The three Germans sent to the present site were H. Heimann, F. Barteldes and C. Scheifer. Favoring the Eudora area, they drew up contracts with Chief Paschal Fish for 774 1/2 acres, from the Kansas River to the south for about a mile (over 200 blocks total), with two public squares and a park. In February 1857, Chief Fish entered into contracts with the Trustees of the Chicago Verein for purchase of the land "to secure a more perfect title" at a price of $10,000. Fish bought back on the same day the odd numbered lots of at least three blocks between the Kaw and Wakarusa rivers. A map of Douglas County drawn up in early 1857, before Eudora was a town, shows only four townships in the county with Eudora included in the Wakarusa township.
A group of 16 men, 4 women, and some children had came in the spring of 1857 to begin settling at the site. Peter Hartig, age 34, was the leader of this Chicago group, and he was accompanied by his wife. The Society paid expenses for the settlers. Eight more men, who paid their own way, came later. The formal title, signed by an Indian Agent named Newsom, was drawn up on February 4, 1860.
The town's name was derived from the name of Chief Paschal Fish's 13-year old daughter; it is a name of Greek derivation meaning "giving" or "generous." Chief Fish said that if they did this there would never be a tornado to touch down in Eudora. There hasn't been a tornado there to this day.
Development of the settlement
A circular saw and a corn cracker worth $2,200 were soon purchased for the new town. The first house built by the settlers was a one-story log cabin, 18' x 20', which was shared by all of the inhabitants during the first summer (1857). The first sawmill was set up in the same year, and by fall, the first post office was operating and converted into a money order office the next year. The first hotel was probably The America House on Main Street, or near the 5th and 6th Street area.
The first baby born in the new town was a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Chris Epple soon after their arrival; she was named Eudora. The first marriage occurred between Mrs. George Harboldt and Fred Deichmann in the spring of 1858. The first death was in the fall of 1857 when J. Loederlie died. The captain of the original Townsiters, Hartig, lived until 1902 when he was killed by a Santa Fe train; his wife had died the previous year.
The first public building was a frame town hall and school house built in 1860 and used as a polling place, dance hall and community room. It was situated at Fifth and Main and later moved to Sixth and Main Street. There was a jail under it in the mid-1860's.
An Early History of Eudora
by Frank W. Blackmar (1912)
Eudora, one of the largest towns of Douglas county, is located in the northeastern part of the county on the south bank of the Kansas river and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R., 7 miles east of Lawrence. Early in the summer of 1856 a company of Germans organized in Chicago, Ill., for the purpose of making a settlement some where in the west. From 50 members it grew to 600 stockholders and in March, 1857, a locating committee left for the west to select a town site. They spent some time in Missouri and Kansas and finally decided upon the site where Eudora now stands.
A tract of 800 acres of land was bought from the Shawnee Indians through Pascal Fish, their chief, who was to receive every alternate lot. The land was surveyed and named Eudora in honor of the chief's daughter. When the committee returned to Chicago it was determined to colonize the place and men representing different trades and professions were sent out by the association, under the leadership of P. Hartig. These pioneers arrived at Eudora on April 18, 1857, and at once erected rude cabins and made other improvements.
Pascal Fish had built a cabin on the town site before the advent of the whites, which was used as a hotel and locally known as the "Fish House." In May a sawmill and corn cracker was sent out by the association and was put in operation. The first store was opened the following summer and the village began to flourish. A postoffice was also established in the summer of 1857. with A. Summerfield as the first postmaster.
On Feb. 8, 1859, Eudora was incorporated under the territorial laws and ten years later the town was divided into two wards for municipal purposes. It is now an incorporated city of the third class. A fresh impetus was given to the town with the building of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, and it has become the shipping and supply point for a rich agricultural district. Fudora has many beautiful homes, good public schools, several general stores, hardware and implement houses, a drug store, wagon and blacksmith shops, a money order postoffice, express and telegraph facilities, 2 banks, and a population of 640, according to the U. S. census of 1910.
An Earlier History of Eudora
by William G. Cutler (1883)
The city of Eudora is pleasantly located on a gradually ascending slope, stretching back on the south bank of the Kansas or Kaw River, near the junction of the Wakarusa. Situated as it is, seven miles east of Lawrence, twenty-eight miles southwest of Leavenworth, and thirty-three miles west of Kansas City, Mo., on the line of the A., T. & St. Fe Ry., its location as a trading point is excellent, which is proven by its being the second city in the county in point of population and trade. Eudora was settled and is surrounded by that class of citizens, who are known the world over for their thrift and capacity in promoting a substantial growth in a new country - the Germans.
Early in the summer of 1856, an association, composed of prominent Germans, was organized at Chicago, Ill., under the name of the "Neuer Ansiedlungs Verein," with the prime object of making a settlement at some point in the great West. Organizing with fifty members, the association rapidly grew until it numbered over 600 stockholders. In March, 1857, a location committee, consisting of H. Heimann, F. Barteldes and C. Schleifer, were appointed to go West and look up a location, preparatory to the location of a town site. After looking through various parts of Missouri and Kansas, the present town site of Eudora was decided upon. A tract of 800 acres was secured from the Shawnee Indians through Pascel Fish, their chief, who was to receive every alternate lot. The town site of 800 acres was laid off, and named "Eudora," in honor of the chief's daughter.
On the return of the committee, it was decided to at once colonize the place. Sixteen members, who represented different trades and professions, were elected by the association and sent out under the leadership of P. Hartig, for that purpose. Following are the names of this hardy band of pioneers: P. Hartig, J. Fischer, J. Schiesgroohl, J. Leoterle, A. Herling, J. Schoartz, G. Buttner, A. Schirrner, M. Marthey, Fred Deirhmann, A. Veroh, C. Epple and wife, G. Kerg, C. Maxilius, Anton Goethhes, H. Baserman. The expenses of the party were paid by the association. Seven other members came out with the party, but paid their own expenses. The party left Chicago April 11, 1857, and arrived at their destination, April 18, 1857, and commenced erecting rude log buildings and making other crude improvements. Thus was formed the first settlement of Eudora.
The first house on the town site was built by Pascel Fish, the Shawnee Indian, long before the advent of the white man as a settler. It was built of hewn logs, with a thatched straw roof, and was used as a hotel, known as the "Fish House." The first building erected by the colony was a one-story log cabin, eighteen by twenty feet, which for awhile was used by all parties. During the summer of 1857, A. Summerfield opened and established the first store.
The first birth that occurred was that of Eudora, a daughter of C. Epple, a member of the town company, born in 1857, soon after the arrival of the colony. The girl received her name in honor of the place. In the summer of 1857 occurred the death of J. Leoterle, a member of the "band of sixteen." One of the first marriages was that of F. Dischmann and Mrs. George Harbolt, who were married in 1857 or 1858.
In May, 1857, the association at Chicago, sent C. Durr to St. Louis, where he purchased, at an expense of $2,200, machinery for a circular saw mill and "corn cracker." The mill arrived at Eudora during the same month, and was put into operation for the company by C. Diirr (sic), in the summer of the same year.
In order to secure a perfect title to their land, the association authorized L. W. Pfeif and C. Durr to purchase it from Pascel Fish, which was done at a cost of $110,000, February 17, 1860, and approved on the 7th day of May.
Eudora was incorporated as a city, under Territorial laws, February 8, 1859, and still retains that charter and is governed accordingly. In 1869, for municipal purposes, the city was divided into two wards. Three councilmen were elected from each ward.
The post office of Eudora was established in the summer of 1857, and A. Summerfield appointed as first Postmaster. Mr. Summerfield was succeeded by T. C. Hockett, who, in 1862, was succeeded by F. L. Pilla. Mr. Pilla retained the postmastership until his death, in 1871, when he was succeeded by the present incumbent, Charles Pilla. The office was made a money-order office, July, 1878, and its business is rapidly increasing.
SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES
The first school was taught in 1858, by C. Smith, who was paid by subscription. In 1859, a frame building, known as the "City Hall," was built by the association, and used for school purposes, F. Schowarte being the first teacher. This building was used for school purposes until 1866. A new stone schoolhouse, 24x40 feet, two stories high, was completed at a cost of $5,700. H. C. Speer and Miss C. Whitcomb were the first teachers in the new building. In the autumn of the same year, a building was erected for colored pupils, who were taught by Miss P. Hill. As the city increased in population, the old school building proved inadequate to the demand, and in 1881 a new brick building, 24x40 feet, one story, was completed at a cost of $1,700. The citizens of Eudora have reason to be proud of their educational advantages.
The Church of the Holy Family organized October 1, 1864, with thirty-two members. The church edifice, which was built during the same year, at a cost of $3,000, is a stone structure, 24x40 feet. The first regular pastor was Father A. Mheyer, who had charge of the church from 1865 to 1868. The church was presided over by different pastors until the present pastor, Rev. F. Elias, of Lawrence, took charge. The value of the German Catholic Church property in Eudora is estimated at $7,500. Present membership, seventy families.
The German Methodist Church was organized soon after the war of the great rebellion, with twenty-five members. An old stone dwelling-house was purchased, at a cost of $600, remodeled and used for a place of divine worship until 1881, when a handsome frame edifice, 26x44 feet, was completed at a cost of $2,000. Under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Arsonn, the church retains a membership of fifty souls.
St. Paul's Congregation of the German Evangelical Church was organized in 1869, by Rev. B. C. Haas, with fifteen members. Mr. Haas remained in charge until 1873, when he was succeeded, in 1874, by Rev. C. Toennies, who remained six years. Rev. C. F. Engelbach, the present pastor, took charge in 1882. The present church edifice is a brick structure, 26x40 feet, and was erected in 1871 at a cost of $1,200. Present membership, seventeen.
The (All Brights) German Evangelical Church is an old organization, and embraces among its membership many of the prominent farmers in the vicinity of Eudora. Its church edifice, a handsome brick building, 26x40, was completed in 1870, at a cost of $1,200. Rev. F. T. Harter, present-pastor.
The Colored Baptist Church has an organization here, and holds regular services in their own edifice. Rev. H. Ford, present pastor.
Eudora is located at 38°56'18N, 95°5'51W (38.938213, -95.097417). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.2 km² (2.0 mi²). 5.1 km² (2.0 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it (1.49%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,307 people, 1,607 households, and 1,136 families residing in the city. The population density was 839.9/km² (2,173.9/mi²). There were 1,664 housing units at an average density of 324.5/km² (839.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.87% White, 0.70% African American, 1.46% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.39% of the population.
There were 1,607 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.3% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,713, and the median income for a family was $50,909. Males had a median income of $37,833 versus $25,202 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,693. About 4.3% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.6% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.