Of the original members of the settlement who were not victims of this massacre, Mr. Flint was absent at Clyde, the Darts were absent, Mr. Marling, wife and child, had returned to Missouri, and Messrs. Bump and Davis had been waylaid and shot in Cloud County during the previous May. The survivors, including Mr. Rice, all left the county, after this horrible affair.
In the winter and spring of 1868, Richard Stanfield and Carl G. Smith took claims in Sections 7 and 9, Township 2 south, and Gordon Winbigler and Adam Rosenberg near White Rock Creek and the town of Rubens. Mr. Rosenberg was with General Custer in his famous expedition to the Indian Territory, where Mrs. Morgan and Miss White were rescued from the Indians. When the Chicago colony of Scandinavians laid out Scandia, Republic County, in the fall of 1868, their settlements extended into Jewell County, though none remained here permanently until the spring of 1870.
In May, 1869, the Excelsior, or New York Colony, "under the lead of one Walker, came into the county and took claims along White Rock Creek, as high up as Burr Oak, and as far down as John's Creek. About two miles east of the present site of Holmwood, a block house was erected for protection, and surrounded by two lines of earth-works. Here the whole colony resided during its short stay in the county. Immediately after their arrival, they gave public notice that all claimants of land on the creek must be on their claims by a certain date, or they would be contested. This had the effect to bring to the creek a number of Swedes and Norwegians, who laid claim to nearly all the most valuable land. At this time, the latter part of May, 1869, there were over one hundred people in the county, all on White Rock Creek."
During this month a force of men was raised, and proceeded to the scene of a late massacre in the northwestern part of Jewell County, in which four hunters from Nebraska had been killed. Previous to their return John Dahl, one of the Scandinavian settlers, was killed by Indians, Peter Tanner's cabin was burned, and other outrages were committed. The Excelsior Colony, consisting of Mrs. Frazier and her two sons, Mr. Walker, President of the company, and others, considered that they were "wanted elsewhere" than in this locality, and made immediate preparations to depart.
While a portion of them were moving their household effects from their fort to the protecting care of Mr. Lovewell and his band, they were attacked by Indians, robbed of all their possessions, but escaped alive. Mr. Walker was at Junction City at the time, and hearing of the raid, sent up a lot of men and some teams, and in June moved away. All the Scandinavian settlers had already gone, which left Jewell County entirely deserted. It remained in this desolate condition from June until August, 1869, when Peter Kearns ventured hitherward and took the old Nicholas Ward claim. He worked it all of the following winter.
In the spring and fall of this year, however, such men as James A. Highland, N. S. Cederberg, William D. Street and James McCraith, took claims, and finally became permanent residents of the county. In February, 1870, the great tide of immigration commenced to set into Jewell County. In that month John O'Roak, William Scott, Samuel Sweet, Wilson McBride, Chris. Erns, John W. McRoberts, Samuel Bowles, T. Bowles, Phil. Baker, Adams and Gregory came in, all taking claims on White Rock. In the same month, A. J. Davis, Jerry Burnett, M. L. Stultz, Benjamin Lewis and Charles Lewis came in and settled on Buffalo Creek.
The first permanent settlers of the Buffalo Valley were Henry Sorick, George A. Sorick, John A. Sorick, George W. Waters, R. F. Hudsonpiller, Thomas B. Hart and William Cox, who took claims in the immediate vicinity of Jewell City, April 8, 1870. The next arrivals were S. R. Worick, John H. Worick, John Hoffer, Joseph W. Fogle, Cyrus Richart, Chris. Bender, David J. Rockey, William H. Cameron, Samuel Krape, C. A. Belknap and A. J. Wise, known as the "Illinois Colony," who arrived at the forks of Buffalo Creek, April 12, 1870.
They all took claims in the vicinity of Jewell City, and all, with the exception of Mr. Cameron, remained until "the war was over" and very materially assisted in "holding the creek" during the somewhat troublous season of 1870. On May 13, 1870, twenty-eight settlers gathered at John Hoffer's shanty, to discuss means of defense against a rumored invasion of the Cheyennes. William D. Street called the meeting to order, and suggested the building of a fort. His suggestion was at once adopted, and the following gentlemen organized themselves into a company - the Buffalo Militia - for the purpose of building that structure and protecting their homes: L. J. Calvin, F. A. May, W. M. Jones, Samuel Krape, Louis A. Dapron, C. L. Seeley, J. A. Scarbrough, Cyrus Richart, Chris. Bender, J. H. Worick, David J. Rockey, James W. Hall, Richard D. Fardy, Charles J. Lewis, C. A. Belknap, A. J. Wise, John Hoffer, William Cox, S. R. Worick, Allen Lightner, James F. Queen, J. W. Fogel, J. A. Sorick, R. F. Hudsonpiller, I. A. Sawin, Henry Sorick, William D. Street and John R. Wilson.
Mr. Street was elected Captain; Charles J. Lewis, First Lieutenant; Louis A. Dapron, Second Lieutenant; James A. Scarbrough, Orderly Sergeant. At once selecting a spot fifty yards square, they plowed around it, laid a wall four feet thick and seven feet high, and in two days "Fort Jewell " was completed. It is upon the present site of Jewell City, and the well which they dug, the first in the county, was situated at the edge of the present Delaware street. The Buffalo Militia "held the fort" until June, 1870, when it was taken possession of by the Third United States Mounted Artillery. They held the fort, but they never were called upon to repel an attack, although there is no knowing what would have happened had they not taken these wise precautions.
During the months of of May and June, the numbers of those who located at "Jewell City" were increased by the arrival of Colonel E. Barker, Jesse N. Carpenter, O. L. McClung, W. C. McClung, R. R. McClung, Z. F. Dodge, J. K. Dodge, F. T. Gandy, H. P. Gandy, L. C. Gandy, Gabe. B. Wade, P. R. Deal, Samuel Cameron, C. E. Plowman, Jonathan Street, George F. Lewis, James Carpenter, Jacob S. Jackson, W. R. Phillips and others.
During the month of April, 1870, quite a number of other settlers arrived and took claims in the southern part of the county. Prominent among them were Charles L. Seeley, Isaac A. Sawin, Allen Lightner, William M. Jones, James W. Hall, Richard D. Fardy, L. J. Calvin, F. A. May and John R. Wilson. The majority of them remained.
The first white woman who became a resident of the southern part of Jewell County, was Mrs. Annie Billings, wife of N. H. Billings, who arrived at Fort Jewell, May 22, 1870. She was accompanied by her little ten-year-old sister, Miss Jennie Jones, who is now married and lives on Wolf Creek, in Cloud County. The second invoice of white women who came to cheer the bachelor pioneers with their refining presence were: Mrs. Adaline Sorick, Mrs. Jennie Halstead, Mrs. Annie Waters and Mrs. Mariah Dodge, all of whom arrived at Fort Jewell on the evening of July 3, 1870.
In 1871 Guy Whitmore and Jake Hanes, noted horse-thieves, were arrested at Grand Island, Neb., by William Stone, the Sheriff of Jewell County. When taken, they had eleven stolen horses in their possession. When the Sheriff reached his home near Salem, in Jewell County, he remained over night with the prisoners. Leaving them with his Deputy he went out on an errand, and during his absence a mob overpowered the deputy, and hung the prisoners to a tree. Efforts were made to discover the perpetrators, but without success. The Sheriff never received his pay for the capture, as the County Commissioners claimed that he did not "produce the prisoners dead or alive."
The most noted murder trial in the county, was that of Daniel Davidson, a Swede, for the murder of his wife, November 29, 1878. The first trial resulted in conviction; but in the second he was acquitted, by the disappearance, it is claimed, of a part of the evidence found by the coroner's jury. The circumstantial evidence was strongly against the accused. He had been separated from his wife for some time; she refusing to live with him, and receiving marked and suspicious attentions from a man named Swartz.
For some weeks previous to her death she had been ill, and her husband had remained with her during the time. On Friday, the 29th of November, 1878, having recovered sufficiently to attend to her family - a girl of twelve and a child of one and a half years - she told her husband she had no further use for him, and that he could go to his own home, which was a mile and a half distant. She further told him that he must pay for the divorce which she had applied for, and that she intended to marry Swartz as soon as it was obtained.
He returned home, and that night she was shot through the window while undressing to retire. The two children were in bed asleep, and Mrs. Davidson was near the foot of the bed, facing the window, when the shot was fired, which took effect in her breast close to the heart, and must have killed her instantly. The concussion blew out the lamp and awoke the children. The younger began to cry, and the older calling to her mother, and receiving no reply, arose, and in going to the bureau to light the lamp, stumbled over the dead body of her mother.
Toward morning the frightened, lonely and weary children fell asleep, and slept until a neighbor coming to the house on an errand, discovered the awful and touching situation. Fresh footprints of a horse going and coming between the house of Davidson and that of Mrs. Davidson through the fields, were traced the next morning, the horse having been fastened at a spot where none had been seen for several weeks, according to the recollection of the little girl and the neighbors. This testimony, although strong against the prisoner, being circumstantial, was not deemed by the jury sufficient for conviction.
In July, 1870, Col. E. Barker and Orville L. McClung presented a petition to Governor Harvey, asking for the organization of the county. On the 14th of that month, C. L. Seeley, F. T. Gandy and A. J. Davis were appointed the first Commissioners, James A. Scarbrough, County Clerk, and Jewell City was designated as the county-seat. The county and the city were named in honor of Lieut. Col. Lewis R. Jewell, of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, who died of wounds received at the battle of Cane Hill, Ark, November 28, 1862. Col. Barker, had been commissioned Notary Public on the 16th of June, being the first public officer of Jewell County.
That functionary presented the new officers with their commissions, and in August they called upon him at his shanty on Middle Buffalo, one and one-half miles north of Jewell City; held an open-air meeting on the banks of that stream, and were sworn into office on the 20th of that month, 1870. The duly-qualified Commissioners held their first meeting at the office of the County Clerk in Jewell City, on August 22, Mr. Seeley being chosen as chairman. The county was divided into three commissioners' districts, and five municipal, viz.: Vicksburg, Buffalo, Limestone, White Rock and Big Timber.
At this meeting it was ordered that on the twenty-seventh day of September, 1870, an election be held for the purpose of electing county and township officers, and locating the county-seat, Result was as follows: For County Commissioners - First District - Dennis Taylor; Second District - Thomas Coverdale; Third District - Samuel C. Bowles. For County Clerk - James A. Scarbrough. For County Treasurer - Henry Sorick. For County Surveyor - N. H. Billings. For Register of Deeds - S. O. Carman. For Probate Judge - Charles L. Seeley. For Sheriff - A. J. Davis. For Coroner - William Cox. For County Superintendent - S. R. Worick. "Springdale," a paper town, supposed to be located on the divide between White Rock and the head of the East Buffalo, received twenty-four votes for the county-seat, and died a premature death - or rather, died before it had ever been born.
In April, 1873, Jewell Center, now Mankato, concluded that, owing to its central location, it was more entitled to be the county-seat than Jewell City. In response to a petition, on April 7, 1873, the County Commissioners ordered an election upon the re-location of the county-seat, to take place the 13th of May, 1873. Jewell Center was the successful candidate for the honor, by a vote of 861, to 626 for Jewell City. On the 28th of June, 1875 another election for the re-location of the county-seat took place, at the request of Jewell City. This election resulted again in favor of Jewell Center - 971, to 756 for Jewell City, and nine for Midway, a town on Middle Buffalo, and another aspirant for the county-seat. The question has not been agitated since, and it is, probably, definitely and fairly settled.
The county buildings of Mankato are small, inconvenient, and unsafe for keeping the records of so large a county. The present court hose (sic) is a small frame building, donated by the citizens of Mankato to secure the county-seat. A courthouse square has been set apart in the most elevated portion of the town, where it is intended to soon erect a court house commensurate in size and elegance with the importance of the county.
The county poor-farm, of about 200 acres, situated one mile south of Mankato, is provided with a good poor-house, costing about $4,000.
The Assessors of Jewell County, in their returns for 1882, give the following statistics, which fairly exhibit its wealth and prosperity: Acres of taxable land under cultivation 123,379; not under cultivation, 225,147; total, 348,526 acres. Of the total valuation of all real estate and personal property ($2,048,452), $1,146,206 is in taxable land. $102,360 in town lots, $656,030 in personal property, and 142,856 in railroad lands. Acres of winter wheat, 19,515; rye, 2,634; spring wheat, 17,509; corn, 120,734; oats, 5,211; barley, 70; buckwheat, 556; potatoes 1,885; sorghum, 739; tobacco, 15; broom corn, 614; millet, 4,891; Egyptian or rice corn, 226; tons of prairie hay, 20,247. Value of garden products, $3,989; pounds of cheese, 9,004; butter, 224,384. Number of horses, 7,543; mules, 1,038; cows; 5,342; cattle, 10,397; sheep, 2,817; swine, 35,925. Value of all animals sold for slaughter, $328,285. Number of apple trees, 78,167; peach, 150,465; cherry, 12,450; pear, 2,054; plum, 1,152.
The population of Jewell County for 1882, by towns, is as follows: Jackson, 449; Sinclair, 528; Vicksburg, 644; Grant, 563; Allen, 636; Montana, 662; Richland 504; Washington, 448; Buffalo, 648; Prairie, 658; Harrison, 637; Holmwood, 593; Central, 1,114; Calvin, 444; Brown Creek, 557; Walnut, 632; Burr Oak, 960; Limestone; 550: Odessa, 456; Athens, 656; Highland, 575; White Mound, 620; Ezbon, 576; Ionia, 514; Erving, 502. Total, 15,068.
Railroads. - The main line of the Central Branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, built by the Union Pacific, extends along the southern boundary of the county, a branch of which runs up the valley of the Buffalo to Burr Oak, on White Rock Creek. This line will soon be extended to Salem, and on to some connecting point on the Burlington & Missouri Railroad in Nebraska. It was built in 1878 and 1879, and has been of incalculable value to the county. At present there are no encouraging prospects of any part of the county's receiving better railroad facilities.
The northern part of the county has the benefit of the Burlington & Missouri in Nebraska, the eastern part of the Scandia Branch of the Missouri Pacific, and the southern part of the main line of the Missouri Pacific. This county is not, however, so dependent upon close railroad communications, as it ships more hogs and cattle than any other county in the State, and consequently has a correspondingly less amount of grain to freight to market.
Law and government
Although the Kansas Constitution was amended in 1986 to allow the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with the approval of voters, Jewell County has remained a prohibition, or "dry", county.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,368 km² (914 mi²). 2,355 km² (909 mi²) of it is land and 14 km² (5 mi²) of it (0.58%, is water.
Jewell County's population was estimated to be 3,324 in the year 2006, a decrease of 440, or -11.7%, over the previous six years.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 3,791 people, 1,695 households, and 1,098 families residing in the county. The population density was 2/km² (4/mi²). There were 2,103 housing units at an average density of 1/km² (2/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.79% White, 0.34% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.03% Black or African American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.05% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.71% of the population.
There were 1,695 households out of which 23.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.10% were married couples living together, 4.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.20% were non-families. 32.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the county the population was spread out with 21.90% under the age of 18, 4.40% from 18 to 24, 21.50% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 25.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 97.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $30,538, and the median income for a family was $36,953. Males had a median income of $24,821 versus $18,170 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,644. About 8.40% of families and 11.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.80% of those under age 18 and 10.90% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
Name and population (2004 estimate):
Mankato, 864 (county seat)
Burr Oak, 233