Saline County History
In February 1858, three men set out west from Lawrence intent on founding a new town. Two locations had been scouted out the previous year: one along the Blue River not far from Manhattan and the second on the banks of the Smoky Hill. Because the Blue River flooded the first site, William A. Phillips and his companions, James Muir and Alexander Campbell, continued west and selected the Smoky Hill River site for their town.
Phillips liked this site for its natural advantages of water and timber, as well as its strategic location for future settlement. He also believed chances were favorable that a railroad might soon be routed through the region. Using a compass placed on Phillips’ stove top hat, the men drove stakes and made a rough survey of the town, noting in the Town Company minutes that adjustments would be made when the official government survey was completed.
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