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Jefferson County, Kansas

Jefferson county was one of the original 33 counties created by the Territorial Legislature. It was organized on March 27, 1856, by Daniel Morgan Boone (son of Daniel Boone); William and George Dyer; Henry Zen; Henry Chubb; William B. Wade; Sidney Stewart; Aaron Cook; R. P. Beebe; Jefferson Riddle; and J. T. Wilson. It contains the cities of Valley Falls, Winchester, Perry, Nortonville, Oskaloosa, Ozawkie, Meriden, and McLouth. The county was named for Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson County was part of the long struggle during the free-state controversies because of its location. After a series of raids, and "squatter" settlements, Missouri pro slave supporters drove voters from the polls during the first county elections. During 1856 the trouble culminated in the Battle of Hickory Point and a raid on Grasshopper Falls (now Valley Falls).

One of the more interesting figures of the county was Moses Harmon, an avowed anarchist, who published the remarkable newspaper,Lucifer, the Light-Bearer in Valley Falls from 1886 until he moved the paper to Topeka in October of 1890. Harmon dated his paper as "E.M." which stood for Era of Man. William A. Smith was also of Jefferson County, and served on the Kansas Supreme Court from 1930 to 1957. He was Chief Justice from 1956 to 1957.


For more information see the Jefferson County website.

Entry: Jefferson 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: October 2015

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.