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Washington County, Kansas

Washington county was one of the first 33 counties organized by the Territorial Legislature, but was not organized until April 9, 1860. Founded by David E. Ballard; Blanch Campbell; and G. C. Pierce, Washington County contains the cities of Barnes, Clifton (part), Vining (part), Hollenberg, Gerardi, Greenleaf, Haddam, Hanover, Lanham, Linn, Morrowville, Palmer, Mahaska, Spence and Washington. The county was named for George Washington.

 The Oregon Trail passed through the northwest portion of the county assisting in making the area known to settlers, and establishing some businesses in the county. The Pony Express route came through the northwest portion of the county in 1860-1861, roughly following the Oregon Trail route. Washington County Courthouse and most of Washington was destroyed by a tornado on July 4, 1932.

The Washington Methodist Church, established in 1861, was the first in the county.  The first school district was organized in Charleston (no longer exists) in 1864.

Washington County contains two interesting sites, the Pony Express Station in Hanover, and the Old Jail in Haddam.

For more information see the Washington County website. The Washington County Museum has some original and microfilmed newspapers, and miscellaneous sources.

Entry: Washington 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.