Dickinson County, whereas, in reality, the works are in Saline County.

Tree growing has lately received a good deal of attention, and there is no soil on which tree culture can be carried on with greater success. This branch of industry cannot only be successfully followed, but profitably. People are commencing to realize this, and much more attention has been given to arboriculture within the last two or three years, than in all the years preceding. Necessity, no doubt, had a good deal to do in bringing the people to a realization of the necessity of devoting a good deal of care and attention to tree culture. The scarcity of timber, and dearth of coal, rendered fuel extremely high, and this doubtless, brought the people to see the necessity for tree planting. In 1880, the aggregate number of acres in the county planted to forest trees was only 430. In 1882, however, the number of acres devoted to this industry had reached 1,721, which goes to show the increased interest that is taken in, and attention that is given to, arboriculture. Aside from the acres devoted to forestry, a goodly number are given to wind- breaks, shade and ornamental trees, of which there is scarcely a farm in the county but that has more or less The varieties planted are chiefly soft maple, honey, locust and cottonwood, and box-elder, cottonwood largely prevailing, and box-elder next.



                                 1870    1880
(a)  Cambria Township                     641
(b)  Dayton Township                      459
(c)  Elm Creek Township         1,109     457
(d)  Eureka Township                      430
(e)  Falun Township                       566
(f)  Glendale Township                    335
(g)  Greeley Township                     616
(h)  Gypsum Township                      455
(i)  Liberty Township                     480 
(j)  Ohio Township                        607
(k)  Pleasant Valley Township             425 
     Salina City                  618   3,311 
(l)  Smoky Hill Township.                 750
(m)  Smoky View Township                  940
(n)  Smolan Township                      842
(o)  Solomon Township             581     509
(p)  Spring Creek Township
     including Brookville City    726   1,200
(q)  Summit Township                      148
(r)  Walnut Township              912     466
(s)  Washington Township                  371
                                4,246  14,008  
Brookville City                   201     511

(a) In 1878, from part of Elm Creek.
(b) In 1877, from part of Solomon.
(c) In 1871, from part of Smoky Hill;
    in 1878, part to Cambria.
(d) In 1873, from part of Gypsum.
(e) In 1871, from part of Walnut;
    in 1880, part to Summitt.
(f) In 1880, from part of Pleasant Valley.
(g) In 1879, from part of Smoky Hill.
(h) In 1871, from part of Solomon;
    in 1873, part to Eureka.
(i) In 1872, from part of Walnut.
(j) In 1871, from part of Spring Creek;
    in 1874, part to Washington.
(k) In 1873, from part of Spring Creek;
    in 1880, part to Glendale.
(l) In 1871, from part of Elm Creek;
    in 1879, part to Greeley.
(m) In 1876, from part of Walnut.
(n) In 1874, from part of Walnut.
(o) In 1871, part to Gypsum;
    in 1877, part to Dayton.
(p) In 1871, part to Ohio;
    in 1873, part to Pleasant Valley;
    in 1880, part to Summit.
(q) In 1880, from parts of Falun and Spring Creek.
(r) In 1870, published Walnut Grove;
    in 1871, part to Falun;
    in 1872, part to Liberty; 
    in 1874, part to Smolan;
     in 1876, part to Smoky View.
(s) In 1874, from part of Ohio.

[TOC] [part 2] [part 1] [Cutler's History]