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List of Kansas Counties

Amish Village | Bellefont | Bloom | Bucklin | Dodge City | Ford | Howell | Kingsdown | Lasker | Mexican Village | Spearville | Windthorst | Wright

Homesteading in Ford County

 Ford County map
Prentis, Noble Lovely. "History of Kansas". Winfield, KS: E. P. Greer, 1899.

Before the county was formed, people were traveling on its land for 50 years along the Santa Fe Trail. The trail opened in 1821, and the land that eventually became Ford County has about 100 miles of trail due to several different routes. The Wet and Dry Routes that unite in Eastern Ford County, the Lower Crossing of the Cimarron Cutoff, the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road, and the Middle Cimarron Crossing. as well as the main trail, are what made up the Santa Fe Trail in Ford County.

A petition to form a new county was sent to Governor James M. Harvey on October 14, 1872, and the proclamation was received in April 1873. Governor Thomas A. Osborn signed the proclamation. An election for county officers and the county seat was held on June 8.

Ford County was named in honor of Second Colorado Cavalry officer Colonel James H. Ford who was a commander at Fort Dodge.

Settlers homesteaded most of the land, but some of the land was purchased from 2 different sources. Those sources were the Osage Treaty lands and the Santa Fe Railroad land grant.

Dodge City, the winner of the county seat election, became a major shipping center after the Santa Fe Railroad came there in 1872. It also became a cattle town during the peak years of 1875-1885.

Kingsdown was founded by English settlers and was named after the "Downs" in England. Windthorst, a community founded by German Catholics, was created to support the school and church that had already been built. The Dodge City area was home to a Mexican village founded in the early 1900's to house the workers for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Lasker was one of the Jewish Agricultural colonies founded in Kansas.


Ford County Historical Society. Dodge City and Ford County, Kansas 1870-1920: Pioneer Histories and Stories.
Dodge City, KS, 1996.


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