Neosho County, Kansas

Neosho County, Kansas

  • Formed: 1850
  • County Population 1860: 88
  • Civil War Engagements
    -Several small skirmishes
Colton’s New Sectional Map of the State of Kansas, 1868
Image courtesy of Wichita State University Special Collections

Neosho County, Kansas is situated on the Northern part of the Osage Ceded Lands, along the Neosho River, where a reservation for the Osage was established after the tribe was removed from their territory in Missouri and Arkansas. The first European settler in the area was the Osage Indian Agent, A.J. Dorn. A French missionary to the Osage, Reverend Charles De la Croix, arrived in 1822. Traders, named Edward Choteau, Gerald Pappin, and John Matthews, hoping to establish trade with the Osage, arrived in 1837. The abundance of freshwater ways made the soil very fertile for agricultural purposes. The timber and coal resources also drew settlers to the area.

The county was originally named Dorn County in 1850 after the Osage agent. The county seat was named Osage Mission. In 1861, the County was renamed Neosho, after the Neosho River, and the county seat was moved to Erie.

Neosho County was not directly on the Missouri-Kansas border and escaped much of the violence with border ruffians from Missouri that other counties in Kansas endured. The county was predominantly anti-slavery, and when the Civil war began in 1861, the citizens in the county supported the Union. Neosho County men enlisted in several military regiments for the Union. There were no major battles and only a few minor skirmishes that took place in the county. It escaped largely unharmed in comparison to other Kansas Counties.

The Osage officially ceded their land to the United States in 1867 and railroad construction and commercial coal mining in 1870 caused settlement to pick up in the area.

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