The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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statement that they were at Olathe Kansas.

During the session of the legislature of 1873 A. J. Banta represented this district in the senate.  He came to Kansas from Illinois in 1869 and settled in Paola.  Came to Washington county in 1871.  When the fifteenth judicial district was organized Governor Osborne appointed Banta judge.  He then moved to Beloit and entered on his duties March 1 1873.  He came to Norton to hold his first term of court in this county on the third Monday in May the same year.  Nothing was done except to admit C. C. Vance to the bar.  The creek was up and Judge Banta remained here several days waiting for the wafers to subside, while here he expressed a decided preference for Reedtown as the county seat.

When the convention was held in August to elect delegates to the judicial convention at Kirwin, the friends of Reedtown tried to elect delegates favorable to Banta while Norton men were opposed to him; J. H. Simmons and Ed. Newell were elected.  Ed Collins of Almena offered a resolution instructing them for Banta; this was voted down.  Then Uncle Dick Williams offered a resolution instructing for Clark A. Smith; this was carried; but after Simmons and Newell discovered that Smith had no show they cast their votes for Joel Holt which nominated him.  Holt was elected end remained on the bench during all our county seat troubles and was always friendly to Norton.

Banta was afterward employed by school district number one in the bond case, but he and Simmons were never friendly after his defeat in 1873.  In the fall of 1877 he moved to Colfax county, Washington territory expecting an appointment to the Federal judiciary but failed to get it; he remained there in the practice of law until his death which occurred in 1887.

briggs_j.JPG (36332 bytes) John Story Briggs was born of Quaker parents at Buckingham, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, January 31, 1839; remained at home on the farm until he was 20 years old.  After a term at a boarding school at Morristown, New Jersey, he went to Fallsington, Pa, and studied medicine for six month with Doctor Pierce.  Being compelled to witness the amputation of a man's leg he abandoned his studies and went home.  He then read law for a time, but soon becoming disgusted with the sophistry of his precepter (sic) he withdrew from that profession and began to farm.  He was a railroad conductor for some years in Philadelphia.  In 1872 he was licensed an Indian trader by the government, and sent to the Otoes in Nebraska where he was married April 30, 1872 to Doctor Phoebe Amelia Oliver at the Agency school house by the ceremony of Friends or Quakers; the tribe was present, Briggs giving them a feast.

Mrs. Briggs was born at Rockford, Illinois, October 16, 1841; was educated at Union Seminary at Rogersville, New York.  She commenced teaching in public schools at the age of fifteen; she graduated at the seminary in June 1865, and remained there as principal for one year.

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