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Osage County, Kansas

In the early years of Osage County, then known as Weller County, the county was affected by the political tension occurring in the Kansas Territory. Voter fraud and acts against both free state and proslavery men occurred. Years after the slavery issue was settled, the county experienced years of disputes over the county seat that even resulted in armed men threatening to burn Burlingame.

Osage County, was established as one of the original 1855 counties under the name of Weller County. In 1859, the county was organized, as well as the name changed to Osage, after the river and consequently the Indian tribe of the same name. Osage County was once home to the Sac and Fox Indian tribe, and the Shawnee Indians, although the Sac and Fox had a larger geographical presence within the county. The crossing of the Santa Fe Trail through the county, and the coming of the railroads all contributed to the settlement of the county. The arrival of the Indians in the county and their ultimate removal in the 1870’s were major events in the county and the state.

During the territorial period, Osage County faced problems with voting. When it came time to elect a delegate to the first territorial legislature, Missourians and decided to take control of the polls. They not only appointed their own people, but caused quite a ruckus. The winner was Mobillon Mc Gee, even though he was from Westport, Missouri. By the next morning they were headed back to Missouri. In the summer of 1856, they free state settlers were unable to transport supplies from the Missouri River without the help of armed guards. Free-staters had crimes committed against them during this time, but by 1857, as the population increased the free-staters gained the large majority. That same year, a free-state party came from some ways away and committed many acts against proslavery men. During the Civil War, Osage men fought and even responded to help at the time of Price’s Raid.