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Homesteading in Barton County


In the Fall of 1871, Arron Burlison erected a house just east of section 31 (which is now the town of Ellinwood, Kansas), and petitioned for a post office to be called Ellinwood. Captain John Ellinwood was a locating engineer for the A.T.S.F. railway and was camped on the Arkansas River at that time. The railroad reached Ellinwood in July of 1872, the town was platted and lots were put up for sale by the Arkansas Valley Town Company, owner of section 31.

Railroad agent C. B. Schmidt, who has been characterized as the ablest German immigration agent ever to do business in the state of Kansas, earmarked Ellinwood as a German colony. To attract the German speaking populace, Schmidt and the A.T.S.F. distributed brochures, printed in German, in every German-speaking community in the United States, as well as traveling to Europe over a dozen times to recruit and usher ships full of Germans to the United States and on to Kansas. The first settlers were English speaking but Schmidt's efforts soon paid off and Ellinwood was known as a German community for the next hundred years.


Barton County - Ellinwood main street
Main Street Ellinwood in 1873


Barton County - Ellinwood Wolf's Mill
Wolf Milling Company

Barton County - German Lutheran Church
German Lutheran Church


Information from Robert E. Yarmer 

Various Authors. Biographical History of Barton County, Kansas. Great Bend: Great Bend Tribune, 1912.


Hours and Contacts

Monday,April 21 Forsyth will close at 10 pm because of no electricity

Spring Hours:
Sun:             1:00 pm - 2:00 am
Mon-Thurs: 7:30 am - 2:00 am
Friday:         7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:            10:00 am - 5:00 pm

For current month(s) and detailed information, please select desired month under announcements (below).

Phone: 785.628.4434
Fax: 785.628.4096
Contacts Directory
Mailing Address:
   Forsyth Library
   600 Park Street
   Hays, KS 67601
Physical Address:

   502 South Campus Drive
   Hays, KS 67601-4099