City History

As the beginning of this brief history is being read, picture in your mind this present townsite and the surrounding area as being just an open prairie, with very few, if any, trees, and dotted here and there with the claim shanties and cabins of the early pioneers, who relished the hardships of building a home for their families in a new land.

Imagine the loneliness, the hot burning summers and the cold polar winters, with the nearest trading points being Chetopa, Oswego and Coffeyville, all being just small frontier trading posts, and the only means of transportation being by wagon, horseback or very often on foot. It was here that the frontier element was to be conquered and a city was to be built.

On June 20, 1876, a Mr. Booth and Alexander Pattison opened a general store in a small cramped claim shanty 11 x 14 feet, belonging to Jeptha Lackey, on the N.E. 1/4 of Section 30, in Elm Grove Township. This was the first start of the town of Edna. The territory now comprising Labette County was formerly a part of the territory known as the Osage ceded lands. A portion of this ceded territory was laid off and called Dorn County, in honor of A. J. Dorn, who acted as Indian Agent for the Osages and other tribes from 1857 to 1867. The treaty by which the U. S. Government sought to obtain these lands from the Osage tribe had been pending for some time and was further delayed by the Civil War and the alliance of some of the tribes with the Confederate cause. It was the finally consummated between the Indian Agent and the Chief White Hair’s tribe at White Hair’s Town near the present town of Erie on September 25, 1865, then forwarded to Washington and ratified and signed by President Johnson.

The patriotic legislature of 1865 did not favor the name Dorn, by reason of political affiliations, and changed the name to Neosho. After the territory came into the possession of the Government, it was immediately opened for settlement and soon was over run with settlers who immediately began to agitate for a division of the north and south portions of the county. And in February 1867 an act was passed by the legislature creating Labette County and defining its boundaries.

The Town Name

Various people, from time to time, have claimed to be the woman the town was named after and considerable confusion has developed. The Edna Centennial Committee gives credit to Mrs. Edna Wimmer, wife of Owen Wimmer, who was one of the earliest known settlers on the present town site. Mrs. Wimmer would be as logical a candidate for the naming of the town as any other “Edna.” The committee contacted the Wimmer family of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who concurred with the historical investigation of the committee as to the merits of the claim for the name of “Edna.”


On the application of its citizens an order was made by the Board of County Commissioners on July 3rd, 1892 for the town to be the City of Edna. On July 20th, 1892, the first election was held for Mayor, Police Judge and councilmen. The first meeting of the mayor and council was held July 25th, 1892, at which they appointed and confirmed the first city clerk. August 9th, 1892 the first four ordinances were passed. The first levied an occupation tax on all the various kinds of business conducted, the second provided for the maintenance of the peace, the third prohibited stock from running at large and the fourth provided for the licensing of dogs.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 423 people, 191 households, and 123 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,065.6 people per square mile (408.3/km²). There were 214 housing units at an average density of 539.1/sq mi (206.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.07% White, 0.24% African American, 5.20% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.47% from other races, and 3.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population. There were 191 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 25.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.79.In the city the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 4.0% from 18 to 24, 23.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 22.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 79.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.3 males. The median income for a household in the city was $27,250, and the median income for a was $34,205. Males had a median income of $28,438 versus $21,563 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,694. About 1.7% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 18.1% of those age 65 or over. (Wikipedia)