Kansas History and Heritage Project-Woodson County

Woodson County
1876 History

From "An New Centennial History of Kansas," Charles Tuttle

Woodson County was one of the first organized in 1855, having been named in honor of the secretary of the territory and several times acting governor. The area comprises 504 square miles, and the population in 1875 was 4,476, of which number 2,396 were males. Farming employs 80 per cent, of the settlers, miners and manufacturers engage 8 per cent. Defiance, the county seat*, is 82 miles south from Topeka. The area offers a favorable compromise as to surface and soil, as there is 6 per cent, of forest and 10 per cent, of bottom land of great fertility, and the wood is of good descriptions for manufacturing purposes. The principal streams are the Neosho and the Verdigris rivers, with their tributaries, Owl, Cherry and Big Sandy creeks, with many smaller streams. Springs are few but good well water is found at from 20 to 40 feet. Coal has been found, but not enough to pay for mining in a systematic way. Building stone abounds in all parts of the county. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad follows the valley of the Neosho, so that the region is joined to the railroad svstem of the continent. Dogs are more destructive than wolves to sheep farmers, but that experience is common to most counties in Kansas. There are fine water powers on the Neosho river at Neosho Falls, and a dam has prepared the way for complete utilization of the stream. The manufactures of the county include a water power flouring and saw mill, a water power woolen mill, a steam saw mill, a wagon and implement factory, and a water power furniture factory at Neosho Falls ; a grist and saw mill, and a furniture factory at Toronto; a grist and saw mill at Centre ; and a steam saw mill at Owl Creek township. There are no banking houses in the county, and only one weekly paper, the Woodson Post, published at the business centre, Neosho Falls. There are 54 districts, and 53 school houses, valued at $36,905 ; two churches valued at $5,400, and libraries in five townships, numbering, in public and private collections, 4,695 volumes. The locusts fell lightly on this county, as we find only 325 persons in want in the winter of 1874-5.

*The county seat was later moved to Yates Center.

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This website created Nov. 16, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
2011 Kansas History and Heritage Project