The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
The Eudora Area Historical Society operates the Eudora Community Museum that includes the exhibits and documents relating to history of the city and township of Eudora and the surrounding communities of Clearfield, Fall Leaf, Hesper, Prairie Center and Weaver. Archives include virtually Eudora-based newspapers, photographs, yearbooks, correspondence, genealogy and books relating to Eudora and Kansas history.
Operated by the Douglas County Historical Society in Lawrence, this museum has an extensive archival records pertaining to Eudora and Eudora Township.
Besides photographs and articles of use for searches, also see its Kansas Historic Resources Inventory (KHRI) database that contains information on many Eudora area structures.
This history by Cindy Higgins is based on news articles from the Eudora newspapers and more than 300 sources mentioned in the text, including notes from local historical society meetings and previous publications of the author. It expands Higgins' City of Eudora Sesquicentennial Anniversary Edition.
When searching for or viewing names, keep in mind that Eudora German surnames often were spelled differently. Examples include Lenz/Lentz, Kohler/Koehler, Merz/Mertz, Albrech/Albright, Gunten/von Gunten, Brunniz/Brunning, Hennig/Henning, Leonhardt/Leonard, Brenkmeyer/Brinkmaier, Muller/Miller, Wunsch/Wuensch, Georg/George, Gabriel/Gabrel, Schneider/Snider, Spitzli/Spitzley, Eisele/Isley, and Rosenau/Rousnau. Several such as Ziesenis, Hunsinger, Diedrich, or Schafer had a variety of spellings. For instance Knueppel, also appears as Koepple, Kopple, Knoepple, and other variations.
For earlier histories of Eudora, check out the creatively-spelled William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas (1883) published by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL, which is online and Volume I of Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, etc. published in 1912 by Standard Pub. Co., also online.
Also view Will Stadler’s “April 19, 1907 “Eudora Fifty Years Old!: Only One of ‘Sixteeners’ Still Alive in Eudora Weekly and the April 30, 1936, edition of the Eudora Weekly News, which celebrated its 50th anniversary with the issuance of a tabloid containing history of the News and the city's churches, schools, and clubs, pioneer biographical sketches, and feature articles, including "Eudora Seventy-Nine Years Old," "First Marriage," and "Main Street Fifty Years Ago." The 1957 Eudora Centennial Magazine, a Eudora News supplement, edited by Harold Hadle with a nice overview by Allen Crofton, is also an oft-used source and is based a lot on Stadler’s history as is the 1977 Eudora Community Heritage published by the Eudora Bicentennial Committee.
Another source is Kansas University Spencer Research Library, which has Eudora publications, including the original city records written in German. See:
The Spencer also has Eudora’s original cemetery records (1870-1921) including age, race, nationality, death cause, etc. (RHMSD123); phone directories (1922 to the present); and 86 photographs featuring Eudora people, places, and events (RHPH79) that were copied from those brought to a Eudora Area Historical Society in the 1990s.
For those looking for deceased relatives, see the Douglas County interactive cemetery map; Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County Kansas, Volume 2; Barbara Seiwalds’ database and notebooks about those buried in Eudora’s Holy Family Cemetery (Holy Family Cemetery, Eudora, Kansas) beginning in 1865 and Schubert Mortuary Records (Volume I and II) including Eudora death records from December 11, 1904 to October 14, 1924. The original of this publication is in the OSMA room of the Lawrence Public Library (which also has the Pioneer newsletter produced by the Douglas County Genealogical Society that contains several historical Eudora items). Schubert’s records list birthplace, occupation, relatives, funeral arrangements, and other information. The Schubert mortuary in Eudora was owned by Johann William Schubert. Son Carl moved the mortuary business to Lawrence in 1927, which, through time, became the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
In 2003, Stefan Klinke, a graduate student from the University of Hamburg, completed his thesis Eudora, Kansas: The Transformation of a German Frontier Settlement Into a Midwestern Town to fulfill his Master of Arts degree credits. Able to read original records in the German such as “Protokollbuch des Frauen-Vereins der Eudora, Bisch.[öflichen] Meth.[odisten]-Kirche. Eudora, Kansas,” a book of minutes from 1902 to 1904 of the women’s society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Eudora, Kansas, Klinke’s work contains an impressive array of sources and images, although some information obtained from personal interviews is questionable. With his fresh insight into Eudora’s founding from his analysis of land records, he rightly states that much of Eudora’s history derives from William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas. The University of Kansas Library system has a copy of this publication.
Check Eudora newspapers for information. Lawrence newspapers also contained some Eudora information as well as Die Germania, a German language newspaper first published by Gottlieb Oerhle in 1877 and later Henry Albach until World War I. Catholic Advance and other newspapers contain Eudora information.
Another source is the Eudora Community Heritage of Our USABicentennial, 1776-1976, which grew from the Eudora Bicentennial Committee that researched and prepared a history of Eudora in 1975. The committee was Antoinette Brecheisen and Fern Long (co-chairpersons); Paul Sommer (businesses); Dorothy Akin and Astrid Ott (churches); Charles Durr (historical sites); Maude Couch and Diane Lutz (communities and cemeteries); Lauretta Trabant (biographical sketches); Anita Stadler (organizations); Otto Lewis (ethnic groups); Marge Simons (city founding); Tom Jerome (photographs); Fern Reusch (photo albums); Oscar Broers (committee representative); and Louise Spitzli, Norma Lutz, and Isabell Redman (book preparation). The Eudora typing class; Gloria Elaine (Simons) Bagby and daughters Terri, Lynne, Leslie, and Donna; and Mary Beem typed the text, which was used by Debby Eltschinger in her design.
City and county records stored at the Douglas County Courthouse and other sites also can be important sources. Some may be lost forever as evidenced by the loss of the original plat of the city of Eudora in this statement made by S.S. Horton, Register of Deeds, found in early real estate abstracts: “There is a plat recorded in Plat Book ‘A’ page 4 Called Map of Eudora, endorsed, this plat was filed previous to August 21, 1863, and was destroyed on that day in the burning of the office of the Register of Deeds.” Original real estate abstracts for Eudora since that time were disposed of by title companies in the latter part of the 20thcentury; however, the Watkins Museum in Lawrence has some, and Barbara Seiwald saved boxfuls, also.
Additional publications cited in this text, include:
Abing, Kevin. “Before Bleeding Kansas: Christian Missionaries, Slavery, and the Shawnee Indians in Pre-Territorial Kansas, 1844-1854.” Kansas Territorial Reader [edited by Virgil Dean]. Topeka, KS: Kansas State Historical Society (2005), 13-32.
“A City Is Forming in Ordnance Area.” Lawrence Journal-World, 13 October 1942.
A History of Lawrence, Kansas From the Earliest Settlement to the Close of the Rebellion. Lawrence, KS: E.F. Caldwell, 1895.
Ashlock-Longstreth, Dot. DeSoto, Kansas Is 100 Years Old: 1857-1957. DeSoto, KS: Author, 1957.
Barry, Louise. Beginning of the West. Topeka, KS: Kansas State Historical Society, 1972. [Bluejacket Roadhouse, pp. 509-510]
Barry, Louise. (Ed). Scenes in (and en Route to) Kansas Territory, Autumn, 1854: Five Letters by William H. Hutter.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 35 (Autumn 1969). [Bluejacket Ford]
Belcher, Ronald. Oregon Trail Fords of the Wakarusa River. Kansas City, KS: Author, 20 March, 1989. [Bluejacket Ford analysis; in Eudora Area Historical Society Collection]
Becher, Ron. Oregon Trail Fords of the Wakarusa River. Overland Journal 8 (1), 1990. [Bluejacket Ford]Benson, Maxine. From Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains: Major Stephen Long's Expedition, 1819-1820. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1988.
Book of Commissions for the City of Eudora. This publication, which begin in March of 1859, can be found in the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas.
Brecheisen, LaVerne, Brecheisen, Charles, Sr., & Rodewald, Mary Brecheisen. Family History of Peter Brecheisen I. North Newton, KS: Mennonite Press, 1979.
Brommelsieck Family History [defunct website on rootsweb.com]
Brown, Dee. The Gentle Tamers: Women of the Old Wild West. New York: GP Putnam's Sons, 1958.
Bucher, Willis, & Ratliff. The City of Eudora, Kansas Comprehensive Plan. Kansas City, MO: Author, 2003.
Connelley, William Elsey. Quantrill and the Borders Wars. Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1910.
Cook, John R. The Border and the Buffalo. ___: The Lakeside Press, R. R. Donnelly & Sons Co., 1938. [pp. 3-21 discusses Hesper, Basemann road house, and Quantrill visit to Eudora]
Cordley, Richard. History of Lawrence. Lawrence, KS: E. F. Caldwell, 1895.
Culo, Ceceile. DeSoto History. DeSoto, KS: Author, 1994.
Cutler, William G. History of the State of Kansas. Chicago, IL: A. T. Andreas, 1883.
Dale, Harrison Clifford. The Explorations of William H. Ashley and Jedediah Smith, 1822-1829. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1991.
Dary, David. Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas: An Informal History. Lawrence, KS: Allen Books, 1982.
“Delaware Were Advanced Among Indian Tribes.” Kansas City Star, 14 June 1967.
Douglas County Bicentennial Commission. Douglas County Historic Building Survey: A Photo Sampler. Lawrence, KS: Douglas County Historical Society, 1977.
Dyer, David, & Sicilia, David. Labors of a Modern Hercules: The Evolution of a Chemical Company. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1990.
Eudora Lodge I.O.O.F. No. 42. “Minutes of Meetings: Book I,” 6 March 1869 to 10 August 1872.
Endacott, John. “The Story of the Bronze Tablet Unveiled in the Methodist Episcopal Church at Eudora, Kansas May, Nineteen Hundred Twenty-Five.” [Pamphlet, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, KS]
Eudora Bicentennial Committee. Eudora Community Heritage of Our USA Bicentennial, 1776-1976. Baldwin, KS: Telegraphics, 1976.
Eudora, Kansas: A Good Place to Live. [See “Map,” Anschutz Library at The University of Kansas, No. 4204.Eu2 18 x 1962]
Eudora Lion's Club. Eudora Centennial Magazine. Eudora, KS: Author, 1957.
Eudora Lodge I.O.O.F. No. 42. “Question-Book,” 5 March 1869 to 12 April 1884.
“Eudora’s Citizens Aren’t Sure Big Plant Will Aid Town.” Kansas City Times 26 March 1942.
“Few Months Make Change in Eudora.” Lawrence Journal-World 8 August 1942.
Fish family genealogy [defunct website]
Flatley, Guy. 'You Ain’t Heard Nothin' Yet, Folks--Listen To This!'. The Sound That Shook Hollywood. www.moviecrazed.com [“Buddy Rogers”]
Francis, Carol Buhler. Douglas County, Kansas, Family Histories 1991-1992, Vol. 1 Lawrence, KS: Douglas County Genealogical Society, Inc., 1994.
Franza, Gregory. Maps of the Oregon Trail. Gerald, MO: Patrice, 1982.
Emory, William. Notes of a Military Reconnaissance from Fort Leavenworth in Missouri to San Diego, in California. 30th Congress, 1st session, Senate Document No. 7., 1848.
Fuller, Harriet Schubert. Private papers. [She kept some journals and saved several letters such as those of the Lotz family.]
Gleed, Charles S. Kansas Memorial, A Report of the Old Settlers' Meeting Held at Bismark Grove, Kansas, September 15th and 16th, 1879. Kansas City, MO: Press of Ramsey, Millett and Huson, 1880, 255.
Goodrich, Thomas. Bloody Dawn: The Story of the Lawrence Massacre. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1992.
Griffing, James. 1854 “There is much to be done here” letter:
Haines, Aubrey. Historic Sites Along the Oregon Trail. Gerald, MO: Patrice Press, 1981.
“Hearing Focuses on Plant.” Kansas City Star 22 April 1998.
Higgins, Cindy. Older Houses of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author, 1999.
Higgins, Cindy. The Eudora C.P.A. Picnic. Eudora, KS: Author, 1997.
Higgins, Cindy. Kansas Breweries and Beer: 1854-1911. Eudora, KS: Ad Astra Press, 1992.
Higgins, Cindy. “Frontier Protective and Social Network: The Anti-Horse Thief Association in Kansas.” Journal of the West 42.4 (2004 Spring): 63-73.
Higgins, Cindy. Quantrill’s Raid and Eudora. Eudora, KS: Author, 1997.
Higgins, Cindy. “Turner Hall: The Place to Be on Saturday Night.” Kanhistique (November 1989).
Hinshaw, Carlyle. A Reunion with a Tomahawk. Shawnee tribe website.
Hobbs, Wilson. “The Friends’ Establishment in Kansas Territory,” Transactions of the Kansas State Historical Society 8 (1904): 253-254.
Hofer, Reinhard. “Tracing American Franz From the Bavarian Forest to Kansas,” translation of an article published in a German magazine, in possession of Barbara and Delbert Seiwald, Eudora, KS.
Holloway, J. N. History of Kansas. Lafayette, Ind., 1868.
Hoy, James F. “A Note on Quantrill’s Sack of Lawrence,” Heritage of Kansas 12.1 (1979): 3-4.
Johnson, Monica. Fred Reetz. 28 April 1986.
Johnson, Samuel. “The Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas,” Kansas Historical Quarterly 15 (November 1932): 429-441. “Journal of the Eudora Township Relief Committee,” Proceeding Minutes, 1 December 1860 to 22 June 1861. [Collection 633, Box 4, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, KS]. Kansas City Star. 19 July, 1903. [Quantrill]
Kappler, Charles J., ed. Treaty with the Shawnee, May 10, 1854. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Vol. II (Treaties). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904. Vol. II, 618-626,
Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department. Long Range Physical Development Plan: Eudora, Kansas, 1985-2000. Prepared by Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department, City of Eudora, and Eudora Planning Commission.
Lindsey, S. English Quakers Tour Kansas in 1858. [From the Journal of Sarah Lindsey edited by Sheldon Jackson]. Kansas State Historical Quarterly 13.1 (February 1944): 36-52.
Litteer, Loreen. William Clarke Quantrill: The Man Who Burned Lawrence. Baldwin City, KS: Creative Publications, 1983.
McCauley, James R. Chapter 1 of The Kansas River Corridor─Its Geologic Setting, Land Use, Economic Geology, and Hydrology; Development and General Geology of the Kansas River Corridor. Kansas Geological Survey.
McGonigle, Josephine S. Mankind Yields: The History of Franklin a Thriving Town in Kansas Territory & the Role It Played in the Making of Our Country. Lawrence, KS: Meseraull Printing, 1978.
Mix, Larry & Carolyn. "Walnut Creek Ranches" on the Santa Fe Trail. Santa Fe Trail Research Site.
Möllhausen, H. B. "Over the Santa Fe Trail Through Kansas in 1858," trans., John A. Burzle; ed., Robert Burble. Kansas State Historical Quarterly, 16.4 (November 1948): 337-380.
Montgomery, Estelle. The Story of Sunflower Ordnance Works. Eudora, KS: Author, 1998.
Morgan, Perl W. History of Wyandotte County Kansas and Its People. Chicago, IL: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1911.
Mosher, Mary E. Judith (Mosher) Ebersole sent this unpublished essay to the Heart of America Genealogical Society in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1973. A copy of this account is in the Eudora Area Historical Society archives.
Nowlin Clifford, Hiram. My First Ninety Years: A Schoolmaster’s Story of His Life and Times. Kansas City, MO: Martin, 1955, 39.
Official Atlas of Kansas. H. Everts & Co.; Haskell & Wood, 1887.
Omer, George, Jr. An Army Hospital: From Dragoons to Rough Riders, Fort Riley, 1853-1903. Kansas Historical Quarterly 23.4 (Winter 1957), 337-367. [Physicians]
Paden, Irene. The Wake of the Prairie Schooner. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1943. [Bluejacket Ford]
Palmer, Emma B. “A Study of the German-American Turner Societies.” Masters thesis, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 1958.
Palmer, Joel. Journal of Travel Over the Rocky Mountains. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1966, 13-14.
Parrish, Fred Louis. “The Rise of Methodism in Kansas1830-1861: From Its Inception to the Opening of the Civil War.” Masters thesis, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 1922, 52.
Phillips, William. Conquest of Kansas by Missouri and her Allies. Boston, MA:
Phillips, Samson, & Co., 1856. [Bluejacket Ford]
Pilla, Frederick. Letter to “Dear Brother.” 21 September 1863. Spencer Collection, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.
Pollard, William C. Dark Friday: The Story of Quantrill’s Lawrence Raid. Big Springs, KS: Baranski Publishing, 1990.
Pomeroy, Samuel C. Letter to James Blood, 3 February 1855. [See Blood Collection (Collection 281), Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, KS]
Portrait and Biographical Record of Leavenworth, Douglas and Franklin Counties, Kansas: Containing Portraits, Biographies and Genealogies of Well Known Citizens of the Past and Present. Chapman Publishing Company, 1899.
Pratt, John G. Record of Indian Naturalizations. [See Record Group 21, Subgroup: Kansas (Topeka), in National Archives (Kansas City, MO).
Rampelmann, K. Small Town Germans of Lawrence, Kansas, 1854-1918." Masters thesis, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1993.
Root, George. “Ferries in Kansas Part XII - Marmaton River.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 6.1, (1937): 14-20.
Schulz, L. C. Quantrill’s War. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996.
Sears, William Henry Sears. The Paul Reveres of Lawrence, Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, Vol. XVII. Topeka, KS: State Printer, 1928.
Slapar, D. Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author, 1974. [Darlene Slapar made a map of the city of Eudora pinpointing 34 locations. ]
Smith, Flossie Everley. Eudora Reminiscences. Unpublished essay, no date. Eudora Public Library, Eudora, Kansas, and Douglas County Historical Society Archive, Lawrence, Kansas.
Sweets, Judith. “Douglas County Kansas and World War II: The Home Front and Beyond.” Lawrence, KS: Watkins Community Museum.
Hancks, Larry. The Emigrant Tribes: Wyandot, Delaware& Shawnee, a Chronology, The Emigrant Tribes (wyandotte-nation.org)
Twelfth Regiment Kansas Volunteers – Infantry Company E. Extracted from Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, 1861-1865. Topeka, Kansas: The Kansas State Printing Company, 1896.
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Weslager. C. A. The Delaware Indian Westward Migration. Wallingford, PA: The Middle Atlantic Press, 1978.
White [House], Rose Pyle. “Charles Pilla, A Pillar of Eudora.” Heritage of Kansas10.4 (1977): 29-36.
Wilson, Hill P. A Biographical History of Eminent Men of the State of Kansas. Topeka, KS: Hall Lithographics Co., 1901.
Unrau, William E. The Kansa Indians: A History of the Wind People, 1673-1873. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986.
Young, J. Q. A. In Life Sketches: Oregon Pioneer Biographies, 1889.
Photograph above, Eudora newspaper office in 1907; to right, Will Stadler, long-time editor
Newspapers, non-withstanding their possible historical inaccuracies, are a running record of their times. Much of the information used in this publication came from the local newspaper, which according to various accounts, was first printed May 20, 1886 by Morris Cain, originally from Ohio. With a small amount of used type and a Washington hand press, Cain opened an office at 735 Main Street on the “Haelsig Block” and was aided by May Schugert, Charles Caldwell, and Otho Gufler. He, similar to future editors, included news items from outerlying communities. Through the years, the newspaper would include regular mentions of communities such as Hesper, Weaver, Fall, Clearfield, Gardner, Hopewell, and DeSoto. In some of his editions, too, Cain featured items from “Camp Branch” where the Moll, Dolisi, Delahurt, Sauery, Schermehorn, and other families lived. “He took a notion that the community needed reforming and that a newspaper was the best means,” wrote later owner, Will Stadler, May 5, 1927 in the Eudora Weekly News. On July 28, 1889, George Brune, Lawrence, bought the newspaper from Caine, who went to work for the Kansas secretary of state and later Standard Oil in Wichita. Brune moved the office to rooms above the Eudora Department Store at 712 Main Street and installed an “Improved Prouty” Press used until 1931. Brune sold to W. A. Thompson, Leavenworth, who moved the business to the basement of the Old American House. Six months later, Thompson sold an interest to F. A. White, a dentist, and they published the Eudora Weekly News. William (“Will”) Stadler leased the plant on December 1, 1906for six months, from White and on June 1, 1907 he bought the 645-reader newspaper. All type for the paper was set by hand until 1919, when Stadler bought a Model L. Linotoype machine. Typesetters were Lizzie Koerner, Lizzie (Kunkel) Robinson, and Kenneth Cooper. Stadler leased the plant to Ralph Hemenway in June 1910 for six months, who went to edit the Haven Journal, located 15 miles southeast of Hutchinson. On January 1, 1911, Will Stadler, who had a knowledge of Eudora’s past and its residents unparalleled by his peers who operated the paper, again took charge of his newspaper. He sold it on May 1, 1914 to Flora Copple of Lecompton, who had J. A. Copple edit the more political oriented publication. Stadler bought it back 10 months later. E. Irick publisher, and Loretta Irick, editor, appeared on the nameplate before Stadler took it over again January 1, 1922. When Stadler was appointed postmaster in 1923, he leased the paper to Ralph Hemenway until April 1, 1924.
In 1928, Stadler sold the paper to Russel Dizmang of Blue Mound who moved the Eudora News to Ottawa. Marie (Robinson) Abels bought the News mail rights and subscription list in 1934 and hired Stadler as managing editor. Her husband printed the paper in Lawrence. Abels was owner and editor until 1958. Local correspondents included Minnie Edelbrock, Fern Long, and Maudie Couch. Eudora didn’t have a newspaper until 1966 when Jane Richards and D. D. Richards established the Eudora Enterprise, which covered the Eudora, Linwood, and Sunflower Village area, with Maudie Couch, the news editor for the Eudora area. In 1973, Monte Miller of Tele-graphics. Inc. in Belleville purchased the Eudora Enterprise. In 1979, the Enterprise became part of Tele-News, a combination of news from Wellsville and Baldwin. Because few Eudora people subscribed to paper, it folded. On July 5, 1989, The Eudora News was reborn when Bert and Vickie Hull began publishing from 729 Main Street with Stacie Neis as assistant and reporter, and later Teresa (Cowley) Abel as typist and office manager. The World Company of Lawrence, which operates the Lawrence Journal-World, bought the weekly Eudora News and DeSoto Explorer from the Hulls in March 2000 and moved the newspaper office to 1402-B Church Street. When it closed, John Schulz, started the online EudoraReporter.com, which supplied the community with news for a few years. Teri Finneman started a digital newspaper in 2020 called the Eudora Times with University of Kansas students for reporters. To access these newspapers, check online; visit The Center for Historical Research, 6425 SW Sixth Avenue in Topeka; or see the Lawrence Public Library (September 8, 1887 to January 21, 1923.
Steve Jansen, Watkins Museum, visited Eudora to chat about Eudora's history.