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Kansas Heritage: Mitchell County

Aimed at preserving the heritage of central and western Kansas

Map of Mitchell County 1899

Mitchell County map

Prentis, Noble Lovely. "History of Kansas". Winfield, KS: E. P. Greer, 1899

Asherville

John Rees, an Englishman, was among the first settlers in this area having arrived on April 29, 1866. In 1867, he built a grocery store, and he was also the 1st postmaster for the Asherville Post Office which was established in 1869. Even though the town site was plotted and laid out in the 1870's, it never became incorporated.

Sources

"Souvenir Booklet Prepared for the Horseless Carriage Club." Beloit, KS: Beloit Daily Call, 1954.

Beloit

The land of Aaron A. Bell was the site picked for a town in 1866. He deeded part of his property to Timothy Hersey, and the two men began to establish the new town. The settlement was named Willow Springs after the springs along the north bank of the Solomon River. However, there was a post office in Douglas County, established in 1861, that already had the name of Willow Springs. Mr. Hersey's hometown in Wisconsin was Beloit, so he chose that name for the new town. The town site's plot was filed with the register of deeds on March 26, 1872, and the city was organized as a city of third class that same year.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

Mitchell County Elementary Students. Mitchell County Historical Essays, 1962-1976. N.D.

Baughman, Robert W. (1961). Kansas Post Offices, May 29, 1828-August 3, 1961 . Retrieved December 1, 2005 from http://www.kshs.org/genealogists/places/postoffices.htm 

 

Blue Hill

This area was settled in 1871 by a man from Stonehenge, England. Maurice Brown homesteaded on land that eventually became the town site of Blue Hill. The name comes from a range of hills that surround the town that are known for a blue hue during the early morning hours.

The town soon had a general store (run by Maurice Brown), a creamery, and a post office. The schoolhouse was built in 1887. The town is now defunct.

Sources

"History of Hunter, Kansas and its Surrounding Communities." Cawker City, KS: Cawker City Ledger, 1970.

Cawker City

The town site was picked in 1870 by four men - E. Harrison Cawker, J. P. Rice, R. G. T. Kshinka, and John J. Huckle. Rice built the first stone building and Cawker built a steam mill. The name came from a game of "seven-up" which was won by Cawker.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

Mitchell County Elementary Students. Mitchell County Historical Essays, 1962-1976. N.D.

Glen Elder

This town was laid out and planned in 1871. When it was plotted in December 1872, its name was West Hampton. The name was changed to Glen Elder because of its location in a glen surrounded by box elder trees. When the town was incorporated in November 1879, its population was 275.

The first school was built in 1872 and by 1879, the Central Branch Railroad had come through with its rail lines.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

Mitchell County Elementary Students. Mitchell County Historical Essays, 1962-1976. N.D.

Homesteading in Mitchell County

Settlers arrived in the area in 1866 and began to farm their claims. They had to deal with the Indians who raided the settlers numerous times between 1866 and 1870. May 9, 1870 was when 3 men were killed and July 2 was the last Indian raid in the county.

The county was organized in 1870 and Beloit was named the county seat. Mitchell County was named in honor of Captain William D. Mitchell of the Second Kentucky Cavalry, and formerly a private in the Kansas Second Cavalry.

Some of the settlers were of German heritage, most notably in the town of Tipton. Others were of Irish, English and French heritage. 

Sources

Mitchell County Elementary Students. Mitchell County Historical Essays, 1962-1976. N.D.

Prentis, Noble Lovely. "History of Kansas". Winfield, KS: E. P. Greer, 1899. 

Hunter

Hunter had been settled in the 1870's by settlers who built sod houses to live in. The town was named for Al Hunter, one of the original settlers, in 1880. A general store and a hardware store were among the businesses that were built.

In 1916, the Salina-Osborne Railroad was building a line through the county, and Old Hunter was about 4 miles from it. The townspeople moved the town site 4 miles west to be close to the rail line. (New) Hunter was organized as a third class city on January 9, 1919.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

"History of Hunter, Kansas and its Surrounding Communities." Cawker City, KS: Cawker City Ledger, 1970.

Mennonite Community

In 1871, Jacob Marzolf and Henry Kohler arrived in Mitchell County from Wathena, Kansas, to find some land to farm. After spending the winter back in Wathena, they and their families made the move to their new land. By 1879, several other Mennonite families had joined them coming from Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Church meetings were held in their homes beginning in 1881; by 1897, the meetings were being held in the Naomi Mennonite Meeting House. The last church meeting was on November 8, 1964. Many of the members had moved away from the area by that time.

Sources

Mitchell County Elementary Students. Mitchell County Historical Essays, 1962-1976. N.D.

Simpson

Brittsville was started in 1871 by a G. Beaver when he sought to open a mill on the Solomon River. A store, a post office and a drug store were in Brittsville by 1879.

When the railroad came through in 1879/1880, the town site was moved to the present site - a move of one mile. Alfred Simpson deeded some land on which the new town site stood, and in 1882, the name was changed to Simpson.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

"Souvenir Booklet Prepared for the Horseless Carriage Club." Beloit, KS: Beloit Daily Call, 1954.

Tipton

Tipton was founded by settlers in 1872 looking to farm their own land. Most of them were from Germany, and a small percentage came from Luxemburg. Others came from France and Ireland in later years.

The town was named Pittsburg after the treasurer of the town company, W. A. Pitt. It changed names to Old Pittsburg after another town in Kansas was named Pittsburg, but it was after Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This town was known as New Pittsburg. However, there were still problems because people were not putting "old" or "new" Pittsburg on their letters, so people of New Pittsburg sent $150 to the postmaster of Old Pittsburg enticing them to change their name. The Old Pittsburg community changed its name to Tipton, after the county seat of Cedar County, Iowa. Another story goes that the name Tipton is "not Pit" spelled backwards.

Sources

Mitchell County Elementary Students. Mitchell County Historical Essays, 1962-1976. N.D.

Victor

Established as a post office in the mid-1880's, Victor was located 6 miles east of (New) Hunter. A store was built by a Mr. Paddock, and the post office was moved there from its dugout location.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

"History of Hunter, Kansas and its Surrounding Communities." Cawker City, KS: Cawker City Ledger, 1970.