The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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they proceeded to elect John Landis chairman, and both sides proceeded to hold conventions at the same time.  The people had by this time become very weary of the county seat fight, so before any nominations were made Dick Hillmon arose and publicly declared his intentions of leaving the Leota party.  He was followed by several Leota delegates.  Uncle Dick called on all loyal people to meet in mass convention on the following Saturday to nominate a ticket independent of the county seat question.  The Norton crowd applauded Uncle Dick, and called him honest Dick Hillmon, a sobriquet that he retains to this day.  John Bieber and several Norton delegates left the room with Uncle Dick, but shortly afterward the Norton delegates adjourned without making any nominations.  While this motion was pending, Dr. Green and Newt Cope made advances to several Norton delegates to keep them in the convention. 

The Leota men had a clear fair majority of the convention and were not willing to let the opportunity pass to nominate a ticket.  It was very immaterial to them whom they nominated as they wanted the Leota ticket to go before the people as the regular nominees.  Nat L. Baker, who was a Norton man at that time was running the Norton County Bee in Norton.  Among other things in his paper of that week he said: "When the vote was taken to decide whether a mass convention of the farmers should be called at this city next Saturday, I. N. Cope, of Leota, ran up to John Landis and offered to support him for any office in the gift of the people if he would only vote against it.  Dr. Green also did the same thing.  That shows whether they want the people to have a fair show or not.  Imagine Dr. Green approaching John Landis and offering the true hand of fellowship!  There's sentiment that would make the corpse of Washington roll over in its tomb?" 

The Leota men remained in the court house and nominated the following ticket: County treasurer, Robert W. Ellis; sheriff, Jack Conarty; county clerk, M. J. FitzPatrick; register of deeds, Baker Van Meter; county surveyor, J. G. Porter; coroner, J. E. Morris: commissioner first district, R. F. Hudsonpillar; commissioner second district, G. N. Kingsbury; commissioner third district, A. S. Burroughs. 

The Norton delegates met the same afternoon at John R. Hamilton's office and organized a convention electing Dick Hillmon as chairman, and nominated the following ticket: County treasurer, William Hepler; sheriff, C. W. Posson; county clerk, Joel H. Simmons; surveyor, D. W. Mills; commissioner second district, Wm. Grant; commissioner third district, John Landis.  The mass convention on the following Saturday endorsed all these nominations and nominated Nat L. Baker for register of deeds and J. E. Morris for coroner. 

At the general election Ellis was elected treasurer by a vote of 139 to 128 for Hepler; for sheriff, Jack Conarty received 132, Charles Posson, 130; for county clerk, FitzPatrick received 149, Simmons, 125; Nat Baker was elected register of deeds by a vote of 192 to 77 for Baker Van Meter; Mills for surveyor received 136, Porter, 135; J. E. Morris for coroner and R. F. Hudsonpillar for commissioner were elected without opposition; in the second district Wm Grant received 139, Kingsbury, 135; in the third district Burroughs was elected by 143 to John Landis, 115. 

One of the principal social events of 1877 was the Christmas dance given by Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Morris.  Nearly the whole town attended. 

The year 1878 opened with bright prospects for Norton county.  On April 26, of that year a petition signed by 

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