A Century of Greenwood County, KS History - Eureka Herald, 1968


Its History, Settlement, Soil, Climate and Productions

The first settlements were made on the Verdigris late in the year 1856, or early 1857; the first settlements on Fall River were made in July 1857, but we date the commencement of our substantial growth only so far back as 1865, or the close of the war, for the drought of 1860 and the succeeding four years of war partially de-populated instead of settling up our county. (Greenwood, at that time, being a border county where life and property were considered very insecure.) Since the close of the war, however, a large number of immigrants have settled among us from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and the states farther east.

School districts have been organized, school houses built, and schools and meetings are now common in every township in the county.

The main streams are the Fall River and Verdigris, the latter running through the northern and eastern portions of the county and the former running from the western or northwestern part to the southeastern portions; while between them are Willow Creek, Slate Creek, Wolf Creek and Bachelor Creek, each of which affords and ample supply of water and sufficient timber to meet the wants of a large settlement. South of Fall River, we have Spring Creek, Honey Creek, Otter Creek and other small streams, capable of sustaining a considerable settlement. The soil is generally good, although a portion is only fit for grazing purposes, while our valleys are as fertile as any in the world; and the upland would be considered very desirable in any of the older states. So far, farming has been confined almost exclusively to the valleys or bottoms, which produce excellent crops of wheat, oats, rye, barley, pumpkins, corn, potatoes, sorghum, melons, etc. The uplands have not been cultivated to any extent as yet, but the produce a luxuriant growth of grass and would undoubtedly yield good crops of the cereals, especially small grain. The climate and soil seem particularly adapted to the growth of wheat and rye. But that which our country most excels in, perhaps, is stock-growing, both in regard to quality and cheapness of production. Our broad prairies, covered with the freshest and most nutritious grasses, afford ample range for the largest herds of cattle, horses and sheep. The feeding grazing season is short (in fact, never commences with some farmers) and the grazing season correspondingly long, so the cost of raising any kind of stock is merely nominal, compared with the cost of raising the same in the older states, while the early springs, long summers and late falls give a growing season for stock twice as long as they have in most states. In fact, our steers, at two years old, are acknowledged by drovers to be as large as the three-year-olds of Missouri and northern Kansas. In our latitude, a farmer may keep 50 head of cattle without scarcely feeling the expense at all.

Fruit growing has proved a decided success, so far as tried. Large crops of peaches have been raised in the Fall River valley, and considerable quantities have been grown all over the county. Wild grapes, plums, gooseberries, pawpaws, etc. grow here in the greatest abundance.

Timber, in some parts of the county, is scarce while in other parts there is a plentiful supply of hackberry, walnut, oak, sycamore, elm, ash, hickory, mulberry, etc.

The supply of lime and sandstone is almost inexhaustible and makes excellent building and fencing material. Coal deposits exist in large quantities although no veins have been discovered of more than seven or eight inches in thickness. The coal has been used over the country in blacksmithing.

There is but very little government land in the county now, most of it having been entered at private entry, or under the homestead and pre-emption laws. There is, however, in the southern part of the county a tract known as the Osage Trust lands, on which there are yet many good claims with timber and water that are not taken by settlers. There is a strip of this land 11 limes wide in this county, which is rapidly filling up.

In conclusion, I desire to say that there is every encouragement for those seeking homes in a new country to settle in southern Kansas almost anywhere and especially in Greenwood County. If a man wishes to raise grain, or stock, or engage in the dairy business, his products will find a ready and largely remunerative home market. If he desires to find investment for capital, a thousand opportunities offer - if he desires to work by the day or month, he will find an active demand for both skilled and common labor. In short, if he has either money or his hands to work with, and is willing to use them, he can succeed. (Edwin Tucker, July 1868)


One evening in the early part of the week, we had an important arrival. Two strangers came in on the El Dorado road. From their portly bearing and distingue style, it was apparent that they were some important personages traveling incognito. At first they praised the town to the skies. They never had seen a more beautiful location. The citizens were evidently the cream of the crop. Prosperity beyond imagination was the future lot of Eureka. But "where could they get a little whiskey?" ­ having given what they had to a sick horse. On being informed this was a temperate community and none was sold, a change came over matters. They couldn't see it as they did at first.

The town was a filthy hole, and like all places where no whiskey is to be had, never would amount to a hill of beans. One of them had a nine-year-old boy who would make a better clerk than any in town. A prominent merchant ought to be drummed out of town for selling cigars at ten cents. The landlord was a lazy cuss for not getting up in the morning and shooting prairie chickens enough to supply the Hotel. The Herald would not live because it had not as big a subscription list as their exalted ideas demanded. Our young medical friend was a h___ of a looking doctor and, in fact, the whole town looked as if it was run by some miserable fellow.

They pretended to be looking for a store, but it is not possible for us to believe that they were anything less than Senators or Cabinet members. Like all great men, they were posted on business matters. Our merchants were advised to do a cash business and when a farmer had no ready cash, tell him to drive up a steer to trade for what he wanted.

P.S. They got some whiskey. Our enterprising druggist had sent to Lawrence for goods. Among the lot was a three-gallon jug of whiskey. They heard of it, waited some hours for the team to arrive, filled their bottles and went on their way rejoicing. (July 24, 1886)

In 1868, flour was $7.50 per hundred pounds; coffee, 30 cents; oats, 40 cents; wheat, $2.25; corn, 50 cents; hoop skirts, 90 cents to $2.25; and bacon, 22 cents.

The following report was made by F.G. Allis, county superintendent of schools in 1868: "No. 18 is a three months school taught by Mr. Guffey. Instruction and government both good, but I found the teacher barefooted, which, it seems to me is hardly becoming; a teacher should be an example to his scholars in all things. No. 4 taught by Dr. Dobyns 'played out' before I got there. Various reasons were assigned by I am unable to state what the true reason was." The following issue of the Herald carried a letter from Dr. Dobyns, explaining the reason for the school "playing out." There were no conveniences for writing in the school, no blackboards and but from three to six miserable excuses for benches, from five to six inches wide, and raised shanghie fashion 18 or 20 inches from the floor. The children were forced to spend several long, tedious school hours, their bodies cramped and distorted, their feet not half way to the floor, their limbs probably asleep up to their bodies from being cramped over such miserable seats. You send your children to school under all these difficulties and expect them to learn.


On Monday there was a large number of grasshoppers seen flying toward the south. Some few came down here. They have nearly all left without doing any damage. The main body went somewhere south but we have not learned where. On yesterday a few were seen in the air going northeast. (August 1868)

A Congregational Church will be organized in this place on the fourth Sabbath of this month. A preliminary meeting will be held on the Wednesday evening previous. (August 1868)

Coal of excellent quality is found in various parts of this county. A seam of good coal was struck while digging a well for the use of the mill in this place. (August 1868)

A squad of six men armed with Spencer Carbines passed through here this morning (November 13, 1868) going East. They said they had spent the summer out on the plains, hunting, etc. Very likely about six men of this style are missing from some regiment on the frontier.

We get our paper out this week, as the old darkey said, "cordin to circumstances." Short handed, and not having finished repairs on our office, we made slow work during the cold snap. However, we have secured competent assistance, and thanks to our friend Benson, our office is in better shape. If the clerk of the weather will do as well by us as the clerk of the county, we shall not freeze up any more. Meanwhile, though we issue a short supply of reading matter, we hope to be all right after this. We hope our friend will take the matter cooly - not quite so near freezing as we did though. (November, 1868)

A fine crop of Sunflower for sale, now growing on the Ramparts of the fort around the Herald office. We think our crop is better than those on the lands of the Town Company. Purchasers are invited to examine before buying. (7-17-68)

We expected to issue this number on Friday, but owing to an accident cause by the settling of the floor under the press, we are delayed a day. (7-17-78)

We killed a young rattlesnake in our office the other day. He came up through a hole in the floor which we have plugged up with a cob, to prevent such visitations in the future. (7-24-68)

(December 4, 1868)

This place is the county seat of Greenwood County, but has had an existence as a town only about six months, although the Town Company was organized some months before it was got in working order and a post office has been kept at the present town site since 1858.

Six months ago there was but one frame house in town, now there are 16 including a two-story hotel building and a commodious stone school house. Three dry goods and grocery stores and a drug store have been selling large quantities of foods at reasonable prices and a hardware store has been opened. A wagon shop is about to be opened in connection with the blacksmith shop, which has been in operation for some time.

An engine and boiler for a saw and grist mill has arrived and work will be pushed vigorously until they are in running order. The publication of the Eureka Herald (the only paper south and west of the Neosha Valley) was commenced several months ago and the paper is now receiving a liberal support. In addition to the above, we have the usual complement of county officers, attorneys, physicians, land agents, etc.

The town is situated on the north bank of Fall River, a beautiful stream running through one of the finest valleys in the state and is the center of a rich grain and stock growing region. The country around, in point of wealth and development of resources, is in advance of the town, having been settled 11 years, hence we have reason to expect a more rapid growth for Eureka in the future that it has in the past. There is certainly no better place in the state for enterprising business men, capitalists or mechanics to settle in and build up a lucrative business that this.

The territory south of us is rapidly filling up with an industrious class of farmers who must look to this place as their business point; in fact, there is no store of any description within 20 miles of Eureka. The town has an ample supply of pure water from never-failing springs in the south of the village.


Our buffalo hunters have all returned in safety, though some of the party had a pretty rough time. They left here about a month ago and traveled together as far as Wichita. There Hamrick and Stoddard started out to find hunting grounds on the Nenesca, or Good River, leaving the teams and provisions with Goff and Story, as they expected to return the next day. But owing to the Indians getting between them and their wagons, they were compelled to follow up the 19th regiment which had passed there two days before, Finding that the regiment was about used up, the horses having given out, the men deserting owing to being out of food, and no one seemingly to know where they were or which way to go and having had a severe storm lasting three days and snow having fallen to the depth of 18 inches, Hamrick and Stoddard determined to start back to Wichita while they could. They set out with no provisions at all, but on the first day out killed a buffalo and strapped enough meat to their saddles to last them to Wichita, where they arrived in eight days. They had to keep away from the timber to avoid Indians and were seven days without fire. Their horses had no food except what they got by pawing off the snow. They are men of more than ordinary grit or they never would have got through it at all.

They give a sorry account of the condition of the 19th regiment and fear its destruction by starvation.

Goff and Story had an easier time. They went about 40 miles from Wichita, killed some buffalo, and returned with a quantity of meat. Having all the provisions, they got along much better than the others, who, on one occasion, were reduced to the necessity of eating an owl. (December 11, 1868)

Nobody stole any wood in town last week; nobody had any to steal.

If the bullets ever whistled through Fort Montgomery as the winds did last week, we wonder where a soldier would have found a safe place in it.

The Eureka Literary Society met on Wednesday evening, discussed the question "Resolved that the good of society demands a law to prohibit the sale of liquor as a beverage." Decision in favor of the affirmative. Select readings and declamation then followed, which reflected credit upon parties engaged. The question "Resolved that females should be allowed to vote" was selected for the next meeting. The Society then adjourned.

Title Page

You are the [an error occurred while processing this directive] reader since 28 April 1997

Used by permission of the Eureka Herald 1997, for the KSGenWeb Project

Copyright ©1997  Debbie Wafford / SLC, Utah   drwaff@mail.aros.net

The KSGenWeb logo is copyrighted for the exclusive use of the KSGenWeb Project for display on official KSGenWeb Pages only. Unauthorized use of the contents of this page for profit/commercial ventures is expressly prohibited.

Home to Greenwood County

Home Page for the
Kansas State Library
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project