Jewell County, Kansas Political Organization

In July 1870, Col. E. Barker and Orville L. McClung presented a petition to Governor Harvey, asking for the organization of the county. On the 14th of that month, C. L. Seeley, F. T. Gandy and A. J. Davis were appointed the first Commissioners, James A. Scarbrough, County Clerk, and Jewell City was designated as the county seat. The county and the city were named in honor of Lieut. Col. Lewis R. Jewell, of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, who died of wounds, received at the battle of Cane Hill, Ark, November 28, 1862. Col. Barker had been commissioned Notary Public on the 16th of June, being the first public officer of Jewell County. That functionary presented the new officers with their commissions, and in August they called upon him at his shanty on Middle Buffalo, one and one-half miles north of Jewell City; held an open-air meeting on the banks of that stream, and were sworn into office on the 20th of that month, 1870.

The duly qualified Commissioners held their first meeting at the office of the County Clerk in Jewell City, on August 22, Mr. Seeley being chosen as chairman. The county was divided into three commissioners’ districts, and five municipal, viz.: Vicksburg, Buffalo, Limestone, White Rock and Big Timber. At this meeting it was ordered that on the twenty-seventh day of September, 1870, an election be held for the purpose of electing county and township officers, and locating the county-seat, Result was as follows: For County Commissioners – First District – Dennis Taylor; Second District – Thomas Coverdale; Third District – Samuel C. Bowles. For County Clerk – James A. Scarbrough. For County Treasurer – Henry Sorick. For County Surveyor – N. H. Billings. For Register of Deeds – S. O. Carman. For Probate Judge – Charles L. Seeley. For Sheriff – A. J. Davis. For Coroner – William Cox. For County Superintendent – S. R. Worick. “Springdale,” a paper town, supposed to be located on the divide between White Rock and the head of the East Buffalo, received twenty-four votes for the county-seat, and died a premature death – or rather, died before it had ever been born.

In April 1873, Jewell Center, now Mankato, concluded that, owing to its central location, it was more entitled to be the county seat than Jewell City. In response to a petition, on April 7, 1873, the County Commissioners ordered an election upon the re-location of the county seat, to take place the 13th of May 1873. Jewell Center was the successful candidate for the honor, by a vote of 861, to 626 for Jewell City. On the 28th of June 1875 another election for the re-location of the county seat took place, at the request of Jewell City. This election resulted again in favor of Jewell Center – 971, to 756 for Jewell City, and nine for Midway, a town on Middle Buffalo, and another aspirant for the county seat. The question has not been agitated since, and it is, probably, definitely and fairly settled.

The county buildings of Mankato are small, inconvenient, and unsafe for keeping the records of so large a county. The present court house is a small frame building, donated by the citizens of Mankato to secure the county seat. A courthouse square has been set apart in the most elevated portion of the town, where it is intended to soon erect a court house commensurate in size and elegance with the importance of the county.

The county poor farm, of about 200 acres, situated one mile south of Mankato, is provided with a good poorhouse, costing about $4,000.


Source: Jewell County, Cutlers History of Kansas, 1883

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