William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 33] [part 31] [Cutler's History]


The city of Eudora is pleasantly located on a gradually ascending slope, stretching back on the south bank of the Kansas or Kaw River, near the junction of the Wakarusa. Situated as it is, seven miles east of Lawrence, twenty-eight miles southwest of Leavenworth, and thirty-three miles west of Kansas City, Mo., on the line of the A., T. & St. Fe Ry., its location as a trading point is excellent, which is proven by its being the second city in the county in point of population and trade. Eudora was settled and is surrounded by that class of citizens, who are known the world over for their thrift and capacity in promoting a substantial growth in a new country - the Germans.

Early in the summer of 1856, an association, composed of prominent Germans, was organized at Chicago, Ill., under the name of the "Neuer Ansiedlungs Verein," with the prime object of making a settlement at some point in the great West. Organizing with fifty members, the association rapidly grew until it numbered over 600 stockholders. In March, 1857, a location committee, consisting of H. Heimann, F. Barteldes and C. Schleifer, were appointed to go West and look up a location, preparatory to the location of a town site. After looking through various parts of Missouri and Kansas, the present town site of Eudora was decided upon. A tract of 800 acres was secured from the Shawnee Indians through Pascel Fish, their chief, who was to receive every alternate lot. The town site of 800 acres was laid off, and named "Eudora," in honor of the chief's daughter.

On the return of the committee, it was decided to at once colonize the place. Sixteen members, who represented different trades and professions, were elected by the association and sent out under the leadership of P. Hartig, for that purpose. Following are the names of this hardy band of pioneers: P. Hartig, J. Fischer, J. Schiesgroohl, J. Leoterle, A. Herling, J. Schoartz, G. Buttner, A. Schirrner, M. Marthey, Fred Deirhmann, A. Veroh, C. Epple and wife, G. Kerg, C. Maxilius, Anton Goethhes, H. Baserman. The expenses of the party were paid by the association. Seven other members came out with the party, but paid their own expenses. The party left Chicago April 11, 1857, and arrived at their destination, April 18, 1857, and commenced erecting rude log buildings and making other crude improvements. Thus was formed the first settlement of Eudora.

The first house on the town site was built by Pascel Fish, the Shawnee Indian, long before the advent of the white man as a settler. It was built of hewn logs, with a thatched straw roof, and was used as a hotel, known as the "Fish House." The first building erected by the colony was a one-story log cabin, eighteen by twenty feet, which for awhile was used by all parties. During the summer of 1857, A. Summerfield opened and established the first store.

The first birth that occurred was that of Eudora, a daughter of C. Epple, a member of the town company, born in 1857, soon after the arrival of the colony. The girl received her name in honor of the place. In the summer of 1857 occurred the death of J. Leoterle, a member of the "band of sixteen." One of the first marriages was that of F. Dischmann and Mrs. George Harbolt, who were married in 1857 or 1858.

In May, 1857, the association at Chicago, sent C. Durr to St. Louis, where he purchased, at an expense of $2,200, machinery for a circular saw mill and "corn cracker." The mill arrived at Eudora during the same month, and was put into operation for the company by C. Diirr (sic), in the summer of the same year.

In order to secure a perfect title to their land, the association authorized L. W. Pfeif and C. Durr to purchase it from Pascel Fish, which was done at a cost of $110,000, February 17, 1860, and approved on the 7th day of May.

Eudora was incorporated as a city, under Territorial laws, February 8, 1859, and still retains that charter and is governed accordingly. In 1869, for municipal purposes, the city was divided into two wards. Three councilmen were elected from each ward.

The post office of Eudora was established in the summer of 1857, and A. Summerfield appointed as first Postmaster. Mr. Summerfield was succeeded by T. C. Hockett, who, in 1862, was succeeded by F. L. Pilla. Mr. Pilla retained the postmastership until his death, in 1871, when he was succeeded by the present incumbent, Charles Pilla. The office was made a money-order office, July, 1878, and its business is rapidly increasing.


At the first regular election, held in March, 1859, the following gentlemen were elected to represent the city government: Mayor, F. Faerber; Councilmen, A. Summerfield, M. Marthey, P. Hartig, Aug. Cieseniss, and P. Hoppenan; Justice of the Peace, F. Schowarte; Marshal, F. Soelte; Treasurer, Charles Achning; Clerk (by appointment), F. Schowarte.

The following-named gentlemen have officiated as Mayor, from the first organization of the city to the present time: 1859, F. Faerber; 1860, C. Durr; 1861 C. Durr and J. C. Dunn; 1862, H. Wittler and C. Lothhole; 1863, C. Durr; 1864, C. Thorn; 1864 (sic), C. Durr; 1866-67, A. D. H. Kemper; 1868-69, Leo Vitt; 1870-72, Dr. S. American; 1873-74, C. Durr; 1875, J. A. Seybold; 1876, Leo Vitt; 1877-79, J. Hammert; 1880-82, Charles Durr.


The first school was taught in 1858, by C. Smith, who was paid by subscription. In 1859, a frame building, known as the "City Hall," was built by the association, and used for school purposes, F. Schowarte being the first teacher. This building was used for school purposes until 1866. A new stone schoolhouse, 24x40 feet, two stories high, was completed at a cost of $5,700. H. C. Speer and Miss C. Whitcomb were the first teachers in the new building. In the autumn of the same year, a building was erected for colored pupils, who were taught by Miss P. Hill. As the city increased in population, the old school building proved inadequate to the demand, and in 1881 a new brick building, 24x40 feet, one story, was completed at a cost of $1,700. The citizens of Eudora have reason to be proud of their educational advantages.

The Church of the Holy Family organized October 1, 1864, with thirty-two members. The church edifice, which was built during the same year, at a cost of $3,000, is a stone structure, 24x40 feet. The first regular pastor was Father A. Mheyer, who had charge of the church from 1865 to 1868. The church was presided over by different pastors until the present pastor, Rev. F. Elias, of Lawrence, took charge. The value of the German Catholic Church property in Eudora is estimated at $7,500. Present membership, seventy families.

The German Methodist Church was organized soon after the war of the great rebellion, with twenty-five members. An old stone dwelling-house was purchased, at a cost of $600, remodeled and used for a place of divine worship until 1881, when a handsome frame edifice, 26x44 feet, was completed at a cost of $2,000. Under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Arsonn, the church retains a membership of fifty souls.

St. Paul's Congregation of the German Evangelical Church was organized in 1869, by Rev. B. C. Haas, with fifteen members. Mr. Haas remained in charge until 1873, when he was succeeded, in 1874, by Rev. C. Toennies, who remained six years. Rev. C. F. Engelbach, the present pastor, took charge in 1882. The present church edifice is a brick structure, 26x40 feet, and was erected in 1871 at a cost of $1,200. Present membership, seventeen.

The (All Brights) German Evangelical Church is an old organization, and embraces among its membership many of the prominent farmers in the vicinity of Eudora. Its church edifice, a handsome brick building, 26x40, was completed in 1870, at a cost of $1,200. Rev. F. T. Harter, present-pastor.

The Colored Baptist Church has an organization here, and holds regular services in their own edifice. Rev. H. Ford, present pastor.


The first society organized in Eudora was the German Turn-Verein, in 1864. For some reason the society did not prosper, and was abandoned. In the summer of 1867, it was again organized with twelve members, under the following officers: J. A. Seybold, President; H. Basemann, Vice President; H. Basemann, Jr., Secretary; C. Marfilius, Treasurer. The society retained its organization until 1876, when it again became defunct. In March, 1882, it re-organized with five members, under the following officers: J. A. Seybold, President; C. Fischer, Vice President: --- Bartusch, Treasurer; F. Lucken, Secretary. Turner Hall is a neat frame structure, 24x46 feet, and was completed in the autumn of 1882, at an expense of $12,00. The society, after all its disasters, is in a prosperous condition, and now numbers twenty members.

Eudora Lodge, No. 43, I. O. O. F., was organized, under dispensation, March 6, 1869. A charter was granted in October, 1869, to the following members: F. Bernitz, P. Hiatt, C. Marfilius, John Goedecker, J. Conger, J. W. Estes and Charles Pilla. Its first officers were F. Bernitz, N. G.; C. Pilla, V. G.; P. Hiatt, Secretary; John Conger, Treasurer. The society owns a two-story brick building, valued at $2,000. Its present officers are S. Prange, N. G.; J. Jahn, V. G.; John Hammert, Secretary; J. A. Seybold, Treasurer. Regular meetings are held in their hall on every Saturday evening. Present membership, forty-five.

Doric Lodge, No. 83, A., F. & A. M., was organized under a charter dated May 11, 1869. First elected officers were Robert Peebles, S. W.; W. W. Silsby, J. W.; T. C. Darling, S. D.; A. L. Cohn, J. D.; Thomas Pearson, Treasurer; J. B. Smith, Secretary. Present officers are O. Camp, W. M.; T. Rayson, S. W.; E. S. Thompson, J. W.; O. G. Richards, S. D.; A. L. Cohn, J. D.; H. Copp, Treasurer; M. D. Greenlee, Secretary. Present membership 30. Regular communications are observed on Tuesday evening before full of moon in each month, at lodge room in Odd Fellows Hall.

Eudora Temperance Union, a society for the promotion of temperance, was organized and chartered in the fall of 1879. "Temperance Tabernacle," a frame building, 24x46 feet was completed at a cost of $800, in November, 1879. Its first and present officers are O. G. Richards, President; S. V. Carr, Secretary; Vice Presidents are Mrs. N. Henshaw, Mrs. E. Rich; J. N. Still, Treasurer; Trustees, T. C. Darling, James Still, O. G. Richards, E. Rich and N. Henshaw. Present membership, 150.

The old saw mill and "corn cracker," brought out from St. Louis in 1857, was operated by C. Diirr (sic), for the town company, until 1860, when he purchased and ran it until 1870. In 1862, a steam flouring mill was erected by Messrs. Durr & Vitt. The mill was a frame, and two and one-half stories high, the main building being 30x50 feet. The enterprise represented an outlay of $7,000. The mill had then two run of stone and did excellent work. In 1867, Leo Vitt purchased his partner's interest and operated it alone until 1875, when he sold the whole mill to C. Durr. Mr. Durr added new machinery, including two run of buhrs, and built an elevator, 20x30 feet, with a capacity of 3,000 bushels; capital invested, $12,000. The mills manufacture three choice brands of flour that are well known wherever they have been introduced, and give good satisfaction.

[TOC] [part 33] [part 31] [Cutler's History]