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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Rice County

1878

Map of Rice County - 1878

First settlements: Atlanta township, October, 1870, by Earl Joslin; Union township, March, 1870, by C. S. Lindell. - First school house: Atlanta township, 1872, by district No. 2. - First marriage: Atlanta township, D. M. Bell and Mary Hauk, 1872. - First births: Atlanta township, George and Angie, twin children of Robert and Elizabeth McKinnis; Union township, son of T. Cowger, September, 1871. - First business established: at Atlanta, spring of 1871, grocery store, by a man named Salady. - First post offices: Atlanta township, Brookdale, Earl Joslin, postmaster; Union township, Stone Corral, A. C. Bean, postmaster. - The first ploughing done in the county was by P. G. Carter, on Section 15, Township 20, Range 8, the southwest 1/4, April, 1871. In the spring and summer of 1871, buffaloes were very plentiful, but it was their last season in Rice county. They were of great assistance to the new settlers, furnishing them with meat, etc. The rain fall has gradually increased year by year, and it is stated that the volume of the streams has increased so rapidly that it is more than double what it was in 1871. The town of Sterling was laid out in 1872, and was known as Peace until 1876, when, on the 18th of April of that year, it was incorporated as a city of the third class, and called Sterling. Lyons, the county seat, is located at the geographical centre of the county. It was laid out in 1876, and on April 12 of that year, the county seat was located there by the popular vote. A court house has been erected there. Raymond is on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, eleven miles northwest of Sterling.

Rice county was organized in 1871.

Population in 1870, 5; in 1875, 2,453; increase in five years, 2,448; population in 1878, 6,149; increase in eight years, 6,144. Rural population, 5,227; city or town population, 922; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 85.

POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop.
Atlanta 629 Farmer 1,042 Raymond 995
Sterling 1,475 Union 906 Victoria 444
Washington 658 ----- ----- ----- -----

Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 15 per cent.; upland, 85 per cent.; forest (Government survey), 1 per cent; prairie, 99 per cent. Average width of bottoms, two miles; general surface of the country, undulating.

Timber. - Average width of timber belts, one-quarter mile. Varieties: cottonwood, elm, box elder, ash, hackberry, mulberry, coffee bean. The culture of trees is yet in its infancy, but is being engaged in quite extensively by the farmers generally. There are probably from 600 to 800 acres in the county, besides trees planted merely for shade and ornament. Cottonwood is generally preferred, but box elder grows rapidly, and is considered a hardier variety.

Principal Streams. - The Arkansas river, Little Arkansas and Cow creek, flow southeast. Little Cow and Plum creeks, south. The county is well supplied with springs; well water obtained at an average depth of 25 feet.

Coal. - None found.

Building Stone, etc. - There is an abundance of lime and sandstone in the northeast and southwest corners of the county.

Railroad Connections. - The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad runs nearly through the centre of the county from east to west, following the valley of the Arkansas. Stations: Sterling and Raymond.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 460,800; taxable acres, 221,852; under cultivation, 68,782.76; cultivated to taxable acres, 31.00 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 17,456.35.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce, $3,829.30; poultry and eggs, $2,507.45.

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

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.
Winter Wheat ----- 29.00 91.00 3,929.50 10,560.00 17,751.00 25,754.00
Rye 32.00 32.00 240.00 1,711.50 2,177.00 2,012.00 2,285.00
Spring Wheat 32.00 174.00 1,804.00 2,660.25 1,415.00 2,465.00 8,618.00
Corn 2,889.00 5,341.00 8,162.00 10,188.50 9,286.00 18,765.00 19,240.00
Barley 3.00 20.00 124.00 396.25 1,356.00 2,244.00 1,909.00
Oats 119.00 390.00 1,511.00 2,630.50 3,996.00 4,426.00 5,989.00
Buckwheat ----- 4.00 2.00 6.00 1.50 0.12 8.00
Irish Potatoes 49.00 177.00 265.00 190.87 327.00 368.00 636.00
Sweet Potatoes 0.75 6.00 15.00 7.15 11.00 12.00 45.46
Sorghum 29.00 42.00 46.00 69.24 59.50 223.00 282.88
Castor Beans ----- 0.75 5.00 18.50 ----- 104.00 3.00
Cotton ----- 0.25 1.00 ----- ----- ----- -----
Flax ----- ---- 12.12 48.50 42.00 43.00 31.00
Hemp ----- ----- 0.25 ----- ----- 0.25 -----
Tobacco ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 0.13 1.00
Broom Corn ----- ----- 36.00 34.50 204.75 532.00 519.00
Millet and Hungarian 27.00 26.00 31.00 80.75 742.50 2,202.00 2,384.00
Timothy Meadow ----- ----- 1.00 7.25 22.00 3.75 39.25
Clover Meadow ----- ----- 25.00 11.25 9.00 7.00 4.17
Prairie Meadow ----- ----- ----- 2.00 ----- ----- -----
Timothy Pasture ----- ----- ----- ----- 0.25 ----- -----
Clover Pasture ----- ----- ----- 0.50 4.50 0.16 -----
Blue-Grass Pasture ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Prairie Pasture ----- ----- 15.00 30.00 ----- 168.00 1,034.00








Total 3,180.75 6,242.00 12,386.37 22,023.01 30,214.00 51,326.41 68,782.76

Increase in six years, 2062+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 343.66+ per cent.

RANK of Rice 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 57 56 58 37 32 18 18
Corn 54 52 52 55 56 51 51
Total Acreage in all Crops 57 56 57 57 55 48 45








STATEMENT showing the Acres, Product 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. 25,754.00 8,003.00 in. 566,588.00 300,323.00 in. $300,291.64 $60,653.14 in.
Rye - bu. 2,285.00 273.00 in. 41,130.00 16,926.00 in. 12,339.00 1,393.72 in.
Spring Wheat - bu. 8,618.00 6,153.00 in. 68,944.00 29,504.00 in. 27,577.60 5,946.40 de.
Corn - bu. 19,240.00 475.00 in. 577,200.00 79,575.00 de. 144,300.00 12,945.00 in.
Barley - bu. 1,909.00 335.00 de. 47,725.00 3,887.00 de. 12,885.75 2,597.85 de.
Oats - bu. 5,989.00 1,563.00 in. 191,648.00 14,608.00 in. 32,580.16 6,024.16 in.
Buckwheat - bu. 8.00 7.88 in. 128.00 125.84 in. 102.40 100.67 in.
Irish Potatoes - bu. 636.00 268.00 in. 55,332.00 32,148.00 in. 13,833.00 4,714.20 de.
Sweet Potatoes - bu. 45.46 33.46 in. 4,546.00 3,106.00 in. 3,409.50 1,969.50 in.
Sorghum - gall. 282.88 59.88 in. 32,531.20 6,886.20 in. 16,265.60 3,443.10 in.
Castor Beans - bu. 3.00 101.00 de. 36.00 1,004.00 de. 45.00 995.00 de.
Cotton - lbs. ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Flax - bu. 31.00 12.00 de. 310.00 120.00 de. 310.00 141.50 de.
Hemp - lbs. ----- .25 de. ----- 230.00 de. ----- 13.80 de.
Tobacco - lbs. 1.00 .87 in. 710.00 643.80 in. 74.00 64.38 in.
Broom Corn - lbs. 519.00 13.00 de. 402,225.00 23,375.00 de. 15,083.44 876.56 de.
Millet and Hungarian - tons 2,384.00 182.00 in. 7,152.00 1,647.00 in. 32,184.00 7,911.50 in.
Timothy Meadow - tons 39.25 35.50 in. 58.87 53.24 in. 294.35 266.20 in.
Clover Meadow - tons 4.17 2.83 de. 6.25 4.25 de. 31.25 21.25 de.
Prairie Meadow - tons ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Timothy Pasture acres ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Clover Pasture - acres ----- .16 de. ----- -----
Blue-Grass Pasture - acres ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Prairie Pasture - acres 1,034.00 866.00 in. ----- ----- ----- -----







Total 68,782.76 17,456.35 in. ----- ----- $611,606.69 $79,464.81 in.

Old Corn on Hand. - Old corn on hand March 1, 1878, 115,939 bushels, or an average of 94 bushels to each family.

Dairy Products. - Cheese manufactured in 1875, 6 lbs.; in 1878, 1,442 lbs.; increase, 1,436 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 28,624 lbs.; in 1878, 108,024 lbs.; increase, 79,400 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 1,621; in 1878, 2,070; increase, 449. Mules and asses, in 1877, 321; in 1878, 424; increase, 103. Milch cows, in 1877, 1,354; in 1878, 1,589; increase, 235. Other cattle, in 1877, 2,387; in 1878, 2,280; decrease, 107. Sheep, in 1877, 456; in 1878, 1,203; increase, 747. Swine, in 1877, 3,825; in 1878, 7,708; increase, 3,883.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 9; value of sheep killed by dogs, $27.

Wool. - Clip of 1877, 725 pounds.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $21,329.86.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 116.75. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 164; pear, 2; peach, 8,887; plum, 1,542; cherry, 382. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 14,285; pear, 918; peach, 113,691; plum, 5,726; cherry, 4,574.

Herd Law. - Herd law in force throughout the county since May, 1872. The sentiment is practically unanimous in its favor. It retards fencing and hedge growing, and stimulates grain instead of stock raising. There is absolutely no objection urged to the law, but some are of the opinion that a limit should be put to its duration so as to promote the growth of hedges.

Fences. - Stone, 35 rods; cost, $70. Rail, no report. Board, 1,712 rods; cost, $2,482.40. Wire, 4,657 rods; cost, $3,492.75. Hedge, 66,387 rods; cost, $33,193.50. Total rods of fence, 72,791; total cost, $39,238.65.

Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 4; pounds of honey, 27.

Value of Agricultural Implements, - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $33,594.

Manufactures. - City of Sterling: steam flouring mills, 2, capital employed, $11,700; plow factory, capital, $400.

Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $190,502; railroad property, $174,703.60; total assessed valuation of all property, $936,675.51; true valuation of all property, $1,561,125.85. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $63,415.41; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, .07-.

Newspaper History. - The Rice County Herald was first established by a man named Frazier, in 1872, at Atlanta, and was soon after sold to the Shinn Brothers. They sold it to Smith & Wallace, who conducted it for a time, and then removed it to Peace, on the A., T. & S. F. R. R. From there they removed to Hutchinson, Reno county.

The Rice County Gazette was established at Sterling, in 1875, by Mr. Cowgill, and is still being published by him. It is a Republican paper.

The Weekly Bulletin was started in 1877, at Lyons, by Mr. Ulmer, who subsequently removed it to Sterling, where it is still published. It is Republican in politics.

Schools. - Number of organized districts, 60; school population, 2,577; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $29.12; females, $27.83. School houses built during 1878, 8; frame, 7; stone, 1. Total number of school houses, 39; log, 6; frame, 33. Value of all school property, $25,557. School grounds ornamented with trees of artificial growth, in a few districts.

Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 5; membership, 271, Congregational: organizations, 3; membership, 94; church edifices; 1; value of church property, $3,000. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 15; membership, 280; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $3,000. Presbyterian: organizations, 2; membership, 60; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $3,000. Roman Catholic: organizations, 4; membership, 600; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $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 organized 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 Matthew McCandless, January 2002.


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