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Kansas Counties

Kansas currently has 105 counties; 28 other counties have existed but are now defunct due to name changes, reorganizations, or mergers and splits.

Find information on current and defunct counties:

The Newberry Library has an interactive map showing current and historic county boundaries.

Kansas County Names

Cram map of Kansas

Counties Named for Indian Tribes

Other Counties With Indian Names

  • Nemaha, probably from the Otoe word Ne-ma-ha, meaning 'muddy water' or 'swampy water.'
  • Neosho, most likely from the Osage word ne-o-zho or ne-u-zhu, meaning clear water.
  • Peketon (defunct), origin uncertain, possibly from a Sac Indian word meaning flat land.
  • Republic County is named indirectly for the Pawnee Republic, a major division of the Pawnee tribe.
  • Sequoyah (defunct), in honor of the Cherokee Indian leader Sequoyah (1776-1843).
  • Wabaunsee, named for the Pottawatomie chief Wah-Bahn-Se (1760s?-1845 or 6)

Counties Named for Kansas Territorial and Pre-Territorial Residents

Counties Named for Prominent Kansans

Counties Named for U.S. Presidents

Counties Named for Statesmen and Political Figures Outside Kansas

Counties Named for Civil War Soldiers

Counties Named for Other Soldiers

Counties Named for Women

Barton County is the only current Kansas county named for a woman. It is named for Clara Harlowe Barton (1821-1912), Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross.

Shirley County (defunct) may have been named as a joke for Jane Shirley, a lady of questionable character in the Leavenworth area, although other versions of its origin exist.

Counties Named for Writers and Journalists

Counties Named After Other Places

  • Bourbon County is named for the Kentucky county of that name.
  • Chautauqua County was named for a county in New York.

Other County Names

Saline County is named for the Saline ('salty') River.

Buffalo (defunct) County was named after the American bison.

Elk County was named for the Elk River, itself named after the animal.

Defunct county history additions made possible in part by volunteer Jim Huss.