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..

Norton County, Kansas

Norton County Education, Geography, and HistoryNorton County, Kansas Courthouse

Norton County is a county located in the state of Kansas. Based on the 2010 census, the county population was 5,671. The county seat is Norton. Norton county was created in 1867. The county is named for Orloff Norton, captain of Company L, 15th Kansas Militia Infantry Regiment.

Etymology - Origin of Norton County Name

The county is named in honor of Orloff Norton, Captain of Company L, Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry, killed by guerillas at Cane Hill, Ark., October 29, 1865. In 1873 the county was represented by one N. H. Billings, who, in consequence of his peculiarities, became a sort of butt of the Legislature. A member of the Senate at the time had the name of Norton changed to Billings, in two lines hidden in a paragraph of a Bill fixing the boundaries of certain counties. The next Legislature restored the name of Norton.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Norton County History

Norton County, one of the northern tier, is the fourth from Colorado. It is bounded on the north by the State of Nebraska; on the east by Phillips county; on the south by Graham, and on the west by Decatur. It was created in 1867 and named for Orloff Norton, captain of Company L, Fifteenth Kansas cavalry. The boundaries were defined as follows: "Commencing where the east line of range 21 west intersects the 40th degree of north latitude; thence south to the 1st standard parallel; thence west to the east line of range 26 west; thence north to the 40th degree of north latitude; thence east to the place of beginning."

It is 30 miles square. The county was prematurely organized in 1872. The prime mover in the event brought about the organization for the purpose of exploitation. He disappeared from the county in June and went to Topeka, where he prepared a forged petition and presented it to Gov. Harvey. It contained but 8 names of residents of the county. The governor refused to act upon it. Immediately he prepared an affidavit stating that there were not less than 600 inhabitants in Norton county. This was sent to the governor and a second petition stating that there were at least 600 inhabitants in the county followed. It asked for organization, made recommendation for officers and asked that Billingsville be declared the temporary county seat. Although this petition did not contain the name of a single resident of Norton county the governor acted upon it and appointed Richard M. Johnson to take the census. As Johnson was a fictitious character, Billings had things his own way in regard to the census, and a bogus census was gotten up in short order. It was presented to the governor on Aug. 22 and the same day the proclamation of organization was issued declaring Billingsville the temporary county seat.

A branch of the Missouri Pacific R. R. enters in the south from Phillips county, runs west and terminates at Lenora. A branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy enters in the northeast, runs southwest to Norton and west into Decatur county. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific enters in the northeast and crosses southwest through Norton into Decatur county.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 881 square miles (2,280 km2), of which 878 square miles (2,270 km2) is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) (0.4%) is water.

 Norton county is located in northwest Kansas. The surface is prairie, bottom lands comprising 15 per cent of the county. The main streams are: Sappa creek in the northwest, Prairie Dog in the center, and the north fork of the Solomon in the south. They are lined by narrow belts of native timber. Limestone, sandstone and potter's clay are found.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Furnas County, Nebraska (north)
  • Harlan County, Nebraska (northeast)
  • Phillips County (east)
  • Graham County (south)
  • Sheridan County (southwest)
  • Decatur County (west)


Unified School Districts

Norton Community USD 211
Northern Valley USD 212
West Solomon USD 213 (elementary school only; students in grades 6-12 attend schools in Norton)

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