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Elk County, Kansas

Elk County was organized on March 25, 1875, by A. F. Eby; J. C. Pinney; Richard Graves; James Shipley; R. M. Humphry; Elison Neat; H. G. Moller; Richard Graves; A. P. Searcy; S. B. Oberlender; J. N. Young; R. H. Nichols; S. J. Bascom; Phelix Lorance; Mark McBee; and T. M. Carter. Named for the Elk River, the county contains the cities of Elk Falls, Grenola, Howard, Longton and Moline.

A long running dispute over the county seat location of Howard County (established in 1867), between Elk Falls, Howard, Boston, Peru, and Longdon, which included the use of Kansas Militia to keep the peace, led to a move in 1875 to divide the county. In 1875 Howard County divided into Elk and Chautauqua counties, primarily to settle the county seat feud.

The Missionary Baptist Church was organized in Liberty Township in 1866. The first fairs were held in Howard and Longdon but the exact dates they began are unknown. The first school was held in 1866 in a log cabin on Indian Creek.

Interesting figures from the county include Tom E. Thompson, the editor of the Howard Courant was known over the state as Polk Daniels. Nettie H. Morse, the ninth woman in the Kansas House of Representatives. Harry Woodring, Governor, 1931-1933, was born in Elk City.

Interesting sites in the county include the National Bank Building in Howard, the Henry Zirn House, and the Rader House.

For more information see the Elk County website. The Howard Public Library, the Benson Historical Museum in Howard, and the Shaffer House Museum in Moline all have collections pertaining to the history of the county.

Entry: Elk 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.