Brief History from
Kansas State Historical Society:
County was one of the first 33 counties
organized by the Territorial Legislature
in 1855. Founded by Baptist
missionaries, Reverend and Mrs.
Jotham Meeker were the first white
settlers, followed by Reverend and Mrs.
Simmerwell. Other early founders
include J. H. Whetstone; S. T. Kelsey; and
J. M. Bernard. The county contains the
of Rantoul, Wellsville, Princeton,
Ottawa, Pomona, Lane, Richmond and
The famous Pottawatomie
Massacre, led by John Brown, near Lane on
May 24, 1856, is indicative of the
county's place in
the early free-state, pro slavery
difficulties. The operation of the
experimental French silk-producing commune
"Silkville" that attempted to
produce silk and silk materials in the
1870s and 1880s brought considerable
attention to the area.
The second chautauqua in the nation,
and the second largest in size, was held
at Ottawa between 1883 and 1914.