Pages 8-13, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


8 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

The Territorial Period *

Allen county no doubt has a history, if we could only find it, dating far beyond the brief period of its occupation by the present population. Away in the dim recesses of prehistoric times there is good reason to believe the country we now call Kansas, and perhaps this very valley, was inhabited by a numerous people, different from and far more advanced in civilization than any of the aborigines found here upon the advent of the Europeans. The numerous and massive ruins of long forgotten cities in Arizona, in the canons of the Colorado, and the traces of vast systems of irrigation yet discernible in portions of our own State, prove that this portion of the continent had a history in connection with the human race long before it became the hunting grounds of the Indian or the home of the Caucassian; but who they were, whence they came, how long they remained, whither they went, and what were the agencies of war, pestilence or famine which so completely blotted them out, are questions for the archaeologist and antiquary, and not for the practical historian of to-day.

The first written account we have of the territory included within this State dates from about the middle of the sixteenth century, when a Spanish expedition, under the leadership of Coronado, coming from Mexico by way of the Gulf of California, penetrated as far as the north central part of Kansas. The expedition came in search of gold and silver and fabulously rich cities, but it found neither gold nor silver nor cities, and so the disorganized, discouraged and demoralized remnant of it returned to Mexico as best it could, having left no permanent mark upon the State.

Another Spaniard, DeSoto, after discovering the Mississippi, crossed it in his search for the fountain of perpetual youth and penetrated almost to the borders of Kansas, but failing to find the fabled fountain returned and was buried in the stream he had discovered, and the only reminder of him in Kansas is his name, given to a small station on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad near Lawrence.

French explorers were more successful than the Spanish had been. Coming down from the north and east, they ascended the Missouri to the mouth of the Kansas river which they entered and followed some distance. They have left the most glowing accounts of the beauty and fertility of the country and especially of the incredible numbers of buffalo, deer, bear and other wild animals with which it abounded.

In 1682 the French took possession of the mouth of the Mississippi in the name of the King of France and named the country on its banks Louis-


* NOTE—The Publishers wish to acknowledge their indebtedness for many of the facts recited in this chapter to two addresses on "The History of Alien County," one delivered at Iola, July 4, 1876, by Dr. John W. Scott, and the other delivered the same day at Humboldt, by Major Watson Stewart.

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 9

iana, in honor of Louis XIV. The name was applied to a vast but somewhat indefinite extent of territory west of the Mississippi river including what is now divided into eighteen States and Territories of our Union, Kansas being one of them. It remained nominally in the possession of France until November, 1762, when it was ceded to Spain, being retroceded to France, October 1, 1800, by the secret treaty of St. Idilfonso.

In 1803, through the crowning act of the administration of Thomas Jefferson, the entire Territory of Louisiana was purchased from France and ceded to the United States. In 1804 Congress divided the new purchase into two distinct territories divided by the 33d parallel of north latitude. The southern portion was called the Territory of New Orleans, and the northern the District of Louisiana, this District being placed under the jurisdiction of the Governor of the Territory of Indiana. In 1805 a Territorial government was granted to the District of Louisiana, under the name of the Territory of Louisiana, and in 1812 the Territorial Government was recognized and the name changed to that of Missouri Territory. In 1820 the State of Missouri was admitted into the Union with its present boundaries and there remained of the old Louisiana Purchase the Territory of Nebraska.

It was not until 1854 that the name Kansas appeared upon the map. In that year the Territory of Nebraska was divided and what had been the southern portion of it was organized into the Territory of Kansas, with A. H. Reeder as Governor. The first legislature of the new Territory was elected March 30, 1855,—the election being marked by such gross and palpable fraud on the part of the "Border Ruffians" that the legislature then chosen has come down in history as "the bogus legislature". It was in the acts of this legislature, known as "the bogus statutes", that Allen county first appears as a recognized municipality, having a "local habitation and a name", the section being in the following words:

"The county of Allen shall be bounded as follows: Beginning at the southeast corner of Anderson county, thence south thirty miles, thence west twenty-four miles, thence north thirty miles, thence east twenty-four miles to place of beginning."

The first white settlements in the county were made in the spring and summer of 1855, shortly before the county was named and its limits defined as above set forth. There is some dispute as to who made the first permanent settlement, but the weight of the testimony seems to award that honorable distinction to Mr. D. H. Parsons, who with a companion, B. W. Cowden, arrived on the Neosho river near the mouth of Elm creek in the month of March, 1855. They found about four hundred lodges of Osage Indians encamped in the timber and still claiming some sort of ownership in the country. But owing to the fact that the father of Mr. Parsons had been a trader among the Osages, the newcomers were received in the most friendly manner and made welcome in the lodges of the camp until their cabins were built.

A little later the good will of the Indians again stood Parsons in good stead. Returning to his claim after a short absence later in the summer,

10 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

he found his cabin in possession of a party of Missourians who, drifting down that way and finding it unoccupied had proceeded at once to take possession and make themselves at home. There was no law, no right but might, and the Missourians were the stronger. Finding that argument was of no avail, Mr. Parsons appealed to his friend, Little Bear, chief of the Osages. The result of this appeal was that a party of warriors presented themselves suddenly before the astonished interlopers, and with angry gestures and loud threatening talk gave them to understand that they must get out. The Missourians were now the suppliants, and begging Parsons to restrain the fury of the savages until they could get out of their reach they departed immediately, rapidly and permanently. The claim over which this dispute arose was just across the river southwest of Iola, known to all the later settlers as the Nimrod Hankins place.

During the summer of 1855 a number of settlers arrived in the county, the following being as nearly a complete roll as can now be obtained: Major James Parsons, with his sons, Jesse and James. H. H. Hayward, Dr. Burgess, Isem Brown, A. W. J. Brown, J. S. Barbee, Thos. Day, Giles Sater, Thos. Norris, Jessie E. Morris, Anderson Wray, George Hall, Dr. Stockton, A. C. Smith, Augustus Todd, Michael Kiser, Hiram Smith, Richard J. Fuqua, W. C. Keith, Henry Bennett, Elias Copelin, James Barber, Barnett Owen, James Johnson, Charles Passmore, James Gillraith, David Dotson, E. H. Young, a Mr. Duncan and a Mr. Martin, for whom Martin creek was named. Of these sturdy and honored pioneers not one now remains in the county, and probably fewer than half a score are yet living.

The Legislature of 1855 adopted a system of county organization the officers of which were a Probate Judge, with power and jurisdiction almost equal to that of our present district court; two County Commissioners, constituting with the Probate Judge, the tribunal for transacting county business; and a sheriff. These four officers were to be appointed by the Legislature and to hold their offices until the general election in 1857, and they in turn to appoint the County Clerk and Treasurer. The officers appointed for Allen county were Charles Passmore, Probate Judge, Barnett Owen and B. W. Cowden, Commissioners, and Wm. J. Godfrey, Sheriff.

In the spring of 1855 a party of proslavery men from Fort Scott formed a town company, and coming to Allen county laid out a town on the high ground south of the mouth of Elm creek and on the east bank of the Neosho river, about one and one-half miles southwest of where Iola now stands. The town was named Cofachique, in honor of an Indian chief, and James Barbee was elected the first president of the company. The Company was incorporated by the bogus legislature under the name of the Cofachique Town Association, with Daniel Woodson, Charles Passmore, James S. Barbee, William Barber, Samuel A. Williams and Joseph C. Anderson as the incorporators. The Association was authorized by the act creating it to hold any quantity of land not exceeding 900 acres, "where the city of Cofachique is now located," and was made the permanent county seat of Allen county. The first store in the town and in the county was started by

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 11

James Galbreath. H. D. Parsons and a Mr. Lynn soon started another and a third was opened by John & Owens. The first post-office in the county was established at Cofachique in the spring of 1855 with Aaron Case as post-master, but it was not until July 1, 1857, that a regular mail route was opened, the mail prior to that time having been brought in from Fort Scott by a carrier employed by the citizens.

For nearly two years Cofachique was the only town in the county and was a place of much importance. The first term of court in the county was held there in 1865 by Judge Cato, a United States District Judge, with J. S. Barbee, clerk and James Johnson sheriff. There is no record of proceedings at this term and it is possible that but little was done. In October 1858 Judge Williams held another term, with J. B. Lamkin clerk, and J. E. Morris sheriff. A grand jury was in attendance composed of the following: L. E. Rhoades, Thos. H. Bashaw, Thos. Dean, J. B. Young, Jacob Buzzard, Moses Neal, Mike Kiser, Robert Culbertson, Simon Camerer, A. G. Carpenter, J. C. Redfield, Wm. Pace, Chas. Burton, Dene Reese and Rufus Wood. A number of civil cases were tried, and the grand jury made presentment against Leonard Fuqua for assault with intent to kill one Josiah C. Redfield; also for assault on P. P. Phillips; and against Leonard Fuqua, Homer C. Leonard, A. C. Smith, Avery C. Spencer, Ed. Cushion and William Fuqua for assault and battery on George Esse. These troubles grew out of claim disputes, a fruitful cause of strife in all new countries.

With the record of this term of court the history of Cofachique practically closes. In 1858 a Free State legislature, looking upon Cofachique as a pro-slavery nest, removed the county seat to Humboldt, a new town that had been laid out the year before, some seven miles south of Cofachique. In 1859 Iola, another new town, was started a little distance to the north. The result was the death of Cofachique. The site of the town had not been wisely chosen, being difficult of access from any of the beaten roads and having no available water supply. The natural disadvantages together with the disrepute into which it fell on account of its pro-slavery proclivities, are responsible for its ultimate failure. In 1859 and '60 all the buildings that had been erected there were removed to Iola, and there is now not a stick nor a stone to remind even the most careful observer that a town once existed there. The land on which it was built is now the property of the Portland Cement Company.

During the summer and fall of 1856 immigration continued, though not in very large numbers. Prominent among the settlers of that year were Nimrod Hankins, William M. Brown, Carlyle Faulkner, Carroll Prewett, Henry Doren, G. A. Gideon, William Mayberry, Thomas Bashaw, M. W. Post and Joseph Ludley. The two last named came in February 1856, being engaged in the survey of the standard parallels. They finished this survey with the fifth parallel through Allen county, and concluded to locate in or near Allen county. Sometime during the following summer Ludley brought a small saw mill from Westport, Mo., set it up in the timber near Cofachique and began operations at once. The mill was run

12 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

by horse power, and was the first mill or other machinery to be put in operation in Allen county. After running it for some time Ludley sold it to Drury S. Tye.

This year, 1856, witnessed the first marriage that took place in the county, that of James Johnson to Marinda Barber, August 14. The ceremony was performed by A. W. J. Brown, the probate judge of the county. The first death in the county also took place this year, that of James Barbee which occurred at Cofachique.

Although the county officers were appointed by the legislature as has already been noted, in 1855, it appears that they did not meet until May 7, 1856. In the meantime the probate judge by appointment, Charles Passmore, had died, and on the day above named Barnett Owen and B. W. Cowden, county commissioners, met in Cofachique at the house of J. S. Barbee, and organized by the appointment of Barbee as clerk. On June 2, 1856, the Board again met and completed the organization of the county by the appointment of A. W. J. Brown, probate judge, James Johnson sheriff, C. B. Houston surveyor, H. D. Parsons coroner. H. H. Hayward treasurer and J. S. Barbee permanent clerk. They also divided the county into three precincts. The first embraced all north of a line drawn east and west through the mouth of Deer creek, and was called Deer creek precinct or township; R. Fuqua and Hiram Cable were appointed justices of the peace and William Sater constable. The second division included all between Deer creek township and the 5th standard parallel, and was called Cofachique; John Dunwoody and William Avery justices and Ozias Owen constable. The third division comprised the remainder of the county and was called Coal creek township; Thos. H. Bashaw and Elias Copelin justices, and James Brady constable.

On the 19th of August, 1856, the Board met and appointed judges of election for the first Monday in October for members of the Territorial legislature. The appointments were as follows: Deer Creek, Giles Sater, James Parsons, Wm. C. Keith,—the election to be held at the house of Isem Brown. Cofachique, Wm. Avery, G. A. Gideon and Wm. Mayberry,the election to be held at Cofachique. Coal Creek, Henry Bennett, E. Copelin and James H. Bashaw,—the election to be held at the house of W. G. Wimburn. The Board also levied a tax of "twenty-three and one-half per cent on each one hundred dollars" (so stated in the records, though it is probable that twenty-three and one-half cents on each one hundred dollars is meant), of personal property and fifty cents poll tax, and soon after ordered the erection of a court house at Cofachique to be eighteen feet wide and twenty feet long, one room below and two above, the lower room to have one batton door, and one twelve light window, 8x10, and each of the upper rooms a window of similar dimensions. This order, however, seems to have been unpopular, for at a subsequent meeting, January 7, 1857, the Board recinded both the tax and the order for a court house.

There is no record that the election ordered for the first Monday in October of 1856 was held in Allen county. This election was for members of the Territorial legislature and delegates in Congress under the bogus

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 13

laws. The Free State men, who were a majority amongst the settlers of Allen county, did not recognize the authority of those laws, and it is probable that most of the judges appointed refused to act and the election went by default. The county records contain no mention of even an attempt being made to hold any election prior to this, but as a matter of fact an election was held October 5, 1855, at the house of J. R. Fuqua, at which Wm. R. Griffith, John Hamilton, A. W. J. Brown and Wm. Saunders were elected as delegates to the Topeka Constitutional convention, each receiving twelve votes. At the same election A. H. Reeder received twelve votes for delegate in Congress. There is no record that a vote was ever taken in the county upon the adoption of the Topeka constitution or any officers under it. While Allen county took no part in the elections it was yet included in a large and rather indefinite district which was represented in the Territorial council of 1855 by Wm Barbee, of Fort Scott, a brother of J. S. Barbee who figured in this county, and in the lower house of the same legislature by S. A. Williams. In the second Territorial legislature, elected in October, 1856, this county was represented in the same vague way in the council by Blake Little, a notorious Border Ruffian, and in the house by B. Brautley and W. W. Spratt.

The years 1855 and 1856 are noted in the history of Kansas for the Border Ruffian war which raged throughout the more thickly settled portions of the Territory, the first active outbreak of the irrepressible conflict between slavery and freedom which ended some years later in the slaveholders' rebellion and the final extinction of their peculiar institution on the continent. Invasion of savage hordes, armed with ballots and bullets, with which to subdue the country and make Kansas a slave State, bogus elections, pitched battles, marauding raids and midnight assassinations, kept the northern and border counties in continual excitement and alarm. But only the distant reverberations of the conflict reached the peaceful valley of the Neosho. Isolated by situation and separated from the eastern and northern portions of the Territory by wide and naked prairies, our early settlers escaped the perils and anxieties of these troubled years. Amongst the pioneers of Allen county from the very first the Free State sentiment predominated, but they were mostly western men and as such rather moderate in their views on the slavery question. They allowed their pro-slavery neighbors to entertain their peculiar sentiments without molestation, and during the entire continuance of the troubles no instance of violence or outrage from this cause occurred within the limits of the county, or involving any of its citizens. And of the immense sums of money raised in the eastern States for the relief of Kansas settlers in 1856, amounting according to Wilder's Annals, to $241,000, it is not known that one dollar ever found its way into Allen county.

But while the county fortunately escaped the horrors of border warfare, its early history is not without pathetic, and almost tragic incidents. One of the most pitiful of these resulted from the attempt to establish what was known as the "Vegetarian Colony", in 1855 and '6. The colony was organized in some of the Northern States in 1855, its purpose being to form

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Pages 8-13, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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