1901 History of Republic County Kansas


History of Republic County. 141

public buildings and other improvements, and although some of the measures which he championed were not regarded with general favor at the time they were made public, they afterwards received the general endorsement of the people, particularly the part he took in the construction of the court house and jail. After a lapse of ten years since his retirement from office the almost unanimous verdict is that he was an unusually efficient and faithful officer.

CHAPTER XV.

TOWNSHIPS.

The assessed valuation of the railroad property in the following sketches of townships, is for miles of track only and does not include telegraphic and Pullman car assessments, nor the mileage in cities. For total valuation of railroad property by townships and cities, see chapter on Census and Assessment of Real, Personal and Railroad Property for 1901.

ALBION TOWNSHIP.

As shown by the map, Albion occupies the northeast corner of the county, and is known as town 1 south, range 1 West, and is a most excellent township of land for farming purposes, there being none better in Republic or any other county in Kansas. It is watered by Cherry Creek which flows southeast through the southern portion of the township. The first settlement was made on the SW 1/4 of section 26, by Reuben Phillips, in October 1869. The first school in the township was taught by Ed. Waterbury, in what is now Dist No. 13, in the spring of 1871. This was a three-months subscription school, the school room being a dugout, formerly occupied by Dr. Waterbury as a residence, situated on the NW 1/4 of section 28, the school

142 History of Republic County.

furniture and fixtures being about the same as others described elsewhere in this history.

The first gospel sermon was preached by Elder Marks, a pioneer preacher from Jefferson county, Nebraska, and whose eccentricities are still well remembered by the early settlers. The first birth in the township was George, son of Reuben Phillips, before mentioned, in the summer of 1870. The second was Oliver B. Reeder, October 11th, 1870. The first marriage was Meredith Morris and Lydia A. Treon, September 2d, 1872. The first death was Iola M., daughter of E. C. Crammer, January 19th, 1872.

The famous Chicago House, the first frame dwelling in the township, was erected on the SW 1/4 of section 14, by John Lester, a Chicago man, in the spring of 1870, E. W. Hall, being the architect and builder. This house was 16x24 feet, 14-foot studding and could be seen from any direction for miles around, and is still standing as one of the early landmarks in that part of the county. This man, Lester, as before stated, was from Chicago, and never seemed so happy as when airing his reminiscences of that windy city. He could not be engaged in a five minute's conversation on any subject without alluding to that celebrated city and the wonderful things he had seen there. Hence he came to be known as the "Chicago Man," only a very small number of the early settlers knowing him by any other name, and so when he come to build so pretentious a dwelling, it was but natural that it should be known as the Chicago House, and it is still so called by the citizens of Albion and adjoining townships.

Albion township was organized July 5th, 1870, and the following officers appointed: James H. Bradd, trustee; Francis McAferty, clerk; Jacob Smith, treasurer.

The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad enters this township on section 12, runs southwest, leaving it on section 30, with 6.76 miles of track, valued in 1901 at $48,898.

History of Republic County. 143

ROSE CREEK TOWNSHIP.

This township lies immediately west of Albion, is well timbered and well watered and perhaps possesses as many natural advantages as any township in the county. Rose Creek, a well timbered stream, flows northeast through the greater portion of the township, the bottom lands being very fertile. Magnesia limestone of excellent quality is found in great abundance on twelve different sections of land.

The first settlement in this township was made by Thomas Regester and his two sons, Job and Robert, and one daughter, May 15th, 1866. The first prairie was broken by them on the NW 1/4 of section twenty-one (21) soon after making settlement, consisting of about five acres of bottom land which for nearly three years was the only land in cultivation in the township and which has been cropped continuously for thirty-four years and still produces well.

Thomas Regester died in September, 1870, being the first death in the township.

The first school was taught in the winter of '70 and '71 by Myra Dooley in a log building with dirt roof, which had been previously occupied as the residence of William Dooley and family. This was prior to the organization of the school district and was a subscription school.

The first sermon was preached at the pioneer residence of Frank Powell by Rev. R. D. Preston, a Freewill Baptist minister from Nebraska. This house was built of logs, and like nearly all of the early residences, had a dirt floor and dirt roof, and was occupied by Mr. Powell and family for several years. Rev. Preston preached a very impressive sermon on this occasion, and during the most interesting part of his discourse a hen with brood of chickens came leisurely out from one corner of the room, passing immediately in front of the speaker, attracting his attention, as well as the attention of the entire audience.

144 History of Republic County.

After carefully surveying this new addition to his audience, the speaker in a meditative sort of way, resumed his discourse by saying, "Brethren and sisters, there's a better time coming." Probably alluding to the time when those chickens would be large enough for table use, as I have heard it frequently remarked that preachers generally were quite partial to that kind of a diet.

The first church in the township was built by the Methodists at Ida in the summer of 1885, the first pastor being Rev. J. W. H. Williams. The first child born in the township was Violet M. Rickard, adopted daughter of J. B. and Nellie Rickard, June 28th, 1869.

The first marriage in the township was J. W. Ball and Martha Dooley February 14th, 1871. The township was organized June 5th, 1870, and the following officers appointed: Frank T. Powell, trustee; Edwin E. Monroe, clerk; L. H. Dobyns, treasurer.

William Dooley built a substantial frame residence on the NW of section twenty-one (21) in the fall of 1870. This house was for several years the best one in the township and at the time it was built was probably the best farm residence in the county. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad traverses the northern part of the township, there being 5 31-100 miles of track valued at $6,259 per mile and the Chicago R. I. & Pacific 3.34 miles assessed in 1901 at 23,130. There are no stations in the township, but there are two of easy access, Hubbell on the B. & M., just across the north line in Nebraska, and Munden on the Chicago R. I. & Pacific, just across the south line of the township.

Among the first settlers, who are still residents of the township, are J. B. Rickard, now the oldest continuous resident, Robert Kyle, Wm. M. Moore, A. Steenblock, Wm. Bobenhouse, Wm. Lugenbeel, G. W. Dixon, Leander Wells and Mirza Skinner, all of whom claim more than thirty years residence.

History of Republic County. 145

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP.

Liberty, next west of Rose Creek, is well watered and has considerable timber. The first settlement was made by J. L. Neville on the SW 1/4 of section 13 in the spring of 1889, who built a small log house with dirt roof, but he did not do the first breaking. The first breaking was done by a man named Preston, about an acre in the bend of the creek on the SE 1/4 of section 14, now known as the Rose Creek stock farm, in the spring of 1869.

Preston made no permanent settlement, although it was his intention to do so, he having homesteaded the land. Soon after doing the breaking he went west on a buffalo hunt and never returned, having been killed by the Indians. Mrs. Preston planted a flower garden on the acre above referred to and among other seeds sown were some morning glories, which have bloomed there ever year since, having survived drouth, grasshoppers and the cultivation of the land. Mrs. Preston sold her right for $75 to John Riley, who came on during the latter part of the year 1869, he being the second settler in the township. This same section, with eighty acres additional, has recently been sold for $10,000. In the spring of 1869 Mr. Neville, thinking to get a start in poultry, made a trip to Nebraska for the purpose of buying a few fowls, but could find none until within a few miles of Fairbury, where he purchased a rooster for $1 and a pullet for $1.25, returning late at night considerably elated with his success. Next morning, hearing a considerable commotion in the poultry yard, went out to find that a wily coyote had captured, killed and carried away the pullet and was on his return for the rooster which, owing to the presence of Mr. Neville, he failed to capture. During the summer Mr. Neville bought another pullet in Washington county, paying $1.25, which seems to have been the established price. With this one he had better luck, as she laid during the summer and fall one egg.

Mr. Neville thought that at this rate it would be some

146 History of Republic County.

time before he would be overstocked with chickens.

The next settlers were the colony from New York, all being English and Scotch and all mechanics, principally stone cutters. The colony consisted of J. J. Wilkes, Andrew Glenn, Thomas Benson, Sydney Pearce, Edward Thornton, Daniel McKenzie, Burns and Munro. This colony left New York City Dec. 31st, 1869, and arrived at Belleville the first week in January, 1870. Selected eight quarter sections of land along Rose Creek, combining timber and water. The claims selected were numbered from one to eight and the corresponding numbers placed in a hat, each man drawing a number, which decided the claim he should homestead. This entire party was conveyed to the land office at Junction City by T. C. Reily, since sheriff of the county, where after declaring their intentions to become citizens of the United States, their homestead entries were made. The four first named are still prosperous and respected citizens of the county, all owning the land first selected; the last four never returned to occupy their claims.

The township organization, in which E. D. Bugby, then a citizen of the township, took an active and prominent part, was effected July 7th, 1871, and was christened Liberty by Mrs. Geo. A. Hovey. The officers appointed at that time were: Geo. A. Hovey, trustee; J. L. Neville, clerk; John Riley, treasurer.

The first child born in the township was Flora Neville February 2d, 1870. The first male child born was Pearl Brown, May 20th, 1871. These two after arriving at a suitable age, became man and wife, a coincidence without a parallel in the county and probably not in the state.

The first marriage was Menzo Churchill and Sarah V. Clark, March 3d, 1870. The first death in Liberty township was Arthur Hart, an infant, son of Frank and Katie Hart, who died in October, 1872.

This township has no railroad within its limits, there being only one other—White Rock—similarly situated,

History of Republic County. 147

yet there is not a farm house in the township at a greater distance than seven miles from a railroad station.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP.

A. B. Turner made the first improvements in this township by breaking a few acres of prairie and commencing a sod house on the SW 1/4 section one the last of April, 1871. These improvements he abandoned on being notified from the land office that section one was within the limits of the St. Joe & Denver railroad land grant. Turner then homesteaded the SE 1/4 of section 13, and commenced improving it about the 12th of May. Wm. R. Toll was the second person to make improvements, commencing to break prairie as early as May 10th. James Wilkins, Steve Madison and John Stevens all took homesteads about the same time and made settlement the same spring. W. A. Reeves took a homestead on the NE 1/4, section 11, May 13, and commenced improving it the following week. John Rule, an Englishman, settled on section 2 soon after, he and members of his family homesteading the whole section. Other early settlers were N. W. Hayes and his son, William, and William Stewart, a son-in-law, J. W. Smith, Isaac B. Gaylord, Noah Miles and Ritchie Clark, all making settlement in the spring of 1871. Of all the above named, only three—Reeves, Smith and Clark—are living on the land first taken, the others having died or moved away. W. A. Reeves was the first justice of the peace in the township, being appointed by Governor Harvey in 1872.

The first marriage was Sam. Wilkins and Mary E. Turner. This marriage was solemnized by W. A. Reeves, Esquire, at his residence in Washington township, February 12, 1873. The first gospel sermon was preached by Rev. J. L. Millard, a United Brethren preacher, then living in Liberty township, soon followed by Elder Marks and R. P. West, all pioneers in religious work.

The township was organized July 2d, 1872, and the following officers appointed: A. Watenpaugh, trustee;

148 History of Republic County.

Spaulding Eddy, clerk; Rev. Milner, treasurer; A. B. Turner, constable.

At the first election for township officers held in April, 1873, the following were chosen: Noah Miles, trustee; C. Foskett, clerk; A. B. Turner, treasurer; W. A. Reeves and H. C. Swartz, justices of the peace; A. B. Gilmore and J. D. Trimmer, constables.

This township has the largest area of land in cultivation of any in the county. The railroad mileage, B. & M., is 2.42 miles, assessed in 1901 at $16,393.

BIG BEND TOWNSHIP.

This township lies in the northwest corner of the county, is watered by the Republican river, which flows through it from the northwest to the southeast. The first settlement was made by Daniel Davis, who broke the first prairie and built the first cabin in the township in the summer of 1866, on the SE 1/4 of section 34. This township was the theater of many thrilling and exciting incidents of repeated outbreaks and attacks by Indians, hardships endured and heroic fortitude shown by the pioneer settlers, much of which is narrated in the chapter on Indian depredations. No part of the county suffered so severely and so long from Indian incursions as the townships of Big Bend and White Rock. Often in the early history of these two townships, while the pioneer settlers were resting in fancied security and safety, the treacherous savage, with deadly intent, was lurking near. This is but the same old story of all new countries infested with Indians.

The first school district embraced all that part of the township lying west of the Republican river and the first school was taught by J. D. Leigh, a highly interesting account of which will be found in the chapter on schools.

The first child born in the township was Myrtle, daughter of Oscar and Matilda Low, January, 1871. The first male child born was Tudor Charles, February 6th, 1871, and who is now living on the farm where born.

The first goods sold in the township was by John Rus-

History of Republic County. 149

sel, at the mouth of White Rock Creek, at which point Dan. Davis sought to start a town, and where James and John A. Clark had located a steam saw and shingle mill which they brought with them from Ohio, and had it in operation early in the fall of 1870, doing a good business until the following April, when they sold out to old Mr. Whitney, of Haddam, who soon after moved the mill to that place. This was the second saw mill in the county, the one owned by the Scandinavian Colony being the first. James R. Clark homesteaded the SE 1/4 and J. A., the NE 1/4 of section 10, in Freedom township. John A. sold out in 1874, and pre-empted a quarter in section 3, in the same township. James R. afterwards bought the Capt. Schooley farm in Grant township, where he lived for several years. The grocery store above referred to was built of cottonwood manufactured by the saw mill aforesaid. The stock in trade at this grocery was principally nails, tobacco and whiskey. The institution was short lived, remaining only a few months. The next store was kept by Jack Galbraith on the claim of W. R. Charles, in the winter of 1870 and 1871. Galbraith was in business there for a few months only, when he removed to White Rock. The next business established was a general store by William Walton, in the northwest corner of the township, close to the state line in the summer of 1871.

The first postoffice was established in 1871, was named Gomeria, and W. R. Charles appointed postmaster.

The township was organized July 19th, 1872, at which time the following officers were appointed: A. B. Young, trustee; S. G. Stover, treasurer; H.C. Waffle, clerk; and the first election ordered to be held at the residence of Andrew Low.

This township has three lines of railroad:
Missouri Pacific 7.62 miles Assessed in 1901 $32347
Rep. Valley, (B. & M.) 4.98 miles Assessed in 1901 33735
Pacific Ry in Nebraska 1.00 mile Assessed in 1901 4245
 
 
     Total 13.60 miles   $70327

150 History of Republic County.

This township having the greatest mileage of any township in the county, but not the largest assessed railroad valuation. As shown in another chapter, this township has the most taxable property of any in the county.

WHITE ROCK TOWNSHIP

Is so called from a creek of the same name which flows across a portion of the western and northern portions of the township. This part of Republic county is one of great historic interest, and was on account of its richness and beauty, a region of attraction, years before the most venturesome pioneer sought to establish a home here. And long before prudence warranted the undertaking, a few more daring than others, endeavored to build a home in this beautiful valley, some with the loss of their lives, and all living in constant dread of Indian incursions.

The first settlement in the township was made by Philip Keyser, on the NW 1/4 of section 4, in the spring of 1882, who made the first improvements and broke the first sod in this part of the county. His settlement was not permanent, as he remained here only a little more than two months. Settlers came and went and it was not until 1866 that a few determined men—among whom I mention Thomas Lovewell as a leading spirit—came to stay, but all subject to an annual scare from an Indian invasion.

The first school was taught in the summer of 1871, by Mrs. Emanuel Maudlin, in what was known as Crown's blacksmith shop, a large and roomy building, the upper story being used for general public purposes. This was a subscription school. The first gospel sermon was preached by R. P. West in 1870. The first church building was erected in 1873, not purely denominational, but was known as a union church, its construction being contributed to by parties of all religious beliefs—and sinners as well—but later passed under the control of the Bap-


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From A history of Republic County, Kansas : embracing a full and complete account of all the leading events in its history, from its first settlement down to June 1, '01 ... Also the topography of the County ... and other valuable information never before published. by I. O. Savage.; Illustrated. Published by Jones & Chubbic, Beloit, KS : 1901. 321 p. ill., plates, ports., fold. map ; 23 cm. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, July 2006.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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