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..

Stafford County, Kansas

Stafford County Education, Geography, and HistoryStafford County, Kansas Courthouse

Stafford County is a county located in the state of Kansas. Based on the 2010 census, the county population was 4,437. Stafford County was created on February 26, 1867. The county seat is St. John. The county is named for Lewis Stafford, captain of Company E, First Kansas Infantry.

Etymology - Origin of Stafford County Name

The county is named for Lewis Stafford, Captain of Company E, First Kansas Infantry, who was accidentally killed at Young's Point, Louisana, January 31, 1863.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Stafford County History

Stafford County, in the southwestern section of the state, is the third county north of the Oklahoma line, and its western border is about 175 miles east of Colorado. It is bounded on the north by Barton county; on the east by Rice and Reno; on the south by Pratt, and on the west by Edwards and Pawnee. The legislature of 1870 defined the boundaries of Stafford county and named it in honor of Capt. Lewis Stafford, of the First Kansas infantry. In 1875, in an effort to obliterate it, the legislature gave a portion to each of three surrounding counties, Pawnee, Barton and Pratt. However, a strip 6 miles wide and 12 miles long remained and was still called Stafford. In 1879 the supreme court decided that the act of the legislature dividing the county was unconstitutional and the original boundaries were restored.

The AT&SF railroad and highway US-50 run across Stafford county, serving Zenith, Stafford, St. John, and Macksville. Highway US 281 runs north-south though the middle. The Missouri Pacific had track from Radium, in northwest Stafford county through Seward, Hudson, Stafford, and Neola but it has been abandoned.
Most of the economic life of the county involves cattle, winter wheat, or petroleum.
  • The main square in St. John seems like it should have a courthouse on it, but doesn't. Instead, the courthouse is on the southeast corner of the square with an angled facade facing the square. Notice the older Dillon's store on the north side of the square; its style gives a glimpse of past retail fashion.
  • The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is a 22,000 acre wonderland for birdwatchers.
  • The Ida Long Goodman library in St. John is a good model for smaller Kansas towns. By combining the city and school district libraries, both are better than either could be alone.
  • Hudson is the home of a famous flour mill and is a lively, prosperous little town. Tours of the Stafford County Flour Mills can be arranged; call (620) 458-4121.
  • Zenith has a tan brick church and school (abandoned), grain elevator, and RR tracks.
  • Neola, in the southeast corner, is kind of a sad place nestled in a sandhill area beside rusting, weed-grown tracks. There's almost nothing left of the dreams and sweat invested there.
  • Curtis Cafe in Stafford has hundreds of picture puzzles (assembled) mounted on the walls.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 795 square miles (2,060 km2), of which 792 square miles (2,050 km2) is land and 2.9 square miles (7.5 km2) (0.4%) is water.

 Stafford county is located close to the center of Kansas. The county is rolling prairie. Bottom lands make up15 per cent of the area. Timber is limited to a few cottonwoods along Rattlesnake creek, which is the main stream. Rattlesnake creek enters in the southwest, flows northeast across the center of the county and leaves at the northeast corner. There is an abundance of building stone, clay for bricks and gypsum. There is a salt marsh located in the northeast part of this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Barton County (north)
  • Rice County (northeast)
  • Reno County (east)
  • Pratt County (south)
  • Edwards County (west)
  • Pawnee County (west)


Unified School Districts

Stafford USD 349
St. John-Hudson USD 350
Macksville USD 351

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