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Hiawatha (Ioway: Hári Wáta pronounced [haːꜜɾi waːꜜtʰɐ]) is the largest city and county seat of Brown County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,172.
Hiawatha was founded in 1857, making it one of the oldest towns in the state. John M. Coe, John P. Wheller, and Thomas J. Drummond were instrumental in organizing the city, and the site was staked out February 17, 1857. B.L. Rider reportedly was responsible for naming Hiawatha, taking the young Indian's name from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, The Song of Hiawatha. Hiawatha became the Brown County Seat in 1858, and the first school opened in 1870.
The main street was designated Oregon Street after the Oregon Trail. Parallel streets north of it were named after Indian tribes north of the Trail, and streets south carried tribal names of those south of the Trail.
Hiawatha is named after a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called The Song of Hiawatha. In the poem is legendary Onondaga and Mohawk Indian leader Hiawatha. Adjacent to the former Ioway-Sac reservation and the present-day Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Hiawatha is called Hári Wáta in Ioway, meaning "I am looking far away".
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