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Butler County, Kansas

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The Great Plains of North America was inhabited by nomadic Native Americans. From the 16th century to 18th century, the Kingdom of France claimed ownership of large parts of North America. In 1762, after the French and Indian War, France secretly ceded New France to Spain, per the Treaty of Fontainebleau. In 1802, Spain returned most of the land to France, but keeping title to about 7,500 square miles.

In 1803, most of the land for modern day Kansas was acquired by the United States from France as part of the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Purchase for 2.83 cents per acre. In 1848, after the Mexican–American War, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with Spain brought into the United States all or part of land for ten future states, including southwest Kansas. In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state.

In 1855, Butler County was founded. It was named in honor of a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, Andrew Butler (1796–1857), who was one of the authors of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and a strong advocate of Kansas becoming a slave state.

In 1877, the Florence, El Dorado, and Walnut Valley Railroad Company built a branch line from Florence to El Dorado, in 1881 it was extended to Douglass, and later to Arkansas City. The line was leased and operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway built a branch line north-south from Herington to Caldwell. By 1893, this branch line was incrementally built to Fort Worth, Texas. This line is called the "OKT". The Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway was foreclosed in 1891 and was taken over by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, which shut down in 1980 and reorganized as Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad, merged in 1988 with Missouri Pacific Railroad, and finally merged in 1997 with Union Pacific Railroad. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Rock Island".

In 2010, the Keystone-Cushing Pipeline (Phase II) was constructed north to south through Butler County.

Adjacent Counties


  • Andover
  • Augusta
  • Benton
  • Cassoday
  • Douglass
  • El Dorado (County Seat)
  • Elbing
  • Latham
  • Leon
  • Potwin
  • Rose Hill
  • Towanda
  • Whitewater

List of Other Towns, Townships & Communities



National Register of Historic Places

Genealogy Trails

KS Gen Web

Butler County Genealogy Research


Historical Atlas of Butler County (1885)

Historical Atlas of Butler County (1905)

Hearthstone Legacy

Genealogy, Inc.