History of Prairie View, Kansas

      In May of 1873, the Robert and Daniel W. Thomas families arrived in the yet unnamed “Prairie View” area. They left Missouri early in the year to get “to wherever they were going” in order to plant crops. The Dan Thomas family at that time consisted of 4 children, so they had a stove in their covered wagon. Robert Thomas had 6 children, so there was no room for a stove, therefore, cold nights were miserable. Arriving in this area, the wagon boxes were placed on the ground and claims registered. The first two permanent families had arrived.

      A 1906 paper accounts this story about one of the first days. “ The only thing that dispelled the feeling of homesickness that was crawling over our friend Tuck (Dan) Thomas of Prairie View, the second day after he reached Phillips County, was his good luck in downing a fine buffalo with his six-shooter and then having to ride it a few hundred yards before finishing it with his jack-knife.

      Work on dugouts waited until sod was broken and the crops were planted. Both families spent the first and possibly the second winter in a dugout.

      A couple of years later in a dugout approximately one-half mile west of the present post office, Tuck (Dan) Thomas stocked a dugout with flour, sugar, salt and other staples. When he made trips to purchase supplies, he picked up mail for his neighbors. When settlers came to purchase supplies, they also picked up their mail. On July l5, 1879, Tuck Thomas was granted a legal postoffice for a town he named Prairie View.

      On August 27, 1892, the Prairie View post office was relocated one-half mile east to the platted town of Prairie View. It is likely Daniel W. And Mary E. Thomas and Robert and Olive Thomas as the Kansas Town and Land Company waited until the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad completed plans to build through the town before making it official. 1895 Map of Phillips County

      March 26, 1880, the Prairie View School No. 100 was organized. A small frame school building was erected in 1881, a short distance west of town.

       Now the people planned to build a permanent church after meeting in an old school house. The First Methodist Church was completed by 1890. A meeting in this Methodist church was held May 8, 1907 for the purpose of orgnizing a Reformed church in Prairie View and became The Reformed Church of Prairie View, Kansas. The church was built and a parsonage added in 1908. In October of 1915, The Christian Reformed Church in Prairie View was organized. These two churches served the many Dutch people who came from Holland starting in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s.

      The Prairie View cemetery was on land given by the Thomas families just west of town. A wagon train headed west had 2 small children die and these were the first two buried in the cemetery. The graves are not marked but are in the southwest corner of the Daniel and Mary Thomas plots.

      One descendant of the Thomas family is still living in the town of Prairie View as well as a number of descendants of the first Dutch who settled here.

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