Jump to Navigation

Kansas Historical Quarterly - Circuit-Riding in Southwest Kansas in 1885 and 1886

The Letters of Jeremiah Evarts Platt

Edited by Louise Barry

November 1943 (Vol. 12, No. 4), pages 378 to 389
Transcribed by Harriett Jensen; HTML composition by Tod Roberts;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets refer to endnotes for this text.

Kansas Historical Quarterly, November 1943

I. INTRODUCTION

THE WRITER of these letters was born in Plymouth, Conn., May 28, 1833, fifth child of Jireh and Sarah (Dutton) Platt. [1] When he was six weeks old the family moved to Mendon, Adams county, Ill., where Jireh Platt helped found the first Congregational church in the state.

When Jeremiah E. Platt was twenty-three, he left college to come to Kansas and assist the Free-State cause. He preempted a claim of 160 acres, two miles south of Wabaunsee, the Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony settlement. For several years he taught school, and served as the first county superintendent of Wabaunsee county. [2] On April 3, 1860, he married Sarah Jane Smith, native of Maryland. [3]

In 1863 they moved to Topeka. Late that year Platt was elected to the faculty of the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan, where he served form September, 1864, to June, 1883. [4] He was at first head of the preparatory department and professor of vocal music; later he taught mathematics and elementary English. [5]

During his nineteen years in Manhattan, Professor Platt was deeply interested in the work of the Congregational church. He often preached to congregations in the outlying districts, although he was not at that time ordained. [6] When he left the college faculty in 1883 he was appointed state superintendent of mission work of the Congregational Sunday School and Publishing Society. From that time on he engaged in organizing Sunday schools, and traveled over the state holding numerous institutes. After serving nine years in Kansas, he was transferred to Oklahoma. He died in Guthrie Okla., on April 16, 1899.

Several of Platt's letters, written while he was engaged in organizing activities in southwest Kansas, were printed in The Nationalist of Manhattan. On May 1, 1885, The Nationalist reported:

Prof. Platt returned from the southwest part of the state, last Monday. He has organized six Sunday schools in Pratt and Edward[s] counties, the last month. He says that it is almost astonishing how rapidly these counties have filled up with settlers the last year. Pratt Center is only a year old, and is almost one-third as large as Manhattan, and presents quite a city appearance.
Whole townships which a year ago had scarcely a settler in them, are now almost entirely pre-empted. All that country needs to make it valuable for farming, is a suitable amount of rain; and the professor states that a week ago last Monday night they had the heaviest rain that he ever saw in any country. Twelve inches of water must have fallen in one night. He returned to that part of the state on Thursday, and will canvass Comanche and Barbour counties in Sunday school work the next month.
He preached in several communities last month, where the people had not heard a sermon since they came to Kansas. He will preach, and organize a Sunday school next Sunday at a little town, three months old, called Branham, [7] thirty miles southeast of Kinsley, where a sermon has never been delivered. He is happy in his work.

The letters which follow are of particular interest because they cover a phase of development in the southwestern part of the state which has scarcely been touched by historians.

II. THE LETTERS [8]

Cave Creek, Commanche Co., May 11 [1885].

Leaving the A[tchison]. T[opeka]. & S[anta]. F[e]. railroad at Kinsley, Edwards Co., I mounted my pony, crossed the Arkansas river and rode in a southeasterly direction five miles through sand hills without settlements. Emerging from these, I came upon a beautiful prairie, in which is the new town of Wendall, [9] surrounded by settlers in every direction. Again riding through ten miles of hilly, sandy land, came in sight of the pretty little town of Brenham, thirty miles from Kinsley. Here I spent Sabbath, May 3rd, and preached to a congregation of over sixty persons, seated on boards, barrels, boxes, kegs and chairs, in a new store building just being erected. It was the first sermon ever preached in the town. I also organized a Sabbath school, the people electing Mr. Wm. Shinkle, a student of the Agricultural College some twelve years since, as superintendent. It gave me good cheer to shake his hand, who, with his cheery wife, entertained me for the night.

The same day I also organized the first Sabbath school in a well settled neighborhood, five and a half miles south of Brenham, just in the north edge of Comanche Co. Nearly all the people have taken claims here within the last eight months.

Proceeding south from this settlement, Monday, I passed through a wild, hilly country, the head waters of the Medicine Lodge river, where were no settlers, except on one cattle ranch. This man had fenced in a pasture, which I passed through, ten miles wide. Leaving the pasture, I passed through another tract of wild land without settlers, except prairie dogs, owls and coyotes, there being large villages of the former. Night coming on, I feared that I should not reach a dwelling where shelter could be obtained before dark and I should be obliged to camp with my pony on the prairie, but reaching Mule creek, saw a two story, white house; rode up to a man standing in the yard, asking if I could stay with him overnight. "Reckon so," said he, "where are you from?"

"From Manhattan."

"Aren't you a good ways out of your lattitude?"

"I am a good many miles from home; am riding through these new counties organizing Sunday schools."

"Sunday schools!" adding a fearful oath, "yes, you Sunday school men and preachers are just playing hell with this country. You are bringing in a lot of settlers here that are just spoiling our range. We haven't any use for such men as you in this country."

I did not know but he was going to draw a six-shooter and put a bullet right through me on the spot, but he said "Get down and come in. Jimmie, take care of this gentleman's horse. Walk in." And he showed me into his parlor, where was a Brussells carpet, costly furniture and a beautiful piano; out to the dining room to an excellent supper, silver plate on the table, and to lodging in the most expensively furnished chamber that I have occupied in many a day, kindly entertained [me] in every way, and, in the morning, not a cent would he take for compensation. I found that he was a large cattle owner, had been on this ranche nine years, had fenced in with a substantial wire fence a pasture eighteen miles long and fourteen miles wide, and the settlers coming in obliged him to take down his fence and move his cattle. This made him angry at them. I asked him how he educated his family in this wild country. He replied, "Oh! I make them read the brands on the cattle. There is a good many brands about here and I make them read them all."

A ride of six miles brought me to Nescotunga, [10] a bright little village, where I found the people had regular preaching and a good Sunday school. Passing southeast from there ten miles I came to Cave Creek, so named from a large cave, where a beautiful stream runs directly through a steep bluff, a distance of some four hundred feet, the bluff being about seventy-five feet high. Where the stream issues from the bluff are two large, rock walled rooms, the first being twenty-five feet wide, fifteen feet high, and seventy or eighty feet long. I was too much afraid of snakes and wolves to venture alone and in the dark into the second room, but am told that it is larger than the first one.

The best claims in this neighborhood are all taken, and here I organized a Sunday school yesterday (May 10) and also another eight miles southwest of this, and within five miles of the south line of the state. I rode within two miles of the state line and took a view of the beautiful Indian territory. For several miles on the north side of Salt creek, the top soil is as red as a burnt brick in Manhattan, and yet the people just believe it will yield forty bushels of wheat and eighty bushels of corn to the acre.

This county is thirty by thirty-nine miles in extent, and is rapidly filling up. Cold Water, [11] the county seat, is near the center of the county, is about one y ear old, and contains, perhaps, five hundred people. I have been able to hear of only four Sunday schools in the county. Have organized three and hope to organize three or four others.

J.E. Platt

Fowler, Meade County, June 11th, 1885.

It beats all the world. Language can hardly tell it. The Children of Israel going into the "promised land" don't equal it. A cattle man living in the southwestern part of Comanche county, by the name of Irwin, [12] whose father used to be a Santa Fe freighter from Ft. Leavenworth man years ago, said that he ahs seen a good many booms to California for gold, to Oregon and to the Black Hills, but he never saw anything equal to this rush to southwestern Kansas. A gentleman living near the north part of the same county told me that when he came there last August, a stake would hold a claim for thirty days. By September, a stake would not do; he must, at least, plow a furrow around it; by October, he must have a piece of ground broken; by November, if he did not have a house on it, some man would jump it. As early as February, the tide of immigration began to come so that he must not only have a house, built be in it; by March, his family must be there, if he has one; and by April, he must sit in his door with a double-barrel shot gun, and threaten to shoot every man in a covered wagon that did not keep off his claim.

Three weeks ago, I sat on my pony near the northwest corner of Comanche county and counted 120 houses, where, eight months previous, not one was to be seen, and no villages in sight either.

That is as beautiful, gently-rolling prairie as the sun ever shone upon. It is on the divide between the watershed of the Arkansas on the north, and the Red river on the south. One drawback, however, is the distance to water. A gentleman with whom I stopped, told me that he went four miles for water, pumped it by hand out of a well 175 feet deep, and then paid for it; the owner selling the water to pay for the pump.

Last Sunday, I preached to a congregation of 110 persons, and organized a Sunday school, where ten weeks ago there was not a dwelling within three miles.

It was at the little village of Appleton, [13] twenty-five miles south of Dodge City, in Clarke county, and was the first religious service held in the neighborhood. The town contained, last Sunday, three new stores and two dwelling houses. I have not heard how many have been added since, but the people expect several hundred houses in a few months. We met in a store building, in which the floor was laid just the day before, and only two days' notice of the meeting had been given. Last Tuesday night, I stopped with a man seven miles southwest of Ashland, the county-seat of Clarke county. He said that he came in last March, from near Glasgo, Mo., thinking to be about two counties west of where anybody lived, and to be about five years ahead of immigration, and start a cattle ranch. But, when he got there, he could scarcely get a claim; and final[l}y, was obliged to jump another man's claim, who had left it a few weeks, in order to get anything at all desirable. Several towns have sprung up within the last few weeks, in Meade county, each expecting the county-seat to be located at that point, and a R.R. from Dodge City to Texas to pass straight through their town. And still they come, streams of covered wagons piling over beyond Meade into Seward and Kansas [now Morton] counties, clear to the west line of the state. Of course, only the better sections of these counties are thus thickly settled. There is much sandy land where the sand seems to have blown into hills and troughs like snowdrifts, or like the waves of the ocean, and much broken, hilly land, which is still wild and unsettled.

Are these people crazy, or is it good business sense? These are questions that I have not been able to decide. Probably one half will go back disgusted with the country. Many of these towns that expect to be a second Wichita will "get left"; and if the refreshing showers of rain should cease, and nothing be raised this year, multitudes of men will be glad to go back to their "wife's relations" further east. But it is my firm belief that those who stick by the land will see, e'er many years, this "wilderness blossom as a rose."

J.E. Platt 

Englewood, Clark Co., Aug. 21st [1885].

My last letter was written from Comanche county, several weeks ago. [14] Since that time, I have traveled through Edwards, Ford, Finn[e]ly, Clark, Meade, Seward and Stevens counties and have seen considerable of this southwestern country.

One of the things which attracts the attention of a traveler is the rapidity with which some of these new towns are pushed forward. Meade Center [15] in Meade county is a striking example of this. It is located on the west side of Crooked creek, near the center of the county. The first building was raised on the 20th of last May. On the 20th of July there were eighty-eight houses erected, and the last Meade Center paper reports one hundred and thirty-nine buildings with a population of near five hundred. Most of the new towns in this part of the state are started by a town company organized in one of the young cities of Kansas farther east, but this town company was composed mostly of citizens of the county. It has had a continued boom from the very first. As I left Cimarron, on the Santa Fe road, last Saturday morning, I noticed eighteen passengers on board the hacks bound all for Carthage [16] and Meade Center. Probably a dozen would come in the same day on the hacks from Dodge City. Other thriving towns in the county, Fowler, [17] Carthage and Belle Meade [18] have all been pulling hard for the county seat, but Meade Center seems to have the inside track, yet it is quite possible that six months from this time the town may not contain half as many people as it does now. Englewood [19] in the south part of Clark county, was started a few months since by a Wichita town company. It is a bustling little town of perhaps forty or fifty houses, and hopes to have a railroad soon, either by an extension of the Kansas Southern, or a branch of the Santa Fe from Dodge City, and to become the center of a great cattle trade from the south, making a second Wichita in size in the course of a very few years. Shrewd business men have figured out its future very precisely and the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars they will make by booming the town, yet Oh, how liable to disappointment. Ashland, [20] the temporary county seat of this county, about eighteen miles northeast of this, has had a rapid growth, but now seems to be nearly at a stand. Harwood, near the center of Seward county, is being pushed by an Emporia town company. [21] It is fifty-four miles south of Garden City, contains about fifteen houses among which are a comfortable hotel and three stores. It has an excel[l]ent well with wind mill from which water is hauled as far as twelve miles. New settlers on the high prairie not yet having wells, as they have to dig from one hundred to one hundred and seventy-five feet. Harwood is on the Cimarron river.

A map of booming southwest Kansas, 1886
Thirty miles west of this, on a beautiful level prairie, fifteen miles from any human dwelling, I found a dozen men from McPherson trying to build a town which they called Hugo, [22] and which they hoped would soon become a great city, the county seat of Stevens county. They had three small box houses and a tent, and were digging a well, then down only sixty feet, but they had no water except what they hauled in wagons fifteen miles, were then reduced to half a pailful, and expecting no more until the next day. Hence, I could not get a drop for my pony, and was obliged to ride fifteen miles out of my line of travel to the nearest water to spend the night.

There is no stream of water in the whole county except where the south fork of the Cimarron river crosses the very northwest township. There is not a tree in the county and only three families of actual settlers, yet a large portion of the best claims are filed on, either as tree claims, homesteads, or preemptions, and people seem to think the county will be full of settlers within a year, and that the land ere many years will be worth twenty to fifty dollars an acre. Are they crazy, or is it good sense? I am unable to answer. It will evidently depend largely on the amount of rainfall in this section during the next four or five years. Garden City contains the land office for this southwestern district, and Receiver Hoisington [23] told me last week that he recorded about one hundred claim filings per day, and that nearly half of them were tree claims, and yet, should the next two or three years be as dry as some years in the past have been, how this country would depopulate! And claims could be bought for a mere song. This year the rains have been very seasonable in nearly all this part of the state, and crops of all kinds that have had half a chance have done well.

Of course late planted sod corn on the high land don't amount to much except fodder, but I have seen in these counties as good ears on early and well planted sod corn as I have ever seen in the Kansas river valley. Millet and sorghum have done splendidly on the sod, and a few fields of oats, and the settlers seemed much encouraged and hopeful as to their future prospects.

From Harwood north to Garden City the settlers are very scattering, not more than three or four families to the township, and thinking that I had already gone beyond Sunday school ground, I did not visit the last tier of counties on the west. I have organized twenty-six Sunday schools during the last few months in this part of the state and am now revisiting them. I am to address the people of this place tonight, and at Wilburn and Appleton next Sabbath. There are now twelve Sunday schools in this county, and fourteen in Meade county. I could hear of but two in Seward county (one of which I organized at Harwood) and none in Stevens county. 

Respectful[l]y,
J.E. Platt.

Bates, Pratt County, Nov. 21 [1855].

Dear Nationalist: -- Mounting my pony at Kinsley, Tuesday morning, Nov. 1, I started on a two hundred miles horse back trip through Edwards, Comanche and Pratt counties, visiting ten Sunday schools that I organized in that section early last spring. Five of these schools I found in successful operation, with a fair prospect of continuing all winter. The other five had either died a natural death, or had gone into respectable winter vacation. Two of them I have succeeded in reviving, by inducing the people to elect new officers and to start in for a winter campaign. One school I found buried past resurrection this fall, and I hope to reorganize one tonight and another tomorrow.

With the exception of one day each week, in which the wind blew disagreeably, the weather has been most delightful, and it has been very enjoyable riding over these prairies. There have been several prairie fires during the last week, which have destroyed some hay and occasional[l]y a dwelling, but the people have learned to guard their houses pretty thoroughly against this annual destruction. The crops in the main have done well this year -- sod corn, millet, sorghum, pumpkins, turnips -- and prairie hay is selling in the west part of Comanche county as low as two dollars per ton. Quite a good deal of wheat was sown this fall, especial[l]y in Pratt county, and it general[l]y looked very well; yet the settlers have raised very little produce to sell, and many of them have spent nearly all the money they brought with them, and will be very short of means with which to buy clothing and groceries this winter. But little money is in circulation, and there is little work to be done for which money can be received.

There has been a good deal of change of the settlers of these counties during the last six months. Many young men, and some men with families have proved up their preemption claims, obtained their certificates and gone back farther east to obtain some employment. Others have proved up here, and have pushed on farther west to take tree claims and homesteads, that they might be the owners of more land. Some have sold out to new comers who did not wish to go farther west, yet many of the first settlers came to make for themselves bona fide homes, and intend to stick by the soil. They know what new country life is, and have come prepared to take it for better or for worse. They expect some dry seasons, but they have faith that this will prove a valuable agricultural country, and are doing their best to improve it; breaking up as much land as possible, planting out forest trees and orchards and building school houses of some kind, and they desire to encourage Sunday schools and churches. While many have gone back east, immigration seems still to be pouring in and through farther west. In passing east from Brenham to Wellsford on the Kingman and Dodge City road the other day, I met seventeen immigrant wagons in two hours of time, bound for Clark, Ford and Hodgman counties. A man told me he had known fifty such wagons to pass in a day recently, many of them going to homesteads which they filed on several months since. Good tree claims are already getting somewhat scarce, even in the western counties.

While it is quite probable that much of this southwestern country will be parched with drouth in the near future, and many of the settlers starved out, and obliged to leave, I am more and more convinced that there is a Great Western Kansas which, in fifteen or twenty years from now will be as rich and productive and valuable as is the eastern part of the state, making Kansas the greatest and grandest agricultural state in the union.

J.E. Platt

Coronado, Wichita County, Aug. 7th, 1886.

Ed. Nationalist. -- After traveling three years in Kansas, and in almost every county of the state, I must say that to my eye, this is the finest county in the state. That is saying a good deal, but the land here certainly lies most beautiful[l]y, if one thinks of cultivating the soil. There are whole townships here where there is scarcely a foot of waste land, and the soil seems to be equal[l]y as rich as it is in any part of the state. There is abundance of good water in this county at less than one hundred feet in depth, many good wells at from sixty to eighty feet in depth.

Beaver creek, (marked Ladder creek on the maps) runs through the north part of the county from west to east and contains a never failing supply of running water from many excellent springs.

I should think a person could cut ten to fifteen tons of excellent hay on a single quarter section in many places along the creek. They have had splendid rains all through here for the last three weeks, quite frequently the last ten days. In fact, a man told me yesterday the ground was almost too wet to break prairie well. This is just the making of this country, as plenty of rain is the only thing necessary to make it the richest agricultural country in the world.

A hail storm day before yesterday, cut the corn, millet and little trees, badly, right in this section, but it was only a few miles in extent.

There are some good claims yet to be taken in this county, but they are daily becoming less in number. I never had the "claim fever" attack me as it has done during the last ten days.

This town, which hopes to become the county seat, was commenced last December, and now contains about sixty houses. [24] They have nine stores, two hotels, two restaurants, two newspapers, and other things in proportion. A Methodist church has been organized here, and they have a good Sunday school.

Leoti, [25] three miles west of this, is a rival town, hoping for the county seat. They also have a good Sunday school.

There is another Sunday school in the county, twelve miles northeast from here, which I organized a short time since, and I hope to organize another twelve miles northwest, tomorrow.

There are so many tree claims in this county, and so many bachelors that are like the Irishman's flea, holding claims, and so many families that are holding five or six claims, and so many homesteads taken upon which the families have not yet come, that there are comparatively few places where it is practicable to organize Sunday schools. I have, however, organized two schools each Sabbath for the last three weeks. There are now six Sunday schools in Scott county, and fourteen in Lane county. I shall go west and canvass Greeley county, the last county west, before returning to Manhattan.

If there are Manhattanites that have the claim fever, I would recommend them to look at this county. There is a stage line from Wallace here every other day. My boys are on Sec. 5, Township 17, Range 35, and will gladly give any assistance or information that they can. The Taylor boys, from the Wild Cat., are also there.

Yours, J.E. Platt

Notes

ENS. JOSEPHINE LOUISE BARRY, USNR, a member of the staff of the Kansas Historical Society on leave, is now stationed at Washington, D.C.
1. There were seven other children, three of whom were later Kansas residents: Henry Dutton (b. 1823), Enoch (b. 1825), Julia Sarah (b. 1826), Mary (b. 1830), Luther Hart (b. 1835), an unnamed infant (b. 1838), and Martha (b. 1839). Henry D. settled in Nebraska; Enoch became a farmer in Wabaunsee county; Luther H. was for many years a Congregational minister in Kansas, and Martha married Amos Cottrell and lived in Wabaunsee county. For additional biographical information on the Platts see Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay and Rile Counties, . . . (Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1890), pp. 1129, 1130; Forty-Fifth Annual Session of the General Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches of Kansas . . . May 11-15, 1899 (Press of Claude O. Funk, Wichita, 1899), pp. 36, 37, and The Platt-Cottrell-Smith Reunion Held at Wabaunsee, . . . August 25, 26 and 27, 1917 (Kirwin Kansan Print, 1917?).
2. Andreas, A.T., and W.G. Cutler, History of the State of Kansas (Chicago, 1883), p. 992. Platt was superintendent of Riley county schools from 1865 to 1868. -- Ibid., p. 1305.
3. "U.S. Census, Kansas, 1860," v. V, p. 231, in Archives division of the Kansas Historical Society. The Platts had four sons: George L., Henry Augustus, Emery M. and Edward L.
4. Willard, J. T., History of the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science (Manhattan, 1940), pp. 19, 72, 73.
5. He was given an honorary M.A. degree by the college in 1872. -- Ibid., p. 444.
6. Jeremiah E. Platt was ordained September 27, 1888, at Clay Center. -- Minutes of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Session of the General Association of Congregational and Churches of Kansas . . .(Kansas City, Kan., Daily Gazette Book and Job Print, 1888), p.56.
7. The Brenham Town Company charter was filed February 12, 1885. Its directors were William G. Dickinson and William A. Coats of Topeka, George E. Johnson, S.D. Robinett and Charles H. Landis of Brenham. After the re-creation of Kiowa county in 1886, Brenham was placed in Kiowa county by the change of Boundaries. It was originally located in secs. 17 and 18, T. 28 S, R. 17 W., Edwards county. -- "Corporation Charters (official copybooks from office of Secretary of State, now in Kansas Historical Society)," v. XVI, p. 454.
8. Published in The Nationalist, Manhattan, May 22, June 19, September 4, December 18, 1885, and August 20, 1886.
9. The charter of the Wendell Town Company was filed February 19, 1885. Its directors were James H. Gill, W.P. Brush, James K. Manuel, O.P. Huston, Alex H. Divine, J.J. Reeder and G.B. Hampton. --"Corporation Charters," v. XVI, p.462. The town was located in sec. 21, T. 26 S., R., 18 W., near the center of Edwards county. The hope of its founders that the town might be the county seat was short lived. Establishment of Kiowa county from parts of Edwards and Comanche counties left Wendell far from its advantageous central location. By 1887 the town was practically dead. --See James C. Main, "The Kinsley Boom of the Late Eighties," in The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. IV, pp. 45, 46. The site was officially declared vacated in 1895. -- Session Laws of 1895, Kansas, p. 506.
10. The Nescutunga Town and Immigration Company charter was filed August 8, 1884. Directors of the company were Conally L. Dunn, J.W. McWilliams and H.N. Cunningham. -- "Corporations Charters," v. XVI, p. 341. This Comanche county town was short lived, but the site was not officially vacated until 1897. -- See Session Laws, 1897, Kansas, p. 492.
11. Coldwater, county seat of Comanche county, was founded in 1884. The charter of the town company was filed September 30, 1884. The directors were Tim Shields, C.D. Bickford, G.W. Vickers and C.M. Cade of Coldwater, and Thomas Doak of Kinsley. -- "Corporation Charters," v. XVII, p. 620.
12. Undoubtedly Joseph C. Irwin, Jr., whose father had several large freighting outfits on the plains in the 1850's. J.C. Irwin, Jr., came to Dodge City in 1880 and established a cattle ranch in Comanche county. He removed to Oklahoma after the disastrous blizzard of 1886 which ruined many cattlemen. Irwin township, Comanche county, was named for him. -- Isely, C.C., "He Knew the Old West When It Was New," in the Wichita Beacon, March 11, 1928.
13. In March, 1885, a party of homeseekers surveyed and staked off the townsite of Appleton, Clark county. It was located on the SE1/4 of sec. 13, T. 30 S., R. 25 W. The town company charter was filed April 9, 1885. William H. Shelton was president, and Lewis G. Shearer, secretary. Thomas E. Berry, Wellington S. Cooper and John S. Shearer were directors. -- "Corporation Charters," v. XVIII, p. 416. The Rock Island railroad built a mile north of Appleton, eventually forcing the removal of the town to the railroad. The Appleton Era of July 7, 1887, carried this statement: "Minneola is the name of the new town which is composed almost wholly of what was once a part of Appleton."
14. Platt apparently forgot the intervening letter written from Fowler, Meade county.
15. The Meade Center Town Site Company charter was filed May 25, 1885. Its directors were E.M. Mears, C.G. Allen, Henry H. Rogers, Alex Bail[e}ly, Isaac Graves, James A. Morris and A.D. McDaniel. -- "Corporation Charters," v. XVI, p. 562. On July 9, 1885, the company purchased land in secs. 2, 10 and 11, T. 32 S., R. 28 W. In October, by court order, the city of Meade Center was incorporated. By act of the legislature in 1889 the name was changed to Meade. The town has always been the county seat of Meade County. -- Sullivan, Frank S., A History of Meade County, Kansas (Topeka, Crane & Company, 1916), pp. 26, 28, 29.
16. Carthage was located in the east half of sec. 31, T. 31 S., R. 28 W., Meade county. It was short-lived. -- Ibid., p. 38. The Carthage Town Company charter was filed August 15, 1884. The company's directors were: L.K. Myers, James N. Lawrence. O.E. Davis, A.W. Sheannan and J.T. Saunders, all of Wellington. -- "Corporation Charters," v. XVII, pp. 525, 526.
17. The Fowler City Town Company charter was filed February 12, 1885. The directors were: Benjamin F. Cox, George Fowler, Solomon Burkhalter, Basil O'Donald and T.H. Campbell, all of Fowler. -- Ibid., v. XVIII, pp. 239, 240.
18. Belle Meade was located in S1/2 sec. 20, T. 31 S., R. 27 W., according to the town company charter filed June 6, 1885. The directors of the company were: Jos. M. Brannan, Robert P. Cooper, John Shmoker, James Elmore and H. Cheney, all of Belle Meade. -- Ibid., v. XVI, p. 571. Belle Meade was another short-lived town of Meade county.
19. The charter of the Englewood Town Company, of Clark county, was filed November 28, 1884. Directors of the company were N.E. Osborn, A.M. Denny, H.F. Friend, Grant Hatfield, E. A. Reiman, B.B. Bush. M.L. Munn, J.A. Friend, and S.J. Miller, all of Wichita. -- Ibid., v. XVIII, pp. 100, 101.
20. Ashland, county seat of Clark county, was founded in 1884. The town company charter was filed October 9, 1884. Directors of the company were James A. Cooper, W.R. McDonald, J.B. Nipp, A.J. Lyon, all of Winfield, and Frank Hall, Thomas Berry and C.W. Averill, of Ashland. -- Ibid., v. XVIII, pp. 13, 14.
21. Harwood or Harwoodville probably derived its name from W. I. Harwood, a cattleman. He had resided in central Seward county "for a number of years," according to The Prairie Owl, Fargo Springs, November 5, 1885.
The first issue of the Owl in the Historical Society's collections -- October 8, 1885 (v. I, No. 7) -- carried Fargo Springs as the place of publication. Beginning November 12, however, it was changed to Harwoodville though the paper continued to boost Fargo Springs. Obviously Harwoodville and Fargo Springs were the same during these months for the Owl of January 14, 1886, reported: "This week our date line is changed from Harwoodville to Fargo Springs. . . . The mail leaving the post office, was stamped Harwoodville Wednesday morning, for the last time. Henceforth it will receive the stamp of Fargo Springs."
Fargo Springs, named for C.H. Fargo of the C.H. Fargo & Co. boot and shoe house of Chicago, was laid out in the center of Seward county in May, 1885, by the Southwestern Land and Town Co. of Emporia. The company had been chartered April 29, 1885, "to purchase, locate and develop townsites." Fargo Springs thrived for a time, but a fight for the county seat and railroad developed with Springfield, a rival town three miles north. It became so bitter that both towns finally lost out to Liberal, in the southern part of the county. The Fargo Springs and Springfield townsites were eventually abandoned. -- See "Corporation Charters," v. XVIII, p. 468; Emporia Weekly News, May 7, 14, 28, 1885; The Prairie Owl, Fargo Springs, January 28, 1886.
22. Hugo, later Hugoton, became the county seat of Stevens county after a contest with the rival town of Woodsdale which resulted in several killings. -- See Henry F. Mason, "County Seat Controversies in Southwestern Kansas," The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. II, pp. 54-64. The town was named for Victor Hugo, French novelist.
23. Andrew J. Hoisington. The town of Hoisington was named for him.
24. The charter for the Coronado Town Co. was filed October 2, 1885. Directors of the company were: Ed P. Greer, W.R. McDonald, F.S. Jennings, M.L. Robinson, Jas. H. Bullen, J.A. Cooper, and J.B. Nipp, all of Winfield. -- "Corporation Charters," v. XXI, p. 98. McDonald, Cooper and Nipp were also founders of Ashland. -- See Footnote 20.
25. The company which founded Leoti was organized at Garden City under the name of the Southwestern Kansas Development Co. Its charter was filed June 22, 1885. The company's directors were: Milton Brown and John P. Wallace, Garden City; Lilburn G. Moore and Leonard D. Cowan, Leoti; William H. Montgomery, MacEwensville, Pa.; D.L. Musselman, Quincy, Ill., and T.H. Brooks, Tucumseh, Neb. -- "Corporation Charters," v. XVIII, pp. 587, 588.