LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

 
 

Rush County Extinct Towns

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Big Timbers Creek Crossing, Kansas

Big Timbers Creek Crossing on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail, photo courtesy Santa Fe Trail Research

 

 

Extinct Towns:

Hampton

Hargrave

Loretto

More Extinct Towns

 

 

 

Hampton - Situated on Big Timbers Creek along the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail, this stop once provided good water and grass for the travelers. Here, a small community called Hampton, named for Joe Hampton, the area's first settler, was established. At the crossing, a man named Monty Leach operated a small store and became the town's first postmaster on February 2, 1877. The small community began to grow and a man named Richard Mulroy built a two-story house and later a hotel. More business were soon established including the Noble Brothers Store and a blacksmith shop operated by a man named Billy Metz. As more and more settlers came to the area, a stage company was founded by a man named John Buffer, who operated for only a two month period in 1877. However, after Buffer's failure, two men by the names of Bob Brooks and Captain G. W. Edwards opened another stage line, headquartered in Hampton. The business carried mail deliveries and passengers between Forts Hays and Dodge on a three day journey. Operating two 3-seated coaches, which would accommodate six passengers, each paid a six dollar fare for a one-way ride. Following the Dull Knife Raid in the fall of 1878, in which Cheyenne Indians left their reservation in Oklahoma and raided western Kansas, the stage service was disrupted for a week. However, it soon resumed under the escort of soldiers for a two-week period. It is unknown how long the stage operated but before long, Bob Brooks was operating a general store at Hampton. At some point the community had a school. But, for Hampton, life would be short. When nearby McCracken was organized with the coming of the railroad in 1886, Hampton began to die. Bob Brooks continued to run his store for 3-4 years following McCracken's founding, but it finally closed. Hampton's post office was discontinued on December 15, 1887, but opened again just a month later on January 18, 1888. It closed for the final time on December 15, 1910. In Blackmar's Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, published in 1912, Hampton was still listed as a small hamlet.

 
Tough the community is long gone today, area residents have worked to restore the Hampton Cemetery which is located about five miles east of McCracken. The town site of Hampton was located immediately south of the cemetery. Across the road from the townsite, the foundation remains of the old schoolhouse can still be seen. To the north of the foundation, several ruts of the old trail can also be spied.

 

Hargrave - Though Hargrave still appears on maps of today, it's post office closed  on April 30, 1950. The town was described in 1910 as being a station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad located about seven miles west of La Crosse. At that time, it had a general store, a lumber yard, a couple of other small businesses and a population of about 50 people. It's post office opened for the first time on April 26, 1890 and discontinued on April 29, 1899. A few months later, on June e, 1899, it opened again only to be closed for a second time on March 31, 1913. After almost a year it opened for the final time on February 18, 1914 before closing forever on April 30, 1950. Hargrave is located about 8 ˝ miles northwest of La Crosse on Kansas Highway 4. Situated in Brookdale Township, a cemetery continues to stand nearby, located about 9 miles west of La Crosse and then three miles to the south.

 

Loretto - Established in 1912, the settlers of Loretto, were an offshoot of the Pfeifer parish in nearby Ellis County. Part of a large group of German-Russions who had immigrated to Kansas in 1876, these families had settled a 4 and ˝  miles south of Pfeifer and attended the Holy Cross Church in Pfeifer.

 

 

 

However, by 1902, it was evident that the congregation of the church was growing too large and plans began to be made for building a new church at Pfeifer. Seventeen families who were actually living over the county line in Rush County contributed some $3,000 to the building of a new church with the stipulation that if they decided to establish their own congregation, they could have that money back.

By 1912, the Rush County parishioners decided to build a new church and were given their money back. Adam S. Urban and Stephen S. Urban each donated five acres of land for a new townsite, which they first called Illinois. Martin Urban gave one acre for a cemetery; and Joseph Urban donated land for a church, parsonage, and school.

In the fall of 1912, a two-story structure was built that served as both a school and church and the following year, the citizens built a rectory. In 1913, the town name was changed to Marienfeld, and later, at the recommendation of Father Stutz, renamed Loretto. The same year, the townsite was divided into building lots and sold to raise money for the church.

In 1916, there were sixty families living in Loretto. Despite its growing size, the settlement never had a post office. Lay people were the first teachers at the school but in 1918, the Sisters of the Order of the Precious Blood took over the teaching responsibilities and a convent was built.

Continued crop failures between 1918 and 1924 greatly reduced the population, but the community began to grow again in 1925, having about fifty families living in the village.

As the settlement continued to grow, construction of a new church began in the spring of 1927 and was dedicated in May, 1928, called the new “Mariahilf Kirche ” (St. Mary’s Help of Christians Church.)

On March 10, 1948, the old combination church and school building was destroyed by fire. A new church was built in 1955 and a new school in 1958. The school remained in operation, but the population of Loretto was falling and was consolidated with the Otis-Bison Unified School District in 1968.

As the population in the community continued to decline, the final mass of the church was held on June 29, 1997 and the building was re-designated as a shrine. Today, only a few people live in the area and little remains of either Loretto or Pfeifer. Though both of the towns’ churches continue to stand, they are both closed and can only be toured by appointment. Loretto is located 7.5 miles due east of Liebenthal on Rush County Road 44.

Loretto continues to appear on some maps, but is sometimes spelled "Loretta."

 

 

 

More Extinct Towns

 

Town

Post Office

Dates

Additional Information
Belfield, aka: Bellfield 1874-1887  
Belle Prairie None  
Big Timber None  
Brookdale 1875-1888  
Chaffee 1896-1905 A small hamlet located about 8 miles northeast of La Crosse. Mail was received by rural delivery from the post office at Bison.
Economy 1871-1872  
Elm Valley 1879-1887 Was also in Ness County for a time (site moved).
Esthira 1880-1883  
Fenton 1882-1898  
Fingal 1887-1910 Situated in Pleasant Dale township near the northeast corner of the county, about 20 miles from La Crosse and 11 miles from Otis, the nearest railroad station, from which place mail was received by rural delivery. First established in Russell County (site moved).
Flavius 1880-1908 Located in Belle Prairie Township about 14 miles southwest of La Crosse and 7 miles from Nekoma, from which mail was received by rural route.
Gilliam, aka: Gillam 1881-1885  
Howe, aka: Lippard, Lippert 1882-1911  
Hutton 1878-1887  
Keimfield 1878-1887 Moved to McCracken.
Linndale, aka: Lindale 1888-1905  
Olney 1874-1888  
Oswell 1882-1883  
Pioneer 1878-1893  
Pleasant Dale, aka: Pleasantdale, Lieblichdorp 1878-1895 Primarily a German-Russian settlement, it was established about 1877. Lieblichdorp is German for Pleasant Dale.
Rock Castle None  
Roland 1880-1887  
Ryan 1878-1908 Located in Banner Township 15 miles southeast of La Crosse and 7 miles south of Timken, the nearest shipping point and the place from which it received mail.
  1895-1908 Located 10 miles northwest ofLa Crosse and 8 miles west of Liebenthal, from which it received mail.
Scheuerman 1883-1888  
Seymour 1880-1881  
Shaffer 1892-1948 Located in Garfield Township on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad 15 miles southeast of La Crosse. It had 3 mills, 2 grain elevators, a hotel, a creamery, general stores, telegraph and express offices and a money order post office. The population in 1910 was 45.
 
Stubbville None  
West Point 1878-1894  
Wittmund 1882-1883  

 

 

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

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