Archive for Thursday, June 9, 2016

Welcome to Tonge-Noxie?

June 9, 2016

Tonganoxie, the town, was platted 150 years ago next month on July 21, 1866. The town was laid out on 40 acres of land donated to the town by Magdalena Bury and her husband, Christian Bury. Magdalena and Christian had come to the area that would be Tonganoxie just a few years earlier.

When the Bury family reached the area, there was already a fledgling community. Early settlers included Henry Still, Archer Jones and James English (later the town’s first official Postmaster), all of whom settled near Tonganoxie’s lodge. William Fox had built a log cabin in 1862 on the land that would become Tonganoxie.

These settlers were followed by others, including William Bissett, Henry Baker, Jesse Blair, JH Vaughn, Simon Cronemeyer, Patrick Lenahan, George Needham, William Morrison, Isaac Varney, John Wirth, James Phenicie and William Denholm. Many of these family names still live on in the community. Several factors led to the founding of the town of Tonganoxie — legal factors and geographic factors.

Kansas became a state in 1861, after years of order disputes and disorder and chaos. Also in 1861, the railroads were allowed by the federal government to purchase excess Delaware lands for the construction of railroads to reach west.

The Union Pacific railroad was laid out to pass through Tonganoxie, as well as the settlement of Summit, just a few miles north of the current town. Tonganoxie became the depot location, and the town followed.

The building of the railroad in 1866 brought saloons and taverns, a blacksmith, a dry goods store and a shoe store. Churches followed very soon thereafter.

The railroad line is shown on the original plat, and the location of the railroad was essential to the prosperity of the town. The Union Pacific would be followed by the Kansas City Wyandotte North Western Railroad. In 1869, the Railroad Addition increased the area of the town to more than seven times its original size.

Below is how the original plat read, including an alternate spelling for Tonganoxie:

Original plat

State of Kansas

County of Leavenworth

Be it known to whom it may concern that I Magdalena Bury do lay out and plat the South East quarter of the northwest quarter of section nine (9) Township Eleven (11) South, Range twenty-one (21) East being about forty acres, into Streets, alleys, blocks and lots, to be called the Town of Tonge-Noxie … and I do donate for the use and benefit of the public the perpetual use of the streets and alleys as therein platted … this twenty-first day of July A.D. 1866.

State of Kansas

County of Leavenworth

On this 21st day of July 1866, before me the undersigned as Notary Public, came Magdalena Bury who is personally known to me to be the individual person whose name is affixed ... TONGE-NOXIE

Being the South East quarter of the North West quarter of Section Nine in Township Eleven South in Range Twenty-one East containing about Forty Acres.


The blocks are 300 ft square, except 1, 8 & 9. The lots are 25 ft by 142 except in blocks 1, 8 & 9, where they are 25 ft by 150 ft. The Streets are 80 ft wide except 3 rd St, which is 70 ft wide.

Alleys are 16 ft wide.

Scale 100 ft to the inch. Recorded July 21 st 1866 at 10 1/2 o’clock a.m.

— H.C. , Register of Deeds


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