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Allen County

  • County Seat: Iola
  • County Code: AL
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: May 7, 1856
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: William Allen, a long-time member of the U.S. Senate from the Commonwealth of Ohio, and also its governor, who favored the doctrine of popular sovereignty on the opening of the Territory of Kansas to settlement.

Did you know?

  • Allen County was one of the 33 original Kansas Territory counties created by the first act to establish counties passed by the first Territorial Legislature of 1855.
  • Allen County has one of the largest courthouse squares west of the Mississippi.
  • Iola is known for the July 10, 1905, saloon bombings by local prohibitionist Charlie Melvin. A commemorative walk/run is held on the anniversary of the bombings - starting just after midnight, which is when the bombings occurred - that usually draws hundreds of participants.
  • General Frederick Funston was raised in Allen County. He is known for his heroic role in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, and as commander during the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco. Surprisingly, he was only 5'5" tall and weighed 120 pounds. His home in Iola is now a museum.
  • Walter Johnson, one of Major League Baseball's greatest pitchers and Hall of Fame member, was born in Humboldt.

Anderson County

  • County Seat: Garnett
  • County Code: AN
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: January 7, 1856
  • Region in Kansas: East Central

Origin of Name: Joseph C. Anderson, of Missouri, a member of the first Kansas Territorial Legislature and speaker pro tem of the House of Representatives.

Did you know?

  • Anderson County was one of the 33 original Kansas Territory counties created by the first act to establish counties passed by the first Territorial Legislature of 1855.
  • The first known photograph of a tornado was taken in Anderson County in 1884.
  • A homestead located outside of present-day Kincaid was known as Robbers Roost because of the border ruffians and general criminal element that inhabited the location. Jesse James and his gang are said to have hidden there.
  • J.G. Blunt, a doctor, settled near Greeley in 1856 and later joined the Union army rising to the rank of major general in the Civil War, the highest rank of any Kansan during the war.
  • Garnett was the birthplace of Arthur Capper, a publisher, governor and longtime U.S. senator.
1884 Tornado image
First known photograph of a tornado taken in 1884
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Atchison County

  • County Seat: Atchison
  • County Code: AT
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: September 17, 1855
  • Region in Kansas: Northeast

Origin of Name: David R. Atchison, a senator from Missouri and president of the U.S. Senate at the date of passage of the act for the organization of the Territory of Kansas.

Did you know?

  • Atchison County was one of the 33 original Kansas Territory counties created by the first act to establish counties passed by the first Territorial Legislature of 1855.
  • Amelia Earhart, from Atchison, was known for being the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean and the first woman granted a pilot's license from the National Aeronautics Association.
  • The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum is located in the house where Earhart was born and raised in Abilene. The house was built in 1862 and was turned into a museum in 1984.
  • Explorers Lewis and Clark spent the first Independence Day in the American West in Atchison County on July 4, 1804.
  • Three Kansas governors were from Atchison: George W. Glick (1883-1885), John A. Martin (1885-1889) and Willis J. Bailey (1903-1905).
  • Three chief justices of the Kansas Supreme Court were from Atchison: Samuel Kingman (1867-1876), Albert Norton (1876-1895) and David Martin (1895-1897).
  • Atchison has been known as "the city that refused to die" due to necessary rebuilding after two flash floods devastated the city in 1958.
  • One of the major railroad lines in the U.S. got its start in Atchison County. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railroad was founded in 1860 when Atchison investors raised $60,000 in a single day to start the railroad line.

Barber County

  • County Seat: Medicine Lodge
  • County Code: BA
  • Established: February 27, 1867
  • Organized: July 7, 1873
  • Region in Kansas: South Central

Origin of Name: Thomas W. Barber, a free-state settler of Douglas County who was killed December 6, 1855, during the Wakarusa War near Lawrence.

Did you know?

  • The county was originally named in statute as Barbour, but the spelling was corrected by a special act of the Legislature in 1883.
  • The Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Treaty was signed in Barber County in October 1867 by five tribes of the Plains Indians and the U.S. government. A treaty pageant is reenacted about every three to five years.
  • In 1929 a tornado struck Hardtner causing minor damage. The tornado was notable since it moved very slowly, yielding some of the highest quality photographs of a tornado at the time.
  • Carry A. Nation, who was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union best known for attacking saloons and other drinking establishments with a hatchet, lived in Medicine Lodge. The spelling of Nation's first name is the source of much confusion, and both Carrie and Carry are considered correct. Official records indicate it was Carrie, which Nation and others used most of her life. However, Carry was used by her father in the family Bible. Upon beginning her campaign against alcohol, she adopted the name Carry A. Nation mainly for its value as a slogan and had it registered as a trademark in the state of Kansas. She also believed that it was providential and that she would "Carry A. Nation" to prohibition.
  • Carry A. Nation lived in Medicine Lodge from 1889 to 1902 and from there began her campaign against alcohol and tobacco in 1900. Her house in Medicine Lodge was purchased by the Women's Christian Temperance Movement in the 1950s and later turned into the Carry A. Nation Home and Museum. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
  • Country music star Martina McBride hails from Sharon.
  • Barber County is home to the Gypsum Hills, a red-colored butte and mesa topography, and the Gypsum Hills scenic byway.

Barton County

  • County Seat: Great Bend
  • County Code: BT
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: May 16, 1872
  • Region in Kansas: Central

Origin of Name: Miss Clara Barton, from Massachusetts, who earned great distinction during the Civil War by her effective philanthropic career in the sanitary department of the army.

Did you know?

  • Barton County is the only county in Kansas that was named after a woman. Nurse Clara Barton was a famous volunteer during the Civil War and the founder of the American Red Cross.
  • Barton County is home to one of the original Eight Wonders of Kansas: Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Cheyenne Bottoms is the largest marsh in the interior of the United States.
  • Buffalo Bill Cody was captured by Indians near Pawnee Rock. During the early settlement days, Pawnee Rock was considered the most dangerous place on the Central Plains for encounters with the Indians. Pawnee Rock was also the halfway point for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail, which connected Franklin, Missouri, with Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • Due to rapid growth in the 1870s and 1880s, the town of Ellinwood created businesses located in passages under the buildings and sidewalks on Main Street.
  • Nobel Prize winner Jack Kilby grew up in Great Bend. He was the inventor of the integrated circuit, or the microchip, which changed the path of computers and the world.
Cheyenne Bottoms image
Cheyenne Bottoms
Photo courtesy of Keith Stokes

Bourbon County

  • County Seat: Fort Scott
  • County Code: BB
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: September 12, 1855
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: Bourbon County, Kentucky, at the request of Colonel Samuel A. Williams, a native of Bourbon County, Kentucky, who in 1855 was a member of the House of Representatives from Fort Scott.

Did you know?

  • Bourbon County was one of the 33 original Kansas Territory counties created by the first act to establish counties passed by the first Territorial Legislature of 1855.
  • Fort Scott was a key frontier fort from 1842-1873. It provided protection for travelers on the Oregon and Santa Fe trails, was a hub for guerrila violence during Bleeding Kansas, was a strategic supply depot and hospital during the Civil War and provided protection for railroad workers as rail lines were extended west. Fort Scott became a National Historic Site in 1978 and consists of 20 restored historic structures, a parade ground and five acres of restored tallgrass prairie.
  • Fort Scott National Cemetery was one of the 12 original United States National Cemeteries named by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 and is older than Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
  • Fort Scott was home to a brick plant in the early 1900s and its bricks were used for various projects throughout the world, including the Indianapolis Speedway and the Panama Canal.
  • Bourbon County was home to famous photojournalist, writer and filmmaker Gordon Parks. The Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity was opened in 2004 at Fort Scott Community College to celebrate his life and legacy.
Fort Scott Cemetery image
Section of Fort Scott National Cemetery
Photo courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Brown County

  • County Seat: Hiawatha
  • County Code: BR
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: September 17, 1855
  • Region in Kansas: Northeast

Origin of Name: Albert G. Browne, of Mississippi, a U.S. senator at the date of the act organizing the Kansas Territory who advocated for Kansas statehood.

Did you know?

  • Brown County was one of the 33 original Kansas Territory counties created by the first act to establish counties passed by the first Territorial Legislature of 1855.
  • Brown County, named after Albert G. Browne, was initially entered into statutes with an "e." However, when the county seal was created the letter "e" was left off (most likely accidentally) and all subsequent references to the county listed the name Brown without an "e."
  • Mount Hope Cemetery in Hiawatha is home to the Davis Memorial, an extravagant structure built in 1930 by John Davis as a memorial to the "sacred memory" of his wife Sarah. The memorial contains 11 life-size Italian marble and granite statues positioned under a granite canopy. The estimated cost for the memorial was over $200,000, a large sum of money in 1930.
  • Since 1914 Brown County has hosted the annual Halloween Frolic on or around October 31. Individuals from the county claim that it is the oldest night parade in the nation.
  • Brown County is the location of the Kickapoo Indian Reservation of Kansas, the majority of the Sac and Fox Reservation and the majority of the Iowa Reservation of Kansas and Nebraska.
  • The Oregon Trail passed through Brown County.
  • The town of Hiawatha was named after the main character in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem The Song of Hiawatha.
Davis Memorial image
Davis Memorial in Hiawatha
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society