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Reno county Genealogy Society

Reno County Genealogical Society

Welcome to Reno County, Kansas

Preserving Our Yesteryears!

Welcome to Reno County sign

History of Reno County, Kansas

Sheridan Ploughe, 1917

This book is now online at Google books

Volume 1

Volume 2

Biographical Index

Historical Index

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I – EARLY EXPLORATIONS OF THE WEST------------------------------- 33
            Opposition to Louisiana Purchase -  Lewis-Clark Expedition – Major Long's
            Expedition and Noteworthy Incidents Connected with it – Other Explorers –
            Jacob Fowler’s Explorations and His “Journal of Travels” – Lieutenant Wilkinson.
            Conditions in Reno County Similar to Those in Other States – Characteristics
            of the Early Settlers – Lack of Transportation Facilities – Wild Geese – Wild
            Game – Buffalo Grass, a Wonderful Forage – Monotony of the Scene in Early
            Days—A Wonderful Transformation.
            Coronado, the First Explorer of the West—Naming the Arkansas River –
            Description of the River—Exploration of Zebulon Pike—Jacob Fowler’s
            Journeyings—Cow Creek and Some Queries Concerning It—Disastrous
            Floods—Flood Prevention Work—Straightening of the Channel—The Drainage
            Canal—The Ninnescah and Salt Creek.
CHAPTER IV—THE OSAGE INDIANS ----------------------------------------------------- 54
            Few Indians in Kansas After the Advent of the White Man – Osage Indians,
            Original Owner of Reno County Territory—Original Indian Claims to the Land
            --The Osage Treaties—The Osage Trust Lands—Indian Habits and Customs.
CHAPTER V—THE BUFFALO ----------------------------------------------------------------60
            Physical Pecularities of the American Buffalo, or Bison – The Buffalo Range
            --Probable Age of the Species—Immense Size of Herds—The Buffalo Grass
            --Condition of the Soil After the Herds Had Passed and Its Effect on Drainage
            --Habits of the Buffalo—Buffalo as Food—Disappearance of the Buffalo a
            Chief Cause of the Breaking Up of the Tribal Relations of the Indians—
            Extermination of the Buffalo in the Interest of Peace—Buffalo Bones—
            Hide Hunters—Buffalo Wallows.
CHAPTER VI—EARLY TRAILS ACROSS THE COUNTRY --------------------------- 67
            The Tide of Emigration Westward After the Civil War—The Cattle Business
            --Immense Herds of Texas Cattle Driven North—Some of the Early Cattle
            Men—The Cattle Trails—The Romance of the “Trail” and the “Round Up”.
CHAPTER VII—BOUNDARY LINES ------------------------------------------------------- 71
            Legislative Acts of 1855, Creating Counties – Only Meager Descriptions Poss-
            ible – Descriptions Simplified by survey of 1857 – Numerous Changes in County
            Boundaries – Creation of Reno County – C.C. Hutchinson and His Influence
            On Early Development of the County – His Choice of a Townsite – Reno Given
            Its Present Form – Attempts to Divide the County.
CHAPTER VIII—THE EARLY SETTLERS ------------------------------------------------ 76
            First Settler in Reno County – Other Earliest Settlements and Those Who
            Immediately Followed – First Settlements Along Water Courses – Early Game-
            An Indian Scare – Early Land Surveys – Many Inaccuracies – Official Record
            Of the Complete Survey of Reno County
CHAPTER IX—SOME FIRST THINGS ----------------------------------------------------- 82
            First Marriage – First Birth – First Threshing Machine – First Political Conven-
            tion – First Death –First Cemetery – First “Joint” Raid – First Alfalfa –
            Building of the First Silo – The Last Buffalo – Building of the Rock Island
            Railroad – A Big Powder Explosion – The Water and Light Plant in Sherman
            Street, West
CHAPTER X—A YEAR OF DISASTER ----------------------------------------------------- 94
            The Year 1874, a Dismal One for the Pioneers of Reno County – A Hot Year
            And Extended Drought – The Locust Scourge – The Kansas Relief Fund –
            Pioneers Refuse to Be Discouraged, and Their Ultimate Triumph
CHAPTER XI—ORGANIZING THE COUNTY--------------------------------------------- 98
            Petition for Creation of Reno County, Its Approval By the Governor, and His
            Order for the Organization of the County — The First Election – C.C. Hutchinson
            The First Representative in the Legislature – First Election for County Officers –
            Some of These Officers – Hutchinson to be a Temperance Town –
            The Herd Law and Its Importance to the Early Settlers – Census Roll of Reno
            County, January 18, 1872.
CHAPTER XII—TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATIONS --------------------------------------- 110
            Reno, the First Township – Creation, First Officers and Other Items of Interest
            Concerning the Townships of Valley, Little River, Haven, Clay, Castleton,
            Center, Lincoln, Nickerson (Grant), Salt Creek, Troy, Langdon, Medford,
            Miami, Grove, North Hays, Yoder, Grove, Loda, Hayes, Bell, Albion, Roscoe,
            Enterprise, Plevna, Huntsville, Walnut, Sylvia, Medora, Arlington and
CHAPTER XIII—POLITICAL PARTIES --------------------------------------------------- 124
            Reno County Settled Largely by Old Soldiers – Republican Party Dominant
            Throughout the History of the County – Relative Party Strength – The
            Prohibition Question – Notable Political Contest – The Largest Political
            Meeting Ever Held in the County – Management of Political Parties – Protest
            Against the Convention System, Resulting in the Primary Law – Present
            Political Independence of the Voters
CHAPTER XIV—THE COUNTY COMMIONERS --------------------------------------- 129
            Management of the County’s Finances – The First Board of Commissioners –
            Commissioners Districts – Notable Political Row of 1873 – Personnel of the
            Board During the Eighties – Change in the Election Laws – Pioneer Officials
            Lacked “Vision”
CHAPTER XV—PROBATE JUDGES OF RENO COUNTY --------------------------- 135
            An Important Office—Statistics Showing the Growth of the Office – Foreign
            Wills and Guardianships – Appointment of Administration – Department of
            Domestic Wills – Adoption Cases and Juvenile Court Work – Marriage Licenses-
            List of Probate Judges
CHAPTER XVI—CLERKS OF THE DISTRICT COURT ------------------------------- 142
            Office Noted for Long Tenure of Officials – Women Elected to Office – First
            Case in District Court – Separation of the Criminal and Civil Cases
CHAPTER XVII—COUNTY CLERKS ----------------------------------------------------- 146
            The First County Clerk and His Successors – Growth of Office in Importance –
            Duties of the Clerk – Conviction for Embezzlement – Present Records Complete
            And Accurate
CHAPTER XVIII – COUNTY ATTORNEYS --------------------------------------------- 151
            One of the Most Important Offices in the County – Incumbents of the Office
            Since Creation of Same – Influence of the Populists – Vote Indicates Growth
            of County.
CHAPTER XIX—REGISTER OF DEEDS ------------------------------------------------- 156
            The First Register of Deeds and Those Who Have Followed Him – Important
            Functions of the Office – Statistics for 1916
CHAPTER XX - SURVEYORS AND CORONERS -------------------------------------- 160
            Strange Groupings of These Two Offices – First Surveyors of the County
            -- The County Coroner and His Duties and Status – Those Who Held the Office.
            C.C. Hutchinson, Reno’s First Representative in the Lower House – Resume
            of the Ensuing Elections – Rivalry Between County and Town – State Senators
CHAPTER XXII – SOME EARLY BOND ELECTIONS -------------------------------- 172
            Absence of Money in Early Days an Embarrassment – Small List of Personal
            Property Taxpayers – Unequality of the Burden – Bonds Necessary – First Bond
            Election – The Building of Bridges and of a Court House – Road-making, An
            Important Question – C.C. Hutchinson’s Vision of Future Reno County.
            Early Necessity for Public Improvements – County Compelled to Borrow Money
            and Issue Bonds – Bonded Indebtedness, 1916 – Bonded Indebtedness of the
            Trouble in Providing for the Early Expenses of the County – Necessity for Bond
            Issue – Little Market Demand for the Bonds – The Tax Rolls in 1872 – Railroad
            Injunction Suit Against the County Against Levying Taxes – Compromise With
            The Railroad – Statistics Concerning the Increase in the Value of Taxable
            Property – County’s Bonded Indebtedness – Office of County Assessor – The
            County’s Progress.
CHAPTER XXV – BUILDING THE MISSOUI PACIFIC ------------------------------ 188
            Early Rivalry Between Towns for Railroads – The Wichita-Hutchinson
            Connection – Final Triumph of the Hutchinson Crowd in Their Efforts to Bring
            The Missouri Pacific Here
            Originally a Union Pacific Project – Controversy among the Projectors of the
            Road as to its Route – Its Eventual building to Reno County – A Profitable
            Transaction for the Promoters
CHAPTER XXVII – EARLY FARMING --------------------------------------------------- 199
            Crude Methods of the Pioneer Farmer – Importance of the Early Hay and Corn
            Market – Favorable Effect of the Herd Law – First Grist-mills – Prairie Fires
            And Their Effect on Timber Growth – Diversity in Farming – Pioneer Orchards –
            Milk and Eggs
CHAPTER XXVIII – RENO COUNTY FAIRS -------------------------------------------- 206
            The First Reno County Fair – Splendid Growth of Later Fairs – Beginning of the
            Present State Fair as an Institution – The Phenomenal Success and Present Status
CHAPTER XXIX – THE GRAIN BUSINESS ---------------------------------------------- 211
            First Grain Buyer of Reno County – Board of Trade – Present Vast Proportions
            Of the Traffic – Flouring Mills
CHAPTER XXX – POSTOFFICES AND MAIL ROUTES ------------------------------ 214
            First Overland Mail – Hutchinson a Mail Distributing Point – Star Routes –
            Postmasters in Reno County – Free Delivery in Hutchinson – Postal Receipts –
            Rural Free Delivery
CHAPTER XXXI – SCHOOLS, RENO COUNTY ---------------------------------------- 225
            Incomplete Records of the Early Schools – Unpractical Methods of Forming
            First School Districts – First District Organized in 1872 – Later Ones – Bonded
            Indebtedness of School Districts – Later Bond Issues – Consolidated Rural
            Schools – Rural high Schools – The Standardized School – School Statistics –
            County superintendents – Reno County High School
 CHAPTER XXXII – NEWSPAPERS OF THE COUNTY -------------------------------- 237
            Reno County Fortunate in an Abundant Supply of Newspapers – Zeno Tharp
            Optimist – First Newspaper in the County – A “Boomer” on the Job – Later
            Newspaper Developments – Some Short-lived Papers – Other Papers –
            Newspapers as an Asset to the Community
CHAPTER XXXIII – FIRST CHURCHES IN THE COUNTY -------------------------- 243
            First Public Religious Service in the County—Early Baptist and Methodist
            Societies – Congregationalist Church – The Presbyterian Church – Christian
            Church – Catholic Church – The Universalist Society – Church Growth            
            Keeping Pace with the Growth of the County
CHAPTER XXXIV – EARLY DOCTORS OF RENO COUNTY ----------------------- 247
            Strenuous Lives of the Early Doctors – First Doctor in Hutchinson – Other
            Physicians Who Looked After the Health of the Pioneers – County Medical
            Society – Hospitals – The Red Cross Society
CHAPTER XXXV – BANKS OF RENO COUNTY --------------------------------------- 250
            The first Bank and Other Early Financial Institutions – Other Banks Which
            Have Been Started in the County – Financial Standing of the Banks
CHAPTER XXXVI – THE RENO COUNTY BAR ---------------------------------------- 254
            Lawyers of Reno County Men of Ability and High Character – Nature of
            Early Legal Business – Early Lawyers of Reno County – Bachelors Argue for
            Woman Suffrage – Some Present Members of the Bar – Younger Members of the
            Bar – Convicted Lawyer Disbarred
CHAPTER XXXVII – THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT ----------------------------- 263
            Creation of the Ninth Judicial District – Counties in the Original District and
            Changes in the District Boundaries – Judges of the District Court
            Complete List of Union Soldiers Living in Reno county in 1890, with the
            Number From Each State
CHAPTER XXXIX – STATE MILITIA –COMPANY E  --------------------------------  299
            First Military Company in Reno County – Indian Scare – Home Guard Company
            - Organization of Company E – Roster of the Company During the
            Spanish-American War and at the Time of its Second Call to Service in 1916 –
            Machine Gun Company
CHAPTER XL – COMMUNITY MUSIC  --------------------------------------------------  306     
            Social Gatherings Among the Pioneers – Music One of the Features of All
            Public Occasions – Some Pioneer Singers – An Early Music Teacher – First
             Public Concert – State Music Teachers Association – The Musical Jubliee –
            The Municipal Band
CHAPTER XLI – SMALLER TOWNS IN RENO COUNTY ---------------------------  310
            Brief Description of Nickerson, Arlington, Castleton, Haven, Partridge, 
            Abbyville, Plevna, Langdon, Medora, Buhler, Elmer, Turon
CHAPTER XLII – FORTY FIVE YEARS IN RENO -------------------------------------  316
            Phenomenal Progress of the County Since Its Organization – Comparative
            Statistics – A Brief Contrast of Conditions – Growth of the City and Villages –
            Public Utilities
CHAPTER XLIII – THE BEGINNING OF HUTCHINSON  ----------------------------  319
            C.C. Hutchinson’s Contract With the Railroad to Build a Town  - Obstacles –
            Hutchinson’s Preserverance and Untiring Zeal – Beginning of the Town -            
            First Buildings and Business Concerns
            Incorporated as a City – First City Election – First City Ordinance – First
            Boundaries – Protection From Prairie Fires – Early City Ordinances – Hitching
            Post Questions – By Way of Contrast – Various City Elections – The Saloon
            Question – Promotion of Public Improvements – Census Taken – Development
            Of Public Utilities – Fire Protection – City Finances – Permanent Improvements
            Governor Marin Proclaims Hutchinson a City of the Second Class in 1886 –
            City Divided Into Wards – Street Car Line Franchise – Aid to Railroads – City
            Elections – City Boundary Line Extended – A city Boom – Construction of a
            Sewer System – An Enterprising Editor – Council and Mayor at Outs – City
            Warrants Discounted – More Aid Granted Railroads – City Building Purchased-
The Coming of Natural Gas – City Finances – Carnegie Library Offer Accepted-
Interesting Financial Expedients – Street Paving – Drainage Ditch - Street Car
Line Franchise – Commission Form of Government
            New Form of City Government – First Meeting of the Commissioners – Early
            Acts of the Board – Internal Improvement Bonds Ordered by Popular Election –
            Street Improvements – Move to Make Hutchinson a City of the First Class – The
            Convention Hall – Public Band Concerts – Recent City Elections – Automobile
            Parking – Sunday Closing – Further Improvements Ordered
CHAPTER XLVII – THE SALT INDUSTRY ---------------------------------------------- 356
            The Rock Salt Deposit in Reno County – First Knowledge and Use of Native
            Salt – Later Discovery of the Rock Salt and Quick Development of Its
            Production – The First Salt Plants – Expansion of the Salt Market – Yearly
            Output of the Field – Consolidation of the Industry – Log of the Drill –
            Analysis of the Brine
 CHAPTER XLVIII – BUILDING UP THE SALT INDUSTRY ------------------------- 366
            Rebates on Freights Shipments – Investigation by Interstate Commerce
            Commission – Judgment of the Commission – Healthy Growth of the Salt
            Business, which is now an Important Factor in the Business Life of the City
CHAPTER XLIX – LOCATING THE PACKING HOUSE ------------------------------ 372
            Subsistence of the Boom Left Hutchinson in a Bad Way – R. M. Easley  Makes
            “Ten-strike” in Contracting with Packing House to Come to Hutchinson –
            Overcoming Many Obstacles – Tremendous Efforts of Local Committee Finally
            Rewarded with Success
            First Soda-Ash Plant and Its Subsequent Development – The Strawboard Works –
            Other Industries
CHAPTER LX – THE SCHOOLS OF HUTCHINSON ------------------------------------ 381
            First School in Reno County and the First Teachers – School District No. 1
            Organized – Issue of Bonds for School Purposes – Gradual Growth of the
            Schools – Buildings – Complete System of Records – The Alumni Association-
            Superintendents of City Schools – Notable Record of Teaching Service
CHAPTER LII – THE Y.M.C.A. AND Y.W.C.A. ------------------------------------------ 486
            First Young Men’s Christian Association in 1876 – Another Attempt in 1885 –
            Organization of the Present Association in 1909 – Splendid Work of the   
            Organization and Its Present Healthy Condition – The Young Women’s
            Christian Association
CHAPTER LIII – THE WEATHER ---------------------------------------------------------- 490
            Complete Weather Records of Reno County from January, 1874

Table of Contents typed by Karen Burgess