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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Allen County


Map of Allen County - 1878

The first settlements in the county were made in the spring and summer of 1855. Early in that year H. D. Parsons and B. W. Cowden settled in what is now Iola township. James Parsons, Jesse Parsons and James Parsons, Jr., settled in Deer Creek township about the same time. During the same summer, H. H. Hayward and others settled in what is now Humboldt township, and Thomas Day, Giles Sater and others, within the present limits of Osage township. The Fuquas, A. C. Smith, Martin, and others, in what is now Geneva township, about the same date. The town of Cofachique was started in the summer of 1855, by Daniel Woodson, Charles Passmore, J. S. Barbee, and others. Geneva was started in 1857, by Merrit Moore, B. S. G. Stone, G. Northrup, and others. The town of Humboldt was organized in the same year by Hartman, Searle, Signor, Coffey, and others; and the town of Iola, January 1, 1859, by J. C. Clark, H. D. Parsons, J. W. Scott, and others.

The first school house was built at Cofachique, and the first business house, a small store, at the same place. The parties to the first marriage were James Johnston and Marinda. Barber, August 14, 1856. First post office established at Cofachique in the spring of 1857, Aaron Case, postmaster.

The county was organized in 1855.

Population in 1860, 3,082; in 1870, 7,022; increase in ten years, 3,940; population in 1875, 6,638; decrease in five years, 384; population in 1878, 8,964; increase in eighteen years, 5,882. Rural population, 6,024; city or town population, 2,940; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 67.20.

POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
Cottage Grove887Deer Creek793Elm402
Elsmore600Geneva593Humboldt City1,471
Humboldt Township927Iola1,839Marmaton361

Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 10 per cent.; upland, 90; forest, (Government survey), 6; prairie, 94. - General surface of the country, level; average width of bottoms, one and a half miles.

Timber. - Average width of timber belts, one mile; principal varieties, black walnut, hickory, cottonwood, oak, sycamore, hackberry, elm, etc. Cultivated timber reported, 315 acres; varieties not stated. There is a heavy belt of timber along the Neosho river, which runs through the entire county. There is also good timber along Deer, Rock, Elm, Coal, Owl, Big and Scatter creeks, and, the Marmaton and Osage rivers.

Principal Streams. - Neosho river, fed by Indian, Martin's, Deer, Elm and other creeks; Little Osage and Marmaton rivers. General course of the Neosho and Marmaton, from northwest to southeast; of the Osage, from southwest to northeast. The county is also tolerably well supplied with springs, and good well-water from 20 to 80 feet.

Coal. - Charles P. Ives, of Humboldt, reports that only surface coal has been found in their county in paying quantities, and that only enough of this has been found for immediate home use. On Little Osage river, and in townships 25 and 26, of ranges 18 and 19, and township 24, range 20, this is found; has not been sufficiently investigated to determine whether coal exists in paying quantities.

Building Stone, etc. - Blue and red limestone and red sandstone, of good quality, abound throughout the county. Every township in the county is well supplied mostly limestone.

A mineral well has been opened at Iola, which is claimed to possess remarkably curative properties. The following is an analysis of the water, by Prof. W. K. Kedzie, late of the Kansas Agricultural College:

Temperature of Water611 Fah.
Specific Gravity of Water1.0138.

Total mineral matter to the gallon as follows:

Chloride of Sodium980.506
Chloride of Potassium17.909
Bi-Carbonate of Calcium60.687
Bi-Carbonate of Magnesium31.942
Bi-Carbonate of Iron3.929
organic Matter2.000
Suspended Matter 2.500
Iodides, Abundant Traces, Bromides, distinct Traces.
Cubic inches of Carbonic Acid Gas to the Gallon145.892

Railroad Connections. -The Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad runs through the western portion of the county, from north to south, passing through Iola and Humboldt. The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad enters the county on the west, running through Humboldt, and thence south, parallel with the Leavenworth Lawrence & Galveston.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 322,360; taxable acres, 291,932; under cultivation, 91,829.73; cultivated to taxable acres, 31.46+ per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 16,204.98.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs sold during the year. - Garden produce, $2,010.70; poultry and eggs, $2,628,55.

Old Corn on hand. - Old corn on hand, March lst, 1878, 215,338 bushels, or an average of 120 bushels to each family.

Dairy Products. - Number of cheese factories, 1; capital invested, $500. Manufactured in 1875, 7,174 lbs. in 1878, 16,454 lbs. ; increase, 9,280 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 140,269 lbs. in 1878, 156,982 1 bs.; increase, 16,713 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 3,127; in 1878, 4,122; increase, 995. Mules and asses, in 1877, 430; in 1878, 546; increase, 116. Hilch cows, in 1877, 4,433; in 1878, 4,964; increase, 531. Other cattle, in 1877, 9,895; in 1878, 10,685; increase, 790, Sheep, in 1877, 3,013; in 1878, 3,506; increase, 493. Swine, in 1877, 9,800; in 1878, 19,084; increase, 9,284.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 35; value of sheep killed by dogs, $105.

Wool. - Clip of 1877, 9,045 lbs.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $114,688.

STATEMENT showing the Acreage of Field Crops named from 1872 to 1878, inclusive.

CROPS.1872.1873.1874.1875.1876.1877. 1878.

Winter Wheat 4,012,004,012.005,514.00310.881,685.00899.002,981.00
Spring Wheat48.0048.00111.0010.0060.001,634.00216.00
Irish Potatoes874.00829.00767,00640.74767.68541.00678.00
Sweet Potatoes42.0023.0020.0026.0324.1333.0015.37
Castor Beans1.2517.0(180.001,234.12764.501,740.00754.00
Cotton1.502.002.5079.1145 7528.00-----
Flax ----- 2.0044.00904 98945.00190.00340.75
Hemp----- ----- 3.2537.502.003.25A2
Broom Corn----- ----- 112.00374.56250.5070.00304,00
Millet and Hungarian217.00402.00859.001,197.001,853.002,354.001,955.00
Timothy Meadow214.00214.00283. 0042.0012.0044.0056.00
Clover Meadow286.00236.00246.00190.25126.50718.0052.12
Prairie Meadow (under fence)15,596.0015,596.0017,641.0020,865.0020,427.0017,530.0022,620.00
Timothy Pasture54.0030.0058.001.0014.0045.0011.00
Clover Pasture52.0039.009.0012.508.007.5020.00
Blue-Grass Pasture45.0033.0062.0070.0021.0091.00157.00
Prairie Pasture (under fence)7,635.007,580.0010,364.00111,120.00191136.007798 00 11,890.00

Total -59,392.7559,010.0068,497.7570,878.5572,340.6975,624.7591,829.73

Increase in six years, 55- per cent.
Average increase per annum, 9.16- per cent.

RANK of Allen County in Crops named below, as to Acreage, and in Cultivated Acreage for the years
mentioned in the foregoing table.

CROPS.1872.1873.1874.1875.1876.1877. 1878.


Total Acreage in all crops22212435353835

STATEMENT showing the Acres, Product and Value of Principal Crops for 1878, together with the Increase and Decrease as compared with 1877.

FROM 1877.
IN 1878.
FROM 1877.
IN 1878.
FROM 1877.

Winter Wheat - bu.2,981.002,082.00 in.44,715.0034,826.00 in.$ 29,064.75$19,175.75 in.
Rye - bu.300.00217.00 in.3,900.002,821.00 in. 1,170.00846.30 in.
Spring Wheat - bu.216.001,418.00 de.1,944.0011,128.00 de.972.0010,792 80 de.
Corn - bu.778.004,186.00 in.1,532,230.00146,510.00 in.275,801.4026,371 80 in.
Barley - bu.5.008.00 de.80.00180.00 de.32.0046.00 de.
Oats - bu.5,084.003,346.00 in.177,940.00117,110.00 in.28,470.4019,345.90 in.
Buckwheat- bu.230.50105.50 in.4,149.002,149.00 in.3,319.201,719.20 in.
Irish Potatoes - bu.678.00137.00 in.50,850.0018,890.00 in.22,882.506,652.50 in.
Sweet Potatoes - bu.15.3717.63 de.1,537.002,093.00 de.1,587.002,093. 00 do.
Sorghum - gall.365.0039.00 in.41,975.004,485.00 in.20,987 502,242.50 in.
Castor Beans - bu.754 00986.00 de.7,540.0011,600.00 de.9,425.009,715.00 de.
Cotton - lbs.-----28.00 de.-----4,760.00 de.-----476.00 de.
Flax - bu.340.75150.75 in.3,407.501,507.50 in.3,407.501,412.50 in.
Hemp - lbs..123.13 de.110.402,879.60 de.6.62172.78 de.
Tobacco - lbs.16.875.13 de.12,483-803,796.20 de.1,248.38379.62 de.
Broom Corn - lbs.304.00234.00 in.243,200.00187,200.00 in.9,120.007,020.00 in.
Millet and Hungarian - tons1,955.00399.00 de.5,865.00568.50 in.23,460.002,274.00 in.
Timothy Meadow - tons56.0012.00 in.84 0018.00 in.420.0090.00 in.
Clover Meadow - tons52.12665.88 de.104 241,331.76 de.521.206,658.80 de.
Prairie Meadow - tons22,620. 005,090,00 in.29,406.006,617.00 in.88,218.0019,851.00 in.
Timothy Pasture - acres11.0034.00 de.--------------------
Clover Pasture - acres.0012.50 in.--------------------
Blue-Grass Pasture - acres151 .0066.00 in.--------------------
Prairie Pasture - acres11,890.004,092.00 in.--------------------

Total -91,829.7316,204.98 in.----------$520,063.45$76,667.45 in.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 68.25. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 21,592; pear, 736; peach, 100,817; plum, 841; cherry, 10,610. Number of trees not in bearing; apple, 64,357; pear, 2,455; peach, 43,487; plum, 1,494; cherry, 15,147.

Herd Law. - The herd law is not in force in the county. Our reporter states:

Such a law discourages stock raising, which has been proved by actual experience to be the most profitable business for the farmer."

Fences. - Stone, 20,578 rods; cost, $38,069.80. Rail, 220,153 rods; cost, $308,214.20. Board, 47,240 rods; cost, $66,136. Wire, 24,978 rods; cost, $17,734.38. Hedge, 234,895 rods; cost, $129,192.25. Total rods of fence, 547,844; total cost, $559,346.13.

Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 248; pounds of honey, 2,097; wax, 37.

Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $39,780.

Manufactures. - Geneva township: steam saw mill, capital, $500. Humboldt township: saw mill, capital, $1,200; mill and elevator, capital, $4,500; steam flouring mill, capital, $6,000; water flouring mill, capital, $20,000; furniture manufactories, 2, zapital invested, $2,400; harness and saddlery manufactories, 2, capital invested, $2,250; paper mill, capital, $4,000; carriage manufactory, capital, $1,000; wagon and plow manufactory, capital, $2,000; cheese factory, capital, $500; brewery, capital, $2,000; cigar manufactory, capital, $2,500. Iola township: saw mill, capital, $1,500; saw and grist mill, capital, $4,000; mill and elevator, capital, $600; brewery, capital, $2,000. Osage township: saw and grist mill, capital, $350.

Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $335,549; railroad property, $189,239.82; total assessed valuation of all property, $1,916,445.82; true valuation of all property, $3,194,076.37; total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $204,886.35; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, 11-.

Newspaper History. - The first paper printed in Allen county was called the Humboldt Herald, and was published at Humboldt, the first number being issued about November 16, 1864. Major Joseph Bond was the original proprietor, but soon after the establishment of the paper, J. H. Young, a printer from Lawrence, became a partner in the enterprise. John R. Goodin, afterwards District Judge and Representative in Congress, was local editor. The Herald did not survive a year.

The Humboldt Union was established April 18, 1866. Colonel Orlin Thurston was the editor, and W. T. McElroy, publisher. It represented the National Union party, and defended the political course of President Johnson. On the first of January, 1867, Colonel Thurston retired, and the material of the office was purchased by Needham & McElroy, the paper thereafter advocating the principles of the Republican party. Mr. McElroy purchased his partner's interest August 1st, 1868, and on April 1st, 1870, T. C. Sherman became a partner in the establishment. W. R. Spooner parchased a third interest on October 1st, of the same year, and transferred the same to D. B. Emmert, April 1st, 1872. Mr. Emmert continued in the paper one year, and on June 1st, 1874, Mr. Sherman retired, and Mr. McElroy has since remained the sole proprietor and editor.

The Allen County Courant was the first paper published at Iola, and was established January 5, 1867, by W. H. Johnson. July 27, 1868, Messrs. Talcott & Acers purchased the concern, and the name of the paper was changed to the Neosho Valley Register. On August 6, of the following year, Mr. Acers sold out to his partner. Mr. Talcott continued the paper until August 24, 1870, when he sold the same to M. M. Lewis. Lewis changed the name to Kansas State Register, and continued until December 10, following, when he retired. Talcott again assumed entire charge of the paper, and changed the name back to Neosho Valley Register. in March, 1871, he sold the concern to G. M. Overstreet, W. G. Allison and H. W. Perkins, under the firm name of Overstreet & Co. They continued the paper until January 1, 1812, when Overstreet and Perkins sold out to Messrs. Allison and Walker. Louis Walker & Co. conducted the paper for three years, and on January 1, 1875, Messrs. Allison & Perkins took charge. They changed the name to the Iola Register, and continued its publication for two years. January 1, 1877, G. D. Ingersoll purchased Allison's interest, and September 16, 1878, H. A. Perkins bought Ingersoll's interest and became sole proprietor. The paper has been Republican under all its different names and proprietorships.

The Southern Kansas Statesman was established at Humboldt, October 27,1870, by Berry & Campbell. It was a Democratic paper, and ceased to exist some time in May, 1872.

The Real Estate Reporter was started at Humboldt in 1870, by Emmert & McCulloch. It was published for one year.

The Southwest, published at Humboldt, made its first appearance June 13, 1872. Col. G. P. Smith, and his son, Byron C. Smith, were the editors and proprietors. It was conducted in opposition to the Republican party. The Southwest survived only until the close of the Presidential canvass of 1872.

The Rural Kansan was a monthly publication, devoted to the agricultural and industrial interests of the State. It was established by D. B. Emmert, in November, 1873, and at the expiration of eleven months was sold to his brother, J. S. Emmert, of Fort Scott, who completed the volume, after which it ceased to exist.

During the campaign of 1874, Mr. Berry started the Statesman, a Democratic paper, at Iola, which was continued until after the election, when it was removed to Humboldt, where it lasted a short time and died.

The Inter-State, a Democratic paper published at Humboldt, made its appearance October 11, 1877; A. D. Dunn, and E. W. Baker, publishers and proprietors; John R. Goodin, editor. Mr. Baker retired at the expiration of one month. B. F. Smythe became one of the proprietors, June 20, 1878, and continued as such to September 14, of the same year.

Schools. - Number of districts organized, 57; school population, 8,230; average salary of teachers, per month: males, $34.73; females, $27.55. School houses built during 1878, frame, 2. Total number of school houses, 55; frame, 49; brick, 1; stone, 5. Value of all school property, $43,247. Some districts now have artificial groves about the school houses, and others have them started.

Churches. - Baptist: Organizations, 3; membership, 207; church edifices, 3; value of church property, $12,000. Congregational: Organizations, 1; Membership, 40; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $3,000. Episcopal: Organizations, 1; membership, 15; value of church property, $500. Methodist Episcopal: Organizations, 19; membership, 650; church edifices, 3; value of church property, $13,000. Presbyterian: Organizations, 7; membership, 400; church edifices, 4; value of church property, $20,950. Roman Catholic: Organizations, 4; membership, 400; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $2,000. Universalist: Organizations, 1.

Transcribed from First Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture to the Legislature of the State of Kansas, for the Years 1877-8 embracing statistical exhibits, with diagrams of the agricultural, industrial, mercantile, and other interests of the state, together with a colored outline map of the state, and sectional maps, in colors, of each organizaed county, showing their relative size and location, railroads, towns, post offices, school houses, water powers, etc., etc. Topeka, Kansas: Kansas State Board of Agriculture. Rand, McNally & Co., Printers and Engravers, Chicago. 1878.

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