From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
With the coming of pioneers to Kansas and settling in small communities, their first thought was always to facilities for church and school next to building of homes. Such was the thought of the Society of Friends who settled at Springdale in Alexandria Township, about 10 miles southwest of Leavenworth.
On Sep. 15 the Friends Church will celebrate its centennial with regular church and Sunday school services, followed by a basket dinner at noon and a program in the afternoon to which all friends, neighbors and former members are invited.
To know the history of the church, the community in which it is a part must also be reviewed. Like many small villages it too has been a victim of progress.
Springdale, now only a few dwellings and a store, was once a nice little village, plotted by Hiram Rees and Eli Morris on Oct. 8, 1860, and consisting of eight blocks of eight lots each and situated around a public square. Pennsylvania and Market Streets being the main thoroughfares with Market being the old Lecompton Road, now Highway 92. Pennsylvania went south of the present store building and past the Friends Church. However in July 1931 the lots reverted to the original plots.
At one time the village had three grocery stores, a blacksmith shop, a wagon and carpenter shop, a hotel, lodge hall, doctor, and a post office. The first postmaster was D. F. Walker in 1860 and the Sam Hanley family was the last postmasters. Families are now served by rural routes out of McLouth and Easton.
Near Springdale on Stranger Creek were two steam saw ad grist mills. One was operated by Thomas Ashby who employed fire hands. This later was a scene of disaster when it blew up, killing all the men. The other mill was owned by Henry Ready.
Springdale is the center of the township whose hall was formerly owned by the Modern Woodman lodge. The hall today is now the main gathering place for voting, 4-H, Home Demonstration Unit, political and church gatherings, and social affairs of the community. The Society of Friends built the first church and school house in 1856 with Verling K. Stanley as the first teacher and John Wright the first settler who came to Kansas in 1854.
The St. Thomas Catholic Church, built of stone, and a cemetery was established sometime in the 1870's. The church was razed a number of years ago having been closed since 1927.
One house of interest with a history in now owned by Ernest and Luda Jeffries. Although it now has many modern improvements and additions the original house walls have not been destroyed. Much of the history of this house was found by looking at old deeds as they were transferred from one to another.
The first of these indentures was made from Frank Treworgg, of Tonganoxie on Feb. 21, 1872 to Robert A. Moody, George Keller, I. W. Miller, william Hasford and I. Cansban as ministers of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. In 1874 a warranty deed was made to William c. and Sarah H. Hadley. Indenture made Sept. 27, 1879 between the Hadleys to Robert Gardner, Robert Denny, John Rumbo, Ben Underwood and Nat Edmonds of Jefferson County, trustees of the Society of United Brethren in Christ.
In 1870 the taxes were unpaid and C. C. Kessinger bought it for $8.30. In 1879 the county commissioners sold the lots belonging to Kessinger to Mrs. Sarah E. Cray. Then Sarah E. Hickerson, formerly Mrs. Cray, and her husband Absolom Hickerson sold it to Hannah L. Streeter for $25 on Sept. 23, 1882 who in turn sold the property to John B. Miller in 1886. At the death of Mr. Miller his son George owned the place and at his death his sister, Ruth Miller Rose, inherited the place. A few years later she sold it to the present owners.
Mrs. Goldie Hudson, who has been instrumental in getting many of the facts with the cooperation of the Kansas State Historical Society, records, deeds and in speaking with a number of pioneers, found quite by accident a man who was born in this house. Guy Farrar of Jarbalo was born in 1875 in the house. His father was a doctor and teacher. Times were hard in 1875 because the year 1874 was known as the grasshopper and drought year so his father gave up and went back to Iowa for 10 years. Not forgetting Guy's birthplace they returned and bought land near Jarbalo.
Another historic monument to the pioneers of early Kansas is the only covered bridge left in the state. It stands in all its glory across Stranger Creek for everyone to come and picnic at its roadside table and fish beneath its timbers.