1860’s – 2009
by Trego Co. Line
by Russell Co Line
by Rooks Co Line
line ends between the roads known today as Homestead Road & St. John/St.
– Stories – Maps – Pictures
Information gathered from
history books, maps, newspapers, family histories, and word of mouth.
Pictures were borrowed,
scanned & printed with permission of owners and/or photographers.
I hope that this will help others in their quest to find out about the
history and their families that helped form this great area known as the Saline
River Valley area. I also apologize for any unintentional errors and would like
you to know that I have tried my best to be as accurate as possible.
would like to thank the many who helped & supported me in this project. –
Jackie Slimmer Langholz
River Valley, named for the Saline River that runs west to east through a valley
that is outlined on the north and south by bluffs. The Saline River does not
start and stop in Ellis County, but for this narrative, I’m only concerned
with the Ellis County part of the Saline River Valley. Before the Saline River
Valley became part of a county known as Ellis, Indians and wildlife aplenty
inhabited it. The Indian Tribes at
different times being; Apache, Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Comanche, Delaware,
Kiowa, and Pawnee. Buffalo roamed in great herds across the Kansas prairies,
providing food and clothing for Indians. The Indians were not the only ones that
hunted buffalo, by 1840’s The American Fur Co was purchasing buffalo
robes/hides in the amount of thousands per year. The gold strike at Cherry Creek in the Rocky Mountains
brought more people through Kansas. The
Butterfield Overland Dispatch started freight service to Denver, which caused
several forts to be established by the fall of 1865. One such Fort was located south of the Saline River Valley
area, known as Fort Fletcher, later known as Fort Hays. The railroad reached Hays City in October of 1867, bringing
many construction crews. These
crews had to be fed, buffalo was supplied to the railroads, by many buffalo
hunters. In the east a new tanning method was used to tan the buffalo hides,
which made it profitable to hunt buffalo during any season of the year.
The buffalo were becoming scarce around the Hays area by 1873 and both
the fate of the Indians and the buffalo were almost extinct by 1880.
This part of
the country was an unorganized territory until 1867, when the Kansas Legislature
defined its boundaries and named it Ellis County.
Ellis County named for Lt. George Ellis (1832-64), of the 12th
Ks. Infantry, who was injured at a battle along a stream called the Saline River
at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas, and died on May 1, 1864.
Ellis County is exactly 30 miles square, first having only 2 townships
– Ellis & Big Creek; soon it consisted of 4 townships – Ellis Twp, Big
Creek Twp, Victoria Twp, and Walker Twp. Saline
Twp was formed in 1877 from part of Big Creek Twp.
Most of the history of Saline River Valley was in Saline Twp., which was
reduced in size by the formations of the following Townships. 1878 – Catherine Twp, 1880 – Hamilton Twp, 1889 –
Buckeye Township, and in 1917 – Riverview Township.
Finally in 1971, Saline Twp was disorganized and added to Catherine &
There were at
least 20 plus colonies established in Ellis County during the years between 1870
and 1879, some of those established themselves in the Saline River Valley area.
One settlement of Irish cattlemen settled along the Saline River, among
them were the family names of McCarty, Cox, Henches, McGurey, Nolan, McKinney,
Martin, Dean, Cotton, Hamilton, Keagy, Lamb and Murphy.
In 1872 coming from Freeport, IL by wagon train were Daniel Thurston,
Wellington Morris, George Rumsey & John Rumsey.
They had been in Ellis County earlier as buffalo hunters, when the
hunting was good. In 1876, families
from Tennessee settled Turkville. In
this group of families were the family names of Turk, Brumitt, Hopper and
joining them was Rev. A.L King, who founded the First Baptist Church in Ellis
County. Today, the Saline River
Valley of Ellis County consists of the northern parts of Ellis Twp, Buckeye Twp,
Catharine Twp and Herzog Twp.
Page created by Jackie Slimmer Langholz