Wilson County Kansas
Township Histories

Cedar Township

The township history material was taken from the Historical Atlas of Wilson County Kansas published in 1881, and submitted by Bill Bentley.

Cedar Township. - This township, which originally embraced one-fourth of the county, was created by order of the County Commissioners, March 2, 1867. The first election held was the annual township election in April following, when township officers were chosen. The voting took place at John A. Beam's house. The first settlers in Cedar tp. were J. W. Shawver, Mr. Cooper and the latter's son, Jas. Cooper, who took claims on the Verdigris hard by the Big Trail of the Osages, and located. Shawver's Ford will perpetuate the name of Shawver and indicate the site of his settlement. His claim is now owned by E. L. Dunbar. Old Mr. Cooper's claim is the Reece estate, and Jas. Cooper's claim is the Dremer place. R. J. Webster took a claim just west of the Altoona townsite, sometime in 1865, but the Indians would not let him improve it or settle. His wife returned in Dec. 1866, located on the same claim, and Webster deeded it. Luke Brook ventured down the Verdigris to the mouth of Cedar creek in Oct. 1865, while the Indians were off on their fall hunt, built a cabin, moved into it and prepared to make various improvements. This was farther down the Verdigris than any white man had yet gone. When the gentle Osage returned Luke was given his walking papers. He went back to the place the next year, after the treaty, settled without fear or favor, and entered the claim. In Nov. 1866, Thos. Geddes settled where Altoona stands and deeded his claim. Geddes is a man of mild and pleasant disposition, and Little Bear was his guest a number of times. Jas. Hamlin settled near Geddes and at the same time, Matthew Hawkes, Hick Stafford, Henry Brown (alias Dutch Henry), Mr. Knoftsker and others, took claims in the township in the winter of 1866-67. The Hawkes' place is now owned by J. H. Watson, Knoftsker's by H. C. Highfill and Dutch Henry's by W. L. Zink. A. Pollock took the claim which became a part of Altoona in the spring of 1867. Asa Belote came and located the same spring. Ballinger first took the A. Tucker place. Jake Fernwaldt and W. R. Shoup settled in 1867. G. W. Hatler settled on the west side of the Verdigris river, in the South part of Cedar tp., in the spring of '67, and early in the same year Jno. A. Beam and three sons, from Douglas county, settled at Verdi. Hader was elected County Treasurer in 1867. Beam commenced putting in a water mill the year he located. He was elected to the Legislature in 1873. Tonsa was the name of a store at Shawver's ford, kept from April to Dec., 1867, by E. K. Parris and A. Tucker. Parris moved to Verdi and followed merchandising until the fall of 1870. Verdi post-office was established with Parris as P. M., Feb. 5, 1868. Verdi had commercial aspirations, and in 1870 numbered about a dozen houses. Altoona was started in 1869. It had been known as Geddesburg for some time. The new town was under the direction of a town company. Dr. T. F. C. Dodd was President, and J. N. D. Brown, Secretary, of the town company. The Spencer brothers set up a saw mill the summer of '69 and did an immense business. They built a water flouring mill in 1870-71. Geo. Shultz and John Hoopes sold groceries at Altoona, under a tree near where the mill stands, in the summer of 1869. They were the first merchants. W. H. Tatham opened a store in the town proper in the fall of '69. He sent forth shrill blasts from a tin horn to advertise his business. In 1870 Altoona progressed rapidly. A splendid town was built. Probably sixty-five stores and houses were erected. A newspaper was published there from March, 1870, to Dec., 1872. A post-office was established April 11, 1870, J. N. D. Brown, P. M. Wm. Cowgill Lodge, No. 118, A. F. & A. M., was started Oct. 17, 1872. Along the Verdigris river, in Cedar township, the Osage Indians had many towns when their supreme sway in this region was undisputed.

Additional histories included are:

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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Last updated 12/20/1998

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