About Us
Museum Membership
Event Schedule
Museum Newsletters
Museum Displays


Water Travel & Water Works

                                     Chapter ?.

Kansas was explored and claimed by both the Spanish and the French.
During the French and Indian War (1754-1761), the British had many Indian allies; France allied with Spain in exchange for a financial loan and military assistance, in August 1761. The British immediately declared war on Spain and seized Havana. France suffered defeats and wanted to conclude peace; the Spanish would hear nothing of it. To end the war France offered Louisiana to Spain as compensation and a treaty was signed November 3, 1762.
Louisiana Purchase, The, the most important addition to the territory of the original thirteen states of the American Union. France, driven out of America in 1762, yielded to Spain the territory known as Louisiana, extending on both sides of the Lower Mississippi. Many American settlers were established on the river banks, and much produce went down the Mississippi to the Gulf. In 1800, Spain by secret treaty restored the territory to France. The treaty became known in 1802, and the Spanish Intendant refused the right to deposit goods at New Orleans. The settlers up the river demanded that American troops seize the city.
In 1801 Napolean of France induced Charles IV of Spain to sign a treaty re-ceding Louisiana Territory to France. On April 11, 1803, Tallyrand of France approached a special American envoy with an offer to sell the Louisiana Territory in its entirety.
Robert E. Livingston and James Monroe began negotiations to purchase the territory at Jefferson’s instigation. Napoleon was in dire need of money. Accordingly he sold Louisiana to the United States in December, 1803, for $15,000,000. In 1803 French authorities at New Orleans surrendered the province to America.
(The Louisiana Purchase included the present-day states of Arkansas; Missouri; Iowa; Minnesota west of the Mississippi; North Dakota; South Dakota; Nebraska; almost all of Kansas; Oklahoma; the sections of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Rocky Mountains; and Louisiana west of the Mississippi but including the whole of New Orleans.)
                                      DIVISION OF LOUISIANA PURCHASE.
On March 26, 1804, the Louisiana Purchase was divided into two sections. The portion that included Kansas was included in the District of Louisiana, which was placed under the jurisdiction of the Territory of Indiana. An Act of March 3, 1805, changed this area into the Territory of Louisiana, ruled first by Governor James Wilkinson.
The Cherokee Indians concluded a supplemental treaty December 29, 1834, which created the Cherokee Neutral Lands. This treaty included the southern 2-1/2 mile strip of Cowley County. Beginning in 1853 the Federal Government started a second generation of treaties with the Indians, moving them further west or reducing the size of their reservations.
In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act was enacted. It divided land below the 40th parallel into Kansas and land above the 40th parallel into Nebraska. It also declared the Missouri Compromise void and allowed popular sovereignty to separate free from slave territory.

                                  Kansas Territory Open to Settlement in 1854.
On May 30, 1854, all of Kansas territory, excluding land reserved to Indians, was opened to settlement. The pre-emption laws of 1854 allowed the first settler on any quarter section of land to claim it as his own. Any person over the age of 21 and the head of a household could pre-empt land. On this claim he or she was required to build a home, cultivate the soil, and within five years pay $1.25 per acre.
                                                       COWLEY COUNTY.
The Territorial Legislature of 1855 defined the boundaries of Hunter County, embracing the present territory of Cowley Cowley and twenty miles of Butler County.
Kansas (containing approximately 82,278 square miles—of which only 163 consisted of water) was admitted to the Union January 29, 1861. The original plan called for the southern boundary to be placed at 36 degrees and 30 minutes (the line which had been established in 1820 to divide the slave and free territories). However, since it was erroneously believed that this would divide the Cherokee lands, Congress chose instead the 37th Parallel.
In 1864 the Kansas State Legislature annihilated Hunter County by extending the bound-aries of Butler to embrace all the territory south of township 21, east of the 6th principal meridian, down to the State line and west of range 10. On March 3, 1867, the Kansas Legislature defined the boundaries of several counties, and Cowley County, created on that date, was among the number. It was named by Gov. S. J. Crawford in honor of Lieut. Mathew Cowley, a soldier of the 9th Kansas regiment, who died at Little Rock, Arkansas, August 1864.
The 1864 Act by the Kansas State Legislature made Cowley County thirty-three miles square, bounded on the north by Butler County; on the east by Howard County (now Elk and Chautauqua Counties); on the south by the Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma); and on the west by Sumner County. The first white settler daring enough to enter Cowley County (still under the control of the Osage Indians) was N. J. Thompson, who ventured within its limits in August 1868, building a house on the east bank of the Walnut River, about one mile below the northern line. The fame of Cowley’s many beautiful streams, groves of heavy, timber, rich valleys, and inviting prairies began to attract the attention of potential settlers.
                    Arkansas River Used by Arkansas City Citizens to Name City.
The founders of Arkansas City (which went through several name changes due to the Post Office Department) finally named it after the Arkansas River. Much confusion has arisen over the years about the pronunciation of the city as well as the river.
The Arkansas River travels 1,450 miles from Lake County, Colorado, through eastern Colorado, Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, bisects the state of Arkansas, and empties into the Mississippi River. The first time it was seen by white men, it was called “St. Peter and St. Paul”—being first seen and crossed by Coronado and his men on June 29, 1541, the feast day of those saints.
The official program of the first Annual Mid-America All-Indian Days Celebration held in Wichita Kansas, July 28-August 3, 1969, stated the following.

The Big Arkansas River was noted by Coronado in 1541 when he was on his search for the “Seven Cities of Cibola.” The name of the river was later changed by the French traders to the Arkansas River. The word Arkansas is a combination of the Indian word Kansas and the French prefix of ark, meaning a bow. This was derived from the huge northward bend of the river. The Wichita Indians’ name for the big river was “Ne Shutsa” and the Little river, “Ne Shutsa shinka”—meaning child of the bigger river.
Kansas developed the origin of its name from a Siouan word meaning “Wind People” or “People of the South Wind.” The northeast part of what became the state of Kansas was occupied by Indians known as Kansas or Kaw, who spoke the language of the Siouan family. The Sioux Indians form the chief division of the Siouan family. Other tribes belonging to the Sioux family: Assiniboin, Crows, Iowa, Mandan, Osage, Quapaw, Winnebago. The Sioux Indians called themselves “Dakota” or “Lahkota.” Some sources state this means “friendly” or “fraternal”; others state it means “confederated” or “allied.” The Algonquin Indians called the Dakota Indians “Nadowessioux,” which was shortened to “Sioux.” (This term signified “snakes” or “enemies.”)
History of Kansas, published in 1909 by Noble L. Prentis, had the following footnote on Page 55.
A note from Isaac McCoy’s Journal: “Different persons have at various times written the name [Kansas] of this tribe differently, as suited the fancy of each. We have chosen to adhere to the pronunciation of the natives themselves, which is Kau-sau. We have been the more inclined to do this from the supposition that its near resemblance to the name of the southern tribe supposed to be exterminated, from which Arkansas River derived its name, the proper pronunciation of which is Ah-kau-zau, might lead to a development of facts relative to the origin of these people, which would be of benefit to the future historian.”
On Page 54 of the Prentis’ book, History of Kansas, footnote 2 states:
The Kanza Indians claimed northeastern Kansas, the Pawnee northern Kansas, the Padoucas northwestern, and the Osages southern Kansas. The Pawnees were Quiviras. The Kansas or Kaws were the Escansaques, the name developing from Escän’an to Cansa or Kanza. It is said to mean “people who came from the place of the south wind.”
Floyd Benjamin Streeter explains the derivation of the word “Kansas” in his book entitled The Kaw.
The word “Kansa,” or “Kansas,” has passed through modifications but has changed little in sound. The Siouans and the Kansa tribe generally pronounced it känsa or kä-sa. The early traders changed the Indian form of pronunciation. They gave the a the sound of au or aw. From this corruption came the word “Kau” or “Kaw.” The explorers and early mapmakers called the tribe and the river Cana, Causa, Kansa, Kances, Kansa, Konza, Quans, etc. Eventually the stream was named Kansas River, though it is commonly called the Kaw.
                                               The State of Arkansas.   
The state of Arkansas developed the origin of its name from the Quapaw Indians, who also spoke the language of the Siouan family.
An older term used for this tribe of Indians was “Akansea” or “Akansa.” The word “Kappa” afterward became “Quapaw” and applied to a town and then to a division of the tribe. In 1761 the “Arkansa” referred to confederated remnants of ruined tribes.
The Quapaw Indians living on the lower Arkansas River, Arkansas, came originally from the Ohio region. They made their way down the Mississippi River; and so took the name Ugakhpah, which means “downstream people.” As this name was passed on from one white visitor to another, it began to change in two different ways. The word ugakhpah finally became both Quapaw and Arkansas. The French pronounced the name as if it were spelled Oo-gap-pa, which the Algonquin Indians pronounced as Ooo-ka-nas-sa; Marquette wrote it as Arkansoa; La Salle wrote Akansa; De Tonti, Arkancas; and La Harpe, Arkansas, the present spelling.

An interesting book about the Arkansas River was written by Clyde Brion Davis in 1940 called The Arkansas. On pages six and seven he writes:
It is the only river I know about that changes the pronunciation of its name in mid-course.
From its mouth to the Oklahoma-Kansas line the river invariably is pronounced as is the state—as if it were spelled Arkansaw. From Arkansas City, Kansas, to Leadville [Colorado] it is more often pronounced as if were spelled Ar-Kansas. People in Arkansas City, Kansas, don’t like to have their municipality called Arkansaw City. In Colorado the watershed from the Royal Gorge to Lamar is usually called the Ar-Kansas Valley. But in the state of Arkansas the pronunciation was fixed legally by legislative action in 1881.
The name Arkansas came from a tribe of Indians. It was Gallicized by the French explorers and then Anglicized by the supplanting English-speaking settlers.
The first recorded mention of these Indians and this territory comes from Father Jacques Marquette in Louis Joliet’s journal of 1673. Father Marquette phoneticized it into Arkansas.
A few years later La Salle made it Acansa on his map and Father Louis Hennepin, who was one of La Salle’s exploring Jesuits, gave the region wide publicity in 1681 as Akansa.
Mr. Davis differed from other sources in the way he said Marquette and Hennepin spelled the word Arkansas. “It is readily apparent that names in one language do not change radi-cally. When translated into different languages, they often do—sometimes drastically. Different pronunciations can also at times alter the meaning of a word.”
                                                    Arkansas City, Kansas.
Arkansas City, Kansas, named after the river, evidently got the spelling and pronun-ciation thereof from the Kansas or Kaw Indians residing in the state of Kansas. It makes sense to the citizens of Arkansas City, Kansas, to pronounce the name Arkansas inasmuch as it is spelled with an “s” at the end; also, it was derived from the Kansas or Kaw Indians and not the Quapaw or Arkansas Indians.
While touring the first Arkansas State Capitol in Litle Rock, Arkansas, and other historical buildings years ago, our guide informed us that she had conducted considerable research on the early history of the state of Arkansas and had uncovered the fact that one man, Lt. C. F. M. Noland, officially delegated to deliver by horseback the first constitution of the state of Arkansas to Washington, D.C., was responsible for spelling the name of that state Arkansas, while sticking to the pronunciation of Arkansaw. She said Mr. Noland had to wage a fight with the U. S. Post Office Department and various other offices in Washing-ton, D.C., which were attempting to spell it “Arkansaw.” Noland insisted that it be spelled and pronounced as it was done by the Indian tribe: Arkansas (sometimes called Quapaw). It was interesting to note on the wall of his home an original Audubon print, made in the state of Arkansas, upon which the name of the state is spelled “ARKANSAW.”
                                       Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas.
Arkansas (är-kän’zas) City [NOTE: SUPPOSED TO BE ONE DOT ABOVE a in middle of last part: zas CANNOT FIND CODE FOR IT! MAW]
To start over without phonetic spelling after Arkansas City...

Arkansas City is situated at the junction of the Walnut River with the Arkansas River about fourteen miles south of Winfield. In 1930 it was noted that a canal uniting these two streams furnished the city with water-power for manufacturing purposes. Arkansas City is an important distributing point for the military posts and ranches in the vicinity. Its trade consists largely of agricultural implements, windmills, wire and mattress factories, flour, oil, lumber mills, and grain. The city is served by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; the Missouri Pacific, and the St. Louis & San Francisco Railways. In 1930 the population was 13,946.
Arkansas (är’k_n-sô) River, a river of the United States, and next to the Missouri, the longest tributary of the Mississippi. It rises in the Rocky Mountains, and joins the Mississippi at Napoleon, about 300 miles above New Orleans. After breaking through the Colorado cañons, it flows through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Indian Territory, and cuts Arkansas into nearly equal parts. It is 1,460 miles long and is navigable to Fort Smith and, in high water, to Fort Gibson, 462 miles. The Canadian River, which rises in northeastern New Mexico, is its most important tributary.
Circa 1930:
Arkansas [State].
Arkansas (är’k_n-s_), a south central state the name of which was derived from the Arkansas Indians. It is frequently termed the “Bear State.” Arkansas is bounded on the east by the Mississippi River, on the north by Missouri, on the south by Louisiana, and on the west by Texas and Oklahoma. It extends over an area of 53,335 square miles, 810 square miles of which are water.
Government (State of Arkansas). Arkansas is divided into seventy-five counties. The state constitution was adopted in 1874. Its General Assembly is composed of a Senate of thirty-five members, elected for four years and partially renewed every two years, and a House of Representatives of 100 members elected every two years. . . .
History (State of Arkansas). DeSoto probably first saw Arkansas. The first settlement was made in 1868 at Arkansas Post by the French. This territory was a part of the Louisiana Purchase, became part of the Louisiana Territory in 1803, and of Missouri Territory in 1812. With what is now Oklahoma, it became Arkansas Territory in 1819. It was detached in 1836, and admitted into the Union as a slave state on June 15 of that year. In May, 1861, the state seceded. Several battles were fought within its boundaries and it was occupied by Union forces in 1863. It was readmitted to the Union in 1868, and suffered much during the “Carpet Bag” administration that followed. The present constitution was adopted in 1874, and the period of unrest came to a close.
Winfield Courier, March 20, 1879.
The residence of Col. J. C. McMullen, when completed, will be one of the most con-venient houses in Southern Kansas. It is lighted throughout with gas, having jets in every room, from garret to cellar, is heated with hot air, and the system of warm and cold water pipes is equal to any we have ever seen. It is a credit to the city, as well as a monument to the enterprise of one of Cowley’s oldest and best citizens.
Arkansas City Traveler, November 24, 1880.

The contract for putting up the tank, windmill, and other apparatus for the city waterworks has been let to a Mr. Mason, who is connected with the Fairbanks scale firm. As we understand it, it has been decided to put up an “Eclipse” windmill over the well which will work a force pump that will throw the water into a one thousand barrel tank, to be placed near Major Sleeth’s residence, from whence a pipe will be laid down Summit street to Central avenue. A fire and house hydrant will be placed on the corners of Summit and Fifth and Central Avenues, thus affording an ample supply of water in case of a fire in the business portion of the city. The stone foundations for the windmill and tank and digging trenches for the pipes are to be executed by the city outside of the contract.
Arkansas City Traveler, December 8, 1880.
Read the notice for bids for our new waterworks in this issue.
                                                       ADVERTISED BIDS.
Until December 16th, 1880, at 12 m., bids will be received by the undersigned for the building of a foundation for the city water tank, material to be furnished and completed in a good substantial manner, as per specifications in Mayor’s office. The right to reject any or all bids is reserved. A. J. CHAPEL, Mayor.
Attest: I. H. BONSALL, City Clerk.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 9, 1881.
                                                     ORDINANCE NO. 92.
Entitled an ordinance to provide for the issue of the bonds of the City of Arkansas City, and provide for the transfer of the same to the Arkansas City Water Power company.
Whereas, The people of the City of Arkansas City, in Cowley County and the State of Kansas, by their notes cast on the 23rd day of February, A. D., 1881, did sanction and approve a proposi­tion made by the Arkansas City Water Power Company, to supply the City of Arkansas City with water for domestic use, the extin­guishment of fires, and for manufacturing and other purposes, for the sum of twenty thousand dollars in the bonds of said city, and
Whereas, the Legislature of the State of Kansas has by law authorized the issue of said bonds for said purposes, and the city council of said city, being of the opinion that such issue and transfer is expedient and proper to be made, therefore
Be it ordained, by the mayor and councilmen of the City of Arkansas City:
Section 1. That the mayor be and is hereby authorized to issue and transfer the said bonds above mentioned to the Arkansas City Water Power Company as per their bond and contract now on file in the office of the mayor of said city.
Section 2. That ordinance No. 91 be and the same is hereby repealed.
Section 3. That ordinance No. 92 be and remain in force on and after its publication once in the Arkansas City TRAVELER. A. J. CHAPEL, Mayor.
Attest: I. H. BONSALL, City Clerk.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum