O, PIONEER!

In 1870, there were just two non-native migrants residing in Stafford County.

In May, 1874, W.R. Hoole resided in a dugout in the extreme northwestern part of Stafford County. Also in May, 1874, a caravan of 20 covered wagons led by George C. Ardrey arrived in the western part of Reno County. Four families crossed the line into Stafford County and took up homesteads. This settlement in eastern Stafford County became known as the Ardrey Settlement.

In August, 1874, James Neelands arrived from Canada and started a settlement in Albano Township.

Others who settled in Stafford County in 1874 were James O'Connor, R.M. Blair, Edwin Hadlock, W.Z. Nutting, Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Green as well as the Missouri Settlement in the eastern part of the county including Jim Graves, Sam Clifton and John Groves.

In 1875, 25 ox-drawn wagons brought settlers from West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  They were under the leadership of William Bickerton of the Church of Jesus Christ. Their settlement was known as Zion Valleyand became the town of St. John.

Other 1875 settlers were E.C. Johnson, William and A.C. Glasscock and M.P. Chambers.

In 1876, four homesteads taken by E.B. Crawford, Jess Moreland, Jess Vickers and S.R. Estle became the town of Stafford in 1885. The four corners of their homesteads met at what is now Main and Broadway.

Other settlers who arrived in 1876 were John Shotton, S.E. Peacock, J.J. Cox, J.T. Askew, George W. Bousman, Harry Bunting, Edwin R. Durham, Charles A. Brown, Joseph Waddle, George Breckenridge, Milo A. Yoder, J.G. Smiley and S.W. McComb.

In 1877, D.N. Young lived near what would become the town of Macksville. A group of Danish settlers settled in York Township, in the extreme southeast corner of the county.

Also in 1877, Jacob Hahn homesteaded in what would become Seward in the northeast part of the county.

Other 1877 settlers were James W. Harris, H.S. Crawford, J.T. McMillan, Ezra P. Metz, W.M. McMillan, Charles N. Waters, J.L. Spickard, Jay W. McFadden and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Hohner and sons Will, Fred and George (who settled in Cleveland Township). There was also a Mr. Hitz who settled near what would become Hudson.

Between 1878 and 1880, about 20,000 African-Americans, mostly ex-slaves, migrated to Kansas. These migrants became known as "Exodusters" because their migration resembled the Israelites' exodus from Egypt in the Hebrew bible. A colony of these Exodusters settled in Ohio Township in 1878.