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Morris County is a county located in the state of Kansas. Based on the 2010 census, the county population was 5,923. The County was created on August 25, 1855 as Wise county and renamed Morris County on February 11, 1859. The county seat is Council Grove. The county is named in honor of Thomas Morris, United States Senator from Ohio and anti-slavery advocate.
The county was originally named for Henry A. Wise, who was Governor of Virginia during the John Brown seizure of Harper's Ferry. The execution of that "grand old man," at Charlestown, December 2, 1859, was one of the last acts of Wise's administration. The name was changed to Morris in February, 1859, in honor of Thomas Morris, a United States Senator from Ohio in 1832, who distinguished himself as an opponent of slavery. He died in 1844.
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Morris County, one of the oldest and most historic in the state, is located in the northeastern section, the 5th west from the Missouri line and the 4th south from Nebraska. It is bounded on the north by Geary and Wabaunsee counties; on the east by Wabaunsee and Lyon; on the south by Chase and Marion, and on the west by Marion and Dickinson. Prior to 1858 this county was a municipal township of the district composed of Wise, Breckenridge and Madison counties. In that year it was organized as Wise county and the following officers were elected: Probate judge, H. J. Espy; surveyor, N. S. Brazleton; supervisors, T. S. Huffaker, Harvey Munkers and Lewis Baum. The first full ticket of county officials was elected in Nov., 1861. In 1859 the sentiment of the state having changed from what it was in 1855 when the county was named Wise in honor of a southern celebrity, the name was changed to Morris in honor of Thomas Morris, United States senator from Ohio. The county seat contest did not come up until 1871, as prior to that time Council Grove had no rival. When Parkerville became an incorporated town it entered the lists for county seat, and an election was called to settle the matter. All sorts of trickery was resorted to by both sides. Men were brought into the county for voting purposes by the hundreds. The population of the county at that time was 2,225. The number of votes cast was 1,312, of which 899 were for Council Grove and 413 for Parkerville.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 703 square miles (1,820 km2), of which 695 square miles (1,800 km2) is land and 7.6 square miles (20 km2) (1.1%) is water.
Morris county is located in east Kansas. The county is rolling prairie, practically all of which is tillable. The bottom lands make up 15 per cent. of the total area. Timber is above the average for the state and is a variety of wood common to Kansas. The Neosho river is in the western part of the county and flows southeast into Lyon county. Limestone lies beneath the entire county and is significantly quarried and shipped at Council Grove and Parkerville.
Bordering counties are as follows:
USD 417, Morris County - Council Grove, Dunlap, Rural Areas
USD 481, Rural Vista - White City, Latimer, Rural Areas
USD 397, Centre - Burdick, Rural Areas
USD 284, Chase County - Rural Areas