The state of Kansas embraces within its boundaries the geographical center of the United States, excepting the detached territory of Alaska. The middle parallel of latitude between the southern cape of Florida and the northern border of the state of Washington, the dividing meridian of longitude midway between the extreme eastern and western limits of the country, pass through the state, cutting it through the center north and south, and one degree south of its center east and west. The bisecting degree of latitude to thirty-eight degrees north, the parallel of longitude twenty-two degrees seconds west from Washington, the intersecting point being the northwest point of Reno county.
The state has the general form of a rectangle with a breadth of a little more than two hundred miles from north to south, and in length a little over four hundred miles from east to west, containing an erea[sic] of eighty-one and three hundred and eighteen. miles or fifty-two million two hundred and eighty-eight thousand acres. The general surface of the state is a rolling prairie gently ascending from the eastern border. Kansas presents a succession of beautiful prairies, undulating hills and fertile valleys diversified and a varied surface of fertile soil.
The state is well supplied with rivers and creeks; on the eastern border the Missouri presents a water front of nearly one hundred and fifty miles. The Kansas is formed by the junction of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers and from a point of confluence it flows in an easterly direction about 150 miles to the Missouri. Valleys on the north are formed by the Saline, Solomon, Blue rivers and other streams. The Osage river rises in the eastern part of the state and after flowing in a southeasterly course one hundred and twenty-five miles enters the Missouri. The Arkansas has its source in the Rocky mountains of Colorado, and runs through nearly three-fourths of the length of Kansas, east and southeast, and with its tributaries waters two-thirds of the western and southern part of the state. Its valleys on the north are traversed by the Walnut, Little Arkansas, Pawnee Fork and other streams, and on the south by Ninnescah, Chicaskia and others.
The Neosho, rising in the central part of the state, runs in a southeasterly direction for about two hundred miles, receiving in its course the Cottonwood and other streams. The Verdigris runs nearly parallel with the Neosho, receiving Fall river on the west. In the southwest are the Cimarron and Medicine, which flows for a considerable distance in the state, and a network of the southern tributaries of the Arkansas. These rivers are not navigable, yet with their tributaries make Kansas one of the best watered states of the west. In most localities even in the extreme western part of the state good water is obtained within a reasonable distance of the surface. In some parts, particularly the western counties, artesian wells furnish an adequate supply of water.
Timber is abundant along the streams in the eastern part of the state, but less plentiful in the central and western portions. The varieties of timber embraces the oak, elm, black walnut, cottonwood, maple, box-elder, honey-locust, willow, hickory, sycamore, white ash, hackberry and mulberry. The osage orange is extensively used for hedges.
Statistics show that Kansas can claim a greater amount of sunshine than the Eastern States. The average cloudiness is a little more than forty-four per cent. In the Southern States it is forty-seven per cent, in the New England States it is fifty-three per cent, while in Great Britain it reaches seventy-one per cent. As regards the health of her people, Kansas compares favorably with any state in the Union. The rolling surface of the country furnishes fine natural drainage, and as a result there are no marshes or swamps to breed fever and malaria. Especially is this true of the central and western portions of the state.
The admittance of Kansas to the Union proved a landmark in the struggle, which begun on her soil seven years previously. Slave power having challenged the nation to open battle for its life, the infant State put in the struggle of years and took her place in the foremost rank and fought with an indomitable courage and fidelity to win for the nation the battle she had already won for herself.
Within three months from the time Kansas was admitted into the Union, she was called on to furnish her quota towards suppressing the rebellion. No state bore a more honorable record than Kansas in this great struggle. The military the early 'sixties for organizations formed during the protection of the settlers during the turbulent Indian troubles, had fallen into disuse, or entirely abandoned, and at the breaking out of the Civil war the state had no well organized militia; no arms, accoutrements or supplies.
When the President made the first call for seventy-five thousand militia on April 15, 1861, Kansas furnished six hundred and fifty men and her legislature at once took measures o[sic] amend the military conditions of the state. April 22d an act passed providing "for organization and disciplining of militia," and a service very generally organized throughout the state. During Governor Robinson's administration, one hundred and eighty companies were formed and organized into two divisions, four brigades and eleven regiments.
Under the call of President Lincoln for four hundred thousand volunteers the First and Second regiment were recruited, many whole companies marching to the place of rendezvous and offered their servics.[sic] Each succeeding demand received a cordial response from Kansas and this in the face of the fact that no extra pecuniary recompense could be offered by the young commonwealth for the services of the militia, the state being scarcely able to meet the ordinary expenses of the situation.
The patriotism and loyalty of Kansas was demonstrated by not being obliged to resort to the system of bounty offers, extra pay to families of soldiers, or any of the expediences commonly employed to encourage recruiting. Statistics reveal the fact that more losses occurred in Kansas regiments in battle and from disease per thousand than in an other state in the Union. The unhealthy region in which a large part of their services were performed, the laborious nature of the service, long marches through a wild and unsettled country, outpost and scout duty, and poor hospital accommodations, all combined to produce this result. It was noticeable that in the northern regiments doing duty in these localities, the mortality was also very great.
The entire quota assigned to the state of Kansas was sixteen thousand six hundred and fifty-four, and the number raised was twenty thousand and ninety-seven, leaving a surplus of three thousand four hundred and forty-three to the credit of Kansas. Three Indian regiments were actively engaged in the United States service during the war of the rebellion which were officered and entirely recruited in Kansas. They were chiefly from the loyal refugee Seminole and Creek Indians, who had taken refuge from the encroachments of hostile Indians under Stand-Waitie in the southern border of the state. A few of them were resident Indians, having homes and families in Kansas.
The "Price raid" and "Curtis expedition" cost the citizens of Kansas not less than five hundred thousand dollars, besides the labor, loss of life and incidental losses that could not be computed. The legislature of 1865 made provision for the payment of the claims by the state, looking to the general government for reimbursement. Various commissioners have been appointed to settle these claims but their adjustment has been attended with much difficulty, and in all probibility[sic] many of them will never be settled to the satisfaction of all concerned.
The war was followed by Indian troubles in Kansas which terminated in the loss of many innocent lives; men, women and children were slain. Many of the women suffered a fate worse than death. The savages kept up their desultory warfare which did not cease in some localities until ten years after the Civil war.
Professor Louis Agassiz, the renowned scientist, visited Kansas in August, 1868, and the Springfield (Mass.) Republican said in an issue of that period: "Professor Agassiz is fairly teeming with enthusiasm over his visit to Kansas. All Brazil was nothing to what he has seen of natural beauty and scientific revelations."
Prior to 1854 (the territorial era of Kansas), the missionaries labored among the various tribes of Indians. The denomination of Baptists established a mission among the Shawnees in 1831, in the present county of Wyandotte. The first printing press was brought by Jotham Meeker in 1833, for a Baptist mission located near the present city of Ottawa.
In 1827, the Catholics, with Father Schoenmakers, started a mission among the Osages, near the present site of Osage mission. The Methodist Episcopal church begun its work among the Delawares and Shawnees and organized a church among them in 1832. The Reverend Thomas Johnson established a school in 1829, on the south side of the Kansas river. The Presbyterians founded their first mission in Kansas among the Wea Indians, near the present site of Ottawa, in 1835; they also founded a mission for the benefit of the Iowa Indians, near what is now Highland, Doniphan county.
The Society of Friends established a school and held services among the Shawnees, in Johnson county, soon after the removal of the tribe to Kansas. Schools and churche[sic] were early founded by the Moravians, and other bodies of Christian people. The political strife and border troubles from 1854-61 were not conducive to the nurture of churches, yet during this period foundations were laid by various denominations in anticipation of prospective settlement of the territory.
The Baptists organized in 1855, and built their first house of worship at Atchison. The first Catholic congregation of white people was organized in Leavenworth, August 15, 1855, and the first building for the use of a white congregation was erected there in the same year. In Lawrence, October, 1854, perhaps the firts[sic] white man's church in the territory was organized by the Congregationalists. The edifice was built in 1857.
The Methodist Episcopal church began its work in Leavenworth in 1856, and erected a house of worship in 1858. The first Evangelical Lutheran organization was effected at Leavenworth, October 25, 1855. A house of worship was built in the summer preceding the organization, and was probably the first building in Kansas erected for church purposes outside of Indian missions and government forts. Probably the first sermon to the white settlers in the state was by Reverend W.H. Goode, presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal church. He preached in a log cabin at Hickory Point on the Santa Fe road, July 9, 1854, Reverend A. Still, Reverend J.M. Chivington and Reverend Mendenhall, a minister of the Society of Friends, being present and participating in the services.
The first church building erected in Lawrence was built in 1856, and a small slab church was built in Leavenworth the same year. The first church for whites in the state was organized near Tecumseh by Reverend Mr. Goode. The first session of the Kansas and Nebraska conference convened in a tent in Lawrence, October 23, 1856. The Presbyterians organized their first church at Leavenworth, January 1, 1856. The United Presbyterians made their first, organization at Berea, Franklin county, in 1857 and their first church was erected there in 1858.
The Society of Friends held meetings in Leavenworth county in February, 1856, and erected a log house of worship in 1857, which gave place to a good frame building in September, 1859. The German Methodists were organized in 1860, in Dickinson county, and the German Lutherans at Leavenworth in 1861. The war that followed closely upon the admission of Kansas to the Union engrossed the interest and the energies of the people.
The effect of war upon general church work is fairly represented in the following report made by the Methodist church: Number of ministers in 1860, eighty-five; in 1861, seventy-four; in 1862, seventy-two; in 1863, sixty-eight. Number of churches in 1860, seventeen; in 1861, forty-three; in 1862, thirty; in 1863, thirty-three.
The trials and sacrifices during the territorial and the war eras, embracing a period of eleven years, were as heavy as any that ever fell on any people since the days of Jamestown and Plymouth, but they were met by all - women as well as men - with the patience and heroism unsurpassed in the annals of the world.
With the immigration that begun to flow into Kansas after the close of the war were persons who if not members of the church were decidedly favorable to the establishment of them, and churches and Sabbath-schools sprung rapidly into existence. The work was not only prosecuted in the towns and villages but through the sparsely settled country districts whereever the hardy pioneer built his dugout or sod house, the congregations gathered and services were held. An important feature in the work has been the interest taken, by intelligent foreign born citizens; most noticeable among whom are Danes, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, French and Welsh.
"Smiling and beautiful heaven's dome
Bends softly o'er our prairie home.
But the wide-wide that stretches away
Before my eyes in the days of May,
The rolling prairie's billowy-swell,
Breezy upland and timbered dell,
Stately mansion and hut forlorn,
All are hidden by walls of corn."
The fame of Kansas as a wheat growing State reaches around the world. The wheat crop of 1900, exceeded by twenty-three million bushels the wheat of the entire United Kingdom; but it is corn as well as wheat that has made the state famous and in her present good financial condition. Kansas began the present year (1902) with six hundred and fifteen million five hundred and three thousand and fifty-eight dollars in the treasury.
Kansas is an agricultural state, the home of the farmer and stockman. Agriculture is the most certain source of financial independence; that commerce looks to the products of the farm for both defense and supply, no more striking illustration can be found than the prosperity of Kansas with her productive soil and genial climate. Kansas has been the home of the poor man its prosperity is based upon the furrow turned by the plow. However, its manufacturing establishments are steadily increasing in both importance and number, demonstrating that sound policy requires not only diversified agriculture but turning of labor and capital into various avenues and channels. It is certain that the wealth and independence of the citizens of the state of Kansas will be further promoted by the judicious establishment of manufactures in the future, more than it has done in the past.
The schools of Kansas are part and parcel of her structure. They begun with the advent of the state, have kept apace with her advancement and growth and have been woven and interwoven into her history almost before there were pupils to attend them.
Lawrence was settled in September, 1854, and in less than four months, January 2, 1855, a school was commenced by E.J. Fitch, of Massachusetts, and March 7th the Quincy high school was established. Topeka was settled late in November, 1854, and early the following summer a school was opened by Miss Sara Harland and the Topeka Academy was established January 2, 1856.
Though these movements were voluntary, as there were no provision of law, they sprang from the same popular conviction which later created the public school system. The example of these towns were repeated in one way or another in every settlement and village throughout the state.
Kansas territory having been organized May 30, 1854, its first territorial legislature passed the school law August 30, 1855, and from that date the history of the public school system of Kansas properly began. The law of February 12, 1858, provided that the governor should appoint during that session of the legislature assembled by and with the advice of the council, a territorial superintendent whose term of office should commence March 1, 1858. This was amended by the law of 1859, which made the superintendent elective annually.
The laws of 1858 provided for the appointment of a county superintendent by the tribunal transacting county business, and the same law provided for an election of a county superintendent, to be elected at the same time and place and in the same manner, the county officers were chosen, the term to commence on October 1st and continue one year.
The board of county commissioners by the law of 1855, formed the districts in accordance with petitions presented, and they were signed by a majority of the voters residing within the limits of any contemplated district. By a law of 1858, this duty was relegated to the county superintendent. The state has been divided into school districts small enough to make a school accessible to all the children. Every district is encouraged to sustain a school at least three months in the year, and every parent is required by a law passed in 1874, to send his children to school at least twelve weeks in each year during school age, under penalty for disobeying its injunctions.
Cities and larger towns have established graded schools with high school departments. At Emporia is the State Normal School (established in 1864) for training teachers, It was founded by a grant of nearly forty thousand acres of land which is being sold to establish a fund for its support. The Leavenworth Normal School was opened in 1870, and closed in 1876. The Concordia Normal School existed from 1874 to 1878. The State Agricultural College at Manhattan was located by legislative enactment January 16, 1863. On July 23, 1863, its board of regents held their first meeting and educational work began September 2, 1863. Its four departments were agriculture, mechanic arts, military science and tactics, literature and science. This institution was based on a congressional grant of eighty-two thousand acres of land, the sale of which has been admirably managed and made to produce a permanent fund of about five hundred thousand dollars.
By an act of the legislature the University of the state of Kansas, located at Lawrence was organized March 1, 1866. This university was designed to give all citizens the opportunity for professional study and for of all branches of higher learning. The first session opened September 12, 1866. The maintenance of the common schools is both state local. By an act of congress the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections of each township were set apart for school purposes aggregating nearly three million acres of land which has been estimated can be made to yield a permanent school fund of fifteen million dollars. It is invested in good security, the interest is apportioned among the districts and the fund is increasing rapidly. The chief dependence, however, of the common schools is the local tax which districts impose upon themselves, that is many times greater than the amount given by the state. Besides the schools and private institutions there are many colleges and universities mainly under denominational control.
"The schools of Kansas are as great an attraction to the immigrant and furnish as strong an inducement for him to settle here as the cheapness of our land, the fertility of the soil, and the salubrity of the climate. Our people take pleasure in placing upon their shoulders the burden of building good school houses and sustaining the best schools. It is the one tax which all Kansans pay without objection." - Annual message of Governor Thomas A. Osborn, 1873.
Public Schools. - 8,927 districts, 9,406 buildings, 11,614 teachers, 508,854 school children, valuation of school property, $10,537,392; 1,000,000 acres unsold school land; $7,021,958 in permanent school fund; $52,000 invested annually for public school libraries and apparatus; $4,800,000 expended annually for public schools; $5,377.000 received for school purposes; 156 school buildings erected last year, at a cost of $291,985.
Higher Education. - Largest State Normal in the world; largest State Agricultural College in the world; a State University with So professors and 1,200 students; combined property valuation of above named institutions $1,887,666; 24 denominational colleges; 400 teachers-, 6,500 students; property valuation, $2,470,000; 3 private normals, 14 academies, 12 business colleges 200 teachers; 5,081 student,;; property valuation, $490,500; 10 county high schools; 60 teachers; 1,788 students; property valuation, $200,600.
Summary. - Total value of all school property, $20,386,158; $10,000,000 expended annually, for education: $6,357,996 expended for public schools during the last fifteen years.
May 1, 1881, the selling of liquor became an outlaw in Kansas. The Murray liquor law which prohibited its sale except for "medicinal, mechanical and scientific purposes" was enacted by the Legislature of 1881, and went into effect May 1, of the same year. It was enacted to enable the authorities to enforce the prohibitory amendment to the constitution, which had been adopted at the general election in 1880.
The agitation began with the organization of the territory in 1854. The first movement placing restriction on the sale of liquors began in 1974, when the state temperance convention met and formerly demanded a national law on the subject. Many people both in and out of the churches became aggressive, held camp meetings, and enlisted actively in working up sentiment in opposition to the liquor traffic.
The temperance advocates became so powerful and were so persistent in their efforts, that in 1879, the lawmakers yielded and submitted to the people a proposed amendment to the state constitution to be voted upon at the following general election. The canvass that followed was non-partisan but extremely vigorous. A house to house canvass of the state was made. Every city and town was the scene of rallies and meetings, and speakers from other states were imported by both sides.
The total vote on the prohibitory amendment was one hundred and seventy-six thousand six hundred and six, and the majority in its favor was seven thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight. Resistance to the new law was general; liquor dealers and manufacturers in all parts of the country contributed liberally to defeat its practical operation. For two years the constitutionality was up for discussion in the courts and saloons were run almost openly as they had been before the law was enacted; and the bitter warfare has never ceased during the twenty-one years.
Drug stores largely took the place of saloons. It was only necessary for a former saloon keeper to buy a worn out stock of drugs and employ a prescription clerk, and sell as much liquor as he could before the enactment of the law. In the cities and larger towns a half dozen times the number of "drug stores" sprung up than was necessary to supply the town in drugs, they paid no license and were the source of a large revenue.
There is a difference of opinion among conservative people as to the amount of actual benefit derived from a law, that is not enforced.
"This book's a gem, a handy volume,
The author's sketch of homes at sight.
Terse in story, spacious column,
Limned in beauty's cheerful light.
Reflecting scenes remote in distance
With each event set in line,
Calling back into existence
Forgotten things in lapse of time.
Here portrayed are many faces,
Thoughts of Brown and border strife,
On we turn the pictured pages,
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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