Greenwood Township

Created 1867

From a series of articles detailing visits to Franklin County townships in the
Ottawa Republican, Oct. 4, 1877

Sac and Fox bark house



Stamping Grounds of the Red Man

Old Sac and Fox Indian Agency

Home of the World Famous James Boys

An interesting Canard Exploded

A Township of Churches and School Houses


Big Farms, and How They Run

The Fertile Coal Creek Country

A Legend of the Marais des Cygnes

Interesting Facts Concerning the Early Settlers

A Trip Among the Farmers

It is not many years ago that the now well cultivated territory of Greenwood township was a busy scene of stirring aboriginal life—when the painted, blanketed, lazy Indian made it his home, where he could saunter about in government woolen and gorge himself on government bread and bacon, the while his faithful squaw gathered fuel, packed in haunches of venison, and did the other drudgery his painted lordship was pleased to exact.  “Lo” had supreme possession of this section in those days, and it was only a few adventurous whites, who loved the vagabond life of an Indian Agency, or who foresaw the not distant day when the beautiful country should pass into the hands of the civilizer, who had the hardihood and self denial to squat in choice locations, along the Marias [sic] des Cygnes.  Many of these old pioneers opened trading posts in various parts of the Agency, and some of them accumulated considerable property.  The chief interest in these earlier days, however, centers about the first Indian Agency, and although it draws its importance from a story which has been proved to be a mistake, it is none the less interesting and well worth the relating.  [Editor’s note: “Lo! the poor Indian. . .” is a line from Alexander Pope’s poem, “Essay on Man.”  Horace Greeley quoted it in one of his letters from Kansas Territory during his 1859 trip.  It seems to have entered general discourse as though “Lo” was the Indian’s name, rather than as an antiquated attention-getter, as in “Lo and behold.”]


Go you now into what is known as the Nightingale settlement, and there will be pointed out to you, in a remarkably picturesque location, on the brow of a prairie opening which is apparently struggling to keep itself from the advancing arms of the forest, a collection of ruined old buildings, said to have been the home of the celebrated “James boys,” those outlaws who have made the timid shudder from Texas to Minnesota.  A long, low, rambling southern style house, with a porch on the east running the whole length, and immense stone chimneys, one at each end of the building, on the outside—a tumble down frame building on the south once used as a provision and store room—a lot of log ruins on the northeast the slave huts of a time when Kansas was struggling for free soil—these will be pointed out as the remains of the old Indian agency, of thirty years ago.  Here Jessie and his brother passed their youth, we are told; here they received all the schooling (?) they ever got; here they learned the wonderful woodcraft and Indian cunning which has since enabled them to accomplish so many marvelous escapes.  This interesting legend, we are sorry to say, has no foundation in fact.  One Burton A. James, of Green County, Missouri, was located here, as agent, in 1855, and this simple fact is all there is in the foregoing historical claim.  James remained here as agent for about five years, when he removed to Kansas City.  He had four boys.  Two of them were killed in the war of the rebellion.  The remaining two, Polk and Raymond, are the ones popularly supposed to be the outlaws, but there is indubitable evidence of the fact that his family, if connected with the outlaws at all, are very distant relatives.  James brought with him, from Missouri, five slaves, all of whom he freed shortly after arriving here.  Among these slaves were Garrison James and wife who not live on Coal Creek, in Lincoln township.


In the year 1865, a nucleus of settlement having been formed by Wm. Nightingale and others along the Marais des Cygnes, settlement began to be made rapidly.  The Indian agency had been located at Quenemo in Osage county, in 1863, and the tribe had been removed there.  Nightingale was at that time, keeping a tavern.  The other settlers on township territory, at this time, were  Enos Reynolds, who lived on the farm now occupied by Robt. Wood, Fred Miller, James Moore, W. Crum, Geo. Logan, and Harrison Reed.  The township area was originally in Ohio township.  The first election was held in the year 1866, at Nightingale’s tavern.  At this time these settlers were in the Ottawa School district.  Wm. Crum was the township trustee, Wm. Biggs and Dick Bird the first Justices of the Peace.  Bird, however, never qualified.  The first school house was an old log-shanty, built in 1866.  Now there are a number of fine school buildings, and three churches, in the township, and large and growing societies.

The community is one of the most intelligent and industrious we have in the county.  It is more than a passing wonder to find as many people of culture and refinement as one stumbles upon in journeying about this township.  We approach a fine modern frame house, situated imposingly in a grandly arranged and adorned yard, or a little cottage, tumbled-down and shake roofed maybe, to meet in either place people of easy address and cultivated manners, who make haste to show a most hospitable welcome.

Physical Character

Greenwood is a fitting appellation to this township.  On its north runs the Marias des Cygnes, with its wide bottom lands, forest covered, and all through and across stretch little tributary streams, all lined with fine growths of timber and looking like green ribbons, set with diamonds as here and there, in an opening, a flash of sun shimmering water glitters through.  But these numerous streams in no way detract from the value of the county as an agricultural region—on the contrary they enhance it incalculably.  They operate not only as all sufficient rains, but they furnish a water supply such as is not exceeded in all Kansas, and as a consequence we find great herds of stock in all directions.

Town of Greenwood

Upwards of thirty years ago the confederated tribes of Sac and Fox Indians, remaining in Mississippi (a portion having already been sent to Missouri), were removed to Kansas and located on their new lands in this township.  This was the first Sac and Fox Agency in the State.  Young Keokuk, son of the famous Indian Chieftain Keokuk, was the blooded chief here.  James, who was agent from 1855, was superceded in 1859 by Perry Fuller, through whose instrumentality a treaty was brought about between the tribe and the U.S. Government, where by a sale of their lands was made, and read rights [160-acres to the head, and 80 acres to each number of the family] conceded.  Payments of the Indian’s debts was also assumed by government, conditional on the sale of trust lands.  The Government also engaged to start the Indians in the arts of husbandry.  The tribe was very much divided on this question, some desiring to become as white men, and others preferring to continue in the order of blankets.  Keokuk, George Powers (a half-breed interpreter), and Kesechuk, were among those who favored the idea of the tribe taking a step in advance, and their labors, together with those of Fuller and others, resulted in getting a majority, and the treaty was consummated.  The tribe, at this time had a big reserve fund in Washington, on which they received the interest twice a year.

The treaty stipulation provided for the building of houses for heads of families, and the contract was secured by Robt. S. Stevens, then a resident of Kansas, now manager of the H. & St. Joe Railroad, and at one time manager of the M.K.&T. road.  These houses were built of stone, and of convenient styles and sized to accommodate the various families.  A very practical result, and one which developed the peculiar characteristics of the genus “Lo,” was that when the houses were finished Mr. Red Man triumphantly installed his horses therein, and calmly slept outdoors himself, Keokuk and a few others only inhabiting their dwellings.  These houses, roughly and imperfectly built, largely in the dead of winter, have mostly fallen down since.

The trust lands embodied all that section lying south of the Marais des Cygnes, and extending to Coffee county, and into Osage.  They have since been sold to actual settlers.

The agency was on the direct and leading route between Lawrence and the Southern towns, and was a very important trading post, for a great deal of trade came from settlers as well as the Indians.  There were a number of traders at the agency.  H.S. Randall had traded there for many years, in connections with Northrop & Chick of Kansas City, and also Jno. B. Scott, and one or two others were also engaged in trading there.  Randall was a prominent proslavery man, and his store was a kind of headquarters for the proslavery men.

The Indians were removed in 1863, when it was determined upon to start a town at the old agency.  Judge G.B. Greenwood, of Arkansas, then U.S. Commissisoner of Indian affairs, had been here and assisted at the making of the treaty, and he and Fuller, Wm. Pennock, Thos. McCage, H.S. Randall, H.B. Denman, Thos. Connelly, (a half-breed who with John T. Jones was educated by Dick Johnson, and was an intelligent man), and others, laid out a town, and named it after Judge Greenwood.  Two or three buildings were erected—dwellings—but no great speculative results were had from the sale of lots.  It is doubtful if the town was ever platted.  It soon withdrew into oblivion.


The Harris brothers, John P. and Milo R., own a magnificent farm property near the south eastern corner of the township, situated one half mile north of Maywood Station, on the K.C.B. & S.F. railroad. [This was the Kansas City, Burlington and Santa Fe, built by William Schofield, founder of Williamsburg.]  This property consists of 1200 acres of as fine farming lands as there are in Kansas, well improved, and most delightfully situated.  About 300 acres are fenced, and 300 under cultivation.  Have in 200 acres of corn this year—the balance is in timothy and millet.  They generally keep over from 125 to 150 head of cattle, 100 hogs and 15 horses.  There are three good orchards on the place, and three houses—two tenants houses.  The home place is one of the finest in the country.  There is a well built, convenient story and a half house, good barns and outbuildings as will be found in Kansas, and a handsomely adorned yard.  There is also an abundant supply of water, the year round.  After feeding their stock through last winter, Harris Bros. sold this spring a surplus of 7000 bushels of corn.  J.P. Harris having turned his attention to banking, is prepared to make the biggest kind of a trade with some party in search of a first class farm location.  He may be addressed at Ottawa.

William Whitebread has  80 acres, 45 in cultivation, to corn principally.  Owns 8 head of cattle, 2 horses, and 16 hogs.  In his orchard, which is young, he has 50 apple and a number of peach trees.

C.A. Boughton has 68 acres, of which 31 are in prime cultivation.  Has 10 acres of winter wheat, 5 head of horses, a number of fine cows, and 15 hogs.  In his orchard are 110 fruit trees, comprising apples, peaches, pears and cherries.  He has a fine lot of small fruit also.

Harrison Reed, near the north line, owns 497 acres of an extra good quality of land.  Of this 250 acres are in good cultivation—100 acres in corn, 90 in winter wheat, and 28 in beans.  Ha 65 in wheat, which the hoppers ate, and harvested 50 of oats.  Has about 30 cattle, 4 horses, and 80 hogs.  In his orchard has a fine lot of fruit trees of various varieties.

J.P. Lindsey owns 192 acres—172 fenced and 110 broke.  Has 80 acres in corn, and harvested 8 of oats.  Has in 6 acres of wheat.  Owns 32 cattle, 6 horses, 80 hogs.  In his orchard are 150 peach and 100 apple trees.

N.V. Huddleson owns 80 acres, 30 improved.  Raises corn altogether.  Also operates the Graves place of 90 acres.  Owns 40 head of cattle, 4 horses and 50 hogs.

G.W. Pulse owns 80 acres, 70 being in cultivation, to corn and beans this year.  Has 5 head of cattle, 4 horses, and 30 hogs.  In his orchard are 150 apple and 200 peach trees.  Is also operating 50 acres of rented land—40 to corn, 10 to beans.

J.W. Griffin, the genial “Captain,” owns 100 acres, 60 improved.  This farm is rented out this year.  There is a good story and a half house on it, a good frame barn, and 150 fruit trees in bearing.  Mr. Griffin is working his son-in-law’s place, this year.  He has 24 fine cows, and a splendid thoroughbred Durham bull.  Also  3 horses and a number of hogs.  We found him busy in the hay field, but he took time to entertain us at dinner.

L.B. Dyer has 87 acres—40 under cultivation, to corn principally.  Owns 4 head of cattle, 1 horse, and 8 hogs.  Has a good young orchard.

R.J. Dyer operates about 35 acres of land this year, to corn principally.  Owns a good team of horses, 5 head of cattle and 12 hogs.

John M. Dyer owns 86 acres of which 55 are in cultivation.  Raises no small grain.  Has 7 head of cattle, 8 horses, and 34 hogs.  Has 65 apple and 40 peach trees in his orchard.

W.D. Bagby owns 450 acres—160 improved and under fence.  Has 60 acres of new breaking.  Has in 125 acres of corn, and 11 of fall wheat.  Owns 80 head of cattle, 4 horses, 65 hogs and 150 sheep.  Is putting up 60 tons of hay.

The “Smedly” farm, owned by Ed. Arnold, of N.Y. and in charge of E.S. Masters, of Williamsburg, is operated by J.R. Beers.  This farm comprises some 208 acres, all fenced, and 100 acres broke.  Mr. Beers has 45 in corn, had 5 of oats and 6 of buckwheat.  Has  4 horses and mules.  Has sown 10 acres to fall wheat.  Has  4 horses and mules.  The intention is to make this a stock farm.

J.B. Chambers has 80 acres and 50 of them in cultivation, mostly to corn and vegetables.  Had  9 of buckwheat.  Owns  4  head of cattle, 3 horses, and 14 hogs.  In the orchard are 60 apple, 150 peach, and 100 cherry trees.

The “Crum” place, now owned by E.S. Robinson, of Minnesota, and comprising 120 acres of creek bottom land, is operated by E.A. Eagle.  This is a stock farm, devoted to sheep, of which there is 436 on the place.  There are also 15 head of cattle, 7 horses and 30 hogs.

C.C. Lozier, on Coal Creek, has 140 acres, about 70 of which are cultivated.  Owns 17 head of cattle, 4 horses, and 20 hogs.  Has a good young orchard.

F.Eddy has 160 acres, 60 in cultivation.  He raises corn to sell.  Owns 6 head of cattle, and on the place are 6 horses and 3 hogs.  Has resided in the township 8 years.

John B. Lindsey, on J.P. Harris’ place, at Maywood is working a(illegible) 70 acres this year, to corn altogether.  In intends to feed most of it.  Has 3 horses, and 36 hogs.

Geo. Harris, on the east line, owns 80 acres, 55 in cultivation—30 to corn.  Has a good young orchard.  Owns 3 head of cattle, 2 horses and 3 hogs.  Mr. H. is a young man, full of energy and intelligence, and is bound to succeed.

D.W. Burrows owns 80 acres, 35 cultivated.  He raises corn mostly.  Owns 9 head of cattle, and 8 horses.  Has 400 apple trees just beginning to bear, and 100 peach trees.  Mr. B. is a blacksmith, and puts his spare moments in the shop.

N.L. Reed operates the Kinney farm near the north line.  Has 15 acres in corn, and 4 1/2 in beans—cultivates  45 acres altogether.

Isaac Pruett owns 190 acres—80 being in cultivation, mostly to corn.  Has in 9 acres to fall wheat.  Owns 18 cattle, 4 horses and 25 hogs.  In his orchard are 90 apple and 40 peach trees.

H.H. Huddleson owns 166 acres of which 100 are in cultivation, to corn principally.  Has a fine 3 acre orchard, and owns 40 head of cattle, 8 horses, and 130 hogs.

Ole Johnson has 160 acres, of which he cultivates 30 acres all to corn.  Has a pretty good start in stock.  Mr. J’s field evinced careful attention.

J.A. Towle owns 320 acres, 100 being in cultivation, mostly to corn.  Had in 12 acres to oats.  Has a good young orchard of 4 acres.  Owns  51 head of cattle, 10 horses and 50 hogs.  Mr. T. moved on to this place two year since.

J.O. Furry owns 84 acres, 30 being in cultivation.  He raises corn principally.  In his orchard are 50 apple and 100 peach trees.  Has a good lot of stock.

Sarah J. Murray owns 160 acres of which 45 are in cultivation.  Mrs. Murray’s principal crop this year is corn.  She owns 2 cows, 2 horses, and 26 hogs.

E.A. Rice owns a farm of 240 acres, 80 of which are in timber.  In cultivation there are 100 acres.  Harvested 15 acres of oats, and had 18 acres of wheat harvested by grasshoppers.  Owns 40 head of cattle, 5 horses and 30 hogs.  Mr. Rice’s house and outbuildings are of a superior order, and very conveniently arranged.

Phillip Graffham owns 172 acres, of which he has 100 in cultivation, all corn.  Owns 9 head of cattle, 3 horses and 50 hogs.  Mr. G. has resided in the township 4 years, and has built a good story and a half house 16 by 24 feet.

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