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President Pierce signed on May 30th, 1854, an Act of Congress allowing for
a territorial organization of the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska. In
a report of the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture, the statement
was made that the county was named in honor of Hon. Albert G. Brown,
of Mississippi, who was a United States Senator at the time of the passage
of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Later the following year the Legislature met
and passed an act that would distribute a portion of the territory
into counties and naming the counties thus laid off. Brown County is
situated in the northeastern portion of Kansas, being located in the first
tier of counties, from Nebraska. Doniphan County lies to the east, Atchison
and Jackson counties to the south, and Nemaha county to the west.
Prior to the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill there was as far as is known, no settlement of whites in this county. The first records state that Thurston Chase and James Gibbobs staked claims on Wolf Creek on May 11, 1854, and made some improvements to the land, but returned to the east in less that a month. In June of the same year W.C. Foster came to Brown County, but passed through and settled in the eastern part of Nemaha County, having been informed that this section was a part of the Indian Trust Lands. On learning of his error he returned to Brown County the fall of the same year.
Some Brown County Firsts
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Towns of Brown County
Morrill: Morrill is located in the west portion of Brown County, on the St. Joseph & Western Railway, 10 miles from Hiawatha. Although settled soon after the railway was completed the town was not laid out until February 27, 1878. A Sac and Fox trail ran a short distance west of the town and the mounds of two of Jim Lane's old forts were still visible a few miles away.
of today bears date from the building of the railway station upon the completion
of the St Joseph & Denver City Railway in 1871. Prior to the advent of
steam transportation, the old California trail running half a mile to the
south. This town now known as Old Robinson, contained a tavern, kept in 1858
by Samuel Wade and later by William Brown, general stores by Daniel P. Williams
and S.M. Morehead and two blacksmith shops. The site of the old town is now
The new town of Robinson was first platted in 1872, the plat showing a site of forty acres, all upon the land of Z. Holcomb. The first building in Robinson was a dwelling house erected by Z. Holcomb, and still stands near the railway track. The first merchant in general business was John A. Dower, the first postoffice opened in 1871 in the store of Moorhead & Anderson, the first birth near the new town was that of a son of Porter Sanborn,which occurred in 1870, the first death was a Sophia McAllister, first wedding the union of Dr. James Parsons and Miss Phoebe Martin.
Hamlin: Hamlin is located upon the St. Joseph & Western Railway, seven miles west of Hiawatha. The first building in the new town was that of Mrs. Leonard, who was engaged in the millinery business. The first child born in the town was a son of E.N. Ordway, the first death that of a Mrs. Bates and the first wedding that of James Hays.
Irving Twp: This township was one of the earliest of the county to receive settlement and is now thickly peopled with a prosperous community, though having no towns, or even villages within its borders. The first settles were Solomon McCall and L. Ashley who located March 13, 1855. The only postoffice in this township at presented writing (January 1883) is that of Mount Roy.
Walnut Twp: Has only one village however of some little importance, as it is so far away from a railroad. The first settlement in this township was made by Isaac Swain near where the Carson School and settlement is now located. The first organized public school in the county was in Walnut Township and organized on May 11, 1859.
Padonia: Padonia, now a station on the Missouri Pacific Railway, 5 miles north of Hiawatha, was probably named in honor of Jessie Padon, who lived prior to 1862 in a log hut on the bank of the Walnut.
Claytonville: Was laid out as a city in November of 1856 and had a town site of 320 acres. It had at one time 15 families and one store established by G.E. Clayton in August of 1857. The town where this town once stood is now part of 3 farms.
Baker: In June, 1882, the new and prosperous town of Baker was located by the Missouri Pacific Railroad on the lands belonging to the heirs of the Baker estate. The town now contains six business houses, fifteen private residences and two elevators, and is a thriving commercial center.
Willis: Willis is a new station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, about six miles south of Hiawatha. It is a thriving young town with a number of enterprising citizens, who do a good deal of business. It has two handsome churches, several stores and a number of fine residences, and bids fair to soon become one of the important towns of Brown County
Everest: Everest is a new station on the recently completed Missouri Pacific Railway. It is fast building, and will probably become a good shipping point for the farmers of the vicinity. It is named in honour of Col. Everest of Atchison, the attorney of the road.
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