Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hopewell, Kansas, a Pratt County Ghost Town

Hopewell started in 1904 as a post office. The post office closed in 1908. The post office again opened by 1916, with the town taking the name of Fravel. The Fravel post office changed to Hopewell in 1921. The town soon began to grow, springing up with the railroad. Ninety-one-year-old Geraldine McAhren, of Byers, who grew up in Hopewell and is Giles' aunt, said the Farmer's State Bank of Hopewell opened for business about the same time as the name change.

The town also had a general store, a hotel, elevators, a blacksmith, a hardware store and lumberyard. The bank housed the post office until it closed in the mid-1920s, she said. Fun included going to school and church, McAhren said. A local couple, Roy and Mina Hodson, befriended her. She would sit on their laps at church and, when she was older, was in a quartet with Roy.

Other activities included rabbit hunts, wrote Kansas ghost town author Daniel Fitzgerald. For instance, Hopewell's two lodges had a wager for an oyster dinner to see who could get the most rabbits. The winning team corralled more than 700 rabbits and herded them to a buyer at Byers. The buyer paid 75 cents each for jackrabbits and 35 cents apiece for cottontails. Yet, while there were signs of prospering in the beginning, little Hopewell never took off.

Hopewell Cemetery
Sheep populate Hopewell these days.

A structure in the trees

Old church at Hopewell.


  1. I need more history on the smith family at hopewell. There is paranormal activity galore out there and I need some answers.

  2. Does anyone have any information on the Johnson family. I would say they lived there between 1915-1930.

  3. My husband was born in Hopewell, Kansas in 1934 - his Father was George Lee Ackley and his Mom was Perl VanArsdall Ackley. We went to Hopewell in the early '90's - and all we saw was the remnants of a warehouse(?), service station and another building. It was interesting to see the land where his family's home use to be even though there was nothing there. I gathered some sand of different colors, put it in two separate containers and when we go back to Georgia I put it in pint jars for our son and daughter - they still have and treasure them.

    1. My grandfather (William (Billy) Kearns) purchased some land from someone named Ackley in the late 40's or early 50's. We farmed our grandfathers land about a mile east of Hopewell from about 1947 to 1953. When Billy Kearns died the land was willed to his daughter, Geraldine (Kearns) Shepard my mother. That land was then handed down to myself and my brother, (Gary Shepard) and is maintained by our cousin Rodger Grizzell now by his daughter April & Chad Cleveland or Macksville. I had went to school at Trousdale and Byers. Dad (Archie Shepard) taught school at Trousdale, coach and woodshop teacher. Dad started selling synthetic oils and grease to local farmers. Took customers away from local oil dealers so Standard Oil offered dad a gas station in Coldwater. He contined to sell the oil and grease while running the Standard Station in Coldwater. So Texaco offer a station in Greensburg but he had to quit selling the synthetic oils and grease to accept the station. We moved to Greensburg in 1954 where I graduated from high school from. Dad taught school in Greensburg starting in 1959 and later opened an art gallery. After about 20 years of teaching he retired and ran his art gallery and took his art to shows in western Kansas and neighboring states. I picked up some of my dads talent for art in about 1985 and started doing some painting myself, and followed in dads footprints, selling at art shows in Colorado, and Kansas.

      William (Bill) Shepard

  4. Three sides of my family lived in the Hopewell area in about 1900. The McCammonds, the Carliles, and the Gowens families. In 1905 Hattie Carlile was killed when she was run over by a wagon on the way to school and is buried at the Hopewell cemetery. My Great Grand dad Jacob McCammond was murdered just south of there in 1899 and is buried in the Hopewell cemetery, Also my Granddad Sidney McCammond who died with the Spanish Flu in 1919 is buried at the Hopewell cemetery. Along with his two sons Howard and my name sake Loyal. If you have any info concerning these families please pass it on to me. or 530-228-5777