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Grigston | Manning | Modoc | Painter City | Pence | Scott City | Shallow Water | Zenobia

Homesteading in Scott County

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

Like all of the counties in Kansas, Scott County's first inhabitants were nomadic plains Indians. The Indians that were known to be the first permanent dwellers are the Picurie Indians who came from New Mexico's Taos area. They settle near Beaver Creek in a pueblo which was established about 1604 and became known as El Quartelejo, the only Indian pueblo in Kansas. Eventually the Picurie Indians returned to their native New Mexico, and El Quartelejo is believed to have been used by Frenchmen as a trading post prior to 1724.

Scott County was the site of the last Indian Battle in Kansas which took place in September 1878 between the northern Cheyenne and the cavalry. Chief Dull Knife was leading a band of Cheyennes to Yellowstone from Oklahoma when military troops became aware of their presence. The troops met up with the Indians in the canyons along the southern edge of what is now Scott County State Park. Little Wolf led the battle for the Indians while Col. Lewis led the troops; Lewis was killed in the battle. The Cheyennes continued on to Yellowstone after slipping away during the night.

The Kansas Legislature created Scott County in 1873, and it was named in honor of General Winfield Scott. General Scott was commander-in-chief at the beginning of the Civil War and was also a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. Scott County did not have any population for 11 years after the county was created.

The settlement of the county began in 1884 when people came from the east to seek homesteads that were being advertised by the government. A patent for the land could be obtained by the homesteader after living on and improving the land for 5 years. Mrs. M.E. DeGeer and her daughter, Mrs. Eastman, became the first permanent settlers in October 1884. By 1885, there were 91 people living in Scott County and many of them came to the area from Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

The organization of the county took place on July 5, 1886, and was divided into the following townships: Beaver, Isbel, Keystone, Lake, Michigan, Scott and Valley. The following towns were platted in the county: Arcola, Grigston, Manning, Modoc, Painter City, Pence City, Shallow Water, Scott City and Zenobia. Scott City became the county seat due to its location at the exact center of the county. Modoc, Manning, Grigston and Shallow Water, along with Scott City, remain as settlements in the county today.

Shallow Water was founded by Quakers who wanted to start a school for their children.


History of Early Scott County by the Scott County Historical Society, Inc., 1977
Scott County, Kansas Centennial Book - Celebrating 100 Years: 1886-1986 by the Scott County Centennial Commission, Inc., 1986.


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