Ness County, of which Ness City is the county seat, was named for
Corporal Noah V. Ness who died of Civil War wounds on August 22,
that time there were no known residents of the
Corporal Ness|never lived in Ness County,
the name was selected by the State.
of Corporal Noah V. Ness
The land that now includes
Ness County was part of the area claimed by Spain as part of New
Mexico by right of the exploration of Coronado. It was also a part
of the Mississippi Valley which was claimed by France. These
boundaries overlapped and no actual boundaries existed until the
United States bought Louisiana from Napoleon in 1803.
It was Indian territory with
settlers soon beginning to cross the Mississippi River and move
westward on their overland route to California. The Army followed
them for their traveling protection, with Fort Riley being
established in 1853.
Lieutenant Bryan was sent
"out west" to survey a most direct route to Colorado in the year of
1855. He selected a route which followed on the north side of
Pawnee Creek, placing the route in this area. Bryan's report
provides the earliest record in the existence of Ness County.
The area first became a
territory in 1854 and a county in 1867, although it was not until
1880 that the county was organized and the county seat
Smith & Brinton's Block, Ness City
Most of the first settlers were
buffalo hunters who had seen the Walnut Valley which passes through
the center part of the county and came back to settle.
Among the first, if not the
first was Joe Dickson who came to the county to settle in 1873 but
did not file a claim until 1875.
Public School, Ness City
(father of Ness City) came in 1877 or early 1878. After a county
seat fight with Sidney (about a mile south of present Ness City)
Ness City was named the county seat. Calhoun deeded a block in Ness
City for a courthouse and jail. It was not until 1886, however,
that Ness City became an incorporated town, with George S. Redd
serving as the first mayor.
Over the years as fortune
smiled or frowned on the young city its growth and industry moved
up and down. At one time or another Ness City had a sugar mill, a
flour mill, a cheese factory, an ice-making plant, a greenhouse, a
bakery, and even five banks in operation at one time.
from a brochure by the Ness City Chamber of
History of the State of Kansas (1883) for more
history of the county.
The 1912 Blackmar's
Cylcopedic History of Kansas
mentions Ness City.
images of Ness City are online at WSU's Ablah Library.