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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Davis County


Map of Davis County - 1878

First settlements: Milford township, originally a part of Riley county, transferred to Davis in March, 1873, by act of the Legislature; first settlement in the fall of 1855, by Abram Barry, Marshal Barry and George Taylor; Smoky Hill township, which includes Fort Riley, first settlement in June, 1853, by Thomas Reynolds, of Illinois; Lyon township, December, 1854, by James R. McClure, now a resident of Junction City, Jackson township, 1855, on Humboldt creek, Jacob Spencer; Liberty township, June 3, 1857, on Humboldt creek, E. N. Church; Junction City Town Company organized in the fall of 1857; in the latter part of December of that year - Daniel Mitchell began the survey of the town site, and it was completed early in the summer of 1868. The original members of the Town Company were: J. R. McClure, president; Robert Wilson, treasurer; F. N. Blake, John T. Price, and P. Z. Taylor. Previous to the existence of the Junction City Town Company, a town called Millard was located on the present site of Junction City, almost line for line, in the summer of 1856. It was abandoned. It was laid out by a party of Cincinnati speculators, who sold thousands of dollars' worth of lots, on land to which they had no title. The organization was known as the Cincinnati and Kansas Manufacturing Company, J. M. McArthur, president, Cincinnati; D. Wilson, agent, Millard City, K. T. Two railroads were projected to the place. They built one house near where the court now stands. This house was attached and sold, and part of the lumber is in Captain McClure's stable on Jefferson street. - Junction City, was incorporated as a city February 9, 1859, and the first regular city election occurred in July following. - First church buildings: Milford township, 1877, at Milford, Congregational; Smoky Hill township, first church organized at Fort Riley, summer of 1859, Episcopal; Lyon township, first church organized in 1857, German Methodist, Rev. Chas. Stickaman first pastor; Jackson township, on Davis creek, 1872, Methodist; Liberty township, Methodist; Junction City, 1860, St. John's parish, Episcopal, now parish of the Church of the Covenant. - First business established: Milford township, at Batcheller (now Milford), 1859, steam saw mill, Clark, Pierce & Bryan; a country store at the same place, same year, F. B. Smith; Smoky Hill township, Pawnee, 1854, grocery store, John T. Price; first blacksmith shop, on Three-Mile creek, fall of 1853, Thomas Dixon; Jackson township, 1855, general store; Riley City, 1855, N. S. Rauschoff; Junction City, general store, May, 1858, L. J. Harris. - First marriages: Milford township, Albert Avery and Calista Whitemore, 1858; Smoky Hill township, Thomas Jenkins and Ella Wicks, October 1, 1855; Lyon township, William Staatz and Mary Recken, June, 1857; Jackson township, G. F. Gordon and Ruth Berry, February, 1851: Liberty township, William H. Church and Mathilda Cooper, January 10, 1860; Junction City, John Powers, lady's name not given, 1858. - First births: Milford township, Thomas J. Bartell, September 17, 1859; Smoky Hill township, John Fleming, December 20, 1854; Lyon township, Ada McClure, 1856; Jackson township, William Beavers, October 30, 1855; Liberty township, Mary E. Church, October 30, 1857; Junction City, Lizzie Henderson, August 6, 1858. - First post offices: Milford township, Batcheller, 1861, Major Barry, postmaster; Smoky Hill township, Fort Riley, July 26, 1853, Robert Wilson, postmaster; Jackson township, Riley City, Fox Booth, postmaster; Liberty township, Grant, E. N. Church, postmaster; Junction City, 1858, L. J. Harris, postmaster. - Davis county was named after Jefferson Davis, who was Secretary of War when the Territory of Kansas was organized. - In the fall of 1852 a commission, consisting of Colonel T. F. Fauntleroy, 1st dragoons, Major E. A. Ogden, quartermaster, and an officer of the engineers, were ordered to select a site on the Smoky Hill river for a ten company cavalry post, and selected the present site of Fort Riley. May 19, 1853, an encampment was formed here by Captain Lovell, Sixth infantry, and named "Camp Center, Mouth of the Pawnee river." July 26, 1853, it was first known as Fort Riley. The buildings were constructed under the direction of Major Ogden. This is one of the most important military posts belonging to the Government. It is a twelve company post, having splendid quarters and stables. The buildings are all built of fine white magnesia limestone. The post stands on a beautiful and commanding eminence. It is located three miles northeast of Junction City. Its location is at the head of the Kansas river, probably half a mile from where the Smoky Hill and Republican meet. Major Ogden died at this post in 1855, of cholera. A handsome monument stands upon the highest eminence at the post, as a testimonial to the Major. In this township (Smoky Hill), is located the historical town site of Pawnee, founded by Colonel Montgomery, Sixth U. S. Infantry, Surgeon W. H. Hammond, U. S. A., Robert Wilson, post sutler, Captain Nathaniel Lyon, U. S. A., and Robert Klutz, in the fall of 1854. The site was selected for the first capital of the territory of Kansas and a building was erected for the holding therein of the first territorial legislature. This body did convene at this place July 2, 1855, by order of Governor Reeder, but it adjourned to the Shawnee Manual Labor school, in Johnson county, July 6. The town was destroyed by the military in September, 1855, it having been located on the Fort Riley military reservation. - Lyon township was named in honor of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, who was killed at the battle of Wilson's Creek. In 1854-5, Gen. Lyon, Dr. W. H. Hammond, of the army, and J. R. McClure, selected a site for a town on Lyon's creek, north of McClure's claim, which was laid out into lots, and named Chetoiah. - The first invasion of grasshoppers ever seen in that part of the State, was in the summer of 1856, when a large swarm of them alighted upon McClure's cornfield, destroying a small portion of it, when they disappeared, and there was no other visitation from them until 1867. At the time of the first settlement of Lyon township, this county looked as barren and desolate as the present appearance of the plains west of Ellis. The highlands were covered with buffalo grass, and but little rain fell. The whole country south of the Smoky Hill was covered with immense herds of buffalo. Mr. McClure once killed a buffalo about fifteen miles west of Junction City.

Davis county was organized in 1855.

Population in 1860, 1,163; in 1870, 5,526; increase in ten years, 4,363; population in 1875, 4,611; decrease in five years, 915; population in 1878, 5,382; increase in eighteen years, 4,219. Rural population, 3,089; city or town population, 2,203; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 57.40.

* POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
Jackson 1,295 Junction City 2,128 Liberty 301
Lyon 447 Milford 396 Smoky Hill 815

Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 20 per cent.; upland, 80 per cent.; forest (Government survey) 3 per cent.; prairie, 97 per cent. Average width of bottoms, one mile; general surface of the country, upland, undulating in the western, and broken and bluffy in the eastern part of the county.

Timber. - The streams are tolerably well timbered; average width of belts, from one-fourth to one-half a mile. Varieties: black walnut, white and burr oak, hackberry, hickory, ash, cottonwood, elm, cedar and sycamore. Except for ornamental purposes, but little attention has been given to artificial timber growth. The numerous streams furnish a fair supply of native growth.

Principal Streams. - Republican and Smoky Hill rivers, the former running southeast, the latter northeast; uniting at Fort Riley, they form the Kansas river. Tributaries of the Republican: Curtis creek, runs east, six miles long; Four-mile, runs southwest, six miles long; Madison runs south, five miles long; Timber, runs southeast, eight miles long. Tributary of the Smoky Hill: Lyon's creek, runs north, 35 miles long. Tributaries of the Kansas: Clarke's creek, runs north, 40 miles long; McDowell's, runs north, 25 miles long. There are also numerous smaller streams. The county is very well supplied with springs; well water obtained at a depth of from 20 to 90 feet.

Coal. - None of any consequence has been discovered. Small veins crop out in two or three places on Humboldt creek, but they are thin and the quality poor. Investigations have been prosecuted to a considerable extent, but the general opinion is that coal does not exist unless at a depth too great to be successfully developed.

Building Stone, etc. - The best quality of magnesian limestone is found in the bluffs all over the county, an analysis of which was made by Prof. Wm. H. Saunders, of the University of Kansas, as follows: Hydrometric moisture escaping at 212° Fah., 55; carbonate of lime, 88.85; carbonate of magnesia, 4.15; sesquioxide of iron and alumina, 1.20; insoluble silica and silicates, 5.10; total, 100. In boring for coal at Junction City, salt water was reached at a depth of 300 feet, and at 450 feet salt water of 47 degrees of strength was found. The yield is 15 per cent. of commercial salt, and a comparison with a sample of "superior table salt," put up for family use, shows about an equal amount of impurities.

Railroad Connections. - The Kansas Pacific Railway runs through the north western portion of the county, following the valleys of the Kansas and Smoky Hill. The Junction City & Fort Kearney Railroad, operated as a branch of the Kansas Pacific, runs from Junction City up the valley of the Republican, to Clay Centre, in Clay county. The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, starting from Junction City, traverses the southwestern part of the county to the valley of the Neosho. Principal station and junction of these roads, Junction City.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 260,480; taxable acres, 152,659; under cultivation, 40,042; cultivated to taxable acres, 26.23 per cent; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 6,619.75,

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce $1,677; poultry and eggs, $3,025.

STATEMENT showing the Acreage of Field Crops named from 1872 to 1878, inclusive.

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.

Winter Wheat 1,617.00 1,617.00 2,921.00 5,012.50 7,201.00 7,910.00 11,568.00
Rye 574.00 573.00 350.00 1,284.00 1,930.00 1,257.00 1,485.00
Spring Wheat 1,528.00 2,818.00 3,977.00 2,504.50 2,963.00 1,546.00 3,197.00
Corn 6,185.00 4,996.00 6,219.00 7,893.00 7,654.00 11,118.00 11,183.00
Barley 124.00 40.00 144.00 515.00 715.00 770.00 969.00
Oats 1,395.00 1,161.00 1,228.00 1,890.50 1,519.00 1,313.00 1,787.00
Buckwheat 13.00 7.00 20.00 2.50 10.00 50.00 2.00
Irish Potatoes 339.00 378.00 289.00 233.75 294.00 305.00 362.00
Sweet Potatoes 6.00 4.00 9.00 10.12 6.00 8.00 7.00
Sorghum 21.00 22.00 54.00 44.75 15.00 40.00 57.00
Castor Beans   0.50   12.00   10.00  
Cotton 0.50   0.25 1.00      
Flax       15.50 6.00    
Hemp           0.25  
Tobacco 0.50 2.00   1.00 0.50 1.00 1.00
Broom Corn     10.00 40.00   25.00  
Millet and Hungarian 1,029.00 1,308.00 1,305.00 1,655.75 2,415.00 1,871.00 1,355.00
Timothy Meadow 12.00 16.00 29.00 1.00   90.00 4.00
Clover Meadow   22.00   20.50      
Prairie Meadow 6,618.00 5,071.00 4,575.00 5,768.00 1,601.00 706.00 1,311.00
Timothy Pasture   14.00       1.00 7.00
Clover Pasture 0.50 2.00 39.00   4.00 1.00  
Blue-Grass Pasture 1.00 2.00 17.00     7.00 5.00
Prairie Pasture 4,952.00 4,952.00 1,619.00 3,226.00 3,814.00 6,393.00 6,742.00

Total 24,415.50 23,005.50 22,805.25 30,131.37 30,147.50 33,422.25 40,042.00

Increase in 6 years, 64+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 10.66 per cent.

RANK of Davis County in the Crops named below, as to Acreage, and in Cultivated Acreage for the years mentioned in the foregoing table.

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.

Wheat 22 16 11 12 14 26 19
Corn 42 16 32 36 36 32 35
Total Acreage in all Crops 37 29 34 25 28 39 39

STATEMENT showing the Acres, Product and Value of Principal Crops for 1878, together with the Increase and Decrease as compared with 1877.

FROM 1877.
IN 1878.
FROM 1877.
IN 1878.
FROM 1877.

Winter Wheat - bu. 6,446.00 2,165.00 in. 161,150.00 105,497.00 in. $ 93,467.00 $57,292.55 in.
Rye - bu. 4,942.00 84.00 in. 123,550.00 7,616.00 de. 37,065.00 2,284.80 de.
Spring Wheat - bu. 27,104.00 16,560.00 in. 406,560.00 164,048.00 in. 191,083.20 45,576.00 in.
Corn - bu. 35,686.00 2,474.00 de. 1,534,498.00 182,702.00 de. 230,174.70 10,233.30 de.
Barley - bu. 2,128.00 1,212.00 de. 46,816.00 53,384.00 de. 13,108.48 14,947.52 de.
Oats - bu. 4,505.00 1,585.00 in. 189,210.00 46,130.00 in. 32,165.70 10,703.70 in.
Buckwheat - bu. 34.00 27.00 in. 408.00 324.00 in. 326.40 259.20 in.
Irish Potatoes - bu. 806.00 125.00 in. 80,600.00 32,930.00 in. 24,180.00 345.00 in.
Sweet Potatoes - bu. 27.00 16.00 in. 2,916.00 1,266.00 in. 2,361.96 876.96 in.
Sorghum - gall. 210.00 71.00 de. 24,150.00 8,165.00 de. 12,075.00 4,082.50 de.
Castor Beans - bu. 70.00 46.00 de. 700.00 692.00 de. 875.00 517.00 de.
Cotton - lbs.   15.00 de.   2,550.00 de.   255.00 de.
Flax - bu. 68.00 35.00 de. 884.00 352.00 de. 884.00 413.80 de.
Hemp - lbs. 1.50 1.50 in. 1,380.00 1,380.00 in. 82.80 82.80 in.
Tobacco - lbs. 3.00 7.88 de. 2,220.00 5,831.20 de. 222.00 583.12 de.
Broom Corn - lbs. 216.00 140.62 in. 172,800.00 112,496.00 in. 6,480.00 4,218.60 in.
Millet and Hungarian - tons 1,283.00 621.00 de. 3,849.00 1,863.00 de. 13,471.50 6,520.50 de.
Timothy Meadow - tons 169.00 165.25 in. 202.80 198.30 in. 912.60 892.35 in.
Clover Meadow - tons 9.00 1.25 in. 12.60 1.75 in. 56.70 7.87 in.
Prairie Meadow - tons 1,650.00 116.00 de. 2,640.00 185.60 de. 6,600.00 464.00 de.
Timothy Pasture - acres 14.00 6.00 de.        
Clover Pasture - Acres 4.00 2.67 in.        
Blue-Grass Pasture - acres            
Prairie Pasture - acres 4,922.00 1,855.00 in.        

Total 90,297.50 18,124.41 in.     $ 665,592.04 $79,953.49 in.

Old Corn on Hand. - Old corn on hand March 1, 1878, 216,645 bushels, or an average of 201 bushels to each family.

Dairy Products. - Number of cheese factories, 1; capital invested, $700. Manufactured in 1875, 375 lbs.; in 1878, 2,680 lbs.; increase, 2,305 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 85,615 lbs.; in 1878, 95,005 lbs.; increase, 9,390 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 2,606; in 1878, 2,466; decrease, 140. Mules and asses, in 1877, 135; in 1878, 143; increase, 8. Milch cows, in 1877, 2,148; in 1878, 2,393; increase, 245. Other cattle, in 1877, 4,874; in 1878, 4,804; decrease, 70. Sheep, in 1877, 161; in 1878, 246; increase, 85. Swine, in 1877, 3,119; in 1878, 6,735; increase, 3,616,

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 6; value of sheep killed by dogs, $18.

Wool. - Clip of 1877, 260 lbs.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $69,836.04.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 85. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 3,325; pear, 591: peach, 47,900; plum, 1,955; cherry, 1,719. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 9,391; pear, 1,270; peach, 35,381; plum, 3,097; cherry, 7,703

Herd Law. - The herd law has been in force since 1876. Public sentiment is divided, the farmers on the high prairies believing it to be a benefit, while those in the valleys, who own considerable stock, are adverse. The general opinion, however, is favorable to the law. It has practically suspended fence building and hedge growing, and has largely stimulated grain growing, but has retarded stock raising. The upland farmers who have no command of timber, claim that farming can not be made a success without the law to protect their crops, while the valley farmer, who has timber for fencing, and who desires to raise stock, opposes it, because it restricts his range, and compels him to employ herders. The law is generally conceded to be a good one, but is yet an experiment in the county.

Fences. - Stone, 28,854 rods; cost, $57,708. Rail, 40,053 rods; cost, $56,074.20. Board, 14,139 rods; cost, $20,219.77. Wire, 22,907 rods; cost, $16,722.11. Hedge, 27,431 rods; cost, $13,715.50. Total rods of fence, 133,384; total cost, $164,439.58.

Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 25; pounds of honey, 500; wax, 25.

Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $22,979.

Manufactures. - Jackson township: water flouring mill, capital, $5,000; cheese factory, capital, $700. Milford township: steam saw and grist mill, capital, $5,000. Smoky Hill township: steam flouring mills, capital, $6,000; water flouring mill, capital, $20,000; soda water manufactory, capital, $1,000. Junction City: steam furniture and cabinet manufactory, capital, $1,000; hand power furniture and cabinet manufactory, capital, $1,000; carriage and wagon manufactory, capital, $2,000; brewery, capital, $1,500; broom factory, capital, $500; steam salt works, capital, $5.000.

Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $283,358; railroad property, $278,498.18; total assessed valuation of all property, $1,377,406.18; true valuation of all property, $2,295,676.97. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $134,700; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, 10 -.

Newspaper History. - The Junction City Sentinel was the name of the first newspaper ever published in Junction City or Davis county. Its editor was Ben H. Keyser, and in politics it was Democratic. The first number of the Sentinel was issued in June, 1858. In July, 1859, Sam Medary, Jr., took charge of the Sentinel, and changed its name to the Kansas Statesman. In the spring of 1860, the paper was purchased by W. W. Herbert and William Cuddy, and its publishers were G. W. Kingsbury and W. S. Blakely, its politics being still Democratic. In September following, Mr. Kingsbury retired from the paper, leaving its publication in the hands of W. S. Blakely. In November of that year the Statesman died. The printing material fell into the hands of H. T. Geery, who, shortly after the demise of the Statesman, started the Frontier Guide, the publication of which was continued until September, 1861, when its name was changed to the Kansas Frontier, Mr. Geery still being the publisher. Geo. E. Dummer succeeded Mr. Geery as publisher of the Frontier in November, 1861. The politics of the Frontier was Democratic. The office was partially destroyed by soldiers from Fort Riley on the 10th of March, 1862, and on the 15th of the same mouth the soldiers made the office another visit, completely demolished it, and forced its editor, Mr. Dummer, to enlist in the Union army. This completes the history of the Junction City Sentinel through all of its changes.

On the 12th of September, 1861, the first number of the Smoky Hill and Republican Union was issued by George W. Kingsbury, editor and proprietor. It was a six-column folio sheet, and was Union in politics. On the 30th of January, 1862, the publication of the paper was assumed by W. S. Blakely and George W. Martin. November 19, 1864, they were succeeded by Dunlap & Russell. They changed its name to the Courier, and after issuing two numbers the paper was suspended. April 15, 1864, George W. Martin revived the paper under the name of Junction City Union. April 28, 1866, the publishing firm took the name of Porter & Martin. On the 1st of November, 1866, a daily issue was commenced, which lived until July 29, 1867. Morris H. Porter retired from the publishing firm May 11, 1867. On the 15th of May, 1869, John W. Delany became associated with Mr, Martin, but retired from the firm on the 18th of December of that year. From August 9, 1873, until March 6, 1875, it was edited by Noble L. Prentis, Geo. W. Martin still being publisher and proprietor. From March 6, 1875, until December of that year, the editors were G. W. Martin and H. H. Snyder. From December, 1875, until June, 1876, Mr. Martin was sole editor. John E. Rastall assumed editorial charge in June, 1876, retaining that position until August, 1877, when he retired. Mr. Martin again assumed its editorship upon the retirement of Mr. J. E. Rastall, and continued in capacity of editor until September 15, when S. S. Prouty became editor. On the 1st of October, 1877, the office was leased to Mr. Prouty for two years, and since the date of that lease he has been editor and publisher. G. W. Martin has been sole proprietor of the paper since December, 1869.

The first number of the Junction City Avalanche appeared July 17, 1868. It was published by A. S. Ruling, and was Democratic in politics. It expired October 10, 1868, and in November, 1869, the printing material was removed to Wamego.

On the 14th of August, 1873, the Junction City Tribune made its debut under the management of Henry Farey and Theodore Alvord. Politics, Independent. March 12, 1874, Mr. Farey retired. Its publication was continued by Mr. Alvord until July 1, 1875, when the paper fell into the hands of John Davis & Sons, who are still conducting it. Independent Greenback is its politics.

Schools. - Number of organized districts, 40; school population, 1,862; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $34.58; females $27.29. School houses built during 1878, stone, 4. Total number of school houses, 34; log, 2; frame, 12; stone, 20. Value of all school property, $34,882. No report on shade trees.

Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 2; membership, 125; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $3,000. Congregational: organizations, 2; membership, 64; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $5,000. Episcopal: organizations, 1; membership, 25; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $5,000. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 4; membership, 98; church edifices, 1; value of church property $4,000. Presbyterian: organizations, 2; membership, 150; church edifices, 1; value of church property, $15,000. Roman Catholic: organizations, 3; membership, 1,500; church edifices, 2. Universalist: organizations, 1; membership, 25.

* Jefferson township has been organized since census was taken.