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Labette County, Kansas

Labette County was organized on March 10, 1867, by Larkin McGee; William Blythe; Finchel Monroe; David Hopins; Austin T. Dickerman; Samuel Collins; Jabez Zink; Charles Bent; C. H. Talbot; Ba. A. Rice; Elza Craft; David Lowe; J. S. Waters; C.C. Clover; J. F. Newlon; and George W. Kingsbury. Containing the cities of Chetopa, Edna, Bartlett, Labette, Mound Valley, Altamont, Oswego and Parsons, the county was named for the Kiowa Indians

The notorious Bender family of northwest Labette County and the discovery of their victims in 1873 are all significant events.

The Methodist church in Chetopa was founded in 1858 by Reverend J. B. Barnaby, a circuit rider. The first county fair was held either in 1872 or 1875 in Oswego. The first school district was organized in Oswego in 1867.

Interesting Kansans from this county include Clyde M. Reed, Sr., who served as Governor of Kansas (1929-1931) and as a U. S. Senator (1939-1949). Bishop Waldon Perkins, a lawyer-politician and graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, came to Labette County in 1869. He was appointed a probate judge the day following his arrival in the county, and served all but 30 days of the remainder of his life out of public service. He died while a U. S. Senator in 1891 having served since 1883. Others serving in elected offices from the county include Governor Payne Ratner (1939-1943), Congressman Perkins (see above, 1883-1891), and Myron George (1950-1950). William Atkinson served as a Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court in 1904. Edythe Squier Draper,  author of short stories and children’s books, was a columnist for the Parsons Sun.

Interesting sites in the county include the Hollingsworth Log House, the Edna State Bank Building, J. B. Cook home, Pfaff Home, Piper Ranch, Parsons Library and the Oswego Public Library.

For more information see the Labette County website. The public libraries in both Chetopa and Oswego have local history collections.

Entry: Labette 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.