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Rooks County, Kansas

Rooks County, Kansas experienced many weather events such as flooding and tornadoes. One town was unlucky enough to experience a tornado on the same day for three straight years.

Rooks County, Kansas, organized in 1872, was named after John Calvin Rooks, a private in the Union Army who died in 1862 during the Civil War. Stockton, whose founding settlers were in the stock industry, was named temporary county seat. It was later confirmed in an election as the permanent county seat. Some reports imply there was less than honest practices in not only the organization of the county, but also during the voting of the county seat.

In the 1950s the Webster Dam was built. Some people from the town of Webster had been a proponent of a dam being built, even gathering together a petition long before the dam was built. Unfortunately, when the dam was built the town of Webster had to be relocated, as the original location is now underwater. Prior to the dam being built, the small community of the old Webster was active in social organizations and groups. The town was in a flood plain, and while floods were not uncommon, one particularly notable flood was in 1951 prior to the building of the dam. The dam was dedicated in 1956.

A French settlement started in the 1870s when French Canadian settlers immigrated to the Logan Township, now part of Township 10. Zurich, located within the same township, saw several trains come through a day on the Union Pacific Railroad and was a thriving community. The railroad was important to many towns, including Stockton.

District Court | The town of Codell couldn’t seem to catch a break during the years of 1916-1918. For those three years straight on May 20th, a tornado hit the area of the town. The 1918 tornado was especially destructive to the town.

Oil was discovered in parts of the county, even in the county seat of Stockton. This was an important industry to the county. The stock business was the county’s first industry, as seen by the name of the county seat of Stockton.

Rooks County properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places includes the Rooks County Courthouse, built in the early 1920s. Stockton Public Library was a Carnegie Library.

W.L. Chambers who founded the Rooks County Record in 1879, continued its publication until 192. He was considered one of the leaders of the county, championing many causes.

Quick Facts

Date Established: February 26, 1867
Date Organized: November 26, 1872
County Seat: Stockton
Kansas Region: Northwest
Physiographic Region: Smoky Hills and High Plains
State Park: Webster State Park
Courthouse: September 8, 1921


1867 - Rooks County is established on February 26
1872 - Rooks County is organized
1916 - 1918 - On May 20 three years straight a tornado hits the Codell area
1950 - Webster Dam is built

More on Rooks County


Entry: Rooks 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.