The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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have not in their possession complete information on the whole subject.  The papers relating to the organization of Norton county, in the hands of the secretary of the state are sufficient on their face and are in their usual form, but there are indications in the petition for organization that one hand penned many of the signatures.  It would seem also, from these papers for organization that the notarial seal of Mr. N H. Billings, for Cloud courtly, was used in Norton county, which would probably vitiate the use of the same.
5. Your committee are satisfied that there could not have been six hundred inhabitants in the county at the time the census was taken and do not hesitate to say that in their judgment such census was largely fraudulent.  Neither do they believe that the organization of this county is of such a character as to entitle the same to representation in the House and would therefore recommend that the seat of N H. Billings be declared vacant.
CALVIN REASONER, chairman.
G. S. BISHOP, secretary.

E S. CUMMINGS,  Com.
N. WEAVER,
ALEX. ROSS.

Afterward the following concurrent resolution was adopted:

Resolved, That the seat held by Mr. N. H. Billings on the floor of the House be declared vacant and that per diem be refused from and after the first twenty-two days of the session.

Though the county was not disorganized yet its name was changed to that of Billings.

During the time these resolutions were being discussed Jim Merritt of Pottawatomie county referred to Billings as the 'Fiery untamed Demosthenes of Norton county.'  During the same debate Calvin Reasoner spoke of him as having no constituents except coyotes, which was the first time that phrase had been used but it still clings to the western members.

A bill providing for the change in county lines was before the senate when Senator Nate Price of Doniphan county offered an amendment changing the name of Norton to Billings county.  This was done as a joke at the start but the bill passed and was signed by the governor, although there was no doubt of the unconstitutionality of the act, as the title of the law said nothing about changing names; yet it was never questioned and was called Billings until a subsequent legislature changed it back to Norton.

Billings voted for Pomeroy for senator until the York exposure come, but on the last ballot voted for Ingalls.  When the photograph of the House of Representatives was taken for the Historical society Billings' seat being vacant the following representative was put in his chair.

billings_buffalo.JPG (55204 bytes)

It remained that way for some years, but has since been removed and in the vacant place on the photograph someone has written the followins (sic): "N. H. Billings, absent without leave from Feb. 3, 1873."


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