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The town site was founded in 1878 by four men from Great Bend, Kansas, who brought with them a surveyor from Rush County to help them find their land. A post office was established on March 26, 1879, and it was named Deighton, after the surveyor, Richard Deighton, who returned to his home and did not settle in Lane County. The name change to Dighton is attributed to the first issue of the Lane County Herald, printed on May 1, 1885 with "Watson, Dighton Po., Kansas" in the masthead. The editor never explained the change.
William A. Watson, a Methodist minister, arrived in the area in the spring of 1880, and in July 1881, he platted 40 acres of his quarter. He named the town after himself: Watson. He later purchased a homestead in 1885 in the northwest quarter of the town and platted 40 acres with the name of Watson's Addition. John Schiereck platted Schiereck's Addition to Watson in May 1885, and Ed Walker platted Walker's Addition to Watson a little bit later.
A group of people from Wichita came to Watson in late 1885 and established a town named Dighton on Schiereck's quarter. When the county was organized in 1886, both Dighton and Watson wanted the county seat. Watson was selected, but its name was changed to Dighton. By 1887, the population was 560, and there was also a financial boom at a time when many western Kansas towns were also experiencing boom times. Dighton continued to progress and with its standing as the county seat was and continues to be the largest town in Lane County.
The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.
"A Historical Record of Lane County, Founded June 3, 1886." Dighton, KS: Lane County Historical Society, 1961.
Stanley, Ellen May. "Early Lane County History: 12,000 B.C.-A.D. 1884". Newton, KS: Mennonite Press, 1993.
Stanley, Ellen May. "Early Lane County Development". Newton, KS: Mennonite Press, 1999.
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