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Records from Wabaunsee County

Creator: Wabaunsee County (Kan.)

Date: 1857 - 1990

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: Unavailable

Unit ID: 216928

Abstract: The State Archives holds a variety of records from Wabaunsee County. These records include Alta Vista's City Council minutes, ordinances, and resolutions; dockets from the Alma Justice of the Peace; and records from the Poor Commissioner during the Depression in the 1930s. They also include a variety of district and probate court records particularly related to marriages and divorces, estate administration and the probate process, and naturalization of individuals as United States citizens. Deeds and scholastic census records from the Register of Deeds, a register of vital statistics for the county from the Clerk's office, and some attendance and other types of records from the County Superintendent of Public Instruction can also be found in the collections. A few of these records are in paper format, bu the majority of the documents from Wabaunsee County are on microfilm.

Space Required/Quantity: Microfilm + 2.75 cubic feet.

Title (Main title): Records from Wabaunsee County

Administrative History

Administrative History: In 1855 the Territorial Legislature defined a certain portion of land west of Shawnee County and named it Richardson County. This county was named after William P. Richardson, a congressman from Illinois who introduced the first Kansas and Nebraska Bill in the House of Representatives, which made certain Native American lands territories open to settlement in 1854. The county was attached to Shawnee County for business and judicial purposes and had no officers or records. In the early days of the county, the greatest settlements were in present day Wilmington and Wabaunsee Townships. In 1856, a group of settlers from New Haven, Connecticut, moved into the county near the Kaw River, where a town site called Wabaunsee had been previously laid out, to support making Kansas a free state. "Wabaunsee," means "Dawn of Day" in the Indian language, and the site was named after the Pottawatomie Indian Chief Wabansi. The congregation of Henry Ward Beecher, a well-known minister from Brooklyn, New York, assisted these settlers.

In 1859, a petition was made to the Territorial Legislature to change the name of the county from Richardson to Wabaunsee. This was because Congressman Richardson was pro-slavery, while many in the county were abolitionists. Since the population had increased substantially, county residents signed another petition asking that the county be organized into a separate and distinct corporation for revenue and judicial purposes. The request was granted and an election of county officers was held on March 28, 1859.

In 1860, a strip of land six miles wide and as long was added to the west line of the county. When Morris County was established in 1864, the state legislature took 72 square miles of land from Wabaunsee County. In 1870, a compromise returned to Wabaunsee County one-half of what had been given to Morris County. In 1871, the state legislature detached most of Zeandale Township from Wabaunsee County and gave it to Riley County.

When the county organized in 1859, the town site of Wabaunsee was selected as the county seat because it was the only place in the county that resembled a village. No permanent building was constructed for the courthouse, which was located on the top floor of a general store. The population continued to grow, and those living in the southeast part of the county began to complain about the distance to the county seat and their desire for a more central location. An election was held on March 6, 1866, to determine the county seat location. Alma received 137 votes to Wabaunsee's 112. However, questions arose about the legality of the vote, and a new election was held on November 22, 1866. Alma again tabbed the most votes of 142, while Wabaunsee received 114. Alma was then declared the county seat.

Wabaunsee County continues to have these townships: Alma, Farmer, Garfield, Kaw, Maple Hill, Mill Creek, Mission Creek, Newbury, Plumb, Rock Creek, Wabaunsee, Washington, and Wilmington.

[Kansas State Historical Society. "Kansas Counties -- Wabaunsee County, Kansas." http://www.kshs.org/genealogists/places/counties.php?county=WB (accessed 22 June 2009).]

[Winkler, A.N., comp. "History of Wabaunsee County." http://www.wabaunsee.kansasgov.com/ (accessed 22 June 2009).]


No Locators Identified

Index Terms


    Wabaunsee County (Kan.) -- Genealogy
    Wabaunsee County (Kan.) -- History
    City councils -- Kansas -- Wabaunsee County
    Commissioners of deeds -- Kansas -- Wabaunsee County
    Justices of the peace -- Kansas -- Wabaunsee County
    Naturalization records -- Kansas -- Wabaunsee County
    New Deal, 1933-1939 -- Kansas -- Wabaunsee County
    Probate courts -- Kansas -- Wabaunsee County
    Probate records -- Kansas -- Wabaunsee County

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Local Government Agencies. Wabaunsee County.