Neuchatel, Kansas

In 1864, the Swiss residents in southern Nemaha County, Kansas, petitioned for a post office to be named Neuchatel, in honor of the Canton in Switzerland where most of them originated. Many of the families can be traced back to the village of Lignières and the majority of these early pioneer are connected as siblings, cousins and in-laws. You will find many of them in our family tree at WorldConnect.
View Larger Map The first French-speaking Swiss arrived in 1857. Ami and Charles Bonjour were two brothers who left Switzerland for Indiana in 1852. They found that Indiana was largely settled and decided to go west to see if they could find better opportunities. They arrived in Leavenworth in 1855, then decided to homestead on French Creek in Nemaha County in 1857. Their brother, Fred H. Bonjour (with wife Julia Simon), and sisters Eugenie (with husband Gustave Bonjour) and Sophia (with husband Aime Bonjour), joined them later that year. L. August Zurcher arrived in July of 1857, as did Fred Vautravers and his wife Sophia Bonjour, who was Aime's sister. In the Spring of 1858, Ami, Fred and Gustave went to Leavenworth to find more settlers to join them. They found the following, who had arrived in Leavenworth by boat from Indiana: Alfred Bonjour (Gustave's brother) & wife Zelie Melanie Simon Charles Bonjour (Gustave's brother) & wife Louise Zurcher Louis Zurcher who later married Mrs. Maria Smith and his mother Cecilia Ami Zurcher who later married Gabrielle Leroux Louis Constant Simon & wife Louise Josephine Henry & mother Melanie Gauchat Simon Charles Simon and wife Louise Simon Shortly, they were joined by Henry Mouton and his wife, Catherine, with his son, August Mouton and August's wife, Sophie Bonjour, another sister of Gustave. The Reverand Eugene Laporte ministered to the pioneers from 1862 to 1866, when he returned to Wisconsin. He sent a number of settlers from that region, including: Henry Labbe August Seigneur John Gilson and his brother, Francis Casmir Steinon Desire Wery In 1868, August Sandoz arrived after two years in Illinois. He married Fred Bonjour's daughter, Adele. That same year, Henry Ballou came to Kansas, having left Switzerland for Pennsylvania. In February of 1869 came Frederick Auguste Simon, brother to Charles Simon. His wife, Sarah E. Benton, and his children who were born in Ohio also came to the area. Also in 1869 came Jean Jaquet, a watchmaker and Adolph and Albertine Henry, whose sister was married to Louis C. Simon. Charles Gauchat also arrived in Kansas that year. Ernest Descombes came to Neuchatel in 1870, having arrived in the U.S. in 1867. Henry Mentha and his family also came that year. In 1871 Caesar Surdez, who married Clarissa Clerget in 1874, arrived. Henry Sandoz, brother to August Sandoz, came that year and was joined by his family. Zelim Bonjour came in 1873 and married Eliza Mouton in 1876. Paul Junod came to Neuchatel in 1877. That year, some of the Bonjours returned to Switzerland for a visit. They spoke so glowingly of the new settlement that a number of Lignieres residents decided to join them for the trip back. Alexandre Junod and his family formed a large part of the party. Fritz Barbier was also with them. Significants dates for the Swiss in Neuchatel, Kansas, include: 1862-First religious service 1863-Saw mill constructed 1863-Organized school 1864-Post office is named Neuchatel 1865-First cemetery laid out on death of Melanie Simon (now an orchard) 1867-The French store is established 1870-Built a church and new cemetery 1871-Built the stone school 1873-Grist mill built

6 Responses to “ Neuchatel, Kansas ”

  1. Would like to add the name of the person named Hammond whom Elizabeth Simon, daughter of Louis Constant Simon, married. I am her granddaughter.

    • Jody Blackmer says:

      Hello Elizabeth,
      I am a great granddaughter of Mary Simon Taylor, a sister of Elizabeth Simon. My father referred to your grandmother as Aunt Lizzie.

    • Jody Blackmer says:

      Elizabeth Simon married Matthew Hammond in Parrot City, CO. Not verified about Parrot City.
      Jody Blackmer

  2. Dorothy simon calkins says:

    I am the daughter of Charles C Simon whose father was Frank or Francois
    His family originated in Neuchatel, Switzerland Does anyone have any info on that side of the family? They migrated from Kansas to California after the dust bowl

    • admin says:

      Yes, we are in touch with your cousins. Your records are not visible on the family tree because we protect the information of living persons. But, we have a number of records from that side of the family.

  3. Jody Blackmer says:

    Is it possible to see Melanie Gauchat Simon’s grave near the old homestead in Neuchatel, KS? I am traveling to Neuchatel in the next week or Two.
    Thank you,
    Jody Blackmer
    Great granddaughter of Louis C. Simon

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