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Kansas Counties » Smith - Trego

Smith County

  • County Seat: Smith Center
  • County Code: SM
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: February 1, 1872
  • Region in Kansas: North Central

Origin of Name: Union Major James Nelson Smith of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry, who was killed October 21, 1864, at the Battle of the Little Blue River, near Kansas City, Missouri.

Did you know?

  • Gaylord has the unique distinction of being the first city in the United States to elect a full city government of women in 1896: mayor, city council, police judge and city clerk.
  • The 2008 book Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen focuses on the Smith Center High School football team that had won 67 games in a row going into the 2008 season, the nation's longest high-school winning streak.
  • The geographical center of the 48 contiguous states is located near Lebanon, in eastern Smith County.
  • In 1853 a few miles southwest of Smith Center, an Indian battle was fought between the Pawnee, Delaware and Omaha Indians on one side, and the Cheyenne, Comanche, Arapaho and Apache on the other. The battle involved the territoriality of the Indians in the area and the rights to the land. The fighting lasted three days and the result was a complete victory for the Pawnee and their allies who retained control of the area.
  • In 1871 the song "Home on the Range" was written by Dr. Brewster Higley in a cabin eight miles north of Athol. The song would later become the state song of Kansas. While antelope no longer play in the county, it is well known for deer, pheasant and turkey hunting.

Notable Residents:

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Nolan Cromwell, Mitch Holthus, Mark Simoneau, Steve Tasker

Home on the Range Cabin image
Cabin where "Home on the Range" was written near Athol
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Sampler Foundation

Stafford County

  • County Seat: St. John
  • County Code: SF
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: July 2, 1879
  • Region in Kansas: South Central

Origin of Name: Captain Lewis Stafford of Company E, 1st Kansas Infantry, who was accidentally killed at Young's Point, Louisiana, January 31, 1863.

Did you know?

  • The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is located in Stafford County. The refuge was established in 1955 to provide and protect vital habitat for migratory waterfowl in the Central Flyway. Its more than 22,000 acres feature a unique combination of rare inland salt marsh and sand prairie. Over 340 differnt species of birds have been recorded at Quivira and the refuge is one of the original Eight Wonders of Kansas.
  • The Stafford County Flour Mills Company located in Hudson has been producing sacks of Hudson Cream Flour for more than 100 years.

Stanton County

  • County Seat: Johnson City
  • County Code: ST
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: June 17, 1887
  • Region in Kansas: Southwest

Origin of Name: Edward M. Stanton, a lawyer and politician who served as secretary of war under President Abraham Lincoln and, after Lincoln’s assassination, remained as secretary of war under President Andrew Johnson during the first years of Reconstruction.

Did you know?

  • Stanton County was originally established in 1873 but was dissolved and merged into Hamilton County in 1883. In 1887 Stanton County was re-established to its former boundaries.
  • Stanton County is the driest county in Kansas, receiving only around 15 inches of precipitation a year.
  • Johnson City was founded by Civil War veterans and was first called Veteran. In 1886 the town was moved seven miles and was renamed for Colonel A.S. Johnson, one of the veterans.

Notable Residents:

William B. Trembley

Stevens County

  • County Seat: Hugoton
  • County Code: SV
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: August 3, 1886
  • Region in Kansas: Southwest

Origin of Name: The distinguished Pennsylvania statesman Thaddeus Stevens, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives during the Civil War and Reconstruction, writing much of the financial legislation that paid for the Civil War.

Did you know?

  • Stevens County was originally established in 1873 but was dissolved and merged into Seward County in 1883. In 1886 Stevens County was re-established to its former boundaries plus a three-mile section of Morton County.
  • Hugoton sits atop the Hugoton Natural Gas Area, the largest natural gas field in North America and second largest in the world.
  • Violence resulting in deaths occurred in the county seat dispute in Stevens County. The towns of Hugoton and Woodsdale (no longer a town) competed for the county seat. Competition became so heated that six men were killed and the governor ordered the state militia to restore order.
  • The Stevens County Gas & Historical Museum was established as a memento to the Hugoton Gas Field and the progressive development of Stevens County. There is a gas well on site that was drilled in 1945 that is still producing gas yields.

Sumner County

  • County Seat: Wellington
  • County Code: SU
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: February 7, 1871
  • Region in Kansas: South Central

Origin of Name: U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts who was the leader of the antislavery forces in that state and a strong advocate of Kansas becoming a free state, and most famous for being severely beaten on the Senate floor for his beliefs.

Did you know?

  • Argonia was the first city in the U.S. to elect a woman mayor. Susan Madora Salter was elected to office in 1887.
  • Sumner County has been called the Wheat Capital of the World.
  • Sumner County is home to the KLOUDbusters launch site that hosts high-power model rocket launches one Saturday of every month of the year (except May and June). A larger festival, AirFest, is a four-day event hosted at the site over Labor Day weekend.
  • Wooly mammoth fossils have been found a few miles southeast of Wellington. The fossils are on display at the Sumner County Courthouse.
  • The Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plain is a tranquil place for wildlife, nature and bird lovers, as well as artists, botanists and brides and grooms. Build in 1910 by Dr. Walter Bartlett, the arboretum is home to massive cypress, oaks and champion Japanese maple trees. For nearly 100 years many generations of Kansans have enjoyed this unique santuary once touted as "the only mature arboretum between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains." In 1997, the arboretum was purchased by Robin Macy, one of the founding members of the country music group The Dixie Chicks. Although the property is no longer open daily to the public, the gardens are made available for educational purposes, concerts on the lawn and for private functions.

Notable Residents:

Ernie Barrett, Edward C. Gallagher, Bill Hougland, Susanna M. Salter

Susanna Madora Salter image
Susanna Madora Salter, first woman in the U.S. to be elected mayor
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Thomas County

  • County Seat: Colby
  • County Code: TH
  • Established: March 20, 1873
  • Organized: October 8, 1885
  • Region in Kansas: Northwest

Origin of Name: Major-General George H. Thomas, United States Army, whose strong defense at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863 saved the Union army from being completely routed and earned him his most famous nickname, the Rock of Chickamauga.

Did you know?

  • The townships of Thomas County were named after the soldiers that died at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.
  • The Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby features the largest barn in Kansas and a replica one-room sod house similar to what early settlers would have built.
  • Colby is known as the Oasis of the Plains, as it is a welcome site to the vast farmland and pasture of northwest Kansas.

Notable Residents:

Samuel Ramey

Largest Barn in Kansas image
Largest Barn in Kansas at the Prairie Museum of Art & History in Colby
Photo courtesy of Aaron Sumner

Trego County

  • County Seat: WaKeeney
  • County Code: TR
  • Established: February 26, 1867
  • Organized: June 21, 1879
  • Region in Kansas: Northwest

Origin of Name: Edward P. Trego, a captain of Company H, 8th Kansas Infantry, who was killed in the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19, 1863.

Did you know?

  • WaKeeney is known as the Christmas City of the High Plains. Since 1950 the town has hosted an ornate civic Christmas lighting display, which includes more than 6,800 lights and a 35-foot man-made Christmas tree in the center of town. This annual tradition is considered the largest Christmas tree and lighting display between Kansas City and Denver.
  • Trego County hosts several festivals, including the internationally known Th' Gatherin', a traditional Celtic celebration of music, athletic events, artists and vendors that brings thousands of visitors to the county the first weekend of May.
  • The Trego County Courthouse in WaKeeney served as a backdrop of scenes in the 1973 movie Paper Moon.