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Kansas Counties » Labette - Lyon

Labette County

  • County Seat: Oswego
  • County Code: LB
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: March 10, 1867
  • Region in Kansas: Southeast

Origin of Name: The Big and Little Labette Creeks, named after French explorer and trader Pierre La Baette, who traveled in the area and lived among the Osage Indians until the mid 1800s.

Did you know?

  • Labette County was known for the "Bloody Benders," a family who ran a rough little roadside inn where individuals could stop to get a meal and rest. The only trouble was, the "rest" would be eternal. They would seat the traveler at a table in front of a curtain partition and one of the Benders would bludgeon them in the head with a hammer or an ax, rob them, push them into a hole in the floor and later bury them in an orchard. This would become known as one of America's first mass-murder burial grounds. The story and the implements used to kill their victims are at a museum in nearby Cherryvale in Montgomery County.
  • Oswego was built on the site of an Osage Indian village called No tse Wa spe, which means "heart stays."
  • The town of Chetopa was named after the Osage Indian chieftain Tzi-Topah.
  • Parsons holds its annual Katy Days Festival every Memorial Day weekend. The festival is a celebration of Parsons' town history and its railroad heritage.
  • The Oakwood Cemetery in Parson has two Antietam Circles built by Civil War veterans in 1887 and 1889. The circles are named after the Battle of Antietam, one of the bloodiest battles during the Civil War, in honor of the soldiers who lost their lives.

Notable Residents:

William Coffin Coleman, Bill Guthridge

Bender Graves image
Officials uncovering graves of Bender murder victims
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Lane County

  • County Seat: Dighton
  • County Code: LE
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: June 3, 1886
  • Region in Kansas: West Central

Origin of Name: James H. Lane, a leader of the Jayhawker abolitionist movement and one of the first U.S. senators from Kansas.

Did you know?

  • Dighton is the only incorporated town in Lane County.
  • On May 23, 1928, the Fleagle Gang arrived in Dighton after robbing the First National Bank of Lamar, Colorado. Needing medical attention, they kidnapped local doctor W.W. Weinenger, and later shot him and dumped his body into a ravine outside of Scott City.
  • The popular 19th century folk song "Lane County Bachelor," by an unknown author, describes the harsh conditions that many homesteaders faced. The song goes:
    Frank Baker's the name and a bachelor I am,
    I'm keeping old batch on an elegant plan.
    You'll find me out west in the county of Lane,
    I'm starving to death on a government claim.

    My house is built of the natural soil,
    The walls are erected according to Hoyle.
    The roof has no pitch but is level and plain,
    And I always get wet when it rains.

    Hurrah for Lane County, the land of the free,
    The home of the grasshopper, bedbug and flea.
    I'll sing loud its praises and tell of its fame,
    While starving to death on a government claim.

Leavenworth County

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

Origin of Name: Fort Leavenworth, the most important military post in the West, which was named after Colonel Henry H. Leavenworth of the United States Army.

Did you know?

  • Leavenworth 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 Leavenworth is the oldest active military post west of Washington, D.C. The fort was originally established in 1827 to protect the transfer of goods along the Santa Fe Trail.
  • The Frontier Army Museum at Fort Leavenworth collects and preserves articats that tell the story of the Frontier Army from 1804 to 1916, and Fort Leavenworth from 1827 to the present through the use of its collection of historical artifacts.
  • The United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth (a federal prison) and the United States Disciplinary Barracks (the U.S. military's only maximum-security prison) are located on the grounds of Fort Leavenworth.
  • Leavenworth was the first incorporated city in Kansas, with its founding in 1854.
  • The Lansing Correctional Facility is Kansas' largest and oldest correctional facility.
  • Fort de Cavagnial (pronounced cav-an-yaw) was the first permanent European settlement and fort within the borders of present-day Kansas. Built in 1744, the fort was named for its founder, Francois-Pierre Rigaud, baron de Cavagnial, marquis de Vaudreuil, French governor of Louisiana. The fort served as a fur trade center for the Kansa Indians and other tribes and operated until 1764, shortly after the vast Louisiana Territory, including Kansas, was ceded to Spain by France. The exact location of Fort de Cavagnial is presently unknown.
  • The town of Tonganoxie was named after the last lineal Delaware Indian chief of the same name.
  • In 1866 the U.S. government authorized the formation of four African-American regiments. The 10th Cavalry was formed at Fort Leavenworth and became known as the "Buffalo Soldiers."
  • In 1881 General William Tecumseh Sherman established the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry at Fort Leavenworth. Many famous officers graduated from this school, including Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley and George S. Patton, Jr. In 1946 the school changed its name to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
  • Lansing is home to Mount Muncie Cemetery, which includes the graves of several well-known persons: Thomas Carney, Kansas’ second governor; Fred Harvey, creator of the Harvey House restaurant chain; D.R. Anthony, the brother of Susan B. Anthony; Walter Cronkite’s mother, Helen Lena Fritsche Cronkite; and Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, who were convicted and executed for the Holcomb murders of the Herbert Clutter family, which was the basis for Truman Capote’s book, In Cold Blood.

Notable Residents:

David J. Brewer, Buffalo Bill Cody, Melissa Etheridge, Fred Harvey, Joseph Henderson, Wild Bill Hickok, Wayne Simien

Lincoln County

  • County Seat: Lincoln
  • County Code: LC
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: October 4, 1870
  • Region in Kansas: North Central

Origin of Name: Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States and author of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Did you know?

  • Donald K. Ross, born and raised in Beverly, was the first Medal of Honor recipient during World War II for his actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
  • Lincoln County is known as the Post Rock Capital of Kansas for its use of local limestone in building construction.
  • The town of Lincoln is actually named Lincoln Center by its incorporation in 1879 and is still referred to as such in the U.S. census. However, both the city government and local chamber of commerce refer to the city as Lincoln, and it appears as such on state maps and signs.
  • Lincoln holds a Lincoln Reenactment Celebration each year in February to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday. The event includes a Lincoln look-alike contest, reenactments of events from Lincoln's life and reenactments of other notable 19th century events.

Notable Residents:

Martin Johnson, Donald K. Ross

Linn County

  • County Seat: Mound City
  • County Code: LN
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: August 25, 1855
  • Region in Kansas: East Central

Origin of Name: Dr. Lewis Fields Linn, a U.S. senator from Missouri from 1833 to the time of his death in 1843, formerly a surgeon of the troops commanded by General Dodge in the War of 1812, who was given credit for passage of several important territorial bills, including the acquisition of the Oregon Territory by the United States.

Did you know?

  • Linn 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 town of Trading Post is said to be the oldest continuously occupied location in Kansas. It was a trading post established by the French in 1834.
  • Linn County was home to one of the largest cavalry engagements of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River. During the Battle at Mine Creek on October 25, 1864, 2,500 Union soldiers defeated a group of Confederate soldiers nearly three times that size.
  • The Potawatomi Trail of Death ended at the Sugar Creek Mission, outside of Centerville in eastern Linn County. In September 1838, 859 Potawatomi were removed from Indiana at gunpoint and forced to walk more than 600 miles to Kansas.
  • The Marais des Cygnes Massacre is considered the last significant act of violence in the Bleeding Kansas time period prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. In May 1858 approximately 30 men led by Charles Hamilton, a Georgia native and proslavery leader, crossed into Kansas from Missouri. They arrived at Trading Post and captured 11 unarmed free-state men. The prisoners were led into a ravine, where Hamilton ordered the men shot. Five of the men were killed.
  • Current Kansas governor Sam Brownback was raised on a farm outside of Parker.

Notable Residents:

Sam Brownback

Battle of Mine Creek image
The Charge at Mine Creek by Andy Thomas
Photo courtesy of

Logan County

  • County Seat: Oakley
  • County Code: LG
  • Established: March 13, 1881
  • Organized: September 17, 1887
  • Region in Kansas: Northwest

Origin of Name: John A. Logan, Civil War general from Illinois who also served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Did you know?

  • Originally established as St. John County in 1881, the name was changed to Logan in 1887.
  • The Fick Fossil and History Museum in Oakley is home to many world-class fossils including the bones of the oldest documented mosasaur skull in the world.
  • Russell Springs was the county seat of Logan County until 1963. There was much feuding over which town should serve as county seat, and Oakley won the honor. The old courthouse in Russell Springs was turned into the Butterfield Trail Museum.
  • Russell Springs was the Eaton stop on the Butterfield Overland Dispatch stagecoach line. The line ran through rough Indian country to connect the gold mines in Denver, Colorado, with Fort Riley, Kansas. Travelers on the Butterfield Trail always made the natural springs in the area a watering place, calling them Russell Springs.
  • Oakley was where the legend of Buffalo Bill was born. William Cody and William Comstock, both contract buffalo hunters, entered a contest to determine who the real Buffalo Bill would be. The contest was to see who could harvest the most buffalo in one day. Cody won the contest 69-46 and became forever known as Buffalo Bill Cody. A twice life-size bronze statue of Cody chasing a buffalo commemorates the man and the event.
  • Logan County is home to the Cow Chip Capital of Kansas in Russell Springs.
  • Oakley holds the Kansas Cornhusking Contest on the second weekend in October.
  • The Smoky Valley Ranch south of Oakley is the largest area of land in Kansas owned by the Nature Conservancy. At nearly 17,000 acres this area is a mixture of shortgrass prairie, grassland, chalk bluffs, and rocky ravines with the Smoky Hill River running through it. This area was chosen for preservation because it is a living repository of geological, paleontological, archaeological, historical and cultural history.
Buffalo Bill Statue image
Buffalo Bill Cody Statue by Charlie Norton in Oakley
Photo courtesy of Charlie Norton

Lyon County

  • County Seat: Emporia
  • County Code: LY
  • Established: August 25, 1855
  • Organized: 1858
  • Region in Kansas: East Central

Origin of Name: General Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general to be killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Wilson's Creek in Missouri, August 10, 1861.

Did you know?

  • Lyon 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 county was originally named Breckinridge County after Vice President John C. Breckinridge, who during the Civil War had become a secessionist and a high ranking officer in the Confederate army. In 1862 the anti-slavery Legislature changed the county name to Lyon.
  • The small town of Bushong was originally named Weeks. In 1886 the name was changed to Bushong after Albert J. "Doc" Bushong of the St. Louis Browns baseball team. His team won the 1886 World Series over the Chicago White Stockings. The Missouri Pacific Railroad honored several of the St. Louis players by naming some of its rail stops in their honor. Bushong, Kansas, is the only town still carrying its name from the 1886 World Series.
  • The Finney Bond Scandal involving the discovery of more than $1.25 million in forged bonds and warrants in 1933 was a major event in county history. Before the resolution of the affair, martial law was declared in the statehouse. Four criminal convictions were effected, including the three longest sentences in state history, and the scandal reached greater proportions when it was discovered that the Finneys were involved with William Allen White and Alf Landon.
  • Emporia has been credited as the Founding City of Veterans' Day and was even recognized as such by the United States Congress.
  • Emporia State University was founded in 1863 as the Kansas State Normal School. In 1923 the school was renamed the Kansas State Teachers College and in 1977 it became Emporia State University.
  • Lyon County was home to William Allen White, renowned newspaper editor, politician and author.
  • Legendary University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith grew up in Emporia.
  • The National Teachers Hall of Fame and the Kansas Business Hall of Fame are located in Emporia.

Notable Residents:

Clint Bowyer, R. Lee Ermey, Dean Smith, Grant F. Timmerman, William Allen White