1901 History of Republic County Kansas

History of Republic County. 151

tists. In the fall of 1871, a commodious and comfortable school house was built of rock, Thomas Lovewell being the architect and builder, and a term of school taught therein the following summer by Miss Ida Kirkpatrick.

White Rock post office was established in May, 1871, and Chester L. Babcock appointed postmaster. The boundaries of the township were defined August 20th, 1870, and embraced a territory of twelve miles north and south, by six miles east and west, the voting place to be at the house of Joseph Kohl, but no township officers were appointed at that time. The first officers elected were: W. H. Leigh, trustee; A. B. Young, clerk; S. B. Morlan, treasurer; A. B. Warner, justice of the peace; Andrew Low, justice of the peace; W. Malory, constable; D. Rice, constable.

The township has no railroad.


The first settlement in this township was made by S. Sherdahl, April 10th, 1870. Mr. Sherdahl had his only team of horses stolen by the Indians May 18th, 1870. The township was organized July 7th, 1871 and the following officers appointed:

E. K. Mahan, Trustee; David Rockhold, Clerk; J. R. Bowersox, Treasurer; J. M. Rockhold, Justice of the Peace; S. A. McKay, Constable.

The first sermon was preached by Rev. Albert Odell, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, about May 1st, 1871, in a board shanty located on the SW 1/4 of section 23, the same being occupied by J. B. Bowersox as a residence. School district No. 39, one of the leading school districts of the county, was organized May 23d, 1871, and the first school meeting was held on the third day of June following. The first school district officers were Andrew Engle, S. A. McKay and John R. Bowersox. The first three months of school in this district was taught by Miss Zuretta Rockhold in a dugout on the SE corner of section 22

152 History of Republic County.

the site of the present school building. The names of the pupils who held down slab seats that term were: Frank Cooper, Calvin Gant, Benjamin Gant, Charles Gant, David Hall, J. Householder, Daniel Householder, Geo. Page, Van Rockhold, Fred Rockhold, Arthur Rockhold, Eddy Sims, Rose B. Woods, Racena Cooper, Albina Gant, Caroline Gant, Mary G. Householder, Clem Landreth, Esther Page, Lefa Robbins, Loretta Rockhold, Orpha Rockhold, Anna F. Small, Rachel Small, Irene Woods, Sarah E. Woods. This has been a graded school, employing two teachers since 1891.

This township embraces a larger area than any other in the county, the Republican river forming its western boundary. Has a railroad mileage of 6.12 miles assessed in 1901 at $26629.


This township lies in the center of the county, east and west, is well settled and well improved, the third ward of the city of Belleville being located within its boundaries.

The first settlement was made on the southwest quarter of section 35 in the spring of 1870, by Dr. A. B. Tutton, who built a small log dwelling where the residence of J. P. Talmadge now stands. This was the first building of any kind erected in the township. The first prairie broken was on the claim taken by Dr. J. C. Griffith, the SE 1/4, section 35, in the spring of 1870. This breaking was done by T. C. Reily, afterwards sheriff of the county. Dr. Griffith built a comfortable stone house in the summer of 1870, recently occupied by T. M. Childs as a residence. Dr. Columbus Taylor, the same summer built a good frame house on his homestead, the NW 1/4 of section 29. Among others who made settlement in this township in 1870, I name James Taylor, J. D. and S. L. Black, George and Ezra Couchman, J. F. Walker, Amos Moree, Robert M. Edgecomb, John Bodine, W. P. Weeks, D. M. Howard, Albert Myers, William H. Boyes, Ezra Powell, David Van

History of Republic County.

Residence and Farm Buildings of H. J. Slutts.
NE 1/4 Sec. 15, Freedom Township.

History of Republic County.

Residence of F. M. Johnson, Freedom Township.

History of Republic County. 153

Aken, Aaron Bond, R. P. Cheney, P. L Peck, Fredrick Collins, J. J. and P. F. Scofield.

The first school was taught by Mrs. Albert Odell, at her residence on the southwest quarter, section 29, in the winter of 1870-1. This was prior to the district organization and was a three-months subscription school. The school house was a combination of a dugout and sod, similar to others described elsewhere in this history. The first school taught after the organization of District No. 17, the first one to organize in the township, was by the Rev. Albert Odell.

The township was organized July 7th, 1871, and was christened "Freedom" by William Hughes. The following were the officers appointed: Adam Dixon, trustee: Robert M. Edgecomb, clerk; Philander L. Peck, treasurer; A. O. Kindy, constable. The first election was ordered to be held at the residence of B. M. Edgecomb, on the NE 1/4, section 21. The first child born in the township was Ira W. Walker, December 9th, 1870. The first marriage was E. M. Bailey and M. E. Personett, February 3d, 1871. The first death was Maria E. Howard, wife of D. M. Howard, who died January 18th, 1872. The township has a railroad mileage of 2.02 miles, assessed in 1901 at $15483.


Lies next east of Freedom and is a most excellent township of land for agricultural purposes, nearly its entire area being susceptible of cultivation. The first settlement was made in 1870 and the whole township was practically settled up that and the following year. It was named by Joseph Northrup, one of the first settlers and the first township trustee being appointed January 4th, 1871, at which time the township was organized. The other officers appointed were Filer S. See, Clerk; Joseph B. See, Treas. The first election was held at the residence of Joseph Northrup.

The population of the township is about equally di-

154 History of Republic County.

vided between native and foreign born, the foreigners being principally Bohemians. The first school in the township was taught by Mary Dixon, in a dugout, on the SE 1/4 of section 30, the farm now being owned by J. N. Snyder. This was a three months' subscription school taught in the spring of 1872, which was prior to the organization of any school district in the township. The following is a partial list of the pupils who attended this school, none of whom were advanced beyond the first reader during the term:

William Ryan, Rosetta Ryan, Lincoln Hill, Mary Hill, Nancy Guthrie, Mary Guthrie, William Guthrie, John Hawkins.

Both branches of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad traverse this township with a total mileage of 10.22 miles, assessed in 1901 at $72,423.


Z. P. Rowe and Jacob Hull were the first settlers in Farmington Township, making settlement on section 35, in May, 1866. Wm. McBride and Calvin Mapes came in the spring of 1867, and John Harris, Sr., and Thomas Maxfield came in the fall of the same year. George Hardenberg and William Herman came in May, 1868. Jacob Hull homesteaded the land where H. H. Hoffman now lives. This was the first township organized in Republic county as shown elsewhere. The second postoffice in the county was established in this township in the spring of 1868, and Z. P. Rowe, a pioneer settler and later County Commiscioner,[sic] was the postmaster. A school was started in the summer of 1868, taught by Miss McBride, in what is now school Dist. No. 4. The territory embraced in this district was 9x15 miles and had a school population of 18 at the time the school was taught.

The first marriage was John H. Oliver and Rhoda Spillman, June 3d, 1869. They were married on the open prairie by Rev. R. P. West in the presence of witnesses.

History of Republic County.

Residence of Hugh Colville, Fairview Township.

History of Republic County. 155

The B. & M. Railroad had a mileage of 3.24 miles in the township with an assessed valuation in 1901 of $14556.


John Harris and James Swan were the first to make settlement in this township, Harris taking a homestead on the N 1/2 of NW 1/4 of section 4, and Swan pre-empting the NE 1/4 of the same section on the 5th day of March, 1866. Edwin Enoch came in April, Z. P. Rowe and Jacob Hull in the summer of the same year. Henry Willoughby, Wm. Oliver and Samuel Elder came in the fall, settling in the south part of the township. This township is well watered, has considerable timber, and an abundance of building stone.

Ida Harris, now Mrs. George Sissel, was the first child born in Richland township, July 12th, 1867. The first marriage was West Union Spillman and Amelia Johnson in May, 1866. The township was organized July 7th, 1871, and the following officers were appointed: J. S. Bates, Trustee; Jacob Baird, Treasurer.

The first election was ordered held at the house of Mr. Carpenter. The township has railroad mileage as follows:

Chicago R. I. and Pacific 580 miles, assessed 1901 $ 40495
B. & M 3.92  "       "      " 16993

Total 9.52 Total $ 57488


This township is one of great historic interest as it was here that the temporary county seat was located; the first law-suit in the county was tried, the first school taught, the first political convention held and the first gospel sermon preached, all of which are mentioned in preceding chapters. The first settlement made was by J. E. VanNatta and William Harshberger, May 10th 1862, David Corey coming soon after, and still later, R. P. West, Henry Mead, J. H. Frint, Noah Kunkel, John Robbins, Hiram Jackson and Geo. Wilcox, all taking claims along the creeks. It was not until 1870 and 1871 that settlements

156 History of Republic County.

on the high prairie were made and at the close of the year '71 all the desirable land in the township had been taken. This township is centrally located and possesses many natural advantages.

It was organized Feburary 24th, 1872, and T. J. Baird appointed trustee, the first election to be held at the residence of Andrew Pfaff, a central location, and where the elections were held for many years. The township has two lines of railroad, namely:

B. & M 4.34 miles, assessed 1901 $18814
Chicago, R. I. & Pacific 2.53   "       "      " 17520
Total 6.87 Total $36334


So called from Belleville, the county seat. The first settlers were J. C. Reily and T. C. and W. H. H. Reily, his sons, in 1866. They, like all the other early settlers, took land along a creek and named it Reily Creek, no one believing at that time that the high prairie land would ever be settled upon, but would always remain grazing land.

J. C. Reily was the first assessor in Republic county being elected in the spring of 1868, which was prior to the organization of the county, and while it was attached to Washington county as a voting precinct. The whole number of votes cast was thirteen, of which Mr. Reily received eight, and Captain I. M. Schooley five, although it is probable that there were at the time, fifty or sixty voters in the county. Mr. Reily is remembered by the early settlers and by all who knew him intimately, as a man of mature judgment and conscientious and upright, both in public and private life. He died at his home in Belleville, September 7th, 1895, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years, five months and twenty days. T. C. Reily, for nearly a third of a century a citizen of Republic county, now lives in Woodward county, Oklahoma. W. H. H. Reily is still living on Reily Creek, where he first settled.

History of Republic County. 157

The following sketch has never before appeared in print: A history of Republic county would be incomplete that did not refer to the trials, difficulties and dangers attendant on the settling of the country. A sad event which occurred at Scotch Plains in 1870, shows some of the trials to which pioneers were subjected. Jack McKenzie and wife, who were Scotch, came from New York City, with the Excelsior colony, homesteading and settling on the SE 1/4, section 18, town 3, range 3, now owned and occupied by Thomas S. Doctor. After building a sod house and planting a little crop, Jack proceeded to dig a well, and being lone handed and an old sailor, he made him a rope ladder by which he went down, filled his bucket of dirt, ascended by his ladder, and wound up by his windlass the bucket of dirt. (His wife, a young nimble woman, had learned to go down and up this ladder by starting at the top when the excavation was quite shallow.) Jack had worked along in this way, sometimes getting a hand from a neighbor to help him and again working alone until he had gone down about thirty-six feet, and at one time, at least, being compelled to quit work, on account of bad air in the hole. On the second of August, he went down to work as usual, his wife going around the place attending her chickens: heard some commotion in the well, running to it and looking down, she saw there was something the matter with Jack. Hastily calling a young man (James Kinnard), who was boarding with them, to run across the creek for help, she descended to Jack's assistance. When the help arrived at the well breathless from running and excitement, she was seen sitting supporting Jack's head on her knee. One of the party, James Lowden, immediately attempted to descend. On reaching nearly half way down, he looked up, saying, "Boys, I can't go: it chokes me!" He was ordered up. Then commenced a struggle for life: it was all he could do to get back far enough for the others to haul him out, when he lay on the bank vom-

158 History of Republic County.

iting for a couple of hours, before he recovered. Word was sent around the neighborhood of the calamity, when a crowd gathered. After ventilating, by means of a funnel made of sheets, an old miner, the late Joseph McGowen, descended and sent the bodies to the surface. They were buried next day in the cemetery on the Preacher West place, R. P. West preaching the funeral sermon.

The township was organized September 4th, 1871, and S. W. Skeels was appointed township clerk. No other officers were appointed. The election for township officers was held in Belleville, April 2d, 1872, when the following were elected: J. C. Reily, trustee; T. C. Reily, clerk: S. K. Waterson, treasurer: Joseph Boothe, justice of the peace: John Engle, constable: D. C. Bowersox, constable.

The township has two lines of railroad—the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, 3.32 miles, assessed in 1901 at $24,651; the Junction City & Fort Kearney (U. P.) 4.90 miles, assessed in 1901 at $25,146. Total mileage, 8.22 miles; total assessed valuation, $49,797.


The first settlement was made by the Scandinavian colony in the fall of 1868. This township lies on both sides of the Republican river, which is spanned by a substantial iron bridge at Scandia city, a place of considerable commercial importance and the second city in size in the county.

Among the early settlers who took homesteads on the high prairie in Scandia township, I mention Thomas and William West and Fred O'Connell, William West taking the NE 1/4, section 24; Thomas, the NW 1/4 and O'Connell the SW 1/4; David C. Gamble taking the SE 1/4 in the spring of 1871. Soon after taking his claim, O'Connell went to Kit Carson, Colorado, to work on the Union Pacific railroad and never returned, presumably scalped by

History of Republic County.

Residence of Ex-State Senator Geo. D. Bowling,
Scandia Township.

History of Republic County.

Residence of Thure Wohlfart, Scandia Township.

History of Republic County. 159

the Indians, as it was well known that several railroad workmen met that fate about that time. In the spring of 1872, John West, a brother of William and Thomas, came and took the O'Connell claim, which he held until his death, which took place about Christmas, 1891, his land now being owned by D. H. Riddlebarger. Thomas still lives on the land first taken, and William lives on the SE 1/4, section 13, Scandia township.

The township was organized January 2d, 1871, and comprised two congressional townships, namely, town 3, range 4; and town 3, range 5; but no township officers were appointed. At the first election, April 4th, 1871, the following were elected: Jacob Gui, trustee; Wm. N. Knoll, clerk; A. Asbjournson, treasurer; George Lembke, justice of the peace; William West, justice of the peace; Joseph McGowan, constable; Lars C. Hanson, constable.

The township has two lines of railroad—the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, 6.55 miles, assessed in 1901 at $50,064; and the Missouri Pacific, 5.10 miles, assessed in 1901 at $21,650. Total mileage, 11.65; total assessed value, $71,714.


The first settlement in the township was made by C. A. Holmstrom in the spring of 1869, who broke the first prairie and built the first house. The first school house was built by subscription, in district No. 42, in the summer of 1871. The township was organized Feburary 24th, 1872, mainly through the efforts of John H. Crane, an early settier of the township, who suggested the name "Soldier" from the fact that a large number of the first settlers had served in the army. The name was afterward, without apparent good cause, changed to Courtland. J. Peterson was appointed first trustee. The first election was ordered held at the residence of John T. Sothers, but was really held in his stable. At the first election, held on the second Tuesday of April, 1872, the following officers were elected:

160 History of Republic County.

C. C. Parkinson, Trustee; John H. Crane, Clerk; John T. Sothers, Treasurer; John M. Lawrence, Justice of the Peace; W. Stafford, Justice of the Peace; Charles Wynn, Constable; John T. Henry, Constable.

The first birth in the township was a daughter of Otto Olsen and wife in the fall of 1871. The township has two lines of railroad, as shown by the map with a total mileage of 11.04 miles, assessed in 1901 at $66312.


E. B. Pedersen and T. A. Nelson settled on Beaver creek in 1869, being the first settlers in the township. It was called Buffalo precinct and was attached to Norway township until October 6th, 1873, when the township was organized and named Beaver from the creek which flows through it. R. M. Williams was appointed first trustee and the first election was ordered held as near the center of the township as practicable. This was the last township organized in the county. The first birth in the township was Joseph Munson, December 9th, 1872. The first marriage was Andrew Sederlin and Mary Knutson, in June, 1872. The first death was Gustav Werner, who died August 10th, 1872. This township had a railroad mileage of 6.14 miles, assessed in 1901 at $29,500. The population is about equally divided between native and foreign born, the foreigners being mostly Swedes and Norwegians.


The first settlement in this township was made by Thomas Green, who built a log house and dug a well on the SE corner of the SE 1/4 of section 17, in the fall of 1868. He broke a little prairie and planted a little sod corn in the spring of 1869, which the soldiers and Indians harvested. He left early in the summer of '69 on account of Indian troubles and never returned. His claim was contested by Joseph Merica,a man of heavy avoirdupois, the heaviest in the county at that time, tipping the beam at a little over 400 pounds. Merica occupied this claim for several years

History of Republic County.

Residence of August Johnson, Beaver Township.

History of Republic County.

Residence of S. A. Haggman, Beaver Township.

History of Republic County.

Residence of Fred Engwall, Beaver Township.

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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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