|Dorothy Milliron-Tousley||Council Member||4/15/2004||4/16/2009|
|Mara Lynne Schmitz||Council Member||4/15/2004||2/20/2014|
|Deuane Wells||Council Member||4/15/2004||7/1/2019|
|Chad Eckstein||Council Member||4/15/2004||4/21/2005|
|Todd Masterson||Council Member||4/15/2004||12/18/2004|
|Curtis Littrel||City Council||1/6/2005||4/21/2005|
|David H. Brakebill||Council Member||4/21/2005||4/21/2011|
|Steve Livingston||Council Member||4/21/2005||4/19/2007|
|Sheri Ramirez||Council Member||4/19/2007||Present|
|Keith Stultz||Council Member||4/16/2009||12/16/2021|
|Ron Gee||Council Member||4/21/2011||12/19/2019|
|Jeff Musson||Council Member||3/20/2014||Present|
|Jerry Gilmore||Council Member||7/18/2019||3/01/2020|
|Zack Stoy||Council Member||12/19/2019||Present|
|Candace Hendricks||Council Member||04/16/2020||12/16/2021|
|Michelle O’Daniel||Council Member||12/16/2021||Present|
|Ron Smith||Council Member||12/16/2021||Present|
|David Maslen||City Attorney||4/15/2004||4/21/2005|
|Susan Rozelle||City Clerk||5/6/2004||3/15/2005|
|Jessica Carver||City Clerk||3/17/2005||10/20/2005|
|Jason Brewer||City Attorney||4/21/2005||Present|
|Janet Kennedy||City Clerk||10/20/2005||12/20/2006|
|Deb Appel||City Clerk||12/21/2006||Present|
Each year the city selects a young lady to represent Parkerfield at the Arkalalah annual events and parade. Below is a list of our “Arkalalah Queens”.
The Origin of Parkerfield
The Parkers Arrive
One of the first settlers in the area that became Parkerfield was Elisha Bates Parker. This blacksmith and farmer from Ohio had settled in Wisconsin before the Civil War. His wife and his oldest son had pneumonia for three winters in Wisconsin. The doctor told them that if they wanted to survive another winter, they had better move south. The Parkers moved to Kansas in 1867, first settling in Chase County. Elisha Parker claimed some land along Diamond Springs Creek, next to the Santa Fe Trail. Seeing how high the creek could rise, he started looking for a better location. According to his granddaughter, Mary Crumley, he went looking for a place farther south in 1868. He picked out a location in the area east of what would become Arkansas City. The family moved down either in the spring of 1869, in the Crumley account, or joined Elisha on the new place in 1871, in another version of the story. In either case, he was on the scene before June, 1870, when it became legal to file a claim on the former Osage land.
160 Acre Claim
Elisha Parker’s 160 acre claim was on the north side of the road now called Birch Avenue. After he picked that location, he learned that his oldest son, Charles Parker, had arrived before him and taken the 160 acres across the road to the south. According to the Homestead Act of 1862, a settler could claim 160 acres, make certain improvements, pay $18 in fees, and receive a deed to the property after living on it for five years. Apparently there was some fudging on the time requirement, as the United States deeded 160 acres to Elisha B. Parker and 160 acres to Charles L. Parker, both on September 1, 1873.
The following spring, on April 30, 1874, Elisha Parker sold the east half of his claim, 80 acres, to John P. Leach for $400. Four days later, on May 4, John Leach sold one acre to School District #32 for $10, twice what he had just paid for it. Although Leach sold the land for the school, Elisha Parker had settled the place, so the school was called Parker School. Before the school was built, one of Elisha Parker’s daughters taught school in their home. From 1874 until consolidation put an end to the one-room school almost eighty years later, at least three different school houses stood on that acre.
On July 23, 1874, Charles and Rosetta Parker sold twenty acres across the road from the school to Elisha Parker. This included two acres on the corner, where the cemetery was located. Elisha Parker deeded two acres to the Prairie View Cemetery Association on April 25, 1876, but burials apparently began in 1872. According to legend, the cemetery’s first customer was a dead cow. Though the official name of the cemetery was Prairie View, everybody called it Parker Cemetery because it was across the road from Parker School, and so it is called today. People on the scene today sometimes don’t realize how much this part of the country has changed. When the first settlers arrived, the only trees were along the streams. So when cedar trees were wanted for the new cemetery, the answer was a trip of more than seventy miles down into Indian Territory to bring back seedlings from along the Cimarron River.
Incorporation of City of Parkerfield
Deb Appel, Parkerfield City Clerk
Prior to the incorporation in 2004, Parkerfield was a cluster of rural homes and agricultural land within Creswell Township, east of Arkansas City and south of U.S. Highway 166.
A few township residents noticed an Arkansas City Commission meeting agenda in the Arkansas City Traveler newspaper outlining a plan to annex four areas on the outskirts of Ark City, which involved a large portion of present day Parkerfield. The meeting was to be held November 18, 2003. Troubling the township residents was property north of Chestnut Avenue and East of Country Club Road included in the annexation plan.
Taken by surprise, word spread among the township residents and a plan was formed to attend the commission meeting to oppose the annexation of the parcels. Despite concerns voiced by the residents affected by the proposed annexation, Arkansas City commission voted at the November 18, 2003 meeting to hold a public hearing on January 20, 2004 to proceed with the intent to annex.
Worries of zoning regulations that could be imposed on the rural area spurred the group of concerned citizens to seek legal opinion and guidance. Residents dug deep into their pockets contributing $100, and in some cases more, to hire attorneys versed in annexation proceedings. Orval Mason and David Maslen represented the concerned citizens. With few options and little time to resolve the looming annexation, it was decided that the best route was to proceed with incorporating as a city. Upon the revelation that the name Parkerville was already a city in Kansas, the name Parkerfield was settled on to pay tribute to the Parker family that settled the area in 1868.
On the same night as the January 20th Arkansas City public hearing, Glenn and Sandra Davis and legal counsel Maslen filed a petition on behalf of the residents with the Cowley County Commission requesting a public hearing for the consideration of incorporating Parkerfield. Though only required to have 50 valid signatures from eligible voters, the group presented a petition signed by 181 Creswell Township residents. Of those approached to sign; only two objected and four were undecided. The county commission set a public hearing date for February 24, 2004.
Almost simultaneously Mason filed a petition with Cowley County Judge James Pringle and was granted a restraining order blocking the Arkansas City commission from voting on the annexation of the property which would make up one-third of the proposed Parkerfield city limits. Arkansas City commission did vote that night, January 20th, to annex the other three areas. Since Kansas state statute required a minimum population of 300 to incorporate, the land considered by Ark City for annexation was necessary to organize Parkerfield, therefore this was a pivotal moment for the township residents.
The two hour Cowley County Commission public hearing held by was conducted February 24th at the Cowley County Courthouse with about 150 people in attendance; both for and against the incorporation of the new town. Concerns voiced by residents included not only the anticipated increase in property taxes if annexed by Ark City, but also the fear of the unknown such as the effect of city zoning regulations on agricultural use of property, rural lifestyles, owning livestock and land use.
Faced with a difficult decision, Cowley County Commission reconvened on Tuesday night, March 9, 2004 and voted unanimously to allow the incorporation of Parkerfield. Commissioners were Randy Storey, Margie Berrie and Chair Dick Bonfy. Parkerfield became the 628th incorporated city in Kansas; the latest since 1998.
The next step for the city was to select their governing body. The first election for Parkerfield was held in Todd Masterson’s garage on April 13, 2004 with top vote-getters sworn in April 15. Mayor Michael Bergagnini ran uncontested and continues to be the first and only mayor of Parkerfield. Council members elected were Todd Masterson, Dorothy Milliron, Chad Eckstein, Deuane Wells (still serving) and Mara Lynne Schmitz. Also on the ballot were Danny Mitchell, Suzan Robinson and John McDonald. Sixty percent of the 270 registered voters cast their ballots. Soon after the city’s appointed positions were filled; City Clerk Susan Rozelle, Treasurer Teresa Stalnaker and Attorney David Maslen.
Meetings were held in the Creswell Township Building and planning meetings were often conducted in Ark City at the offices of Dorothy Milliron, Century 21 Realtors. The first meeting was held April 15, 2004. The first ordinance was passed May 6, 2004 establishing meeting date and time. First issues were passing a city budget and “City of Parkerfield” signs at the city limits.
At time of incorporation Parkerfield encompassed 560 acres with 153 acres agricultural land and the census was 378 residents and 147 residencies. Within a year, due to voluntary annexation of properties, population increased to 403 citizens and 156 residencies and growth continues to this day.
In 2010 the city constructed a building for a community center and city office at the intersection of 91st and Vine on land donated by Richard and Carol Gottlob. City meetings were moved to the community building starting February 2011.The project was led by John McDonald and carried out by community members and the governing body.
Maintaining a rural lifestyle, affordable property taxes and road repairs are priorities for the city while governing in accordance to the city’s motto; “Where Every Person Matters”.