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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Wilson County


Map of Wilson County - 1878

Population in 1860, 27; in 1870, 6,694; increase in ten years, 6,667; population in 1875, 9,749; increase in five years, 3,055; population in 1878, 11,760; increase in eighteen years, 11,733. Rural population, 10,348; city or town population, 1,412; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 88.

POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.

Townships and
Pop.Townships and
Pop.Townships and
Centre 1,318 Cedar 846 Chetopah 745
Colfax 583 Clifton 893 Duck Creek 518
Fall River 1,221 Guilford 516 Neodesha 1,535
newark 719 Pleasant Valley 775 Prairie 421
Talleyrand 487 Verdigris 1,183    

Face of the Country.-Bottom land, 20 per cent.; upland, 80 per cent. forest (Government survey), 8 per cent.; prairie, 92 per cent. Average width of river bottoms proper, from 1 to 1 1/2 miles; general surface of the country, level; some portions gently undulating; but few bluffs.

Timber.-Width of timber belts from one-half to one and one-half miles. Varieties: oak, hickory, walnut, hackberry, elm, soft maple, pecan, coffee bean, with considerable sycamore, ash, cherry and linn, or basswood; some cedar on the river bluffs.

Principal Streams.-Verdigris and Fall rivers, running southeast; Cedar, Chetopah and Sandy creeks, tributaries of the Verdigris, running southwest; Duck creek, tributary of Elk river, running south; Buffalo creek, tributary of the Verdigris, running southwest; and numerous smaller streams. There are a good many springs, and well water is obtained at a depth of from 12 to 30 feet.

Coal.-Coal is supposed to underlie the whole county. Thickness from six inches to three feet; found at the surface in the eastern part of the county, dipping west. Quality good; used for fuel throughout the county, and for local mechanical purposes.

Building Stone, etc.-Good lime and sandstone is well distributed over the county; there are salt springs and marshes near Fredonia, and fire clay in the vicinity of Fall and Verdigris rivers.

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

Agricultural Statistics.-Acres in the county, 368,640; taxable acres, 306,052; under cultivation, 125,499.62; cultivated to taxable acres, 41.01 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 17,377.62.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year.-Garden produce, $18,238; poultry and eggs, $5,401.

Old Corn on Hand.-Old Corn on hand March 1, 1878, 273,644 bushels, or an average of 116 bushels to each family.

Dairy Products.-Cheese manufactured in 1875, 2,132 lbs.; in 1878, 2,390 lbs.; increase, 258 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 211,342 lbs.; in 1878, 227,005 lbs.; increase, 15,663 lbs.

Farm Animals.-Number of horses, in 1877, 4,452; in 1878, 5,163; increase, 711. Mules and asses, in 1877, 612; in 1878, 805; increase, 193. Milch cows, in 1877, 5,614; in 1878, 6,116; increase, 502. Other cattle, in 1877, 10,709; in 1878, 10,126; decrease, 583. Sheep, in 1877, 6,111; in 1878, 3,533; decrease, 2,578. Swine, in 1877, 22,161; in 1878, 24,375; increase, 2,214.

Sheep Killed by Dogs.-Number of sheep killed by dogs, 153; value of sheep killed by dogs, $459.

Wool.-Clip of 1877, 8,339 pounds.

Value of Animals Slaughtered.-Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $137,608.26.

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


Winter Wheat 5,702.005,706.0013,025.0015,092.0020,126.0016,406.0020,358.00
Rye 390.00390.001,004.00542.50812.00249.00181.00
Spring Wheat 118.00112.0056.00139.00111.001.002.00
Corn 19,258.0016,937.0026,464.0032,902.0050,949.0045,426.0049.898.00
Barley 144.0037.0028.0021.0021.0031.0029.00
Oats 4,359.003,713.005,675.003,974.756,221.003,685.006,735.00
Buckwheat 87.0043.00113.0037.0080.0061.0059.00
Irish Potatoes 430.00577.00807.00701.971,036.00649.00755.00
Sweet Potatoes 17.0017.0082.0065.5439.7329.0075.00
Sorghum 192.00186.00405.00722.62365.25412.00507.00
Castor Beans 4.0024.75546.001,067.00627.751,645.00696.00
Cotton 6.0032.50138.00176.0037.853.001.37
Flax .253.00293.001,157.501,110.50186.00118.00
Hemp ----------2.0016.7515.00-----6.00
Tobacco 20.006.5028.0023.1719.3111.0013.75
Broom Corn ----------54.0092.04218.72255.00454.00
Millet and Hungarian 170.00377.00433.00855.001,810.752,631.002,088.00
Timothy Meadow 114.00114.00250.00162.50125.00179.00281.00
Clover Meadow 76.0076.0085.00185.1288.6841.0078.00
Prairie Meadow 9,395.0012,902.0029,142.0028,879.3323,744.0021,657.0026,657.00
Timothy Pasture 907.00-----93.003.0015.0084.0087.00
Clover Pasture 9.004.0029.0018.0012.5043.0014.00
Blue-Grass Pasture 50.0031.00461.00140.5021.2524.00186.50
Prairie Pasture 6,873.006,874.009,179.0019,188.5817,240.0014,414.0016.220.00

Total 48,321.2548,162.7588,392.00106,162.87124,847.29108,122.00125,499.62

Increase In six years, 160 - per cent.
Average increase per annum, 26.66 - per cent.

RANK of Wilson 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 Crops28281415112223

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.20,358.003,952.00 in.407,160.00210,288.00 in.$236,152.80$58,968.00 in.
Rye - bu.181.0068.00 de3,258.00477.00 de.977.40143.10 de.
Spring Wheat - bu.2.001.00 in.20.0010.00 in.10.002.00 in.
Corn - bu.49,898.004,472.00 in.1,496,940.00320,100.00 de.299,388.0027,679.20 de.
Barley- bu.29.002.00 de.725.0019.00 de.253.7530.55 in.
Oats - bu.6,735 003,050.00 in.269,400.00114,630.00 in.40,410.0017,194.50 in.
Buckwheat - bu.59,00 2.00 de.1,298.00566.00 in.1,038.40452.80 in.
Irish Potatoes- bu.755.00106.00 in.67,950.0027,712.00 in.37,372.5017,253.50 in.
Sweet Potatoes - bu.75.0046.00 in.7,500.004,600.00 in.6,750.004,140.00 In.
Sorghum - gall.507.0095.00 in.158,305.0010,925.00 in.29.152.505,462.50 in.
Castor Beans - bu.696.00949.00 de.6,264.0011,831.00 de.7,830.0010,265.00 de.
Cotton - lbs.1.371.63 de.232 90277.10 de.20.9630.04 de.
Flax - bu.118.0068.00 de.1,180.00308.00 de.1,180.00382.40 de.
Hemp - lbs.6.006.00 in.5,520.005,520.00 in.331.20331.20 in.
Tobacco - lbs.13.752.75 in.10,175.002,035.00 in.1,017.50203.50 in.
Broom Corn - lbs.454.00199.00 in.363,200.00159,200.00 in.13,620.005,970 00 in.
Millet and Hungarian tons2,088.00543.00 de.6,264.00971.25 de.23,803.203,690.75 de.
Timothy Meadow - tons281.00102.00 in.421.50153.00 in1,981.05719.10 in.
Clover Meadow - tons78.0037.00 in.140.4066.60 in.659.88313.02 in.
Prairie Meadow - tons26,657.005,000.00 in.34,654.006,499.90 in.95,298.5017,874.72 in.
Timothy, Pasture - acres87.003.00 in.--------------------
Clover Pasture - acres14 0029 00 de.--------------------
Blue-Grass Pasture acres186.50162.50 in.--------------------
Prairie Pasture - acres16,220.001,806.00 in.--------------------

Total 125,499.6217,377.62 in.----------$797,247.64$86,724.90 in.

Horticulture.-Number of acres nurseries, 58. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 34,646; pear, 600; peach, 173,761; plum, 1,847; cherry, 8,645. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 115,580; pear, 2,156; peach, 61,398; plum, 4,341; cherry, 16,703.

Herd Law.-The herd law is not in force in this county.

Fences.-Stone, 13,823 rods; cost, $24,190.25. Rail, 272,294 rods; cost, $367,596.90. Board, .59,159 rods; cost, $83,414.19. Wire, 34,483 rods; cost, $24,482.93. Hedge, .333,325 rods; cost, $216,661.25. Total rods of fence, 713,084; total cost, $716,345.52.

Apiaculture.-Number of stands of bees, 271; pounds of honey, 1,697; wax, 90.

Value of Agricultural Implements.-Amount invested in agricultural implements, 443,526.

Manufactures.-Cedar township: water-power saw and grist mill, capital, $6,000; water-power flouring mills, 2, capital, $8,000. Centre township: water-power flouring mill, capital, $8,000. Clinton township: steam saw mill, capital, $500. Fall River township; steam saw and grist mills, 2, capital, $8,500. Neodesha township: steam saw and grist mill, capital, $16,000; water-power flouring mills, 2, capital, $11,500; steam foundry and machine shops, capital, $8,000. Verdigris township: steam saw mill, capital, $2,200; steam saw and grist mill, capital, $6,000.

Valuation and Indebtedness.-Assessed valuation of personal property, $435,346; total assessed valuation of all property, $1,732,243; true valuation of all property, $2,887,071.67. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, 4120,105.26; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, .07 -

Newspaper History.-The Wilson County Courier, the first paper printed in Wilson county was issued January 20,1870, at Fredonia, the county seat, and announced its political faith to be Republican. It was started by John R. Jennings, who moved the material from Leroy, where he had been using it in the publication of the Leroy Pioneer. The Courier was a six-column folio sheet. At the end of three months the Courier was enlarged to seven columns, and continued that size until its suspension In December, 1870, after an existence of about eleven months.

The Altoona Union, the second paper printed in Wilson county, was also a seven-column folio, and appeared for the first time at Altoona, March 30, 1870. P. B. Bowser and J. N. D. Brown were its publishers. The Union enunciated no political creed. At the end of four weeks Bowser retired, leaving Brown in full control. Brown continued to manage it until July 9, of the same year, at which date he followed Bowser's example, and the names of James A. Smith and Carrie Stearns Smith were hoisted as editors and publishers. The new managers announced that "whenever politics are brought into question, the Union will advocate the principles of the Republican party," which declaration they made good. Mr. and Mrs. Smith published the Union until December 5,1872. Mrs. S. had a practical knowledge of printing, and editorial ability of a high order, and upon her a large share of the work of getting out the paper devolved. With inverted column rules, the final number of the Union mourned the death of Horace Greeley. Smith is now (November, 1878,) living at Girard, Kansas, and is Probate Judge of Crawford county.

The third candidate in the newspaper line for public favor, was the Guilford Citizen, John S. Gilmore, editor and proprietor. The first number of the paper was issued April 21, 1870, and it was a seven-column sheet. The press was brought from Emporia, where it had been used to print the Emporia News, and Col. P. B. Plumb was its first owner. The Citizen avowed its political belief and doctrine to be Republican. October 22, 1870, at Vol. 1, No. 27, the paper contained its own obituary.

The Neodesha Citizen was a continuation of the Guilford Citizen, the proprietor of the latter moving the office to Neodesha and reviving the paper under that name. The first number of the new paper was printed November 18, 1870. The Citizen was Republican. November 29, 1872, its proprietor suspended its publication, at the end of the second volume.

The Neodesha Enterprise was started December 24,1870. J. A. Berry and S. B. Campbell were Its editors and publishers. The Enterprise was a Democratic paper. On the 23d of March, 1871, after a brief existence of nine weeks, the publication was stopped.

The Fredonia Journal was started January 13,1871, by W. A. Peffer and Geo. M. Wellman. The editors reserved their political views for the future. The paper was a seven-column folio. It was the successor of the Wilson County Courier, as the representative of Fredonia's interests, and was printed with the material that had been used In the publication of the Courier. April 28, 1871, it was enlarged to eight columns. The Journal was the "official paper of the county" while published. It supported the Republican nominees in every campaign. After the demise of the Neodesha Citizen and Altoona Union, the Journal for several weeks was the only paper in the county. In May, 1873, Peffer & Wellman sold the Journal office to Jno. S. Gilmore, and on the 16th of that month, at Vol. 3, No. 20, the last number of the Journal was issued. Peffer is now publishing the Coffeyville Journal, and Wellman the Saline Valley Register, at Lincoln Center, Lincoln county.

The Wilson County Free Press was the third paper started at Neodesha. Col. G. P. Smith, of Humboldt, was its founder. He moved the material of the Humboldt Southwest to Neodesha, using it to print the Free Press, the initial number of which appeared on the 9th of January, 1873, about six weeks after the suspension of the Neodesha Citizen. The Free Press, while nominally Independent in politics, was practically "Opposition" at all times. Col. Smith sold the Free Press to G. D. Ingersoll, in December, 1874, and retired. Jas. A. McHenry's name went up as editor. Ingersoll at once changed its politics to Republican. Soon after he changed Its name from the Wilson County Free Press to the Neodesha Free Press. Ingersoll sold the Free Press to F. H. McCarter in December, 1876. McCarter made it Independent. He is still publishing it. Col. Smith is practicing law in Allen county, and Ingersoll Is publishing the New Era, at Valley Falls, Jefferson county.

The Wilson County Citizen with John S. Gilmore as proprietor, next came upon the scene in Fredonia, to take the place of the Fredonia Journal. Gilmore bought the Journal in order to merge it with the Citizen. The first number of the Wilson County Citizen was printed June 6, 1873, just three weeks after the suspension of the Journal. The Citizen started out at Vol. 3, No. 27, this being attained by adding together the time it was published at Guilford and Neodesha. It continued a seven-column Republican paper, and was printed on the same type that had been used in its former publication. The Journal press was employed, however; and in September, 1873, the original Citizen press, which had been brought from Emporia, was sold to W. H. Watkins, who started the Independence Kansan. September 7, 1877, the Citizen donned an entirely new dress, was enlarged to an eight-column paper, and a new, large sized and improved press purchased to print it on. It has been the official county paper since 1873, and Gilmore continues to conduct it. It has missed five publications, but never Issued a half-sheet.

The Fredonia Tribune, Democratic In politics, was started September 7, 1876. The warm and exciting campaign of that year was the main cause of its appearance. B. F. Bowen, a printer from Cairo, Illinois, was its editor and publisher. The Tribune was the regulation size-seven columns to the page - and new printing material was used in its publication. In January, 1878, it renounced its first love, Democracy, and embraced Greenback views. In the spring of 1878, Douglas Hite bought a half interest In the Tribune, and became one of the publishers. September 12, of the same year, Bowen retired from the paper, leaving Hite In exclusive control, and the latter is now running it.

Schools.-Number of organized districts, 95; school population, 4,932; average salary of teachers per month, males, $32.65; females, $27.05. School houses built during 1878, frame, 2. Total number of school houses, 89; log, 4; frame, 80; brick, 2; stone, 3. Value of all school property, $52,792. No report as to the improvement or ornamentation of school grounds.

Churches.-Baptist:, organizations, 7; membership, 305; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $400. Congregational: organizations, 5; membership, 149; church edifices, 3; value of church property, $5,600. Episcopal: membership, 4. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 30; membership, 1,100; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $8,500. Presbyterian: organizations, 1; membership, 20; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $2,500. Roman Catholic: organizations, 2; membership, 800; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $1,000.

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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