Before this time, the land was an Indian reservation for the Sac and Fox Nations.
In November 1868, the United States Government forced the Sac and Fox to move to a reservation in Oklahoma. When the Kansas land was offered for sale, John Wetherall, a wealthy Quaker from Pennsylvania, purchased a large tract and sent out the call to Quakers to create a settlement there. At this time, the Quakers’ custom was to pioneer westward in groups. Before long, Quakers came from Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania to develop a new Quaker community. When John’s wife in Philadelphia heard of John’s purchase of the Kansas land, she wrote him, “Come home, Thou art going crazy.” However, she soon joined him in making Barclay their home.
The town was named after Robert Barclay, a Quaker theologian from Scotland. Located on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, the town soon boasted two general merchandise stores and a creamery. A post office was established on October 27, 1873.
The “Barclay Society of Friends” opening minutes on July 25, 1874, showed 46 members.
A church building was constructed in 1880. At that time, the community had about 20 houses and a population of about 100.
In 1887, a two-story school was built. Some time afterward, a Town Hall was constructed.
Barclay maintained its population of about 100 people through 1910. At that time, it had express and telegraph offices and a money order post office with one rural route.
At some point, the school joined the unified school district, and in the late 1970s, the church membership merged with the Emporia Quaker Church, holding their meetings in Emporia.
Barclay’s post office closed on May 31, 1955.
By 1995, the town consisted of only eight homes, one of which was once the Town Hall. The school was utilized as a farm building.
Barclay was located about six miles southwest of Osage City.
Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.
Cutler, William G; History of Kansas; A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL, 1883.
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