The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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tractor and builder.

John Kelly settled just east of Almena in April 1873, spent most of the time on the range hunting buffalo.  He was elected coroner in 1873.  His youngest daughter, Miss Kate, now the accomplished and obliging caterer in Vinings' Oyster parlors, was the first white child born in Norton county; this interesting event occurred March10, 1873.  During the county seat troubles Kelly was a Leota man.  In 1876 he moved to the land now owned by J W. B Smith, five miles west of Norton; he came to Norton and started a dray in 1886; he is now the constable of Center township.

John Price came in 1873, took the land south of Emanuel Fisher; he sold out to Albert Graves in 1874, and went to Oregon in 1877 where he died.  His widow and children now live near Milton, Or.

Charles Brinton came in May 1872.  He bought Coleman's claim just east of Almena.  About the same time John Cross came; he was well dressed, had a fine horse, carried a fine Winchester rifle, had a complete outfit for hunting, brace of pistols, knives etc.  He was a man of powerful physique, a regular athlete; he was about 25 years old, well educated and was considered a valuable acquisition to the small colony who were here at that time.  He stopped with Coleman and Jim Hall but soon became acquainted with all the settlers.  He talked some about taking a claim but appeared to be in no hurry about making his selection.  It soon began to be whispered around that he was not a
desirable citizen, a very logical conclusion, for the reason that he had not said anything about where he was from, and expressed no especial desire to make a permanent location.  Shortly after his arrival Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Coleman commenced to make some preparation for the 4th of July celebration.  They were talking the matter over in his presence, and lamenting over the fact that they could not obtain certain groceries needed.  He proffered to go on horse back to Hays City, one hundred miles south, and get them.  This he did, bringing some lemons, sugar, etc.  On his return he was riding a different horse, claiming he had traded for it.  The fourth passed off all right, he taking an active part in the festivities.  On the 5th of July a stranger came in to Norton hunting for a stolen horse.  His description of the thief and horse corresponded fairly well with Cross.  He immediately left Norton for Jim Hall's place accompanied by Sam Newell.  On
their arrival late in the evening the stranger at once identified the horse as his.  Cross at this time was out some distance from the house milking.  The stranger, Newell and Charles Brinton, who lived in the same house with Hall and Coleman, started out to where Cross was, all of them armed.  When they got within speaking distance they demanded his surrender.  Cross immediately started to run.  They fired several shots at him before he reached the timber, one of them striking him in the hand: but he made his escape.  The stranger saddled up the horse and left and has never been heard of since.  No one who lives here now even remembers his name.  

On the morning of July 7 Mrs. Hall saw Cross in the timber near the house; she reported this to the men who were there, C. Brinton and Walter McGavren.  They immediately got their guns and started after him.  They soon discovered him up in a tree and opened fire on him.  He had doubtless climbed up in the tree to watch a chance to get to the house and get his gun and horse.  James Deery, who was well known here afterwards as the Old Mail Carrier, came along at this time; Cross begged piteously for his life, even trying to crawl away 

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