Our First Hundred Years: 1853-1952
The writer wishes to thank the people who helped by contributing information and materials used in compiling this brief history.
It is hard to realize that 100 years ago our beautiful village and the fine farms surrounding it were the haunt of the prairie wolf and the rattlesnake, and that graceful deer could be seen peacefully grazing, rarely disturbed by human beings. The chief disturbing element was prairie fire which frequently made for men and beast alike a race for life.
Settlement began in what is now Kansas Township as early as 1823 when the Boyers (Frederick and Abraham) came from Kentucky. The next two years saw the arrival of Jonathan Brown and Isaac Waite. Of the first families, the oldest direct descendants living in the area are O. E. Boyer, S. A. Boyer, George Boyars, Will Boyer and Mrs. J. H. Kirkham, who are grandchildren of Abraham.
In 1826 came the Henry Bulls and in 1830 the Pinnells and Wilhoits. The early Pinnell settlers were Abraham, Edward and Willis. Abraham settled south of Kansas in what was called the Gap where Earl Ingram lives now. Edward Pinnell served in the War of 1812 and was the only man in the County who could claim that honor. Willis also settled near the Gap and served this District in the State Legislature. Julius Wilhoit settled on the farm where Andrew Myers now lives. Lovel Wilhoit, a son of Julius, was the man for who the Village of Kansas was laid out.
The same year (1830) troubles with the Indians seemed imminent, and there were very few accessions until they were fully over. Indians were numerous in the County. They were the Kickapoos and the Pottawatomies, who were for the most part quiet, peaceable and friendly. Practically all of the trouble occurred in the northwest part of the State, and caused the Government to apply pressure to remove them to reservations beyond the Mississippi. In fact, in this area the two peoples had lived together in such harmony that some regrets were expressed when it was definitely understood that they were about to make their exodus.
In the spring of 1831, the whole band, several hundred of them, met for the last time near the Gap, to listen to Father Buel, a preacher, before taking up their march westward.
The year following the Blackhawk War, George Baber, the great grandfather of Adin Baber, settled on the farm where Adin now lives. Mr. Baber at one time was defended by Abraham Lincoln – a trial in which some parties attempted to dispossess him of some land with a forged deed. Judgment was rendered in Mr. Baber’s favor and a $15 fee was paid to Mr. Lincoln for his services.
Of the other early settlers in Kansas Township who left their mark in history were the Steeles and John Y. Allison in 1837. John, James and Wm. Lauhead arrived in 1838.
Kansas or Midway as a town was still un-thought of in 1850 when Frederick Boyers’ family stuck out north from the Pleasant Hill neighborhood to settle on the prairie, which was thought to be a wild venture. They built a house located where Carrel Duzan lives now. The building, torn down a few years ago was believed to include this original house. It was one room, 14 X 14, and housed seven people. Their nearest neighbor, the J. B. Clemens family, lived in what is now known as the Walter Brown home, three-quarter miles to the southeast. One-half mile farther east was the George Brown home, grandparents of Bruce Brown, Arlie Brown and Mrs. Lester Fell, where John Barry now lives. Northeast across eight miles of trackless prairie two families lived in the Hickory Grove. Their names where Moses Burr and a man by the name of Glover. The first house built north of Boyers was erected on the Samuel Honnold home place by Isaac Randolph, who also moved to Pleasant Hill.
One of the most important events in connection with the history of this part of the State was the building of the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad (N. Y. C.). Especially was this section cut off from the outer world in regard to travel and markets. The landings along the Wabash and Ohio Rivers afforded the only means of disposing of the products of this rich soil. When the idea of a railroad was broached there was considerable opposition from those who claimed it would increase taxes, that the engine would set fire to fields and haystacks, and that increased travel would be a means of importing disease. The road nevertheless was built and the greatest misfortune that occurred was one scarcely predicted by anyone. That was the utter ruin of villages and towns already founded but not along the right-of-way. Examples of these in Edgar County near Kansas are Hitesville, Grandview and Warrington. According to an Edgar County history this railroad was in running order in 1853.
In 1869 the Township voted $50,000 in aid of the Danville and Ohio River R. R. on the condition that the line should be built through the Township. It was built, running from Danville to Olney, 109 miles. The car shops together with some of its principle offices where located in Kansas. The roundhouse was located where the Marathon bulk plant is now. Part of this railroad was still in operation in the middle 20’s, known to all of us as the “Doty”.
It was June of 1853 that Lovel Wilhoit sensing the great transportation need for this area caused the town to be surveyed and platted. Those assisting him were County Surveyor Benj. F. Lodge, Elijah A. Boyer, and D. W. Zink. The day’s work resulted in laying out what is now designated on the map of the village as the “Original Town”. It is an area enclosed between the old Doty Railroad and Front Street east and west, and Buena Vista Street and Lafayette Street north and south. Lovel Wilhoit built his home where Mrs. Marie Pinnells’ house in now located.
The plat was recorded the 16th of July 1853 and thus was the foundation of the Village laid. The growth of the town began much after the fashion of all inland town in a muddy country. Because of its location between Paris and Charleston, and Indianapolis and St. Louis it was called Midway.
This name was kept until application for a post office was made. Then it was found that there was already a town in Illinois by that name in Fulton County. The Village of Kansas was in corporated in 1858 and was named to correspond with the township which was organized a year earlier, and so named because of the excitement caused by the passage of the Kansa-Nebraska Bill in 1854. The officers of the incorporation meeting where Dr. John Mills, President, and the councilmen selected where J. K. Boyer, E. J. Rinker, E. A. Boyer, J. R. McDavitt and Daniel Curd. In 1871 the organization was changed to correspond to the General Laws of the State and under this organization the officials have been elected and have acted until the present. Under the present town organization the first President was William Juntgen and the Trustees where A. Bacon, S. J. Payne, O. Q. Herrick and W. H. Brown.
The first merchant was John W. Hogue who displayed his wares in a small building just north of the railroad, just east of Accord’s Elevator about on the site of Greever’s Feed Store. It was about 16 X 30 and was crudely constructed. The building and contents made several changes in ownership in a brief period of time. Mr. Hogue sold out to J. W. Saunders, a sub-contractor in the construction of the Railroad. Mills, Herrick and Kester were the next owners, but soon retired from the business, the first two to practice medicine and the other to preaching. Samuel Birch, J. D. Thrasher, J. K and W. F Boyer in turn succeeded as proprietors of the “Midway Store.” The last named gentleman, in the spring of 1854, erected a very good two story building, large enough to accommodate a good sized stock of goods below, while the upper floor served as residence for W. F. Boyer.
Across the railroad south about where Neal’s Marathon Station is located the old depot was built.
Riley McDavitt ran the first hotel, the Kansas House, where Shade’s Garage now stands. It was built shortly after the platting of the original town. It was a two-story affair with a two-story porch. Many can till remember when it was torn down in 1916. The other Hotel, the Kester House, which burned in 1922, was erected in the 1870’s, on which is now the vacant lot west of the Bank. It was also a two-story building – – the lower floor being used for stores and offices with the Hotel upstairs.
The following winter, (1855-56), Midway grew rapidly because of the removal of many of the houses of the Town of Hitesville four miles southwest on the Old State Road. The moving of these buildings was under the supervision of Uncle James Laughhead who took advantage of the deep snow that prevailed that winter, placed skids under the buildings, attached 16 yoke of oxen and dragged them across the fields to town. Many of the houses were originally placed north of the Railroad although apparently some were moved again later. We are assured by some old timers that many are still in use. Some of these are the houses of Mrs. Frank Anderson, Mrs. Cleve Shade, Eldred Walton, Mrs. Leatha Reynolds, Mrs. Sam Titus, Mrs. Lola Arterburn, Miss Helen Covey and part of Mr. Jesse McDaniel’s’ house.
For a period of 18 years Messer Boyer were the leading merchants of the town. W. F. Boyer was the first Railroad Agent, Postmaster and Express Agent. During this time there were 16 dry goods houses opened. Many merchants failed because of the credit system then in vogue. At this time, for a merchant to refuse a man credit was an unheard of thing. A man’s ability to pay was never called in question, and when he needed an article he went to the store and got it. The crash of 1857 took care of many more.
Along with the dry goods came the grocery, and the number of these was even greater. Closely connected with the early day grocery was the whisky trade. In fact, few did business with out this article making part of the stock. The first regular saloon was kept by a Mr. Burdette. As he understood the compounding of fancy and mixed drink he was look upon by the drinking population with admiration and consequently did a thriving business. He dispensed his wares in a one-story frame building near the present residence of R. L. Bane.
Until the building of the Paris and Decatur Railroad in 1865, Kansas monopolized the hay and grain trade for this area. The pioneers in this business were J. K. and W. F. Boyer. They erected a warehouse just opposite the depot. Others entered the field soon there after, all of whom were more or less successful. George Brown erected the first hay press in 1858. This business furnished employment to a large number of men, and income to the farmers. During the war of the Rebellion, Kansas was the leading point on the Railroad in the shipment of hay. Most of these products were purchased by Army contractors for use by the Cavalry.
In the 1870’s it was realized by agriculturists that great advantages could be derived by having lands properly drained. To supply the demand for tile in this vicinity, Paxton and Tichenor erected a factory for $3,300.00 and began manufacture. The demand was so great that John. S. Paxton erected another factory at a cost of $4,000.00. Each one turned out about 800,000 tile per year. There is no trace of either of these factories now, but both were located in the east part of town.
A mill was established early in the history of Kansas by Robert Owens. It burned and was rebuilt, and after several changes of ownership fell into the hands of W. P. West who moved the machinery to Scottland, Illinois. Thomas Paxton and Calvin McVey in 1865 built the Ensing Mill, which was reputed the best outside of the larger cities, and was located on the corner where Short’s Marathon station stands.
The largest venture in the industrial effort came in 1888 when Staff Bros. Cannery Company was built at an expense of $50,000.00 It was the largest of its kind west of Baltimore. It burned in 1892 and was rebuilt but smaller than before. It burned a second time about 1907-8 completely. At that time it housed the electric plant which supplied lights for Kansas. This Cannery was located west of Kansas about one-half mile along the north side of the N. Y. C. Tracks. Its owner, Mr. Staff, lived where Mr. O. O. Mitchell now lives.
Following this fire the Village built and operated an electric light plant located about where Kirchners concrete shed stands. In August 1909 a village ordinance was passed selling the plant to H. A. Porter, who operated it a few months but was unable to obtain the required bond and so returned it to the Village who ran it until 1911 when the CIPS Company circulated petitions to buy it.
At one time there was a broom factory, lumber mill and woolen factory in Kansas. The Broom Factory was located above Rider’s furniture store and the knitting factory was west of the Standard Service Station in the next block.
In later years little or no attempt has been made to establish manufacturing in Kansas. The only exception being a concrete block plant, which was started by a Mr. Applyby in 1946. He sold out to Fenton Chaney a year later, who in turn sold to Charles Kirchner in 1950. This factory burned last year, but is in the process of being rebuilt.
The two businesses employing the most people in Kansas today are the two elevators. Other businesses in Kansas consist of a drug store, two restaurants, 9 filling stations and garages, four groceries, a pool room, a cattle loan office, a furniture store, 2 electrical appliance stores, a shoe repair shop, a hardware store, a lumber yard, 2 black smith shops, 2 barber shops, 2 beauty shops, 2 insurance offices, a poultry and cream station, a plumber, a dry goods store, a feed mill, 2 car dealers, a farm implement store and numerous trucking concerns. In addition there is the newspaper, the Bank and a merchant-owned theatre. Professional services are rendered by a Physician, an Osteopath and a Veterinary. The town is deeply indebted to Dr. F. B. Weaver who has devoted his entire professional career to serving our people a period extending over 32 years. He served the village as president for a number of years and was largely responsible for our present water system and our fire protection system.
The first newspaper was the Kansas Citizen. It began publication in 1868, lasted four years and was owned by E. F. Chittended. Soon after this W. W. Bishop began publication of the Kansas News which first appeared in 1873. The other publication, the Republican Sun began April 15, 1878, and was owned by W. S. Rose. By 1889 the names of these two papers had been changed to the Kansas Herald and the Kansas Journal. The Herald was located over the east half of Ochs Drug Store, and the Journal was where Carl Brant’s store is located. The Herald went out of business in 1890. The Kansas Journal is the oldest existing business in Kansas today. Roy Webster sold it to W. G. Covey (father of Helen and Harry) in 1915, and the Coveys have operated it since.
Telephone and Telegraph
The first telegraph line was put through on the Old State Road in 1847. The Line along the Railroad came though Kansas in 1855. Telephones were first in Kansas in 1899. The name of the Company was the Citizens Mutual Telephone Company of Eastern Illinois. Office hours were form 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM on weekdays and on Sundays 7:30 to 11:00 AM and 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Only emergency calls were answered after 9:00 PM. The rates were $12.00 a year for residences and $24.00 a year for business houses. The telephones today carry the same numbers originally assigned. The old “country line” operated by Mr. Bennett ceased to exist several years ago, but the Westfield Kansas Telephone Company become the C. T. & N. Telephone Company in August 1952, and under their ownership the entire system is in the process of changing over to the dial system. This service is expected to be in operation this year.
Banking in Kansas began with the private Banking house of Pinell, Boyer and Company. In 1872, these men with 6 others applied for permission to establish a National Bank in the Kester House. It was to be called the First National Bank and have a capital stock of $50,000.00. The first board of directors consisted of President, W. O. Pinnell; Cashiers, W. F. Boyer, J. R. Wilhoit, J. K. Boyer and John Arterburn, Jr. In 1906 it was decided to erect a building which, as remodeled, is now the home of the Kansas State Bank. In 1908 the Farmers National Bank was organized by a group of business men and opened in January 1909 with the following officers: R. S. Briscoe, President; P. B. Honnold, Vice-President; E. E. Covalt, Cashier; Bruce Nichols, Assistant Cashier and the following Board of Directors: R. S. Briscoe, P. E. McMorris, J. H. Sallee, C. D. Smith, J. R. Honn, C. M Paxton, P. B. Honnold, G. W. Goble and William McAdams, Jr. This Bank began operation where Wright’s Insurance Agency is now located. In 1918 a site for a building was purchased and the new Bank was formally opened in July 1919 where Herb Gilver has his barbershop.
In 1926 the two Banks voted to consolidate and the merger was completed so that the Kansas National Bank was born July 1, 1926 with B. H. Pinnell, President; E. E. Covalt, Vice-President; T. S. Wright, Cashier; C. C. Covalt, F. S. Anderson, Assistant Cashiers; Pope Wilhoit and John Barry, Bookkeepers. The Board members were: B. H. Pinnell, E. E. Covalt, H. F. Pinnell, G. W. Goble, J. Y. Wilhoit, B. W. Honnold, C. D. Smith and H. W. Morris.
In 1930 the nation-wide financial crash came and the Kansas National Bank closed its doors.
In May 1943 seven of our progressive citizens led by Charles Kirchner applied for a new Bank charter. By June the stock was fully subscribed. A stockholders’ meeting was held and a board of Directors elected. September 11, 1943 the Kansas State Bank opened for Business with B. W. Honnold, President; William Burnside, Vice-President; George Givens, Cashier and Directors, B. H. Saxton and R. L. Bane. It was organized with a capital stock and surplus of $30,000.00 and an undivided profit of $12,500.00. Its business has increased steadily the past ten years and at present has deposits of nearly $1,400,000.00 with a capital stock and surplus of $80,000.00 and an undivided profit of $23,000.00.
The Kansas Building and Loan Association is another of the old businesses in Kansas. It was organized in 1886 and even in 1889 it had over $100,000.00 of its stock in the hands of the citizens. It has experiences the same struggles of other financial organizations through the years but is at present a thriving business with about $135,000 loaned to our citizens.
Fires and Fire Department
The largest fire of consequence in the early history of Kansas occurred on the night of January 10, 1862. The fire broke out in Mosley and Zink’s store thought to have been located about where the dry goods store is at present, spread east to a restaurant, then to a tin and stove store, a saloon and a grocery. The total loss was estimated at $20,000.00. The fire was thought to be arson although was never proven. Suspicion pointed toward a man named Charles Brooks. A few months before the fire, Brooks was caught burglarizing Mosley and Zink’s, and while attempting to break open the safe, was shot in the neck and captured. He was sentenced to Joliet for seven years. While in jail awaiting trial he swore he would “live long enough to burn out Mosley and Zink’s”. Three months later he was pardoned and ten days later the store burned. Later fires were the burning of the Canning Factory once in 1882 and again in 1907.
Kansas has always had an efficient volunteer fire department, and operated for years with a hand-pulled hose cart and a “hand pumper”. In the 1930’s the legislature passed a Bill permitting the formation of Township Fire Protection Districts to be support by tax funds, and Kansas was among the first towns in Illinois to take advantage of this. It was largely through the efforts of Dr. F. B Weaver, who was Village President at the time that this was accomplished. Meetings were held in 1937-38 and an election was held April 12, 1938 forming the District. Following the election County Judge Laugher appointed Dr. Weaver, Ira Honnold and Arthur Bennett as Trustees. A levy was made and in December 1939 a modern fire truck was purchased for $5,500.00. On May 8, 1940 an ordinance was passed establishing a fire department, and since that time many serious fires have been avoided.
Prior to 1915 citizens of Kansas drew their water from wells and cisterns. In 1914 the water tower was erected and a system of water mains laid. All of this was done before drilling a well. Upon completion, a well was put down under the tower and no water was located. After much discussion and more drilling in the park, legend has it that J. A. Arterburn, a member of the Board, “witched” the well we now use. In August, 1938, from samples submitted by the Boards of Education to the State, it was discovered the water contained sufficient methane gas (an explosive) to be dangerous. The state said it must be removed and through the efforts of Dr. F. B. Weaver, Village President, the gas was removed and a softner installed at a cost of $11,000.00. An election was held October 27, 1937 and carried by a majority of almost 4 to 1 in spit of previous opposition to the softner question.
The Kansas Community Memorial Library we have today, and of which ware are justly proud, began with the efforts of interested volunteers in 1932. A committee was appointed from five organization – Mr. W. R. Forbes, Village Board; Mrs. Marie Pinnell, Entre Nous; Mrs. M. N. Troll, Women’s Club; Mrs. Eva Wilhoit, Bi-Weekly Club and Mrs. Ada Barr of the Columbian Club. In December 1932, a tea was held and those attending were asked to donate a book. Memberships were sold for $1.00 and the library opened on the second floor of the Village Hall.
In the beginning, the library board members took turns keeping the library. Mrs. Margaret Trotter was the first paid librarian. In 1945 Mrs. Horace Tune donated a two-room brick building to be used as a library. A state charter was applied for and issued in June 1945. In November of this year an election was held to levee a library tax and to select a library board. The board elected was Miss Ita Briscoe, Mr. Z. O. Arbogast, Mrs. E. B. Brown, Mrs. Hayes Hutchins, Mr. O. O. Mitchell, and Mrs. Lucile Hutchinson. This group formed the first incorporated library in Edgar County. It opened in one room of the new building in February 1946 with Mrs. Zella Fitzpatrick as librarian. In 1950 the second room was remodeled and opened. This year (1953) the outside of the building was resurfaced to protect it for future generation. The library is well used by its members and has on it shelves over 5,000 volumes. It subscribes to numerous magazines and periodicals.
Almost with the organization of the town came the building go the first church. In 1853-54 the Methodist Protestant Church was erected in the block were the bank now stands. This building was for a number of years generously opened for the free use of other denominations. As was the custom in those days, the brethren and sisters occupied different sides of the church and there were separate doors for them to enter. This building was moved in 1875 and is still in use as a residence by the Harry Batchelors.
The Christian Church was erected in 1856-57. It was built because of a conflict in meeting dates, and John Brown’s grandfather was so irritated because of his wife’s embarrassment that he started a subscription paper for a new church although he himself was a member of none. It was built on the west side of the lot where the present church is located. The building was a one room frame building facing north. In 1883 the building was moved to the east part of the lot and remodeled. When it was decided to build the present brick church the old building was purchased by H. F. Pinnell and again moved west, and was used as a gymnasium for about 3 years after which it was moved to the Pinnell farm and made into a barn. The new church was completed and dedicated October 10, 1909.
The Presbyterians organized their church on November 7, 1858. A number of its charter members were of the Grandview Presbyterian Church. They met in the Methodist Protestant Church until they completed their own building in April 1863. It stood where the present manse is located, originally facing south. The present church was built during the summer and fall of 1909 and was dedication November 28, 1909. The change in location caused some stormy battles and the loss of several members.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1857 and was part of the Grandview Circuit. In 1863 a church was built and the building and site is the present Hallock Tire Shop. It was dedicated December 25, 1864 and was later remodeled, a classroom and study room being added to the rear. The present church was dedicated July 14, 1907.
The community of Kansas has supplied well over fifty men and women who have dedicated themselves to the ministry and mission fields.
Education began in Kansas about 1853 in a small building built on an acre of ground donated by William Brown (John Brown’s Grandfather). The school was located where the first Methodist Episcopal Church was later built, and where Hallock’s Tire Shop is at present. The first teacher was John McDavitt, a wealthy farmer. Because the railroad was so new, it was utterly impossible to manage the country scholars when a train passed through town. The shriek of the “Iron Horse” was the signal for a general stampede out-of-doors. This first building soon became too small and was abandoned. It was moved when the Methodist Church was built and used as a harness shop by John Arterburn.
A larger building was erected during the Civil War on the lots where Joe Allen’s house now stands and the one west of it. It was due to the influence of J. K. Boyer that a building was erected larger than was necessary to meet their immediate needs. There are several living who attended this school and remember it. It was a two-story frame building of 4 rooms, facing the north. This school fulfilled the education requirements of Kansas until it burned about 1888.
At this time the population of the Village according to a Business Men’s Association Booklet was 2,000 an still growing. Therefore, it was necessary to replace the burned school with a still larger and more modern building. So in 1889 a new brick building, two stories high with rooms for six departments was completed and used as both grade and high school until 1936. Since this time it has been used as our grade school and now is inadequate for the present enrollment.
This same year (1889) plans were made and published to open the Eastern Illinois Normal School in Kansas. The board of trustees included: R. S. Briscoe, W. L. Kester, E. G. Rose, P. B. Honnold, J. A. Payne, W. A. Bell, W. W. Jacobs, J. K. Boyer and William Juntgen. The site was selected one mile south of Kansas at the crossroads. Willliam Kester was one of the members of the State Committee. Senator Pemberton, who was said to have had no love for Kansas, was also a member. He managed to swing the vote in favor of Charleston. So ended our bid for higher learning.
May 1, 1894 a private school, the Eton Academy, was opened in Kansas. It was located in the dwelling where Harry Morris now lives. Part of the same house was moved to the country and is the home of Harry Marrs. This Academy was established by Edward Willasey and his wife, and accepted students from age 8 through High School and operated in Kansas until 1904.
From this period until 1936 there was little improvement or change in the schools. At this time with Federal Aid, out present High school was built at a cost of nearly $100,000.00. In 1948 due to declining rural population and the difficulty of getting state aid with which to operate, a consolidation of surrounding districts was voted and a unit district formed under which we now operate.
The Village Park with its beautiful trees is one of the things of which Kansas is proud. In 1870 it was un-kept and unsightly property owned by the Railroad with two warehouses about where the Village Hall stands. In 1875 the Park was laid out and the tress planted. A double deck bandstand was erect, and walks and drives were laid out. Since that time various organizations have interested themselves in its care, and it continues to be admired and used by both natives and tourists alike. In earlier years annual Harvest Home Picnics were held here and people came from miles around to join in the festivities and fraternize with their neighbors. In later years it has been the place where annual Homecomings and Lions Club Fish Fry’s have been held.
Kansas Lodge #280, A. F. and A. M. was chartered October 6, 1858 with Orson Q. Herrick, Isaac N. DeLong and William L. Laughhead as the principal officers. This is the oldest organization in Kansas still in existence. From a charter membership of seven it has grown until now there are 150 members.
The Entre Nous Club, which is the oldest federated club in the eighteenth district, was organized by Miss Laura Paxton April 3, 1895 for social, cultural and benevolent purposes. Of the seven charter members, Miss Ita Brisco is still active. With a closed membership of fifteen, the personnel of the club through the years has numbered about fifty member, and the high standards of service and loyalty established by the charter group has been maintained through the years.
Coral Hall Post #539 was temporarily chartered March 2, 1920, due largely to the efforts of Lloyd Rider and Harold P. Shields. All service men of World War I being eligible, there were fifteen charter members. Harry P. McAdams was first Commander and Harold Shields Adjutant. The post was named in honor of the only Kansas man killed in that war. He was the brother of Ben, Margaret and Lester Hall. Permanent charter was issued in 1925. Following World War II a Legion Home was purchased for use of its member which now total 86. The American Legion is primarily interested in the welfare of veterans and their families, Americanism, National Security and Community Service.
The Coral Hall #539 unit of the American Legion Auxiliary was organized soon after the Legion Post was chartered. The first President was Mrs. Blanche Yowell and there were sixteen charter members. The Auxiliary renders community service, supports girl’s state, child welfare, national security, Americanism, the education of war orphans and assists the American Legion in carrying out their projects. They render invaluable services to disabled veterans and war orphans by raising money for clothing, medical supplies and food. They help the needy in the community and yearly donate a book to the library in memory of our soldiers who gave their lives in the two World Wars.
The Kansas Women’s Club was organized in October 1928 and Federated in 1929. There were 31 charter members of whom 11 are still active. It was organized originally as a Departmental Club with each department holding separate meetings. Later it was consolidated and one meeting a month was held. Miss Ita Briscoe was the first President. The Women’s Club has been active in the Community Service. It originally sponsored the Memorial Library, planted tress and has been especially active in sponsoring the Red Cross, Polio and Cancer Fund raising campaigns. Present membership is 59 active members, 22 associate members and 4 honorary members.
The Lions Club of Kansas was organized June 14, 1944 with 21 charter members. O. O. Mitchell was the first president and H. E. Covey, Secretary and Treasurer. Of the original members those still active are Earle Bond, H. E. Covey, George Kirchner, E. H. Oches, O. O. Mitchell, Lincoln Standfield and Frank Sexton. There are 32 members at present. This club was formed to serve the community and to better it. Among their several projects are the sponsorship of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, maintenance of the Village Park and the Chimes clock and yearly clean up campaigns.
The Kansas Chapter #774 of the Order of Eastern Star of Illinois was organized February 11, 1916 by Owen Scott, Grand Patron of Illinois. Mrs. Nora Arterburn was first Worthy Matron, W. R. Forbes, Worthy Patron, Mrs. Lucy Nichols, Secretary and Miss Ita Briscoe, Treasurer. There were 25 charter members of whom 8 are still active. A past matron circle was organized April 20, 1929.
Several other organizations exist including those within the churches and many more have existed in the past but time and space limit the writer to those named above.
In closing this brief history of Kansas, although it is impossible to go into detail, mention must be made of the several wars which have been fought during its 100 years. Our residents have not failed this country in times of need. We are well represented in the Armed Forces today as we have been in the past, and aside from human sacrifices, the products of the rich soil surrounding the community have contributed to our nation’s continued freedom.