The history of what is now Pottawatomie county, is mainly the history of the Pottawatomie Indians, a large portion of their reservation lying in the limits of this county. This reservation, by the way, was chosen by members of that tribe, and, with their usual sagacity, they selected a most desirable portion of the country, on which to build their new homes. The first settlement was made by the Jesuit Fathers, who, in 1848, established a mission at what is now the town of St. Mary's, for the purpose of educating and Christianizing the Indians. Outside the little band of priests, James Graham was probably the first white man who settled in the county. Mr. Graham came from St. Louis, with the founders of the mission, landing at what is now St. Mary's, June 17, 1848, going all the way by water. He went up the Kansas river in the steamboat Excel, that being her first trip up the river.
In 1850, Dr. L. R. Palmer came to St. Mary's, as a physician employed by the Government. At that time there were two log cabins on the Vermillion, about twelve miles west of the village, which were built by whites intending to settle, but had been abandoned, through fear of the hostile Indians.
The first of the Catholic priests was Father Gaillaud, who came in 1848. He learned the Indian language, and was really the founder of the mission. He was much beloved by the Indians, and could influence them as no other man could. His death occurred in August, 1877.
Among the earliest settlers was Robert Wilson and his two sons, James and Lewis. Mr. Wilson built a log cabin on Rock creek - now called Brush creek - at the military crossing, where he kept a frontier hotel for a number of years. He pre-empted the town site of Louisville. Of these three, James is the only one now living.
Frank X. Palmer, son of Dr. L. R. and Mrs. Helen L. Palmer, was the first white child born in the county.
About 1854, a Mr. Dyer settled on the Big Blue, above Manhattan. In the same year, Henry Rammelt and Andrew Knoll settled on Rock creek. Shortly after them came Charles Jenkins, a brother of Gaius Jenkins, who was shot at Lawrence by General James H. Lane.
A. K. Johnson was one of the first to make a settlement on the Vermillion, and at about at the same time, Sol. Hicks came to the county to reside.
The agents for the Pottawatomies were located at St. Mary's. The first Indian agent stationed here was Mr. Luke Lee, of Mississippi. He was succeeded by a number of others, Dr. Palmer being the last agent for these Indians, acting as such at the time of their final payment, in 1870. Shortly after that time, the larger part of the tribe removed to the Indian Nation, and, at this time, the only Indians in this neighborhood, of the Pottawatomie tribe, are those known as the Prairie band, numbering some 450; for these, Dr. Linn, of St. Mary's, is agent.
The first frame farm house in this county was erected by Mr. F. Cailloz, in 1866.
The Kansas Pacific Railroad reached what is now Wamego, in July, 1866.
The first election held in this county was in March, 1855, for delegates to the Territorial Legislature, at which eleven votes were cast. The county was organized in 1856; at that time it was difficult to get enough people together to form an election board.
The first tax levy was made in 1868. John O'Flanagan was the first assessor. The first patent for land was issued in 1867.
Population in 1860, 1,529; in 1870, 7,848; increase in ten years, 6,319; population in 1875, 10,344; increase in five years, 2,496; population in 1878, 11,196; increase in eighteen years, 9,667. Rural population, 8,375; city or town population, 2,821; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 74.80.
|TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES.||Pop.||TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES.||Pop.||TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES.||Pop.|
|Mill Creek||1,019||Pottawatomie||1,051||Rock Creek||760|
|Shannon||679||St. George||440||St. Mary's||795|
Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 25 per cent; upland, 75 per cent.; forest (Government survey), 4 per cent.; prairie, 96 per cent. Average width of bottoms - of the creeks, one mile; of the Kansas and Blue rivers, three miles; general surface of the country, bluffy along the Blue; remainder, undulating.
Timber. Average width of timber belts, one-quarter mile. Varieties: burr oak, black walnut, elm (white and slippery), white hickory (or pignut), sycamore, cottonwood, honey locust, and some willow.
Principal Streams. - Kansas river, flowing east, forming the south boundary of the county. Big Blue river, flowing nearly south, forming the western boundary of the county. Tributaries of the Kansas - all flowing south or southeast - are Black Jack, Pleasant run, Rock creek, and a great number of smaller streams falling into the last two named. The Red Vermillion river enters the county on the northeast, and flows in a southwesterly direction, emptying into the Kansas. Tributaries of the Big Blue, Spring creek, with numerous branches, Shannon, Carnahan, McIntyre and Cedar creeks, all flowing in a west or southwest direction. Springs are numerous, except in the river bottoms; and good well water is obtained at a depth of from 10 to 40, feet. Coal.- A ten-inch vein is reported in Townships 7, 8 and 10, Range 12, and some mining has been done.
Building Stone, etc. - Limestone abundant everywhere, except in the Kansas Valley.
Railroad Connections. - The Kansas Pacific Railway runs through the county, following the Kansas Valley. Stations: St. Mary's Mission, Belvue, Wamego and St. George. Kansas Central R. R. (narrow gauge) enters the county in northeast corner, and runs to Onaga, the present terminus. Stations: Onaga, Savannah, Havens and Havenville.
Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 542,720; taxable acres, 391,034; under cultivation, 96,124.25; cultivated to taxable acres, 24.58 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 4,851.38.
Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce, $917.25; poultry and eggs, $9,833.50.
STATEMENT showing the Acreage of Field Crops named from 1872 to 1878, inclusive.
|Millet and Hungarian||578.00||671.00||1,144.00||1,322.25||2,702.00||3,328.00||2,304.00|
Increase in six years, 49+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 8.16+ per cent.
RANK of Pottawatomie 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 Crops||19||26||27||22||26||29||34|
|Winter Wheat - bu.||4,910.00||1,894.00 in.||98,200.00||68,040.00 in.||$63,830.00||$35,178.00 in.|
|Rye - bu.||3,997.00||49.00 de.||83,937.00||3,017.00 in.||25,181.10||1,522.50 de.|
|Spring Wheat - bu.||10,055.00||5,969.00 in.||100,550.00||6,572.00 in.||55,302.50||24,578.80 de.|
|Corn - bu.||41,989.00||5,668.00 de.||1,679,560.00||465,005.00 de.||302,320.80||126,592.20 de.|
|Barley - bu.||1,683.00||927.00 de.||50,490.00||12,150.00 de.||20,196.00||2,030.40 in.|
|Oats - bu.||9,584.00||2,381.00 in.||383,360.00||23,210.00 in.||65,171.20||7,547.20 in.|
|Buckwheat - bu.||59.00||15.00 de.||1,121.00||85.00 in.||896.80||68.00 in.|
|Irish Potatoes - bu.||717.00||9.00 in.||43,020.00||10,080.00 de.||12,906.00||18,954.00 de.|
|Sweet Potatoes - bu.||19.75||6.75 in.||1,777.50||282.50 in.||1,066.50||428.50 de.|
|Sorghum - gall.||244.25||72.75 de.||28,088.75||8,366.25 de.||14,044.38||4,183.12 de.|
|Castor Beans - bu.||-----||50.00 de.||-----||550.00 de.||-----||550.00 de.|
|Cotton - lbs.||-----||-----||-----||-----||-----||-----|
|Flax - bu.||222.75||148.75 in.||2,673.00||1,933.00 in.||2,673.00||1,896.00 in.|
|Hemp - lbs.||-----||-----||-----||-----||-----||-----|
|Tobacco - lbs.||2.75||2.12 de.||2,035.00||1,568.80 de.||203.50||156.88 de.|
|Broom Corn - lbs.||205.00||41.00 in.||164,000.00||32,800.00 in.||6,150.00||1,230.00 in.|
|Millet and Hungarian - tons||2,304.00||1,024.00 de.||6,912.00||3,072.00 de.||27,648.00||12,288.00 de.|
|Timothy Meadow - tons||68.75||165.25 de.||96.25||231.35 de.||481.25||1,156.75 de.|
|Clover Meadow - tons||34.00||12.00 de.||68.00||24.00 de.||340.00||120.00 de.|
|Prairie Meadow - tons||11,571.00||329.00 in.||19,671.00||559.60 in.||54,095.25||1,538.70 in.|
|Timothy Pasture acres||84.00||78.00 in.||-----||-----||-----||-----|
|Clover Pasture - acres||3.00||3.00 in.||-----||-----||-----||-----|
|Blue-Grass Pasture - acres||60.00||58.00 in.||-----||-----||-----||-----|
|Prairie Pasture - acres||8,311.00||1,919.00 in.||-----||-----||-----||-----|
|Total||96,124.25||4,851.38 in.||-----||-----||$652,506.28||$141,042.45 de.|
Old Corn on Hand. - Old corn on hand March 1st, 1878, 599,846 bushels, or an average of 268 bushels to each family.
Dairy Products. - Cheese manufactured in 1875, 1,078 lbs.; in 1878, 8,800 lbs.; increase, 7,722 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 214,905 lbs.; in 1878, 361,896 lbs.; increase, 146,991 lbs.
Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 6,127; in 1878, 6,784; increase, 657. Mules and asses, in 1877, 356; in 1878, 441; increase, 85. Milch cows, in 1877, 8,565; in 1878, 9,765; increase, 1,200. Other cattle, in 1877, 17,910; in 1878, 20,780; increase, 2,870. Sheep, in 1877, 4,837; in 1878, 5,661; increase, 824. Swine, in 1877, 12,710; in 1878, 21,433; increase, 8,723.
Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 38; value of sheep killed by dogs, $114.
Wool. - Clip of 1877, 23,259 pounds.
Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $212,465.22.
Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 196.75. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 10,573; pear, 632; peach, 69,858; plum, 1,597; cherry, 4,033. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 39,897; pear, 1,083; peach, 34,347; plum, 1,168; cherry, 7,627.
Herd Law. - There is no herd law in this county.
Fences. - Stone, 45,113 rods; cost, $78,947.75. Rail, 146,790 rods; cost, $205,506. Board, 62,427 rods; cost, $89,269.61. Wire, 106,874 rods; cost, $78,018.02. Hedge, 49,850 rods; cost, $29,910. Total rods of fence, 411,054; total cost, $481,651.38.
Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 161; pounds of honey, 720; wax, 7.
Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $58,436.
Manufactures. - Belvue township: steam saw mill; steam flouring mill. Blue township: water-power saw and flour mill. Center township: steam saw mill; steam and water flour mill. Louisville township: steam saw mill; water-power grist mill; furniture factory. Pottawatomie township: steam saw mill. Rock Creek township: water-power saw mill. Shannon township: water-power saw and corn mill. St. Mary's township: steam saw mill; steam flouring mill.
Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $704,909; railroad property, $277,709.56; total assessed valuation of all property, $3,048,579.56 true valuation of all property, $5,080,965.93. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $149,687; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, .05-.
Newspaper History. - The Pottawatomie Gazette was started at Louisville, by A. Sellers, July 17, 1867, the first paper in Pottawatomie county. In February, 1868, Patrick McClosky bought a half interest in the paper, and July 5, 1869, the other half from Mr. Sellers.
The Wamego Courier was started in May, 1869, by Mr. Jennings, since of the Le Roy Pioneer. The Courier suspended the following September.
The Kansas Reporter, published at Louisville, is the oldest paper in Pottawatomie county. It was established in 1870, and is a continuation of the old Pottawatomie Gazette, which was owned by P. McClosky. The Reporter, was at first owned by a stock company, W. H. Powell being the editor. He was followed by E. Barnes, who conducted the paper for several years. Hick & Reed purchased the interest of Mr. Barnes, in the summer of 1876, and published the paper until April, 1878. At that time S. Fowler, the present editor, took possession, and still continues to publish it.
The first number of the St. Mary's Star was issued in October, 1870, John O'Flanagan being the editor. It was Democratic in politics. The Star survived but a few months, the office passing into the hands of James W. Fox, who commenced the publication of the Pottawatomie Independent. This paper was also a short-lived one; Mr. Fox selling out to a joint stock company, who, after publishing a paper a few weeks, sold the material to some parties who moved it from St. Mary's.
The Wamego Tribune was established by W. P. Campbell, the first number being issued in September, 1877, J. B. Campbell being associated in the publication, and the paper was published weekly. On the 1st of October, 1878, the paper was issued semi-weekly, and is still published twice a week, under the original proprietors. It is Republican in politics.
The St. Mary's Democrat succeeded the Times, being started February 1, 1878, by H. H. Tipton, editor and publisher. It is published weekly, and its name indicates the politics.
The Onaga Journal was established May 9, 1878, by Stauffer & Carnes, editors and proprietors. Mr. Carnes remained but three weeks, since which time it has been conducted by Samuel A. Stauffer. The Journal is published weekly, and is Republican in politics.
The Pottawatomie Republican was published at Wamego, by W. E. Powell, commencing in May, 1871, and continuing till November of the same year, when it was discontinued. It was a Republican journal.
In the spring of 1871, Palmer & Linn bought the material of the Pottawatomie Star, and published it about one year, when they sold to W. E. Powell, who took the office to some point further west.
The Kansas Valley was established in 1869, by Clardy & O'Flanagan, who published it till March, 1870, when Mr. Clardy sold out to his partner. Mr. O'Flanagan continued the paper till November, 1871, when he sold the office to J. T. Bradley, who removed it to Solomon City. The Valley was a strong Democratic paper.
The Wamego Blade, Independent in politics, was started in the spring of 1872, by R. E. Cunningham, who, after nearly a year, moved the material to Clay Center.
In August, 1870, the Dispatch was commenced at Wamego, by R. W. Jenkins, as an Independent paper. In the spring of 1871, Judge Clardy purchased an interest, and the new firm published it till August, 1871, when they sold it to Mr. Farew, who took the material to Neuchatel, in Nemaha county.
The St. Mary's Times was established by O. Le Roy Sedgwick, as a Republican newspaper, in the spring of 1875, and its publication was continued by him till July, 1877, when H. G. Evans took control of it, and changed the name to St. Mary's Democrat, Independent in politics. The paper continued under the control of Mr. Evans till the spring of 1878, when it passed into the hands of H. H. Tipton, who changed it to a Democratic paper.
Early in January, 1878, H. G. Evans commenced the publication of the Pottawatomie Chief, at St. Mary's, advocating Greenback doctrines. In a few weeks he took Mr. J. A. McAnerny into partnership. This firm remained in charge till August, 1878, when they sold to J. E. Clardy, who still continues its publication.
Schools. - Number of organized districts, 90; school population, 4,767; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $36.66; females, $28.11. School houses built during 1878, 4; frame, 2; stone, 2. Total number of school houses, 84; log, 3; frame, 53; brick, 1; stone, 27. Value of all school property, $66,684. No report as to the ornamentation of school grounds.
Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 5; membership, 250; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $1,500. Congregational: organizations, 9; membership, 247; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $5,000. Episcopal: membership, 8. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 5; membership, 493; church edifices, 3; value of church property, $4,900. Presbyterian: organizations, 2; membership, 80; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $2,000. Roman Catholic: organizations, 5; membership, 2,500; church edifices, 3; value of church property, $50,000.
* Lone Tree township has been organized since a census has been taken.
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 organized 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 Christian O'Neill, January 2002.
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