Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Academic Divisions > Forsyth Library > Kansas Heritage > Finney County
Eminence | Garden City | Holcomb | Kalvesta | Lakin | Leeser | Pierceville | Ravanna
Prentis, Noble Lovely. "History of Kansas". Winfield, KS: E. P. Greer, 1899.
Finney County started out as several counties that were never organized. Later, after it was established, a new county with the name of Garfield was created using some of its townships; Garfield County was declared unconstitutional six years later. Finney County was named in honor or Lieutenant Governor Finney who was from Woodson County.
The first settler of the county, John O'Loughlin, made his home in what is now Lakin in Kearny County in 1873.
Sequoyah County was created in 1873 by the Kansas Legislature and was attached to Ford County as a township for judicial purposes. Arapahoe County was directly south of Sequoyah County and the Cimarron River ran through the county's southeast corner. (There was another Arapahoe County which was a little bit further north, and its territory covered some of what is now eastern Colorado to the Rocky Mountains in the Kansas Territory.) Buffalo County was also created in 1873. Between 1873 and 1887, the surrounding counties of Hodgeman, Finney, Gray and Lane received sections of Buffalo County.
In 1883, the Kansas Legislature created Finney County from the unorganized counties of Sequoyah and Arapahoe and parts of the unorganized counties of Kearny, Grant, Lane, Gray and Meade. In 1885, the southeast part of the county was returned to Meade County. In 1887, six townships from the northeast corner of Finney County and six from the northwest corner of Hodgeman County were used to create Garfield County. Shortly afterwards, a county seat war began between the towns of Ravanna and Eminence. Eventually Garfield County became Garfield Township of Finney County on March 7, 1893, due in large part to the county seat war. It was declared unconstitutional and its organization was voided.
There was a Jewish colony located in Garfield County east of Ravanna called Beersheba. (See Hodgeman County for information). It was one of several Jewish agricultural colonies in America and one of seven in Kansas. By 1890, however, most of them had left the county. It was founded in 1882 by Rabbi Issac M. Wise of Cincinnati. Another Jewish colony, Leeser, was founded in 1886 by Russian Jews.
Finney County Historical Society. History of Finney County. Garden City, KS: 1950.
Lindner, F. Claudine. History of Garfield County, Kansas. Masters Thesis, University of Wyoming, 1949.
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