The Early History of Franklin County
by William G. Cutler (1883)
Franklin County is located in the second tier of counties west from Missouri, and also in the second tier south from the Kansas River. It is bounded on the north by Douglas County, on the east by Miami, on the south by Anderson, and on the west by Coffey and Osage counties. The first Territorial Legislature passed an act defining the boundaries of the county as follows: Beginning at the southeast corner of Douglas County; thence south twenty-four (24) miles; thence west twenty-four (24) miles; thence north twenty-four miles; thence east twenty-four miles to the place of beginning. The county as thus organized was, and is, twenty-four miles square, containing an area of 576 square miles or 368,640 acres.
Topography, Geology and Streams
The bottom lands comprise about sixteen per cent of the surface. In the valley of the Marais des Cygnes they average about two miles in width, in that of the Pottawatomie about one mile, in those of Middle and Ottawa creeks about one half mile.
The uplands, comprising about eighty-four per cent of the surface, are generally level or gently undulating prairie. The most uneven portion is in Pottawatomie Township, which occupies the southeastern corner of the county. Here the highest hills rise about two hundred feet above the level of Pottawatomie Creek, and are sometimes precipitous and difficult of ascent. There are some hilly sections about four miles southwest of Ottawa, about the same distance southwest, and also about two miles west of Richmond.
The soil is a sandy loam, is generally exceedingly fertile, and on the uplands ranges from one to two feet deep, while in the valleys of the streams it averages three feet in depth. In the latter it is in places immediately underlaid by gumbo soil, superposited upon clay, which latter is the subsoil of the uplands, and being of a porous nature, forms excellent drainage. At an average depth of from twelve to twenty feet, good limestone is found, well distributed throughout the county, and in some portions sandstone, which, however, is generally too soft to be of much value for building purposes.
In Peoria and Pottawatomie townships, more particularly the latter, a species of granular limestone, or statuary marble, is found. On the Pottawatomie it is about one hundred and twenty feet above the creek, in the bluff which is here almost perpendicular.
It is located on the Southeast quarter of Section 5, Township 19, Range 21. It has been named "coralline marble," being the same as the coralline marble which has attracted so much attention in the Derbyshire quarries in England. It is overlaid by five feet of dirt and three strata of common limestone, averaging about twelve inches in thickness. The average thickness of the coralline layer is about twenty inches, texture fine, and very tenacious. The color is a light chocolate, and the marble when polished makes beautiful furniture, mantels, window sills and monuments.
Coal underlies about twenty per cent of the area of the county. It is found most plentiful in the western and southwestern parts, and also about six miles northwest of Ottawa. It crops out in the ravines, and attains in places a depth of twenty feet. The vein averages two feet in thickness, and the quality is good. In 1881 about five thousand tons were mined, mostly in Williamsburg Township.
About eight per cent of the county is covered with timber. The timber belts are confined to the streams. Along the Marais des Cygnes the belt averages a mile in width, along the smaller streams the belts average about one-fourth of a mile in width. The native varieties are the cottonwood, elm, hackberry, hickory, honey locust, mulberry, oak, soft maple, walnut and willow.
The principal stream is the Marais des Cygnes (Marsh of Swans), which enters the county from the west, and flows easterly through it into Miami County. Pottawatomie Creek is second in size. It enters near the southeast corner and flows northeastward into Miami County, uniting at Osawatomie with the Marais des Cygnes. Middle Creek rises in the west part of the county and flows north-eastward into the Marais des Cygnes near Peoria. Ottawa Creek rises in Douglas County and flows south into the Marais des Cygnes near Peoria. Appanoose Creek rises in Osage County and flows southeast into the Marais des Cygnes, four miles west of Ottawa. Eight Mile Creek rises in Douglas County and flows south into the Marais des Cygnes one mile west of Ottawa. Hickory Creek rises in the east part of the county and flows south into the Marais des Cygnes, three miles west of the east county line.
Turkey Creek rises in Miami County and flows southwest into the Marais des Cygnes a little east of the mouth of Hickory Creek. Walnut Creek rises near the north-east corner of the county and flows southwest into Ottawa Creek, four miles northeast of Ottawa. Wolf Creek rises in the north part of the county and flows south into Walnut Creek near its mouth. Coal Creek rises near Williamsburg and flows north into the Marais des Cygnes, eight miles west of Ottawa. Rock Creek rises in the southwestern part of the county and flows northeast into the Marais des Cygnes, two miles east of Ottawa. Sac Creek rises near Williamsburg and flows southeast into the Pottawatomie, in Anderson County. Sac Branch rises in the southeastern part of the county and flows into the Pottawatomie, near Lane. The county is well supplied with springs, and good well water is obtained at a depth of from twenty to forty feet. The water obtained from wells is made hard by the presence in it of carbonated lime.
Early Indian Residents
Franklin County was included in the tract of landed ceded to the Great and Little Osage Indians, November 10, 1808, and re-ceded by them to the government in 1825.
On the 30th day of August, 1831, a treaty was concluded between the "Ottoways" (Ottawas) and the Government of the United States, which treaty was ratified April 6, 1832, by the terms of which the Ottawas, numbering about two hundred, and residing on Blanchard's fork of the Great Auglaize River, and at Oquanoxa's village on the Little Auglaize River in Ohio, ceded to the United States two tracts of land, containing 21,760 acres, and received in exchange for the same a tract of land in Franklin County, containing 34,000 acres, to be located adjoining the south or west line of the reservation granted to the Shawnees of Missouri and Ohio.
By the same treaty, a second band of Ottawa Indians, residing at, and near the places called Roche de Boeuf and Wolf Rapids, on the Miami River, of Lake Erie, within the State of Ohio, ceded to the United States two tracts of land, containing in the aggregate 28,157 acres, and received in exchange therefor 40,000 acres adjoining the lands assigned to the Blanchard's Fork and Oquanoxa's village Indians mentioned above.
These two bands of Ottawas received therefor, in the aggregate, within the present limits of Franklin County, 68,157 acres of land. The tract was situated very nearly in the center of the county, and in shape was nearly in the proportion of ten by twelve miles. The Blanchard's Fork band came to their reservation in 1836, and were soon followed by the Roche de Boeuf band.
The chief of the first band was Notno, the chief of the second was Com Chaw. Shortly after arriving at their new homes the two bands united under one chief, Com Chaw, continuing to elect him to that position until his death. Besides this chief they had a second or subordinate chief, a council, a constable, assessor and collector, the taxes collected being used for the purpose of defraying the expenses of government.
Their subsistence for the first year after their arrival was provided by the Government. During this year they built bark huts in the woods in which they lived until taught by Rev. Jotham Meeker, who met them at Kansas City, and led them to their reservation, to cut logs and make log huts, in which art they soon acquired considerable skill. To aid them in the construction of these houses the Government loaned to the first band $2,000, which was to be paid when the lands in Ohio ceded to the Government was sold; and to protect them from the weather while their houses were building, the same Government gave them "Russian Sheeting sufficient for tents for their whole band" as well as other necessities. The Roche de Boeuf band were similarly aided to make their settlement and homes.
The change in climate proved quite unfavorable to their health. Chills and fever, common in uncultivated countries, carried off in a few years half of their original number, notwithstanding the watchfulness and diligence of Rev. Jotham and Mrs. Meeker. These and other troubles incident to a new country being overcome, they made considerable progress in agriculture, and gained considerable educational and religious knowledge.
The great flood of 1844 destroyed a great deal of their property, and was a great disaster and hindrance to their progress. After the subsidence of the water, they removed their houses, which had been built in the valley of the Marais des Cygnes for the most part, to the high ground, log by log; afterwards making even more rapid progress than before the flood.
It is interesting to note some of their laws, which may have contributed largely to this result. One of these laws prohibited theft; another, slander; another, the retention of a borrowed article beyond a specified time; another, prohibited the selling or giving away of intoxicating liquors; another, fining drunkards, $5 for the first offense, $10 for the second, and for the third offense the guilty party was to be turned over for punishment under the laws of the United States.
During the first year there were no conversions. In the second year, David Green experienced religion, and became of great assistance to Mr. Meeker in his labors among the tribe. After becoming somewhat enlightened, they observed the Sabbath with great strictness.
On June 24, 1862, a treaty was made with the Ottawas, by which they were to become citizens of the United States in 1867. By the same treaty, each head of a family received 160 acres, and other members of the tribe, eighty acres of land in fee simple, and, in order to provide for the education of their posterity, twenty thousand acres of land were set apart, for the purpose of endowing a school, and in addition, one section of land for a school site, said school to be for the exclusive and perpetual use of the Ottawa Indians and their posterity.
The Piankeshaws, Weas and Peorias, by the treaty of October 29, 1832, had set apart a reservation which, in Franklin County, included a tract in the east part, about twelve by fifteen miles in extent, embracing Peoria Township, about one-half of Franklin Township, and about two miles of the north end of Cutler Township.
By the treaty of February 23, 1867, this tribe of Indians agreed to dispose of their allotments in Kansas, and to remove to a new reservation in the Indian Territory within two years. By this treaty the adult Indians were allowed to sell their own lands, and the chiefs to sell the lands of minors and incompetents.
The Sacs and Foxes .--On the 18th of February, 1867, a treaty was made between the Sacs and Foxes and the United States, by which that confederated band ceded to the United States their remaining lands in Franklin County, and received in exchange a tract of land in the Indian Territory south of the Cherokee lands, not exceeding 750,000 acres in extent. In July, this treaty was ratified and immediately thereafter, the lands were thrown open to entry and settlement.
The Chippewas and Munsees .--In 1854, the Chippewas, about three hundred in number, were removed to a small reservation lying immediately west of the Ottawa reserve. Their reserve was about seven miles long by two and a half miles wide. In 1860, the Munsees or Christian Indians, about fifty in number, joined the Chippewas. The reservation has been reduced in size from time to time until now it contains seven sections, or 4,480 acres, one-half in Greenwood, and one-half in Lincoln Township.
The Indians on this reserve now number sixty-three, only one of whom, Edward McCoonts, is an original Chippewa. The total number of Chippewas is twenty-six, and of the Munsees thirty-seven. Two of those counted as Chippewas were originally Ottawas.
The members of this confederated tribe hold their land in severalty without right of alienation, except to other members of the tribe, and this only with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior. A few of them are good farmers, and qualified intellectually to become citizens, but the most of them prefer to subsist by days' work, and upon their small annuity, than to cultivate their little farms. The government holds in trust for them $42,000, five per cent, interest on their annuity.
They were under the Sac and Fox agency until that tribe was moved from the county, since which time they have been attached to the Pottawatomie Agency.
The missionaries (Moravians) among them have been Rev. G. F. Oehler who came out with the Munsees; Rev. Joseph Romig from 1861 to 1870; Rev. Levi Rickseeker, 1870 to 1880; Rev. C. R. Kinsey commencing in 1880. About twenty-five of the Indians are members of the church, which is sustained by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the Heathen. A school is taught by the missionary about six months each year.
Owing to the fact that most of the land in Franklin County was occupied by a number of different tribes of Indians, the titles to those reservations were not extinguished until 1862, 1864 and 1867, the settlement of the county was not so early as that of adjoining counties. Along the northern edge, however, on what was known as the "Shawnee purchase," a strip of land about three miles wide, the Shawnee title to which was extinguished by the treaty of May 10, 1854, a number of the settlements were made in that year.
The first settler in the county was Reuben Hackett, who located near the west line of what is now Hayes Township, on June 7, 1854, on the west branch of the Ottawa Creek, and near the north line of the county. Amos Hanna moved in about the same time. Quite a number of others came into this part of the county during the same year, among them, Rev. William Moore and four or five sons, who settled about a mile east of the present location of Norwood. In 1857, quite a large number had settled on West Branch: Jacob, John, Lemen, William and Elville Copple; Rudolph Miller and seven sons; William Hackett, C. P. Sherman, Louis Allison, Daniel Heverlain, a Mr. Craven, William Sutton, Daniel Storrs, Jesse and John Moore, a Mr. Wright, F. M. Hodges, Thomas Mewhinney, Jacob Brunck and David Hodges; and on the east branch of Ottawa Creek, Esquire Merchant, Calvin and John Leonard and John Heck.
The first settlers in Appanoose Township were Missourians, who came in 1856; C. Shrimp, Washington Baker, James Cleveland and Mr. Foster were of the number. In 1857, Daniel Dean, T. H. Tutcher, Henry Hour, and James Belly settled on the west branch of Appanoose Creek, and on the middle branch, Moses Beamed, J. A. W. Wadsworth, and the widow Critchfield. In 1858, there were added to the above the following persons: Thomas Tutcher, Sr., Alfred Tutcher, M. St. John, W. Beard, J. W. Davis, John Logan and H. Gilbert.
Sometime after this township was settled, J. H. Whetstone conceived the idea of establishing a colony on its western part. To this end he purchased a tract of land north of the Marais des Cygnes, and mostly in a solid body, containing about fifteen thousand acres. This purchase was made in 1869. In 1870, S. T. Kelsey became associated with Mr. Whetstone. They then proceeded to lay out their purchase into small farms, with the view of selling to parties designing to become actual settlers, and thus collect together a colony, each one of whom should own a farm or village lot. To provide for those who might prefer village life, the town of Pomona was platted and laid out in 1870. Appanoose Township was organized May 17, 1871. It was formed out of part of Centropolis Township and part of the Sac and Fox reservation.
The land now included in Harrison Township, in the center of the county was thrown open to settlement in 1865, when the Ottawas were removed. The Indian lands were generally sold to the highest bidder, very little being purchased by speculators.
The first settler was Enoch Pyle, in the fall of 1865. Later in the same year, or in the spring of 1866, the following parties came into the township: John Howell, Mr. Hood, James Hill, J. R. Dailey, Mr. Spencer and Michael Hornbeck. In 1866 these were followed by W. L. John and Thomas Harrison, Henry and Jacob Fouts, E. Walker, Mr. Smith and Charles Howell; in 1867 by N. Latimer, G. W. Castzdafner, Joseph Guy, Mr. Greeves, Mr. Skeeles, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Payne and Dr. Van Schoick. During 1868 there was a large influx of immigration, and this locality became quite thickly settled.
Harrison Township was organized, being taken in part from the Ottawa Reservation and in part from Ohio Township. J. R. Daley built the first stone house on the Ottawa Reserve outside of Ottawa. A schoolhouse was built in the Fouts neighborhood. It has since been replaced by a stone one. The first breaking and fencing in the township was done by Enoch Pyle and the Harrisons. The first settlement in Centropolis Township was made on Eight Mile Creek, in 1854, near the present site of Centropolis. This was on the land opened up to settlement by the treaty on May 10, 1854 with the Shawnee Indians.
This pioneer party of settlers consisted of about fifteen members, whose names, as far as can be ascertained, are as follows: Joab M. Bernard, Timothy Keizer, Jacob Clark, I. C. Hughes, Thomas Doty, John F. Javens, Franklin Barnes, Johnson Farris, Perry Fuller, Leander McClellan, John E. McClellan and Mansfield Carter. They arrived and camped on Eight Mile Creek on the evening of June 26. In the morning it was proposed to take a vote on the question of whether Kansas should be a free or slave State; all voting for a free State but two, Joab M. Bernard and Timothy Keizer. This matter being settled, each member settled on his claim. J. M. Bernard's being immediately east of and adjoining the present town site of Centropolis.
This was on the 27th of June. John F. Javens built the first cabin on Eight Mile Creek near Centropolis and Perry Fuller built on the town site. The first election these settlers attended was in the fall of 1854, at what is now Prairie City, in Douglas County; but finding the polls in the hands of Missourians, they returned home without voting. The first birth in Centropolis Township was that of Sarah C. Hughes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Hughes, March 22, 1855; the first marriage that of Edwin Fusman to Mrs. Nancy Leverton, about April 1, 1855, and the first death that of Mrs. William E. Crum in the winter of 1855-6.
Sometime early in 1855, J. M. Bernard opened a store on his quarter section, and on the 3d of March was appointed Postmaster, the postoffice being appropriately named after him, St. Bernard. The people thenceforth obtained their mail at St. Bernard instead of at Kansas City, until 1858, when a postoffice was established at Minneola. J. M. Bernard being a Pro-slavery man, the Missouri Legislature of Kansas Territory in 1855, located the county seat at St. Bernard. The town, however, never either grew or prospered, and was at last extinguished by a raid on Mr. Bernard by Free-state men to whom he had become very obnoxious. When Mr. Bernard was gone there was nothing left of the town. No attempt has ever been made to revive it.
In 1855 Perry Fuller built a frame store on the present site of Centropolis, for the purpose mainly of trading with the Indians. A town company was formed the following year, and a thriving settlement grew up here.
The first settlers in Franklin Township, in the northeast corner of the county, so far as we can learn, were William Thornbrough and Lewis Reed, who settled on Walnut Creek, in 1856. In the early part of 1857 Dr. I. Pile located there, also Nathan Mowry, a Mr. Phillips, George E. Sweetzer and Mr. Armstrong. During the same year a large number of squatters made claims as agents of speculators. In time, however, the whole township was taken up by bona fide settlers, and is now thoroughly settled, there being but one vacant quarter section. The settlement of the southern part of Franklin County was greatly retarded for some years by the purchase of the land by speculators, who persistently held it at prices above the means of the majority desiring land for settlement.
The first settler in what is now Ohio Township, is believed to have been Thomas Ivy, who located on upper Middle creek in 1855. During the same year the following heads of families had selected claims upon the stream: Judge Merritt, James Carter, Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Epperson, Jacob Bolman, William Agnew, D. R. Ricker, Hiram Howard and Calvin Randall.
In 1857 the lands came into market and a large immigration set in, mainly from Ohio. Among these were John Dietrich, Wm. Fugate, Joseph Smith, John E. Baer, Thomas, Ezekial and Emmanual Jenkins, P. P. Elder, W. E. Kibbie, John Hendricks, J. W. Iliff, D. C. Wetherwax, Abram Shanks, Benjamin Briggs, B. C. Sanford, J. H. Cook, A. R. Morton, Reuben Painter, David Baer, John Baer, William Servatus, Robert Cowder, William A. Morton, James Carl, and Mrs. Johnson, all Free-state but the first two. In 1858, William Nightingale and James McFaddin, Pro-slavery, moved in from Missouri.
In 1837, the Pottawatomie Indians were removed to a tract of land on this creek in the southeast part of the county, which has since been known by their name. In 1847-48 they were removed to Pottawatomie County, and this part of Franklin County, a few years afterwards, was thrown open to settlement. The first settlers who came in were two brothers, Henry and William Sherman, Germans. Henry was afterwards known as "Dutch Henry," and the crossing of Pottawatomie Creek near his place as "Dutch Henry's Crossing."
In 1854, a few settlers came to this locality, whose names have become historic: Allen Wilkinson, James P. Doyle and his family, including three sons named Drury, William and John, and also Rev. David Baldwin. In 1855 the following, among others, came to Pottawatomie Township: Joshua Baker; Robert, David and Daniel Sturgen: John Blunt, Sr. (father of Gen. Blunt), Eldridge and John S. Blunt, David Watt, William and George Partridge, John Boutcher, J. A. B. White, and the Kilbourn family. In 1856 the following pioneers came: Judge James Hanway and his two sons, John S. and Brougham, William, Ward and Robert Hodson, Robert Hamilton, Capt. J. G. Reese, John Y. Yerkes, John Powell, William and James Fitten, William H. Ambrose and L. Dunham. In 1858 came Samuel, Asa and Dr. Holiday, Barton Needham and John White.
The Pottawatomie Rifle Company
In 1856 the Pottawatomie Rifle Company was organized by settlers in the Pottawatomie valley. It was composed exclusively of Free-state men, about one hundred in number, John Brown, Jr., Captain. The object in view in organizing the company was to protect the Free-state men against the Missouri border ruffians, and to resist the enforcement of what was known as the "bogus laws" to wit, the laws passed by the Pro-slavery legislature. An incident will illustrate their mode of operating.
At the election of March 30, 1855, at which time there were about fifty legal voters in the district, most of whom, however, stayed away from the polls, 199 votes were cast, principally by residents of Missouri. This was exasperating to the Free-state men, as by similar frauds perpetrated on the same day, the Missouri legislature of Kansas, which enacted the "bogus laws," had been elected. A short time after the organization of the Pottawatomie Rifle Company, Judge Cato's court was in session at Henry Sherman's house. In order to ascertain what was to be the attitude of the judiciary in regard to the enforcement of the "bogus laws," the Pottawatomie Rifle Company proceeded to Judge Cato's court, and stacking their arms near "Old John Brown's Cabin," approached the house in which court was being held.
The Judge was delivering his charge to the jury. At the conclusion of the charge, they became satisfied it was the design to enforce the obnoxious laws. To satisfy themselves still further, they handed a paper to Judge Cato, upon which the following words were written: "We, the citizens of this part of the Territory would thank the court to state, if he intended in his charge to the jury, to be understood in recognizing and enforcing the laws passed at the Shawnee Mission." After reading this, the Judge threw it aside, and excitedly replied, that "the court could not permit itself to be interfered with by outside parties."
Capt. Brown thereupon cried out to his men in a loud voice, "The Pottawatomie Rifle Company will assemble on the parade ground!" This order was enough for Judge Cato, and the next morning, court, jury and sheriff were all making the best possible time towards Lecompton. It was about the same time or shortly afterwards, that near the postoffice--then called Shermanville, after Henry Sherman--Poindexter Manace was brutally flogged with ox-whips in the hands of ruffians, under the command of Capt. Mitchell, one of Col. Buford's gang.
Mr. Manace was considerably advanced in years, and entirely inoffensive. He was accosted by Capt. Mitchell, with "What paper do you take?" Mr. Manace taking a copy of his paper from his pocket, replied "The New York Tribune, and I consider it a very good paper." At this remark Capt. Mitchell said it "was a d----d abolition sheet, an incendiary publication, and ought to be burnt." At this moment one of Capt. Mitchell's party knocked Mr. Manace down with a heavy ox-whip, and while he was prostrate upon the ground, other ruffians joined in and punished him severely for being a Free-state man and a reader of the New York Tribune.
This outrage caused considerable excitement in the neighborhood. The rifle company met next day, and the meeting was attended by more than the usual number. As a consequence the report spread that the abolitionists were preparing to retaliate on Capt. Mitchell and his associates, for their brutal outrage on old Mr. Manace. The next morning Mitchell and his Georgians had left the neighborhood, to the great joy of the Free-state men.
The Pottawatomie Massacre
By the "Pottawatomie Massacre" is meant the killing of James P. Doyle, and his two sons--Drury and William Doyle--Allen Wilkinson and William Sherman, by John Brown and a party of men under his command. The massacre occurred on the night of the 24th and morning of the 25th of May, 1856, not far above the junction of Mosquito Creek with the Pottawatomie. The object of the massacre was to protect the Free-state settlers, by terrorizing in the most effectual manner the Pro-slavery men, settlers and non-settlers.
For the truth of history it is important that the facts connected with this massacre, concerning which there has been so much controversy, and to which attaches a peculiar interest, should be obtained as nearly as practicable. To this purpose we obtained on August 3, 1882, in the presence of Judge Hanway, one of the sons of Hon. James Hanway, the following statement from James Townsley, the only surviving, communicative, eye-witness of the tragedy.
"I joined the Pottawatomie Rifle Company at its re-organization, in May, 1856. At that time, John Brown, Jr., was elected Captain.
On the 21st of this month, Lawrence was sacked by a Pro-slavery mob, under Sheriff Jones, and on the day of the sacking, information was received that a movement to that end was in progress. The company was hastily called together, and a forced march to aid in its defense immediately determined upon. We started about four o'clock in the afternoon. About two miles south of Middle Creek, the Osawatomie Company, under Captain Dayton, joined us. Upon arriving at Mount Vernon, we halted for two hours, until the rising of the moon. After marching the rest of the night, we went into camp, near the house of John T. Jones, for breakfast. Just before reaching this place, we learned that Lawrence had been destroyed the day before, and the question arose whether we should go on or return. It was decided to go on, and we proceeded up Ottawa Creek to within about five miles of Palmyra.
We remained in camp undecided over night, and until noon the next day. About this time, Owen Brown, and a little later, old John Brown himself, came to me and said information had just been received that trouble was expected on the Pottawatomie. The old man asked me if I would go with my team and take him and his boys down there, so that they could watch what was going on. I replied that I would do so, my reason being that my family was then living on the Pottawatomie, in Anderson County, about one mile west of Greeley. Making ready for the trip as quickly as possible, we started about two o'clock in the afternoon. The party consisted of old John Brown, and four of his sons--Frederick, Oliver, Owen and Watson--Henry Thompson, and his son-in-law, Mr. Winer and myself. Winer rode a pony; all the rest rode in the wagon with me. We camped that night between two deep ravines about one mile above Dutch Henry's crossing.
After supper, John Brown first revealed to me the purpose of the expedition. He said it was to sweep the Pottawatomie of all Pro-slavery men living on it. To this end, he desired me to guide the company some five or six miles up to the forks of the creek, into the neighborhood where I lived, and point out to him on the way up, the residences of all the Pro-slavery men, so that on the way down, he might carry out his designs. Horrified at his purpose, I positively refused to comply with his request, saying that I could not take men out of their beds and kill them in that way.
Brown said, 'Why don't you fight your enemies.' To which I replied, 'I have no enemies I can kill in that way.' Failing to prevail upon me, he decided to postpone the expedition until the following night, when they would go, as the old man himself said, where they knew Pro-slavery men to be. I then proposed to him that he take his things out of my wagon and allow me to go home; to which he replied, that 'I could not go, that I must stay with them; there was no other way of getting along.' We remained in camp that night and all the next day.
During the morning of this day, the 24th, I tried to dissuade him and his boys from carrying out the expedition, and to this end talked a great deal. Brown said it was necessary to 'strike terror into the hearts of the Pro-slavery party,' and taking out his revolver, said to me, 'Shut up! You are trying to discourage my boys. Dead men tell no tales.' From the last remark, I inferred that I must henceforth keep still or suffer the consequences. Shortly afterward I stepped down into the ravine, when Owen Brown and Henry Thompson each picked up his rifle and, without saying a word, walked down the banks of the ravine on either side of me. When I returned, they returned. But little more was said during the day.
Sometime after dark we were ordered to march, and went northward, crossing Mosquito Creek above the residence of the Doyles. Soon after crossing the creek, one of the party knocked at the door of a cabin, but received no reply. I do not know whose cabin it was. We next came to the residence of the Doyles. John Brown, three of his sons and son-in-law, went to the door, leaving Frederick Brown, Winer, and myself a short distance away, ostensibly to see that no one escaped from the house, but really, as I believe, that Brown and Winer might act as guard over me. About this time a large dog attacked us. Frederick Brown struck the dog with his short two-edged sword, after which I struck him, also, with my saber. I do not know whether or not the dog was killed, but we heard no more of him.
The old man Doyle and his sons were ordered to come out. This order they did not immediately obey, the old man being heard instead to call for his gun. At this moment, Henry Thompson threw into the house some rolls or balls of hay in which during the day wet gunpowder had been mixed, setting fire to them as he threw them in. This stratagem had the desired effect. The old man and his sons came out, and were marched one-quarter of a mile in the road toward Dutch Henry's crossing, where a halt was made. Here old John Brown drew his revolver and shot old man Doyle in the forehead, killing him instantly; and Brown's two youngest sons immediately fell upon the younger Doyles with their short two-edged swords.
One of the young Doyles was quickly dispatched; the other, attempting to escape, was pursued a short distance and cut down also. We then went down Mosquito Creek, to the house of Allen Wilkinson. Here, as at the Doyle residence, old John Brown, three sons, and son-in-law, went to the door and ordered Wilkinson out, leaving Frederick Brown, Winer and myself in the road a little distance east of the house. Wilkinson was marched a short distance south and killed by one of the young Browns with his short sword, after which his body was dragged to one side and left lying by the side of the road.
We then crossed the Pottawatomie and went to Dutch Henry's house. Here, as at the other two houses, Frederick Brown, Winer and myself were left outside a short distance from the door, while old man Brown, three sons and son-in-law went into the house and brought out one or two persons with them. After talking with them some time they took them back into the house, and brought out William Sherman, Dutch Henry's brother and marched him down into Pottawatomie Creek, where John Brown's two youngest sons slew him with their short swords, as in the former instances, and left his body lying in the creek.
It was Brown's intention to kill Dutch Henry, also, had he been found at home, as well as George Wilson, Probate Judge of Anderson County, had he been found at Dutch Henry's house, as it was hoped he would be. The killing was done with swords in order to avoid alarming the neighborhood by the discharge of fire arms. What mutilation appeared upon the bodies was consequent upon the manner in which the men were killed.
I did not then approve of the killing of those men, but Brown said it must be done for the protection of the Free-state settlers, that it was better that a score of bad men should die than that one Free-state man should be driven out. It was my refusal to pilot the party into the neighborhood where I lived that caused us to remain in camp all night, May 23, and all day May 24. I told him I was willing to go to Lecompton and attack the leaders, or to fight the enemy anywhere in open field, but that I could not kill men in that way. The deeds of that night are indelibly stamped upon my memory.
In after years my opinion changed as to the wisdom of the massacre. I became, and am, satisfied that it resulted in the good to the Free-state cause, and was especially beneficial to the Free-state settlers on Pottawatomie Creek. The Pro-slavery men were dreadfully terrified, and large numbers of them soon left the Territory. It was afterward said that one Free-state man could scare a company of them.
Immediately after the killing of William Sherman, the two sons of John Brown who had done all the killing, except the shooting of the old man Doyle, washed their swords in Pottawatomie Creek. I did not wash my sword, having done nothing with it but strike the dog.
Soon after midnight we went back to where my team and the other things had been left, and remained there in camp until the next afternoon. Just before daylight Owen Brown came to me and said 'There shall be no more such work as that.'
In the afternoon we started back to join the Pottawatomie company under John Brown, Jr. We reached them about midnight, in camp near Ottawa Jones' place. When daylight had come, some members of the company noticing the blood and hair upon my sword, picked it up, and after examining it, remarked, 'There is no human blood upon that saber!'
This was the end of the expedition."
As to old John Brown's connection with this affair, there is, without James Townsley's statement, abundant evidence, although he himself may, at certain times have positively denied it, as Redpath and Sanborn in their lives of him state that he did repeatedly. At other times when interrogated in regard to it, he said, "I never shed the blood of a fellow man except in self-defence, or in promotion of a righteous cause." In a speech, at Cleveland, Ohio, March 22, 1859, he said he "had never killed anybody, although on some occasions he had shown the young men with him how some things might be done as well as others, and they had done the business ." Hon. James Hanway, who was a member of the Pottawatomie Rifle Company under Capt. John Brown, Jr., and present with the company at the time old John Brown, with his party of seven men, started off on his Pottawatomie expedition, wrote a letter under date of March 12, 1860, to James Redpath, from which we quote:
"They started in the afternoon, and three cheers were given to the success of Capt. Brown and his men. Now, sir, what I am going to relate to you I have never mentioned to but one man living, and that is, one of the party made a proposition to me to join the company, and also, gave me such information in regard to their contemplated enterprise as to satisfy my mind that they were the chief actors in the Pottawatomie tragedy."
In a letter published in the Kansas Monthly, for January 1880, Judge Hanway wrote: "I ventured to approach one of the eight, and from him I learned the programme contemplated. In fact I received an invitation to be one of the party, and being unwilling to consent before I learned the object, I was made acquainted with the object of the expedition; it shocked me," etc.
Judge Hanway also says, in his letter to Redpath, that after the return of the party. "That portion of the company who resided near the Shermans on Pottawatomie Creek recognized several horses which belonged to the ruffians, and several of our men remarked that they hoped they would not take them (the horses) in the neighborhood of the Osawatomie, because they were well known. A few days after the massacre two of Judge Hanway's neighbors, Dr. Gilpatrick and Elbridge Blunt, called on him and made particular inquiries "about the dress of old John Brown--his leather cravat, light coat," etc., etc.
These neighbors had started for Kansas City on the morning after the massacre, and had called at Wilkinson's for their mail, he being Postmaster. Mrs. Wilkinson was sick in bed, and told them she feared her husband had been killed. She also gave them a description of the "old man who appeared to be the leader of the party" who had taken her husband out of the house during the night. His dress was also described by other women and men at Sherman, and in summing this part of the testimony up Judge Hanway says: "All I have to say is that my recollection is that it agreed precisely with that worn by John Brown, Sr. Of this there is no doubt."
There can be no doubt that old John Brown was the leader of the party that committed the Pottawatomie massacre. That he, with his own hand, shot James P. Doyle seems almost equally well established. James Townsley has emphatically testified to it, over and over again. Brown habitually carried a revolver, and was too brave and consistent a man to influence other men, especially his own sons, to do what he would not do himself. He believed it was a step necessary to prevent a similar massacre of the Free-state settlers by their Pro-slavery neighbors, and that it was only a question as to who should strike the first blow. At the time the blow was struck opinion was divided even among the Free-state men as to its necessity, but as time has passed the numbers of those living in the immediate neighborhood who approve of it has increased.
The question as to whether it was justifiable depends primarily on its necessity. And its necessity depends on whether there was a conspiracy among the Pro-slavery settlers to massacre the Free-state men. James Townsley says that George Wilson, whom Brown hoped to find and kill at Dutch Henry's, "had been notify Free-state men to leave the Territory. He had received such a notice from him himself."
Judge Hanway, in the same letter from which we have already quoted says:
"I was personally acquainted with the Doyles, Wilkinson and Sherman and am fully satisfied, as everybody else is, who lived on the creek in 1856, that a base conspiracy was on foot to drive out, burn out and kill; in a word, the Pottawatomie Creek from its mouth to its fountain head was to be cleared of every man, woman and child who was for Kansas being a free State."
"I will give one item which has never been published. When the party called at the house of the Shermans, Mrs. Harris, who was living there, commenced getting breakfast, believing the party that had arrived were friends who were expected from Missouri to carry out the Border Ruffian plan of clearing the creek of Abolitionists. This important fact alone is evidence that John Brown was correct in his predictions. This evidence came through a moderate Pro-slavery man, who was astonished to learn that such a plan was under consideration:
"Threats were made to various persons: 'Squire Morse, John Grant and his family, Mr. Winer and others.
"Old John Brown was at my house at various times in 1858. He asked me how the people on the creek regarded the killing of Sherman and the others at that time. My remark was that 'I did not know of a settler of '56 but what regarded it as amongst the most fortunate events in the history of Kansas--that this event saved the lives of the Free-state men on the creek--that those who did the act were looked upon as deliverers.'
"The old man said, 'The first shock frightened the Free-state men almost as much as the ruffians, but I knew that when the facts were understood a reaction would take place. If the killing of these men was murder, then I was an accessory.' The remark did not surprise me, because I had heard his brother in law, Rev. S. L. Adair, say that the old man had said the same to him.
"Take in connection the fact of John Brown running into the Border Ruffian camp with his surveying instruments, and there hearing the plans on foot to drive out or exterminate the settlers on the creek, and I think we have sufficient reason to believe that our lives were in danger, and that John Brown and his little band saved us from premature graves."
In summing up the whole matter, it may be said that although, possibly, the details of the massacre as they occurred may not have been brought to light, or, in other words, although possibly we may not know which particular individual of old John Brown's party killed, which particular individual of the Pottawatomie victims, yet it must be considered established that John Brown Sr.'s party of eight men, including himself, killed the three Doyles, Allen, Wilkinson, and William Sherman, on the night of May 24, 1856, in a determined and remorseless manner; that whether or not old John Brown, with his own hand shot old Mr. Doyle, it is established that he did lead the party from near "Ottawa" Jones' place to the Pottawatomie valley, with the definite and distinct design of murdering as many as "necessary" of the Pro-slavery men living therein, and that he was not only present at, but commanded the murdering of each of the five miserable victims. His brain may not have conceived the plan originally, and he may have been only the instrument selected by others; but his brain conceived the method of the execution of the plan.
Time will test the truth of Mr. Townsley's statement. It is corroborated now in some particulars. That there was shooting was testified to under oath by Mrs. Doyle, who said she heard two pistol shots, and by John Doyle, who was spared on account of his youth, who said he saw a bullet-hole in his father's forehead. Knowles Shaw, who assisted in the burial of the mangled remains, corroborates the statement of Mr. Townsley as to the places where the killing was done, and also as to the killing of the dog. This is as far as we can now go. What has not been told, or told untruthfully, time will doubtless divulge.
The immediate cause of old John Brown's starting off "on the war path," at that particular time, was that Major H. H. Williams had that day brought the information to the camp of the Pottawatomie Rifle Company that "trouble was expected on the Pottawatomie." 'Squire Morse kept a little store on the creek, and furnished, among other things, gunpowder to the Free-state men. Morse had received notice to leave the Territory within three days, or take the consequences of remaining, one of the charges against him being that of "smuggling in" gunpowder. He was very much frightened, and in fact white with fear, when Major Williams saw him that morning, and he asked of the Major what he should do. After giving Squire Morse the best advice he could as to where to go for protection, the Major rode over to the company, with the result already detailed.
The John Brown writers, as they may, not inappropriately, be styled, as Redpath, Sanborn, Hinton, and Webb, for a long time strenuously contended that he was not present at the tragedy; was in fact twenty-five miles away, and was not at all cognizant of it until after it had been committed, basing their argument on his own statements to that effect, and on the assumption that "John Brown was incapable of telling a falsehood."
That he was present and did in fact command the murderers when they were committing the murders, is now established and admitted by them. They still, however, contend quite as strenuously that John Brown did not himself kill anybody, basing their conclusion on the same argument as before; viz: John Brown says that he did not kill any one, and he is incapable of telling a falsehood; therefore, etc. If it should some time be established beyond cavil that he did actually kill some one of the five, his especial admirers will then say, as they do now, in regard to his presence there, that they did not understand him, when they understood him to say he did not kill anybody.
But why this studied and persistent attempt to defend him against the charge of having shot old Mr. Doyle with his own hand? He himself frequently admitted that he "approved" of it, that he "endorsed" it, that, "if it was murder he was not innocent," "that he was an accessory;" and he even said to Col. Samuel Walker, now living in Lawrence, that he "was in command of the party and ordered the execution." Is it so much worse to kill one, than to be present at and order the killing of five? Or is it so much worse to lie than to murder? If so, then assuredly it is pressingly incumbent upon educators to introduce a new system of ethics into our schools.
Henry Sherman was killed in March, 1857, while traveling the public highway, by two Free-state men. This murder was entirely inexcusable. For although "Dutch Henry" had done his full share of threatening Free-state men, the time had now arrived when, on account of the thousands of Free-state emigrants that were pouring into the Territory, he had ceased to be regarded as dangerous to them or their rights. Private malice prompted the deed.
John Brown's Cabin
This famous cabin was located one mile southwest of Lane Postoffice, in Franklin county, on the northwest quarter of Section 4, Township 19, Range 21. It was built by Judge James Hanway in 1857, for pre-emption purposes, and was occupied by himself and family about two years. It was made of oak, hickory and walnut logs, was chinked and daubed, had floor, doors and windows, and was withal a very comfortable cabin.
During the years 1857-58, John Brown was accustomed to visit Judge Hanway's family, then living in it, and it was here he wrote his "Parallels," published in the Lawrence Republican and the New York Tribune. Anderson, Kagi and others who fell at Harper's Ferry, often found an asylum in it, as did also Col. Montgomery and his men, when pursued by Gen. Harney.
It was in a cabin about four miles southwest from Lane, owned by Charles Severns, that John Brown successfully secreted eleven fugitive slaves for a full month, when the whole country was filled with hunters in pursuit.
Old John Brown never owned the Hanway cabin, nor professed to own it, and never occupied it, save as a visitor or guest. It was photographed by A. W. Baker, of Ottawa, and by him named "John Brown's Cabin." Being thus named, the photograph of it met with immense sale all over the United States.
John Brown never owned a cabin in Kansas; but he erected one on contract for Orson Day, a brother of his last wife, in the winter of 1855-56. This cabin is located one and a half miles west of Rantoul, Franklin County.
The First Free-State Legislature
A Mass Convention was held at Centropolis, August 14, 1857. Similar conventions were held at different places in the Territory during the same summer and early fall. The question in each convention was whether the Freestate men should take part in the election to be held October 5, of that year. They believed it to be of vital importance to the people of Kansas that its government should be controlled by the bona fide citizens of the Territory instead of as heretofore, by the citizens of Missouri. They also believed that in a fair election they could outvote the Pro-slavery residents of the Territory. And as Governor Walker had repeatedly pledged himself that a full and fair vote should be had before impartial judges, they agreed to participate in the election.
At that election the majority of the Free-state party, on delegate to Congress was 4,089, and they elected a majority of the members of the Territorial Legislature, thus for the first time obtaining control of their own government. It was at this time that the short-lived town of Minneola came into existence. Lecompton had too many Pro-slavery associations connected with it to be satisfactory to the Free-state Legislature as a capital; hence although compelled by law to meet there, they invariably adjourned each year for three years to Lawrence to hold their sessions. The location at Centropolis not being any more satisfactory than the associations connected with Lecompton, the idea was conceived at Lawrence of starting Minneola. Perry Fuller was the leading spirit in the enterprise.
He said that nine quarter sections of land, or 1,440 acres, lying one mile east of Centropolis, in a beautiful location, could be secured for $3,131. This land belonged to the following parties: Charles L. Robbins, Wm. E. Crum, Samuel T. Shore, Wm. Mewhinney, Terry Critchfield, Joab M. Bernard, Frederick Ruch and two others. These men were willing to throw their interests into a town site, on condition of being made share holder's in the town company. The total cost of the land including attorney's fees, building of necessary houses, filing plat, and conveyancing, amounted to $3,700. A large number of people were desirous of becoming stockholders in the town company, which when organized consisted of the following members, those in italics being members of the legislature: R. Gilpatrick, James G. Blunt, Jacob G. Reese, Gideon Seymour, John Curtis, P. P. Orr, A. Berry, C. Columbia, Henry Owens, Calvin Smith, Robert B. Mitchell, A. T. Stile, Hiram Appleman, George H. Keller, Samuel Stewart, C. Graham, Wm. Pennock , S. S. Cooper, O. E. Learnard, B. H. Weir, James S. Emery, Robert Morrow, G. Danforth, S. B. Prentice, S. C. Russell, Terry Critchfield, Ralph Mayfield, William Y. Roberts, William McClure , E. St. John, F. G. Patrick, Daniel Sibbett, John Wright, H. Miles Moore, Augustus Wattles, Oliver Barber, A. A. Jamison, C. F. Currier, Joel K. Goodin, Hugh S. Walsh, Gaius Jenkins, John Mann, A. J. Shannon, Edward S. Nash, John P. Hattersheit, R. G. Elliot, George Ford, Lyman Allen, A. R. Morton, J. A. Marcell, C. L. Robbins, William E. Crum, Joab M. Bernard, Perry Fuller, John Goodall, C. W. Babcock, O. A. Bassett, G. W. Deitzler, S. W. Eldridge, Charles Robinson, Asa Reynard, T. Sampson, S. Stewart, John Speer, Charles Jenkins, A. F. Mead, E. W. Morrill, Thomas McCage, A. G. Patrick and M. J. Parrott.
The name Minneola, was suggested by E. N. Morrill. At the time the organization of the Minneola Town Company was effected, the Legislature, in session at Lawrence, passed an Act under date of February 10, 1858, making Minneola the capital of the Territory. One half-section was entered as the Town site, the rest of the nine quarter-sections were deeded to the Town Company, the grantors receiving Town Company stock in exchange. Money was raised by assessments and by mortgage; buildings erected, including a hotel, and a hall in which the sessions of the Legislature were to be held, the hotel costing about $8,000 and the hall about $1,500, and all in less than six weeks.
These men were in earnest about making Minneola the capital of the Territory and State-to-be. Ex-Judge Bassett was made secretary and surveyor, and Perry Fuller, business manager. The same Legislature that made Minneola the capital, made provision for numerous railroads, all centering there. Maps and bird's eye views were made, representing this to be the case. Town lots in the choicest locations were sold at exorbitant prices. Everything seemed to betoken a brilliant future for the town. But "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft' aglee." The Territorial officers refused to move the substantial portions of the government to Minneola. The legality of the act making that town the capital was called in question, and being referred to the Attorney-General of the United States, was by him declared to be in violation of the Organic Act.
In the meantime the Legislature had provided for a Constitutional Convention to be held in Minneola. This convention assembled March 23, 1858; James H. Lane was elected President of the Convention, and Samuel F. Tappan, Clerk. There were seventy-two delegates present. In order to dampen the hopes of Minneola and reduce her chances for becoming the capital, soon after the convention was called to order, a motion was made to adjourn. The contest over this motion lasted all day and until early into the morning of the 24th, when the convention adjourned to Leavenworth, reassembling there on the evening of the 25th.
Failing to become the capital, Minneola soon began to decline, and the town site is now divided up into farms. The delegates to this convention from Franklin County, were Joel K. Goodin and Jacob G. Reese.
In 1858, a number of horses were stolen in the county. Suspicion fell on two men named Shaw and Johnson, and finally their guilt became sufficiently evident to warrant an arrest. They were taken to a house on upper Middle Creek, tried by a "Squatters' Court," and sentenced to be hanged. A party headed by P. P. Elder came up from Ohio City to prevent the hanging, if possible, and succeeded for a time in saving the lives of the condemned. But at night they were taken past the Sac and Fox Agencies to an island in the Marais des Cygnes and hanged to a tree. This was a serious blow to the business of horse-stealing in that part of the county.
In 1863, an organization, distinguished by the name of the "Red Heads," existed in Missouri. They plundered and murdered Unionists and Rebels indiscriminately. Mutual attempts were made to capture them, and they were at length driven into Kansas, locating in different parts of the State. In January, 1864, one of their number, James Bailey, went from Lawrence to Ohio City, and went to work for John Hendricks. He also became a mail carrier. At this time, James Fitton was County Treasurer, and H. F. Sheldon, Registrar of Deeds. Each had a key to the county safe. One morning in the latter part of February, Bailey was missing, as was a horse belonging to Hendricks, his employer. It was also found that the safe had been opened, considerable money stolen as well as some valuable papers, and Mr. Sheldon's key to the safe could not be found.
While no suspicions were attached to Mr. Sheldon, yet, fearing such might be the case unless the thief were caught, he adopted the most vigorous measures for the capture and return of Bailey, the suspected criminal. Sheldon pursued, and captured him at Gasconade, Mo. Upon arriving at Jefferson City, the prisoner was placed under guard, while Sheldon returned to a railroad cut, in passing through which he had seen Bailey throw something out of the car window. Here he found some $300 of the amount stolen, and some of the papers. Bailey, after again escaping, and being recaptured, was taken to Lawrence, where he was induced to confess belonging to the "Red Heads," and to give information which fastened upon them the guilt of numerous other thefts in the county and vicinity, and which led to the breaking up of all their many bands.
Among those exposed, were the old man Stevens and his two sons, living near Stanton, Miami County, who had committed several thefts. It transpired that the three had stolen a pair of mules belonging to a Mr. Tulloss, of Peoria Township, and one of the boys had stolen a span of horses from a Mr. Roberts, and sold them at Fort Scott for $400. Upon his return he had accepted from Mr. Roberts $25 to assist in finding and capturing the thief. The mules had been taken to Leavenworth by the elder brother.
On the night that these developments were made, the father and younger brother were arrested by eighty-three citizens of the neighborhood, and hanged to a tree. The older brother was captured by the Sheriff, C. L. Robbins, and taken to Ohio City. On the night of his arrival, he was taken to the woods by about sixty of the citizens, and likewise hanged to a tree. These summary proceeding had a tendency to discourage horse-stealing again for a time.
Through the confessions of Bailey and Stevens, the leader of the whole gang of the "Red Heads" was apprehended and captured. At the time of his capture, he was playing the role of a Methodist minister, leading a camp meeting in Jefferson County. He and four others were hanged within a mile of the camp-meeting grounds. Bailey hanged himself in the Lawrence jail. All the money stolen from the county safe was recovered, except about $275. Mr. Sheldon was exonerated from all blame in connection with the affair, ex-Gov. Wilson Shannon giving it as his opinion that reasonable care had been exercised by him in protecting the county's property, which was all the law required.
Franklin County was organized in 1855, and named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, the illustrious American philosopher. A partial set of officers was appointed by the Governor, and in 1857 an election was held and a full set of officers was chosen. Part of them declined to qualify, and in the spring of 1858 the vacancies were filled. The first officers of the county were as follows: Commissioners--J. A. Marcell, Wm. Thornbrough, and John F. Javens; J. A. Marcell also being Probate Judge; Clerk, Robt. Cowdin, Treasurer, T. J. Mewhinney; Sheriff, C. L. Robbins; Prosecuting Attorney, P. P. Elder; Register of Deeds, Wm. Austin; Coroner, John Bingham.
On March 15, 1858, the Commissioners at their meeting divided the county into six townships as follows: Centropolis, Chippewa, Ohio, Ottawa, Peoria and Pottawatomie. At the first of the elections under the Wyandotte Constitution movement, April 16, 1859, Franklin County cast ninety-one votes for a Constitution and one against one. On the 7th of June, at the election for delegates to the Wyandotte Convention, Judge James Hanway received 217 to 116 for Joab Tony. On October 4 following, Franklin County cast 301 votes for the Wyandotte Constitution to 111 against it.
At the election held November 8, for delegate to Congress, Marcus J. Parrott, Republican candidate, received 265 votes to 172 for Saunders W. Johnson, Democratic candidate. At the same election P. P. Elder was elected to the Territorial Council, receiving 283 votes to 201 for Isaiah Pile, and Henry Shively was elected to the House of Representatives by a vote of 221 to 216 votes for John F. Javeus. On November 6, 1860, James Hanway was elected to the House of Representatives by 244 votes to 190 for all others.
Since Kansas has been a state Franklin County has had in the State Senate the following citizens: P. P. Elder, Jacob G. Reece, D. M. Valentine, A. Wiley, P. P. Elder, N. Merchant, A. M. Blair, W. L. Parkinson, J. P. Harris and A. W. Benson. The following citizens of Franklin County have been members of the State House of Representative: W. H. H. Lawrence, J. A. Marcell, D. M. Valentine, H. V. Beeson, G. W. E. Griffith, Isaiah Pile, James W. Smith, Hugh A. Cook, James Hanway, Wm. Pennock, Jacob G. Reese, William E. Kibble, J. M. Loos, James N. Foster, H. P. Welch, T. C. Bowles, John McClanahan, James Hanway, George T. Pierce, J. M. Loos, H. P. Welch, Wm. H. Clark, Wm. H. Schofield, E. J. Nugent, Wm. Bateman, C. B. Mason, J. H. Harrison, P. P. Elder, J. N. Foster, P. P. Elder, J. Dunnuck, R. E. Genness, P. P. Elder, James Robb, J. A. Towle, C. P. Crouch and W. B. Bass.
The contests over the county seat have been numerous and exciting. It was first located at St. Bernard by the legislature in 1855. When St. Bernard became extinct, the county seat was transferred to Minneola. An election was held March 26, 1860, to relocate it, at which Ohio City received 243 votes, Peoria 206 and Minneola 182. No place having received a majority of the votes cast, another election was held April 16, 1860, at which Peoria received 342 votes, and Ohio City 320. Then followed a contest between Peoria and Minneola.
The latter place enjoined the removal of the records. A law suit followed, which Peoria won. Minneola appealed to the County Court, and gained the decision. Peoria carried the case to the Supreme Court of the Territory. While the case was pending in the Court, the Territorial Legislature passed an act re-submitting the whole matter to the people. This was on January 21, 1861, three days after the Territory was admitted to the Union as a State.
The re-submitting of the question complicated matters to such an extent that Peoria had to consult counsel. Counsel opined that the Territorial Legislature had no right to pass any law after the Territory became a State, and advised pressing the matter in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided that as the Legislature had not been notified of the admission of the State into the Union, its acts were legal. The case was therefore re-submitted to the people and decided in favor of Minneola.
The next election on the question was held March 25, 1861. Ohio City received 243 votes; Peoria, 127; Centropolis, 98; Mount Vernon, 26; Minneola, 1. No place having received a majority another election was necessary. This was held April 15, following. Ohio City received 363 votes; Peoria, 37. Ohio City therefore became the county seat, and so remained until another election held August 1, 1864, decided the question in favor of Ottawa. At this election Ottawa received 261 votes; Peoria, 40; Ohio City, 36 and Centropolis, 1. Ottawa having a majority of the votes cast no other election was required.
Franklin County in the War
In the spring of 1861 there were 2,500 inhabitants in the county, scattered along the northern and eastern borders, with a somewhat compact settlement a little south of the center at Ohio City. The remainder of the county was given over to Indians on their reservations. There was little village life, and no rallying points, and consequently those whom patriotism impelled hastened to Lawrence and other near stations to enlist.
Company D, of the Twelfth Infantry, was the only company wholly recruited in the county. It was mustered September 25, 1862, and was officered by George W. Ashby, of Ohio City, Captain; Henry Shively, near Stanton, First Lieutenant, and Alfred Johnson of Peoria, Second Lieutenant. But the county furnished, nevertheless, individuals or squads to almost every regiment organized in the state, till there was hardly an able-bodied man who was not under arms. There were twenty enlisted men in the First Kansas Infantry and about the same number in the second.
These regiments participated in the bloody fight of Wilson's Creek, August 10, 1861, and the little town of Minneola alone lost in that battle five men killed. The county also furnished sixteen men to the First Battery, a large number to the Second Cavalry, and probably fifty to the Sixteenth Infantry. Less is known in regard to the other regiments, and what little can be ascertained, in any case, is from the fading recollections of the survivors. The total enlistment and number of casualties and deaths can only be rudely approximated.
In October, 1864, Gov. Carney called out the State Militia to repel the invasion threatened by General Sterling Price. The Tenth Kansas State Militia, among others, promptly responded to the call. This regiment had been recruited from Franklin and Anderson Counties. The regimental officers were William Pennock, Colonel of Centropolis; Miles Morris, Lieutenant-Colonel, Garnett; A. Niley, Major, Garnett; J. K. Goodkin, Adjutant, Minneola; I. C. Huges, Quarter Master, Minneola; Mr. F. Holiday, Surgeon, Lane. Company A was from Centropolis and Minneola, Companies C and D from Peoria; Companies F and L from Ottawa, Company G from Ohio City, and most of Company H, from Berea. There were no battles or skirmishes within the limits of the county.
Schools and Railroads
There are ninety school districts in the county, and eighty-nine schoolhouses. According to the census of 1881, there were 6,025 children between the ages of five and twenty-one; 4,543 enrolled and 2,934 in average daily attendance. The number of teachers employed, exclusive of the Ottawa public schools, 95; the average wages paid to male teachers was $32.60, to females, $21.45. An advance in wages was made the next year, and a higher standard of qualification required in the teachers. The value of school sites and houses was $88,830; of furniture, $7,265; apparatus $1,537; and of books, $420; total value of school property, $98,052.
In 1881 the Franklin County Teachers' Association adopted an eight years' course of study for district schools. The highest studies for the eighth year are history, geography, book-keeping, grammar and arithmetic. The first class to graduate in this course in Franklin County, graduated July 7, 1882, in district No. 41, W. A. Altman, teacher. The names of the graduates are Mary Lester, May Farnum, Agnes Farnum, Carrie Bohnet, Ella Gillett and Emma Gillett.
The first normal institute was held in 1874 by Prof. William Wheeler at the public school building in Ottawa. There were about forty teachers in attendance. In 1875 and 1876, Prof. Wheeler conducted similar institutes. In 1877 the first one was held under the present law, and each year there have been in attendance about 150 teachers.
Franklin County is well supplied with railroads. The Kansas City, Lawrence, Kansas & Southern Kansas runs from north to south through the county. There is also a line operated by the same company, running from Ottawa, through Olathe, to Kansas City, fifty-five miles distant. The Ottawa & Burlington runs southwesterly, from Ottawa to Burlington in Coffey County. The Leroy Branch of the Missouri Pacific runs from Osawatomie, Miami County to Ottawa, and the Kansas City & Emporia is in course of construction westward to Emporia. The Missouri Pacific runs across the southeast corner of the county. All these roads, except the last, center in Ottawa, the county seat.
Railroad Bonds.--It may be questioned whether these roads would have been built without local aid. It cannot be, whether they were. The first bond election was held November 6, 1866, on the question of voting $125,000 to the L. L. & G. Railroad, which was carried, and the second was held September 23, 1867, on the question of raising the amount to $200,000. This was carried also on the condition that the cars were to be running to Ottawa by January 1, 1868. The vote of Ottawa Township stood 425 for the bonds, to twelve against. All the other townships voted against the bonds by heavy majorities.
Total vote for the bonds was 533; against 365. The road was completed to Ottawa, December 30, 1867. The county had subscribed for and had received in payment for its bonds, $200,000 in stock of the road. In 1869 the President of the road, James F. Joy, representing to the Commissioners that the only thing necessary "to secure prosecution of the road" was for the county to surrender its stock, and the surrender of the stock was therefore made on the 19th of July, that year, the county receiving in consideration of the surrender one hundred dollars in cash, according to the county records.
An election was held April 6, 1896, on the question of voting $100,000 in bonds to the Kansas City & Santa Fe, on condition that $50,000 should be issued if the cars were running to Ottawa by July 1, 1870 and $50,000 when they were running to the southern line of the county. In this election those townships through or near which the road was to pass, voted largely for the bonds, while those remote from the line voted largely against them. Ottawa's vote was 504 for the bonds, to eight against them. The total vote of the county was for them, 712; against, 272. The road having been completed only to Ottawa, only $50,000 were issued.
On the 13th of September, 1870, an election was held on issuing $150,000 in bonds to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, on certain conditions. Ottawa's vote in this case wad 662 for the bonds, 24 against. The other townships followed the same route as in the preceding case. Peoria stood 129 for, to 9 against; Pomona 25 for, to none against the bonds. The total vote in the county for them 950 to 433 against. These bonds were forfeited by the company failing to build the road.
On July 22, 1872, an election was held on issuing $50,000 to the Kansas City, Burlington & Sante Fe, $100,000 to the Topeka, Ottawa & Fort Scott, and $150,000 to Missouri, Kansas & Texas. Ottawa voted 572 for the bonds, 30 against them. The total vote of the county stood for them, 1,032; against 826. These bonds were all forfeited.
On April 15, 1879, an election was held on donating $20,000 in cash, and issuing $55,000 in bonds to the St. Louis, Kansas & Arizona Railroad, and subscribing for $55,000 of the stock in the road. When the road was completed to Ottawa, the $20,000 in cash was to be paid and $25,000 in bonds issued, and the bonds paid for by the delivery to the county of $25,000 of the stock, a like exchange of $10,000 when the road was completed to through the southeast part of the county, and also $20,000 when the road was completed to the west line of the county, by way of Pomona, or within one mile of Centropolis. The main line of the road was completed, and the Leroy Branch to Ottawa. Subsequently the bonds issued in accordance with this agreement were surrendered by the railroad company and the stock by the county, and also the Pottawatomie township bonds of $12,000, voted at the same time for the same amount of stock held by the township. This exchange was made November 22, 1880.
The Railroad Bonds at present outstanding against the county are 1st, $18,000 of the first issue of $200,000, upon which the interest has not been paid; interest seven per cent. 2d, $233,600 upon which the interest is six per cent. When the total railroad bonded indebtedness had amounted to $310,000, all but $18,000 were refunded at eighty cents on the dollar, and the interest reduced to six percent.
Some attention has been paid to the cultivation of artificial forests and considerable to the cultivation of fruit trees. For 1881, there were reported of honey locust trees, 11 acres; of cottonwood, 14 acres; of walnut, 57 acres; and of maple, 75 acres. Of fruit trees the following numbers were reported: Apple trees, bearing 98,088, not bearing, 54,242; pear trees, bearing, 2,462, not bearing, 5,852; peach trees, bearing, 79,947, not bearing, 25,082; plum trees, bearing, 2,542, not bearing, 2,554; cherry, bearing, 23,722, not bearing 10,832.
There were reported for 1881, the following numbers of rods of the various kinds of fence: Board, 38,536; Rail, 128,163; stone, 32,203, hedge, 343,739; and of wire, 261,953.
In 1860, the population was 3,040; in 1870, 10,385; in 1875, 10,108; in 1878, 12,381, in 1880, 16,800; and in 1882, according to the Assessors' returns, 16,491--divided among the townships as follows: Appanoose, 865; Centropolis, 999; Cutler, 898; Greenwood, 737; Hayes, 655; Harrison, 585; Ottawa, 892; Lincoln, 695; Franklin, 1,093; Ohio, 753; Peoria, 1,079; Pottawatomie, 783; Richmond, 587; Williamsburg, 1,407; and Ottawa City, 4,463.
The total area of the county is 368,640 acres. Of this area 356,069 acres are taxable, and 157,790 acres under cultivation. The aggregate value of the taxable lands is $1,956,669. The total number of village lots is 11,247, of which 4,488 are improved, while 6,759 are unimproved; aggregate value of village lots, $562,107.90. The total value of personal property is $751,298.50; of railroad property, $433,799.61; and of all taxable property, $3,703,875.01.
The personal property of the county is divided into classes as follows: Horses, 9,288, value $249,028; mules, 667, value $23,976; milche cows, 7,966 - other cattle, 17,949, value $223,978; sheep, 5,586, value $3,971; swine, 22,980, value $27,321; vehicles, 2,525, value $40,794; shares in National Bank stock, $45,000; merchandise on hand, $145,738; other property, $323,492; making a grand total of $1,083,298, as assessed, from which, when the construction exemption of $332,000 is deducted, there remains the taxable value of all personal property, $751,298.
Acreage in crops in 1881; of winter wheat, 4,948 acres; spring wheat, 24 acres; rye, 133 acres; corn, 77,299 acres; oats, 9,490 acres; potatoes, 936 acres; sweet potatoes, 11 acres; flax, 4,725 acres; timothy, 1,404 acres; clover, 2,526 acres; other tame grasses, 1,555 acres; and of prairie grasses, 29,055 acres.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,494 km² (577 mi²), of which 1,486 km² (574 mi²) is land and 7 km² (3 mi²), or 0.49%, is water.
Franklin County's population was estimated to be 26,513 in the year 2006, an increase of 1639, or +6.6%, over the previous six years; it has the fifth fastest growing population in the state.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 24,784 people, 9,452 households, and 6,720 families residing in the county. The population density was 17/km² (43/mi²). There were 10,229 housing units at an average density of 7/km² (18/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.05% White, 1.21% Black or African American, 0.94% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.78% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.62% of the population.
There were 9,452 households out of which 34.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.10% were married couples living together, 8.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.90% were non-families. 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the county the population was spread out with 27.50% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 21.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $39,052, and the median income for a family was $45,197. Males had a median income of $31,223 versus $22,992 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,311. About 5.60% of families and 7.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.40% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
Name and population (2005 estimate):
Ottawa, 12,597 (county seat)
Unified school districts
West Franklin USD 287
Central Heights USD 288
Wellsville USD 289
Ottawa USD 290
Colleges and universities
Ottawa University, Ottawa
Neosho County Community College (branch campus), Ottawa