Kiowa County was developed due to two distinct historical occurrences that promoted Westward Expansion in the United States. The first was the development of the railroad, in Kiowa County’s case, the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and the second was the federal Homestead Act that brought thousands of landseekers to this neck of the woods hoping to establish a new life as a landowner.
A real indication of the establishment of a town was whether it had a post office.
This month, on November 18th, the Eads Post Office will celebrate it’s 135th anniversary of continuous operation. The following detailed history on how it was developed and who the key players were in its development was provided in a newspaper article written by Doris Forsyth on November 20, 1987.
November 20, 1987
Between the yearsof 1887 and 1890, the prairies of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas were bustling with the activities of settlers and homesteaders, and these people were establishing new towns very rapidly.
Until April of 1889, our area was in Bent county, and records from the postal archives are very complete and very informative regarding small towns that sprang up and immediately petitioned for post offices.
On November 18, 1887, the post office in Eads was established. Prior to this, on August 10, 1887, Mr. Benjamin M. Pulliam, postmaster at Dayton, filed application to the Post Office Department to change the site of the Dayton post office to a new one to be called Eads.
History tells us that people had a very difficult time trying to guess just where the railroad was to be built so that they could be sure the new town would be located on the railroad line. Postal records indicate that the location of the new office at Eads was 3 miles northwest of the existing one at Dayton.
Mr. John Pritchard was postmaster at Eads when the new office opened on November 18, 1887. Legal land description of the new office was listed as being the NW ¼ of 22-18-48, in Bent County, now Kiowa County. The post office at Dayton ceased operation on December 8, 1887.
The following is a list of persons who have been postmaster at Eads during its 135 years of operation and the dates of their taking over the position: John Pritchard, Nov. 18, 1887; John M. Patterson, Oct. 9, 1888; Samuel Slade, May 14, 1889; Thomas J. Fain, Oct. 12, 1894; Lizzie A. Goff, Oct. 9 1895, Lida A. Kerr, Sept. 10, 1898; Mattie A. Kerr, Feb. 2, 1899; Henry V. Fluke, Jan. 2, 1914; Jack I. Norris, Sept. 8, 1919; William V. Kerr, May 4, 1924; James R. Proctor, May 15, 1933; Ithal Jenkins, June 30, 1934; Mrs. Ithal Jenkins, Aug. 5, 1942; Julius M. Lancaster, Nov. 30, 1947; William D. Durrett, Sept. 18, 1953; Merle M. Hockett, March 29, 1975; Michelle McHenry, April 28, 1984; Cathileen Beek, Dec. 5, 1986; Jerry L. Jones, April 6, 1991; Luther L. Vocke, Feb. 21, 2004; Susie K. Paintin, June 22, 2019.
The Missouri Pacific Railroad was built in record time between the Kansas state line and Pueblo, with construction beginning in the summer of 1887 and the first locomotive steamed into Pueblo, pulling the construction train, on December 1, 1887. Towns and communities were spring up everywhere along the railroad, including all those that exist in Kiowa County today, along with many others that have disappeared long ago. Eads was one of the many, and when it was finally determined that the railroad would be in its present location, the site became permanent.
Location, and dates of existence since 1887, for towns in Kiowa County that have had post offices include the following: