Hard Times for Hardville
Hardville, Jefferson Co., KS
From the Winchester Star, Apr. 8, 1910 (Copied by Raymond Riley)
A peculiar condition was discovered through looking up some records in the Register of Deeds office some time ago. Away back in 1856 a man by the name of Hannibal A. Low platted a town just a little north and east of where Dunavant now stands and named it Hardville, and it is evident that he expected it to grow into a big town for he laid off 94 blocks, taking up approximately 320 acres and a public square. These 94 blocks he had patented by the government, but as the square was for the public no patent was ever taken out on this. This land has changed hands many times in the intervening years and until an abstract was demanded by Mr. L. H. Robinson who has recently purchased a part of the original town from Mr. Sam Craig, no thought was ever given except that the entire body had been patented, but the abstract apparently shows that there is about six acres of government land in this plot. An official communication from the land office says that the owner of the surrounding land can make application for this place and it will have “due consideration” which means that Mr. Craig will have the privilege of buying this land from Uncle Sam for $2.50 per acre.—Tribune
This story appeared in “Yesteryears” in October 2012.
Hardville, or Hardtville, a proslavery town also known as Hickory Point, was a contender for Jefferson county seat in 1858. In March 1857 Hardtville advertised a public auction of shares in the town in the Kansas Weekly Herald of Leavenworth. The town touted its location on the military road, its rich land and never-failing water, and claimed it would “undoubtedly be the county seat.” The 1858 election resulted in victory for Oskaloosa with 177 votes. Grasshopper Falls received 173 votes, Osawkee 94, Hickory Point 50, and Fairfield 12. In the next election in 1859, Oskaloosa led with 294 votes but did not win a majority. Grasshopper Falls received 271 votes, Hickory Point 170, Osawkee 103, and Defiance 8. In the runoff election Oskaloosa edged out the Falls by 43 votes. (From “Yesteryears,” April 2021)
Map above: Detail from a sketch of Jefferson County map showing townsites; all creeks, railroads, battle sites, road locations & Kansas River. Indicates pro-slavery and free state townsites. Original map was embroidered by Jefferson County homemakers Home Demonstration Club. Inscription on lower portion of map: Jefferson County, Kansas, 1855-1865. Showing: Platted town sites and existing roads prior to the coming of the railroad in 1864. (Courtesy of Jefferson County Historical Society)