Wilsey, Kansas

Wilsey, Kansas Main Street by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Wilsey, Kansas Main Street by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

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Wilsey, Kansas, located in south-central Morris County, got its start as a station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1884.

The town was named for John D. Wilsey, an early pioneer of the area. Already existing at the time of the town’s founding was another post office called Mildred which had been earlier established in 1878. However, in May 1884, it was changed to Wilsey.

Missouri Pacific Railroad at Wilsey, Kansas.

Missouri Pacific Railroad at Wilsey, Kansas.

Vintage Wilsey, Kansas.

Vintage Wilsey, Kansas.

An old business building in Wilsey, Kansas today by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

An old business building in Wilsey, Kansas today by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

By the turn of the century, the town had evolved into a shipping point for a large agricultural area and sported a bank, a weekly newspaper called the Wilsey Warbler, a flour mill, a grain elevator, a hotel, telegraph and express offices, and a money order post office with two rural routes. In 1910 its population was about 350.

After the Great Depression, Wilsey began to suffer. The bank went broke in the early 1930s and the newspaper ceased publication later in the decade. However, the small community maintained well into the 1950s and ’60s, at which time its business district included two grocery stores, two restaurants, a drug store, a lumberyard, a hardware store, two service stations, and a mechanic shop.

However, as the population continued to drop, the Wilsey High School closed and the students then attended school in Council Grove in the late 1960s. In the 1990s the grade school followed suit and in September 1997, the post office closed its doors forever.

Old Wilsey, Kansas Highschool by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Old Wilsey, Kansas Highschool by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Today, this small town supports just about 140 people. The former high school now houses the Wilsey Bible School. Wilsey is located about 11 miles southwest of Council Grove.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser-Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated September 2020.

Also See:

Extinct Towns of Morris County

Kansas Ghost Towns

Morris County, Kansas

Morris County Photo Gallery

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