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Jackson County, Kansas

Jackson County, organized as one of the original 33 counties by the Territorial Legislature, was organized on September 24, 1855.The county was founded by George Coleman; Stephen J. Elliot; John Dutt; Simon McCrory; Simeon Fees; Godfrey Hafer; James H. Baxter; S. W. McComas; Peter Bryant; Preston H. Humphrey; John James; J. H. Bateman; A. Ash; John Arnold; A. G. Campbell; Henry Lueck; Samuel Newman; S. Stephenson; Isaac Gordon, and named for Andrew Jackson. The county was originally named Calhoun, but with the beginning of the Civil War the name was patriotically changed to Jackson for his denunciation of nullification. Jackson County contains the cities of Denison, Mayetta, Hoyt, Holton, Circleville, Netawaka, Soldier, Delia and Whiting.

The "Battle of the Spurs" that occurred in 1858 about seven miles north of Holton, between free staters and pro slavery forces was indicative of the struggle between the two factions in the county. John Brown and the underground railroad also operated in the county prior to statehood. The coming of the Rock Island Railroad to the county in 1886-1887 was a major economic boost to the county. At least one town moved to the railroad, and others were founded along the route. Carrie Nation visited several saloons in the county. The founding of Campbell College, Holton, (1882-1917), added to the educational facilities of the county.

The first church in the county was the Holton Methodist organized in 1858. The first county fair was held September 30 through October 2, 1873, on grounds west of Holton. The fair has been held at this same location from that time to the present. The first school building was a log structure constructed in 1869 south of Holton.

Albert M. Cole, congressman, Moses Milton Beck, the founder and publisher of the Holton Recorder newspaper, and his son Will T. Beck, were some of the better known Jackson County figures. The elder Beck began the Recorder in 1875 and remained active until 1931 when Will became publisher. Cole served in Congress from 1945 to 1953. Case Broderick was also a Congressman from the county (1891-1899), and Edward Sloan served as a Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court (1931-1933).

For more information see the Jackson County website. The Jackson County Historical Society, the Holton Public Library, and the courthouse have newspapers, county records, genealogical information, publications, and other information on the county.

Entry: Jackson 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: August 2017

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