Pages 579-581, 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.


Woodson County Court House

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 579

HISTORY OF ALLEN AND WOODSON COUNTIES

PART II

WOODSON COUNTY

In "Andreas History of Kansas," (popularly known as the "Herd Book.") Woodson County is said to have been named for Governor Silas Woodson, of Missouri, while Webb Wilder, in his "Annals of Kansas," new edition, says the county was named in honor of Daniel Woodson, who was the first Secretary of the territory of Kansas and who also acted at various intervals as Governor of the territory by virtue of his office as Secretary. As a further evidence of the correctness of Mr. Wilder, and as proof positive that the county was named in honor of Daniel Woodson a letter from ex-Senator John Martin replying to a query of the Hon. Leander Stillwell on this same point says: "You are entirely right about the name of Woodson. The county was named in honor of Daniel Woodson, who was Secretary of the territory in 1855-6 and a part of 1857, I think, and who frequently acted as Governor during those years. He was from Lynchburg, Virginia, and a most excellent man. Governor Silas Woodson was not even thought of in connection with the naming of the county."

As ex-Senator Martin held the position of assistant clerk of the House of Representatives of the territorial legislature which created and named Woodson County he is more familiar with the acts of that body than any one not a member of it and is, therefore, competent to give accurate and reliable information as to the act creating Woodson County.

When the honor of a name was conferred upon the unsettled and almost unknown tract in the third tier of counties from the east line of the

580 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

state the space designated by the first legislature which created it contained little, if any, of the territory which now bears the name of Woodson County. To understand this matter the proceedings of the "Bogus Legislature" (in consequence of gross irregularities connected with their election) of 1855 must be gone into. One act of that body, among others, laid out a whole block of rectangular counties. This act was passed before surveys were made, and boundary lines of counties were given in miles from the points named. The initial point for counties south of the Kansas river was the mouth of that river. The southeast corner of Johnson County was twenty-six miles south of that point, the southeast corner of Lykens (Miami) County was twenty-four miles farther south; the southern boundary of Linn was twenty-four miles farther south, Bourbon County extended thirty miles farther south and McGee County ran to the Territory line. Four tiers of Counties were blocked out in exact conformity to these, and in the third tier lay Woodson County, the second from the south line and occupying almost the identical land now known as Wilson County.

In 1857 the counties of the third tier were crowded northward, and Wilson, taking in what was Woodson, pushed the latter to nearly its present boundaries.

In 1861, through a blunder on the part of the Representative from this county, a new survey and location of boundaries took from the south line a strip three miles in width and gave it to Wilson County, which has ever since held it.

By the act of 1857 the boundaries of Woodson County were defined as follows: Beginning at the southwest corner of Anderson County; thence south along the west boundary of Allen County to the northwest corner of Dorn County; thence west with the section lines to the four corners of sections 14 and 15, 22 and 23 of township 28 south, range 13 east; thence north with the section lines dividing the second and third tier of sections, to the southwest corner of Coffey County; thence east along the south boundary of said Coffey County to the place of beginning.

By the general statutes of 1868 Woodson County is bounded as follows: Commencing at the southwest corner of Anderson County; thence south with section lines and the west line of Allen County to the south line of township 26, south; thence west with said township line and the north line of Wilson County, to the east line of Greenwood County; thence north with said east line of Greenwood County to the four corners of sections 14 and 15, 22 and 23 of township 23 south of range 13 east; thence east on section lines and the south line of Coffey County to the place of beginning.

Ninety per cent of Woodson County is upland, the remainder river and creek bottom. About six per cent of the original surface of the county was covered with forest and the remainder was prairie. The Neosho River, which enters near the northeast corner of the county and

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 581

runs southeasterly to the county line, is the principal stream. The Verdigris River cuts across the southwest corner of the county, and Owl Creek, rising in three "head streams" (North and South Owl Creek and Cherry Creek) near the center of the county flows southeast to the county line. Buffalo, East and West, rises toward the south line of the county and runs across the line into Wilson County. Big and Little Sandy are creeks of importance in Belmont township, the one rising in the west and the other in the east part of the township and furnishing an abunda nceof [sic] spring water. The belts of timber which once lined the banks of the streams, and extended out into the bottoms from a few rods to a mile in width, have been largely cleared away, but the "jack oak hills" have been fenced, and the once scrub brush, has grown into young forests in places, and its importance as a source of wood supply has come to be considered of some consequence.

Woodson County is well watered. Springs abound in the hill country, large pools in the creeks of the lowlands supply stock water and well water is found in sufficient quantities from twenty to forty feet below the surface.

Coal is found in veins of considerable thickness in the western half of the county and it was once depended upon for a considerable item of fuel. As a resource it was mined and marketed to some extent but as heavy "stripping" was necessary to reach the coal the labor expended came to be regarded of more value than the mined coal.

The ridge passing through the center of the county and upon which the county seat is located abounds in a fine grade of sandstone. It is stratified and varies in thickness from a few inches to a few feet. Several quarries have been opened and considerable quantities of the stone taken out but used largely by the settlers and by contractors and builders in the construction of the county seat. In color the stone is a deep cream or a light brown and when first taken from the ground contains a large percent of water and is, therefore, easy to work.

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Pages 579-581, 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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