Situated on the original Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, the town probably got its start as a railroad stop in the early 1920s. Later, the United Carbon Company built a carbon plant southeast of Ryus. It was the world’s largest carbon black production plant at one time. This brought more people to the area, and the children attended schools in Satanta, Kansas, located about seven miles to the southeast.
When the plant closed in 1960, many families bought the company-provided houses and moved them into Satanta, resulting in the first significant addition to that town.
Ryus never had a post office. Today, Ryus is little more than a scattering of homes and grain elevators. It is located about 14 miles southeast of Ulysses at the intersection of the Cimarron Valley Railroad and Kansas Highway 190.
Established by the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Santa Fe Trail marker lies midway between Ryus and Hickok. it is located south of U.S. Highway 160, about 1.9 miles on the west side of Road V.