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Towns & Places of Morris County - Page 2

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Skiddy, aka: Camden - Located on the boundary line between Morris and Geary Counties on the line of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, Skiddy got its start in 1869 by settlers from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. That first year, there was only one general store built by a man named J.R. College and a post office was established in November. The town was named for a railroad man named Francis Skiddy of New York, a magnate of the old Union Pacific Railroad who controlled the northern extension of the Tebo and Neosho Railroad branch.

 

For some reason, the town's name was changed in 1879 to Camden, but was changed back to Skiddy in 1883.

 

Skiddy, Kansas today

Skiddy today, photo courtesy Flyover People.

 

 

 

The town grew slowly and by the early 1880s, it still only had the single general store and the town had about 120 people. The Baptists, who were quite numerous in Skiddy and the surrounding country in 1882 finished a frame church building. By the turn of the century the town boasted a hotel, a couple of general stores, express and telegraph offices, and a money order post office. The population in 1910 was 90. Today, it is a ghost town with just a few residents and a few abandoned businesses. It is located about eight miles northwest of White City.

 

White City - Established as a station on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad a colony was first organized in Chicago under Reverend Pierce, with the object of making themselves homes in some of the western states. While making plans, correspondence was opened up between Mr. Pierce and Mr. Somers, of Council Grove, the latter gentleman at that time being agent for a large amount of railroad lands. When the colony was about ready to start westward, Mr. Somers proceeded to Chicago to see to the completion of its organization, and to accompany it to Morris County. The group numbered about forty families. The place first selected for its location was only about three miles from Parkerville, but afterwards it moved about two miles further to the north to land owned by T. S. and W. J. Mackenzie, who took an active part in organizing the colony. The Mackenzies had earlier purchased 80 acres of ground on either side of the railroad tracks.

 

In 1871 the Mackenzies had the town site surveyed, and building soon started. In 1872, the first house built in the village was by Thomas Eldridge, the first store erected was by James Thornley and W. N. Dunbar, and a post office opened in January. In 1873 a good school was built and by the early 1880's there were  three general stores, a drug store, a grocery store, a millinery shop, two wagon shops and two grain  elevators. By that time it had become a shipping point for the area farms and had a population of about 200.

 

The town continued to grow over the next decades and by 1910 boasted two banks, a weekly newspaper called the Register, a number of retail establishments, telegraph and express offices, and an international money order post office with four rural routes. At that time to population was a little more than 500 people.

 

Over the next century White City maintained a steady population and today still has about 500 people. Today, it is known as the "Little City on the Hill," as it sits on one of the highest elevations in the Flint Hills. The small community provides a peek at its history at the one-room Baxter School House and  the KATY Railroad Rail Car Museum. A bed-and-breakfast inn is located in a historic two-story stone store. White city is located about 24 miles northwest of Council Grove.

Wilsey - Getting its start as a station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1884, the town was named for John D. Wilsey, and early pioneer of the area. Already existing at the time of the town's founding was another post office called Mildred which had been earlier established in 1878. However in May, 1884, it was changed to Wilsey. By the turn of the century the town had evolved into a shipping point for a large agricultural area and sported a bank, bank, a weekly newspaper called the Wilsey Warbler, a flour mill, a grain elevator, a hotel, telegraph and express offices, and a money order post office with two rural routes. In 1910 its population was about 350. After the Great Depression, Wilsey began to suffer. The bank went broke in the early 1930s and the newspaper ceased publication later in the decade. However, the small community maintained well into the 1950's and '60's, at which time its business district included two grocery stores, two restaurants, a drug store, lumber yard, hardware store two service stations and a mechanic shop. However, as the population continued to drop, the Wilsey High School closed and the students then attended school in Council Grove in the late 1960s. In the 1990s the grade school followed suit and in September, 1997, the post office closed its doors forever. Today, this small town supports just about 180 people. The former high school now houses the Wilsey Bible School. Wilsey is located about 11 miles southwest of Council Grove.

 

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated January, 2014.

 

Wilsey, Kansas in 1907

Wilsey, Kansas, 1907.

 

Wilsey, Kansas Main Street Today

Wilsey, Kansas today, Kathy Weiser.

 

Morris County, Kansas Slideshow:

 

 

All images available for photo prints or commercial downloads HERE.

 

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From the Legends' General Store

 

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