County was organized on August 24, 1867,
for P. M. Thompson; Joseph Lehman; D. H.
Page; D. Cushman;
Adam Weadle; Leverants S. D. Walker;
J. J. and C. L. Prather; and Irwin and H.
V. Faris. Named for Lieutenant Allen
Ellsworth of the 7th Iowa Cavalry
who established Fort Ellsworth in 1864,
the county contains the cities of
Kanopolis, Lorraine, Holyrood and
The establishment of
Fort Ellsworth, later named Fort Harker,
protected the early settlements and served
as a shipping point
for the Santa Fe Trail. The early
cattle trains and trade established in the
1870s and the route of the Butterfield
Dispatch through the county
contributed significantly to the
settlement and economy of the area. The
Kanapolis Dam in 1950 aided both
flood control and water conservation.