and Where They Got Their Name
[source: "Admire's Political and Legislative Hand-Book for Kansas," 1891, compiled by W. W. Admire, Topeka, KS Geo. W. Crane & Co., Publishers, 1891]
Extinct or former County Names
Allen- Organized in 1855. County seat, Iola. Named in honor of William Allen, of Ohio, who was for many years a member of the United States senate from that commonwealth, and also its governor. He favored the doctrine of popular sovereignty on the opening of the territory of Kansas to settlement, and the most ultra measures for the perpetuation of slavery.
Anderson - Organized in 1855. County seat, Garnett. Named for Jos. C. Anderson, of Missouri, who was a member of the first Kansas territorial legislature, and speaker pro tem of the house of representatives. He figured in the "Wakarusa war" in December, 1855, and his name appears in connection with a proposition to march under the "black flag" to Lawrence.
Atchison - Organized in 1855. County seat, Atchison. Named for David R. Atchison, a senator from Missouri, and president of the United States senate at the date of the passage of the act for the organization of the territory of Kansas. He was a pro-slavery democrat, and zealous partisan leader in the discussions and movements affecting the interests of slavery and its attempted establishment in the new state to be created. He was conspicuous among the mob at the sacking of Lawrence, on the 21stof May, 1856.
Barber - Organized in 1873. County seat, Medicine Lodge. Named in honor of Thomas W. Barber, a free-state settler of Douglas county, who was killed in consequence of the political troubles, near Lawrence, December 6, 1855. (The county was originally named in the statute as "Barbour," but was corrected by special act of the legislature in 1883.)
Barton - Organized in 1872. County seat, Great Bend. Named in honor of Miss Clara Barton, of Massachusetts, who won great distinction during the war for the union by her remarkably effective philanthropic career in the sanitary department of the army.
Billings (see Norton) - Named for N. H. Billings, a member of the Kansas legislature. As a joke had the name of Norton changed to Billings, by putting in two lines hidden in a paragraph of a bill fixing the boundaries of certain counties. The next legislature restored the name of Norton.
Bourbon - Organized in 1855. County seat, Fort Scott. Received its name from Bourbon county, Kentucky, the latter having been one of the nine counties organized in 1785 by the Virginia legislature, before Kentucky became an independent State. It was so called as a compliment to the Bourbon dynasty of France, a prince of that family (then on the throne) having rendered the American colonies important aid in men and money in their great struggle for independence. Col. Samuel A. Williams, a native of Bourbon county, Kentucky, was a member of the house from Fort Scott in 1855, and it was at his request that the county was so named. Colonel Williams was a pro-slavery man, but was not a rebel colonel, as has been published. He was mustered in as captain of company I, second Kansas cavalry, November 22, 1861, but resigned March 28, 1862. He died at his old home, Fort Scott, in August, 1873.
Breckenridge (see Lyon) - Organized in 1860. Named by the first legislature Breckinridge, in honor of John C. Breckinridge, United States senator from Kentucky, and who afterward became vice president of the United States in 1856. Named changed in 1862 to Lyon.
Brown - Organized in 1855. County seat, Hiawatha. Named for Albert G. Brown, of Mississippi, who had been senator and member of the house of representatives from that state, was United States senator at the date of he act organizing Kansas territory, was reelected for six years in 1859, but withdrew with Jefferson Davis on the attempted secession of the southern states. The name is properly spelled with an e in the original statute, but on the county seal the e was left off - accidentally, probably. All later statutes present the name without the final e.
Butler - Organized in 1855. County seat, El Dorado. Named for Andrew P. Butler, who was United States senator from South Carolina, from 1846 to 1857. He was a bitter partisan, and a zealous advocate of the right of the south to introduce slavery into the territory of Kansas.
Calhoun (see Jackson) - Organized in 1857, named in honor of John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina. Changed in 1859 to Jackson.
Chase - Organized in 1859. County seat, Cottonwood Falls. Created out of portions of Wise and Butler counties in 1859, and named in honor of Salmon P. Chase, successively governor of Ohio, United States senator, secretary of the treasury, and chief justice of the supreme court. IN the senate he was earnest in his opposition to the extension of slavery into Kansas.
Chautauqua - Organized in 1875. County seat, Sedan. Created in 1875 out of a portion of what was first Godfrey then Howard county. Named after Chautauqua county, New York, former home of Hon. Edward Jacquins, a member of the Kansas legislature in 1875 from Howard county, who introduced the bill which divided Howard into Chautauqua and Elk; hence from his native place this county derives its name.
Cherokee - Organized in 1866. County seat, Columbus. First named McGee in 1855, named changed to Cherokee in 1866, from the fact that a large portion of the "Cherokee neutral lands," reservation of that tribe of Indians, was included in the geographical area of the county.
Cheyenne - Boundaries defined in 1873. Organized April 1st, 1886. County seat, Bird City. Named after the celebrated Indian tribe of that name.
Clay - Organized in 1866. County seat, Clay Center. Named in honor of the distinguished Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay, who was chosen United States senator in 1806. He afterwards served in both houses, and was in public life most of the time during a period of forty-six years. He had been minister to England and France, and candidate for President in opposition to Polk. He died in Washington in 1852.
Clark - Organized May 5, 1885. County seat, Ashland. Originally and correctly Clarke, with a final e, in memory of Charles F. Clarke, captain and adjutant general, United States volunteers, who died at Memphis, December 10, 1862. The legislature of 1873 dropped the final e under misapprehension, as the legend goes, that the county was named for another, and, to many of them, an obnoxious individual whose name was spelled with an e.
Cloud - Organized as Shirley in 1860. County seat, concordia. Named changed in 1867 to Cloud. Named in honor of Colonel William F. Cloud, of the second regiment, Kansas volunteers. This change was made at the suggestion of Hon. J. B. Rupe, then representing the county in the legislature.
Coffey - Organized in 1859. County seat, Burlington. Named in honor of colonel A. M. Coffey, a member of the first territorial legislative council. Colonel Coffey died at Dodge City in 1879.
Comanche - Organized February 27, 1885. County seat, Coldwater. Named from the Indian tribe of that name. The county organized in 1885, was originally organized in the fall of 1873 under a general law then in force, and was represented in the legislature under that organization in 1874; but that organization was held fraudulent and void.
Cowley - Organized in 1870. County seat, Winfield. Named in honor of Matthew Cowley, first lieutenant of company I, ninth Kansas cavalry, who died in the service, October 7, 1864, at Little Rock, Arkansas. The county was originally named Hunter. The named was changed to Cowley in 1867.
Crawford - Organized in 1867. County seat, Girard. Created in 1867 out of the northern half of Cherokee, which prior to that date reached to Bourbon. It was named in honor of Samuel J. Crawford, who was elected governor in 1864, and served nearly four years. The legislature named the county in obedience to a resolution passed in convention held o petition for its organization. Governor Crawford resigned in October 1868, to become colonel of the nineteenth Kansas infantry, specially raised fo rthe Indian war of 1868-9. He was colonel of the second regiment colored volunteer infantry, during the war for the union.
Davis (see Geary) - Organized in 1855 as Davis county, which name was given for Jefferson Davis - a graduate of West Point - officer of the U.S. army - United States senator, and secretary of war - and who afterward turned traitor to his government, and became president of the so-called southern confederacy. Changed to Geary in 1889.
Decatur - Organized in 1879. County seat, Oberlin. Boundaries defined by legislative enactment in 1873, organized in 1879. Named in honor of commodore Stephen Decatur, a distinguished American naval officer. He fell in a duel with Commodore Barron, U.S.N., in 1808.
Dickinson - Organized in 1857. County seat, Abilene. Named in honor of Daniel S. Dickinson, who was a senator from the State of New York. In 1847 he introduced, in the United States senate, resolutions respecting territorial government embodying the doctrine of popular sovereignty, afterwards incorporated in the bill for the organization of Kansas territory. He died in 1866.
Doniphan - Organized in 1855. County seat, Troy. Named in honor of Colonel A. W. Doniphan, of Missouri. He commanded a regiment of cavalry during the Mexican war, marching across the plains, and taking a very prominent part in the conquest of New Mexico. He was a zealous partisan in the effort made to extend slavery into Kansas.
Douglas - Organized in 1855. County seat, Lawrence. Named in honor of Stephen A. Douglas, United States senator from Illinois, and candidate for the presidency in 1860. As a senator, Douglas in 1854, took a leading part in securing the adoption of the "popular sovereignty" principle in the act organizing Kansas territory, which gave the particular form of the issue involved in the Kansas struggle.
Edwards - Organized in 1874. County seat, Kinsley. Named in honor of John H. Edwards, of Ellis, state senator. Colonel Edwards removed from Kansas to New Mexico.
Elk - Organized in 1875. County seat, Howard City. Created out of the northern protion of what had been Howard county. Named for the Elk river, which traverses its area from northwest to southeast.
Ellis - Organized in 1867. County seat, Hays City. Named in memory of George Ellis, first lieutenant of company I, twelfth Kansas infantry, killed in battle April 30, 1864, at Jenkin's Ferry, Arkansas.
Ellsworth - Organized in 1867. County seat, Ellsworth. Named after Fort Ellsworth, a military post built on the bank of the Smoky Hill, in 1864. This fort was so called by General Curtis in honor of the officer who constructed it, Allen Ellsworth, second lieutenant of company H, seventh Iowa cavalry. When the name was adopted for the county it was supposed that the fort had been named in memory of Colonel E. E. Ellsworth, of national fame.
Finney - Organized in 1884. County seat, Garden City. Originally Sequoyah, changed to Finney in 1883, in honor of D. W. Finney, then lieutenant governor of the state.
Ford - Organized in 1873. County seat, Dodge City. Named in honor of colonel James H. Ford, of the second Colorado cavalry, and brevet brigadier general U.S. volunteers. Ford established the location of Fort Dodge.
Franklin - Organized in 1855. County seat, Ottawa. Named in honor of the illustrious Benjamin Franklin.
Garfield - Organized July 16, 1887. County seat, Ravanna. Boundaries were defined in 1873. Named in honor of President James A. Garfield.
Geary - Organized in 1855 as Davis county, named changed to Geary in 1889 in honor of John w. Geary, who was territorial governor of Kansas from 1856 until March, 1857. County seat, Junction City.
Godfrey (see Chautauqua and Elk) - Original name for area now Chautauqua and Elk counties. Named for "Bill" Godfrey, a noted trader among the Osages.
Gove - Organized September 2, 1886. County seat, Gove City. Named in honor of Captain Grenville L. Gove, eleventh Kansas cavalry, who died in 1864.
Graham - Organized in 1880. County seat, Millbrook. Named for Captain John L. Graham, of the eighth regiment, Kansas infantry - killed in action at Chickamauga, Tenn., September 19, 1863, before he was mustered in.
Grant - Organized June 9, 1888. County seat, Ulysses. Named in honor of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
Gray - Organized July 20, 1887. County seat, Cimarron. Named in honor of Alfred Gray, late secretary of the state board of agriculture.
Greeley - Organized July 9, 1888. County seat, Tribune. Named in honor of the founder of the New York Tribune.
Greenwood - Organized in 1862. County seat, Eureka. This county received its name as a compliment to Alfred B. Greenwood, who, about the time of the organization of the territory, was commissioner of Indian affairs. He negotiated treaties on the part of the United States with the Sac and Fox and other tribes in southern Kansas.
Hamilton - Organized January 29, 1886. County seat, Syracuse. In honor of General Alexander Hamilton, the great American statesman; he was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, July 11, 1804.
Harper - Organized in 1873. County seat, Anthony. The organization of this county was one of the most glaring frauds ever perpetrated in the State. Attorney General Williams, in his official report, says: "It is not pretended that Harper county ever had an inhabitant." The form of its organization was legal on paper, and that is all. In 1878 the organization became legal. The county was named in memory of Marion Harper, first sergeant of company E, second regiment of Kansas cavalry. He was mortally wounded at Waldron, Arkansas, December 29, 1863, and died the following day. His comrades say he took his death coolly. When brought in wounded, he proposed a wager that in so many hours he would be dead; the bet was taken, and Marion Harper won.
Harvey - Organized in 1872. County seat, Newton. Named for James M. Harvey, captain of company G, tenth regiment of Kansas infantry, and governor of the State from 1869 to 1873. In January, 1874, he was elected United States senator to fill an unexpired term ending in 1877.
Haskell - Organized July 1, 1887. County seat, Santa Fe. Named in honor of Dudley c. Haskell, of Lawrence, who died, while serving the state as congressman, December 16, 1883.
Hodgeman - Organized in 1879. County seat, Jetmore. Named in honor of Amos Hodgman, captain of company H, seventh Kansas cavalry. He died October 16, 1863, near Oxford, Mississippi, of wounds received in an action at Wyatt, Mississippi, October 10, 1863. The name should be spelled Hodgman, without the e - it was so spelled in the original statute of 1868, which created the county, but by accident - probably - in the statute which defined its boundaries in 1873, the e was inserted. Of course it is legally Hodgeman, and must remain orthographically incorrect until changed by legislative enactment.
Howard (see Chautauqua and Elk) - Second name given to the area that is now Chautauqua and Elk counties. Named for Major General O. O. Howard, for his efforts in behalf of the colored race. The name originally given to the county in 1855, was changed to Seward in 1861. In 1867 the legislature, ignoring former names, created the county of Howard, which embraced all the territory of Seward and a five-mile strip additional on the west.
Hunter (see Cowley) - Original name for Cowley County (Bogus Laws of 1855, page 208.) The name was changed to Cowley in 1867.
Jackson - Organized in 1857. County seat, Holton. Originally Calhoun, changed to Jackson in 1859, after Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States.
Jefferson - Organized in 1855. County seat, Oskaloosa. In honor of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States - acknowledged author of the Declaration of Independence. It came very near being called Sauterelle (French for grasshopper), Doctor Wm. H. Tebbs, the local member in the first legislature, having strenuously contended for it. The legend goes that the doctor accepted his defeat with good grace, and supplied the customary beverage then used when anything notable occurred in or about that remarkable body.
Jewell - Organized in 1870. County seat, Mankato. Named in memory of Lieutenant Lewis R. Jewell, sixth Kansas cavalry, who died November 30, 1862, of wounds received in the battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas, November 28, 1862.
Johnson - Organized in 1855. County seat, Olathe. Named for Rev. Thomas Johnson, a Methodist minister, who in 1829 established a mission among the Shawnee Indians, about eight miles southwest of Kansas City. Mr. Johnson took the pro-slavery side of politics, and was a member of the first territorial council. He was, when the war came on, a faithful union man. He then lived in Missouri, and become obnoxious to the bushwhackers, his house was sacked by them, and he was shot and killed, in January, 1865.
Kearny - Organized March 27, 1888. County seat, Hartland. Named after General Kearny, who commanded United States troops in the west during the Indian troubles.
Kingman - Organized in 1874. County seat, Kingman. Named in honor of Samuel A. Kingman, who was then chief justice of Kansas.
Kiowa - Organized March 23, 1886. County seat, Greensburg. Named after the Kiowa Indians.
Labette - Legally organized in 1867. County seat, Oswego. Originally part of Dorn county, (named changed to Neosho in 1861). Labette county has a peculiar history, not generally known, or at least not found in the books. Prior to the summer of 1866 all that part (and being the south half) of Neosho county, now comprising Labette, was sparsely populated. In the spring of 1866 there was a great rush of immigration to that locality, and the new settlers proceeded to organize a government of their own. They gave the name Labette, (then written La Bette,) and called a convention, nominated a full set of county officers, and a representative to the state legislature, and elected them at the November election and started a county government - for all of which no authority of law whatever existed. The "representative" so elected was Charles H. Bent, who reported at Topeka with a petition "signed by John G. Rice and 224 other citizens of Labette county," asking that Mr. Bent be admitted to a seat in the house. He was admitted and afterwards introduced a bill to "organize and define the boundaries of Labette county," which passed, and was approved the 7th of February, 1867. The word La Bette is French, and signifies "the beet."
Lane - Organized June 3, 1886. Boundaries defined in 1873. County seat, Dighton. Named for Senator "Jim" Lane, of Kansas fame.
Leavenworth - Organized in 1855. County seat, Leavenworth. From Fort Leavenworth, the most important military post in the west. It was established in 1827, and was named after General Leavenworth, of the United States.
Lincoln - Organized in 1870. County seat, Lincoln Center. In honor of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States and author of the Emancipation Proclamation, who was assassinated April 14, 1865.
Linn - Organized in 1855. County seat, Mound City. Named for Lewis F. Linn, a distinguished United States senator from Missouri, who died in 1843, in office. He was a colleague of Hon. Thomas H. Benton.
Logan - Organized September 17, 1887. County seat, Russell Springs. By an act of the legislature in 1887, the name of the then unorganized county of St. John was changed to Logan, in honor of the late General John A. Logan.
Lykins (see Miami) - Organized in 1855, named in honor of Doctor David Lykins, who was a missionary among the Miami Indians. Name changed to Miami in 1861.
Lyon - Organized in 1860. County seat, Emporia. Named by the first legislature Breckinridge, changed to Lyon in 1862. Named in honor of General Nathaniel Lyon, who was killed while in command of the union army at the battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri, August 10, 1861.
Marion - Organized in 1860. County seat, Marion. Named for Marion county, Ohio, which was so called in memory of General Francis Marion, of revolutionary fame.
Marshall - Organized in 1855. County seat, Marysville. Named after General Frank J. Marshall, who established a ferry on the Big Blue at the crossing of the old Independence- California road in 1849. He was a prominent member of the first legislature, and had his own name applied to the county.
McGee (see Cherokee) - Original name for what is now Cherokee county. Named in 1855 for E. McGee, who was a member of the territorial legislature, and held to the doctrine that the term "inhabitant," as employed in the organic act creating the territory of Kansas, was meant to designate any person who might reside in, or have an existence in, or happened to be in Kansas territory on election day, or during the sitting of a legislature. So he voted in Kansas, helped to make laws for Kansas, but never lived in Kansas, always persistently adhering to his citizenship of Missouri. In 1866 the name was changed to Cherokee.
McPherson - Organized in 1870. County seat, McPherson. Named in honor of Major General James B. McPherson, U.S. volunteers, who was killed in battle at Atlanta, Georgia, July 22, 1864.
Meade - Organized November 4, 1885. County seat, Meade Center. Named for Major General George G. Meade, U.S.A., who died in 1872.
Miami - Organized in 1855 under the name of Lykins. County seat, Paola. Name changed in 1861 to Miami, after that tribe of Indians.
Mitchell - Organized in 1870. County seat, Beloit. Named in honor of William D. Mitchell, who entered the union army as a private in company K, second Kansas cavalry; was promoted to captain in the second Kentucky cavalry, and killed March 10, 1865, at Monroe's Cross-Roads, North Carolina.
Montgomery - Organized in 1869. County seat, Independence. For General Richard Montgomery, born in Ireland, December 2, 1736; was an officer of distinction in the British army; resigned and settled in New York state in 1773; was appointed one of the eight generals to command the revolutionary army of America, in 1775; was killed in the attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775, shouting "Death and liberty!"
Morris - Organized in 1855 as Wise. County seat, Council Grove. Named changed to Morris in February, 1859, in honor of Thomas Morris, a United States senator from Ohio in 1832, who distinguished himself as an opponent of slavery. He died in 1844.
Morton - Organized November 18, 1886. County seat, Richfield. Was named in honor of Hon. Oliver P. Morton, of Indiana.
Nemaha - Organized in 1855. County seat, Seneca. Named from a river in Nebraska - the Nemaha, one of whose branches drains the north half of the county.
Neosho - Organized in 1864. County seat, Erie. The county was originally named Dorn, and changed in 1861 to Neosho, after the Neosho river, which traverses the county from northwest to southeast. The name was given to the river by the Osages.
Ness - First organized in 1873. County seat, Ness City. Disorganized in 1874; reorganized in 1880. Named in honor of Noah V. Ness, corporal of company G, seventh Kansas cavalry, who died August 22, 1864, at Abbyville, Miss., of wounds received in action August 19, 1864.
Norton - Organized in 1872. County seat, Norton. Named in memory of Orloff Norton, captain of company L, fifteenth Kansas cavalry, killed by guerillas at Cane Hill, Arkansas, October 29, 1865. In 1873 the county was represented by one N. H. Billings, a man of overweening vanity, a crank on the subject of talking, who in consequence of his peculiarities became a sort of butt of the legislature. A member of the senate at the time - one of Kansas' brightest and wittiest of men - had the name of Norton changed to Billings, in two lines hidden in a paragraph of a bill fixing the boundaries of certain counties. The next legislature restored the name of Norton.
Osage - Organized as Weller county in 1855. County seat, Lyndon. Named changed to Osage in 1859. The name Osage comes from the Osage river, the headwaters of which stream drain almost the entire county.
Osborne - Organized in 1871. County seat, Osborne City. Named in honor of Vincent B. Osborne, private of company A, second Kansas cavalry, who lost his right leg January 17, 1865, on the steamer Anna Jacobs, at Joy's Ford on the Arkansas river.
Ottawa - Created in 1860, and organized in 1866. County seat, Minneapolis. Named for the tribe of Ottawas.
Pawnee - Organized in 1872. County seat, Larned. Named for the once powerful tribe of Pawnee Indians, the area of this county having been included in their original hunting grounds.
Phillips - Organized in 1872. County seat, Phillipsburg. Named in memory of William Phillips, a free-state martyr, murdered September 1, 1856, in Leavenworth.
Pottawatomie- Organized in 1856. County seat, Westmoreland. Named for the Pottawatomie Indians, whose reservation at the opening of Kansas territory for settlement, and for years afterward, embraced a large portion of the geographical area of the county.
Pratt - First organized in 1873. County seat Iuka. But not recognized in consequence of frauds. Organized constitutionally in 1879. Named in memory of Caleb Pratt, second lieutenant of company D, first Kansas infantry, killed in action August 10, 1861, at Wilson's Creek, Mo.
Rawlins - Organized in 1881. County seat, Atwood. Named in memory of General John A. Rawlins, who was a staff officer of General Grant and went into his cabinet when elected president as secretary of war.
Reno - Organized in 1873. County seat, Hutchinson. In memory of Jesse L. Reno, captain United States army, and major general of volunteers, who was killed in battle, September 14, 1862, at South Mountain, Md.
Republic - Organized in 1878. County seat, Belleville. Received its name from the Republican river, which extends through the county. The river was so called, because many eyars ago the valley of that stream was the seat of the "Pawnee Republic," a designation given to a principal division of the Pawnee Indians, or Panis, as they were originally know.
Rice - County seat, Lyons. Named in honor of Samuel A. Rice, brigadier general United States volunteers; killed April 30, 1864, at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas.
Richardson (see Wabaunsee) - Organized in 1859, named for Colonel "Dick" Richardson, of Illinois, for whom the county was first named, was the leader in the house of representatives on the democratic side in the debate on the Kansas-Nebraska bill. In February, 1859, the name was changed to Wabaunsee,
Riley - Organized in 1855. County seat, Manhattan. Received its name from the adjacent military post, which was established in 1853, and called Fort Riley, in honor of General Riley, of the United States army.
Rooks - Organized in 1872. County seat, Stockton. In memory of John C. Rooks, private of company I, eleventh Kansas infantry, who died December 11, 1862, at Fayetteville, Arkansas, of wounds received in the battle of Prairie Grove, December 7, 1862.
Rush - Organized in 1874. County seat, Walnut city. In memory of Alexander Rush, captain of company H, second colored infantry, killed April 3, 1864, at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas.
Russell - Organized in 1872. County seat, Russell. In memory of Alva P. Russell, captain company K, second Kansas cavalry, who died December 12, 1862, in field hospital near Prairie Grove, Arkansas, of wounds received in battle December 6, 1862, at Prairie Grove.
Saline - Organized in 1859. County seat, Salina. Named for the Saline river, whose waters drain a large area of the county.
Scott - Organized January 29, 1886. County seat, Scott City. Boundaries defined in 1873. Named for Major General Winfield Scott, United States army, the hero of the Mexican war.
Sedgwick - Organized in 1870. County seat, Wichita. Named for John Sedgwick, U.S.A. major general of volunteers, killed in battle, May 9, 1864, at Spottsylvania, Virginia.
Sequoyah (see Finney) - Original name for what is now Finney county. Named for the celebrated Cherokee Indian of that name, the inventor of the alphabet of his language, and a most remarkable man. Changed in 1883 to Finney.
Seward - Organized January 17, 1886. County seat, Springfield. Boundaries defined in 1873. Named for Wm. H. Seward, governor and United States senator of New York, and secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln.
Shawnee - Organized in 1855. County seat, Topeka. Was carved out of what was, before the treaty of 1854, Shawnee Indian lands - hence the name. General H. J. Strickler, of Tecumseh, who was a member of the council in 1855, and also fo the joint committee on counties, claimed Shawnee for the name of his county, a preference stoutly contended for by the Rev. Thomas Johnson for the county in which the legislature was sitting, but the committee yielded to Strickler, and without solicitation complimented Mr. Johnson by conferring his own name upon his county.
Sheridan - Organized in 1880. County seat, Hoxie. Named in honor of Lieutenant General Phillip H. Sheridan, United States army.
Sherman - Organized September 20, 1886. County seat, Goodland. Named for General W. T. Sherman, United States army.
Shirley (see Cloud) - Original name for Cloud county. Named in 1860 for Governor William Shirley, colonial governor of Massachusetts from 1741 to 1756. The name was changed in 1867 to Cloud.
Smith - Organized in 1872. County seat, Smith Center. Named for Nathan Smith, major of second Colorado volunteers, killed October 23, 1864, at Little Blue, Missouri.
Stafford - Organized in 1879. County seat, St. John. In memory of Lewis Stafford, captain of company E, first Kansas infantry, who was accidentally killed at Young's Point, Louisiana, January 31, 1863.
Stanton - Organized June 17, 1887. County seat, Johnson City. This county was named after Edwin M. Stanton, secretary of war under President Lincoln.
Stevens - Organized August 3, 1886. County seat, Hugoton. Was named after the late distinguished statesman Thaddeus Stevens.
Sumner - Organized in 1871. County seat, Wellington. Named for Charles Sumner, the distinguished Massachusetts senator. In 1854 he was a leader in the opposition to extension of slavery into Kansas, as proposed in the bill to organize the territory.
Thomas - Organized October 8, 1885. County seat, Colby. Named for Major General George H. Thomas, United States army, who died in 1870.
Trego - Organized in 1879. County seat, Wakeeney. Named for Edgar P. Trego, captain of company H, eighth Kansas infantry, killed September 19, 1863, at Chickamauga, Tennessee.
Wabaunsee - Organized as Richardson in 1859. County seat, Alma. Named changed to Wabaunsee in February, 1859, that being the name of a chief of the Pottawatomie Indians.
Wallace - county seat, Sharon Springs. Named after General Lew. Wallace, United States army, and author of "Ben Hur," etc.
Washington - Organized in 1860. County seat, Washington. Named in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States.
Weller (see Osage) - Organized as Weller county in 1855. Named for John B. Weller, of Ohio, member of congress and governor of that state; also governor of California and senator, minister to Mexico, etc. - a staunch democrat at all times. Changed to Osage in 1859.
Wichita - Organized December 24, 1886. County seat, Leoti. Boundaries defined in 1873. Wichita is the English of Ouichita, the name of an Indian tribe.
Wilson - Organized in 1865. County seat, Fredonia. This county originally extended to the south line of the state, and was named in honor of colonel Hiero T. Wilson, who has lived in Fort Scott since September 1843. He was the first white person to settle there.
Wise (see Morris) - Organized in 1855. Named for Henry A. Wise, who was governor of Virginia during the John Brown seizure of Harper's Ferry. The execution of that "grand old man" at Charlestown, December 2, 1859, was one of the last acts of Wise's administration. Name changed to Morris in February 1859.
Woodson - Organized in 1855. County seat, Yates Center. Named in honor of Daniel Woodson, who was secretary of the territory, and for some time acting governor, after the resignation of Governor Shannon, in 1856.
Wyandotte - Organized in 1855. County seat, Kansas City. Was named after the Indian tribe of that name.
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