First Events in Butler County, Kansas
From: History of Butler County, Kansas
BY: Vol. P. Mooney
Standard Publishing Company
Lawrence, Kansas 1916


First settler: William Hildebrande, settled in what is now El Dorado township, in May, 1857.

First births: Henry Jefferson, 1857, near Chelsea; now deceased. Mrs. Addie Cowley-Bradley, May 4, 1858, El Dorado township. Mrs. Bradley is the wife of W. P. Bradley, of El. Dorado, and has the distinction of being the oldest living native child of Butler county.

First marriages: Jacob E. Chase and Augusta Stewart, El Dorado township, January, 1859. Berg Atwood and Elizabeth Badley, Towanda township, 1859.

First postoffices: Chelsea, 1858; C. S. Lambdin, postmaster. El Dorado, 1860; D. L. McCabe, postmaster.

First stores: Old El Dorado, 1857; grocery, by Mr. Howland. Chelsea, 1859; country store, by Mr. Kaufman.

First schools: Chelsea township, 1860, district No. 1; taught by Sarah Satchel. El Dorado township, 1861; first school house built by subscription of settlers, afterwards purchased by district No. 2.

First religious services: Chelsea township, house of J. C. Lambdin; Rev. C. G. Morse, Congregationalist, from Emporia, preacher.

First resident preacher: Rev. Winbery, Baptist, 1858; no church building.

First church organized: El Dorado, Presbyterian; building commenced in 1872, not completed until 1877.

First Sunday school: Chelsea, 1859, Minnie Post and Maggie Vaught, teachers

First newspaper: Walnut Valley Times, March 4, 1870.

First railroad: El Dorado and Walnut Valley (Sante. Fe System); track completed to El Dorado, July 31, 1877, 6:27 p. m.

The following are the first events to be put on record in the county: First Recorded Marriage - Butler county, in the State of Kansas, August 26, 1861. I hereby certify that I did celebrate the rites of matrimony and solemnize the same between J. D. P. Goodall and Elizabeth Cooper, on the eleventh day of August, in the year 1861, in the county of Butler, and State of Kansas, both parties being residents of the county and State aforesaid.
J. E. Mayfield,

An ordained minister of the Gospel. Since this time, the records show 7,500 marriage licenses have been issued.

First will admitted to probate: Ambrose Muller, filed March 13, 1873. Joseph Carr and A. L. L. Hamilton, witnesses. Probated by Judge Hamilton.

First administrator appointed: Martin Vaught, June 21, 1867, appointed administrator of the estate of Alfred G. Brown; deceased.

First application for sale of school lands: July 17, 1867, James R. Mead files application for right to purchase the S. E. 1/4 of the N. W. 1/4 of Sec. 16, Twp. 26, R. 4 East. W. W. Slayton, William Hanley and ____ Bailey appointed appraisers and land sold to James R. Meade at $3 per acre.

First guardian: October 8, 1867, J. D. Conner appointed guardian of Martha G. and Mary H. Atwood, minor heirs of Bige W. and Elizabeth Atwood, deceased.

First complaint for insanity: Filed April 28, 1864, by Henry Martin, J. P., alleging one E. E. Lower was mad or insane. A jury of twelve was called, Lower declared insane and sent to state hospital.

First writ of habeas corpus: Issued February 18, 1869, directed to Captain S. L. Barr for the unlawful detention of D. E. Golia and Phil Ledvick in military camp at Wichita.

Change of mind: One day in 1869, one Roda Eckley filed application in usual form to be appointed administrator of estate of James Eckley, deceased. Upon this application appears the following endorsement: "After giving me much trouble, Mrs. Eckley concluded not to take out letter of administration." Costs not paid.
William Harrison, Probate Judge.

Apprentice: March 28, 1870, agreement filed in probate court: "I, Elisha Main, do indenture my daughter, Amanda M. Main, to Edwin Cowles until she arrive at the age of 18 years, which will be July 2, A. D., 1876. Said Cowles to care for, clothe her respectably and give her board in his family and give her a good common school education."

First criminal action: Brought April, 1866. The State of Kansas vs. Joseph Smith and Oliver C. Link on charge of burglary. Verdict, not guilty as to Smith, and action dismissed as to Link.

First civil action: Brought April, 1866. James Thomas vs. J. B. McCabe for replevin of property; district court. First convened July, 1866. J. M. Watson, judge; Henry Imel, clerk; both of Cottonwood Falls; W. D. Show, sheriff.

First jury: Joseph Adams, William Thomas, James Craft, T. \V. Satchell, John.Bishop, Edward Jenkins, P. P. Johnson and Dr. Lewellyn. The following did not answer to their names: W. A. Badley, William Towsley, A. P. Alexander, and for good and sufficient reasons were excused.

First divorce: Nannie Edwards vs. James Edwards, W. T. Galliger, attorney; cause, failure to provide.

First conveyance: George W. Birch and Sarah Birch to P. G. D. Morton. In consideration of $50, one house, 13x16, and three lots, two of which the house stands and the other some one of the business lots as platted on town plat of Chelsea, being the same house in which said Birch now resides and said lots being the same promised to said Birch for building said house in and standing on the south half of the southeast quarter of section 28, township 24, range 6, in Butler county territory of Kansas. Both parties signed by "x" mark, acknowledged before J. R. Lambdin, clerk of the court.

First mortgage: August 9, 186o. Dr. Lewellyn to Eliazer Fullinwider, of Montgomery county, Indiana, for $190. secured by mortgage on east half of the southwest quarter of the west half of the southeast quarter of section 8, township 25, range 6. in Butler county territory of Kansas. In consideration of the payment of $340 this mortgage is hereby released September 9. 1865. (Note the rate of interest).

All meetings of the county commissioners prior to 1867 were held at Chelsea, generally at the residence of the county clerk. On January 7, 1867, the board of commissioners. consisting of D. Lewellyn, S. Stewart and James R. Meade, met at the office of the county clerk at the junction of Whitewater. (Where is it?) "By order of the board, an election precinct is hereby established at the school hous; at the junction of Whitewater, Chelsea township, Butler county, and there shall be elected three justices of the peace and three constables in the township of Chelsea, Butler county, Kansas.

The first meeting of the board of county commissioners held in the city of El Dorado was on July 1, 1867, and its meetings have been held there ever since. Two voting precincts were established in Walnut township, one at or near the junction of Whitewater and Walnut, and the other at or near the junction of Little Walnut and Big Walnut. "Towanda township shall have two voting precincts, one near Towanda and the other near J. Adams, on Whitewater.

"One voting precinct in Chelsea township, which shall be at or near the center of the township as practicable.

"One voting precinct in El Dorado township, which shall be at or near to El Dorado as possible."

The following events are shown by the first records: First meeting of the board of county commissioners: Saturday, April 30, 1859, at the house of G. T. Donaldson, Chelsea township. A meeting of the county commissioners was held for the purpose of establishing officers for the county offices, P. G. Barrett, chairman; G. T. Donaldson and J. S. White, commissioners. The county commissioners were ordered to meet at Chelsea hall. The other county officers were ordered to keep their officers at their own dwellings, except the clerk of probate, who shall keep his at the residence of J. D. Lambdin. (This presumably on account of aforesaid officer being a bachelor). June 13, 1859, at a special meeting of the board, P. G. D. Morton was appointed assessor of Chelsea township and also county auditor.

The first tax levied: August 20, 1859, a poll tax was levied of $1 per every male citizen 21 years of age and under 45. G. T. Donaldson was authorized to furnish three ballot boxes for the annual election to be held in October, also paper, pens and ink.

County divided into three commissioners districts - March 21, 1860, the county was divided into three commissioners districts. (See under boundaries). It was also ordered that an election precinct be established called Toronto precinct, the election to be held at the residence of Dr. Lewellyn.

First road (petition for): April 3, 1861, commencing near the southwest corner of section 36, township 25, range 5; thence via Chelsea and Sycamore Springs to north line of Butler county; also commencing on the east line of Butler county, near section 12, township 25; running west via *New Salem and Chelsea to west line of the county in the direction of *Whitewater City. *Lost locations.

First county warrant: January 19, 1864, warrant issued for the sum of $20 in favor of Jordon Mabe, for assessing the county. (The names of none of the officers appear on the record. It is signed, however, by William R. Lambdin, clerk). Warrant No. 2 issued in favor of M. Vaught for the sum of $10 to be used for furnishing books and stationery for the county.

March 26, 1864, voting precincts were established at El Dorado and Towanda.

First election for county seat: May 21, 1864, election held; El Dorado, having received the highest number of votes cast, was declared the county seat of Butler county.

July 4, 1864, the following, among other proceedings, were held:

"Resolved, That whereas the county seat has been removed to El Dorado and there is not any building which can be procured for the county officers, the board resolved not to remove." April 3, 1865, the county board met at 9 o'clock. Present - Dr. Lewellyn: "Whereas, a vacancy has occurred in the office of commissioners of Butler county by the removal of S. P. Johnson and H. B. Bronson from the county. Joseph H. Adamson and Squire Stewart was appointed by said board to fill said vacancies." April 3, 1866, among other proceedings: "The board proceeded to examine the books of the late treasurer, T. W. Satchell, and found them behind $139.87. It was ordered that the clerk institute a suit for the recovery of the same. (It is said, and generally believed, that the reason of the books being behind was that the treasurer carried his records as treasurer in his hat, and that in plowing one day his hat blew off and the records were plowed under; but while plowing the next year, they were resurrected by the same plow and the account was brought from "behind" and placed "before") - and on October 1; 1866, the board rescinded the order for the clerk to institute suit. January 7, 1867, a petition was presented by Samuel Langdon for license to sell liquor in Butler county. (No further records). By order of the hoard, Mattison White was considered on the county as a county charge. April 1, 1867, the county commissioners met at the office of the county clerk, A. J. Donahoo, at the junction of the Whitewater. July 2, 1867, the first petition for the sale of school land was filed. (No further record). August 23, 1867, the county was divided into the townships of Chelsea, El Dorado, Walnut and Towanda. (See under boundaries). Ordered that the first election in said townships be held on November 5, 1867, for the election of township officers in El Dorado, Towanda and Walnut townships. October, 1867, the county house was rented to A. H. Marshall, at $8 per month. "He is to give possession when same is needed for court or public business." The county clerk was also ordered "to employ some person to chink and daub the county house in a workmanlike manner; daub up with lime and sand, and also ceiled overhead."

November 5, 1867, the first election of townships officers was held in El Dorado, Towanda and Walnut townships. At this election: El Dorado township, for justice of the peace: D. L. McCabe had 12 votes and A. H. Morehead had 11 votes. For constable: J. H. Taylor had 5 votes, Elex Petrie had 2 votes, C. S. Harrison had 1 vote and William Harrison had 4 votes.

Towanda township: J. R. Wentworth had 6 votes for justice of the peace, Amos Adams had 7 votes for constable and John W. Jones had 7 votes for trustee.

Walnut township: Peter Harpool had 7 votes for justice of the peace and Benton Kramer had 7 votes for constable. At this same election certain proposed amendments to the State constitution were voted upon: For striking out the word male from Section I, article 5 of the constitution, there were cast in the county, 28 votes in favor of the proposition and 76 votes against the same. This was the first vote of woman's suffrage in the county and in the State. The measure was defeated in the State by a vote of 9,070 for to 19,857 against. The amendment for striking out the word white from the constitution received 33 votes for and 70 against. This amendment was defeated in the state by a vote of 10,483 for to 19,241 against. For the amendment of article 2, section 5 of the constitution, restoring election franchises to loyal citizens, there were 39 votes in favor of same and 64 against. The submitting of these amendments was an attempt to change the organic law of the State, but each of the amendments failed at this election. April, 1868, it was resolved to rent the court house to S. Langdon for a few weeks, "he to furnish a building as good as said court house for holding court in, if he should not move out." October 5, 1868, Thomas J. Robinson presented a petition to the board for a license to keep a dram shop. There not being enough names on the petition said license was not granted. November. 1868, Archibald Ellis, one of the commissioners, ordered the clerk to enter his protest again canvassing the votes of Sedgwick county. Same meeting - The board investigated the accounts of the county treasurer and found a difference against the county treasurer of approximately $3.45. They found, generally, that the accounts of the county treasurer have been kept in an unsatisfactory manner and recommended more care and clearness on his part hereafter. July 5, 1869, John Jones was appointed assessor for Cowley county and Dr. Lewellyn was appointed assessor for Sedgwick county, they being attached to Butler county for judicial purposes. April 3, 1871, W. P. Campbell presented 'a petition, signed by himself, protesting against any lawyer occupying an office in the court house. Thereupon the board adjourned.

First assessment: The first assessment of the county, under its present dimensions, was in 1867, prior to the division of the county into townships, the assessment being made by the county assessor. The real estate valuation and the tax collected therefrom came, principally, from nonrsidents, who had located land warrants or script on certain lands and receiving patents therefor from the government and thus subjecting such lands to taxation. There were 29,700 acres of land assessed in Butler county for the year 1867. The heaviest tax payer on real estate was a party by the name of A. E. Lawrence, who owned at that time 22,100 acres of the 29,70o assessed. This land, presumably, cost him from twelve and one half cents to twenty five cents per acre. The party paying the largest amount of tax on personal property was G. T. Donaldson, who paid on a valuation of $5,290. The total value of the real estate for the year was $50,987, and the. personal property $60,728.90. The total tax levied for the year was $2,997.88, of which $45 was collected as a tax on dogs. The taxes were divided as follows: State tax, $566; county tax, $1,724.60; school tax, teachers, $416.81; buildings, $290.47. Seven school districts received the benefit.

In this year, 1916, there were 915,052 acres of land, assessed at a valuation of $32,000,000. The personal property of the county is valued at $18.791,865. The taxes levied for the year amount to the sum of $500,600.

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