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