Sandstone and lime for building are found in abundance along most of the streams. The stone is a white magnesian limestone, which upon first being taken from the quarry can be planed or sawed very easily, but hardens by exposure. The sand is of various kinds and qualities, suitable for any kind of mechanical work, and what is termed native lime is found in abundance, an excellent article for all indoor work, but will not stand the action of the elements, water dissolving it very readily. The soil is a dark loam, sometimes a little sandy, and well adapted for corn, wheat, rye, millet, and all kinds of vegetables. The natural grasses are buffalo and blue stem. Tame grass is being put out, and does as well as in any other section of the country.
The first settlement in Graham county was made May 18, 1872, by W. E. Ridgely, on the northeast section of the county, his nearest neighbor being at Logan, Kan., eight miles distant. From that date until the census was taken in November, 1876, there were but seventy-five inhabitants in the county, and in the spring of 1882, the census of the county was 3,328.
From the summer of 1879, until April 1, 1880, the county was attached to Rooks County as a municipal organization, and April 1, 1880, by a proclamation of Gov. John P. St. John, an organization was established with Millbrook as the county-seat, temporarily, and John P. Inlow, O. G. Nevins and A. E. Moses as Commissioners, and E. P. McCabe as County Clerk.
On June 1, 1880, the first election was held in the county, and the following officers were elected: Representative, J. L. Walton; Commissioners, A. Mort, G. W. Morehouse and J. N. Glover; County Clerk, John Deprad; County Attorney, J. R. McCowen; Register of Deeds, J. J. Harrvi; Treasurer, L. Thoman; Surveyor, L. Pritchard; Sheriff, E. A. Moses; Coroner, Dr. Butterfield; Probate Judge, James Gordan. The first crops raised in the county were by Messrs. Ridgely, Wilkinson and Poole, in 1873, and consisted wholly of corn. The first post-office established was on Bow Creek, in 1874, at H. M. Wisdom's place, he being the postmaster.
The first Sabbath-school in the county was held at J. A. Holloway's place, May 10, 1874. Nett Spencer as Superintendent, and the first church society was organized by J. M. Brown, near the Houston post-office, July 30, 1876, as the First Presbyterian Church of Graham county. The first marriage in the county was between Paris Stevens and Miss Morrison, in the spring of 1874, by Judge Schurz, of Phillips County.
The first death was that of a daughter of A. Coleman, November, 1882, buried in Coleman cemetery, the first one organized in the county, April, 1879. The first school held in the county was in what was called Nevins District No. 45, in 1874, with Miss Anna Smith as teacher.
The first child born in the county was Thaddeus Beaumont. The first Notary Public was Osen G. Nevins, commission dated June 28, 1878. N. C. Terrell settled on Millbrook town site July 29, 1878, and in the fall of the same year laid out the town of Millbrook--now composed of the following business houses: N. C. Terrell, general merchandise; W. A. Cox & Co., drugs; H. J. Fuller, drugs; C. Tillotson, general merchandise; Thomas Nesbitt, boots and shoes; J. N. Boyles, hotel; N. C. Terrell, postmaster, Samuel Stevens, blacksmith. In the fall of 1876, W. R. Hill located the town site of Hill City--John W. Ferrow, general merchandise. A. J. Wheeler settled August 17, 1878, on town site of Gettysburg, where now are the following business houses: Willis Ellsworth, hotel; Shearer Bros., boot and shoemakers; H. S. Hogue, livery stable; Sam Sharer, blacksmith; Willis Ellsworth, postmaster; H. S. Clubb, general merchandise; T. F. Goff, drugs and general merchandise. In July, 1878, G. E. Higinbotham settled where Roscoe now is, and in the fall of same year laid out the town of Roscoe--Samuel Coder, general merchandise; W. H. Hughes, blacksmith, and Higinbotham & Van Slyck, general merchandise, Barent Van Slyck, postmaster. Four miles southeast on Spring Creek, Higinbotham & Van Slyck have a flouring-mill, with two run of buhrs. This is the only grist mill in Graham County. Nicodemus was first settled July 30, 1877, the Town Company being W. H. Smith, President; Berry Clark, Vice-President; S. P. Roundtree, Secretary, and Jerry Alsup, Jeff Lindsey and William Edmonds, Trustees. It now contains W. Green's general store, and S. G. Wilson's store, Z. T. Fletcher, postmaster. The first newspaper published in the county was the Western Star at Hill City, May 15, 1879, Beaumont & McGill, editors. Later McGill was its, and later still its editor; it expired June 17, 1880. The Millbrook Times came next on the list by B. F. Graves, July 11, 1879; Greenback in politics. It is still being issued. Next the Graham County Lever, August 2, 1879, H. S. Hogue, editor and proprietor; Republican in politics; discontinued December, 1881. Next in order is the Roscoe Tribune, May 12, 1880, Worcester & Kellogg, editors and publishers; discontinued. Then the Millbrook Herald, established January 3, 1882, by N. C. Terrell, proprietor; circulation about 300. Republican in politics. The attorneys in the county are R. H. Litson, H. J. Harrvi, T. T. Tilitson and F. B. Turk.
County Officers.--Rep. A Woodin, County Attorney; R. H. Litson, Probate Judge; E. Sanford, Clerk of the District Court; John H. Currie, County Clerk; E. P. McCabe (now State Auditor), County Treasurer; H. C. Mosely, Superintendent of Schools; John Malony, Sheriff; G. P. Turner, Register of Deeds; C. Fountain, Surveyor; T. J. Gardiner, Coroner; Daniel Hickman, Commissioner of the First District; Woodard, Commissioner of the Second District; Lewis Welton, Commissioner of the Third District. R. W. McGrew built the first store in the county, which was opened by J. D. Egleston in the spring of 1878, on Bow Creek.
There are ten church organizations in the county: Presbyterian, 2; Methodist, 4; Baptist, 2; Campbellites, 1; Congregational, 1.
The only Indian trouble in Graham County, since its first settlement, was during the summer of 1874. Mr. E. Poole, one of the first settlers on Bow Creek, was visited by three wild Sioux Indians (the only ones ever seen on Bow Creek), who walked into his cabin, and without any ceremony began to pick up such things as struck their fancy, where upon Mr. Poole thought it time for Mr. "Lo" to go slow, and with a war whoop he knocked one of them into a heap in the corner, while the other two laughed at the fun. They left Mr. Poole in possession of his property, went farther down the creek, where they were met by some of the settlers armed, who ordered them to return West, which they did, and to the present time here has been no trouble in the county from Indians.
The second by violence was on the 24th of October, 1882. Mitchell Hopson (colored) killed Theodore Rudman by shooting him with a Colt's pistol, one shot killing him instantly, the ball penetrating the heart. The difficulty arose from Mr. Rudman putting up some of Hopson's hogs. Hopson was arrested by Special Constable, tried before Justice Currie, and bound over to the next term of the District Court of Graham County, and confined in jail of Ellis County, Kan. On the 4th of December, 1882, while trying to make his escape from the officers at the jail, he was struck in the head with a hammer, by one of the officers, from which he died the same day. The hammer, a large knife and quite a large package of red pepper were in possession of the prisoner, given him by outside friends to assist him in making his escape.
The population of Graham County, in March, 1882, was 3,328.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,328 km² (899 mi²), of which 2,327 km² (898 mi²) is land and 1 km² (0 mi²), or 0.04%, is water.
Graham County's population was estimated to be 2,677 in the year 2006, a decrease of 245, or -8.4%, over the previous six years.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000,GR2 there were 2,946 people, 1,263 households, and 847 families residing in the county. The population density was 1/km² (3/mi²). There were 1,553 housing units at an average density of 1/km² (2/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.91% White, 3.22% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.41% from other races, and 0.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.78% of the population.
There were 1,263 households out of which 27.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.50% were married couples living together, 5.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.90% were non-families. 30.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the county the population was spread out with 22.50% under the age of 18, 5.30% from 18 to 24, 23.10% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 23.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 95.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,286, and the median income for a family was $38,036. Males had a median income of $26,642 versus $18,222 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,050. About 8.60% of families and 11.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.60% of those under age 18 and 10.40% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
Name and population (2004 estimate):
Hill City, 1,469 (county seat)