Governor Thomas A. Osborn, in his proclamation providing for the organization of Ford County, on April 5, 1873, appointed Charles Rath, J. G. McDonald and Daniel Wolf special County Commissioners, and Herman J. Fringer special County Clerk. This body met at Dodge City and made choice of Charles Rath as Chairman of the Board. James Hanrahan was appointed Commissioner in place of Mr. Wolf, who was not in the county. An election for county officers was ordered June 5, 1873, and at that election the following named persons were elected, the first body of officers for Ford County: Charles Rath, A. C. Myers and F. C. Zimmerman, County Commissioners; Herman J. Fringer, County Clerk and Clerk of the District Court; A. J. Anthony, County Treasurer; Chas. E. Bassett,. Sheriff; T. L. McCarty, Coroner; H. Armitage, Register of Deeds; George B. Cox, Probate Judge; M. V. Cutter, County Attorney. M. Collar was Trustee of Dodge Township; P. T. Bowen and Thomas C. Nixon, Justices of the Peace.
A. C. Myers was selected Chairman of this Board; M. V. Cutter resigned the position of County Attorney, and was appointed Commissioner vice Rath, resigned July 24, 1873; M. V. Cutter was appointed Chairman vice Myers. The county was divided into two municipal townships. Dodge Township embraced Township 26, Range 25; Ford Township, the rest of Ford County.
The first county warrants were issued on claims growing out of a Coroner’s inquest on the supposed body of Michael Stanton. T. L. McCarty was allowed $25 for professional fees as Coroner; October 6, 1873, county warrants were issued to meet the expenses incurred on holding a Coroner’s inquest on the body of William Ellis and of Mrs. M. Bradley. The salary of the County Clerk was set at $250 per year.
At the election, November 4, 1873, James Hanrahan was elected Representative; A. J. Anthony, A. J. Peacock and Charles Rath, County Commissioners; William F. Sweeney, County Clerk; A. B. Webster, County Treasurer; Charles E. Bassett, Sheriff; T. L. McCarty, Coroner; John Kirby, Surveyor; M. J. Bruin, Register of Deeds; George B. Cox, Probate Judge: L. D. Henderson, County Attorney; M. Collar, Superintendent of Public Instruction; John McDonald, Clerk of the District Court. A. J. Peacock was chosen Chairman of this Board. At this session, December 23, 1873, a contract was made with R. M. Wright for the use of building for the county at $5 per month.
County Commissioners. 1873, J. G. McDonald, James Hanrahan, M. V. Cutter, A. C. Myer, F. C. Zimmerman; 1873-77, Charles Rath, A. J. Anthony; 1873-80, A. J. Peacock; 1878, George B. Cox; 1878-81, J. W. Sidlow; 1879-82, G. M. Hoover; 1881-83, A. J. Anthony; 1882-83, J. D. Shaffer; 1883, F. C. Zimmerman.
County Clerks. 1873, Herman J. Fringer; 1873-75, William F. Sweeney; 1876-79, John B. Means; 1880, Otto Miller, George W. Potter; 1882-83, H. P. Myton.
County Treasurers. 1873, A. J. Anthony; 1873-77, A. B. Webster; 1878-79, Charles H. Lane; 1880-81, F. C. Zimmerman; 1882-83, R. W. Evans.
Sheriffs. 1873-77, Charles E. Bassett; 1878-79, W. B. Masterson; 1880-83, Geo. T. Hinkle.
Clerks of District Court, 1873, Herman J. Fringer; 1874-76, John McDonald; 1877-78, Henry Boyer; 1879-81, H. P. Myton; 1882-83, W. F. Petillon.
County Attorneys, 1873, M. V. Cutter; 1874, L. D. Henderson; 1875-76, C. F. Jones; 1877-81, M. N. Sutton; 1881-82, I. S. Jones; 1882-83, J. F. Whitelaw.
Probate Judges. 1873-74, George B. Cox; 1875-78, H. J. Fringer; 1879-80, N. B. Kline; 1881-82, Lloyd Shinn; 1883, H. J. Fringer.
Register of Deeds. 1873, H. Armitage; 1874-75, M. J. Bruin; 1876-77, James Layton; 1878-79, A. H. Hale; 1880-81, W. F. Petillon; 1882-83, B. A. Jones.
The First Commissioners’ District contains Spearville and Wheatland townships; the Second, the remaining part of the county lying north of the Arkansas; the Third, that portion south of the Arkansas River.
The County Superintendents of Public Instruction have been M. Collar, Thomas L. McCarty, J. H. Van Voorhees and John Whitaker. Those who have held the office of County Surveyor are John Kirby, H. F. McCarty, Charles Van Trump, Frederick Singer and H. B. Van Vorhees.
Representation in the State Legislature. Henry C. St. Clair of Sumner County represented the Twenty-fifth Senatorial District, of which Ford County was a part, in the sessions of 1875 and 1876; M. M. Murdock of Sedgwick County was the Senator in the session of 1874, elected before Ford County was organized; Thomas T. Taylor, of Reno County, of the Thirty-seventh District, represented this territory in the sessions of 1877 and 1879; J. C. Strang, of Pawnee, in 1881, Simon Motz, of Ellis, in 1883. In the House was James Hanrahan in the session of 1874; Robert M. Wright, in 1875, 1877, 1879 and 1881; D. M. Frost, in 1876; G. M. Hoover, in 1883.
Ford County was at first the One Hundred and Third Representative District; by the Legislative apportionment of 1876, it became the One Hundred and Twenty-second; by that of 1881, it was the One Hundred and Eighteenth District. It is the southwest-organized county of the Thirty-fifth Senatorial District, which elects a Senator in 1884. The district embraces the organized counties of Barber, Pratt, Stafford, Pawnee, Edwards, Ford, Hodgeman and Ness, and the unorganized counties of Lane, Scott, Wichita, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearney, Sequoyah, Gray, Arapahoe, Grant, Stanton, Kansas, Stevens, Seward, Meade, Clark and Comanche, making in all twenty-five counties, nearly one-fourth of the area of the State.
Statistics. Ford County is in the Arkansas Valley Land District, the office of which is located at Larned, Pawnee County; Charles A. Morris, Register; Henry Booth, Receiver. It has 31,360 acres of public land, 322,560 acres of Osage Indian Trust lands, 91,917 acres of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad lands, the average price of which per acre is $3.25. In 1874, there were 120,061 taxable acres; under cultivation, 95; value of the crop, $230. The people were short of breadstuffs; they had a surplus of buffalo meat. No fall wheat was sown for fear of the grasshoppers and drought. Though there were 35 families, numbering 150 persons, who might require assistance, it was reported that they would get along if “buffaloes remain and Indians stay away.” In that event, said Mr. Isaac Young, “We are a free and happy people.”
Red May and Turkey are the kinds of wheat successfully raised. Nearly the entire county is open range. Cost of grazing for the season is 25 cents per head; prairie hay in stack, $5 per ton; herd law in force; cattle feed on buffalo grass nine months of the year. Sheep rising is confined to the sheep men with large flocks.
Source: Ford County Kansas, Cutlers History of Kansas 1883