An early community located a mile north and a mile east of Eudora in the northeast corner of Douglas Country, Weaver is bounded on the west and north by the Kansas River and on the east by Captain's Creek in Johnson County. Weaver also extends into Johnson County and is accessible by 1550 N Road.
This fertile Kansas River bottom land was owned briefly by the Shawnee Indians, including Matthew King; his wife, Catherine; and children, Susan Lee, James W., George R. A., and Sarah J. as well as James Big Knife; Elizabeth Rogers, a widow; Thomas Rogers and son, George; Thomas Big Knife; Locust Paschal, his wife Elizabeth and sons, Lewis and James; and Charles Fish, a ferry operator; his wife, Mary; and children, Elijah, Margaret, John and Sally.
By 1865, investors with the surnames of Lykins, Schneitter, Herold, and Bosche had bought most of the land from the Shawnee. Henry Weaver then obtained a large portion of it from the investors. Weaver came to Douglas County from Pennsylvania via Ohio with his wife Nancy (Hill) and seven children. Genealogy and Biography: Leavenworth, Douglas, and Franklin Counties claims Weaver, a farmer and livestock operator who died in 1893, became the second white settler in the area and hired many blacks living in Weaver to clear forests on his land.
Besides the Weavers, census records show the Adair, Ashby, and Phenicie families living in Weaver. Five years later, the Anthony, Crisp, Whitaker, Palmer, Clark , Ray, Herold, and Lobdell ― all but the last two black ― families had moved there. By 1900, many of the families who lived there had changed, a trend evidenced in later censuses.
The 1894 Kansas State Gazetteer and Business Directory listed the following: W. A. Grigsby (produce), Lizzie Porter (teacher), C. B. Speaks (potato buckets), Fred Vogel (corn mill), Jonathan Weaver (lawyer), and John F. Weaver, Henry’s youngest son, who owned a general store in Weaver. He also held the postmaster position and served as station master for the Santa Fe Railroad, which ran along the south end of the valley.
Several trains, both passenger and freight, made stops at the depot to distribute the Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times; picked up potatoes, turnips, and sugar beets; and attended to other transactions. The Santa Fe “Plug” stopped at Weaver in the morning from the west and in the evening from Kansas City, said Mayme Kohler. It cost 10 cents to ride from Weaver to Eudora. The Weaver Potato Bucket Manufacturing Company was one of the community’s largest businesses.
John Weaver (see Weaver house on left) also had a rock crushing business and furnished crushed rock to the railroad for track construction. Also, before he moved to Texas after the 1903 flood devastated his property (and later died in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, but was buried in DeSoto next to his parents), he grew potatoes, which became the sandy land's main crop for several years. Purchased by the 100 pound bags, the cobbler and Ohio seed potatoes were cut in pieces and planted. Two row cultivators kept the fields weeded, and farmers sprayed vines with a dry mixture of Paris Green and lime to kill the potato bugs. Workers gathered the potatoes turned up by plows pulled by horses.
Wrote Mable (Wallace) Meuffle, of growing up in Weaver: "As near as I can figure out, we moved to Weaver school district in 1925 or 1926. First, we lived east of Weaver. We walked down the railroad track to school. That made a shorter distance to walk. When I was in the Seventh grade, we moved south of Weaver. We rented the Dolisi farm and lived there until I was out of high school. That was close to school, so I went early in the winter to build a fire in the big old stove to warm our school room.
“I graduated from Weaver in 1931. I would pick potatoes and strawberries to have money for clothes and books. I did this each year as I went through high school. I walked to high school at Eudora all four years, mostly up the railroad track, which was shorter, I went all four years to high school without missing a day.”
Organized February 23, 1948, the charter members of the Weaver Home Demonstration Unit were Mrs. Leslie Kindred, Mrs. Thelma Reusch, Mrs. Floyd Broers, Mrs. Clarence Broers, Mrs. Nelle Catlin, Mrs. Ben Neis, Mrs. Ora Neis, Mrs. Robert Neis, Mrs. John Strong, Mrs. William Spitzli, and Mrs. Delmar Spitzli. Members met monthly to share lessons from the County Extension office and do community service projects, according to Margaret Gabriel
Through the years, the Kansas River flooded Weaver. The 1951 flood destroyed the large country home built by the Weaver family and the little store and post office building.
Since the construction of several lakes above the Kansas River watershed, the Kansas River west bank has moved east, gobbling up many acres of land and some buildings. For example, a house on the Lothholz farm occupied at one time by the Walter Wilson family, has been lost to the river. By the time the government closed off the land except to farmers, few houses remained.
Weaver sources used for this short history, include:1894 Kansas State Gazetteer and Business Directory,Genealogy and Biography: Leavenworth , Douglas , and Franklin Counties, news items, and Margaret (Spitzli) Gabriel’s Eudora Area Historical Society publication, Weaver, Kansas, A Scrapbook.
News excerpts about Weaver from the Eudora Weekly News
November 4, 1897: The rock crusher closed business last Thursday for this year. The work done this year amounted to over 2,000 cars.
November 22, 1897: It is expected there will be 5 carloads of “spuds” shipped from here in a short time by C. B. Speaks and John F. Weaver.
November 30, 1897: Henry Westerhouse has been buying quite a bit of corn the past week and shelling about two carloads Friday and Saturday.
December 8, 1897: Mr. John Minichie has about completed his new house and is now ready to move in.
December 13, 1897: Mr. Joseph Wilson has been hauling cabbages to Lawrence and says he gets a good price.
January 10, 1898: Thos. Wittham and Edd. Hill took a load of hogs to Kansas City last Thursday; got $3.45 per hundred.
January 27, 1898: The snow of last Saturday was gladly received as some of our Weaver people have been hauling water, which is not a pleasant task at this time of the year.
February 2, 1898: Roy Pettit has been down some time with rheumatism. He is now in the doctor’s care.
February 8, 1898: Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Weaver, Mrs. C. B. Speaks, and E. J. Wherry attended the temperance convention in Topeka last Thursday.
February 15, 1898: Messers. Lawrence and N. S. Cox start for Salina, Kansas, this afternoon where they expect to farm this year.
March 1, 1898: Mr. Clarence Reese has moved into the property formerly occupied by Mr. Grigsby.
March 10, 1898: J. E. Wagner commenced planting potatoes Saturday.
March 14, 1898: Mr. Miller returned from Kansas City Sunday where he has been having his eye operated on.
May 3, 1898: The creek is almost out of its banks from the big rain last week.
May 10, 1898: J. F. Weaver moved his crusher to Lecompton last week.
July 7, 1898: Miss Rebecca Herning, who taught our school here the last two terms, was married in Lawrence to a Mr. Endacott.
June 21, 1898: Henry Weaver’s horse went mad last Sunday night and had to be shot. There have been five to six mad dogs killed here since the last mad dog scare.
July 21, 1898: Mr. W. D. Cox (colored) met with quite a serious accident last Wednesday morning as he was going down to the store, he was attacked and bitten by a mad dog. He went to Kansas City on the “plug” and had a mad stone applied, which adhered to him for several hours.
September 5, 1898: A number from here attended the G.A.R. reunion at Eudora.
June 26, 1900: Potato digging is in full blast. J. W. Kindred shipped the first car of potatoes from this station last week.
August 14, 1900: Quite a number of Weaver-ites attend the camp meeting Saturday in Mr. Neis’ grove.
September 25, 1900: Finley Collins will make a weekly trip Thursday in this neighborhood to buy eggs.
October 8, 1900: Emma Erwin who has spent the last two months at St. Marys, Kansas, returned home last Saturday night.
December 26, 1900: The store of Hill & Porter was entered Monday by burglars. Several articles and some money were taken.
January 8, 1901: LaGrippe is quite prevalent. Misses Edna and Agnes Kindred resumed their studies at Lawrence Business College last Monday.
February 12, 1901: Mr. J. F. Weaver went to Salina Friday evening on receiving a message announcing the death of his brother, Jonathan.
February 19, 1901: Mr. Charlie Grimes and family now occupy the rooms over the grocery store [in Weaver].
Copyright 2010. Cindy Higgins. Where the Wakarusa Meets the Kaw: A History of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author.