The Early History of Lenexa
by William G. Cutler (1883)
Lenexa is situated on the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, seven miles northeast of Olathe, and is surrounded by an excellent farming country. The Railroad Company bought the town site, in 1869, of C. A. Bradshaw, laid out the town and disposed of lots to different parties, among whom, were D. Brickley and Dr. G. M. Bower. The first store in the town was opened by Lee Freeman, in 1869; the second by Dr. Bower, in 1870, and the third by Rush & Gintner.
H. D. Gillette moved to Lenexa, in 1870, and started the first blacksmith shop. Among the early settlers in the town were James Rush and Edwin Bradshaw. David Duff moved in in 1871. The post office was established in 1870. Lee Freeman being first Postmaster. The first birth in the town was that of Willis Bower, January 19, 1869; the first marriage, that of John Bower, to Miss Mary Bradshaw, in 1873, and the first death, that of George Bower, also in 1873.
The Methodist Church was built in 1878, costing $1,200, during the pastorate of Rev. E. H. Bailiff. Mr. Bailiff has been succeeded by Revs. John Griffins, A. G. Murray and W. Zimmermann, the present pastor. The Catholic Church was organized, and their church edifice built in 1881. The building cost $1,000, and is a neat frame structure.
The Fountain Head Mill, was erected in 1879, by John Ernshaw and C. W. Miller. It is a two story frame, with two run of buhrs, and cost 4,000. It has a capacity of thirty barrels of flour in twenty-four hours. Lenexa contains at the present time two stores, two blacksmith shops, two churches, the grist mill, and about seventy-five inhabitants.
History and Some Legend
Twelve years before the town of Lenexa was platted in 1869, a young man named James Butler Hickok staked a claim on 160 acres at what is now the corner of 83rd and Clare Road. At about the same time, a census of the Shawnee Indians living in the area was being taken. One of the residents was listed as "Na-Nex-Se Blackhoof," the widow of Chief Blackhoof, who was the second signer of the 1854 treaty that ceded 1.6 million acres of the Kansas Shawnee Indian reservation to the U.S.Government.
A few miles east in Westport, Missouri, was the start of the Old Santa Fe Trail. It meandered through the southeast part of Lenexa on its way to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Life in eastern Kansas was about to change dramatically.
Later, Mr. Hickok became a scout for the Free-State Army, a sharpshooter and eventually, Wild Bill Hickok, legendary lawman (well, semi-lawman) of the Old West. In 1865, shortly before Na-Nex-Se died, the Kansas and Neosho Valley Railroad was organized to take advantage of favorable new land laws. It later changed its name to Missouri River, Ft. Scott and Gulf Railroad and in 1869 purchased a right-of-way from C.A. Bradshaw with the stipulation that the railroad build a depot on the property. Mr. Bradshaw then sold 10.5 acres to Octave Chanute, a railroad civil engineer, who platted a town in 1869. Legend states that the town was first proposed to be named Bradshaw, but he modestly refused and the name "Lenexa," a derivation of the name Na-Nex-Se, was adopted. He just took the money, instead.
Lenexa is located at 38°57'53N, 94°45'34W (38.964689, -94.759535). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 89.2 km² (34.4 mi²), of which 88.8 km² (34.3 mi²) is land and 0.4 km² (0.2 mi²), or 0.46%, is water.
Lenexa's population was estimated to be 43,434 in the year 2005.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 40,238 people, 15,574 households, and 10,559 families residing in the city. The population density was 453.2/km² (1,173.8/mi²). There were 16,378 housing units at an average density of 184.5/km² (477.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.50% White,6.50% Black or African American], 0.38% Native American, 3.63% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.60% from other races, and 1.61% two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.97% of the population. 24.8% were of German, 12.4% English, 12.1% Irish and 7.2% American ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 15,574 households out of which 35.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.4% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $61,990, and the median income for a family was $76,321. Males had a median income of $50,495 versus $32,166 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,212. About 1.8% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.
James Butler Hickok aka Wild Bill Hickok - he staked a claim on 160 acres at what is now the corner of 83rd and Clare Road. He worked as a stocktender at the nearby Reed Hotel and later was elected constable of Monticello Township.