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Kansas Heritage: Reno County

Aimed at preserving the heritage of central and western Kansas

Reno County Map 1899

Reno County map

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

Hutchinson

This town was founded by C. C. Hutchinson who had settled near Cow Creek in 1871. Mr. Hutchinson had played a role in getting the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad to build a line west of Halstead, instead of going south as was the original plan. Mr. Hutchinson platted the town site and began advertising the lots in late 1871.

In January 1872 a petition with 600 signatures (with many of them most likely false) was taken to Topeka to request that the legislature organize the new county. Hutchinson was named the county seat in February.

Hutchinson grew rapidly and had 1,500 residents by the summer of 1872. There were three lumberyards, several hotels, two general stores and a drug store.

The ethnicity of its settlers is now known.

Sources

Stucky, Tim. "Reno County: The Early Years." North Newton, KS: Mennonite Press, 1985.

Homesteading in Reno County

The county was organized by the Kansas Legislature in 1872 and was named for Major General Jesse Reno who had been stationed at Fort Leavenworth. Reno was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. The town of Hutchinson was named the county seat.

The Mennonites came to Reno County in 1874 only to find a land of grasshopper-infested crops; they decided to not settle there and went east a little ways to Harvey County and made their homes in the Newton and Florence areas. However, some Mennonites returned to Reno County about 10 years later and were able to set up farms in the southern and northeastern sections of the county. Using the hard Red Turkey wheat they brought with them from Russia, the Mennonites established a long-standing farming tradition for the state of Kansas.

Sources

Stucky, Tim. "Reno County: The Early Years." North Newton, KS: Mennonite Press, 1985.