Hampton, Kansas

Big Timbers Creek Crossing on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail, photo courtesy Santa Fe Trail Research

Big Timbers Creek Crossing on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail, photo courtesy Santa Fe Trail Research.

Hampton, Kansas, is an extinct town in Rush County.

Located on Big Timbers Creek along the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail, this stop once provided good water and grass for travelers. Here, a small community called Hampton, named for Joe Hampton, the area’s first settler, was established.

Monty Leach operated a small store at the crossing and became the town’s first postmaster on February 2, 1877. The small community began to grow, and Richard Mulroy built a two-story house and later a hotel. More businesses were soon established, including the Noble Brothers Store and a blacksmith shop operated by Billy Metz.

As more and more settlers came to the area, a stage company was founded by John Buffer, who operated for only two months in 1877. However, after Buffer’s failure, Bob Brooks and Captain G. W. Edwards opened another stage line headquartered in Hampton. The business carried mail deliveries and passengers between Forts Hays and Dodge City on a three-day journey. Operating two three-seated coaches, accommodating six passengers, each paid a six-dollar fare for a one-way ride.

Following the Dull Knife Raid in the fall of 1878, in which Cheyenne Indians left their reservation in Oklahoma and raided western Kansas, the stage service was disrupted for a week. However, it soon resumed under the escort of soldiers for two weeks. It is unknown how long the stage operated. Bob Brooks soon opened a general store. At some point, the community had a school. But, for Hampton, life would be short. When nearby McCracken was organized with the coming of the railroad in 1886, Hampton began to die. Bob Brooks continued to run his store for 3-4 years following McCracken’s founding, but it finally closed.

Hampton’s post office was discontinued on December 15, 1887, but opened again just a month later on January 18, 1888. It closed for the final time on December 15, 1910. 

Though the community is long gone today, area residents have worked to restore the Hampton Cemetery, located about five miles east of McCracken. The townsite of Hampton was located immediately south of the cemetery. Across the road from the townsite, the foundation of the old schoolhouse can still be seen. Several ruts of the old trail can also be spied to the north of the foundation.

©Kathy Weiser-Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated September 2023.

Also See:

Fort Hays – Fort Dodge Trail

Rush County, Kansas

Rush County Photo Gallery

Rush County Extinct Towns