Mankato, formerly Jewell Center, is situated about the center of the county, on Sections 15 and 22, Township 3, Range 8 west. In Center Township, in 1872, a “town company” was formed, of which M. W. Whitney was President, P. S. McCutchen, Secretary, and G. S. Bishop, Treasurer. They surveyed and platted 320 acres, now included in the town site, and named it Jewell Center. Their design was to start a town and secure the county seat. In the fall of 1872, C. W. Petigrew built and opened a store, and the future county seat, in the minds of its projectors, was “started.” A post office was established, and D. T. Vance, the present official, was the first postmaster. Early in 1873, the citizens of Jewell Center and the settlements on White Rock commenced to agitate the question of removing the county seat, as before stated. The similarity in the names of Jewell Center and Jewell City caused delays in mail, and two years ago the former place determined to select a new name. “Alta” was first chosen, but it was found to be the cognomen of another town in the State, and it was again christened, by the name it now bears – Mankato. This was given to it by H. R. Hill, who attended school at Mankato, Blue Earth Co., Minn.

The country around Mankato is the most rolling and broken of any part of the county. It was the last in the county to be taken up, and it was thought when the first settlements were made that it would never be suitable for anything but grazing; but it now has some very fine farms. Had the land been as suitable for a town as Jewell City, it is quite likely the founders of that city would have chosen the present site of Mankato. Water is reached, in permanent supply, at a depth of from ten to ninety feet. This is certainly a great consideration to those who come here to live. The town is mostly settled by live young businessmen from the East, who brought with them, especially, the educational ideas of that older section of the country. The school advantages of Mankato have always, therefore, been good. The attendance is at present about 140. It is the purpose of the citizens soon to replace the wooden school building with the finest structure in the county.

City Officials
Mankato has reached a population of over 600, and is steadily increasing in business and wealth. The town has grown more rapidly since the completion of the Central Branch, three years ago, than for any equal period previous. It was incorporated as a city of the third class, April 22, 1880. The first city officers were:

  • B. J. Thompson, Mayor
  • A. Evans, City Clerk
  • L. P. Vance, Treasurer
  • J. W. McRoberts, Police Judge
  • M. Stone, C. Angevine, L. M. Butts, S. C. Bowles and G. S. Bishop, Councilmen

In 1881:

  • M. Stone, Mayor
  • L. M. Butts, D. Heron, A. Evans, J. M. Ketchum and Ed. E. Chapman, Councilmen
  • W. G. Stowell, Clerk
  • L. P. Vance, Treasurer
  • J. W. McRoberts, Police Judge

1882:

  • M. Stone, Mayor
  • L. M. Butts, J. J. Lamar, A. Evans, W. O. John and J. J. Dalton, Councilmen
  • G. W. Collins, City Clerk
  • Herbert Evans, Treasurer
  • B. J. Thompson, Police Judge 

    Source: Jewell County, Cutlers History of Kansas, 1883