Land Offices.Kansas was made a land district by an act of Congress, approved on July 22, 1854, which provided for the establishment of a land office at the seat of government. On Aug. 4 John Calhoun was appointed surveyor-general for the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, and soon after Lecompton was designated as the territorial capital, an office known as the Pawnee land office was opened at that point. The first filings were made in that office in May, 1856, though prior to that time a number of claims had been filed upon through the office of the surveyor-general. In March, 1857, Congress provided for land offices at Doniphan, Fort Scott and Ogden. The first preëmption entry was made on April 21, 1857, by Julius G. Newman for the southwest quarter of section 25, township 5 south, range 20 east, a little northwest of Atchison.
The Fort Scott office was removed to Humboldt in Sept., 1861. Soon afterward it was raided by guerrillas, and on Oct. 3, 1861, it was taken to Mapleton, where it remained until the following May, when it was returned to Humboldt. On Dec. 15, 1870, it was taken to Neodesha, and on Oct. 3, 1871, to independence, where it continued to do business until consolidated with the office at Topeka on Feb. 28, 1889.
The Ogden office was removed to Junction City on Oct. 6, 1859, and to Salina on May 1, 1871. On Dec. 31, 1893, it was consolidated with the Topeka office, which was originally the Lecompton office, having been removed to Topeka in Sept., 1861.
The Doniphan office was removed to Kickapoo, or Kickapoo City, on Dec. 3, 1857, where it was retained until Sept. 6, 1861, when it was taken to Atchison. In Dec., 1863, it was consolidated with the Topeka office.
As the frontier moved westward the land offices in the eastern part of the state were either consolidated or discontinued, and new ones were established farther west, in order to accommodate the constant stream of immigrants looking for homesteads. Two offices were opened in the summer of 1870: one on June 11 at Augusta, and the other on July 7, at Concordia. The former was removed to Wichita in Feb., 1872, and both were consolidated with the Topeka office on Feb. 28, 1889. In June, 1872, a land office was opened at Cawker City, and on June 20, 1874, additional offices were established at Hays City and Larned. In May, 1881, an office was opened at Oberlin, and two years later one was opened at Dodge City. In 1885 the state was divided into ten land districts as follows: Topeka, office at Topeka; Wichita, office at Wichita; Republican, office at Concordia; Salina, office at Salina; Western, office at Wakeeney; Osage, office at Independence; Northwestern, office at Kirwin; Northern, office at Oberlin; Arkansas Valley, office at Larned; Garden City, office at Garden City.
Under this arrangement the office at Kirwin was the one originally established at Cawker City, and the one at Wakeeney was formerly the Hays City office. The former was consolidated with the Oberlin office on Sept. 11, 1893. On Jan. 25, 1891, the Larned and Garden City offices were consolidated, and on Feb. 10 the consolidated office was removed to Dodge City. About the same time the Oberlin office was removed to Colby. One by one the land districts and offices have been absorbed by those at Dodge City and Topeka, which in 1911 were the only two government land offices in Kansas. The Topeka office contains the records of the Lecompton, Doniphan, Atchison, Kickapoo, Fort Scott, Humboldt, Mapleton, Neodesha, Ogden, Independence, Junction City, Salina and Concordia offices, and a part of the records of the offices at Augusta and Wichita, except such as were destroyed by fire in the late fall of 1869, part of which have been replaced by copies from the general land offices at Washington. The Dodge City office holds the records of the offices formerly at Cawker City, Kirwin, Colby, Oberlin, Wakeeney, Hays City, Larned and Garden City, and a portion of the records of the old Augusta and Wichita offices.Pages 97-98 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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