Welcome to the Sumner County, Kansas Historical and Genealogical Research Center!
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)
SCHGS CENTER IS NOW OPEN AND IS LOCATED IN THE SOUTH END OF THE MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM
address: Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Center
P.O. Box 402
Wellington Kansas 67152
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.
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.
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
The Mayfield Book is now on sale. Get your copy here - The Mayfield Book: Then and Now
Check out the Belleview School Project
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.
Board Members 2013
objectives of the Society and the Research Center are:
~ 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.
Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. www.photodetective.com
News & Announcements
Monday, January 27th Meeting:
Emily Sell: Letters of a Kansas Homesteaders 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 Homesteaders 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 1870s by Emily Sell, one of Sumner Countys 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 1870s, 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-
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 Emilys letter was the death of her toddler child.
I've transcribed letters that probably would have languished in someones 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.
Prairie Letters: Letters written in rural
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
2013 Program Schedule
Sumner County History and Genealogy Society hold programs from August
- November and January - May.
Contact the SCHGS for details of upcoming Programs.
If you have a lookup or research request, check out the link below.
Chisholm Trail Ghost Riders
Marker located on US-81 south of Caldwell, Sumner County Kansas
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
Webmaster: J Scheel
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