1904 History of Cherokee County Kansas


CHAPTER V, part 2


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COUNTY ORGANIZATION, POLITICAL HISTORY AND POPULATION STATISTICS.

THE ORGANIZATION OF CHEROKEE COUNTY -- THE "COUNTY SEAT WAR" -- LIST OF COUNTY OFFICERS -- THE POLITICAL PHASES -- MEMORABLE POLITICAL RALLIES -- THE INCREASE OF POPULATION, AND IMMIGRATION FROM OTHER STATES.


1875.

Representatives,--J. H. Smith and J. R. Hallowell; treasurer, Slemons Lisle; sheriff, Alfred Palmer; county clerk, Edward McPherson; register of deeds, W. C. Jones; county surveyor, J. B. Hodgins; coroner, D. S. Freeman; county commissioner, T. F. Wilson.

In August, 1875, Lola township voted on bonds for the aid of the Memphis, Carthage & Northwestern Railroad. The township cast 60 votes, 21 for and 39 against the bonds. On September 7, 1875, Salamanca township voted on bonds for aiding the same company, casting 171 votes; 154 for and 17 against the bonds. This is an instance in which the sequel shows that the minority may sometimes be right. Possibly no greater fraud was ever perpetrated upon a municipality. It

1876.

Representatives.--S. W. Smith and A. F. Harold; State Senator, J. R. Hallowell; county attorney, D. M. McKenney; Probate judge, C. D. Nichols; county superintendent, E. M. Mason.

The people voted in 1876, on the proposition to establish a county farm, and it was carried by a majority of 783 votes. The whole number of votes cast in the county that year was 2,606, the Republicans carrying the county by a majority of 267, over all.

1877.

Treasurer, G. G. Gregg; county clerk, Charles Saunders; register of deeds, J. T. Caldwell; sheriff. A. J. Bahney; county surveyor, Joseph Wallace; coroner, J. A. Monahan; county commissioners,--J. T. Maxey, Henry Durkee and J. A. Hubbard.

There was a contest between A. S. Dennison and A. J. Bahney, for the office of sheriff. The returns showed that Bahney was elected by a majority of 62. It was claimed by Dennison that in two wards of Empire City, which was the largest town in the county, the cigar boxes which had been used for ballot boxes, had been slipped out, while the judges and clerks of the election were at supper, and other boxes, of the same kind, had been substituted, containing fraudulent ballots. The case was tried before C. D. Nichols, Probate judge, on December 26, 1877, continuing, from time to time, until January 9, 1878, when it was decided in favor of Bahney. Dennison then took an appeal to the District Court, and subsequently a change of venue to the Johnson County District Court; but it never came to trial there, and Bahney held the office. Dennison had some of the best lawyers in the county: J. R. Hallowell, H. G. Webb, W. H. Whiteman, J. D. Lewis, W. H. Hornor, and Ritter & Anderson. Bahney had as good: Stockslager & Spear, Bennett & Hampton, and Cowley & Skidmore.

The record also shows a contest between W. C. Jones and J. T. Caldwell, over the office of register of deeds. After a number of continuances, the case was dismissed.

1878.

Represen tatives,--H. T. Helmrick, T. P. Anderson and J. S. Gillespie; county attorney, W. R. Cowley; district clerk, M. W. Coulter; Probate judge, H. C. Pursel; county superintendent, J. H. Baxter; coroner, David Crow.

The proposition to build a new Court House was defeated by a majority of 1952, out of a vote of 2,518.

1879.

Representative, C. G. Metzler; State Senator, J. J. Goodner; treasurer, R. H. Stott; county clerk, C. A. Saunders; sheriff, A. S. Dennison; register of deeds, Clarence Woodruff; county surveyor, C. L. McClung; coroner, Jonathan Pickering; county commissioner, W. E. Swanson.

As shown in the returns of the election of 1879, C A. Saunders was elected county clerk by a majority of 58. E H. Dunbar, who was a candidate for the office, contested the election, and the case was tried before H. C. Pursel, A. H. Skidmore and E. A. Scammon. The case was dismissed, at the motion of the contestor, December 26, 1879, the contestor being held for the costs, $45.95.

1880.

Representatives--V. L. Browning, C. R. Webbert and H. R. Hubbard; State Senator, B. F. Hogg; district clerk, J. E. Tutton; county attorney, W. R. Cowley; Probate Judge, E. J. Leggett; county surveyor, Joseph Wallace; county commissioner, R. W. Vaughn; county superintendent, E J. Leggett.

The constitutional amendment relating to the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors received a majority of 477 in favor of the amendment, out of a vote of 4,368. There were no contests that year.

1881.

Treasurer, R. H. Stott; county clerk, John T. Veatch; sheriff, A. S. Dennison; register of deeds, C. L. Woodruff; county surveyor, E. W. Cooter; coroner, I. N. Smith; county commissioner, John Russell.

1882.

Representatives--T. P. Anderson and W. B. Stone; county attorney, C. D. Ashley; district clerk, James Whitcraft; Probate judge, H. C. Pursel; county superintendent, Sallie Hutsell; county commissioner, W. E. Swanson.

There were three candidates for each office, and there were 4,132 votes cast. Sallie Hutsell, for county superintendent, was elected by a plurality of one vote.

1883.

Treasurer, G. G. Gregg; county clerk, John T. Veatch; sheriff, W. H. Layne; register of deeds, S. Y. Timberlake; county surveyor, E. W. Cooter; coroner, J. W. May; county commissioner, M. Robeson.

The returns show that W. H. Layne was elected by a plurality of one vote. His election was contested by G. W. Hoyt, and the case was tried before H. C. Pursel, Probate judge, and A. W. McGill and Benjamin D. Beal. The final hearing was on January 4, 1884; and upon motion to dismiss, the case was dismissed, the contestor paying the costs--$80.90.

1884.

Representatives--E. C. Scammon, J. S. Gillespie and E. C. Weilep; State Senator, John N. Ritter; district clerk, James Whitcraft; county attorney, C. 0. Stockslager; Probate judge, George Richardson; county superintendent, Sallie Hutsell; county commissioner, John Russell.

The year 1884 was remarkable for the political enthusiasm which prevailed. There were four candidates for the presidency: James G. Blaine, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin F. Butler and John P. St. John. These brought out every available voter. Cherokee County, that year, cast 5,634 votes. Blaine carried the county by a plurality of 1,030, but lacked 216 of having a majority.

1885.

Treasurer, E. C. Scammon; county clerk, L R. McNutt; sheriff, W. H. Layne; register of deeds, William H. Chew; county surveyor, Joseph Wallace; coroner, Lawrence Conklin; county commissioner, W. E. Swanson.

The number of votes cast that year was 4,416.

1886.

Representatives--R. P. McGregor and H. R. Hubbard; Probate judge, George Richardson; district clerk, J. H. Hami lton; county attorney, G. W. Webb; county superintendent, M. F. Jarrett; coroner, William Russell; county commissioner, M. Robeson.

The number of votes cast that year was 4,218.

1887.

Treasurer, E. C. Scammon; county clerk, J. C. Atkinson; sheriff, J. C. Babb; register of deeds, William H. Chew; county surveyor, Joseph Wallace; coroner, D. W. King; county commissioner, James M. Robinson.

The number of votes cast that year was 4,708.

1888.

Representatives--John S. Gillespie and John W. Herron; State Senator, W. S. Norton; county attorney, C. D. Ashley; Probate judge, Jesse Forkner; county superintendent, M. F. Jarrett; district clerk, J. H. Hamilton; county commissioner, H. N. Furness.

In the political annals of Cherokee County no year is more vividly recalled than 1888. Three presidential candidates were in the field; and the friends of each rallied enthusiastically to his support. No voter was allowed to remain at home, unless sick, and even then, if not seriously sick, he was brought out. The campaign partook somewhat of the nature of a military one; for feeling was so highly wrought that men, otherwise friendly and on neighborly terms, drifted so apart as to lose their kindlier feelings. The presidential vote that year was: Benjamin Harrison, 2,935; Grover Cleveland, 2,038; A. J. Streeter, 1,269; total 6,242. Harrison's plurality was 897; but he lacked 187 of having a majority.

1889.

Treasurer, H. R. Sadler; sheriff, J. C. Babb; register of deeds, J. H. Abbott; county clerk, J. C. Atkinson; county surveyor, E. S. Morton; coroner, R. S. Mahan; county commissioner, R. P. McGregor.

The number of votes cast that year was 4,951.

1890.

Representatives--J. T. Jones and J. H. Chubb; Probate judge, John Stauffer; county attorney, W. J. Moore; district clerk, C. R. Bernard; county superintendent, Anna Widman; county surveyor, Joseph Wallace; county commissioner, F. A. Jackson.

1891.

Treasurer, A. D. Watts; sheriff, C. D. Arnold; register of deeds, J. C. Hubbard; county clerk, P. M. Humphrey; county surveyor, Joseph Wallace; coroner, O. L. Young; county commissioner, J. H. Armstrong.

The number of votes cast that year was 5,645.

1892.

Representatives--M. L. Walters and Alexander Warner; State Senator, M. A. Householder; Probate judge, John Stauffer; district clerk, C. R. Bernard; county superintendent, Anna Widman; county attorney, W. J. Moore; county commissioner, Andrew Shearer.

The number of votes cast that year was 6,508; of these, Cleveland received 3,752; Harrison, 2,695; Bidwell, 61. The Populist reform movement in Kansas was at its full force at that time.

1893.

Treasurer, A. D. Watts; sheriff, C. D. Arnold; county clerk, P. M. Humphrey; register of deeds, J. C Hubbard; county surveyor, William H. Dugger; coroner, E. W. Doan; county commissioner, F. A. Jackson.

The number of votes cast that year was 4,823.

1894.

Representatives--James Duffy and Alexander Warner; county attorney, C. A. McNeill; Probate judge, W. R. Elliott; district clerk, L. G Scranton; county superintendent, E. O. Herod; county commissioner, James H. Elliott.

The number of votes cast that year was 5,128.

1895.

Treasurer, Andrew Shearer; sheriff, W. T. Forkner; register of deeds, H. A. Bender; county clerk, Thomas Thomason; county surveyor, Joseph Wallace; coroner, C. S. Huffman; county commissioner, W. H. Peters.

The proposition for building a jail was defeated by a majority of 281.

The number of votes cast that year was 5,387.

1896.

Representatives--Ge orge T. McGrath and E. C. Weilep; State Senator, M. A. Householder; county attorney, Charles Stephens; district clerk, L. G Scranton; Probate judge, E. E. Sapp; county superintendent, C. F. Cool; county commissioner, James Pryor.

The number of votes cast for the presidential candidates was 8,703, of which McKinley received 3,505; Bryan, 5,108; Palmer, 46; Levering, 44.

1897.

Treasurer, Frank Hoover; county clerk, S. W. Swinney; register of deeds, Ross Davidson; sheriff, 0. W. Sparks; county surveyor, J. H. Jenkins; coroner, W. Hisle; county commissioner, Charles H. Smith.

The number of votes cast that year was 6,304.

1898.

Representatives--J. C. Fogle and G. W. Wheatley; Probate judge, E. E. Sapp; district clerk, J. M. Wales; county attorney, Charles Stephens; county superintendent, C. F. Cool; county commissioner, W. H. Peters.

The number of votes cast that year was 6,213.

1899.

Treasurer, Frank Hoover; sheriff, 0. W. Sparks; county clerk, S. W. Swinney; register of deeds, Ross Davidson; Probate judge, George H. Wilson; clerk of the Court of Common Pleas at Galena, E. F. Tucker; county surveyor, J. H. Jenkins; coroner, R. B. English; county commissioner, J. B. Pryor.

The number of votes cast that year was 8,033. This heavy vote was due to a number of causes. At a special session of the Legislature of Kansas, begun on December 21, 1898, a new court of record, to be known as "The Court of Common Pleas for Cherokee and Crawford Counties," was established; and the act provided for submitting the matter to the qualified voters of the two counties, at the general election of 1899. Besides this, there was the proposition to build a County High School, which matter was thoroughly agitated among the people that year. The Common Pleas Court proposition was carried by a majority of 1,740; the High School proposition was carried by a majority of 379.

Judge E. E. Sapp, of Galena, was elected to the bench of the new court. Sessions of the court were held at Galena, Cherokee County, and at Pittsburg, Crawford County. At the July (1900) term of the Supreme Court, in re John Davis, 62 K, page 231, the court handed down a decision, declaring that Court of Common Pleas as not having been legally established. After this Cherokee County was made to constitute the Eleventh Judicial District, and Judge A. H. Skidmore continued on the bench of the District Court until Judge W. B. Glasse was elected his successor, at the general election of 1902.

1900.

Representatives--E. C. Weilep and Teasdale Wilkinson; State Senator, M. A. Householder; county attorney, J. N. Dunbar; district clerk, J. M. Wales; Probate judge, R. M. Cheshire; county superintendent, S. N. Montgomery; board of trustees of the County High School--Walter Merrick, Emerson Hull, T. J. Vest, Phil. L. Keener, C. A. Gibbs and P. L. McManus.

The number of votes cast that year was 9,756, the largest ever cast in the county, up to that time.

1901.

By an act of the Legislature of the State of Kansas, approved March 1, 19O1, the election of county officers was fixed to come in even numbered years, beginning with 1902, except the election of county commissioners.

1902.

District judge, W. B. Glasse; Representative--E. B. Schermerhorn and John McLaughlin; treasurer, Franklin Elliott; sheriff, Charles L. Raines; county clerk, William H. Shaffer; register of deeds, E. R. Pattyson; district clerk, J. B. Rudolph; county attorney, Al. F. Williams; county superintendent, Birdie Adams; Probate judge, George H. Wilson; county surveyor, J. S. Sherman; coroner, J. H. Boss; board of trusteees[sic] of the County High School--D. C. Walker, Emerson Hull, Walter Merrick and T. J. Vest.

The number of votes cas t that year was 6,560, which, compared with the vote of 1900, shows a falling off of 3,196.

THE POLITICAL PHASES.

That every man living in the State of Kansas belongs to some political party, is a proposition which is almost idle to utter. Here partisan affiliation is almost an instinct; and he who has no "political home" is a lonely outcast, even in the midst of the din and rush of political agitation. The early settlers of the State lived under a tense political strain, from the day they set foot upon its soil, and those who came later readily partook of the spirit of the most enthusiastic demonstrations. The surroundings made it necessary. They had to declare themselves, for they were not allowed to remain silent. The lines were drawn, and they had to take sides.

The Republican party of Kansas, when not torn into factions through the disagreement of its leaders, has always been dominant in the State, as a matter of birthright. It has been next to folly for any other party to seek a breaking of its control of public affairs; for this has never been done, except when internal dissensions have dissipated its strength and driven large numbers into the camps of the opposing party. The State has had four Governors who were not elected by the Republican party,--St. John, Glick, Lewelling and Leedy; and it has sent but three men, other than Republicans, to the United States Senate,--Martin, Harris and Peffer, the latter of whom went back to the Republican party when it was no longer profitable for him to remain with the Populists.

The political phases of Cherokee County have partaken much of the character of those of the State. Nominally, the county is Republican; but the people sometimes break away; and as the numerical strength of the two parties is almost evenly divided, the Democrats have held the innings about as often as the Republicans. Each party has been often rendered incapable of gaining public control, through blunders made in each by a few who were too anxious to direct the party machinery.

Back in the early days of the county, when the inhabitants were few, and the frontier spirit bound the people closer, there was a time when the only question that divided them was whether a person supported or opposed the Joy side of the land question. All other likes and dislikes were for a while laid aside; in fact, this matter was the issue among the people of Cherokee County for seven or eight years. After it was settled by the Supreme Court of the United States, by which settlement the "Leaguers" lost their lands, the Democrats and Republicans, who had joined hands on one side or the other, quietly fell back to their places in the political parties; and from that time down to the present no side issue has been such as to draw them away, save that during the Populist uprising of 1890 many of the members of the two parties cut their moorings and took passage in the reform craft and went out upon a brief voyage, while the two disabled parties remained on the shoals and watched the sail as it went over the rounded sea. Some of the voyagers are back in their respective ships, while some of them are yet at sea, "rocked in the cradle of the deep."

From about the year 1876 down to the year 1890, neither of the principal parties engaged in any "masterful inactivity." There was something lively going on all the time. Scarcely was a political canvass over when scheming began for the succeeding one. Elections were held every year, which maintained a condition of constant turmoil, and which required an out-watch always on duty. The terms of the county offices were for two years, and the officers coming in alternated with those going out. Often half of the offices in the Court House were filled by Republicans, and the other half by Democrats; but there were times, after 1890, when the offices were filled by neither.

Perhaps the intensest political contest ever had between the Republican and the Demo crats of Cherokee County was that of 1888. And this is perhaps true in every other part of the country where numbers were anywhere nearly equal. There was a general reason for it. In 1884 the Democratic candidate for the presidency was elected and the following spring was inaugurated, the first Democratic President inaugurated since March 4, 1857. Four years after 1884 the Democrats were determined that Grover Cleveland should be re-elected; the Republicans were equally determined that he should be defeated, and that Benjamin Harrison should be elected the next President of the United States. Each party was correspondingly eager and zealous. Tremendous influences were brought to bear upon the people, from those immediately under the control of the national committees, down to the voters who were managed by the ward politicians in the cities and by the precinct managers in the rural districts. Big local contributions were made to the campaign funds, for many were so enthusiastic that they spent money freely, in order to gain advantage over the opposing party. The aggregate of each party was mustered, drilled and marched to the polls on election day. Ward and precinct meetings were held whenever and wherever there was the slightest hope for gaining any advantage. Speakers were employed to hold meetings at the school houses in all the rural districts; abler ones were brought in from other parts to address the town-hall gatherings, and still others to speak to the multitudes too vast for other than out-door meetings.


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