The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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A freshet in the spring of 1875 washed a part of the dam out and underminded (sic) the buhr so that it toppled into the creek.  Collins was without money most of the time, but he never lost courage, but struggled along with his heart set on building a mill, but never accomplished much until 1878 when David Close bought a one-half interest, and from that time on Norton has always had a mill.  Close bought Collins' interest in 1880.  Mr. Collins left here in 1882 and returned to Cloud county.  He owns a mill at Summerville, Altama [Ottawa ?] county, Kansas, and resides there at this time.  He was married in Norton, January 11, 1889, to Jennie Norman; they have four children. 

gray_jk.JPG (38754 bytes) John K. Gray was born in Noble county, Indiana, December 1, 1856.  His parents moved to Mason county, Illinois in 1857, where they lived on a farm until 1870, except four years which they lived in the city of Pekin, Illinois.  In the fall of 1870 they moved to Nemaha county, Kansas, and in the spring of 1871 to Republic county, where they lived until the fall of 1878 when they removed to Norton county and settled on a homestead west of Norton.  He lived with his parents until he was twenty years of age, when he went to work for himself.  He was married to Phoeba Ellen Ellis, daughter of R. W. Ellis, in 1877.  She was born in Dallas county, Iowa, in 1860; they have seven children, six boys and one girl.  William Leonard, was born February 20, 1878; John Wesley, November 17, 1879; Hugh Lester, October 11, 1881; Robert Morrison, March 9,1884; Charles Nathan, January 8, 1888; Percy Newton, November 23, 1891, and Laura Ellen was born September 30, 1893.  Mr. Gray lives on the homestead that he bought of John VanCleave in 1878, and has lived there continuously excepting two years when he went back to Republic county where he farmed and fed cattle.  He spent the winter of 1877 in Texas hunting buffalo.  In the county seat trouble he was a Leota man.  Mr. Gray was brought up under democratic influences and cast his first vote for the democratic ticket, but has voted the republican ticket ever since.  He joined the Methodist church in 1872 and held membership with them for ten years when he became convinced that he could not make their doctrine and the Bible harmonize, he then united with the Christian church, of which he is now a member.  Mr. Gray was chairman of the republican convention in 1892. 

Charles Douglas Jones was born in Covington, Indiana, on July 29, 1848.  His father, Dr. C. V. Jones, was one of Indiana's pioneers and a physician and surgeon of considerable note.  He owned a farm near town which was worked by his boys.  The subject of this sketch worked on the farm in the summer and fall and went to school in 

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