The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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freezing.  They decided to stay here until morning; when bed time came Gross approached the proprietor and informed him he was ready to go to bed. The ranchman gave him the following characteristic reply; '"Why in h--I don't you go." Then for the first time Gross found out that the guests were expected to furnish their own beds; as he and Parks had no blankets the outlook for them was gloomy; but a freighter come (sic) to their relief by loaning them his overcoat for a bed.  During the night they got so close to the stove that they burned a hole the size of a mans' hat in the overcoat.  For this offense Gross expected to be shot as the freighter carried a pistol in plain sight and appeared to be a rough character.  Neither Page nor Parks had enough money to pay for the coat so they went to one side and made such arrangements as seemed proper under the circumstances for their entry into the next world, an event they felt sure would happen as soon as the stranger discovered the hole in the coat.  Breakfast time came and Gross to his great surprise was still alive, but the suspense was fast becoming unbearable.  Gross had become resigned to his fate, and the delay on the part of the freighter annoyed him.  He ate a light breakfast and when he discovered the teamster preparing to leave he approached the owner of the coat and informed him of the accident; the man replied, "Oh! that's all right, the coat is not worth much any way."  This relieved the boys of their suspense and made that man their friend ever afterward.  He lived at Long Island for some years but his name is now forgotten.  On the same day they met Ed Newell who was on his way to Lowell after a load of freight.  He gave then a glowing description of Norton county and pursuaded (sic) them to return here with him.  They arrived at Norton March 6, 1873.

On their arrival Gross took an inventory of his worldly assets.  Aside from his limited wardrobe he had five cents in cash and one postage stamp.  Lige Collins was building the mill dam at the time and Gross secured work from him at once.  Shortly after this he purchased a yoke of cattle on credit and began to freight; at the end of six months he had his cattle and wagon paid for; he took a homestead three miles northeast of Norton and has lived there continuously ever since.  He was elected sheriff in 1874 but early that winter he froze his feet.  He had started on a trip with the mail to North Platte, Neb., for W. B. Jones, who was sub contractor at the time; he got lost, and laid out on the prairie one bitter, cold night.  He was laid up for two months.  Most of this time he spent at home with his parents at Monmouth, IL.  During his absence his deputy, C D. Bieber, resigned the office of sheriff.  Page has never been a candidate for any office since.

The first Sabbath school organized in Norton county was in the spring of 1873.   Gross was chosen its superintendent.  He wore a pious look at that time which was probably caused by the scare he received at Walker's ranch, but he says the actual duties of the sacred office were performed by his assistant, John A. Newell.  Some time in the fall of 1875 Gross Page, Philip Bruner, Pres Crevlin and Jim Payton started for Kearney, Nebraska, with ox teams after freight.  Out in the Sand hills between Walker's ranch and the Platte river their cattle all died with Texas fever.  This left Page without a team and no money, but he soon rallied again and is now one of our most extensive stock dealers.  He married Miss Mary R. Jones April 15, 1879; they have had eight children: the eldest, twins Wilbert and Wilmert were born February 16, 1889; Charles born March 6, 1882; Ora June 29, 1884; Jesse August 5, 1886; Edith May 6, 1888; Mobert and Chester twins, born May 14,

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