History of Reno County, Kansas
All life and achievement is evolution; present wisdom comes from past experience, and present commercial prosperity has come only from past exertion and sacrifice. The deeds and motives of the men who have gone before have been instrumental in shaping the destinies of later communities and states. The development of a new country was at once a task and a privilege. It required great courage, sacrifice and privation. Compare the present conditions of the people of Reno county, Kansas, with what they were fifty years ago. From a trackless area of virgin land, the comity has come to be a center of prosperity and civilization, with millions of wealth, system of railways, educational and religious institutions, varied industries and immense agricultural and dairy interests. Can any thinking person be insensible to the fascination of the study which discloses the aspirations and efforts of the early pioneers who so strongly laid the foundation upon which has been reared the magnificent prosperity of later days? To perpetuate the story of these people and to trace and record the social, religious, educational, political and industrial progress of the community from its first inception, is the function of the local historian. A sincere purpose to preserve facts and personal memoirs that are deserving of perpetuation, and which unite the present to the past, is the motive for the present publication. The publishers desire to extend their thanks to those who have so faithfully labored to this end. Thanks are also due to the citizens of Reno county for the uniform kindness with which they have regarded this undertaking, and for their many services rendered in the gaining of necessary information.
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The obtaining from France of the land known as the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803, met with the most violent opposition in the New England states. Even the Revolutionary War had failed to teach those who lived along the Atlantic coast the value of a wider national policy than that which they had been following. These segregated colonies had found that a closer union added greatly to their advantage — in fact, had been their salvation in their early struggle with England. They had found it impossible to maintain themselves without the compact under which they obtained their independence. But when the war was over, the advantages of uniting to build a greater nation seemed to have no place in their minds. They wanted no larger union. They wanted no more states, unless it be by division of the thirteen original states. From the people of New England, particularly, came opposition to Jefferson and his expansion policy. They had no vision of empire such as had inspired France when she explored the territory of the West; when her missionaries were among the Indians with the Cross; when her frontiersmen were naming the streams and her hunters were becoming opulent in their fur and peltry trade. With singular shortsightedness, the Americans at that period hugged to their breasts their early patrimony. They had no desire for the possession of any land west of the Mississippi river. To the French their giving up of their dream of an empire on the American continent, that had inspired their statesmen, was one that only the exigencies could end. The condition of affairs in France made the sale of Louisiana a war necessity, not only for the money it brought to their treasury, but to keep the land from falling into the hands of their enemies as a prize of war.