Jump to Navigation

Hodgeman County, Kansas

Hodgeman County, Kansas, in the southwest part of the state, was created from two counties no longer in existence. When county seat election results were contested, voters turned to the Kansas Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

Hodgman County was organized in 1879, where the Pawnee Indians once lived and hunted. An ancient sea that once covered the Smoky Hills region that formed the underlying Greenhorn limestone layer. This stone proved especially useful to farmers in an area with few trees. They made rock fence posts to hold barbed wire fencing. The county was named for Amos Hodgman who served in the Seventh Kansas Cavalry. The county is spelled slightly different than its namesake, with an extra letter. It was once part of the land that was the old Washington County, Peketon County, and later an enlarged Marion County.

The military road between Fort Dodge and Fort Hays ran through Hodgeman County. Army scouts and supply wagons made regular trips between forts. The town of Marena was laid out in 1878 and served as a station and shipping point on the Santa Fe Railway. It renamed Hanston in 1902.

Morton City was established by Exoduster families from Kentucky. The African Americans began arriving in 1879 to homestead, farm, and raise families. Life was difficult and they struggled to survive. The town was eventually abandoned.

Kansas 24th Judicial District - KS CourtsAn election was held in 1879 for the county seat location with Buckner winning by a comfortable margin. Voters were so discontented by the election that they turned to the Kansas Supreme Court to resolve disagreements. After all county commissioners were replaced and Buckner was made the permanent county seat, the town changed its name to Jetmore.

Arthur Hunt was a blacksmith in Jetmore who had an interest in aviation. He spent hours building, altering, and rebuilding a rotary airplane that has much in common with the helicopter. His aircraft had large metal rotors meant to lift and propel the ship. While his three different engines failed to overcome the weight of the contraption, Hunt is credited with contributing to the advancement of aviation.

Horse Thief Canyon, southeast of Jetmore, is a rocky outcropping that was a popular gathering point for picnics, horseback riding, and gatherings. Legends say the spot provided cover for cattle rustlers and horse thieves.

Hodgeman County properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places include the Hodgman County Courthouse, built in 1929. The T. S. Haun House was the first built on the Jetmore townsite. It was made of hand-hewn limestone. The county was mentioned in the 1992 film Unforgiven, starring Clint Eastwood. Eastwood’s character, William Munny, lived and worked as a pig farmer at the beginning of the movie.

Quick Facts

Date Established: February 26, 1867
Date Organized: March 29, 1879
County Seat: Jetmore
Kansas Region: Southwest
Physiographic Region: High Plains and Smoky Hills
Courthouse: May 1, 1903


1855 -1857 - Part of the old Washington County
1860 -1867 – Part of Peketon County
1867 - Establishment of Hodgeman County.
1879 - Organization of Hodgeman County
2004 - Prohibition ends in the county.

More on Hodgeman County


Entry: Hodgeman 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.