The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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bonds in the early days, but in talking the matter over now they all say that Billings and Coleman were the real guilty parties, and that while W. B. Jones and Newell brothers no doubt had a guilty knowledge of what was going on and probably shared slightly in the proceeds of sale of the real bonds, it is not now supposed that they had any thing to do with the forgery; and some of the receipts filed by Billings as district treasurer were either forged or the denomination raised.  While it was positively known that Ed Newell took the county seal away from here when he left in 1873, yet the only bonds that ever turned up with the impression of that seal on them were probably made here by Billings and Coleman.  The Newell boys were young at that time and thrown in bad company, and the public is inclined to condone the small part they took in those matters, and lay the blame where it rightfully belongs, on Billings and Coleman. 

The issue of these bonds brought untold troubles on Norton and led to the organization of another county seat company at Leota.  The Leota men that lived east of Norton, under the leadership of G. N. Kingsbury, C. D. Bieber, Jim Vance, Jerome Shepherd and others, would say, "The bonds on district No. 1 preclude the idea of ever building a town at Norton;" and the settlement of these cases in favor of the district was the final straw that broke the camel's back, and finally settled the question of the county seat in favor of Norton.  Forged bonds were also brought here against district No. 3 (Leota) but after the other cases were decided their suit was never pressed.  About this time it developed that a syndicate of bond forgers were at work in this state with headquarters at Topeka; and it was supposed that state treasurer, Sam Lappin, was at the head of it.  They issued bonds on a great deal of unorganized territory, mostly in Stafford, Norton and Mitchell counties.  These bonds were readily bought by the state treasurer. I t has often been hinted, and was doubtless true, that Billings and Coleman belonged to this organization.

Emanuel Fisher and Philip Bruner came October the 19, 1873.  Fisher settled on the farm he still owns, six miles east of Norton, formerly known as the Edgar Page claim.  He was born in Bedford fisher.JPG (30950 bytes) county, Penn. August 15, 1834.  He learned the trade of painter and cabinet maker; was married June 19, 1856 to Miss Anna M. Arnold.  She was born in Bedford county, Penn., February 24, 1836.  Eight children were born to them, six of them still living; the eldest Harry Ambrose born July 21, 1857; Mary Ellen born September 8, 1862, married John Bieber; Bruce Edgar born June 12, 1867 married Icie Atkinson December 25, 1888, has one child. Dee Fouse, born May 13, 1879; Anna E. born April 26, 1872, married William Jones November 7, 1888; these have two children, boy and girl and now reside in Garfield township: Maggie A. born February 22, 1876, Harvey Elwood born January 22, 1878.

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