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The Empire

That Missouri Pacific Serves

WARWICK (35.5 miles northwest of Concordia)
Railroaders must have been popular in the early days of this Republic County community which has had two names, both, it is said, those of railroad men. Its first name was Talmage, possibly for A. A. Talmage one of the first chief engineers of the Missouri Pacific. Later, at a date and for reasons unknown, the name was changed to "Warwick," honoring another railroad man whose initials and official position also are unknown.
WASHINGTON (48 miles northeast of Concordia)
Both Washington County and its county seat were named in honor of our nation's first president – George Washington. In addition to being the county seat, Washington is the trading center for the surrounding agricultural communities. Its local industries include a mattress factory and cheese processing plant.
WATERVILLE (100 miles west of Atchison)
Pioneer settlers from Vermont platted this Marshall County town some distance south of its present site. When rumors of a railroad through the territory became fact, after Lawson Sheldon, an early settler, offered a right of way, the entire community was moved to its present location. The name is said to have been derived from an Indian word meaning "Rustling Waters," applied to the neighboring river. A poultry packing plant is the main industry.
WAUNETA (49 miles west of Coffeyville)
The wife of pioneer Postmaster Calvert is said to have chosen the name of this Chautauqua County community. Mrs. Calvert had been raised by a friendly tribe of Indians and when the question of a name for the settlement arose she expressed her appreciation to her red-skinned friends by selecting the name "Wauneta." This was the name of the daughter of the chief of the tribe that befriended Mrs. Calvert.
WESTPHALIA (95 miles northeast of Coffeyville)
First name of this town in Anderson County is said to have been "Cornell," after S. P. Cornell who, with J. C. Merrill, platted the townsite. The name was later changed to Westphalia, in tribute to the home town- Westphalia, Iowa- of Carl and Emil Flusche who founded the settlement. The Flusche brothers had arrived in 1880, the same year in which the Kansas and Arizona Railroad was built through the town's site. This pioneer railroad company was shortly thereafter absorbed into the Missouri Pacific system.
WETMORE (42 miles west of Atchison)
There are two conflicting versions of the origin of the name of this agricultural community in Nemaha County. According to one, it was named in honor of a Union Pacific Railroad officer. The other story has the town named for a Major Wetmore who, when traveling through here with a detachment of soldiers, camped one night at Wetmore's now famous mineral springs.
WHITEWATER (20 miles northwest of Eldorado)
This Butler County town was established in 1887 when the Rock Island Railroad crossing with the Missouri Pacific's McPherson branch was put in. The new settlement was named after a nearby branch of the Whitewater River. A flour mill is Whitewater's principal industry.
WHITING (31 miles west of Atchison)
This substantial farming community in Jackson County is located on the summit of the divide between two streams, Walnut and Straight Creeks, and is bound on the north by the famous Kickapoo Indian Reservation. It was laid out in 1866 by the builders of the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad, predecessor of the Missouri Pacific's Northern Kansas division. The new town was named in honor of the wife of Senator S. C. Pomeroy whose maiden name had been Whiting.
WICHITA (212 miles southwest of Kansas City)
Built near the confluence of the Arkansas and little Arkansas Rivers and incorporated in 1870 with only 50 citizens, Wichita now is the largest city of Kansas in population, county seat of Sedgwick County and one of the foremost industrial cities of the Central West, by virtue of taking a leading role in each successive stage of western development since the War Between the States. It was named for the Wichita Indians who once lived in the vicinity.
When cattlemen drove their herds up the old Chisholm Trail, Wichita served them as a market. Then, as wheat farming developed, the city shifted its allegiance to grain and as a result ranks among the nation's top milling centers and interior grain markets.
Wichita capitalized again on commercial opportunity as oil field developments in Kansas grew apace. It is headquarters now for oil production not only in Kansas but four other neighboring states.
The fledgling airplane manufacturing industry also found a welcome in Wichita and, despite a high mortality rate among the earlier companies, the city is a leading aircraft manufacturing center today.
Diversified products of its other industries include meat and other food products, textiles, leather goods, building materials, farm machinery, tools and dies, drilling and oil field equipment.
On the cultural side Wichita supports an art museum with an outstanding collection of American contemporary art, a historical museum and a symphony orchestra. In addition to its fine system of public schools the city is the home of Wichita Municipal University, Friends University and Mount Carmel Academy.
WILLIS (27 miles northwest of Atchison)
This Brown County grain marketing community came into being with construction of the Missouri Pacific Railroad through this territory in 1882. It was established on one of the best farms in the county and named for Squire M. C. Willis, one of its founders.
WILSEY (58 miles southeast of Salina)
John D. Wilsey of Bloomville, Ohio, came to this spot in Morris County for a visit and stayed to found the town which bears his name. The town was platted in 1884 on land its founder purchased from the federal government.
In the center of a cattle feeding territory Wilsey is a receiving and shipping station for the cattle before and after they have been fattened for market.
WINFIELD (40 miles southeast of Wichita)
The site of this substantial southern Kansas town in Cowley County is an historic one. In 1542, Coronado camped on the banks of the Walnut River for several days after crossing at "Kickapoo Corral." Later the same crossing was used by those who followed the old Santa Fe Trail.
In 1869 the first log house was erected at a bend of the Walnut River about two miles south of the present town of Winfield. The first town company was organized in 1870, purchasing the land for the new community from Chief Chetopah of the Osage Indians for the startling sum of $6.00. The town was incorporated in 1873 and named for the illustrious General Winfield Scott, whose memory is perpetuated also in the names of Fort Scott and Scott City, Kansas. In return for this honor, General Scott agreed to build a church in Winfield, a bargain he fulfilled when the first stone church was erected on the townsite.
Winfield is the seat of Cowley County in an area of oil and gas fields as well as rich farms producing kafir corn, wheat and alfalfa. Its local industries include a gas burner factory, creameries, poultry packing plant, metal products factory and flour and feed mills.
St. John's College and Southwestern College both are located in Winfield and a State Training School is on the outskirts of the town.
WOODSTON (85 miles west of Concordia)
A compromise effected by early settlers who wanted the town named for themselves resulted, it is said, in the coined name "Woodston" for this Rooks County agricultural community. Two brothers from Missouri, named Woods, operated the first grocery store here. They debated over the naming of the town with a wealthy pioneer whose name was Houston. A compromise was reached by adding the "ton" from Houston to "Woods" and everyone was satisfied.
YATES CENTER (96 miles east of Wichita)
Originally the seat of Woodson County, Kansas, was at Neosho Falls on the border of the county. This location was unsatisfactory to many persons who preferred a more central one, an understandable attitude in an era when transportation, even over short distances, was a problem.
Seeking to capitalize on this situation, Hale Chellis, an early settler, platted a location for a new county seat about three miles southeast of the present site of Yates Center. He sold lots and constructed stone archways and driveways to the main entrance which are still there. This was to be "Kalida," the new county seat, but shortly after Chellis
thought he had all arrangements completed a rival promoter bought all the property from its several owners and turned it back to farm land. Thus ended Mr. Chellis' dream of Kalida.
A little later, in 1875, Abner Yates was more fortunate. The townsite he platted was named Yates Center, after him, and it became the new county seat.
Yates Center is situated in an area of oil wells and productive farmlands where corn, wheat and oats are the principal crops.
YODER (37 miles northwest of Wichita)
This Reno County grain marketing town was named after Eli M. Yoder, an Amishman who drove here from Belleville, Pa., in a covered wagon, with four others of his faith, in 1877.
Yoder was well established and operating a post office of the same name when the Missouri Pacific Railroad began surveys and land purchases for a line through the county in 1886. He offered free land in return for a side track and a station named after himself. The offer was accepted and in later years other Amish families moved from the east to settle in and around Yoder.
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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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