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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Pomeroy School

One-room School House

1886 Map of Wyandotte County

Map of 3850 Pomeroy Dr
Kansas City, KS 66109-4660

June, 2003 mapping directions

Pomeroy Picture Gallery

Pomeroy Students at 1882 Wyandotte Academy

School believed to be named after Kansas Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy

Pomeroy School

The picture at your left is better previewed in the picture gallery where you will be able to read the newspaper type.

"Pomeroy, a hamlet of Wyandotte county, is situated on the Missouri river and the Missouri Pacific R. R. 14 miles southeast of Leavenworth. It has rural free delivery from Bethel." Page 485 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. … / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.

A rural, country school. County Superintendent: in 1912 was Miss Olive Thompson. Other districts: Welborn, Vance, Hazel Grove, White Church and District No. 5 (Wilson High School).

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Heritage, Wyandotte West, 20 Nov 1980
by Mary Flanagan Rupert
"Pomeroy once was busy milling town"

The Pomeroy school was originally a 1-room frame structure built in 1868.

(Officers, Wyandott Gazette, 17 July 1873 - Wm. Palmer, J. R. Kennemur and F. H. Betton)

The second building, constructed in 1885, burned in 1926.

Then the present building was constructed in 1926 and an addition was authorized by a bond issue of $36,500.  This expanded the school into four rooms in a 1-story concrete and red brick building at 3840 Pomeroy Dr.

June 1930:  Became a part of Rural High School District #2 when Welborn, Hazel Grove, White Church, Vance, Nearman and Pomeroy districts voted to consolidate for a rural high school geographically centrally located.  This rural high school became known as Washington High School, located at 7340 Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, Kansas (still in operation in 2003).  At a later date this district became USD 201 (Unified School District #201) and was consolidated with USD 500 (Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools) in January of 1967.

In 1965 the Pomeroy school attendance area was eliminated and made a part of Bethel and White Church.

The old school house was later converted into the Pomeroy Baptist Church.  The First Baptist Church of Bethel is a successor to this Pomeroy Church.

The founders of the town of Pomeroy were William P. Overton and Frank H. Betton and their families.

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Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1986

1955:  Two classrooms added to original building. 

1972: School closed and sold. To be converted to residence. Pupils to Bethel
Named for hamlet of Pomeroy in what was later District 201.

1974:  School property bought to become a residence by Gordon and Murle White.  Address changed to 3850 Pomeroy Dr., where Mr. and Mrs. White lived in June of 2003.  Property purchased through Dr. Fraser of USD 500.

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“A History of the Origin and Establishment of Washington Rural High School – Bethel, Kansas" – As contained in news articles found in the Kansas City Star and Times, Kansas City Kansan, and the Bonner Springs Chieftain – Apr 1929 to Feb 1932 – submitted by David C. Grove, Jan 1966  (.pdf)  (Containing excerpts relative to Welborn, Vance, Bethel, Hazel Grove, Lindbergh, Pomeroy, Nearman, Wolcott, Pleasant Ridge, and White Church schools/communities.)

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June 28, 2003:  If you take 77th Street north from Leavenworth Rd., about 1 block north it turns into Pomeroy Dr. and continues as Pomeroy Dr. until it winds around and ends up at 79th Street, within a 1/2 block of the railroad lines.

In driving by the area, my husband noticed a house atop a terraced hill on Pomeroy Dr. that he insisted looked like a school converted to a house.  I was doubtful, but (fortunately) he was insistent on checking it out.  The owner was outside and Gordon White was extremely gracious when we questioned about Pomeroy School.  This was it.  Flagpoles are in front of the home, at the top of a higher terraced area.  The old baseball backstop is still there and the two classrooms added in 1955 are at the north end of the house.  Mr. White was most gracious and invited us back to take pictures of the residence (once Pomeroy School) and pictures inside.  We will definitely be back in touch with Mr. White for pictures with this web site. 

He was also gracious enough to drive around with us and show us some of the area, including the original road to Pomeroy, Kansas.

The original school is located at what now is 4429 N 79th St. and is owned by a firefighter.  Although the old school is now sided over, you can still see the stone walling and foundations.  In 1925, the old school burned and a new one was built at 3840 Pomeroy Dr., 1925/26. 

We drove to the railroad tracks (the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1911) and saw foundation stone of what was the Hesterline Harris boarding house.  There had been a grocery store there and William T. Harris (Hesterline's husband) had been the post office master.  Only homes remain at this time.  There is a Pomeroy cemetery, but no one seems to know where it is now.  (Note:  October, 2005 - Gary Marquardt of Kansas City has told us that there is an old cemetery near Wolcott, 1/4 mile west of the inter-section where Wolcott used to be.  He suggests that this might be the old Pomeroy Cemetery, but this information is not conclusive at this time.)

The Missouri River was only about 1/4 mile away at the time of the Civil War.  The Missouri has changed course over the years and is now about 1/2 mile away.

79th Street, traveling south on Pomeroy Dr., then south on 77th, winding around south on 78th to the old Moses Grinter Ferry is the Ft. Leavenworth - Ft. Scott military road.

In the 1830s-1860s, people would disembark at the Missouri River landing or at the Missouri Pacific RR and take the above road to the Moses Grinter Ferry for crossing.

Mr. White tells me that Tom Harris (descendent of William T. and Hesterline Harris) turned numerous pictures and records over to the Wyandotte County Historical Museum. 

On May 4, 2003, a devastating tornado swept through Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas, destroying homes and costing millions of dollars in repair/rebuilding.  The heart of the tornado hit just a few blocks south of Pomeroy School, destroying the home of the White's daughter and her family, with fortunately no injury to them.  Only a few shingles were damaged on the Pomeroy School/White residence.  The building still overlooks an area that began in the 1830s - it seems we were meant to find this piece of history and photograph it, as it is today, for the future.

Patricia Adams
Compiler of the web site for the History of the Public Schools of Wy Co, 1944-Present

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FRANK H. BETTON, P. O. Pomeroy. The subject of this sketch is a lineal descendant of Matthew Thornton, one of the signers of the Declaration or Independence, and President of the convention which assumed the government of the colony of New Hampshire. His father, Thornton Betton, was a prominent lawyer and a graduate of Dartmouth College. His grandfather, Hon. Silas Betton, was a graduate of the same institution, and a Member of Congress. His grandmother, the wife of Hon. Silas Betton, was the daughter of Matthew Thornton, who signed the Declaration. He was born in Derry, N. H. August 1, 1835; is a son of Thornton and Mary E. B. H. Betton. Eight years of his early life were passed in Derry, two years in Newburyport, Mass., one year at Portsmouth, N. H., a short time in Dover, N. H., and three years in Boston, Mass. At the latter place be engaged as clerk in a mercantile house. He then went to Petersburg, Va., where he remained two years, and in May, 1856, came to Kansas. He landed at Leavenworth City on the 8th day of May, and at once went about finding business. He had $2,000 in money to invest, and, proceeding to the old historic town of Easton, he fell in company with others who agreed to interest themselves with him In building up a town on Red Vermillion Creek. The new town was to have at once a hotel, store, blacksmith shop, and saw-mill. After suffering the privations and disappointments common to such an enterprise in a new country, Mr. Betton found the project abandoned by the others, and himself the owner of a saw-mill in a town and country without inhabitants. He returned to Leavenworth, and during the winter engaged in a general speculating business, dealing principally, however, in Geary City town property, by which he realized about $500. He attended the sale of town shares (10 lots) in Wyandotte, advertised to take place March 1, 1857, the first 100 shares to be sold at $500 a share. He bought share No. 92. There was a perfect craze for these shares. People came from far and near, and it was by chance that he managed to buy an interest. Isaiah Walker's store was the only frame building in the town at the time. It still stands on the north side of Nebraska avenue, below Fourth street. Silas Armstrong's brick residence stood on the hill, near the corner of Fifth street and Minnesota avenue. Ike Brown's log house stood where Dunning's Hall now stands. The land office building was located nearly opposite, and Joel Walker lived in a log house near Jersey Creek. The Widow Splitlog's cabin occupied the hill south of Minnesota avenue, and the Cotter's lived at the ferry, and those houses constituted the city of Wyandotte in 1857. Mr. Betton was offered $750 for one lot while on his way to Leavenworth, just after the purchase, but refused to take it. Wyandotte had her collapse, and values shrunk amazingly. Mr. Betton disposed of his interest at a sacrifice. He next entered a claim of 160 acres of farming hand, and forty acres of timber, near Osawkie, on the Delaware Trust Lands. He also speculated in claims, and was very successful in this enterprise. After Osawkie land sales, he returned to Leavenworth, but the same fall located in Wyandotte and engaged in lumbering and logging for a saw mill, and in December, 1859, bought it. It was located where the town of Argentine has since been built up. In 1860, he bought forty acres of land, and built a house on it, which is still standing. The smelting works are now located on this forty acres, which he sold in 1863 for $500, now worth over $100,000. In 1863, the mill was moved over to the Missouri River, near Nearman Station, where he continued the business until the fall of 1867, his family living in the meantime at Wyandotte. In company with Mr. Overton, he bought a half section of land of Alexander Caldwell and Lucien Scott, near Pomeroy, and in June, 1868, located a new saw-mill at that place. The mill exploded the first day's run, killing one man and injuring another. The mill was immediately rebuilt, and other lands were subsequently bought, until Overton & Betton were the owners of 1,100 acres of fine timber land. They and their employees, mill bands and wood-choppers, were the only white settlers in the vicinity. Mr. Betton solicited the County Superintendent to lay out a school district, which was done immediately. Bonds were voted to build a schoolhouse. They were purchased by Overton & Betton, and the commodious school room was erected, which still stands to do credit to the enterprise of its first proprietors. They also built a side track on the Missouri Pacific Railroad at their own expense, erected a store room, and secured a post office. The store room was first occupied by Derrick Stone, Pomeroy's first merchant. In 1873, they erected their three-story flouring-mill, called Maple Cliff Mills. They also sold lands to the amount of about 400 acres, and still retain about 700 acres. The mill was operated by Overton & Betton until 1878, when Mr. Young purchased the half-interest of Mr. Overton, and the mill was owned amid operated by Betton & Young until the spring of 1883, when they disposed of their entire interest to the Pomeroy Milling Company. Mr. Betton has striven to do his part in the labors which, in a period of twenty-five years, have served to carve out of the wilderness the foremost county in his State. He has been identified with many enterprises, public and private, and, like most old settlers, has reaped but a moderate reward. He has written much for the press since his residence in Kansas, and displays a literary ability remarkable for a man who has been so actively engaged in business pursuits. He was married in Wyandotte, March 8, 1860, to Susanna Mudeater, an accomplished and educated daughter of Matthew Mudeater, head chief of the Wyandotte nation. Her father was educated at the Methodist Episcopal Mission, Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Her mother was educated at the same mission. Both were exceedingly fair and handsome. They emigrated with the Wyandottes to Indian Territory in 1843. Mr. Betton has six children - Florence, Frank H., Cora E., Matthew Thornton, Susanna W. and Ernest L. He has been Grand Master of the R. W. Grand Lodge, I. O. O. F., State of Kansas, and its Grand Representative in the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the United States; also, Grand Chancellor of the Grand Lodge of the K. of P. of the State of Kansas, and its Representative to the Supreme Lodge of the United States. - William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas

ROBERT J. BARKER, merchant and grain dealer, Pomeroy, came to Kansas September 20, 1870. Located in Wyandotte County; taught school nine years, and in 1879 opened a general store at Pomeroy, where he has been engaged in merchandising ever since. He has also served as agent for Missouri Pacific Railroad Company at this place three years, and is still employed in that capacity. He was appointed Postmaster in April, 1882. He carries a large stock of general merchandise and occupies, in addition to a capacious salesroom, an extensive wareroom and commands the entire trade of the place. He also deals in wood, grain and country produce of all kinds.

WILLIAM HENRY YOUNG, proprietor of Maple Cliff Flouring Mills and practical miller, Pomeroy, came to Kansas, November. 1865. Made Wyandotte his headquarters, and was a tie contractor on the Kansas Pacific and Missouri Pacific Railroads for about eight months. He then engaged in the lumber business at Wyandotte for a few months, and was afterward engaged in railroad service, by which he lost his right hand by an accident at Lawrence, about seven weeks after he began, and as soon as he was able for duty was employed by the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, as receiving and shipping clerk at Fort Scott. Served in this capacity about seven months, then went on a visit to Illinois, but soon returned to Kansas, and, after prospecting for over a year, finally engaged as traveling salesman for Maple Cliff Mills, which was then operated by Overman & Betton; at the end of one year, he purchased a half interest of Mr. Overton, and since May, 1875, in company with Mr. Betton, owned and operated the mills.

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 23-Apr-2014

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