The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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On motion the prayer of the petition was granted and on Saturday, October 30, was designated as election day.  On July 6, the commissioners established a new municipal township to be known as Weston township.  This territory is the same as the present township of Leota.  The organization of this township was supposed to give Weston some advantage, which proved to be true.  On July 7, they passed the following resolution: That we occupy the court house for three months from date and that if the persons who are erecting said court house will plaster and concrete the lower story of said building well and complete within three months from date then the commissioners accept the said building for the use of the county, other wise to pay a reasonable rent for it.  Signed: 
G. N. KINGSBURY, 
LEWIS LOGAN, 
E. R. WORTHINGTON. 
M J FITZ PATRICK. county clerk." 

The 4th of July, 1876, was celebrated by a very small audience.  J R. Hamilton made a brief address, Albert Graves acted as chairman.  The ceremonies were held in the northeast corner room of the old court house.  There were no ladies present owing to high water in the Prairie Dog.  The friends of this town on the south side, David Close, E. E. Dopps, Henry Oliver and their families and other friends of Norton met in the grove near Capt. Jarvis' place and had a basket dinner, but Weston had a big time.  All the young people from Norton, and in fact from the north side, went across the creek in a boat made from a wagon box.  L. P. Boyd acted as chairman and C. C. Vance delivered the oration.  A big ball at night attracted a large crowd; Ben Ingalls, the celebrated violinist, furnished the music.  Their celebration clearly outranked that of Norton and presaged victory far Weston in the coming contest.  On January 6, 1875, the commissioners in regular session apportioned the aid money received from the sale of bonds as follows: 
Almena township  $2,133.50 
Solomon township 1,283.50 
Center township 1,521.50 

And on February 27 the board allowed a bill of $964.50, presented by the trustees of Decatur county that being the amount due them as aid, they being a municipal township of this county at that time; or in other words that county being unorganized was attached to this for judicial purposes. 

In the year of 1875 Norton county raised a fair crop, we had some grasshoppers and a hot and dry spell during the crop season, but, take the county as a whole, had more than a half crop.  Our assessed valuation for 1876 was $32,668.75, and the amount of taxes raised was $196.01.

The election in February 1876 which resulted in holding the county seat at Norton, was carried by such a small majority that Weston at once set about to secure the necessary petition for another election.  The interest in this contest had become so spirited that all other questions disappeared entirely, and the fact that a man was a republican or a democrat had not a feather's weight.  At the Kirwin land office were kept friends of both Norton and Weston and all immigrants into Norton county were enlightened as to the situation and urged to at once join hands with one or the other of the rival towns, according to the bias of the party into whose hands they fell.  What was true of Kirwin applied also, in a more limited way, to all railroad points nearest Norton and to other eastern towns through which the settlers were obliged to pass.  Those circulating the petition for another election were accused of making all kinds of statements in order 


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