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HIS session of the Legislature C. F. Drake introduced and had passed a general county seat law, providing for elections for county seats on ill petition to the County Court, etc. On the passage of that law the City Council of the City of Fort Scott, of which Mr. Drake was also a member, proposed to the County Court that the city would build a City Hall and in the event that the people, at the proposed election, voted to relocate the county seat at Fort Scott the use of the City Hall would be given to the county for county purposes. The proposition was accepted by the Board of County Commissioners, and a special election for county seat was held on the 11th day of May, 1863. The result of the election was as follows: Fort Scott received 700 votes; Centerville, on Mill Creek, 279 votes; Mapleton, 14 votes; Fort Lincoln, 1 vote, and at a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners on the 16th of May 1863, the last one held at Marmaton, Fort Scott was by proclamation declared the county seat. At this meeting there were present T. W. Tallman, Isaac Ford and E. A. Toles, Commismissioners[sic] and David R. Cobb, County Clerk.
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The city council then took steps for the erection of the City Hall. The location decided on was the South-east corner of Locust and Jones streets, now Second Street and National Avenue. The building was to be of stone, two stories high. The contract was let to Goodlander & Allison for the sum of $3,900. It was completed that fall, except the railing around the spiral stairway, which was never finished. Goodlander made one for it but it didn't fit, and he threw it under the work bench, then he convinced the council that railings were out of style, anyhow.
At a meeting of the City Council held on December 14, 1863, it was on motion, ordered "That the City Marshal notify the county officers that the City Hall was in readiness, and request them to occupy the same."
The county officers then moved in. The County Clerk, Treasurer and Register of Deeds occupied the lower story. The District Court was held in the upper story. And that was the Bourbon County court house for nearly thirty years. When court was not in session the upper story was subject to be used for miscellaneous purposes. Religious services were held there nearly every Sunday by some Denomination which had, as yet, no home of their own. Political meetings and conventions caucused and pulled wires, and long-haired itinerant cranks would occasionally loosen the plastering in expounding their wonderful theories. During the 60's amateur dramatic clubs often "played" under the management of John R. Morley, Geo. Clark and Ken Williams, in a repertoire from "Black-eyed Susan" to "Hamlet." A "Masquerade Ball" was
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given at least once a year. The "Masques" were varied, most life-like, and always thoroughly original.
But few incidents of local interest transpired during the year 1863. There was not much done in the way of improvement either in the town or county. The erection of the woollen factory by Geo. A. Crawford was the most important. Fort Scott being a military post, a telegraph line was constructed from Fort Leavenworth, and the people had means of communication with the outside world, without having to depend on the often delayed trips of the old "jerky" stage, which the boys said was a "tri-weekly,it went out one week and tried to get back the next." Sometimes it didn't do it. The stage fare between Kansas City and Fort Scott was "ten dollars and carry a rail." Sometimes, when the roads were real good, a man passenger would not have to walk and carry a rail more than a third of the time. When they were very bad he walked all the way, carried his rail, and paid his ten dollars just the same. So. But then he had the privilege of being whirled into town and landed at the Wilder House with a grand flourish. That was worth something.
A good portion of the men of Bourbon County, in common with those of the balance of the State, were in the army. The total number of Kansas troops in the field by the middle of this year was 9,600. A large number went in after that date. Nearly every man living in Kansas during the war was in the service in some shape. If not in the volunteer service he was in the home guards or State militia.
On the 4th of July, 1863, E. A. Smith was pro-
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moted to Captain of the 2nd Kansas, or Blair's Battery, and Blair was assigned to the 14th Regiment of Kansas Volunteers as Colonel. He was soon after promoted to Brigadier General, and ordered to Fort Scott as commandant of the post. He remained in command of this post until April 28th, 1865, when he was succeeded by Gen. U. B. Pearsall, who remained in command until the close of the war.
The general election in the State was held on the 3rd of November. District Attorneys, Legislators, and a part of the county officers were to be chosen. Samuel A. Riggs was elected District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial District, consisting of the counties of Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Douglas, Franklin, Johnson, Linn and Miami. The Representatives for Bourbon County were Wm. Stone, R. P. Stevens, D. R. Cobb and J. G. Miller. County Treasurer, James Aitkin; Sheriff, H. G. Moore; Probate Judge, Wm. Rose; Register of Deeds, E. B. Norcross. The new County Board was organized on the next January: T. W. Tallman, E. A. Toles and J. F. Holt, Commissioners, and J. S. Emmert, County Clerk.
Fort Blair, Built in the Street at the Corner of Scott Avenue and First Street in the Spring of 1864
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Transcribed from History of Bourbon County, Kansas : to the close of 1865 by T. F. Robley. Fort Scott, Kan.: Press of the Monitor Book & Print. Co., 1894.
| Tom & Carolyn Ward
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