The Early History of Tonganoxie
by William G. Cutler
This, the largest village in the county, was named in honor of an old Indian chief, who lived a short distance from it. The log cabin built and occupied by him was burned some years ago. The two-story frame house built for him by the Government is still standing. Quincy Baldwin now owns and occupies the premises. Tonganoxie was a great favorite with the whites, who in 1855, -'56 -'57, made his house a regular stopping place in going to and from Lawrence. The village was first settled in 1866, being platted the same year by Mrs. Magdalena Berry, who owned the site, consisting of forty acres of land. Two of her daughters still live in the village.
The first settler in the village was Wilson H. Fox, who built a log cabin. In 1862, James English came here to live, was the first Postmaster and sold the land to Mrs. Berry, which afterward became the town site. In 1866 William Dane built the first regular store. Tonganoxie is now a city of the third class, containing 300 people, five general stores, three boot and shoe shops, one drug store, one butcher shop, one bakery and confectionery, three blacksmith shops, one millinery store and one jewelry store.
Three doctors are located here, one printer who issues a little sheet called the Mirror, and no lawyers. Four miles southeast of Tonganoxie is the flouring mill of Mrs. E. Davis & Son. It is a water flour mill and is doing a fair business. A capital of $10,000 is invested, and the annual product is $20,000. Tonganoxie has a number of flourishing religious societies: Methodist Episcopal, Baptist and Congregationalist. The Methodist Episcopal Church (white) is in charge of Rev. J. C. Telford. The society owns a $2,000 brick church, and is strong and growing.
The district school building is a substantial two-story brick structure, and the attendance averages 100 pupils. A prosperous agricultural community surrounds Tonganoxie, and the city itself is deriving the usual benefit. It is located on the Leavenworth and Lawrence road, about twenty-two miles southwest of the former city.
Tonganoxie is located at 39°6'32N, 95°5'13W (39.108880, -95.086885). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.1 km² (3.1 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,728 people, 999 households, and 737 families residing in the city. The population density was 335.4/km² (869.8/mi²). There were 1,032 housing units at an average density of 126.9/km² (329.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.23% White, 1.17% African American, 0.88% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.26% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.27% of the population.
There were 999 households out of which 42.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.0% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,278, and the median income for a family was $49,960. Males had a median income of $37,301 versus $24,028 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,026. About 4.5% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.