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Atchison County history collection

Date: [ca. 1850]-1919

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Manuscripts Collection 665

Unit ID: 40665

Abstract: The collection consists of assembled materials from a variety of sources providing information about the history of Atchison County, Kansas. It includes information on some modes of transportation, churches, clubs and associations, the formation of Mount Pleasant University, and other such topics. There is also information about individuals and families, communities and their names, and the geography of the area. Types of materials include correspondence, reminiscences, legal documents, lists, financial records, meeting minutes, printed materials, and other such materials.

Space Required/Quantity: 0.4 ft. (1 box)

Title (Main title): Atchison County history collection

Administrative History

Administrative History: Atchison County in northeastern Kansas on the Missouri border was established on August 25, 1855 and organized on September 17, 1855. It was named for David Rice Atchison (1807-1886), United States senator from Missouri at the time of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

French explorers and trappers were the first Europeans to journey across what became Atchison County. Etienne de Bourgmont, military commander of the French colony of Louisiana, led the first recorded expedition to the region in the summer of 1724, although others had probably visited before him. The next recorded explorer was Perin du Luc, who reached the area in 1802-1803.

Perhaps the most famed explorers of Atchison County were Lewis and Clark, whose expedition travelled up the Missouri River in the summer of 1804. On the eventing of July 4th, the company discovered a creek in the northeast corner of the county, naming it Independence Creek in honor of the holiday.

Paschal Pensoneau (or Pensinau) was the first settler to take up permanent residence in the county, settling along Stranger Creek in 1839. Five years later he opened a trading post and a farm.

When Kansas Territory was opened for settlement in 1854, the townsite of Atchison was founded by Senator Atchison and his friends, and dedicated on July 4, 1854. The town of Sumner, twelve miles to the south, attempted to replace Atchison as the county seat in 1858, but the proposal was soundly defeated.

Atchison is the county seat and the largest city. Townships include Benton, Center, Grasshopper, Kapioma, Lancaster, Mount Pleasant, Shannon, and Walnut.

[Kansas State Historical Society. “Kansas Counties – Atchison County, Kansas.” http://www.kshs.org/genealogists/places/counties.php?county=AT (accessed June 4, 2009.)]

Scope and Content

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


Locator Contents

Index Terms


    Atchison and Pike's Peak Railroad Company
    Atchison County (Kan.) -- History
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Community life -- Kansas -- Atchison County
    Pioneers -- Kansas -- Atchison County