History from Kansas State Historical
Decatur County is one of
the northern most counties in Kansas, and
home to the cities of Jennings, Oberlin,
Norcatur, and Clayton. Named for
Commodore Stephen Decatur, of War of 1812
fame, the county was founded by J. A.
Rodehauer, W. D. Stuart, W. P.
Montgomery, Benjamin Lewis, and Henry P.
Gundy on December 11,1879.
The first churches were
Methodist, one founded in Lyle and the
other in Oberlin, both in 1877. The first
school district was
formed in 1876 on the Van Wormer
land claim. Many legends surround the
Cheyenne "autumn" of 1878. This last
raid in Kansas occurred in the
county near Oberlin on September 30,
1878. Seventeen white men were killed in
the raid. A state memorial to the event
was dedicated on September 30, 1911. The
county was also the location of
Pikes Peak Express station No. 16.
On February 20, 1933, people in Norton and
Decatur counties felt a moderate
Buildings and houses swayed and
dishes and windows rattled. The earthquake
was felt across a 6,000 square mile area
Kansas and Nebraska.