The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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by reason of a prairie fire which burned over nearly the entire county on that and the following day.  Almena sent four delegates: J. A. Gishwiller, D. W. Mills, James Hall and Jim Vance. Center had seven delegates: G. N. Kingsbury, Shelby D. Reed, William Louk, Edgar Page, D. C. Coleman, William Gibbons and Captain Jarvis.  This convention was held in Newell's uncompleted store building.  Jim Vance was elected chairman and D. C. Coleman secretary.  Solomon township was not represented.  Edgar Page, after the caucus, left on a buffalo hunt and was not present.  Shelby D. Reed wanted to be nominated for the legislature; when he found the convention was in favor of Billings, he and William Louk went out; this left but eight delegates in the convention, but D. W. Mills says all the bystanders took part and voted.  The following gentlemen were nominated: Representative. N. H. Billings; county commissioners, first district, Jim Vance; second district, G. N. Kingsbury; third district, Pete Hansen; county treasurer Henry Oliver, county clerk, D. C. Coleman; register of deeds, George W. Cole; clerk of district court, J. A. Gishwiller; county superintendent. D. W. Mills; sheriff, James Hall; probate judge, William Gibbon; county surveyor, Shelby D. Reed; coroner, E H. Collins; county attorney, N. H. Billings.  It will be noticed that each delegate except Jarvis received a nomination for some office, and Shelby D. Reed was nominated for surveyor after bolting the convention. and publicly declaring his intention of running independent for the legislature.  Jarvis wanted a nomination and afterward ran independent for probate judge, but the nominee defeated him by a vote of 18 to 16.  Reed received 17 votes for representative, Billings, 21; the balance of the ticket was elected without opposition.  There were thirty-four votes polled, all of which were cast for General Grant for president, Thomas A. Osborne for governor, Andrew S. Wilson for judge, and E. S. Banta for senator.  If there was a democrat in the county at that time he either did not vote or the canvassing board failed to make an account of it.  The commissioners met on November 12 to canvass the vote and declare the result.  By this time nearly all the settlers had left; some had gone west to spend the winter hunting buffalo, others had gone east in search of feed for their stock, the fire previously mentioned, had not left enough grass to be of any value in maintainlng cattle.

Lemuel Ford and William Harmon came in September 1872; they were brothers in law.  Ford took the claim one mile south of Calvert at the mouth of Wild Cat Creek; Harmon took the land south of Ford.  Harmon abandoned his claim in 1874 and located on Elk Creek, near Lenora in the spring of 1875, on the Jule Van Meter land; he sold out in 1878 and left the country; he now resides at Fort Robinson, Nebraska.  Ford sold his land in 1878 to Jim Stotts and moved to Nebraska, he resides at this time at Evans, Colorado.

bieber_jw.jpg (33226 bytes) John Walter Bieber was born in Allentown Pennsylvania, March 27, 1842, moved west with parents; settled in Lake county, Indiana in 1855; was raised on a farm; learned the carpenter trade with his father; volunteered in February 1865 in company E 151 Indiana Infantry; served until September of that year.  He was elected trustee of Center township in the spring of 1873, and took the first assessment made of the township.  Wm. Louk had been elected to this office on Sept. 24, 1872, but never qualified; the township was at that time eleven miles wide and thirty miles long.  Bieber made the assessment of this Territory in six days.  His only child Lewis was born November 27, 1882.

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