Rush County, Kansas
Rush County was organized on December 5, 1874, by William Basham; P. C. Dixon; Adolph Ashcoft; and I. T. Templeton. The county is named for Alexander Rush, Captain of Company H, Second Colored Cavalry, killed at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas, in April, 1864. It contains the cities of McCracken, Timken, Alexander, Liebenthal, Rush Center, La Crosse, Bison and Otis.
There was a county seat struggle between LaCrosse and Rush Center lasting 10 years until LaCrosse finally became the county seat. In 1943 the federal government constructed a helium plant near Otis. Although no longer in operation, it was one of the largest producers of helium in the United States. The location of many trails, including the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail, the Fort Hays-Fort Larned Trail and others played important roles in the county's history.
Many interesting figures come from Rush County. Thomas McGras, a Civil War Medal of Honor winner, homesteaded in Rush County in 1875. Levi Burlingame was featured by Ripley's "Believe it Or Not," as the oldest jockey. Howard R. Barnard, a nationally known educational figure, won fame by establishing what was probably the first consolidated school in history, and for his establishment of a progressive elementary school, Entre Nous College, located in Rush County.
- See our Kansas Counties database for statistics in the county.
- Search our Register database for historic sites in the county.
- Search Kansas Memory for historic items from the county.
For more information see the Rush County website. The Rush County Historical Society has several publications including a centennial history and unpublished materials on the county. The Barnard Library in LaCrosse also has resource materials.
Entry: Rush 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: October 2015
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.