Early History

Kansas Ghost Town, Keene

Keene, Kansas is located on Kansas Highway 4 about five and a half miles west of Dover, Kansas. Some of the earliest settlers of Wabaunsee County settled a mile east of Keene in 1856 at a small settlement referred to as Fremont, Kansas. One of the earliest businesses in the area was a cheese plant, first owned by Ambrose and Orra Wade and later by Thomas Rutledge. In 1872 the town was moved further west, a mile from its original location and officially named Keene.

Categories: Early History, Museum Blog

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  1. Also My Grandfather Bill Bullington used to deliver meat to the Keened store when he worked for OHSE Meat Company in Topeka. AI always thought that it was kinda funny when my Great Grandmother Florence Knight told me that she knew My Grandfather Bill Bullington long before he was even my grandfather!!!

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  2. My Great Great Grandfather, Boman (wife Agnes Henderson-Younker) Younker, settled with his family a mile south and about 1 1/2 miles west of Keene in 1869. One of his daughters was my Great Grandmother Euphemia Lemon Younker Smith (wife of Herb Smith). They bought 80 acres (and added to it over their lifetimes) adjoining Boman/Agnes’s farm to the west about 1901. They all did business at the Keene general store. Boman and Agnes are buried in the Keene Cemetery, very near to the church fence and near Hwy 4. Keene was important to those rural families, as there were only dirt tracks for roads/travel. By the way, Fred A. Seaman had a 160 acre farm catty-cornered from the one room school (SW corner – a pile of lumber lays on the ground there) on what is now Wildcat Hollow Road and Coyote Road – one mile south and one mile west of Keene. Fred founded Seaman High School in Topeka, and prior to that taught at Keene School, Alma Schools and Eskridge Schools. He was also Wabaunsee Co. Attorney for 2 years in 1901-02. Boman was a County Commissioner for 2 years in the 1880’s. Boman also fought at Gettysburg in the Civil War with the Indiana Mounted Cavalry.

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  3. I attended the Keene school from 1939 to 1944. Before that time it was a two-room school. My parents bought all the groceries from the Keene store which Lon and Arlene Wright owned. On Saturday nights the neighbors would gather at the store to visit and us kids would have a blast playing outside. I either walked or rode a horse from where we lived 1 1/2 miles north of the school on the old Sawyer homestead. Once in awhile a brother and sister would pick me up in a horse and buggy. There was a switchboard just south of the store where I would go sometimes after school. I loved to watch them answer the calls by plugging into the board. Eventually there were no more students to attend the school so it was torn down which I hated to see. It was a beautiful old school. Interesting that the horse barn still stands. There is also a sign designating Keene as a historical site….can’t remember the exact words.

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