Harper County


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History of Chrisfield

The following history was taken from "The Harper County Story" by Gwendoline & Paul Sanders Copyright 1968, Library of Congress call number 68-54660, The Mennonite Press, Newton, KS


Crisfield, a town located in western Harper County; the legal description is: southeast one-fourth, section 17, township 33, south, range 9 west. The town had its beginning in 1883, a year before the Southern Kansas Railroad was extended from Attica.

The area post office was located north of Crisfield at Otego. In February 1885 the Otego post office was moved to Crisfield with William H. Ranke as postmaster, this office was closed in 1951.

At one time Crisfield was considered a boom town with an estimated population of 1,500. The Atlas of 1886 shows the town plat to be laid out in a twenty-two block area, with an unplatted portion owned by the Camp Town Company. Early business establishments were: two hotels, two banks, four livery stables, four grocery stores, a grain elevator, two lumberyards, and a drug store. A newspaper, the Crisfield Courier, was established in 1885, Charles Wilson, editor. This enterprise was discontinued in 1889. There was a school and a Methodist church located in the town.

Crisfield probably owes its short life to the lack of sufficient water supply. No living water was nearby and good wells could not be procured. Serious fires continuously plagued the community.

The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe assumed control of the original Southern Railroad.

In 1886 the post office was located on the corner of Main Street and Sixth Avenue. The church was in the north one-half of block 15 on Seventh Avenue, and the hotel on east Main Street.

Dr. Cleveland was one of the pioneer doctors. Dental work was also performed by the family physician, usually a chair was placed outside of the house and the tooth extracted. The patient was allowed a chew of tobacco (probably to keep down infection).

Mr. and Mrs. L. N. Hughbanks, now living in Hutchinson, are one of the pioneer families of the Crisfield area. Mrs. Hughbanks was a newspaper correspondent for the Anthony Republican.

Jim Russel Crow, store owner and rock mason, along with Phil Payne stated the Payne and Crow Animal Company in 1889. Jackrabbits were caught for coursing meets and were shipped to Wichita where they were sent on to New York and England. Some time later, Ira, Jude and John Crown joined the company. Four spools of netting, 3,000 feet each in length and four feet high were used to capture the rabbits.

From The Attica Independent, February 1911

Crisfiel is booming, F. F. McMullin has a new blacksmith shop, his son, Jack, runs the dry goods and grocery store and they recently bought the hardware store. A. S. Vance has a good lumberyard and grain business. H.J. Mandeville has the hotel.

Mrs. Russelle Hollister Shaw, now of Canadian, Texas, attended the Crisfield and Diamond Valley schools and taught the Diamond Valley School from 1940 to 1946.

In 1918 the population was 47. A cyclone severely damaged the town in 1923.

Mr. and Mrs. Lonnie Reneau were the last residents of Crisfield. Mrs. Reneau was the postmaster when the post office was discontinued.

Click Here for the Town Plat Maps Page

Click Here for Pictures of this Town

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