The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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table of contents

Numbering error appears in the original text.  The correct page sequence is 262, 263a, 264a, 263b, 264b, 265.
(As sung by Attorney J. T. Armstrong D. B.)

I stood on the bridge at midnight.
And gazed at the slumbering town,
And laughed as I thought of the sleepers
Who were done so nicely brown.

Among the long black rafters
The wavering shadows lay
Of homesteaders cash embezzled,
And worthlessly thrown away.

And like those waters rushing.
Came fears fast trooping in
That perhaps my innocent victims
Numbered fewer than might have been.

How often, O, how often
In the days that have gone by
Have I slipped from towns in darkness
Leaving bills to magnify.

How often, O, how often,
Have l lied to maiden fair,
And the truth and honor within me
Are gems exceeding rare.

And my heart is hot and restless,
And constant it cannot be,
For its toughened reaching tendrils
Are ever roaming free.

And forever and forever
As long as the river flows,
As long as the jails don't hold me
I will add to others' woes,

The moon in its broken reflection,
W ill light me a path to go:
So I'll make tracks from this village,
To more geniel New Mexico.

Amstrong was very fond of singing Longfellow's poem which this cleverly parodies, and the effect of the verses was electrical.

The assessed valuation for this county in 1880 was $394,723 23, the amount of taxes collected was $16,872.10; this showed an increase over 1879 of nearly two hundred thousand dollars in valuation.

The first secret society to be organized in this county was the Masons, at Leota.  It was organized under a dispensation November 29, 1878.  Samuel L. Green was the worshipful master, (we cannot find a record of the other officers) and twelve brethren composed the first lodge.  At the next session of the grand lodge J. D. McCleverty was grand master and the committee on lodges under dispensation, recommended that owing to the fact that the worshipful master of Leota lodge was in the business of selling intoxicating liquors, and had been tried and found guilty and fined therefor (sic), recommended that the matter of continuing the dispensation be refered (sic) to the incoming grand master.  J. D. McCleverty, shortly after the close of the grand lodge appointed John Bissell, of Phillipsburg, and upon his recommendation McCleverty continued the dispensation until the 31st of December.  At the next session of the grand lodge the committee of lodges under dispensation recommended that owing to the county seat having been removed to Norton it was best for the craft that they be not granted a charter.  Upon motion of John H. Brown, the grand secretary was authorized to issue certificates of good standing to the members. and we find certificates were accordingly issued to the following: S. L. Green, L. P. Boyd, R. W. Ellis, C. Conkey, H. T. Carlisle, N. Weaver, J. H. Main, Geo. Waters, G. W. Hood, M.A. Morrison, A. D. Hoyt, J. A. Gaff, A. M. Kelly, J. G. Garton, J. A. Schesser, O. T. Clark, A.  S. Burroughs, S. L. Bishop, and the lodge was discontinued.

The preliminary steps toward organizing a Masonic lodge in Norton was taken September 10, 1879, at Graves Bros. hardware store by Albert Graves, W. R. Cannon, Henry Oliver, Wilson Adams, Samuel Means, R. H. Seymour, Wallace Harmonson and F. M. Lockard.  The lodge was organized May 19, 1880, by John Bissell with Albert Graves as W. M., Henry Oliver, S, W.; W. R. Cannon, J. W.  The present officers are W. D. Little, W. M.; F. S. Hazelton, S. W.; C. F. Shimeall, J. W. and has eighty members,

Laphtali lodge No. 310, located at Almena, was instituted by Master Workman, Watson M. Lamb, May 15, 1888, with the following: John B. Welpton, W. M.; John T. Harmonson, S. W.; Ira H Reeves, J. W. and ten 

Page 263a



table of contents

Numbering error appears in the original text.  The correct page sequence is 262, 263a, 264a, 263b, 264b, 265.


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