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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

McPherson County

1878

Map of McPherson County - 1878

First settlements: Gypsum Creek township, May 4,1866, by Henry B. Tolle; Bonaville township, 1871, by Swedes; Smoky Hill township, date not given; Union township, 1866, S. Stephens & Bro., D. B. Ray, and Harper Bros.; Sharp's Creek township, 1867, J. M. Claypool, Henry Waber, and John F. Hughes; Battle Hill township, June 1, 1870, B. F. Patten, (he died March 20, 1878); Delmore township, 1867, Owen Nelson; New Gottland township, 1870, Hanson & Burk; Canton township, March, 1873, A. Haight, A. Oldfield, and E. Shaw; Empire township, May 24,1871, Cornelius Drum; McPherson township, 1871, J. P. Grant and A. Shellert; Castle township, no date given; Spring Valley township, summer of 1872, D. W. Minturn; Lone Tree township, spring of 1871, John Lindenberger; King City township, May, 1871, Soldiers' Colony, Ashtabula, Ohio; Groveland township, 1872, Daniel Sitts; Hayes township, 1872, A. S. Wilson, J. G. Snow and J. W. Boyce; Meridian township, no date; Mound township, May, 1871, J. C. Mahan and brother; Turkey Creek township, 1870, Messrs. Geary, Finan, Savage and Parrott; Superior township, 1872, D. T. McFarland; Little Valley township, 1870, Thomas Lockard. - First church buildings: Gypsum Creek township, Roxbury, 1878, Baptist; Bonaville township, 1877, United Brethren; Smoky Hill township, Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Bethany Church; Delmore township, 1871, Lutheran, built by the Swedes; Spring Valley township, 1875, by Mennonites, also used as a school-house by district No, 59; Meridian township, 1873, at Christian, by the Mennonites; the public school houses are generally used for religious worship throughout the county. - First school houses: Gypsum Creek township, 1870, by district No. 1; Bonaville township, district No. 85; Smoky Hill township, district No. 3; Battle Hill township, district No. 11; Delmore township, district No. 37; Canton township, on S. E. 1/4 Section 16, Township 19, Range 1, by individuals; Empire township, district No. 32; Castle township, district No. 58; Spring Valley township, district No. 60; Lone Tree township, district No. 16; King City township, 1873, district No. 13; Groveland township, district No. 38; Meridian township, district No. 50; Mound township, district No. 26; Turkey Creek township, district No. 18, 1873; Superior township, at Superior, district No. 44; Little Valley township, district No. 24. - First marriages: Gypsum township, H. B. Tolle and S. F. D. Snoddy, October 9, 1867; Sanford Reese and Celia Simcox, June 21, 1871 - the first marriages where both parties were residents of the township; Bonaville township, John Hedstrom and Johanna Tinstrum, June, 1876; Smoky Hill township, Gustaf Johnson, lady's name unknown; Union township, D. Stephens and Mary E. Hughes, fall of 1868; Sharp's Creek township, R. Underwood and Miss Hughes, fall of 1871; Battle Hill township, James Lewis and Lucinda Davis. March 29, 1875; Delmore township, Jonas Anderson, lady's name unknown, 1871; Canton township, Dr. W. H. George and Julia Oldfield, March, 1871; Empire township, Gust. Foreman and Emma Feldt, January 2, 1873; Spring Valley township, William Fresh and Caroline Moore, 1875; King City township, John Thomas and May Allen, April 22, 1872, Meridian township, Frank Ponts and Angeline Blair, fall of 1873; Mound township, R. Hughitt and M. L. Showalter, May 23, 1873; Turkey Creek township, Harvey Smith and Tillie Rudolph, 1872; Superior township, William Geer and Fannie Palmer, July 24, 1873. - First births: Gypsum Creek township, Henry Sorrenson, October 18, 1870; Bonaville township, May, 1872, name not given; Union township, Eddie Stephens; Sharp's Creek township, John Underwood, 1872; Delmore township, Emil Dalin, June 2, 1871; Canton township, William Holmes, June, 1873; Empire township, - Taylor, June, 1873; Lone Tree township, Charles Mayo, December 25, 1871; King City township, E. K. Nelson, October, 1871; Mound township, Alice Park, December, 1872; Turkey Creek township, Carrie Wright; July, 1872; Superior township, Lizzie Wiegand, April 29, 1873. - First business established: Gypsum Creek, township, Roxbury, 1872, general merchandise, by B. B. Gates; Smoky Hill township, general merchandise, L. N. Holmberg; Sharp's Creek township, Bacon's flouring and saw mill, 1873; Canton township, Canton, grocery, John Murphy; McPherson township, McPherson, general merchandise, H. Bowker; Lone Tree township, country store, S. B. Turner; King City township, George Crissey, July, 1872; Meridian township, dry goods and groceries, Schermerhorn & Brothers; Mound township, general merchandise, 1876, Daniel Krihled; Turkey Creek township, general merchandise, Lake View, James Geary. - First post offices: Gypsum Creek township, Gypsum Creek, 1868, J. T. Tolle, postmaster; Bonaville township, Bonaville, center of township, A. M. Baker, postmaster; Smoky Hill township, Swendal; Union township, Smoky Hill, 1870, John Rodell, postmaster; Sharp's Creek township, Calmer, 1874, P. F. Lindh, postmaster; Delmore township, Delmore, 1872, Peter Dalin, postmaster; New Gottland township, New Gottland, 1871, Gust. Burk, postmaster; Canton township, Canton; McPherson township, McPherson, 1872, Hiram Raff, postmaster; Castle township, Bacheler, B. F. King, postmaster; Spring Valley township, Spring Valley, Myron Hall, postmaster; Lone Tree township, Empire, J. J. Colby, postmaster; King City township, King City, July, 1872, J. N. Fellows, postmaster; Groveland township, Groveland, John L. Taylor, postmaster; Hayes township, Monitor, 1875, Morris S. Buckman, postmaster; Meridian township, Spring Valley, George Schneider, postmaster; Mound township, Crooked Creek, 1872, J. W. Edwards, postmaster; Superior township, Farland, 1873, Henry Geer, postmaster. - McPherson county was formerly a part of Piketon county, established in 1860; the first settler was Isaac Sharp, who settled upon and gave its name to Sharp's creek, 1859, but at the outbreak of the war returned to Council Grove. In 1865, Piketon County was wiped out, and what is now Mcpherson was formed out of a portion of Marion county. In 1867 the boundary lines of the county were fixed, and from that time to its organization it was attached to Saline county, for judicial purposes. The town of Lindsburg was located, in 1868, by a colony of Swedes, numbering about one hundred persons, and known as the "Chicago Colony." The first election in the county, then recognized only as a township, was held in 1869, at which township officers were elected. The county was named in honor of Gen. James B. McPherson, killed at Atlanta, Ga., July 23, 1864. S. D. Shields and J. H. Johnson were appointed special County Commissioners, and John Rundstrum, special County Clerk. The first county election was held May 2, 1870, and Lindsburg was selected as the county seat; county officers were also elected. At the November election of that year, 198 votes were cast, of which 197 were Republican. In the spring of 1871, a colony from Ashtabula county, Ohio, settled in the southern part of the county, and located the town of King City, which flourished for a time, but was prejudicially affected by the location of the county seat at McPherson, which event occurred in 1873. The town of McPherson was laid out and surveyed in June, 1872, by the McPherson Town Company; J. R. Fisher was President, and L. G. Skencke, Secretary. In September, 1873, the first Mennonite settlement was made in the county; they bought a large amount of land from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company, and also made many purchases from homesteaders. The town of Marquette was incorporated June 10, 1874. McPherson, the county seat, was incorporated a city of the third class, March 4, 1874. On the night of March 1, 1875, the county treasury was robbed of about $3,500, and the robber or robbers have never been discovered. June 29, 1875, G. W. Gandy killed a buffalo within six miles of McPherson. The first county fair was held October 11 and 12, 1875. June 17, 1876, a terrible wind storm, or cyclone, passed over the northern part of the county; several houses were blown down and a number of persons injured, but none killed. Where it crossed the Smoky Hill river, large trees were twisted off or uprooted. At the present time (1878), McPherson county reports seventy-two school houses, and not one saloon.

The county was organized in 1870.

Population in 1870, 738; population in 1875, 6,205; increase in five years, 5,467; population in 1878, 11,291; increase in eight years, 10,553. Rural population, 10,444; city or town population, 847; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 92.50.

* POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop.
Bonaville 384 Battle Hill 354 Canton 456
Castle 344 Delmore 479 Empire 442
Gypsum Creek 247 Groveland 321 Hayes 271
Jackson 389 King City 346 Lone Tree 1,037
Little Valley 352 McPherson 643 Meridian 520
Mound 596 New Gottland 379 Sharp's Creek 527
Smoky Hill 647 Spring Valley 512 Superior 561
Turkey Creek 525 Union 779    
* Keystone township has been organized since census was taken.

Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 5 per cent.; upland, 95 per cent.; forest (Government survey), 1 per cent.; prairie, 99 per cent. Average width of bottoms, one mile; general surface of the country, undulating.

Timber. - Average width of timber belts, not more than five rods. Varieties: cottonwood, ash, elm, willow, and some oak. Unusual attention has been given to tree planting. A great number of entries under the timber culture act have been made, and almost every farmer has a considerable number of growing trees. The planting last spring was very extensive. The chief varieties are cottonwood, box elder, ash and black walnut.

Principal Streams. - The Smoky Hill river, in the northern part of the county, flowing from west to east; its tributaries flow north, The Little Arkansas flows southeast. Turkey, Crooked and Emmet creeks flow south; Gypsum flows northeast. The county has a tolerable supply of springs; good well water obtained at a depth on the bottoms of from 10 to 40 feet; high prairie, 20 to 100 feet.

Coal. - None of consequence has been discovered.

Building Stone, etc. - In the southeast part of the county some limestone of fair quality is found; in the northern part there is an abundance of sandstone of second-rate quality. A few salt springs are reported, which have not been tested; also some mineral paint of poor quality. There are considerable quantities of gypsum throughout the county generally.

Railroad Connections. - There are no railroads in the county.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 576,000; taxable acres, 279,106; under cultivation, 170,679.65; cultivated to taxable acres, 60.79 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 46,573.78.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce, $1,994.80; poultry and eggs, $3,081.96.

Old Corn on Hand. - Old corn on hand March 1st, 1878, 264,351 bushels, or an average of 117 bushels to each family.

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

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.
Winter Wheat 1,819.00 1,819.00 4,572.00 16,434.50 36,902.00 58,844.00 83,729.00
Rye 404.00 404.00 600.00 2,210.90 2,571.00 1,165.00 1,044.00
Spring Wheat 1,036.00 1,705.00 4,994.00 2,224.91 1,097.00 1,370.00 4,256.00
Corn 4,854.00 4,454.00 15,872.00 17,738.00 16,403.00 32,801.00 36,552.00
Barley 85.00 64.00 142.00 609.75 1,098.00 2,673.00 2,762.00
Oats 906.00 989.00 2,211.00 6,082.99 9,680.00 12,173.00 16,696.00
Buckwheat 1.00 8.00 10.00 16.60 29.00 14.00 72.00
Irish Potatoes 149.00 198.00 534.00 469.90 736.08 918.00 984.00
Sweet Potatoes 2.00 8.00 50.00 8.71 10.50 24.00 30.52
Sorghum 81.00 54.00 138.00 162.39 120.50 308.00 232.38
Castor Beans ----- ----- 18.55 61.25 21.00 105.00 7.00
Cotton ----- ----- 0.30 ----- ----- 1.87 -----
Flax ----- ----- 0.25 41.75 30.00 135.00 88.50
Hemp ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 8.00 6.00
Tobacco ----- ----- 1.00 0.25 1.60 22.00 3.12
Broom Corn ----- ----- 1,156.00 3,741.50 3,894.50 7,762.00 7,152.00
Millet and Hungarian 34.00 59.00 63.00 170.25 557.00 1,083.00 1,488.00
Timothy Meadow ----- ----- 32.00 34.25 27.50 213.00 235.75
Clover Meadow ----- ----- 44.00 10.75 11.25 16.00 174.63
Prairie Meadow 4,351.00 7,792.00 1,035.00 1,337.00 384.00 680.00 9,799.00
Timothy Pasture ----- ----- 4.00 ----- 3.00 6.00 38.00
Clover Pasture ----- ----- 4.00 0.25 2.12 ----- 1.50
Blue-Grass Pasture ----- ----- 87.00 15.00 1.12 7.00 5.25
Prairie Pasture 816.00 816.00 717.00 24,049.00 7,305.00 3,777.00 5,323.00








Total 14,538.00 18,370.00 32,285.10 75,419.90 80,885.17 124,105.87 170,679.65

Increase in six years, 1,074+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 179+ per cent.

RANK of McPherson 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 39 44 30 14 5 3 3
Corn 50 55 42 42 45 38 34








Total Acreage in all Crops 49 48 46 30 30 15 3

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. 83,729.00 24,885.00 in. 2,093,225.00 1,092.877.00 in. $1,130,341.50 $180,010.90 in.
Rye - bu. 1,044.00 121.00 de. 22,968.00 2,662.00 de. 6,890.40 1,311.20 de.
Spring Wheat - bu. 4,256.00 2,886.00 in. 72,352.00 50,432.00 in. 34,005.44 15,373.44 in.
Corn - bu. 36,552.00 3,751.00 in. 1,571,736.00 95,691.00 in. 314,347.20 63,419.55 in.
Barley - bu. 2,762.00 89.00 in. 96,670.00 29,845.00 in. 27,067.60 7,020.10 in.
Oats - bu. 16,696.00 4,523.00 in. 801,408.00 253,623.00 in. 128,225.28 46,057.53 in.
Buckwheat - bu. 72.00 58.00 in. 1,440.00 1,272.00 in. 1,152.00 1,017.60 in.
Irish Potatoes - bu. 984.00 66.00 in. 98,400.00 43,320.00 in. 29,520.00 1,980.00 in.
Sweet Potatoes - bu. 30.52 6.52 in. 3,052.00 292.00 in. 19,200.00 14,800.00 in.
Sorghum - gall. 232.38 75.62 de. 26,723.70 8,696.30 de. 13,361.85 4,348.15 de.
Castor Beans - bu. 7.00 98.00 de. 77.00 1,183.00 de. 96.25 1,163.75 de.
Cotton - lbs. ----- 1.87 de. ----- 317.90 de. ----- 31.79 de.
Flax - bu. 88.50 46.50 de. 708.00 642.00 de. 708.00 709.50 de.
Hemp - lbs. 6.00 2.00 de. 5,520.00 1,840.00 de. 331.20 110.40 de.
Tobacco - lbs. 3.12 18.88 de. 2,308.80 13,971.20 de. 230.88 1,397.12 de.
Broom Corn - lbs. 7,152.00 610.00 de. 5,721,600.00 488,000.00 de. 214,560.00 18,300.00 de.
Millet and Hungarian - tons 1,488.00 405.00 in. 4,464.00 1,756.50 in. 17,856.00 7,026.00 in.
Timothy Meadow - tons 235.75 22.75 in. 353.62 34.12 in. 1,768.10 170.60 in.
Clover Meadow - tons 174.63 158.63 in. 314.33 285.53 in. 1,571.65 1,427.65 in.
Prairie Meadow - tons 9,799.00 9,119.00 in. 16,658.00 15,502.00 in. 45,809.50 42,630.50 in.
Timothy Pasture acres 38.00 32.00 in. ----- ----- ---- -----
Clover Pasture - acres 1.50 1.50 in. ----- ----- ----- -----
Blue-Grass Pasture - acres 5.25 1.75 de. ----- ----- ----- -----
Prairie Pasture - acres 5,323.00 1,546.00 in ----- ----- ----- -----







Total 170,679.65 46,573.78 in. ----- ----- $1,970,528.61 $338,687.72 in.

A GOOD YIELD. - Statement by Welch & Drew, of McPherson:

Winter Wheat. - Turkey Red variety. John Peterson, residing on Section 12, Township 19, Range 5 west, his post office being Eden Prairie, planted 12 acres of wheat, on upland, from which he harvested 57 1/2 bushels per acre, costing $9.80 per acre.

LARGE YIELD. - Statement by T. J. Womack, Marquette:

Winter Wheat. - James B. Darrah, whose post office address is Marquette, raised 12 acres of wheat on Section 30, Township 17, Range 4, bottom land, black loam, which was planted in the middle of September, and harvested early in June, yielding 36 bushels per acre. The crop was cultivated with harrow and cultivator, going over it three times. The total cost of producing the crop was $4.65 per acre.

A FINE YIELD. - Statement by T. J. Womack, Marquette:

Broom Corn. - F. G. Hawkinson had this season 150 acres of broom corn, which was planted on bottom land, a sandy loam, and cultivated three times, producing three-eighths of a ton per acre; the total cost being $5.75 per acre, which includes the cost of pressing.

GREAT YIELD. - Statement by M. P. Simpson, of McPherson:

Corn. - Large Yellow and Calico varieties. John Miller raised on Section 32, Township 18, Range 4 west, 25 acres of corn that produced an average of 103 bushels to the acre. The corn was planted May 1, and gathered in October. The land is upland, situated on the divide between the Smoky Hill and Arkansas rivers. The ground was ploughed 8 to 10 inches deep, planted in drills, harrowed once, and gone over four times with a "straddle row cultivator," the last time when it was beginning to tassel. The total cost of producing this crop and putting it in the crib was $7.37 1/2 per acre. Mr. Miller's post office is McPherson, Kansas.

Dairy Products. - Cheese manufactured in 1875, 1,153 lbs.; in 1878, 3,793 lbs.; increase, 2,640 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 69,487 lbs.; in 1878, 151,245 lbs.; increase, 81,758 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 3,961; in 1878, 4,863; increase, 902. Mules and asses, in 1877, 554; in 1878, 704, increase, 150. Milch cows, in 1877, 2,825; in 1878, 3,168; increase, 343. Other cattle, in 1877, 5,411; in 1878, 5,210; decrease, 201. Sheep, in 1877, 1,996; in 1878, 2,026; increase, 30. Swine, in 1877, 6,167; in 1878, 11,289; increase, 5,122.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 78; value of sheep killed by dogs, $234.

Wool. - Clip of 1877, 6,005 pounds.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $58,237.92.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 82.67. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 696; pear, 1,366; peach, 47,169; plum, 1,763; cherry, 1,198. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 34,758; pear, 2,136; peach, 119,970; plum, 11,453; cherry, 8,024.

Herd Law. - The herd law has been in force in the county since April, 1872. The general sentiment is strongly in its favor. It stimulates the growth of hedges and the raising of small grain; and it is urged that farmers can more cheaply herd their stock than protect their crops against their inroads by fencing,

Fences. - Stone, 165 rods, cost, $3.30. Rail, 1,105 rods; cost, $1,569.10. Board, 2,429 rods; cost, $3,522.05. Wire, 5,912 rods; cost, $4,374.88. Hedge, 227,542 rods; cost, $147,902.30. Total rods of fence, 237,153; total cost, $157,698.33.

Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 3.

Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $119,480.

Manufactures. - Groveland township: sorghum mill, capital, $100. Smoky Hill township: water-power flour and saw mill, capital, $5,000. Sharp's Creek township: water-power flour and saw mill, capital, $5,000. Turkey Creek township: broom factory, capital, $75.

Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $323,215.75; total assessed valuation of all property, $1,241,536.27; true valuation of all property, $2,069,227.12. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $25,859.28; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, .02+.

Newspaper History. - The McPherson Messenger was started by the Yale Brothers December 19, 1872. It was closed out for debt August 21, 1873, and bought by the McPherson Publishing Company, J. F. Clark, editor. April 30, 1874, J. F. Clark and others sold out their interests to George W. McClintock, who became sole proprietor and editor, and has continued the paper under the name of the McPherson Independent to the present time. It is Republican in politics.

The Farmers' Advocate, a Grange paper, made its first appearance July 7, 1874, and was continued until March 11, 1875, when it was removed to Salina, where it is now published.

The Freeman, Republican, established at McPherson, McPherson county, August 9, 1878; A. L. Clark and D. O. McCray, editors and publishers. It is still published.

Schools. - Number of organized districts, 91; school population, 3,714; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $30.05; females, $25.51. School houses built during 1878, frame, 12. Total number of school houses, 80; log, 4; frame, 67; stone, 9. Value of all school property, $43,757. But one district reported as having ornamented its school grounds with shade trees.

Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 7; membership, 256; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $1,500. Congregational: organizations, 5; membership, 103; Lutheran: organizations, 7; membership, 1,000; church edifices, 6; value of church property, $12,000. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 7; membership, 160, Presbyterian: organizations, 3; membership, 50. Roman Catholic: organizations, 2; membership, 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. Transcribed by Aireanne Smith, Kortlan Forrester, Rashelle Harper, students at Baxter Springs Middle School, November 2001.


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