The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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he was the oldest man present)  Ed Newell was elected secretary; Mr. Louk was very illiterate and apparently had never had any experience as presiding officer; but his unanimous election as chairman touched his vanity.  He mounted the stonepile with an air of confidence born of egotism, removed his hat and delivered the following speech: "Gentlemen of the jury: We are now about to elect our next President; prepare your ballots!"

This appeared ridiculous for the reason that there was not enough white paper in the crowd to supply the secretary, so a motion to nominate by acclamation was agreed to.  Louk's speech is still remembered by all who were present and is often referred to as the first political speech delivered in the county.  The ticket nominated that day was all elected.  

As there was no printing office here the ticket was written out in full by Billings and Coleman and sent out to the voting precincts. 

About this time D. W. Mills became dissatisfied with the organization of the county; he was informed by Billings that there was a large settlement on the Solomon.  On the 23 day of September he started over to the Solomon to make the acquaintance of this magnificent colony that he supposed had located there.  He struck the river about two miles west of where Edmond now stands, and then started east but he failed to find any settlers, but late in the evening he came to the dugout of Pete Hansen.  Pete told him there was no settler on the river above him.  He stayed all night with Hansen; the next morning they opened the polls and the vote of Solomon precinct was cast consisting of two votes, Peter Hansen and William McClellan, Mills acting as one of the judges of election.  The vote was received early in the morning and the polls closed at once; Mills then went home in time to vote at Almena the same day.

The election in Almena township was held in Charles B. Lough's dugout and nineteen votes were polled.  The election in Center township was held in Henry Oliver's dugout near where his house now stands, twenty votes were polled making a grand total of 41 votes as follow:

For county seat Norton received 38 votes and was declared the permanent county seat.  There is an old legend to the effect that when the tickets were written and sent out that Billings either by design or neglect omitted the question of the location of the county seat.  When the commissioners met as a canvassing board they discovered the omission and declared by resolution that it was the intention of the voters to locate it at Norton, counted 38 voles for Norton, and so credited it.  John Hamilton says he was told this in the early days by men who were present; but Henry Oliver who was here at the time thinks that Norton was written on the ballots.

Although the county had been divided into three districts the commissioners were elected at large.  In district one Charles Brinton received 4 votes.  J. W. Vance received 36 and was declared elected.

In district two Abram Louk received 41 votes and was declared elected.

In district three Henry Gordon received 15 votes, Peter Hansen received 28 and was declared elected.

The only two votes cast in that commissioner's district at that election were cast for Gordon, but as the commissioners were voted for by all the electors Hansen got an illegal majority.

For county treasurer Henry Oliver received 41; clerk district court, Sol Marsh 41; sheriff, James Hall, 41; superintendent public instruction, N H Billing received 33 votes and all were declared elected. County surveyor, D W. Mills received 22, Shelby D. Reed 13; probate judge, Ed Newell 38: coroner, William

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