Newton, the judicial seat and largest town in Harvey county, and one of the thriving cities of central Kansas, is located 30 miles north of Wichita and 33 miles east of Hutchinson. It is the division point of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R., and the pay roll of the employees at this point amounts to about $85,000 per month. It is also a station on the Missouri Pacific. The abundance of natural gas has made Newton a manufacturing town. It has a grain drill factory, an alfalfa mill, a wagon works, a threshing machine factory, cornice works, and a number of small plants devoted to various productions. In addition to the public schools, which are second to none in the state, Newton has two colleges, Bethel College (Mennonite) and the Evangelical Lutheran (Congregational). The business interests include 4 banks, a daily newspaper (the Evening Journal), three weeklies (the Journal, the Kansas Republican, and the Post), and the Volksblatt (German), a building and loan association, a creamery, 3 flour mills with a capacity of 1,200 barrels daily, 3 large elevators, and a number of well appointed stores. Among the metropolitan conveniences are two parks, a hospital, city mail boxes, telephone local and long distance service, a Carnegie library, 24 daily passenger trains, waterworks, an efficient sewer system, electric light plant, an ice plant with a daily capacity of 60 tons, all the leading fraternal organizations, 17 churches and a government building. The city is well supplied with express offices and telegraphic communications, and has an international money order postoffice with seven rural routes. The population according to the census of 1910 was 7,862.
The first building to occupy the town site of Newton was brought from Darlington township in March, 1870. Ten years later a thriving little city of the second class, with handsome brick blocks, fine residences, churches, schools and newspapers had grown up. This prosperity was largely brought about by the completion of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. in 1871, making Newton the shipping point for the immense herds of Texas cattle, which hitherto had been driven to Abilene. The cattle trade while it brought a great deal of wealth to the town had its disadvantages. A rough element held sway during this time, and social amusements were devised for the "cowboy trade" that were a disgrace to any community. Every person went armed, liquor was plentiful, many quarrels were engaged in, and some shooting was done, although the number of people killed in these border towns have been always exaggerated. In the two years of "cowboy reign" there were but 12 men killed in Newton. In 1873, the railroad having been extended to Dodge City and Wichita, the cattle trade moved to these points, leaving Newton free from this undersirable element. For a time business was dull as a result of the loss and this state of affairs was augmented by a disastrous fire which swept out the best part of the business section. However, in 1875 the town recovered from both and began a new and steady development.
Prior to 1872, Newton was without government in any form. In Febuary[sic] of that year it was incorporated as a city of the third class, and at the election held on April 1, the following officers were chosen: Mayor, James Gregory; police judge, M. J. Hennessey; councilmen, E. Chamberlain, D. Hamill, Isaac Thayer, B. C. Arnott, John Winram. The city council appointed R. B. Lynch, clerk; G. Chamberlain, treasurer; D. Skelley, attorney; W. Brooks, marshal; Charles Bowman, assistant marshal. In 1880 the governor proclaimed Newton a city of the second class, and it was divided into three wards.
The postoffice was established in 1871 with W. A. Russell postmaster. It was made a money order office in 1874. Newton owns and operates its own water system, which furnishes an abundance of water of superior quality.Pages 367-368 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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