Available on Amazon
Kansas was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which means "people of the south wind."
Dickinson County, located in the central region of Kansas, has a rich and diverse history shaped by various factors such as Native American settlements, European exploration, and the development of the railroad.

The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Kaw and Osage who utilized the land for hunting and trading. European exploration of the region began in the early 19th century, with Zebulon Pike's expedition passing through the area. The first permanent settlement, known as Fort Davis, was established in 1857 near present-day Hope.

The establishment of the Kansas-Pacific Railroad in the late 1860s played a crucial role in the county's development. The railroad spurred the growth of small communities along its route, such as Abilene, Herington, and Chapman. Abilene in particular became known as the first "cow town" of the American West, attracting cattle drives and cowboys from Texas. Notably, it was here that Wild Bill Hickok briefly served as a marshal and gained fame for his frontier exploits.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, agriculture became a dominant industry in Dickinson County. The fertile plains of the area, combined with advances in technology and infrastructure, facilitated the growth of farming communities. Wheat, corn, and livestock production became the backbone of the local economy, sustaining the livelihoods of many residents. Over time, the county also saw the establishment of educational institutions, churches, and other essential community services.

In summary, Dickinson County has evolved from Native American settlements to a prominent agricultural hub and transportation center. Its history is intertwined with the exploration of the American West, the growth of the railroad, and the development of prosperous farming communities. Today, the county continues to thrive as a testament to its resilient past and the dedication of its inhabitants.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Dickinson County, Kansas.

  • 1857 - Dickinson County is established by the Kansas territorial legislature.
  • 1864 - Abilene is founded as the first town in Dickinson County.
  • 1871 - Abilene becomes a booming cattle town with the arrival of the Kansas Pacific Railway.
  • 1872 - The legendary Wild West marshal, Wild Bill Hickok, becomes sheriff of Abilene.
  • 1887 - The Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway (later known as the Rock Island Railroad) is completed through the county.
  • 1895 - Chapman is incorporated as a city in Dickinson County.
  • 1903 - The Farmers and Merchants Bank in Herington is robbed by the Daltons, a notorious gang of outlaws.
  • 1909 - The city of Herington is officially incorporated.
  • 1966 - Milford Lake, the largest lake in Kansas, is completed and provides a popular recreational area for locals and tourists.
  • 1971 - The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated in Abilene, honoring the former U.S. President who grew up in the county.
  • 2008 - Dickinson County experiences severe flooding, causing significant damage to homes and infrastructure.