SHAWNEE COUNTY TOWNS AND HISTORY
Arvilla--east of Burlingame on or near the old Osage Co. line in 1857.
Auburn-- was established 1856, In July of 1854. Mr. John W. Brown came to this area and returned home to Missiouri and told his family and friends about the area and some returned with him. In 1856 Mr. Brown along with M. C. Dickey, Loring Farnsworth and Henry Fox pre-empted 320 acres for the purpose of a town. They platted it and christened it Auburn. Although for many years it was known as Brownsville. It was located on the California Road and work began at once on the many buildings needed in a town of Auburns' size. Two daily stage lines brought mail and people to Auburn and business was very good.
Avoca--founders Cyrus K. Holliday, John Farnsworth and Milton Dickey--location unknown
Berryton--began 1888 by George W. Berry.
Bishop--Located 6 miles west of Topeka.
Blackfau--Incorporated in 1858 by Tecumseh and Shawnee Co. residents. Location unknown but was either in Douglas of Shawnee Co.s on Santa Fe road.
Blacksmith--a post office 1871-1873 located in dover township on or near Mission Creek. Also known as Central Grove.
Burlingame--In 1855 this town was platted and called Council City. by 1857 the town was renamed to its present name and was established as a major settlement.
Calhoun--was established in 1855 and named for John Calhoun, U. S. surveyor general for Kansas and Nebraska.
Canema, Kenamo, or Land of Canema--a paper town organized by Joseph W. Allen in December, 1857. Located near the site of Washington in Tecumseh township.
Carthage--1857 in northern Monmouth township.
Challender's--Santa Fe Railroad station north of Pauline, May 1871.
Chaumiere--founded as a Proslave town in 1857 by Thomas Stinson.
Chicago Heights--north of Topeka, 1888 by H. D. Booge.
Dayton--Monmouth township, on the Oregon Road
Douglas or Douglass Township--named for Senator Stephan A. Douglas. Originally in Calhoun county was created on October 16, 1855. Bounded on the south by the river, east by Jefferson county line, north by the Military Road and on the west by the Pottawatomie Indian Reservation.
Dover--founded by Alfred Sage in 1865, is still an active social center.
Edna--George W. Veale and three others purchased land from Anthony Navarre in 1870 on the east bank of Cross creek, opposite of Rossville. They platted Edna soon after. There was confussion about Edna and Rossville and within a year the name reverted to Rossville also.
Elmont--Incorporated on October 18, 1886
Essex--Incorporated in 1858, by Joel Huntoon and Milton Dickey. A town site was never established.
Esther--A postoffice from 1891 to 1893, probably in Monmouth township
Eugene or Eugenia--North Topeka
Eureka-- A Free-State town, platted December 9, 1854. Located near Burlingame.
Evans Town--December, 1857, a paper town likely Pro-Slave
Exeter Park--In Mission township
Freeman's Land--on Muddy Creek and the A.T.& Santa Fe line.
Fremont-- west of Topeka was established a town named Fremont in 1854, near the Ward-Meade Home.
Georgetown--founded in 1858 and abandoned in 1860
Glascow City--founded on February 1, 1858
Glendale--incorporated in 1856, site unknown
Grand Haven--founded by the Sear's Family in 1884 to c1900. The little village was a postoffice and was in the southwest corner of Shawnee Co.
Grove--founded in 1905 on the Union Pacific line to Marysville, KS. Business's included a store, depot, bank, township hall and grange.
Grove Township--established on July 15, 1918. This was the last Township created in Shawnee Co.
Gumithorne--Owned by John Guthrie, Jacob Smith, and Daniel Horne; the town name was derived from the last names of the men. They established this village 12 miles north of Topeka, July 4, 1871
Half Day Township--October 16, 1855, was a Calhoun county township named for Half Day Creek. Part of Menoken and Silver Lake townships occupy the site of Hald Day township.
Havana--1858 established as a village west of Burlingame and abandoned in the early 1870's
Hughes Park--platted August 6, 1887, located 2 miles south of Topeka
Indianola--H. D. McMeekin, bought the townsite from Louis Vieux, a French-Indian, in 1854 and named the town for Indianola,TX. The town was laid out in and incorporated in 1855. The government transferred the post office from Loring in December, 1855. Indianola was on the Military Road between Ft. Leavenworth and Ft. Riley
Kilgore--Platted June 20, 1889 by S. H. and Georgia C. Kilgore
Kilmer--named for Capt. Charles B. Kilmer. Laid out on the Santa Fe Line to Atchinson on the eastern edge of Soldier Township, c1880
Kingsville--located between Silver Lake and Rossvile. Named for Zenas King
Kiro--Primarily a shipping point although there were a few businesses and homes, began in 1890
La-Veta--Northeast of Auburn in Williamsport township founded in October 1887
Leaderville--located in the Wanamaker area
Lexington--platted April 13, 1857, a paper town
Mairestown--named for Thomas W. Maires a County Sheriff. Established in 1857 just east of Watson.
Massosoit--named for the Indian who help the Pilgrims, located south of Uniontown
Menoken--first named Farmersville. The name was changed to Menoken, an Indian name meaning "fine growth". This was done in 1877
Menoken Township--formed from Silver Lake Township July 18, 1879.
One Hundred and Ten--The creek crossing the Santa Fe Trail on this site was called 110 creek, because it was 110 miles from Westport Landing in Missouri, starting point of the Santa Fe Trail. It also went by the name of McGee's after the founder Frye P. McGee. This is now in Osage Co.
Paris--1856 Paper town
Pauline--named for W. D. Paul began in 1870 it located in Williamsport township near Forbes Field.
Plowboy and Valencia--established c1880
Potwin--3rd class city 1888-1899, now the district is considered to be Greenwood and Woodlawn streets and 1-2 blocks east. This area is now a fine example of Historic Homes in Topeka.
Prairie City--platted in 1856. The name was changed to Osage City
Redmondville--this was a Negro settlement of North Topeka in the 1880's
Richland--John Helton platted this town in 1872, it was located in the southeast corner of the County. Today it is located a mile and a half north of the former townsite
Ridgeway--formed in 1858, now in Osage Co.
Rossville--A trading house was built in 1853 on the Cross Creek, now Rossville. A post office since 1862. Located inside the Pottawatomie Indian Reserve, Rossville was named for Agent W. W. Ross. The village also went by the name of Cross Creek for about 10-15 years. Rossville was founded as a temperance town.
Rossville Township--founded January 16, 1871, taken from the western part of Silver Lake Township. This area was settled for a long time by the Pottawatomie Indians.
Saqua, Sawqua or Osawaque-- all refer to a single post office in 1870 in northern Shawnee Co.
Seabrook--a post office southwest of Topeka in 1887, now a shopping center at 21st and Gage Blvd.
Shorey--located a mile north of Topeka, post office began in February of 1889 and closed in 1908. This area is located near the old Highway 24 Cloverleaf.
Silver Lake--The area around the lake has been inhabited for eons. Stores were established in the 1850's for the Indians and Oregon bound pioneers. In March of 1866 the Union Pacific had reached the settlement and 2 years later the town was laid out.
Silver Lake Township--formed March 16, 1868 from the western portion of Soldier Township
Soldier Township--formed February 23, 1860
South Tecumseh--organized in 1858, a paper town
South Topeka--3rd class city 1880
Spencer--a whistle stop on the Santa Fe line
Sumner City--a proposed all Negro city of the 1890's, betwee Topeka and Tecumseh, near the river.
Swinburn-- a turn of the century hamlet in Grove township
Tecumseh--In the spring of 1848 the United States Government established a trading post for the Pottawatomie Indians, under the management of Col. Thomas N. Stinson, who for many years prior to the beginning of the Territory a resident of Tecumseh, and one of the most influential men in the founding of that town. The location of the post was about 14 miles west of Topeka, on the south side of the river. The name for the post was Uniontown. About 15 families lived there the first year. Tecumseh was founded by Thomas N. Stinson, an indian trader. In September of 1854 Mr. Stinson had aquired the title to 800 acres of beautiful, fertile land. He hired an engineer and had a part of his land laid out for a town. Gov. Reeder stayed with Mr. Stinson when he was traveling in the area and in his proclamation for the first Territorial election, held November 29, 1854, named Stinson's as the place for voting in the third electoral district. The town continued to grow and several businesses were begun. A ferry was established and there was talk of Tecumseh becoming the State Capitol. During 1856, though, Tecumseh became a Pro-Slavery town. In 1858 Tecumseh was a full rival of Topeka in attractions for trade, a newspaper was started and all of the advantages of being a county seat were there. In January of 1859, the public archives were removed to Topeka and the town started to falter. Many of the inhabitants were of southern origin and they finally realized that Kansas would not become a slave State. They started leaving and many returned to their homes in the South.
Tecumseh Township--The oldest township in Shawnee County, formed September 17, 1855, it included all of the land from the Wakarusa river to the Kansas "Kaw" River.
Tevis--another whistle-stop, A Missouri Pacific station named for the Tevis family located in the Monmouth Township near the Berryton community.
Topeka--established in 1854, Naturalist Thomas Say in 1819-1820 recorded an Otoe word for the river of the Kansa: to-pe-o-ka-, meaning good potatoe river, this also included the Smoky Hill river to the west. So Topeka was in common usage prior to 1854 when Cyrus K. Holliday helped form the town. In 1852 a ferry-boat was constructed there for a Vermonter named Sidney W. Smith, who established a ferry 6 miles west of Topeka. However the first known ferry on the Kansas River was built and operated by Joseph and Ahcan Papan, in 1842, at the precise site of Topeka. Their ferry was well known and a concentration of the overland travel through the area on their ways to California, Oregon, Mexico and Military Posts on west established well used highways through Topeka.
Topeka Township--formed February 23, 1857
Trenton--Incorporated in 1858, unknown location
Uniontown--the first white town in Shawnee County. By 1855 there were about 130 white families living in the territory, that is now Shawnee County. In Uniontown by 1852 there were about 50 homes and had a national reputation as the last point west of the Mississippi River where supplies could be purchased by pilgrims on their way to the Gold Fields in California.
Urbana--established in 1869, thought to have been neighbors with Wakarusa.
Valley Town--a town company by Proslavers to obtain land away from Free-State Topeka.
Vidette--a post office in Mission Township established in 1887.
Wagner--a post office in northern Shawnee County near the Jackson Co. line formed in 1880 and abandoned in 1882.
Wakarusa, also spelled Warrunza, Wahkarussi, meaning "the river of big weeds". The founders of the town, Mr. Mills, Mr. Smith, platted the town in 1868, others soon joined the venture, G. T. Lockard, J. P. Ennis and Zenas King. The town was first named Kingston.
Wanamaker--post office in 1891
Washington--established in 1855 by Capt. Eli Allen, W. Y. Roberts and three others. The town was located on the Oregon Road and competition from Big Springs proved to be too much and the little hamlet folded.
Watson--a post office name for G. H. Watson in 1883, ended in 1899
Waveland--a community by 1872, located 13 miles southwest of Topeka.
Whitfield City, Delaware, Kansapolis or Rochester was established by J. B. Chapman and his wife. They named this town Rochester, which was renamed Whitfield City and then renamed Kansapolis, finally the Chapman's renamed their town Rochester again and then it ceased to be.
Willard--located on the Kaw south of Rossville, the old Uniontown Cemetery lies about a mile southeast of here, filled with the first settlers of Shawnee county.
Williamsport Township--formed in 1860 Robert Simerwell was the first settler of this township.
Wyoming--formed in 1856 abandoned in 1861
Yocum Township--named for William Yocum. Township formed in 1855 and is located south of the Wakarusa river
This page was originally designed by Kathy Heidel; redesign © 1999 by Teresa Lindquist. Thanks to Blue Skyways for the generous donation of space for the KSGenWeb Project.