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Small Town Kansas: Chelsea
Chelsea Township, Near El Dorado, Kansas
I grew up in El Dorado, Kansas and remember hearing about Chelsea. It was a small town in the same county (Butler County).
I recently met online, Monte Manka, an 83 year old poet, who writes about his childhood memories of Chelsea. His poems made me curious about Chelsea, so I started to research it. With only a sparse population of 190, it's virtually a ghost town. Actually, the town itself is under the expanded El Dorado Lake, with some residents still living in the boundaries of the township. Here's what I was able to find out about Chelsea, Kansas.
Enjoy this trip down memory lane and the vintage photos provided by Monte.
Locating Chelsea on the Map
The Prairie around Chelsea
This Book Includes Chelsea
Daniel Fitzgerald is a Kansas historian and columnist best known as the author of a six volume set on Kansas ghost towns. The first volume was released in 1976 and the last volume was just released in 2009. He is also the author of Sound and Fury: A History of Kansas Tornadoes, 1854-2008. His works have been nominated for six news emmy awards, of which four were won. The rock band Kansas also wrote a concept album, In The Spirit of Things, based on one of the ghost towns in his series.
This is the second volume in the Ghost Towns of Kansas series. Originally published in 1979, this 30th anniversary reissue documents the histories of a hundred exciting Kansas ghost towns that grew, prospered, and died. This volume received numerous awards and accolades after it was released, including six related news emmy nominations and a rock album. The 30th anniversary reissue has been lovingly edited and it includes a brand new introduction by the author. The book has been out of print for over twenty years.
Poems about Chelsea - by Monte Manka
Read some of the poetry of Monte Manka, a World War II veteran and former oil man, who describes his early years as a farm boy growing up in Kansas during the dust-bowl era.
A Blacksmith at Work
The Chelsea, Kansas Blacksmith
Up 13 highway
To the east of our Chelsea farm
Lived a blacksmith by the name of Orlando Buchanan
With a shop that was extremely warm.
When Dad and I arrived at the shop
You could hear the clanging of the hammer
Hitting against the Anvil
While he was molding Plowshares for some farmer.
I marveled at this large man
When I was just a kid
His arms were big and muscled
To do the work he did.
(to read the whole poem, click on the title of the poem below)
- The Chelsea Kansas Blacksmith - Our Echo
Poem: The Chelsea Kansas Blacksmith - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1930.
- Monte Leon Manka - OurEcho
- Writers at Seventy, Eighty and Ninety | hubpages
I've met some remarkable writers who are 70, 80, even 90 years old. It's great to see these older adults still actively writing. Meet these writers in this tribute.
- The Old-Fashioned Pie Supper | hubpages
In his 80s, Monte Manka writes poems and essays about his 1930s childhood in Kansas. Featured here is his memories of the old-fashioned pie supper. You'll find it a delight.
- The Early History of Chelsea
from chapter 8 of History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney, published in 1916
- CHELSEA PHOTOS -Submitted by Tim Peal Hummell
Thiis is a picture of the church in Chelsea with Tim's Great Grandmother Estella " Carter" Peal taken in 1959. Estella and William R. Peal were married in the church in 1897. The church was built in 1888. Chelsea School house (click on Chelsea photos
History of Butler County, Kansas
Butler County, Kansas has a fascinating pioneer history with ranching and oil industry developing along with a number of towns (Augusta, El Dorado, etc.). This book brings you that early history. 900 pages, so this is very thorough.
Chelsea Kansas Phone Directory - from 1916
Photo courtesy of Monte Manka, who grew up in Chelsea.
Photos of Chelsea
Loaned by Monte Leon Manka
Monte Manka and his brother in the wheat field, south of their home - 1934
Manka Family Farm - Click on a photo to see it larger.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Church group on the front steps of the Chelsea Church 1920s
Chelsea Photos - Groups - Click on a photo to see it largerClick thumbnail to view full-size
Monte Manka's Chelsea School Memories
- Chelsea School Memories
An 80 year old shares his memories of 1930s and 1940s school days in Chelsea, Kansas. The town of Chelsea is long gone from the map, but his memories keep that time alive for us.
More Chelsea Photos - Photos courtesy of Monte MankaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Info about the Mays, Carter, Davidson, Colgrove and Welty Families of Chelsea
Early Settlers to the Town
Tim5184 - "My great aunt Elma "Carter" Mays was a long time residents of Chelsea and El Dorado. Elma was a retired school teacher and taught in the Chelsea school house. Her son from an earlier marriage " Woodson Davidson" is buried in the Chelsea cemetery. Woodson was about 10 yrs old when killed by a baseball that hit him in the throat May 17, 1928. The baseball game was between El Dorado and Chelsea. There isn't any record that Chelsea had a baseball team. Woodson was taken to St Lukes hospital, 226 West Central, in El Dorado where he died. The old St Luke's hospital building still stands. It is on the NE corner of West Central & Star street. If you look at the rear of the building you can see the elevator shaft.
Also a note Alonzo Carter had a foster daughter Mrs. Darrell Welty of Matfield Green,Ks. Welty has photo's posted by Monka. A friend of my G-G- Grand parents Joshua & Christina Carter talked a good friend into moving to Chelsea from Indiana, Miss Robie A Colgrove, a certified 18 yr old teacher. Miss Colgrove was one of the first school teacher in Chelsea. Joshua was the Chelsea school director from 1901-1904."
My great great grand parents Joshua, Christina Carter settled in Chelsea in the late 1870's. Many are buried in the Chelsea cemetery. The first school house was on the SW corner of Joshua "& Christina's farm property. The picture of Mary Early is the daughter of Cleao and Leslie Early, Cleao one of my great grandmother Eystela "Peal" Carter sisters. Cleao and Leslie Early are buried in the Fairview cemetery in Fairview Oklahoma.
This is the first time I've seen a picture of "Mary Early". In 1910 census Mary was 10 yrs old living in Fairview, Okl. Joshua & Christina came to Chelsea by way of train from Illinios to the train depot at Leon, Kansas with 3 box cars of livestock and belongings. They wagoned their belongings from Leon to Chelsea. Sons Alonzo and Sylvester both farmed and died in Chelsea as well as Joshua & Christina.
Monte Manka, would like to see other pictures of Chelsea if possible.
List of People Buried at Chelsea Cemetery
I know a lot of people that are buried there, Aunts, Uncles, Mom and little Brother. Monte Manka
© 2010 Virginia Allain