Extinct Towns of Grant County, Kansas
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Grant County Extinct Towns:
More Extinct Towns
Grant County's early years, the county sported
more than a dozen towns. Today, there are but three left --
Ulysses, Hickok and Ryus, though the latter two are incorporated and very small.
Appomattox (1885-1894) - A town with four names during its relatively short life, this
small town was first established with the name of Surprise in 1885. A post
office opened on March 17, 1886 in what was then, Hamilton County, as Grant
County would not be created until 1887. Some of its first settlers were John Arthur, E. R. Watkins,
Frederick Ausmus. Henry H. Cochran, and George W. Cook.
When the work on creating Grant County began, a
number of settlers wanted Surprise to vie with Ulysses for the county seat.
However, they were unable to come to an agreement with the Surprise Town
Company so decided they would create a new town about two miles south of
Surprise, which was first called Cincinnati and the two towns merged. However,
the county seat supporters felt the town should have a more patriotic name like
Ulysses, which was named Ulysses S. Grant. On May 26, 1887, the post office
name was officially changed from "Surprise" to "Tilden," named so in honor of
J. Tilden who was a presidential candidate
on the Democratic ticket in 1876 against Rutherford B. Hayes.
The town grew quickly and soon included a number of
businesses, The Peoples Bank, three physicians, and the Grand Hotel. Though
Tilden had laid the groundwork to become the county seat in 1887, the governor's proclamation was not made until June, 1888, which
Ulysses as the temporary county
few months later, an election was held to determine the permanent location of
the county seat in October. The voters had to decide between
Ulysses and Tilden, which resulted
in the decision that the county seat would stay in
Ulysses. But like many other Kansas
Counties, the fight wouldn’t end there. With charges of corruption, the fight
went all the way to the Kansas
Supreme Court, where evidence was submitted by a Tilden partisan named Alvin
Campbell. He introduced facts to show that the city council of
Ulysses had bonded the people to the
extent of $36,000 to buy votes, claiming that the total votes paid for was
388. It was an “open secret” regarding the voting fraud and “professional
voters” had been brought in and boarded for the requisite 30 days before the
election, and each given $10 each when they had voted. But, it was not known
at the time that this had been done at public expense. It was also alleged
that “professional toughs” were also hired to intimidate the Tilden voters.
exposure of the fact that public funds had been used created excitement among
the citizens of the county, who found themselves subject to the payment of
bonds, and those to blame for the outrage retaliated upon Alvin Campbell by
tarring him in August, 1889.
was also shown in court that Tilden had bought votes and engaged in irregular
finally won, though it was a
dearly bought victory.
The town of Appomattox, which was in a desperate
fight for the county seat against
was partially located on the present-day site of the Ulysses High School.
Sure they were going to win the lawsuit in the
Kansas Supreme Court, the citizens of Tilden wanted to change the name to
something even more patriotic. Colonel T.T. Taylor,
who was president of the Surprise Town Company, and had served in the Civil
General Philip Sheridan, wrote to him and asked him for an appropriate name
for a town to be made county seat of Grant County. In response, General
Taylor back, suggesting the name of Appomattox,
as that was where General Lee had surrendered to General Grant in the Civil
War. On February 6, 1890 the town's name was changed for the last time as the
post office took on the official moniker of Appomattox.
The name of the consolidated towns became Appomattox.
The County seat election was between Appomattox and Old Ulysses.
In the end, it wouldn't matter, as later that year,
the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ulysses, where it has remained since.
Many of the town residents and businesses then
and the post office in
Appomattox closed its doors
forever on November 15, 1894.
Today the old townsite sits on part of grounds of
the Ulysses High School.
Golden (1886-1899) - Located
southwest of Ulysses on the North Fork of the
Golden's post office was first established in 1886 in Hamilton County before
Grant County was created. The population of the small
town grew to about 50, but had a number of businesses including a lumber yard,
a general store, a blacksmith, and a western supply store. Some early settlers
included B.E. Morris, T.S. Hurd, Clarence Vorhees, Frank Byers, and J.A.
Harmon. Today, all that is left is the Golden Cemetery. The town was situated
Lawson (1886-1925) - Located
about 15 miles southeast of
Ulysses, at S27-T29s-R35w,
Lawson was first established in 1886. It gained a post office the following
year and other businesses soon followed including a general store, a lumber
yard and a real estate and loan company. It had a population of about 45 in
1910. It's post office closed in 1925. Some of its earliest settlers included Dr. E. H. Burks, J. E. Hickok, W. D.
Pierson, C. H. Stain and E. O. Smart.
Continued Next Page
that's left of Golden today is its cemetery, Kathy Weiser, April, 2009.
Image available for photo prints & downloads
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