Until 1867 this was Osage Indian country. White settlement started when the government opened a strip along the east boundary for land-hungry settlers. The Osages quickly began selling "claims" to immigrants for a few dollars each. By 1869, when the county was organized, the Verdigris valley was alive with campers. Too late the Osages tried to stop the tide of settle- ment, and in 1870 they signed the Drum Creek treaty which removed them to present Oklahoma.
Independence, the county seat, was established six miles west in 1869, and Cherryvale, four miles north, in 1871. Coffeyville, 13 miles south, was founded in 1869 and moved to its present site in 1871. It was the home of Walter Johnson, sometimes called baseball's greatest pitcher. Here, in 1892, four members of the Dalton gang and four citizens were killed in a gun fight after the bandits had robbed the town's two banks.
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