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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Labette County


Map of Labette County - 1878

First settlements: Richland township, at Chetopa, Dr. Lisle, 1853; Mt. Pleasant township, spring of 1869, Joel W. Eikenberry, J. A. R. Curl and Florence Hannon, Parsons City, March 8, 1871, purchasers of lots from Parsons Town Company; Fairview township, 1865, William Springer and __ Allen; Liberty township, 1867, S. Lewis, D. C. Lowe and W. J. Connor; Walton township, 1866, Jefferson C. Davis and family; Neosho township, 1865, John Buck; Oswego township, before the treaty with the Osages, in 1840, by __ Matthews - after the treaty by Rexford and Elsbree; Mount Valley township, 1868, Messrs. Canada and McCormick; Montana township, about June, 1865, Samuel Short; Labette township, October, 1868, L. A. Wood; Osage township, October, 1866, Thomas May; Howard township, 1868, William J. Stephenson; Canada township, January 23, 1867, Alexander and Milton Duncan; Hackberry township, fall of 1865, James Moss. - First church buildings: Richland township, at Old Labette, 1867, Methodist; Chetopa, 1869, Presbyterian Methodist and Baptist, all in same year; Parsons, 1871, Methodist; Liberty township, Baptist; Neosho township, Jacksonville, 1867, Methodist; Oswego township, Oswego, 1869, Congregational; Montana township, Montana, 1877, Presbyterian; Osage township, 1878, Christian; the school houses throughout the county are generally used for religious purposes. - First school houses: Mount Pleasant township, January, 1870, by district No. 59; Parsons, 1871, district No. 83; Walton township, district No. 42; Neosho township, Jacksonville, 1866, joint school district No. 11; Fairview township, Barnard school house, by subscription; Liberty township, 1868, W. J. Conner, Lour and Peters; Oswego township, 1868, district No. 1; Mount Valley township, at Fairview, by bonds of district; Montana township, 1869, in school district No. 9, by private citizens; Labette township, district No. 69; Osage township, 1869, log house, district No. 37; Howard township, 1872, called Trenton school house, district No. 67; Canada township, 1872, district No. 84; Hackberry township, 1870, district No. 7. - First marriages: Mount Pleasant township, George Greer and Molly Hill, July 12, 1870; Parsons, Z. T. Swigert and Josephine Parker, January, 1871; Neosho township, T. D. G. Marquand and Mary Buck, April, 1866; Oswego township, Clinton Rexford and Mattie Mason, 1867; Montana township, William Wilcox and Jane Marlow, about September, 1866; Labette township, Richard Tremble and Emmazetta Martin, spring of 1870; Osage township, John Cook and Nellie Hyde, about February 1, 1869; Howard township, J. H. S. McClintock and Nettle Smallwood, 1872; Canada township, James Donaghue and Katy Vasser, 1867. - First births: Mount Pleasant township, Clarence Moore, July, 1869, in a covered wagon, on the Northeast quarter Section 11, Township 33, Range 19; Parsons, Levi Parsons Dana, April, 1871; Neosho township, John Hampton and Mary Hampton, May, 1866; Oswego township, Clinton Collins; Montana township, Mark T. Simmons, March 22, 1866; Labette township, Infant Daniels, December, 1869; Osage township, Sarah E. Ray, January, 1867; Canada township, Milton Duncan, March 12, 1869; Hackberry townhsip,[sic] Mary C. Johnson, December 1, 1866. - First business established: Richland township, Orville Thompson, four miles north of Chetopa, and G. Martin, at Old Labette; Mt. Pleasant township, general store, 1865, by N. C. Moore; Parsons, grocery, Sippel Bros.; Neosho township, dry goods and groceries, McCaslin & Jett; Liberty township, dry goods and groceries, 1869, at Neola, William Conner & Son; Oswego township, Elsbree & Rexford - a Mr. Matthews had a trading store at Oswego as early as 1840; Mound Valley township, groceries and dry goods, 1867, McCormick & Standfield; Montana township, general merchandise, February, 1866, B. F. Simons; Elm Grove township, at Ripon, 1870, C. B. Pratt; Osage township, general merchandise, 1869, Blake Bros. - First post offices: Richland township, Chetopa; Mt. Pleasant township, Altamont, October 23,1874, Henry Hammon, postmaster; Parsons, post office first called Mendota, near railroad track, November, 1870, W. K. Hayes, postmaster; Neosho township, Jacksonville, 1867, M. L. McCaslin, postmaster; Fairview township, Elston; Liberty township, Neola, 1868, W. J. Conner, postmaster; Oswego township, Oswego, 1868, D. N. Carr, postmaster; Mound Valley township, Mormie; Montana township, Montana, March, 1866, B. F. Simons, postmaster; Elm Grove township, Ripon, C. B. Pratt, postmaster; Osage township, Timber Hill, Francis Labadie, postmaster; Howard township, Dora, W. H. Godwin, postmaster; Canada township, Gorham, 1876, P. B. Clark, postmaster; Hackberry township, Lake Creek, 1875, O. C. Ketchum. - The "old town" of Labette was started in 1867, by G. Martin and others, five miles north of Chetopa, on the Neosho river. They opened a store, built a saw mill, etc. The town flourished for a year or two, when Mr. R. Tileston opened a store, and started a town a mile further west and south of the Labette river. This new town absorbed "Old Labette," and it in turn was removed to Chetopa. The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad was completed to Parsons in 1876, and the shops of the company were located there the following year. Labette City is in Liberty township, on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. Oswego was a favorite resort of the red men, and flint arrows, etc., are frequently dug up in the vicinity. White Hair, Chief of the Osages, had his village here; then Matthews, a noted guerrilla, settled and kept a trading post among the Indians. He had an Indian wife, and during the rebellion espoused the cause of the South, murdered Union men, and kept a band of Indians and ruffians around him, to whom these and many other crimes are imputed. Finally, the town of Humboldt was burned under his leadership, and its people cruelly treated. For these acts he was shot by United States troops while attempting to escape, and his house at Oswego burned. White Hair's wife and Matthews' Indian son lie buried at Oswego. [Another authority says that Matthews was a large hearted man; that, though he was a rebel colonel, he did not burn Humboldt, and that his son John was a desperado whose crimes were, in many instances, unjustly charged to the father.] In 1865, Oswego was settled by J. C. Rexford, A. P. Elstree, C. C. and M. Clover, C. W. Watkins, C. H. Bent, Samuel Collins and J. Q. Cowell. Bent was elected to the Legislature, and Labette was detached from Neosho county in February, 1867. Oswego was first called Little Town, but received its present name in 1866. The town was incorporated, and became a city of the third class, in 1868; J. F. Newlon was the first Mayor. Oswego is the county seat, and the court house was erected by the citizens, and presented to the county.

Labette county was organized in 1867.

Population in 1870, 9,973; population in 1875, 14,571; increase in five years, 4,598; population in 1878, 17,190; increase in eight years, 7,223. Rural population, 12,037; city or town population, 5,159; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 70.

POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.


Canada 596 Chetopa City 990 Elm Grove 916
Fairview 625 Hackberry 1,005 Howard 571
Liberty 906 Labette 530 Montana 806
Mount Pleasant 513 Mound Valley 989 Neosho 571
North 739 Oswego 762 Osage 1,259
Oswego City 1,317 Parsons City 2,483 Richland 1,050
Walton 568        

Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 20 per cent.; upland, 80 per cent.; forest (Government survey), 10 per cent.; prairie, 93 per cent. Average width of bottoms - the Neosho one mile, others one-half mile; in the eastern and northeastern parts the surface is rocky and bluffy, south and west undulating, and the bottom between the Neosho and Labette level.

Timber - Average width of timber belts - along the Neosho two miles, other streams from one-half to one mile. Varieties: black walnut, hickory, pecan, hackberry, sycamore, red and white elm, red, burr, barren and Spanish oak, mulberry, willow, cottonwood, maple. But little attention has been given to the growth of artificial timber, the native growth furnishing a good supply of fuel. Nearly all the planting is for shade, windbreaks or ornament. The leading varieties planted are soft maple and cottonwood.

Principal Streams. - Neosho river, running from north to south along the east side of the county. Labette river runs from the northern central portion of the county in a southeasterly direction, and unites with the Neosho three miles north of the south line of the county. Hackberry creek runs from west to east and empties into the Labette. Deer creek runs southeast and empties into the Hackberry. Turkey creek runs northeast, joining the Labette. Snow, Pumpkin and Big Hill creeks, running southwest, empty into the Verdigris. There are but few springs in the county; well water is reached fit a depth of from 20 to 40 feet.

Coal. - Coal has been discovered in thin veins in several localities. Proportion of surface underlaid not definitely stated. The coal is used almost exclusively for local domestic purposes.

Building Stone, etc. - An abundance of lime and sandstone of good quality is found near and south of Oswego, and conveniently distributed throughout the county. Pottery and fire clay have also been found along the Labette river and in other localities, but not to a great extent.

Railroad Connections. - The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad enters the county from the northeast and northwest, uniting at Parsons, whence it runs in a southeasterly direction, leaving the county near its southeast corner; the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad crosses the northwestern corner of the county. Principal stations on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas; Parsons, Labette, Oswego and Chetopa. The Missouri & Western road runs from Oswego, in the eastern part of the county, directly east through Cherokee county, via Columbus. The Memphis, Kansas & Colorado Railway (narrow gauge) runs from Parsons to Wier City, a distance of 31 miles.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 415,360; taxable acres, 391,801; under cultivation, 178,258.80; cultivated to taxable acres, 45.50 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 31,260.80.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce, $5,203.20; poultry and eggs, $8,382.25

Old Corn on Hand. - Old corn on hand March 1st, 1878, 265,082 bushels, or an average of 77 bushels to each family.

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

Winter Wheat23765.0023765.0032402.0038075.7540297.0025557.0033135.00
Spring Wheat51.0084.0086.0012 .505.002.0019.00
Irish Potatoes761.001,28O,001,330,001109.851736.751061.001312.00
Sweet Potatoes30.0064.0091.0099.98120.5084.0095.90
Castor Beans186.00156.00800.001564.15531.001615.001900.50
Broom Corn----------54.0095.75173.75166.0036.13
Millet and Hungarian745.00576.001104.001215.502178.003140.002021.00
Timothy Meadow214,00214,00313.00266.50220.131139.75613.00
Clover Meadow205.00201.00189.0063.501102.3884.00209.25
Prairie Meadow16711.008810.005485.0010055.005738.0011004.0024,783,00
Timothy Pasture34.006.0083.0037.00212.0050.00251.00
Clover Pasture10.0010.0025.000.501.0028.0023.00
Blue-Grass Pasture462.00463.0021.00100.50195.25137.00475 50
Prairie Pasture28068.0027238.0024708.0032725.0025585.0026590.0031831.00


Increase in six years, 56- per cent.
Average increase per annum, 9.33- per cent.

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

Total Acreage in all Crops566962

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.331357,578.00 in.430755175,185.00 in.27990.75$32,087.85 in.
Rye ---------------- bu.368168.00 in.69924,192.00 in.2097.61,257.60 in.
Spring Wheat -------- bu.1917.00 in.190170.00 in.104.587.50 in.
Corn ----------------- bu.65985774.00 de.2243490426,870.00 de.426263.154,401.70 de.
Barley --------------- bu.698.00 de.2070145.00 in.1035457.50 in.
Oats ------------------ bu.133764,797.00 in.4524 784.0060,150.00 in.72765.4413,570.34 in.
Buckwheat ----------- bu.154.580.50 in.30901,906.00 in.24721,524.80 in.
Irish Potatoes ------- bu.1312251.00 in.7872027,380.00 de.45.657.607,392.40 de.
Sweet Potatoes ------- bu.95.911.90 in.10836.71,763.30 de.7910.794,689.21 de.
Sorghum ------------ gall.688.1354.87 de.79.134.956,310.05 de.39567.483.155.02 de.
Castor Beans --------- bu.1900.5285.50 in.266073,997.00 in.33258.7510,648.75 in.
Cotton --------------- lbs1.529.50 de.255,005,015.00 de.22,95504.05 de.
Flax ------------------ bu.370.556.50 in.3705251.00 in.370578.30 in.
Hemp ---------------- lbs.0.25.25 in.230230.00 in.13.813.80 in.
Tobacco ------------- lbs.13.8916.11 de.10978.611,921.40 de.1027.861,192.14 de.
Broom Corn --------- lbs.36.13129.87 de.28904103,896.00 de.1083.93,896.10 de.
Millet & Hungarian -tons20211,119.00 de.60633,357.00 de.2425213,428.00 de.
Timothy Meadow ---- tons1139.75466.15 in.1937.57793.47 in.9687.853,967.35 in.
Clover Meadow -----tons209.25125.25 in.418.5250.50 in.2092.51,252.50 in.
Prairie Meadow ----- tons2478313,779.00 in.4213124,424.20 in.122179.967,930.18 in.
Timothy Pasture --- acres251.01201.00 in.--------------------
Clover Pasture ----- acres235.00 de.--------------------
Blue-Grass Pasture, acres475.5338.50 in.--------------------
Prairie Pasture ----- acres318315,241. 00 in.--------------------

Total ----------------178,258 8031,260.80 in.----------$1,075,188 77$44,217.85 in.

Dairy Products. - Number of cheese factories, 1; capital invested, $900; cheese manufactured in 1875, 9,840 lbs.; in 1878, 10,014 lbs.; increase, 174 lbs. Butter manufactured In 1875, 216,804 lbs.; in 1878, 327,742 lbs.; increase, 110,938 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 5,295; in 1878, 5,514; increase, 219. Mules and asses, in 1877, 951; in 1878, 1,180; increase, 229. Milch cows, in 1877, 4,706; in 1878, 5,189; increase, 483. Other cattle, in 1877, 7,547; in 1878, 8,161; in-crease, 614. Sheep, in 1877, 3,464; in 1878, 3,430; decrease, 34. Swine, in 1877, 15,720; in 1878, 25,196; increase, 9,476.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 190; value of sheep killed by dogs, $570.

Wool. - Clip of 1877, 2,769 lbs.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $110,151.30.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 577.38. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 67,505; pear, 2,218; peach, 170,055; plum, 8,187; cherry, 11,247. Number oftrees not in bearing: apple, 188,202; pear, 8,757; peach, 58,585; plum, 5,216; cherry, 20,739.

Herd Law. - The herd law has been in operation throughout this county since, 1874. Public opinion is much divided as to its usefulness; but those who are opposed to it would probably object to its repeal, except upon some future specified date. It is thought that hedge growing has been promoted by the law, as lands are more largely cultivated. It stimulates grain growing, at the expense of cattle raising. The advocates of the law urge that it protects the poorer class of settlers, who can not afford to fence, and secures a denser population. The opponents claim that stock raising being so much more profitable, the law should be done away with, and all unimproved lands be utilized for grazing purposes; but they admit that the county would not be so generally prosperous without the law.

Fences. - Stone, 9,199 rods; cost, $18,398. Rail, 195,856 rods; cost, $254,612.80. Board, 23,539 rods; cost, $32,954.60. Wire, 15,234 rods; cost, $10,663.80. Hedge, 577,458 rods; cost, $375,347.70. Total rods of fence, 821,286; total cost, $691,976.90.

Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 476; pounds of honey, 5,193; wax, 70.50.

Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $49,100.

Manufactures. - Liberty township: steam saw mill, capital, $800; steam flouring mill, capital, $1,175. Montana township: steam flouring mill, capital, $3,600. Mound Valley township: cheese factory, capital, $900. Oswego township: steam and water power flouring mill, capital, $25,000; steam flouring mill, capital, $6,000; steam furniture factory, capital, $2,000. Richland township: steam saw mill, capital, $1,000; steam flouring mills, capital invested, $30,000; steam furniture factory, capital, $2,500; wind power grist mill, capital, $500; steam foundry and elevator, capital, $1,200. Walton township: steam flouring mill, capital, $1,500; cigar manufactories, 2, capital, $800; steam foundry and machine shops, capital, $500,000.

Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $361,691; railroad property, $319,150.97; total assessed valuation of all property, $2,387,013.81; true valuation of all property, $3,978,356.35. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $152,545.62; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed val. uation, .06+.

Newspaper History. - The first newspaper published in Labette county was the Eagle, published at Jacksonville in April, 1868, by B. K. Land.

The Parsons Eclipse was started April 9, 1874. it was originally a Greenback paper, but now is Democratic. J. B. Lamb is the editor and proprietor.

The Advance was the first paper established at Chetopa, the first number being issued January 15, 1869, by John W. Horner and A.S. Corey. In May, 1869, Mr. Corey retired, leaving to Mr. Horner the entire control of the paper. In January, 1870, S. A. Pitch bought a half interest, and continued in the business till August 1, 1871, when he sold to Mr. Horner. July 1, 1872, J. M. Cavaness bought a half interest, and took the business management, In January, 1873, L. J. Vanlandingham bought the interest of Col. Horner, and in January, 1874, sold out to Nixon Elliott, who only remained six months, when he sold to J. M. Cavaness, who has had exclusive control of the paper since that time. In January, 1874, the paper took the name of the Southern Kansas Advance.

In 1873, F. D. Harkrider commenced the publication of the Chetopa Democrat, but it survived only till after the fall election.

In 1876, J. H. Hibbetts and F. W. Frye started the Herald, but it suspended in the spring of 1817.

The Oswego Register was established in 1868 by E. R. Trask. It was edited at different times by Clover & McGill, Bishop & Crum, Perkins & Crum, J. Shorten, and Trask & Newton.

The Parsons Sun was established in June, 1871, by M. W. Reynolds and L. J. Perry. The Sun, has been continued by Mr. Reynolds with a number of partners at different times, but always as a Republican journal.

Schools. - Number of organized districts, 95; school population, 6,415; average salary of teachers, per mouth, males, $35.65; females, $30.85. School houses built during 1878, frame, 6. Total number of school houses, 92; log, 1; frame, 85; brick, 3; stone, 3. Value of all school property, $113,898. A few of the districts have ornamented their grounds by setting out trees. One school house is situated in a grove of natural growth.

Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 8; membership, 315; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $5,000, Congregational; organizations, 3; membership, 66; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $6,000. Episcopal: organizations, 1; membership, 17; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $5,250. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 24; membership, 1,100; church edifices, 3; value of church property, $12,258. Presbyterian: organizations, 7; membership, 260; church edifices, 3; value of church property, $14,000. Roman Catholic: organizations, 3; membership, 1,200; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $1,500. United Presbyterian: organizations, 2; membership, 70; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $10,000.

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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