Allen County, Kansas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Allen, Kansas.
Allen County, Kansas
Map of Kansas highlighting Allen County
Location in the state of Kansas
Map of the United States highlighting Kansas
Kansas's location in the U.S.
Founded August 25, 1855
Named for William Allen
Seat Iola
Largest city Iola
 • Total 505 sq mi (1,308 km2)
 • Land 500 sq mi (1,295 km2)
 • Water 5.0 sq mi (13 km2), 1.0%
Population (est.)
 • (2013) 13,124
 • Density 27/sq mi (10/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Coordinates: 37°53′N 95°17′W / 37.883°N 95.283°W / 37.883; -95.283

Allen County (county code AL) is a county located in southeast portion of the U.S. state of Kansas.It is 504 square miles, or 322,560 acres in size. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,371.[1] Its county seat and most populous city is Iola.[2]


The old Allen County Jail

Allen County is one of the 33 counties established by the first territorial legislature in August 1855, six years before Kansas statehood in 1861. It was named in honor of William Allen, a United States senator from Ohio. At the time of its creation, Charles Passmore was appointed probate judge; B.W. Cowden and Barnett Owen were appointed county commissioners, and William Godfrey was appointed sheriff. The appointments were temporary until the general election in 1857. The four men were authorized to appoint the county clerk and treasurer thus completing the county organization.[3]

Richard J. Fuqua and his family are considered the first white settlers in the county, arriving in the valley of the Neosho River January 1855. Fuqua established a post for trading with the neighboring Indian tribes which became quite popular with the Sac and Fox Indians. B.W. Cowden and H.D. Parsons arrived in March of the same year and selected claims in the valley of the Neosho River, near the mouth of Elm Creek. The next settlement was made near the mouth of Deer Creek (so named for the abundance of deer in the area) by Major James Parsons, and his two sons, Jesse and James, and a Mr. Duncan. The population grew rapidly through the spring and summer of 1855, most of it located on or near the Neosho River.

Many of the early settlers were pro-slavery, but few slaves were actually brought into the county. The anti-slavery population expressed such antipathy toward their pro-slavery neighbors that slaves within the county there were either freed or taken elsewhere in Kansas by their masters. Immigration continued during the summer and fall of 1856, though in reduced numbers.[4]

The first town and county seat was Cofachique. In the spring of 1855 pro-slavery settlers from Fort Scott laid out the town in a hilly area east of the Neosho River and south of the mouth of Elm Creek. The territorial legislature passed an act in July 1855 incorporating the Cofachique Town Association. It was the only town in Allen County for nearly two years and as such was quite successful; but in 1857 other towns were constructed and Cofachique began to decline almost immediately. One of the reasons for decline was accessibility, the other was a lack of good well water. Another possible contribution to the town's decline involved tensions between the pro and anti-slavery settlers. With the development of neighboring towns Humboldt and Iola the town of Cofachique all but disappeared by 1859.[5] The county seat went briefly to Humboldt in 1857 where it remained until 1865, but with the election of that year Iola took the county seat and has retained this designation to the present.[6]

After a series of disputes between residents in the county over where a county jail should be located, Allen County's first jail was constructed in Iola in 1869 at a cost of $8,400. It operated until a replacement jail house was opened in 1959. Since that time the original jail has been run as a museum.[7]

The last year of the territorial period (1860) was one of the most difficult years since the initial settlement of the county. Periods of drought beginning as early as 1854 had plagued all of Kansas and though 1859 had seen a reprieve, by the end of 1859 and into 1860 the drought worsened. The St. Laurence newspaper reported: "No rain, no snow, and much open, thawing, mild weather, alternated with sharp, though brief [cold] snaps. . . ."[8] Most of the people who had moved to the county in the previous two years were still trying to establish their farms. With the prospect of starvation and hardship before them, many decided to return to the east.[4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 505 square miles (1,310 km2), of which 500 square miles (1,300 km2) is land and 5.0 square miles (13 km2) (1.0%) is water.[9] Allen County is located in the southeastern part of the state, in the second tier of counties west of Missouri, and about fifty miles north of Oklahoma. In extent it is twenty-one miles from north to south and twenty-four miles from east to west.

Geographic features[edit]

The general surface of the country is slightly rolling, though much more level than the greater portion of eastern Kansas. The soil is fertile and highly productive. The bottom lands along the streams average one and one-half miles in width, and comprise one-tenth the area of the county. The remainder is the gently rolling or level upland prairie. The principal varieties of trees native to the county are black walnut, hickory, cottonwood, oak, hackberry and elm.[4]

The main water course is the Neosho River, which flows through the western part of the county from north to south. Its tributaries are Indian, Martin's, Deer, Elm, and other small creeks. The Marmaton River rises east of the center of the county, and flows through the southeastern part of the county. The Little Osage River rises not far from the head of the Marmaton and flows northeast. Its tributaries are Middle Creek on the north and the South Fork on the south.[10]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,082
1870 7,022 127.8%
1880 11,303 61.0%
1890 13,509 19.5%
1900 19,507 44.4%
1910 27,640 41.7%
1920 23,509 −14.9%
1930 21,391 −9.0%
1940 19,874 −7.1%
1950 18,187 −8.5%
1960 16,369 −10.0%
1970 15,043 −8.1%
1980 15,654 4.1%
1990 14,638 −6.5%
2000 14,385 −1.7%
2010 13,371 −7.0%
Est. 2014 12,909 [11] −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2013[1]

Census 2010[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 13,371 people residing in the county. 93.3% were White, 1.9% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 1.0% of some other race and 2.5% of two or more races. 2.9% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 31.7% were of German, 12.4% American, 11.1% Irish and 7.9% English ancestry.[16]

Census 2000[edit]

As of the U.S. Census in 2000,[17] there were 14,385 people, 5,775 households, and 3,892 families residing in Allen County. The population density was 29 people per square mile (11/km²). There were 6,449 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.80% White, 1.63% Black or African American, 0.78% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.86% from other races, and 1.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.93% of the population. 28.8% were of German, 20.3% American, 9.8% English and 8.6% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 5,775 households out of which 29.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 8.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.60% were non-families. 28.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.20% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 18.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,481, and the median income for a family was $39,117. Males had a median income of $27,305 versus $19,221 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,640. About 11.30% of families and 14.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.20% of those under age 18 and 12.70% of those age 65 or over.

Historical trends[edit]

During the years of the American Civil War the county continued to develop though at a slower rate. From 1860 to 1870 there was a steady increase in population from 3,082 to 7,022 residents. The next ten years brought a similar steady rise, from 7,022 to 11,303 residents. The county's largest growth period was between 1890 and 1910. At its peak in 1910, Allen County had 27,640 residents. Thereafter the county experienced a slow decline in population. By 2010, the population was slightly below the population in 1890 there being 13,371 residents.[18] The population increase during the 1890/1910 period was likely due to the oil and gas discoveries and production near Iola.[19]

Law and government[edit]

Following amendment to the Kansas Constitution in 1986, the county remained a prohibition, or "dry", county until 2000, when voters approved the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with a 30% food sales requirement.[20]


Unified school districts[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]


Major highways[edit]

U.S. Route 54 is an east/west route passing through (from east to west) the cities of Moran, La Harpe, Gas, and Iola (the county seat). Outside the county the route connects to Fort Scott in the east and Yates Center and eventually Wichita in the west. Passing through eastern portions of the county and the cities of Mildred and Moran, U.S. Route 59 is one of two north/south routes. It connects to Kincaid and eventually Ottawa and Lawrence in the north and Erie in the south. The other route is U.S. Route 169 which passes through western portions of the county and bypasses to the east of the cities of Iola, Bassett, and Humboldt. It connects to Chanute and eventually Coffeyville in the south. The segment between Iola and Chanute is a freeway with fully controlled access, although there is only one lane in each direction. US-169 provides a direct route for traveling between Kansas City and Tulsa, Oklahoma.


  • Allen County Airport (K88), public
  • Croisant Airport (7KS5), private
  • Ensminger Airport (74KS), private
  • National Airport, public
  • Womack Airport, public


2005 KDOT Map of Allen County (map legend)


Unincorporated communities[edit]


Allen County is divided into twelve townships. Because Humboldt, Iola, and La Harpe are cities of the second class, they are governmentally independent from the townships and are excluded from the census figures for the townships. 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.

Township FIPS Population
Population Population
/km² (/sq mi)
Land area
km² (sq mi)
Water area
km² (sq mi)
Water % Geographic coordinates
Carlyle 10725 276 4 (9) 78 (30) 0 (0) 0.09% 37°59′50″N 95°22′47″W / 37.99722°N 95.37972°W / 37.99722; -95.37972
Cottage Grove 15825 282 3 (8) 96 (37) 0 (0) 0.42% 37°45′20″N 95°22′11″W / 37.75556°N 95.36972°W / 37.75556; -95.36972
Deer Creek 17175 142 2 (4) 94 (36) 0 (0) 0.13% 37°59′14″N 95°17′23″W / 37.98722°N 95.28972°W / 37.98722; -95.28972
Elm 20550 Gas 1,259 10 (27) 123 (47) 0 (0) 0.33% 37°54′36″N 95°19′36″W / 37.91000°N 95.32667°W / 37.91000; -95.32667
Elsmore 20900 460 3 (7) 165 (64) 0 (0) 0.06% 37°47′1″N 95°9′23″W / 37.78361°N 95.15639°W / 37.78361; -95.15639
Geneva 26100 172 2 (6) 78 (30) 1 (0) 1.02% 38°0′7″N 95°28′33″W / 38.00194°N 95.47583°W / 38.00194; -95.47583
Humboldt 33475 273 4 (11) 65 (25) 1 (0) 0.88% 37°48′47″N 95°25′34″W / 37.81306°N 95.42611°W / 37.81306; -95.42611
Iola 34325 843 8 (19) 112 (43) 2 (1) 1.57% 37°54′29″N 95°25′27″W / 37.90806°N 95.42417°W / 37.90806; -95.42417
Logan 41725 225 3 (7) 83 (32) 1 (0) 0.75% 37°47′2″N 95°29′2″W / 37.78389°N 95.48389°W / 37.78389; -95.48389
Marmaton 44850 Moran 853 6 (15) 144 (56) 0 (0) 0.09% 37°54′40″N 95°9′48″W / 37.91111°N 95.16333°W / 37.91111; -95.16333
Osage 53075 316 3 (7) 124 (48) 0 (0) 0.37% 38°0′14″N 95°9′36″W / 38.00389°N 95.16000°W / 38.00389; -95.16000
Salem 62600 277 2 (6) 124 (48) 0 (0) 0.10% 37°49′31″N 95°18′6″W / 37.82528°N 95.30167°W / 37.82528; -95.30167
Sources: "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files". U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "History of Allen County, Kansas". Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  4. ^ a b c "Allen County, Part 1". Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  5. ^ History of the State of Kansas: Containing a Full Account of Its Growth from an Uninhabited Territory to a Wealthy and Important State... Also, a Supplementary History and Description of Its Counties, Cities, Towns, and Villages.. A. T. Andreas. 1883-01-01. 
  6. ^ "Allen County, Kansas - Kansas Historical Society". Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  7. ^ Pankratz, Richard D. National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Allen County Jail. National Park Service, 1974-09-04, 3.
  8. ^ "Dust Storms: Part One, 1850-1860 - Kansas Historical Society". Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ Blackmar, Frank Wilson (1912-01-01). Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. ... Standard Publishing Company. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  16. ^ FactFinder
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  18. ^ "Allen County, Kansas - Demographics - Historical Trends |". Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  19. ^ "Striking It Big in Kansas - AAPG Explorer". Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  20. ^ "Map of Wet and Dry Counties". Alcoholic Beverage Control, Kansas Department of Revenue. November 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-21. 

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]