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Kansas Counties » Jackson - Kiowa

Jackson County

  • County Seat: Holton
  • County Code: JA
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: September 24, 1855
  • Region in Kansas: Northeast

Origin of name: Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States.

Did you know?

  • Jackson 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.
  • Originally named Calhoun County after John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, the county name was changed in 1859 to Jackson.
  • The Battle of the Spurs, a conflict between free-state and proslavery forces, occurred in 1858 near Netawaka. Just before Christmas 1858, John Brown "liberated" 11 slaves in Missouri. He hid them in a covered wagon as he circled north on the underground railroad towards Nebraska and freedom. Late in January they reached Straight Creek and found a proslavery federal posse barring their way. Both sides sent for reinforcements, with Topeka abolitionists arriving first to aid Brown. Declaring he would not be turned "from the path of the Lord," Brown, though still outnumbered, crossed the creek in spite of high water and the enemy entrenched on the other side. Demoralized by his audacity, the posse mounted and spurred away, thus giving a name to the bloodless battle. This was Brown's exit from Kansas as in December 1859 he was hanged for his treasonable attack at Harpers Ferry.
  • The town of Netawaka takes its name from the Potawatomi Native American word meaning "grand view."
  • The Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Indian Reservation is located in central Jackson County.
  • The Jackson County Fair has been held annually at the same location in Holton since 1873.

Notable Residents:

Bill James

Jefferson County

  • County Seat: Oskaloosa
  • County Code: JF
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: March 27, 1856
  • Region in Kansas: Northeast

Origin of name: Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States.

Did you know?

  • Jefferson 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.
  • Ozawkie was originally named Osawkee and was Jefferson County's original county seat in 1855.
  • The unincorporated town of Thompsonville was established in 1851 by a group of Mormon settlers who refused to follow the main group led by Brigham Young into the Salt Lake Valley of Utah.
  • Major Daniel M. Boone, son of the famous Kentucky frontiersman Daniel Boone, established Kansas' first settlement in 1827 near present-day Meriden.
  • McKinley Burnett, president of the Topeka branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and key figure in the landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case, was born in Oskaloosa.
  • Jefferson County was the home of artist John Steuart Curry, who painted the murals inside the Kansas Capitol.
  • The town of McClouth has a unique feature, there is a large granite rock in the middle of one of its streets. The rock was left after glaciers carved northeast Kansas over 10,000 years ago. It's so big and deep in the ground that it wouldn't budge when McClouth was being laid out, so the town just built around it including paving a street around it. Pay attention when you're traveling on Granite Street in McClouth.

Notable Residents:

John Steuart Curry, James Reynolds

Tragic Prelude image
Tragic Prelude by John Steuart Curry, located in the Kansas Capitol
Photo courtesy of David Mathias

Jewell County

  • County Seat: Mankato
  • County Code: JW
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: July 14, 1870
  • Region in Kansas: North Central

Origin of name: Lieutenant Colonel Lewis R. Jewell of the 6th Kansas Cavalry, who died November 30, 1862, from wounds received in the battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas, on November 28, 1862.

Did you know?

  • Mankato was originally named Jewell Center on account of its location in the center of the county. It was later changed to Mankato after a town of the same name in Minnesota. The reason for the change came from the confusion of delivering mail. Letters addressed to people living in Jewell Center would be found in the post office of nearby Jewell City and vice versa.
  • In 1910 land speculation drove the population of Jewell County up to more than 18,000, the largest in the county's history.

Johnson County

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

Origin of name: Reverend Thomas Johnson, who established a mission among the Shawnee Indians in 1829 southwest of Kansas City, was president of the first Territorial Council and was shot and killed in 1865 because of his proslavery leanings.

Did you know?

  • Johnson 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 county fair in Kansas was held in McCamish Township, Johnson County, in 1856.
  • Olathe is home to the oldest state institution in Kansas, the Kansas School for the Deaf, established in 1861 and moved to Olathe in 1866.
  • Johnson County is the most populated Kansas county, with 544,179 residents as of the 2010 census.
  • Overland Park has consistently ranked in the top 10 of Money magazine's "100 Best Cities to Live In."
  • The city of Olathe served as a stop and supply point on the Oregon, California and Santa Fe trails.
  • The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site offers a unique hands on experience for visitors of all ages focusing on 1860s farming, frontier life and stagecoach travel while preserving the nationally significant Mahaffie Story. Mahaffie is the last remaining stagecoach stop open to the public on the Santa Fe Trail.
  • Housing subdivisions were developed in the northeastern portion of Johnson County by developer J.C. Nichols in 1914. He built the Mission Hills Country Club to lure upscale residents from Missouri.
  • In 1928 Ernest Hemingway stayed with a resident of Mission Hills and wrote A Farewell to Arms.
  • Wild Bill Hickok staked a claim on 160 acres of land in what is now Lenexa. Hickok was later elected constable of Monticello Township in 1858.
  • Three Territorial governors were from the Johnson County area: Andrew Reeder (1855), Wilson Shannon (1855-1856) and Daniel Woodson (1855-1857). Woodson served as acting governor on five different occasions between 1855 and 1857.
  • Five Kansas governors were from Johnson County: John P. St. John (1879-1883), George Hodges (1913-1915), Frank L. Hagaman (1950-1951), John Anderson, Jr. (1961-1965) and Robert F. Bennett (1973-1977).

Notable Residents:

Stanley T. Adams, John H. Balch, Deborah Bryant, Jim Colbert, Tara Cunningham, Catherine Fox, Wild Bill Hickok, Tara Holland, Sarah Lancaster, Richard B. Myers, Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd, Harold Sebring, Darren Sproles, Jason Sudeikis, Shannon Vreeland, Tom Watson

Kearny County

  • County Seat: Lakin
  • County Code: KE
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: March 27, 1888
  • Region in Kansas: Southwest

Origin of name: General Philip Kearny, a leader in the Mexican-American War and American Civil War, who commanded U.S. troops in the West during the Indian troubles. He was killed in action in 1862 in the Battle of Chantilly in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Did you know?

  • Kearny County was originally established in 1873 but was dissolved and merged into Finney and Hamilton counties in 1883. Kearny County was re-established to its original 1873 boundaries in 1887.
  • Kearny County was originally spelled as "Kearney" when it was established in 1873, but the Legislature of 1889 corrected the spelling to conform to that of the county's namesake, General Philip Kearny.
  • In 1887 the first 100 miles of an irrigation ditch were constructed in the northern part of Kearny County. This early attempt at irrigation was a major event in the agricultural development of the area.
  • Kearny County observed mountain standard time until the latter 1980s, when the U.S. Department of Commerce moved the county into the central time zone.
  • The town of Lakin has a unique 12-sided barn built in the early 1900s.

Kingman County

  • County Seat: Kingman
  • County Code: KM
  • Established: March 7, 1872
  • Organized: February 27, 1874
  • Region in Kansas: South Central

Origin of name: Samuel A. Kingman, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, early president of the Kansas Bar Association and first president of the Kansas State Historical Society.

Did you know?

  • In 1848 an army paymaster was attacked by Indians. He buried $40,000 in gold in Chikaskia Township. He and all of his company were killed, but one lived long enough to tell a trapper where they had hidden the gold. Many have searched for the treasure, but it has never been located.
  • Legend has it that there was only one tree in the entire county when it was founded.
  • Clyde Cessna, founder of Cessna Aircraft Corporation, grew up outside of Rago.
  • The Byron Walker Wildlife Area offers a wide variety of hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and bird-watching opportunities.

Notable Residents:

Clyde Cessna, Ernest Schmidt

Clyde Cessna image
Clyde Cessna
Photo courtesy of Cessna

Kiowa County

  • County Seat: Greensburg
  • County Code: KW
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: March 23, 1886
  • Region in Kansas: South Central

Origin of name: Kiowa tribe of Indians, who inhabited the area.

Did you know?

  • Kiowa County was originally established in 1867, but the county was dissolved in 1875 and the territory was divided between Edwards and Comanche counties. Kiowa County was re-established in 1886 to boundaries that were set by the Legislature in 1874.
  • Greensburg is home to the world's largest hand-dug well, one of the original Eight Wonders of Kansas. The Big Well operated as a source of water for the city of Greensburg through 1932 and was designated as a national museum in 1972.
  • The Big Well Museum contains the world's largest pallasite meteorite, which was discovered near Greensburg in 1949, weighing more than 1,000 pounds. The meteorite spent time on display at Exploration Place in Wichita then at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays after a tornado in 2007 damaged the museum. The Big Well Museum re-opened in 2012 and the meteorite returned for viewing.
  • In 2007 the city of Greensburg experienced an EF-5 tornado that spanned more than a mile wide. The tornado damaged or destroyed 95 percent of the buildings in the town and 12 people were killed. The town and county are rebuilding Greensburg as the first "green" city in the nation.
  • Greensburg was named for stagecoach driver D.R. "Cannonball" Green, who once ejected Carrie Nation from his coach after she snatched a cigar from his mouth and tossed it away.
  • When Greensburg was being established, the townspeople wanted to move the post office from nearby Janesville. Jacob Barney, the postmaster, refused to allow the post office to leave. One night after a party in the Janesville Post Office Barney fell asleep. Several Greensburg men hoisted the 9 foot by 12 foot building onto a sled and, with Barney still inside, moved the building to Greensburg. Barney awoke the next morning in what was now the Greensburg Post Office.
  • Kiowa County hosts the Kansas Meteorite Museum near where the Brenham Meteorite fragments were discovered. Pieces of iron fragments from the meteor were found throughout Kansas and as far away as the Hopewell Indian mounds in Ohio. It wasn't until the 1920s that individuals discovered these fragments hailed from a meteor.
  • Haviland holds an annual Meteorite Festival in July. Festival visitors can go to the roughly 1,000-year-old Haviland Crater (also known as the Brenham Crater) and dig for meteorites.
  • Along U.S. Highway 400 at Mullinville there is a bizarre collection of what is best described as "kinetic art." Artist M.T. Liggett created objects out of scrap metal that twirl and dance when the wind is blowing, and most are inscribed with the artist's strong opinions.
Big Well Museum image
Interior of the Big Well Museum in Greensburg
Photo courtesy of the Big Well Museum