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Finney County, Kansas

Finney County was organized on October 1, 1884, by William and James Foulton; John Stevens; Charles Jones. Originally named Sequoyah, the county name was changed to honor Kansas Lieutenant Governor Finney of Woodson County. The county contains the cities of Garden City and Holcomb.

The first church was the Congregational Church of Garden City founded in 1870. The first county fair was established in Garden City in 1938. Many different fairs had been held from 1886 on, but very few county fairs until the 1938 organization. The first school district was formed in Garden City on November 24, 1884, but no schools were built until the following year.

Charles Jesse Buffalo JonesInteresting public figures from the county include C. J. "Buffalo" Jones. A businessman, entrepreneur, hunter, lecturer, and game warden for Yellowstone Park, 1902-1905, he was a rival of Buffalo Bill Cody in that Jones wished to preserve the buffalo. C. J. "Buffalo" Jones was the subject of Zane Grey's Last of the Plainsmen, and Henry Inman's Buffalo Jones' Forty Years of Adventure. Guy Scull, Lassoing Wild Animals in Africa, and the Lord of the Beasts, by Ralph Kersey also concern Jones.

William Eastman Hutchinson, a native of the county was an Associate Justice, Kansas Supreme Court, 1927-1939. Richard Hopkins was an Associate Justice, Kansas Supreme Court (1923-1929) Henry Freeman was an Associate Justice, Kansas Supreme Court (1903-1927). Clifford R. Hope, a native of Garden City served in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1927 to 1957. William H. Thompson served in the U. S. Senate from 1913 to 1919.

Truman Capote's historical novel, In Cold Blood, was written about the Clutter family murders in Holcomb.

Interesting sites in the county include the Windsor Hotel, the Buffalo Hotel (Supposedly built by Buffalo Jones), and the American Legion Club.

For more information see the Finney County website. The Finney County Historical Society, Garden City, has an archives, photograph collection, and historic artifacts. The Public Library has family records, cemetery information, and the records of the Genealogical Society. The court house has court records.

Timeline for events in Finney County:

  • 1700s – Plains Indians live and hunt in the region when Spanish explorers arrive
  • 1879 – C. J. Jones, John A. Stevens, and William D. and James R. Fulton establish Garden City
  • 1883 – Finney County established, named for Lieutenant Governor David Wesley Finney
  • 1900 – People from Mexico arrive to work on ranches    
  • 1906 – U.S. Sugar and Land Company opens factory
  • 1922 – Big Dipper Pool opens as one of the world’s largest
  • 1926 – Mexican Fiesta begins
  • 1940s – People from Mexico arrive to work on sugar beet farms
  • 1968 – Beef Empire Days started
  • 1975 – People from Vietnam arrive to work in packing plants
  • 1980 – Nation’s largest beef packing plant opens in Holcomb
  • 1983 – Garden City packing plant opens
  • 2006 – People from Somalia, Burma, and Ethiopia arrive to work in packing plants.
  • 2008 - Finney County is the fastest growing county in Kansas

Entry: Finney 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.