The name Paola

    The origin of the name "Paola" has been the subject of discussion for many years and has
    given rise to various conjectures.

    There is no record of the name being chosen by any official body of settlers or even by the
    original town company itself. Naming a new town was and still is an important event in every
    community, yet there seems to be no proof whatever that such an event ever took place in
    the case of Paola.

    It is Paola now as was Paola when the first settlers came on the scene in 1854-5. The
    Indians had been calling their village by that name and the few white people who arrived
    after the territory was opened up simply followed suit. The name was Paola and nobody
    questioned its source or even its meaning.

    The oldest citizen, the Venerable Judge Ezra W. Robinson, who came to Paola in 1856,
    says that the name was in use when he arrived and that he did not know its origin or
    whence it came.

    In after years, however, people began to say that it was called after Baptiste Peoria, the
    Indian chief, for no reason but because there was some similarity in the sound of the two
    words and that the Indians, when pronouncing the word Paola, meant Peoria.

    It is strange that the tribe could not pronounce its own name. Moreover, why change "e" to
    "a" and "r" to "t" and "ia" to "a"? the transformation is too radical to carry conviction and
    doubtless was accepted by many for want of a better explanation. One thing that it does
    show, however, is that the Indians used the word first. Where did they get it?

    Another version of the origin of the name, Paola, is given in these words, "Paola founded in
    1855, named after Pasquale de Paoli, the Corsican patriot who led his countrymen against
    Genoa in 1755 and 1789." It is safe to say that the Indians never heard of the gentleman
    from Corsica.

    The third and more plausible origin of the name is given by the venerable John Chestnut,
    who came to Osawatomie in 1854 and is now a citizen of Denver, Colorado. He states that
    Paola is called after a town on the west coast of Italy.

    It is true there is such a town on the coast of Calabria in southern Italy. It is also true there is
    a monastery and a hamlet connected with the great Church of St. Paul beyond the walls of
    Rome called Paola, but it would take no other than an Italian to suggest these obscure
    places as a name for a wigwam village on the plains of Kansas in the middle of the last
    century.

    That Italian was Paul Mary Ponziglione, S.J., the great Indian missionary who came to these
    parts in 1851, and was especially beloved by the Peorias. His own name suggested that of
    his patron, the Great Apostle of the Gentiles: hence Paola. He did not have to go to the
    wilds of Calabria for the suggestion; it was within his own heart.
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How did Paola get its Name