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Founding Members of Offerle – Evergreen Cemetery, Offerle, Ford County, Kansas


In the late 1870’s Edward P. Ott, Lawrence, and Joseph Offerle purchased Section 7 from the Santa Fe Railroad. Each of the three men deeded 40 acres of each quarter section to the Offerle Town Company. The townsite was platted on December 4, 1877.


Lawrence Offerle was born in France in 1832. He came to America at the age of 15 and settled in Warren County, Pennsylvania. It was there he married Mary Ursula Ott in 1854. Seven children were born to the couple. One year later, the family was living was north of Chicago, Illinois where Lawrence operated a general store.


Edward P. Ott was born in Illinois in 1844. He enlisted in Co. F 3rd IL Cavalry and was honorably discharged at the end of the war. Edward married Sara Sommers in 1869. They were the parents of three children.


Edward’s brother, Simon Ott, worked for the railroad and encouraged his brother, and friends, Lawrence and John Offerle, to head west and start building what would become the town of Offerle. All three men came out to Ford/Edwards Counties in 1876.


Edward built a lumber yard, coal, hardware, and machinery businesses on the south side of the railroad tracks. He was also a real estate agent. Lawrence arranged for lumber to be brought in and left his four sons in Offerle to establish a general store and hotel. Lawrence brought out the rest of his family in 1882. The general store had merchandise for everyone, cowboys, farmers, early settlers, and dry goods and clothing for the women. Through the years, Offerle became a stopping place for settlers going to surrounding counties.


Edward built a lumber yard, coal, hardware, and machinery businesses on the south side of the railroad tracks. He was also a real estate agent. Lawrence arranged for lumber to be brought in and left his four sons in Offerle to establish a general store and hotel. Lawrence brought out the rest of his family in 1882. The general store had merchandise for everyone, cowboys, farmers, early settlers, and dry goods and clothing for the women. Through the years, Offerle became a stopping place for settlers going to surrounding counties.


Note: John Offerle did not stay in Kansas. He returned to Illinois where he died in 1921. Simon Ott stayed in Edwards County for a time but eventually moved to Topeka where he died in 1923.


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