The Early History of Wellsville
by William G. Cutler (1883)
This town is located on the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad, near the northeast corner of the county, and is surrounded by gently rolling, fertile prairie, now converted into excellent farms. The town site was purchased in 1870, of J. Emerson, by P. P. Elder, of this county, and J. B. Shute, of Chicago, the latter of whom platted the town site. In August of that year J. C. Sinclair and C. C. Cox built the first dwelling house, and in the fall, H. N. Brockway opened the first store.
About the same time Aaron Brown started the first blacksmith shop. Mr. Brown, as also J. N. Bell, completed a dwelling house in the spring of 1871. The second store was opened in 1872 by Parker & Ray. A hotel was built in 1875, designed when built for a residence, but afterward remodeled. A drug store was started in 1876 by Paul Laberrier. In 1877, an elevator was built, at a cost of $5,000, with a capacity of 1,200 bushels. In 1878, Nathaniel Steen started a wagon shop. In 1879, E. E. Wilkins purchased the town site, and by pursuing a liberal policy towards men who desired to locate for business or residence purposes, has done much towards building up a thriving village.
The first school was taught by Miss Ella Brown in 1871. The present schoolhouse was erected in 1881. It is a two-story frame building, 32X56 feet, twenty-four feet high, will seat 260 pupils, and cost $3,500. The postoffice was established in 1872. W. S. Brockway being appointed first Postmaster. With the exception of about six months, he has held the position ever since.
The first birth in Wellsville was that of Catharine Kennedy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kennedy, in 1870; the first marriage that of John C. Heffley to Miss Della Tinny, December 25, 1878; and the first death that of a daughter of Aaron Brown in May, 1871. Wellsville contains at present four general stores, two drug stores, two hardware stores, two blacksmith shops, one furniture store, one lumber yard, one wagon shop, one newspaper, and about 300 inhabitants.
The Congregational Church was organized in 1873 by Rev. T. C. Kinney, and a church edifice erected the same year, at a cost of $1,400. The membership upon organization was eight; at present there are fifty members on the roll. The Baptist Church was organized in 1875. The first minister was Rev. J. P. Stevens. Their church was erected in 1877, at a cost of about $2,000. The present membership of the church is sixty. The Methodist Church was organized in 1881 by Rev. J. W. Stewart. In June of the same year they dedicated their church, which had just been completed, and cost about $2,500. The present membership of this church is sixty. The United Presbyterians organized a society in 1882, but as yet have no church building erected.
Wellsville Lodge, I. O. O. F., No. 135, was organized in 1876, with seven members, and the following officers: John Widney, N. G.; F. P. Wellman, Sec.; and L. W. Hostetter, Treas. The present membership is forty-five. Wellsville Lodge, I. O. G. T., was organized in the fall of 1881, with the following officers: J. A. Laing, W. C.; Miss M. E. Brockway, V. T.; H. N. Brockway, P. W. C.; Frank Colwell, Sec.; and C. F. Johnson, Treas. The lodge now numbers fifty members.
The Wellsville News was started by Dr. H. M. Bennett April 20, 1882. It is a five-column folio, and is devoted to local news, and the interests of Wellsville and vicinity. It attained a circulation of 300 copies within three months from its establishment.
Wellsville is located at 38°43'11N, 95°4'53W (38.719694, -95.081358). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 km² (0.8 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,606 people, 636 households, and 435 families residing in the city. The population density was 738.2/km² (1,917.2/mi²). There were 666 housing units at an average density of 306.1/km² (795.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.13% White, 0.19% African American, 0.50% Native American, 0.06% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.
There were 636 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.6% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,456, and the median income for a family was $47,102. Males had a median income of $35,938 versus $25,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,215. About 7.9% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those age 65 or over.
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