A history of Republic county, Kansas

A single county in the great state of Kansas occupies but an insignificant place on the map of the world, and its people and its story are comparatively unknown. Yet the grand river of national history is formed by the union of many rills of traditions and record, flowing from a thousand counties and states all over the land. The tracing of one of these rills to its source is the province of the present little volume. It is the aim of this work to collect and preserve some of the facts of the early settlement, subsequent growth and development of one of the leading counties of a young, yet great and glorious state. The families who were early on the ground, and whose members have contributed to make the county what it is, are worthy of remembrance; and their difficulties and sorrows, labors and patriotism, should not be allowed to fall into oblivion. By a knowledge of these, the present generation will be instructed, and the future will be guided. All history, if properly written, is profitable; and there is not a country, or a city, or a hamlet, on the globe, whose history might not be more or less valuable to posterity. We trust this little volume will be the means of preserving from the empire of decay a host of incidents, of recollections and of anecdotes relating to the land of pioneers and first settlers of the county, which, in the estimation of the historian and student of history, are of priceless value, but which otherwise would soon fade from the memories of the living.

Still, a perfect and complete history of any county is one of the impossibilities, and this work may be incomplete in many particulars. Nor, indeed, is it possible for it to be otherwise, as it is not permitted any man to attain perfection. Its regions lie beyond our reach.

And now, after several months of laborious research and persistent toil, the History of Republic County, so far as I have to do with it, is completed, and it is my hope and belief that no subject of importance or general interest has been overlooked-or omitted, and even minor facts, when of sufficient note to be worthy of record, have been faithfully chronicled. I have endeavored to be fair and impartial, aiming in all cases to give credit where credit is due, and to criticize as little as possible consistent with the facts. I also claim to have prepared a work fully up to the standard of my engagements, and to have fulfilled all the promises contained in my prospectus.

In collecting the facts here presented I have drawn largely from my own observations extending over a period of thirty years' residence in the county, but am much indebted and hereby acknowledge my obligations to many of the hardy pioneers and first settlers of the county for early incidents, recollections and other valuable information which could be obtained in no other manner, and especially to D.Y. Wilson, County Clerk, for his uniform kindness and courtesy in allowing me access at all times to the records of his office; also to J.C. Humphrey, late editor and proprietor of the Telescope, for valuable information of historic interest obtained from the old files of the paper, which I have at all times been privileged to consult.


Table of Contents

CHAPTER I. — The Pawnee Republic and The Old Flag 13
CHAPTER II. — Republic County— Boundaries of The County Defined — Early Settlements — First Schools — Early Mail Facilities 32
CHAPTER III. — Indian Depredations 41
CHAPTER IV. — First Law Suit In The County — County Organized — Officers Appointed — First Elections 56
CHAPTER V. — Permanent Location of The County Seat And The Troubles Attending it 63
CHAPTER VI. - Soil — Climate — Streams — Timber — Limestone — Coal — Salt — Water Power — Rain Fall — Etc. — Etc. 69
CHAPTER VII. — Wind Storms — Tornadoes and Cyclones 76
CHAPTER VIII. — Railroads 81
CHAPTER IX. — County Agricultural and Horticultural Societies 87
CHAPTER X. — Crops and Farm Animals 96
CHAPTER XI. — County Indebtedness 102
CHAPTER XII. — District Court Twelfth Judicial District 104
CHAPTER XIII. — Elections and Election Returns 115
CHAPTER XIV. — County Buildings 132
CHAPTER XV. — Townships 141
CHAPTER XVI. — Cities and Towns 175
CHAPTER XVII. — Churches 194
CHAPTER XVIII. - Schools 227
CHAPTER XIX. — Newspapers 233
CHAPTER XX. — Census Statistics and Assessed Valuation for 1901 242
CHAPTER XXI. — Soldiers' Reunion, Organization, Etc 245
CHAPTER XXII. — Corn Jubilee 254
CHAPTER XXIII — Secret Organizations 270
CHAPTER XXIV. — Patriotic Record 294


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On the 15th day of July, 1806, Zebulon M. Pike, a young army officer, being at that time only twenty-seven years of age, left Belle Fontaine, a small town near the mouth of the Missouri river, to make explorations in our newly acquired territory known as the Louisiana purchase. The party consisted of twenty-three white men, and a party of fifty-one Indians of the Osage and Pawnee tribes, who had been redeemed from captivity among the Pottawatomies. These he was to take back to their friends on the head-waters of the Osage river, on the border of what is now Kansas. The safe delivery of this charge at the point of destination, seems to have been the primary object of the expedition. This being accomplished, he was to push on to the seat of government of the Pawnee Republic and establish as far as possible friendly relations and a good understanding between the various Indian tribes as well as to cultivate the friendship of all of them towards the government of the United States. He was also instructed "to remark particularly upon the geographical structure, the natural history and population of the country through which he passed, taking especial care to collect and preserve specimens of everything curious in the mineral and botanical worlds, which can be preserved and are portable." This expedition was planned in April, 1806, on the return of Lieut. Pike from a successful tour of discovery and exploration to the head-waters of the Mississippi. He was chosen to conduct these expeditions on account of his great proficiency in mathematics, astronomy and the languages.