SEVERANCE.Severance was located in the summer of 1869, by C. C. Clonch, J. Severance and Dr. Gunn, the original town site consisting of forty acres, on the northeast quarter of Section 26, Town 3, Range 19.
The town received its name from one of its founders, J. Severance.
The post office was established during the fall of 1869, E. Gunn first officiating as Postmaster.
L. E. Gunn established the first store, and opened with a general stock.
In the winter of 1869, a hotel was built by Severance & Gunn. About the same time, C. C. Clonch deeded every alternate lot to Messrs. Severance & Gunn, in consideration of which they gave him a one-fourth interest in the hotel.
A blacksmith shop was located in the fall of 1869, by A. Porter. Dr. Granstaff, of Virginia, located as the first physician in about 1872.
The first school was taught in 1873 or 1874, in a frame building, erected for that purpose.
S. L. Ryan located in 1875, as the first lawyer.
The St. Joseph & Western Passenger Depot was built during the winter of 1874, S. L. Ryan, Agent.
In 1877, the place was incorporated as a city of the third class, and the first municipal election was held.
The Severance Silver Cornet Band was organized in 1879, George Bird, leader.
Severance is located on the Wolf River, ten miles west of Troy, the county seat, and is situated in the midst of the best agricultural section in the county. The city, although it cannot boast of being among the older places of the county, can lay claim to its being one of the best business towns on the St. Joseph & Western Railroad in the county.
The Methodists and Presbyterians each have organizations, the former possessing the only church edifice in the place.
There are at present the following business enterprises, trades, professions and societies represented:
General stores, four; drug stores, two; harness-shop, one; blacksmith shops, two; elevators, two; hotels, two; wagon and carriage shop, one; boot and shoe store, one; restaurant, one; lumber yard, one; meat market, one; hardware store, one; furniture store, one; millinery shop, one; livery stables, two; grist-mill, one; agricultural depots, two; barber-shop, one; lawyers, two; physicians, three; carpenters, ten; contractor and builder, one; plasterer, one; stone mason, one; job printer, one; and a lodge of Odd Fellows.
LEONA.On the 15th of June, 1873, a stock company was organized and incorporated under the laws of the State, J. W. Schock, President. The object of the company was to establish a shipping point on the St. Joseph & Western Railroad line, which would be easy of access to the farmers of the western part of the township (Wolf River). They finally chose the beautiful location on which the town now stands -- southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 3,* Range 19.
footnote:)*The name Delno was first proposed as a suitable name for the place, and it was sent into the Post Office Department, but was refused, on account of there being a place called Delano in the State. At the instance of David Kercher, the name Leona was proposed and accepted.
The company bought the land, sixteen acres, of David Kercher, and paid the Railroad Company in the neighborhood of $1,000, they agreeing to erect a depot, and built a switch three hundred feet in length.
In February, 1874, the company sold their right, title and interest to H. Gregg, for $400, he assuming its obligations.
The first building erected on the town site was a large warehouse (20x80) now owned by H. Gregg. This building was built by the town company in August, 1873, and was divided into three rooms; fifty feet were used for storage purposes; twenty feet used as a store, operated by Mailler & Bush, and ten feet for railroad purposes.
The Post office was established June, 1873, David Kercher, Postmaster. The office was located for some time in his house.
Dr. S. F. Blakely, of Troy, located as the first doctor. Afterward located at Severance.
In October, 1879, a school building was built in School District No. 45, on the town site, Miss N. Nesbit and Dr. Tays, teachers.
In the fall of 1881, the Baptist persuasion organized a church and held meetings in the schoolhouse, Rev. Alward, of Wathena, officiating.
Leona, at one time, had the reputation of shipping more grain than any other station on the road, and now ships more grain, for its size, than any other town in the County.
The following business enterprises, trades, professions and societies are represented in the place:
General stores, three; hardware, two; drug store, one; meat market, one; millinery and dressmaking establishment, one; black-smith shops, two; agricultural depots, two; lumber yard, one; harness shop, one; hotel, one; boarding-house; one; livery stable, one; elevators, two; ware grainhouses, two; grain buyers, three; carpenters, two; wagon- maker, one; blacksmiths, two; physician, one; one Odd Fellows Society, and a public library.
EAST NORWAY.East Norway, being founded by a company composed principally of Norwegians, received its name from their native country, Norway.
In the spring of 1869, an incorporated stock company was organized, composed of the following members: O. Nelson, G. Nelson, T. Steanson, N. G. Nelson, P. Nelson and A. Bennett. Following were the first officers : A. Bennett, President; N. G. Nelson, Secretary; O. Nelson, Treasurer. Present officers: T. Steanson, President; N. L. Nelson, Secretary and Treasurer.
The original town site consisted of eighteen acres, which was bought of John Hoverson; consideration $860. During the year 1870, they bought ten acres additional of G. Nelson, and donated it to the St. Joe & Western Railroad Company, said company agreeing to build a depot and side track.
Although the town was laid off in 1869, no buildings were erected until two years later, when A. Bennett built a grain warehouse, which he used for storing grain, and also for store purposes. During the same year, the Evangelical, Lutheran denomination built a parsonage; this was followed by the residence of A. Bennett.
In 1874, P. Welton and the Hardy brothers opened general stores, and operated them until 1878, when they were burned down. The Hardy brothers rebuilt soon after.
The post office was established in about 1873; I. W. Bennett, Postmaster.
East Norway is located in the midst of a Scandinavian neighborhood -- the greater portion of whom are prosperous farmers -- and is a good shipping point. A grain warehouse, owned and operated by A. Bennett, and one general store comprise its business enterprises.
RYAN'S STATION.Ryan's Station in 1869 was the terminus of the St. Joe & Western Railroad for a short time, and during that interval efforts were made to establish a town.
The original town site as laid off by Jewell Ryan, from whom the town received its name; in November, 1869, consisted of about thirty acres. The first buildings were put up in December of the same year. S. L. Ryan and J. OUNiel built a store and kept a general stock in January, 1870. In 1872, S. L. Ryan built another store, which was operated until 1875.
UNION TOWNSHIP.Previous to the organization of this township, July 10, 1878, a meeting was held by representatives from the two great political parties of the day, in which the name "Union" was agreed upon as a fitting appellation for the township. The Republicans were represented by R. P. Shulsky, William Denton, W. B. Gorden, D. W. Edwards and J. L. Blair; A. W. Walters, William Gillen, B. Haney and S. Hays representing the Democratic party.
A petition was presented to the County Commissioners on the 4th day of June, 1878, "for setting off and organizing a new township; the same to be set off from Wolf River Township, in said county, and whereas a petition has been presented to said Board of County Commissioners, signed by more than fifty electors residing within the limits of said proposed new township, and it appearing by said petition that said proposed new township embraces within its limits territory equal to at least thirty (30) square miles, and at least two hundred (200) inhabitants within the lands thereof; said new township being described and bounded by 'metes and bounds' as follows, to-wit:
"All the territory or tract of land in Wolf River Township, Doniphan County, Kansas, known as Congressional Township four (4) south, and Range nineteen (19) east, containing six square miles, more or less, * * * and that said new township be known by the name of Union Township, and that the first election of officers for said township be held at the schoolhouse, situated on the southeast corner of Section sixteen (16), Town four (4) south, Range nineteen (19) east, in said township, on Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November, 1878, at which time the proper officers of said township shall be elected, and said schoolhouse shall be known, named and designated for election purposes, as Union Precinct."
The township contains thirty-six square miles, or 23,040 acres, about 22,000 acres of which is corn cultivated to the highest degree.
The surface of this township is all upland, rolling prairie, excepting, perhaps, a mile strip on the eastern boundary of the township, where, being within the confines of Independence Creek and branches, it becomes more broken.
Although no large streams flow through this township, it is well watered by small creeks and springs, there being scarcely a section of land in the township but what living water may be found at all seasons of the year. Well water can be obtained at depths from thirty to sixty feet.
It has been demonstrated by the farmers of this township that the high prairie land is equal in many respects to the bottom lands. Some of the best farms in the county may be found in this township.
The two principal products are wheat and corn. In regard to stock, Union Township claims to produce more swine than any other township of its size in the county.
"Surface coal" has been discovered on the southeast quarter of Section 10, and on the northwest quarter of Section 34, but has not been mined to a great extent. In 1880, efforts were made to organize a stock company for the purpose of developing the mineral resources of the township, but as the scheme lacked the necessary enthusiasm and co- operation of the people, the idea was abandoned.
The early history of Union Township being so closely identified with that of Wolf River, it will be unnecessary to repeat what has been given in connection with Wolf River Township.
NORMANVILLE.A post office and trading point located in 1861, is situated on the northwest quarter of Section 29, and was named Normanville in honor of its first Postmaster, John Normil (sic). This is the first and only post-office in the township.
WAYNE TOWNSHIP.This township received its name from "Mad Anthony Wayne," of Revolutionary fame, but was suggested by A. H. Denning, one of the first County Commissioners, who came from Wayne Township, Missouri.
It was one of the five original townships into which the county was divided at the first meeting of the County Commissioners, September 1, 1855, and its boundaries were fixed as follows: "Bounded on the north by Washington, to the southwest quarter of said township; thence north two (2) miles to the town line dividing Towns 3 and 4; thence west on said line to Brown County; on the west by Brown County, on the south by Atchison County, and on the east by Washington Township and the Missouri River. "
J. A. Van Arsdale and William Shaw were appointed Justices of the Peace, and Joshua Sarmaers, Constable.
The first election in this township was held on the first Monday in October, 1855, at John A. Forman's hotel, in the town of Doniphan, there being but one voting precinct allowed in each township.
On the 21st day of October, 1856, the east boundaries of this township were changed so as to admit Marion Township.
On the 21st of June, 1859, a change was made and the present boundary was fixed as follows: Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 18, Town 4, Range 20; thence east to the northwest corner of Section 14, Town 4, Range 20; thence north two miles; thence east to the northeast corner of Section 3, Town 4, Range 21; thence south to the northwest corner of Section 23; thence east one mile; thence south to the Missouri River; thence with the said river to the Atchison County line; thence with line to southwest corner of Section 31, Town 4, Range 20, thence north to place of beginning.
The surface of Wayne Township, in the main, is rough and "bluffy" -- especially the southeastern part. The surface along Independence Creek is exceedingly rough and rocky. Wayne Township shows more rock formations than any other township in the county. As a person travels west through the township, he notices that the contour of the country becomes less abrupt, and on reaching the western part of the township the surface is found more rolling.
The town is watered by Independence, Rock, Brush and smaller tributaries. Brush Creek drains the eastern, Rock Creek the central, and Independence Creek the western, leaving the township on Section 33, Town 4, Range 20, flows in an easterly direction until it touches the township again at Section 6, Town 5, Range 21, forming the boundary of the township until it empties into the Missouri River a short distance below Doniphan.
One of the first settlers in the township was J. F. Forman, who located in 1852, where Doniphan now stands. In the fall of 1854, he was joined by his brother, J. W. Forman.
Among those who came and took up claims in 1855-56 were William Shaw, George Waller, Dr. Hudnell, David Lee, Dick Vest, John Landers, Col. A. G. Ege, S. Loyd, W. K. Leddington, John Hardin and others. Dr. R. H. Hereford located on Rock Creek in 1854. B. S. Wharton first located in the township in May, 1854, built a log cabin and left some men to make rails until he returned -- April, 1855.
The first marriage was that of Dr. R. H. Hereford to Miss Amanda J., daughter of John Tracy, who was then living on Rock Creek, near where Brenner Station is now situated. The ceremony was performed in 1854, by the Rev. J. Devorce, of Rushville, Mo. Dr. Hereford settled in the township from Marysville, Mo. To him credit is given as the first physician in the township, and possibly the first in the county. In 1862 or 1863 he removed to Easton, Mo., where he remained until the day of his death, May 7, 1881.
Probably the first birth in the township was a daughter of Dick Vest, born in the summer of 1855.
In the winter of 1854-55 occurred, undoubtedly, the first death in the township. The circumstances attending this demise are heartrending in the extreme. B. S. Wharton, on arriving in the township in 1854, took up a claim and set a number of men at work splitting rails. John Stanliffs, his wife and her sister, a young lady eighteen years of age, occupied one of the cabins that were built. One day in the winter of 1854-55, as this young lady was attending to domestic duties in the cabin, she inadvertently approached too near the fire-place and in an instant was enveloped in a mass of flames. Instead of running out to the creek, that was not more than thirty steps distant, she ran around the house until she dropped exhausted. Everything was done to alleviate her sufferings within the means of those people, remote from civilization, as it were, but of no avail, her death occurring the next day.
In the summer of 1857, a subscription school was taught on a branch of Rock Creek, about two miles south of Brenner. The teacher, a young man by the name of Heartly, managed to secure $20 a month for his services, and taught four months.
A saw-mill was built in the fall of 1856, by James Forman and S. B. Whorton, at Doniphan. Mr. Whorton retained his interest but six weeks, when he sold out to a man by the name of King, who afterward married a niece of Gen. James Lane. Tradition does not state how long the mill was operated.
DONIPHAN.This place derives its name from the county itself, and was first laid off by a town company.
The Doniphan Town Company was organized in St. Joseph, Mo., in the fall of 1854. At their first regular meeting, November 11, 1854, T. H. Christopher was elected President, J. W. Forman, Treasurer; Dr. J. H. Crane, Secretary; and S. K. Miller, G. W. H. Lendon, J. F. Forman, Dr. I. A. Chambers and Felix Robidoux, Trustees.
At the meeting held by the company, February 17, 1855, the report of the Committee on Location was accepted, and J. F. Forman employed as surveyor to survey the town site at $2.50 per block, and take his pay in lots at the public sale.
Doniphan, like many other river towns, was the outgrowth of a trading-post, established there by Joseph Utt, in 1852. Utt erected a log cabin and sold goods to the Indians. The building remained standing until about 1867, when it was destroyed by the encroachments of the "Muddy Missouri."
The first building erected after the town site was laid off was built by J. W. and J. F. Forman, in the spring of 1855. The lower story was used as a store and the upper story as a printing office, occupied by the Constitutionalist. The building has since been washed into the river.
The town was incorporated under the Territorial Legislature at the time of its organization, and held her first election March 1, 1855, in the store owned by the Forman Bros.; 215 votes were polled.
The first sale of town lots took place April 15, 1855, lots being sold as high as $2,000 in the street.
Mrs. D. Frank probably taught the first subscription school, in the summer of 1856. Her school was held in a log cabin, owned by William Poepges.
The first hotel was built by J. F. and J. W. Forman, in the winter of 1856. It was run under the management of B. O. Driscoll until 1857, when it was sold to A. Lowe. Lowe controlled it for about ten years, end sold it to F. E. Mix, who ran it two years, when it was burned down.
In 1857, "Jim Lane" settled in Doniphan. He became a member of the town company and laid off a large addition to the town site, which is called "Lane's Addition." After staying about two years, he went to Leavenworth, where he died.
A great deal might be said about "Jim," as he was then one of the most notorious men in the State. But as it is not our purpose to enter into personal history, we forbear.
A saw-mill was built as early as 1855 by S. Collins. The mill was run but a short time under his management, when he met his death in a shooting affray on the streets of Doniphan, in November of the same year.
The United States Land Office was located at Doniphan in the spring of 1857, and added much to the growth of the place. It remained, however, but a short time, and was removed to Kickapoo in the spring of 1858.
Dr. John Welsh located as a physician April, 1857.
Following were the officers elected at a city election in 1858:
Trustees, J. W. Sheppard, James N. Graham, J. W. Forman and C. W. Fisk; President, J. A. Vansdale; City Attorney, Albert Perry; Treasurer, Adam Brenner; Assessor, J. A. Whitaker; Street Commissioner, George Allen; Marshal, C. A. Estes; Clerk, H. Stratton.
To show the prospects of Doniphan in 1858, we reproduce a few
extracts from the Kansas Crusader of Freedom, of March 6, 1858:
Doniphan is situated on the Missouri River, thirty miles above
Fort Leavenworth, at the great bend of the river, exactly midway between
the mouth of the Kaw and the Kansas and Nebraska boundary line. It is
situated near the confluence of Independence Creek and the Missouri
River. Deer Creek and Rock Creek enter the Independence a short distance
above the mouth, and thus furnish good natural road beds, with easy
grades, In every direction in the interior of the county. The valleys
through which the river runs embrace large districts of the finest
bottom land in the west.
Smith's Bar lies one mile above the town and extends completely
across the river, which makes Doniphan the heed of navigation for heavy-
* * * * * * * *
Doniphan is situated in a district of timbered land more extensive
and of better quality than is elsewhere to be found on the Missouri
River. Owing to this fact, timber is sawed by the Doniphan Mills at a
lower figure than at any other point in Kansas. Two extensive saw-mills
are in operation, another is nearly completed, and workmen have begun
preparations for the erection of a fourth, which will be completed in a
couple of months.
Doniphan is distant from St. Joseph, twenty miles; from Topeka,
fifty miles; from Lawrence, sixty miles; from Manhattan, eighty miles;
from Iowa Point, twenty-two miles, by land, while it is ninety-five
miles to the same place by water. This is owing to the great bend of the
river which extends into the heart of the country.
* * * * * * * *
Doniphan, by the last census, had a population of 1,500 souls.
Within the past seven months, 100 houses have been erected here.
Contracts have already been given out for the construction of sixty
houses in the spring. Provisions have been made for the manufacture of
2,000,000 brick within the next two months and 2,000,000 feet of lumber
* * * * * * * *
Doniphan is situated on the Missouri River, thirty miles above Fort Leavenworth, at the great bend of the river, exactly midway between the mouth of the Kaw and the Kansas and Nebraska boundary line. It is situated near the confluence of Independence Creek and the Missouri River. Deer Creek and Rock Creek enter the Independence a short distance above the mouth, and thus furnish good natural road beds, with easy grades, In every direction in the interior of the county. The valleys through which the river runs embrace large districts of the finest bottom land in the west.
Smith's Bar lies one mile above the town and extends completely across the river, which makes Doniphan the heed of navigation for heavy- draft steamers.
* * * * * * * *
Doniphan is situated in a district of timbered land more extensive and of better quality than is elsewhere to be found on the Missouri River. Owing to this fact, timber is sawed by the Doniphan Mills at a lower figure than at any other point in Kansas. Two extensive saw-mills are in operation, another is nearly completed, and workmen have begun preparations for the erection of a fourth, which will be completed in a couple of months.
Doniphan is distant from St. Joseph, twenty miles; from Topeka, fifty miles; from Lawrence, sixty miles; from Manhattan, eighty miles; from Iowa Point, twenty-two miles, by land, while it is ninety-five miles to the same place by water. This is owing to the great bend of the river which extends into the heart of the country.
* * * * * * * *
Doniphan, by the last census, had a population of 1,500 souls. Within the past seven months, 100 houses have been erected here. Contracts have already been given out for the construction of sixty houses in the spring. Provisions have been made for the manufacture of 2,000,000 brick within the next two months and 2,000,000 feet of lumber provided for.
* * * * * * * *
At the beginning of the great rebellion the town declined so rapidly that in 1861 there was not one store in the place. In 1862-63. she roused from her lethargy, and did a good business. Among the improvements during the year 1863 was the erection of a large brick warehouse, used for an agricultural and implement depot.
A fine brick schoolhouse was built in 1873, at a cost of $8,000.
Doniphan has the following business enterprises, professions, trades and societies:
General stores, three; drug stores, two; billiard halls, two; wagon shops, one; blacksmith shops, two; wholesale liquor house, one; meat market, one; hotels, one; feed stables, one; millinery and dressmaking establishments, three; shoe shops, one; physicians, three; carpenters, three; stone masons, three; plasterers, one; coopers, one; surveyors, one; church organizations, three; secret societies, two.
GEARY CITY.Geary City received its name from Gov. J. W. Geary, who was Governor of the Territory at that time, and was located early in the spring of 1857 by an association organized in Leavensworth (sic), Kan.
The original town site consisted of about two hundred and sixty acres, comprising the southeast quarter of Section 26, also a fractional part of Section 27. The association bought the land of C. Lewis, who in the summer of 1857, laid out an addition on a fractional quarter of Section 35, and named it the "Lewis Addition" or "South Geary."
The first building erected on the addition was that of a Mr. Hoestetter, who built a two-story frame structure and used it as a dwelling.
C. Lewis erected the first store in "South Geary," and located it on the levee.
Shortly after, the foundations for a large brewery were laid, but the building was never completed.
In 1857, shortly after the location of the town, the association got into a difficulty with W. Schudy, in regard to a fractional piece of land that Schudy claimed to have pre-empted under the laws of the Territory. The case was brought into the court, and the association finding that their speculation had proved a failure, abandoned the enterprise.
The first actual building was a log house built in 1854, and used as a saloon.
In the spring of 1857, the association erected the first building on the town site, on the corner of Second and Cottonwood streets, and under the management of A. Skinner, it was used as a hotel.
The next building was the office of the Geary City Era. The first store erected in Geary City proper was built on the levee or Water street, and occupied by Mr. Clutter. Porter & Cooper followed with a grocery store. The next business enterprise was that of J. L. Roundy, who established a large furniture store. All these buildings were erected on the levee, and about the same time, March, 1857.
Dr. F. Grubb, of Philadelphia, Penn., was the first to represent the medical fraternity.
James McCahon, who afterward took a prominent part in Kansas State affairs, located in 1857 as the first lawyer.
The first religious services were held at an early date by the Rev. B. F. Bowman.
At an early date, Messrs. Frick & Grubb erected a circular sawmill, and did a good business. The mill was operated until 1869, when it was moved to Doniphan. About the same time, Messrs. Flickenger & Langdon built what was then called a "muley," or upright saw-mill, which was operated until 1859, and then torn down.
The post office was established in the fall of 1857, J. L. Roundy, Postmaster.
In 1860, Messrs. Frick & Franklin erected a grist-mill.
BRENNER.A station on the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad was located by the railroad company in 1872, the depot being the first building.
The post office was established in 1874, James McDaniel, Postmaster.
Harry Nesbit was the first depot agent.
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP.This township was organized September 1, 1855, and no true American needs be told for whom it was named; it stands self-explained in the light of to-day, and the misty future will not tend to make its origin less lucid.
It is one of the five original townships, into which the county was divided, at the first sitting of the County Commissioners, and its boundaries at that time were fixed as follows:
"Bounded on the north by Burr Oak Township; on the east by the Missouri River; on the south by the second line, dividing townships 3 and 4, and on the west by the second range line running north and south through Atchison." Albert Head and F. Mahan were appointed Justices of the Peace, and H. J. Johnson, Constable.
The first election in this township was held on the first Monday in October, 1855, "at the house of M. F. Moss, near Milton Bryant's." On the 16th day of September, 1856, a change was made in the township, and its boundary was fixed as follows: Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 12, Town 2, Range 21; thence south on town line between 21 and 22 to the southeast corner of Section 12, Town 4, Range 21; thence west six miles to the southwest corner of Section 7, Town 4, Range 21; thence north two miles, thence west one and a half miles, thence north to the Missouri River, thence east with said river to place of beginning.
On the 20th of October, 1856, the County Board caused one half mile to be taken from the eastern part of Iowa and Wolf River Townships, and attached to Washington Township. On the 21st day of October, 1856, the boundaries of Washington Township were changed and fixed as follows: "Commencing at the southwest corner of Burr Oak Township, as then established; thence south on range line between Ranges 21 and 22 to within one mile of the town line between Towns 3 and 4; thence east to Peter's Creek; thence down Peter's Creek to the Missouri River; thence north with said river to the south line of Burr Oak Township; thence west to place of beginning.
On the 21st day of June, 1859, a change was made and the present boundaries were fixed as follows: "Commencing at the northwest corner of Section 12, Town 3, Range 21; thence east to the Missouri River; thence with said river to the southwest corner of Section 33, Town 3, Range 22; thence north one mile; thence west to the southwest corner of Section 25, Town 3, Range 21; thence north to place of beginning."
The surface of the township is quite broken, the best portion being found on Peter's Creek. As the entire eastern and a large part of the southern boundary is the Missouri River, nothing more can be expected than rough and bluffy land after leaving the "first bottom." The Missouri River bottoms, however, are very productive.
The township is watered principally by Peter's Creek and its tributaries. Peter's Creek enters the township from the west, on Section 24; and flows east by south for about three miles, when it makes an abrupt turn to the south.(sic) and flowing through Wathena assumes a southwesterly direction, and empties into the Missouri River at the southwest corner of the township.
The first actual settler that located in the township was James R. Whitehead, who, in January, 1852, settled on the bank of the Missouri River, near Bellemont. By permission from W. P. Richardson, then agent for the Kickapoo Indians, he established a trading-post.
"In the spring of 1851, 'Wathena' (a Kickapoo Indian) built a bark wigwam near the bank of Peter's Creek, a few rods from the present site of Sniveley & Hedge's mill, at Wathena, and lived in it until the spring of 1855."
"In April, 1852, B. Harding settled near what is now Wathena, and established a trading-post. He also built a cabin and broke twenty acres of ground and planted corn."
In 1853, Henry Thompson, who kept a ferry at St. Joseph, built a house on the west site of the river and moved his family into it.
"In January, 1854, Daniel Vanderslice, then agent for the Kickapoos, let a contract to Ebenezer Blackiston and H. Smallwood to cut the timber from the road between Wathena and the St. Joe ferry, one hundred feet in width. They, with L. Ralph and Robert McSparrow, remained and became permanent settlers.
"In the spring of 1854, many persons came from Missouri and made claims, by laying four poles in form of a square and inscribing their names."
About the first marriage in the township was that of Samuel Piles and a Miss Hazelwood, in the spring of 1856. The ceremony was performed at Bellement (sic), by J. T. Braidy, Justice of the Peace.
The first white child born in Washington Township was a daughter of J. R. Whitehead, in the fall of 1854. Of this child we find also the first death, which occurred a few months after.
Undoubtedly the next birth was Charles H. Harding, born July 4, 1855.
An inquest was held in 1856 by J. T. Braidy, Justice of the Peace, over a dead body found in the Missouri River, near Bellemont. Verdict of the jury, "death by drowning."
Religious services were held early as 1854, in "Wathena's" wigwam, on the present town site of Wathena, by a Methodist minister.
Several subscription schools were taught in the township early as 1856. Among those who taught about that time were Misses Creal and Alward and Messrs. Patching and Clough. School District No. 1, at Wathena, was organized in the spring of 1858, by B. Harding and others, under the administration of Hon. John Bayless, first County Superintendent. School sessions were held in a frame building, 20x30, erected in 1856, and used up to the time of the first legal organization (1858), as a subscription school.
Washington Township, among other things, is noted for its adaptedness in raising fruits of all kinds, but principally grapes. One of the early pioneers in fruit culture was C. Poirier, who located near Wathena, in 1854, and immediately commenced raising fruit.
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