The county was organized in 1873, with a population of 641, as returned to the Secretary of State. A representative in the Legislature was elected in this year, and his claim to a seat sustained. Subsequently the organization became dormant, and no action to continue their organization taken. On August 5, 1878, the Governor of the State, in response to a petition from the citizens of the county, appointed county officers to fill vacancies, in order to test the validity of the organization. A friendly writ of quo warranto was brought, and the Supreme Court decided, November 26, 1878, that the organization was valid. The officers appointed by the Governor were: L. H. Stevens, J. B. Glenn, F. B. Singer, County Commissioners; Edwin McKennany, Sheriff; R. W. Davison, Probate Judge; B. F. Lee, Surveyor; John Cliff, Coroner. The county business is transacted at the town of Anthony. On the 5th day of November 1878, the day of the general State election, the vote was as follows: for Governor - St. John, 251; Goodin, 77; Mithchell, 37; for Lieutenant Governor - Humphrey, 250; Ummethun, 78; Taylor, 44; for Secretary of State - Smith, 245; Borton, 78; Leach, 43; for Auditor - Bonebrake, 243; Shannon, 77; Cornell, 44; for Treasurer - Francis, 245; Black, 77; Wolcott, 42; for Attorney General - Davis, 147; Cox, 79; for Superintendent of Public Instruction - Lemmon, 245; McKim, 77; Foot, 42; for Chief Justice Supreme Court - Horton, 246; Ruggles, 77; Vrooman, 42; for Representative to State Legislature - H. C. Fisler, 187; S. S. Sisson, 177; J. P. Campbell, 53. - The first marriage in the county was between J. W. Madara and Mary Glenn, September 22, 1878. - The first birth was a child of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jessup, in July, 1877. - On July 1, 1877, Mrs. J. B. Glenn was commissioned postmistress of Harper. This was the first post office. - The first store was established by J. J. Merrick, in June, 1877. - The first church organization was Presbyterian, October 21, 1877.
Face of the Country. - Bottom lands; 10 per cent.; upland, 90 per cent.; forest (Government survey) 2 per cent.; prairie, 98 per cent. Average width of bottoms two miles; general surface of the country, level.
Timber, Coal, etc. - There is very little timber; confined to scattering patches along the streams. No coal has been discovered. In the northeast part of the county, cropping out from the bluffs, are vast quantities of the best quality of gypsum.
Principal Streams. - Bluff creek and the Chikaskia river, with many small tributaries, all flowing in a southeast direction. The county is well supplied with springs; good well water is obtained at a depth of from 10 to 20 feet.
Railroad Connections. - There are no railroads in the county.
Agricultural Statistics.** - Acres in the county, 656,640; cultivated acres, 8,980; acres of wheat, 639; product, 8,218 bushels; sod corn, 137 acres; yield, 40 bushels per acre.
Population. - Estimated at 1,500.
Newspaper History. - The initial number of the Anthony Journal, published at Anthony, bears date of August 22, 1878; J. S. Soule, editor and proprietor; Republican in politics.
The publication of the Harper County Times was commenced at Harper, October 24, 1878, by W. O. Graham, editor and publisher; Independent in politics.
* The action of the Supreme Court affirming the validity of the county organization, was had November 26, 1878, at a time when we were just finishing our manuscript for the printer, and too late to collect and furnish any further information than that given. This action of the court necessitated placing this county among those organized, notwithstanding the paucity of data. - SECRETARY.
** Estimated by J. P. Campbell, of Harper City.
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. Transcribed by Ryan Allen, October, 2001.
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