Transcribed from History of Bourbon County, Kansas : to the close of 1865 by T. F. Robley. Fort Scott, Kan.: Press of the Monitor Book & Print. Co., 1894.

1894 Robley's History of Bourbon County, Kansas

1857]NEW TOWNS.61



THE county officers at the beginning of 1857 remained about as they had been in 1856. A. Hornbeck was County Treasurer. The same Board of County Commissioners, and B. F. Hill was still Sheriff. The full representation in the Legislature was: Blake Little in the Council, W. W. Spratt and B. Brantley in the House. Blake Little had been elected to succeed William Barbee, who died sometime before. Mr. Little was quite an old man, and always regarded as a good citizen. He was Pro-slavery in politics. His son John H. and daughter Mary were living at Fort Scott with him. He left here in 1859 and went to Arkadelphia, Arkansas.


The second session of the Territorial Legislature was convened at Lecompton on the 12th of January. Among the laws passed was an act incorporating the town of Sprattsville in Bourbon County, an act establishing a State road from Barnesville to Cofachique. Sprattsville was near where Dayton now is. It never advanced in "growth and population" further than the survey


stakes for corner lots. It perished. It was located by W. W. Spratt, who was that year in the Legislature.

The dense population in this county at that time seemed to require the "building up" of more towns. Already foundations for future cities were being laid, which in the near future were to become "busy marts of trade," "manufacturing and railroad centers;" have the machine shops and vote bonds, and have a macadam tax, and a cracker factory. The probable location of the depot was another question of vast moment. It must not be so located that it would draw business to one point of the town at the expense of another. That must be guarded against. Everyone with a piece of land suitable for an "addition" said he would guard against it if it took half the land he had.

All these things were within the vision of the founders, although the nearest railroad was yet two hundred miles away.


Mapleton was first located in May, 1857. The Town Company were J. C. Burnett, E. P. Higby, Mr. Morton, B. B. Newton, S. W. Cheever and D. Scott. This Company soon afterwards abandoned the town project and was dissolved.

Afterwards a new Company was organized by Wm. Baker, Dr. S. O. Himoe, A. Wilson, John Hawk, James Huffnagle and M. E. Hudson. This Company first called the town Eldora, but after a time the name was changed back to Mapleton. Dr. S. O. Himoe was


appointed the first Postmaster on October 15th, 1857. E. P. Higby was appointed early in 1858 and continued the Postmaster for more than thirty years. E. Greenfield established the first store in 1858.

Mapleton has always been a prominent place in this county. It is located in the beautiful valley of the Osage, surrounded by an agricultural country unsurpassed, and a thrifty, intelligent people.


Rayville, of which considerable will be said hereafter, was located by the two Ray brothers. It was on the Osage, about halfway between the points now known as Ft. Lincoln and Mapleton. Rayville never became a great manufacturing center, either; but they manufactured some Bourbon County history there. It had at one time a store and a postoffice. But it finally perished, also, and was laid "under the sod and the dew" by the side of Sprattsville. It was too near Mapleton.


The means the people of Bourbon County then had for mail facilities and communication with the outside world were decidedly limited. They had a stage line established between Fort Scott and Jefferson City, Mo., and the stage, an old bob-tailed "jerky," such as is now to be seen only in "Wild West shows," made the trip once a week; that is, when the creeks were not up and there was no other preventing providence. This line brought in the Eastern mail, and its arrival and depart-


ure were important events. Col. Arnett was the local agent, and he conducted the business with characteristic flourish. Three times a week they had a horseback mail from Westpoint, Montevallo and Sarcoxie, Mo., Baxter Springs, Osage Mission and Cofachique. These radiating lines indicated the importance already attached to Fort Scott as a distributing point. All freight came on ox-wagons from Kansas City, Mo., down the old military road.

There were then but three saw mills in the county: one on the Little Osage, near the future site of Fort Lincoln; one on the same stream above Sprattsville, and one on the Marmaton six miles west of Fort Scott. There was an abundant growth of black walnut, sycamore, cottonwood, oak, coffee bean, linn, etc., along the Little Osage, Mill Creek, Marmaton and Drywood.


Good Bass Fishing on Mill Creek.
Good Bass Fishing on Mill Creek.