The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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the position of cashier.  In May 1887 this bank was changed to the First National bank; for a short time he was cashier and afterward president of this bank.  In 1892 he sold his interest in the bank and since that time has been selling goods and handling cattle.  He was mayor of the city of Norton in 1886; the only public office he ever held.  He was married to Caroline Gregory at Ann Arbor, Michigan, January 2, 1862.

Mrs. Peterson is a daughter of Charles H. Gregory deceased, who was a physician of Troy, New York.  He was a zealous and active abolitionist; his house was one of the stations of the celebrated under ground railroad - a term applied to the track or trail that .the runaway slaves were piloted over during their escape into Canada. Wm. Garrison once spoke of Dr. Gregory as "that great and good man."  He was highly esteemed by all who knew him.

Mr. Peterson's father and mother are still 1iving, active and in good health, at the ripe age of 85 and 84.

Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have had two children.  Their son, a bright young man of 19, was shot dead while hunting shortly after they came to Norton; his remains lie in the Norton cemetery.  Their daughter, Penelope graduated at Smith University at North Hampton, Massachusetts, and is now in Boston, taking an advanced course in music.

In 1872 but little was raised although rainfall was plenty.  The virgin sod had never been broken until that year and what little grain there was planted was put in very late.  In 1873 this county had an abundance of rain and a good crop.  Jim Hall raised wheat that year that yielded 40 bushels to the acre; Sol Marsh also had a small field of wheat that yielded well.  This field was cut with a cradle by George Booklin.  At the same time Henry Oliver cut his wheat in an adjoining field with a butcher knife.

Henry Oliver as county treasurer collected the tax for 1873 by going on foot from house to house.  The assessed valuation for that year can not be found out but Mr. Oliver reported the following tax collected:
State Tax $26.25
County Tax 196.46
State School Fund 5.22
Interest on school bonds 1.22
Sinking fund .12
Cost of suit .13
School tax on district No. 2  8.63
"             "             "      No. 7 1.18
Semi annual dividend from state  92.82

The crop season of 1874 opened up under the most favorable conditions.  Emigration poured in from all points of the compass: all the creek claims were taken and the most available prairie claims were selected.  The settlers took hold with energy.  The partial success of crops in 1873 had convinced the most skeptical that the soil of this country was rich and good.  A larger crop than ever before was planted and the settlers were beginning to anticipate relief from the rigid economy which all were forced to practice prior to that time, but early in May complaints of drouth were heard.  Showers enough came during May and June to make some wheat; the corn, while not entirely dead would have been a complete failure.  On August 7, countless myriads of grasshoppers were upon us, and the last vestige of growing grain was eaten up.  The people were panic stricken but reflection showed them that there was no land within access where their condition could be bettered.  The crops were completely destroyed for more than 100 miles east, north and south, while everything west was gone.

Governor Osborne called the legislature together to see what could be done.  The result was that the legislature enacted a law empowering the counties to vote bonds to aid the destitute.  Our representative, C. C. Vance came home


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