Shirley, Kansas – Extinct in Cloud County

Cloud County, Kansas by L.H. Everts & Co., 1887.

Cloud County, Kansas by L.H. Everts & Co., 1887.

Elm Creek, later called Shirley,  is an extinct community in Cloud County, Kansas.

It was first settled in 1860, when two families established their homes in July, including J.M. Hagaman and J.M. Thorp. They immediately went to work and, within a short time, made more substantial improvements and soon hauled their surplus farm products to market. Among the settlers who followed the next year were William and Fred Czapanski and their families, Mr. Webber and George Wilson. In 1862 Zachariah Swearingen, Richard Coughlen, John David Robertson, Joseph Berry’ and their families joined the frontier settlement.

Some of these settlers had farms under a fair state of cultivation. These people were entitled to great credit for building schoolhouses as early as 1864 or 1865, and a school term was taught the same year. Miss Rosella Honey was the teacher, the first in Cloud County, and one among the very first in the Republican Valley. This settlement also built the first school with cottonwood logs measuring about 14 by 16 feet with a terra firma floor. Yet, it was an acquisition in those days to the frontier.

The first voting precinct, which consisted of the whole county, was established in this community. On the north side of the Republican River was the military road leading from Fort Riley to Fort Kearney. The government had built bridges over the principal streams and creeks, which confined the public travel mainly to the north side. The mail route, the mills, and the post offices being on the north side, country stores would naturally follow in their wake.

A post office was established on January 29, 1868. On January 13, 1869, the name was changed from Elk Creek to Shirley. It closed on May 28, 1878, and moved to Ames.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, April 2024.

Also See:

Cloud County, Kansas

Cloud County Photo Gallery

Extinct Towns of Cloud County

Kansas Destinations