ROSANA J. WHITENIGHT and PAULA TALBERT 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: Topography | Map and Population | Early History
PART 2: Township Sketches
PART 3: Murders and Tragical Events | County Officers | Statistics | County Societies
PART 4: Wichita, Part 1
PART 5: Wichita, Part 2
PART 6: Wichita, Part 3
PART 7: Biographical Sketches (Abbett - Butler)
PART 8: Biographical Sketches (Campbell - Exton)
PART 9: Biographical Sketches (Fabrique - Guthrie)
PART 10: Biographical Sketches (Hammond - Lowell)
PART 11: Biographical Sketches (McCampbell - Preston)
PART 12: Biographical Sketches (Rainey - Rynearson)
PART 13: Biographical Sketches (Sanders - Smyth)
PART 14: Biographical Sketches (Sommer - Sturns)
PART 15: Biographical Sketches (Tabler - Zeininger)
PART 16: Derby Township | Valley Center - Grant Township | Biographical Sketches (Ayres - Finch)
PART 17: Biographical Sketches (Goodrick - Spaulding)
PART 18: St. Mark - Attica Township
PART 19: Germania - Garden Plain Township
PART 20: Marshall - Grand River Township
PART 21: Clearwater - Ninnescah Township
PART 22: Jamesburgh - Delano Township
PART 23: Mount Hope - Greeley Township
PART 24: Park City - Park Township | Kechi Township
PART 25: Minneha Township | Salem Township
PART 26: Ohio Township
PART 27: Waco Township
PART 28: Illinois Township
PART 29: Afton Township | Viola Township | Erie Township
PART 30: Morton Township
PART 31: Union Township
PART 32: Addenda


(*Obligations are due to Edward's Historical Atlas, of Sedgwick County, Hon. D. B. Emmert, Hon. J. R. Mead, Captain D. L. Payne, F. A. Sowers, Esq., and the files of the Vidett Eagle and Beacon, of Wichita, for the data used in the preparation of this history of Sedgwick County.)

SEDGWICK County embraces the territory between the north line of Township 25 and the south line of Township 26 south, and the east line of Range 2 east and the west line of Range 4 west of the sixth principal meridian, except in Townships 25 and 26, along which the west line of Range 3 west is the western boundary. The center of the count is about 150 miles from the eastern, 250 from the western, 180 from the northern and 48 from the southern line of the State; 129 miles on the air line, from Topeka, 185 from Atchison and Leavenworth, 190 from Kansas City, and 145 from Fort Scott.

The land is about equally divided between bottom and upland, the general surface being only slightly undulating. The average width of the bottoms is about five miles. There is but little timber; probably not more than one per cent; but the timer law, the thrift of the people, and the ease with which timber is cultivated, will in a few years materially change this status.

The soil is a black (some places red or mulatto) loam, intermingled some what in the bottoms with sand. It is easily pulverized, good crops often being produced from the sod, an advantageous feature to new beginners. The principal streams are the Arkansas River, a wide and shallow but swift stream, entering the county at the northwest corner and leaving it near the southeast corner; the Little Arkansas, entering the county at the center of the north line, running almost due south and emptying into the larger stream at Wichita; and the Ninnescah, running through the southwest corner of the county. In addition to these are Cowskin, Clearwater, Wildcat, Chisholm, Gypsum and other smaller streams. A large portion of the bed of the Arkansas at times is apparently dry, but the water soaks into the sandy soil and runs under the ground. Probably the width of the valley and this sub-irrigation is a great benefit, especially in extremely dry seasons.

Wheat, corn and oats are the principal productions of the soil.



Afton Township.........     407
Attica Township........     552
Delano Township........     630
Eagle Township.........     540
Erie Township..........     257
Garden Plain Township..     531
Grand River Township...     291
Grant Township.........     971
Greeley Township.......     461
Gypsum Township........     576
Illinois Township......     432
Kechi Township.........     617
Lincoln Township.......     520
Minneha Township.......     487
Morton Township........     276
Nennescah Township.....     380
Ohio Township..........     330
Park Township..........     406
Payne Township.........     524
Rockford Township......     798
Salem Township.........     584
Sherman Township.......     354
Union Township.........     983
Viola Township.........     290
Waco Township..........     710
Wichita City...........   4,911
Wichita Township.......     935
    Total..............  18,753


The people of Sedgwick County would be destitute of the romantic sentiments that possess the average citizen of historical Kansas if they did not believe that the legendary Coronado had once beheld the glories of their beautiful land. It is, of course, claimed that Wichita was a point on the route of the celebrated march of that adventurer. The French explorer, M. Du Tissenet, who is known to have touched the soil of Kansas in 1719 while on an exploring expedition beyond the Mississippi, under the direction of Bienville, Governor of Louisiana, also, of course, beheld the stars from his camp on the banks of the Arkansas, within the present boundaries of Sedgwick County. It is claimed, too, that Kit Carson, the noted Indian hunter, camped in 1827 near the junction of the two rivers for several weeks. The first bona fide white settler in Sedgwick County was C. C. Arnold, who came here, in 1857, with a party of hunters, and who has remained in the county, with the exception of short intervals, ever since. Mr. Arnold came from Coffey County and his companions were Ed. S. Moseley, Mr. Maxley, Thompson Crawford, Robert Dunlap, Robert Durackin and Jacob Cary. Maxley and Moseley located a "ranch" or Indian trading post on the Little Arkansas, a short distance above the present site of Wichita. The others built a cabin and cultivated a little land on what now constitutes the old town site of Park City. Their especial (sic) business was that of capturing buffalo cows and calves for eastern parks and traveling menageries. Maxley was drowned in the Kansas River in 1864. Moseley had previously taken a claim in Wilson County, and, having entered it, moved into Humboldt, Allen County, and engaged in the butchering business. In the fall of 1863 or spring of 1864; he returned to his first love and again became a trader and Nimrod; his last scene of active life being laid at Medicine Lodge and the surrounding country, and but a short time after leaving Humboldt, he was murdered by Osage Indians. Next in order, disputing with C. C. Arnold the first settlership, was John Ross, a farmer, who, in 1860, came into Sedgwick County and settled upon what is now the Jewett farm, eight miles northeast of Wichita. Mr. Ross removed from Wilson County with his wife and children, built a house and began the work of a farmer. He was murdered in June of the same year; supposed to have been done by a band of Osage Indians that came into the valley on a hunting expedition from the Neosho River.

In the fall of 1863, J. R. Mead, who lived at Towanda, Butler County, established a trading post on what is now the site of Wichita, where he traded with the Indians for several years. In the spring of 1869, he removed his family from Towanda to his claim in Sedgwick County, and has ever since been a resident of this county. This section of the Arkansas Valley, during the early days of Mr. Mead's residence, was the hunter's paradise. During a period of three weeks, assisted by two employes, he killed 330 buffalo, saved 300 hides and 3,500 pounds of tallow, realizing from their labor the sum of $400, and killing, in addition, considerable other game, including a large number of antelope and one elk, which they killed only five miles up the Little River, from its mouth. One afternoon, in two hours, he killed thirty-five buffalo, and saved the tallow of eleven, himself. Early in the spring of 1864, the Wichita Indians and affiliating tribes, who had been driven from the Indian Territory in the winter of 1861-62, and who had made temporary homes in Woodson County, removed from there and established a camp at the mouth of the Little Arkansas. The name of their camp was Wichita, from which the present city of Wichita derived its name. These Indians engaged in peaceful avocations, cultivating and harvesting large fields of corn and vegetables. They remained until the fall of 1867, when they returned south. With the Wichitas came Jesse Chisholm, a half-breed Cherokee, and an adopted member of the Wichitas. He built his house on the stream which derived its name from him, east of the present city of Wichita, and moved into it with his family. He also established a "ranch" between the two rivers, three miles above their junction, near the present residence of J. C. Davis. In the spring of 1865, Mr. Chisholm located a trail from his "ranch" to the present site of the Wichita Agency, on the Wichita River, Indian Territory, distance 220 miles. This trail subsequently became, and is still known as the "Chisholm Trail." It was established for the purpose of enabling the traders in the Arkansas Valley to obtain wagon communication with the Indians in the Indian Territory, and the trail was used by these traders for years in the transportation of merchandise to tribes in the Territory. Afterward the trail was used by Texas cattle drivers, and is now used by the Government in the transportation of supplies to Fort Sill, forty miles south of the Wichita Agency. The principal points on this trail are Wichita, Clearwater, Caldwell, Pond Creek, Skeleton Ranch, Buffalo Springs, mouth of Turkey Creek, Cheyenne Agency, Wichita Agency and Fort Sill. Chisholm died on the north fork of the Canadian River, in the Indian Territory, March 4, 1868, of cholera morbus, caused by eating bear's grease that had been poisoned by being melted in a brass kettle.

In the year 1866, a treaty was made with the Arrapahoes and Cheyennes four miles up the Little Arkansas, near the present residence of Hon. E. P. Thompson. All the leading tribes were represented by their chiefs. The United States Commissioners were Generals Harney, and Sanborn, and Kit Carson. They were accompanied by Col. Ben, of Bent's Fort notoriety, and by several others from Washington, acting as clerks, guards, etc. The territory lying east of the Arkansas River was surveyed, during the year 1867, by Coryelle and Bowles, formerly clerks in one of the departments at Washington; that, west of the river by Col. S. S. Smoot, the following year.

Hon. William Greiffenstein came to Sedgwick County in the spring of 1865, and located on Cowskin Creek near the subsequent site of Gainesburg, engaged in trading with the Indians. He was very popular with the various tribes of Indians and well suited for his business. Charles Whittaker took a claim on the Little Arkansas, about eight miles above its mouth, in the spring of 1866. Durfee and Leedrick came in 1867 and started a ranch on the banks of the Little Arkansas, near the site of W. C. Woodman's present residence. Lewellen and Davis traded with the Indians here in 1866-67. Eli Waterman came in the year 1867, and in February, 1868, took a claim and subsequently entered it, of which, what is now Douglas avenue, in Wichita was the south line, and Lawrence avenue the east line. Among the arrivals of 1867 was Jack Lawton, who was in the employ of J. R. Mead, and who was murdered the same year by a desperado named Wells. Of the actual settlers of 1868, in the order of their settlement, is H. W. Vigus, who settled February 13, 1868, then J. R. Mead, who came over from Towanda, Butler County, in the spring of 1868, and settled upon the claim now known as Mead's addition to the city of Wichita. The first settler of that claim, however, was a border terror named Bill Whitman, who was killed in a drunken brawl by a man named Charley Corderie, who kept a grocery near the Little Arkansas at the north end of town. The same year came M. A. Sales and family, D. S. Munger, Milo B. Kellogg, John Allison, Charles Hunter, F. H. Dunlap (who settled in Park Township, in February, 1868), Harvey Dunlap, Robert and William Houston, David Edmunds, John D. Golyer, James French, David Wousick, Joseph Bert, John Gifford, George and Henry Clark, John and Mike Meagher, Walter Walker, wife and sister, Mrs. Hall and family, and Louis Fisher. A detachment of the Fifth United States Infantry was then stationed here, having its headquarters along the Little Arkansas, near the old fair grounds, and under the command of Col. Samuel L. Barr. Among the soldiers who were discharged on expiration of service and became settlers here, were John Ward and James Mohen, sergeants; Charles Bush, private; Charles Corderie and John Hurt, scouts. During the year 1869 and the spring of 1870 came Daniel and Samuel Hoover, Charles Allison, John M. Steele, M. Lochard, the Teeters, William Polk, C. W. Smith, Charles Hill, John Peyton, William Matthewson, A. F. Greenway, H. E. Van Trees, Mrs. Everett, Mr. Hopkins, E. P. Thompson, the Sullivans, Reuben Riggs, Mrs. D. S. Munger and Henry C. Sluss.

The first child known to have been born in the county was Sedgwick Hoover, whose parents still reside in Wichita Township. He was born December 23, 1869. The first marriage occurred in the winter of 1869-70, the name of the man being Perry Eaton. The name of the woman is not known.

Sedgwick County was named in honor of Major-General John Sedgwick, who was killed May 9, 1864, at the battle of Spottsylvania, Va. The act establishing the county was approved February 26, 1867, and the boundaries were described as follows: Commencing at the northwest corner of Butler County, thence south to the southwest corner of same county, thence west to the west line of Range 4 west, thence north to the south line of Township 22, thence east to the place of beginning. By an act of the Legislature approved February 26, 1867, the counties of Sedgwick, Howard, Sumner, Hayes, Reno and Cowley were attached to Butler County for judicial purposes. D. S. Munger was appointed the first Justice of the Peace. In November, 1868, the first election was held, and thirty-five votes were cast. The election was held for school purposes, with the following results: M. A. Sayles, Trustee; H. W. Vigus, Clerk; S. B. Floyd, Treasurer. The mother of Mr. Sayles was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. The proceedings were informal, and nothing resulted therefrom. In October, 1869, an organization of the county was attempted, conventions having been called, tickets placed in nomination and an election held. A part of the history of that election is lost, as far as the official records are concerned. Col. D. M. V. Stuart, of Park City, was elected to the Legislature; Minnard Hall, Sheriff; H. W. Vigus and T. H. Dunlap two of the commissioners. This election was declared void by the Governor, owing to informalities and irregularities. A census was then taken, and the result forwarded to Topeka, and, it being ascertained the county had the requisite number of inhabitants, the Governor, in the winter of 1869-70, appointed S. C. Johnson, William Lockard and Henry Stein, Commissioners, with power to complete the organization. The Commissioners appointed John Ward, County Clerk, and divided the county into three districts. They also called an election in April, for county officers and the permanent location of the county seat, Wichita having been temporarily selected. This election, and the canvass preceding it, was one of the most exciting ever held in the county, involving, as it did, a county seat contest, as well as an election for officers. Wichita won the race for county seat over its competitor, Park City, though it was impossible to decide which place received the greatest number of fraudulent votes. From the fact that the friends of Park City gracefully submitted, it is evident that they were not disposed to "first cast a stone." The following officers were elected at that April election: N. A. English, T. S. Floyd and Alex. McWilliams, County Commissioners; J. M. Steele, County Clerk; F. J. Fulton, County Attorney; L. F. Buttles, Register of Deeds; D. A. Bright, Clerk District Court; Reuben Riggs, Probate Judge; W. N. Walker, Sheriff; S. C. Johnson, Treasurer; John Price Hilton, Superintendent of Schools; William Finn, Surveyor; E. B. Allen, Coroner. The total votes was 260. J. M. Steele and H. E. Vantrees were chosen Justices of the Peace; Wm. Smith, Trustee, and I. S. Elder, Constable of Wichita Township.

In June, 1870, the first term of the district court was held in the upper story of a livery stable, in Wichita, Hon. W. R. Brown presiding. W. N. Walker officiated as Sheriff; T. J. Fulton, County Attorney, and E. S. Roe, Deputy Clerk. The resident attorneys were H. C. Sluss, Reuben Riggs and P. T. Weeks. The first meeting of the County Commissioners were held the 27th of April, 1871. The first official act was the granting of a dram shop license. The first county order issued was in favor of T. S. Floyd. In October, 1870, occurred the first regular fall election for county officers and a representative in the Legislature, the result of which, and all subsequent elections, will be found in a table published elsewhere in this sketch.

During the year 1870 immigration poured into the county rapidly. The Osage Trust Lands embraced the territory of the county as far north as the north line of the second of the southern tiers of sections, in Township 26, a little over four miles north of the northern limits of the present site of Wichita, and, for contiguity to the embryo city, the principal settlements were made on these lands.

By an act of the legislature, approved February 29, 1872, the county of Harvey was established. The ten southern townships of this county, being two-thirds of the area of the whole county, were taken from the northern portion of Sedgwick. At the same time, five townships were detached from the western portion of Sedgwick County and added to Reno. The territory detached at this time from Sedgwick County was five hundred and forty square miles, the same number included in the present limits of Harvey County. The friends of Wichita, Newton and Hutchinson were responsible for this depletion of the territory of Sedgwick, and the formation of the new county of Harvey. These changes insured, as was designed, permanent county seats to all these points.

October 13, 1870, a proposition was voted upon by the people of the county, and carried by a majority of 317, to issue bonds of the county, to the amount of $200,000 and subscribe the same to the capital stock of one of the four following railroads, which should be the first completed to Wichita, viz; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, Kansas City, Burlington & Santa Fe, Fort Scott, Humboldt & Western, or the St. Joseph & Wichita. In June, 1871, the Wichita & Southwestern Railroad Company was organized, with J. R. Mead, president; William Greiffenstein, treasurer; H. C. Sluss, H. Secretary; Solomon H. Kohn, J. M. Steele S. C. Johnson, G. H. Smith, George Schlieter, C. F. Gilbert, T. J. Peter, R. W. P. Muse, and F. J. Fulton, the balance of the directors. On the 11th of August, 1871, the county voted $200,000 in bonds to aid in the construction of the road, which was completed to the city, May 16, 1872. On the 8th of June, following, the first shipment of cattle (eighteen car loads)was made. It is estimated that during the year 1871, 800,000 head of Texas cattle were driven through Sedgwick County.

March 15, 1873, the Sedgwick County Agricultural Society was organized, with officers as follows: A. T. Somesbury, president; D. L. Green, vice-president; R. L. West, secretary; W. R. Smith, treasurer and George Salisbury, reporter. September 4, 1873, the Sedgwick and Harvey County bond case was decided, the townships formerly in Sedgwick County being required to assume payment of $76,000 and the interest thereon. September 30, 1873, was the commencement of the first annual exhibition of the Sedgwick County Agricultural Society, closing October 4.

November 12, 1874, the county jail was completed. This was a disastrous year for the county and State. An unusual drouth prevailed, and such vegetation as was left, was swept away by innumerable swarms of grasshoppers or locusts. In 1875, there were abundant rain showers and bountiful harvest. In 1876, grasshoppers again visited the county, damaging crops. In 1877, the crops were generally good. February 22, 1878, occurred the first reunion of the Old Settler's Association, at Eagle Hall, Wichita.

In 1880, the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad was completed to Wichita, and the Arkansas Valley Agricultural Society was organized, with C. S. Eichholtz, president, and W. H. Ranson, secretary. In May of this year $155,980 of the bonded indebtedness of the county was wiped out.

The following is a list of the post offices in the county: Afton, Blendon, Clarion, Clearwater, Coronado, Diana, Eldridge, El Paso, Fayette, Ferris, Good River, Germania, Greenwich, Haysville, Herald, Helen, Iowaville, Lamont, Marshall, Mount Hope, Mulvane (the town is mainly in Sumner County), Magnolia, Ohio Center, Peotone, Ruby, Sunny Dale, St. Mark, Valley Center, Venice, Waco and Wichita.

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