Happy Kansas Day! Judge Muse Remembers

Today, January 29, the state of Kansas turns 158 years old!

In the History of Harvey County 1871-1881, Judge Muse  described his first visit to the area that would become Harvey County. The photos are the earliest Harvey County homes made of sod.

Judge Muse writes:

On the 25th day of August, 1870, we left the city of Topeka . . . and traveled westward via A.T. & S. F. R. R. to the city of Emporia.  . . . On the 26th procured teams and provisions  . . . and started westward.  On the night of the 26th, we stopped at Cottonwood Falls, with Mr. Doolittle, who kept a small hotel in that place. . . On the 27th we continued our journey through an almost uninhabited region, passing over the ground where Florence now stands, and encamped for the night at a ranch owned by Coble and Kelly, about 4 miles east of the present town of Peabody. 

On the 28th we passed over the ground now occupied by the town of Walton. . , We stopped for dinner at a point on Sand Creek just south of where the residence of D. Ainsworth is now situated , and upon the the present town site of Newton.

Here for the first time we struck the Chisholm, or the great Texas Cattle Trail and followed it down on the west side of Sand Creek as far as the mouth of the creek where we found the first settler we had seen in the county, Dr. T.S. Floyd, with who we staid all night.

During the day, and after travelling over thirty miles, we had seen no human habitation or sign of civilization, our way being through high prairie grass, often standing above the height of our wagon wheels and bed.  We varied the monotony of the journey by shooting at wolves, coyotes, antelope and prairie chickens.  After reaching the cattle trail, we were beset by swarms of buffalo gnats and mosquitoes, so ravenous that Mr. Lakin declared that they bit his head through is hat.

Identified as a sod home in Alta.

We found Dr. Floyd and family living in a log house covered with a sod roof, upon which corn was growing and situated on the west bank of Sand Creek a few rods due west from where his present residence stands. . . . After remaining over night with Dr. Floyd . . . we set out the following morning and drove through Park City, then considered a dangerous rival of Wichita and continued our journey as far as Wichita.

Judge R.W.P. Muse, History of Harvey County, 1871-1881 available at the Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives. Muse’s history was included in the 1882 Harvey County Atlas.

Harvey County Home

“The Murder of Deputy Sheriff King:” Carlos B. King

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

The whole town of Newton was on edge following the “General Massacre” in the early morning hours of August 20, 1871.   Five men were dead.  Hugh Anderson, one of the instigators had disappeared, as had the primary shooter, a man known only as Riley. The Texans and the townspeople both had an interest in restoring order or as the reporter Allegro noted;

“All parties, and particularly the Texans, who own at least a third of the town, are keen and unyielding in the determination to preserve peace and the majesty of law.” (Commonwealth, 27 August 1871.)

Meetings were held “to appoint a police force composed of both Texas men and Newtonians.” Allegro further noted that “an ordinance is published and rigidly carried out which disarms any and all persons who may be found carrying dangerous weapons within the township of Newton.”

At an informal  meeting of the citizens, two men were nominated as deputy sheriffs, Tom Carson and Carlos B. King. The first jail, a modified caboose, was ready to go.  Judge R.W.P. Muse declared “that the history of Newton is now to begin afresh.”

The peace was short lived.  The Texans were not happy with the appointment of Tom Carson and tensions continued to simmer.  In late September, the worst happened. Reporter for the Daily Commonwealth, Allegro again described the “details of the murder of Deputy Sheriff King.”

Around 10:00 pm, on the evening of September 23, 1871, Officers King and Carson,  disarmed Thomas Edwards, a Texas cowboy, outside of a Hide Park establishment “in accordance with the requirements of  the law.” Edwards was released after he gave up is pistol.  King remained in Hide Park, while Carson returned to Newton.

About two hours later, Edwards returned to the Hide Park dance hall with a derringer. He approached Marshall King and pushed the weapon against King’s chest and fired.

“King staggered into the house, exclaiming ‘Who shot me?’ and immediately fell over . . .and a moment later he died.”

Edwards “fled” town.”  In his account Allegro put forth the idea that Edwards had not acted alone, but that “it was a premeditated act – plotted by others and accomplished by Edwards.”

He concluded with words of praise for Carlos B.King.

“Thus perished Officer King, than whom there was no better gentleman nor truer friend, and no more respected man in Newton.” –Allegro, Commonwealth Reporter.

King’s funeral was well attended and many of Newton’s businesses closed during the ceremony. Carlos B. King was only 29 years old at the time of his death.

King was born on March 19, 1842 in Pennsylvania or New York to Senaca and Maryette King.  In 1850, Senaca and Carlos were living in the household of Gilbert King in Orleans, Ionia County Michigan. Carlos was 18 when the Civil War broke out.  He served as a Union soldier during the Civil War with two Michigan units; 3rd Inf (2nd Org.) Co. C, Capt., and 16th Inf. Co. B, 1st Sgt.  He married Amanda Arnold on January 23, 1864 in Ionia County, Michigan.  They had two daughters, Nina born in 1864, and Edith in 1868.  Two years after the birth of Edith, Carlos was living in Wichita, Kansas while Amanda and the girls stayed with Amanda’s parents in Ionia County.

After Carlos was killed in Newton, Amanda applied for a Civil War pension, but was denied.  In 1885, Amanda married Daniel P. Chapman and they had one son, Arthur. Carlos’ two daughters also died early, Nina in 1887 and Edith in 1891.

Carlos B. King Marker, Greenwood Cemetery, Newton, Ks.

Carlos B. King Marker, Greenwood Cemetery, Newton, Ks.

In 1872,  King’s body was moved from the ‘Boot Hill’ cemetery to Greenwood Cemetery. He was one of the first to be buried there.

Because the shooting occurred before the official organization of Harvey County and Newton was part of Sedgwick County, King is also the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty for Sedgwick County. His name is listed at the Law Enforcement Memorial in front of the City Building at Central and Main in Wichita, Ks.


  • Kansas Daily Commonwealth, 25 August 1871, 27 August 1871, 27 September 1871.
  • Muse, Judge RWP, “History of Harvey County 1871-1881.”
  • U.S. Census, Ionia County, Michigan, 1850, 1860, 1870.
  • U.S. Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865.
  • Marriage Record of Carlos B. King and Amanda Arnold, Ionia, Michigan.
  • Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897.
  • Ionia Standard 12 February 1915, Obituary for Amanda Arnold Chapman.” Ionia County, MI Archives Obituaries.
  • Find A Grave: “Amanda E. Arnold Chapman” Memorial #65086284.

Beyond a Little Strife – A New County Was Created

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Late in August of 1870, Judge R.W.P Muse left from Topeka, Ks and traveled west and south with several others. He later described some the journey through the vast prairie.  On August 28, the group followed the Chisholm Trail

 “down on the west side of Sand Creek as far as the mouth of  the creek, where we found Dr. T.S. Floyd, with whom we staid all night. . . . After traveling over thirty miles, we had seen no human habitation or sign of civilization, our way being through high prairie grass, often  standing above the height of our wagon wheels . . . When we first visited the county, large herds of buffalo were found in the western portion . . . especially where Burrton now stands, and between the two Arkansas Rivers.”

The town of Sedgwick already “did fair business” in 1870 according the Judge Muse in History of Harvey County, 1871-1881.  He also noted that “some enterprising and hardy pioneers . . . located in parts of the county as early as 1869.”  

E. Griffin & Son, Selz Shoes, Elmon & John Griffin's Store, Sedgwick, Ks, ca. 1890.

E. Griffin & Son, Selz Shoes, Elmon & John Griffin’s Store, Sedgwick, Ks, ca. 1890.

With the arrival of the cattle trade and the railroad in the summer of 1871, the city of Newton grew rapidly and gained a reputation as wild and lawless. Muse, however, saw opportunity in the rough town and decided to stay.

After the shockingly violent summer of 1871 Muse reported that in the fall of 1871,

“the best citizens of the city and county . . . desired law and order to take the place of the disorder and moral confusion.  They began to consult for their own protection and the public good and resolved to organize . . . to establish a city and county government.”

Forming a New County

The way to a new county was not without difficulty as ten of the townships were part of Sedgwick County and the others part of Marion and McPherson Counties. Several meetings took place at the law office of C.S. Bowman in Newton to devise a way to create a new county.  The final push for a new county came after the Republican County Convention in Wichita. Seven delegates from Newton attended to nominate a county ticket for Sedgwick County.  Much their dismay, the Newton delegation was cut to three, and

after considerable debate and bad temper, all the Newton delegates, headed by the writer, [Muse] withdrew from the convention. . . The strife resulted in the nomination of two tickets, and most of the regular ticket was defeated.  This added to the feeling for a new county.” 

A meeting to establish a new county was held on December 13, 1871 in the office of Muse & Spivy, in Newton.  The group was able to get the support of Capt. David Payne, the representative in the Kansas legislature.  Several worked on completing the necessary paperwork including C.S. Bowman and Dr. Gaston Boyd. The new county would consist of sixteen townships, ten from Sedgwick, three from McPherson, and three from Marion.

Office of Judge RWP Muse and Capt. Spivey, Newton 1872.  Spivey is sitting at the desk, Judge Muse is behind the counter and the man in front of the counter is identified as Capt. Bunker.  Fourth man is undientified.

Office of Judge RWP Muse and Capt. Spivey, Newton 1872. Spivey is sitting at the desk, Judge Muse is behind the counter and the man in front of the counter is identified as Capt. Bunker. Fourth man is undientified.

Harvey County organized by Act of Kansas legislature on 29  February 1872. The new county was named in honor of James M. Harvey, who was the governor of Kansas at the time.


A County Seat

Newton was designated as the county seat, but not without controversy.  A vote was held on May 20, 1872 for county officers and county seat. and there were some irregularities.

Judge Muse reported the following:

“The poll books of Sedgwick township showing up on their face an excessive and fraudulent vote, equal to more than double the amount of inhabitants in said township at the taking of the census about the 1st of April 1872, and the poll books of Newton township showing a large and excessive vote. . . The census of Sedgwick township taken and filed just before the election, showed that there were not to exceed one hundred and twenty-five legal voters residing in the township, yet the poll books showed that at the election over seven hundred votes had been cast. . . .It was reported that the names upon the Sedgwick poll books were copied from the Cincinnati Directory, and a colored bootblack who was plying his vocation there on election day, is reported to have . . . voted fourteen times.”

Muse concluded; “At any rate, beyond a little strife in court, no harm resulted and Newton was declared the county seat of Harvey County.”

The  Johnson Building located at the corner of Main and Broadway in Newton was designated as the location of the county offices.  The offices soon moved to a 526 Main.  Two years later, in 1875, the county offices were moved to the second floor of the Hamill Building at 513 Main.

Masonic Building, 700 N. main, Newton, ca. 1880

Masonic Building, 700 N. main, Newton, ca. 1880

In 1880, the county offices were located in the Masonic Building at 700 N. Main.

In his concluding remarks on the history of the county, Muse noted that Harvey County  was

“filled with enterprising people, who take great pride in the thrift and prosperity of their respective towns, and whose public spirit ensures the steady growth of these cities, . . . and renders their success certain.”

*****All quotes are from “History of Harvey County: 1871-1881 by Judge RWP Muse, 1882.


  • “Death of Judge Muse” Newton Kansan 26 November 1896, p.1.
  • Muse, Judge R.W.P., History of Harvey County: 1871-1881. Newton, Ks: Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives, 2013. Originally published in Edward’s Harvey County Atlas, 1882.
  • Bowman, Mrs. C.S. “Organization of Harvey County” typewritten document dated 7 October 1907, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks.
  • Mayer, Henry. “Early Days — Newton and Vicinity” typewritten document dated 29 February 1908, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks.
  • HCHM Photo Archives, Newton, Ks