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Homesteading in Smith County

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

The Kansas Legislature created Smith County, along with thirty-two other counties, on March 3, 1867. The county was named in honor of Major Nathan Smith, a member of the Second Colorado Cavalry, who was killed at the Battle of the Blue.

Settlers began arriving in 1867, as the first reference to a settlement in the county was from a story written by Harry Salmons. He said that his family laid claim to a piece of land near the present site of Gaylord on the north fork of the Solomon River.

Some of the early settlers were families from Holland who set up homes near Oak Creek on the county line in 1871. It was near the Osborne County settlement of Dispatch.

Also arriving in Smith County in 1871 were Germans who started the community of Germantown in the western part of the county along Cedar Creek. Other settlers were from Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

The county was organized in 1872 and Cedarville was the first county seat.


Pletcher, Vera Edith Crosby. "A History of Smith County, Kansas to 1960". Masters thesis, Kansas State University, 1960.


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