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Rice County, Kansas

Rice County was organized on August 18, 1871, by Earl Joslyn; J. Q. Adams; C. S. Lindell; John A. Carlson; and Andrew Johnson. Named for General Samuel A. Rice, killed at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas, in the Civil War, the county contains the cities of Frederick, Bushton, Chase, Lyons, Raymond, Sterling, Little River, Alden and Geneseo.

In the spring of 1886 the first college in the county, Cooper College, was started by a group of state and local businessmen. It was named as a memorial to the late Reverend Joseph Cooper. The name was changed later to coincide with the town's name. The first church was the Sterling Weslyan Methodist organized on April 21, 1872. The first county fair was held in Lyons on October 11, 1901. The first school district was formed in 1871 and located in the town of Atlanta, now Lyons.

Interesting public figures in the county are Sam Jones, a country lawyer who practiced in the early 1900's in the Lyons area, was known as a "peoples" lawyer. He was credited with taking on the causes of the honest and exposing the crooked. Also Paul A. Jones, editor of the Lyons News is another editor considered a member of Kansas' "golden age of journalism."

Part fact and part legend, the mysterious serpent "intaglio," carved out of rock north of Lyons, was believed to have been done by prehistoric Indians. It is unknown whether or not the serpent was used for ritual purposes or as a devise to align a prehistoric calendar.

For more information see the Rice County website. County records and other sources are available at the courthouse, and the Coronado-Quivira Museum in Lyons.

Entry: Rice 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.