Early Windom, Kansas

History of Windom

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        Windom was first started as the pioneer town of Laura in September of 1873, on the western edge of Castle Township. The first recorded house to be built in the area was owned by George E. Gubernature. He was a farmer and stockman born in Pennsylvaina. Another early homesteader was C.C. Woodruff, a farmer and stockman also. He is recorded as the first postmaster of Laura, and opened a hardware store in the pioneer town. The ethnic background of the people who settled in Windom and surrounding territory cannot be traced to any one group.

        The name was changed to Leeds and Hallville for short periods of time. The town plat was filed on January 11, 1881. Windom became the official name in 1884. This name came from William Windom, a Quaker lawyer living in Ohio who moved to Minnesota where he became a U.S. Senator.

        There is also another story about the name. This version indicates it was originally spelled Windham, honoring the wife of a local druggist, C.M. Case. She had previously lived in Windham County, Connrecticut, but when her husband sent the name to the Kansas secretary of state's office for incorporation, he misspelled it "Windom".

        When the Santa Fe Railroad built its railroad accross Kansas, Windom was one of the town sites the railroad marked every six miles. By the year 1886, Windom boasted of 23 businesses. One was rather unique. The Holt Grain Compayiy operated a grinding mill powered by a large wind wheel which ground grain when the wind was strong enough.

        Several disastrous fires plagued Windom over the years which destroyed many of the buildings and businesses. Good roads and modern automobiles started to have their effect on the economy of the town. However the town is still home for many families and will continue to be for years into the future.

This page supplied by Fern Raleigh

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August 22, 2011 / Anita Jost / Windom, Kansas / buterfly@lrmutual.com

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