Mobile Navigation
Kansas Counties »

Kansas Counties » Butler - Clay

Butler County

  • County Seat: El Dorado
  • County Code: BU
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: February 11, 1859
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: Andrew P. Butler, a U.S. senator from South Carolina from 1846-1857 who advocated for Kansas statehood.

Did you know?

  • Butler 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 Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado is a tribute to the El Dorado Oil Field and documents when the Stapleton No. 1 oil well became a historic symbol in national oil production. The museum features 10 acres of restored oil field equipment and a replica historic oil boom town.
  • Butler County is home to one of Kansas' largest wind farms. Since 2005 the Elk River Wind Project produces enough electricity to power thousands of homes.
  • The city of Augusta purchased a Seahorse air rescue boat for the United States Navy in 1943. This was supposedly the first time a community had bought a ship for the navy. The ship was purchased through one of the first-ever bond drives during World War II.
  • An episode of the television series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was filmed in Douglass in 2006.

Notable Residents:

Bobby Douglass, Mort Walker

Chase County

  • County Seat: Cottonwood Falls
  • County Code: CS
  • Established: February 11, 1859
  • Organized: March 15, 1859
  • Region in Kansas: East Central

Origin of Name: Salmon P. Chase, successively governor of Ohio, U.S. senator, secretary of the Treasury and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who was earnest in his opposition to the extension of slavery into Kansas during his time in the Senate as he advocated for Kansas statehood.

Did you know?

  • The Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls was built in 1873 with native limestone. The courthouse is the oldest operating courthouse in Kansas, and also is one of the oldest courthouses to exist west of the Mississippi River.
  • The Chase County Fair first began in 1881 in Cottonwood Falls and is still being held on the same site as the original fair.
  • Built in 1886 across the Cottonwood River, the Clements Stone Arch Bridge in Chase County is one of the few double-arch bridges remaining in Kansas. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
  • The Flint Hills Rodeo has been held annually in Strong City since 1938.
  • Cottonwood Falls is home to the Roniger Memorial Museum, which includes an extensive collection of Indian arrowheads considered to be the largest individual collection in Kansas.
  • Famed Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne died in a plane crash near Bazaar in 1931.
  • Stone for the construction of the Kansas State Capitol came from quarries outside of Strong City.
  • Chase County is home to one of the original Eight Wonders of Kansas: the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, which is one of the last areas of unspoiled tallgrass prairie in the United States.

Notable Residents:

Gerald Roberts, Ken Roberts

Chase County Courthouse image
Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Chautauqua County

  • County Seat: Sedan
  • County Code: CQ
  • Established: March 25, 1875
  • Organized: June 1, 1875
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: Chautauqua County, New York, former home of Edward Jaquins, a member of the Kansas Legislature in 1875 from Howard County, Kansas, who introduced the bill that divided Howard County into Chautauqua and Elk counties.

Did you know?

  • Godfroy 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. It became Seward County in 1861, then was established as Howard County in 1867.
  • Howard County experienced tense conflict, dubbed the Boston War, over which city would be the county seat. Ultimately the use of Kansas militia to keep the peace led to Howard County being split in two to settle the county seat conflict. This division led to the establishment of Elk and Chautauqua counties in 1875.
  • Around the turn of the 20th century, Elgin was the biggest cattle-shipping town in the world.
  • The famous clown Emmett Kelly, known as Weary Willie, grew up in Sedan.
  • Sedan has a Yellow Brick Road-themed path that circles the entire downtown area and is made with purchased bricks with people's names inscribed on them.
  • At a park in Sedan called The Hollow, you can see vast remains of limestone and sandstone deposits that are located where a large river valley flowed.
  • The Red Buffalo Ranch is an 8,000 acre ranch west of Sedan that features a herd of over 50 buffalo, Butcher Falls, a 14 foot natural waterfall and Prairiehenge, a modern version of Stonehenge by Kansas artist Stan Herd.

Notable Residents:

Emmett Kelly

Weary Willie image
Emmett Kelly as Weary Willie
Photo courtesy of Vivian Maier

Cherokee County

  • County Seat: Columbus
  • County Code: CK
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: August 3, 1866
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: The Cherokee Indian tribe.

Did you know?

  • McGee 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. McGee County was never organized, but its name was changed to Cherokee County in 1860 before it was organized in 1866. The north half of Cherokee County was established as Crawford County in 1867.
  • The first underground coal mine shaft was constructed in Cherokee County in 1874. Shaft mining was the dominant method of removing coal from the more than 20 known coal beds in the county. New technology in the early 1960s made surface mining economical, creating a shift away from shaft mining.
  • West Mineral is home to Big Brutus, which was the world's second largest electric mining shovel eventually abandoned in the mid-1970s. Brutus was able to fill three railroad cars with one scoop and could travel at a maximum speed of 0.22 mph. It has since been converted into a museum dedicated to the rich coal mining history in Cherokee County and southeast Kansas.
  • Cherokee County was found to be rich in lead and zinc, with the first commercial mining production beginning in 1877. The Tri-State Lead and Zinc Mining District (Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri) was the world's leader in zinc mining for nearly half a century.
  • Cherokee County has the state of Kansas' only stretch of Historic Route 66. Kansas was the first state to pave all of its 13.6-mile portion of the historic Mother Road of America in 1929. The animated movie Cars got its inspiration from the buildings of Galena for the fictional community of Route 66 Radiator Springs, and the 1951 International boom truck next to the filling station inspired the Tow Mater character in the movie as well.
  • Baxter Springs was the site of the Baxter Springs Massacre. In October 1863 the guerilla band of Quantrill's Raiders attacked nearby Fort Blair in an unsuccessful raid. Having been repulsed by the Union troops at the fort, the raiders ambushed an approaching military wagon train led by Major General James Blunt. General Blunt and his command were caught totally by surprise, as they had no knowledge of the earlier attack on Fort Blair. After the attack, in violation of the rules of war, Quantrill called for the surrender of Blair's troops and shot them dead when they did.
  • Columbus holds its Hot Air Balloon Regatta as part of its annual Columbus Day Festival.
  • In John Steinbeck's book The Grapes of Wrath, the characters Sairy and Ivy Wilson were from Galena.

Notable Residents:

Waylande Gregory, Carnie Smith

Big Brutus image
Big Brutus in West Mineral
Photo courtesy of Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle

Cheyenne County

  • County Seat: St. Francis
  • County Code: CN
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: April 1, 1886
  • Region in Kansas: Northwest

Origin of Name: The Cheyenne Indian Tribe.

Did you know?

  • The name of a city may be used multiple times in various states (e.g., Independence, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri). However, Cheyenne County is home to the only Bird City in the entire nation.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Ron Evans was born in St. Francis.
  • Cheyenne County is part of the region that was once known as the Great American Desert, a 19th century term used to describe the western part of the Great Plains east of the Rocky Mountains to about the 100th meridian west. This area was considered a desert because it was devoid of trees and there was a relative lack of water that made it unfit for farming.
  • Largely isolated, Cheyenne County is home to the Arikaree Breaks between Kansas and Nebraska. These breaks are canyons that have formed by loess and water erosion. The location 3,000 feet above sea level and placement along the northern border of the state creates a stark contrast with the plains seen throughout western Kansas.

Notable Residents:

Ron Evans

Clark County

  • County Seat: Ashland
  • County Code: CA
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: May 5, 1885
  • Region in Kansas: Southwest

Origin of Name: Charles F. Clarke, a captain during the Civil War and adjutant general of the United States Volunteers, who died in 1862.

Did you know?

  • Originally and correctly named Clarke (with an ending "e") in memory of Charles F. Clarke when it was established in 1867, the "e" was dropped from the name by the Legislature in 1873. It is unknown why the change in spelling was made.
  • Clark County is home to the Big and Little Basin Prairie Preserve. Both basins are sinkholes in the Kansas Prairie. The Big Basin is a mile wide and more than 100 feet deep.
  • The Little Basin is where St. Jacob's Well is located. This well is a pool of water about 84 feet in diameter, has never been known to go dry, and has been the subject of many local legends. The two most popular ideas are that the well was bottomless and/or connected to an underground stream that was capable of washing away anything that fell in the well, and that the well was inhabited by blind fish. These legends have been disproved as no evidence of any underground stream or blind fish have been found.

Notable Residents:

Wes Santee

Clay County

  • County Seat: Clay Center
  • County Code: CY
  • Established: February 20, 1857
  • Organized: August 10, 1866
  • Region in Kansas: Northeast

Origin of Name: Kentucky statesman Henry Clay, a U.S. senator in 1806 who served in both houses, was a minister to England and France, and was a candidate for president in opposition to James K. Polk.

Did you know?

  • Indian John was a mysterious legendary figure said to be three-quarters Sioux Indian who lived in several different locations in Clay County, mostly near Fact, and was widely known for herbal medicines that he sold as remedies for many different ailments. It is said that people suffering from different maladies would send for his cures. The patients would send personal items from which Indian John would diagnose their illnesses and then send them the correct prescription. His tombstone lists his name as John Deringer, with the dates 1832-1924.
  • Clay County has been home to three governors: Henry Allen (1919-1923) who grew up near Clifton; George Docking, Sr. (1957-1961) who was born in Clay Center; and William H. Avery (1965-1967) who was born, raised and retired in Wakefield and also served as a congressman from 1955 to 1965.
  • Three Kansas attorneys general also called Clay County home: F.B. Dawes (1895-1897), A.S. Goddard (1899-1903) and C.C. Coleman (1903-1907), all of whom practiced law in Clay Center.
  • There is a rather large buffalo standing atop a large hill near the town of Longford. Named the Smithalo, it is a 23-foot long, 61-ton concrete buffalo sculpture that was created by the late Ray Smith. Smith built the sculpture to honor the buffalo's place in American history.
  • Clay Center has held its Piotique (Pi-o-teek) Festival on the last Saturday in September every year since 1936. The very first Piotique Festival was centered around antiques and was timed to coincide with the opening of U.S. Highway 24 west of Clay Center and the completion of a bridge over the Republican River at Wakefield. The unique name for the festival is a combination of the words "pioneer" and "antique."

Notable Residents:

Steve Doocy, Nicole Ohlde