Jump to Navigation

Jewell County, Kansas

The 1860s saw Indians attacks and threats that brought fear to the settlers of the future Jewell County. The Indians committed several terrible acts, including murder upon the settlers.

Jewell County, Kansas, organized in 1870, is named for Lieutenant Colonel Lewis F. Jewell, who was killed in 1862, while serving in the Sixth Kansas Cavalry.

Even before organization, settlers came to Jewell County. Indian attacks and scares occurred in the 1860’s. Many settlers were killed and terrible acts were committed by the Indians. A battle fought between Sioux and Pawnees, caused on of the Indians to be murdered in a terrible manner. The fearful settlers even went so far as to leave the county at times. There was a rumor indicating a possible attack by the Cheyenne Indians in 1870, and the settlers acted. Fort Jewell was established to protect settlers. The fort, however, was not attacked.

The original county seat had been Jewell City when the county was organized. Through an election in 1873, Jewell Center, now Mankato, became the county seat.

Jewell County properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places include. One such property is the Jewell County Courthouse. Built in 1936-1937, it was designed by Joseph Radotinsky, a Kansas native and who served terms as the state architect in the early 1930s.

Jewell County Courthouse - WikipediaA group of people of the Quaker faith established a community originally called Quaker Point in Jewell County in 1872. The village was renamed North Branch. As the community grew, they added a church, cemetery, and businesses. D. H. Dillon stored goods in his house until he could build the first store in 1882. He provided an essential service to his customers, carrying an array of merchandise. The nearest town was 10 miles away and there were few roads. The community also used the store as a post office and meeting hall. The Northbranch store is one story wooden structure with a corrugated metal roof. It was listed in the Register of Historic Kansas Places in 2002.

Wint Smith, whose career began with the Kansas State Highway Commission, and who was the first director of the early highway patrol, was an officer in both World War I and World War II, rising to the rank of colonel. He also served as congressman from Kansas. Hayes B. White also served in Congress from the county. While not from the county, Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike’s Peak is named, traveled through Jewell County on an expedition around 1806.

Quick Facts

Date Established: February 26, 1867
Date Organized: July 14, 1870
County Seat: Mankato
Kansas Region: North Central
Physiographic Region: Smoky Hills
State Park: Lovewell State Park
Courthouse: 1936-1937


1860 - Indian scares and murders occur in Jewell County. Many settlers leave due to the threat.
1870 - Jewell County is organized
1870 - Fort Jewell is built to protect settlers from a rumored Indian attack, which never occurred.
1870 - The last Indian raid occurs in this year.
1873 - Jewell Center, now Mankato, becomes the county seat.
1936 - 1937 - Jewell County Courthouse is built.

More on Jewell County


Entry: Jewell 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 2023

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