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Kansas Heritage: Rice County

Aimed at preserving the heritage of central and western Kansas

Rice County Map 1899

Rice County 1899

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

Alden

Founded by several families that came from the East to homestead the land, Alden was named for the son of the railroad division superintendent.

The ethnicity of its settlers is not known.

Sources

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira." Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.

Atlanta / Lyons

Atlanta was laid out in December 1870, and construction of the buildings began the following spring. In April 1876, Atlanta, Peace (now Sterling), and an area in the exact geographical center which was just prairie vied for the county seat in an election. The bare prairie, located a mile and a half north of Atlanta, won the majority of votes! So the folks at Atlanta moved their buildings to the land which had previously belonged to "Hod" Williston who sold it to Truman J. Lyon. Mr. Lyon started the town site and sold lots in the new county seat which was now called Lyons.

The Atlanta Post Office was moved on July 1, 1876 and the town started seeing growth in that first year. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad finally arrived in Lyons in June 1880.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

Jones, Horace. "The Story of Early Rice County." Wichita, KS: Wichita Eagle Press, 1928.

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira." Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.

Chase

Founded in August 1881, and named for a Santa Fe division Superintendent, Mr. D. J. Chase, the town became incorporated in 1902. The Santa Fe Railroad built to Chase in 1881. A colony from Ohio had settled in the area in March 1871.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira." Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.

Geneseo

The Missouri Pacific and the Santa Fe Railroads came together at a spot in the northern part of the county, and a town named Thomas had been set up two miles west of that crossing. In 1886, residents moved to the site of the railroad crossing and named it Geneseo after a town in Illinois.

The ethnicity of its settlers is not known.

Sources

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira." Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.

Homesteading in Rice County

The area that was to become Rice County was part of the Santa Fe Trail. About 30 miles of the 800 mile trail crossed the mid-section of the county. There were four stopping points along the trail with the most used point probably being Cow Creek. The trail from Cow Creek on west to Dodge City was considered to be very dangerous, so troops were stationed at Cow Creek.

Even before the Kansas Territory became a state in 1861, there was an attempt to create a county that was called Peketon County by the 12 men who met on November 6, 1960. The county seat was named Beach Valley in honor of Beach's trading post. A post office was established at Beach Valley, but the town (and the county) never really took off and just faded away.

The legislature set aside an area in 1868 for the purpose of establishing a county. The Atlanta Town Company was formed to set up a town in the center of the proposed county. The Santa Fe Trail was its Main Street and the Santa Fe railroad had proposed that a line would be built through the town.

Governor J.M. Harvey organized Rice County on August 18, 1871. Rice County was named in honor of General Samuel A. Rice who was killed in the Battle of Jenkins Ferry during the Civil War. Atlanta, later renamed Lyons, was selected as the county seat.

Sources

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira." Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.

Little River

Little River had its beginnings as a station along the Santa Fe Railroad, and it was incorporated in 1886. The town was given its name because of its proximity to the railroad crossing over the Little Arkansas River.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira." Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.

Peace / Sterling

Peace was founded in 1872 by a group of Quakers. The town was renamed Sterling in 1875 when it became incorporated.

Sources

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira. "Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.

Raymond

The oldest town in Rice County with its original name, Raymond was founded when the Santa Fe Railroad built its line to the area in the early 1870's. It became an inspection point for the cattle that were coming in from Texas.

The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.

Sources

"Rice County Centennial: Land of Quivira." Rice County Centennial Committee, 1971.