Spring Hill, Kansas

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Spring Hill is a city in Johnson and Miami counties in the U.S. state of Kansas. The population was 2,727 at the 2000 census, however the census bureau's 2009 estimations place the population at 5281.

Contents

History

In 1856, James B. Hovey named the community after a town near Mobile, Alabama.[3] “Being somewhat enthusiastic in my estimation of its future, it having all advantages of timber and water, and on a line that must be traveled between Olathe and Paola, I concluded to myself, as there was no one else to conclude with, that this was a good place for a town.” – J.B. Hovey, 1857 [4] The town was incorporated in 1857, and Hovey then served as the town’s first postmaster. Also that year, Hovey built the first building in town, the Spring Hill Hotel. The two-story structure, also known as the “Old Traveler’s Rest” was located on the highest elevation in town.[3] In January of 1859 Celia Ann Dayton, a doctor in Vermont , became the first woman doctor in the state of Kansas by moving to Spring Hill.[5] She arrived with her adopted son Hiram Eugene, also a doctor, and her husband Amos arrived a few months later. Hiram was killed in January of 1862 during the American Civil War after being discovered as a spy for the Union. Also in 1862, Celia divorced her husband, which was very uncommon for the time period. Celia frequently aided black refugees, and is reported to have been part of the underground railroad.[4] In the fall of 1862, Spring Hill avoided Quantrill's Raiders entering the town when a farmer talked to them on their way. He calmly convinced them there were soldiers in town, when there were not. This deterred them from continuing. However, a year later in 1863, the Quantrill Raiders did march on Spring Hill, looting businesses in town and stealing from local farmers. At least one citizen was killed.[4] By the 1870’s, Spring Hill was growing in population and commerce.[3] However, a railroad to come right through the town wanted to bypass Spring Hill unless it paid $15,000 to grade the land there. The residents didn’t want to share the costs, and the tracks were moved to approximately a half-mile east of the original town square.[6] The town’s businesses then quickly moved to be closer to the train depot and tracks.[3] In 1874, the country’s economic depression hit Spring Hill. Also that year, swarms of grasshoppers devoured plant life, then moved on to items such as clothes, blankets and shoes. Even leather harnesses, pitch fork handles, and fence posts were not immune to them. As a result, water sources were polluted, and gardens and crops were devastated. Livestock were nearly inedible.[4]

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