Ladies and Gentlemen--Brothers and Sisters of the "Old Settlers' Association," of Greenwood county, Kansas--No other inducement than being called on by name would have been able to make me "rise up and explain," and while it was a wonder to me to be so honorably noticed, it is a matter of regret that the office was not placed in better hands. I did not aspire to the position. I did not aspire to the position. That niche in the temple of fame should have been given to some noteworthy person. But to Kansas, and to Greenwood county, especially, in whose borders I have made my home for a quarter of a century, and in whose territory "so fair and so full of goodly prospects" it is more than likely that I shall continue to stay, I feel all the duty of a citizen and all the affection of a son.
What I say will not be in a controversial spirit, nor to provoke discussion, and if there is anything wrongly stated, or which could have been bettered by somebody else, please remember that I am simply giving you my opinion or mildly stating "what I know," and that I am as willing and well pleased to learn as any of my hearers. We are all learning in this world, and the man who thinks he knows everything on this, or any other subject, has probably not heard what his neighbors say about him.
A historian has always a great task before him; and in the present case, he is not so much embarrassed by a lack of material, as overwhelmed with a superabundance of deeds done and events transpired, of which many items of interest had to be omitted on account of limited time and space.
Of the aborigines, the Padoucas, Pawnees, and Osages, previous to 1820 but little is known. The Padoucas, as far as is known, were continually at war, and as a nation have long since disappeared, leaving only a few roving bands of Kiowas and Kaskatias among the Black Hills, as the last remnants of the great Nation. The Pawnees, also, by various vicissitudes, have been reduced to a small band, and are not on the Wichita Reserve in Indian Territory. The Osages have made the most satisfactory progress toward civilization of any of the tribes. The proceeds from the Osage Trust land, a strip twenty miles wide, followed by the Osage diminished reserve, thirty miles wide, in 1865, materially altered their position for the better, and by this time, they were the most energetic and influential of all the tribes that formerly lived in Kansas. Morally and socially, all the Indians are considered very low in the scale. Studied at close quarters, the best specimens lack a great deal of filling the ideal of old-fashioned poetry and of Cooper's novels.
The writer's first sight of an Indian is not difficult to remember. Bare headed, bare bodied, bare legged--the remainder of his attire is not worth mentioning. You can not imagine, until you see it, what texture the human skin can take when uncovered for half of three-quarters of a century. It is simply living leather, and hangs in tough wrinkles and folds, a modification only of the hide of an elephant. His hands, feet, and even his legs, are so callous as to be almost indifferent to briars and thorns. Strong and straight, he is unabashed by the presence of strangers. A barbarian, truly.
There is no country whose history is more curious, or whose changes have been more astonishing than ours. Simply as a study, as a chapter out of Modern American History, as an example of the results of human industry. There are new sensations each day. Some effort is necessary to convince ourselves that this is still the same place, that we are still under the old familiar Stars and Stripes, and that it is still an integral part of the mightiest and grandest empire the world has ever known.
In history, Greenwood county is a partaker with all of her "Sunflower" sisters who were subjects of Spanish rule, and has about the same musty historical facts (though not so many of them known) to her credit. The Spaniards, possibly, wandered among our Flint Hills more than 300 years ago, looking for gold that, as elsewhere, seems through a singular course of events to have been reserved for the more Modern American.
Francisco de Coronado, in 1541, started out on an expedition to see the "great kingdom of Quivirs," with its river seven miles wide in which fish as large as horses were found, its immense canoes, its trees hung with golden bells, and its dishes of solid gold. He found the river, which he called the St. Peter and St. Paul, which we now call the Great Arkansas," but his golden trophies consisted of vaches (buffaloes), and horned "beastes" with fine wool (Rocky Mountain sheep). Not content, he traveled still farther northeastward until he struck another mighty rive, to which he gave the name Tenaria (the Missouri). If he sojourned twenty-five days exploring the country between these two great rivers, might he not have crossed Greenwood county? Who knows?
The French voyageurs, the tireless wandered of the early times, are said to have been the first settlers.
About the close of the year 1714, M. Du Tissenet or Dutisne, as two writers spell it, after a long and unsuccessful exploration searching for valuable minerals, gave the first definite information of the region now called Kansas. This knowledge gave M. Bourgmont, in 1724 and succeeding years, means to open up traffic of trade, mostly in furs and some minerals with the Padoucas, Osages, and Cangas Indians. But just about the time business was getting to be somewhat prosperous, the Indians rose up and massacred Fort Orleans' entire garrison. The Indians tell no tales, and the particulars will never be known.
Two governments had thus claimed us and yet, to the close of the 17th century, this was virtually an unknown and unexplored region. Actual history, in our sense, begins about April 30,1803, upon which date the treaty was signed by which France ceded to the United States the Province of Louisiana.
The Pike explorations, in 1806, and Long's in 1819 and 1820, spread intense interest in the minds of many, more particularly as a path to untold wealth in the sunny "El Dorado" was described to them. For the next twenty of thirty years a great host was engaged in this overland Commerce, and, expecting to reap a golden harvest at the end, drew aside with any though of settlement. Dozed by the enchantment of distance and the glittering, but delusive prospects of "fairer lands and brighter fortunes" far beyond, the long trains moved on, in endless and unbroken procession, through "the green pastures and beside the still waters," and across the treeless waste that stretched in the weary distance, to their land of promise and place of ease--a place of rest forever for many of them.
Dishonest politicians and newspaper reporters had not found us out in those days. If there had been any, the frequent ambuscades, surprises, and bloody Indian fights (on the trails) would have effectually rid us of them.
But this tide of travel soon saw the attractions and advantages of the country they were transversing. They were Americans. They spoke in the same language. They wore the same dress, followed the same customs, and under their touch every desert will yet bloom, and every mountain nook become a home.
That glossy and polished chestnut, "The Great American Desert," isn't in our geographies now. No one wonders why; who knows how many geographies are made? I contributed a little once, under orders, though. I was possessed of an amiable bronco, which I rode; and when the bronco was unamiable, I walked, and my geographical report partook of the bronco's nature. But one grand thing was that all Eastern people did not believe our geographies. They came anyhow, and no man is so well acquainted with human nature as to be able, precisely, to tell, even now, after the fact, why he came.
And all are soon celebrated for an unreasoning prejudice against all other localities. It is aut Kansas, aut nihil. Why, we would like to wall her in and have everything to ourselves, with a few reciprocities and other treaties with those we liked, and with a set of histories, periodicals and poets all to ourselves, and to suit us. This spirit has aided largely in our wonderful development; it is entirely excusable as an effect of locality and climate. Our constitution does not contemplate this variety of treason; hence, it is punishable, at worst, only by epithets and a retaliatory crop of denials and counter-charges.
There may be some who do not have any taste for the comparison with today, and the reminiscences of a quarter or a third of a century ago. Many a one would have more, could he have been here then--could he but remember the country as it was then, and compare the present and the vanishing and the dim Past of even twenty-five years ago. Sulking bands of Indians, dragging all their possessions on lodge poles that trailed behind lean ponies, and riding single-file into the hills, was one of the features.
In the early morning, herds of deer and antelope would disappear, prospectively grazing, only for a moment, and then were gone like the phantoms of a mirage, in the meantime dodging the straggling dugouts, log-huts, covered wagons, and an occasional tent that marked the frontier line.
And the weather--save a woman's mood, the most uncertain of all earthly things! It is now. Nowhere could it rain harder and faster than it did here. But then, the fuzzy grass shed the water like a thatch. No rain ever soaked the ground. The stream-beds were mere conveniences, sewers for these cloud-bursts, which even the gnarled and warty trees that stood here and there could not always withstand.
In summer, a wind that never ceased swept across the country. Nothing could equal this wind unless it was the denials and contradictions sent out by real estate speculators, or loan agents.
In winter, this wind came just the same, but not from the south. It was laden then with the breath of the Arctic zone.
There was not then and there is not now a more striking scene of desolation than uninhabited prairies in winter. A snow storm was a terror, not from quantity but from quality. It means less now; there is shelter; there are houses and hedgerows; there are land marks and roads. Then, to the wayfarer, it was death.
Every evil and mishap that the malignant powers could send, has befallen us. Nothing could be more terrible than the drought of 1860, of which the half has not been told, or the grasshopper scourge of 1874.
But see us now, this country of contradictions and curiosities! Fenced in by distance of time since the first settlement, and having not only learned but proven that Alchemy that transmutes the desert into "golden Grain," and yellow and forbidding nakedness into the verdure of Eden, brought out the electric lights now glittering over Eureka's stately streets; raised up the white towers of its buildings, shining through morning mists like Beulah from afar; adorned the whole country, from the lowest canoe-shaped valley to the highest flat-topped mesa, with thriving farmers, happy homes, churches, school houses, all the sounds and sights of prosperous industry, and a visible wreath, daily increasing.
Those who can see this last picture now, in the light of a choice September day in 1893, may well be proud of the forerunners, and thankful that many of the questions, which in the past have shaken the foundations of Freedom, are forever settled.
After a prolonged discussion of four months, Congress, on May 27, 1854, passed the bill for the admission of Kansas as a Territory, approved by the President May 30, 1854. By the 32nd section of the Organic Act, the all-important question of Slavery was transferred from the Halls of Congress to the yet unsettled Territory of Kansas. I say unsettled, because Hale, in his history of Kansas and Nebraska, published in 1854, says there were not 700 civilized residents in the whole territory, and as far as I can learn, not one in the region now called Greenwood county. In this irrepressible conflict it was the Free-Staters, versus the Pro-Slavery people. We see its importance more strongly now, than anyone at the time supposed. Armed men tramped all over the trails, and the worst feature was that these men did not live here; in point of fact, they had not the least business here, and did not come to stay. At this date, and to younger men, the whole story of the attempted conquest of Kansas by people who came here to do it, and in an interest, direct and avowed, of an institution as dead now as "Pompey the Great" seems absurd. But they did come, and came so near success in their efforts, that for a while they were sure they had succeeded. Suppose they had; what would our present State be? Where would be our Nation?
Four conventions framed constitutions for this state. The first assembled at Lecompton, June 7, 1857--Pro-Slavery. The third, at Leavenworth, March 25, 1858, a purely Free-State affair, but in less than eight months was formally abandoned. The fourth, an last one met at Wyandotte, July 5, 1859, and adjourned July 29, 1859; and today, after thirty-four years of the most eventful and exciting years of American history, its constitution still defines and regulates the duties of every Kansan.
On the 11th of April, 1860, Congress took action, the House of Representatives voting 134 to 73, to admit Kansas as a state under the Wyandotte Constitution. Twice during the next eight months the Senate defeated motions to consider the Kansas Bill, but on the 21st of January, 1861, several Southern states having seceded, Mr. Seward "took a pinch of snuff" and called it up again. It passed by a vote of 36 to 16, and on the 29th day of January, 1861, President Buchanan approved it, and Kansas appeared among the galaxy of stars. Very fittingly can she use ad astra per aspera as her motto. They saw the perilous storms of her youth. We see a peaceful, prosperous, and powerful commonwealth.
Greenwood and Madison counties were laid out by the first territorial legislature (bogus), which met July 5, 1855, and adjourned August 30, 1855.
Madison county was named after James Madison, 4th President of the United States. Greenwood county received its name in honor of Alfred B. Greenwood, a Pennsylvanian, who was an Indian agent under Pierce and Buchanan, and who negotiated treaties with the Sac and Fox, and other tribes in Southern Kansas. (Transcriber's note: Later evidence showed that he was born in Georgia, and lived most of his life in Arkansas. The wounds of the Civil War were still fresh in 1894, and apparently Mr. Barrier did not want to acknowledge that Greenwood County was named after a southerner.) The 13th Representative district, by the same legislature, consisted of Madison, Greenwood, Butler, Weller, and Hunter counties. As there was not a single settler in five of these counties, and as Weller of Osage, as it is now called, was the only one with any settlement at all, it looks like a curious piece of legislation.
The first settlement in any of these counties, that would now be in Greenwood county, was made on the Verdigris river early in 1856 in what is now Lane township, by John McKeag, W.T. Gow, Allen Thompson, John McDaniel and brother, and five others, whose names are unknown, and their families, a colony from Mississippi, very strong pro-slavery in their opinions. Enoch Reeves, in the fall of 1856, settled near the mouth of Walnut Creek.
On April 21, 1857, James Hawkins and Mark Hartley, followed closely by others on may 6, viz: James and W.F. Osborn, Isaac Sharp, David Smyth and others, settled in Lane township; Robert Clark, and others in Pleasant Grove. During the spring and summer, settlements were made on nearly all the streams; a complete list of whom I was not able to get, and will leave it to some future historian to fill up this omission. The first election in Greenwood county was for Territorial Delegate to Congress, and was held October 5, 1857. Marcus J. Parrott, Free-State candidate, received 14 and Epaphroditis Ransom, Pro-Slavery candidate, received 13 votes. At the same election in Madison county, Parrott received 69 votes and Ransom 7. December 29, 1857, Madison county was formally organized, with A. D. Graham, G.D. Humphrey, and Wesley Pearsons, county commissioners, and Samual F. Graham, county clerk.
The Leavenworth convention met March 25, 1858, to frame a (Free State) constitution, which they did, and one, too, that did not contain the word "white" in it, we find M.L. Ashmore, of Greenwood county and G.D. Humphrey of Madison county, as signers to this precious legacy, forerunner of Free-suffrage and of the war soon to follow.
In the Wyandotte convention, July 5, 1859, George H. Lillie represented Madison county. Greenwood county was represented by S.E. Hoffman, of Woodson, the district being composed of Greenwood, Butler, Hunter, and Woodson counties. The Wyandotte and present constitution was submitted to the people for ratification on October 4, 1859, and received 24 votes for and 16 votes against its adoption in Greenwood county. The vote for and against in Madison county is not known. November 8, 1859, Allanson K. Hawk received one more vote than George H. Lillie, for Representative of the 23rd District, in Madison county; but the other two counties of the district, Morris and Chase, gave Lillie a good majority. He was elected the first Representative under the Wyandotte constitution. At the same election, P.G.D. Marton, of Butler, was elected from the 24th Representative district, including Greenwood county and eight other counties. In November, 1860, T.S. Huffaker, of Council Grove, was elected Representative of the 23rd district, and John C. Lanbdin, of Chelsea, of the 24th. In all the above and succeeding elections, both counties gave majorities, and large ones often, for the Free State cause; and to this day it is the glory of the pioneers of this county that, when called to fill a gap for freedom's cause, they filled it. When summoned to meet a crisis in human rights, they met it.
But just as the border, and politics, were quieting down, and peach seemed to reign supreme, a new tribulation came on the long suffering people. "A great famine came upon them." The bountiful harvest of 1855-56-57-58, in a new country, with a great immigration, could not gather up any surplus. The people were dependent almost entirely upon their future crops; so, when the great drought commenced June 1st, 1859, with the last rainfall, and for over sixteen months, or until October 26, 1860, without a shower of rain to wet the ground two inches deep, at the end, we see nothing but charity between them and starvation. Timely contributions relieved many of those who were not so disheartened as to leave this "God-forsaken country," but it did not prevent others from suffering privations well-nigh bordering on starvation. The Territorial Legislature, at the last session in 1861, divided Madison county, attaching the northern part to Breckenridge, now Lyon county, and the south part, a strip six miles wide, to Greenwood county. Thus, Madison county, after a struggling and rather precarious existence of about four years, was virtually annihilated. Its records, court and county papers were transferred to Greenwood county, and are to be found in the County Clerk's office. After several ineffectual attempts, the organization of this county was effected March 12, 1862, by the meeting of M.E. Stratton, W.F. Osborn, and R.H. Gasaway, commissioners especially appointed by the Governor, at Janesville, the temporary county seat. These commissioners appointed county officers and divided the county into five townships: Madison, Lane, Pleasant Grove, Janesville, and Eureka. In the foregoing, I have tried to place events somewhat in their chronological order, but will now have to depart from this rule in order to compass a great deal in as small space as possible.
The following is a complete list of county officers from the organization of the county, in 1862, to the year 1873, the date of the old Settler's latest birth.
P.B. Maxon, 1862-4
C.V. Eskridge, 1864-6
P.B. Maxon 1866-8
Edwin Tucker, 1868-70
Jacob Stotler, 1870-2
William Martindale, 1872-4
James Kenner, 1862-4
William Martindale, 1864-6
Edwin Tucker, 1866-8
W.F. Osborn, 1868-70
Ira P. Nye, 1871
S.P. Huntington, 1872
J.E. Grant, 1862
W.E. Smith, 1862-5
W.C. Waybright, 1865-9
A.F. Nicholas, 1869-73
Walter Smethers, 1873
W.M. Hill, 1862, pro tem
Harry Norton, 1863, portion
D.T. Nichols, 1863-5
Harry Norton, 1865-7
J.L. Benson, 1867-9
L.N. Fancher, 1869-73
E. Tucker, 1862-6
F.G. Allis, 1866-8
W.E.J. Nixon, 1868-70
L.H. Platt, 1870-2
G.H. Martz, 1872-4
William Martindale, 1862-7
William Smethers, 1867-8
W.W. Denison, 1868-72
S.A. Martin 1872-3
W.B. Godfrey, 1865-7
A.F. Nicholas, 1867-8
Samuel Gardner, 1868-9
Ira P. Nye, 1869-71
G.F. Clark, 1871-3
S. Blakely, 1862-3
N.T. Pritchard, 1863-5
F.G. Allis, 1865-6
J.A. Norton, 1866-7
L. Sears, 1867-8
J.C. Catlin, 1868-70
H.H. Hicklin, 1869-70
G.H. Anthony, 1870-2
R.R. Grimes, 1873
H.C. Van Horn, 1862
H. Maines, 1862-3
J.E. Criswell, 1863-6
R.M. Duncan, 1866-7
Chris Hoover, 1867-8
David Nichols, 1862, portion
W.H. Maloney, 1863, portion
Leander Bemis, 1863-4, app.
R.H. Gasaway, 1864-5
R.R. Turner, 1865-7
Raus Johnson, 1867-9
L.J. Boyce, 1869-71
J.L. Baker, 1871-3
I.M. Todd, 1862, portion
Jothem Keys, 1862-5
James Kenner, 1865-73
Register of Deeds
Charles Cameron, 1862, portion
Patrick Somers, 1862-3
David Roach, 1863-5
James Willis, 1865-7
J.C. Gilman, 1867-8
I.R. Phenis, 1868-9
Purlin Baird, 1869-70
A.W. Gleason, 1870-1
M.J. Verner, 1871-3
J.M. Seidle, 1873
1862 M.E. Strattton, W.F. Osborn, R.H. Gasaway
1862-3 H.J. Willis. R. Brown, T. Ashpole
1863-4 H.J. Willis, W.F. Osborn, C.T. Boswell
1864-5 Willaim Martindale, H. J. Willis. W.F. Osborn
1865-7 S. Phenis, H.J. Willis, J.L. Rose
1867-9 William Martindale, W.F. Osborn, George W. Cope
1869-70 J.R. Bullion, J.L. Baker, W.L. Sears
H.S. Jones was elected in 1870
James Mills, Jr., in 1871, and S. Brookover in 1873
The county is bordered on the west by a low range of mountains or hills, called the "Flint Ridge" from which numberless streams take their rise from the never-failing springs, and plentifully water every section of land, finally entering either the Verdigris or Fall River, both flowing southeasterly, through the entire length of the county. Emptying into these river are many creeks, of which Spring, Honey, Otter, Salt, Bachelor, Homer, Slate, and Willow creeks are the largest.
Of the land, twenty per cent, according to the government survey, is bottom, and eighty per cent is upland, five per cent forest, and ninety-five per cent prairie land. The native timber is entirely of the deciduous order, and embraces about all of its most valuable species. The soil is produced by the disintegration of the limestone, sandstone, and granite ridges of the Flint Hills aforesaid, and is therefore dry, porous, and gravelly, except in the bottoms, where the soil is a dark loam mold, from two to four feet thick, formed from the decomposition of the vegetation growing there and on the slopes and higher ground, and annually washed down. The important grasses of every genera and species, indigenous to the plain and mountain region proper, as well as many varieties of the Mississippi river basin, have been discovered within its borders. The climate is healthful, and the extremes of temperature, on account of the dry atmosphere, are well borne.
The fall of snow at any one time is not very heavy, and rarely lies on the ground after a storm. The rainy season is in the latter part of April and the month of May, and after these months the rain that falls is from electrical showers. Precipitation averages about 34 inches.
Blue limestone is found in nearly all the western and northern portions of the county. Sandstone is in the southern, and a fine magnesian limestone in the western part. A large deposit of mineral paint, cement, and fire-clay, has lately been discovered northwest of Eureka. Specimens of these have been subjected to severe tests, and prove very satisfactory. A company has been formed, and large works erected in Eureka with the view of opening up these deposits. Coal is found in many parts of the county, but the veins are too thin for profitable mining. A reported vein, 37 inches thick and at a depth of 26 feet, in the northwestern part of the county, is being looked after at the present time.
The Kansas City, Emporia, and Southern, the Chicago, Kansas City, and Western, and the St. Louis, Wichita, and Western, members of the Sante Fe system, and the Inter-State and Ft. Scott, Wichita, and Western, Missouri Pacific system, afford railroad facilities to nearly every portion of the county. Our wagon roads are always good--none of your ferrying around in a semi-liquid for at least four of five months in every year. All of the larger streams are bridged.
Flouring mills are found at Eureka, Fall River City, Madison, and Twin Falls, and saw mills at six places in the county.
An Agricultural Association was formed and a successful fair held in 1872, and for eight year afterward; but, owing to mismanagement and declining interest, this line of "innocent amusement" was thrown to "innocuous desuetude."
November 17, 1866, an election was held to permanently locate the county seat, the business of the county prior to this date having been transacted at Janesville. The November 21 commissioner's meeting show that at this election, Eureka received 91 votes, and section, in township 25, range 13 , called Philadelphia, received 68 votes. These two receiving the highest number of votes, but not a majority over all, it was declared by the board that another election be held on November 27, to decide between Eureka and Philadelphia; and from the proceedings of the board, November 30, 1966, we find that Eureka received 116 votes and Philadelphia 112, Eureka's majority being four. Eureka became the county seat by this vote. Population in 1892 was 2217. It is south and west about four miles from the center of the county. It was laid out in the spring of 1867, but was not incorporated until April 30, 1870. The first house built upon the site destined to be the city of Eureka was a school house, built of slit log planks, roughly hewed, and finished with this material, both sides and roof, without paint or mortar, and presenting, as the Hon. A.B. Lemon afterward said, a good specimen of the "marisco" style of architecture. The first store was opened up here April 1, 1866, on the site now occupied by G.M. Rizer and sons. After the county seat was located here, the growth was rapid, and today Eureka stands without rival in the county.
Madison, population in 1892, 580; Fall River, population 444; Hamilton, population 163; Reece, population 148; Severy, population 395; and Neal, population 136, are thriving country places, and transact a large local business, especially the first three mentioned.
Towns were projected at Twin Falls, Charleston, Wilton, Lincoln City, Greenwood City, and other places, but I believe all have been abandoned.
Origin and Definition of Names
Greenwood - after Alfred B. Greenwood
Eureka - a Greek word signifying, "I have found it," and applied to those never-failing springs by E. Tucker
Madison - after James Madison, fourth president
Severy - after Luther Severy, of Emporia, a director of the railroad built through this city, and through whose efforts it was made a railroad city.
Neal - after Moses Neal, of Humboldt, Kansas, a director of the Ft. S., W., and W. R. R.
Reece - after W.W. Reece, owner of the land on which it is located, and now of Ireland Hughes, Colorado
Verdigris - Captain Zebulon Pike's journal, dated September 6, 1806, says: "At 5 o'clock to-day we reached the Arkansaw by way of the Verdigris river, a name applied to it from the blue clay found in its bed, and used as a pigment by the Osages. Our course has lain along this stream, over rough, gravelly hills, a prairie county, well watered by its many branches." Lieutenant James B. Wilkinson, of Pike's expedition, on their return October 28, 1806, to January 8, 1807, says in his report: "We passed the mouth of the Verdigris, a yellow, scummy stream, about a hundred yards wide." Thus, either giving it a name, or making it worth the while to establish it, Webster defines the word "Verdigris" as "green rust of copper."
Kansas - after the Kansas Indians, signifying "smoky."
Janesville - after Thomas Hill's daughter Jane, now Mrs. Joe Walkin, the first postmistress.
There are 37 church organizations, and 26 church buildings, Value, $55,025. There are 113 schools districts, school population, 5,601. School property is valued at $90,000.
After getting a slice six miles wide on the north side (in 1861, from Madison county) and another nine miles wide, in 1865, from Butler county, this county is now a quadrilateral in shape--31 miles east and west, and 39 miles north and south, with a chunk, six by nine miles, out of the northwest corner. This gives it 1,155 square miles, and 738,200 acres. It is now divided into fifteen townships, viz: Madison, Lane, Janesville, Pleasant Grove, Eureka, Salem, South Salem, Spring Creek, Otter Creek, Fall River, Twin Groves, Salt Springs, Quincy, Shell Rock, and Bachelor. There are 29 post offices, viz: Eureka, Madison, Fall River, Severy, Climaz, Derry, Fame, Flint Ridge, Hamilton, Hickman, Hill Top, Ivanpah, Lapland, Lena Valley, Neal, Utopia, Tonovay, Virgil, Willow Valley, Carroll, Lamont, Ruweda, Thrall, Brigham, and Star.
One of the most powerful agents toward its settlement, and a power in every modern measure, is the press, and the people of Greenwood county were not slow to recognize it. July 4, 1868, "The Eureka Herald," with S. G. Mead, as editor, launched forth , and through all the difficulties that beset so many other like ventures, it still stands as a living monument to the wisdom as guidance. It has changed owners and editors several times, but ventures of like measure followed, some climbing the Golden Stairs in their infancy, while a number have survived and are flourishing. Among them are the "Messenger" of Eureka, a full-grown news dispenser, founded on the foundations of the Democrat, of June, 1888, the "Graphic" of February, 1878, and the "Censorial," of February, 1878. The "Herald" has a fine office, large and increasing business, and is an honor to its editor, and Greenwood county. The "Alliance-Union," a later publication, has been quite a power in the three years of its existence at Eureka. The "Madison Star," "Severyite," and "Fall River Advocate," are good, popular educators in their respective towns and surrounding localities. Taken all in all, Greenwood county is the equal, if not the peer, of any other Kansas county of equal population, in the number and quality of its publications.
I hear one say, "old times are gone," "Too radical and peculiar." Are you? We know it and of one thing we are sure, that all the evils of this county and those have struck us at all appearances, were splendid advertisements. Everything that it was said we could not do, and were not fitted to do, has been done, even to eliminating the saloon, an eastern feature missed by many.
The Kansas "cranks" are of that kind of material that they actually mean their theories, and after the 6th of November, 1854, we mean Woman Suffrage, another peculiar theory and astonishing to the staid fossils of the older states.
We are peculiar in another respect; one of the first things that the early settlers did was to build a school house, and then retire behind a good-sized orchard, or a red barn, investing some of their physical capital at intervals in the virgin soil, and such soil, too. Indeed it would be worth 25 cents a wheelbarrow load as a fertilizer in many of the older states.
I have shown you something of the history of this county in its earlier days, but I can give you no portrayal of the labors performed, the dangers incurred, the popular excitement at times, and all the disorders consequent upon the want of the customary laws and usages now to be found everywhere around us. I have tried to divest myself of all peculiarities or prejudices, and present everything true as it was. I am conscious that I have made errors, omissions, and many imperfections. These will in time be discovered, and corrected, to some extent. I am glad to see so many here today, and such interest taken. I am proud of the fact that I am a member of this association. It is an important thing, too; important because there is much to do.
In reading a copy of the Constitution, carefully, I find much remains yet to be done. I feel, like Newton, "that we have been but a boy playing with pebbles on the beach, while the great Ocean of Truth lies undiscovered before us." With a heart glowing with state and national pride, I hope that future meetings, with bolder hearts, more adventurous and business spirits, with more powers, will enter the practical and useful field of operation, and achieve for themselves, and for the association's honor, the bright and substantial rewards due the Pioneers of Greenwood county.
We need to enlarge our Home Knowledge. We talk learnedly of Ancient Greece and Rome, and never think of the affairs at Home. There are men inside this Association, men whose names would grace and adorn any Records, whose experience and general education are sufficient to enable them to get up a good and interesting historical paper at any time. It is difficult for anything to succeed well, not based on some actual worth, and everything is measured by the success it attains. No gilded or embossed wreath of roses will encircle our brown unmerited. No wonderful tails, sweet and pleasant, will go forth to be received and welcomed, unless maintained on a bona fide standard of excellence.
And now kind souls our revels are ended,
Here our actors are melted into air;
And like the corroding fabrics of this History,
Its gorgeous scenes and cloudcapped deeds
This tiniest Flower of all that blooms in your Bouquet
Ere we, through Providence, hope to clasp thy hand another day.
Back to Title page
The KSGenWeb logo is copyrighted for the exclusive use of the KSGenWeb Project for display on official KSGenWeb Pages only. Unauthorized use of the contents of this page for profit/commercial ventures is expressly prohibited.
Home Page for the
Kansas State Library
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project