Sumner County Trails To The Past
The county was formally organized by the governor's proclamation on February 7th, 1871, and the first county seat election, and election of permanent county officers, was held on September 26th, 1871. The county was divided into three commissioners districts, and into four voting precincts. The election of the first precinct was held at Belle Plaine; the election of the second precinct was held at the house of Henry Brown, in Greene Township; the third precinct held their election at Wellington; the fourth voting precinct included the southwest quarter of the county; the election was held at Colson and Ryland's Ranch. This territory has since been divided, and now includes the following named townships: Morris, Chikaskia, Downs, Jackson, South Haven, Falls, Caldwell and Bluff.
The first county officers elected were the following named individuals: County Commissioner, First District, David Richards; Second District, A. D. Rosencrans; Third District, Reuben Riggs; County Clerk, C. S. Broadbent; County Treasurer, R. Freeman;Probate Judge, G. M. Miller; Register of Deeds, J. Romine; Sheriff, J. J. Ferguson; Coroner, Charles D. Brande; County Attorney, George N. Godfrey; Clerk of the District Court, W. A. Thompson; Superintendent of Public Instruction, A. M. Colson; County Surveyor, W. A. Ramsey.
Officers elected to office in the Fourth Precinct: C. E. Sullivan, Trustee; M. H. Lester and George Mack, Justices of the Peace; Frank Barrington, Clerk; G. W. Peters, Treasurer; C. P. Epps and John J. Youell, Constables; T. S. Anderson and Noble Jewitt, Road Overseers. The total number of votes polled in the county was 805.
During this time a great race was being made to determine where the county seat should be located. The towns contesting for the county seat were, Wellington, Sumner City, Meridian and Belle Plaine. Gov. Harvey issued a proclamation on February 7th, 1871, appointing Meridian as the temporary county seat; in accordance with the prayer of a petition from Meridian, also appointed W. J. Ughler, J. S. McMahon and J. J. Abell, Temporary County Commissioners. As a matter of fact, Meridian was at this time, a purely imaginary town, as its site had not been so much as staked out or stepped off. It was not until July 17, 1871, that the town company was organized. No steps were taken toward providing for the seat of county government at Meridian, and when the commissioners met on June 15, 1871, on the open prairie near the supposed site of the town, they ordered the future business of the county to be transacted at Wellington. After much wrangling between towns, and several elections, Wellington became the permanent county seat.
Early in it's history Sumner county played a huge role in the cattle industry of the day. Early on cattle were driven up from Texas over the Chisholm Trail through, what would become, Sumner county to the rail head at Abilene. Later, rail heads built in Caldwell and South Haven, and finally Hunnewell, were important shipping points for cattle to the east. The Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, possibly the largest cattlemen’s association, was formed in Caldwell in 1883 after three years of informal meetings. The association leased the entire 6,000,000 acres of the Cherokee Outlet from the Cherokee Nation and sublet portions to individuals and corporations. The ranchers of this association held hundreds of thousands of head of cattle on the Cherokee Outlet in Indian Territory.
Sumner County Cemetery Listing on Find-A-Grave Sumner County Cemetery Listings on
Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society
Box 402
Wellington, Kansas 67152
Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Research Center
Memorial Auditorium
208 N. Washington
Wellington Kansas
Tuesday 10am - 4pm.
(May be closed for lunch)
Also Open by appointment.
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Page Created 12 January 2012
Last Updated, Tuesday, 10-Jul-2018 11:03:03 MDT
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