Clearfield

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Originally known as the Captain’s Creek settlement, Clearfield was part of “Indian Country” when Fredrick Breithaupt came to farm there in 1854. As other Germans settlers such as George Sietz came, they gathered to worship the Evangelical religion in 1858, with George Fleisher, an Evangelical missionary circuit rider. Charter Clearfield Church members were: Peter Brecheisen, William Brecheisen, George Meeder, Ben Kramer, George Hausman, and the wives and families of each. George Hausman donated land for a church built in 1880 by William Deckwa and other men of the congregation.

Settlers continued moving to the area, including Henry Pooch and his wife, Albertina (born in Ziring, Pommeron, Germany) who came to the United States in 1889 and lived in Clearfield for 46 years. John Sturm’s bride, Wilhelmina who was born in Neundorf, Germany, and came to the United States at age 19, married him in 1887, and they also became a key part of the Clearfield community. Other family names in the area included Selzer, Lawrence, Heitzman, Modenhauer, and Kliphardt; further east, besides the Brecheisens, were families with the surnames of Knabe, Kanzig, Finley, and Lefmann.

By 1885, Clearfield had a general store built by John Glaser who also ran the post office and named the town after Clearfield, Pennsylvania, his hometown. Lou Haas, Andrew Schendel, and Gideon Breithaupt later ran the store and post office before selling the store, which was across and to the north from the present church, in 1921. A Mr. Ainsworth and later Arch Dean ran a cooperative creamery across the road and south of the church. Edwin Shultz operated a blacksmithy just east of the cemetery. Bill Selzer also had a blacksmithy as did Ed Beard. (An article about Wilfred Selzer, who did smithing, sharpening, and tractor repair for more than 50 years starting in 1927, appeared in the February 16, 1977 University Daily Kansan). Andrew Wissman cut hair in his barber shop north of the general store that stayed open at night and closed in 1903, the same year the sawmill was moved. A sorghum plant also was in the area.

In 1903, Clearfield had rural mail delivery, a Eudora postal address, and a dwindling population; in 1910, its population numbered less than 20 citizens. Farmers organized the Clearfield Grange #1451 on March 6, 1907 and held meetings in the Union School, later known as Clearfield School. Officers elected were: Harvey Reed, A.B. Dean, Henry McKinney, Fred Deay, Minnie Hausman, Henry Hausman, William Selzer, William Vitt, Lena Breithaupt, Carrie Selzer, Emma Breithaupt, and Eve Frye.

Belleview Grange, which got its charter about the same time consolidated with the Clearfield Grange in 1972. Members for 50 years, according to the December 18, 1977 Eudora Enterprise, included: Walter Breicheisen, George Rohe, Fred Deay, Paul Selzer, William Boehle, Alfred Seiwald, Herman Bohnsack, Anna Paasch, Homer Clark, Fred Eder, Perry Dunn, Walter Gerstenberger, George Grosdidier, William Schehrer, Ed Thoren, George Schehrer, and Leonard Hadl.

Clearfield sources used for this short history, include: Captain’s Creek Community by Joy Lefmann Scheunemann, 1990; Clearfield History, 1859-1976 and its 1980 and 1998 updates, Clearfield History Committee. Eudora Area Historical Society meeting, March 10, 1997; and “Clearfield: The History of an American Crossroad Settlement” in Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent (Volume 1, p. 366).

Copyright 2010. Cindy Higgins. Where the Wakarusa Meets the Kaw: A History of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author.