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Welcome to the Sumner County, Kansas Historical and Genealogical Research Center!

We are located in the southeast corner of the Memorial Auditorium lobby, 208 N. Washington Wellington Kansas.


Tuesday's 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (May be closed for lunch)

Mailing address:  Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Center
P.O. Box 402
Wellington Kansas 67152

Phone: 1-785-339-3127

Please note, we do not take research requests over the phone.

Please email or snail mail your requests, and please include as much information as possible.

Email - schgs

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Sumner County Kansas Historical and Genealogical Society

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The Chisholm Trail History and Genealogy Center was formed January 2001 by the Sumner County Genealogical Society.  Thanks to the generosity and help of Carl Meyer Wellington City Manager, Ellen McCue Memorial Auditorium Director, Sherri Theurer Vice-president of the Sumner County Genealogical Society, and the Wellington Public Library.  As well as many members of the Sumner County Genealogical Society.

The Center officially opened June 10, 2001, and is conveniently located in the Memorial Auditorium in downtown Wellington Kansas.  The Center is two blocks from the Sumner County Courthouse and the Chisholm Trail Museum and around the corner from the Wellington Public Library.

In the Summer of 2001 the Sumner County Historical Society and the Sumner County Genealogy Society voted to merge the two societies. The new Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society hopes to be able to better serve the researchers of Sumner County and to operate the Sumner County History and Genealogy Center to further this goal.

Anyone can research at the center free of charge, although donations are greatly appreciated. There is a nominal fee for copies. 

Our volunteers will be glad to do lookups free of charge for those who cannot visit the center, a nominal fee for copies and postage will apply, and donations are always appreciated.  If you would like our volunteers to do research for you outside of the center an hourly fee of $10.00 ($10.00 dollar minimum) will apply.  Copies, postage and mileage (volunteers discretion) are extra.  Research outside of the center include Obituary request, Courthouse records, cemetery records (those not available at the center), and any other records not located at the center are subject to the hourly fee.   All fees collected (except for mileage) go into the Center fund for operating costs and to collect more research materials.

It was decided in 2005 to change the name of the Chisholm Trail History Genealogy Center, to the Sumner County History and Genealogy Center. We hope this change will alleviate any confusion between the Center and other entities.

In 2012 the City of Wellington received a grant, and with matching funds from the Horton fund were able to bring the Auditorium up to ADA compliance. The old bathrooms were close and new bathrooms were built along the mezzanine. The grant also enabled the city to paint the main lobby, lay carpet, and install an elevator.

As a part of the renovation the SCHGS was able to move to the south end of the auditorium lobby. This gives us more space as we can utilize one of the old bathrooms as archive space, and we also will be utilizing the old ticket booth as storage and office space. We officially opened in our new rooms April 2nd 2013, after many months of moving organizing and cleaning. We are excited to be in our new rooms and once again able to help researchers in the search of Sumner County history and family history.


          The Mayfield Book is now on sale. Get your copy here - The Mayfield Book: Then and Now

Check out the Belleview School Project


Chisholm Trail

Chisholm Trail Markers

Policies & Purposes of the SCHGC

Sumner County Kansas Links

Sumner County Post Offices

Kansas Links

Sumner County History & Genealogy Society

Sumner County Kansas Genweb

Sumner County Surname List

Sumner County Queries

Membership Form

Research Volunteers and Materials

Publications for Sale

Sumner County Photographs

Pioneer Cemetery Project

Pioneer Certificate Form

Sumner County Cemeteries

Moving Day Photo's
Open House Photo's

In August of 2001, the boards members of the Sumner County Historical Society and the Sumner County Genealogical Society met and voted to recommend that the two groups merge.  At our first fall meeting in September, both societies agreed by a vote of all members to merge the two societies.  We hope by merging the two societies that we can better serve our historical and genealogical researchers.

Officers 2013
President - Jane Moore
1st Vice-president (Program Coordinator) Sherry Kline
2nd Vice-president (Center Director & Webmaster) Jared Scheel
Treasurer - Margaret Agee
Secretary - Helen White
Corresponding Secretary - position open

Advisory Board Members 2016
Jarrod Kline
Cliff Caywood
Susie Cochran
Nancy Kollmorgen
Marjorie Utt

Sherry Kline, Jane Moore


The objectives of the Society and the Research Center are:

~ To discover, collect, preserve and disseminate knowledge and information with reference to historical, genealogical and biographical data. 

~ To promote publicity and interest in the rich heritage of Sumner County, its historic sites, buildings, trails and early settlers by providing historical programs and published information.

~ To operate the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Center as a means to further these objectives.



Get your Sumner County Pioneer Certificate.
If you have an ancestor that settled in Sumner County prior to 1900 you are eligible for a Pioneer Certificate.
To receive your suitable for framing certificate, print out this FORM and mail it to the SCHGS.



Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective.

News & Announcements


SCHGS Program 1 p. m. Saturday April 16, 2016

Held at the Wellington Public Library on the lower level. Come and join us for this great program!

Presentation Explores Lives of Free-Born Children after Civil War

Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society in Wellington, Kansas will host "Children of the Promised Land," a presentation and discussion by Angela Bates on Saturday, April 16th at 1:00 p.m. at the Wellington Public Library, 121 W. 7th St., Wellington, Kansas.

Everyone is invited to attend the free program made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council. Contact SCHGS Vice President, Sherry Kline at 316-833-6161 for more information.

Nicodemus, founded in 1877, is a small unincorporated town in Graham County, Kansas. It is the only remaining western town that was established by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War. The presentation will be a pictorial history that explores the unique experiences of the children of Nicodemus who were the very first members of their families born free from the physical and psychological effects of slavery.

Angela Bates, a Nicodemus descendant, is also the founder and executive director of the Nicodemus Historical Society. Bates presents educational programs to cultural organizations across the nation covering Nicodemus, Exodusters and black towns in the West, Buffalo Soldiers, and black women in the West. Her series of children's books, Adventures of Nicodemus Annie, focus on the history of Nicodemus. She joined the KHC Speakers Bureau in 2010.

"In 1988 I started the Nicodemus Historical Society," Bates said. Bates also worked with the Nicodemus community, the National Park Service, and Senators Dole and Roberts to get Nicodemus designated as a National Historic Site.

Why did so many leave everything behind and move to Kansas?

"The 'pull' to come here was the land," Bates said, "and the 'push' to leave the south were the Jim Crow laws and the violence in the south after the military left."

"That's when all hell broke loose," Bates said, "it provided the impetus to move."

Bates said that in 1886, the population of Nicodemus was close to 700. Today, Bates said that about 16 people live there.

"My mom and dad are from Nicodemus," Bates said, "we used to come down for the Emancipation Celebration and I loved the fascinating stories that I would hear."

"My great uncle, Henry Williams, was the first baby born in Nicodemus just a month after my great-grand mother Emma arrived with the first group of settlers in 1877," said Bates. "He was one of the first in his generation born on the free soils of Kansas. He represents the many children of his generation that were reared by parents who were former slaves."

"It was basically a town where people could experience real freedom," Bates said, "people could homestead and be in a town that was predominately African American."

Isolation forged the community together;" Bates said, "the people knew each other before migrating and settling in Nicodemus, so they stayed together when things got tough."

Bates said that all of the names of the people in Nicodemus originally came from slave masters.

"They had no choice in anything in their lives, from marriage, to having children, to naming their children, to whether or not they could even keep their children," Bates said, "the property owner had total control over them."

The last names of slaves were always the names of their slave masters," Bates said, adding that sometimes the slave masters would allow them to keep their first names, and sometimes when they were purchased they changed their first names as well as their last.
As a result of their new freedom and their new home in Nicodemus, Bates said that after emancipation some of the people changed their names.

"Some of the baby names of the children born in Nicodemus reflected their new freedom," Bates said.

"Children of the Promised Land" is part of the Kansas Humanities Council's Kansas Stories Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions that examine our shared human experience-our innovations, culture, heritage, and conflicts.

The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785/357-0359 or visit online at



Prairie Letters: Letters written in rural Kansas
between the early 1870's and the late 1890's

The Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that they have received a $3500 grant from the Kansas Humanities Council for the purpose of transcribing approximately 150 letters which were written from Rome, Kansas, between January 7, 1870, and July 20, 1898.

In 2012 the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society received a notebook containing these letters which had been placed in sheet protectors. Even though Kansas was opened to settlement in 1854 and became a state in 1861, there were only 22 white people living in Sumner County by 1870 (The Sumner County Story, Paul and Gwendoline Sanders, 1966, p. 9). Sumner County was not fully organized until Nov. 7, 1871.

There have been histories written about other areas of Sumner County during this time period, but very few collections of letters have been discovered which give a first-person perspective. That makes this collection of letters a priceless, irreplaceable piece of Kansas history.

Most of the letters were written by Emily Sell, one of Sumner County's earliest settlers, and most appear to have been written prior to 1880. SCHGS members involved in this transcription project are eager to learn about early-day settlement of Sumner County through the eyes and viewpoint of a homesteader and his wife.

Historical details about settlement in the Rome, Kansas, area are sketchy, but we know that the town was officially organized in 1884. Emily's letters, written to relatives and friends, reveal much about early days of the county and the Rome, Kansas, area; they chronicle the early days of homesteading in Sumner County along with the hardships and sorrows that her family endured.

Some of the letters are almost unreadable because of fading, so it is imperative for the SCHGS to transcribe these letters as soon as possible. This Heritage Grant from the Kansas Humanities Council will assist in preserving this treasure.

Transcription and preservation of these letters will give future historians, researchers, genealogists, and those interested in early settlement of the Midwest a first-person account of the hardships and difficulties of early homesteaders.

As the project progresses and we learn more about the contents of these letters, we will be sharing more on this web site as well as in area publications. Stay tuned.


Join the SCHGS
Dues are $10 per person and $15 for couples.
Members receive our quarterly newsletter the Heritage Harvester.

Publications for Sale


2016 Program Schedule





The Sumner County History and Genealogy Society hold programs from August - November and January - May.
Programs are held on the 4th Monday of the month unless it's a holiday. Programs are currently held at the Good Taste Chinese Buffet 1311 E. 16th. Wellington, KS.

Contact the SCHGS for details of upcoming Programs.


If you have a lookup or research request, check out the link below.

Research Volunteers and Materials



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Chisholm Trail Ghost Riders
Marker located on US-81 south of Caldwell, Sumner County Kansas

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To contact the Sumner County History and Genealogy Center or the Sumner
County History and Genealogy Society write or e-mail to:

PO Box 402
Wellington, Ks 67152
Email: schgs

Webmaster: J Scheel

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