Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5 v. (lvi, 2731 p., [228] leaves of plates) : ill., maps (some fold.), ports. ; 27 cm.

1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Resources Part 1




The salt of the State of Kansas has been derived from three sources at three successive stages of the industry. The early salt factories, which were the crude devices of ancient times, consisting of stone arches and chimneys to conserve heat, built about the evaporating kettles, were in use from about 1860 or earlier until the '70s. The salt of this period came from the springs and marshes, or from shallow wells sunk in the marshes. In 1867, the first of the solar salt plants was erected, and these soon took the place of the older method. The supply was obtained from borings which produced brine. The modern methods of salt manufacture were introduced in 1887-88 and the supply is obtained from rock salt.

The salt marshes and springs which supplied the early hunters and the first settlements with the product covered a wide area. The springs occurred in the eastern part of the State, in the valleys of the Neosho, Verdigris, and Fall River, at Osawatomie; and on Walnut Creek, in Brown county. The springs of the rivers mentioned yielded sufficient for local consumption. In 1862, the Osawatomie Salt Company was organized for the purpose of supplying salt for the Kansas market. In 1866, the Kansas Farmer speaks of this venture as successful, and mentions the Leavenworth Salt and Coal Oil Company having a supply from the springs of Walnut Creek sufficient for forty thousand bushels per year. The marshes were in the middle section of the State. The most important, from the standpoint of utility at least, was the Tuthill marsh in the southeastern corner of Republic County. The Jamestown marsh was located partly in Republic and partly in Cloud and Jewel Counties. There were two in the southern portion of Mitchell County, two in the northern part of Lincoln County, and two in the northeastern part of Stafford County. Deposits of salt were also spoken of near Great Bend and in the Republican, Solomon and Saline valleys, and at Alma, St. Marys and Junction City. These marshes would dry up in the late summer and leave large areas of salt crust on the surface of the ground. This was taken up by the pioneer salt manufacturers and hauled to their factories where it was first dissolved and allowed to stand till the impurities had settled, then the brine was syphoned off and evaporated in open kettles. When there were no salt crusts, brine was used. Mr. Tuthill was the principal salt man of the sixties in his section of the State. He supplied hundreds of barrels of salt for the local market. The brine of the marshes yielded one bushel of salt to every one hundred and thirty gallons, but the shallow wells sunk a few feet below the surface yielded a brine which made a bushel of salt to every thirty-five gallons. This salt brought ten cents per pound on the market as late as 1870. This was equivalent to $28 per barrel. As a matter of contrast, a much better grade of salt sold in 1898 for 27 cents per barrel.

In 1866, Professor B. F. Mudge urged upon the people of Kansas the advantage of supplying themselves with salt and saving the sum of at least $80,000 paid to outside concerns for 40,000 barrels of salt. He called attention to the markets of the surrounding states, which were being supplied from the East and showed where Kansas had the advantage not only in the matter of freight, but in the splendid adaptation of the climate to solar evaporation, which was then the cheapest method of manufacture in New York and other Eastern States. In that year William Taylor, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, visited Solomon. His attention was directed to the salt spring there. The visit resulted in the forming of the Continental Salt Company of Bedford, Massachusetts, which sent C. W. Davis to Solomon the next year with drill and equipment to sink a well and establish a factory. This factory produced several thousand barrels of salt per year, and caused Kansas to be recognized as a salt-producing State. In 1874, a second factory was set up at Solomon by William Dewar, who secured a very good brine at a depth of eighty-four feet. He built a solar plant which he operated for two years under the name of the Wimsatt Salt Works. In 1881, the two plants were consolidated under the National Solar Salt Company. In 1890, it became the property of Solomon Solar Salt Company. This was the most important solar plant in the State and had a capacity of seven thousand barrels per year. The low price of salt finally caused it to close down.

The development of the salt industry on its present basis began with the discovery of rock salt at Hutchinson by Ben Blanchard of Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1887. He was drilling for oil or gas when he located the strata. Salt was selling for $3.00 and $3.50 per barrel, and the enterprising Hutchinson people began to boom the industry. The first plant was built by Guoinlock & Humphreys. It was ready for business March 24, 1888. This was the boom period for oil and gas, and drilling was going on throughout the State for both these products. In the counties of Ellsworth, Barton, Rice, McPherson, Stafford, Reno, Pratt, Kingman, Sedgwick, Harper, and Sumner this drilling resulted in locating stratas of rock salt from one hundred and fifty to three hundred feet thick and lying from five hundred to one thousand feet below the surface. The discoveries in all these localities were made about the same time and within a year thirteen salt plants were doing business within the district and others were in process of construction.

Kanopolis, Kingman, and Lyons took the lead for the first year as salt-producing centers. Rock salt was produced at these towns almost exclusively. Plants for the manufacture of refined table salt were erected at Anthony, Wellington, Nickerson, Sterling, and Hutchinson, especially at the latter town, where eleven plants were either doing business or in the process of construction by the close of 1888. The Guoinlock works, which had a capacity of five hundred barrels per day, was followed in a few months by the Vincent plant, built by a company of Hutchinson and Emporia men, with Frank and John F. Vincent as leading members. It had a capacity of three hundred barrels per day. The next year this company added a dairy mill of one hundred barrels capacity, the first one in Kansas. The Vincent plant passed through the hands of several owners and was dismantled in 1911. The Diamond Salt Company was organized in June, 1888, and their plant was erected in South Hutchinson, late in the year. Its capacity was two hundred barrels. This plant was later bought by Joy Morton, who went into the salt business in 1891, and became the principal producer in the State. Other salt works installed in Hutchinson at this time were: the Hegwer, the Riverside, the New York, the Crystal, the Bartlett, which is the present Mathews plant, the Pennsylvania, the McFarland, and the Wyoming, all small plants of one or two pans.

There were two methods of salt evaporation which predominated in this period, the pan process and the grainer process. In the pan process, the salt, instead of being mined as in the case of rock salt, was first reduced to brine by water forced into the mine. After the water became saturated it was drawn back through pipes and put into tanks. It was then turned off into pans where it was evaporated by the application of direct heat to the bottom of the pan. In the grainer process, evaporation was caused by running steam pipes through the pan and avoiding many of the difficulties of the direct heat method. It also utilized waste steam as in the case of the Union lee and Salt Company, where the chief business was the manufacture of ice. This method was adapted to weak brines which could not be profitably evaporated in any other way. The grainer process was later modified by the use of cement or wooden pans instead of metal. The first grainer plant in the State was installed by the Barton Salt Company, in the old packing house in Hutchinson, in 1892.

The Vacuum process, which is the modern method, was first introduced by the Hutchinson Packing Company. The apparatus for this is in three compartments. At the bottom of the inner compartment is the fire. Pipes run from this to the outer compartment carrying away smoke, and supplying heat to the brine which is in the middle compartment. Pumps at the top of the brine compartment exhaust the air and cause boiling at a very low temperature. As soon as the salt is deposited by evaporation, it is carried away by an automatic device, and fresh brine supplied. This method was not made practical until 1907, but it is now used almost exclusively and is a great saving of labor. Gas was introduced in 1907, and has this same advantage as a fuel.

In the first year of the salt industry, investors overreached themselves. The sum of $600,000 was spent, and the combined capacity of the various plants was conservatively estimated as nine hundred thousand barrels per year. The production for 1899 was half of the capacity of the factories and brought only forty-five cents per barrel as against $1.21 the year before. The next three years were a period of elimination and consolidation. The Hutchinson interests bought eight different plants at less than cost of construction, and closed most of them. In 1892 there had been a slight raise in price, salt bringing fifty-two cents that year. In 1893 it declined to thirty-six cents and continued on the decline until in 1898 the price was twenty-seven cents. The plants in operation at this time were all doing business at a loss. The production was 1,810,809 barrels. Efforts made by the leading producers to organize for the good of the industry were without results for a number of years. The competition of Michigan salt was keenly felt. It had two advantages on the general market, a low cost of production on account of utilizing the waste steam of the saw mills, and lower freight charges. On the other hand, Kansas had a better product, Hutchinson salt having taken highest award at the Columbian Exposition.

After 1898, there was another period of elimination, so that by 1902 there were but ten companies doing business in the State. Those at Hutchinson were, the Hutchinson-Kansas, the Barton, the Carey, the Union Ice and Salt, and the Hutchinson. There was the Anthony Salt Company at Anthony, and the Sterling Salt Company at Sterling. All these were manufacturing evaporated salt. The rock salt companies were the Royal Salt Company of Kanopolis, the Bevis Rock Salt Company of Lyons and the Kingman Salt and Mining Company of Kingman.

The Hutchinson-Kansas Salt Company was the consolidation of two of the largest salt interests in the State. The Hutchinson Salt and Manufacturing Company was organized in 1888, and built the works above referred to as the Vincent plant. In 1891 it bought the Crystal Salt works and that of the Nickerson Salt Company at Nickerson. In the same year it secured the Pennsylvania and the McFarland salt plants through Mr. Jay Gould, into whose possession they had come, and the Goulds became interested with the Vincents in the concern. The Kansas Salt Company started in 1890 with the consolidation of three or four of the pioneer companies. In 1891 it bought the New York Salt plant, and, in 1894, the Star Salt works. In this year it became the property of the Mulvanes, of Topeka. In 1899, the Hegwer plant was bought, and shortly afterward it merged with the Hutchinson Salt Company, under the present name. By a further consolidation in 1900, the interests of Joy Morton were taken over, and he became president of the company. It is to the influence of the men connected with this company from time to time that much of the credit is due in building up the salt industry on a paying basis, as well as securing shipping facilities and proper freight rates. The Vincents were practical salt producers and had charge of the plants. The Goulds and Mortons were railroad men and no doubt were instrumental in securing concessions from the railroads for the immense tonnage of incoming fuel and outgoing salt.

Plant of the Carey Salt Company, Hutchinson


The Barton Salt plant was erected in 1892 and was totally destroyed by fire in 1903. It was rebuilt and still continues in business producing dairy salt by the vacuum process. The Carey Salt Company, of which Emerson Carey is the head, was organized in 1901. The works started with a two pan grainer, which was enlarged from time to time until it reached a capacity of five hundred barrels. In 1901, the Carey Company built a new plant and installed a Quadruple Effect Vacuum pan. This is said to be the best equipped plant in the world. It has a total capacity of fifteen hundred barrels. The Union Ice and Salt Company began the manufacture of salt in connection with ice in 1892. In 1900 it changed hands and since that time has produced very little salt. The Hutchinson Pure Salt Company is not mentioned in any of the accounts. However it is still in operation.

The plants at Anthony and Sterling are producing very little salt at present, and aside from these, there are no evaporation plants outside of Hutchinson. The new Morton plant, built in 1907, is the largest west of the Mississippi, and manufactures half of the output of Kansas. It has triple effect vacuum pans, grainer pans and a dairy mill. The total capacity of the Hutchinson plants is seven thousand barrels per day. There are three rock salt plants at Kanopolis, and one at Lyons. The demand for this grade of salt is so limited that they do not run to their full capacity.

The Hutchinson strata of salt is probably the largest pure rock salt strata in the world. It is embraced within the territory of Ellsworth, Rice, Reno, Kingman and Harper counties, with light stratas in Barton, McPherson, Stafford, Pratt, Sedgwick and Sumner counties. It averages over 99 per cent pure chloride of sodium.

In connection with the salt industry, a soda ash plant was erected in 1909 at the cost of half a million. It changed hands and was enlarged so that the total cost has been $2,000,000. It is the largest factory of its kind in the United States and the only one west of Detroit. Its processes are secret. The product is sold to manufacturers who use a fine grade of alkali.

For a number of years Kansas has ranked fourth in the production of salt in the United States. The output has been increasing on the average of two hundred thousand barrels per year until it reached almost three million barrels in 1914. It is worth about thirty-five cents per barrel on the market.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The oil and gas producing territory of Kansas is at present largely confined to the southeastern portion of the State, particularly to Chautauqua, Allen, Wilson, Neosho and Montgomery counties. These products are also found to some extent farther north, in Franklin and Miami counties, the original prospecting having taken place in the vicinity of Paola in Miami County. A new field has been developed in Butler and adjoining counties, and it is by far the best field in Kansas at this time.

The so-called "tar springs" and "oil springs" which led to the idea that oil existed in paying quantities, were known to the Indians from time immemorial, and to the white men as early as 1855. One of the most noted of these was the Wea Tar Spring. Mention is made of these springs in The Herald of Freedom of March 31, 1855, and July 25, 1857. The first prospecting was done in 1860 by G. W. Brown. A company was formed at Lawrence of which Erastus Heath, Maltravis Solomon, Dr. Barker, Seth Clover, W. R. Wagstaff, G. W. Miller and Dr. Lykins were members, and G. W. Brown was president and manager. Thirty-year leases were obtained on thirty thousand acres of land, and the drilling was begun in June. The wells were sunk in the vicinity of springs where the oil had been escaping for centuries and no longer existed in paying quantities. After sinking three or four wells near Paola the work was laid by for the winter, and before it was resumed the Civil War came on, and nothing more was attempted for twenty years. In the meantime the oil from the springs which was of a very heavy variety, was sold for wagon grease and sometimes used for medicinal purposes.

The development of the gas industry was incidental to the oil industry, but before 1889, a number of wells drilled for water produced gas, much to the disgust of the owners, as there was no way to utilize the product. Oil was often found in the same way.

In 1882, the Kansas Oil and Mining Company was formed and made borings on the farm of A. Westfall, seven miles east of Paola. Gas was found in sufficient quantities to light a city of one million people. Later the Paola Gas Company was formed and drilled a number of wells around Paola, Osawatomie, and Louisburg. In 1884, the gas was piped to Paola and used for lighting and heating. Gas was found in small quantities about Iola by the Iola Gas and Coal Company in 1886, and the next year the discovery spread to Chautauqua County, where, in 1889, the Vulcan Coal and Mining Company drilled wells. By 1894 most of the towns of the district had been supplied with gas, but as the efforts of the prospectors were centered in the finding of oil, little attention was paid to the matter of creating a market for it in the manufacturing field, until 1902.

Seventy-five thousand gallons petroleum burning

[Compliments John B. Gillum, National Refining Co., Coffeyville]

After considerable effort on the part of various companies and individuals, a paying oil well was sunk on the Russell farm, six miles east of Paola in 1886. It was a ten-barrel producer. In 1887-88 the firm of McBride and Bloom drilled a number of oil wells on the Houston Farm, southeast of Paola. In 1890, a small twenty-five barrel refinery was erected at that place, but was in operation only a short time. By that time prospecting was in progress all over the district, and the firm of McBride and Bloom drilled a great many of the wells. Other prominent contractors were Peter Fertig and John Werner, of Louisburg; William Mills, and W. G. Bryson, of Osawatomie; and J. D. Nickerson, of Paola. These contractors took leases and drilled wells for themselves as well as others. Mr. Mills was at Paola from 1890 to 1892. He did not meet with success and went into Neodesha, where he sunk a twelve-barrel producer in 1892. Securing another small holding, he sunk another well, but having found the oil, the next difficulty was that of marketing the product. This was the difficulty that confronted all the producers, even the Standard Oil Company itself, until after the laying of the pipe line.

Mr. Mills enlisted the interest of Guffey and Galey, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1893, and they took over his holdings and began operations, centering their activities around Neodesha, where, in the next two years, they sank one hundred and three wells, of which eight were gassers, thirty-four were oil wells, and sixty-one were dry holes, and where they built four storage tanks of twenty-five thousand barrels each. The company extended their leases to other localities and drilled the first oil well at Peru, in Chautauqua County, in 1894. Wells were also drilled in Montgomery and Wilson counties.

Guffey and Galey sold out in 1895 to the Forest Oil Company, a subsidiary of the Standard. This company put in a refinery at Neodesha with a capacity of five hundred barrels daily. This seemed more than ample for that time, as the production of the entire field in 1895 was only forty-four thousand, four hundred and sixty-seven barrels. But the district was full of prospectors and they were all beginning to get oil in large quantities, with the result that the production far exceeded the facilities for handling and marketing it. Other companies interested in Kansas about this time were: The Troy Oil Company, the Pennsylvania Oil Company, and C. E. Farran of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and numerous smaller companies and private individuals.

By the year 1897, the Forest Oil Company had eighty-three producing oil wells, most of them in Wilson County, and sixteen gas wells, and had constructed a pipe line from the pool to the refinery at Neodesha. In 1900 there were one hundred and nine producing wells in the entire district, and the combined yield was five hundred and sixteen thousand five hundred and ninety-three barrels, an increase of over a thousand fold in eleven years. In 1899, the Prairie Oil and Gas Company was formed, and in 1901 it took over the holdings of the Forest Oil Company. The rich Chanute field, which had been almost untouched, was opened in 1899 by Mr. I. N. Knapp. He drilled gas wells for the city with the privilege of retaining the oil, and in this way he sank more than two hundred wells; and in 1900 began shipping crude oil to the gas factories at Omaha and Kansas City. This he continued until the Standard completed its pipe line in 1904, and could furnish the product cheaper. He sold his wells to the Standard eventually.

The years of 1902 and 1903 was a boom period in both oil and gas. There was an abundant supply and it needed only the prospect of a market to create a furore among investors. The promise of the Standard Oil Company to build a pipe line to Kansas City and connect with their trunk line at Whiting, Indiana, after which it would buy all the oil that the district was able to produce, precipitated the boom in oil, as investors expected to sell the crude oil at $1.40 per barrel, it being understood that the Standard would pay that price. There was a flood of capital in the direction of the oil fields. Hundreds of companies were formed, some legitimate and some otherwise. Chanute was the center of this activity, as the Standard Oil Company had already taken the field in other localities.

The gas boom was brought about by the cities of the gas district making inducements to factories in the way of cheap fuel. A few brick plants and Portland Cement mills had located at Iola since 1895 and utilized the gas, but for the most part there was an immense quantity of the fuel lying useless. In order to attract manufacturing plants liberal offers were made, often the business men of the town would offer free fuel for a year or two and gas at three cents per thousand afterwards as an inducement to investors to establish plants. In this way nine glass factories, four cement mills, twelve lead and zinc, smelters, and fifty brick plants were soon built. Since 1906, nine additional glass factories, eleven cement mills and a number of smelters and brick plants have been established. These have been of great value to the towns of the district, stimulating all lines of business activity and developing especially the iron and machinery business.

In 1904 and 1905 was a period of reaction and trouble for the people in both oil and gas matters. The Kansas Natural Gas Company was organized by T. N. Barnsdall of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; in 1904 this company took over the wells and equipment of the Consolidated Gas, Oil and Manufacturing Company, organized by McBride and Bloom, the pioneer developers. They began gathering up the holdings of individuals and companies, and in 1905 bought the Caney Gas Company, which had a million dollars in gas lands. The object of the Kansas Natural was to pipe the gas from the district to Kansas City, Topeka and other towns, depleting the supply and in time ruining the manufacturing interests. The people made a vigorous but useless fight, and only succeeded in delaying the pipe lines a few months. The pipes reached Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas, in 1905, and Kansas City, Missouri, in 1906. Other towns all over the eastern portion of the State have been supplied. The service rendered has never been very satisfactory. The company went into the hands of a receiver and the history of natural gas in Kansas for the past few years had been one of shortage to the consumers, litigations to the company, and annoyance to public officials. New wells have been sunk, but the gas-producing territory has not been extended.

As a result of the development of the oil lands in 1902 and 1903, production reached its high tide in 1904, being four million, two hundred and fifty thousand, seven hundred and seventy-nine barrels. The Standard Oil Company had finished its eight inch pipe line to the Sugar Creek refinery near Kansas City, Missouri, and had doubled the capacity of the refinery at Neodesha. Outside of a limited market for crude oil at municipal gas plants, and one independent refinery of two hundred and fifty barrels' capacity at Humboldt, the Standard furnished the only outlet. This plant at Humboldt was the first independent refinery in Kansas. It was built by C. D. Webster, a promoter of great ability who had been driven out of business no less than nine times in different eastern cities, by the Standard. It was put in operation early in 1904, but was too small to affect the market, which declined in the summer to forty-eight cents per barrel.

This condition of affairs prompted the independent producers at Chanute and Independence to attempt organization, but nothing was accomplished on account of the influence of the Standard Oil Company in these towns. In January, 1905, Governor Hoch took the matter up in his message to the legislature, strongly urging some action for the protection of the producers who were at the mercy of the trust. This prompted a local meeting in the office of H. E. West of Peru, at which it was decided to issue a call to the oil producers of the state to form an organization. The call was prepared by William E. Connelley, then in the oil business at Chanute, and issued by the Chautauqua County Oil Producers Association, of which H. E. West had been made President.

The State meeting was held in Topeka, January 19th, just one week after the one at Peru. It was attended by producers from every part of the oil fields, who came on a special train crowded to the limits. Mr. West presided over the meeting and called upon Mr. Connelley to present certain resolutions which he had prepared that morning. These resolutions were nine in number and covered every object of the meeting. They provided for the forming of the Kansas Oil Producers Association, the election of officers and government of the body, five bills which the legislature should be asked to pass, and a legislative committee to work for their enactment. The five laws asked for were: (1) A State oil refinery; (2) a law making pipe lines common carriers; (3) an anti-discrimination law, forbidding anyone to undersell a competitor to ruin him, and make back the money lost by charging excessive prices in other localities; (4) a law fixing maximum freight rates; (5) a board for the supervision of the oil fields, and protection against neglected and abandoned wells, and for the supervision, inspection and grading of crude oil.

All these resolutions were passed at the meeting without much discussion, as they met the needs of the occasion precisely. H. E. West was elected president, and he selected L. H. Perkins, of Lawrence; S. J. Stewart, of Humboldt; J. M. Parker, of Independence; and J. O. Fife for the Chanute district, as the executive committee to work with him for the proposed laws. Mr. West assumed the important work of leadership and proved himself a most efficient general in directing the campaign. Against all the wealth, power and influence of the largest combine in the country, four of the five bills were passed. The fifth, which called for the supervision of the oil fields, was not taken up for lack of time. A law on this order had been passed in 1891, but, remained a dead letter on account of no means being provided to enforce it. In 1913 an inspector for this purpose was provided by the legislature.

The legislation to secure a square deal for the Kansas oil producers was easily the biggest thing before the country in the winter of 1905. Kansas had tackled the octopus. Other states that had thought there was no remedy took courage and fell in line. Prominent clergy took it up, and the newspapers and magazines were full of the topic. Of the four laws passed, three are now in operation, the state refinery having been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But the very fact that it passed with such an overwhelming public sentiment back of it, caused a decline in the price of refined oil to the consumers. The maximum freight law, the law making pipe lines common carriers, and the anti-discrimination law, have been important to the independent producers as a protection against unfair competition.

Oil Refinery of the National Refining Company, Coffeyville


In 1905 the Standard Oil Company finished its pipe-line connections with Whiting, Indiana, but did not extend its operations in Kansas, as the unprotected Oklahoma field offered richer opportunities for monopoly. In the Kansas district independent refineries began to spring up. Seven were in the process of construction in 1905, one by the Paola Refining Company, was opened in August with a capacity of two hundred and fifty barrels. The Uncle Sam Refining Company, built at Cherryvale, The Superior Refining Company, at Langton, and the Sunflower Refining Company at Niotaze, in Chautauqua County. Six more were erected in 1906, and by 1909 there was one in every town in the district. Practically nothing is done in the way of extracting the by-products of petroleum, the one exception being the Standard Asphalt and Rubber Company of Independence, an independent plant which manufactures the "Sarco" products by patented processes. These processes, which are unlike any other and known only to the employees, are the results of experiments by G. F. Culmer, manager of the works.

The first legislation on oil was in 1885, when a law was passed fixing the weights per gallon of different oils. In 1889 the oil inspection law which has been repeatedly amended, was put on the statute books for the first time. Its object is to insure a safe product for illuminating and heating purposes. It is at present enforced by a State Oil Inspector who appoints local inspectors to do the work.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The lead and zinc fields of Kansas are confined to a small area in the southeast part of Cherokee County, in what was known in early times as the "Cherokee Strip." Small quantities of both ores have been found in other localities, particularly in Linn County, where it was discovered in 1858, and mining attempted in 1873, and as late as 1899, without paying results. The ores have also been found in Franklin, Bourbon, Anderson, Allen, Neosho counties, and as far west as Kingman County, as well as in the Oread limestone near Lawrence. But it is only in a small section of Cherokee County that paying shafts have been sunk.

The first discovery of lead in Kansas was made by David Harland and his daughter, who were part-blood Indians and located on the Indian lands in 1835. As a bounty had to be paid to the government on all ore taken out, they said nothing about it. When the land was thrown open to white settlement, those who located on these barren lands probably did so with the idea that the ore fields which were being developed in Missouri extended across the line, as the rock formations were similar. However, nobody cared to create any excitement until they had proved up on their claims, and the Civil War broke out before any shafts were sunk on the Kansas side.

In 1870, William Cook discovered zinc ore of the quality known as "black jack," on his farm. Quite a quantity was taken to Joplin where it brought a good price, but the discovery created no excitement, because everybody was looking for lead, which not only brought a better price, but was not so bulky to transport. In 1871, a company of Baxter Springs men, composed of A. W. Rucker, Dr. G. G. Gregg, Dr. William Street, and A. Willard, took leases around Lowell and Baxter Springs, and north on both sides of Spring river, but did not locate ore in paying quantities. In 1872, lead was found on the farm of Jesse Harper of Shoal Creek, northeast of the site of Galena. A Baxter Springs company composed of H. R. Connell, William Street, Captain William Blood, Edward Zellekin, Major F. C. Larabee, P. J. Pfennig, J. M. Cooper, and L. D. Phillips, bought an option on the place for $4,000, sunk a shaft and erected a smelter, but on meeting with great difficulties in the operation of both mine and smelter, gave up the project.

The development, of the lead and zinc mines of Kansas began with the operations of John Shew and John McAllen, who sank a shaft on the Nicolls farm in the same vicinity, and on March 21, 1877, struck a rich vein of lead sulphite or galena, at a depth of fifty feet. This discovery caused great excitement, and within thirty days, ten thousand people had rushed to the neighborhood. The Galena Mining and Smelting Company, of which William Street, and John M. Cooper of Baxter Springs, Colonel Fairbanks of Joplin, and two prospectors, Cornwall and Johnson, were members, founded the town of Galena on the Moll farm just south of the Nicholls tract. The Craig Mining and Smelting Company, later the Southside Mining and Smelting Company, organized by W. B. Stone, William March, W. J. Lea, and William Craig, secured leases to the east. Ex-Governor Crawford, Patrick Murphy, and S. L. Cheney took up two hundred acres of land to the north. They formed the Empire Mining and Smelting Company, and founded the town of Empire. By July, 1877, there were four paying shafts on the Nicholls tract producing ore worth $3,000 per week.

Zinc Smelters, Pittsburg


The first modern smelter for the reduction of lead ore to pig lead was built at Galena by the Galena Lead and Zinc Company, in 1879. In 1881, the Empire Mining Company built the first steam mill on their property. The erection of mills and smelters resulted in a great increase in lead during the '80s. Zinc was not sold to any extent until 1881, when the Southside Mining Company sold 2,283,48O pounds for which $18,267.84 was received. Zinc furnaces were built in Pittsburg in 1878, and in 1891, a zinc smelter was built in Galena, but burned down. For the most part the zinc is taken to the lead smelters and assayed.

The production of lead in 1877 was fifty-six full tons, and the output increased steadily until it reached fifteen thousand, one hundred and eighty-four tons in 1897. It then began to decrease and continued on the decline to the present. The government report of 1914 gives the Kansas production of lead as one thousand and forty-three short tons of refined ore. The average price covering the whole period of mining is $44.79.

The output of zinc was very small until 1881, when the production was one thousand one hundred and fifty tons. It increased until 1898 when the output reached seventy-four thousand, eight hundred and fifty-two tons. A gradual decline in production then began and in 1902 the tonnage was thirty-one thousand. The government reports give the production of 1914 as ten thousand, six hundred and thirty-four. The average price of zinc has been $24.50. As the production of both ores has decreased, the price has raised, especially since the opening of the European war.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.

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A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans , written and compiled by William E. Connelley, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, 1998.