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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Jewell County


Map of Jewell County - 1878

First settlement: In the spring of 1862, William Harshberger and wife settled on White Rock creek, in what is now Jewell county, and took a claim adjoining the present town of White Rock. Indian troubles, however, put an end to their operations, and they left the country. The second settlement was made in the spring of 1866, by William Belknap, John Rice and family, Nicholas Ward and family, and others, all locating on White Rock creek. The settlement was raided by Cheyenne Indians, in August, 1866, and again in April, 1867, which resulted in driving off all the settlers who were not killed, and the Indians were left in undisputed possession of the county for about one year. In the early part of 1868, a number of new settlements were made, but Indian raids and massacres generally drove the settlers away, and prevented others from coming. In October, 1868, a large colony of Scandinavians located on the Republican river, and laid out the town of Scandia, in Republic county, the settlement extending far up the river, and up White Rock creek, into Jewell county. Most of the claims then taken were subsequently deserted, owing to Indian disturbances. In May, 1869, the "Excelsior" or New York Colony, under the lead of one Walker, took claims along White Rock creek, and built a block house about two miles east of the present town of Holmwood, surrounding it with two lines of earthworks. In the latter part of May there were as many as one hundred people in the county, all on White Rock creek. These colonists were soon driven out, the last leaving about the first of June, 1869, and the county was again given over to the Indians. In the latter part of that year quite a number of land entries were made, and early in 1870 there was a great influx of immigration. May 12, of that year, intelligence that the Cheyennes were again on the war path created great excitement, and the settlers met at "Hoffer's Shanty," near the forks of Buffalo creek, where they organized a military company known as the "Buffalo Militia," twenty-eight men signing the roll. William D. Street was elected Captain; Charles J. Lews, First Lieutenant; Louis A. Dapron, Second Lieutenant; James A. Scarborough, Orderly Sergeant. They also proceeded to build a fortification on the present town site of Jewell City, enclosing a plat of ground fifty yards square with a wall four feet thick and seven feet high. This fort was occupied at intervals until June 28, 1870, the settlers mounting guard a portion of the time, and keeping scouts out during the day. No further attacks were made, and henceforth Jewell county was free from Indian hostilities. - The first school houses in the county were erected in 1872, by several of the school districts. - First marriage: Lawton McCord and Evaline Davis, Highland township, February 22,1872. - First post offices: Highland township, Amity, 1872, James Mitchell, postmaster; Burr Oak township, Burr Oak, James McCormack, postmaster; Centre township, Jewell Centre, 1872, D. J. Vance, postmaster; Vicksburg township, Johnsonville, January 7,1872, P. F. Johnson, postmaster. - The first meeting of the Board of County Commissioners was held at Jewell City, August 22,1870. The Commissioners, appointed by the Governor, were C. L. Sully, F. T. Gandy and A. J. Davis; James A. Scarborough, County Clerk. At the first election, held September 27, 1870, Dennis Taylor, Thomas Coverdale and Samuel C. Bowles were chosen County Commissioners; James A. Scarborough, County Clerk; Henry Sorick, County Treasurer; N. H. Billings, County Surveyor; S. O. Carman, Register of Deeds; Probate Judge, Charles L. Sully: Sheriff, A. J. Davis; County Superintendent, S. R. Worick. Jewell City was selected as the county seat. At the November election, Felix T. Gandy was chosen the first representative in the Legislature.

The county was organized in 1870.

Population in 1870, 207; population in 1875, 7,651; increase in five years, 7,444; population in 1878, 11,388; increase in eight years, 11,181. Rural population, 10,443; city or town population, 935; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 91.70.

POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
Townships and
Pop.Townships and
Pop.Townships and
Athens 457 Allen 485 Buffalo 627
Burr Oak 647 Brown's Creek 403 Calvin 406
Centre 700 Irving 374 Ezbon 376
Grant 538 Highland 437 Holmwood 492
Harrison 472 Ionia 613 Jackosn 406
Limestone 488 Montana 466 Prairie 492
Richland 393 Sinclair 405 Vicksburg 392
Walnut 473 Washington 354 White Mound 492

Face of the Country.-Bottom lands, 16 per cent.; upland, 84 per cent., forest (Government survey), 3 per cent.; prairie, 97 per cent. Average width of bottoms, one half mile; general surface of the country, undulating.

Timber.-Width of timber belts on White Rock, 80 rods; Limestone, 60 rods; other streams, 10 to 40 rods-average, perhaps 40 rods. Varieties: oak, elm, cedar, hackberry, cottonwood, walnut, box elder, ash. Probably a majority of the farmers of the county have set out trees to a greater or less extent, but it is impossible to give the acreage. Cottonwood, soft maple, box elder and walnut are the chief varieties - cottonwood exceeding in extent all the others combined. Ten farmers report an aggregate of 320 acres of cottonwood, and 27 of other varieties.

Principal Streams.-Republican river touches the northeast corner of the county, running east along the northern boundary about ten miles. White Rock creek runs east, intersecting the north half of the county; its tributaries are, on the South, Johns, Big Timber, Porcupine and Smith creeks, course north; on the north, Montana, Walnut and Burr Oak, course southeast. Buffalo creek flows through the southeastern portion of the county, course east, and empties into the Republican. Limestone, in the southwest part of the county, runs south and empties into the Solomon. The county is well supplied with springs; good well water reached at a depth of from 6 to 100 feet; average about 25 feet.

Coal.-Late reports state that no coal has been developed in the county.

Building Stone, etc.-Magnesian limestone is found in every township of the county except Highland; it is soft when first quarried, easily worked, and hardens by exposure. Sandstone is found in the extreme south.

Railroad Connections.-No railroads have yet been constructed in the county.

Agricultural Statistics.-Acres in the county, 576,000; taxable acres, 164,948; under cultivation, 103,138.79; cultivated to taxable acres, 62.53 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 22,657.79.

Value of Farm Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the year.-Garden produce, $2,285.95; poultry and eggs, $5,970.02.

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


Winter Wheat 745.00745.001,373.003,529.254,020.007,146.007,494.00
Rye 114.00335.00873.004,350.057,370.005,125.005,480.00
Spring Wheat 271.002,171.0013,418.0019,125 2521,039.0011,954.0030,313.00
Corn 9,408.0013,126.0030,501.0026,339.5027,426.0044,135.0041,302.00
Barley 26.0097.00477.001,660.252,675.002,204.001,880 00
Oats 357.001,363.005,220.004,709.253,909.003,027.005,204.00
Buckwheat 24.0034.006.0021.2552.0040.0029.50
Irish Potatoes 139.00322.001,039.00575.57125.12857.001,096.00
Sweet Potatoes 2.003.0014.0011.1612.7516.0011.60
Sorghum 151.00234.00435.00457.64365.25437.00365.75
Castor Beans ----------4.0013.255.106.0023.50
Cotton ----------.12-----
Flax -----3.1312.503.37.12153.50115.007.33
Hemp ----------2.50--------------------
Tobacco -----.2510.002.249.7511.005.37
Broom Corn ----------62.0040.7559.62141.00142.25
Millet and Hungarian 21.00207.00600.00577.671,298.002,256.002,066.00
Timothy Meadow -----2.13151.0020.2532.7516.0021.12
Clover Meadow -----9.0019.004.256,004.751.00
Prairie Meadow 5,061.004,581.00310.00738.00946.00293.004,135.00
Timothy Pasture -----
Clover Pasture 12.00----------2.002.00-----.25
Blue-Grass Pasture ---------------
Prairie Pasture 2,489.002,489.003,500.008,673.003,573.00 2,696.003,515.00

Total 18,820.0025,725.51 58,032.1271,203.9573,085.5980,481.00103,138.79

Increase in six years. 448+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 74.66 + per cent.

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


Corn 40372130292926
Total Acreage in all Crops45423233343730

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

FROM 1877.
IN 1878
FROM 1877.
IN 1878.
FROM 1877.

Winter Wheat - bu.7,494.00348.00 in.179,856.0079,812.00 in$ 89,928.00$ 24,899.40 in
Rye - bu.5,480.00355.00 in.164,400.0041,400.00 in.49,320.00 12,420.00 in
Spring Wheat - bu.30,313.0018,359.00 in.606,260.00379,134.00 in272,817.00136,531.40 in
Corn - bu.41,302.002,833.00 de.1,734,684.00118,986.00 de225,508.9234,004.88 de
Barley - bu.1,880.00324.00 de.56,400.003,504.00 in.22,560.00 8,278.08 in
Oats - bu.5,204.002,177.00 in.239,384.0091,061.00 in.35,907.6013,659.15 in
Buckwheat- bu.29.5010.50 de.354.0086.00 de.283.2068.80 de
Irish Potatoes - bu.1,096.00239.00 in.104,120.0049,272.00 in.26,030.001,394.00 de
Sweet Potatoes - bu.11.604.40 de.1,102.00658.00 de.991.80592.20 de
Sorghum - gall.365.7571.25 de.42,061.258,193.75 de.21,030.634,096.87 de
Castor Beans - bu.23.5017.50 in.235. 00175.00 in.293.75233.75 in
Cotton - lbs.1.00-----170.00-----15.301.70 de
Flax - bu.7.33107.67 de.109.951,270.05 de.109.951.339.05 de.
Hemp - lbs.-----------------------------
Tobacco - lbs.5.375.63 de.3,973.804,166.20 de.397.38416.62 de.
Broom Corn - lbs.142.251.25 in.113,800.001,000.00 in.4,267.5037.50 in
Millet and Hungarian tons2,066.00190.00 de.6,198.001,686.00 in.21,693.005,901.00 in.
Timothy Meadow - tons21.125.12 in.27.466.66 in.123.5729.97 in.
Clover Meadow - tons1.003.75 de.1.505.63 de.6.7525.34 de.
Prairie Meadow - tons4,135.003,842.00 in.5,789.005,378.80 in.14,472.5013,447.00 in.
Timothy Pasture - acres13.0013.00 in.--------------------
Clover Pasture - acres.25.25 in.--------------------
Blue-Grass Pasture acres32.1231.87 in.--------------------
Prairie Pasture - acres3,515.00 819.00 in.--------------------

Total 103,138.7922,657.79 in.----------$785,756.85$173,507.79 in.

AN EXTRA YIELD. - Statement by Henry Sarich, Jewell City:

Fall Wheat.-White Michigan variety. I raised on Section 25, Township 4, Range 8, five acres of fall wheat, which was planted September 15, and harvested June 20; the soil was bottom land, and the crop averaged 60 bushels to the acre. The ground was burned over and the seed cultivated in without plowing. The cost was $10 per acre, including marketing. I sowed 2 1/2 bushels per acre. Some of the wheat was damaged in the stack and thrown out; if this had been saved, the yield would have been 67 bushels to the acre.

A VERY FINE YIELD. - Statement of Charles Seely, Jewell City:

Winter Wheat.-Red May variety. I planted twelve acres on the southwest quarter of Section 5, Township 5, Range 7 west, on the 15th of August, and harvested it on the 20th of June. The soil was black bottom land, situated between the two Buffalo creeks. The yield was 57 bushels to the acre. The ground was summer plowed deep; harrowed on the 1st of August; then plowed shallow, followed by again harrowing it. Two bushels of seed to the acre were sown broadcast, and cultivated in with a horse cultivator; the ground was then well harrowed.

The cost of producing the crop was as follows:

Preparing ground and putting in crop$25.00
24 bushels seed, at 50 cents12.00
Cutting and shocking14.00
Threshing and help34.00
Total cost of crop$91.00
Cost per acre, $7.58 1/3.

Old Corn, on Hand.-Old corn on hand March 1, 1878, 497,040 bushels, or an average of 218 bushels to each family.

Dairy Products.-Cheese manufactured in 1875, 3,292 lbs.; in 1878, 5,504 lbs.; increase, 2,212 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 110,808 lbs.; in 1878, 235,068 lbs.; increase, 124,260 lbs.

Farm Animals.-Number of horses, in 1877, 3,831; in 1878, 5,030; increase, 1,199. Mules and asses, in 1877, 437; in 1878, 560; increase, 123. Milch cows, in 1877, 3,659; in 1878, 4,131; increase, 472. Other cattle, in 1877, 5,639; in 1878, 7,152; increase, 1,513. Sheep, in 1877, 1,151; in 1878, 3,038; increase, 1,887. Swine, in 1877, 16,550; in 1878, 27,764; increase, 11,214.

Sheep Killed by Dogs.-Number of sheep killed by dogs, 102; value of sheep killed by dogs, $306.

Wool.-Clip of 1877, 4,057 lbs.

Value of Animals Slaughtered.-Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $96,105.42.

Horticulture.-Number of acres nurseries, 9.12. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 942; pear, 380: peach, 32,457; plum, 5,324; cherry, 680. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 14,313; pear, 3,278; peach, 81,774; plum, 6,923; cherry, 5,456.

Herd Law.-The herd law has been in force since April, 1872. Public sentiment is strongly in its favor, though a small minority of stock raisers are opposed. As a rule, it retards fencing arid hedge growing, but decidedly stimulates small grain growing. In its favor, it is urged that it enables poor men to open up and improve farms, avoids much litigation, and encourages immigration and settlement. On the other hand, its opponents urge that it keeps out, to a considerable extent, large stock men, and encourages the growing of small grain rather than the raising of stock.

Fences.-Stone, 373 rods; cost, $746. Rail, 15,054 rods; cost, $21,828.30. Board, 7,453 rods; cost, $10,881.38. Wire, 8,091 rods; cost, $6,068.25. Hedge, 35,415 rods; cost, $23,019.75. Total rods of fence, 66,386: total cost, $62,543.68.

Apiaculture.-Number of stands of bees, 1.

Value of Agricultural Implements.-Amount invested in agricultural implements, $57,340.

Manufactures.- Allen township: sorghum mill, capital, $15. Holmwood township; steam saw mill, capital, $1,500; steam saw and grist mill, capital, $2,500. White Mound township: steam saw and grist mill, capital, $2,000.

Valuation and Indebtedness.-Assessed valuation of personal property, $343,337.85; total assessed valuation of all property, $876,194.25; true valuation of all property, $1,460,323.75. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $48,262.50; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, .06-.

Newspaper History.-On the. 24th of March, 1872, W. P. Day, assisted by W. D. Jenkins, now of the Smith County Pioneer, commenced the publication of a paper called the Jewell City Clarion. In February, 1873, he sold to M. Winsor, who continued the publication of the paper until May 1, of that year, when he changed the name to the Jewell County Diamond.

The Diamond was edited by Oscar Kelly. In 1874 (grasshopper season) it was reduced to six columns, and in the summer of 1875 to five columns. In March, 1877, it was again enlarged to seven columns, and in April, 1878, consolidated with the Jewell County Monitor, removed to Jewell Centre, and the consolidated paper named the Monitor Diamond. It was enlarged to eight columns, and is still published as a Republican paper by Thompson & Winsor.

The Jewell County Monitor was established at Jewell Centre, May 19,1874, with Frank Kirk as editor and publisher. The press and office were purchased by citizens of Jewell Center of A. B. Wilder, Belleville, Kansas, having been used in printing the Belleville Republic. In June, 1874, W. L. Henderson succeeded Kirk as publisher, and, in October following, the paper passed into the hands of Byron J. Thompson, who continued as sole proprietor and editor until April, 1878, when it was consolidated with the Diamond. The Monitor was Republican in politics.

Schools.-Number of organized districts, 133; school population, 4,561; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $21.81; females, $17 90. School houses built during 1878, 10; log, 3; frame, 7. Total number of school houses, 60; log, 33: frame 20; stone, 7. Value of all school property, $21,412. It is the intention of all the school districts to ornament their grounds with shade trees as soon as practicable.

Churches.-Baptist: Organizations, 4; membership, 207. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 19, membership, 523; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $1,200. Presbyterian: organizations, 4; membership, 40; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $1,500. Roman Catholic: organizations, 1; membership, 150. church edifices, 1; value of church property, $500. United Presbyterian: organizations, 2; membership, 34; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $1,200.

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.

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