Quenemo, one of the incorporated towns of Osage county, is located near the eastern line at the junction of the Missouri Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroads. The latter diverges at this point, one branch going to Osage City and the other to Emporia. Quenemo is also on the Marais des Cygnes river, in Agency township, 11 miles east of Lyndon, the county seat. It has a weekly newspaper (the News), 2 banks, all lines of mercantile enterprise, good schools and churches, telegraph and express offices, and an international money order postoffice with four rural routes. Quenemo is an important shipping point for live stock, grain and farm produce. The population, according to the census of 1910, was 556.
For more than ten years before the founding of the town the Sac and Fox Indian agency was at this place, and the name Quenemo was the name of a celebrated Indian chief of those times. George Logan, the first white man at the agency, came in 1858. He was followed by William Whistler. The first building was erected by the government in 1860. It was located on what is now Third street and was used as a trading post, in which Perry Fuller did a profitable business. The next two buildings, which were residences, were built the same year and are still standing. In 1862 some 4,O0O Indians, belonging to the Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, Cherokees and Kickapoos, who were driven out of the Indian territory on account of their loyalty to the government, joined the Sacs and Foxes at the agency. This made trade brisk for the few merchants there. E. Olcott was at that time bookkeeper; Gov. Anderson, gunsmith; H. Huggins, government blacksmith; E. B. Fenn, physician; N. S. Brian, superintendent of the boarding house; Mrs. Craig was school teacher, and Rev. R. P. Duvall the missionary. In 1869 the lands were opened for settlement and a large number of claims were taken. New stores were opened by John Whistler, John C. and Alexander Rankin. Rev. Jesse Watkins organized a Methodist church. The next year the agency lands were laid off into lots and a town started. Among the promoters were Dr. Alfred Wiley, Warner Craig, John C. Rankin and William Whistler. They tried to secure a railroad, but the project fell through and the town was without shipping facilities until 1884, when train service was begun on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe between Kansas City and Emporia. A depression followed the failure to secure a railroad, many people moved away and business houses failed. In 1878 a fire swept away nearly all that remained. Growth began again with the establishment of railroad connections and today Quenemo is a prosperous little town. The first newspaper, the "Quenemo Observer," was started in 1883 by George Rodgers. The first school was opened in 1871 in a fine brick school house and was taught by Miss Saylor.Pages 527-528 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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