Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County History

Anderson County History
"A New Centennial History of Kansas"
Charles A. Tuttle, 1876

Anderson County was organized in 1855, by the Shawnee legislature, being named after Col. Anderson, of Lexington, one of the first members elected by Missouri interposition to the territorial legislature of Kansas The area of the county is 576 square miles, and the population 5,809, in which the males exceed the females by 233, and all countries seem to have contributed to make up the total. The growth of the last five years has been quite slow, only about two per cent, per annum, but prior to that time, had been very rapid for ten years.

There are about 7 per cent engaged in mining and manufactures, and over 75 per cent, in agriculture. Forest and prairie divide the land in the proportion of 6 of the first to 9-1 of the latter, and 10 per cent, is bottom land, the bottoms averaging about two miles in breadth. The Pottawatomie is the main stream, with two forks, the north running east, and the south northeast. There are smaller streams, such as the Cedar creek, the Sac, lantha, Thomas, Indian, Deer, Little Osage, Big and Little Sugar. Well water is found usually at from fifteen feet to twenty-five, and springs are numerous. There is good coal, but the seam is not thick, as it varies from eight to twenty-two inches, but it is free from sulphur and is only about four feet below the surface at the deepest, within the range of the county. It is mined for domestic use only, and in the scarcity of timber for fuel is of much value. There is good building stone in the county and excellent fire clay nine inches in thickness, besides which lead has been found in two places, and a vein of ochre, which will become of commercial value.

There are three railroad stations, at Garnett, Welda and Colony, on the L. L. and G. R. R, which runs through the whole county. The distress in Anderson, arising from the locust plague, was very considerable, as about 12 per cent, of the whole population were in need of rations, and 326 were in want of clothing. There has been a decrease of cultivation since that time, to the extent of about or nearly 2,000 acres. In this county also the value and number of sheep killed by dogs exceed the ravages by wolves. Cheese and butter have increased in quantity in this county during the last five years, but not very largely. Bees are kept to some extent, and orchards, vineyards and nurseries occupy about 2,000 acres. There are four excellent water powers in the county, but they are comparatively little used, and could be made of great value with a small outlay of capital for manufactures.

The city of Garnett is the capital, and it is 58 miles in an air line southeast of Topeka. The city has a railroad station, three grist mills, one saw mill, a cheese factory, a furniture factory utilizing the native woods, an oil mill and a planing mill. There is also a saw mill at Central City. There are two banks at Garnett and two weekly papers. The Paola, Garnett and Fall Kiver line intersects the L. L. and G. R. R. at this point. There are 8 churches in the city and a college under the auspices of the United Presbyterians. The village is well built and all departments of business well represented, the population being 1219. The union school building is extensive and admirable in every way. The city lies 52 miles south of Lawrence. There is a Catholic parochial school at Garnett, there are two at Emerald, and at Scipio there is a monastery, with a college and parochial school attached. There are sixty-five organized school districts in the county, sixty-two schools, and the school property is valued at $68,586. There are nine church edifices in Anderson county and seventy-five private libraries are reiristered, with an affo-reffate or 7,381 volumes, or more than 100 volumes in each. The other principal towns have been named, but the mineral and manufacturing resources of Anderson have been hardly touched.

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