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Kansas Counties

Atchison County, Kansas

Date Established: August 25, 1855
Date Organized: September 17, 1855
Location: Kansas map showing location of Atchison County
County Seat: Atchison
Origin of Name: Named for David Rice Atchison (1807-1886), United States senator from Missouri at the time of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
History: French explorers and trappers were the first Europeans to journey across what became Atchison County. Etienne de Bourgmont, military commander of the French colony of Louisiana, led the first recorded expedition to the region in the summer of 1724, although others had probably visited before him. The next recorded explorer was Perin du Luc, who reached the area in 1802-1803.

Perhaps the most famed explorers of Atchison County were Lewis and Clark, whose expedition travelled up the Missouri River in the summer of 1804. On the eventing of July 4th, the company discovered a creek in the northeast corner of the county, naming it Independence Creek in honor of the holiday.

Paschal Pensoneau (or Pensinau) was the first settler to take up permanent residence in the county, settling along Stranger Creek in 1839. Five years later he opened a trading post and a farm.

When Kansas Territory was opened for settlement in 1854, the townsite of Atchison was founded by Senator Atchison and his friends, and dedicated on July 4, 1854. The town of Sumner, twelve miles to the south, attempted to replace Atchison as the county seat in 1858, but the proposal was soundly defeated.
Cities & Townships
PlacePopulation (2020 census)
Atchison (city)  10,885 
Benton Township  963 
Center Township  651 
Grasshopper Township  501 
Kapioma Township  250 
Lancaster Township  762 
Mount Pleasant Township  834 
Shannon Township  1,106 
Walnut Township  396 
Total population: 16,348 

Township map of Atchison County, 2000
1860 (7,729)
1870 (15,507)
1880 (26,668)
1890 (26,758)
1900 (28,606)
1910 (28,107)
1920 (23,411)
1930 (23,945)
1940 (22,222)
1950 (21,496)
1960 (20,898)
1970 (19,165)
1980 (18,397)
1990 (16,932)
2000 (16,774)
2010 (16,924)
2020 (16,348)
Other Resources: Post offices in Atchison County
Cemeteries in Atchison County, As of 1906
Newspapers Available on Microfilm
Townships and Independent Cities in Atchison County
Kansas Memory
Links to Other Sites: Atchison County GenWeb
Early Kansas Maps [KanColl]
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