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Sumner County, Kansas

County Seat: Wellington
Founded: 1871
Population:
    · 25,946 (2000)
    · 25,841 (1990)
    · 25,631 (1900)
Area: 1183 Square Miles
Standard Abbreviation: SU  

Sumner County

Sumner County Courthouse in Wellington.  Photo by Susan Howell
Sumner County Courthouse
 
Cattle, wheat, and railroads have defined Sumner County. The flat rich soil that covers much of the county produces vast amounts of wheat. As you drive through the county you can always see several grain elevators. The Santa Fe railroad runs east/west and the Union Pacific serves Peck, Riverdale, Wellington, Perth, Corbin, and Caldwell connecting Wichita and Enid, OK, over track once owned by the Rock Island. Highway US 160 runs across the county, and US 81/I-35 runs north/south.

History

Map of Sumner County, KS in 1899
Organized in 1873. County seat Wellington. In honor of Charles Sumner, the distinguished Massachusetts Senator.  In 1854 he was a leader in the opposition to extension of slavery into Kansas, as proposed in the Bill to organize the territory.
 
Map and text from History of Kansas, Noble Prentis, (Winfield: E.P. Greer. 1899)
 
Charles Sumner (1811-1874) was an abolitionist Senator from Massachusetts most famous for being severely beaten for his beliefs.
 
Early interest in the county was driven by the economic oppportunities offered by the herds of cattle coming up the Chisholm trail from Texas. Later the Oklahoma land rushes created and then drained towns in Sumner County.
 
Mrs Susanna Madora Salter (born 3/2/1860) served as mayor of Argonia in 1887 She was the first woman mayor elected in the US. The Salter home at Osage & Garfield is now a museum.
 
William G. Cutler's History of Kansas, first published in 1883, tells about early Sumner County.
 
There is a section on Sumner County in the book Kansas: a Cyclopedia Of State History by Frank Blackmar (1912).
 
The Special Collections of the Ablah Library at WSU contain historical images of Argonia, Belle Plaine, Caldwell, Conway Springs, Drury, Geuda Springs, Hunnewell, Milan, Mulvane, Oxford, & Wellington.
 
The Kansas State Historical Society also has more historical data for Sumner County online including a rich bibliography and lists of cemeteries, post offices, and newspapers.

Cities, & Towns of Sumner County

                2000
  Year  Elev Population Name
  ====  ==== ========== ====
        1130            Adamsville
        1310            Anson
  1885  1255        534 Argonia
  1893  1217            Ashton
  1871  1230      1,708 Belle Plaine
        1191            Bushnell
  1871  1149      1,284 Caldwell
        1320            Cicero
        1366      1,322 Conway Springs
        1155            Corbin
        1205            Dalton
        1217            Doster
        1092            Drury
        1349            Ewell
        1120        212 Geuda Springs
  1880  1105         83 Hunnewell
  1880  1281        113 Mayfield
        1211            Metcalf
  1879  1221        137 Milan
        1340            Millerton
  1886  1473            Milton
        1250      5,155 Mulvane  (partly in Sedgwick County)
        1185      1,173 Oxford
        1171            Paton
        1252            Peck
        1213            Perth
        1189            Portland
  1887  1321            Riverdale
        1260            Roland
  1883  1220            Rome
        1121        390 South Haven
        1407            Suppesville
  1871  1230      8,647 Wellington
        1169            Whitman
        1230            Zyba
Census Bureau Profile & Map

Special Places in Sumner County

  • The "Ghostriders of the Chisholm Trail" are actually life-sized silhouettes near US-81 south of Caldwell.
  • Be sure and taste the Conway Springs water.
  • The old mill at Oxford is no longer a water-powered flour mill; it's now a restaurant.
  • A mile east of Mayfield, there is a small park with a beautiful red stone marker describing the Chisholm Trail.
  • Outside Hunnewell is a small roadside park describing the town's role in the Oklahoma land rush.
  • Milton still has a Post Office and two churches.
  • Take the walking tour of downtown Caldwell; the downtown area is full of historic sites and markers.
  • A skull, jawbone, and other bones from wooly mammoths are on display inside the Sumner County Courthouse.

Special Events in Sumner County

  • Caldwell is the site of the annual Sumner County fair.
  • Old Settler's Days in Mulvane is one of the larger celebrations of local history in the state.
  • The Kansas Wheat festival is held every July in Wellington.

Libraries

  • Dixon Township Library
    P. O. Box 95, Argonia, KS 67004
  • Belle Plaine Public Library   (620) 488-3431
    225 W. Fifth / P. O. Box 700, Belle Plaine, KS 67013
  • Caldwell Public Library   (620) 845-6879
    8 N. Osage Street, Caldwell, KS 67022
  • Conway Springs Public Library   (620) 456-2859
    210 W. Spring, Conway Springs, KS 67031
  • Mulvane Public Library   (316) 777-1211
    101 E. Main, Mulvane, KS 67110
  • Oxford Public Library   (620) 455-2223
    115 S. Sumner / P. O. Box 337, Oxford, KS 67119
  • South Haven Township Library   (620) 892-5268
    P. O. Box 227, South Haven, KS 67140
  • Wellington Public Library   (620) 326-2011
    121 W. Seventh St., Wellington, KS 67152

Museums

  • Border Queen Museum   (620) 845-2948
    City Park, Caldwell, KS 67022
  • Cherokee Strip Center   (620) 845-2159
    1 N. Main, Caldwell, KS 67022
  • Chisholm Trail Museum   (620) 326-3820
    502 N. Washington, Wellington, KS 67152
  • Mulvane Historical Museum   (316) 777-0506
    300 W. Main, Mulvane, KS 67110
  • Salter House & Museum   (620) 435-6376
    220 West Garfield, Argonia, KS

Sumner County School Systems

Hospitals

  • Hospital District #1   (620) 845-6492
    601 S. Osage, Caldwell, KS 67022
  • Sumner Regional Medical Center   (620) 326-7451
    1323 N. A St., Wellington, KS 67152

Newspapers

  • Arena Talk   (620) 488-3598    Kansas' All-Breed * All-Event Horse News
    P.O.Box 1090, Belle Plaine, KS 67013
  • Belle Plaine News   (620) 488-2234
    431 N. Merchant, Belle Plaine, KS 67013
  • Caldwell Messenger   (620) 845-2320
    111 S. Main / P. O. Box 313, Caldwell, KS 67022
  • Conway Springs Star-Argonia Argosy   (620) 456-2473
    214 W. Spring, Conway Springs, KS
  • Mulvane News   (316) 777-4233
    204 W. Main, Mulvane, KS 67110
  • Oxford Register   (620) 455-3535
    110 E. Myrtle, Oxford, KS 67119
  • South Haven New Era
  • Wellington Daily News   (620) 326-3326
    113 W. Harvey, Wellington, KS 67152

More Data About Sumner County

Economic Data
  • Kansas County Profile Reports
    Statistical data from The Institute for Policy and Social Research, the University of Kansas
Health Data

Genealogy

Sumner County Offices

For more about Sumner County contact:

References

  • WPA The WPA Guide to 1930s Kansas (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. 1984)
  • Sanders, Gwendoline & Sanders, Paul The Sumner County Story (North Newton: Mennonite Press. 1966)
 
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Last updated on November 29, 2009 by COUNTIES@KSLIB.INFO
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