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Lane County, Kansas

Lane, County Kansas was once an active county in the cattle industry and saw the passing through of Texas Longhorn Cattle during the cattle drives.

Lane County, Kansas, organized in 1886, was named for Senator James Lane, free-state leader, Jayhawker, and abolitionist. Prior to its establishment as Lane County, it was once part of the land that was the old Washington, Peketon, and later an enlarged Marion County.

In 1872, the Jordan Massacre took place when Richard Jordan and men with him were killed by Indians while traveling through the area. His wife was captured, and despite efforts to look for her, she was never found.

During the years of the cattle drives, Texas Longhorn Cattle would be driven through the county.

During the 1880s there was a building boom, primarily by speculators from Wichita, who loaned money to homesteaders or bought land themselves to enable the growth of farming in the areas. More than one quarter section was required for adequate farming and the economy did not progress until additional acreage could be proved, acquired and paid for. The struggles experienced throughout western Kansas in 1892-1893, proved particularly painful for Lane County residents. 

 Southwest Kansas was hit hard by the Dust Bowl and its dust storms, and Lane County was no exception. The discovery of oil in the 1950s and the continuing development of the oil industry has been a primary economic factor in the county.

Lane County has several properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places. The Dighton Opera House and Lane County Community High School are among these.

Notable figures with connections to Lane County include B.H. Tracy, C.B. Lobdell, John Simmons, and William Walker, all of which were Lace County state representatives that have served as Speaker of the House. Herbert T. Hineman, who homesteaded in the county in 1886, began raising jacks and mules. He developed his mule farm into what became known as the “world’s largest jack farm.”

Quick Facts

Date Established: August 25, 1855
Date Organized: June 3, 1886
County Seat: Dighton
Kansas Region: Southwest
Physiographic Region: High Plains and Smoky Hills
Courthouse: 1930-1931


1872 - Jordan Massacre, where the men of the group are killed, and Jordan’s wife was captured by Indians.
1873 - Lane County was established.
1886 - Lane County is organized
1892 - 1893-Western Kansas, but especially Lane County, experiences troubles.
1930 - Dust Bowl era
1950 - Oil is discovered in the county. 

More on Lane County

Entry: Lane County, Kansas

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2010

Date Modified: October 2023

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.