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Clark County, Kansas

The county of Ashland contains the cities of Ashland, Englewood and Minneola. It was organized on May 5, 1885, by George Epperly; Daniel Burket; and John S. Myers. The county was named for Charles F. Clarke, a captain in the 6th Kansas Cavalry, was commissioned Adjutant-General on June 12, 1862. The original spelling of "Clarke" was changed by usage to the shorter version.

Clark City, located one and a half miles from the present site of Ashland, had become a ghost town in 1884 because of the town company choosing the newer location. When Ashland was formed an offer was made to the people of Clark City by the town company founders, to move those to Ashland who wished to go. Many choose to be moved. When the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad came through the county it offered to move the town of Appleton and offered those people lots at Minneola. Most of the town of Appleton and its residents were moved to the new location.

St. Joseph's Parish Church was founded in 1876. The first county fair was held October 26-28, 1886, in the southeast forty acres of the southeast quarter of section 2-33-23. The first school was a subscription school founded in Englewood in October, 1885. The first schoolhouse was finished in the fall of 1886. The first school district was organized in 1885 as Appleton 16. Later, in the fall of 1886, School District 71, between Vesta and Clark, was organized and a sod schoolhouse was built in 1886.

There are many Interesting figures from Clark County. Pearl Abel, a prominent local rancher, also served as a state representative. He left his estate to be used in educating the children of Clark County. Dr. William Workman, a pioneer doctor in the county discovered a silicate that he developed into gypsum plaster. Jesse Harper, a rancher and well-known Notre Dame football coach who coached Knute Rockne, was later president of the Kansas Livestock Association (1930-1931). He was honored in 1958 with the Helms Hall of Fame Award as a college football coach. Mike Sughrue, first Clark County sheriff, who was elected five times, was known for his resourcefulness and courage and is included in many of the "wild west" accounts of Kansas. In 1923, William Harvey was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court, serving as a Justice until appointed Chief Justice in 1923. He served in that capacity until 1945 when he returned to the status of a Justice until 1956.

A sink hole, known as St. Jacob's Well, is supposedly bottomless. Along the road near St. Jacob's well is a haunted house in which lights can be seen at night. A local real estate listing states, "the house is gone at the present time."

Fred Hinkle, an attorney, wrote a fictionalized account of Clark County Sheriff Lon Ford (1931, 1935, 1943, 1945) in his book, The Saddle and the Statutes.

Interesting sites in the county are the Stockgrowers Bank, the Potter House, oldest house in Clark County, and the Wallingford House.


For more information see the  website.Microfilm of county newspapers are located in the library in Ashland, as well a six volume set of Early Clark County Notes. Ardith George Williams', Social Changes in Clark County Since 1885, is in the Ashland Public Library, and Ashland's new Centennial Book, 1885-1985, is available.

Entry: Clark 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.