Articles in database from Portis Patriot: 1
Before James H. Joy went to Oregon, he presented us a copy of Volume 1, Number 1 of the Osborne County Express -- the first paper, we believe, published in Osborne County. It was edited by Mark J. Kelley, dated March 2, 1872, and issued at Arlington.
Although the paper is not of great age, yet compared with the age of the county it is old. We find many things in it which sound curious enough to us now. At that time the county seat question was not definitely settled and in his salutatory Mr. Kelley gives his reasons for preferring Arlington to other towns in the county. He heads his salutatory, "To the Citizens of Osborne County," and has this to say to them:
"It may, and will, no doubt, surprise many of the citizens of this county to see and know that our paper is published at Arlington and not Osborne City. It surprises our first calculations.
"Our reasons for not starting at Osborne City are these: The people of that place after our arrival there were too slow in raising the amount of money required by us, $200; the citizens of Arlington said to us, "here is $200 in cash, and not in words of promise, and we will give you $200 more ($100 of which has been raised) and one share in our town." This sounded to us, and in fact, looked like business, consequently we accepted.
"We have nothing against Osborne City and its people, in fact, have many warm friends there, but we like Arlington much the best. It is bound to be the county seat, from the fact that it is liberal and its proprietors will do all in their power to build up the town, they being live, wide-awake men. They are men from all parts of the county, hence will work for the building up of a flourishing town.
"Lots will be given away to those who will build upon them, and good warrantee deeds given for the same, instead of bonds for deeds. Taking all these facts into consideration, and seeing the names of over three hundred citizens of the county on a petition asking for a new county seat election, we at once concluded to go for Arlington and advise every voter to do the same -- hence our paper here, and we regularly in the harness, working for this place."
The next article is on the "Advantages of Having an Immediate Election on the County Seat question."...
Further along we find an explanation of what the Arlington Town Company is, in which it says: "This company includes 200 members, living throughout the county. The members of this company pay the sum of ten dollars each to said corporation in case the town of Arlington is made the county seat of Osborne County. In case this is not done, nothing is paid."
Fearing that somebody might mistake some other town for Arlington, he tells where it is and what it is in the following paragraph: "...It is situated on the north side of the south fork of the Solomon River, near the centre of the county of Osborne. The town site is one of the prettiest in the valley, not being cut to pieces by ravines and gullies, but is on a gentle slope to the south and west. The town site contains four hundred and twenty acres, for which the proprietors have a good warrantee deed. It is now contending for the county seat, which it is bound to get, having the best location, by far, of any point in the county....
"In case Arlington is made the permanent county seat of Osborne County, the company will immediately build a suitable Court House, worth from one to two thousand dollars. Within two years the Town Company will give $5,000 in cash to aid the county in building such public buildings as may be needed for the future and permanent use of the county. This offer amounts to $4,500 more than is made by Osborne...."
The first announcement on the regular local page of the paper is that --
"The Osborne County Express is the Frontier Paper of Kansas, consequently is the best advertising medium west of Concordia and Junction City. It circulates in all the new counties."
...People lied in those days just the same as they do now. The paper tells us that "We hear a great hue and crying about there being no water on the Arlington town site," and contradicts the report in these words: "This is false, for there are today two good wells on the town site, and water can be obtained on any lot in town at a reasonable depth by digging for it."
But water didn't save her and Arlington didn't get to be the county seat. We have heard it asserted by some that Osborne City had more flour than Arlington had water, and that this state of affairs had a tremendous effect upon the county seat election.
We find other things of interest in this old paper. It is two-thirds filled with advertisements, most of them from Concordia, Waterville, and Cawker City.