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Saline County, Kansas

Saline County was organized on February 15, 1860, by Preston B. Plumb; Gotthart and John Shippel; Colonel W. A. Phillips; A. M. Campbell; James Muir; A. C. Spillman; and Robert Crawford. New Cambria, Gypsum, Salina, Assaria, Smolan and Brookville are cities within the county. The county was named for the Saline (salt) River.

The Salina First Presbyterian Church was organized on May 12, 1860. The first county fair was held in Salina on October 10, 1872. The first school district, Number 1, Riverside, was organized on February 1, 1866.

Interesting public figures in the county include Mary Ann (Mother) Bickerdyke, a field nurse in the Civil War, contributed much to the county by bringing in over 300 families to the area. Glen Martin, who on August 1, 1908, performed the first aircraft flight that took off under its own power was a native of the county. He also designed the first parachute, the first bomber, and designed a prototype of the first super airplane. He was founder of Martin Aircraft in California. Tom Braniff, the founder of Braniff airlines, was also from the county. Steve Hawley, a NASA astronaut, is from Salina. John Carlin, Governor of Kansas from 1979 to 1987, is a native of Smolan. Joseph W. Bristow was an U. S. Senator (1909-1915), and William Phillips (1873-1879) and Lewis Hanback (1885-1887) were Congressmen. Rousseau Burch served as a Justice (1902-1935) and a Chief Justice (1935-1937) of the Kansas Supreme Court. Film and television actor George Murdock was born in Salina in 1930. He starred in the original in Battlestar Gallactica series.

The Indians have a legend that Salina was safe from tornadoes because it was situated at the fork of two rivers.

National Register and/or other interesting sites in the county include the Prescott House, the Schwartz and Skelley House, the Litowich House, the Charles Schwatz House and the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot.

For more information see the Saline County website. The Kansas Room at the Salina Public Library, the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society, and the Smoky Hill Museum all have research facilities and local source materials.

Entry: Saline 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: December 2021

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.