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History of Runnymede

The following history was taken from "The Harper County Story" by Gwendoline & Paul Sanders Copyright 1968, Library of Congress call number 68-54660, The Mennonite Press, Newton, KS.

Runnymede (Old Runnymede)

G. W. Francis, a native of Ohio, came to Kansas from Illinois in March , 1877. He took a claim in the original Chikaskia Township. The legal description being the northwest 1/4 of Section 7 and the north 1/2 of the northeast 1/4 of section 7 all in Twp 31 south, range 5 west.

Since Mr. Francis took 240 acres and planted 600 forest trees and 50 fruit trees we would presume that he was operating under the provisions of the Timber Culture Act of 1873. The Act offered 160 acres to anyone who would plant 40 acres in trees and maintain them for ten years. It has been estimated that about 4% of the public lands in Kansas were taken in this manner.

After living at this location for over two years, the Runnymede post office was established on his land, June 20, 1879, and he was appointed the first postmaster.

G. W. Francis, Civil War Veteran, and Kansas pioneer was a prominent factor in the development of Harper County. He became an extensive farmer and took an active part in local politics. While improving his land, he was not forgetful of the educational needs of his children or those of his neighbors. A school taught by his daughter, Miss Eva Francis, was held in his home - tuition free. This we believe was the first school in Chikaskia Township.

In the 1880's Francis J. S. Turnley, came from England and bought 1700 acres along the Chikaskia River. The original village of Runnymede was in this tract and as far as can be determined, was used as the nucleus for the Runnymede which became Harper County's most colorful bit of history.

According to old Atlas maps South Runnymede was located nearly one mile south of the original town post office. When the location was changed the post office was taken to the new location. With the revising of townships (Harper and Chikaskia) South Runnymede was found to be located in Harper Township with the legal description of SW 1/4 of section 12, range 6 west. South Runnymede was platted in a four block area with the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railroad passing through town. It may be assumed that the coming of the railroad was the reason for changing the townsite.

Click Here for the Town Plat Maps Page

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