Extinct Towns.In the early settlement of any state a period of speculation precedes that of actual development. Kansas was no exception, for no sooner was the Kansas-Nebraska bill passed than there was a rush of speculators into the new territory and hundreds of towns were located, many of which were never promoted any further than the platting of the site. The majority of these first towns were later abandoned. In 1902 George W. Martin, secretary of the Kansas Historical Society, sent out printed forms to county officials and old settlers in an effort to get a list of these extinct towns, but only a few counties responded.
Anderson county reported eight towns, Iantha, Fairview, Elba, Pottawatomie City, Hyatt, Cresco, Shannon and Canton. They were all founded in 1856-57-58, and none of them lasted longer than 1860, except Pottawatomie City, which was abandoned in 1868.
In Atchison county Summer was the only town reported. It was located on the river front in 1856, and a lithograph made in 1857 shows it as considerable of a town. It had a daily paper in that year. It was almost destroyed in 1860 by a tornado.
Appleton, founded in 1870, and Memphis, in 1874, were reported from Bourbon county; in Butler county Milwaukee, founded in 1871, is extinct, and Whitewater has been moved; in Coffey county Aurora, founded in 1857, was abandoned in 1864 because there was no water; Neosho City, California and Nashville, founded in 1856-57-58, lasted till 1859-60, and Hampden, founded in 1855, lasted until 1866; Lazette, in Cowley county, existed from 1871 to 1880.
In Doniphan county, Cincinnati, in Iowa township, Buffalo, near Eagle Springs, Charleston, which occupied about the same site, Iola, near Fanning, Winona, on the county line west of Highland, Lafayette, on the Missouri river in Center township, Columbus, in Burr Oak township, at one time having 220 inhabitants, Petersburg, on the river between Palermo and Geary, Rodgersville, 3 miles north of Troy, Evansville, Fairview, and Whitehead are all extinct. Whitehead, also known as Bellmont, was once the county seat. Crawfordsville and Georgia City, in Crawford county, were abandoned in 1869 and 1872 respectively; in Decatur county, St. John and Decatur City are extinct; Douglas county reported 11 towns: Douglas City; Oread, 12 miles northeast of Burlington; Marshall, 8 miles west of Lawrence; Franklin, miles southeast of Lawrence on the Oregon trail; Pacific City and Louisiana, 10 miles south of Lawrence; Washington, in the southwest part of the county; Prairie City, 14 miles south of Lawrence; Bloomington, about 11 miles southwest of Lawrence; Sebastian, 2 miles southeast of Franklin, and Benicia, just east of Douglas City, which was at the mouth of Big Springs creek.
In Ellis county Rome was absorbed by Hays City. (See Ellis County.) Five towns were reported from Franklin countySt. Bernard, east of Centropolis; Mt. Vernon, 7 miles southeast of Ottawa; Cheming, within 2 miles of the present town of Princeton; Ohio City, which was the county seat from 1862 to 1864, and Minneola (see Capital). The report from Geary county includes the following: Chetolah, Pawnee (q. v.), Whiskey Point and Ashland. Boston, a county seat aspirant of Howard county; Chantilly, in Keary county; Dimon, Delaware and Alexandria, in Leavenworth county, are among the missing. The abandoned towns of Linn county were: Douglas and Farmer City, in Paris township; Keokuk, Brooklyn, Moneka (two and one-half miles from Mound City), Mansfield and Linnville (each six miles from the same place), Paris, on the same site as Linnville, once the county seat, and Twin Springs, 9 miles wrest of LaCygne.
Twelve towns were reported from Lyon county, viz: Columbia, one mile east of Emporia on the Cottonwood river, named for Charles Columbia, a half-breed Indian; Agnes City; Breckenridge City; Elmendaro, formerly county seat of old Madison county; Forest Hill; Highland Park; Kansas Center; Withington; Pittsburg; New Chicago; Waterloo, and Fremont.
Marshall county reported six dead townsGertrude, Merrimac, Nottingham, Ohio City, Vermillion and Sylvan. Montgomery City, Morgan City, Parker and Bloomfield were reported from Montgomery county. In Nemaha county the extinct towns were: America City, on the south line of the county, and Farmington, 6 miles north of Seneca, both founded in 1858; Ash Point, on the St. Joseph trail; Central City; Richmond, once quite a town, but being the losing candidate in the county seat fight, did not survive; and Lincoln, in Mitchell township.
From one to four towns were reported in a number of counties, among which were Ladore and Prairie du Chien, in Neosho county, and Sidney, an aspirant for county seat honors in Ness county. Ten towns were vacated by the legislature in Osage county, viz: Prairie City, Washington, Switzer, Georgetown, Indiana City, Versailles, Havana, Lexington, Olivet and Penfield; Saratoga, in Pratt county, a half-mile north of the fish hatchery; Trano, in Rawlins county, on the west line, died out, and Celia, a town of 300 inhabitants, was vacated by the legislature of 1889; in Reno county Oakdale was made a suburb of Hutchinson; Ida, New Tabor, Saepo and White Rock, in Republic county; Chico, Mariposa and Buchanan, in Saline; Indianola and Uniontown, in Shawnee; Kenneth, at one time a town of 200 inhabitants, and county seat of Sheridan; Watertown and Germantown, in Smith county, and Austin, Meridan, London and Sumner City, in Sumner county.
During the boom period of the '80s there was another era of mushroom and paper towns, especially in the new counties in the western part of the state. The eight legislatures which convened from 1889 to 1903 inclusive vacated 112 of these towns in the counties west of the sixth principal meridian.Pages 618-619 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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