In the meantime a number of enterprising settlers came in and took claims in the vicinity, among whom where Frederick Kantz, Eli Titus A. Halverson, S. Gunderson, David Koogle. The matter of establishing a town was talked of among these parties, and an organization into a town company was made for the furtherance of the project, of which Fred Kantz was made President and Eli Titus, Treasurer. The selection of a site was the next thing to be determined. Four points along the valley stood prominently before the company, viz.: Osrow, Cedar Vale, Cloverdale and a point called Lookout Mountain.
After due consideration the choice was made in March, 1870, and Cedar Vale became the favored spot, being so named from the presence of a few cedar trees which grew not far away, this species of timber being rare in this part of the country. The site was located on unoccupied land which must first be deeded before the company could hold it. Accordingly it fell upon E. W. Davis, one of the company, to file upon the land and to procure a deed for the same, and which he was to turn over to the company as soon as this was done. When it came time for the transfer of the property to be made, some dissensions had been awakened in the company and Davis refused to deed them the land. This refusal caused much indignation among the members who, perhaps, under the circumstances had no legal remedy, and a resort to physical force was determined upon, and threats of hanging Davis were made, through the stern influence of which the company wrung from his hands the coveted instrument.
The legal title to the lands occupied by the town site, was now vested in the company, and everything ready to begin the work of building up the town. The town was advertised in the Eureka Herald, a paper printed at Eureka, Greenwood County, for which the editor received one share of the company's stock, the shares being valued at $10 each.
A proposition to build the first house was made in June, 1870, in which J. R. Marsh agreed to furnish the material, provided some other members would put it into a house. Accordingly, Marsh cut and drew logs to the place, but no one volunteered to erect the building, and after permitting the material to lie unused for awhile, Marsh at length drew them away and made a building of them on his own premises.
In November of the same year, J. R. Marsh, Charles Snyder and O. C. Hill, built the first store room and the first building in the town, in which they opened a stock of goods, and in which the post office was first kept. Immediately following this a company composed of F. Kantz, L. Garrett, A. Holverson and Charles Synder, was formed for the purpose of building a hotel, which was run a short time as a public house, and was sold to D. G. Kenneson for a store room. The next house was built by Riley Brothers, which they occupied with a stock of general goods, and the next was built by three brothers named Grant, and was used as a boarding house by Luke Phelps, and soon afterward as a dwelling by a man named Tubs.
E. W. Davis and E. B. Slocum, as the firm of Slocum & Davis, began dealing in general goods, having erected a house for that purpose. Previous to these, and immediately following the building of the company hotel, Dr. A. A. Corbin put up a store room in which he kept a stock of drugs, this being the same house now occupied by G. Baird as a hotel, it having since been enlarged by the erection of additions.
Tubs established the first blacksmith shop in the fall of 1870, and in the next spring Woods began the same business. A man named Lynch erected a hall; O. Howard a store room, in which he kept a stock of general merchandise; Mrs. Smith built a hotel, and S. Hill a millinery store; G. Lapp built a room in which he kept a saloon, and is the building now occupied by Dr. Donaldson with a stock of drugs.
These improvements were made during the fall of 1870, and in the spring and summer of 1871. Dwelling houses were erected as the necessities demanded, and the town grew steadily and healthily until at the present time it numbers a population of 250, and contains four general stores, two drug stores, two hardware stores, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one repair shop with turning lathe, two livery barns and two hotels.
A grist and flouring mill was built in 1871 by D. F. Tabler, and was a small "one horse concern" propelled by water-power. In 1880, the old mill was torn away and replaced with a commodious new one, the best of the kind in the county. It is run by both water and steam power, and contains two run of buhrs.
Down the Big Caney Valley a distance of four miles, stood the town of Osrow, which started about the same time as Cedar Vale, and which she aspired to rival. For awhile, the place grew equally rapid with Cedar Vale, and although she did not discourage the founders of that place yet she gave them considerable uneasiness. The nearness of the two places made certain the fact that sure death and extinction was the destiny of one or the other, which served to stimulate exertions on the part of both. At length Cedar Vale secured the ascendency (sic) and outstripped her rival, and Osrow soon was numbered with things that had been.
A post office called Cedar Vale was located at a point about a mile and a half north of where the town now is, and was established in the spring of 1870, with J. R. Marsh, as Postmaster, the office being kept in a house on the claim belonging to David Koogle. The office remained at this point until June, at which time it was taken to a place owned by J. R. Marsh, now known as the "Wheeler farm," about a mile and a half north of the town site.
In November, 1870, the office was removed to the town and was kept in the store-room of Marsh, Hill & Co. Marsh held the position of Postmaster until January 1872, at which time he was succeeded by W. P. Lynch, who in turn gave way to Charles R. Pollard, the present incumbent.
The first celebration held in the town was on the Fourth of July, 1870, at which it was estimated there was in attendance a crowd of not less than one thousand people, gathered in from all surrounding points. This, for the time and place, was regarded as a large number of people to assemble on such an occasion. Dr. William Stover was orator of the day. Amusements of a primitive and rude character were indulged in, and the day passed off as one of pleasant and peaceful enjoyment. Great solicitude was felt at Cedar Vale as to what should be done for a flag for the day, none being at hand, nor no place near where it could be secured. But to hold a celebration of this kind without a flag would be no celebration at all.
So thought many of those interested in the affair, and a party was dispatched to Eureka, where the material was procured, and a few of the zealous ones spent the previous night in making a flag to be used at the celebration of the next day. The significant emblem was completed and in readiness, and the dawn of the famous day witnessed it waving in the breezes, and, although hastily and crudely prepared, the each recurring Fourth of July sees it floating over the wooden buildings of the little town.
A school district for the town of Cedar Vale and the immediate vicinity was organized May 30, 1871. A preliminary meeting or convention was held to elect a School Board, of which J. R. Marsh was President and A. A. Corbin, Secretary, and a board was elected, consisting of G. W. Dale, Director; O. C. Hills, Clerk, and E. W. Davis, Treasurer. A petition was circulated for signers, asking that an election be called for the purpose of taking a vote on the question of whether bonds should be issued by the district for the building of a schoolhouse.
The election was called to be held September 21, 1871, of which five notices were posted in different parts of the district, resulting in favor of the bonds by a majority of twenty-one votes, the vote being twenty-six for, to five against, the bonds. Bonds were at once issued and their sale negotiated at 85 cents on the dollar. The contract for the erection of a schoolhouse to cost $700 was awarded to Bennett & Smith. The building was erected during the winter and spring, and on the 30th of April, 1872, after some caviling over the defects in the construction of the house, it was received by the board.
The first school in the village was taught by Miss Lizzie Conkling in the summer of 1872, and was held in the new school building, with an attendance of thirty-three pupils, fourteen of whom were boys, and nineteen girls. The district now contains 151 pupils of school age, 126 of whom attended school during the past year.
A commodious new school building was erected bin the fall of 1882, at a cost, including furniture, etc., of $1,500, and is a very handsome building, constructed of unchiseled sandstone. It is one story high, comprising but a single large room.
Cedar Vale is located at 37°6'18N, 96°30'3W (37.104892, -96.500844). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 km² (0.9 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 723 people, 285 households, and 184 families residing in the city. The population density was 293.8/km² (758.8/mi²). There were 344 housing units at an average density of 139.8/km² (361.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.67% White, 0.41% African American, 4.15% Native American, 1.11% from other races, and 1.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.07% of the population.
There were 285 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 18.3% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 29.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.