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A post office was established on June 14, 1886, a mile west of the present site, and a store and a school were built within a few months. After the Rock Island railroad came to the area, the town was moved one mile east and was platted by the Kansas Town and Land Company in April 1888. The town was named after a saying that folks would say when S. S. Rogers, a rancher, offered them free water - "well, that's right liberal".
Because of its location on the railroad, Liberal became a major trading and shipping point and it grew rapidly. Its citizens wanted the county seat, and in the last election held for the county seat in 1892, Liberal was the winner.
The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.
Seward County Historical Society, Inc. "Seward County Kansas". Liberal, KS: K.C. Printers, 1979.
Fitzgerald, Daniel. "Ghost Towns of Kansas". Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988.
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