Oronoque  History, Norton County, Kansas

Oronoque, Kansas

After the Burlington railroad was built through Norton [1885], and Leota had lost the county seat, the town, what was left of it, moved to what is now known as Oronoque.  D. Morrison, who still resides at Oronoque, was town site agent and the town was started with a rush.  Lots sold for $150.00.  Tom Campbell built the first frame house, in 1886.  The town had a steady growth until the big fire on October 1, 1909, which burned nearly all the business part.  To-day, even after three disastrious [disastrous] fires, Oronoque has more business than ever before.  A new bank and lumber yard have been started within the past year.

The Christian church, organized in 1905, the new church building built in 1907, has a membership of 60.  The Baptist church, orgainzed [organized] in 1906 has a membership of 100.

The Farmers Union Business Association owns the farmers elevator and general store, implement business and a cream station at Oronoque.  The association was organized in July 1914 and now has 128 stockholders with a paid up capital of $7,000, and last year through the able management of C. E. Huff and its directors, the sales of the store alone reached a total of $45,000 with every indication of higher figures this year.  The officers are: Henry Nedrow, President; L. O. Mustoe, Vice-President; N. E. McMullen, Secretary; John Foley, Treasurer.  C. G. Minshall, J. M. Wheeler, H. Hager, M. A. Davis compose the board of directors.  In 18 months the association paid a dividend of 240 per cent on the capital stock.  This, we believe, one of the strongest, if not the strongest associations in the state, considering the length of time it has been organized.

Mr. Huff, the manager, is the pastor of the Christian church at Oronoque and edited the Oronoque Orient up until the fire when it was discontinued.  He was also post master, resigning after serving one year and a half.   With the able management the association now has it is sure to be a potent factor in the success of Oronoque and the surrounding country.

The Central Grain Elevator is managed by H. H. Gausman, who is an experienced grain man having had charge of an elevator at Kildreth [Hildreth], Nebraska, before coming here, and he is sure to make good with this old elevator.

The Oronoque Hotel and livery stable are conducted by R. S. Palmer, who has lived in the State of Kansas for 43 years.  Before coming to Oronoque, he was in the mercantile business at Superior, Nebraska.  He serves as good meals as are to be found at any hotel in the country.

L. E. Madden, manager of the Oronoque Lumber Co., is a wide awake business man.  He has only been there a short time but has fine business.  The yard is well stocked and when alterations are completed, Oronoque will have as fine a lumber yard as there is in the county.

M. A. Morrison was born in Virginia, November 11, 1842.  He settled at Leota in the fall of 1873.  He was County Treasurer in 1875, and ran the hotel at Leota.  His son, D. Morrison, still lives at Oronoque.

Dr. S. L. Green, who was engaged in the drug business at Leota, came to the county in 1874.  He was Master of the Masonic Lodge in Leota and was elected to the legislature in 1875.

Carl LaRue, big, friendly and genial, is the postmaster and proprietor of the general store at Oronoque,  makes you feel at home as soon as you enter the store.  Mr. LaRue was born in Illinois.  In 1901 he was united in marriage to Miss Fanny Adams, who was born in Iowa.  They have five children.  Mr. LaRue has been in Norton county for nine years starting in the hardware and implement business and afterward adding a line of groceries and drygoods.   He held the office of township treasurer for four years, is a Modern Woodman and one of the leading business men of the county.

James M. Campbell was born in 1848, at Odena, Mo., coming to Norton county where he homesteaded.  He was Captain of the State Militia in 1876.  Mr. Campbell is the father of four children and still resides in Dellvale.

Carl G. Eddy, general agent for the Bank Savings Life Insurance Co., of Topeka, maintains an office in Oronoque.  Mr. Eddy is one of the leading life insurance men of northwest Kansas, and produces a large volume of business in this section of the state.  He is in charge of a number of counties and divides his time between them, devoting about on week each month to his Oronoque office.

Isaac Keener was born June 3, 1840, in Indiana county, Pennsylvania.  He was a Civil War veteran.  In 1878 he moved to Leota township.  In 1883, he was elected sheriff of Norton county, and in 1885 and 1893 he was appointed postmaster at Oronoque where he and his son, Jacob were engaged in the mercantile business.  Mr. Keener died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Lew Redd, in this city, in 1914, and was buried at Norcatur.

The State Bank of Oronoque, incorporated in 1915, began business the 9th of October that year with a capital stock of $10,000 and a surplus of $1,000.  The officers of this bank have been identified with the banking business in Norton county since 1885.  Elmer E. Ames, the president, was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Norton and is the present head of that institution.  Chas. W. Campbell, vice-president, a western Kansas banker of long experience.  Chas. E. Strickland, cashier, was formerly connected with the bank at Jennings.  The bank conducts a general banking business, makes real estate loans and maintains a strong insurance agency.
extracted from "Norton County News, Historical Number, 1870-1916", published October 1916, Norton, Kansas.

The Oronoque Post Office was established 04 November 1885 with first postmaster, William T. Campbell.  It was discontinued on 15 October 1934.  Prior to the establishment of the Oronoque post office, there was another post office in the area called Dallas.  It was established 04 September 1879 and discontinued when the Oronoque post office opened.  The first postmaster at Dallas was Ira S. Hall.
extracted from "Kansas Post Offices" by Robert W. Baughman.

Joseph Butler came to Norton county in the spring of 1873.  In 1894, he was running a mercantile business at Oronoque.  His wife was Sarah M. Ellis; three children were Charley, Nannie and Mary Leota.

The GAR post at Oronoque was named for James Dickey Curry.  He was born 26 February 1836 in Union county, Ohio, the son of R. B. Curry.  He married Julia Florence Connely in Keokuk county, Iowa.  He enlisted in company D 13th Iowa Infantry in 1861.  He was mustered out 21 July 1865 at Davenport, Iowa.  He took part in the battles of Vicksburg, Corinth and Shiloh, started with Sherman on his "march to the sea", but was taken prisoner and sent to Andersonville prison. He came to Norton county in 1877, but died 31 March 1878 and was the first adult buried in the Norton cemetery.

Sons of Veterans also had an organization at Oronoque.

James M. Maggard was born in 1836, and raised in Missouri.  He came to Norton county in 1873, first filing on land where Norton now stands.  He proved up on the land, and sold it to Richard Williams.   In 1874 he took land near Oronoque.  He left the county in 1892, moving to Hennessy, Oklahoma.

Mr. J. H. Rogers came to Norton county in 1879 and organized the Advent Church at Oronoque with F. M. McMullen as elder.  They never put up a church building.  The Oronoque church had 40 members while Elder Rogers was here, but only has 18 at this time.
extracted from "The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas" by F. M. Lockard, 1894

The first doctor was Dr. Corns.

William Cole built some of Oronoque's first dwellings and ran a drug store for several years.

Blanche Eighmy was an early postmaster.  She also operated the Consolidated Telephone Exchange.

J. G. Porter arrived in 1874 and helped surveyors choose the railroad route between Oronoque and Oberli.  He and I. N. Cope established the first lumberyard in the 1880's.

Mrs. Alma Duncan was operator of the Farmers Telephone Exchange which was owned by Alice (Sproul) Foley's father.

Oronoque, Dellvale and Good Hope Reunion is held annually the third Sunday of September in Norton.
extracted from "Memories shared during Oronoque, Dellvale and Good Hope Reunion", Norton Daily Telegram, 05 November 1999, p. 1