Establishment of Town
The town of Pomona is beautifully situated ten miles west of Ottawa on elevated land near the Marias des Cygnes River in one of the most picturesque locations in the State. It was named by the founder, J. H.
Whetstone, for the old Italian goddess of the fruit of trees. The north side commands a fine view of the timber and bluffs on the opposite side of the river.
The land where the city of Pomona now stands was once owned by the powerful and savage Sac and Fox Indians. The Sac and Fox located in Kansas about 1844. The records show that on October 1, 1859, John McManus of Reading, Pennsylvania, by act of treaty with the confederated tribes of the Sac and Foxes
of Mississippi did successfully deal and trade for 192,310 acres of land in Franklin, Coffey, and Osage Counties of the territory of Kansas. By treaty in 1861, the Sac and Fox reservation was so far diminished as to exclude them from Franklin County. On March 13, 1865, McManus received a patent from the
government for this land. The title to this land was changed to the Seyfert McManus & Co. of Reading, Pennsylvania, a corporation dealing in Indian Lands in 1867.
About 1869, John H. Whetstone, acting as land agent for Reading Iron Works, came to control 12,000 to 15,000 acres of the above land in the west part of Franklin County, lying north of the Marais des Cygnes river, and mostly in a solid body. About this time Jonathan Parkinson obtained a long stretch of
about 1,000 acres in the river bottoms just north of the river. During the five years previous to coming to Pomona, Mr. Whetstone had been engaged in the business of buying and selling lands at Ottawa. During this time, Ottawa had increased from 300 to over 3,000 people. The population of the county had
increased four fold. Through the sale of property, Whetstone had helped locate more than 300 families.
While studying the various wants of this great body of people, he conceived the idea of establishing a colony on this tract of land under such circumstances as should best promote the interests of all. The central idea of
the founder was not to provide each colonist with cheap land, but rather to collect together a class of people who had attained the elevation of a certain moral plane and that each should own as much or as little property according to his ability to pay for it in cash or on time. No one could buy property in this
colony without signing a contract not to sell intoxicating liquors to be used as a beverage. The inexperienced colonist was to be given as much advise as he might need in any line. Special attention was devoted to providing such educational advantages as the majority might need. An industrious, sober, intelligent, moral and prosperous colony was the result. On December 29, 1869 Mr. S. T. Kelsey went in with Mr. Whetstone, and they organized the John Whetstone & Co. Mr. Kelsey had many years of experience in the West; formerly as foreman of F. K. Phoenix Nursery Co., Bloomington, Illinois, and four years as founder and manager of the Ottawa University Nurseries and Horticulture farm at Ottawa. He had given much time and
thought to the best and cheapest modes of making and improving farms and homes on prairie lands by planting a colony of fruit and tree growers on some selected site in Kansas. Believing that their purpose could best be accomplished by combining their experience and capital, they proceeded to lay out their purchase into small farms with the view of selling to parties designing to become actual settlers and thus collect together a colony each one of whom should own a small farm or a village lot. To provide for those who might prefer village life, the town of Pomona was laid out and platted. There was Main Street running north and south, and Franklin Street running east and West. Franklin Street became an old immigrant trail and later was called a branch of the old Santa Fe trail. It is now known as highway 68.
The town lots were laid out in size from one eighth, two and one-half, then five and ten acre lots or tracts. It was the intention of the founder that all heads of families should own a home. This he concluded would
insure perfect freedom in all deliberations, giving to each settler a home interest in the town. 240 acres were divided into city lots, 1200 acres surrounding that were divided into lots ranging from 10 acres up to 20 acres, and the remaining tracts of land outside the town were divided into 80 acre farms. A barbed wire fence 20 1/4 miles long enclosed each tract of land. Sections of 640 acres were fenced with osage orange hedge set out around each section with roadways on all section lines. We take barbed wire fencing for
granted in these times, but in the 1860’s barbed wire was not yet a part of our culture. A good alternative to board fencing that was used in the eastern United States but which was not an alternative in sparsely forested Kansas was hedge osage orange hedge fencing. They planted 130 miles of hedge as cross fences. The
importance of growing the Osage Orange for fencing came to the front in 1867 when the Kansas state Legislature appropriated a bounty for tree planting within the state. Hedge or Osage Orange for fencing could be planted and raised for about $60 per mile while the most ramshackle fence of any other type would have cost about $268 per mile. Mr. Kelsey was a strong advocate of the hedge, and he went into the culture of the hedge to afford the farmers a convenient and cheap source of supply. He had a nursery east of town to furnish hedge plants. Many barrels of blue grass seed were sown on the prairies of this colony.
Mr. Whetstone planted 30,000 fruit trees in the colony. He had 400 acres of apple trees. He was often referred to as the Apple King of the county. Through careful grafting, he developed many new varieties of apples. He shipped apples all over the United States and exported some to Europe.
OTHER EARLY LAND HOLDINGS
Besides the land purchase of John Whetstone, there were other sizable transactions in various directions rom the townsite of Pomona. we have been unable to get complete information about all of them. Around 1865-66, the Hon. John Palmer Usher purchased from John McManus about 2,000 acres of land to
the west. Judge Usher, a resident of Lawrence, had been First Assistant Secretary of Interior under President Lincoln. When Secretary Smith resigned, judge Usher was chosen to occupy his seat in the cabinet. At that time the work of the secretary of the interior was of the highest importance due to the fact
that his department handled the territorial expansion of the country then in progress in the West. Following John Usher’s resignation from the cabinet, he settled in Lawrence, Kansas, to take up his duties with the Union Pacific. He died in 1889 at the age of 76. At the time his son John P. resided in Kansas City; Linton, a cattleman was in New Mexico; and Samuel C., a graduate of the Lawrence schools, lived with his mother in Lawrence.
In later years, John and Sam built a large stucco house on the land at Pomona and resided there for many years. Before these sons moved to Pomona, Judge Usher had resident managers on the land. Some of these were John and Frank Kraus, Hugh Maxey, and Harvey Taylor. He used to make trips to Pomona on horseback to oversee and manage the land here. A member of the family tells of Sam, who was graduated from the University of Kansas Law School, being so proud that he graduated at the head of his class but having to admit that there were only two in the class. Linton Usher attended Kansas State University in
either its first or second year of existence. It was then completely housed in one old stone building, and the boys lived upstairs. Some time after the deaths of John and Sam, Linton returned to Pomona with part of his family and resided in the stucco house for a number of years. When he died at the age of 99, death
removed one of the few remaining persons with personal recollections of Abraham Lincoln and other great figures of the time of the War Between the States. One of his prized possessions was an autograph book which contained a paragraph of Lincoln’s second inaugural address written and signed by President Lincoln.
Then to the south, Jonathan Parkinson owned a large tract of land as early as 1869. This was land lying between the river and the town. Some reports give it as about 1,000 acres. Another source of information which was written in 1883 tells that Mundy and Parkinson handled over 5,000 head of cattle in the Indian Territory of Utah in 1882. It said they fed 250 head at Pomona in the winter of 1882-83. Jeff Mundy had come to Pomona with his father in 1873 when they rented the hotel property for about one year. At the end of that time, they rented the large farm lying west of town belonging to Hon. J. P. Usher of Lawrence. Here the father died leaving the family with limited means. Jeff got the idea of buying calves and fat cattle and soon built up a business that placed him in the front rank of the cattle dealers of Kansas. From this report a
statement was made that Durhams had a fine start in the locality and that the Calloway breed was rapidly pushing to the front.
About this same time, Nicholas V. Hudelson arrived in Ottawa from Paoli, Indiana. He brought his family to Kansas in 1874. They bought 160 acres of land in Greenwood Township and moved there from Ottawa by ox team called Buck and Jerry. At that time his sons, John and Jim, were about 7 and 5 years of age. In a biography printed around 1900, it stated that during the winter of 1898-99 he fed over 1,000 head of cattle. This source said that it was probable that he handled more stock than any other man in the county at that
time. By 1899, he owned 800 acres of land which he had improved from raw prairie. He did not raise enough feed for his stock on his place, so he furnished a market for farmers of the township for their corn. By that time, his sons were connected with him in the stock business.
During this time, the earlier mentioned Parkinson and Mundy land had passed into the hands of the Barse Commission Co., Kansas City, Mo. In 1895, Jim and John Hudelson contracted for the purchase of this land. They obtained possession in 1900. Some of the acreage was sold to various individuals, but the bulk of it has remained in the hands of the Hudelson family to this date.
John M. Dyer was the pioneer coal operator in the vicinity of Pomona. he came to Kansas in 1868, also locating in Greenwood township, and improved a valuable farm from raw land. For several months, he acted as agent for Whetstone & Barnett in the sale of their large tract of land south of the Marais des Cygnes River. Mr. Dyer bought 86 acres south of the river. During the first year on the farm, while digging a foundation for a stable, he struck a vein of coal. In 1873, he began to dig out the coal which he supplied to the Topping mill. After that he opened other coal mines. He took out thousands of tons of coal from his land. He supplied Ottawa and other cities and towns of this locality. By 1899 he owned 140 acres, all underlain with coal. The product was fine quality of soft coal. Also, by that time he had been a partner with Dr. Pasley in the drug business in Pomona for three years. He was a charter member of Pomona Lodge, A.F. & A.M. His son, Frank, was to later own and operate a grocery store where the Farmers Union is now located.
DEVELOPMENT OF TOWNSITE
Rev. L. Newcomb built the first house in the colony. It was a small house located one mile east and one-fourth mile north of the townsite. This would be where Whitman’s live now. It was built some time in 1868. Alfred Jones built the first house on the townsite. This was a one and one-half story frame house with about six rooms located at the east edge of town on the south side of Franklin Street. This house has been torn down, and the Jim Hogues live on the location at the present time.
The first business building was erected by Rev. L. Ricksecker in 1869 and was occupied by him as a general store, drug store, and post office. It was located at about the west side of the present bank building. A store was operated there for many years. It was torn down along with a livery stable when the present bank building was built.
A. H. Stanton built the next business building a little north of the corner of Franklin and Main Streets on the east side of Main Street. It was later remodeled and made into a hotel called the Pomona Hotel. By 1883 it was operated by T. J. Harrah. He advertised “Day Boarding and Meals.” Patronage from the traveling public was solicited. Some residents remember calling this hotel the Harrah House. It had about eleven guest rooms, an office, a sample room where salesmen brought their trunks of goods to display. The merchants came here to make their selections of merchandise. The proprietor had living quarters also. The hotel was dismantled in 1934, and Mr. T. A. Love built a modern bungalow out of some of the lumber. he built just north of the original site. His house was destroyed by an explosion in 1957. The site is vacant at present.
Some of the early settlers here in 1869 were: E. A. Mott, Marvin Jenkins, George Hoopes, Luther Newcomb, John Kraus, John Baldwin, Alfred Jones, J. Parkinson, Rev. L. Ricksecker, A. H. Stanton, and William Hayes.
John Kraus & Sons erected a furniture factory in 1870 on the east side of Main Street and south of Franklin, a little south of where Frank Hughes now resides. By 1883, they built another large building for a sale room
by the side of the factory. They had a reputation for making good, solid furniture mostly of walnut. An ad in a booklet printed in 1883 listed them as undertakers with coffins of all sizes kept constantly on hand. They also built a three-story, ten room house which later became a hotel and rooming house for transients. It was operated for many years by Mrs. Katherine Kraus and daughter, Kate.
Around 1870, Nelson Reynolds erected a stone blacksmith shop. McCord & Wilson added a wagon shop. These buildings were located on the corner of Franklin and East A Street where Dusin’s Dairy Bar now stands. Some of the original building materials were used in the construction of later buildings.
Whetstone and J. L. Hawkins started a large sorghum and sugar mill at the north edge of town in 1877. This building can be seen in the picture which shows an overall view of the town about 1900. This business was not very successful and was abandoned. Later Mr. Whetstone acquired this building and built two more and started up quite a successful dried and fresh apple business. He used one of the buildings as a cold storage and the other two for drying apples. He also had a cider mill. About 25 people were employed in this
business. This Mr. Whetstone was very versatile. By 1883, he and Maxey had opened a retail store carrying farmers’ supplies and a general assortment of goods in the latest styles. Their ad in 1883 said their stock was “sweet and clean throughout”. He organized the Farmers’ Exchange in 1898 which was the forerunner of the Farmers Union Mercantile Co., now called the Farmers Union Co-op.
Another early landmark was the flour mill erected by H. O. Kelsey in 1870. It was two stories high and made of native limestone. It was propelled by steam, had the most approved machinery, and three runs of 4-foot
burrs. The building and machinery cost about $25,000. Mr. Acker was the first miller, and J. C. Baker the engineer. An ad of this firm in 1883 listed E. H. Topping as the proprietor. The flour brand was GOLDEN SHEAF, “XXX A.” and “XX B.” Franklin County. It further stated, “The proprietor has recently secured the
services of a miller of 23 years experience in France, who is giving immense satisfaction”. Fremont Curry replaced the burrs with a patent roller process in 1886. The mill burned during the winter of 1899. The remains of it can be seen in the overall picture of Pomona.
A livery stable was established on the west side of Main street, a little north of the corner of Franklin sometime in the 1880s. Mr. Frank Hughes worked there as a boy in his early teens. The owners were George Parker and Sam Combs. Mr. Hughes has told about taking care of the traveling salesmen when they
came to town. He would take their trunks over to the hotel sample room. To this room came Abel Hensley and others to buy their merchandise. Then Hughes would take the salesman to Quenemo and Williamsburg, using a team and wagon.
Later, about 1893, Millard Lawrence owned and operated this livery stable. It was from here that he provided the “Hack” to take passengers and the mail to and from the depots. He had a dray wagon and spring wagon for hauling express and freight. The Chenoweth Undertaking establishment of Ottawa kept a horse-drawn hearse in the stable for use at funerals in Pomona. Ewing Lawrence tells that it was his job to clean up the hearse when he worked there. He did a lot of other work around the place while going to school and before
entering the service in World War I.
By 1899 Abel Hensley was one of the oldest merchants of Pomona. He was the senior member of the mercantile house of A. Hensley & Son. He came to Pomona in December of 1876 and formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, J. L. Hatfield. Later the title of the firm was changed to Paul & Hensley. In 1888, Mr. Hatfield again became interested in the business, and the firm of Hensley & Hatfield continued until 1893 when Mr. Hensley purchased his partner’s interest and carried on alone. In 1896 he took his son,
Frank J., into partnership. Abel Hensley operated a corn and feed mill and carried on an exchange bank for the accommodation of his customers and friends. For some years he conducted a tannery and engaged in the manufacture of harness and collars on an extensive scale. In 1899 he was the proprietor of a harness
shop and a large livery business. In 1896 he erected a business block on Main Street. He built several dwellings, stores, and the livery barn.
At one time there was a Jewish man by the name of Mindlin who owned a store here. Residents recall his unusual methods of attracting attention when he advertised. Once he put a hypnotized man in the store window. His store was on the corner of Main and Franklin and was destroyed by fire.
In 1900 E. G. Swayze built a lumber yard and rebuilt the old mill of Kelsey and Curry on its original foundation. This was on the corner of Franklin and East A Streets.
The first restaurant was on the south side of Franklin Street west of Main about where the Farmers Union service station now stands. It was built in 1870 by William A. Jenkins. After the early death of Mr. Jenkins, it
was operated for many years by Mrs. Eunice Jenkins and her daughter, Sylvia. Some of the native sawed lathes in it were of oak and walnut. They were used by Fannie Kraus, a granddaughter of Mr. Jenkins, in the remodeling of her house.
Another thriving business in the early days was the Pomona Fruit Co. It was organized in 1898 by J. J. Whetstone when Mrs. Whetstone and Mrs. Jessie Maxey began as an experiment at home to put up fruits, jellies, and extracts for market. They met with such success that the company was started. They went into it on a large scale and installed twelve gasoline stoves and one large coal stove to use for boiling the juices. At the peak of their business, they made from 1,600 to 1,800 glasses of jelly per day from many different kinds
of fruit, both tame and wild. The business employed about fifteen people. At one time, they shipped a car of apple cores and peelings to Paris, France, for brandy making. Later they made toilet goods and bluing. Once they shipped out two carloads of bluing in a shipment. Catsup was another product made in quantity. Mrs. Mabel Hudelson can tell about her experiences while working with the catsup. Miss Fannie Kraus worked in the jelly part. This industry was located on the west side of Main Street at the corner of Fourth Street, somewhat west of the old Whetstone sandstone house where Dexters now live. All of these industries were discontinued by 1910.
Some of the early settlers here in 1869 and shortly thereafter as have been found in records and have not been mentioned, included: E. A. Mott, house, sign and carriage painter; Marvin Jenkins; George Hoopes; Luther Newcomb; John Baldwin, owner of land where Hooks live.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF EARLY DOCTORS
AND SKILLED WORKMEN
The health and welfare of the town and surrounding country were not neglected. We do not know much about some of the earliest doctors except their names. At various periods of time these men served the community: J. T. Mackey, B. H. Pasley, J. F. Vigor, Minnie McMahon, H. B. Johnson, J. Starkweather, Hottle, S. E. Capper, and E. Topping.
Dr. J. F. Vigor, for many years a doctor in Pomona, came to Pomona in 1885 from Ohio. The family lived for about six months in the house now occupied by Lovel O’Brien. Then Dr. Vigor bought the house where Frank Hughes now lives. The small building to the south was his office and was built later. After about eleven years, he sold out to Dr. Minnie and went back to Ohio for two years. He then returned to the same place where he lived and practiced until his death at the age of 90. He served as city clerk and treasurer of the Methodist church for many years. He combined carpentry and cabinet making work with the practice of medicine. This work he did in the old barn out back. Here he kept his horse and buggy used for making calls in the early days. Much of the fancy woodworking was done by him on the Methodist church which burned.
Dr. H. B. Johnson, a member of the first graduating class of Pomona High School, also served the community long and faithfully. For many years he ran a drug store and school supplies business in connection with his medicine practice. This was located where James Lindsey now runs his grocery
store and locker plant.
J. W. Spangler was a manufacturer of harness and saddlery, boots and shoes. Joe Harford was listed in the 1883 brochure as a plasterer and kalsominer. J. M. Ricksecker was a carpenter and builder. T. L. Newcomb was justice of the peace and notary public. Newcomb and Griffin were real estate dealers. Topping & Son carried a general assortment of drugs, medicines, paints, oils, glass, and wall paper. E. Topping, M.D. was the practicing physician. Joseph Bingamen was a stone mason and contractor. Mrs. T. J. Mackey
ran the store and was postmistress. She had a fine trade in drugs and notions while Dr. Mackey practiced medicine. Incidentally, the Spangler business was located first door south of the J. Parkinson & Co. A Mr. J. A. Downey had a blacksmith shop on Main Street. T. L. Newcomb edited the pamphlet “Pomona For A
Home” in 1883. Bagby & Lant were the proprietors of a meat marketselling fresh and salt meats. They especially advertised “Silver Lake Ice”.
The Citizens State Bank was chartered on October 22, 1901 by E. A. May, F. E. Bodley, L. C. Bodley, M. A. Limbocker of Quenemo, and J. E. Reed of Pomona with a capital stock of $5,000. This bank was first located on the west side of Main Street just south of the John Parkinson building (present Farmers Union). Later it moved to a location about where Jim Lindsey’s lot is. On April 21, 1903, they moved to a new building on the corner of Franklin and East A Streets.
On August 9, 1902, the capital stock of the bank was raised to $7,500; on March 25, 1909, to $10,000; then to $15,000; and at present the capital stock is $50,000 with a surplus of $56,700. In 1909 the controlling
interest was purchased by the Hudelson family from May and Limbocker. They operated it for 42 years with John and Jim remaining active until their deaths. Other members of the family have been associated with it in various administrative capacities to the present time. On May 1, 1951, the controlling interest was sold to Mr. C. H. Goppert of Kansas City. Mr. Neal Baxter is executive vice president and cashier.
W. H. Wiggins built the building to the west of the bank building. The I.O.O.F. Lodge built their hall over both buildings the same year. Bill Renner was the bricklayer, and Bill “Red” Wilson was the carpenter. The
Lodge had been organized on January 6, 1893. The Wiggins family operated a general store at that location for many years.
The Santa Fe Railroad was surveyed through here in 1872 and built in 1883. The last James Hudelson, then a boy in his teens, was the first passenger. He and a friend, Hal Griffin, were riding to town on horses. The
trainmen asked him if he would like to be the first passenger. They put him in the cab, and he rode on it to the depot. The second track was built in 1904.
The Santa Fe tracks have been raised a number of times to put them above flood waters. The depot has also been changed. Several accidents have occurred on these double tracks which never had a gate or signal lights until 1960. The first accident happened long before cars. Mrs. Will Lawrence was driving a beautiful team of horses to a buggy. She and Miss Anna Lawrence were driving south to visit someone over in the country. A train coming from the west hit them, killing Mrs. Lawrence and injuring Miss Anna. They just did not see
the train and drove on the tracks on front of it. The Santa Fe has contributed much to the growth and development of Pomona over the years. It still pays quite of sum of tax money which has help school taxes low here.
The Missouri Pacific was surveyed in 1876 and built in 1886. The depot there was destroyed by the tornado which hit through the edge of Pomona on June 1, 1917. Accidents have occurred on their track. Jim Lindsey’s father W. O. Lindsey, was fatally injured on November 9, 1942. He was taking the mail to the depot. John Ed. Lindsey, then four years old, and Mary Davis were riding with him. The Davis child was killed, too. In 1948, Mr. John Hudelson lost his life at this track. The Missouri Pacific system has also given much toward the betterment of the town.
The first sermon was preached in Pomona by Rev. L. Ricksecker in May 1870. The Methodist church was organized in 1871 by Rev. William Wilkins with 35 members. The first services were held in the stone school house. They built the first church building on the corner of East A and Fourth Streets in 1879 or 1880. This was a frame building which cost $600. It was located across the street from the school building. Later it was moved downtown when the new one was built in 1894. The old one was used by the W.C.T.U. and later bought by Swayze and used as a town hall. At times the graduation exercises were held in this building. It burned on November 11, 1922. At that time, it was located across the alley from Langley’s grocery store.
The Methodist parsonage was erected in 1897. the trustees of the first church were: J. W. Lee, J. Miller, S. McNeal, E. A. Mott, J. Stevens, and F. F. Walker. This church was a missionary church on the Centropolis circuit. Mrs. Reuben Burtner was the first president of the Ladies Aid. The first regular pastor was J. W. Clock who lived in the parsonage at Centropolis in 1876. Rev. Werter R. Davis, the first President of Baker University, was the first resident pastor. He served five years from 1888 to 1893. Owing to a church ruling that no pastor could hold one charge more than five years, he was removed to Vinland in April of 1893. He died there in June of 1893. Rev. L. A. Markham took his place, and he died August 27, 1893, because of grief over the death of his life long friend, Rev. Davis. It has been said that Rev. Davis died of a broken heart
because he had to leave his Pomona charge. The first pastor appointed to the Pomona Methodist church was the Rev. T. E. Sisson who was appointed at conference in May 1884. Zula Pasley, daughter of Dr. B. H. Pasley, organized an Epworth League in 1897.
The second building for the Methodist church was erected on the site of the old construction in 1894, during the pastorate of Rev. Werter R. Davis. The lots for that building were purchased by the women of the church for $200. Mrs. J. F. Vigor and Mrs. E. A. Mott were particularly active in raising funds. The completed building cost $3,000 and was dedicated by Bishop Bowman on December 16, 1894. The building remained in use until it burned in May of 1949.
Townspeople set to work immediately to rebuild this church. The present structure is of buff brick facing and strictly modern. The basement serves for Sunday school and provides a kitchen and serving room. this room is used by many in the community. Many Junior-Senior and Alumni banquets have been held there. The cornerstone was laid October 9, 1950. Rev. Richard Roper was the pastor; W. O. Cain, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Ralph Hunt, Superintendent of the church school; Wilda Rodgers, President of W.S.C.S.; and Richard Cain, President of the Youth Fellowship. The building committee consisted of: N. V. Hudelson, chairman and D. T. Pierce, E. R. Brown, Irvin Horst, Ed Neeley, W. W. Clevenger, Ralph Hunt, Leslie Hunter, and W. O. Cain. At the laying of the cornerstone, Dr. Nelson P. Horn, President of Baker University
gave the address.
The United Presbyterian church was organized in 1873 by Rev. L. Newcomb with 9 members. They also held their first services in the old Newcomb building until their church was built in 1879 at the cost of $1,000. It was a frame building 50 by 50 feet square, located ont he corner of Fourth and East A Streets. They built a parsonage in 1896.
The 1883 description of Pomona said that besides the Methodists and Presbyterians, the Baptists had a church organization but no building. It listed quite a few Congregationalists but no organization.
The Assembly of God Church in Pomona was pioneered by the Rev. and Mrs. Charles Hersey and Mrs. Hannah Nelson in September 1939. They began holding services in the former Presbyterian church building which was purchased by the new congregation on November 18, 1940. This church was set in order with
the Kansas District Council of the Assemblies of God on November 22, 1950. Disaster struck in February 1951 when the church building burned to the ground. A new brick one was begun shortly after under the direction of Rev. R. L. Parker. This new edifice greatly benefited the congregation and the town and is
in use at the present time.
The earliest settlers and founders were vitally interested in providing the best in the way of education for the community. The Pomona district school was organized in 1870. Two of the first board members were W. W.
Waite and Charles Curtis. The first school was held in the house on the south side of Franklin Street near the east edge of town where Figgins live. The first church services were also held there. The school was run as a subscription school with sessions in the summer only.
The first school building was constructed in 1871. It was the north half of what we know as the “old grade school building”. It was a two-story structure of native limestone with room to accommodate 200 scholars.
This building cost $5,000. John Arnett hauled the stone. Mr. William Quay did the masonry work with John Baldwin as assistant. D. H. Starkey held a paid academy was abandoned in 1877 at his death. Miss Mary Holmes was the first primary teacher in the new building. Music was added in 1877 with Miss Jessie
Whetstone as the teacher.
In 1885, two more rooms were added to the 1871 building on the south side. This served as the public school for all grades until the rural high school district was formed and the separate high school building was built. It continued to be used for the grade school for Pomona district 69 until 1959. It is located on East A street at the corner of Fifth Street.
The first class graduated from the high school in 1889. The members were: Ethel Glenn, Florence Hughes, Lida Lawrence, and H. B. Johnson. Erwin Stimmel was the teacher of that class. Luther Newcomb, Abel Hensley, and Amos Parkinson were the board members. There were no graduates from 1906 until 1912. a second teacher, Miss Jacobus, was added in the school year 1911-12, and at that time it became a 4-year high school. The first graduates in 1912 of a 4-year school were Ruth Kraus, Nina Hudelson, and Frances Bean. A third teacher was added in 1914, a fourth in 1922, and a fifth in 1928. A music teacher was hired for both schools in 1930. Miss Ruth Barnes was the first combined music teacher.
There have been a total of about 636 graduates since 1889. The smallest class occurred in 1913 with just two- Florence Nelson, now Mrs. Ralph Connors, a principal of a school in Shawnee Mission, and Ralph Hudelson. The largest class so far was graduated in 1956 with a class of 25. The first class of the new Rural High School graduated in 1921. The graduates were Wilma Hutchinson (Mrs. Lynn Bryan), Elizabeth Kuebler (Mrs. Vernon Parks), Lucile Haney, Laura Miller, and Emory Crow.
The new Rural High School district was formed and bonds voted for the high school building in 1919. On July 12, 1919, the following men were elected to serve as a board: Frank Miller, Director; Ed. Cain, Clerk; Joe Sturn, treasurer, Mr. Miller resigned in the fall and J. A. Hudelson was appointed to take his place on November 10, 1919. Mr. Sturn moved away and Ross Bower was appointed on March 18, 1920 to take his place. Then at the regular election time in April, 1920, J. A. Hudelson was elected as director and Fred Baldwin as treasurer. Mr. Cain continued to serve his term as originally elected. Previous to the consolidation, the last board of Pomona High School was J. A. Hudelson, H. B. Johnson, and W. F. Hutchinson. These names are mentioned for the record and because all worked very hard to bring about the new district and build the new high school building. Many others served untiringly to help bring about this
improvement in the facilities for the education of the boys and girls in the community.
Ten acres of ground at the east edge of town were purchased by the board on October 19,1919, from Miss Esther A. Lawrence for $1970. Washburn & Son of Ottawa were the architects and Dillenbeck & McGlade the
contractors. A two-story brick building was completed at a cost of $36,664. The building was 90 feet long and 60 feet deep. It contained 13 rooms with an auditorium 30 by 80 feet and a gymnasium 30 by 60 feet.
The school grounds were beautifully landscaped with hedges and shrubbery. At one time, cedar trees were planted at a special ceremony to honor the First World War casualties, John Vigor and Parkinson. These trees are still growing on the front lawn as a reminder to all of the supreme sacrifice of Pomona youth and the things the school has stood for.
Improved facilities have been added to the Rural High School. In 1951, the Rural High School District voted to build a new gym. The board members working on this project were Walter Johnson, Vernon Parks, and Nicholas Hudelson. Before it was finished, William Cain was elected to replace Walter Johnson. This building was needed very much. It contained an up-to-date basketball court, dressing rooms, rest rooms, office, concession room, and maintenance and furnace room. This space has been used for all the school
parties and other gatherings, particularly the alumni meetings. The old gym in the basement of the main building was remodeled into a fine shop room with the latest equipment and classroom facilities. The new gym building cost around $50,000. If you compare costs down through the years, you will see how times
In line with the continued advancement in the community in the way of educational facilities, the grade school board was petitioned for the construction of a new grade school building in the spring of 1957. The board chose a citizens committee to work with the board on the type and size of building, etc. The members on this committee were J. D. R. Dennis, Leonard Humphrey, Charles Cain, Jim Parks, Roy Reed, Lionel Shaw, Mrs. Jack Nelson, Mrs. Everett Kingsborough, and Al Grosdidier.
This committee reported back, recommending a new building because the old one was expensive to keep in repair, insurance rates too high because of the fire hazards, limited teaching facilities affected State
accreditation, no indoor recreation area, and transportation problems.
The building was constructed of light-weight aggregate with brick exterior veneer. It contained six class rooms of 900 square feet each as recommended by the State Department of Education, a multi-purpose room, stage facilities, a modern kitchen for hot lunches with ample food storage areas, an
office and teachers’ work room, modern toilet facilities, ample natural lighting, and a modern heating plant.
The cost of this program was $170,000 which was to be paid by a bond issue maturing over a 20-year period. This sum cost the individual taxpayer an average levy of only 5.7 mills per $1,000 assessed valuation. The thinking behind this endeavor was that good schools don’t cost-they pay. One cannot measure a child’s education in dollars and cents.
This new grade school building was dedicated on November 2, 1959. The speaker was Mr. W. C. Kampschroeder, Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The school board who did the improvement were James Lindsey, Floyd Flager, and Albert Swallow. The architects were
Anderson, Srack, and Johnson of Salina. The contractors were: Bollinger Construction, general contract; Norris Bros., electrical and heating. This is a most modern building, all on one floor, located on land north of the Rural High School. The Grade School District has an active Parent Teachers organization. In the fall of 1960, it became affiliated with the National organization.
T. J. Mackey installed the first telephone system about 1881 or 1882. It was later moved to the Kraus House and operated by Kate Kraus in 1886. The first Bell system was added in 1900. This company was abandoned in 1902. In the same year, F. J. Hensley opened a telephone exchange which he operated for many years. It eventually passed through several ownerships: A. E. Clark, Evey, and eventually to the present owners, The United Telephone Co. of Kansas.
The POMONA ENTERPRISE was the first newspaper. It was started on June 5, 1884. It was edited by Searing, then T. L. Newcomb, and in 1887 was taken over by Asher Bell. He conducted it until 1902 when it was sold to A. W. Logan of Quenemo. The press and equipment were moved to Quenemo.
The POMONA REPUBLICAN was started on October 31, 1889 by H. B. Hoyt and discontinued in 1890. This was started again in 1897 by A. S. Benton. The paper was taken over in 1899 by George R. O’Brien who published it until 1929 when it was sold to Rev. L. A. Dobbs and moved to Williamsburg, Kansas.
Rev. L. Ricksecker was the first postmaster. The first postoffice was first established in his store in 1870. Dr. or Mrs. J. W. Mackey was the second postmaster when the office was moved to Mackey’s drug store in
1872. This was located on the south side of Franklin Street and east of Main where the Cearfoss Cafe now stands. The post office was changed to a third-class office on January 1, 1910. The following is a list of the postmasters and the number of years they served: J. W. Flora 4, B. Glenn 4, C. H. Chrisman 4, Benton
2, Ankeny 17, John Parkinson 8, Belford Likes 12, and E. J. Neely from 1935-1960. At the present time, we have an acting postmaster.
Electrical lights were installed in 1914 and water added in 1938. The beautiful City Park at the west edge of town and south of Franklin Street was started in 1920. At that time, J. A. Little and William Rush set out
trees which now provide good shade for the three acres.
It has been said that Abel Hensley owned the first automobile about 1910. However, a picture of a parade held in 1909 shows cars so cars must have been owned before 1910. He sold this car to S. Paul. Dr. Starkweather had a horseless carriage about the same time.
The first fire apparatus was purchased in June 1920 for $790. It consisted of a 45 gallon double tank portable chemical system. A fire alarm whistle was added at the telephone office November 8, 1938. The fire equipment was replaced in 1952 with an American Marsh Portable Pumping Unit. This with an additional 150 feet of hose and other appliances cost $600. The building for the City Hall and Fire Station were purchased in August 1951 from Juan Martinez for about $1,000. They borrowed $500 from W. J. Hopkins for it.
LODGES AND SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
The Pomona Lodge No. 138 A.F. & A.M. was chartered on October 16, 1873, with 14 members. The first officers were Ben F. Snyder, W. M.; Hans Woods, S. M.; W. Wait, J. M.; and Sanford Topping, Sec. At the first meetings the group met in the Hensley building. Later the lodge rooms were located on the second floor of the two-story building erected in 1881 by Jonathan Parkinson. This building was of brick and stone. Parkinson built it for a store at a cost of 45,000. The second story was used as a hall. This is the building now being used by the Farmers Union Co-op on the corner of Franklin and Main Streets.
A record in 1883 mentions that Pomona had a G.A.R. Post No. 86. The boys met the third Saturdays in each month to fraternize and recount their army experiences. At that time, A. E. Geyer was P. Adjt. and Capt. J. M. Griffin was P.C. We have been unable to locate additional information though we know the post was active much later.
For some reason the Masons lost their charter. It was rechartered as McKinley Lodge No. 41 on February 15, 1905. This charter lists the following officers: Morton R. Limbocker, Master; Fred Baldwin, Senior
Warden; and Axil Westman, Junior Warden.
The Pomona Rebekah Lodge, No. 253, received its charter on October 10, 1893. The charter members were: Sisters Lillian Vigor, Jennie Garrison, Gertrude Benton, Stella Hatfield, Lena Pearson, Sophia Parkinson,
Maggie Walters, Orie Hatfield, Eliza Spangler, Eda F. Clevey, Mary L. Holingsworth, and Lou Parkinson; and brothers: J. W. Spangler, J. F. Vigor, J. C. Walters, Ed Hollingsworth, J. H. Hammons, John Shout, A. M. Harrison, Nelson Shive, Ben Clevey, A. S. Benton, J. H. Parkinson, and J. A. Hudelson. This
organization is still quite active.
Pomona Lodge, No. 423, I.O.O.F., was charter in 1893 on October 11, by the Grand Lodge of Kansas at Fort Scott in the seventy-fifth year of Odd Fellows. The charter members were W. F. Pierson, G. H. Rice, R. S. Pierson, J. W. Spangler, W. B. Hutchinson, and J. H. Bean. J. W. Spangler, W. B. Hutchinson,
and J. H. Bean were trustees.
Lots were purchased by an agreement drawn on March 28, 1903, between the Odd Fellows and the Citizens State Bank and William Wiggins. A sum of 4200 was paid. The lodge was given a 99-year lease or privilege of building an upper story over the bank and Wiggins building. since that time the lodge has met in this space. Members in 1903 included: A. S. Benton, J. F. Vigor, J. W. Spangler, Ed. Hollingsworth, J. H. Parkinson, A. M. Garrison, Geo. Rice, S. V. Rice; Geo. O’Brien, E. J. Baugh, B. E. Clevy, O. C. Hughes, J. C. Morrison, Thos. Buskin, J. A. Hudelson, John M. Dyer, W. S. Staley, R. S. Pearson, John A. Shout, Wash Reed, J. Ernest, Robt. Martin, Nelson Shibe, J. M. Vickers, Lewis Cain, Hugh Maxey, J. L. Hatfield, H. G. Keitz, John Harmmon, John H. Barnes, Chas. Vickers, Henry Kratz, R. B. Sutherland, J. H. Peterson, J. H. Houser,
Emmett King, Frank Rothwell, J. C. Walters, and A. S. Stewart. Earlier meetings were held in the Parkinson hall.
Pomona Chapter, No. 305, Order of the Eastern Star was organized on May 14, 1908. Amy Limbocker was worthy matron; Joseph Sturn, worthy patron; and Grace Sturn, associate matron. There was no associate patron at that time. The charter members included: Grace Sturn, Lottie Dyer, Minnie Hudelson, Frances
Ankeny, Lizzie Swayze, Etta Chrisman, J. M. Sturn, W. W. Connelly,, F. A. Heidner, M. A. Limbocker, Mary Baskin, Amy Limbocker, Flora Boothe, Isabelle Hutchings, Bertha Duvall, Emma Heidner, E. G. Swayze, Melissa Connelly, Rose Hensley, and Maud Reed. There is one member living, Esther Kratz, who has been a
member for fifty years and entitled to a 50-year pin.
We know that the Royal Neighbors were quit active in the early days, but no authentic information has been located on their activities. There are pictures of their floats on the picnic occasions but no names of the people on them. The Woodman are another group for which we lack information. There could be other organizations of which we have no knowlege.
The Pomona Woman’s Club was organized on October 12, 1920, at the home of Mrs. S. G. Cox, wife of the superintendent of schools. Mrs. E. F. Medearis, Mrs. S. M. Marshall, and Mrs. A. L. Cross of Quenemo helped to organize the club. There were 14 charter members: Fannie Kraus, Mrs. M. E. Hostetter, Carrie Ullom, Mrs. S. G. Cox, Ruth Abel, Ida Bliss, Mary E. Hudelson, Lulu Hummel, Charlotta Johnson, Alice Lawrence, Ann Lawrence, Mary L. Page, Jessie Maxey, Maude Stevens, Belle P. Whetstone. Mabel Hudelson and Maude Hale were not listed on the charter day but were regular members. Mrs. Mary E. Hudelson was elected on honorary charter member.
During the first eight years, they met in the member’s homes. Interesting and constructive programs were held. Members paid yearly dues and 10 cents for their luncheon each meeting.
Money was raised for the club work through home talent plays, carnivals, rummage and food sales. The mother-daughter banquets were well attended and served as another source of revenue.
In 1928 they began to hold their meetings in the Methodist church annex. They purchased the private library collection of a Mr. E. T. Bryant in 1922. The books were made available to the public on a rental basis in
the building where the barber shop is now. Each year they added books to the collection. When the club disbanded, the books were given to the schools.
In 1926 they had tables made for the City Park and donated $75 for a shelter house for the park. Through the years the club was active, they did many things for the benefit of the community. They contributed money to the schools for music, gave to the Ottawa hospital fund, added shrubs and bulbs to the Pomona cemetery, and gave money to the Methodist church budget many times. They had the kitchen and hallway in the church annex plastered and built cupboards in the kitchen. In 1945 they bought shingles for the church roof and had the church papered in 1946. Gifts of clothing, money, and food were made to needy families.
Club attendance started to decrease in 1945 and by 1948 they were no longer active. The money left in the treasury was given to the Methodist church building fund.
The Lions Club was organized on April 23, 1954, sponsored by the Ottawa Lions club with Mrs. Harry B. Jacobson of Greeley, Colorado, as organizer or special representative. The charter presentation date was May 28, 1954.
The first officers were elected as follows: President, Dr. John F. Hudelson; First Vice President, W. W. Clevenger; Second Vice President, Robert L. Hudelson; Third Vice President, Vernon W. Parks; Secretary and Treasurer, Neal B. Baxter, Lion Tamer, Lamar F. Wallace; Tail Twister, Jack Nelson; and directors of Charles L. Cain, Roy E. Reed, Bob Burd, and Leonel E. Parks. Besides the above, charter members included: Karl D. Anderson, Charlie G. Barker, Raymond Collins, Russell L. Crites of Ottawa, John T. Dickey, Gordon C. Ellison, Albert J. Grosdidier, Earl Hart, N. V. Hudelson, R. A. Hughes, Lyle E. Hunt, Vernon W. Parks, Ray O. Reed, Ernest C. Riley, and Albert Swallow.
Regular dinner meetings are held in the Methodist church basement on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. This organization has generously given to many worth-while projects in the community. Each year a boy from the junior class of the high school is sponsored for Boys State. The athletic banquet honoring the high and grade school athletes is given each spring. Bleacher seats were purchased for use on the high school athletic field. Several years ago, the club paid for special eye examinations for all school students. They donated $100 for the fund to purchase band uniforms. The little league baseball club is sponsored by the Lions. This year the main project is to be the beautifying of Woodlawn Cemetery.
An annual event, which has become one of the principal fund raising sources, is the ham and bean supper and street carnival usually held in September. The ham and beans are cooked in a huge iron kettle over an open fire. People come from near and far for an evening of fun and entertainment. Service organizations such as this have contributed much to the continued development of Pomona.
On March 8, 2012 FCHS staff visited Pomona Community Library with scanner and laptop and scanned photos and other items brought by community members Kay Clark, Dolores Booton, and Delores Dyer.
To view photos and read text, click on first one and advance with arrows beneath.
Kay Clark Gallery:
Dolores Booton Gallery:
Delores Dyer Gallery: