The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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to secure a signature, the most common device being to represent that the petition called for the locating of a new mail route or the increase of service on some line already established and in a majority of instances the petition was not read at all by the signer.  The necessary signatures being obtained, the petition was presented to the board of commissioners and readily granted as the board were Weston men.  Then began an exciting canvass of the county - a spirited canvass it might be called for much of the argument furnished was of a liquid nature.  The election was set for Thursday, October 30, 1875, but when the day rolled around it was found that the 30th was Saturday.  Nat Baker was secured on behalf of Weston and at once located in that town and began the publication of the Locomotive.  His motto was "We will keep up steam or bust our boiler."  Nat was also a fair speaker and took the stump in Weston's interest, but their principal speakers were C. C. Vance, Dr. S. L. Green and L. P. Boyd.  The speech making on the part of Norton rested principally on John R. Hamilton, the financial arguments were used by all friends of Norton, more or less, but fell most heavily upon Richard Williams.  Weston raised the cry that Norton was bankrupt, that the district was heavily bonded and that Weston had several capitalists who would at once erect stores, a mill, build a court house end make things boom generally   Norton denied pretty much all that Weston claimed, and further stated that the town company at Norton was abundantly able to make good all their promises to build up and maintain a prosperous town.  The distribution of aid that was conducted largely by Weston men, was severely criticised by friends of Norton.  Newt. Cope bought the new residence of W. E. Case, the best in Norton, and removed it to Weston with a great flourish of trumpets.  On election day the voters were all out to the polls and the closest scrutiny was made to see that no fraudulent votes were cast.  In spite of all, the challenger at each polling place was often beguiled aside for a few moments and at such times side entrances, through windows or other unguarded places were made, the ballot hastily dropped and the guard return to his pose unsuspicious of the ruse that had been successfully carried through during his brief absence. 

The election was held on Saturday, October 30, 1875, and the unofficial returns indicated that Weston had polled the heavier vote.  In anticipation of this Hamilton had previously armed himself with proofs of fraud and forgery in the preparation of the petition and of irregular and illegal acts in many other respects, and thus armed set out early the following Monday morning, behind a pair of swift ponies driven by Jim Mittan, and in a very brief time, considering the distance, was in the presence of Judge Holt, at Beloit, who at once examined the evidence submitted to him and granted a temporary injunction restraining the board from counting the vote. 

On Sunday morning October 31, the bluest set of men that ever met in Norton congregated to hear the returns from the election.  While each one as he came up would ask for the latest, yet his voice and manner indicated that he knew by premonition that Norton had lost.  After the matter had been talked over the injunction scheme was laid before the crowd, but few had any faith in it; yet all admitted that it was worth trying, so Hamilton started for Beloit to ask for the injunction while only a very few men in Norton believed that he could obtain one.  Hamilton and Jim Mittan had returned to Yellow Springs, south of Phillipsburg when the team gave out. 

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