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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.

Hours:

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

THE SCHGS CENTER IS NOW OPEN AND IS LOCATED IN THE SOUTH END OF THE MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM LOBBY.

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

Phone: 1-785-339-3127

Email - schgs

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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 2013
Jarrod Kline
Clifford Caywood
Joyce Tencleve
Nancy Kollmorgen
Carol Norris
Marjorie Utt


Publicity
Sherry Kline, Elaine Clark, 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. www.photodetective.com

News & Announcements

Monday, January 27th Meeting:

“Emily Sell: Letters of a Kansas Homesteader’s Wife”

On Monday, January 27th, Elaine Clark, Sumner County Historical Society Prairie Letters’ Project Director, will present the program, “Emily Sell: Letters of a Kansas Homesteader’s Wife” to SCHGS members and guests at the Wellington Senior Citizen Center, 308 South Washington, Wellington, Kansas, at 6:30 p.m. For bad weather cancellation information, contact Jane Moore at 620-447-3266

In 2012 the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society received a notebook containing letters written primarily in the 1870’s by Emily Sell, one of Sumner County’s earliest settlers.

SCHGS President, Jane Moore, shared the letters with Elaine Clark, and they soon realized that they were holding a treasure trove of first-hand accounts of the everyday life of the wife of a Kansas homesteader.

Moore said that the Sells homesteaded in the Rome, Kansas area in the 1870’s, and 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.

“There have been histories written about other areas of Sumner County during this time period,” said Elaine Clark, adding “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,” Clark said.

Because of the historic value of the letters, the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC), a nonprofit organization that supports community-
based cultural programs, www.kansashumanities.org, awarded the Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society of Wellington a $3,500 grant for the “Prairie Letters: Written in Rural Kansas in the Late Nineteenth Century” project.

Since receiving the grant, Clark said that she has spent 194 hours transcribing the letters, and preparing them for publication. Clark will share details about the entire process: the acquisition of the letters, the transcription, the research, and the preparation for turning them into the book with SCHGS members and guests.

Clark said that when she first held the letters in her hand “I just stood there and wondered what her life was like.”

Now, Clark knows.

“We tend to take food, warmth, air conditioning, doctors and medical care for granted, but these letters share the facts of everyday life for Kansas’ early settlers,” Clark said, adding that for some, it was a life that included hunger, deprivation, and early death.

“It was hard to put the letters down,” Clark said, “I kept wanting to transcribe the next one to see what was new in the life of Emily.”

“I kept wanting things to get better for her,” Clark said, adding that for her, the saddest event in Emily’s letter was the death of her toddler child.

“I've transcribed letters that probably would have languished in someone’s closet, or worse yet, been destroyed,” Clark said, “It gives future generations a glimpse into the life of a homesteader in the early days of Sumner County.

 


KANSAS HUMANITIES COUNCIL

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.

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

Publications for Sale

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2013 Program Schedule

 

Jan. 27th 2014 "Emily Sell: Letters of a Kansas Homesteader's Wife" - presented by Elaine Clark
Feb. 24th 2014 The Seven Daughters of Eve- presented by Pam Robinett
Mar. 24th 2014 Program to be presented by Dolores Carr
Apr. 28th 2014 Program to be presented by Jim Bales
May 19th 2014 To be announced

 

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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 Wellington Senior Center 308 S. Washington Ave. Wellington, KS.

Contact the SCHGS for details of upcoming Programs.

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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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