Ocena was laid out in Atchison county in 1855, and for a time it gave promise of becoming an important place.
Ocena was located on the northeast bank of Stranger creek, on what is known as the McBride farm, in the south half
of the northeast quarter of section 22, township 6, range 19, about a mile north of the present site of Pardee.
The first postoffice in Center township, and one of the first in Atchison county, was established at Ocena with
William Crosby as postmaster in August, 1855. In 1856, T. C. McBride was appointed postmaster, and served until
the office was removed to Pardee in 1858, when S. G. Moore was appointed postmaster.
T. C. McBride was one of the early settlers of Center township, having arrived there in March, 1856, and settled
on the land on which the town of Ocena was built. He was one of the early merchants of the place, having a small
store, in which he kept the postoffice. The mail was carried from Atchison to Ocena by stage. McBride was a Tennesseean,
born in 1826. In the fall of 1857, in a grove on the McBride farm, the first church service in that section was
held. It was of the Methodist Episcopal denomination.
Ocena was the first important stopping place west of Atchison. The old Squatter Sovereign, of Atchison, in its
issue of December 5, 1857, contained the following advertisement of the town: "The truth plainly told will
show that Ocena is already a city. The surface of the earth was so moulded by the plastic hand of the Creator that
a few points in the wide expanse of Nature were destined to eclipse all others. Ocena is one of those points. Located
as it is, on the northeast bank of Stranger creek, in the county of Atchison, where roads leading from Doniphan
and St. Joe to Lecompton are intersected by roads leading from Atchison. to Grasshopper Falls and Osawkee; and
also being upon the great thoroughfare running up and down the valley of the Stranger, it offers more inducements
for a large and prosperous inland town than any other place in Kansas Territory. All persons anxious to thrive
and desirous of obtaining a home on reasonable terms will do well to settle in Ocean. For further particulars in
reference to the town apply to Isaac S. Haseall, president, or M. C. Finney, secretary."
Freedom's Champion, in its issue of July 3, 1858, says of the town: "Ocena, besides having the most musical
name, is one of the most beautiful places in Kansas. A postoffice has been established there and several new buildings
are being erected. It is destined to be a thriving little place."
Ocena was killed by Pardee, a town which was started a short distance to the south of it, but neither amounted
to much from a municipal and business standpoint. Pardee is now only a country village. It was first platted as
a town by James Brewer, in the string of 1857, and was named in honor of Pardee Butler, of border warfare fame.
In the winter of 1856 Mr. Butler preached his first sermon in Pardee, the services being held in the school house,
which had been completed during the previous fall, and opened by James Brewer in December. Caleb May, the first
settler in Center township, was the first president of the Pardee Town Company. Pardee Butler was afterwards president;
Milo Carleton, secretary; Wm. J. May, treasurer; S. G. Moore, A Elliott and W. Wakefield, trustees. Mr. Moore opened
the first store in Pardee in 1858, and became the first postmaster as aforestated. Mr. Carleton put a wind gristmill
in operation at Pardee at an early day, but it was destroyed by a storm.