Onaga, Kansas
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Onaga Main Street 1920's
Onaga Main Street - circa 1920's





James Arganbright, son of Jesse and Mary Arganbright, was born near Chilicothe, Ohio, February 5, 1871, and died at his home near Onaga March 4, 1942. At the age of seven years, he came to Kansas with his parents and spent the remainder of his life in this state.

On June 29, 1892, he was married to Nora Honsted and to this union five children were born. One child died in infancy and one son died in 1938. Nora, died December 5, 1909.

On February 5, 1914, he married Lillie Stafford, who was born in Yankton, Dakota Territory, October 24, 1875. They had two daughters: Ida married Clifford Chance; Psyche married Wallace Fagan. Lillie Arganbright died November 29, 1947.




Arthur William "Bill" Ballantine was born at Westmoreland July 2, 1901, the son of Oliver Cooper and Maude Ann Thompson Ballentine. Oliver was born in Madison County, IA, and Maude was born in New Concord, OH. Bill had three brothers, Lester, Merle, and Orville, and one sister, Garnett Robbins.

On December 18, 1935, he married Wilma B. Burdette, daughter of Thomas Powhattan and Etta Adell McDevitt Burdette. Thomas was born in Putnam County, West VA, and Etta in Earlville, IL. Wilma was born at Havensville on March 14, 1910. She had one brother and three sisters.

Bill worked as a brakeman for the Union Pacific Railroad for a few years and then worked for the Jayhawk Creamery for about fourteen years, later becoming district manager. He helped build the Onaga Hospital under Bill Pyle, and worked in maintenance at the hospital for ten years. Mr. and Mrs. Ballantine operated a retail liquor business in Onaga from 1959, until Bill died April 17, 1971. Wilma ran the business until she sold it in December of 1980.




James P. Basket moved from Missouri to Leavenworth County in 1852. From there he came with his wife, Florella, and daughter, Alice, in 1871, and settled on the place owned by James Jenkins northeast of Laclede in Center Township. Alice married Charles Day in 1872, and died in 1892.

Richard Guffy, cousin of James and Elizabeth Guffy, came to Onaga in 1868, and homesteaded the place where Charles Guffy lived, in section 22, Vienna Township. Coming with him were his children: Hattie (Mrs. James A. Taylor), May (Mrs. Frank Day), and Ella (Mrs. W. O. DeGraw). His other children born at Onaga were Cora (Mrs. Fred Brown), Grant, Charles, and Etta (Mrs. George Newlin).

Frank Day and May Guffy were married. To this union were born four children: Blanche (Mrs. J. D. Crum); Bertha (Mrs. Colonel Carl); Opal (Mrs. Lester Grover); and Garnett (Mrs. Pose Sumner).




Lloyd Bays was born on a farm near Winchester, KS, October 29, 1889. He married Lillie Zabel, who was born in Westmoreland. Lloyd spent his boyhood days in the vicinity of Arrington and Oskaloosa. In his later childhood he moved with his parents to Onaga where his family operated a hotel. His business career began with a partnership in a carpenter shop. Later he took employment with the power company in Onaga. In 1919, he and E. L. Frezieres formed a partnership known as the Onaga Electric Service Company. In 1934, Mr. Bays sold out to Mr. Frezieres and together with his son, established the Bays Motor Company.

Mr. and Mrs. Bays had two children, Orville Bays and Annabelle Thomas. Mr. Bays died December 29, 1966, and Mrs. Bays died April 17, 1975. They are buried in the Onaga Cemetery.




Everett Bonjour and Bertha Nicewander Bonjour were married in 1951. They moved to the Armand Bonjour farm in 1952. Everett and Lee Dronberger bought the Onaga Locker from Mrs. Alice Bonjour in 1952.

In 1962, they bought the Gurtler Hardware Store and moved to Onaga in 1963. In 1970, they sold the Onaga Locker to Larry Rollenhagen, the contents of the hardware store to Delbert Platte and the building to Charles Grutzmacher. Mr. Grutzmacher had the hardware store torn down to make a drive-in window on the west side of the First National Bank.




Charles Lester Brimer was born at St. George, KS, on March 10, 1901, the son of Thomas and Stella Matthews Brimer. He started work, riding fence, on the Pitney Ranch, when he was seventeen years old. Later, he farmed near Onaga. He started the Brimer Truck Line in 1934, and owned it until he sold it to Paul Hill in January of 1969. He owned and operated the Sinclair Service Station from 1942 until it was sold to Paul Weber in January of 1977. He was a Pioneer Seed Salesman for over thirty years. He died May 14, 1980, and is buried in the Onaga Cemetery. He had lived in the Onaga vicinity for 57 years. Lester and his wife, Dorothy, had two daughters , Rae Charlene and Mary Elizabeth.





Carl Edward Brunner, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Brunner, was born April 19, 1893, at Onaga.

On February 26, 1917, he married Lena Ladner, daughter of George and Elizabeth Ladner. Their children were Dorothy Metzler and Jean Lefebvre Peterman. Jean married Ernest E. Lefebvre May 9, 1944. He died in a train car accident on March 16, 1951, and Jean died in a car wreck October 9, 1952.




Louis E. Brunkow was born September 3, 1922, near Onaga. His parents were Almon T. Sr., and Elsie L. Brunkow. Louis had two brothers, LaVern and Almon, and a sister, Verda Deveney. He married Ramona Grafton, daughter of William and Grace Ladner Grafton. They had three sons and a daughter.

Louis was a veteran of World War II. He served about forty months in the U. S. Army, part of which was in the European Theater of Operations, and received the Bronze Star for heroism in combat in Germany.

He operated service stations in Onaga until he became a rural mail carrier. He was also in the insurance business. He died February 2, 1976, and is buried in the Onaga Cemetery.




Henry "Hank" Brunner was one of six children born to Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Brunner. He was born December 9, 1888, and died February 12, 1973. He was in the Army during World War I, returned to Onaga and was an auctioneer for years in and around Onaga. He was quite a horseman and was seen frequently riding his horse around town.




Oscar T. Bureman, a veteran of world War I, came to Onaga in October of 1926, from Scandia, with his wife Susie and three children: Kenneth, Oscar J.(Joyce), and Ruth. In November of 1927, a fourth child, Frank, was born. Oscar worked as an attendant at Frezieres Super Service gasoline station for about fifteen years. In 1950, Oscar retired because of ill health. Susie died in 1969, and Oscar died in 1970.




In 1957 three Carl brothers, Nate, Grayson and Ernie, bought the restaurant located at 328 Leonard Street, and named it Carl's Steak House. In 1958, Grayson bought out his brother's interest in the business and he and his wife, Marjorie, ran it together until they sold the restaurant in 1971 to Mr. and Mrs. Larry Graf.




A. J. Conaway, his wife Barbara and children John, Anna, Brice T., James, and George, came to this locality from Valley Falls about 1869. They came from Pennsylvania the year before. Mr. Conaway settled on a homestead in Lone Tree Township, Section 12, where a daughter, Rose, was born. John married Charity Allen in 1877. They lived in the Fostoria community. Anna married George Hess in 1870.

Brice Thomas Conaway was born in Carthouse, PA, September 16, 1859. He spent most of his life in Onaga, and worked at the carpenter trade helping to build Onaga. Many houses in this town and in the country were the work of his hands.

He was baptized in French Creek in 1876. He married Pearl Hause in 1910. They had one son.




Philip Cosandier, son of Eliza (Bonjour) and Louis Cosandier, was born in Lignieres, Canton De Neuchatel, Switzerland, March 17, 1885. On November 26, 1887, Louis Cosandier sailed from the port of LaHavre on the French ship "La Bretagne" for Neuchatel, KS, landing at New York via Norfolk, VA. He was 39 years old. The fare for his passage was 283 francs plus 50 francs to be paid "A la conclusion due contrat" (at the conclusion of the contract). On May 5, 1888, Eliza and her four children sailed from LaHavre to New York with 260 kilos of baggage. Their fare was 620 francs, plus the usual 50 francs to be paid on their arrival in America.

The children were: Pauline, age six and one-half; Louis, five; Henri Phillipe, three; and Paul, one and one-half. They landed in New York City, tired and hungry. Eliza, who could speak French, Czech and German, but did not speak English, was having difficulty getting her baggage checked through customs. Her small children were crying and she was feeling frustrated and confused when a kind man who could speak French finally explained to her the procedure of getting through customs. Her baggage was checked at last, so the family could board the train for Centralia, KS. Louis met his family in Centralia and took them by wagon to their farm north of Neuchatel. Louis Robert died in October, 1888. Another son, Louis Auguste, was born in 1889, and died the following year.

Philip attended school in Neuchatel and worked on the family farm. After completing his schooling at Neuchatel, his brother Paul attended a business college in Grand Island, NE, and following his graduation was employed by Updike Grain Company in Omaha. Paul persuaded Philip to come to Omaha and work for Updike Grain. Philip worked in Omaha until 1909, when he and Paul purchased one of the two lumber yards in Onaga from the Farmers Lumber Company, and incorporated it under the name of Onaga Lumber Company. Philip became general manager of this yard and continued in that capacity until his retirement in 1965.

From 1909 until Paul's untimely death in 1922, the two brothers bought several retail lumber yards in Nebraska and Missouri, and invested in a wholesale lumber company in Lincoln, NE. In 1912, the Onaga Lumber Company purchased the local elevator from the Western Elevator Company at Holton and the combined business became the Onaga Lumber and Grain Company. In 1938, the corporation was dissolved and Philip became the sole proprietor. Philip also had interests in yards at Duluth and Wheaton.

On January 3, 1912, Leah Rossier and Philip Cosandier were married in Topeka. Leah, daughter of Colin and Rosalie Gilson Rossier, was born on a farm near Neuchatel September 27, 1886. Her father, Colin Louis Rossier, was born in Rougemont, Canton de Vaud, Switzerland, August 29, 1840. Records show that Rossiers had lived in Canton de Vaud since the year 1459. A Rossier was governor of the Canton. Colin Rossier's parents moved to Neuchatel, Switzerland when he was still a child. When he was 17 years of age, he decided to come to America. For several years, he worked as a chef on a transatlantic steamer before coming to Neuchatel. He bought a farm just three miles north of the little village named after his home in Switzerland.

Neighbors adjoining his farm were an immigrant family which came from Belgium, first settling in a French community in Kansas in 1866. Their name was Gilson. Francis Gilson, his wife, Therese, and their three children, Rosalie, Alexander, and Desiree. Mrs. Gilson died two years after their arrival in Kansas. The Gilson family and Colin Rossier became close friends, and did much of their farming together. Eventually, Colin married the older daughter, Rosalie, when she was 18 years old. To this union six children were born - five daughters and one son, who died in infancy.

The daughters were: Leonie (Bonjour), Leah (Cosandier), Louise (Surdez), Lucy, and Tillie (Gorman). Colin Rossier died March 6, 1895, leaving his widow with five little girls, the oldest ten years and the youngest nine months old. Leah was eight years old when her father died, and much of her childhood was spent doing field work on the family farm. In 1898, Rosalie married Armand Chatelain. To this union, three daughters were born. They were Marguerite (Noell) and Alice, whose twin died at birth. Mr. Chatelain died in 1902.

Leah attended schools at Neuchatel and Seneca, where the family lived for a few years. She worked for a time as an apprentice with a dressmaker in Seneca and followed that profession until she moved to Onaga in 1909. There she worked as a clerk in Leamer's Mercantile Store until her marriage. Philip and Leah built a new home at 601 Leonard, and moved into it in February, 1915. They were the parents of three daughters.

Philip was proud to be an American citizen and took an active part in civic affairs. He served many years on the City Council, and was Mayor of Onaga from 1929 to 1933. During these years, the sewer system was installed in Onaga, natural gas mains were laid, and some streets were paved. He also served on the Pottawatomie county Fair Board for many years, and was one of the original stockholders.

He had a keen interest in sports of all kinds, and was one of the organizers and staunch supporters of the Onaga baseball team which was organized in 1926, as a member of the Northeast Kansas Baseball League.

He took great pride in his seven grandchildren and his great grandson. Philip died December 20, 1968, at the age of 83.




Henry Downs Crum was born in Austin, MN, February 21, 1855, and passed away at his home in Onaga October 28, 1935, at the age of 80 years. He came to Whiting with his parents in July of 1870. He was married to Jeanette Southerland on August 10, 1875, at Netawaka, and moved to Onaga. To this union were born eight children: Penn, John, Jay Downs, Clyde, Calvin, and two sons and one daughter who passed away in infancy. He had one sister, Dora C. Denton. Mr.Crum was the overseer of the Kellogg Ranch at Netawaka for 16 years; spent four years in Effingham; and from there moved to his farm north of Onaga where he engaged in stock raising until he retired in 1900.

Jay Downs Crum, son of Jeanette Southerland and Henry Downs Crum, was born in Onaga November 23, 1888, and passed away November 15, 1953. He was married to Blanche Day on March 9, 1915, in Onaga. To this union were born six children: Collins M. Mary Jane (who died at the age of seven), Edna Mae , Marjorie Ellen, Betty Faye, and Jay Charles.

J. D. Crum was graduated from Southwestern College of Optometry in Kansas City, MO, and established a jewelry store and optometric office in Onaga on April 1, 1910. In 1947, he sold the jewelry store, but continued his optometric practice.




Baptiste Dulac was born December 11, 1882. He married Esther Becker, who was born April 30, 1886, in the Coal Creek community. He came to Onaga when he was 34 years old, and lived here until his death February 12, 1939.

In 1905, he erected the stone building next to Miller's Hardware and opened a furniture store. He later sold the store and went into the garage business which he ran until 1918. He was then engaged in overseeing the farm. In 1932, his sons Glen and Howard purchased the Standard Filling Station which they sold two years later and took over the Ford agency and garage. They also owned and operated the Onaga Theater for many years.

Glen A. Dulac was born May 8, 1905. He married Leona Elder, daughter of Charles Layton and Viola May basham Elder. Their children are Keith, Darlene, Alice, Charles, Greg, and Beth.

Howard Dulac was born July 27, 1907, and died march 30, 1950. He married Evelyn Elder, a sister of Leona Elder Dulac. They are the parents of Lyle, Dorothy, James, and Elaine.

An item in the Onaga Herald on August 9,1906, states "Baptiste Dulac has the distinction of being the first citizen of Onaga to own an automobile. He bought a big car the first of the week - - one that holds five passengers."




Yvo Ebert was the owner of Ebert Motor Company in Onaga before his death on July 29, 1963.

He married Patricia Ferrell. They had twelve children -- Barbara, Bill, Bernard, Ralph, Louise, Jerome, Edward, Harold, Kevin, Shawn, Maureen and Gregory. Bill and Bernard were both in the U.S. Armed Services overseas, while the family lived in Onaga.




Walter and Velma Eisenbarth were married June 16, 1948, at the Assumption Church in Topeka. they came to Onaga from Topeka and Walter worked in the meat department of Harvey's I.G.A. store.

In 1956, Walter and Velma started the variety store and in 1964, took over the I.G.A. grocery store.

On September 7, 1979, the grocery store was consumed by a raging fire. It was a tremendous loss to the entire community.

The Eisenbarth's have three children, James, Linda and Rick.




William H. Elliott was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1857, and came to the United States when he was 21 years old. He worked in New York and later came to Kansas.

He was married to Lena Michalls in December 1884. From this union, four children were born, Frank, Earl (Pat), Tom and Elizabeth.

He was a farmer and lived one mile west of Onaga for many years. W. H. Elliot died in 1938, and his wife, Lena, died in 1935.

Earl(Pat) Elliott spent most of his life in Onaga. On March 8, 1938, he married Grace Neiberger, and in 1947, they moved to Granby, CO, and returned to Onaga in September 1950. On October 24, 1950, they owned and operated the liquor store for many years.

Pat was ill with cancer for several years and passed away December 22, 1978. Grace is still living in Onaga. His sister Elizabeth, died some years ago. Tom Elliott married Stella Barton; they are living in Eugene,OR. Frank Elliott is living in Marysville.




Frank and Cecile (Stanley) Ewing and their daughter, Marjorie, came to Onaga from Goff in August of 1919. Frank was manager of the Standard Oil Company. Nine years later, he had his own business as a distributor for Shell Products. Frank took a leading part in all athletic activities of the community -- baseball, golf and basketball, as well as being a booster for every worthwhile enterprise of the town.

In the early '40's, he was elected Sheriff of Pottawatomie County and served two terms.

He had also been the mainstay of the Onaga baseball team during his first ten years in Onaga. He enjoyed the distinction of being one of the best third basemen in these parts. He was a tireless worker in getting the golf course established and also in its maintenance.

Frank was born April 23, 1890, and died April 22, 1958. Cecile was born March 18, 1894, and died January 2, 1978. They are buried in the Onaga Cemetery. Marjorie married Clifford Labbe and has two sons, Frank and James.




Ludwig Falkenstien came to America in 1746, from Germany. He settled in Pennsylvania. In 1867, Jesse Falkenstien, who was born May 5, 1936, and died in 1874, came to Onaga. He had three daughters and one son, Lester, who was born April 27, 1871. Lester had three sons, Jesse, Earl and Gene, and three daughters, Alma, Dana and Isla. Lester died February 8, 1926.

Jesse was born May 30, 1895. He married Laura Taylor. They had three sons, Phil, Wayne (deceased), and Hal. Phil married Joan McClain; Wayne married Anna Belle Hayes; and Hal married Ann Ogg.

Hal and Ann have a son, Terry (deceased), and a daughter, Kathy. Earl was born March 18, 1897. He married Edith Gosper. They are the parents of Max and Sandra.

Gene has a separate story in this book.

Lester Falkenstien owned a furniture store in 1915, which he sold to Roy tessendorf in 1921.




Gene O. Falkenstien was born November 5, 1908, south of Onaga. He served in the navy in the South Pacific in World War II. He married Geraldine Trivett who was born September 19, 1911, in Oregon. They owned and operated Gene's Western Auto Store in Onaga for about 24 years before selling the business to Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Platt in 1969.

Gene died August 1, 1974, and Geraldine died in 1977. they had one daughter, Judy.




Ernest L. Frezieres (Kilowatt), after marrying Elsie Tessendorf on November 3, 1909, worked in mechanics. He later built the first electric light plant in Onaga. He was responsible for the initial wiring of most of the homes in Onaga. In later years, he owned and operated machine shops and service stations in Onaga and Havensville. He retired about 1964, and died July 30, 1974.




Ray Galloway and his wife, Margaret, came to Onaga in 1943, when they purchased the filling station business from his brother, Ed Galloway. Ray and Margaret had previously lived in Denver and Topeka.

During the early 1900's, a few of the people managed, after much difficulty, to come to the United States. Many family members were separated and were not allowed to come to western Kansas with other members of their families. Ray's maternal and paternal grandparents were among the early western Kansas settlers who came to the Bazine, Hoisington and Burdette areas, for which they were very, very thankful. Ploughing the prairie, grasshopper invasions, dust storms, and illness, caused hardships for Ray's grandparents and parents, but still they often repeated how they thanked God for their new country.

He retired in 1972.

Sylvia Galloway, because of ill health, died December 9, 1980, and is buried in the Onaga Cemetery.




August Gaume and his son, Meryl, moved their grocery and meat market to their new location in June of 1935. This building was the former Onaga Feed Company. This new location was across the street from the Post Office at that time, and was remodeled and redecorated.

August Gaume was the son of Peter and sarah Becker Gaume. He married Sarah Belle Hoover, daughter of Henry and Melinda Eytchison Hoover.

Meryl P. Gaume, their son, was born March 28, 1902. He lived all of his life in Onaga. On October 6, 1925, he married Velma Dodds. They operated the Gaume Market from 1928 to 1960. Meryl died February 25, 1975.




Daisy Graf (see Graf story) owned and operated the Dinner Belle Cafe for eight years.




William B. Grafton was born September 18, 1895, and lived most of his life in the Onaga community. He was a farmer and stockman and later worked as a butcher for the Onaga Locker. He married Grace Ladner. Their children are Donis Smith, Ramona Brunkow Mueting, Joan McNeill, Rex Grafton and George Grafton. Mr. Grafton died June 19, 1968.




Harvey R. Gray is a life-long resident of the Onaga community, a successful businessman and a community leader.

Soon after high school, Harvey began a trucking business which he later sold. One day in about 1923, a Swift & Company buyer of poultry, eggs and cream asked Harvey if he would run his buying station while he spent two weeks at home for Christmas. He never came back. Harvey continued to buy poultry and eggs and expanded into the grocery business. For more than 30 years, he sold groceries, having started with a small building and later expanding into a new and larger building for his IGA grocery business. He purchased an adjacent building in which he and Walt and Velma Eisenbarth started the Onaga Variety Store.

In the late '50s, harvey Gray and two other Onaga businessmen, Roy Tessendorf and Joseph Woods, determined that Onaga needed a nursing home. Thus, Golden Acres, Inc. was formed and the nursing home became a reality in 1959. On August 25, 1980, Golden Acres broke ground for a large expansion from 34 beds to 55 beds and many other modern improvements. Harvey is president of the board of directors of Golden Acres, Inc. He is actively interested and spends considerable time in this avocation.

Not long after Golden Acres, Inc. was formed, Harvey and Roy started the Onaga Building Company which purchased several parcels of land for development. the Onaga clinic is on one of these parcels of land.

For many years, Harvey has been a member of the Onaga development Company, ten of which he served as president. He is still a member of the board. The Onaga Development Company was instrumental in beginning a garment factory which still exists and provides a number of jobs and a sizable payroll for the community. Harvey has been chairman of the Cemetery Association since 1955. He has served on the City Council. He is a member of the Onaga Housing Authority which was formed in 1969, and opened a 16-unit apartment complex in June, 1980.




John Gurtler, his wife Barbara, and their two children Wesley and Margaret, set out for America in 1853, from Bohemia on a sailing vessel. After a voyage of 14 weeks, they landed at New York City. They first went to Ohio, where John enlisted in Company K, 46th Ohio Infantry and fought under Generals Sherman and Grant for three years. After the war they came to Kansas and secured land in Mill Creek Township, Section 8.

Wesley Gurtler married Dora Schwartz, daughter of Andrew and Dora Schwarz, who had come from Germany and first settled in Mill Creek Township in Section 16. Peter Gurtler married Maggie Ladner in 1878. She was the daughter of George and Barbara Ladner who came to this country from Switzerland. their son, Ed. R. Gurtler, was born November 14, 1889. He served in the U.S. Navy during World war I.

Ed married Maud A. Taylor on August 16, 1919. She was graduated from Bethany Hospital School of Nursing in Kansas City. She served as nurse in Europe during World War I, and later worked in Topeka and the Onaga Community Hospital for many years. She was born December 9, 1888, and died March 13, 1974. The Gurtler brothers, Peter and Wesley started a hardware business in Garrison, KS, in 1883. In 1886 they purchased the hardware business form the Roger Bros. in Onaga and moved to this city. The firm name was established as Gurtler Bros. and Company. The firm prospered and in 1895, a new stone building was erected. Henry Schwartz worked for them.

In 1902, the brothers dissolved partnership. Wesley going into the Carriage Repository Business in the building that now houses the locker plant. The firm name was changed to Peter Gurtler Hardware. Peter died in December of 1931, and from then on his son was the sole owner. He also had the Gurtler Implement Company -- a line of International Harvester machinery, with parts and service. In 1962, he retired and sold the store to Everett Bonjour. Ed died in 1965. Both he and his father were active in civic affairs and worked hard for the good of Onaga.




John Walter Hall, son of Marris B. and Isabella H. Hall, was born July 5, 1890, at Oketo, and died December 31, 1939, at Muskogee, OK. On October 1, 1914, he was married to Ida Ethel Wilhoit at Seneca.

He was a graduate of the Kansas City veterinary College in 1913, and started practice at Onaga in 1914. He enlisted in world War I on August 23, 1917, and spent six months overseas. He received an honorable discharge February 21, 1919, with a rank of First Lieutenant. He was a veterinarian at Onaga until August of 1934, when he and his wife moved to New Mexico. He was transferred to Oklahoma City, OK, November 1, 1937.

"Doc" Hall, as he was familiarly called, was a genial, outgoing man of keen intellect. He was a friend to all. He possessed a large collection of firearms in which he took great pride.

Ida Ethel (Wilhoit) Hall, daughter of Frank and mary (Ratekin) Wilhoit, was born September 27, 1890. She worked in the general store at Centralia for Mr. Granger, and for Mr. Hogg when he purchased the store. After her marriage to Dr. Hall, she worked at the Kester Drug Store and for many years at the Berges Drug Store in Onaga. She returned to Centralia after his death and still maintains her home there.

UPDATE -- I did want to send you an update for your site. My aunt Ethel is listed as living in Centralia. Unfortunately she passed away in 1980 and is buried next to my uncle, Dr. John Walter Hall in the Vermillion, KS cemetery. I am attaching pictures of both tombstones. Rick Hawkins Summerfield, NC




Bert Handley was born at Fairview, KS, in 1883. As a young man, he worked on the Knox ranch north of Havensville. In 1913, he married Miss Minnie McClellan. They were the parents of Bud, deceased; Lucille Armstrong, and Gladys Gillenwater. In 1923, the family moved to Havensville where Bert was city marshal for two years. In 1925, he began to work for the county. Minnie passed away in March of 1927. He later married Mrs. Evelyn Richmond Porter. She had a small daughter, Phyllis. In 1930, the family moved to Onaga and Bert continued to work for the county. Three children were born: Melvin (Tobe), who is a KPL Foreman at Onaga, married Mary Jean Grim. They have a daughter, Melinda.

Their son Dale "Tex" Handley, who lives on a farm southwest of Onaga, is with the Corps of Engineers. He married Neva Dean Graf. They have three children: Michael, Patrick, and Elizabeth.

Judy was born April 8, 1945.

During the W.P.A. days, Bert helped build the city water filtering plant and the pavilion and rock seats at the fairgrounds. After this he worked with Bob Truitt in masonry. Their first project was the large fireplace in the homes of Richard Rosenfield and Leonard Ottman. Stratton Noble joined them and they did many basements and pointing of many rock buildings. Two of their largest projects were the building of the garment factory and the Catholic Church. Robert Kufahl also assisted in building the garment factory.

Bert passed away April 5, 1963. Later Evelyn married Frank Novak.




Archie Lloyd Hays was the son of Alpha Elba and Cora Alice Hathaway Hayes. He was born September 23, 1904, and died October 9, 1973, in Onaga. He married Julia Hutchinson, daughter of Zetta Guffy and Francis Hutchinson, in August of 1927. Roy and Lorena Tessendorf were their attendants.

Julia was born January 11, 1906, in Onaga. Archie was a musician and played for dances and special events in the Onaga vicinity and in Wamego, where he and Julia moved. He worked for Skelly Oil Company until he returned, and they moved back to Onaga. Julia makes her home in Onaga.

They had three children: Larry, Mary Jo, and Joye.




Noyce Hayden Hayward was born in Montpelier, VT, July 12, 1873. He was left an orphan at the age of 10. His father, mother, sister and brother all died at about the same time of what was then called consumption. An uncle, Jim Hayward of Boston, took the remaining children, Augustine, Pauline and Noyce to care for.

Noyce was employed by Samuel Taylor, father of Sarah Taylor, who he married on February 1, 1899. For a time Noyce was rural mail carrier, using a horse and buggy, but found it difficult in the snowy, rainy weather. He later ran a grocery store for many years on the east side of main street. When he was forced to close the doors of the store, he ran a creamery and was employed by the Swartz and Lynn Grocery and Dry Goods store.

Noyce served as Sunday School superintendent and song leader. Sarah helped in the Ladies aid. Both were interested in lodge work. Sarah, or "Libbie" as she was affectionately called, was secretary of the Royal Neighbors Lodge for many years. Noyce was a Modern Woodman and led a crack drill team. They were judged first many times.

As parents of nine children -- Harold, Ernest, Wallace, Nelson, Iva, Zella, Myra, Edith and Bertha, they were interested in and involved with school activities for many years. Noyce enjoyed sports, especially baseball, and would attend the games at the ballpark. On Sunday afternoons after the game, it was customary to go to the Kester Drug Store for ice cream to take to Grandmother Taylor's as a treat for all.

By Mrs. Myra Marcoux




Lester Irwin was born at Havensville, where he spent his early life. He lived in Onaga about 30 years, working in the post office as clerk and then as postmaster from 1944 to 1964.

He married Ruth Ingalsbe. They had one daughter, Jodeane Reese. Ruth died in 1963 and Lester died July 31, 1971.




May Jenison, daughter of Newton R. Jenison and Lavina King Jenison, was born on a farm south of Onaga. She was one of seven children. In 1937, she opened the Jenison Store in Onaga, and operated it until her death on November 29, 1950.




Roland M. and Goldie B. Johnson moved to Onaga in January of 1937, and lived in the Eli Pinet residence in the southern part of Onaga. Roland was employed by Kansas Power and Light company at the time. In 1942, they purchased the Onaga Produce Company from Thomas Wood, and operated this business until they sold out and moved to Greeley, CO, in 1950. Roland and Goldie built the home on High Street, presently owned by Dr. Thomas E. Walsh. Mr. and Mrs. Roland M. Johnson live in Longmont, CO. They have three sons: Roger H. Johnson, Morgan A. Johnson, and Dr. Philip N. Johnson. Roger and Morgan are graduates of Onaga High School and married local girls. Philip married Elizabeth Arnett.




Leroy Keeney was born in the Coal Creek community, the son of Jade and Rosa Keeney. He was 64 years old when he died August 28, 1960. He spent most of his life in Onaga. He was a veteran of World War I. He was a barber for sixteen years, and then worked in the post office until illness forced him to retire. Roy married Gertrude Bonjour, and a daughter, Marjorie Jenkins, was born to this union. He had two brothers, Earl and Claude, and two sisters, Ida Umphenour and Blanch Stotts.




William F. Kolterman was born near Onaga February 13, 1890. His parents were William Frederick and Wilhelmina Wege Kolterman. He had four sisters -- Amelia, who married Otto Teske; Anna Louise (Lizzie) who married Fred Williams; Helena, who married James Leach; and Ida, who married Albert Tolliver.

William F. married Elizabeth Pioch, St. Joseph, MO, on October 19, 1919. They had four children, Neil, Paul, Mrs. Gladys Gavell and Mrs. Mildred Yardley. William was a merchant in Onaga beginning in 1921. He was Mayor of Onaga for several years. Mr. Kolterman died July 5, 1965.

Mrs. Kolterman was born October 31, 1894, and died July 31 1974. They are buried in the Onaga Cemetery.

Paul Kolterman served for three and one-half years in the Army in the European theatre during World War II.




Henry C. Krouse, a native of New Jersey, came to Kansas in 1854. His parents, Henry and Charlotta Collinsburg Krouse, came to the United States from Hanover, Germany. Henry C. Krouse was born September 12, 1843. He joined Company C of the state militia and helped drive Marmaduke and Price out of Ft. Scott, KS, in the winter of 1863-1864.

He married Mrs. Sarah E. Wenstead, who was born July 8, 1848. Her first husband, James Winstead, had died leaving one child, Harvey Winstead, who later married Maggie Teeter. The Krouse children were -- James.M., Arthur, Walter M., Charles L., and Ada M. In 1877, he bought the farm of Reuban DeGraw. He lived in Section 18, Vienna Township and has land in Sherman Township.

Lorenzo Washington Krouse, son of the above Henry Krouse who came from Germany, was born May 22, 1848, in New Jersey. He died December 7, 1920, and is buried in Fox Cemetery.

Lorenzo Krouse came to Mill Creek with his brother, Henry Krouse, and made his home with him for a while.

Mrs. Henry Krouse was a half-sister of Mary Eliza Garoutte. When Lorenzo and Mary Eliza were married, they stayed at the Krouse farm for two years before moving to Sherman township. This farm is still owned by the Krouse family and farmed by one of the grandsons.

Seven children were born to Lorenzo and Mary Krouse -- Cora Mae Mason, September 23, 1877; William E. Krouse, February 2, 1880; John Oscar Krouse, March 26, 1882; Agnes E. Krouse Engelhorn, October 23, 1885 (died August 13, 1968); Lawrence H. Krause, April 7, 1887 (died February 6, 1933); Ernest M. Krouse, October 18, 1889 (died April 12, 1945); Rolla B. Krouse, February 22, 1894 (died in 1968).

Charles Krouse lived his entire life in the Onaga community. He was a farmer and former operator of a livery service in Onaga. In 1935, he became postmaster of Onaga. He served as councilman, city clerk, and on the school board. He was a charter member of the Pottawatomie County Fair Association. He was elected to the Kansas Senate and represented the 18th district for four years. He also had a real estate and insurance business before he retired. He married Bessie R. Crumbaker, who was born march 30, 1884; and died February 7, 1933. They had a son, Gale E. Krouse. Charles later married Iva Sherwood.




Harvey Lewis married Iona Mayhew. When they first came to Onaga, he worked on the gas line which was coming into town, and later he worked for Walter and Arthur Teske as a mechanic. After this he ran the mail route from Onaga to Holton. Their children were: Ruby, Sherman, Bill, Edna Jean, Willard, Francis and John.

John, who married Phyllis Porter, is custodian and bus driver for the school at Onaga. Their son is Robert, and his wife, Pam Euver Lewis.




Albert Machiels came to Onaga in the year of 1895, and established a harness shop in partnership with his brother, Peter. He was in business for 53 years. His parents, Albert and Jennie Lelie Machiels, were born in Gerinchen, Holland. They came to the United States in 1853 and eventually to Morrisville, IL, where Albert was born December 10, 1864 and died March 13, 1949, in Onaga.

He had rooms above Gaume's Market, which was later Town and Country, owned by David Miller. He was a man who placed great value in his friendships and was, in turn, greatly admired and respected by the entire community. He took great interest in the youths of Onaga and his passing left a feeling of sadness.

His shop was where the laundromat and Bess Brunner's Bazaar ware is now. After his death, the building was remodeled and operated by Irene Humbert's dress shop and Kenny Johnson's and Paul Kelly's clothing store. Later the building was partitioned off, with one side made into the library and the other into the laundromat.

"On May 6, 1927, Albert recently moved from rooms above the Onaga State Bank to rooms above Peter Gaume's Feed Store. It's still rather hard for Albert to get headed in the right direction when going home, as this is his first change in location in 24 years."

"On August 20, 1931, Albert was parted from $7.00 of hard earned cash for a short time. Two Gypsy women entered his store and stalled around in their usual manner. Shortly after their departure, Albert discovered that $7.00 in bills were missing from his pocket. He immediately suspicioned where the money went, and after a search, found the dark-hued ladies in a drug store. After a heated argument, Albert recovered his money."




Max A. Miller was a life-long resident of Onaga. He was born October 5, 1890, and died January 23, 1961.

Following his release from the Navy, he returned to Onaga where he went into the grocery business with Hugh Seneker. Several years later, he sold his share in the grocery store and opened a clothing store.

In the 1930's he was in the dry goods business and also operated a dry cleaning plant. Due to failing health, Max was forced to give up the dry cleaning operation.

He was a great booster of Onaga and worked diligently in all civic affairs. Max married Alice Green; they had two children -- Mrs. Laura Fisher, and Max Green.




Duke Floyd Morris, son of Samuel and Mary Beisly Morris, was born east of Laclede February 27, 1894, and died June 29, 1965. He grew up on a farm west of Onaga and entered the U.S. Army July 25, 1918. He was honorably discharged january 29, 1919.

Duke worked at the old Onaga Electric Power and Ice Plant during that company's infancy and stayed with the company until it was purchased by the Kansas Power and Light Company. He worked for the city of Onaga from 1937 until he retired in 1959. Others who worked with him for the City at various times were Albert Fields, Lloyd Kelly, Jim Martin, Wilbur Surdez and Bill Zeckster.

Duke married Dencie Andrick, daughter of Frank and Jessie Olive Law Andrick, on April 3, 1929. Dencie was born March 16, 1906, at Onaga. She had two brothers and two sisters: Samuel, married Lena Nicklas and following her death, married Martha Nicklas; Isabel married David Wright; Harry married Rose Graves; and Mighnon married Birten Payne.




Russell Perrussel bought the electric Harness and shoe Shop from Lester Surdez on February 22, 1926. The Shop was first located in the Mrs. Brown building, north of the present V.F.W. building. Russell moved the shop to the I.O.O.F. building in September of 1964. In the summer of 1980 he sold his shop after owning it for 54 1/2 years.

Russell has seen many changes in Onaga through the years. He can recall when the streets were not paved, and the merchants "sprinkled down" the areas in front of their businesses to hold down the dust. In the past, he not only repaired shoes and boots, but also harnesses, automobile side curtains and binder and combine canvas.

Russell was born on a farm near Onaga. He married Margaret Shockey on April 8, 1926. They had two children, Russell Earl and Helen Pauline Martin. Margaret died in 1972.

On September 27, 1973, he and Mrs. Alice Bonjour were married. Alice has two sons, Merle and Lawrence Bonjour and a daughter, Lydia.




Frank Pinet, 1854-1934 and Felicie Lefebvre Pinet, 1858-1944, were part of the Great Migration, i.e., the period roughly from 1870 to 1890, when Europeans came to settle the middle west after the Civil War, and with the advent of the railroads. Frank Pinet was a native of France. Felicie was born in Belgium.

In early 1876, Mr. Pinet arrived in Neuchatel directly from France. Mrs. Pinet came to Neuchatel with her parents in 1871, at the age of 13. The couple was married on January 9, 1898. The first years of the married lives they lived on an 80 acre farm on Mound Creek owned by Mr. Pinet.

When the L.K.& W. Railroad offered $1.50 per day for a man and his team, they rented their farm and moved to Onaga where they spent the remainder of their lives. In time, the L.K.& W. moved west and the work was taken over by residents of Wheaton, Blaine, etc.

At an early age, Frank had been apprenticed to a baker. He decided that the new town needed a bakery. An item from "The Onaga Journal" dated January 1, 1880: "We are pleased to note the fact that Onaga now has a first class bakery and restaurant. Mr. Pinet put up a building on North main street. Everything looks neat and clean and his bread is equal to the best." The location of the bakery was on lots now occupied by Bosse Realty. records show the purchase price was $140. However, the venture was short-lived. Onaga was not ready for a bakery. After some misfortunes such as the brick oven in the rear of the building collapsing when the forms were removed and later, after rebuilding, having the chimney blown down in a wind storm, Mr. Pinet turned to other means of making a living.

In France, the Pinets made brick and lime. Putting this knowledge to use, Frank first made lime from the native limestone to be found in abundance in the area. The brick making did not turn out well. Perhaps the local clay was not adaptable. The lime making was a success and was sold for 10 cents per bushel. While Frank prepared another kiln of bricks, Felicie took a wagon load and peddled it in the countryside. Farmers were replacing their shacks and log cabins with something more substantial. this lime was mixed with the local "bank sand" to make the mortar used in building the stone structures. There was a demand for building rock. On the east side of what is now Prospect Street was an outcropping of building rock. Frank purchased the property and the rock was used to build a school house. The only means of removing the dirt overburden from the quarry was with a team and slip scraper. Consequently, when the overburden became too thick, it was necessary to move the operation to a new site. Frank next purchased a six acre tract just west of town that had a good quarry outcropping. Purchase price was $25. From this quarry came much of the rock used in building the older stone buildings in Onaga. When this was exhausted, he bought the present Pinet homestead, also for the rock. It was an arduous task to build our fine old stone buildings, without any modern machinery. The only tools were a crow bar and a sledge hammer to get the rock out. Hauling was done with a team and wagon. The going price was 50 cents per load delivered to the building site. This would provide work for perhaps four to six men.

The mason would need a crew of at least four as each stone had to be raised individually by means of a gin pole. This was a pole with a pulley attached and the stone was brought to the mason by means of a rope pulled by a horse. If I remember correctly, the mason worked from the inside of the building. the cornerstones were dressed by hand with only a stone hammer and a stone chisel. Many man hours went into making the cornerstones. Mr. Pinet worked in conjunction with Ike Truitt, an expert stone mason. Many of us know his son, Bob, who was equally proficient. Take time, if you will, to observe these fine old buildings that made up the business section of Onaga. After nearly 100 years or more, they are as straight and true as when they were built -- a monument to men who took pride in their work. The Quarry men had to know how to fashion the stones correctly. It might take a half a day to make a cornerstone. The master stone mason had to fit each rock using only bank sand and lime. the "tender" had to know just how to make the mortar. One looks at the drugstore building, Tessendorfs, and the post office and others, and wonders how they did it.

In 1882, the Pinets built a house on the 22-acre tract purchased for its fine quarry. Previously, they lived in a tiny shack moved on a hay rack to the six-acre tract.

Planning for a time when the quarry was exhausted, the Pinets planted all sorts of fruit trees -- apple, apricot, cherry, plum, peach and pear. Some of the pear trees remain and bear fruit today. They also planted a vineyard and small tract to blackberries. Between the rows of trees grew raspberries, currants, and dewberries; strawberries grew between the rows of grapes. Every foot of tillable soil was used. Cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, turnips, onions, and sweet corn were grown in quantity for commercial use. The main source of income was five acres put to strawberries. In flush production, as many as 60 crates of 24 quart boxes were to be had daily. Price was $2.40 per crate. Not only were the berries sold locally, but were shipped via L.K. & W. Railroad to towns east and west of Onaga. At this time, there were no refrigeration cars, hence no outside competition.

Another source of income was the hot bed. By means of heat produced by horse manure obtained from the local livery stable, it was possible to have green onions, radishes and lettuce in the winter time. The demand exceeded the supply. Price was five cents per bunch of radishes and onions or a head of lettuce at the stores. In the spring, this hot bed was used to grow tomato, cabbage and sweet potato plants for replanting. The truck gardening and berry farming, as well as the orchard, required much hand labor. Everything had to be planted and gathered by hand. children of school age were eager to pick strawberries for two cents per quart box. Of course, the whole Pinet family of five children plus the parents shared in the work. Mrs. Pinet found time to take an active part in church work, and Mr. Pinet served on the city council and school board, and was instrumental in bringing the County Fair to Onaga.

I do not consider my parents to have been extraordinary people. The story of their lives could apply to any young foreign couple of that time. With only their hands and determination to make a better way of life for their children, they succeeded.

By Eli Pinet




Wilma Robinson decided to be a beauty operator, she went to Topeka and learned by working in a beauty shop as an apprentice for one year. She opened a beauty shop in her home on Lucien Street in 1954. She ran her shop for twenty-six years before she had to retire because of ill health. She died December 9, 1980, and is buried in the Onaga Cemetery.




Ernest Schwab and his wife, Florence, Knudson Schwab, came here from Iowa. Ernie was born February 16, 1899, and died January 4, 1973. He spent most of his life in Onaga where he was a barber for 45 years. He served in the Army in the Philippine Islands and China a few years after World War I.

Ernie was fantastic in the art of whittling or carving. He learned the craft from another Onaga resident who was almost 100 years old when he taught Schwab the art of whittling. One of his most prized achievements was a link chain carved from a single piece of wood. the Schwabs had one son, Russell, and one daughter, Mrs. Roma Welshhons, they have both died. Mrs. Schwab has two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.




I was born in Emmendingen, Baden West Germany, in the Black Forest area. In 1925, Mr. Roy Shumaker, Wetmore, came to Germany to visit his relatives. While there he was looking for two young men to work on his 2,000 acres of land he owned around Wetmore and Netawaka. I was one of the two young men that he brought over. I came to Wetmore on December 1, 1925, on the train. I worked a year for him to pay my way, then I had a chance to come to Onaga to work on the paving gang. I found board and room with Mrs. Gray (Harvey's mother) in the house where Harvey still lives.

I worked for several farmers.

In January of 1934, Mr. Walter Wegner was looking for help to run the Standard Station. I applied and got the job.

In May 1935, I married Mary E. Nightingale.

In 1937, Mr. Wegner resigned as tank wagon agent. I was offered the job and took it. At that time I also bought the Service Station from Mr. Wegner with help from Ernest Wegner.

I ran the down box for football games from 1937 to 1968, with the exception of a couple of years in the '50s. I also ran the clock for basketball games at home and for several tournaments.

I played on one of the first softball teams, starting in the spring of 1935. The ball was about one-third- larger than it is now, and really soft. We played in the city park behind Teske's Garage. Dale Grutzmacher was the only one who could hit a ball over the Teske Garage.

I served on the Boy Scout Council for several years and was also a charter member of the Onaga Lion's Club.

By Karl A. Schwarz




Clayton C. Stauffer was born October 11, 1894, and died October 11, 1965. He taught in the Onaga Grade School. He operated a grocery store and insurance business in Onaga and also maintained a farming and livestock operation in Jackson County. He was instrumental in building the Onaga Community Hospital and served as chairman of the board and as administrator.

He married Loneita Wile on April 24, 1918. they had one son, Ray Stauffer, who gave his life in the service of the U. S. Marine Corps on October 29, 1945. Mrs. Stauffer operated a beauty shop at Onaga and assisted her husband in the operation of the grocery store. She continued its operation after her husband's death. She died August 17, 1975.




Wilbur A. Surdez was born near Neuchatel August 24, 1907. His mother died when he was an infant. He was raised by his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Junod.

He operated the Schwarz Standard Station and later served as Water Commissioner and Fire Chief of Onaga. He died October 25, 1965.




Michel Teske (also known as "Schneider"), his three children, August, Gilbert and Gus, and his second wife Louise, came to Kansas from Germany. They settled on the farm where Ben Teske now resides. Michel and Louise had three children: Otto E., Herman and Minnie. Herman married and continued to reside on the home place. Minnie married August Wege and moved to Onaga. Otto E. married Emilia Kolterman and settled on a farm three miles north of Onaga. They had three Children: Walter B., Arthur L., and Esther. In 1918 the O. E. Teske family moved to Onaga and started the O. E. Teske and Son Garage. O. E. was one of the early pioneer car dealers in Kansas, selling Overland and Willys-Knight cars.

Walter E. married Clara B. Fairbanks of Havensville and they lived on the O. E. Teske farm. Walter farmed and later started the Chevrolet agency in Onaga. In 1936, Clara started on the Onaga-Holton star route. She will be remembered by many for the errands, small deliveries, and the carrying of passengers, including boys from the service and school kids.

At the beginning of World War II, Walter started on the star mail route to Topeka. He continued the route until his death in 1963. Clara then leased the Holton star route and continued the Topeka route until her retirement in 1968. Walter and Clara had three daughters: Wilma, Freda, and Alice June. Arthur L. married Stella M. McCloughn of Havensville and had two children: Edna Mae, who died in 1959 and O. Eugene.

Art worked with his dad in the O. E. Teske Garage, training many young men of the community in mechanics. Saturday night dances at the garage were part of the social life of Onaga in the '30s and '40s. After his father's death, Art farmed full time until ill health forced his retirement in 1976. He passed away in December 1979.

Esther married Delbert Channel and moved to the Havensville community. They had three children: Doris Jean, Myra Lee, and Dale. Esther too is deceased.




Roy O. Tessendorf was born in 1899 in Onaga. He was one of five children born to Fred and Minnie Biesenthal Tessendorf. His wife, Lorena, was born in 1903, to Robert and Maria (Lena) Kolterman Kufahl near Wheaton. She, too, was one of five children. One daughter, Lila, was born to Roy and Lorena.

Roy and Lorena were married in 1926, and soon founded Tessendorf Furniture and Undertaking. Roy operated this business until his retirement in 1964. At that time his daughter, Lila, and son-in-law, Morgan Johnson, took over the business.

During his lifetime, Roy was very active in politics and community activities. He served as mayor of Onaga for some years, and was a State Senator. He was elected president of both the Kansas Funeral Directors Association and the Kansas State Board of Embalming.

Along with Harvey Gray and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Woods, Roy and Lorena founded Golden Acres, inc., in 1959. Roy and Lorena both attended school in Onaga. Lorena graduated from high school and attended Emporia State College for a short time, then taught in the country school near St. Clere. Roy started out as a custom wheat thresher and was a painter before establishing Tessendorf's.

Roy passed away in 1965, and Lorena in 1978.




In May 1932, the West Side Cafe, located in the Brunner building and operated for several years by L. B. Mitchell, was purchased by Aaron Clark. Mr. Mitchell entered the insurance business and was affiliated with the Melton Insurance Service.



W. L. "SHORTY" WILSON W. L. "Shorty" Wilson was born in Richvale, PA. At the age of 10, along with his family, he went to Ada, OK. At the age of 21, while employed by a railroad company, he was involved in an accident that cost him both of his legs. He came to Onaga in 1929, and operated the Onaga Recreational Parlor. He had always held the respect and highest esteem of the entire community. Mr. Wilson passed away in a St. Joseph hospital March 12, 1943.




Curtis Elpinkney came to Kansas with his parents, Martin and Sarah Witham, to a farm east of Onaga in 1883.

He married Jessie Maria Atwater on October 11, 1898. They had eight children.

"Pink" owned and operated a grocery store and meat market in Onaga for many years.

Mrs. Witham died February 15, 1921. On February 6, 1940, he married Hazel Gurtler, Onaga. "Pink" died December 8, 1949.





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