The famous outlaw Jesse James was killed in St. Joseph, Missouri, which is just across the border from Kansas.
Wabaunsee County, Kansas, situated in the northeastern part of the state, has a rich and diverse history that dates back hundreds of years. The land that now comprises Wabaunsee County was once home to various Native American tribes, including the Kaw, Osage, and Potawatomi peoples. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources of the area, including the Kansas River and the fertile land for farming.

In the early 1850s, European settlers began to arrive in Wabaunsee County. The community was officially established in 1855 and named after a prominent Potawatomi chief, Chief Wabaunsee. The county played a significant role in the Bleeding Kansas conflict, a precursor to the American Civil War. Many residents of Wabaunsee County were actively involved in both sides of the conflict, leading to tensions and violence within the area.

Agriculture became the backbone of Wabaunsee County's economy in the late 19th century. The fertile soil and favorable climate allowed for the successful cultivation of crops such as wheat, corn, and oats. Additionally, the arrival of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad in the 1880s further facilitated the transport of goods and accelerated the county's growth.

Over the years, Wabaunsee County has faced its share of challenges, including droughts, economic downturns, and depopulation. Despite these hardships, the county has managed to maintain a strong sense of community and pride in its heritage. Today, Wabaunsee County is prized for its scenic beauty, historic buildings, and preservation of its agricultural roots. Visitors can explore the county's rich history through museums, historic sites, and annual events celebrating the community's past.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Wabaunsee County, Kansas.

  • 1854: Wabaunsee County established as one of the original 33 counties of Kansas Territory
  • 1855: First settlers arrive in the county
  • 1860s: The population grows rapidly due to the expansion of the railroad
  • 1872: Alma becomes the county seat
  • 1880: Construction of schools and churches begins in the county
  • 1903: Wabaunsee County Historical Society is founded
  • 1930s: The Great Depression causes economic difficulties for the county
  • 1986: The National Register of Historic Places includes several Wabaunsee County properties