The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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and by mail playing the best checker players in America.  He never lost but one match game in this city, that with Prof. Fitzpatrick, of Leavenworth, and that was an impromptu game when he had been out of practice.  He is now in Cripple Creek where he has a valuable water privilege, also some valuable mines expected to be developed into a fortune.  Will R. McCrea, his only son, was educated in the city schools, and learned the printer's trade with Beckett & Gowdy in the Norton Advance office.  In 1883 he bought a half interest in the Courier, later buying out his partner, J. H. Simmons, which paper he ran in this city until shortly after the fire in 1886 when he sold out to F. M. Duvall.  W. R McCrea then went into the drug business here, and finding it unprofitable, left for Colorado City where he established the News, ran it for a few years, then left for the gold fevered Cripple Creek , there establishing the Prospector, sold out and after a time went into the publication of a daily, the Morning Journal, with a big stock company at that city where he now is prosperous.  He is married and has two children. 

P. H. Loomis was born January 5, 1854, in Cheymung county, New York, and removed with his parents to Howard county, Iowa, in the summer of 1855, where he lived until the fall of 1877 when he removed to Plymouth, Cerro Gordo county in that state and engaged in the drug business.  He remained there but two years, having success the first year but failing the next.  He received a good common school education in his home district and began teaching school when seventeen years of age, afterward attending one term at a private school and one term at the Bradford Academy.  He was married October 29, 1878, to Alice Borton, who died April 24, 1891, they had four children, three of them now living.

On October 1, 1879, having collected one old plug team and $25 out of the ruins of his late business he loaded his earthly effects into a wagon and he and his wife set their faces westward, first stopping at Guide Rock, Nebraska, and worked on the B. & M. [Burlington & Missouri River?] railroad six weeks.  After that he taught a three months' term of school in Jewell county, Kansas.  In the spring he traded what he had earned through the fall and winter for a relinquishment to the west half of section 31, township 3. range 22, sight unseen, and on March 22, 1880 he landed in Norton county on his claim.  A dreary outlook here met his eye.  As far as the eye could reach in every direction the grass had been burned off and no green thing could be seen until the 11th of June when the first shower of the season fell in that locality, and before twenty-four hours the grass was an inch high.  At this time he did not have money enough to file on his land, and later bought the north half of section 26, township 3, range 26, for $35 and put his homestead and timber culture papers on that piece, as it suited him much better. 

In April, 1880, he began a select school in his home district, but before two weeks had passed every family who had started children to school, left for the east and the school stopped with the teacher out one dollar for a certificate. I n September, 1880, he earned his first money in the county by helping Charles Gormley harvest wheat that was sown by those who had left for the east, and earned fifty cents a day.  He immediately after this began teaching school in the Beck district for $12.50 per month, teaching there three months and afterward in the Sproul district three months for the same wages.  During the following summer he worked on the C. B. U. P. [Central Branch Union Pacific] railroad, holding scraper

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