The first successful oil well west of the Mississippi was drilled in 1860 in Neodesha, Kansas, which led to the state becoming a major oil producer in the early 20th century.

Sumner County in Kansas has a rich history dating back to the early Native American tribes that inhabited the area. The region was primarily inhabited by the Plains Indians, including the Osage and the Kiowa, prior to European settlement. In the early 19th century, French and Spanish traders began to explore the region, establishing trade routes and settlements along the Arkansas River.

The first permanent European-American settler arrived in Sumner County in 1854, and the area quickly saw an influx of settlers due to its fertile land and proximity to water sources. The county was officially established in 1867 and named after Charles Sumner, a prominent senator from Massachusetts known for his anti-slavery stance.

Sumner County played a significant role in the settlement of the American West. It was a popular stop for cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail, with the town of Wellington becoming a major cattle market. The discovery of oil in the early 20th century further fueled the growth of the county, attracting oil companies and workers to the area.

Over the years, Sumner County has seen its share of challenges and triumphs. It has weathered economic fluctuations, natural disasters, and the effects of various wars. Today, Sumner County continues to be an agricultural hub, known for its wheat and cattle production. It also boasts several historical sites and museums that showcase its fascinating past, making it a destination for history enthusiasts.

  • 1850: Sumner County established as part of the Kansas Territory.
  • 1870: Chisholm Trail becomes a major cattle route through the county.
  • 1871: Wellington becomes the county seat.
  • 1881: Railroads arrive in Sumner County, boosting economic development.
  • 1887: Belle Plaine becomes a major railroad hub in the county.
  • 1925: The infamous "Tri-State Tornado" causes significant damage in Sumner County.
  • 1930s: Sumner County, like the rest of the United States, faces the challenges of the Great Depression.
  • 1950s: The county experiences an agricultural boom, with new technologies and increased productivity.
  • 1978: The Kansas State Fair relocates from Hutchinson to near Caldwell in Sumner County.
  • 1999: A tornado strikes Mulvane and causes severe damage.