The famous Dodge City of the Wild West was located in Kansas and was known for its saloons, cowboys, and outlaws.

Cowley County, Kansas has a rich and diverse history that stretches back thousands of years. The area that is now Cowley County was originally home to Native American tribes, including the Osage and Kaw people. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources in the area, such as the Arkansas River and fertile land, for their sustenance.

In the early 1800s, European settlers began to move into the area. The Treaty of Castor Hill in 1808 opened up the region to settlement, with many pioneers coming from Missouri and eastern states. The first permanent settlement in Cowley County was made in 1868, and in 1870, the county was established with Winfield as its seat.

Cowley County played a significant role in the development of the cattle industry in the late 1800s. Ranchers in the area took advantage of the open prairies to graze and raise cattle, leading to the establishment of numerous cattle towns, such as Akron and Silverdale. The Chisholm Trail, a major cattle trail that ran through the county, brought cowboys and livestock from Texas to Kansas and eventually to railheads in the north.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the growth of agriculture as the dominant industry in Cowley County. Farmers took advantage of the fertile soil and favorable climate to grow crops such as wheat, corn, and soybeans. The development of irrigation systems and improved farming techniques further contributed to the prosperity of the agricultural sector.

Today, Cowley County continues to be known for its agricultural heritage, as well as its vibrant arts community and outdoor recreational opportunities. The county is home to numerous festivals and events that celebrate its history and culture, including the Walnut Valley Festival, which highlights traditional folk and bluegrass music. With its rich history and natural beauty, Cowley County remains an important and cherished part of Kansas.

  • 1601 - The area of present-day Cowley County is inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Osage and Sioux.
  • 1825 - The land of Cowley County becomes part of the territory acquired by the United States through the Treaty of St. Louis.
  • 1860 - The first permanent settlers begin arriving in Cowley County after the passage of the Homestead Act.
  • 1867 - The region is officially organized as Cowley County, named after Matthew Cowley, a prominent local cattleman.
  • 1870 - The City of Winfield is founded as the county seat of Cowley County.
  • 1872 - The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reaches Cowley County, boosting economic development in the area.
  • 1874 - Cowley County experiences a major influx of settlers, primarily from the eastern United States and Europe.
  • 1885 - The first oil well is drilled in Cowley County, marking the beginning of the local oil industry.
  • 1938 - Cowley County Community College is established in Arkansas City, providing higher education opportunities for local residents.
  • 2005 - Cowley County celebrates its 138th anniversary with various community events and festivities.