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Kansas Counties » Osborne - Rawlins

Osborne County

  • County Seat: Osborne
  • County Code: OB
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: September 12, 1871
  • Region in Kansas: North Central

Origin of Name: Private Vincent B. Osborne of the 2nd Kansas Cavalry, who lost a leg in a battle on January 17, 1865, at Joy’s Ford on the Arkansas River, served as state representative and probate judge in Ellsworth County and died in 1879.

Did you know?

  • Osborne County is one of two Kansas counties named after a private. (See Rooks County.)
  • Russell Stover, founder of Russell Stover Candies, was born near Alton.
  • Twenty miles south of Downs is Meade's Ranch, which is the geodetic center of North America. This point was used as reference for all land surveying from 1927 until 1983.

Notable Residents:

Charles "Buffalo" Jones, Russell Stover

Ottawa County

  • County Seat: Minneapolis
  • County Code: OT
  • Established: February 27, 1860
  • Organized: June 25, 1866
  • Region in Kansas: North Central

Origin of Name: Ottawa tribe of Indians, who were native to the region.

Did you know?

  • George Washington Carver, known for his discovery of more than 300 products made from the peanut, graduated from a high school in Minneapolis in 1885.
  • Grace Bedell, a New Yorker, is credited with influencing Abraham Lincoln to grow his famous beard. She wrote him a letter when she was 11 years old saying he would look better if he grew a beard. She later married a Civil War veteran and moved to Delphos.
  • Ottawa County is home to Rock City, an area as large as two football fields that contains about 200 spherical boulders. Some of these rocks are as large as houses, and there is no other location in the world where there are as many concretions of such a large size.

Notable Residents:

George Washington Carver, Peggy Hull Deuell

Rock City image
Rock City near Minneapolis
Photo courtesy of Eldon Clark

Pawnee County

  • County Seat: Larned
  • County Code: PN
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: November 4, 1872
  • Region in Kansas: Central

Origin of Name: Once-powerful Pawnee Indian tribe, as this area was included in its original hunting grounds.

Did you know?

  • Pawnee County is home to Fort Larned, which was used by the United States Army during the Indian wars from 1859 to 1869. This fort hosted the Indian Bureau in attempts to mend cultural conflicts between Native Americans and whites, and gave protection for the transportation of goods along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was acquired by the National Park Service in 1964.
  • Burdett was the childhood home of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto.

Notable Residents:

Gene Keady, Harold Patterson, Clyde Tombaugh

Fort Larned image
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Photo courtesy of Fort Larned National Historic Site

Phillips County

  • County Seat: Phillipsburg
  • County Code: PL
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: July 26, 1872
  • Region in Kansas: North Central

Origin of Name: William Phillips, a free-state martyr who was murdered September 1, 1856, in Leavenworth.

Did you know?

  • Phillipsburg has laid claim to having Kansas' Biggest Rodeo since 1929, a three-day event each August.
  • The Battle of Prairie Dog Creek occurred near present-day Long Island in August 1867. The battle was fought between about 250 members of the 18th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry Unit and the 10th U.S. Cavalry Unit and nearly 300 Indians under the leadership of Kiowa Chief Satanta and Cheyenne Chief Roman Nose. This battle ended the U.S. Army offensive operations on the Kansas frontier, and in the fall treaties were signed with the tribes of the Southern Plains.
  • In 2008 the Hot Wheels (toy car manufacturer) 40th Anniversary Cross-Country Road Trip held a special event in Speed. It was one of only six stops in the country.
  • Phillipsburg hosts its annual Riverless Festival each June. The festival is a take on other communities that have river or lake festivals. Since Phillipsburg is in a dry-climate area, the city celebrates its lack of rivers in a tongue-in-cheek way.

Notable Residents:

Harold W. Bauer, Mark Simoneau

Pottawatomie County

  • County Seat: Westmoreland
  • County Code: PT
  • Established: February 20, 1857
  • Organized: February 20, 1857
  • Region in Kansas: Northeast

Origin of Name: Potawatomi tribe of Indians, whose reservation at the opening of the Kansas Territory for settlement, and for years afterward, encompassed a large portion of the geographical area of the county.

Did you know?

  • Louis Vieux, a half-French, half-Potawatomi Indian, once operated the first ferry along the Oregon Trail to help travelers across the Vermillion River near Wamego.
  • Wamego has the largest and longest-running Independence Day parade in the state, and Kansas Best 150 voted its fireworks display number one in the state.
  • The Pottawatomie County Courthouse in Westmoreland, built in 1884, is the second oldest courthouse in the state of Kansas.
  • The community of Westmoreland is nestled in Rock Creek Valley, where Oregon Trail travelers once camped. Graves and wagon ruts remain in the area.
  • Wamego is home to the Oz Museum, which contains more than 2,000 artifacts pertaining to the books, films and musicals as created by L. Frank Baum, author of the 1900 novel The Wizard of Oz. Entering the museum and being surrounded by the memorabilia from the motion picture classic adapted from Baum's novel will make you think you're not in Kansas anymore!
  • The Columbian Theatre, Museum & Art Center in Wamego is a beautifully restored 1895 theatre and music hall that annually hosts multiple theatre productions, art exhibitions, mini-conventions and other social gatherings that receive rave reviews. The Topeka Capital Journal declared the Swogger Gallery in The Columbian "the most beautiful gallery in Northeast Kansas." The Columbian features paintings and architectural embellishments from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair that were brought back by the theatre's original owner J.C. Rogers.

Notable Residents:

Walter Anderson, Walter P. Chrysler, Dick Knostman, Billie Moore, Jess Willard

Pratt County

  • County Seat: Pratt
  • County Code: PR
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: July 25, 1879
  • Region in Kansas: South Central

Origin of Name: Caleb Pratt, a Bostonian and 2nd lieutenant of Company D, 1st Kansas Infantry, who was killed in action August 10, 1861, at Wilson’s Creek, Missouri.

Did you know?

  • The Pratt Army Airfield Base was a training base for B-29 bomber pilots and flight crews during World War II. The crew that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan trained at Pratt.
  • Due to the 270 acres of its parks, Pratt has been known as a "tree city."
  • Pratt is known for its pair of water towers, one labeled "hot" water and one labeled "cold" water. This began as a practical joke, but has become one of Pratt's most unique features landing it a spot in nationwide publications.
  • Pratt is home to the Miss Kansas Pageant each year and has a gallery in the Pratt County Historical Museum dedicated to the Kansas beauty queens.
  • The state headquarters of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is located in Pratt.

Notable Residents:

Ernie Barrett, Bill Farmer

Rawlins County

  • County Seat: Atwood
  • County Code: RA
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: May 25, 1881
  • Region in Kansas: Northwest

Origin of Name: Union Civil War General John A. Rawlins, who was a staff officer of General Ulysses S. Grant and later served in President Grant's cabinet as secretary of war.

Did you know?

  • Atwood hosts its annual Lake Atwood Ten Mile, a road race (running) around Lake Atwood each July. The event started in 1972 and is the oldest road race in Kansas.
  • Atwood hosts its annual Early Rod Run, a classic car and hot rod show each May. The event is one of the best showings of classic cars in the country and features a showcase of cars, drag races and much more.
  • Rawlins County is the location in which the famous Dewey-Berry feud took place. An attempt by Chauncey Dewey to take back a water tank he purchased from the Alpheaus Berry farm led to a shootout in which three members of the Berry family were killed.
  • Rudolph Wendelin, the artist who made the U.S. Forest Service's Smokey Bear a household name, was born in Herndon.

Notable Residents:

Rudolph "Rudy" Wendelin

Smokey Bear image
Smokey Bear, made famous by Rudolph Wendelin
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service