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Rooks County, Kansas

Rooks County was named for John Calvin Rooks, a private in the Union army during the Civil War, and contains the cities of Stockton, Woodston, Damar, Palco, Zurich and Plainville. D. O. Adams; Lewis N. Stults; Lyman Randall; and George Beebe organized it on November 26, 1872. The attempts by Rooks Center and Stockton to locate the county seat in their communities have invoked several legendary stories, and some true. One such relates that in the election of 1872 it was said the county commissioners allowed no one to vote more than three times and therefore felt confident no illegal votes were cast. Stockton won the election.

The city of Stockton has gathered some acclaim over the years by being hit by tornados on May 20th of three successive years, 1916, 1917, and 1918. The 1918 storm nearly demolished the entire town.

Webster Dam is in Rooks county. Built for flood control and as a reservoir, the lake covered the town of Webster and over 700 acres. The Webster Dam was dedicated on October 6, 1956.

Although church services were held as early as 1872 in the county, the first organized church, and building, was the Stockton Catholic constructed in 1878. The first county fair was held in Stockton in 1879. The first school district, was organized in 1873 in Lowell Township. The building was moved to Woodston and is still standing.

W. L. Chambers, who founded the Rooks County Record in 1879, continued its publication until 1923. He was considered one of the leaders of the county, championing many causes.

For more information see the Rooks County website. Issues of all county newspapers are available at the Stockton Public Library and the Plainville newspaper at the Plainville library.

Entry: Rooks County, Kansas

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: February 2010

Date Modified: December 2011

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.