Return to Index

Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report

Doniphan County


Map of Doniphan County - 1878

Doniphan county is one of the original counties of the Territory, boundaries defined by first Territorial Legislature in the summer 1855, substantially as they now exist. Gov. Reeder's proclamation, November 8, 1854, divided the Territory into sixteen election districts; what is now Doniphan county being designated the 14th Council District, with three voting precincts: Doniphan, Wolf Creek and Burr Oak.

First white inhabitants were Rev. Samuel M. Irvine and wife, of Pennsylvania; coming here as missionaries to the Indians, they located in the year 1837, about one mile east of the present town of Highland, near which they have since lived. The mission, which they at once organized, was maintained until after the settlement of the Territory by whites, when it expanded into a college, known as "Highland University," one of the oldest literary institutions in the State.

Doniphan county is essentially an agricultural community; although one of the smallest counties in territorial area, is very thickly settled outside of town population.

The county was organized in 1855.

Population in 1860, 8,083; in 1870, 13,969; increase in ten years, 5,886; population in 1875, 13,943; decrease in five years, 26; population in 1878, 15,122; increase in eighteen years, 7,039. Rural population, 10,585; city or town population, 4,537; per cent. of rural to city or town population, 70.

* POPULATION of 1878, by Townships and Cities.
Burr Oak 1,165 Center 2,377 Iowa 3,724
Marion 785 Washington 2,048 Wayne 2,010
Wolf River 3,013        

Face of the Country. - Bottom land, 25 per cent.; upland, 75 per cent.; forest (Government survey), 16 per cent.; prairie, 84 per cent. Average width of bottoms, one mile; general surface of the country, undulating; eastern part of the county, bluffy.

Timber. - Average width of timber belts - on the Missouri river, one mile; other streams, one-quarter to one-half mile. Varieties: principally walnut, hickory, oak and cottonwood.

Principal Streams. - Wolf river runs in a northeast direction through the county. It has several tributaries, and there are numerous small streams, some flowing northeast, others east and southeast, all draining toward the Missouri, which forms the eastern and northern boundaries of the county. The county is well supplied with springs; good well water at from 10 to 60 feet.

Coal. - None of any consequence developed.

Building Stone, etc. - No report as to extent, quality and variety of building stone, but there is believed to be plenty in the county. Good pottery clay is said to have been discovered, but it has not been worked.

Railroad Connections. - The St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad crosses the Missouri at Elwood, on the splendid new iron bridge, and traverses the entire extent of the county in a westerly direction; principal stations: Elwood, Wathena, Troy and Severance. The Atchison & Nebraska Railroad crosses the southern line of the county near the centre, and leaves the county near its northwestern corner; principal stations: Doniphan, Troy, Highland Station, Iowa Point and White Cloud. The St. Joseph & Topeka Railroad follows the St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad to Wathena; thence in a southwesterly direction to Doniphan, where it joins the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad.

Agricultural Statistics. - Acres in the county, 242,560; taxable acres, 236,015; under cultivation, 128,539, cultivated to taxable acres, 54.46 per cent.; increase of cultivated acres during the year, 1,508.25.

Value of Garden Produce, Poultry and Eggs Sold during the Year. - Garden produce, $1,475; poultry and eggs, $5,929.

Old Corn on Hand. - Old corn on hand March 1st, 1878, 524,691 bushels, or an average of 173 bushels to each family.

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

CROPS. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.
Winter Wheat 13,139.00 13,191.00 21,443.00 3,002.00 14,195.00 16,318.00 27,467.00
Rye 722.00 722.00 463.00 217.00 4,065.00 2,522.00 2,355.00
Spring Wheat 2,908.00 8,837.00 7,702.00 389.00 5,466.00 3,427.00 8,016.00
Corn 50,511.00 45,629.00 41,494.00 84,107.00 50,207.00 68,633.00 55,415.00
Barley 4,934.00 5,778.00 4,081.00 87.00 8,857.00 7,464.00 1,539.00
Oats 10,181.00 7,594.00 6,603.00 479.00 8,428.00 7,853.00 8,039.00
Buckwheat 64.00 29.00 9.00 695.00 118.00 78.00 73.00
Irish Potatoes 753.00 823.00 704.00 1,000.00 1,022.75 934.00 1,008.00
Sweet Potatoes 23.00 7.00 2.00 10.00 5.50 9.00 8.00
Sorghum 85.00 73.00 60.00 116.00 226.25 199.00 83.00
Castor Beans   0.50   2.00   17.00 13.00
Flax 26.00   18.00 34.00 13.00 1.00 10.00
Hemp 328.00 215.00 2,400.00   138.00 58.00 28.00
Tobacco 2.00 3.00 1.50   30.12 23.00 1.00
Broom Corn     32.00 86.00 119.00 67.00 104.00
Millet and Hungarian 481.00 482.00 653.00 1,927.00 902.25 592.00 260.00
Timothy Meadow 646.00 646.00 693.00 38.00 676.25 999.00 2,048.00
Clover Meadow 474.00 474.00 191.00 30.00 51.25 95.00 331.00
Prairie Meadow 4,229.00 3,955.00 2,729.00 3,607.75 5,572.00 6,885.00 6,311.00
Timothy Pasture 194.00 59.00 305.00 104.00 171.00 9.75 178.00
Clover Pasture 195.00 43.00 121.00 52.00 2.00 80.00 115.00
Blue-Grass Pasture 158.00 168.00 185.00 1,507.75 81.00 1,232.00 368.00
Prairie Pasture 6,681.00 8,722.00 4,127.00 8,940.00 9,415.00 9,535.00 14,769.00

Total 96,734.00 97,450.50 94,016.50 106,430.50 109,761.37 127,030.75 128,539.00

Increase in six years, 32+ per cent.
Average increase per annum, 5.33+ per cent.

RANK of Doniphan 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.


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.


LARGE YIELD. - Reported by J. R. Pierce, of White Cloud:

White Corn. - On Section 16, Township 1, Range 19, I raised this crop of three and a half acres; about three-fourths of the field being upland, western slope; west side of field being valley land composed of decayed vegetation, black loam 15 feet deep. This valley land produced 133 bushels per acre, allowing three measures for a bushel. Average yield of entire piece, about 83 bushels per acre. Corn was planted May 10, 1878, and harvested second week in October. Cultivated by plowing once with double-shovel plow when corn was about twelve inches high; then, two weeks later, went through with hoe and cut out all the weeds, and threw a little earth to each hill. The field had been in pasture twelve years, and the above was the first crop. It was plowed May 1st and 2d, and harrowed once before planting.

Cost of raising the crop as follows:

Paid for breaking 3 1/2 acres $7.00
Harrowing same 1.50
Planting 1.50
After cultivation 5.50
Cribbing, at 3 cent. per bushel 8.70
Total cost of crop $24.20

You will notice the breaking cost more than plowing of old land would have done.

Dairy Products. - Cheese manufactured in 1875, - lbs.; in 1878, 1,140 lbs.; increase, 1,140 lbs. Butter manufactured in 1875, 163,650 lbs.; in 1878, 191,974 lbs.; increase, 28,324 lbs.

Farm Animals. - Number of horses, in 1877, 4,413; in 1878, 4,142; decrease, 271. Mules and asses, in 1877, 1,106; in 1878, 1,276; increase, 170. Milch cows, in 1877, 4,841; in 1878, 4,008; decrease, 833. Other cattle, in 1877, 6,881; in 1878, 7,398; increase, 517. Sheep, in 1877, 1,023; in 1878, 888; decrease, 135. Swine, in 1877, 21,074; in 1878, 39,469; increase, 18,395.

Sheep Killed by Dogs. - Number of sheep killed by dogs, 70; value of sheep killed by dogs, $210.

Wool. - Clip of 1877, 2,195 lbs.

Value of Animals Slaughtered. - Value of animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter during the year, $200,433.88.

Horticulture. - Number of acres nurseries, 695. Number of trees in bearing: apple, 54,790; pear, 1,389; peach, 99,753; plum, 1,257; cherry, 10,777. Number of trees not in bearing: apple, 82,918; pear, 1,853; peach, 28,723,; plum, 918; cherry, 6,514.

Herd Law. - The hog herd law is only in force; it is regarded as a great advantage.

Fences. - Stone, 13,002 rods; cost, $22,753.50. Rail, 99,752 rods; cost, $119,702.40. Board, 368,131 rods; cost, $515,383.40. Wire, 14,859 rods; cost, $10,401.30. Hedge, 210,226 rods; cost, $136,646.90. Total rods of fence, 705,970; total cost, $804,887.50.

Apiaculture. - Number of stands of bees, 937; pounds of honey, 17,040; wax, 218.

Value of Agricultural Implements. - Amount invested in agricultural implements, $44,157.

Manufactures. - Center township: steam flouring mill, capital, $15,000. Iowa township: steam saw mills, 3; capital invested, $4,300; steam flouring mills, 2; capital invested, $11,000. Washington township: steam elevator, capital, $1,000; steam flouring mills, 2; capital invested, $9,000; water power grist mill, capital, $1,000. Wayne township: steam saw mill, capital, $2,000; steam flouring mill, capital, $5,000. Wolf River township: water flouring mill, capital, $20,000.

Valuation and Indebtedness. - Assessed valuation of personal property, $582,437; railroad property, $343,000.63; total assessed valuation of all property, $3,048,761.63; true valuation of all property, $5,081,269.38. Total indebtedness of county, township, city and school districts, $441,871.54; per cent. of indebtedness to assessed valuation, 14+.

Newspaper History, - The Doniphan Constitutionalist was the first paper issued in the county. It was established in 1856, by Thomas J. Key. It was ultra Pro-Slavery Democratic in politics. The paper suspended in the latter part of July, 1858, and the material was removed to Iowa Point, where it was used in publishing the Inquirer.

The Chief, Free-State and afterwards Republican, was first issued by Sol. Miller, at White Cloud, in the latter part of May, 1857, the first number being, however, dated June 4. It has been published ever since by the same proprietor, being the oldest paper in Kansas under one continuous management. July 4, 1872, the paper was removed to Troy, where it is now published.

About June, 1857, the Era was started at Geary City. It was Free-State in politics, and aspired to a literary character. The editors announced were, Dr. E. H. Grant, Republican, Joseph Thompson, Democrat, and Earl Marble, American. Grant was the first to retire, and was followed shortly afterward by Thompson. The publication was suspended in the latter part of the summer or the fall of 1858.

The Elwood Advertiser was started in July, 1857, by Fairman & Newman. It was neutral in politics. Fairman was a mild Free-State man, from Pennsylvania, while Newman was a fire-eating Alabamian. They continued it but a few months, when it was taken hold of by a company. While under this management, Ed. Russell was the leading editorial writer, and Thomas A. Osborn also contributed to its columns. The paper several times temporarily suspended, and, in 1858, Jack Merrick ran it for a short time. In the winter of 1858-9, it passed into other hands, and a paper called the Free Press took its place.

The Crusader of Freedom was started early in 1858, at Doniphan, by James Redpath. In politics it was Abolitionist. The late Gen. J. H. Lane had acquired a large interest in the town, and Redpath's paper was his personal organ, advocating his claims for the Presidency. Redpath and Lane quarreled, and the paper, after one issue had been filled with bitter denunciations of the General, suspended about the 20th of May, of the same year.

In the latter part of July, 1858, the material of the Doniphan Constitutionalist was removed by Mr. Key to Iowa Point, where he started the Iowa Point Enquirer - Pro-Slavery Democratic. The Enquirer was published but a short time, when it suspended, Mr. Key returning to the South. In the following winter, Thomas J. Vanderslice undertook to resuscitate the Enquirer, but issued only two or three numbers.

In the fall of 1858, the Palermo Leader was started by F. W. Emery and Charles Perham. It was Republican in politics. It lived about two years. The material was purchased, in 1862, by Peter H. Peters, and removed to Marysville.

The Elwood Free Press was established in the winter of 1858-9, with the material of the defunct Advertiser. Frank and Robert Tracy were the publishers; D. W. Wilder and A. L. Lee, editors. It was Republican in politics. During the same year the paper was published by H. D. Hunt, who continued its publication until October, 1861, when it was suspended. The material was purchased by John T. Snoddy, in the spring of 1864, who removed it to Mound City, Linn county, where it was used in the publication of the Border Sentinel.

The publication of the Troy Democrat was commenced by Joseph Thompson in the fall of 1858, with the material of the old Geary City Era. It was Democratic in politics. The paper survived but a few weeks, when the material was removed to St. Joseph, Mo., and employed in the publication of the Free Democrat.

In the latter part of 1858, or early in 1859, the Highlander was started at Highland. Faulkner & Seaver were the publishers, and T. P. Herrick, afterwards Colonel of the Seventh Kansas, was the editor. The paper was neutral in politics. The mechanical department was under the charge of Frank A. Root. After an existence of a few months, the paper was suspended, and the material removed to Savannah, Mo., where it was used in the publication of a paper.

In the fall of 1859, the Iowa Point paper was resuscitated, under the name of the Dispatch, by Ansel Watrous, Jr., and J. W. Biggers. It was Democratic in politics. The paper was continued until the latter part of the spring of 1860, the last few weeks under the control of Charles M. Fisher, a printer from Richmond, Va.

In the fall of 1860, the Doniphan County Dispatch was started at Troy, by J. W. Biggers, with the material of the deceased Iowa Point paper. It was Democratic in politics, but only survived during the presidential canvass of that year. In 1861, the material was removed to Hiawatha, and used in publishing the Brown County Union.

In the fall of 1860, the Doniphan Post was started at Doniphan, by George and William Rees. George Rees conducted the office - William, his father, remaining at Keokuk, Iowa. The Post was moderately Democratic. It was published a little over a year, suspending in 1861.

In April, 1862. Dr. E. H. Grant purchased the material of the Doniphan Post, removed it to Troy, and commenced the publication of the Doniphan County Patriot, a Republican and Lane organ. In 1863, Frank Tracy took an interest in the Patriot, which continued under their control until the spring of 1864, when it was absorbed by the Investigator.

In February, 1864, a company of gentlemen purchased the material of the Holt County News, at Oregon, Missouri, removed it to Troy, and commenced the publication of the Troy Investigator, an anti Lane Republican paper. During the spring, it absorbed the Patriot, and continued as the Investigator, until after the November election. H. C. Hawkins was the editor. The Patriot material was afterwards purchased by H. P. Stebbins, taken to Hiawatha, and used in publishing the Sentinel.

In the winter of 1864-5, the Troy Investigator was superseded by the Doniphan County Soldier, published by S. H. Dodge. It was under this name a few months, and then gave way to a new publisher and a new name.

The Troy Reporter succeeded upon the remains of the Soldier, during the year 1865. It continued Republican, and was now under the control of Joseph H. Hunt, a brother of H. D. Hunt, of the Elwood Free Press. Mr. Hunt continued the publication until the spring of 1866, when he died from the effects of injuries received by falling from the roof of his office building. His wife under took to continue the publication, assisted by Theodore S. Alvord; but Robert Tracy soon purchased the establishment, and continued the Reporter until April, 1867, when it was removed to Wathena.

The Wathena Reporter was an offshoot of the Troy Reporter. It was removed to Wathena in April, 1867, by Robert Tracy, who soon sold it to E. H. Snow and G. W. Larzelere, and returned to Troy. After some months, Mr. Snow withdrew, leaving the paper in the hands of Mr. Larzelere. It afterwards passed into the hands of his father, Hon. A. Larzalere. In 1870, F. H. Drenning and Joel Holt purchased the office. In 1871, Mr. Holt, having been elected County Attorney, removed to Troy, leaving Drenning proprietor of the Reporter, who conducted its publication until the spring of 1873, when the paper was sold to W. T. Stewart. The latter gentleman published the Reporter until the last of April, 1877, when the office was sold and removed to Troy. It was Republican under all its proprietors.

The Doniphan County Republican (politics indicated by its name) was started in November, 1868, the week after the Presidential election, by C. G. Bridges, who conducted its publication until January, 1871, when he sold it to Beale & Sanborn. In 1874, Mr. Sanborn retired from the office. Mr. Beale continued the publication until the last of June, 1875, when the office was purchased by the proprietor of the Chief, and the Republican discontinued. The Leavenworth Public Press is now printed on the material of the Republican.

The Doniphan Democrat was started in the town of Doniphan, in May, 1871, by J. J. Ricketts. It was Democratic in politics, and did not live more than a year. It was edited by Thomas Stivers, now local editor of the Atchison Champion. The outside pages of the Democrat were printed at the Atchison Patriot office, and Nelson Abbott, the publisher of the Patriot, was interested in the Democrat.

The paper at Doniphan was resuscitated in the summer of 1872, by Drs. J. J. & W. W. Crook, who called the paper the Herald - Democratic in politics. The office was removed to Leavenworth in a few weeks, and the Kansas Herald issued from it.

The White Cloud Leader, a Grange paper, was started in August, 1863, by Yard & Overholt. It lasted about two months. The material was removed to Hiawatha, where it was established permanently, in the shape of the Herald.

The Troy Bulletin was started in May, 1877, by C. G. Bridges, on the material of the Wathena Reporter office. It started as a Hayes Republican paper, but on the first of December, was changed to a Democratic paper, and still remains such.

The Highland Sentiniel, independent in politics, was started by George F. Hammar, in January, 1878. It is still published.

In February, 1878, the office of the Sabetha was removed to Wathena by E. A. Davis, and the publication of the Wathena Advance commenced. It was Greenback in politics. It suspended publication June 7, 1878.

Schools. - Number of organized districts, 69; school population, 5,650; average salary of teachers, per month, males, $40.80; females, $29.17. School houses built during 1878, none. Total number of school houses, 68; log, 1; frame, 58; brick, 7, stone, 2. Value of all school property, $101,000. No shade trees reported.

Churches. - Baptist: organizations, 6; membership, 225; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $6,000. Congregational: organizations, 2; membership, 47; church edifices, 2; value of church property, $7,000. Episcopal: organizations, 1; membership, 15; Lutheran: organizations, 2; membership, 100; church edifices, 2 value of church property, $4,000. Methodist Episcopal: organizations, 17; membership, 600, church edifices, 9; value of church property, $28,000. Presbyterian: organizations, 4; membership, 300; church edifices, 4; value of church property, $12,700. Roman Catholic: organizations, 5; membership, 2,000; church edifices, 4; value of church property, $2,000.

* Union township has been organized since census was taken.