The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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Oliver was one of the first to see the bad effects of premature organization and soon after this took steps to disorganize the county which will be referred to in the future

Mail communication with this county was slow in those days, so that it was not until September 7 that the commissions of the special county officers arrived.

The county commissioners met the first time on September 16, at Norton, so says their report, although the Governor had designated Billingsville as temporary county seat.  Some time previous to this by agreement of all the settlers 640 acres of land where Norton now stands had been set apart as a townsite for the purpose of making it the county seat.  The only plats furnished by the land office were in possession of Billings and Coleman with this land marked taken.  It went by unanimous consent that this town was to be named Norton; so when the Governor's proclamation came calling it '"Billingsville," the apellation (sic) was entirely ignored by the settlers and by the commissioners in their official capacity. 
Billings had sought to immortalize his name by giving it to the town, but when he found everyone opposing it he disclaimed any knowledge of the affair and said the Governor had given it the name without his knowledge or consent; this no one was able to deny as no one here had seen the petition.

The commissioners organized by electing J. W. Vance as chairman.  They proceeded to divide the county into three municipal townships and three commissioners' districts.  The commissioners' districts were laid out at that time practically on the same lines as they now exist, and have never been materially changed since.  They named the north township Almena and designated it as one voting precinct, election to be held in the most convenient place.  Reuben Stevens informed us that the name of Almena had been suggested by Ed Collins and we so stated in a previous chapter, but we have since learned that the name originated with Mrs. James Hall, in February 1872, at the time preparation was being made to establish a postoffice.  Mrs. Hall desired to give it the name of Alma for the reason that her postoffice in the east had that name, but on investigation it was found that Kansas already had a postoffice by that name, so she gave it the name of Almena which is similar and as far as known the word "Almena" was coined at that time.  They gave this commissioner's district as number one.  On motion Center township was included in one voting precinct, election to be held at Norton; this was called commissioner's district number two.  The name suggested itself as it included the central portion of the county.  On motion the south part of the county was called Solomon township, and as commissioner's district number three.  Solomon township was so called because the North Fork of the Solomon ran through it.  It was divided into two voting precincts; the east half was called Solomon precinct, the west half was given the name of Twin Mound precinct; the latter was so called because the Twin Mounds, southwest of Lenora, were in the precinct.

The commissioners stated the election should be held in these precincts at the most convenient place.  They called an election for September 24, for the purpose of electing county officers and locating the county seat, and then adjourned, "sine die. "

A mass convention was called to meet at Norton to nominate a ticket; there was no building here at the time, so the convention met at a stonepile where Newell's storebuilding was afterward erected. Abram Louk was made chairman, (Sol Marsh says for the reason that

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