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Homesteading in Sheridan County


A British settlement founded by Abraham Pratt in 1878 when he came to America from England. He came with a partner, James Taylor, but Taylor migrated to Oklahoma shortly after arriving in Kansas. Pratt was soon joined by his two sons, and a half-brother, and two nephews of friends.

The first women to live in the settlement arrived in 1882 when the George Pratt family (no relation to Abraham) came to Studley with their daughters. The childhood sweetheart of Fenton Pratt, Abraham's oldest son, came in 1888; Jennie Place and Fenton Pratt were married on December 30, 1888.

Unlike the other British communities of Victoria (Ellis County) and Runnymede (Harper County), this settlement was made up of middle-class Englishmen. The other two settlements were founded by the sons of well-to-do English families and were known as the "Remittance Men" because they relied on their families for monetary support. Eventually these men returned to England.

The people who founded Studley were sheep ranchers in England, so they began raising sheep here in their new home in Kansas. The Cottonwood Ranch was built by John Fenton Pratt between the years of 1885 to 1896, and it is a state historic site today. Fenton Pratt incorporated the English architecture into his home.

Another family from England, the Frederick Turtles, came to Studley, and they built a small general store with a drug store in it in 1885. The English who settled in Studley stayed in Kansas and learned to live with and to work in the difficult conditions that Mother Nature threw their way.


Hinger, Charlotte, ed. Sheridan County Kansas: A History of Faith and Labor. Hoxie, KS: Sheridan County Historical Society, 1985.


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