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


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


When Saline County was organized in 1859, there was not over one hundred people in the county, and these were all located in and adjacent to Salina. What the population of the county was in 1860 is not shown by the census of that year, which, doubtless. is attributable to the fact that the county was not, in reality, organized until July, 1860, when the first county officers were elected; but those residing in the county at that time say that in 1860 Saline County did not contain more than one hundred souls. Settlers to any extent did not commence to locate in the county until after the close of the war, although between 1860 and 1865 there had been a few isolated cases of settlement in different parts of the county. The first authenticated report of the population of the county to be found is the census report of 1870, and by this the county is given a population, at that time, of 4,246. That most of this number settled in the county between I865 and 1870 is very evident, because in nearly all of the townships there are no settlers to be found whose date of settlement antedates the former year. The fact that the Kansas Pacific railway was not built through the county until 1867, also supports the supposition, and statements of settlers, that the increase in the population reported in the census of 1870, took place during the last half of the decade. However, it is fixed beyond dispute that the population of the county in 1870 was 4,246. The State census of 1875 gives the population Pt 6,360, an increase in five years of 2,114, or within a fraction of an average of 423 each year. The years of 1874 and 1875 were those in which the people of Kansas were thrown into destitution by the grasshopper raid; but notwithstanding this, the census that was taken in 1878 sets the population of the county down as being 9,530, being a gain in three years of 3,170. or something over 1,000 per year. Seventy per cent of the population at that time was rural, and thirty per cent urban, which would indicate that the great majority of the new settlers located in the country. The United States census of 1880 gives the population of the county as being 13,880, thereby showing in increase in two years of 4,350, or an average of a 2,175 for each year. This is certainly a wonderful increase in so short a time, and speaks well for the natural advantages of the county. Those competent of judging, estimate the population of the county now, December, 1882 at not less than 16,000.

The rapid growth in the population of the county is not any more wonderful than its material growth, and is not quite so surprising, when the drawbacks consequent upon grasshopper raids and drouths are considered. The total acreage of field crops in 1874 including wheat, rye, corn, barley, oats,. buckwheat, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, sorghum, castor beans, cotton, flax, hemp, tobacco, broom corn, rice corn, pearl miller, millet and hungarian, timothy meadow, clover meadow, prairie meadow, timothy pasture, clover pasture, blue-grass pasture, and prairie pasture, was 54,740 acres. In 1875 the total acreage was 65,569.79, and in 1876 it was about the same, the acreage that year being nine acres less than the year preceding. The cause of this was the terrible depression that followed the destruction by the grasshoppers in 1874-75, and the uncertainty created as to future visitations from such destructive pests. In t877, however, the acreage of field crops reached 107,549 acres, and kept increasing each year until 1880, when the total number of acres in the county devoted to field crops was 162,842. Such an increase in acreage is indicative of increased material wealth. In 1874 the acreage of fall wheat was 12,804 acres whereas in 1880 it was 8991 acres or 35.178 more than the total acreage of all field crops in 1874. A comparison of a few years will suffice to show how the county is advancing in material wealth in other respects. In 1879 the value of the live stock in the county was $637.563 and in 1880 it was $10,125.50. In the former year the number of horses in the county was 4,938; mules and asses, 724; milch cows, 3,150; other cattle, 5,445; sheep, 3,902; swine,. 13,934. In 1880 the number of horses was 5,332; mules and asses, 860; milch cows 3,462; other cattle, 6, 188; sheep, 5,247; swine, 15,502. While this increase is not strikingly large, it shows a steady and encouraging advancement. By turning to stock, which is rapidly becoming the leading industry of the West, and comparing the value of animals slaughtered or sold for laughter for the years 1879-80-82 a better understanding may he reached as to how the county is advancing in material prosperity. The value of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter during the year ending March 1, 1879, was $62,939; in 1880 it was $144,233, and in 1882 it was $163,845, being an increase in three years of $100,906, showing conclusively that the farming community is taking much greater interest in stock raising than heretofore. The returns of the various Township Assessors as returned to the County Clerk in the spring of 1882, and not yet published, show that the number of acres in the county included in farms was 273 677, the assessed valuation of which was $2,873.012. The number or farm dwellings erected in the county during the year was 102, valued at $27,738. The acreage of winter wheat, sown in the fall of 1881, was 70,540 acres; rye, 3,995; spring wheat, 1882, 1.483; corn, 55,247; barley, 274; oats, 10,951; Irish potatoes, 657; sweet potatoes, 28; sorghum, 914; flax, 49; tobacco, 13; broom corn, 1,487; millet and hungarian, 1,379; pearl millet 300. Of grasses in cultivation and under fence there were of timothy meadow 128 acres; clover, 50; prairies, 2,812; other tame grasses, 32. Of pasture there were of timothy 39 acres; clover, 10; other grasses, 256; and prairie, 19,934; making a total acreage of field crops of 170,578 acres. In 1881 there was cut of tame hay 345 tons, and of prairie hay, 26,911 tons. Garden products were marketed to the amount of $3,349, and poultry and eggs were sold to the amount of $23,237. There was sold of milk, other than that sold for cheese or butter, to the amount of $4,316. Of cheese there was manufactured 14,470 pounds, and of butter 282,926 pounds. The wool clip for the year was 36,712 pounds. Aside from the increase in cultivated acreage, in livestock, and in the various other productions that properly belong to the dairy and farm, there are other evidences of material prosperity which indicate that great interest is being awakened in other industries which will tend greatly to advance the material wealth of the county, and also add greatly to the comforts of home. Horticulture of late years has been receiving considerable attention, and now instead of importing apples from other counties and States, sufficient are raised in the county for home consumption with some to spare. The number of apple trees in bearing in the county is 8,499; pear trees, 551; peach trees, 67,349; plum trees, 10,746; and cherry trees, 3,214. There are not in bearing, apple trees, 41,088; pear trees, 4,280; peach trees, 68,561; plum trees, 11,422; and cherry; 9,916. These numbers are being increased yearly, and there are very few farmers in the county but that have young orchards set out. Farms in the county, generally, are well fenced, the Osage orange thorn being mostly in use. The fences in a county, representing as they do an average cost of about $1.25 per rod, are indicative of material wealth. This class of wealth is represented by 10,202 rods of board fence; 3,325 of rail; 4,390 of stone; 218,124 of hedge; and 68,477 of wire, making a total of 304,518 rods, representing a value of $380,647. Another item of wealth is represented in the agricultural implements in the county, the value of which, according to the various Assessors' returns, amounts to $87,956. The true valuation of all property in the county in 1880 was $4,708,232.11 which, since that time, including that of county, township, city, and school, amounted to $134,329, so that in a material point of view the progress of the county has been such as ought to satisfy her most enthusiastic and sanguine admirers.


The first railway to enter the county was the Kansas Pacific, which was built in 1867. It enters the county about two and one-half miles south of the northeast corner, and crosses the Solomon river a little way above its mouth at Solomon City. It crosses the county diagonally in a southwestern direction, the principal stations in the county being Salina, Havaria and Brookville. In 1878 the Solomon Valley Branch was built, but only a small portion of this passes through the county. Starting at Solomon City it follows the east bank of the Solomon river, and runs diagonally across the northeast corner of the county, a distance of about five miles, when it enter Ottawa County. The next road built in the county was the McPherson branch of the K. P. this branch was constructed in 1879, and is thirty-five miles in length. The road starts at Salina and runs south to McPherson, which is the seat of justice of the county of that name. About half the entire length of this branch is located in Saline County, the stations being Assaria and Bridgeport. The Topeka, Salina & Western Railway has been located through the county, and on this work is being pushed as rapidly as possible, and which, it is expected, will be completed as far as Salina sometime in 1883.

The first school taught in the county was at Salina. In 1861, the teacher being Miss Thacher. Her pupils were few, and a very small room accommodated them. This, in fact, was the only school in the county for a number of years, and even that, small as it was, answered the purpose until 1867, when a two- story frame building was erected at the corner of Santa Fe avenue and Ash street, which has since been converted into a stable. There are now, however, in the county, seventy-six schoolhouses, which contain ninety schoolrooms. Of these, six are built of stone, sixty-eight of wood, and two of brick. The school population of the county, between five and twenty-one years of age, in 1882, as shown by the annual report of the County Superintendent for that year, was 4,808, of which 2,395 were males and 2,413 were females. The number enrolled, however, was 1,245 less than the population, being 1,839 males and 1,724 females., or a total of 3,563. The average attendance was still less, being only 2,243, or 1,141 males and 1,102 females. To teach this number of pupils, ninety-five teachers were required, of whom forty were males and fifty-five females. The total number of months of school taught in the county during the year was 600, the males teachers averaging 5 19-20 months, and the female 6 32-55. The average salary paid was, to males $33.75 and to females, $25.40. Besides the public schools, there are in the county four private schools, with a pupil enrollment of 205, and which employ four teachers. The estimated value of school property in the county is $95,000, and the bonded indebtedness is $23,285. It required for all school purposes during the year a tax of one and one-third per cent of the assessed valuation of the property in the county. The number of teachers examined during the year for certificates was 102, of whom ninety-three were granted certificates and nine were rejected. The average age of applicants was twenty-one years, and of those who received certificates the average age was twenty-two years. Of the certificates granted ten were first-class, fifty-three second class, and thirty third-class. There was in the hands of the District Treasurer, on August 1, 1881, the sum of $6,264.36, and the receipts from other sources during the year amounted to $36,815.77. making a total of $43,080.13. The expenditures during the year for all school purposes amounted to $32,955.57, leaving a balance in the hands of the District Treasurer on July 31, 1882, amounting to $10,124.56. But very few of the grounds surrounding the schoolhouses are ornamented with shade trees, and a good many of them are not even fenced. Some of the schools are well supplied with maps, charts, and other apparatus, some only reasonably well, while others are rather deficient in these articles. The schools in Salina are graded, and in the city, in 1882, there were 1,196 persons of school age, of whom 519 were males and 647 females. The number of pupils enrolled was 875, of whom 426 were males and 449 females. The average daily attendance was 584; males 280, and females 304. In the city schools there were thirteen teachers employed, two males and eleven females. Nine months schools were taught during the year, and the average salary paid to teachers was, males, $80.50 per month, and females, $37.63. The total amount paid teachers in the city for the year was $5,528.75, and the current expense account for the year was $7,272. These figures speak of a wonderful change since 1861, when one small room, about 12 x 14 feet, was amply sufficient for school purposes. The city schools are under the charge and management of a superintendent, who is denominated Principal. All the schools in the city are under his supervision, and for his services he receives a salary of $1,000 per annnm (sic) annum.

A good deal of interest is taken in manufacturing enterprises, and those who have embarked in them have, so far, found their investments to be quite profitable. According to statistical record in the County Clerk's office for 1882, the amount invested in manufacturing enterprises in the county was $294,800. Of this the greater portion was invested in flouring mills. Of the flouring mills four are operated by water power and two by steam. Three of these mills are located at Salina, one of which was built by Gower Bros. In 1873. This is a water power mill and the amount invested in it is $20,000. In 1878 also, F. Goodnow & Co., erected a large steam mill near the depot in which the capital invested is $75,000.

Another large flouring mill was erected in 1875, by C. R. Underwood & Co., at a cost of $40,000. This is a water mill and stands on the west bank of the Smoky, a little north of the bridge that spans the river at Iron avenue.

At Bridgeport, in the southern portion of the county, there is a very good grist mill, owned by Hopkins & Mills. This mill is operated by cable power derived from the Smoky Hill River. It was built at a cost of $12,000.

At Brookville, on the K. P. Railway, about eighteen miles west of Salina, the City Mills of George Marshall & Co., are located. The mill is operated by steam and was built at a cost of $8,000.

At Solomon City, but located in Saline County, is the water flouring mill of Newmiller & Wooley, the cost of which is $20,000.

The works of the National Solar Salt Company, at Solomon City, are also located in Saline County, the estimated cost of which is $75,000.

In Bavaria Syrup Works have been erected by Crawford & Denton in which the capital invested is $7,000.

In Salina there is a carriage and wagon manufactory owned by A. B. Dickinson in which from ten to fifteen hands are constantly employed. Andrew Muir & Co., have quite extensive agricultural implements and Plow Works on Iron avenue, which give employment to quite a number of men.

Eberhardt & Co., have a factory on Iron avenue where from ten to fifteen men find constant employment in making bed springs and woven wire mattresses.

Until lately a broom factory in Salina did a thriving business, and gave employment to quite a number of hands, but for some time past it has ceased operating, but is now about being revived.

Attention has been directed of late, to dairying and cheese making, and several creameries and cheese factories are now in existence in various portions on the county.


Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Association. This association was organized on the 3rd day of May, 1881, with a membership of ninety-six persons. The association was organized to take the place of the old agricultural society which had become disorganized and dismembered. The purposes for which the association was formed, include all those sought to be accomplished by the separate existence of an Agricultural and Horticultural Society. The main object of the association is to advance the agricultural, horticultural and mechanical interests of the county, and to encourage and promote those industries that will best advance the development and progress of the county. To accomplish these objects, fairs are held annually, at which liberal premiums are offered, and paid, to those having the best exhibits in the different classes in which they are entered. The first fair of the association was held in the fall of 1881, and was a grand success in every particular, as was also the one held in September, 1882. There are no prettier fair grounds in the State than those of the association. These, however, belong to the county, but the association has free use and control of them so long as it shall hold fairs thereon. These grounds are known as Oak Dale Park, and are situated on the bank of Smoky Hill River, in East Salina. The enclosure contains forty-five acres, and a more delightful spot for holding fairs could not be selected. Around the outer edge of the park is a beautiful grove of large trees, which afford ample shelter from the sun, while there is neither a shrub nor a bush to interrupt a full view of the track and the center of the grounds. Good stalls, sheds and stables have been erected for horses, cattle and other animals, and no expense has been spared to make the park on of the most delightful resorts in the State. It is open the year round, so that the people of Salina have a beautiful retreat in summer. The officers of the association are A. P. Collins, president; W. H. Wheelock, vice-president; J. M. Greeley, secretary; M. M. Briggs, treasurer. In addition to these there is a board of directors consisting of nine members.

Gypsum Creek Farmers' Club. This club was organized in 1872, by the farmers living along Gypsum Creek, hence its name. Three townships are included in the organization-Gypsum, Eureka and Solomon. These are the three townships that form the eastern tier in the county, south of the Smoky Hill River, and it is through these that the Gypsum Creek runs. The membership of the club, however, is not confined exclusively to the residents of these three townships, as farmers of other townships may be admitted. It is strictly nonpolitical in character, its only object being to create a sociability among the farming community, and to bring them together for the purpose of discussing those subjects in which they are most deeply interested, and from which mutual benefits may be enjoyed. When the club was first formed, its meetings were held weekly, but after some years they were held monthly, and are so held now. There is no regular place of meeting, but, like church sociables, are held at appointed places. The meetings unite pleasure with business, and are in the nature of basket sociables. At these meetings, essays and papers are read, and opinions exchanged on those subjects most interesting to farmers, including agriculture, horticulture, arboriculture, stock raising and kindred topics. The club has a membership of 200, the present officers of which, are-F. H. Van Eaton, president, and Ed. Gillum, secretary. The first officers of the club were-Jonathan Weaver, president; H. E. Grider, secretary, and C. A. Kingman, treasurer.


Assaria, Smoky View Township, E. E. Swanson, Postmaster; Bavaria, Ohio Township, Orio Hubbard, Postmaster; Berwick, Walnut Township, T. C. Ritter, Postmaster; Bridge, Eureka Township, H. C. Grider, Postmaster; Brookville, Spring Creek Township, L. C. Warner, Postmaster; Crown Point, L. C. Dudenbastle, Postmaster; Dry Creek, Falun Township, Nathan McCumber, Postmaster; Falun, Falun Township, O. Forsee, Postmaster; Gypsum Creek, Gypsum Township, Fred Sorenson, Postmaster; Mentor, Walnut Township, Matthew Maxwell, Postmaster; Mulberry, Pleasant Valley Township, Walter Chilson, Postmaster; New Cambria, Cambria Township, S. P. Donmeyer, Postmaster; Pliny, Gypsum Township, A. B. Chapman, Postmaster; Poheta, Solomon Township, C. J. Ramsey, Postmaster; Salemsburg, Smoky View Township, John A. Ahleen, Postmaster; Salina, Smoky Hill Township, Alexander M. Campbell, Postmaster; Torry, Walnut Township, A. C. Walt, Postmaster.

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