Transcribed from History and Statistics of Brown County, Kansas, comp. by E. N. Morrill, Hiawatha, Kan., Kansas herald book, news, and job office, July 4, 1876.

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Among the many incidents in the early history of the county, one, occurring in the fall of 1860, deserves special mention. It was called "stealing a grist mill," and created no little comment at the time. No full statement or explanation of the circumstances has ever before been published. In the early part of 1860, A.M. Hamby, who was running a saw mill at Falls City, induced W.C. Foster, Esq., of this county, to enter into partnership with him. Mr. Foster had a portable grist mill consisting of a run of burrs, the frame supporting them and the necesssary shafting and cogwheels to run it, which he removed to Falls City and attached to Hamby's saw-mill. Before the partnership was fully consummated and the papers signed, Mr. Foster, becoming convinced that Mr. Hamby's representations were false and that he was very much involved, declined to carry out the arrangement. When he attempted to remove his grist mill Hamby refused to allow him to take it. To engage in litigation in another state in the unsettled condition of affairs, and with the strong feeling in the community in favor of retaining the mill, seemed useless. To abandon altogether the idea of recovering his property was not to be thought of. After consulting with his attorney, be arranged with seven of his friends to go with him and quietly remove the property. The party gathered at his house one pleasant autumn evening with two heavy lumber wagons and four good horses, and when the shades of evening gathered around they started for Falls City. At a little after eleven, reaching the wide bottom lying south of that place, they left their teams in the tall grass in charge of one of their number, and proceeded to make an examination of the premises. In a house near by a light was burning. Silently they moved around among the logs in the mill-yard carefully looking over the situation to decide how to act. The frame of the mill was bolted firmly to the sills of the building. A heavy wrench had been brought along, and as the nut turned on the rusty bolt the creaking iron sounded like filing a saw and caused all to start with the fear that they would be discovered. Industriously they worked and in a few minutes it was carefully lifted from its resting place and laid upon the saw-dust. A span of horses were soon brought up, and hitching to the mill, it was dragged over the soft ground a quarter of a mile or more, to where the wagons had been left. In a few minutes it was carefully taken apart; and placed in the wagons, and the party were as anxious to get out of Nebraska as they were a few hours before to get in. Quietly they pursued their journey until just as the day was dawning, they came in sight of the timber near Mr. Foster's home. Then the five good singers who were in the party struck up with one accord, "Home, Sweet Home," and never was it sung with a more hearty good will. A few days after, the grist mill was attached to E.N. Morrill,s[sic] saw-mill where it did good service for several years. No attempt was ever made to return it to Falls City, all parties, it is presumed, feeling that under the circumstances, the stealing of the grist mill was perfectly justifiable. The spring of 1861 was a very favorable one, and all went to work with a hearty good will to put in the seed again. Thousands of bushels of choice wheat and corn had been donated by the more favored farmers of other states, and thus all were enabled to secure the needed seed. Early in the year, however, the war clouds began to gather and all were watching anxiously the course of events. Largely dependent on Missouri for supplies as the people of Kansas at that time were, uncertain how the people of that state would act in the approaching trouble, the settlers looked anxiously forward to the harvest that would to some extent render them independent of their unfriendly neighbors. The harvest richly rewarded them for their labor, and a more hopeful feeling pervaded the whole community. During the summer companies of home guards were organized in different sections of the county, holding themselves in readiness to protect the lives and property of the citizens. At Hiawatha there was a very large and finely drilled company under command of Capt. I.J. Lacock, and at Hamlin, Capt. I.B. Hoover had cammand[sic] of a good company of true men. At Robinson a company was organized and in readiness, and possibly at other points in the county. In the latter part of summer and early part of autumn, the work of making the crops being over, a large number of the young men went into the service followed during the winter and spring by many others, until few able-bodied men were left behind. The records fail utterly to give to Brown county the credit of her full quota that volunteered in defense of their country. Many were credited to the counties where they enlisted, and others were put down without giving the place of residence. In justice to the brave boys and to the noble county they represented, a list is here given of those who were actual residents of Brown county at the time of entering the army. Many names are, doubtless, omitted that should be here, but the list has been compiled with great care after exhausting all means of information at our command. This list comprises nearly two hundred names. At this time, the largest vote that had ever been polled in the county was four hundred-and-twenty-five, so it would seem that nearly one-half of all the voters in the county went into the army. The following are the names:
A.B. Anderson
Andrew Armstrong
Geo. W. Bunce
J.M. Bradford
John Bertwell
Samuel W. Buckley
Ashley Chase
Frank Chandler
Thaddeus Corbon
Henry Cheal
H.L. Doan
A. Exline
D.E. Fowler
Martin Ford
Wm. Graham
Joseph S. Hill
Chas. B. Hauber
Alex. Johnson
Chester Jones
Samuel Kaiserman
H.H. Lynn
D.U. Muire
Levi Morrill
Frans Marak, Jr.
S.T. Meredith
A. Meisenheimer
Daniel W. Owen
E.N. Ordway
Joseph H. Poe
Stephen Quaile
A. Richardson
Marshall P. Rush
I.N. Speer
Isaac A. Sawin
Moses Seveir
James F. Starnes
Francis M. Starnes
Isaac Selleg
Newton Seveir
Eli Swordferger
David C. Swayzie
C.E. Simmonds
John Schilling
Samuel Tess
Lewis Vaughn
J.A. Wilson
John Weiss
W.S. Woodcock
Alex. Abshear
Simeon Ansty
Chas. T. Boomer
Geo. H. Burgh
W.H. Bertwell
T.F. Barnum
Albert Chandler
John Y. Cook
Chas. Cowley
James Clark
Sam'l Donaldson
Conrad Englebark
John A. Furnish
R.H. Fletcher
John L. Graham
John Hauber
B.F. Hearton
James Jellison
J.K. Klinefelter
Thos. Kelley
Peter Lynch
E.N. Morrill
O.H. McCauley
James J. Miller
Jacob Miller
Harvey Nichols
David Oldfield
S.U. Probasor
P.G. Parker
L.M. Risley
Chas. E. Robinson
John W. Smith
F.M. Stumbo
Luther Sperry
Edwin Selleg
Jacob Sigafous
James Sherman
Dudley Sawyer
Isaac Schmidt
Jacob Stilwell
F.W. Steigler
Alonzo Scott
Francis Sevier
Andrew Twidwell
Albert Vaughn
Amasiah Wescott
Phillip Weiss
Wm. Wilkinson
Edward Hickman
John Abshear
Levi C. Anderson
John Barnum
Richard M. Beau
Eli F. Benton
J.L. Bradford
Melvin Chandler
Thurston Chase
T.B. Cummings
C.M.G. Dusendschon
Daniel Ellis
A.C. Foster
W.H. Furnish
Henry H. Graham
Wm. Gentry
Hiram Horton
Peter Hatfield
Frank D. Jellison
S.K. Klinefelter
Henry Leuch
Wm. Linquist
W.P. McGashey
J.S. Marshall
Andrew McLaughlin
Thomas Martin
Abram Norwood
John Oldfield
John W. Proctor
Jonathan Quick
Wm. Richardson
Sam'l Richards
Josiah A. Snively
Adam Schmidt
J.S. Stillwell
B.F. Sweetland
Jonathan W. Scott
Isaac Sweetland
Wm. Starns
Benj. F. Strange
Winslow W. Smith
Abraham Sumpter
Henry Smith
Thos. Strange
John Ullman
Wm. C. Vassar
A.D. Westerfield
Sam'l F. Withnow
A.H. Watson
John Zimmerman
J.H. Armstrong
L.C. Bollinger
Geo Bird
John Brady
Robert Bradley
C. Bentley
Chas. Chandler
J.D. Carnes
John Croft
S.P. Dickinson
B.S. Eye
B.S. Foster
John Feitchter
Robert Gaston
Henry J. Gillespie
Henry Hickman
W.M. Johnson
Robert Jellison
P.K. Klinefelter
Daniel Leuch
Lewis Lawrencee
Zach. Mallows
Abram Marshall
C. Meisenueimer
Wm. G. Meredith
A.J. Owen
Geo. S. Osman
Robert Pollock
M.A. Quigley
Wm. Richards
John T. Reeves
Albert G. Speer
Michael Schmidt
W.G. Sargent
John M. Snively
Chas. D. Stumbo
John F. Shields
Gottleib Spabe
John F. Spenser
John Smith
Hesokiah Smith
E.H. Slagle
Wm. Schmidt
E.M. Vaughn
Benj. Winkles
Henry Wilkins
C.V. Wicks
W.C. Wyatt

Brown county has its list of martyrs who sacrificed their lives to save their country. Henry H. Graham, John L. Graham, John W. Smith, Josiah A. Snively, Daniel Lauch, L.C. Bolinger, Samuel Donaldson, D.U. Muire, E.M. Vaughn, Edwin Seely, James Sherman, John Y. Cook, Samuel Keiserman, W.S. Woodcock, Abraham Sumpter, J.A. Wilson, L.M. Risley, T.B. Cummings, Chas. B. Hauber, Simeon Ansty, J.L. Bradford, John Hauber, Newton Leveir, John N. Spaurer and Samuel F. Withrow all sleep the "sleep that knows no waking" in southern graves; but their brave comrades who survive will ever cherish their memories, and the true and the good will ever hold in grateful remembrance the names of our fallen heroes.

The Legislature of 1860 again changed the law in relation to county courts, and adopted the old plan of electing three commissioners to transact county business. At the election, held Nov., 26th, 1860, W.B. Barnett, Isaac B. Hoover and James Rounds were elected county commissioners, and met on the 2nd of April, organizing by choosing W.B. Barnett chairman. Henry Graves had previously resigned as county clerk, and H.R. Dutton had been appointed. One of the first acts of this board was to require the clerk to make out a statement of the receipts and expenditures of the county from the time of its organization to April 1st, 1860.

This report shows that the total amount
  of warrants issued was
Amount of appropriations for which no.
  warrants had been issued
Total amt. of appropriations$8,548.02
The total amount of warrants redeemed $2,187.18
Taxes due on lands bid in by county300.90
Tax due on roll of 18594231.01
Leaving an indebtedness of     $1828.93 

The tax levy for this year was five mills on the dollar. On the 4th of April David Peebles was appointed Superintendent of Schools in place of James A. Stanley's resigned. The reasons for Mr. Stanley's resignation are not given, but as the records of the county show that the commisioners allowed him $8.00 for the first six months services, it is not strange that he did not desire to continue in the office. The new Superintendent, however, did better, as he received $12.00 for his first three months services. This board of commissioners only held their positions until the regular election in November, of 1860, when James Round, Lewis C. Dunn and Wm. Vassar were elected. James Round was chairman of this board. Mr. Vassar, however, went into the army early in the autumn of 1861, and Thos. Ellis was appointed to fill the vacancy.

In the spring of 1861 the first paper ever printed in the county was struck off; Dr. P.G. Parker was editor and proprietor, and the sheet was called the Brown County Union. Its publication was continued through the summer and autumn, but in the winter the office was entirely destroyed by fire and no effort was made to continue its publication. The office was in the lower story of the building owned by H.M. Robinson, Esq., and stood on the ground now occupied by the law office of Killey & May. Mr. Robinson was at the time living in the upper story of the building, and narrowly escaped with himself and family, losing all of their household goods.

In March, 1861, H.R. Dutton, Senator from this district, was appointed State Treasurer to fill a vacancy, and at the following election he was elected to that office. W.B. Barnett was elected Senator to fill this vacancy. At the general election, in Nov., 1862, W.W. Guthrie was elected Attorney GeneraI of the state, being the third state officer taken from Brown county. Since the expiration of his term of office, this county has had no representation on the state board, though it is believed that there have been residents of the county who would have accepted positions had they been elected.

At the election held Nov., 1861, James Round, Thos. Ellis and Noah Hanson were elected commissioners, and E.L. Pound county clerk. Thos. Ellis was elected chairman. The term of office of this board commenced Jan. 1st, 1862 and ended Jan. 1st, 1864. The records, during the time, show nothing of special interest, except that the board observed the most rigid economy in their appropriations, and by liberal levy did much to improve the credit of the county. Their levy for 1862 was five mills, and for 1863 seven mills.

In December of 1863, James Round, who had served the county faithfully as a commissioner for several terms, met his death by the accidental discharge of a gun in his own hands. At the session of the board, held Jan. 4th, I.P. Winslow was chosen to fill the vacancy. At the same session the board appropriate $3,000 to build a jail, and appointed W.B. Barnett commissioner to take charge of the work. This was the last session of this board. On the 4th of April, 1864, M.C. Willis, I.P. Winslow and Isaiah Travis, who had been elected at the Nov. election, assumed the duties of the office. E A. Spooner had been at the same time elected clerk. This board organizaed by choosing M.C. Willis chairman. Upon consideration of the jail question, they decided that they had no authority to erect public buildings without first submitting the question to a vote of the electors of the county, and they therefore discharged the commissioner from further duty in the matter. At their session in the following July, they decided to submit the question of building a jail to a vote of the people at the next general election. The records of the county fail to show that any vote was taken upon this subject, but it seems that a vote was taken to decide whether the school lands in the county should be sold or not, and it was decided in the affirmative by a vote of 208 to 65. A most unfortunate decision for the school fund, as five years later the lands were worth three times as much. At the Jan. session, 1865, Mr. Travis tendered his resignation as county commissioner, and William Morris was appointed to fill the vacancy. On the 22nd of Oct., 1865, E.L. Pound, County Treasurer, died, and at a special term of the court, held for that purpose, the following resolutions were passed;

"WHEREAS, in the mysterious ordering of Divine Providence, E.L. Pound, Treasurer of Brown county, has been removed by sudden disease and death, therefore

Resolved, that it is fitting that we should place upon record, at this time, being called upon to appoint a successor to fill the vacancy caused by this death, our appreciation of his uniform kindness in all our official intercourse. His fidelity to the interests and responsibilities entrusted to his care and perfect integrity in the discharge of the duties of his office, have won for him our highest esteem and affectionate regard. And while we mourn his departure as the loss of a dear, worthy and beloved friend, we feelingly tender our sympathies to the family of the deceased, who are thus suddenly overwhelmed with grief in the loss of a kind, affectionate and beloved husband and father."

W.B. Barnett was appointed treasurer to fill the vacancy.

At the election in November, a vote was taken on the jail question, resulting in a vote of 198 for building a jail to 96 against. Subsequently, however, objections were raised that the vote was not a fair one, as only printed ballots in favor of the proposition were furnished at the polls, and a new election was ordered and the proposition was defeated. This seems to have been a wise decision on the part of the voters, for the county has been so comparatively free from crime that it has cost much less to keep the prisoners in the jail of the adjoining county than to maintain a prison at home. The records of the county show that in twenty-one years, from first settlement of the county in 1855 to July 1876, there have been but thirty-three convictions for crime of all classes. Of these eight were for assault and battery. Thirteen were for grand larceny, the offense being, with few exceptions, horse stealing, and in almost every case committed by non-residents of the county while passing through it. The other twelve convictions were divided as follows: Petty larceny, 3; perjury, 1; forgery, 2; gaming 2; selling liquor, 4. The total length of all the sentences was forty-three years and the total fines $675. It is questionable whether any other county in the United States can present a more favorable showing in this respect. Brown county to-day has no jail. Who will say that one is needed?

This board or commissioners managed the finances of the county with great care and prudence. Early in their term of office, July, 1864, county warrants were at par, and from that time to the present, a period of twelve years, no county warrant has ever been presented at the treasurer's office that was not promptly paid at its value.

But little of general interest or importance occurred in the county during the war. Those who remained at home cultivated their farms, and as the seasons were favorable and prices high all improved their condition pecuniarily. So many, however, were absent in the army that many fields were left untilled, and at the close of the war there were hardly as many acres under cultivation as at the commencement. While there had been a considerable increase in wealth, there had been no immigration and consequently no increase in population. In 1865 there was a very general return of the soldiers, and to their praise, let it be said, they engaged heartily in active work and were the same steady, true, industrious men that they were four years before, when the excitements and temptations of army life were unknown to them. At the close of the war real estate in the county was extremely low. There was indeed no demand at all for it, and choice tracts of land could be bought within a few miles of Hiawatha, at three dollars per acre. A choice tract of land, 120 acres, near Morrill station, was sold during the war for a hundred dollar bill, and this when gold was at a hundred per cent. premium. In 1866 there was a slight immgration to the county, and this steadily increased during 1867, 1868 and reaching its height in 1869. The increase in the three years being nearly two hundred per cent. New farms were opened and improvements of all kinds were rapidly carried forward. The county after all its hardships and deprivations had awakened to a new life. Among the causes producing this increased activity, no one was more prominent or did more to attract the attention of the people of other states than the liberal advertising of the Central Branch Union Pacific R.R. Co.

Transcribed from History and Statistics of Brown County, Kansas, comp. by E. N. Morrill, Hiawatha, Kan., Kansas herald book, news, and job office, July 4, 1876.

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