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The Empire

That Missouri Pacific Serves

PENDENNIS (154.5 miles west of Salina)
Stories as to the origin of the name of this Lane County community are so varied and, in several instances, fantastic it is impossible to select any one of them as authentic. Pendennis serves as a shipping station for the surrounding farm lands.
PERU (30 miles west of Coffeyville)
Peru was named after Peru, Indiana, which was the home town of one of the founders of the new Kansas community. On the Middle Caney River in Chautauqua County, the town now is the center of a large oil-producing area.
PORTIS (62.3 miles northwest of Concordia)
"Sentiment felt for the Missouri Pacific Railroad," old-timers declared was the reason this Osborne County town's residents changed its name from the original "Bethany" to "Portis" in honor of one of the railroad's officials.
A marker south of the town indicates the location of the Waldron Stockade, where early settlers took shelter against the Indians when the area was the home of great herds of buffalo.
Wheat is shipped in large quantities from Portis and the town is often referred to by sportsmen as the "Greyhound Center of the World," for coursing dogs raised and trained here have won many stakes at the National Coursing Association.
POTWIN (13 miles northwest of Eldorado)
When the Ellsworth, McPherson, Newton and Southeastern Railway Company- now part of the Missouri Pacific's McPherson branch- was built through Butler County in 1885, J. W. Potwin, a wealthy farmer, donated land for a new town which still bears his name.
Stock and grain farms predominate in the area surrounding Potwin and the town's principal industry, an oil refinery, ships gasoline in substantial volume over the Missouri Pacific.
RADIUM (60 miles west of Hutchinson)
A portion of the Missouri Pacific's present Larned branch was built originally as the eastern division of the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic Railway in 1887. One of the communities in northern Stafford County reached by the new railroad was a hamlet then called "Wellsville.' Its name was later changed to Radium, very probably after the element radium that aroused so much interest and comment following its discovery in 1898 by the Curies.
A wheat belt town, Radium is the shipping point for a considerable volume of grain during the harvest season.
RANDALL (21 miles northwest of Concordia)
On Buffalo Creek in Jewell County, Randall was named for Edward Randall, original owner of the land on which the town was built. It is a grain shipping point in the rich farm lands of north central Kansas that produce wheat, alfalfa and livestock.
RANSOM (32 miles west of Salina)
This Ness County town was originally called "Ogdensburg," honoring Captain W. A. Ogden, a veteran of the War Between the States who supervised the platting of the first settlement. Later, due to a duplication of names, the Post Office Department changed this one to Ransom but there are no records to indicate why the latter selection was made. Possibly Union Army veterans named it for Brigadier General T. E. G. Ransom.
RANTOUL (60 miles southwest of Kansas City)
Available records throw no light on the origin of the name of this Franklin County town. Possibly it was named by free state sympathizers for the Massachusetts congressman and senator, Robert Rantoul, Jr., who was a leader in opposing the extension of slavery.
Oil from a nearby shallow field and farm products- hay, grain, soybeans and milk – are shipped from Rantoul.
REDFIELD (10 miles west of Fort Scott)
Land on which this Bourbon County town was established during the 1860's was originally owned by the Pippin family who sold it to the town's first council. Dr. Lease, a member of the council persuaded his
fellow councilmen to name the town in honor of his friend, Dr. Redfield of Fort Scott. Stone quarries which are the principal industry of the vicinity have been operating since a few years after Redfield was settled.
REECE (54 miles east of Wichita)
This Greenwood County community came into existence in 1870 when William Smith Reece arrived from England and purchased the Burnt Creek farm, known now as the Catalpa Grove farm. Reece was for a time the western terminal of the Fort Scott division of the old St. Louis, Fort Scott and Wichita Railroad. Cattle raising and oil production are the principal industries of the vicinity now.
REPUBLIC (28 miles northwest of Concordia)
A. B. Young and six other pioneers, each owning 10 acres of land, formed a town company on this site in 1878. Construction of the Missouri Pacific Railroad line was completed through here two years later, accelerating the growth of the new town which was incorporated in 1885. There is no reliable information to indicate why the name "Republic" was chosen but, perhaps, its location in Republic County on the Republican River was an influencing factor.
In 1899 Elizabeth and George Johnson of White Rock, Kansas, donated to the State of Kansas eleven acres of land, site of Pike's Pawnee Indian village. It was here that Captain Zebulon Pike in September, 1806, persuaded the Pawnees to haul down the Spanish flag and raise the United States emblem. The episode is commemorated by a 25-foot shaft in the "village" which now is a state park. Annually during the last week in September a celebration is held here with Pawnees, brought from Oklahoma, re-enacting the flag-raising ceremonies.
Republic is an important grain and lumber shipping station on the Missouri Pacific's Northern Kansas division.
RESERVE (48 miles northwest of Atchison)
Founded as a railroad "boom town" in 1881, Reserve owes its name to its location six miles from the Sac and Fox Indian Reservation where a few Indians still live. When the town was first settled the only building there was the log cabin home of Thomas Hart who had settled on the spot in 1856. Mrs. Hart, noted for her kindness to travelers, always kept a lighted candle in a window on cold winter nights and the Hart home served as a rest stop on the journey between St. Joseph, Mo., and Nebraska.
Near the northern boundary of Brown County, Reserve is an important grain shipping station for the surrounding area.
RIVERDALE (25 miles south of Wichita)
Settled in 1887 when the present Missouri Pacific rail line was constructed through Sumner County as the eastern division of the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic Railway, Riverdale was originally named "Mallory," for a railroad officer. No information is available as to when the name was changed or why, since there is no nearby stream of a size sufficient to justify classification as a river.
Wheat farming is the principal industry in the vicinity of Riverdale.
ROPER (52 miles north of Coffeyville)
The tiny settlement on the site of this Wilson County town was known as "Sidell" when a post office was established in 1886, the same year in which the present Missouri Pacific Lines was constructed through this area. While definite information is lacking, it is believed the later and present name "Roper," honored a railroad construction engineer.
ROSALIA (43 miles east of Wichita)
This stock-raising and agricultural community in Butler County is said to have been named for the wife of the head of the first family to settle here. The family name is not known but hers was Rosalia.
ROSE (62 miles north of Coffeyville)
Since hay and cattle–and not roses- are the principal products of the farm lands surrounding this Woodson County community it probably was named for someone's wife, daughter, mother or sweetheart. Authentic information as to the origin of the name is lacking.
It is known, however, that the original village named "Rose" was located about a mile north of the present one and moved to its present site in 1887.
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The book The Empire That Missouri Pacific Serves was published in the fifties by the Missouri Pacific and contains permission to reprint all or any portion.
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