In the heartland... Where Pride Flies High!
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History of Fredonia
  • 1794: A stone discovered on a hillside southwest of Fredonia above the Fall River with this date carved into it gives evidence alluding to the presence of European explorers in the area.
  • 1857: First European settlers came to the area.
  • 1861: Creek Indian leader Opothle Yahola led 7000 Native Americans, and 300 slaves, who were loyal to the Union Cause from Deep Fork, south of present day Tulsa to escape conscription into the Confederate Army. They ran north through Montgomery County to Fort Row north of Fredonia in Wilson County, hoping to find the promised food and other aid from the Union Army.
  • 1868: Fredonia Town Company was organized, the name chosen and the town was platted. Dr. J. J. Barrett erected the first building on the southwest corner of the square.
  • 1869: A county election on June 8 selected Fredonia as the county seat.
  • 1871: The first religious building was the Congregational Church built on a lot given by the town company. When the church closed, the building became the public library. In 1969, the old building was razed and the present library is built on that same ground. 1871: Another county election on May 23 again selected Fredonia as the county seat. Citizens of Neodesha contested the election.
  • 1872: Charges of fraud in the May of 1871 election were filed in the District Court. Judge Gooin ruled the May election invalid and directed that the county offices be removed to Neodesha. This decision was appealed to the State Supreme Court.
  • 1873: Another election was held January 28, and Fredonia was again selected as county seat.
  • 1874: In May, the State Supreme Court upheld the District Court's decision to disqualify the May, 1871 election and remove the county offices to Neodesha.
  • 1885: September 7 yet another election was held, which passed a bond issue of $30,000.00 to build a courthouse in Fredonia. That ended the county seat dispute.
  • 1888: First graduating class of Fredonia High School.
  • 1915: The new Wilson County jail opened. It contains the sheriff's residence and the jail. This building now houses the Wilson County Historical Society.
  • 1918: Fredonia's ambulance company is engaged in the great battle at St. Michiel in France.
  • 1923: Between two and three thousand people heard Zack Harris, Ku Klux Klan organizer talk on the immigration problem in the S. M. Smith cow pasture.
  • 1925: Ben Paulen of Fredonia became governor of Kansas. Paulen began his political career more than 25 years before as a member of the Fredonia City Council.
  • 1936: July 18- a national record-setting temperature of 121 degrees.
  • 1937: Fredonia now had a population of 4,167.
  • 1945: The Thomas Sheedy heirs transferred title of the old Sheedy homestead, 2 miles north of the city, to the City of Fredonia to be used as an airport.
  • 1963: Fredonia City Hall was torn apart by a blast which completely destroyed the interior and roof. The hot water tank was blamed.
  • 1969: The new library, built on the grounds of the old Congregation Church, was opened to the public.
  • 1976: The Wilson County Historical Society held their open house Sunday in the newly acquired facility on the east side of the square - the old sheriff's residence and jail.
  • 1991: The Gold Dust Hotel Building was selected for the National Register of Historical Places, and a complaint filed with the American Civil Liberties Union threatened continuance of the 65-year-old Christmas Pageant.
  • 1995: March 3, the Kansas Governer Bill Graves signed a resolution stating "Highway 75 from the Oklahoma and Kansas state lines to the steps of our state's capital be so designated 'the Opothle Yahola Memorial Highway,” and certain areas in Southeast Kansas, the Verdigris, Neosho and Fall River Valleys and that of the Big and Little Sandy Creek Valleys as the “Opothle Yahola Historic Trail.”
  • 1998: May 30, The Opothle Yahola Memorial Trail was dedicated in a ceremony at Caney. The highway signs are in place.
  • 1998: August 24, the new U.S. Highway 400 was opened from Wichita to the eastern edge of Fredonia, intersecting with K47. Several months later the highway was completed to Joplin.