Old Mills in Kansas

On April 6, Research Director M.J. Morgan gave a Kansas Speaker’s Bureau talk (Kansas Humanities Council) on the culture of early settlers and food production to a historical museum in Fredonia, Wilson County. Wilson County is threaded with the streams and creeks of three major river watersheds: the Neosho, the Verdigris, and the Fall Rivers. In 1880, the area had over 12 working grist and merchant mills, built predominantly by settlers from Indiana and New York.

One left standing on the Fall River below Fredonia is still beautiful, despite age and wear.

The Old Fredonia Mill, Present Day.

The Old Fredonia Mill, Present Day.

Though old, the Fredonia mill is still functioning today.

The Fredonia Mill once served a thriving community.










The Old Iron Club is vitalized through volunteer efforts of community members who celebrate the diverse heritage of their southeastern county. Leanne Githens, Secretary-Treasurer of The Old Iron Club, explains,

Quotation“In the fall, the Iron Club holds the Wilson County Old Iron Days for 4 days and we are host to around 2,000 school children from southeast Kansas. The children visit about 30 exhibits and working demonstrations of rural ways of the past, both farming and domestic arts. We love doing it and teaching children, and our response is very positive. As an organization, we are committed to finding ways to preserve the knowledge of the past and how things work.”

For more information about the Wilson County Old Iron Days, go to their website: http://www.oldironclub.org/Wilson_County_Old_Iron_Club/Home.html.

Advertising the Old Iron Club in Fredonia, Kansas.

Advertising the Old Iron Club in Fredonia, Kansas.

Chapman Center is proud to have contributed to this striking effort to preserve the history of Kansas!


Two in a Row!

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies is proud to announce two interns in a row who were selected to present their research at “Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.”

Jessica Wheeler standing next to her poster that she presented in Topeka on February 12th, 2014.

Jessica Wheeler standing next to her poster that she presented in Topeka on February 12th, 2014.

On February 12, former Chapman Center intern Jessica Wheeler presented her study of the vanished town of Chetolah, Kansas, in Ellis County. And last year in Topeka, former intern and undergraduate research assistant Angela Schnee presented her research and original map of “The Chinese Laundries of Wichita”. Angela, who graduated spring, 2013, is now Director of GIS Systems for Russell County, Kansas. Jessica, a senior majoring in biochemistry, is headed for law school after graduation.

Jessica is also the author of a fascinating history slide-show, “On the Track to Settlement,” posted in our multi-media collection. And Angela researched and wrote a history of the lost community of Gatesville Siding in Clay County. View their studies of the diverse people and places of Kansas on our website, www.ksu.edu/history/chapman/.