Wabaunsee County, Kansas
|Wabaunsee County, Kansas|
Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Newbury, 2009
Location in the state of Kansas
Kansas's location in the U.S.
|• Total||800 sq mi (2,072 km2)|
|• Land||794 sq mi (2,056 km2)|
|• Water||5.3 sq mi (14 km2), 7%|
|• Density||8.7/sq mi (3/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Wabaunsee County (standard abbreviation: WB) is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 7,053. Its county seat is Alma. The county was created by the territorial legislature of Kansas Territory on March 25, 1859, and was named for a chief of the Potawatomi Indians.
For millennia, the land now known as Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The first white settlers in the area were said to have been a band of outlaws known as the McDaniel Gang.
In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized and Wabaunsee County was created by the territorial legislature on March 25, 1859. The name used since 1859 is derived from the Potawatomi "Wah-bon-seh", meaning "dawn of day" literally, and it was the name of the chief of the Potawatomi Indians. Originally, the county was named Richardson, after William P. Richardson, a congressman from Illinois, who introduced the first Kansas and Nebraska Bill in the House of Representatives, which made certain Indian lands territories in 1854.
Also in 1854, the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church was established by a group of free-staters, who had rifles shipped to the church to be used in the free-state effort in boxes marked Bibles. Captain William Mitchell, Jr., a seaman who joined the Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony that settled in Wabaunsee, played an important role in the county settlement and with the underground railroad.
The county's first church, Wabaunsee Church of Christ, was founded in June of 1857.
The first railroad to be built through Wabaunsee County was the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe in 1880. In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway built a main line from Topeka to Herington. This main line connected Topeka, Valencia, Willard, Maple Hill, Vera, Paxico, McFarland, Alma, Volland, Alta Vista, Dwight, White City, Latimer, Herington.
A massive drought beginning in 1930 resulted in a series of dust storms that lasted until 1941. The drought combined with the onset of the Great Depression, forced farmers off the land. This ecological disaster caused an exodus of many farmers to escape from the hostile environment of Kansas. As the world demand for wheat plummeted, rural Kansas became poverty-stricken. The state became an eager participant in such major New Deal relief programs as the Civil Works Administration, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, which put tens of thousands of Kansans to work as unskilled labor. Republican Governor Alf Landon also employed emergency measures, including a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures and a balanced budget initiative. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration succeeded in raising wheat prices after 1933, thus alleviating the most serious distress.
Law and government
Wabaunsee County was a prohibition, or "dry", county until the Kansas Constitution was amended in 1986 and voters approved the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with a 30% food sales requirement.
- Pottawatomie County (north)
- Shawnee County (east)
- Osage County (southeast)
- Lyon County (south)
- Morris County (southwest)
- Geary County (west)
- Riley County (northwest)
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,885 people, 2,633 households, and 1,958 families residing in the county. The population density was 9 people per square mile (3/km²). There were 3,033 housing units at an average density of 4 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.24% White, 0.46% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 1.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,633 households out of which 33.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.30% were married couples living together, 6.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.60% were non-families. 23.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the county the population was spread out with 26.70% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 102.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $41,710, and the median income for a family was $47,500. Males had a median income of $31,629 versus $23,148 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,704. About 5.80% of families and 7.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.40% of those under age 18 and 7.90% of those age 65 or over.
Unified school districts
Wabaunsee County is divided into thirteen townships. None of the cities within the county are considered governmentally independent, and all figures for the townships include those of the cities. In the following table, the population center is the largest city (or cities) included in that township's population total, if it is of a significant size.
/km² (/sq mi)
km² (sq mi)
km² (sq mi)
|Water %||Geographic coordinates|
|Alma||01375||Alma||1,137||11 (28)||104 (40)||0 (0)||0%|
|Farmer||23125||119||1 (2)||172 (66)||0 (0)||0.07%|
|Garfield||25850||Alta Visa||590||5 (13)||118 (45)||0 (0)||0.09%|
|Kaw||36150||242||2 (6)||110 (42)||2 (1)||1.55%|
|Maple Hill||44525||Maple Hill||930||5 (13)||190 (73)||1 (0)||0.55%|
|Mill Creek||46725||Lake Wabaunsee||293||2 (4)||192 (74)||1 (0)||0.43%|
|Mission Creek||47300||495||2 (6)||209 (81)||0 (0)||0.04%|
|Newbury||50275||Paxico / McFarland||1,045||5 (13)||203 (78)||0 (0)||0.06%|
|Plumb||56800||Harveyville||640||5 (13)||129 (50)||0 (0)||0.17%|
|Rock Creek||60650||84||0 (1)||171 (66)||0 (0)||0.05%|
|Wabaunsee||74250||Wabaunsee||455||3 (7)||172 (66)||2 (1)||1.05%|
|Washington||75800||83||1 (1)||148 (57)||0 (0)||0.02%|
|Wilmington||79525||Eskridge||772||5 (13)||150 (58)||0 (0)||0.03%|
Information on this and other counties in Kansas
- List of counties in Kansas
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Kansas
- Kansas locations by per capita income
Other information for Kansas
- List of cities in Kansas
- List of unified school districts in Kansas
- List of colleges and universities in Kansas
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Wabaunsee County, Kansas, Kansapedia. (accessed July 27, 2013)
- Wabaunsee County History.
- Blackmar, Frank Wilson (1912). Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Volume 2. Standard Publishing Company. p. 853.
- Rock Island Rail History
- Timothy Eagan, The Worst Hard Tim : the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
- Craig Miner,Next Year Country: Dust to Dust in Western Kansas, 1890-1940 (2007)
- Peter Fearon, "Kansas History and the New Deal Era," Kansas History, Autumn 2007, Vol. 30 Issue 3, pp 192-223
- Donald R. McCoy, Landon of Kansas (1966)
- Peter Fearon, "Regulation and Response: Kansas Wheat Farmers and the New Deal," Rural History, Oct 2007, Vol. 18 Issue 2, pp 245-264
- "Map of Wet and Dry Counties". Alcoholic Beverage Control, Kansas Department of Revenue. November 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- History of the State of Kansas; William G. Cutler; A.T. Andreas Publisher; 1883. (Online HTML eBook)
- Kansas : A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc; 3 Volumes; Frank W. Blackmar; Standard Publishing Co; 944 / 955 / 824 pages; 1912. (Volume1 - Download 54MB PDF eBook),(Volume2 - Download 53MB PDF eBook), (Volume3 - Download 33MB PDF eBook)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wabaunsee County, Kansas.|
- General Information
- Kansas County Data
- Wabaunsee County local history and genealogy
- Kansas State Historical Society
- William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
- Wabaunsee County GenWeb website
- Wabaunsee County history, including Underground Railroad stations
- Wabaunsee County Maps: Current, Historic, KDOT
- Kansas Highway Maps: Current, Historic, KDOT
- Kansas Railroad Maps: Current, 1996, 1915, KDOT and Kansas Historical Society
||Riley County||Pottawatomie County|
|Geary County||Shawnee County|
|Morris County||Lyon County||Osage County|