Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Academic Divisions > Forsyth Library > Kansas Heritage > Sumner County
Prentis, Noble Lovely. "History of Kansas". Winfield, KS: E. P. Greer, 1899.
County, organized in 1871, is named for a Massachusetts senator, Charles
Sumner. Sumner borders the Oklahoma state line and neighbors the Kansas
counties of Sedgwick, Harper, Kingman, and Cowley. The county seat is
county’s namesake, Charles Sumner, is famous in Kansas for another reason.
Sumner, an abolitionist, opposed the bill that would have expanded slavery into
Kansas Territory. He was severely beaten for his beliefs by South Carolina
representative Preston Brooks. Brooks beat Sumner with his cane in the senate
chamber. The beating came after a speech given by Sumner entitled “Crimes against
Kansas.” Not only did the speech criticize Brooks’s pro-slavery ideology, but it
also offended him personally by mentioning and criticizing his uncle, Senator
Andrew Butler of South Carolina. Sumner refers to Senator Butler as “one of the
maddest zealots” and suggests that Butler sees himself as a chivalrous knight
who is protecting the “ugly harlot, slavery.”
claim to fame held by Sumner County is being the home of the first woman mayor
ever elected in the United States. Susanna Madora Salter served as mayor of
Argonia in 1887. Her home is still currently kept as a museum.
Chisholm Trail played a crucial role in Sumner County’s growth and development.
The trail, named after Jesse Chisholm, entered southern Kansas just south of
Caldwell, eventually passing through it. This route provided an efficient trade
route and was used as a cattle drive in order to move cattle into and past
Indian Territory. Once settlers began fencing in their land, the cattle drives
ended and were not revived again until the Santa Fe Railroad came to Caldwell.
Sumner: A Featured Biography." The United State Senate, n.d. Web. 26 Apr.
Pages." Sumner County Official Government Website. N.p., 2009. Web.
26 Apr. 2012.
Charles. "The Crime against Kansas: The Apologies for the Crime: The True
Remedy.” N.p., 1856. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.
County." Blue Skyways Counties. Kansas State Library, 2009. Web. 26
Paragraphs written by intern Holly Younger in 2012.
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