The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
Photograph: Santa Fe Depot
Improved transportation increased travel to Eudora and its settlement. In 1859, according to Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, the territorial legislature granted articles of incorporation to the Kansas and Missouri River Stage Company. By the next year, the Western Stage company had several stage lines in Kansas. One originated at the Missouri River in Kansas City, passing through Westport, Shawnee, Chillicothe, Monticello, and Lexington on its way to Eudora and points west to Junction City.
The Kansas legislature established many roads during this time, including a graded trail road from Lawrence east to Eudora and Olathe. Eudora’s streets, too, were surveyed, platted, and graded to keep up with Eudora’s growing population.
Eudora Township, the Kansas Territorial Census counted, had 111 people in 1857. That number more than doubled by the next year, and in 1860, the census showed 599 living in the township. By 1875, 1,774 people lived in Eudora Township, according to township records. A number of families migrated from other states such as the Deay family in 1857 from Kentucky via Indiana; Rose and Captain A. J. Jennings on March 5, 1857; George Daugherty and wife in 1857 to Belleview; and Eliza (Serlker); the Liggetts in 1859 from Indiana or Ohio; and Henry Copp and Jacob Felker Copp from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1866. However, it was the waves of Germans who significantly added to Eudora’s population.
Germans flock to Eudora. Germans from all parts of their homeland’s changing boundaries continued to settle in Eudora. On-going wars created the ever-shifting boundaries of Prussia, Russia, Germany, and Austria. Prussia, for example, along with Austria and Russia, began seizing parts of Poland in 1772. Within a few years, Poland had disappeared. By 1806, Napoleon of France had taken over large parts of western and southern Germany, and, in 1807, received several Prussian territories after Prussian defeats. An alliance of several countries defeated Napoleon; The Congress of Vienna, signed in 1815, divided Napoleon’s lands and created the German Confederation, 39 independent states out of the original 300 states. Kings ruled most of these states that had their own laws, flag, army, and tax systems.
Emigrants from Prussia, Bavaria, and other German areas settled in Eudora. Often a husband and wife came from two different countries such as Peter Meinke (Hanover) and Eliza Meineke (Hesse) or Frank Lavo (Bavaria) and Nettie Lavo (HesseDarmstadt). More often they both wed in the same state and came across the Atlantic together.
The following compiled from the 1880 U.S. Census and obituaries illustrate a sampling of Eudora families and their German origins:
Alscase: Breithupt, Brecheisen, Albels, Weil, Schehrer, Dick, Miller, Bohrer, Strub
Austria (included Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Salzburg, Tyrol, etc.): Kellerman, Weischseldorfer, Kasberger
Baden: Ott, Speicher, Breithaupt, Vitt, Kummer, Nold, Moll
Bavaria: Hadl, Herz, Hartig, Gufler, Neis, Binder, Vogl, Kastl, Nebl, Kellerman, Nigl, Schmidt, Neustifter, Stadler, Blechel, Pilla, Seiwald, Schoenhofer, Sommer, Madl, Eder, Jaatsch, Greiner, Rosenau, Stifter, Rothberger, Haas, Fischer, Guthsmiedl, Everley/Eberley, Rotelle, Plechl, Richter, Grubl, Amend, Schubert
Hanover: Getker, Ziesenis
Hesse: [Alice] Pilla, Lang, Schaeffer
Lippe: Thoren, Altenbernd, Tornedon
Prussia (included Permania, Posen, Silesia, Saxony, Burswick, Anhalt, Brandenburg, East Prussia, West Prussia): Durr, Haelsig, Strobel, Bromelsieck, Reusch, Lefmann, Schendel, Ziesenis, Seiwald, Westerhouse, Gabriel, Gerstenberger, Giertz, Weinholz, Anton, Heinrichs, Felthoffer, Wagner, Bartusch, Schellack, Rosenau, Willsdorf, Cohn, Lentz, Klaus, Fendt, Heinrich, Schlegel, Klein, Clamm, Bagelmann, Brender, Redinger, Oeder, Wohlstein, Dolisi, Bernitz, Neis, Rehm, Eckert, Schmidt, Felthoffer, Koerner and from Saxony (now East Germany): Basemann, Lothholz, Vogelsang, Schuricht, Albright, Seybold
Wurtemberg: Hagenbuch, Brender, Fendt, Baur, Trefz, Schurle, Kaiser, Bauer
Although “German” and members of the same company, the original townsiters had different origins. For example, Charles Durr, Peter Haelsig, and Christian Schleifer originated in Prussia. Anthony Getker, of Hanover, shared a homeland with the Zeisenis families; Joseph Herz, Peter Hartig, and Anton Gufler, all came from Bavaria. John Brender, of Giengen Oberans, Heidenheim, and Christian Epple were born in Wurttemberg; Henry Fendt in Osterhorn, Holstein; and Kasper Marfilius in Alsace. Henry Basemann hailed from Saxony (Sendersleben) as did Charles Lothholz (Buttstadt, Saxe-Weimar) and Julia (Haelsig) Vogelsang (Clausmitz).
Settlers who came before the townsiters or after, also ventured from Germany. Georg Frederick Breithaupt, born in Mundinpen, County Emmendingen, Baden, brought his Alsacebride, Salome, to Douglas County in 1856. Christian Thoren, from the village of Brakelsiek in Lippe, Germany, married Katharina Rohrbach of Frankfurt am Main in 1856, and they traveled to Eudora the next year. Peter Brecheisen of Linienhausen, Alsace, and wife, Wilhelmina (Vitt) of Wiel Baden, were also in Eudora by 1858 and came with the family of Bavaria-born Peter Neis and his Prussian wife and children. Also in Eudora in 1858 was Christena (Bederman) of Under Tuerkheim, and husband, Jacob Strobel; August Bromelsieck and family, from Benefelt, Halle, Prussia, came to the Hesper area in 1859 and even after moving to Lawrence attended the German Methodist church in Eudora.
Joseph Seybold, a weaver, with wife, Heda, and children (Johann, Joseph, and Heinrich) arrived September 21, 1855 in New York from Niederbayern, Germany, on the ship “S.S. Atlantic, according to research done by Kenneth E. Madl. On this ship, too, were Wenzel Kloiber; Franz and Minna Binder and their children (Maria, Heinrich, and another); Franz and Barbara Vogl with children, Ruprecht and Mathilde); Johan Nebl; Johann and Katharina Kellerman and children (Anna, Johann, Ludwig, Cresenz, Antonia); Joseph and Anna Maria (Neustifter) Stadler and children (Josepha, Georg, Anna, Caroline, Hermann, and Ludwig); Ferdinand and Amalia Neustifter and their children (Ludwig, Georg, Joseph, Karolina, Therese, and Carl). Also from Bavaria to Eudora during the 1850s were Franz and Barbara Schmidt; Wenzel Kastl; Johan Blöchl (or Blechel) his wife, and three children; and Michael Nigl. Frederick Pilla, too, came from Bavaria, and later his brother, Charles, with a Hesse-born wife, in 1866. The Bavarian influx continued. Reading the names of those buried in the Eudora Catholic Cemetery, German genealogist Reinhard Hofer said “the names on that grave list look like the phone book of the Freyung area [Wolfstein County] in Bavaria.”
Originally from Alsace-Lorraine on the French-German border, and Bremen, the J. M. Abels family came to Eudora in 1859; also from Alsace arriving about the same time were Nicholas Weil and, too, Stephen and Elizabeth Schehrer in 1865. Frank Lavo, of Umbachberga, Rheinalz, Germany, arrived in 1859 or 1860 (accounts differ) with wife, Nettie, after settling for a short time in Palmyra, Missouri. Rudolph Heinrich, a Prussian, came to Eudora in 1860 to farm for decades.
A group of families, some German, some not, came together around 1859, according to most accounts. They were headed by Franz Blechel, Joseph Seiwald, Mike Branagan, Bavarians Joseph Stadler and Johan Stadler, James Brazil, Frank Vogl, Casper Weber, Jacob Pabst, and Jacob Welch. Peter Brueggen from France was said to be in this group, but other accounts say Peter and John Brueggan came in 1858.
Conrad Altenbernd, born in Lippe Demold in northwest Germany and wife, Wilhelmina, born in Prussia, had their first child in Eudora in 1861. The Reusch family came that same year, also, from Prussia as would the Lefmanns, Schendels, and Westerhouses a few years later. August Gabriel journeyed from Pristram, Silesia, in Prussia and sent for his siblings in 1860. Ernst and Anna Gerstenberger came from Silesia, too, now a part of Poland.
Joseph Bauer from Augelhoff, Wurtemberg, sailed to the United States in 1857, spent some years in Pennsylvania, and came to Eudora in 1863. He stayed two years, returned to Pennsylvania for 10 years, and came back once again, this time for good, to Eudora. In 1864, Joseph and Theckla Seiwald arrived from the Bavarian village of Grainet, 10 miles from Czechoslovakian border and 15 miles from the Austrian border. The next year Louis and Catherine Kellerman, both Bohemians, came. In the spring of 1864 another Joe Vitt, Louis Neustifter, John Kellerman, and Peter Schillinq, all married with families from Illinois, near Chicago, were said to have arrived.
Peter Schoenhofer, originally from Landsgericht Filtshofen, Bavaria, wife, and four children arrived in 1865 from Warrenton, Missouri, in their covered wagon to establish a farm one and one-half miles southwest of Eudora by the junction of Highway 10 and East 2100 Road where they had six more children. Phillip Baecker, who lived on the French-German border and served 10 years in the French army, came in 1869 after two months in Chicago with wife, Louisa, to settle south of Eudora in the Captain’s Creek vicinity.
From Bavaria next came Kajetan Sommer (1867), followed in 1868 by Jakob Neustifter, Johann Madl, Michael Eder, and Lorenz Eder. The Tornedons came to the Eudora area from Lippe Detmold, Germany, in 1869, and several Hadl relatives from Oberseilberg in eastern Bavariaand two cousins before1871. Later Bavarians were: Johan Hatch (1872), John Greiner (1872), Gustav Roseau (early 1870s), Friedrich Sifter (1877), and Hermann Madly with four children (1880). William Trefz, born in Nuremberg, also tried other cities before coming in the late 1870s with his new Eudora-born wife. Also from Nuremberg was Wilhelmina Augustine Dorothy (Diaper), who with husband Jacob Schuler and children came to the United States in 1863 before coming to Eudora 10 years later. Caroline Lentz, Chanhassen, Germany, came at age six to Ohio and had four children with husband, Jacob, and when he died, she came to Eudora in 1875 and married Frank Schafer in 1877 with whom she had two sons. Threshed (Whisper) Rausch, born in Rosenthal Alt Lomita, Germany, in 1824, arrived in Eudora in 1879. Charles Schroeder came in 1874 from Chicago, but was born in Sheering, Mecklenburg, Germany.
Lorenz Speeches, born in Baden settled outside Eudora in the early 1880s. Gottlieb Kaiser, Wurttemberg, came about the same time as did Saxon Carl Church and the Bavarian Rothbergers, Haas, and Madl families. Amelia (Schneider) Giertz, born in Linderode, Silesia, Germany, came to his country in 1881, married Andrew Giertz in 1883 and settled in Eudora that same year. Henry Schuette, born 1827 in Herzog, Braunschweig, Germany, came to the United State in 1857 and Eudora in 1887 where he continued in the butcher trade and lived between Eighth Street and Ninth Street on Main Street. August Lawrenz, born in Barko Res, Schlavol, Germany, moved to Clearfield in 1887. John Maul, born in Nassau, Germany, made Eudora his last stop in 1896 more than 30 years after first coming to the United States as did Frederick Schleuterfamly, born in Brakeslick, Fuesrstenthum, Germany, who also had been in the country about 30 years.
Freed slaves make Eudora their home. The Harvey family originally came to Eudora on January 26, 1863 with more than a hundred other slaves brought by General James Blunt from around Van Buren, Arkansas, to a Douglas County area southeast of Lawrence. Blunt was later court martialed for doing so, wrote the January 26, 1938 Lawrence Journal World and family histories. Blacks came from other areas, too. The 1875 Kansas Census, Eudora Township, listed about 250 blacks, many farmers from Missouri. Family heads were Edmund Anthony, Washington Crisp, John Whitaker, Benjamin Palmer, Philip Ray, Allen Ashby, Lewis Todd, Rhoda Brown, Esther Brown, Olive Brown, Frank King, Bartlett Davy, Madison Monroe, Edward Black, William Clark, James Gibson, Martha Adams, Sarah Ray, Elijah Fortner, Sarah Clark, Green Harvey, Jane Adams, Nero Sparks, Peter Taylor, Edward Fields, Pleasant Essex, John Palen, Charles Walton, George Walton, Walker Harris, Benjamin Givens, George Smith, Clark McPheters, Horace Norton, Benjamin Barnett, John Brazil, Samuel Edwards, James Jackson, Andrew Edwards, David Jeffrey, Stephen Childs, James Barnett, Sam Albritten, James Perry, Gracy Hilton, Benjamin Perry, James Fortner, Frank Harris, Rebecca Lee, B. F. Bonner, Henry Johnson, William Clark, Levi Burns, Rebecca King, Clayborn Conelly, James Monroe, Lydia Monroe, and Stephen Lewis. (Read more at end of this page.)
Delaware trek to Oklahoma. After Civil War duty in Missouri, Delaware leader Fall Leaf, whose Indian name Pani-i-pa-kux-wee meant "He Who Walks Where Leaves Fall," returned to Kansas to find the U.S. government trying once again relocate the Delaware, because settlers wanted their land.
Chief Fall Leaf refused to move for about six months. Starvation made him give in. The Delaware had two options. They could either take a cash settlement and move to Oklahoma or receive 80 acres of eastern Kansas land and be considered U.S. citizens as Kansas was now a state.
Some Delaware, such as the Koerners who had married European immigrants, chose to stay in this area. Others, such as Fall Leaf, took the cash settlement and left in 1866 for Oklahoma land bought from the Cherokee Nation.
Wrote Richard Adams, Delaware historian and tribe representative in Washington, D.C., “It was not an exodus of the whole Delaware people in one body, but each individually prepared himself and family for the journey and made it as expeditiously as his circumstances permitted (and at his own expense).”
The list of Delaware and their minor children who remained in Kansas is in Record Group 21, Subgroup: Kansas(Topeka), Record of Indian Naturalizations, National Archives (Kansas City, Missouri). Reverend John G. Pratt compiled the list from the article of the Treaty of 4 July 1866, between the Delaware and the United States at Sarcoxieville. Pratt also complied a list of Delaware in 1866 who became U.S. citizens that included the Zeiglers (Logan, Sophia, George, and Betsey); Mary Ann Tiblow Stevenson, Mary Ann Tiblow, Nannie Pratt, and members of the Ketchum, Grinter, Collins, and Honeywell families.
Shawnee and others move south. After they received land from the 1854 treaty, several individual Shawnee sold it off. For example, Sarah McClane (or “Bigknife”), who had received 400 acres in five areas around Eudora and willed it to her daughter, Nancy Bigknife, who had her property sold by her guardian, Thomas Bigknife, in 1863. He claimed the land was unproductive, taxes were high, and that people hold stolen much of the lumber from the land, according to abstract of title for the land.
New treaties also caused many Shawnee to leave the Eudora area, such as an 1866 treaty signed by Charles Bluejacket, Charles Fish, and Mathew King that allowed homeless Indians and white men by marriage to relocate to the Quapaw reservation in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Other Shawnee joined with the Cherokee after a later treaty. August Vitt, in a Brecheisen family history, said his father, Leo Vitt, bought many of the Shawnee’s vacated lots in the city of Eudora and at one time owned more than 300 lots.
Some Shawnees stayed. The death of Mathew King, a Shawnee, in April 1869 received extensive news coverage. King, who was about 60 years old, owned a large farm in Weaver. While riding in a buggy rapidly out of Eudora with Ironsides, a half-White Indian, the buggy wheel struck a stone, throwing both from the buggy. King died within minutes of the ejection. His weight of 300 pounds was thought to have added to the force of the fall. After being doused with cold water, Ironsides revived.
Wrote the April 25, 1869 Kansas Daily Tribune about King: “At one time he was one of the wealthiest, most influential and widely known members of the Shawnee tribe, but by bad management had lost the greatest portion of his property, and for a year or two past has been, we believe, in rather reduced circumstances. . .there is a strict law in force in regard to selling liquor to Indians, but which, it seems, is totally disregarded in some localities in the county. Our information says that King had been partially intoxicated for a week, and that other Indians residing the same vicinity are seen intoxicated almost daily.”
Also living on the Kansas River by Eudora were members of Kansa and Osawatomie tribes, according to a January 15, 1903 DeSoto Eagle Eye article written by a visitor in 1860. The 1865 Kansas Census also noted that 160 Indians camped at Captain’s Creek at an area about two miles from the Breithaupt farm. They were not recorded in the census because of language difficulties.
Growing self-sufficiency. Although absentee German owners in Chicago owned many city lots, Eudora township began filling with settlers who planned to stay. The Kansas State Historical Quarterly (Volume IV) reported 88 farm operators in 1860 in Eudora Township.
Ten years after its founding, Eudora had become a town with businesses to care for citizen’s needs. Fred Pilla started a mercantile enterprise in 1862 that his brother Charles took over and housed in a two-story building 25-foot by 96-foot in area with stock averaging from $15,000 to $20,000. In its heyday, nine or more clerks worked its floors.
Also in 1862, Charles Durr and Leo Vitt built the two and one-half story, 30-foot by 50-foot Eudora Flour Mills directly west of the Eudora Depot. The steam-powered mill building cost $7,000 and had two runs of stone burrs. Vitt bought out Durr in 1867. Then, in 1875, Durr bought it from Vitt and built a 20-foot by 30-foot elevator to hold 3,000 bushels, Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas wrote. In 1883, Swain and Company (Edwin Swain and William Dugan) bought the mill and changed it to a roller business. The building burned down the next year. Jake Schaffer, Henry Hagenbuch, Kajetan Sommer, and a Blechel built and co-owned a new elevator and coal-fueled mill in 1890 that also was lost to fire July 21, 1893. The $7,650 insurance covered only part of the $12,000 loss.
Dan Kraus’ livery west of the present Pilla Park began and would continue until the 1920s under his son Alfred’s management. The stables on the lower floor of the building had an entrance on Maple Street. Customers entered the feed barn and office on the Main Street level.
A pottery came and went as did a canning factory located near the Wakarusa River. Its building was torn down in 1864. Some reports state, too, that state legislator Charles Sears launched a canning factory in Eudora in 1873, and newspapers mentioned another short-lived preserving venture in the 1880s.
Will Stadler’s brick kiln, launched after the Civil War, had better success at its site south of Fifth Street along the Wakarusa River between Church Street and Ash Street. According to a diary of Carl Lotz, physician A. D. Kemper, who lived in Eudora from 1865 to1871, also had a brick kiln in Eudora with William Wilfred at Fifth Street and Church Street, which was next to or possibly the same (because of inexact dates) as Stadler’s.
Another locally available building material, stone—individual surface stones or quarried blocks— was easily available from the numerous stone crops and quarries in the Eudora, for example, a quarry between 6th and 8th Streets in Eudora and three blocks west of Main Street advertised in 1907 as the “best stone quarry in Eudora.” To the east, Johnson County numbered 64 quarries by 1874, and most of this stone was limestone. Quarries in Eudora supplied the building in other town, for example, much of the cutstone (a blue limestone) used in Lawrence for window sills, paving stones, etc. comes from the Eudora quarry, wrote the Daily Kansas Tribune (January 27, 1864). Stone from Eudora quarries also were used in Lawrence cemeteries such as a 4 foot square and 18 inch high limestone block that formed the foundation of a Dr. Leibey’s 13 foot high monument.
On the west side of Main Street, Anton Getker ran an undertaking and cabinetmaking business in the first building south of railroad tracks; T.A. Hartig and James Herz also were cabinetmakers. Across the street, the Guflers, who later moved to Lawrence, built the Gufler House in 1860s on the north end of Main Street south of railroad tracks. It was a grocery, boardinghouse for railroad employees, and saloon with the Gufler’s living quarters in back. The February 25, 1937 Eudora Weekly News wrote that here “many a drunken brawl took place” here. The building constructed of native lumber sawed by Charles Durr was held together with cut nails. Gufler House wasn’t the only saloon in town because C. Marfelius had one, too. In 1864, Chalkley Hill said in a Nov. 12, 1938 interview that Eudora had seven saloons; however, if so, they didn’t last long. (Eudora had four saloons, according to the Daily Kansas Tribune (January 7, 1873).
It wasn’t the only grocery either. A Schleifer grocery and a Hobbs grocery operated across the street from another on the north end of Main Street. Charles John Achning Sr. (1829-1910) also had a general store on the north end of Main Street, which opened in the 1860s. For stock, Achning drove a four-mule team to Leavenworth to pick up supplies from Ridneour & Baker, said Ralph Achning, his grandson. Achning, two days after his marriage to Wilhelmina Speitz in Chicago on April 27, 1858, came to Eudora where he also ran the sawmill and was a member of Eudora’s first city council. He moved to Lawrence in 1866 to run a woolen mill and then established Achning Hardware Company in 1880, which is still in operation in 2005 at 826 Massachusetts Street.
Achning appears in Holland's Kansas and Nebraska State Directory, 1866-1867 as the owner of a carding mill and also “country store” as were C. Hockett, W.M. Maddox, and the Pilla Brothers who also had vendor listings for china, clothes, hats, notions, real estate, books, shoes, and other items. Frank Pilla had an individual listing as a public notary and for drug sales. Also listed were Henry Koch (shoemaker), Henry Wiltler (architect), Emil Gunt (ambrotypes and photographs), guns and pistols (John Kellerman), August Ziesenis (hotel proprietor), Jacob Pfeifer (marble works), Fred Guntz (tailor), Emil Guntz (painter), C. Epple (potter), Henry Fendt (cigars), Chistian Epple (cooper). For carpenters, the directory listed Henry Witler and Henry Ronum with carriage makers (L. Prang and R. Heinrick); grocers (H. Richards and W. Spiltz); masonry workers (Caspar Weber, Thomas Murdock, and John Mulson); wool growers (J. Campbell and Henry Weaver); plow makers (John Brewster and C. Dollinger); and saddle and harness makers (F. Bernitz and H. Vogelsang). (A listing may have required payment, so several others may have been in similar and other trades in Eudora with its population noted as 500 at the same time but were not included in the directory.)
Henry Ziesenis started his harness shop and tannery before 1870. Ziesenis owned the building at Eighth Street and Main Street on the northwest corner that also housed a post office and cheese factory as well as the town’s corn mill, according to an 1887 newspaper. Charles Lothholz’s lumberyard opened at Sixth Street and Oak Street in 1868 but Lothholz had been selling hardware earlier than that. Advertisements from the 1890s listed lumber, lath, shingles, cement, lime, plaster, paints, oils, varnishes, and window glass among Lothholz’s wares. A June 4, 1914 news account quoted the lumber shed as 215 foot long, 60 foot wide, and 24 foot high at the center post, 12 foot high at the outside post. The largest shed contained 200 windows. A 20-foot by 30-foot sash house also was part of the operation that could hold an estimated 60 train carloads of lumber. His son, George, with whom he had a partnership, would later run the lumber yard until 1929, and then sold it to the Friend Lumber Company of Lawrence. (George Lothholz took over the lumber yard again from 1940-1942, then Bunrer-Bowman leased it until 1946, when Jeff Wilson bought it. When Wilson died in 1949, Webster and Neilson bought it and sold the business in 1962 to Harold Keuker, John Harris, and Fred H. Neis. A 1990 fire set by vandals destroyed the buildings and business.)
To make Eudora’s main street a more convenient grade and to allow building proprietors to build basements, the street was lowered to 8 to 10 feet in some places. The road from Lawrence to Eudora by this time, too, was widened and improved with fencing on either side the entire distance, according to the Lawrence Tribune (Sept 16, 1868). A time of settlement and growth, this era also was a time when people came and went on elsewhere. The Heinke family, for example, came to Eudora for awhile, then moved to Ottawa.
Railroad comes to town. The 1870s reflected the continuing growth of Eudora and its businesses that lined Main Street from Ninth Street to Fifth Street. The coming of the railroad to Eudora added to this business growth. In 1869, grade work began at DeSoto and by 1871, the tracks reached Lawrence. During the construction, the Schleifer grocery and the Hobbs grocery buildings both had to be moved, according to February 13, 1995, personal correspondence from Evelyn Herschell, a Hobbs relative. The railroad company also built bridges to the west of Eudora over the Wakarusa River around 1871. At that time, the road to Lawrence extended west from Seventh Street.
The first train through Eudora came January 1, 1872. According to Meades Manual, the route from Pleasant Hill, Missouri, to Lawrence, a distance of 61.59 miles, was known as the St. Louis, Lawrence and Denver, and afterward changed to the St. Louis Lawrence & Western and subsequently changed to the P.H. & D. S. R.R. In 1873, Eudora also was recorded as being on the line of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, Pleasant Hill division. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad bought the Union Pacific line in 1874, although some reports claim 1877. The first Kansas Biennial Report, in 1878 stated: “The Kansas Midland Railroad runs on the south bank of the Kansas river from Topeka to Kansas City; principal stations, Lawrence, Lecompton and Eudora.”
Michael Greenlee, began work at the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company January 1, 1872, and within months was the Eudora agent. The Santa Fe railroad “doubled his labors, while he was also appointed to act as agent for two express companies and the Western Union Telegraph Company.” He resigned in 1878 for health reasons.
O. G. Richards and William Getker, a Western Union telegrapher, also were agents on the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe line. Sam Carr, station agent from 1878 to 1937, got his start after an 1876 telegraphy study and short stints in Lawrence, Stanley, and various Colorado locations. An agent of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, and of Wells, Fargo & Company's Express, Eudora, Carr was born in Wayne County, Ohio, on November 29, 1857. His parents settled in Eudora in 1866, wrote William G. Cutler in his History of the State of Kansas. J.W. Butts, a son-in-law of Oscar Richards, came from Colorado to be a station agent in 1900, also.
Directly east of the Eudora Flour Mills, the Eudora depot was built in 1871. Originally lit with kerosene lights, the wooden depot had an overhanging roof, bay windows, and two huge chimneys for wood- and coal-burning stoves. To the west were stockyards built in the 1870s.
Olive Nuttall wrote about riding the trains in early 1900s:
“When we were small, a trip to Lawrence was quite a treat. As dad didn’t have a car, mama would take us up on the Santa Fe train. We lived about a block and half from the depot.
“We’d go up on the morning train and walk from the depot to Massachusetts Street to shop. . .On the train a man would come through selling apples and the Kansas City papers. The conductor would take your ticket — punch some holes, and stick it up over the window where you sat. An iron step stool was used to help you on and off the train. You told that man where you were going so he could put you in the right car. The trains also had an unusual clean smell. You’ll never find that odor anyplace else.”
Wrote the Eudora Centennial Magazine: “The Santa Fe trains stopped at Eudora to ‘ice up’ and the engine and machinery at the plant, which were kept working overtime, made so much noise that more than one citizen was for declaring the plant a nuisance.”
Close by, the Eudora House owned for four years by S. E. Brune, who had a photography studio just south of the hotel, provided lodging until it burnt down in 1893. The Bismarck Hotel southeast of the depot a couple of steps at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Main Street also housed train travelers. The depot was fitted with gas fixtures in 1905, and telephone service in 1935. Steve Alvarez, who lived by the depot in the mid-20th century, remembered how the station agents used to hang the mailbag out from the depot for the train coming through to pick up. Agents after Carr included J. N. Hearin (1937-1948), Sid Simons (1948-1966), Wilbur DeLong (1966), and John Cox (1966-1967). The depot closed in 1967.
Occupations in 1875. Eudora Township records in 1875 showed a total population of 1,774 with 516 listed as farmers. That number included all males over 10 years of age in farm families.
The building trade kept many busy who weren’t farming. Eudora had several carpenters (William Monroe, Melchoir Mertz or Menz, Joseph Snyder, William Guinn, William Monroe, Henry Witler, William Clark, John Greiner, Henry Raumm, Jacob Schaffer, and Edwin Warren) and two cabinetmakers who also built coffins and did undertaking services, Peter Hartig and Anton Getker. (Five years later, census figures would list Johnson Smith and George Rathberger also as carpenters.) Louis Kellerman laid brick, while Mathias Riddle, Jacob Pfeiffer (he operated a sandstone quarry in Eudora and made to order door sills, window sills, cap, monuments, and gravestones and owned over a 100 city lots in various locations before relocating with his wife Agatha and their seven children to California in 1875), Casper Weber, and Franz Blechel built with stone. A few years later, Frank Schaeffer, Ferdinand Weichseldorfer, and George Amend also would join the stonemason ranks. William Speitz painted.
Charles Schroeder, Jacob Stubbs, Joseph Kubitscheck, and John Brender were blacksmiths; Rudolph Heinrich, Sebastian Prang, and John Brueggen made wagons; and Labrecht Haelsig was a harness maker. Eudora's cooper was Christian Epple and John Seybold, its tinsmith.
Clothing also kept many employed. Several women listed "laundress" as their occupation such as Sarah Ward, Lydia Monroe, Rebecca King, Ann Coon, Ann Crisp, Emma Hernell, Maria Griebel, and Veronica Gutsmuthel.
Ruth Vaux and F. Cavier Plochel wove cloth, and tailors Rudolph Leutweller, Peter Huber, F. Guntz, and Christian Kohler, sewed it. Shoemakers were Ferdinand Graf, Henry Ziesenis, Henry Fendt, Charles Willsdorf, and John Stadler. A. F. Haelsig fashioned jewelry.
Selling clothing and other items were Charles Lothholz, Charles Pilla, Asher Cohn and Sarah Cohn, P. Service, Charles Fischer (stoves and tinware), and Anton Gufler (also a saloonkeeper). (The Cohns later built another general store in Lawrence at 800 Massachusetts Street and moved there; Sarah Cohn alone was listed as the owner of the Eudora store.) Others sold their knowledge such as physicians S. A. American, J. M. Still, C. O. Gause, and William Allen or lawyers Herbert Carr and Oscar Richards. Other occupations listed were miller (Leo Vitt, Joseph Eder, Charles Durr); baker (William Speitz, Frank Lavo); painter (John Vaux); machinist (W.W. Silsby); ropemaker (John Thurman); hotelkeeper (Henry Copp who also was a butcher); constable (C. O. Richards); and saloonkeepers (Maggie Marfilius, Frank Lavo, William Speitz, John Buck, John Hammert). Polk’s Kansas Gazetteer and Business Directory of 1878 also listed Fischer, Durr, Guntz, Speitz, Willsdorf, and Service as bar keeps.
The town brewer was Charles Bartusch, a Prussian native of Quirl, see above left, who came to Eudora in 1862 with his wife, Anna (Schillinger), born on July 4, 1839, in Gringer, Germany, and daughters Amelia, Rosa, and Clara. A brass horn player in Buch's Band who played at German entertainments across northwestern Kansas (see photograph above right) took a photograph of the brewery in Eudora and wrote in his photography album of the stone structure above: “Here an old Dutchman brought a keg of that hole in the ground for Brother Elijah and myself in 1872.”
That “old Dutchman” was Bartusch, and the hole in the ground was at the confluence of the Wakarusa River and Kansas River in Eudora along the railroad tracks. Eudora saloons, Anton Gufler’s for one, carried Bartusch beer. The train to Kansas City also stopped at his brewery, which produced 200 barrels a year, to load and ship his beer. However, a July 11, 1879 Lawrence Journal article told of Bartusch picking up beer in Lawrence, which implies he also had to buy beer for his customers. This article described Bartusch’s injuries after a wrong turned overturned his wagon and left Bartusch with “an eye sunken in out of sight” and “bruises and wounds without number.”
Bartusch closed the stone brewery in 1882 because of state prohibition; let go his Bavarian assistant, John Greiner; and opened a bakery and later an ice cream parlor and restaurant on Eudora’s Main Street. [Update Main Street properties with the following: In late 1891, he put in a well at the bakery rear. After living in their house “at the foot of G Street, the Bartusch family lived above the restaurant that Bartusch built in an upper story built in 1894 until they moved in 1901 to “Dr. Child’s” house on Main Street where Bartusch built a barn.
An 1888 notice said J.C. Rabourn moved to Eudora in a house “south of the old Brewery,” and, in 1896, a Mr. Davenport lived in the “old stone brewery.” The brewery became a place of disrepute. One 1901 account told of “a nasty mix-up” involving razors and guns, “between four or five whites from Lawrence and the same number of colored people from here in the joint running in the old brewery building.” Wrote the town paper about another fracas, “Not any effort is put forth to suppress this dive, although fines and drunken brawls are of frequent occurrences.”
The brewery ultimately met its demise in 1903 when a spark from a passenger train smokestack caught in its roof and wind fanned a devastating fire. At that time, Fred Lorenz operated a “joint” there. Through the years, the building slowly crumbled until the railroad finally leveled the structure.
Rise of organizations. As the settlers conquered frontier challenges, they banded together in organizations of self-interest. Although the Masons and Odd Fellows were the first social clubs to form, others followed such as the Grand Army of the Republic (1871), the Ancient Order of United Workmen (1882), the Security Benefit Association (1895), the Tuesday Afternoon Club (1900), and the Central Protective Association (1901).
According to Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas, the first Eudora society organized was the German Turn-Verein in 1864. This German import began during the early 1800s when Friedrich Ludwig Jan began organizing vereins (clubs) in Berlin to develop the physical condition of German youths. In Germany’s Turne Halles, members fenced, boxed, wrestled, ran, and used gymnastic equipment. A place for physical condition, fellowship, and celebration of the German culture, they were also a popular beer-drinking setting.
Another early organization that continues today was Eudora Lodge Number 42, International Order of Odd Fellows organized in March 6, 1869. In May of that same year, the Eudora Freemasons organized as Doric Lodge No. 83, A.F. & A.M.
When the Kansas enacted a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcoholic beverages, some Eudora citizens banded to enforce the prohibition. The Eudora Temperance Union organized and chartered in the fall of 1879. They built their windowless Temperance Tabernacle, a 24-foot by 46-foot frame building for $800 in November 1879. Its first officers were: O. G. Richards, president; S. V. Carr, secretary; Mrs. N. Henshaw and Mrs. E. Rich, vice presidents; and J. N. Still, treasurer, and they claimed a membership of 150. When it no longer had need because of state prohibition, the building was used for dancing, storing grain, and then the Methodist Episcopal worship building.
When speaking at Oscar Richard’s funeral, Dr. William Robinson, made reference to the cause: “A personal friend of John P. St. John and a leader in the fight to put Kansas the second state in the Union in the dry column. Always a fearless advocate of temperance. As assistant county attorney, he would prosecute his neighbor for running a joint or bootlegging. Living in a community of Germans, who claim as a personal right the privilege to drink when and what they pleased, he upheld the law. He gave private lectures free of charge whenever opportunity came, on the evil effects of liquor and tobacco on the human body physically, mentally and morally.”
Even though the amendment passed, it took years of legal and political battles to close saloons, which kept Kansas temperance organizations busy.
Otho Lewis, Lawrence, wrote a letter in 1992 about blacks in Eudora. A native Eudoran, Lewis went to school in Eudora in the early 1920s and said Eudora had an all-black baseball team in the early 1900s made up of the “Hacworth boys, Crump boys, Erving boys, Monroe boys, Ray boys, Russell boys, and Fortner boys.” For occupations, Allen Gatewood and Tom Johnson dug wells. Charles Harvey, Henry Rennels, William Harvey, Joe King, and Oscar Russel farmed and sold vegetables. Three Gatewoods, he wrote, were plumbers. Some older women, too, made quilts for income.
In discussing music, Lewis said Fern Perry, Nolan Perry, Tracy Harvey, Gwendolyn Perry, Charles Hackworth, Hazel Hackworth, Mabel Hatcher, Katherine James, and Naomi Kidd played piano. Fred James played the guitar, Henry Anthony the saxophone, Wash Ray the harp, and the Harveys, the mandolins. One aunt of Lewis was Rose Harvey, the daughter of Ebb and Sarah Lewis. With husband, Charles, Rose operated a popular café on Main Street during the 1920s. The Harvey family originally came to Eudora on January 26, 1863 with more than a hundred other slaves freed by President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation on January 1 of that year. On his own decision, General James Blunt brought this group from around Van Buren, Arkansas, to a Douglas County area southeast of Lawrence and was later court martialed for doing so, wrote the January 26, 1938 Lawrence Journal World and family histories.
Some early black residents, according to the 1870 census, were Sam and Laura Harris, Pleasant and Mary Hackworth, James Monroe, Dave Perry (born in Missouri at Lone Jack and came to Eudora during the Civil War with this parents and lived in Eudora more than 50 years before moving to Kansas City), Jim Crump, Dona and Matilde Ray, Oscar Russel, Fred James, Matter Ewing, Claude and Rose Harvey, Frank King (who died in 1917 and is buried in Eudora Cemetery), George and Ida Parm, Ebb Lewis, Oscar Bradford, William and Lulu Lewis, James and Barbara Logan, Nolan Johnson, Manda Jones, William Harvey, William and Neal Estelle, Ellen Anthy, Marshal Finley, and William Rennels (“the Deacon” and Eudora city marshal for two years. Otho “George” Rennels, a long-time surgical assistant at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the son of Burgess Rennels and grandson of William Rennels and also grandson of George McCoy and Illa McCoy, said in June 2005 that “Rennels” is often misspelled. George was named after his uncle, Otho Lewis.)
In 1870, for example, Milton Davis moved to Eudora. He had been born in Kentucky on Christmas day in 1834 and lived in Jackson County, Missouri, until 1861, before moving to Dallas, Texas. When Davis moved to Eudora, he drove government ox-teams across the plains. He lived in the southwest part of Eudora until his March death in 1917 and was survived by his wife, two daughters, and three sons, according to his obituary.
In Black Baseball, 1858-1900: A Comprehensive Record of the Teams, Players, Managers, Owners and Umpires, James E. Brunson III, states the Red Jackets and also the Wakarusa Valley Club, both black baseball teams from Eudora, played against area black and white teams during the 1870s. Baseball teams also could be segregated. For example, blacks in Eudora were on the Eudora Pastime Club or the Kaw Valley Giants ─ separate from the white population. In 1896, a local white team formed and played the other town team, which was made up of black players in a game in which the white team won, 30-11.
The 1880 census raises questions as to the racial heritage of Eudora’s “black” population, because many Eudora residents listed as black in the 1870 census such as the Hackworths were classified as “mulattoes” in the census 10 years later. A count of those couples or single parent households listed as mulatto includes George and Mary Walton, Walker Harris, Elijah and Mary Foertner, Edward and Martha Black, Frank and Annie Harris, Robert and Bellina Moore, Washington and Lily Crisp, Pleasant and Mary Hackworth, Lydia Monroe, Thomas and Emma Monroe, Sarah Coon, and Thomas and Maria Hernal.
Add their 47 or so children plus six single adult mulattoes listed in other home and the total is 74. Then, if adding the mixed race couples, including Maria Crump (mulatto) and James Crump (black), Julia (mulatto) and Charles (black) Mack, Rachel (mulatto) and Benjamin (black) Gwens, Mehalia (black) and William (mulatto) Clark, Josephine (mulatto) and Clark McFetous (black), Lizzie (white) and George Clark (mulatto), and their 24 children, the total grows to more than 100.
Mulatto was a category listing in the 1870 census, and, in 1890, the census defined it as “a person who was three-eighths to five-eighths black.” Was this the census taker's call? Did the families self-identify their race? Black families in the 1880 census included the Simpsons, Jacksons, Powells, Lees, Sparks, Edwards, Albrittens, Rays, Whites, Asques, Basels, Whitakers, Johnsons, and several others. The entire black population including adults and children numbered just over 200. Thus, the black population was almost three times the sizable mulatto population.
The Eudora Community Heritage states Dan Ray mixed cement for the 1903 school on Church Street. His wife, Matilda, was a midwife, the publication said, who delivered most of the black children born during this time. Mrs. Lee Crump said many blacks first came to Eudora with only the clothes on their backs to work for farmers, at quarries, and other occupations. Her own parents, Anthony and Maria Ewing, came from Edwardsville in 1889 to Fall Leaf where she was born. In Eudora, Crump lived in the white pine lumber former carriage house of Charles Pilla and said most of the 30 to 40 black families had left Eudora by World War II. James Crump, a teamster, worked for Pilla.
Records from 1895 say 123 of the township’s 1,374 population were black; the city of Eudora’s 674 population included 108 blacks. Candidates for public office apparently wooed the black citizenry because the April 16, 1896 Eudora newspaper said: “In the filing of city marshal, the fur will fly. The colored men are determined to have some represented, and, in fact, it was promised to them. Thomas Johnson likely is to be their candidate. If appearances go for anything, the Mayor will appoint Benj. Deck, the white aspirant and present incumbent."
The article also said Dave Perry, another black, had “a line out” for the sexton position likely to go to Frank Schafer, the incumbent, and Matt Fortner, a black Eudoran, wanted the street commission position. It seems Charles Pilla, the current mayor, made the promises. When W. H. Robinson assumed the mayorship that year, none of the mentioned black citizens received a city position. Robinson appointed Frank Schafer, sexton, H. W. Meyer, street commissioner, and Henry Oberholtzer, marshal, a position he held a few months, then resigned. The marshal position then went to Thomas Johnson.
Blacks held their own celebrations and picnics such as their own Fourth of July celebration in Moll’s grove. That was also the site of their annual Emancipation Day celebration in August when 300 blacks traveled from Lawrence to join the picnic and evening dance. Otho Lewis in a letter told of the picnic and said there was dancing “and all kinds of games played. In the evening, they would sit by the fire, pop corn, and make homemade candy.” Another highlight of the celebration was the baseball game between the Lawrence and the Eudora all-black teams. Politicians also visited the picnic.
They also attended the C.P.A. Picnic, the town’s main celebration. However, activities bear witness to segregation as evidenced by contests such as the “3- legged race for colored boys under age 16.”
The town newspapers mentioned “colored” events even up to the 1930s. For the word “colored” was used whenever a black person appeared in a story such as these two from 1897: “Mrs. Highwater, an old colored woman who peddles early vegetables” or Frederick Arkle, white, and Emma Dorsey, colored, were married.”
The black population attended Eudora schools along with the rest of the population and appeared in graduation classes for the first couple of decades seemingly without any controversy. Darlene Slapar in a scrapbook about Eudora schools, wrote that there didn’t appear to be any discrimination or segregation in Eudora schools. She wrote: “When there was agitation for a new school, Mrs. Lizzie Robinson, treasurer of the board and one of the promoters of the project reported that ‘we circulated five petitions and ran down several lies that I was going to work to have the Negroes separated from the whites. That would have been outrageous.’”
Other schools did appear to have some problems with Eudora’s black students. For example, early in the 1910 basketball season, Eudora lost a game to Hesper Academy and then to Kaw Valley when it played them at the Lawrence Y.M.C.A. The team blamed the loss on the other teams’ refusal to allow Eudora’s star player, Thomas Harvey, a black student, to be in the game.
However, on November 28, 1912, the newspaper ran this article: “Linwood High school and Eudora High school are not on ‘speaking terms’ at the present time. Linwood and Eudora High schools were to play a game of basketball last Friday afternoon, but when the Linwood players saw that two colored boys were playing on the Eudora team they agreed to play the game if the two colored boys were kept out. This agreement as rescinded by the Eudora boys and the game was called off. The colored boys objected to by the Linwood team are Thomas Harvey and Roscoe Crump, two of the cleanest and best players on the Eudora team.”
Leslie Kimball said his family as did other black families gave up farming and moved to Lawrence after the 1903 flood in the 1977 Lawrence/Douglas County African American Oral History Interviews. When asked about the flood, Kimball said:” I don't remember. I don't know. It didn't cause too much. Only them that lived down in the lower part there, they had to all get out of there and get up on the higher ground then. And then they had to take up something else. Ground during that time, they couldn't do anything with it. Isn't like it is now with the tractors, they can turn under and everything. Had to take up different things. Lot of them moved out of there. So many came to Lawrence there. That's the reason my folks came up to Lawrence here at the time. Got out of there and came up to Lawrence when I was ten years old.”
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African American Oral History Interviews
Hanna Strawther, mother of Laura Harris
Dan Ray, cement worker