Monticello Community Historical Society
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From Early Kansas history, ancient peoples roamed the area hunting buffalo as Spain claimed the area in the 1500’s. No settlements have been discovered. The Spanish traded the area to the French in 1811 and President Thomas Jefferson of Monticello, Virginia negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
1825 The Kanza Indians were removed from the area by the Government and sent to a reservation to the West.
1825 -1839 Shawnee Indians arrived from Ohio and Missouri. Many settled in the Monticello area.
1828 Frederick Chouteau (grandson of a co-founder of St. Louis) established a trading post and ferry near Mill Creek.
1836 A saw and grist mill was built for the Shawnee Indians on Mill Creek thus giving the creek its name.
1850s Return to Top
1854 Kansas becomes a territory. A treaty with the Shawnee Indians gave each Shawnee 200 acres. All unclaimed land was left open to pioneer settlers.
Prior to becoming a town, Monticello was a stage coach stop in the mid 1800’s. It was a stopping point about midway between Lawrence and Westport. The town of Monticello was founded on 160 acres on June 19, 1857. There were speeches where a banner with the motto “Monticello and the Union” was presented to the Town Company and dancing took place in the town square. Monticello was located at the crossroads of the Territorial Road No. 5 and the Midland Trail. At that time there were no railroads in the area. Steamboats routinely churned the waters of the mighty Kaw (Kansas) River, stopping at the Chouteau Ferry Crossing.
The township recorded a lynching of a horse thief in 1857. We don’t know where he was buried, but Monticello has laid people to rest at the following cemeteries Bullock; King / Wilder / Boles; Monticello at 73rd Terrace East of Monticello Road; Murphy; Shawnee Mission Memorial Garden on 75th west of K-7; Union at 75th and Gleason.
Monticello elected James Butler Hickok as a town constable in 1858. It was his first job in the law enforcement business before going on to become the famous “Wild Bill” Hickok. He staked a claim to 160 acres now located at 83rd and Clare Road. Hickok left Monticello late in 1859.
Early Monticello survived a destructive tornado in 1859, fire and a grasshopper plague around 1859.
St. Louis, Lawrence & Denver R.R. in Johnson County
1859 A territorial road was surveyed between Leavenworth City and Ft. Scott. It passed through the town of Monticello where a stage stop, stores, saloons, blacksmith, a doctor and a hotel served travelers. The road crossed the Santa Fe trail at Olathe.
1860s Return to Top
1861 Kansas Territory becomes the 34th State of the Union.
1863 The Monticello Ferry Company was chartered to operate across the Kaw River at present day Bonner Springs.
At one time Monticello contained several stores, saloons, a blacksmith shop, post office and a hotel that was burned during the Civil War.
1865 The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized, first meeting in the Virginia school house.
1869 Town of Zarah platted at present day 69th and Martindale.
1870s Return to Top
The town remained the center of the community until 1874 when the Kansas Midland Railroad (later to become the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe) began laying out and building a railroad in the area. It by-passed Monticello to the east while passing through Olathe, and 3 other township towns, ending the town’s hope to become the county seat.
Frisbie was a station 3/4 miles west of Wilder on 47th. Chouteau station was at 45th and Theden; Craig station was 90th and Woodland.
1870 Thomas T. Nichols (Grandfather of J.C. Nichols) settled on present day 95th St. West of Kansas 7 Highway.
1870 Shawnee Indians are moved to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
1880s Return to Top
1882 Town of Wilder officially platted and recorded near present day 47th and Clare. Wilder Neighborhood-Social Club
1882(?) Town of Waseca was platted. The depot was named Holliday near present day 17900 Holliday Drive.
1886 Woodson McCoy, son of the founder of Westport, and the town of Kansas (later to become Kansas City), developed Woodsonia Stock Farm.
1890s Return to Top
1894 Monticello Methodist Church Chapel is rebuilt after a fire and still stands at 75th and Gleason Road.
1900-1988 Return to Top
1905.The post office closed. The Monticello Methodist Church, the one room schools and Township Hall became places for local gatherings and fellowship as the years went by. Later churches included Clear Creek Baptist; Colored Church in Holliday; Gospel Assembly; Holliday Baptist; Pentecostal and Seventh Day Adventist.
The 1951 Flood nearly erased the towns of Holliday and Wilder along with Frisbie Station.
1955 Kansas City suburban airport was developed near present day Kansas 7 Highway and Johnson Drive. It was later turned into a housing development called “Woodsonia.”
1974 Monticello Fire District was organized with volunteer fire fighters.
1975 The Monticello Fire Station and Floyd Cline Hall was built.
1988 Shawnee and Lenexa begin annexation of Monticello Township.
1988-future Return to Top
1988 The Monticello Community Historical Society is organized.
1998 New Monticello Branch Post Office opened.
1999 Society incorporated and received Floyd Cline Hall.
2005 Virginia School placed on National Historic Register and moved.
Come join us in 2009 and later to appreciate, preserve and celebrate the history and heritage of the Monticello Community in Johnson County, Kansas.