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Ottawa County, Kansas

Ottawa County, named for the Ottawa Indians, was founded by William Stitt; George Darling; and Seymour Ayers. The county was created on February 27, 1860, but was not organized until November 1866. It contains the cities of Bennington, Culver, Minneapolis, Tescott and Delphos.

In 1866 voters selected Ayersville as the county seat, but in 1867 the county seat moved to Lindsey for lack of official notification from the state to Ayersville. In 1870 voters moved the seat of government to Minneapolis in a closely contested vote. Two disastrous Indian raids in 1868 occurred, one resulting in two women being captured and four men killed. One of the women, Mrs. James Morgan, was recaptured by George A. Custer. A grasshopper invasion 1874 almost totally wiped out the crops in the county.

The Ada Baptist and Methodist churches organized a Union Sunday School in 1870. In 1872 the two split to organize their separate churches. Bennington and Minneapolis had churches organized in 1871 and 1872. The first fair was held in 1875 west of Minneapolis and continues. The first school district was organized in 1864 in Concord Township.

George Washington Carver, the noted black scientist who homesteaded in Kansas in 1886, was schooled in Minneapolis for seven years. William Agnew Johnston, who settled in Minneapolis in 1872, was elected to the state legislature in 1876, was Attorney General 1880-1884, and a Justice (1884-1903) and Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, 1903-1935. Robin R. Rees served as a Congressman from 1911 to 1913.

A ladies' lingerie drummer (salesman) arrived in Minneapolis one day, made the rounds of all the stores, then hired a man to drive him to "Rock City" so he could sell all the ladies there his wares. He would not listen to the explanation that the "city" was just a lot of rocks.

Buffalo Stampede, by Margaret Bayles Jagger, and The Peace of the Solomon Valley, by Margaret Hill McCarter, are both novels possibly set in or near the county.

For more information see the  website. The Ottawa County Historical Museum, and the Minneapolis Public Library have several publications and other reference sources on the county's history.

Entry: Ottawa 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.