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Alton in Osborne County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Founding of Alton, Kansas

 
 
The Founding of Alton, Kansas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 6, 2017
1. The Founding of Alton, Kansas Marker
Inscription.  In the fall of 1870 two men, Hiram C. Bull and Lyman T. Earl, set out from Cawker City Kansas to establish a new town in the South Fork Solomon River valley. They were drawn to this location by the 200-foot high bluffs rising above a wide bend in the river and proceeded to lay the first town site in Osborne County. A nickel was tossed and the new town was named Bull City after Bull instead of Earlsville after Earl. In May 1871 the Bull City Post Office opened in Bull's general store with Hiram Bull as its first postmaster.

Bull was commercially and socially the key to the early development of both the town and the entire region. He and two other men were tragically killed by Bull's pet elk in October 1879. This event made national headlines and forever altered the course of the town's future. Bull had been a beloved civic leader, county probate judge, and at the time of his untimely death was in his second term as a Kansas State Representative. Bull's funeral drew nearly 2,000 mourners from across the region - the largest funeral held to date in north-central and northwest Kansas.

About 5 years after Bull's death a movement was
Marker detail: Hiram C. Bullís two-room log general store image. Click for full size.
By Casual Graphics of Hays, Kansas
2. Marker detail: Hiram C. Bullís two-room log general store
The store occupied the front room while the back room served as living quarters.
initiated by a handful of supporters to change the town's name, for the word bull was an offensive word in polite company and some felt it was detrimental to the town's growth. So after a legal petition to change the name failed, a fraudulent petition was sent to Washington. D.C., with the signatures cut from a popular road petition and pasted to the name change petition. In February 1885 the U.S. Postal Department changed the name to Alton (after Alton, Illinois, the name-change leaderís hometown). On October 1, 1885, Alton was incorporated as a third-class city.

(photo captions)
ē Hiram C. Bullís two-room log general store. The store occupied the front room while the back room served as living quarters.
ē Sketch of the death of Hiram Bull by his pet elk as depicted in the National Police Gazette magazine of November 1, 1879.
ē Sketch of Bull City as it looked in 1884. View is to the south with the railroad tracks in the foreground. Nicholas Avenue runs through the town from left to right at center background.

Erected 2001 by Osborne County Tourism, Inc.
Funding provided by
Osborne County Transient Guest Tax Board and the
Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing.

 
Erected 2001 by Osborne County Tourism, Inc.
 
Location.
The Founding of Alton, Kansas Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 6, 2017
3. The Founding of Alton, Kansas Marker (tall view)
Sign on wall behind marker:
Russell Stove Birthsite
11 miles south
County Road 657
39° 27.94′ N, 98° 56.863′ W. Marker is in Alton, Kansas, in Osborne County. Marker is on Mill Street south of Nicholas Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is mounted in a heavy-timber wooden frame near the northwest corner of the building at this address, facing Mill Street. Marker is at or near this postal address: 702 Mill Street, Alton KS 67623, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Historic Bohemian Hall & Cultural Center (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Alton (approx. half a mile away); Last Indian Fight in Osborne County (approx. 10.3 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Hiram C. Bull (Wikipedia). (Submitted on March 28, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Hiram C. Bull. He served with distinction as a Captain in the 9th Iowa volunteer regiment during the Civil War. He was seriously wounded in the thigh leading a charge during the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. From 1859 to early 1861 Bull served as Adjutant General of the Army of the Southwest in New Mexico and Arizona Territories, being stationed in St. Louis, Missouri. This is why he was later referred to as "General Bull." (Submitted on March 28, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Hiram C. Bull – 1996 Inductee, The Osborne County Hall of Fame.
Bull's Store Plaque<br>(<i>located a few feet from this marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 6, 2017
4. Bull's Store Plaque
(located a few feet from this marker)
1870-1942
74 ft. east was
Gen. Bullís Store
Est. 1870
This was the first Store in Alton
1/2 mile east was
Gen. Bull Park
In the annals of Kansas history the name Hiram C. Bull has been remembered chiefly for the unusual manner of the manís death – for being killed by his pet elk. Without a sign of warning the beast made a charge, striking General Bull and knocking him down with great force. The elk then drew back and made a second attack on General Bull, this time with increased force, using his antlers with terrible effect, piercing the prostrate body of the General through the breast until the prong protruded, then tossing his form high into the air and throwing him over its head. General Bull received forty-four wounds and was killed instantly. Yet over 130 years after that event Hiram Bull is still revered in Osborne County for much more: for his leadership, his vision, and his generosity. (Submitted on March 28, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
 
The Founding of Alton, Kansas Marker (<i>wide view; marker left; Bull's Store plaque at center</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 6, 2017
5. The Founding of Alton, Kansas Marker (wide view; marker left; Bull's Store plaque at center)
 
More. Search the internet for The Founding of Alton, Kansas.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 28, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 27, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 28, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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