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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Norton County

1878


Map of Norton County - 1878

First settlements: Solomon township, fall of 1872, by Thomas Beaumont, Henry Gordon and P. Hanson; Centre township, April, 1872, Shelby D. Reed.

First school houses: Solomon township, 1874, district No. 7; Almena township, 1874; Centre township, spring of 1874, by Charles D. Bieber.

First marriages: Solomon township, John Lunny and Miss Dunlap; Centre township, James Kinyon and Ellen Green, July 25, 1873.

First births: Solomon township, Annie Beaumont, January 4, 1873; Centre township, Kate Kelley, March 3, 1873.

First business established: Centre township, general store, September, 1872, Newell Bros.

First post offices: West Union and Port Landis, January, 1874: Alfred Coleman and John Landis, postmasters.

The first farm was opened by P. Hanson, Solomon township, in the spring of 1872.

There was considerable apprehension from Indians in 1873, but no actual troubles. Large numbers of buffaloes wintered on the Solomon, in Solomon township, during the winter of 1872-3, and they were plenty up to 1875; since 1876, they have entirely disappeared. Wild turkeys left in 1874, and there has been but little game in the county since. The grasshopper invasion retarded immigration, but the county is now filling up rapidly.

Norton county was organized in 1872.

Population in 1875, 899; in 1878, 1,855; increase in three years, 956. Rural population, 1,576; city or town population, 279; per cent of rural to city or town population, 85.

POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.

TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES POP.
Almena 605
Centre 750
Solomon 500

Face of the Country. -- Bottom land, 8 per cent.; upland, 92 per cent.; forest (Government survey), 1 per cent. ; prairie, 99 per cent.

Timber. -- A mere fringe along some of the streams. Varieties: elm, willow and cottonwood. A great many claims have been taken under the timber-culture act, but the trees planted are yet very small. The grasshoppers have heretofore seriously retarded the cultivation, but those since planted are doing exceedingly well where attention has been given them. Cottonwood, box elder, elm and walnut are the, principal varieties.

Principal Streams. -- Solomon river flows east through the southern tier of townships. Prairie Dog flows through the central portion, and Sappa through the northwest corner of the county, from southwest to northeast. All of the foregoing have numerous small tributaries. The county is moderately well supplied with springs; the depth at which well water is reached ranges from 10 to 75 feet.

Coal. -- W. B. Rogers, of Norton, states that there is coal in Township 1, Range 25, and in Township 5, Range 24, in veins of 18 inches, and at a depth of from 10 to 20 feet. A small quantity has been mined for local use. We have nothing additional to the foregoing, which was published in the last report.

Building Stone, etc. -- Plenty of good building stone abounds -lime, chalk and flint stones. Good limestone found in the southeast corner of the county; sandstone in the other portions of the county, but usually not fit for building.

Railroads. -- None in the county.

Agricultural Statistics.-- Acres in the county, 576,000; taxable acres, 11,825; under cultivation, 13,865.75; cultivated to taxable acres, 117.26 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 4,254.88.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year.-- Garden produce, $90; poultry and eggs, $521.

Old Corn on Hand - Old corn on hand March 1, 1878, 7,033 bushels, or an average of 19 bushels to each family.

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

Crops 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878
Winter Wheat 128.00 240.00 487.00 1,859.00 3,151.00
Rye 150.00 1,450.00 1,464.00 1,933.00
Spring Wheat 257.00 1,162.00 1,027.00 776.00 1,698.00
Corn 2,634.00 2,553.00 7,500.00 3,274.00 3,727.00
Barley 386.00 175.00 120.00 260.00
Oats 137.00 205.00 158.00 132.00 142.00
Buckwheat 2.00 4.00
Irish Potatoes 29.50 53.75 45.00 126.00
Sweet Potatoes 0.87 0.50
Sorghum 10.75 77.00 115.00 118.50
Castor Beans
Cotton
Flax 2.50 2.00 5.00
Hemp 0.50
Tobacco 1.50 1.50
Broom Corn 32.00 15.00
Millet and Hungarian 63.25 409.25 1,083.00 1,111.00
Timothy Meadow 2.50 9.50 7.00
Clover Meadow 7.31 0.75
Prairie Meadow
Timothy Pasture
Clover Pasture
Blue-Grass Pasture
Prairie Pasture 160.00 695.00 1565.00
Total 3,156.00 4,799.00 11,509.31 9,610.87 13,865.75

Increase in four years, 339+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 84.75+ per cent.

RANK of Norton County in the 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
Wheat 61 58 63 57 60
Corn 62 63 59 64 64
Total Acreage in all Crops 62 63 63 64 65

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

CROPS Acres in 1878 INCREASE or DECREASE from 1877 PRODUCT in 1878 INCREASE or DECREASE from 1877 VALUE of PRODUCT in 1878 INCREASE or DECREASE from 1877
Winter Wheat bu. 3,151.00 1,292.00 in. 72,473.00 42,729.00 in. $41,309.61 $20,976.01 in.
Rye bu. 1,933.00 469.00 in. 57,990.00 18,462.00 in. 17,397.00 5,538.60 in.
Spring Wheat bu. 1,698.00 922.00 in. 33,960.00 18,440.00 in. 16,980.00 6,892.00 in.
Corn bu. 3,727.00 453.00 in. 149,080.00 50,860.00 in. 37,270.00 19,590.40 in.
Barley bu. 260.00 140.00 in. 8,320.00 4,720.00 in 2,329.60 1,321.60 in.
Oats bu. 142.00 10.00 in 6,674.00 2,318.00 in. 1,668.50 971.54 in.
Buckwheat bu. 4.00 2.00 in. 56.00 36.00 in. 48.80 28.80 in.
Irish Potatoes bu. 126.00 81.00 in. 15,120.00 12,870.00 in. 3,780.00 2,655.00 in.
Sweet Potatoes bu. 0.50 .37 de 45.00 33.30 de. 33.75 44.55 de.
Sorghum gal. 118.50 3.50 in. 13,627.50 402.50 in. 6,813.75 201.25 in.
Castor Beans bu.
Cotton lbs.
Flax bu. 5.00 3.00 in. 50.00 34.00 in. 50.00 33.20 in.
Hemp lbs. 0.50 .50 in. 460.00 460.00 in. 27.60 27.60 in.
Tobacco lbs. 1.50 1,110.00 111.00
Broom Corn lbs. 15.00 17.00 de. 11,250.00 14,350.00 de. 421.88 538.12 de.
Millet & Hungarian tons 1111.00 28.00 in 3,333.00 896.25 in. 13332.00 3,585.00 in.
Timothy Meadow tons 7.00 2.50 de. 7.00 2.50 de. 35.00 12.50 de.
Clover Meadow tons 0.75 .75 in. 1.12 1.12 in. 5.04 5.04 in.
Prairie Meadow tons
Timothy Pasture acres
Clover Pasture acres
Blue Grass Pasture acres
Prairie Pasture acres 1,565.00 870.00 in.
Total 13,865.75 4,254.88 in. $141,609.53 $61,230.87 in.

 

Dairy Products -- Cheese manufactured in 1875, 40 lbs.; in 1878, 2,550 lbs.; increase, 2,510 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 3,475 lbs.; in 1878, 58,880 lbs.; increase, 55,405 lbs.

Farm Animals. -- Number of horses, in 1877, 326; in 1878, 695; increase, 369. Mules and asses, in 1877, 60; in 1878, 83; increase, 23. Milch cows, in 1877, 601; in 1878, 701; increase, 100. Other cattle, in 1877, 1,235; in 1878, 1,948; increase, 713. Sheep, in 1877, 100; in 1878, 333; increase, 233. Swine, in 1877, 743; in 1878, 1,515; increase, 772.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. -- Number of sheep killed by dogs, 2; value of sheep killed by dogs, $6.

Wool.-- Clip of 1877, 738 pounds.

Value of Animals Slaughtered.-- Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $2,761.90.

Horticulture.-- Number of acres nurseries, .50. Number of trees In bearing: apple, -; pear, -; peach, 200; plum, -; cherry, _ . Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 536; pear, 58; peach, 2,791; plum, 67; cherry, 75.

Herd Law.-- The herd law is in operation in the county, and the popular sentiment is decisively in its favor. Our correspondent says: " We could not farm without it." It promotes the growth of small grain rather than of stock. In its favor, it is urged that it will settle up the county with men who intend to make it their home and help develop the country; against it, that it drives capital out of the county, in the shape of stock men, and thus increases taxation.

Fences.-Stone, 401 rods; cost, $802. Rail, 2,540 rods; cost, $4,064 Board, 157 rods; cost, $235.50 Wire, 390 rods; cost, $312. Hedge, 400 rods; cost, $280. Total rods of fence, 3,888; total cost, $5,693.50.

Apiaculture. -- No report.

Value of Agricultural Implements.-- Amount invested in agricultural implements, $5,619

Manufactures. -- Almena township: water-power flouring mill, capital, $2,531. Centre township: water-power saw mill, capital, $2,000; waterpower flouring mill, capital, $5,000. Steam saw mill, portable, post office address of proprietor, Norton, Kansas.

Valuation and Indebtedness. -- Assessed valuation of personal property, $64,054.60; total assessed valuation of all property, $111,599.60; true valuation of all property, $185,999.33. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $4,113.90; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, .04 -.

Newspaper History. -- The Norton County Bee was started at Norton, January 1st, 1877, Harmer & Baker, proprietors, Nat. L. Baker, editor. In November of that year, Harmer sold his interest to Baker, who removed the establishment to Leota, January 1st; 1878. September 15th, following, he returned with his office to Norton, and issued three numbers, when it was discontinued.

The Norton County Advance was established at Norton, June, 1878, Pettigrew & Collins, publishers and proprietors. It is still issued, and is Republican in politics.

The Free Press was established at Norton, October 7th, 1878, Dr. A. A. Baker, editor.

The Norton County Locomotive was started at Leota, October 15th, 1878, Nat. L. Baker, editor.

Schools.-- Number of organized districts, 24; school population, 642 ; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $22.55; females, $15.13, School houses built during 1878, log, 2. Total number of school houses, 11; log, 10; frame, 1. Value of all school property, $975. No ornamentation of school grounds reported.

Churches.-- Baptist: organizations, 3; membership, 100. Methodist Episcopal organizations, 7; membership, 80. Presbyterian: organizations, 1; membership, 15. Roman Catholic: organizations, 1; membership, 200.

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 Lisel Kraft and Brett Houser, November 2001.


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