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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Ford County

1878

Map of Ford County - 1878

First settlements: Dodge City, in August, 1872, by buffalo hunters, and business men in various branches, attracted by the completion of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe road to that point; Spearville, June, 1877, by George Hall and M. Wear. - The first church, Union church, was erected at Dodge City, in the spring of 1876, by general subscription. - The school houses in Dodge City and Spearville were built by their respective districts, Nos. 2 and 3. - The first business establishment in Spearville was by Hall & Nelson, general merchandise, 1877; in the county, general merchandise, Theodore Weichselbaum, Fort Dodge. - First post offices: Fort Dodge, Dodge City, H. J. Fringer, postmaster; Spearville, May, 1878, George Hall, postmaster. - Dodge City was organized in August, 1872, and soon became the point from which the buffalo hunters drew their supplies, and from which extensive shipments of buffalo hides were made. Since the spring of 1876 large numbers of Texas cattle have been driven to and shipped from that point, and at the present time the community depends largely upon the trade derived from that source. Our reporter adds: "Until recently the community has been made up in part by the class of people who properly belong to the frontier; but the prospects of agricultural advancement and the natural tendency of immigration to fill up the border counties have brought many intelligent and worthy residents into the community."

The county was organized in 1873.

Population in 1870, 427; population in 1875, 813; increase in five years, 386; population in 1878, 2,160; increase in eight years, 1,733. Rural population, 1,512; city or town population, 648; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 70.

* POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop.
Dodge 1,392 Spearville 768 ----- -----

Face of the Country. - Bottom lands, 20 per cent.; upland, 80 per cent.; forest (Government survey) 1 per cent.; prairie, 99 per cent. Average width of the Arkansas bottom, from 12 to 20 miles; general surface of the country level, a small proportion bluffy.

Timber. - Of the very little timber found along the streams the greater part is cottonwood. Considerable tree planting has been done near Dodge City and at Spearville, as well as on timber claims, but the experiment is yet too young to predict the result with confidence. However, cottonwood, box-elder and some other varieties seem to do well.

Principal Streams. - Arkansas river, Mulberry, Duck, Saw-Log, Crooked, Kiowa, Five-mile Spring and other small creeks. The county is well supplied with springs; well water obtained at from 10 to 30 feet.

Coal. - It is reported that indications of coal have been discovered, but, if it exists in any quantity, none has been developed. Investigations are, however, still being prosecuted.

Building Stone, etc. - A good quality of limestone is found in the neighborhood of Fort Dodge, and sand and limestone near Spearville.

Railroad Connections. - The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad runs through the county, following the valley of the Arkansas river.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 691,200; taxable acres, 119,310; under cultivation, 2,440; cultivated to taxable acres, 205 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 1,958.50.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce, $750; poultry and eggs, $220.

Old Corn on Hand. - None reported.

Dairy Products. - Butter manufactured in 1875, 500 lbs.; in 1878, 475 lbs. Decrease, 25 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 54; in 1878, 334; increase, 280. Mules and asses, in 1877, 5; in 1878, 187; increase, 182. Milch cows, in 1877, 29; in 1878, 107; increase, 78. Other cattle, in 1877, 212; in 1878, 1,629; increase, 1,417, Sheep, in 1877, 18; in 1878, none reported; decrease, 18. Swine, in 1877, 82; in 1878, 390; increase, 308.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - None reported.

Wool. - None reported.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered, and sold for slaughter during the year, $2,358.35.**

*** STATEMENT showing the Acreage of Field Crops named from 1872 to 1878, inclusive.

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.
Winter Wheat ----- ----- ----- 0.50 630.00 177.00 732.00
Rye ----- ----- ----- ----- 100.00 37.00 32.00
Spring Wheat ----- ----- ----- ----- 190.00 32.00 266.00
Corn ----- ----- 82.00 41.50 1,040.00 154.00 300.00
Barley ----- ----- ----- 2.00 132.00 16.00 353.00
Oats ----- ----- 5.00 8.00 180.00 19.00 169.00
Buckwheat ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 1.00
Irish Potatoes ----- ----- 8.00 6.00 18.00 11.00 28.00
Sweet Potatoes ----- ----- ----- 0.12 26.00 1.50 20.50
Sorghum ----- ----- ----- ----- 2.00 ----- 37.00
Castor Beans ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 2.00
Cotton ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Flax ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Hemp ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Tobacco ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 0.50
Broom Corn ----- ----- ----- ----- 1.00 ----- 17.00
Millet and Hungarian ----- ----- ----- 26.00 53.00 12.00 178.00
Timothy Meadow ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 4.00
Clover Meadow ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 21.00 -----
Prairie Meadow ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 200.00
Timothy Pasture ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Clover Pasture ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 1.00 -----
Blue-Grass Pasture ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Prairie Pasture ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 100.00








Total ----- ----- 95.00 84.12 2,372.00 481.50 2,440.00

Increase in four years, 24.68 + per cent.
Average increase per annum, 617 + per cent.

RANK of Ford County in the Crops named below, as to Acreage, and in Cultivated Acreage for the years mentioned in the foregoing table.

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.








Wheat ----- ----- ----- ----- 66 70 70
Corn ----- ----- 65 69 69 70 70








Total Acreage in all Crops ----- ----- 65 69 68 70 70

STATEMENT showing the Acres, Product and Value of Principal Crops for 1878, together with the Increase and Decrease as compared with 1877.

CROPS. ACRES IN
1878.
INCREASE
OR
DECREASE
FROM 1877.
PRODUCT
IN 1878.
INCREASE
OR
DECREASE
FROM 1877.
VALUE OF
PRODUCT
IN 1878.
INCREASE
OR
DECREASE
FROM 1877.







Winter Wheat - bu. 732.00 555.00 in. 16,836.00 13,650.00 in. $10,269.96 $7,721.16 in.
Rye - bu. 32.00 5.00 de. 736.00 4.00 de. 220.80 1.20 de.
Spring Wheat - bu. 266.00 234.00 in. 4,522.00 3,946.00 in. 2,261.00 1,800.20 in.
Corn - bu. 300.00 146.00 in. 5,400.00 780.00 in. 2,160.00 543.00 in.
Barley - bu. 353.00 337.00 in. 13,414.00 13,030.00 in. 5,097.32 4,982.12 in.
Oats - bu. 169.00 150.00 in. 8,112.00 7,352.00 in. 2,595.84 2,329.84 in.
Buckwheat - bu. 1.00 1.00 in. 14.00 14.00 in. 11.20 11.20 in.
Irish Potatoes - bu. 28.00 17.00 in. 1,400.00 850.00 in. 190.00 695.00 in.
Sweet Potatoes - bu. 20.50 19.00 in. 1,845.00 1,732.50 in. 1,845.00 1,732.50 in.
Sorghum - gall. 37.00 37.00 in. 4,255.00 4,255.00 in. 2,127.50 2,127.50 in.
Castor Beans - bu. 2.00 2.00 in. 16.00 16.00 in. 20.00 20.00 in.
Cotton - lbs. ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Flax - bu. ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Hemp - lbs. ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Tobacco - lbs. 0.50 .50 in. 370.00 370.00 in. 37.00 37.00 in.
Broom Corn - lbs. 17.00 17.00 in. 12,580.00 12,580.00 in. 471.75 471.75 in.
Millet and Hungarian - tons 178.00 166.00 in. 534.00 492.00 in. 2,403.00 2,214.00 in.
Timothy Meadow - tons 4.00 4.00 in. 6.00 6.00 in. 27.00 27.00 in.
Clover Meadow - tons ----- 21.00 de. ----- 21.00 de. ----- 115.50 de.
Prairie Meadow - tons 200.00 200.00 in. 300.00 300.00 in. 900.00 900.00 in.
Timothy Pasture acres ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Clover Pasture - acres ----- 1.00 de. ----- ----- ----- -----
Blue-Grass Pasture - acres ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Prairie Pasture - acres 100.00 100.00 in. ----- ----- ----- -----







Total 2,440.00 1,958.50 in. ----- ----- $31,637.37 $25,495.57 in.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 55; number of trees in bearing: apple, 60; peach, 253; plum, 30. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 360; pear, 195; peach, 315; plum, 40; cherry, 50. Nothing else reported.

Herd Law. - The herd law is not in force in the county, but public sentiment is stated to be favorable to it, the argument being that the settlers are too poor to fence, and that it is cheaper to herd stock than to fence crops.

Fences. - Stone, no report. Rail, no report. Board, no report. Wire, 600 rods; cost, $480. Hedge, no report. Total rods of fence, 600; total cost, $480.

Apiaculture. - No report.

Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements - no report.

Manufactures. - Dodge City: plow manufactory; cigar manufactory; soda water manufactory; buffalo robe manufactory.

Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $47,505; railroad property, $310,986; total assessed valuation of all property, $592,239.30; true valuation of all property, $987,065.50. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $38,587.41; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, 07-.

Newspaper History. - The first paper published in the county was the Dodge City Messenger, founded by A. W. Moore, in the early part of 1874. It suspended publication in 1875.

The Times was established at Dodge City, in May, 1876, by W. C. & Lloyd Shinn, and still continues under the management of Lloyd Shinn and N. B. Klaine. It is Republican in politics.

The Ford County Globe was established at Dodge City, December, 1877, by William N. Morphy and D. M. Frost, and was edited by Morphy. It is a Republican paper. Mr. Morphy has recently retired from the establishment.

The Spearville Enterprise was first issued May 18, 1878; J. J. Burns, publisher; E. D. Swan, editor. Independent in politics. Burns became sole proprietor, August 24, 1878, and the name was changed to the News. September 7, following, Mr. Myton became a partner in the establishment.

Schools. - Number of organized districts, 9; school population, 399; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $49.50; females, $40.00. School houses built during 1878: frame, 2. Total number of school houses: frame, 3. Value of all school property, $4,125. There are a few school grounds ornamented with an artificial growth of trees.

Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 1; membership, 28. Episcopal: membership, 2. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 2; membership, 45. Presbyterian: organizations, 1; membership, 15. Roman Catholic: organizations, 2; membership, 500.

*   Spearville township has been organized since census was taken.

**  Estimated.

*** The County was organized in 1873. No report for that year.

Transcribed from First Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture to the Legislature of the State of Kansas, for the Years 1877-8 embracing statistical exhibits, with diagrams of the agricultural, industrial, mercantile, and other interests of the state, together with a colored outline map of the state, and sectional maps, in colors, of each organizaed county, showing their relative size and location, railroads, towns, post offices, school houses, water powers, etc., etc. Topeka, Kansas: Kansas State Board of Agriculture. Rand, McNally & Co., Printers and Engravers, Chicago. 1878. Transcribed by Dustin Cunningham, October 2001.


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