History of Spearville

Spearville is a town with a rich and proud history. The following is a excerpt from the book “Spearville – City of Windmills”  by Eleanor Fry, published by the Spearville News 1975:

“To develop the area, railroad officials organized town companies to promote the town and sell lots to settlers.  The land for the townsite of Speareville was deeded by the Santa Fe to the Arkansas Valley Town Company in March, 1873, and was surveyed and platted.  The town was named for Alden H. Speare, railroad director and president of the town company.”

“The town spelling appeared as Spearville and Speareville in the early days.  The editor of the Speareville Blade in the 1880s was careful to include the middle “e”.  By the 1890s, the spelling consistently was Spearville.  The Dodge City Times referred to the town as ‘Spearvale’ a few times in those very early days of its existence.”

“The town was platted on a slightly elevated tract, sixteen miles east of Dodge City and twelve miles north of the Arkansas River.”

“Spearville’s first permanent residents were the Santa Fe section foreman, Jonas Stafford, and his family.  Stafford was stationed at this particular watering spot beginning January, 1875.  Stafford’s wife and daughters opened an eating house, mainly for the accommodation of the section hands.  they soon had the reputation of setting the best table on the run and train men made it a point, whenever possible to ‘make Jonas’s for meals.’  At this time the section house and the water tank with a stone foundation seven feet high was the only sign of habitation between Offerle and Dodge City.”

“When the town became settled, Stafford discovered that the encroaching civilization had its drawbacks.  Some of the townspeople did considerable complaining about the odor from his prized Berkshire hogs.”

“Spearville broke into the news on March 9, 1876, when the Colorado Chieftain at Pueblo reported on the grand celebration in honor of the completion of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway into that town.”

“Late in September 1877 W.V. Johnston and E.D. Swan of Chicago came out along the line of the AT&SFRR prospecting.  On the morning of the 23rd day of September at before daylight they left the train at what was put down on the railroad map as Spearville, or, in the forcible language of Johnston, they were ‘dropped on the prairie like a cat in a bag.’”

“No survey had been made nor a lot staked.  When daylight came they took a look about them and the only objects visible to the eye was the section house and the store building of Hall and Nelson, and the rest was an unbroken stretch.  But the situation pleased them.  They found a deep soil capable of producing the most abundant crops and on investigation they found the country surrounding it capable of sustaining and making wealthy a large population.  After looking the field over they determined to locate here.  On returning to Chicago they entered into correspondence with the AT&SFRR Co. with a vision of buying the town site of Spearville.  They also succeeded in interesting D. Williams of Warsaw, Indiana, in the project who in turn interested Dr. W.S. Marshall of the same place.”

“On the sixth of December the townsite was surveyed and divided into lots.  At that time there were three houses on the ground.  But from that time its course has been onward.”