History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Parkerville, Kansas is Quiet Today

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Located on the Neosho River about 12 miles northwest of Council Grove, Parkerville was established by Charles G. Parker, a former Santa Fe Trail wagon train freighter, in 1870. Situated alongside the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, the first store was established by Eastman and Thomas and Charles Parker built the first residence in town. A drug store/post office was run by J.A. Wallace, who later become the town's first mayor. By the end of the year, the town also boasted about 19 homes and a boarding house.


His intention was that this square be the location of the county court-house, and citizens rallied to remove county seat status from Council Grove. The next year Parker also established a steam grist mill with an attached saw mill and a two story stone schoolhouse was built.


Parker laid out the settlement surrounding a town square, as he planned from the beginning to remove the county seat status from Council Grove and the square would soon house a new courthouse. In the spring,  an election was held for town officers, at which J. A. Wallace was chosen mayor. Also occurring in 1871 was the incorporation of the city and almost immediately Parkerville challenged Council Grove for the County Seat. An election was called to settle the matter. All sorts of trickery was resorted to by both sides, including bringing in men by the hundreds for voting purposes. At that time the population of the county was 2,225. The number of votes cast was 1,312, of which 899 were for Council Grove and 413 for Parkerville.



Missouri-Kansas-Texas train under several feet of water,1904

Missouri-Kansas-Texas train under several feet of water, 1904.

Image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!




In October, 1877, the Morris County Enterprise, a weekly newspaper, was established by V.C. Welch, and quickly had a circulation of about 500. In 1880 a handsome stone Methodist Episcopal Church was built. The town thrived in its first decade and by the early 1880s, it boasted a dry good store, two drug stores, two grocery stores, a hardware store, two harness stores, and a wagon shop. There were also two cheese factories, a steam grist mill and a saw mill. However, it was also in the early 1880s that the Missouri Pacific Railroad also built a line through the county, which soon created the new settlements of Wesley and Herington, which took trade away from Parkerville.


However, the town continued to prosper through the turn of the century, by which time it had a grade school, high school, bank, newspaper, law offices, a veterinarian, grocery store and other businesses. A nearby horse track drew spectators from a large area. Through the depression, the town suffered and the bank closed in 1931. The Parkerville High School closed in 1945 and the students then attended the White City High School. The grade school; however, continued to hold classes until 1966.


In 1950, the last train went through the town and within a decade all signs of the railroad were gone, including the tracks. Today, Parkerville is a very sleepy semi-ghost town with only the Baptist Church still open today. It has just about 70 residents. The town is located about 18 miles northwest of Council Grove.



Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated March, 2017.



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