In the Township of Williamsport, was located and platted for a town site in 1858, by Messrs Mills and Smith, of Topeka. It is on Sections 35 and 36, Township 13, Range 15, in the southern part of the township, and is a station on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Road. Among those interested in this town enterprise besides Messrs. Mills and Smith, were Messrs. G. T. Lockard, J. P. Ennis and Zenas King, of Topeka, the town being first named "Kingston," in honor of the latter gentleman. The postoffice, having been previously established under the name of "Wakarusa," the citizens were desirous that the village should also take the name of the historical stream, and it was accordingly changed.
In 1871, W. H. Mills, of Illinois, built a hotel and store at the station, both of which are still run by him.
G. W. Hamilton was the first, and L. Merrium is the present Postmaster, the latter being appointed in 1876.
There is one church building in the village, which is occupied alternately by the Presbyterians and Methodists; the Methodist pastor being Rev. C. N. Riggle.
Wakarusa village claims to have the finest district schoolhouse in the county, if not in the State. It contains over a hundred inhabitants, and has the usual number of village industries, besides the business of crushing stone for railroad ballast. The Sherman Stone Crushing Company have located one of their machines at the village, and employ from fifty to one hundred men.
Wakarusa was platted in 1868 by Mills & Smith, of Topeka. It was first called Kingston, in honor of Zenas King of Topeka, who was one of the original promoters. His associates were I. T. Lockhard, J. P. Ennis, A. J. Huntoon, Joel Huntoon and T. U. Thompson. Some of the settlers around Wakarusa, and in other parts of the township, were: W. H. Mills, A. F. Barker, S. D. Conwell, R. U. Farnsworth, William S. Hibbard, John MacDonald, Rev. John McQuiston, Walter Matney, W. H. Moffitt, J. E. Pratt, Perry Tice, James Robb, J. D. Vawter, John H. Young and John N. Young. Williamsport township derived its name from Williamsport in Pennsylvania.
Some of the people who used Wakarusa as their PO. address.
APPLETON F. BARKER, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 18, P. O. Wakarusa, owns eighty acres, all enclosed, with good dwelling, barn, outbuildings, apple and peach orchard. Sixty acres cultivated and twenty acres in pasture. Has five horses, thirty-six head of cattle and sixteen hogs. He was born in the State of New York, April 4, 1833, and in 1854 moved to Illinois, and came from there to Kansas in 1858, locating on this section, east of here. Came to this place in 1869. Enlisted as a private in Company F, Sixth Regiment, Kansas Infantry, in 1862, but was detached at Fort Leavenworth to serve in the fort battery, and remained there about a year, and was then sent on recruiting service for four months, and recruited eighty-four men, expecting to get a commission and join the Second Kansas, but had his men taken and mustered in the Fifteenth Kansas. Was offered a commission in this regiment, but refused it and was mustered in as Quartermaster Sergeant, and remained in that capacity during the term of service. Was most of the time at headquarters and had charge of the stock, and was mustered out in May 20, 1865, by general orders No. 83. After being mustered out he was engaged to go to Fort Laramie with a drove of horses for the government, to supply Col. Moonlight. Started with fifty-four men in charge of the horses and sixty horses as guard and about one hundred wagons with emigrants on the train, as the Indians were very bad. When above Fort Kearney, the Indians stampeded their horses, and they lost twenty-eight of them, and he and another man came near losing their lives while getting the horses up, as they were attacked and had a running fight, and had to stop and kill their horses for breastworks, but were fortunately rescued by a party of soldiers sent to their help. He was married in 1853, to Miss Caroline A. McLain. They have four children - George W., Ambrose A., Ida May and Sarah M. He is one of the School Board, and has been for a number of years. Has been Road Overseer for seventeen years, also Justice of the Peace for four years. Is a member of the First Baptist Church, Topeka, Superintendent of the Sunday-school, and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Wakarusa Valley Sunday-school Association, and has been since its organization in 1876.
CHARLES BROWN, farmer, Section 13, P. O. Wakarusa, owns 160 acres, about 115 acres in cultivation, twelve in timber and the rest in pasture. Has five horses, four head of cattle and twelve hogs. Was born in the city of New York, November 22, 1817. In 1849 was one of the first to try his fortune in the gold fields of California. Was there for three years and was very successful. On his return he bought a farm on Long Island, ten miles from New York, and followed gardening. During the war he sold out and moved to Brooklyn and followed his trade of ship calker. In 1866 he left Brooklyn and came to Kansas, locating on his present farm. He was married in December, 1850, to Miss Mary Page, a native of the west of England, who came to the United States in 1848. They have three children - Mary, Alfred and Francis. The whole family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
JAMES CARROLL, farmer and stock dealer, Section 36, P. O. Wakarusa, owns 240 acres, all enclosed; 130 acres under cultivation, the balance in timber, meadow and pasture; has twenty-four horses, 150 head of cattle and fifty hogs. He was born near Belfast, Ireland, in 1827, and came to the United States in 1852, locating at Oberlin, Ohio, and came from there to Kansas in March, 1855, locating on this place. He was married in 1866 to Miss Caroline Link; they have six children living - William H., Annie, Cora, Nettie, Edward and John. Was in Captain Perry Tice's Company during the Price raid and participated in the fight at Locust Grove, Mo.
S. T. COUNTS, farmer, Section 20, P. O. Wakarusa. He has 160 acres, ninety of which are under cultivation and forty in clover, all enclosed. He also has ten head of horses and fifty-four head of cattle. He was born in Ohio, September 10, 1833, and came to Kansas in February, 1877. He served in the war of the great Rebellion, in the Forty-second Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Jas. A. Garfield, Colonel.
RUSSEL U. FARNSWORTH, farmer, stock-raiser and dairyman, Section 28, P. O. Wakarusa, owns 300 acres, 110 acres in cultivation, forty acres of cultivated meadow, and the rest in pasture and native meadow. He also rents and farms 320 acres in addition thereto. His principal crops are corn and millet, for feeding. Has a large farm to accommodate thirty-five milch cows, twenty calves and nine horses, with all conveniences and loft, for millet and hay and bins for feed. Also, mill, run by steam power for shelling corn and grinding feed, as well as sheds and yards, arranged conveniently for stock and dairy business. Has, at this time, nine horses, seventy-five head of cattle, fifty hogs. Is milking twenty-seven cows; has made this year (1882) to present time about 2,500 pounds of butter; average receipt per cow last year was $25.69, and a large proportion of these were young. Was born in Grafton County, N. H., August 12, 1839. When a child moved with parents to Vermont, and remained there until 1858 at which time he came to Kansas and bought 160 acres of his present farm with a Mexican War land warrant and remained here one summer, then returned home, and remained there until 1861, in May, when he enlisted as a private in Company G, Third Vermont Volunteer Infantry, and served with his command in the Army of the Potomac in all its campaigns and marches, skirmishes and battles, particularly in the actions of Louisville, Lee's Mills, Yorktown, Williamsport, Gains Hill and in all the engagements on the Chickahominy, and in front of Richmond, ending with the battle of Malvern Hill. While the army was at Harrison's Landing, was taken with chronic diarrhoea sic, which terminated in heart disease and general debility, and was sent to General Hospital, at Washington City, from there was sent to Convalescent Camp, and appointed Head Clerk, and had charge of over 5,000 men, but his health remaining poor, was ordered before the Medical Board and was discharged, on Surgeon's certificate of disability, in February, 1863. Soon after discharge from the army went to Wisconsin for his health, and from there to Colorada, sic in the fall of 1863, and spent four years in Colorado and freighting across the plains, and returned to his home in the East in 1867, where he was married same year to Miss Ellen K. Fairberry, and in 1868 came to Kansas, and located on this farm permanently, where after a few years his wife died. Was married a second time, May 1, 1877, to Miss Isabel H. McDowell. They have two children - Josie E. and Jennie A. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; also a Mason.
WILLIAM S. HIBBARD, farmer, Section 26, P. O. Wakarusa, owns 178 acres, about sixty acres cultivated and twenty-five acres in timber, and the balance in native meadow and pasture, all enclosed. He was born in New Hampshire, in 1828. Left home when twenty-one years of age and went to Boston and Washington City, and from there in 1850, to Ohio, engaging in the iron business, and came from there to Kansas in 1857, locating near Auburn, and came to his present place in 1876. This farm was pre-empted by Robert C. Gault, a brother-in-law of Mr. Hibbard, who was one of the Boston Company, and who came to Kansas armed with a Sharp's rifle and a Bible, who at his death left this farm to his sister, Mrs. Hibbard. Mr. Hibbard was married in 1859, to Miss Eliza M. Gault, who is a native of Philadelphia, Pa., who came to Kansas in 1857 with her mother and sister, locating in Auburn Township. They have four children - Anna S., Harry L., David S. and James S. Mr. Hibbard was a member of Capt. Bush's company in Second Kansas State Militia, and participated in the fight at Locust Grove, Mo. during the Price raid, and was one of the unfortunate ones who were captured, but made his escape when three days out, but was captured by Union scouts, being dressed in citizen's clothes, and taken to Fort Scott, and put in the guard there until morning, but the same night there were a large number of rebel prisoners put into the same prison, and the next morning sent under guard to St. Louis and he had great difficulty in identifying himself so as to prevent being sent with them. Mr. Hibbard and family are members of the Presbyterian Church, he being one of the original Elders of the Auburn Church, organized in 1858, by the Rev. James Brownlee.
JAMES HUTCHINGSON, farmer, Section 29, P. O. Wakarusa, owns seventy acres; forty acres cultivated, and thirty in fine timber. Has four horses, twenty-six head of cattle and fourteen hogs, and farming in a fine state of progress. He was born in Yorkshire, England, February 21, 1835. Came to the United States when nineteen years of age and worked in Paterson, N. J., in a factory, and from there went to Canada and remained one year. Returning and locating for a time in Illinois, and from there to Missouri, working on the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad, in its construction, and from there to Vernon County, Mo. where he was living when the war broke out, and where for a time he was unmolested, on account of being an Englishman, and was at his home during the battle of Carthage, Mo. and heard the firing of artillery plainly, but after that was subject to a great many annoyances, and was importuned to join the rebel forces, and had to resort to a great many expedients to save his life and property, at one time passing himself off for a Rebel Capt. Gatewood, in order to pass their pickets in the night when returning home. At another time he entered a Guerrilla camp in the night when all were asleep, and helped himself to a gun, escaping without injury. But space will not permit us to give even a part of the many thrilling adventures which Mr. Hutchingson passed through in this troubled time; enough to say that finally he was so continuously annoyed that he traded his farm for a yoke of oxen and loaded what household effects he could on one wagon and made his escape into Kansas, taking with him his wife whom he had married in September, 1859, and whose maiden name was Sarah Markie, and three of her brothers, landing in Lawrence, Kan., in the fall of 1862, with scarcely anything. He went to work for a man near Lawrence, named Levi Gates, and his three brothers joined Capt. Rankin's Company as recruits and were murdered in the Quantrell raid, they having no arms to defend themselves with, not having been armed yet. Mr. H. and Mr. Gates seized their guns and hastened into Lawrence, as soon as they heard the firing, and were for five hours engaged in the fight, Mr. Gates losing his life and Mr. Hutchingson barely escaping when hard pressed by hiding behind a stump and presenting his empty gun, and causing the enemy to seek cover and securing time to reload. After the fight was over, he went for his team and wagon, and hauled the dead together and helped bury them. Mr. H. came to his present farm in 1871, and is and has been an active worker for the promotion of education and improvement in every way. He is a member of the School Board and has been for the past ten years; is Road Overseer, and has been for the past seven years, and was elected Justice of the Peace in the spring of 1882, to serve for two years. His family of five, bright healthy daughters are his help in farming. They are named Ida, Sophia, Sarah, Nancy and Mary. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
J. E. JONES, farmer, Section 24, P. O. Wakarusa, rents and farms 160 acres owned by his aunt, Ametta Woodiv; sixty-seven acres under cultivation, the rest enclosed and in native meadow; has two horses, two cows and seventy-five hogs. Was born in Pennsylvania, August 6, 1840, and moved to Buchanan County, Iowa, in 1868, and came to Kansas in 1881, locating here. He was married in 1861 to Miss Emeline Ort. They have three children - Erastus E., Mary E. and Cora A. Is a member of the Presbyterian Church.
All the names listed here either lived in or near Wakarusa. The dates beside the name is the year they came to the county.
Note. I only listed the head of the family, but on request I can give Wifes and Childrens names, if any.
Clarence E. Anderson, 1920.