An Early History of Logan County
by Frank W. Blackmar (1912)
Logan County, in the western part of the state, is the second from the Colorado line and the third south from Nebraska. It is bounded on the north by the counties of Sherman and Thomas; on the east by Gove; on the south by Scott and Wichita, and on the west by Wallace. It was first created in 1881 out of that part of Wallace county lying east of range 38, and was named St. John. The description of the boundaries in the creative act was as follows: "Commencing at a point where the east boundary line of range 32 west crosses the 2nd standard parallel south; thence west on said 2nd standard parallel to a point where the east boundary line of range 38 west crosses the said 2nd standard parallel south; thence south on said range line to a point where the said range line crosses the 3d standard parallel south; thence east on said standard parallel to a point where said standard parallel crosses the east boundary of range 32; thence north on said range line to the place of beginning."
In 1885 the legislature changed the name from St. John to Logan in honor of Gen. John A. Logan. In July, 1887, J. H. Downing was appointed census taker and made his report to Gov. John A. Martin in September, showing 3,112 inhabitants, of whom 358 were householders. The value of taxable property, aside from railroads, was $447,534, of which $123,505 was real estate. In his proclamation of Sept. 17, 1887, the governor declared Russell Springs (which was the choice of the majority of voters) the temporary county seat and appointed the following officers: Sheriff, N. G. Perryman; county clerk, Joseph Jones; county commissioners, J. W. Kerns, N. C. Phinney and R. P. McKnight. The first county election was held the following December, and about all the towns in the county were candidates for the county seat. They were: Russell Springs, Logansport, McAllaster, Elkader, Oakley, Monument and VIinona.
The Russell Springs town company deeded a site for the court-house to the county and even built a court-house, the ground and building together being valued at $20,000. That town won by 18 votes. The full Republican ticket was elected, except treasurer, and the officers were as follows: Representative, Col. J. J. Sears; commissioners, J. H. Morgan, A. C. Sims and James Dermott; treasurer, C. A. Black; clerk of the district court, G. A. Fleming; county clerk, J. W. Kerns; sheriff, N. G. Perryman; probate judge, J. E. Dodge; superintendent of public instruction, J. W. D. Foote; county attorney, K. E. Willcockson; coroner, Dr. F. M. Burdick; surveyor, A. J. Meier; register of deeds, R. P. McKnight. The new county started out with an indebtedness of less than $3,000, not a dollar of which was bonded indebtedness.
Considerable excitement was occasioned in the summer of 1888 by the discovery a few miles southwest of Russell Springs of a vein of nickel. Inside of a few weeks more than sixty mining claims had been taken in the rocky portions of the county. There is plenty of native limestone for building purposes, and a coarse quality of sandstone. Chalk formations lie along the waterways. Charles H. Sternberg, who explored the chalk beds of Hackberry creek to its source, says: "The chalk beds once composed the floor of the old Cretaceous ocean, and consist almost entirely of the remains of microscopic organisms which must have fairly swarmed in the water."
The general surface is undulating, some portions being nearly level, a very small portion rough and bluffy. Native timber is scarce, but there are a few artificial plantings. The north fork of the Smoky Hill river enters in the northwest and flows southeast for some distance, where it unites with the south fork, which enters in the west, the main stream then flowing southeast into Gove county. Twin Butte, Turkey and Hackberry creeks are important tributaries, and there are a number of other creeks.
Logan is divided into 11 townships—Augustine, Elkader, Lees, Logansport, McAllaster, Monument, Oakley, Paxton, Russell Springs, Western and Winona. The postoffices are: Russell Springs, Edith, Elkader, Gill, McAllaster, Monument, Oakley, Page, Poe and Winona. There are 40 organized school districts.
The Union Pacific R. R. enters in the northeast corner and crosses west and southwest into Wallace county. A branch diverges northwest from Oakley in the northeast to Colby in Thomas county. There is a daily stage coach from Russell Springs to Winona.
Less than half of the area of the county is under cultivation, and the farm products are worth over $1,000,000 per year. Corn and sorghum are the leading crops, the former being worth $204,000 in 1910, and the latter $224,000. Wheat brought $125,000 and animals sold for slaughter $135,000. The total value of all products was $1,033,310. The assessed valuation of property was $8,312,854, and the population was 4,240, the average wealth per capita being nearly $2,000, which is above the average for the state. The gain in population during the last ten years was 2,278 or nearly 200 per cent.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,779 km² (1,073 mi²). 2,779 km² (1,073 mi²) of it is land and 0 km² (0 mi²) of it (0.01%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,046 people, 1,243 households, and 856 families residing in the county. The population density was 1/km² (3/mi²). There were 1,423 housing units at an average density of 1/km² (1/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.72% White, 0.59% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.72% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. 1.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,243 households out of which 29.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.30% were married couples living together, 6.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.10% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 24.40% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 20.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 93.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,131, and the median income for a family was $40,104. Males had a median income of $28,105 versus $19,609 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,294. About 4.70% of families and 7.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.80% of those under age 18 and 8.60% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
Name and population (2004 estimate):
Oakley, 2,006 (county seat)
Russell Springs, 30
Unified school districts
Oakley USD 274
Triplains USD 275