Situated in western Kansas, Pawnee County was created in 1867 and
named for the
who had long inhabited the area utilizing it as their hunting grounds. Years
before the county was created,
Fort Larned was
established on the
the fall of 1859 and the buildings completed in 1860. In 1862 a post office was
established at the military post at Fort Larned. However, no other settlers came
to the area until 1864, when Samuel Parker established a ranch about a mile and
a half above the mouth of
Pawnee Fork. The next year he built another ranch
house farther up the stream, which he sold to Tortat & Fletchfield. In 1867 this
ranch was in the hands of a Mr. Wagginer, whose wife was the first white woman
in the county. However, after area
ran off the stock and burned the buildings, the ranch was sold to a man named
A.H. Boyd, who was also harassed by the Indians.
In 1868 his stock was also ran off. Sometime later, while Boyd and another man
named McGinnis were traveling back from
Fort Larned, they were
Indians, who killed McGinnis and stole his horse. Boyd barely
escaped with his life. The last Indian raid occurred in 1871, when ten mules and
six horses were run off from the Boyd ranch. Among other early settlers were
John Haney, William White, Henry Booth, F.C. Hawkins, F. S. Burleson, T.
McCarthy and George Nolan.
On November 4, 1872, Governor James M. Harvey issued a
proclamation organizing the county, which provided for the temporary county seat
at Larned and appointed public officers and commissioners. That same year,
several new settlers came to the area including George B. Cox and the first
general store was established at Larned by Colegrove & Russell in June, 1872.
The first general election occurred November 5, 1872.
In 1873 the county was divided into townships and a colony
from Geneva, Ohio settled in Garfield Township in May, and Adams Peabody
in Pleasant Valley Township. The settlement of Garfield gained a post office in
June, 1873, with E. W. Grover as its first post master. Soon, there would also
be post offices in the burgeoning settlements of Burdett, Frizell, Larned, Point
View, Ray, Rozel and Sanford. The population in 1873 was estimated at 150 but it
would continue to grow and by 1876, there were nine school buildings in the
In July, 1874, the county was plagued by grasshoppers, which
came in swarms so large they blocked out the sun and brought with them near near
total destruction. That same year, county settlers received their last Indian
scare, bringing numerous settlers from outlying communities into Larned, though
nothing resulted of the scare.
By 1882, the population of the county had increased to more
than 4,300 people and by 1900 to more than 5,000. By this time, the county had
developed primarily into an agricultural area.