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Hamilton County, Kansas

Hamilton County was organized on January 29, 1886, by J. H. Luman; Laurence Hardy; Dennis Foley; and Thomas Ford. Named for Alexander Hamilton, it contains the cities of Coolidge and Syracuse.

Both Zebulon Pike, in 1806, and Stephen Longs' (1820) expeditions passed through the county. The county seat wars, beginning in 1886, between Syracuse, Kendall and Coolidge saw county government, at one time or another, partially located in all three. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on November 9, 1888, that Syracuse was the permanent county seat.

The first church was a Presbyterian church founded on September 21, 1885. The first county fair was held October 4 and 5, 1907, in a tent on main street in Syracuse. It continues. The first school district was founded in the fall of 1885 in Syracuse. The first sessions were held in Barber Hall.

The Kansas legislature gave women the vote in city elections on February 13, 1887. That cleared the way for voters to elect an all-woman city council in Syracuse on April 5, 1887, the first in the nation. N. E. Wheeler was elected mayor; Caroline Johnson Barber, Mrs. W. A. Swartwood, Mrs. S. P. Nott, Mrs. Charles Coe, and Mrs. G. C. Riggles were elected members of the council; and J. D. Woodruff was elected police judge.

Easton C. Bray, a resident of the county, was the first to practice the technique of "summer fallow" farming. He became known as the "wheat king of Kansas," was a director of the State Highway Department, and was a campaign manager for Alfred M. Landon's presidential campaign in 1936.

A story has been handed down through the years that at some time prior to 1885, a doctor's wife was buried on what is now Syracuse's main street, where the law enforcement office now stands.

Buggy Tracks, by Mrs. Bess Harrison, tells of life in the county.

For more information about the history of Hamilton County:

Entry: Hamilton 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: June 2019

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