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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Sedgwick County

1878

Map of Sedgwick County - 1878

First settlements: Wichita township, fall of 1867, by Henry Vigus and Durfee & Ledrick; Grant township, early in 1868, by Alexander Jester. - The first church building was erected in the spring of 1870, in what is now Wichita City proper, by the Episcopal society. - The first school house was built in Wichita, 1871, by the Board of Education. - The first business established was a trading post, by Durfee & Ledrick, in 1867. - First marriages: Wichita, Perry Eaton, lady's name unknown, winter of 1869-70; Grant township, C. P. Baker and Carrie Beach, February 5th, 1873. - First births: Wichita, Sedgwick Hoover, December 22, 1869; Grant township, a son to Mr. and Mrs. S. I. Perrin, March 26, 1871. - First post offices: Wichita, 1867, Milo B. Kellogg, postmaster; Grant township, Valley Center, 1871, O. G. Jacobs, postmaster. - Mr. G. K. Ayres, the Centennial historian of Grant township, has kindly sent us an interesting sketch of the township, which is too long for our purpose, but from which we gather the following particulars: Alexander Jester, who made the first permanent settlement in the township, located on the banks of the Little Arkansas, and for four years was without neighbors, excepting two or three families in the adjoining township. Jester, however, turned out to be a dangerous character; he afterwards murdered an unsuspecting boy with whom he was traveling, appropriated the team and wagon of his victim, and, though closely pursued, escaped, and has never been brought to justice. The year 1871, brought a large number of settlers into the township, and in the fall of that year a township organization was effected. From that time to the present, excepting the grasshopper year, 1874, the township has been uniformly prosperous. The first preaching in the township was at the house of Leroy Fosdick, by the Rev. J. M. Ashley, a Congregational minister, the congregation being composed of Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Christians, United Brethren and others. The Methodists organized a society in 1872, and were followed by the Baptists in March, 1873, since which time the United Presbyterians and Christians have organized strong societies. Eight school houses have been built in the township, which have an average attendance of thirty pupils each. The township has a public park of ten acres planted in shade trees, and cultivated for the use of the public by an association chartered for that purpose. The trees are small, as yet, but the enterprise bids fair to be a success. The extensive fruit farm of Mr. Wm. McCracken is also located in this township; it has forty thousand peach trees, three thousand apple trees, besides thousands of pear, cherry, plum and other fruit trees. Although the trees are still very young, his peach crop the past season was estimated at 20,000 bushels. The railroad was built through the township in 1872, and the station of Valley Center furnishes a good market to the people.

Sedgwick county was organized in 1870.

Population in 1870, 1,095; in 1875, 8,310; increase in five years, 7,215; population in 1878, 15,220; increase in eight years, 14,125. Rural population, 10,654; city or town population, 4,566; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 70.

POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop. TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES. Pop.
Afton 429 Attica 367 Delano 498
Erie 244 Eagle 362 Grand River 200
Greeley 318 Garden Plain 418 Gypsum 529
Grant 882 Illinois 399 Kechi 456
Lincoln 398 Morton 256 Minneha 332
Ninnescah 379 Ohio 293 Park 297
Payne 433 Rockford 512 Salem 530
Sherman 282 Union 694 Viola 290
Wichita 654 Waco 559 Wichita City 4,209

Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 50 per cent.; upland, 50 per cent.; forest (Government survey), 1 per cent.; prairie, 99 per cent. Average width of bottoms, five miles; general surface of the country, level or slightly undulating.

Timber. - Of the very little timber found in the county, the principal varieties are: walnut, elm, hackberry, cottonwood and box elder. Much attention has been given to the cultivation of artificial forests. Upwards of 1,200 acres are reported, and probably very much more is in growth. Cottonwood constitutes four-fifths of the entire area; it is propagated mainly from cuttings. Box elder, willow and walnut are next in preference, in the order named.

Principal Streams. - The Arkansas river, running southeast. The Little Arkansas, running south. Ninnescah, Cowskin and Wildcat creeks, running southeast. There are a few springs in the county; well water reached at a depth of from 10 to 50 feet.

Coal. - Investigations are being prosecuted, but no coal has yet been developed.

Building Stone, etc. - There is a poor quality of limestone in many localities, but it is not used to any extent. There is one good quarry in Ninnescah township, reported to underlie two or three sections. The entire county east of the Arkansas river is said to be underlaid with gypsum, at a depth of from 10 to 100 feet, cropping out in Afton and Rockford townships, along the banks of the streams. It is not utilized. Strata vary in thickness from 4 inches to 14 feet.

Railroad Connections. - The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad enters the county at about the centre of its northern line, and, running in a direction a little east of south, extends to Wichita.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 645,120; taxable acres, 561,160; under cultivation, 180,185.50; cultivated to taxable acres, 32.00 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 45,872.50.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce, $4,706.05; poultry and eggs, $6,758.96.

Old Corn on Hand. - Old corn on hand March 1, 1878, 282,506 bushels, or an average of 93 bushels to each family.

Dairy Products. - Cheese manufactured in 1875, 6,175 lbs.; in 1878, 3,942 lbs.; decrease, 2,233 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 83,219 lbs.; in 1878, 202,394 lbs.; increase, 119,175 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 4,511; in 1878, 4,585; increase, 74. Mules and asses, in 1877, 1,213; in 1878, 1,245; increase, 32. Milch cows, in 1877, 3,027; in 1878, 3,102; increase, 75. Other cattle, in 1877, 5,977; in 1878, 5,377; decrease, 600. Sheep, in 1877, 1,837; in 1878, 1,469; decrease, 368. Swine, in 1877, 13,489; in 1878, 20,883; increase, 7,394.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 10; value of sheep killed by dogs, $30.

Wool. - Clip of 1877, 5,373 pounds.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $62,892.58.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 78.37.Number of trees in bearing: apple, 5,845; pear, 278; peach, 164,232; plum, 3,136; cherry, 2,934. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 74,342; pear, 4,014; peach, 156,556; plum, 7,939; cherry, 13,369.

Herd Law. - The herd law has been in force since April 25, 1872, and the general feeling is strongly in favor of its continuance. The people are engaged principally in raising small grains, and, considering the cost of fencing material, the cost of inclosing their fields would be a heavy tax. The law retards fencing and hedge growing, and promotes the raising of grain.

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

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.
Winter Wheat 507.00 506.00 2,793.00 16,625.00 33,186.00 55,399.00 85,629.00
Rye 19.00 19.00 517.00 1,603.25 2,074.00 992.00 1,233.00
Spring Wheat 77.00 1,203.00 3,613.00 132.50 90.00 138.00 799.00
Corn 6,519.00 8,754.00 26,768.00 29,060.50 26,599.00 57,993.00 55,701.00
Barley 52.00 12.00 192.00 63.75 800.00 1,231.00 705.00
Oats 807.00 1,821.00 4,311.00 6,438.12 11,283.00 10,571.00 22,176.00
Buckwheat ----- 36.00 19.00 9.00 53.00 12.00 43.00
Irish Potatoes 237.00 620.00 945.00 540.25 904.42 823.00 1,049.00
Sweet Potatoes 8.00 16.00 45.00 44.88 23.26 38.50 62.21
Sorghum 25.00 78.00 84.00 85.50 168.90 330.87 380.22
Castor Beans ----- 10.00 84.00 27.25 11.00 18.00 0.25
Cotton ----- 6.00 30.00 3.25 0.25 7.25 1.25
Flax ----- 1.25 35.00 133.00 169.00 55.00 1.00
Hemp ----- ----- 0.25 ----- ----- ----- 1.25
Tobacco 1.00 1.50 2.50 1.25 2.50 18.25 6.24
Broom Corn ----- ----- 2.00 9.75 35.00 219.63 16.25
Millet and Hungarian 259.00 259.00 125.00 136.70 581.25 1,304.00 1,757.00
Timothy Meadow 7.00 6.50 13.00 27.00 57.00 75.50 304.50
Clover Meadow 9.00 9.00 25.00 8.00 17.00 60.50 97.33
Prairie Meadow 2,027.00 2,027.00 1,612.00 429.00 7,985.00 1,060.00 2,480.00
Timothy Pasture ----- ----- 1.00 ----- 8.00 21.50 84.00
Clover Pasture ----- ----- ----- 3.00 4.00 9.00 1.50
Blue-Grass Pasture 2.00 2.00 253.00 59.00 108.50 79.00 33.50
Prairie Pasture 621.00 621.00 1,917.00 2,928.00 15,764.00 3,857.00 7,624.00








Total 11,177.00 16,008.25 43,386.75 58,367.95 99,924.08 134,313.00 180,185.50

Increase in six years, 1512+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 252 per cent.

RANK of Sedgwick 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 50 49 43 15 8 4 4
Corn 46 46 23 26 32 16 13
Total Acreage in all Crops 51 51 39 39 19 10 1








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. 85,629.00 30,230.00 in. 1,883,838.00 1,219,050.00 in. $1130,302.80 $565,233.00 in.
Rye - bu. 1,233.00 241.00 in. 24,660.00 4,820.00 in. 7,398.00 454.00 in.
Spring Wheat - bu. 799.00 661.00 in. 7,990.00 6,058.00 in. 3,995.00 2,642.60 in.
Corn - bu. 55,701.00 2,292.00 de. 2,228,040.00 323,652.00 de. 467,888.40 42,450.00 de.
Barley - bu. 705.00 526.00 de. 16,920.00 13,855.00 de. 7,783.20 2,988.05 de.
Oats - bu. 22,176.00 11,605.00 in. 931,392.00 497,981.00 in. 167,650.56 89,636.58 in.
Buckwheat - bu. 43.00 31.00 in. 946.00 706.00 in. 756.80 564.80 in.
Irish Potatoes - bu. 1,049.00 226.00 in. 104,900.00 30,830.00 in. 44,058.00 30,012.00 de.
Sweet Potatoes - bu. 62.21 23.71 in. 9,331.50 3,556.50 in. 8,864.93 4,533.68 in.
Sorghum - gall. 380.22 49.35 in. 43,725.30 5,675.25 in. 21,862.65 2,837.62 in.
Castor Beans - bu. 0.25 17.75 de. 2.50 213.50 de. 3.13 212.87 de.
Cotton - lbs. 1.25 6.00 de. 212.50 1,020.00 de. 19.13 104.12 de.
Flax - bu. 1.00 54.00 de. 11.00 649.00 de. 11.00 682.00 de.
Hemp - lbs. 1.25 1.25 in. 1,150.00 1,150.00 in. 69.00 69.00 in.
Tobacco - lbs. 6.24 12.01 de. 4,617.60 8,887.40 de. 461.76 888.74 de.
Broom Corn - lbs. 16.25 203.38 de. 13,000.00 162,704.00 de. 487.50 6,101.40 de.
Millet and Hungarian - tons 1,757.00 453.00 in. 5,271.00 1,359.00 in. 20,029.80 5,164.20 in.
Timothy Meadow - tons 304.50 229.00 in. 517.65 389.30 in. 2,588.25 1,946.50 in.
Clover Meadow - tons 97.33 36.83 in. 194.66 73.66 in. 973.30 368.30 in.
Prairie Meadow - tons 2,480.00 1,420.00 in. 3,720.00 2,130.00 in. 13,020.00 7,455.00 in.
Timothy Pasture acres 84.00 62.50 in. ----- ----- ----- -----
Clover Pasture - acres 1.50 7.50 de. ----- ----- ----- -----
Blue-Grass Pasture - acres 33.50 45.50 de. ----- ----- ----- -----
Prairie Pasture - acres 7,624.00 3,767.00 in. ----- ----- ----- -----







Total 180,185.50 45,872.50 in. ----- ----- $1898.223.21 $597,466.10 in.

Fences. - Stone, no report. Rail, 2,952 rods; cost, $4,280.40. Board, 15,866 rods; cost, $22,688.38. Wire, 9,238 rods; cost, $6,836.12. Hedge, 433,405 rods; cost, $260,043. Total rods of fence, 461,461; total cost, $293,847.90.

Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 8; pounds of honey, 10.

Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $80,578.

Manufactures. - Salem township: water-power flouring mills, 2; capital, $1,200. Wichita City: water flouring mill.

Valuation and Indetedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $439,268; railroad property, $124,007.80; total assessed valuation of all property, $2,759,806.98; true valuation of all property, $4,599,678.30. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $284,946.55; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, 10+.

Newspaper History - The Vidette first appeared at Wichita, August 13, 1870; Fred. A. Sowers and W. B. Hutchinson, proprietors. It was Independent in politics. In February, 1871, Hutchinson became sole proprietor, and issued the paper regularly until the fall of 1872, when he sold it to the Rev. Mr. Perkins. Under his management it supported Greeley in 1872, and was discontinued after the canvass.

The Gazette, (formerly Cottonwood Falls Independent,) was the next paper published at Wichita, but it was soon removed to Sedgwick City. It was subsequently purchased by D. G. Millison, and returned to Wichita. Its name was changed to the Beacon, and it is still published as a Democratic paper; Capt. White, editor.

The Wichita Eagle was established by M. M. Murdock, April 6, 1872, and is still conducted under the same management. It is Republican in politics.

The Wichita Herald was established in 1877, by Robbins & Nixon, and is still published by them. It is a Republican paper.

Schools. - Number of organized districts, 120; school population, 4,781; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $33.33; females, $24.49. School houses built during 1878, frame 13. Total number of school houses, 97; frame, 94; brick, 3. Value of all school property, $46,148. No report as to the ornamentation of school grounds.

Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 7; membership, 208; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $3,500. Congregational: organizations, 2; membership, 22. Episcopal: organizations, 1; membership, 30. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 29; membership, 750; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $4,500. Presbyterian: organizations, 4; membership, 250; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $4,000. Roman Catholic: organizations, 2; membership, 1,000; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $1,000. United Presbyterian: organizations, 3; membership, 60.

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 Tiffany Spence, January 2002.


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