THIS WEEK I WALKED ACROSS DEUEL COUNTY which dates back to the Union Pacific Railroad construction and was named for UP railroad executive Harry Porter Deuel. The original county borders changed over the years until 1889 when an election was held to officially create the county. A sheriff and county commissioner were elected and the town of Big Springs named as county seat -- but it only served as county seat for a single day. Three towns had battled for the honor of county seat so a special election was held where the contending towns of Big Springs received 5608 votes, Chappell received 3288 votes, and Froid received 292 votes. But neither Big Springs nor Chappell had more than 275 registered voters each! Apparently Chappell voters heard Big Springs had a vote of 3000, so they decided to surpass that number, and Big Springs didn’t stop when election workers inserted 1300 ballots after the polls closed.
The courts ordered that county offices remain in Chappell until the matter was resolved, and the battle continued bitterly in the courtroom before a decision was ordered to void the vote and hold another election. It took two subsequent elections before a majority vote was cast, and in February 1894 Chappell was declared the winner with 437 votes as Big Springs only received 344 votes.
So it took more than four years of "dueling" before the Deuel County Seat was decided!
Week 18, Miles 1350