County History Project
This project completed in 1987 as part of the state's 125th anniversary of statehood, worked with individual counties around the state to record brief county histories. Select counties using the map below or read on to learn more about the project. We invite county historical societies to submit their own updated histories.
Funded by the Kansas Committee for the 125th (anniversary of statehood)
Directed by the Kansas Historical Society
Final compilation by Daniel D. Holt
As part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Kansas statehood, the Kansas Committee for the 125th under the direction of Governor John Carlin's office, developed a plan for a county history directory. The Kansas Historical Society's folklife department, under the direction of Jennie Chinn, was given the responsibility to direct the county history program. Robert W. Richmond, assistant director of the Historical Society was the project coordinator. Funding for the program came from the committee for the 125th. All monies were privately raised.
To compile the county histories a survey form was circulated to each county historical society (or similar organizations) in Kansas for their response. The premise was for the county to respond to such questions as, "Do you have a local legend? What are three of the most significant events in your county's history? Who are the county's interesting public figures" The premise was for the answers to be based upon what the county historical society considered important or significant. Some questions, such as those pertaining to local legends and the "farm in the same family for the longest consecutive period" were to gather information not readily available elsewhere.
The initial survey in September 1985 was conducted by Historical Society staff. The first compilation of information was done by Ed Rostetter, a Washburn Unviersity intern at the Historical Society, between September and December 1985. In 1987 the committee made funds available to the Historical Society to hire someone to proceed with contacting those organizations that had not responded and to begin the task of arranging the information into a usable and adjustable format. The project was completed in August 1987.
In most cases all the information supplied by the county historical society was used in the compilation. Dates and names were verified for entries regarding original founders, dates of organization, county names, etc., whenever possible. In the case of a discrepancy in organization dates, research was conducted at the Historical Society to determine the most accurate date possible and that date was used. Names were added to the list of county founders when necessary, and to the significant events category if it was obvious that major historical events were not included. In practically every case the information received from the county was retained.
The population figures were inserted and names of governors, members of Congress, the U.S. Senate, the Kansas Supreme Court, and other important figures were added to the "interesting public figures" category. All original survey forms (all but seven counties responded), follow-up letters, correspondence, replies, research notes, and the original draft of the compilation, are in the State Archives at the Kansas Historical Society. The computer disc containing all the individual county entries and other information is also in the archives and can be used to make changes or updates to the information.
Entry: County History Project
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: January 2010
Date Modified: February 2011
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.