Kansas History and Heritage Project-Smith County

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


Smith County was organized in 1872, and named in honor of Maj. Nathan Smith of the second Colorado volunteers, slain in action at Little Blue, Missouri, in October, 1864. The area of Smith County is 900 square miles, and its population in 1875 was 3,876, in which total the males number 2,130. Ninety per cent, depend on farming, and 5 per cent, on mines and manufactures, a wide definition that covers almost every handicraft. Smith, Centre the county seat, is 173 miles northwest from Topeka. There is but little timber in this area, but 15 per cent, is bottom land of very fertile quality. The principal streams are the Solomon river and its tributaries, Cedar, East Cedar, Beaver and other creeks. Wells range from 10 to 100 feet, and springs are moderately plentiful. Little coal has been found. Limestone abounds and is of good quality. Sandstone is plentiful, but inferior. Gypsum in small quantities, but of fine quality, has been found. There are some salt springs, but their value has not been ascertained. There are no railroads here yet. Several valuable water powers only want for improvement, one dam has been constructed on the Solomon river. The manufactures of Smith county include a steam sawmill in Centre township; a steam saw mill, water power grist mill, and water power grist and saw mill in Houston township. There are no banks in the county, and only one paper published weekly in Smith Centre, the Pioneer. There are 43 school houses valued at $10,850, and 70 organized school districts. There are several church organizations, but no edifices. More than one-fourth of the settlers in Smith county were reduced to destitution by the locust raid, as 1,500 of the people were in want of food, and 1,150 were unable to procure winter clothing.





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This website created September 3, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
2011 Kansas History and Heritage Project