Miss Ethel Wise in her class essay before the Paola High School on
    June 11, 1918, says:

    "On the 16th day of August, 1855, the First Territorial Legislature passed an act
    incorporating the Paola Town Company, consisting of Baptiste Peoria, Isaac Jacobs, A. M.
    Coffey, David Lykins and their associates.
    Early in August, 1858, the Osawatomie people presented a petition for a vote to
    permanently locate the County Seat in accordance with the provision of the law of 1858,
    which said, "When the County Seat of any county has not been located by a vote of the
    electors of the county and county buildings have not been erected, the Board of Co.
    Commissioners upon the petition of a majority of the legal electors of the county shall order
    an election for the location or removal of such county seat."
    The County Seat had never been located in Paola, that is by a vote of the electors. Some of
    the earliest settlers remember the submitting of this important question to the Paola Board
    as causing much agitation among the Paola people.
    The Board of Supervision ordered an election for the permanent location of the County
    Seat to be held on the same day as the general election and from that time on party lines
    were abolished. The Paola people worked like beavers. It was said at the time that they
    personally visited every legal voter in the county.
    For ten days before the election it was believed that Paola would win if the voters could be
    persuaded to go to the polls; hence every effort and inducement was used to get all voters
    friendly to Paola to the voting places. The county was divided into small districts and three
    men constituted a committee to get every voter of every district to the respective polls. The
    returns showed that Paola had won by a majority of 90 votes. A contest was threatened
    based upon some illegal Indian votes. But after examination it was found that Paola would
    still have a majority of 48 votes.
    The result of that election was of great importance to Paola. It created a belief among
    those who wanted to live and build at the County Seat that the town was sure to remain
    as such. The only evidence now existing that Paola is the County Seat is to be found in the
    act of 1855 establishing it as the permanent Seat of Justice. The petition upon which the
    Board of Supervision ordered the election has disappeared. The journal of the Board does
    not contain the order of the election. No record of the canvass of the vote seems to exist.
    The County Seat still rests on an act of the Bogus Legislature.

    "One of Paola's earliest settlers will be remembered as Knowles Shaw, who came here as
    a blacksmith in 1854 and hammered an honest living out of iron for many years.

    "Cy Shaw came to Paola in 1855 and ran the first stage line form Kansas City to Fort Scott,
    by way of Paola and Osawatomie. The trail which our fathers and grandfathers followed
    was then along Ten Mile and Indian Creek, later it was moved west to take in Olathe and
    Springhill. The stage coach came daily, bringing the mail and a coach full of passengers at
    each trip. Fresh stage horses were procured at a barn in the northwest part of town.
    When the coaches were in need of repair, they were run into a barn located where the
    Vassar Hotel is and made ready for further use.

    "That which is possibly Paola's oldest house is the home of Martin Timken, situated on
    North Pearl street. It was built by a man by the name of Totten in the year 1858. He turned
    rebel and his property was taken over by the Government for military purposes. During the
    time soldiers were stationed here the officers' headquarters were in the house. They took
    their meals at Ezra Robinson's house, which was then directly across the street in what is
    today known as the home of Watt Glenn.

    "We may think of the block in which the Peoples Nat'l Bank is located as being the block in
    which were the homes of two of Paola's first settlers, one being Thomas Hedges and the
    other Knowles Shaw. Opposite them was the home of Mother Baptiste. In my recent talks
    with old settlers, I have found Mother Baptiste held a warm spot in the hearts of all who
    knew her.

    "Mrs. Jacobs was probably the first white woman that came to Paola. Her husband had the
    first house erected that was built on the town site. It was located about where
    Prendergast's store is. The carpenter work was done by Samuel P. Boone. Mr. Jacobs was
    Paola's first mayor. B. F. Simpson was the first lawyer; Dr. W. D. Hoover the first practicing
    physician. He lived about where Devins Laundry is situated. Samuel Boone was the first
    carpenter; Mrs. Cy Shaw taught the first school; Rev. Wood was the first preacher. Walter
    Buck and his brother Alf were the moving water works of the city and with a little cart and
    pony they were at it early and late. The first wedding was that of George Tomlinson and
    Miss Mary Mead. Mrs. P. H. Latimer of Louisburg has the name of being the first white child
    born on the town site. Her maiden name was Sue Heiskell. The first death was that of an
    infant son of Dr. Coffey. There is a record of almost every trade and who started in Paola,
    with the exception of the barber shop and no records can be found of the first man to start
    up such a business here.

    "The land for the city park was given to Paola by the Town Company with the proviso that
    no buildings should ever be placed on it. While we think of it as such a place of beauty, in
    our father's day it was an open common where the Indians were wont to run horse races,
    and indulge in war dances. Baptiste Peoria had it made a play ground for his people and
    the Town Company continued the gift and so recorded it on the books.

    "Paola in her youth was not without churches. Her first Methodist church was where Mr.
    Hunt keeps a plumbing shop. Those of the Christian Church held their services in a town
    hall on the west side. In 1882 the foundation for their church on East Piankeshaw was laid.
    The Baptists held church in a small building located in the same place as the one they now
    have. While we look upon the Busy Bee as a hotel, it was in the time of the generation
    before us and the generation before them the Presbyterian Church located where the
    present Presbyterian church is. The location of the Congregational Church has always been
    the same. The first Catholic Church was a one-room, stone building. The ground together
    with a donation in money was given to the Catholics in 1859 by Baptiste Peoria and his
    wife. This first church was torn down in 1880 and a brick building was put up. This burned
    in 1906 and the one now standing was built in 1906-07.

    "The first county building erected was the jail, which was built in 1858 and cost $2,000. It
    was a stone structure and was situated back of Mayer's Clothing store. The first term of
    court was held May 23, 1856.

    "With the year of 1860 came the famine and quoting Mr. H. M. McLachlin, "hustlers for
    Pomeroy's beans and old clothes showed up in force." Aid was given out from a room on
    the northeast corner of the square and was quite a help to some, but like all charities it
    was greatly abused. Men who owned acres and acres of land were compelled to take
    provision for their families, by the sympathetic manner of Ezra Robinson in issuing the
    goods softened the bitterness of charity.

    "The amusements in earlier days consisted of lodges, suppers given by the different
    organizations for the purpose of raising money, and literaries given once a month. There
    were also singing schools which furnished a good deal of pleasure to the young folks. A
    dancing club called the Q. A. M. D. C. (quit at midnight dancing club) gave dances every two
    weeks in the Mallory Hall which was on the west side of the park.

    "Baptiste Peoria was the big man of that day, a large, full-blooded Indian with a great deal
    of business tact and shrewdness. The Indians were then in force and life with them was
    sport galore. Horse racing was possibly the greatest sport. Northeast of what was known
    as the Bell place they cleared up a straight track about a quarter mile long. The Indians
    were great traders, and every horse they got was tried on the track. Saturday was always
    fete day for the Indians, and all congregated at the track and races filled the time. The
    track was later changed out east of town and then they would swap races with the boys
    from the surrounding towns and Missouri.

    "The Paola Free Library is known as the pride of Paola and well it might be called that.
    There was a stock company formed in 1872, called the Miami Co. Teachers Library. Its few
    books were kept in a hall on the north side of the square. This room was kept open on
    Thursdays from 4 to 6 o'clock, and on Saturday afternoons. The librarian then was Mrs. H.
    S. Turner. In 1878 the association turned the books over to the city as a gift with the
    understanding that the city was to provide and care for it. Mr. Sponable became interested
    in the work and gave not only the land on which the building now rests but generous sums
    of money at different times. His work for the library was a part of his life work. It must be
    remembered that we owe much to Mrs. Martha Smith, who at her death in 1901 gave
    $10,000 to the directors of the library for the purpose of erecting a building. Thus, Paola's
    library is not a Carnegie Library.

    "If from this imperfect sketch you can look back and see Paola as she was in Mary, 1855, a
    town fighting for an existence, I am sure you will take a more appreciative view of Paola,
    and note what remarkable changes have been wrought by time and the hand of
    man."             ETHEL WISE
Hannes Poetter Design and Sponsorship - all rights reserved
Miami County Historical Museum - 12 E. Peoria, - Paola, KS 66071 Phone: 913-294-4940
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