Wilson County is an old county. It was named for Colonel Hiero T. Wilson an officer at Fort Scott. Originally, the lands were part of the Osage Indian Reserve and subject to white man's occupation. During the Civil War the white man began moving in. The Kansas legislature of 1867 set the dimensions of what we call Wilson County. This was a troubled time with the north and south both being represented as well as the white man versus the Indians.
The struggle to become a county took many years. From about 1855 until 1867 the biggest struggle was over where the county seat was to be located.
History tells us the county seat has been moved six times. Each time with
controversy; theft of county records, raids on the courthouse in broad daylight, threats to local holders, neighbors and relations and actual shootings.
Trivia Questions about the History of Wilson County
Q)1. What former Fredonia musician gained fame by playing in the John Phillips Sousa Band and later becoming even more well-known for his collection and composition of Indian musical themes, as well as voice, piano, flute, band, and orchestra?
A) Thurlow Lieurance.
Q)2. What Wilson County native was the first person to break the sound barrier?
A) The test pilot Capt. Milburn Apt, of Buffalo, Kansas, was the first person to break the sound barrier.
Q)3. What Wilson County town could boast the only "petticoat" government in the world in 1935?
A) In 1935 the mayor and city council of New Albany, Kansas were all women. This made New Albany the only "petticoat" government in the world.
Q)4. Who was the Wilson Countian awarded the Carnegie Medal of Honor in 1922 and for what act did he receive this award?
A) Samuel P. Booker of Altoona, Kansas was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Honor in 1922 for his attempt to save two young men. The men had become overcome with "white damp" gas while cleaning a 33 foot well on the Mayor family farm near Neodesha. Booker lost his life in this attempt. The medal is on display at the Wilson County Historic Society Museum.
Explore Wilson County
Because of its historic downtown, Neodesha was selected as a Kansas Main Street City in 1993. The occidental Hotel, later owned by Carrie Brown, was then renamed the Brown Hotel. The wooden hotel was destroyed by fire in 1895. Carrie rebuilt this fine brick hotel in 1896 and added the verandah in 19Neodesha, KS Tours
November 28, 1892, the Norman No. 1 oil well became the first and largest commercial oil well west of the Mississippi and it became the birthplace of the vast Mid-Continent Oil Field. Norman No. 1 was in continuous operation until 1919. The well was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978Neodesha, KS Museums
Neodesha has several homes builit in the late 1800s and turn of the century. The beautiful Queen Anne Victorian style home at 7th and Main was built in 1898 by Dr. Allen, grandfather of Dr. Allen Moorhead, the current resident. Another of the late 19th century elaborate homes was built in 1895Neodesha, KS Tours