THE EARLY DAYS OF ONAGA'S EXISTENCE
Onaga Herald - February 15, 1894 -
Onaga is a city of the third class situated in the northeast corner
of Pottawatomie County, five miles form the north line of the county
and seven miles from the east line, at the edge of the fertile
valley of the Vermillion. It is said the name was that of a noted
Potawatomi chief, and was selected as the name of this city by
Mrs. James Merritt, Wamego. The town is situated on, and may properly
be said to be the child of, the Kansas Central Railroad. This road
runs from Leavenworth to Miltonvale, a distance of 166 miles, and
Onaga is situated 82 miles west of Leavenworth. The town is located
in the best agricultural and stock-growing region of Kansas and,
as an evidence of this fact, we have only to cite our readers to
the weekly reports contained in these columns of the stock shipments
made from this point and to the further facts that Onaga hasn't
a pauper, that our farmers are all well fixed financially, many
of them having large amounts of money deposited in the banks, and
many of them adding to their possessions each year, paying cash
for their accumulations.
As a further evidence of the prosperity of our agriculturists,
we wish to call particular attention to the fact that the political
coyote has found a very cold reception in this corner of the county.
The first house built on the town site was erected by Amos E.
Landon, father of F. B. Landon, in September 1877. this was the
hotel which later burned down. the first business house was built
by Hubbell and Son in November 1877. This is the building now occupied
by G. W. Teeter as a boarding house. Thomas O"Meara put up
a business house in the fall of 1877, on the corner where Kester's
Drug Store is now located. the building is the same one now occupied
by Riddell's Wagon Shop, and was moved off the former site in 1884,
by Amos E. Landon who built the stone building now occupied by
Early in 1878, the Thomas brothers built the building now occupied
by D. S. Baker. They later built the Miller Brothers building,
the Guffy residence, J. O. Booth house, the Harry Trout house,
and improved other property. In April 1879, the Rogers brothers
built the business house where the Gurtler brothers are doing business.
In June 1878, Henry Storch put up a building, partly on the present
site of the Exchange Bank and, later, cut it in half and moved
it to where it now stands as Storch's Store.
The first child born in the town site was Lulu Foote, daughter
of Mrs. O. B. Foote, who then lived on the brow of the hill in
the southeast part of the town, overlooking the beautiful valleys
of the Vermillion and Dutch Creeks.
On August 15, 1879, Judge Morton declared the town a city of the
third class and on August 29, the following city officers were
elected: Mayer - R. A. Thomas; Police Judge - A. E. Landon; Treasurer
- J. R. Thomas; Clerk - G. C. Nold; Marshal - K. S. Randall; Councilmen
- R. S. Riehl, E. D. Gillett, Thomas O'Meara, C. A. Viles, and
J. H. Randall.
The first postmaster in the city was Amos E. Landon, who resigned
in favor of S. A. Stauffer, Joe Scott came next, then A. W. Chabin,
W. A. Heald, A. McClellan, and Kate Hutchinson, the present incumbent.
On May 9, 1878, the first issue of the "Onaga Journal" made
its debut, under the proprietorship of S. A. Stauffer, who now
runs the "Overbrook Herald" in Osage County. On October
1, 1885, A. W. Chabin purchased the "Journal office and changed
the name to the "Onaga Democrat." On April 1, 1890, Mr.
Chabin sold the "Democrat" to the present proprietor
of the "Onaga Herald", F. S. Haughawaut. Under the present
management, the office has been quadrupled in its capacity and
facility for all kinds of county work until it is second to no
office in the county. Whether its patronage by the businessmen
of Onaga has kept pace with the enterprise of the proprietor, we
leave our readers to judge.
From the little directory published in 1881, we take the following
list of men and firms doing business in the city at that time.
There are a few firms still doing business here at the present
time, many have gone to other parts of the country, and some are
dead. The list is as follows: Thomas Brothers, hardware, merchants,
lumber dealers and bankers; G. C. Nold, Druggist; J. J. Lamarsna,
loan and real estate agent; C. D. Robers, hardware and agricultural
implements; Hubbell and Son, general merchants;S. A. Stauffer,
editor, "Onaga Journal"; George Bennett, proprietor of
Landon House; J. J. Jeffrey, furniture and musical instruments;
A. Hyman, general merchant; R. S. Riehl, harness maker; Lamarsna
and Inglasbe, livery and feed stable; Thomas O'Meara, general merchant;
A. E. Landon, banker and real estate agent; Joseph Pecheur, general
In 1881, there were two secret society lodges - the Masons and
the A.O.U. W. Now there are nine civic societies, the A.O.U.W.
having ceased to exist.
There were four churches present, as there are now, but, instead
of the Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church has been substituted.
The city government consisted of C. D. Rogers, Mayer; G. C. Nold,
Clerk; R. A. Thomas, Treasurer; W. F. Challis, Police Judge; L.
Fields, marshal; and A. E. Landon, J. B. Hubbell, Thomas O'Meara,
C. S. Viles and T. J. Roosa, Councilmen.
The school board consisted of James Lewis, Director; J. W. Garnett,
Treasurer, and A. E. Landon, Clerk.
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