The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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kept it open all the time.  He would often have from five to ten cases every week.  He had several interesting suits against some of our townsmen now living in Norton, which they no doubt remember very well.  Gertrude, who is now at home with her parents was born in Clyde.  In 1878 he moved with his stock of drugs to Norton, to use his own words, "being induced greatly by some correspondence I had with W. B. Rogers, to move there, who very kindly allowed my family to live in part of his stone residence until I got the drug store built.  The town company charged me $35 for the Iot, W. B. Jones and Frank Williams did the carpenter work, got our cottonwood lumber from Lige Collins' saw mill and we could only get a few boards each day.  The pine lumber, windows etc. Jesse Wright, John Deffinbagh and another party, whose name I have forgotten, went with three teams to Hastings after and were gone about six days."  Mr. McCrea was only here a short time until he was elected justice of the peace.  An account of all the cases of celebrity tried before him would make an interesting book in itself.  One peculiar trait of the squire that all unsuccessful lawyers before him discovered, was that the litigant best able to clear the docket of costs was the victim.  No wrangler before him ever attempted to deny his judicial ability, but murmurs were uttered against his sense of honesty.  A quail case is often recited to give color to this opinion: Thomas Taylor, a Nebraska farmer joining the Kansas line, was shooting quails on his own farm and once the covey flew out of his gun range into Kansas, lighting on D. R Blanding's farm.  The Nebraskan went over to shoo them back again.  Blanding had him arrested, and before Squire McCrea failed to prove that a shot was fired; but the wily justice held, in overruling a demurrer, that "he was in pursuit and hence guilty of the charge of killing game against the statute made and provided."  With all the charges made by the pittifoggers very rarely was the justice's decisions reversed by a higher tribunal.  McCrea did a big business in drugs, his principal commodity being whisky, sold of course for medical purposes.  The famous miracle of transforming water into wine was duplicated by the wizard, if wholesale merchants tell the truth.  An eastern house had sent him a barrel of whisky, and failing to pay for it they dunned him; he wrote them it was not the kind he ordered and was here subject to them.  They asked him to return it, he did so and upon examination they found the material misteriously (sic) changed to water, and everybody knows there was no rain in western Kansas at that time.  In 1882 McCrea, an experienced shepherd, went down on his farm with about 800 sheep mortgaged for $1,500.  This country has proven a failure as far as the sheep industry is concerned, and it took a genius of Peter's order only a short time to verify the tradition that sheep will not thrive in this country.  When the mortgagee came for settlement or the sheep, he was taken to a high mountain, a hecatomb of pelts and bones, and asked to foreclose: winter, scab and he could do their worst.  The mortgagee saw the remains of nearly all his sheep in this sorry pile so left in disgust.  Later it was discovered that a great brush heap was veneered with a few carcasses, and that the Norton butcher shop had been supplied with abundance of mutton.  As a citizen, Norton had only a few men more public spirited, and he was in the push in the upbuilding of the city.  He was the finest checker player this county ever contained, haying played all comers to their utter discomfiture, 

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