Kansas was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which means "people of the south wind."
Bourbon County, Kansas has a rich and interesting history that dates back to the early 1800s. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Osage and the Kanza, who used the land for hunting and foraging. However, as European settlers began to move westward, the region of Bourbon County became a part of the Kansas Territory.

In 1855, the county was officially named Bourbon, after the famous French Royal Family. The area quickly became a center for trade and commerce due to its location along the Osage River and the construction of the Osage Valley and Southern Kansas Railroad. This led to an influx of businesses and settlers, resulting in the establishment of several thriving towns within the county.

The county soon became known for its agricultural wealth, with farmers cultivating a variety of crops including corn, wheat, and tobacco. The production of tobacco, in particular, flourished in Bourbon County, making it a major player in the tobacco industry. The county's fertile soils and abundant water resources made it an ideal location for farming, further driving economic growth.

However, the history of Bourbon County is not without its share of challenges. Like many other regions during this time, the county experienced the turmoil of the Civil War, with divided loyalties and skirmishes between Union and Confederate sympathizers. Nevertheless, the county eventually recovered from the war and continued to develop both economically and socially.

Today, Bourbon County remains a vibrant and thriving community in Kansas. It is known for its rich agricultural heritage, the beauty of its natural landscapes, and its welcoming and friendly residents. The county continues to adapt and grow, while also taking pride in preserving its historical roots.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Bourbon County, Kansas.

  • 1845 - Bourbon County is established as one of the original 33 counties of the Kansas Territory.
  • 1855 - The town of Fort Scott is founded, becoming the county seat of Bourbon County.
  • 1858 - Bourbon County's population grows rapidly with the discovery of coal and lead deposits.
  • 1861-1865 - The American Civil War impacts Bourbon County, with Fort Scott serving as a base for Union troops.
  • 1870s - Railroads reach Bourbon County, leading to increased trade and economic growth.
  • 1885 - Bourbon County experiences a "boom" period due to the expansion of coal mining operations.
  • 1893 - A devastating fire destroys much of Fort Scott's business district, leading to significant rebuilding efforts.
  • 20th century - Bourbon County's economy diversifies with the growth of agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare industries.
  • 1951 - The Gordon Parks Elementary School is built in Fort Scott, named after the renowned African-American photographer and filmmaker.
  • 2000s - Bourbon County focuses on revitalizing its downtown areas and promoting tourism through historical preservation efforts.