|On September 08, 1874, six hundred Mennonite colonists arrived in Topeka, Kansas and on the 23rd of that
same month they were followed by eleven hundred more. On the 14th of October they bought 100,00 acres of
land from the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Land Department. On January 02, 1875, two hundred more
immigrants arrived from Russia, going directly to Great Bend, settling on or near the main line.
In the year ending 1875, 400 Mennonite families, comprising of 1,900 people had settled in Kansas, bringing
with them $2,250,00 in gold. These people purchased 60,000 acres of Kansas land, practically, if not all, from
the Santa Fe Company in Marion, McPherson, Harvey and Reno counties.
In 1876 a fine agricultural exhibit composed of products from the new farms lying within the Company's land
grant was displayed at the Centennial Exposition. This exhibit, which was strikingly arranged, proved one the
features of the Exposition. It was viewed by thousands of persons and described in many newspapers, which
again gave the railroad and its land infinite advertising and stimulated land buying. Whereas land sales had
dropped to 75,415 acres in 1875, in 1876 they rose nearly 60% to 122,201 acres.
In 1877 the Land Commissioner reported that about 900,000 acres of the government lands alternating with
those of the Company had been taken up by actual settlers, thus locating over 8,000 new families along the line.
During the Autumn of 1877, a total of 246,917 acres were sown to wheat in the nine leading counties of the
land grant along the Arkansas Valley; for the preceding year the wheat acreage was but 168,345 acres.