History of Cherokee County, Kansas

The aim of the publishers of this volume has been to secure for the historic portion thereof full and accurate information respecting all subjects therein treated, and to present the data thus gathered in a clear and impartial manner. If, as is their hope, they have succeeded in this endeavor, the credit is mainly due to the diligent and exhaustive research of the editor of the historical statement, Nathaniel Thompson Allison, of Columbus. In collecting and arranging the material which has entered into this history, it has been his aim to secure facts and to present them in an interesting form. His patient and conscientious labor in the compilation and presentation of the data is shown in the historical portion of this volume. The record gives an elaborate description of the land, the story of its settlement and a comprehensive account of the organization of the county and the leading events in the stages of its development to the present time as set forth in the table of contents. He regrets that certain subjects, through his inability to secure full and satisfactory data, have not been treated as fully as they perhaps deserve, but the topics and occurrences are included which are essential to the usefulness of the history. Although the purpose of the author was to limit the narrative to the close of 1903, he has deemed it proper to touch on some matters overlapping that period. For any possible inaccuracies that may be found in the work, the indulgence of our readers is asked. In the main the editor has found it a pleasant task to write this history, and this largely for the reason that so many persons have cheerfully aided him in word and in deed; and for the reason, too, that nothing has been done by anyone to hinder the progress of the work. The following persons will be always kindly remembered for the aid which they have extended and for favors which they have shown: Mrs. A. Willard and C. W. Daniels, of Baxter Springs; Charles Moll, Joseph Wallace, Dr. J. P. Scoles and C. W. Harvey, of Galena; Charles E. Topping, of Empire City; Henry Mitchell, of Varck; Dr. C. W. Hoag, of Weir City; J. N. McDonald, of Scammon; Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Patterson, of Mineral; Lawrence Conklin, of Pleasant View township; Jerry Luckey, of Stippville; Richard D. Ellis, of Shawnee township; and A. S. Dennison, W. H. Layne and Charles Stephens, of Columbus. The following newspapers in the county have extended Mr. Allison many favors, and their editors have shown him every courtesy and kindly consideration: The Journal and the Tribune, at Weir City; the News and the Republican, at Baxter Springs; the Republican and the Times, at Galena; the Journal and the Miner, at Scammon; the Modern Light, at Columbus, and the Times, at Mineral.


Table of Contents

A Brief History of the State of Kansas 15

Geographical, Topographical and Geological Features ok Cherokee County 21

The Early Settling of Cherokee County 26

Some Early Documents, Letters and Other Things 44

County Organization, Political History and Population Statistics 60

Educational, Religious and Fraternal 83

The Physicians and the Bench and Bar of Cherokee County 90

The Newspapers of Cherokee County 100

The Agricultural Interests 107

The Development op the Mineral Resources and the Water Power of the County 114

The Railroads of Cherokee County 134

The History of Columbus 140

The History of Baxter Springs 151

The History of Galena and Empire City 159

The History of Mineral City, Weir City and Scammon, and List of the Towns of the County 170

The ex-Union Soldiers of Cherokee County 178

Miscellaneous Matters 199



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As early as 1541 a company of Spanish soldiers under the command of Francisco de Coronado, and directed by Indian guides, made their way from the lower valley of the Pecos River to a point on the Missouri River where the city of Atchison, Kansas, now stands. The expedition was made in search of gold; but on reaching the Missouri River, then known as the Teucarea, the company, footsore and discouraged on account of their long, fruitless march over the dreary, sandy desert, besought their commander to lead them back to Mexico, whence they had formerly come. After killing the Indian guides, who had led the Spaniards over the trackless wastes, to get them away from the Pecos Valley, and to wear them out in hunger and thirst, the little company retraced its course toward the South, but not until Coronado had given the name Cannes to that part of the country which lies between the Arkansas and the Missouri rivers. This was 363 years ago. The country was named after the dominant tribe of Indians then inhabiting it, and through a series of modifications it was later known as Kansas.