History of Reading, Kansas
From: History of Emporia and Lyon County Kansas
By: Laura M. French
Emporia Gazette Print
Emporia, Kansas 1929


The land on which Reading, twenty miles northeast of Emporia, is situated, is a part of what was the Sac and Fox Indian Reservation, much of which was in Osage County. Records show that, on June 15, 1867, the United States Government deeded to John McManus, a government Indian agent, a tract or tracts of land of 132,310.95 acres, in consideration of his securing certain promises and a treaty from the Indians. Portions of this land were sold to Seyfert, McManus & Company, of Brooklyn, New York, a corporation. This land later was sold to the Reading (Pennsylvania) Iron Works, also a corporation, which was the owner in 1870, when the Santa Fe, pushing through Kansas, wished to establish a station at a convenient distance between Osage City and Emporia.

The Reading Town Company - the new town was named for the Pennsylvania city of that name - consisted of John McManus, president, representing the Iron Works, and Edwin Wilder, of Topeka, treasurer of the Santa Fe Railway Company, secretary. The Reading Iron Works sold to the Santa Fe a half section of land on which to establish its station, and all of section 3 to the Reading Town Company. McManus, who was a civil engineer, a graduate of an Irish university and an extremely able man, was the active member of the Town Company. He and James Fagan platted the town site tract. McManus also was agent for the Reading Iron Works. Incorporation papers for the town of Reading were filed for record March 19, 1872.

Records also show that name of Seyfert, McManus & Company, a corporation was, January 14, 1878, by legal process in Berks County, Pennsylvania, changed to the Reading Iron Works, also a corporation, and no doubt an amalgamation. All this probably leads to the belief by some persons that Reading was founded by the Reading Iron Works.

Reading was incorporated as a city of the third class September 1, 1890. The first mayor was Eli Patterson, and the present mayor is Samuel Evans. The population is 375. The town has a first class school system, substantial business and residence buildings, fine old trees, three churches - Baptist, Catholic and Methodist - and is considering a waterworks plant. Michael Fagan, a brother of James Fagan, came to the Reading locality in 1868, took a claim adjoining the town on the north, and was there to help survey the town site when the time came. His son, James Fagan, has a shoe repair shop in Reading.

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