Until the establishment of the county seat in 1875, Sedan was an unimportant point, at which there was a store, blacksmith shop, a district school building and one or two residences. In 1873, Capt. Ferris started a small store which proved unprofitable and was taken away. He was followed by M. C. Web and C. Thiophene, who established a business, dealing in general merchandise.
The property upon which the town was founded belonged to F. G. Bowers. When the location of the county seat was fixed, it at once became the busy site of a rapidly growing town. All attention throughout the county was centered at this spot and the process of building was brisk and continuous. Business men became established, and men of other avocations flocked in to obtain the advantages of being first established, and to hold a place, as it was destined to be the first the chief town in the county. Every effort to assist in its growth was made. A town company, of which L. L. Turner was made President, was formed for the purpose of furthering the project of the building of the town. The leading lights in this organization were Mr. Hewins, Titus Donaldson, Turner and Boweres. As a means of hastening the progress of the place, lots were gratuitously donated to any one who would build upon them. After the laying off of a town, the first business house was established by L. G. Getman in the fall of 1875, followed in the spring of the next year by J. I. Crouse, who started a general store.
Those who had located at other points in the county, attracted by these flattering prospects, removed thither, and new firms became established. Indeed so rapid was the filling up of the town that in the short period of seven years since 1875 to the present time, the town has grown from an unimportant country trading point to a city of 1,000 inhabitants. Large business houses supply the demands of a wide, extended and flourishing trade. Substantial brick and stone business blocks adorn the streets, while numerous tasteful residences embellish the outskirts, and back grounds. An air of neatness, thrift and enterprise is everywhere everything speaks favorable for the future of the city.
A post office under the name of Sedan Post Office, was established in April 1871, and James Dasher held the appointment of Postmaster. Shortly following this the office was discontinued, there not being sufficient demand for it, and the office was kept at Ross City, about eight miles west of Sedan. On the 1st of October, 1874, however, it was opened under a re-establishment, under the official management of S. U. Stearns.
A. H. King succeeded to the appointment of postmaster, and began the exercise of his official duties January 1, 1876, which he held until the regular installment of J. T. Hamar, April 1, 1878. Hamar's cupidity was equaled only by his necessities, and being unable to resist the self-appropriation of the pelf he was called upon to handle officially, and after collecting the sum of $1,000 together, absconded, leaving the office to take charge of its self, and the Government Department so much money behind. His whereabouts, however, was discovered and the authorities held communication with him, the arrangement being such that he is permitted to make up the deficit. Following the defaulting and dethronement of Hamar, D. J. Moore took charge of the office on May 31, 1880, and has since that time occupied that position. The office is now graded as a fourth-class office.
By an order made by W. P. Campbell, then Judge of the District Court, pursuant to a petition presented as required by law, the town of Sedan became incorporated by a city of the third class on the 16th of March, 1876, and an election for the choosing of officers was oredered to be held on April 3 following, and J. I. Crouse, R. S. Turner and G. W. Mullinix were appointed Judges of Election. Frank Addleman and E. B. Lansing, Clerks, and J. D. McBrian, L. P. Getman and R. M. Ross as a board to canvass the votes:
Schools and Churches
The matter of education and the establishment of a school had received attention long before the idea of founding a town came into existence. As early as 1872, a district school was provided and a school building erected, which stood upon what was afterward selected as the town site. This same building served the town for school purposes as late as 1877, when the increase of the school population enlarged accomodations. With this a two-story addition was appended to the old house, affording in all the advantages of three apartments.
This has now become insufficient for the necessities of the schools, and calls are made for still further enlargement, in consequence of which efforts are being made to secure the erection of a building sufficiently commodius to satisfy all the demands for this purpose. The schools, having an enrollment of 354 pupils, were graded during the fall of 1880 by Prof. J. B. Sands, and comprised two primary, two intermediate the grammer school departments. The instruction afforded is generally regarded as most excellent and efficient under Prof. J. B. Sands as Principal, Miss Ada Wellington teacher of the first primary, and Miss Anna Taylor, teacher of the second primary, Miss Belle Taylor, teacher of the first intermediate, and T. W. Tout, teacher of the second intermediate departments.
The good people living in the vicinity of where the city of Sedan now stands received occasional visitations from itenerant missionaries, who declared to them, not always in very eloquent sentences, the doctrines of religion and the prospects of salvation. With what effect this was done can not, of course, be determined, but from the attending circumstances it would be exceedly unwise to imagine that any miraculous change was performed. At this time and place churches were not numberous nor disciples superabundant.
The Methodists were earliest in the enterprise of establishing a church in the town. This was effected in the fall of 1876 by "O Father Record" a local preacher. The denomination started off weak and halting, having only six members, but the few were faithful and kept together, securing a sessions as fast as the possibilities would admit. The first services were held in the school building in which they remained until their church edifice was erected.
The church was incorporated April 22, 1878, at which time immediate steps were put forth looking to the erection of a church. The effort proved successful, and during the summer of 1878 the building was completed ready for occupancy, costing $1,600, and during the fall was dedicated to spiritual uses by Rev. D. P. Mitchell. The congregation, now numbering fifty members, is in a flourishing condition under the pastorate of Rev. J. N. Bealls.
The United Brethren Church became established in Sedan in the summer of 1878 by the Rev. J. B. McCue. The services were conducted in the schoolhouse until the erection of the church, which took place in 1880, the house costing $2,000; is a neat one-story brick building forty-five feet in length by twenty-eight in width, and finished with a towering spire. The church is in charge of Rev. John Blake, and has a membership of twenty-four.
The Presbyterian Church was organized with ten members in the early spring of 1880, under the direction of Rev. A. H. Lackey, of Peabody. Several of the ladies of the town, however, were the prime movers in the work, chief among whom were Mrs. E. A. Merrill and Mrs. M. E. Mathews. The place of organization was in the court room, in which services have since been held, and which are now conducted by Rev. Reubin Hahn, the congregation numbering seventeen members.
The Baptist Church was organized in April, 1882. This also was chiefly the work of several ladies zealous in the cause, the chief of whom were Mrs. Albright and Mrs. L. Kilmer. The congregation numbering twenty members hold services regularly in the court room on the second Sabbath of each month, conducted by Rev. F. L. Walker.
Sedan is located at 37°7'42N, 96°11'10W (37.128472, -96.186220).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 km² (0.8 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,342 people, 560 households, and 346 families residing in the city. The population density was 664.3/km² (1,712.6/mi²). There were 652 housing units at an average density of 322.7/km² (832.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.44% White, 0.52% African American, 3.35% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.09% of the population.
There were 560 households out of which 23.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 27.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 83.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $24,324, and the median income for a family was $32,574. Males had a median income of $21,490 versus $19,261 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,153. About 6.8% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.