Year-by-year History



1820  – The Missouri Compromise was signed into law March 6, 1820. Maine was admitted as a free state in 1820 and Missouri in 1821 as a slave state, to maintain a balance of pro- and anti-slave states and their votes in Congress.  The Compromise provided exclusion of slavery from the Unorganized (or Missouri) Territory north of Missouri’s southern boundary, except in the state itself, and slavery would be allowed in Arkansas Territory.  While this law was in effect, most of the Louisiana Purchase, including what became Kansas, could not allow slavery.


Missouri Compromise 1820-1821

1821    – The Santa Fe Trail was established in 1821 as a trade route between Independence, Mo. and Santa Fe, Mexico. It was in active use by traders, U.S. military and pioneers until the railroad reached Santa Fe in 1880.  In Lyon County, its use diminished by the late 1860s as the railroads bypassed this area.  It was often referred to as the Santa Fe Road.

1825    – Kanza Indians were restricted from their 20-million-acre ancestral lands to a 2-million-acre reservation which stretched 30 miles wide from this area west through buffalo-hunting land.

1830    – What later became Kansas was designated Indian Territory, considered to be arid land unfit for whites.

1846    – About 2,000 Sac & Fox of Mississippi tribesmen under Chief Keokuk moved to a reservation along the Marais des Cygnes River, 20 x 30 miles; the west edge would later become part of Breckinridge (Lyon) County, extending into the area about 3 1/2 miles.

– The Kanza reservation was reduced to 256,000 acres, centered on the Santa Fe Trail community of Council Grove.13  When county lines were drawn in 1855, it extended into the west side of this county area about 9 3/4 miles.13

1848    – After the Mexican War (1846-1848), Santa Fe was in the United States, in the newly-formed state of New Mexico.  The thriving city remained an important place for transactions between Americans and Mexicans for trade goods.

1854    – Nebraska was divided into two territories with passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It passed the U.S. Senate March 4, 1854, 37-14.  Sent to the House of Rep.s, it passed 113-100 on May 22, 1854.  The bill was signed into law by Pres. Franklin Pierce on May 30, 1854, and became the organic law of the Territory of Kansas. Both territories were opened to white settlement.  The Kansas part of the Act:

  • Repealed slavery stipulations of the Missouri Compromise, and allowed Kansas Terr. residents to determine by vote if the area would be slave or free (“popular sovereignty”).  It set the stage for “Bleeding Kansas” conflicts and the Civil War.
  • Kansas boundaries were defined.
  • Indian rights were to be protected until relinquished by treaty.
  • Territorial governor to be appointed for 4-yr. term, and Terr. legislature to consist of 13 members of a council (2-yr. term), and 26 representatives (1 yr.).  They could increase members based on population increase of resident voters.
  • Resident males above age 21 could vote, but no one belonging to the U.S. Army or Navy.
  • Fugitive slave laws to be in effect.
  • Temporary seat of government fixed at Leavenworth, permanent seat to be established by the legislature.

– Andrew Reeder was appointed governor of Kansas Territory.  He soon called for an election on Nov. 29, 1854 to select a delegate for U.S. Congress.  J. W. Whitfield was elected, but more than half the votes were cast by residents of Missouri who wanted a pro-slavery congressman.  Whitfield was allowed to serve, despite challenges to the election results.

– Earliest settlers:  Pioneers tended to settle near what they hoped was a reliable water source.  Charles Withington at Allen is listed by Stotler as the “oldest” in 1854, and Oliver Phillips at Duck Creek as the “second oldest” in 1855; this may mean that, of those still living here at the time of Stotler’s history in 1878, they had settled earliest.  In an 1886 article, Morris Co. historian John Maloy stated that Arthur I. Baker settled on the Santa Fe Trail at the Rock Creek crossing “in 1854, some months before the territory of Kansas was organized, holding to the doctrine that the people had a right to locate upon the public domain.”2 (Actually he illegally squatted and opened a trading post on Kanza Indian Reservation land, thinking he was miles away from the reservation, due to inaccurate maps.  He did know that Kansas was not open for settlement yet.)  Withington settled in June 1854, after the May 30 enactment of the Kansas-Neb. Bill.  Historian W. A. Shimeall notes, “The Territorial Census of 1859 lists the year of settlement, and five voters who settled in the county in 1854:  A. I. Baker, Charles Withington, Eli M. Sewell, C. Montgomery, and S. Griffith.”2  These were the pioneers who were still living here during the census in 1859; others had settled briefly then moved on.

– Indian reservation lands were legally off limits to white settlers, although little was done to prevent them from “squatting” on tribal property.  Effective law enforcement for this and other crimes did not exist in most areas in the early years.  (See 1846.)

1855    – On Jan. 13, 1855 lawyer/trader A. I. Baker of Agnes City was commissioned Eighth Dist. Justice of the Peace, and C. H. Withington as Constable for the same district by Gov. Andrew H. Reeder.2  (Agnes City was near the west county line where the Santa Fe Trail crossed Rock Creek; the site is in present-day Morris County.)  With no other territorial local government yet established, Baker was the chief government official in a district that was bordered by the Kansas River on the north, the Cottonwood River on the south, Osage River on the east, and west out to the territorial boundary (in present-day Colorado).2

–  First Kansas Territorial Census taken in February 1855.

– On Feb.26, 1855 the post office at 142-Mile Creek was established and named Allen, and Charles Withington was appointed postmaster.  A. I. Baker was appointed postmaster on same date for Miller, K.T. (Kans. Territory).  Mail was brought on the Santa Fe stage coaches.  Miller existed until it was discontinued Feb.12, 1856.  The location of Miller unknown, but it was probably at Baker’s trading post at the Rock Creek crossing on the Santa Fe Trail, and possibly named for his mother’s middle name (Agnes Miller Inghram Baker).2   (See the P.O.s page on this website for more information on area post offices.)

– The first Kansas legislative election, for 2-year terms as stipulated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, was held March 30, 1855.  In general there were three political viewpoints at the time:  Proslavery, Abolitionist, and the Free Staters who wanted locals to govern instead of being indirectly controlled by the border people of Missouri; this was more important to them than the slavery issue.  In this election, only Missouri residents or pro-Missouri candidates ran on the Proslavery ticket; all others were listed as Free State, regardless of actual party affiliation.2  Nearly 5,000 men from Missouri entered Kansas and voted illegally for Proslavery candidates.

This first territorial legislature elected was not accepted as a legal governing body by most of the Free State Kansas settlers, who called it the “Bogus Legislature” and said it enacted “bogus laws (or statutes);” many Free State settlers refused to acknowledge laws that they didn’t like.  The legislature met first at Pawnee near Fort Riley, then at Shawnee Mission, then at Lecompton, Kansas.6  While at Pawnee in early July, they unseated all of the anti-slavery legislators. Meeting for a session at the Shawnee Mission (closer to Missouri) later in 1855, the Bogus Legislature passed a slave code making it a punishable offense to speak against slavery in the territory.  This so angered the antislavery residents that they decided to organize their own government.6  This was known as the “Topeka Movement” based at Topeka, which set up its own legislature, wrote its own constitution, conducted elections and enacted laws.2  With two competing territorial governments, the federal government recognized only the proslavery legislature.

In the election A. I. Baker ran for representative in the Territorial Legislature for the 7th and 8th Districts (the 8th was to the west, with very few settlers).  He won the 8th by a 25-12 vote and Gov. Reeder declared him the winner, but Proslavery Missourian opponent W. M. McGee won the 7th District 210-1 and was seated in the legislature when the House disavowed Baker’s certificate of election.2  Charles H. Withington was elected to the territorial council, but like Baker he was a Free State candidate, and and like him was not allowed to take office in the pro-slavery government.1

– The Kansas Territory “Bogus Legislature” bounded 33 counties including Breckinridge (later renamed Lyon), which was 24 miles square (see map below).


– The Kansas legislature attached Wise and Breckinridge counties to Madison County for all “civil, criminal and military purposes.”2  At the time there were few settlers in this area.

– Emporia did not exist at the time; what two years later would become Emporia’s square-mile site, bounded by East St., West St., South Ave. and 12th Ave., was just 1/2 mile north of the original county line, which was on present-day Logan Ave.  Columbia, which was located at what was known as old Columbia Ford, a mile and a half southeast (or 1 mile east, 1 mile south) of Emporia at a bend of the Cottonwood River, was designated the county seat of Madison County, “until the end of the session of the next legislature.”  With Breckinridge County attached for legal matters, this was its first county seat.  The corporators of Columbia were Charles H. Withington, T. S. Huffaker and Wm. D. Harris.  The corporators did not organize into a town company, and the town site was pre-empted by claimants (settlers) in 1857. (Preempt means to occupy land in order to establish a prior right to buy.)  Few legal matters in this county were dealt with at Columbia.1,2  Columbia briefly had a post office in 1857.

Law provided for election of two commissioners who would be associated with the probate judge, and those three constituted the board of county commissioners.  Those officers and a sheriff were to be elected by the legislature, and hold office until the general election for members of the legislature in 1857.  The board had power to appoint a clerk, treasurer, coroner, justices of the peace and constables. On Aug. 25, 1855 the first officers elected by the legislature for Breckinridge Co. were:  Probate Judge, T. S. Huffaker (he ran the Kaw Indian Mission in Council Grove); Commissioners, Harmon B. Elliott and Charles H. Withington; Sheriff, John B. Foreman.  John Ratliff was appointed county clerk, and no treasurer was needed to handle public funds at that time.1

– Breckinridge County was part of a huge district known as the nineteen disfranchised counties,” the whole having only 3 representatives and 2 councilmen.2  This area included most of the south half of the counties then organized in Kansas.

– All of this organization took place under the “bogus statutes,” the code of laws enacted by the “Bogus Legislature,” men who had been elected by Missouri votes, cast by Missourians who had invaded Kansas on election day for the purpose of controlling the Kansas elections.  Many members of the Bogus Legislature were actually residents of Missouri, and the laws they enacted were usually ignored by the Free State residents of Kansas Territory.  The offices were empty honors, and little legal business was done until a Free State legislature was elected by Kansans in 1857.  Until that time, a lawsuit of any kind in Breckinridge County was a rare occurrence.

– Two men of Neosho Rapids were on their way home from Independence, MO, where they had purchased a sod-breaking plow.  They stopped at Charles Withington’s trading post on the Santa Fe Trail, and broke a parcel of land for him.  This was said to be the first broken prairie sod in the county.4

– Bogus Legislature statutes fixed the term when the U. S. District Court for Breckinridge Co. would be held in 1855 at Columbia for the 2nd Thursday in October, and for Madison Co. one week later on the 3rd Thursday.  For 1856 and thereafter, the term for Breckinridge Co. was set for the 3rd Mondays of July and December.  In the 1878 words of Jacob Stotler, “Judge of the 3rd Dist. Saunders W. Johnson came here once or twice, we have heard, to have court, but we believe no session was held and no term, so far as we can learn, until 1858.”2

– Oct. 9, 1855 election at Columbia, total 20 votes, for a delegate to congress.  James H. Pheanis was chosen a member of the Topeka constitutional convention from the 6th District.

1856    – The board of commissioners held several meetings at Columbia, until the “troubles of 1856” commenced, meaning incursions by border ruffians from Missouri and other lawless characters; because of the danger and long travel distance, the board stopped meeting.

– An example of the violence occurred here on Sept. 14, 1856. Settlers around the Neosho/Cottonwood River junction were mostly pro-slavery men.  A gang of men intent on terrorizing pro-slavery settlers to drive them out, most from Topeka and calling themselves Free State men, at night robbed storekeeper Mr. Gregg at Neosho Rapids. They then went to the nearby home of Mr. Carver; when he refused to admit them they fired into the house, shooting Mrs. Carver in the side and killing her.  Word spread quickly, and when the gang threatened the store of Mr. Simcock at Columbia, the settlers were ready and repulsed the gang, who then went north.  On Sept. 15 they arrived at C. H. Withington’s trading post on the Santa Fe Trail at Allen and carried off or destroyed everything he had, amounting to over $3,000 worth.1

– Territorial election held Oct. 6.  The Free State party gained seats in the lower house, but Proslavery senators retained control in upper.

1857    – Start of politicking to attach the north 3 miles of Madison Co. to this county, Emporians wanting to include and thereby gain votes of the Cottonwood River settlements there.

– Feb. 17, 1857 when the Territorial Legislature reorganized several counties, Breckenridge Co. was detached from Madison Co. for legal matters and given its own government, with Wise (now Morris) Co. attached for all civil & military purposes.  A. I. Baker of Agnes City was selected probate judge, C. Columbia and C. H. Withington commissioners, and Elisha Goddard sheriff; the county was represented in the legislature at the time by Solomon G. Brown and Geo. H. Reese.  Agnes City, as residence of the probate judge, became the second county seat, the first one within Breckinridge Co. lines.

– Kansas census in April, 1857.

– In 1857 the U.S. government surveyed and marked the boundaries of the Kanza Indian Reservation, which placed Council Grove halfway between the N-S lines, and between E-W lines 15 and 5 mi. respectively.  A.I. Baker’s Agnes City, with his home and store, was now officially a trespasser upon Indian lands, as were many others.  The government ordered all white settlers off the reservation.  Settlers filed a grievance with the Bureau of Indian Affairs; a commission investigated, and compensation was awarded at 50 cents on the dollar.  No real attempt was made to remove the settlers, and many stayed.

– Agnes City was incorporated in 1857 as a family-owned town corporation by Baker and his brothers-in-law Mosier & Sewell, but the reservation survey the same year made its future uncertain.  Agnes City was never platted into lots.

– A. I. Baker, as a land agent who specialized in obtaining land titles for town companies, did that for Americus, Emporia and others.  Baker purchased the north half of the Americus town site Mar. 10, 1857, “for the use and benefit of the occupants thereof.”  The Americus Town Company organized June 1, 1857 with 16 members, including Baker as president. Title to the property was deeded to them by Baker for $1. It was filed at the Land Office at Lecompton, Kansas Territory.

– The 1859 Kansas Census showed a big increase in adult male (voting) population beginning in 1857, the greatest increase in 1857 being in the townships of Emporia and Waterloo.2

– In 1857 the Bogus Legislature meeting in Lecompton, Kansas created a committee to make a second effort to draft a state constitution.  The Lecompton Constitution favored the existence of slavery.  It was not voted upon before the October election.

– Prior to the Kansas Territorial election, the first convention to nominate county officers was at Americus Sept. 26, but it was opposed and another was held at Kansas Center at the home of R. W. Cloud Oct. 1.  The election was held five days later.

– On October 6, 1857 the Kansas Territory election brought an end to the Bogus Legislature when the Free State Party candidates won the majority of seats.  In the election Breckinridge Co. was still in the district that embraced most of the southern half of the counties that had been organized in Kansas in 1855, and known as the “19 disfranchised counties” because the district was allowed only 3 members in the legislature.  In the Oct. 1857 voting, Christopher Columbia of this county and 2 from Linn Co. were elected.

– The territorial election Oct. 6 included a vote on county seat.  With the vote Americus 202 and Emporia 188, Americus became the third county seat of Breckinridge County.

– A weekly stage line was established in autumn 1857 between Emporia and Lawrence on the Burlingame Road.  Oliver Phillips had moved that year to the Duck Creek crossing on the Road, and soon established his home as a stop-over point for travelers.

– December 21, 1857, the Board of Commissioners met and Breckinridge County was divided into 5 townships along geographic lines rather than by population:  Agnes City, Americus, Cottonwood, Emporia and Kansas Centre.7  As settlers had entered the county on the Santa Fe Trail and found that the nearest thing to an established community was west at Council Grove, most early claims were taken along waterways in the north and west.  This set the stage for political conflict in the county between the north/west and rival south/east pioneers along the Neosho and Cottonwood rivers, with 3 townships in the north and west, so that the others with 2 townships were not equally represented.


Map shows Breckinridge Co. at the end of 1857.2  The ///// area is Kanza Indian Reservation land.

1858    – January 4, 1858 newly elected Kansans in the territorial legislature rejected the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution.  Free State voters expected them to act quickly to repeal the “bogus laws” enacted by the Bogus Legislature.

– In Breckinridge County residents in the south were very critical of the county government being dominated by the western townships and the Americus faction,” led by A. I. Baker of Agnes City.  The opposing “Emporia faction was led by Preston Plumb, editor of the Kansas News newspaper in Emporia.  All were still members of the Free State Party.

– On March 2 a Free State Party convention was held at Americus, in which on March 9 they selected 5 members, headed by Plumb, to attend the Kansas legislature constitutional convention to create a new state constitution at Leavenworth.  Other voting at the meeting chose 13 members to serve as a party executive committee.  The large committee size was necessary to obtain unity and represent all portions of the county.2

– Also at the March 2 convention, county settlers expressed strong disappointment in the new Kansas legislature, which had failed to reapportion the 19-county district, and had failed to repeal “the entire bogus code” of laws.  Local voters were very indignant about it and were disappointed in Christopher Columbia, the member from Breckinridge County.  The settlers questioned how the “nineteen disfranchised counties, containing nearly one-half the population, are allowed but three Representatives out of thirty-nine….” (Kansas News, 3-6-1858).2

– Other issues raised at the March 2 convention were about the legislators’ “irresponsible banking” policies and for trying to locate the territorial capital at the paper town of Minneola (at the time it existed only on paper, such as a platted drawing of the future town).  They were very interested in this, because if the capital were in the geographical and population center of Kansas, it would be in or close to Breckinridge County (the western counties were not yet organized).2

– May 18, 1858 voting on the Leavenworth Constitution passed in the Kansas legislature, but was later rejected by Congress in Washington, D.C.

– The board of 3 county commissioners was replaced by a 5-man Board of Supervisors, one from each township.  Under new rules of membership, the duties of probate judge were separated from the Board of Supervisors, and Baker’s role as head of county government ended.2

– The new board of county supervisors first worked on 3 items:  to establish more roads, assessment and collection of taxes, and establishment of a permanent county seat.  The majority of supervisors were from the west townships, and the Americus faction retained control.

– After the vote in May, the county Free State Party began to split again, with Republican Plumb calling for division into Republican and Democrat parties.

– The Waterloo Inn was built by Wm. Mickel on the Burlingame Road, on the Sac & Fox Reservation line.

– Aug. 31, 1858 the Free State Party met at Americus to select delegates to a party convention at Ottumwa (in Coffey County).  At Ottumwa candidates for the territorial legislature were nominated, and a resolution was passed to reapportion the 19 disfranchised counties.

– For county seat, Americus and Emporia were the only serious contenders.  Americus had been established in 1857 for the purpose of becoming county seat.  Emporia was situated too far south and couldn’t move to the center of the county, so its supporters were working in the legislature to change the south boundary.

– Board of Supervisors set the next county seat election for Oct. 4, 1858, before the county line could be changed.  The Emporia faction was unhappy, and Americus was chosen county seat by 14 votes.

– December 20, 1858 Judge Elmore presided over the first District Court at Americus.  It lasted two days and the grand jury found 20 indictments, most for trespass on school lands.  Two other sessions were held at Americus 3/21/1859 and 9/17/1860 under Judge Elmore.

1859    – January 1, 1859 the county board of supervisors decided that territorial tax collected by the county treasurer would be withheld from payment to the Kansas territorial government in order to meet local expenses.  Plumb charged them in the News with improbity (lack of scruples) and trying to use it for their personal expenses.  This action by the board caused a lengthy and expensive lawsuit with the Territory, and enabled the Emporia faction to question the integrity of Americus supporters.2

– Also at the January 1 meeting, the board approved proposals for construction of a courthouse and jail in Americus.  Emporian Plumb led a big commotion over it, saying the question of permanent county seat had not been settled, and the board had to rescind the order.

– The Emporia faction took a petition for the proposed county line change to the legislature, and the change was enacted on Feb. 11, 1859.5  An attempt to reverse the change a year later failed.  Madison Co. citizens objected to losing the land, as the Cottonwood River settlements had about 1/3 of that county’s population.2  The settlers of that area could benefit by being closer to their source of mail delivery at Emporia, and would benefit if Emporia became county seat; Emporia gained a number of voters.5  Three miles were attached from north Madison County, and Breckinridge Co. expanded on the south to measure 24 x 27 miles.


     Map shows Breckinridge County in 1859.  ( – – – marks the previous south border line.)

– March 21, 2nd Dist Court held at Americus.5

– In March 1859 the county board redesignated the townships because of adding the 3-mile strip on the south.  Kansas Center Township had been renamed Waterloo at a previous board meeting.  The new roster of 8 townships was Agnes City, Waterloo, Cahola, Americus, Fremont, Forest Hill, Cottonwood and Emporia.  A new county Board of Supervisors was elected March 28.  Having added 2 townships to the west and 1 to the south, the Americus faction on the board retained a 5 to 3 majority.2

– Emporia had the first organized school, District #1, and Americus school was Dist. #2, which opened in 1859.

– Emporians started working to divide the Free State Party into Republican and Democrat parties, since they were no longer working together to rid Kansas of the Bogus Legislature.  In April 1859 the first Republican meeting in Breckinridge Co. was held to organize the party.  All townships participated, and the only point of contention was a resolution which defended popular sovereignty and formation of new states “with or without Slavery;” the Americus faction voted for it, the others against.2

Other resolutions praised the national Republican Party, condemned “the debauched and demoralized Black Democracy of this country,” attacked the Dred Scott Decision (persons of African ancestry could not claim U.S. citizenship) and condemned Jay Hawking and Fillibustering.  They regarded “the Institution of Slavery as a great moral, social and political evil,” but were “opposed to extending the rights of suffrage to free negroes in Kansas,” and were “in favor of the United States purchasing by legal and just means, some portion of Central America and encourage the colonization of our free blacks thereon.”  Freedom for these early Republicans meant the right for free labor dominance in Kansas, but not equality for African Americans.2  A central committee was chosen to continue party organizing.

– At the next Republican meeting, the Americus faction used their delegate power to elect A. I. Baker as party chairman, and gained control of committees.  They used this power to make sure voting continued to be done geographically by the number of townships, not by density of population which would have given Emporia the advantage.2

– Americus faction politicians generally had Democratic values, but worked as Republicans because that party was replacing the Free State Party and gaining dominance in county politics, and they wanted to maintain their Americus power base.

– Following the Leavenworth Constitution’s defeat, the territorial legislature in its quest for Kansas statehood again crafted a new document in 1859, dubbed the Wyandotte Constitution because this version was drawn up at Wyandotte (now part of Kansas City).  Previous sites of proposed constitutions were Topeka, Lecompton and Leavenworth.  A compromise of sorts, it outlawed slavery in the territory, while removing progressive sections from previous efforts on Native Americans, women, and blacks. It did allow women to own property and to vote in school elections.  The territorial legislature, largely free-state supporters, passed the document on July 29, and submitted it to public referendum. Certain passages in the document were bitterly contested by the Democrats, but it was ratified by the Kansas electorate on October 4, 1859.  Copies were then sent to Washington, D. C.10

– Americus’ first saw mill was built; it ran on steam power.

– Oct. 5, 1859 the Kanza tribe signed a new treaty which ceded the northern portion of their reserve to the government with the land to be sold to highest bidders to clear tribal debts.  It removed the town of Council Grove from Kaw lands and gave the tribe only 80,000 of the poorest acres, sub-divided into 40-acre plots for each family.  On October 17, 1859, Kansas Press editor Samuel Wood of Council Grove declaimed about the white “800 citizens” illegally squatting on the Kanza Reservation.12

– No provision was made for the illegal white squatters to retain their land; they had made improvements to their chosen properties hoping to purchase and own the land.  The squatters met and formed a committee to make an appeal to the U.S. Senate.  The treaty was amended so that they could purchase their claims at $1.75 per acre.2  (Political leader A. I. Baker’s land at Agnes City was not purchased until Sept. 13,1863, by his heirs.)

– The Sac & Fox ceded in trust their 6 1/2 mi. in Franklin Co. on the east, and the 3 mi. in Breckinridge Co. on the west to the government. Those areas became Indian Trust land, and the tribes moved to the diminished reserve in Osage Co.  They agreed to sell Trust lands to whites, and use the money for the benefit of the tribes.  Land was offered for sale by 1864.

– In autumn 1859, the start of a year-long severe drought.

– In October 1859 the Breckinridge Co. Democratic Party was organized at a meeting in Americus.  Among the organizers were Republican A. I. Baker’s law partner R. M. Ruggles and Allen trader C. H. Withington.2

– The board again voted on the construction of county buildings at Americus.  Americus township abstained and Cottonwood and Emporia voted against, but the other 5 passed the resolution.

– With the decision made by the Board of Supervisors to construct county buildings, Plumb made clear that if they were constructed at Americus, he and his supporters would not pay county taxes.  He noted in his newspaper that no one on Kanza land or any settler since assessment in June 1858 would have to pay taxes for county buildings.  On Dec. 24, 1859 Emporians met and vowed not to pay county taxes.

1860    – In the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill for Kansas’s admission to statehood was introduced on February 12, 1860.  Within two months, the House voted 134 to 73 to admit Kansas under the Wyandotte Constitution.  On Feb. 21 a bill was introduced in the Senate, but it was carried over to the next session due to opposition by pro-slave senators.10

– County commissioners levied a tax of 4 mills and territorial tax 3 mills, the heaviest tax in the county to that date.

– In Feb. 1860 the Kansas territorial legislature dashed Americus hopes by doing away with supervisory boards in all counties, replaced by 3-man boards of commissioners, to be elected at large but to represent districts, plus a county assessor.  The Americus faction led by Baker panicked and called a meeting to save Americus control over county affairs.2

– The Americus faction on the still-active Board of Supervisors tried to “gerrymander” the new districts, and waited until Republicans had nominated candidates before they drew district lines “so as to place two of the nominees in one district, and leave one district without a (Republican) member.”  The Republicans were able to change their candidates before the election.2

– In the March 26, 1860 election, candidates’ names were marked on the ballots as being for the Americus ticket or the Emporia ticket.  The Emporia faction won decisively for all 3 district commissioner positions and for the county assessor.2  The commissioners chose to hold their meetings at Emporia, not the county seat of Americus.  Through the rest of 1860, the Emporia faction gradually increased their political power in the county, while the Americus faction’s power eroded and they were more and more placed in a defensive position.

– With the three miles added to the south (a year earlier, in Feb. 1859), the new county board of commissioners redrew the township boundaries:  the names of Cottonwood and Forest Hill were changed to Pike and Jackson; those lines and Emporia’s were extended south; Cahola was abolished; a new township was created across the south and named Madison.2

– Residents in the northern half of Madison Co. asked to attach 12 more miles to Breckinridge Co.

– By the 1860 U.S. census in June, 67% of adult males in Breckinridge County were born in free northern states, 21% born in slave states, and the remaining 12% were foreign-born.  Population of Breckinridge County was 3,515.

– Breckinridge Co. was given its own representative in the territorial legislature; it was no longer part of the “nineteen disfranchised counties” district.

– Sept. 17, 1860 the last district court in the county under territorial government was held.5

– Oct. 10-11, 1860, members of the short-lived Breckinridge Co. Agricultural and Mechanical Society organized a fair at Thomas Armor’s mill but it was not held, probably because of the severe drought.  The 14-month drought continued until a soaking rain Oct. 26, which was referred to later as “Good Friday.” Many settlers moved back East.  Not until Sept. 8, 1860 was relief organized, and all but Jackson Township required assistance for settlers to survive.  Drought aid came to Kansas Territory from two organizations in the East.  In this county, A. I. Baker was one who worked with the New England Kansas Relief Committee to distribute aid.2

– Other natural calamities during this period were a plague of grasshoppers, and hundreds of cattle died of “Spanish fever” (from ticks on longhorn cattle from Texas).

– One of the issues that was discussed before the November election was the possibility of creating a new county from the north end of Breckinridge Co. and the south end of Wabaunsee Co.  The proposed county seat was the settlement of Allen on the Santa Fe Trail.  This proposed change in county lines was favored by the north townships but did not happen, and the new county was not created.  The Emporians had offered support in exchange for support to make Emporia the county seat; later the disgruntled north rejoined Americus.

– Just prior to the November 6 election, A. I. Baker renounced his allegiance to the Republican Party and declared himself a Democrat.  With Baker having been chairman of the Republicans and prominent in the Party, this switch gave the Emporians an excuse to attack the credibility of Baker and the Americus faction.2

– On Tuesday November 6, 1860 the election gave Emporia 384 votes, Americus 141, Fremont 73, Breckinridge Center 14 and Forest Hill 1, making Emporia the fourth county seat of Breckinridge County.  Although still contested by some, this proved to be the last election for county seat.  The other most notable result of this election was that Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president.  Southern states soon started to secede and form the Confederacy.

– Not getting the north boundary moved to make a new county irked the north faction, who soon rejoined Americus.  Americus promoter A. I. Baker of Agnes City lost prominence in county politics when the county seat went to Emporia, and afterward he pursued other business interests.

1861    – When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, a total of 11 southern states began to leave the Union and opposition to Kansas admission decreased in Congress.  The last six southern senators left their seats on January 21, 1861, and later that same day the Senate passed the Kansas bill.  A week later the House passed the bill as amended and sent it to the president for his signature.  Most free-state settlers in Kansas despised President James Buchanan, who remained in office until Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4; ironically, it was Buchanan who signed the bill making Kansas the 34th state on January 29, 1861.  Kansans were overjoyed with the news, but there was little time for celebration before the Civil War started in April.

– When disgruntled leaders in Americus refused to surrender the county records to Emporia, the Emporians sent a band of men at night to take the records.  This escapade was later told by printer George Simons, who attributed it to his employer, newsman C. V. Eskridge:

When the riders set out from Emporia, three of the horses carried double, and those extra riders were Eskridge, John Watson and Bill Soden.  At Americus the doors of the log courthouse were quickly battered in and the records taken.  Eskridge, Watson and Soden took the records and hid in the tall grass and weeds, while the mounted bunch lit out west to Chase County.  The Americus men gathered, mounted their horses and took out after the decoy riders, while Eskridge, Watson and Soden started on foot for Emporia.  While the three were crossing the Neosho River north of Emporia on a fallen log, second man Soden fell in.  Watson instantly jumped in after him, calling to Eskridge who was in the lead, to “Help me save Soden!”  Eskridge yelled back, “To hell with Soden, he can take care of himself.  I’m saving the records!”  Early county record books have long been missing, but it was said that the record books that went into the river with Soden retained the water-stains.2,11

– January 31, 1861, the final session of the Kansas Territorial Legislature attached 12 miles from north Madison Co. to Breckinridge Co., expanding its area to 24 x 39 miles.  The southern half was attached to Greenwood Co. so that Madison Co. no longer existed.

– The new county board redrew the township boundaries:  the names of Cottonwood and Forest Hill were changed to Pike and Jackson; their areas and Emporia’s were extended south; Cahola was abolished; Elmendaro and Centre Townships were created in the new south area.2,5

– In retrospect, historian Shimeall observes that much of the county’s territorial history concerns the interaction of the townships trying to obtain or keep control.  All political questions seemed to have been directly or indirectly related to the desires of one group or another to gain or maintain control of the county government or its seat of power.  This desire was related to the benefits they (and individuals) might receive as land promoters and speculators in their part of the county.2

– The first Kansas State Legislature convened on March 26, 1861.

– Still recovering from the drought, the county received liberal quantities of relief supplies in winter and spring of 1861.

– On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War started when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina.  Militia companies were organized all over Breckinridge County, and the men who joined the state units saw action at Wilson Creek in Missouri and in other Midwest skirmishes.

– Local militias were also considered necessary to guard against possible raids by Indians and Border Ruffians (Bushwhackers).

– Presbyterians built the first church in Americus.

– County politics were still not equitable.  At a Republican convention in Emporia Oct. 8, delegates from Americus, Fremont and Agnes City Townships withdrew, claiming the north side of the county was ignored.2

– In the Nov. 1861 election, the final ballot for capital of Kansas was:  Topeka, 7,996; Lawrence, 5,291; all others, 1,184.14


Map shows Breckinridge County in 1861.2 Schiesser (source 5) states that Cahola Township was not dissolved until 1863.    ( – – – marks the previous south border line.)

1862    – The Kansas legislature renamed this county Lyon, with the change signed into law Feb. 6, 1862.  This name was chosen to honor Gen. Nathaniel Lyon who was killed Aug. 10, 1861 while leading Kansas troops during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in Missouri.  County voters wanted the name change because “Breckinridge” was 1) too long, and 2) when the county was named by the Bogus Legislature in 1855, it honored pro-slavery U. S. Vice-President John C. Breckinridge, who later supported the Confederates when they seceded; many early settlers in this county were anti-slavery in their politics, and feeling remained strong against the Confederates and Breckinridge.

–  The first of the country schools opened when Fremont, north of Emporia, completed legal organization of their school as Dist. #3 in spring of 1862. The village of Fremont withered by the early 1870s, but the school continued.  Districts 3 through 10 were all opened in the county area north of Emporia.

– On May 20, 1862 the federal Homestead Act was signed into law, opening vast tracts of land to settlement by people who could afford it no other way.  Homesteaders in Kansas and other regions had to improve their 160 acres for 5 years before they could apply for the deed.

– In autumn the 11th Regiment was forming in the state; P. B. Plumb was authorized to raise a company in Lyon County, and 150 men joined.  They engaged in the battle at Prairie Grove, and in 1864 some 300 county troops went to Missouri against Confederate Gen. Sterling Price.  War by the end of 1862 had drained the county of about 400 men, and greatly retarded development of county business, economy and new settlers.

– November 5, 1862 election included a contest for State capital with the results:  Lawrence 248, Topeka 201.

1863    – Reducing the county area, the Kansas legislature passed a bill to detach 2 miles off Lyon County‘s southwest side from the south line up to the Morris/Chase Co. line, and attach it to Chase County.

– The county agricultural society again organized at Emporia, resolved to hold a fair, but plans fell through because of drought from July through September that resulted in poor crops.

– The Kansas State Normal School opened for classes in Emporia.  A “normal” school is one that trains teachers.  Today this school is Emporia State University.

1864    – The Kansas legislature again passed a bill to reduce the county area.  It detached 2 miles off Lyon County‘s northwest side from the north line down to the Morris/Chase Co. line, and attached it to Morris Co.  This was the final boundary change, leaving Lyon County 22 x 39 miles, 858 square miles, 549,978 acres in size.

– The county agricultural society held the first county fair north of Emporia in the bend of the Neosho River, Sept. 28-30, to promote and encourage agriculture and settlement in the county.  It was generally successful.

– Start of organizing the Neosho Valley railroad, which became the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, also known as the M. K. & T. or “Katy” railroad.

1865    – Most conflict of the Civil War ended following the Confederate surrender April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, and over the ensuing months soldiers were mustered out of service and returned home.  Many moved West to better their condition, increasing settlement in many areas including Lyon County.

– The State Normal School (now Emporia State University; “normal” in this sense means a school that trains teachers) opened Feb. 15, 1865 with 25 students in the upper room of the stone school house in Emporia, taught by Prof. L. B. Kellogg.

– The second county fair on Sept. 21 closed in one day; it was considered a failure.

1866    – County courthouse and jail erected in Emporia, also the Normal School building.

– Big rains in June caused flooding.

1867    – Lyon County had $40,000 worth of schoolhouses.

– Vote to issue bonds June 29 to aid construction of the Southern Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad (which became the M. K. & T) passed.

– April 24, a 5.1 earthquake that had its epicenter near Manhattan and was the earliest and strongest quake in recorded early Kansas history, felt all over this county.

– Drought for 5 months, ca. June to October.

– September (20?) brought a plague of grasshoppers that stripped all vegetation before moving on.  It was noted that the grasshoppers, not liking to stay on the cool ground, covered railroad tracks in the area at night while the rails were still warm from the day’s heat.  There were so many that after an engine had run over miles and miles of grasshopper-covered rails, the drive wheels would be so coated with mashed red ‘hopper legs that they were unable to pull the train because the drive wheels could not contact the rails to get traction.9

– November 3-5 a massive prairie fire swept east across the central part of Lyon Co.  It caused great property damage and destroyed winter supplies of hay, wood, etc.

– The Nov. 5, 1867 election included suffrage (allowing the right to vote):  for women 209, against 565; for negro suffrage 503, against 273.

1868    – Twenty-nine schools were reported in session in January.

– June 15, 1868 the vote to issue bonds to aid construction of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad passed.

– Thomas Condell purchased several sections of land in northeast Lyon County, forming the foundation of what later became the Miller ranch.

– D.C. Grinell, age 14, rode his horse through the night from Americus to Burlington to deliver a message to organizers there, hoping to ensure that the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (M.K.T. or “Katy”) Railroad would go through Americus.  The idea for the Katy Railroad was hatched in the law offices of Ruggles and Plumb in Emporia, and bonds were voted by Davis, Morris, Lyon, and Coffey counties to run the railroad through the Neosho Valley from Junction City to the Oklahoma border.

1869    – Americus grade school constructed.

– November 29, 1869 the first engine and rail cars of the Katy Railroad reached Americus.

– When their diminished reserve was ceded to the government, the Sac & Fox tribes moved to Oklahoma.  Some returned and continued to camp for the next 17 years, until 1886.

1870    – County population 8,014, an increase of about 5,000 since the end of the Civil War.

– The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was built from Osage City through Reading and reached Emporia in 1870.7

1871    – Reading Township was created.

– A new county agricultural association was organized, and held the first of yearly county fairs.

– First grist mill at Americus with engines housed in a shed on each side of the mill.  The engines were taken from an abandoned steamboat on the Kansas River.

1872    – Sixty-two schools and 60 schoolhouses were in use, with a total of 3,191 students.

– on May 27, 1872, over the strong protests of Chief Allegawaho and his people, a federal act moved the remaining 553 Kanza tribesmen to a site in Oklahoma.13

– Kansas state legislature passed the Herd Law, prohibiting animals from running free.  This was also addressed at various times by town ordinances, to control cattle and other livestock from roaming the streets and yards.

1873    – June, 1873 the Kanza Tribe was removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and the land here was opened to white settlement.

– A new building was erected for the State Normal School in Emporia.

1875    – The county population was 9,542.

1878    – The county population was approximately 15,500, with 87 schoolhouses and 4,508 students.

1880    – Wiser Ranch established with acreage straddling the Lyon/Wabaunsee Co. line, and the ranch headquarters in Wabaunsee Co., northwest of Old Allen on the Santa Fe Trail.  They used railroad service at Reading, Emporia and Eskridge.

1881    – At Americus in June, a tornado damaged many buildings in town and the Ruggles schoolhouse south of town.

1882    – The heirs of cattleman Thomas Condell sold 5,077.4 acres to brothers William and Hiram Miller.  Hiram Miller in particular improved and expanded the ranch.  The Miller Ranch operation at one time had nearly 10,000 acres.

1884    – The city of Americus incorporated.

– In October, the Wiser Ranch hosted an enormous party for invited guests to show its newly completed state-of-the-art barn, 3 stories tall and a basement with a central windmill for power.

1886    – Ivy township was created because of the railroad.  Initially only two stations were planned in Lyon County on the Council Grove, Osage City and Ottawa Railroad, at what became Admire and Bushong in 1886.  The eastern half of northern Lyon County was in Waterloo Township.  The idea of a new railroad was opposed by so many in the western part of Waterloo that when a bond issue came up they obtained a division of the township, which was split into Ivy and Waterloo townships.  Among those promoting the railroad bonds were Admire’s town fathers, three businessmen from Osage City and one from Emporia.  They were given the right to acquire land for a town site and train station, and to name the town.  The site they chose was in Ivy Township, where the residents had opposed the railroad so much that they split from Waterloo.

– Allen was an established community on the Santa Fe Trail.  To enable their community to continue its growth, they moved 3 miles southwest and got their own station on the railroad.

– Completed in May 1886, the railroad through the Lyon County stations of Comiskey, Bushong, Allen, Admire and Miller was first built from east to west as the Council Grove, Osage City and Ottawa Railroad.  It was a branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad system, and was later known as the Missouri Pacific, or MoPac.  Stations had a waiting room with windows on one side, a freight room on the other side, and the agent’s office in the center.  Each office had a bay window, so that the agent could see up and down the tracks.

– In Americus, the stone grade school burned. Classes were then held in an old cheese factory building.

1887    – Severe drought dried up the streams, shriveled crops and made livestock almost worthless on the markets.  It was a serious setback to the agriculture of the area, and to the promoters of the new towns along the new railroad.  Potential settlers went elsewhere, and many of those who had recently come had to move on or struggle for survival.

– New stone schoolhouse built in Americus.

1889    – Wooden sidewalks built in Allen.

1890    – Americus finally passed a city ordinance prohibiting any owner from turning his cattle loose within the city.  This had been a problem for years in a town with numerous dairy and cheese businesses where residents could market dairy products.

– 1890, ’92 and ’94 saw proposals in the state legislature for Wiser County, to be created from the north part of Lyon and south part of Wabaunsee counties, with Allen as the county seat.  The efforts were unsuccessful.

1894    – Bushong school closed briefly for a diphtheria epidemic.

1895    – An unusually violent hailstorm hit Americus.  Most fruit on the trees was destroyed, early gardens were riddled, and drifts of hail reached four feet deep.  Livestock was injured and killed by the large hailstones, and many buildings had windows broken and other damage.  Two months later for the town’s 4th of July celebration, hail was dug from the remaining drifts and hauled to the park to ice down cold drinks and provide ice cream.

– State Bank of Allen founded.

1897    – Lightning started a fire when it struck a barn on the main street of Allen, and damaged businesses.

1898    – The Spanish American War, April to August of 1898, put local men into active military service.

1899    – A jail was built in Americus; there is no record that the jail was ever used to house a law breaker, but during the Great Depression years of the 1930’s, the city marshal allowed tramps to sleep overnight in the building.

– Kansas legislators passed laws requiring land owned by “aliens” to be sold within 3 years.  This affected the Wiser family of Canada.

1901    – Wiser Ranch sold to the Swift Packing Co.  Swift offered the land in smaller tracts.

1902    – Wiser Ranch sold by Swift to Jacob Southard and Chas. Coffman, Sr.  They continued to offer the land in smaller tracts.

1903    – Two telephone companies in Allen merged.  The Comiskey Telephone Company built, maintained and operated a telephone exchange at Americus; the Farmers Mutual Telephone Company was organized shortly after, and the two companies merged.  Similar systems were being built all over the county.

– The Allen bank safe was blown open with explosives and thieves took $3,000.  They were never caught.

1904    – In 1904 Admire blacksmith John Burns used stakes and mesh wire to erect a protective fence around a cottonwood sapling on his business property. The large tree still survives at the northeast corner of the main intersection of downtown Admire.
– A severe blizzard in April caused widespread damage and loss of livestock.

1905    – Admire post office robbed of $300 worth of postage stamps.

1906    – First store opened in Miller, a grocery.

1907    – A broken rail caused a train wreck in Bushong, and three cars were derailed. One passenger had a broken rib, another had several teeth knocked out, and a third had his face badly scratched.

– May 5, 1907 in Allen a fire started in a downtown livery stable and burned the stable, a rental house next to it, the first Allen Hotel, a hardware store and its storage building, and 3 other homes.  The burned-out limestone walls of the hardware store stood for some years, gradually used for road gravel.

1908    – The second Allen Hotel was constructed of limestone in the block south of the first.  The building still stands.

1909    – In Reading, gas street lights replaced the previous kerosene lights.

– The Katy railroad depot at Americus burned, soon replaced by a new depot.

1910    – Miller Ranch owners filed a new plat of the town site, already peopled by those who worked at the ranch, with their homes and families in the small community north of the tracks across from the ranch headquarters.  Miller was the last town established in the county.

– Jacob Southard sold his interest in the former Wiser Ranch and established the large Pleasant View Stock Farm near Comiskey, straddling the Lyon/Morris Co line.

1911    – First schoolhouse in Miller built.

– Bushong bank robbed, thieves were found and convicted.

1912    – Kansas women were given the right to vote.

– First graduation from Admire High School, one student.

– After Hiram Miller’s death, his heirs continued to operate the ranch until 1946.

1913    – The last of the small county school districts started, Up-to-Date, #118.

– City Hall in Americus was constructed, used by the city until 1957.

1915    – Miller State Bank opened.

– In Reading a local power plant for electricity was started, and was sold to Kansas Power & Light ten years later.

– Americus Township was stricken in 1915 with a butter famine, in an area well known for its creameries and cheese factories.  Butter was being shipped to other markets, not leaving enough for local use.

1916    – First graduation from Bushong High School, two students.

– A telephone office was established at Miller.

– A safe and vault at the bank at Allen were blown open with explosives, but the thieves only gained access to $900 worth of postage stamps.  They were never caught.

1917    – U.S. entry into WWI, many area men served in the military until war’s end in 1918.

– Start of construction of the one-lane limestone bridge 1/2 mile west of Admire over Hill Creek.  Hand-worked by area stonemasons using local rock, the bridge was completed in 1918.

– Miller Canning Company factory built and began processing vegetables.

1918    – Bushong erected its brick high school building.

– Fire started by a man vulcanizing a tire to repair it burned the garage, a blacksmith shop and several cars, and damaged the Allen Hotel.

1920    – Electric plant built at Allen.

1921    – Miller Canning Company factory closed.  Building later moved and used on the Miller Ranch.

1922    – Americus won the first Lyon County High School Basketball Tournament in 1922 by defeating Reading 33-13.

– In April two trains crashed head-on at high speed at the east edge of Allen.  Only minor injuries were reported, but the engines and 14 rail cars were demolished.

1923    – In August at Allen the 4th fire in a month burned the theater and a hardware store.

1924    – In May of 1924, the first paved road in Lyon County was completed, the 22-mile cement road then known as The New Santa Fe Trail, later called Hwy 50S (south), from the east county line to Emporia.

– The Admire school burned to the ground in January.  Students attended classes in other town buildings until the new school was built.

1925    – New brick school opened at Admire.

1926    – Sept. 26 at the Allen crossing, a car struck by a railroad engine was hurled into the Allen depot.  It killed a woman waiting on the platform and 2 passengers in the car, and injured 3 others.

1927    – Electrical power was approved for Bushong.

1926    – September 26, 1926 a Missouri-Pacific train hit a car that was crossing the railroad track at Allen, hurling the car onto the depot platform where it killed a woman waiting for a train.  Two car passengers were fatally injured.

1930    – The Great Depression through the 1930s brought economic hardship, and ended most business development in the small towns.

– Fire destroyed several business buildings in Miller.

– The State Bank of Allen failed and closed on Dec. 30.

1931    – On September 6, 1931 as a train passed through Miller, 13 freight cars left the track and wrecked.  Several went through the depot building which was demolished, and the far wall partly fell onto a Ford car parked there, but there were no injuries.

– The 50-mile driving loop from Emporia-Admire-Allen-Bushong-Americus and back to Emporia was completed, surfaced the entire length with either sand or chat.

1932    – Bushong State Bank failed and closed.

1933    – At Americus, the job of railroad station agent was eliminated, as business declined.

1934    – April 2, 1934 at Allen, the Edmunds store on Main St. burned with only the stone walls remaining.  No injuries, but on the morning following the fire, all kinds of buckets were found in the yard of the house next to the store, and on the roof where the workers had left them after the danger of the house catching on fire had passed.

1936    – March 28, 1936 Admire merchants held their drawing for a new Ford sedan, a promotion designed to encourage payment of debts to the merchants, who had carried more-than-usual credit for customers due to the Great Depression.

1941    – The Miller bank merged with the Admire State Bank, and Miller’s assets were moved to Admire.

– WWII started for Americans in December after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  By the war’s end in Sept. 1945, many of the county’s young men—and some older men and young women—had served in the military.

– In the early 1940s the U.S. military bought about 5 square miles of acreage for a practice bombing range south of Miller.  It straddled the Lyon/Osage County line, with the actual target area in Osage County.  One of 3 such ranges used by the Topeka Army Air Base, crews in training located the target and dropped their practice bombs, which were usually thin metal with a 4-pound charge of black powder to make a visible smoke when it struck.  Aircraft targeting the range included B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers, and an occasional P-38 Lightning, a twin-boom fighter-bomber.  Navy air crews also used the range for training.  It was closed after the war and the land returned to farm and ranch use.

1943    – New Year’s night a bomber crew in training mistakenly bombed the town of Reading.  Most of the practice bombs fell at the edge of town, and no one was injured.

1948    – On a hot day in June, 47 freight cars wrecked at Admire, the worst train wreck in Lyon County up to that time.  One transient who was riding in a freight car was killed.

– Waterloo Inn building abandoned after 90 years of occupancy.

1950    – Drawing local servicemen into battle, hostilities in the Korean War of 1950–1953 ended with a cease-fire; the declared war continued between North and South Korea.

1954    – Many local youth served in the military during the Vietnam War of 1954-1975.

1955    – Bushong High students moved to Allen High School.

1957    – The railroad depot at Bushong was discontinued.

– Northern Heights High School opened for all area high school students.  It was the first consolidated high school in Kansas, a major undertaking of cooperation for the small towns.

– With the 1957-58 school year, no one-teacher schools remained in the north part of Lyon Co., and in 1960 only 10 such schools were left in the south end.

1958    – Walter Porter purchased the remaining 4,900 acres of the Miller Ranch.  The Porter Ranch retained the headquarters across the railroad tracks from the town of Miller.

– Miller railroad depot and the post office closed.

1963    – Fire at Allen destroyed a block of businesses.

1964    – The Miller Volunteer Fire Dept. purchased its first pieces of equipment, Army surplus vehicles that were then modified for fire fighting.  The fire dept. became a model for other small towns seeking fire protection in rural areas.

1970    – The Waterloo Inn building was still standing, it collapsed by the late 70s.

2001    – The Flint Hills Nature Trail was built upon the old railroad corridor, which was developed beginning in 1886—the Council Grove, Osage City & Ottawa Railway (which serviced area coal mining) and the Missouri Pacific. The route fell out of service in the 1980s.  Rails-to-Trails Conservancy later acquired and railbanked the corridor in 1995, then transferred it to Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy (KRTC) to develop.  In 2001, the all-volunteer nonprofit began trail construction.  Today the Nature Trail is open to foot, horse and bicycle traffic from Council Grove through Bushong, Allen, and Admire.

2012    – The North Lyon Co. Historical Society opened its museum at the Admire Community Center.




  1. History of Lyon County, Kansas by Jacob Stotler, from An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Lyon County, Kansas, publ. by Edwards Brothers of Missouri, 1878
  2. Arthur Inghram Baker: Frontier Kansan, by Wm. M. Shimeall, 1978, courtesy Lyon County Historical Society Archives, Emporia, KS.
  3. Our Land: A History of Lyon County, Kansas, 1976, publ. Emporia State Press.
  4. Allen, Kansas, 1854-1886, 1886-1986 by Don Schiesser, 1986.
  5. History Timeline for Lyon Co., compiled by Donald E. Schiesser, Dec., 2002
  6. Internet:
  7.     History of Early Lyon County, Kansas (Breckinridge and Madison counties), by Lucina Jones, Regent Emporia Chap., DAR, May 1933
  8. The Two Agnes Citys, by Nelloise Jackson
  9. Americus Sesquicentennial Book 1857-2007, Jan Huston, editor, publ. 2007
  10. Wyandotte Constitution
  11. story, county records stolen
  12. The Kanza Reserve 150 Years Ago by Ron Parks, 2009,
  13.             Kaw (Kanza) tribal history
  14. Topeka & early Kansas history       KS State Hist. Society, county plat maps                                   Cyclopedia of Kansas, 1912                   1883 History of Kansas by Andreas/Cutler                                             map, Missouri Compromise     (see chronology, 1820 and 1854)

                        ——————————————————— History of Emporia and Lyon County, Kansas by Laura French, and          Index to French book above Annals of Emporia and Lyon County, 1857-1882, by Jacob Stotler, publ. 1895             railroads






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