Neodesha, the second largest town in Wilson county, is located near the confluence of the Verdigris and Fall rivers in the center of a rich agricultural district, 11 miles southeast of Fredonia, the county seat. It is on the St. Louis & San Francisco and the Missouri Pacific railroads, and is headquarters for the Kansas division of the former. The railroad company maintains a roundhouse and machine shops here. There are brick and tile factories, flour mills, extensive Portland cement plant, ice plant and other manufactories. The city owns the gas plant and natural gas is supplied for manufacturing purposes at a low cost. Neodesha is also in the midst of the oil fields, and has a large oil refinery and tank field. There are two newspapers, one a daily, and a national bank. The town is supplied with telegraph and express offices and has an international money order postoffice with four rural routes. The population in 1910 was 2,872.
Neodesha is the outgrowth of a trading post established in 1867 by A. McCartney and A. K. Phelon, among the Osage Indians. The post stood near the Little Bear Mound. Numerous Indian villages were located in the neighborhood and the natives had given the place the name of Neodesha (meeting of waters). In 1868 R. S. Futhey and John B. Keyes came to the trading post, and deciding it would be an ideal location for a town, bought the site for $500. McCartney and Phelon joined the two promoters and a town company was formed. They set up a shingle and sawmill in November of the same year and later began grinding corn. The frame of the first building was raised late in 1869. The town company gave lots to all who would build, and before long there were 200 buildings and 1,000 inhabitants. On March 5, 1870, the first child, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Derry, was born. She was named Neosho. In the winter of 1870-71 a stage line, with four-horse Concord coaches, began running from Neodesha to Thayer, the terminus of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston railroad. In March, 1871, the town was incorporated as a city of the third class, the first officers being as follows: Mayor, Alexander K. Phelon; police judge, E. D. Huntley; councilmen, T. Blakesley, John S. Gilmore, W. A. Hampton, S. L. McQuiston and C. W. Derry. The postoffice was established in 1870, with Alexander K. Phelon as postmaster. The next winter the first school was taught by J. A. McHenry. In 1871 a flour mill was built and a bank started. The bank was robbed after about three months and discontinued business. That fall the town site was entered at the land office. The Neodesha bank was organized in 1872, and a city hall was built that year at a cost of $12,000. A school building worth $15,000 and a bridge worth $14,000 were built by bonds. When the railroad came through in 1879 the company located its division headquarters here, which was a stroke of good fortune for the little city. The Missouri Pacific railroad was built in 1886. The oil and gas fields were developed in the '90s. The Lanyon smelter was started in 1902. Two disastrous fires occurred in 1897, destroying a total of $46,000 worth of property.Page 345 from volume II 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 July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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