Extinct Towns of Atchison County, Kansas
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More Extinct Towns
A sign designates where
Oak Mills once stood in an empty field on the
River Road south of
Weiser, May, 2010.
With its proximity to
Missouri, Atchison County
was one of the first to be populated in Kansas
Territory. Immediately, the fight between pro-slavery advocates and
abolitionists began as settlers from both sides rushed into Kansas
in an attempt to establish the state with their own politics. Some
of the first in Atchison County were a party from Iatan,
who took claims in the vicinity of
Oak Mills in June, 1854.
The following month, a larger group of settlers and those who would become the
founders of the county flooded in to what would become
Atchison. Settlements soon sprang up all over the county, but,
like other new territories, only the strongest would survive to the present
time. Some of these old extinct towns would be very difficult to find, but for
the many signs posted by the FFA (Future Farmer's of America) years ago. Though
the signs placed by students of long ago are very helpful in determining the
sites of these "lost" settlements, they haven't been maintained over the years
and are sometimes unreadable.
Arrington - Also called Arrington Springs, this settlement, located in the
southwestern part of Atchison County on the
Delaware River, was founded in
1855. Its first settler and founder was Ransom A. Van Winkle
who built a steam sawmill, the first farm house and the first school, in which
he became the teacher. The town was named for his girlfriend. An abolitionist from Kentucky, Van Winkle took an active
part in the
Free-State efforts, despite the pro-slavery sentiments of other
Atchison County citizens. When Arrington
gained a post office in June, 1862, Ransom A. Van Winkle also became the first
postmaster. Later he would hold a number of offices in
Atchison County and become a member of the
Kansas Legislature. The town grew slowly until the arrival of the Leavenworth, Kansas &
Western Railroad. By that time, The town boasted a large flour mill as
well as the sawmill which had been purchased by a man named David Heneks.
also purchased some eighty acres of land lying on both sides of the Delaware
River and discovered the first mineral spring near the mill dam in 1881. Later,
he discovered two more springs and when the Arrington Mineral Springs Resort was
built it brought with it a number of people and much prosperity to the town. By
the late 19th Century, the resort was hosting hundreds of guests each week and
the town had boomed to nearly 1,000 people. However, in 1903, a flood devastated
the town and the resort was closed. Afterwards, the town rapidly declined,
boasting only a population of 210 by 1912, but, it still had a post office, a school
and a couple of stores. Its post office closed in May, 1973. Today, were it not
for the sign indicating the town and the few scattered homes about, it would be
difficult to know that a town had ever existed. It is located about 26 miles southwest of
on Kansas Highway 119.
Farmington - Located on the Central Branch of the
Missouri Pacific Railroad,
this small town got its start as a station on the railroad.
It gained a post office in November, 1868. By the 1880s, it consisted of
just a few families and had
a school, in which church services were held. In 1910, it had a general
store, a blacksmith,
telegraph and express facilities, and 46 people. Its post office closed in
May, 1940. The town was located about 12 miles southwest of Atchison.
- Originally established in Brown County, the hamlet was located in the extreme
northwestern part of Atchison County
about two miles southeast of Horton, the nearest railroad town. It was one of
the first places in the county where whites located permanently, when a
Methodist Episcopal Church Mission of established in 1833 among the
The first white man to locate permanently and
erect a home was a Frenchman named Pensoneau, who married a
and settled on the banks of Stranger Creek in 1839. The village was named for
Kickapoo Chief and prophet Kennekuk, who moved with his tribe to present-day
in 1832. Later, the Indians
were forced to cede their lands to the federal government.
In 1844, Captain Wharton established the Old
Fort Laramie Road through the area.
1854, the land was opened to settlement.
The village gained a post office in June, 1857, but wasn't officially
platted until the following year. Later, the settlement also had a stage stop.
Situated on the great wagon highways to the west, it flourished for some
years during the
period of emigration in the late 1840s-'50s. The town was officially
platted by Royal Baldwin, President of the town company in 1859. It became a
station on the Overland Stage Route and a man named Thomas Perry ran an eating
house there that quickly became known to travelers as one of the best on the
In 1860, the town was described in a letter as a thriving town where whiskey was
its entire business. By 1863, it had only about a dozen houses with one store
and a blacksmith shop. The Kickapoo Indian Agency was one of the most prominent
buildings located in the northwestern part of the town.
However, when the railroads were built it sank into insignificance. By the early
1900's it had only about 30 residents. It's post office closed in October, 1900.
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