The Naming of Winfield.


Around the First of December, 1870 The Walnut Valley times repeated a Winfield Censor article -"A BAPTIST CHURCH. The Rev. Winfield Scott was here a few days of this and last week and preached several interesting sermons. He woke our people up to the importance of building a church at once. A building committee has been selected, the site chosen, the work commenced. The structure is to be of stone, 24 x 40 on the ground, 16 and 1/2 feet walls. Over $500 of the money necessary for the building has been pledged, and the stone is already being delivered on the ground.

The Winfield Town Company was organized January 13, 1870, With the power to lay out a town site upon the open prairie, east of the Walnut river and south of Dutch (Timber) creek, in Cowley County, Kansas. The Question of a name for the new town puzzled its fathers for several days. A minority wanted it called 'Lagonda', but the majority decided to honor Winfield Scott's christened name. He was at that time the minister in charge of the Baptist church, in Leavenworth.


The Traveler of February 10, 1886 reported a letter from the Osage agency. In it is given the Indian name for Winfield.

The legend as told me is as follows: Long before the white men came to the country, the Indians traveled to and from their reservations to the buffalo country west, and one of their trails led across the present town site of Winfield. Near the ford on the Walnut was a great camping ground of the tribe. A large hole filled with water near the ford, supplied drink for their ponies, and they were in the habit of driving the animals in to the water for a swim. They say on one occasion, while quite a number of ponies were in swimming water, a large animal came to the surface and took one of them down under the surface, and they never saw it again. They were ever after afraid to water there.

Thus the name of the town, Wah-grooskah-ope-sha, wild animal ford.