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Sheridan County, Kansas

The sheep ranching industry was once an important industry in Sheridan County, especially for settlers like the Pratts who came to the county early in its history.

Sheridan County Kansas, organized in 1880, was named for General Phillip Sheridan. Due to cattle quarantine laws, weather, and other issues like economic conditions, the sheep industry became an important industry for a time in the 1880s and 1890s. Abraham Pratt settled in the area in 1878, then returned to England and brought back family members including sons. His son’s ranch, the John Fenton (Pratt) Ranch, also known as the Cottonwood Ranch, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a state historic site.

Immigration was good in the late 1870s, but due to grasshoppers and drought in 1880, many people left. In the mid-1880s immigration picked up again just in time for the well-known and terrible blizzard of 1885-1886.

During World War II, a U.S. Navy ship was named U. S. S. Sheridan, and commissioned July 31, 1943. The ship represented this county in Kansas as well as Sheridan counties in four other states.  

Kenneth was county seat until 1886, when the railroad went through Hoxie instead of Kenneth. Kenneth was moved to Hoxie and the county seat became Hoxie. The Union Pacific Railroad’s arrival in the late 1880s caused major economic benefits to the area.

Individuals of note with a connection to Sheridan County include Erastus Turner and Alex Fromme. Erastus J. Turner was a member of Congress from the county. Alex Fromme was born and raised in the county. He practiced law from many years in Hoxie before being appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Quick Facts

Date Established: March 20, 1873
Date Organized: June 2, 1880
County Seat: Hoxie
Kansas Region: Northwest
Physiographic Region: High Plains
Courthouse: 1917-1918


1873 - Sheridan County is established.
1878 - 1879-Abraham Pratt moves to the county in 1878 and returns with family around 1879.
1880 - Sheridan County
1886 - County seat moves from Kenneth to Hoxie. 

More on Sheridan County


Entry: Sheridan 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.