The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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The fourteen Norton delegates met out on the grass near where Charley Posson's livery barn now stands and nominated the following ticket: Representative, J. H. Simmons; treasurer, C. Decker; clerk, Dey Smith; sheriff, C. W. Posson; register of deeds, Robert Hutchison; superintendent public instruction, Dr. Newton; surveyor, D W. Mills; coroner, Henry Oliver; commissioner first district, E. Sheldon; second district, John Bieber; third district, E. S. Purviance. 

At the election Dr. Greene received 106 votes and J. H. Simmons 82.  Morrison received 95 votes for treasurer and Decker 82.  FitzPatrick for clerk received 92 votes, Dey Smith 83; Lewis Logan received for sheriff 85 votes and C. W. Posson 86.  Posson was the only Norton man elected except J. R. Hamilton for county attorney and he was the nominee of both conventions but never qualified although elected by a unanimous vote.  Dr. Newton was the nominee of the Norton ticket for superintendent and on the Weston ticket for coroner.  He was elected to the latter office.  The balance of the Weston ticket was elected by a small majority.  On January 3, 1876 A. Hendricks qualified as county surveyor and immediately resigned, and the board appointed J. G. Porter to fill the vacancy.  On October 28, 1876 the office of register of deeds was declared vacant on account of absence from county of E. R. Worthington and George W. Hood was appointed. 

The fourth of July 1876, was celebrated in Norton in royal style.  A bowery had been erected on the north side of the old court house.  J. H. Simmons acted as president of the day and Father Vance read the Declaration of Independence without spectacles, which was considered remarkable on account of his advanced age.  President Grant had issued a proclamation calling on everybody to sing "Old Hundred," [the Doxology] at 12 o'clock, noon.  At the appointed hour the glee club assisted by the entire audience sang.  The glee club was Miss Belle Blanding, Mr. and Mrs. Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. Marsh, Albert Curry, Mr. and Mrs. P. Bruner, Mrs. W. E. Case. J. C. Newell and T. B. Mathews. 

As that was centennial year they sang "One Hundred Years Ago," and "One Hundred Years to Come," which was repeated on demand of Don Carlos and others.

Hon. W. C. Don Carlos delivered the oration, which was one of the finest ever delivered in Norton.  Mr. Don Carlos was accompanied by his wife.  They had come overland from Kirwin where they resided at that time and spent several days making acquaintances which is well remembered by many of our citizens.  In writing of that event Mr. Don Carlos says: 

PHILLIPSBURG, KAN., June 17, 1874. 
Hon. F. M. Lockard. Norton, Kan. 

DEAR SIR: Replying to yours of yesterday, in which you inquire of me, ' Did you make the 4th of July oration at Norton in 1876?" will say that I attempted to do so.  While some of your people may have forgotten the year, yet it is very distinctly remembered by myself, as it was certainly one of the most enjoyable celebrations I have ever attended anywhere.  Those were the early days in our history.  We were all on an equality, all newcomers into the country.  Very few of your citizens had at time made final proof on their pre-emption or homestead. and none on their timber culture claims.  Most people then lived in dug outs and in quite a primitive style.  My recollection of the occasion your letter refers to, are that at the time it was a matter of remark that almost the entire population of Norton county was there in attendance, and on their best behavior.  Every one you would see seemed to be enjoying himself or herself to the extent of her capasity. (sic)

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