The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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This was Friday evening so Hamilton started to Norton on foot but before he got here Jim overtook him; they came into Norton at daybreak Saturday morning November 6.  The commissioners were to meet that morning for the purpose of canvassing the vote.  The Weston fellows were down in full force.  They had brought three wagons for the purpose of moving the entire county seat to Weston.  When Sheriff Hall served the injunction on the commissioners the Weston fellows were blue and the Norton boys were correspondingly happy. 

At the next term of court the matter came up for judicial investigation, but got no further than Hamilton's first count, which stated that the proclamation of the sheriff, J. R. Hall, calling the election had not been posted in a leagl (sic) manner and that therefore the election was void.  On investigation it was found that such was the case and so the temporary injunction was made permanent.  Hall dispappeared (sic) in short order and has never been seen in an old settlers' meeting in Norton county from that day to this.  Other attempts were frequently made during the next three years to secure the necessary call for another election, but without success and Weston, or Leota as afterward called, threw up the sponge and despairingly submitted to the inevitable. 

The First Presbyterian church of Norton was organized August 16, 1874 by the Rev S. G. Clark under authority of what was then known as the Presbytery of Highland.  The following members were received upon certificate: Philip Bruner, Margaret Bruner, John A. Newell, Matilda A. Newell, Robert Hutchison, Elizabeth Jones, Mary R. Martin, Louisa R. Martin, Ella Jarvis and Elizabeth Jarvis. 

John A. Newell was duly elected, and installed ruling elder of the church thus organized.  At the time the church was organized the country was new and the congregation could not be regularly supplied with preaching.  As there was no church building in Norton the congregation would meet whenever an opportunity presented itself and whenever some one could be found to preach to them.  Services would be held in a store building or any vacant room that could be obtained.  After the first school building was erected the congregation would meet at what is now called the old school house.  In the spring of 1878 Rev. Theodore Brackin was commissioned by the Board of Home Missions to a field in north western Kansas, embracing four counties, of which Norton county was a part.  In order for Rev. Brackin to reach Phillipsburg, the point at which he located, it was necessary for him to travel about 100 miles overland.  Not long after this arrangements had been made by the Board of Home Mission the field thus assigned to Rev. Brackin was divided, Norton and Graham counties being stricken off forming a field by themselves.  Rev. J. A. Hahn took charge of this new field, locating at Norton and becoming the first minister regularly called to supply the church after its organization. 

The present church building was erected in 1879, while Rev. Hahn was still in charge of the congregation and was the first church building in Norton.  Rev. Robert C. McKinney was Rev. Hahn's successor, taking charge of the church sometime during the spring of 1880 and closed his labors with the church at the end of the same year.  In the beginning of the year 1881 Rev. Jas. Kirkwood of Glenville, Nebraska, was called to supply the church; holding the first session meeting May 6, 1881, and remained with the church about two years.  Soon after Rev. Kirkwood's relation with the church closed Rev. J. Wilson, then in charge of the Presbyterian church at Oberlin, supplied the pulpit of the Norton church each alternate Sabbath 

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