Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Settled with the kind of people that Riley County was, it would have been expected that they would have taken a great interest in the common school, and in academic and collegiate course of instruction. This they have done and their present and prospective privileges attest their zeal and devotion to these things. With seventy-five school districts, ten of which are joint ones with the surrounding counties, and with seventy school houses, the children of school age have good facilities for an education, as the superintendence of them has been good. The report of the County Superintendent of Public Instruction for 1882, shows 3,887 persons of school age; number of enrolled pupils, 2,641; average daily attendance, 1,525; number of teachers required, 37 males, and 58 females. The average pay of male teachers is $34.70 per month; of females, $29.19. During the year male teachers have taught 213 months; females, 312. The average number of weeks of instruction for a district is 25. There have been four private schools, taught by females; one by a male teacher. The average levy of district school tax is 11.3 mills for the year 1882. The bonds voted for schoolhouse purposes in 1882 are $12,200. Bonded indebtedness of the district is $18,700.

Manhattan has a corps of ten teachers; Prof. D. E. Loutz, principal. The main public school building is a little to the north of Poyntz Avenue, quite centrally located. It is 73x96 feet, two stories high above the basement. It has four large rooms upon each floor, spacious halls, and neat cloak rooms. It is a nice stone structure, and cost about $15,000. The block upon which it stands is exceedingly well supplied with shade trees, that were set out years ago, and it has ample and neat play grounds. To the southwest of this near the outskirts of the city is a nice new stone structure two stories high, built in 1882, to supplement the needs of the increasing population, which now reaches 2,500.

Randolph, which has a population of about 500, employs two teachers in its graded school. Ogden has a population of about 400; Leonard, a thrift growing town, the station in this county on the Kansas Central Railway, has about 400; Riley Centre about 300; Bala, about 250. All these place have excellent schools. The schoolhouses in the rural districts, in many instances are not adequate to the needs of the people, and another year, there will be an increased number of new houses.

The first record in the Commissioners journal, relating taxes, reads as follows:

Received of the Clerk of the tribunal transacting county business of the county of Riley, Kansas Territory, the tax-book of said county, upon which I am to collect $243.91 in territorial tax; $185.93 county tax, and $93 as Assessors fees. All the above amounts I promise to pay over or return the book as the law directs. This August 5, 1856. Stephen B. Williams, Sheriff of Riley County.
The amount of territorial sent to the Auditor of public accounts for the Territory of Kansas. August 5, 1856. John S. Reynold, Clerk By L. B. Perry, Deputy.

July 5, 1860, the County Commissioners in a manifesto say:

The county was organized in 1855 and no tax was levied until 1858, and the small amount of property subject to taxation on the valuation of 1859, was only $103,000.
The published expenditures for the county in 1860, was $1,392.13; 1861, $2,175.57; for 1864, $3,434.76; for 1865, $4,462.24; for 1866, $3,403.37; for 1867, $6,931.05; for 1868, $10,040.50. The levy for county taxes for 1870, was 7.5 mills on the dollar, so as raise $10,600. In 1871, it was 9 mills; the amount to be raised was $11,640. In 1872, it was 10 mills, three of which was to meet the interest coupons on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds. In 1873 and 1874 it was 13 mills; six of which was to pay interest on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds. In 1875, the levy was 15 mills, seven of which was for the payment of interest coupons on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds. In 1876 the levy was 13.5 mills; five and one-half was for the bonds of the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway. In 1877 there was a levy of 12.5 mills, six of which was for the railway bonds. In 1878 there was a levy of 7 mills. There was no levy to meet the bonded indebtedness arising out of the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway, a petition having been signed by 1,155 residents that none be made. In 1879-1882, 6 mills was the county levy.

The aggregated judgments against Riley County, consequent upon the refusal of her Commissioners to levy taxes to meet the accrued and accruing interest on the Manhattan & Northwestern Railway bonds is $20,558.09. The assessed valuation of the county for 1882 is as follows: Reals estate, $1,109,407; city property, $335,166; personal property, $540,153; railroads, $243,031; total, $2,217,757.

There are four railroad lines, which may be mentioned in connection with the assessment in the following manner: A few miles of the Manhattan & Blue Valley Railroad is assessed at $12,500; the Manhattan & Burlingame, 9.2 miles, $40,043; the Kansas division of the Union Pacific, 14.16 miles, $123,252; the Kansas Central, 18.11 miles, $67,236.29.

The county has been singularly free from crimes and its court calenders are comparatively exempt from cases of persons charged with capital crime. The latest case was the trial of Charles W. Bates, charged with the murder of P. W. Peak in the Christian Church at Manhattan on the evening of February 3, 1879. At the first trial the verdict of the jury was manslaughter in the first degree, but at the second trial in December, 1879, the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty. This killing had a connection with the procurement of evidence furnished against persons in the liquor traffic, Mr. Bates playing the role of a detective in the matter. The good morals and high civilization of this county stand unsurpassed anywhere.

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