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Scott County, Kansas

Scott County, Kansas, is home to much Native American history. Remains of El Cuartelejo, associated with the Plains Apache dating back hundreds of years ago are within the county, and Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork took place within its borders in 1878.

Scott County, Kansas, organized in 1886, was named for General Winfield Scott. Scott fought in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Mexican War, and in the Civil War for the cause of the Union. Scott County was once part of the land that was the old Washington County, Peketon County, and later an enlarged Marion County.

Long before Kansas was a territory, the Dismal River Culture, specifically the Plains Apache, lived in the area in the late 17th and/or early 18th century. The El Cuartelejo Archeological District shows the remains of what is believed to be from them. It seems as if the Pueblo Indians either inspired or stayed with the tribe at one point, as there was a Pueblo structure. They are known to have traded with the Pueblos. They likely came into contain with other tribes who may have stayed with them when those tribes experienced times of trouble. This site is a National Historic Landmark.

 In 1878, Cheyenne Indians escaping from present day Oklahoma, led by Dull Knife and Little Wolf fought U.S. Troops led by Colonel William Lewis in the Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork. There were casualties on both sides, including Lewis. Despite the military’s mission to return the Cheyenne to Oklahoma, they escaped and continued north on their mission to return to Montana. They raided and killed settlers on their way. This incident was just a piece of a bigger event called the Northern Cheyenne Exodus. Despite 1878 seeing the last of the battles and raids in Kansas, the struggle continued as they headed north and eventually out of Kansas. More fighting, and even imprisonment, and legal actions without convictions occurred. In 1884, the Northern Cheyenne Reservation was created in Montana. Dull Knife and Little Wolf, had played a crucial rule in achieving this goal.

Farming continues to be important in the county, which is among the top sorghum producers. Ranching is also an important industry; the county has among the largest inventory of cattle and calves in the state.

Scott County properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places include El Cuartelejo and the site of the Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork.

Quick Facts

Date Established: March 20, 1873
Date Organized: June 29, 1886
County Seat: Scott City
Kansas Region: Southwest
Physiographic Region: High Plains
Scenic Byway: Western Vistas
State Park: Historic Scott State Park
Courthouse: November 11, 1924


1650 - 1750 -El Cuartelejo pueblo
1873 - Scott County is established.
1878 - Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork.
1886 - Scott county is organized. 

More on Scott County


Entry: Scott 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.