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The town site was laid out on land owned by J. A. Rodehaver who had the area surveyed and platted in April 1874. The plat was named Westfield. Several families were already living in Westfield - they arrived on September 12, 1873. A post office was established at the present site of Oberlin in 1873 and it was named Sappa. By July 1878, when the town of Oberlin was surveyed and platted in the same vicinity, there was a sod store, a frame store, a log hotel and a log blacksmith shop. Oberlin was named the county seat in 1880.
The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.
Decatur County Historical Book Committee. "Decatur County Kansas". Lubbock, TX: Specialty Publishing Company, 1983.
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