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Cowley County, Kansas

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Please add profiles for people who were born, lived or died in Cowley County, Kansas.

Official Website

The land that would be Cowley County was visited by the explorer DeSoto in 1537. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state.

Cowley County was officially organized as a county, but reserved for the Osage Indians, by the Kansas Legislature in March 1867, originally named Hunter County for Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (1809–1887), a Virginia Representative and Senator to Congress and Speaker of the House in the twenty-sixth Congress. In 1870, the county was renamed for Matthew Cowley, First Lieutenant in Company I, 9th Kansas Cavalry, who died at Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 7, 1864. Officially opened for settlement July 15, 1870, there was a lengthy and bitter disagreement between the towns of Winfield and Cresswell (the town now named Arkansas City) over the possession of the county seat of government. Finally settled after two special elections and numerous petitions to the Governor and Legislature, Winfield was determined to be the county seat and a courthouse was constructed in 1873 at a cost of $11,500.

In 2010, the Keystone-Cushing Pipeline (Phase II) was constructed north to south through Cowley County. Controversy arose from the Kansas legislature's decision to grant the pipeline a ten-year exemption from property taxes; it was estimated that this would mean $15 million per year in lost revenue to the six counties through which the pipeline passed. The counties were unsuccessful in an attempt to eliminate the exemption.

Adjacent Counties


  • Arkansas City (County Seat)
  • Atlanta
  • Burden
  • Cambridge
  • Dexter
  • Geuda Springs (part)
  • Parkerfield
  • Udall
  • Winfield

Other Communities & Townships: Akron, Albright, Beaver, Bolton, Box, Cameron City, Cedar, Creswell, Dale (Seely), Eaton, Eschs, Fairview, Floral, Glengrouse, Grand Summit, Grant, Hackney, Harvey, Hooser, Kellogg, Liberty, Maple, Maple City, Moxham, New Salem, Ninnescah, Omnia, Otter, Otto, Pleasant Valley, Rainbow Bend, Redbud, Richland, Rock, Rock Creek, Salem, Sheridan, Silver Creek, Silverdale, Taussig, Tisdale, Vernon, Vinton, Walnut, Wilmot and Windsor



Genealogy Trails

KS Gen Web

National Register of Historic Places

Legends of Kansas