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Kansas Counties
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Kansas Counties

Kansas has one hundred and five counties. Originally 33 counties were organized by the Territorial Legislature in 1855. The Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas was built in 1873 and is the oldest operating courthouse in Kansas. As of January 1, 2009 Greeley County and the city of Tribune unified to form the Unified Government of Greeley County..

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Russell County, Kansas

Russell County Education, Geography, and HistoryRussell County, Kansas Courthouse

Russell County is a county located in the state of Kansas. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 6,970. Russell County was created on February 26, 1867. The county seat is Russell. The county is named in honor of Captain Avra P. Russell, of Company K, 2nd Kansas Cavalry.

Russell, the county seat, was the home of former US Senate Majority leader and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Robert Dole for many years.

Etymology - Origin of Russell County Name

The county is named for Captain Avrah P. Russell, Company K, Second Kansas Cavalry, who died December 12, 1862 in field hospital near Prairie Grove, Arkkansas, of wounds received in battle December 7, 1862 at Prairie Grove.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Russell County History

Russell County, in the northwest section of the state, is in the third tier from the Nebraska line, and is the sixth county east from Colorado. It is bounded on the north by Osborne county: on the east by Lincoln and Ellsworth; on the south by Barton, and on the west by Ellis. The railroad was built through the central part of the county in 1867, about the time the boundaries were first defined, and before there was a single settler. In 1868 the legislature again defined the boundaries and named the county in honor of Avra P. Russell of the Second Kansas cavalry.

In 1870 a number of men came into the county on a hunting expedition, selected claims and returned to their homes. In April, 1871, a large colony from Green Lake, Wis., settled upon the site of Russell. Shortly afterward a colony from Ohio settled east of Russell and started the town of Bunker Hill. In 1872 a colony from Pennsylvania settled near Dorrance. Up to this time the county had been attached to Ellsworth for judicial purposes. In 1872 Gov. Harvey issued the proclamation organizing the county, naming Russell as the temporary county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 899 square miles (2,330 km2), of which 886 square miles (2,290 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (1.5%) is water.

 Russell county is located close to the center of Kansas. The county is rolling prairie and there are high bluffs along the Saline and Smoky Hill rivers. Bottom lands make up 20 per cent of the area. The soil is mostly clay loam with some Benton and sandy loams. The Saline river enters on the western border near the northwest corner, crosses east and a little south into Lincoln county. The Smoky Hill river flows east across the southern portion.  Soft and hard limestone, potter's clay and salt are found in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Osborne County (north)
  • Lincoln County (east)
  • Ellsworth County (southeast)
  • Barton County (south)
  • Rush County (southwest)
  • Ellis County (west)


Unified School Districts

  • Central Plains USD 112 (serves Dorrance and southeastern part of county south of I-70; extends into Barton, Ellsworth and Rice Counties)
  • Sylvan-Lucas Unified USD 299 (serves Lucas, Luray and northeast part of county along K-18; extends into Lincoln County)
  • Natoma/Paradise/Waldo USD 399 (serves Paradise, Waldo and northwest part of county along K-18; extends into Osborne and Rooks Counties)
  • Russell USD 407 (serves cities of Russell, Gorham, Bunker Hill and rural south central and southwest parts of county; does not extend into any other counties)
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