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..

Cowley County, Kansas

Cowley County Education, Geography, and HistoryCowley County, Kansas Courthouse

Cowley County is a county located in the state of Kansas. Based on the 2010 census, the county population was 36,311. Cowley County was created on February 26, 1867. The county seat is Winfield, and its most populous city is Arkansas City. The county is named in honor of 1st Lieutenant Matthew Cowley of Company I, Ninth Kansas Cavalry, who died on active duty in Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 7,1864.

Cowley County comprises the Arkansas City-Winfield, KS Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Wichita-Arkansas City-Winfield, KS Combined Statistical Area

Etymology - Origin of Cowley County Name

The county is named in honor of Matthew Cowley, First Lieutenant of Company I, Ninth Kansas Cavalry, who died in the service October 7, 1864, at Little Rock, Ark. The county was originally named Hunter after R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Cowley County History

Cowley County, located in the southern tier, the fifth county west of Missouri, was created in 1867 with the following boundaries: "Commencing at the southeast corner of Butler county, thence south to the 37th degree of north latitude, thence west to the east line of range 2 east, thence north to the southwest corner of Butler county, thence east to the place of beginning." It was named in honor of Lieut. Mathew Cowley of Company I, Ninth Kansas, who was killed at Little Rock, Ark., in 1864. The county is bounded on the north by Butler county; on the east by Elk and Chautauqua; on the south by the State of Oklahoma, and on the west by Sumner county.

Cowley County is located in south central Kansas, less than one hour from Wichita and two hours from Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The area offers rural living adjacent to urban amenities. Two vibrant and thriving retail trade areas, located ten minutes apart in Arkansas City and Winfield, are easier to get to and closer together than most metropolitan shopping malls. Udall, Burden, Dexter, Atlanta, and Cambridge are spunky communities whose downtowns are enjoying rebirth.

Arkansas City and Winfield offer public and private golf courses. Quail Ridge in Winfield is ranked as one of the state's top municipal courses. Swimming, skiing, boating and fishing are available at the Winfield City Lake or nearby Kaw Reservoir. Fishing is also available at the State Lake and along the Walnut and Arkansas rivers. Hunters find a variety of game birds and deer in season. Naturalists can appreciate local flora and fauna at Chaplin Nature Center in Arkansas City or the newly created nature center east of Winfield's Island Park.

Cowley county is one of the first counties in the state in the production of corn. Oats, winter wheat and other grains are also extensively raised. Live stock raising is one of the leading industries, and dairying is a paying business. There are about 300,000 bearing fruit trees in the county that bring in a large income. Magnesium limestone of an excellent quality is found and extensively quarried, both for local use and shipment out of the county. Gypsum is found in large quantities in the west.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,132 square miles (2,930 km2), of which 1,126 square miles (2,920 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) (0.6%) is water.

Cowley county is located in southeast Kansas. The county has gently rolling prairies. There are some bluffs in the east, and the western part is level. Timber  found along the streams are cottonwood, elm, hackberry, mulberry, walnut, oak, redbud, pecan, hickory, ash and cedar. The county is well watered by the Arkansas river which crosses the southwestern portion, and the Walnut river, which flows south in the western part of the county, and their tributaries, the most important of which are the Muddy, Dutch, Timber, Silver and Grouse creeks.  A large salt marsh exists in the southwestern portion.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Butler County
  • Northeast: Elk County
  • East: Chautauqua County
  • Southeast: Osage County, Okla.
  • Southwest: Kay County, Okla.
  • West: Sumner County
  • Northwest: Sedgwick County


Unified School Districts

USD 462, Central
USD 463, Udall
USD 465, Winfield
USD 470, Arkansas city
USD 471, Dexter


Cowley College
Southwestern College
St. John's College closed in 1986

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