The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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and made his report, and recommended that an election be called to vote bonds.  The proposition met with serious opposition from some of our business men but a majority appeared to favor it, so a mass convention was called to meet in Norton on October 5.  The county commissioners met the same day.  When the mass convention met, Representative Vance made a speech urging the people to vote bonds.  J. R. Hamilton and Ed Collins opposed in spirited speeches the calling of the election, but the sentiment appeared to favor the bond issue, so the commissioners at once called an election to be held on October 22, for the purpose of voting $5000 in relief bonds.  The campaign for and against the bonds was spirited and every voter in the county was seen.  Most of the settlers had gone east for the winter before erection day came so that only 113 votes were cast.  That represented every legal voter in the county on election day.  The vote stood 60 in favor and 52 against the bonds.  Twin Mound precinct which had 11 voters at that time failed to receive their poll books in time so no election was held in that precinct.  W. E. Case, J R. Hamilton and other bond opponents always claimed that if an election had been held there the bonds would have been defeated. 

The county seat fight was beginning at that time and the voting of the bonds was heralded as a partial victory for Leota.  Just prior to the bond voting Frank Williams had resigned as county treasurer and the commissioners had appointed Alexander Morrison, of Leota, as his successor.  Morrison had moved the treasurer's office to Leota and the merchants of that town at once gave notice that they would sell groceries to the settlers and take orders on the county treasurer for the money.  This coup on the part of Leota was expected to give their town an unprecedented boom, but Case & Williams, of Norton, made the same proposition to the settlers, so the fight went merrily on.  As a result the merchants of both towns sold a great many more goods than their patrons' share of the aid when the money came, and a great many of those bills remain unpaid to this day.

After the bonds were issued they were purchased by the state and Mr. Morrison went to Topeka and drew the money in person.  Upon his return, which was in January, 1875, he came via the Kansas Pacific railroad, through a blinding snow storm.  The Norton boys were apprised of his return, and W. E. Case went to Leota on foot to get his share of the money.  Upon his arrival there late at night, Morrison said that he was exhausted from his long trip and wanted to wait until morning but Case was afraid that the Leota merchants would get all the money in the morning and was also afraid that some of the homesteaders had given duplicate orders, which afterward proved to be the fact, and insisted on a settlement that night, which he finally got, bringing home with him over two thousand dollars in cash.  After leaving Leota he was afraid to travel in the road, so he waded in the snow along the banks of the creek, arriving home at daylight in the morning.  This money was apportioned on the per capita plan, each head of a family being required to swear that he had no other available means of support.  Men with twenty-five and fifty head of cattle and horses made this affidavit, which caused some complaint and severe criticism on several of our citizens.  But when J. R. Hamilton got these bonds cancelled in 1877 and nothing had to be paid on them everybody appeared to regret that we had not voted more and that they had refused their share; as several worthy men had refused their

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