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Wilson County, Kansas

Wilson County was one of the original 33 counties organized by the Territorial Legislature in 1855, organized on September 24, 1864, by Henry Opdyke; A. J. and William Caven; David Johnson; David Pointer; H. T. Wilson; William Mayes; Robert Craig; John Shaffer; George Cottingham; W. M. Asher; and William Brown. The county was named for Hiero Tennant Wilson, and contains the cities of Altoona, Buffalo, New Albany, Fredonia, Benedict, Neodesha and Coyville.

The first churches in the county were the Methodist, Baptist, and Christian, but precise dates are uncertain. They were all organized in the 1870s. The first permanent building was the Neodesha Methodist Church built in 1873. The first county fair was held in 1872 in Buffalo. The fair continues today in Fredonia. It is believed the first school in the county was organized in 1859.

Governors Ben S. Paulen (1925-1929) and Harry H. Woodring (1931-1933) were natives of the county. Congressmen from the county were Thomas Hudson (1893-1895) and Snyder Kirkpatrick (1895-1897).

Interesting sites within the county include the Fredonia Arts Council Building, 1872 and theFormer County Jail and Sheriff's Residence.

For more information see the Wilson County website. The Wilson County Historical Society and the Fredonia Public Library have some sources on the county's history. County records are available in the courthouse.

Entry: Wilson 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: January 2014

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