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Edson | Eustis | Gandy | Goodland | Itasca | Kanorado | Ruleton | Sherman Center | Voltaire

Homesteading in Sherman County

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

Initially inhabited by Native Americans, the area of what is now Sherman County became the place that J.F. Collier, a buffalo bone gatherer, called home. He moved to the area in 1879, but did not establish a residence until 1882. Other settlers, John Bray and a Mr. Darling, came to the vast area in the western part of the state of Kansas to establish ranches in the spring of 1880. Mr. Bray's sheep ranch was on Beaver Creek, and Mr. Darling's horse and cattle ranch was on the North Fork of the Smoky Hill River. The homes established on these ranches were the first in Sherman County. In 1882, Barney McClusky established a cattle ranch on Beaver Creek, W. T. Clayton established a cattle ranch in the north-eastern part of the county, and a Mr. Holmes and a Mr. Cox established a sheep ranch on the Smoky Hill River at about the same time. All of the gentlemen were the first settlers and were soon joined by hundreds more in the next few years.

Free or inexpensive land was the reason many of these settlers came to this area. The foreign immigrants came from Germany, Sweden and Austria. By 1893, the Sherman County Immigration Association was established for the purpose of advertising the area. All of the population was white in 1900 with 8.9% being foreign-born people.

The county was named in honor of General W. T. Sheman by the Kansas Legislature in 1873 and was organized per Governor John A. Martin's proclamation of September 20, 1886. The same proclamation named Eustis the temporary county seat.

The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad issued a charter to the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railroad on March 19, 1886 to build tracks into Colorado. Railroad tracks were built to Goodland and onto the Colorado border. Three new towns were established along the railroad: Ruleton on June 22, 1888; Lanborn, soon after June 22, but on July 5, the name was changed to Kanorado; and Edson on August 10, 1888. Goodland and Kanorado are the only two towns that became incorporated.

Sources

"They Came to Stay". Sherman County Historical Society, 1980.
Olson, Daryl A. "A History of Sherman County, 1880-1960". Masters Thesis, Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1966
Rock Island Railroad. "Yard Clerical Manual". 1970 - http://www.simpson.edu/~RITS/histories/RIHistory.html  

 

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