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Lane County, Kansas

Lane County was organized on June 3, 1886, by Richard Deighton; Thomas Hahn; Joshua Wheatcroft; John Schiereck; and William Walker. The county was named for James H. Lane and contains the town of Dighton. The town of Dighton was named for Richard Deighton, the surveyor who came in 1878 with four homesteaders claiming the four quarters that constituted Dighton.

The dust storms of the 1930s resulted in the area's early development of irrigation. The discovery of oil in the 1950s and the continuing development of the oil industry is a primary economic factor in the county.

Three churches were founded in the county in the same year: Dighton Methodist Church, April 15, 1886; Dighton Christian Church, May 26, 1886; and Shields Methodist Church, May 1886. The first county fair was held in Dighton, October 1-2, 1886. It continues. The first school was held in Dighton in 1879. In 1885 the county was divided into five school districts.

Four Lane County State Representatives have served as Speaker of the House: B. H. Tracy, 1889; C. B. Lobdell, 1895; John Simmons, 1907-1908; William Walker, 1882. 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. The fictional account of one Frank Baker, the subject of the famous pioneer "homesteader" song, "The Lane County Bachelor," probably first published circa 1886, has sparked some controversy that such a person may actually have existed, but most authors feel he is fictional, at least within the context of the song. The narrative poem, Dark Fire, uses Dighton as its setting. The author is Bruce Cutler of Wichita State University. It was published in 1987.

For more information see the Lane County website. The Lane County Historical Museum in Dighton has newspapers on microfilm, books and other publications on Kansas history, family and personal histories, business records, local government records, and other historical records.

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 2015

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