Oberlin, KS 67749 Phone: 785-475-2217 Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm, closed for lunch 12:30pm - 1:30pm Website: Oberlin, KS Official Site
Garret McDougal, Mayor
Cynthia Hadley Mike Dempewolf Kristen McHugh Scott Gawith Deb Lohoefener
The first authentic knowledge we have of the early settlement of this county dates back from the late summer or early fall of 1872. A party of buffalo hunters from the vicinity of Cawker City came in the Sappa Valley on a hunting expedition. Of this party, Col. J.A. Hopkins, Del Coburn and Henry Playford decided to remain to hunt and trap during the winter. About the same time another party came in from Eastern Nebraska, also hunting buffalo. Of this party S.M. Porter and John Griffith decided to remain.
They were the first white men known to have established residences in the county. They were not however the first to prove up the land and receive title to it. This honor goes to David Sherrad who proved up on his land October 4, 1873. The second deed was granted to J.A. Rodehaver, who received title on April 29, 1873. He had the north one hundred acres surveyed and plotted in April, 1874. This plot was called Westfield, now Oberlin. In September 1873 several families arrived in Oberlin and again in the spring of 1874 a number of immigrants came into the southeast part of the county and settled along the Prairie Dog Creek.
The land office was located at Cawker City at this time, but was later moved to Kirwin and still later to Oberlin in 1881. The mail and supplies were obtained from Cawker City although a short time later buffalo hunters would bring mail from Buffalo Park, a station on the Union Pacific Railroad.
The Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution on April 9, 1880, known as the "Herd Law", prohibiting all meat cattle, horses, mules, asses, swine, and sheep from running at large. Decatur was passing the first stages of the frontier. Cattlemen were giving way to agriculturist.
The first action ever taken by the council Oberlin was to grant a right-of-way to the Burlington Railroad through the town in 1885, the town being incorporated and road built the same year. Oberlin people are proud of their city and their reputation as an up-and-coming town of the state of Kansas.
Excerpts taken/adapted from Decatur County-Kansas history book
Decatur County Kansas history books
Available for purchase in the County Clerk's Office. $30.00 each, payable by check or cash