The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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George Bakelaar was born at Goedereede, Holland, Feb 20, 1835, came with his parents to New York in 1853, went to Trenton N. J., worked for some time in Roger's locomotive works, from there went to New York, where worked for two years in the Lodi printing works, from there he went to Fond du Lac, Wis.,where he was married in 1864, to Miss Mary Haftieger.  She was born in Holland, Nov. 20, 1845.  They had nine children, Jennie, born Feb. 22, 1865, died in Dec., 1865; John, born May 12, 1866; Nellie, born July 5, 1868, died in Norton county, Kansas, Oct 19, 1880. 

Albany P. Rankin came here in August, 1872, settled on land two miles east of Norton. now owned by Ed Rowley.  He was a harmless old bachelor, his object in life, so far as outside observers were able to decide, was, to live out his three score and ten years; he took no active part in any public enterprise, and is chiefly remembered as the the owner in fee simple of Old Dan, a horse that is remembered by all the old settlers.  He sold his land and left the county in 1884, his present whereabouts are unknown. 

Benjamin Rawlins came from Rockport, N. Y., in October, 1872.  He settled on the land known as the Vance farm, three miles east of Norton, in August 1872.  A postoffice had been established with Billings as postmaster, but no provision had been made by the government to supply it with mail; so in the fall and early winter Rawlins was employed by the settlers to carry the mail once a week from Republican City.  This he did on foot, occasionally borrowing John Bieber's old mare, Suse, to ride.  In 1878, he had, what is known in prize ring slang, a scrap with C G. Page, in which Gross came out like Sullivan, second best.  This record is noted here because in the history of this peaceful climate it was the first fistic encounter known in the county.  He left the county in 1874, having proved upon his land.  Some years afterward while Joel Simmons was postmaster he received some letters from a gentleman in New York who signed himself as Ben Rawlin's father-in-law.  This led to a meeting between Ben and his wife, which occurred in Norton in 1877.  This was the first known here that Ben was married.  He deeded his land to his wife in lien of some of her money he had previously spent; he then left for parts unknown and neither he nor his wife has been heard from since.

Henry Zimmerman and his son-in-law, Herby Shaw, came from Adams county, Nebraska, in September, 1872, and settled on the Sappa, west of where the Devizes mill now stands, on what is known as the Hackney land.  On Dec. 7, 1872, a son was born to Shaw; this was the first child born in Norton county and, in honor of the event, he was given the name of Clarence Norton Shaw by his grandfather; he now resides at Ogden, Utah.  It has always been supposed that Kate Kelly was the first child born in the county, and we have so stated in a previous chapter, but we give the above information as we received it from Henry Shaw, who lives on Walnut creek at this time, and is an uncle to Clarence Norton Shaw.  Herby Shaw left here is 1879 and went to Scott county, Iowa, he became insane and was sent to the asylum at Mt. Pleasant and died there in 1884; his widow married a man by the name of Norton, who resides at Sacramento, Cal. at this time.  Henry Zimmerman left this country in 1884, he now lives on a ranch near Ogden, Utah.

John DeMott and Lambert Snyder came here from Colorado late in the fall of 1872.  DeMott took the land where the village of Devizes now stands.  As they came down the Sappa, near the mouth of Rock Branch they saw what they supposed to be an elk. Snyder shot

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