WILLIAM T. MAHAN GRAVESTONE PHOTO
William G. Cutler's History of the State
WILLIAM T. MAHAN, County Surveyor, was born on what afterwards became the sanguinary battlefield of Antietam, Washington County, Md. While but a boy in years, he came to Kansas, and for several years kept a store or trading post in this county, near the Indian Reserve, which Reserve he assisted the Government to survey in 1862. In August of the same year, he enlisted in Company E. Eleventh Kansas Cavalry, participating in all the engagements of his regiment, and in 1865 was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth. He was subsequently appointed United States Surveyor, and was engaged in subdividing and sectionizing from the sixty-fifth to the hundredth meridian until the spring of 1870, when he returned to Alma, where he has since remained. He was under-sheriff of the county, 1871- 72; appointed Deputy United States Marshal, which position he held under Col. Houston until 1876, when he was elected County Surveyor, which office he still retains. During the time he kept the trading post, and afterwards, while on the plains, Mr. Mahan had many opportunities of studying Indian character. During a fight which took place in 1859, about five miles north of Alma, between the Pawnees and the Pottawatomies, the former of whom had come up to run off the latter's horses, Mr. Mahan lent his gun to a Pottawatomie, who upon returning it afterwards, tricked out in feathers and ribbons, declared it was "mighty good gun; kill two Pawnee;" and insisted upon Mr. Mahan accompanying him to the camp of the victors, where the hearts and right hands of their victims were roasted and eaten to "make Injun brave." Mr. Mahan is officer of the day of Lyon Post, No. 29, G. A. R.; Warden of Alma Lodge, No. 170, I. O. O. F., and charter member of Lodge 76, A. O. U. W. He owns a residence and four lots in town, is engaged in the real estate business, and he has always taken a lively interest in the welfare of his adopted state.