Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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There were two early settlers in this county who would be in Mound Valley township except for the fact that in 1870 more than two miles of our territory was given to Montgomery county. On June 3, 1866, Mr. Rutherford settled on the northeast quarter of section 4, in township 33, of range 17, and on December 10, 1866, R. M. Bennett, afterwards county treasurer, settled on the southeast quarter of section 5, in the same township.

The first white people to make settlement in Mound Valley township as now constituted were the families of Mr. McCormick and Mr. Courtney. If any one was there before them, he left no trace of his habitation. Joseph McCormick, with his wife Martha and his son Joseph C., and in company with them John M. Courtney and his wife Mary, came from Danville, Ill., and on July 24, 1866, took their respective claims in this township. Mr. McCormick settled on parts of sections 23 and 24, township 32, range 17, where he made his home until his death, on December 10, 1871, his wife having died the March preceding. Mr. McCormick lived in his wagon until he could build a log house, which he completed in about two months. He soon brought on a few goods, with which he traded with the Indians for their buffalo meat and such other things as they had to dispose of that he could use. Mr. Courtney settled on a part of section 26, township 32, range 17, which he improved and on which he lived till he moved to Cherryvale, where he now resides. John McMichael came in September, 1866, and settled on the same section as Mr. Courtney. In November, 1866, Eli Sparks settled on the southeast quarter of section 18, township 32, range 18.


Green L. Canada settled on the northeast quarter of section 17, township 33, range 18, January 12, 1867. William Jones and John M. Stigenwalt came February 20, 1867, Mr. Jones settled on the section with Mr. Courtney and Mr. McMichael, and Mr. Stigenwalt settled on the section with Mr. Sparks, where he lived on a well-improved farm until August 25, 1892, when he died from the effects of a kick by a horse, received the day before. John W. Claspell came in September, 1867. Samuel C. Hockett near that time settled on section 18, together with Mr. Sparks and Mr. Stigenwalt, while his daughter, Josie Hockett, took a claim north of him, on section 7, in Osage township.


J. G. Penix settled on the northwest quarter of section 25, township 32, range 17, on April 8, 1868, where he lived for fifteen years, made a good farm, and is now in Cherryvale, enjoying the fruits of his industry. D. S. Muncie took the southwest quarter of section 25, township 33, range 18, on which he built, in 1869, a one and one-half story frame house, 16 by 24 feet. The lumber for this he hauled from Chetopa. This was the first frame house in this part of the township. In 1870 Mr. Muncie sold his farm to J. H. Tibbits.


Mound Valley township was originally a part of what afterward became Osage and Canada townships. It was not until June 13, 1870, that, upon the petition of Henry Rohr and some 50 other residents of its territory, the commissioners made all order for the organization of four tiers of sections lying north and the same number lying south of the line between townships 32 and 33 in ranges 17 and 18, into a municipal township with the name of Mound Valley. The following officers were appointed for the new township: Josephus Moore, trustee; Alexander Honrath, clerk; J. M. Richardson, treasurer. At the same time, on the petition therefor, the order of the commissioners was made restraining stock from running at large in the night-time for the term of five years. On July 28, 1870, Jonas Parks was appointed constable, and S. C. Hockett was recommended for the appointment of justice of the peace.


The first settlement of this township as now constituted commenced in the fall of 1868, but there were only a few who came before the spring of 1869. The first settlers were scattered along Bachelor creek. Of these I may mention Leveret Wood, who came in the fall of 1868, and settled on the northeast quarter of section 1; the next spring John Singleton settled on the northwest quarter of section 1, and James H. Martin on the northeast quarter of section 2; Millard Sargent on the northwest quarter and his brother on the southwest quarter of the same section; Edward C. Sanford on the northwest quarter of section 3, Major Hope on the southeast quarter, and Calvin S. Tracy on the southwest quarter of section 36. All of these parties were located prior to the middle of July, 1869, at which time John J. Miles settled on the southwest quarter of section 34.

With the opening of 1870 many new parties came into the township, of whom I may mention Thomas Mahar and his sons, who settled on section 21. The settlement of this township was nearly completed when James Beggs, on March 16, 1871, settled on the southwest quarter of section 19.


In the original division of the county into municipal townships, made by the commissioners prior to the first election in the spring of 1867, the central portion of the county, embracing what is now Liberty, Labette, Mount Pleasant and Fairview townships, was made to constitute the township of Labette. The first official record we have of the formation, of this township is an order of the board made November 21, 1867, in which Labette township is numbered 6, and is declared to include townships 32 and 33, in ranges 19 and 20. It is possible that there was an election held in the township in the spring of 1867, and probably one was held in the fall of that year, but as to both of these the record is silent. The first election of which we have any record was held on April 7, 1868. At this election H. P. Reeding was elected trustee, M. H. Logan, clerk; J. F. Molesworth, treasurer; E. Reed and J. P. Peterson, justices of the peace; G. W. Springer and T. M. Abbott, constables, and Sam Lewis, road overseer. At the election in April, 1870, the following officers were elected: Newton Connor, trustee; J. L. Williams, clerk; Calvin Tracy, treasurer; G. P. Peters and G. J. Connor, justices of the peace; William Hanson and W. F. Hamman, constables. Within the next two months all of the territory, excepting township 32, range 19, which had theretofore been embraced in Labette township, was detached therefrom, and formed into other municipal townships. All the officers last elected resided within the territory thus detached, which left Labette township without any officers or organization. The last of June or fore part of July, 1870, a meeting of the citizens was held on the premises of John Alspaw, on the southwest quarter of section 15, and the following persons selected for township officers: Calvin Tracy, trustee; John Caldwell, clerk; William Collins, treasurer; William Hamman and Silas Rich, justices of the peace; John J. Miles and George Tracy, constables. It was decided to ask that the name of the township be changed from Labette to Mound. On July 11, 1870, the action of this meeting was presented to the commissioners. The request for a change of name for the township was refused, as the board considered they had no authority to change the name of the township. The officers selected at the citizens' meeting were appointed in part, and some of the offices seem to have been left vacant.


The settlement of this township commenced early in the spring of 1866. The first person whom I have been able to trace to this township is David C. Lowe, who settled on the southeast quarter of section 34, and about the same time James Springer on the northeast quarter of the same section, and William Springer, Jr., on the southeast quarter of section 27. After these the following settlements were made: James Shelledy, John V. and James Lewis, __ Latham, Enos Reed, James F. Molesworth, William Keiger, and Ed. Mercer. In June A. W. Richardson bought from William Springer, Jr., the claim on which he had settled, paying therefor $400. Mr. Springer had at the time some four or five acres broken out and planted to corn and garden truck. Rev. G. W. Richardson at the same time bought from Mr. Shelledy his claim to the northwest quarter of section 27, paying therefor $50. In December of this year G. P. Peters settled on the southwest quarter of section 36, and John Elliott on the southeast quarter of the same section. In the fall of 1867 Dr. W. J. Conner made his settlement in this township, and commenced the practice of his profession.


On July 4, 1867, the first celebration in the township was held on the claim of David C. Lowe. Wagon-boxes were turned upside down for tables; Samuel Cherry read the Declaration of Independence, and Elihu Greene delivered the oration. The drinking water was cooled with ice which G. P. Peters procured at Oswego.


The first business in the township was a store conducted by William and John Conner. It was located on section 35, which had been selected for the site of Neola, and was opened in the spring of 1868. Early in 1867 G. P. Peters; commenced running a blacksmith shop at his home, and in the spring of 1868 built a shop at Neola, on section 35. There was no other business, aside from farming until Labette was started, in 1870.


Township 32, range 20, originally formed a part of Labette township, and was detached therefrom and organized into a municipal township on May 20, 1870, on the petition of Enos Reed and 51 other citizens. The following officers were appointed: Samuel Lewis, treasurer; William R. Williams, clerk; R. W. Campbell, constable; Samuel T. Cherry was recommended for appointment as justice of the peace.


The commissioners made an order on July 27th, on the petition of T. D. Bickham and 68 other residents of the township, restraining stock from running at large in the night-time for five years, excepting during the months of January and February.


In 1868 the Methodists commenced holding services at the house of James F. Molesworth, on section 8; the ministers in charge of the Oswego circuit preached here.


There seems to be no dispute about Samuel J. Short being the first white settler in this township. It is said that he had located here before the war, and was driven off by the rebel Indians, and I am disposed to think that this is correct; but I shall only refer to his settlement in the summer of 1865. He came, probably the latter part of July, or early in August, and located on the southeast quarter of section 22, on the east side of the Neosho. During that fall a number of parties made settlement in the township, and of these I have learned the following names: Granville Reeves and William White came there the fore part of October, and located on section 34. On October 18th Charles E. Simons and his brother, Benjamin F. Simons, arrived, and located, the former on the southwest quarter of section 4 and the latter on the northwest quarter of section 9. Charles Simons at once went back and brouzht his family, arriving with them on his claim November 18th. John and William Olford and Andrew Hammond also arrived in October. In November Nathan D. Tower settled on the southwest quarter of section 27, but the next summer moved to the southeast quarter of section 30. Samuel Dunham located on section 29; Nelson Shipley on section 28; Charles Stewart on section 27; Samuel Coffield on section 27; Samuel and Jonathan Wilcox on section 16, the former on the east and the latter on the west side of the river; John Modisett on section 4. In December John Halford settled on the southwest quarter of section 16, and Mr. Lee on section 33. On December 24th Julius S. Waters arrived, and camped on Mr. Simon's claim, but soon thereafter located on section 33, in Neosho township; subsequently, however, he came back, and was for a long time a resident of Montaria township. It will thus, be seen that at the close of 1865 the township had quite a body of settlers, most of whom became permanent residents, and several of whom are still residing there.

Of those who came in 1866 I shall only attempt to mention a few. Dr. D. D. McGrath settled on the southwest quarter of section 4; Nehemiah Sage on the northwest quarter of section 8; Uriah Davis on the southwest quarter of section 7; Frank and Albert Brockus on the northeast quarter of section 20; R. S. Cornish on the southwest quarter of section 21; Robert Haggard on section 30; Bergen Van Ness on the northeast quarter of section 16; Alfred W. Jones on the northeast quarter of section 17. In December John S. Anderson located on the southwest quarter of section 8; Vincent Anderson on the southeast quarter of section 6; and Terry Anderson on the northeast quarter of section 7.


About tht first of February, 1867, the Anderson brothers brought a sawmill and located it upon C. E. Simons' claim, on section 4, and by the middle of the month had it in operation. From the lumber sawed here it is claimed the first frame house in the county was built.


At quite an early day R. S. Cornish put up a sorghum mill on his place, and for a number of years has carried on quite an extensive business in making sorghum for himself and his neighbors. He also raises a great many melons.


Montana township was laid off as it now exists at the time of dividing the county into precincts prior to its first election. There is no record of the formation of this township prior to November 21, 1867, when in the division of the county into townships it was ordered that "Montana township No. 2 shall include town 32, range 21." George Bennett, who resided in Montana township, was appointed justice of the peace June 8, 1866, by the Governor, and was the first civil officer in the county. I can find no record in any way referring to its officers for 1867, but it is probable A. W. Jones was its first trustee. At the election held April 5, 1868, C. B. Woodford was elected trustee; T. M. Brockus, clerk; D. Shultz, treasurer; Henry M. Minor and James Livesay, justices of the peace; John Livesay and Jonathan Wilcox, constables; and A. Warlow, road overseer.



The first settlers in Oswego township were Austin T. Dickerman and Samuel W. Collins, who located on section P, Mr. Dickerman on the northwest quarter, and Mr. Collins on the southwest quarter, on July 15, 1865. In August Jabez Zink settled on the northwest quarter of section 30, and in September Norris Harrer on section 19. The next settlement in the township was on what is now the town-site of Oswego, and is spoken of in connection with the history of Oswego city.

In November, 1865, D. M. Clover and C. C. Clover rode ponies from Kansas, City, crossing the Neosho at Trotter's ford, and arriving at Little Town about the middle of the month. There they found Clinton Rexford and N. P. Elsbree encamped, but no start yet made toward the erection of any building. They looked over the country for a few days, and on November 20, 1866, took four claims - one for each of them, and one each for D. W. Clover and John Clover. D. M. Clover's claim was located on the southeast quarter of section 10; C. C. Clover the northeast quarter of section 15. In taking his claim C. C. Clover had in view the establishment of a mill, and selected this place as affording the best water power he was able to find along the river. About the first of December they started back for their families, provisions, and material. D. M. Clover went only as far as Fort Scott, where he bought oxen and wagons, with which he returned to their claims and commenced getting out logs for houses. C. C. Clover went back to Iowa, where he purchased material for a sawmill and laid in a supply of groceries and provisions.

In November or December, 1865, about the time the Clovers located, W. C. Watkins settled on section 4, and two of the Kingsbury boys located in the southwest part of the township.


In January 1866, C. C. Clover and his brother, John R. Clover, together with H. A. Victor and one or two others, started from Iowa for this county, having three wagons with two horses each. They left Oskaloosa, Iowa, about the middle of January, and got to Oswego about the 10th of February. They found snow all the way down to Kansas City, but from there down to Oswego had pleasant weather and good roads. D. M. Clover had already commenced the construction of houses on each of the claims. That season Mr. Clover commenced the construction of a dam across the Neosho at a point some distance above the present dam, and about where the river makes the bend to the east. He did not succeed in getting his mill in operation until the fore part of 1868.

In the spring of 1866 John Clover went back to Iowa, and in July of that year again arrived in Oswego, having with him his father and mother, D. W. Clover and wife, James Stice, Wiley Jackson, __ Mason, John Burgess and David Stanfield. They located in the southeastern part of the township, some of them on the river and some on the prairie. On August 6th Cloyd G. Braught settled on the southwest quarter of section 34, and in September Simeon Holbrook on section, 3 and Randal Bagby on section 5, and in October Lewis W. Crain on section 4. On November 9th William Herbaugh and Moses B. Jacobs arrived; the former located north and the latter south of the town-site.


About November 1, 1867, C. Montague settled on the southwest quarter of section 5, and on November 11th F. Swanwick bought the claim of W. C. Watkins and located on section 4.


On July 4, 1866, the settlers of this part of the county assembled at Oswego and held their first celebration.


Capt. Clover had some of the machinery here for his mill in the spring of 1866, but it took so long to build the dam across the Neosho that he did not get it running till 1868. The first mill to be put in operation in the township was brought here November 9, 1866, by M. B. Jacobs, but he did not get it started till the spring of 1867. It was located on his claim, just south of town. It was thought better to haul the logs from the woods to the mill on the prairie and thus have the lumber where it could be procured easily, than to locate the mill in the woods and thus cause the lumber to be hauled out over the muddy bottoms.


This township from the first has had the same territory as is now included within its limits. It was organized at the time of the division of the county into precincts for the first election. The first official record of its organization now to be found is the order of the commissioners made November 21, 1867, dividing the county into townships, in which they ordered that "Oswego township, No. 3, shall include town 33, R. 21." The first officer in this township was C. H. Talbott, who was appointed justice of the peace by the Governor in the fall of 1866. He seems to have appointed Andy Kaho constable, to serve whatever process was issued by him. These were probably the only civil officers of the township prior to its organization. I have not been able to learn the names of all the officers who were elected in April, 1867. D. W. Clover was one of the justices of the peace elected at that time, and probably J. F. Newlon was the other; Andy Kaho was elected constable. On April 5, 1868, the following officers were elected: R. W. Wright, trustee; S. Reardon, clerk; Norris Harrer, treasurer; R. J. Elliott and J. F. Newlon, justices of the peace; A. Kaho and F. D. Howe, constables; Ephriam Shanks, road overseer.