The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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Hillsinger; Case took the land now owned by Sol Marsh, known as the Snow farm.  On their return they met Sol Marsh and party near where John Bieber now lives.  Both returned to Brown county where Case worked on a farm; Simmons went to Weston, Missouri, and taught school.  In September they came back to their claims, Frank Williams accompanying them.  They spent two or three weeks on their claims.  During this time Simmons lost his horse.  They purchased another from Ed Newell and started on a buffalo hunt.  They first went to Hays City to get their horses shod, Ft. Hays, 100 miles south, had the nearest blacksmith at that time; the next day the Newell horse showed his gratitude by quietly departing this life.  They went on the buffalo hunt accompanied by "Old Ken-tuck," (William Chandler) who had settled here during the summer, and lived with A. Rankin.  They spent the winter on the range camping most of the time on the Arkansas, near where Garden City now stands; they returned in the spring.  On their return trip in March in crossing the South Solomon on the ice their wagon broke through; they were compelled to carry their load on their backs; they had to take the wagon apart and carry it out piece at a time.

They then hired a celebrated man by the name of Walton (who had a claim in Phillips county but resided in Troy, Ks.) to haul their wagon back to Brown county.  When they arrived in Kirwin, Walton went to his land to spend a few days, Case and Simmons coming to Norton.  They had but one horse so they took turns riding, the other walking; they did not have a cent but expected to borrow enough money here to take them back but could not obtain a cent.  They went back to Kirwin and met Walton who was also flat broke, and started for Brown county.  They had a little buffalo meat which they managed to trade for flour, meal and horse feed with the farmers as they passed east.  At or near Waterville they tried to trade some meat for horse feed and flour but the old farmer ordered them off his place.  They decided to loot enough feed for their horses, so they went into camp near the place. Simmons had consciencious [sic] scruples against stealing but because the old farmer was looked upon as an enemy of mankind and horses too, Joel was willing to keep camp while the other boys did the foraging.  Case and Walton went to the corn crib and got two sacks of corn and an armful of hay for the horses.  The next morning Simmons, by vote of the war department, went to a mill near by and traded one sack of corn for fifteen pounds of flour which lasted them through the rest of the trip.  This history is related at this late day for the reason that the crime is outlawed.  Case and Simmons came back in April to their land and remained here permanently after that time. They have been closely identified with the history of this county and it will be necessary to mention them frequently hereafter in this article.

George N. Kingsbury, C. D. and John Bieber, Abraham Bieber and James W. Vining came and took claims in April 189? [1872 ?].  Jim Vining left soon after and did not return until 1879.  Abraham Bieber settled on the land now owned by John and lived in a log house where John's residence now stands; he was old and infirm when he came here and never took a very active part in the exciting scenes incident to the organization of the county such as locating the county seat.  He died April 2, 1875.  Grandma Bieber died March 3, 1882, and are both buried on the old farm northeast of where John Bieber's house now stands.  The old gentleman was the 

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