Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Kansas Heritage: Cloud County

Aimed at preserving the heritage of central and western Kansas

Cloud County Map 1899

Cloud County map

Prentis, Noble Lovely. "History of Kansas". Winfield, KS: E. P. Greer, 1899


Clyde was founded in 1866 and settled by Germans, Scandinavians, and French-Canadians.

The original French-Canadians settled primarily near St. Joseph, five miles to the south.

Today, 29% of Clyde’s population claims French-Canadian or French ancestors, more than anywhere else in Kansas.   


"Community History." Community History. Cloud County Genealogical Society, n.d. Web. 10 July 2015.

Homesteading in Cloud County

The area that is now Cloud County was created from unorganized territory by the act of February 27, 1860 and was given the name Shirley. The legislature foolishly gave it that name, knowing that it was the name of a well known Leavenworth prostitute named Jane Shirley. Shirley County remained with that name until 1867 when the name was changed to Cloud County in honor of Colonel W. F. Cloud, who served in the Second Kansas Infantry. 

Cloud County, located in eastern Kansas was founded in 1866, and is bordered by the Republican and the Solomon Rivers. This county also shares borders with Ottawa, Jewell, Clay, Mitchell, Republic, and Washington counties.  The current county seat is Concordia, and the county is home to the annual Watermelon Festival, which has been held every year since 1899.

The first people to come to Cloud County were the Fowler brothers in 1858. The Fowler brothers planted a town site, which they called Eaton City, and built the Conklin House. The Conklin House was the first house in the county.

Permanent organization of the county was official on September 6, 1866, with Elk City being named the temporary county seat. Cloud County was originally called Shirley County in honor of Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts. The name was later changed to Cloud County to honor Colonel William F. Cloud of the Second Regiment of the Kansas Volunteers.


Blackmar, Frank W., ed. Kansas: A Cyclopedia of  State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, etc.. Chicago, IL: Standard Publishing Company, 1912. 371-74. Print.

In 1869-70, a colony of Swedish people from the Isle of Gottland emigrated to the area and settled near the Republican River near Concordia. They named the settlement Gottland after their native country. A schoolhouse and a church organization were established, but it was not until 1877 when Rev. August Johnson came from Chicago and organized the Swedish Baptist Church. They met in a house of worship in 1878, and a church building was built in 1900. 

The town of Clyde and the townships of Elk and Aurora were home to many French people, both Canadian and Parisian. Many of these settlers came from the French settlement of Kankaee in Illnois settling in and around Clyde, St. Joseph and Aurora. A number of English, along with Danes and Welch, also came and have engaged in various enterprises in the county. 


Hollibaugh, E. F. Biographical History of Cloud County, Kansas: Biographies of Representative Citizens. Illustrated with Portraits of Prominent People, Cuts of Homes, Stock, Etc. Wilson, Humphrey & Company, 1903.