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


[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]


At the election held November 6, 1860, William E. Bowker and William H. Fitzpatrick were elected representatives to the Territorial Legislature. Probate Judge, S. A. Fairchild; County Attorney, Justus Brockway; County Superintendent of Public Instruction, R. M. Fish; County Treasurer, L. G. Cleveland; County Clerk, G. W. Sapp; Register of Deeds, Loring Farnsworth; Sheriff, Alonzo H. Hale; Coroner, G. W. Spencer; County Surveyor, Joel Huntoon.

At the first election held under the Wyandotte Constitution, December 6, 1859, R. M. Fish was again elected as County Superintendent of Public Instruction; Alfred L. Winans, Probate Judge; James Fletcher, Clerk of the District Court, and Jacob Safford, of Shawnee County, was elected Judge of the Third Judicial District.

Under the system that obtained of three commissioners for each county, the first election was held March 26, 1860, and the members elected were: William E. Bowker, George W. Spencer, and J. M. Haywood. These men remained in office until January, 1861. In November, 1860, Mr. Spencer was re-elected for another term, and his associates then chosen were Hiram C. Covill and Francis Grasmund. Mr. Covill was chosen Chairman at the January session, 1861.

In November, 1861, the commissioners were elected, their term of office being two years. Mr. Covill was re-elected, and Samuel Kozier and Henry K. Winans were elected as the other members of the Board.

January 13, 1862, the Board was organized with Mr. Covill as Chairman. Hiram McArthur was County Clerk. Jacob Smith was County Treasurer, and Loring Farnsworth was Register of Deeds.

In April Mr. Covill resigned, and in November B. F. Kistler was chosen to fill the vacancy. He was re-elected in 1863, Samuel Benham and Jacob Haskell being his co-workers. Mr. McArthur, Clerk; William E. Bowker, County Treasurer; George B. Holmes, Register of Deeds. In January, 1864, Mr. Kistler was again chosen Chairman. In November, 1865, Mr. Kistler was again elected. Samuel Kozier and H. L. Shumway were elected as the other commissioners; Mr. Bowker was re-elected Treasurer; P. I. Bonebrake was elected County Clerk and William P. Thompson, Register of Deeds.

January 11, 1866, the Board met and again made choice of Mr. Kistler as Chairman.

January 7, 1867, Henry L. Shumway resigned his position as Commissioner, and Reuben Steese was appointed as his successor.

In November, 1867, George W. Spencer, A. G. Miller and E. Carriger were elected Commissioners; Hiram T. Beman, County Treasurer; P. I. Bonebrake, re-elected County Clerk and W. P. Thompson, Register of Deeds.

At the January session, 1868, of the Board of County Commissioners, Mr. Miller was chosen Chairman.

In November, 1869, William Wellhouse, Golden Silvers and Harvey D. Rice were elected Commissioners, and the incumbents of the offices of County Clerk, Treasurer and Register of Deeds were again elected.

At the session of the Board of County Commissioners in January, 1870, Mr. Wellhouse was chosen Chairman.

In November, 1871, Golden Silvers was re-elected and E. Carriger and B. J. Ricker were elected Commissioners; Thomas M. James, Treasurer; James M. Harr, Register of Deeds, and Mr. Bonebrake was again elected Clerk.

Mr. Carriger was elected Chairman of the Board, at the session held January 8, 1872.

In November, 1873, Golden Silvers was again elected Commissioner; Harvey D. Rice and Bradford Miller, his associates; the incumbents of the offices of County Clerk, Treasurer, and Register of Deeds were elected, and at the January session of the Commissioners' Court, 1874, Mr. Silvers was elected Chairman.

In November, 1875, Bradford Miller was re-elected Commissioner; E. T. James, and John Grise, were elected associates; Mr. Harr was again elected Register of Deeds; J. Lee Knight was elected County Clerk; Chester Thomas, jr., County Treasurer; Mr. Miller was elected Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, at their sesssion, January, 1876.

On the theory that experience is always desirable in the office of County Commissioner, by a constitutional amendment, adopted in November, 1876, three Commissioners were elected in the year 1877; the one in the First Commissioner District, for one year; the one in the Second, for two years; and the one in the Third, for three years.

All that part of Shawnee County, north of the Kansas River, is the First District; it elected M. M. Hale, Commissioner; the Second, Third and Fourth Wards of Topeka; the Second, elected David Brockway; the rest of Shawnee County, the Third, elected A. Washburn. The county was thus districted, July 20, 1871.

The incumbents of the Clerk, Treasurer and Register of Deeds' office were again elected.

At the January session of the Board, 1878, Mr. Brockway was elected Chairman.

In November, 1878, A. C. Sherman was elected for three years, as the successor of Mr. Hale, and at the January session, 1879, of the Board, Mr. Washburn was chosen Chairman.

In November, 1879, John S. Branner was elected for three years as the successor of Mr. Brockway; Mr. Knight was for the third time elected Clerk; Bradford Miller was elected Treasurer, and Samuel M. Wood, Register of Deeds.

1880-81.--At the January session, 1880, of the Board of County Commissioners, Mr. Washburn was chosen chairman. In November, 1880, Mr. Washburn was re-elected for a term of three years. In November, 1881, J. Q. A. Peyton was elected as successor to Mr. Sherman; George T. Gilmore, County Clerk; Bradford Miller was re-elected County Treasurer; Samuel M. Wood, Register of Deeds. Mr. Washburn is the present chairman of the Board. H. C. Lindley was elected in November, 1882, as the successor of John S. Branner.


The history of the services performed by Shawnee County officers and soldiers is embodied in the history of Kansas regiments, but especial mention should be made in this county record of companies raised and officered almost exclusively in Shawnee County. Among such was Company A, Second Infantry; Leonard W. Horne, Captain; Thomas Fulton and L. H. Wentworth, Lieutenants. It was composed largely of Topeka men, and bore an honorable part in the battle of Wilson's Creek, August 10, 1861. Of the Fifth Cavalry, John Ritchie was Lieutenant-Colonel; S. J. Jennings, Reuben A. Randlet, Joseph McCarty and William C. Gilpatrick, Lieutenants in Company A. Twenty-four soldiers in Company E, Eighth Infantry, were from the now extinct village of Indianola in Shawnee County, Milton Rose of that place being First Lieutenant. Of the Eleventh Cavalry, Edmund G. Ross was Major, J. E. Greer, Adjutant; James S. Kline, Chaplain; D. H. Horne, Sergeant-Major. Company E of this regiment was largely recruited in Topeka, and the above named regimental officers were promoted from that company. Company H of the same regiment was also composed largely of Shawnee County men. The officers were Joel Huntoon, Captain; H. Hannahs, John T. Ridgeway, Lieutenants. Nathan T. Gregg was Captain and Joseph D. Greer and Henry C. Lindsey, Lieutenants of Company M, same regiment. They were all Topeka men. J. Finn Hill, of Topeka, was Lieutenant-Colonel of the Fourteenth Cavalry; H. C. Haas and Robert H. Hunt, Majors in the Fifteenth Cavalry; Orrin A. Curtis was Captain of Company F, in the same regiment. Shawnee County contributed largely to the Seventeenth Regiment also. John Ritchie and Daniel Horne, of Topeka, were both officers in the Third Indian Regiment. Besides these and many others who should be mentioned, did space allow, must be recorded the names of the officers of the gallant Second Regiment, Kansas State Militia, which fought so bravely and suffered so severely in the campaign against Price in the fall of 1864. It was emphatically a Shawnee County regiment, and the county is justly proud of it. The story of its brave defense of its position, when assailed by terrible odds, is given in the history of the "Price Raid." Below are the names of the officers:

George W. Veale, Topeka, Colonel; Henry M. Greene, Monmouth, Lieutenant-Colonel (wounded battle of Blue); Andrew Stark, Topeka, Major; Edward P. Kellam, Topeka, Adjutant; Samuel J. Reeder, Indianola, Quartermaster (taken prisoner battle of Blue); S. E. Martin, Topeka, Surgeon.

The officers of Companies A and B were all citizens of Topeka. Of Company A, Daniel H. Horne was Captain; S. R. Remington, First Lieutenant; George O. Wilmarth and D. A. Hunter, Second Lieutenants. Of Company B--A. J. Huntoon, Captain (taken prisoner battle of Blue); James R. Parker, First Lieutenant; Andrew Stark and S. W. Higby, Second Lieutenants (Higby taken prisoner battle Blue).

Company C was raised and officered in Tecumseh. J. B. Hammond, Captain; S. Tyler, First Lieutenant; Hiram Ward, Second Lieutenant.

Company D was an Indianola company. Sterling B. Miles (wounded battle Blue); G. T. Clark, First Lieutenant; Thomas B. Heller, Second Lieutenant.

Company E was a Topeka company. John H. Banks, Captain; William P. Douthitt, First Lieutenant; Samuel Harriott, Second Lieutenant.

Company G was from Auburn. H. E. Bush, Captain (wounded at battle of Blue); H. L. Shumway, First Lieutenant; W. H. De Long, Second Lieutenant (died of wounds received at Blue).

Company H was from Williamsport. Perry Tice, Captain; Joseph Young, First Lieutenant; Henry K. Winans, Second Lieutenant.

The Battery was officered by Topeka men as follows: Ross Burns, Captain; Tobias Billings, First Lieutenant; Charles H. Wyckoff, Second Lieutenant.


Tecumseh was designated by the first Territorial Legislature in 1855, as the County Seat. As has been shown it was never so recognized by a majority of the bona fide settlers of the county, and so soon as the new order of things was established, all her claims as such, based on the laws of 1855, were repudiated, together with the debts incurred for erecting a court house there. The Commissioners subsequent, to the fall election of 1857, held their meeting at various points in the county; disregarding Tecumseh entirely, as the seat of government. The records were, however, kept there, and the Probate Judge (Hoagland) held office and resided in the town.

The first Free-state Territorial Legislature passed an act, which was approved February 12, 1858, which provided for an election in the several counties, for the selection by the inhabitant voters, of a permanent county seat. Such elections were to be held at the same time as that of Representatives to the State Legislature--in the coming October. The locality have the highest number of votes in any county was to become the legally established county seat. It was provided that the poll books of the county seat election, from the several precincts should be returned to the Probate Judge of the county, who should, within five days thereafter, publish the result of the ballot for locating the county seat, and the place receiving the highest number of votes, should, on this published declaration, become ipso facto, the county seat. The election occurred October 4, 1858, and resulted in a vote largely in favor of Topeka. The poll-books and returns were returned to the office of the Probate Judge (Hoagland) in accordance with the law, and the citizens only waited the publishment of the canvassed vote to settle for all time being the location.

The judge, although in most matters disposed to do the fair thing, felt keenly that Tecumseh's days were numbered, if the county seat were established at Topeka, and his love for his town rendered him first cunning, then recalcitrant, and finally when thwarted, sullen and morose. He ignored the returns altogether for a season. The five days expired, within which time the returns must be published in order to confirm the location voted by the people, and Judge Hoagland made no sign. The result of the vote was known to have shown Topeka to be the choice of the people, and great indignation was evinced at the cunning device of the judge to thwart them in their choice. He, however, stood out against the murmurs, threats, and abuse of indignant citizens, with a dogged stubbornness worthy of a better cause, until the 16th of December, at which date he published an extra judicial manifesto, in which the vote was given, showing Topeka to have been selected as the county seat, but declaring the election invalid and void, for fourteen distinct reasons, which he gave in justification of his decision.

His "reasons" were too numerous and elaborate for quotation, and had no influence on the minds of any person, being put forth in justification of the neglect to publish within the specified time, which in form, if not in fact, had invalidated this election. The triumph of the judge and his Tecumseh friends was short-lived.

The Territorial Legislature, on January 25, 1859, passed the following special act:

"Whereas, At an election held in the County of Shawnee, Territory of Kansas, on the fourth and fifth days of October, A. D. 1858, for the location of the county seat of the said County of Shawnee, by a direct vote of the people of said county, the city of Topeka was elected said county seat.

"Therefore, Be it enacted that the County Seat of Shawnee County, in the Territory of Kansas, shall be, and the same hereby is, removed and permanently located at the said city of Topeka."

This finally settled the question. A bitter feeling long lingered in the breast of the Tecumseh party, which died out gradually as the town went to decay. Time has well nigh obliterated it as well as the village itself.

The location of the county seat being finally settled, the business routine common to all new counties went on without any notable hindrance, further than those incidental to a lack of money and a depleted, or oftener empty treasury. These difficulties gradually disappeared under the efforts common to corporations in straightened circumstances. The efforts of the county board in 1859 were directed to the establishing of schools, the laying out of roads, the building of bridges, etc. Temporary rooms were provided at rental, for the various officers, and temporary accommodations for prisoners.

In giving a general view of the county's political progress, under Territorial rule, the reader will remember the exhibit made of its finances in January, 1859, and how the $8,000 expended upon the Tecumseh Court-House was flatly repudiated. After the county-seat was fixed at Topeka, the expense of having prisoners boarded and guarded in the Douglas County jail, was considerable, and the rents paid Jacob Safford, John Ritchie, Mrs. E. Murphy, and other property owners on Kansas avenue, for furnishing county accommodations, made the financial drain quite alarming. It was not, however, until in February, 1867, that the citizens of the county decided, by an election held on the 12th of that month, to build a court-house and jail. In March the Commissioners selected a site, on the southwest corner of Kansas avenue and Fourth Street, the land being purchased from F. L. Crane for $3,000. In April a contract for its construction was entered into with Theodore Mills & Co., and in August, 1869, the work was completed. The structure presents a creditable appearance, being built of red brick, with stone trimmings. It is three stories in height, with mansard roof; dimensions on the ground, 50x70 feet. In the first story, or basement, is the jail; the second contains the various county offices, conveniently arranged; and the third, the court and jury rooms. The court-house is heated by hot-air furnaces, and all the interior arrangements are modern. The total cost of the not over-elegant or pretentious building, was upwards of $60,000. It is certainly, considering its size and durability, the most costly, if not the most beautiful, county building in the State.

At the general election, held in November, 1869, $12,000 was agreed to be raised by the people for the purchase of a poor-farm, and the erection of a poor-house. In January, 1870, the county purchased over 100 acres of land belonging to Enoch Marple, in the northeast quarter, Section 5, Township 11, Range 16. In April, 1871, the asylum for the poor was completed, and Daniel Dawson appointed Superintendent, for the year ending March 15, 1872. John T. Hiller served for a number of years thereafter, until 1875. Ed. Sipes is the present Overseer.


In 1860, there were six municipal townships in the county of Shawnee; in 1882 there are eleven, and also the city of Topeka. In all but three of these municipalities there are railroad assessments, which in the aggregate made, in 1882, eight per cent of the whole assessed value. In 1868 the city of Topeka was detached from the township, and its assessed value was then greater than that of the whole county in 1860. In 1869 it had reached $2,000,000; in 1871, over $2,500,000; in 1872, $3,000,000; in 1882, nearly $4,250,000. Shawnee County, in 1860, having a little over $1,000,000 assessed property, in 1865, it was nearly $1,250,000; in 1866, nearly $2,500,000; in 1868, it was $3,000,000; in 1869, it exceeded $4,500,000; in 1871, about $6,500,000; in 1881, about $7,000,000; in 1882, nearly $8,000,000.

In March, 1860, Tecumseh, Topeka and Auburn townships were created, and in April, Soldier, Monmouth and Williamsport. The total assessed valuation of real, personal and city property, for 1860, was $1,178,994.71, divided as follows: Tecumseh, $179,500; Topeka, $454,825; Auburn, $166,415; Soldier, $146,419.71; Monmouth, $129,140; Williamsport, $102,695.

In 1861 the total county valuation was $1,197,409; in 1862, $984,107; 1863, $1,266,580; 1864, $1,303,995; 1865, $1,446,765; 1866, $2,406,432; 1867, $2,639,926; 1868, $3,043,627.09 (U. P. R. R., $296,000); 1869, $4,699,583, (U. P. R. R., $269,400 and A., T. & S. F. R. R., $19,847); 1870, $4,696,253 (U. P. R. R., $230,100, and A., T. & S. F. R. R., $84,000); 1871, $6,494,100 (U. P. R. R., $199,125, and A., T. & S. F. R. R., $84,000); 1872, $6,700,549 (U. P. R. R., $185,850, and A., T. & S. F. R. R., $106,500); 1873, $6,078,321 (U. P. R. R., $209,745, A., T. & S. F. R. R., $115,400, and St. L., L. & D. R. R., $11,970); 1874, $6,024,079 (railroad property, $423,819); 1875, $5,776,832 (railroad property, $396,163); 1876, $6,068,420.66 (railroad property, $535,283.58); 1877, $6,063,327.67 (railroad property, $518,448); 1878, $5,568,342.05 (railroad property, $509,825); 1879, $5,573,920.78 (railroad property, $533,328); 1880, $6,497,997.15 (railroad property, $579,045); 1881, $6,938,557.05 (railroad property, $605,222); 1882, $7,840,862.13 (railroad property, $614,458). The valuation of the city of Topeka is, in 1882, $4,203,003.26.

Valuation by townships for 1882: Rossville, $385,166.54; Silver Lake, $311,688.30; Menoken, $298,059.59; Soldier, $646,624.79; Topeka, $619,074.32; Tecumseh, $276,808.46; Monmouth, $249,965.57; Williamsport, $260,868.46; Auburn, $193,130; Dover, $197,215; Mission, $199,258.

The Kansas Pacific Railway runs through the county on the north side of the Kansas River; stations, Topeka, Silver Lake and Rossville. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad runs through the county from north to south; stations, Topeka and Wakarusa. The Kansas Midland Railroad, operated by the A., T. & S. F. Company, runs east from Topeka along the south side of the Kansas River, extending to Lawrence and Kansas City; station, Tecumseh.


The population of Shawnee County in 1860 was 3,513; in 1865, by the State census, 3,458; in 1870, 13,121; 1875, by the State census, 15,417; in 1880, 29,092; it is now (October, 1882), 34,137. Its percentage of increase from 1860 to 1870 was 273; from 1865 to 1875 it was 345; from 1870 to 1880 it was 123; from 1875 to 1880, it was nearly 90 percent.

Topeka in 1875 had a population of 7,272; in 1880, 15,421; in 1882, 21,562.

In the spring of 1882 there were 68,370-1/4 acres of corn under cultivation in the county, and 9,668-1/4 acres of oats. In 1881 the acreage of winter wheat was 8,494. In March, 1882, there were 130,592 bushels of old corn on hand. In regard to live stock, there were in the county, 8,575 horses, 10,038 milch cows, 22,472 cattle, 12,553 sheep, and 19,902 swine.

In 1882 there were 81 organized school districts, 91 schoolhouses, 133 schoolrooms; 54 male teachers employed in the county; 89 females. There were 128 teachers required for the schools in the county. The average school tax levy was 8 mills. Average salary of male teachers, $41.33; of females, $40.95. Certificates were granted as follows: 3 of first grade; 56 of second; 42 of third; total, 101. County Superintendent Gage visited 82 schools; made 168 visitations.

The school population of the county is reported as follows:

                                   Males.  Females.  Total.
Between 5 and 21 years of age....  5,595    5,901    11,496
Pupils enrolled..................  3,674    3,624     7,298
Average daily attendance.........  2,150    2,155     4,305

Value of school property, $265,000. School bonds issued during the year, $3,075. Seventy-nine schools were taught for three months and over during the year; fifty-one schools adopted a course of study. Two of the teachers employed were graduates from the Normal School; sixty attended the County Normal Institute.

County Normal Institute.--Conductor, William M. Crichton, for 1882; salary, $100. Assistants, Charles G. Fox, $60; R. S. Trainer, $10. Average attendance, 65; number enrolled, 82. Session from July 31 to August 25.

Graded Schools.--Silver Lake.--R. S. Trainer, principal; a female assistant.

Rossville.--A. B. Strowger, principal; one female assistant teacher.

There was received for school purposes, $98,704.19; teachers' wages, $42,404.15; expended for rents and repairs, $13,636.09; library and school apparatus, $209.99; sites, building and furniture, $10,673.15; for all other purposes, $21,790.22.

Topeka.--D. C. Tillottson; salary $1,000 per year. Average pay, male teachers, $61.69; female, $49.82 per month. School nine months in the year. Total cost of tuition per capita per month, 61 cents. Amount of teachers' wages, $21,587.92; number of male teachers, 9; female, 37; total, 46. The school population of the city is thus reported:

                                   Males.  Females.  Total.
Between 5 and 21 years of age..... 3,193    3,697     6,890
Pupils enrolled................... 1,890    2,025     3,915
Average daily attendance.......... 1,125    1,197     2,322

[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]