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Welcome To

Finney County

Kansas

Kansas Map

Genealogy and Local History

 

Garden City, Kansas -- county seat of Finney County -- ca 1909
 from the special images collections at Wichita State University Archives

 

Click for Garden City, Kansas Forecast

 

Families | History | LinksRepositories | Ancestors | Vital Records

 

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A little bit of history . . . 

Finney County was created in 1873 as Sequoyah County, out of Peketon Territory. What is now Finney County was once part of the eventually disorganized Arapahoe County, which was formed in 1855 and became part of the Territory of Colorado in 1861. Sequoyah County was renamed Finney County in 1883. The county seat is Garden City.

Finney County, located in southwest Kansas approximately 200 miles west of Wichita, Kansas and about 70 miles from the Colorado border, is the second largest county in land area in Kansas; consisting of 1,296 square miles. It measures 48 miles east to west across the top, 24 miles across the bottom, is 36 miles north to south at the widest point and 18 miles in the panhandle. The county is served by US Highways 83 and 50/400 and Kansas Highways 156 and 23. Its economy consists mainly of farming and ranching in addition to some manufacturing. Wheat, corn and milo are the primary crops along with soybeans, sunflowers, and alfalfa.

About Garden City — the county seat

  • Garden City was founded in 1878 by James R. and William D Fulton
  • Adjoining land was bought by John Stevens (1878) and C. J. Jones (1879)
  • Incorporated as a third-class city 13 January 1883
  • Population in 1883 was 300
  • Named "Garden City" because of the beautiful garden of Mrs. W. D. Fulton
  • First telegraph lines in  1879
  • First newspaper in 1879
  • First bank:  (Garden City Bank) in 1884
  • First calaboose (jail) in 1885
  • First school year: 1885. First school building in 1886; 8 teachers
  • First water works system in 1886
  • First National Bank organized in 1886
  • Incorporated as a first-class city in 1887
  • Population was 1,,544 in the year 1900
  • Garden City Western Railroad built in 1915
  • World's largest free swimming pool built in 1922

 

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From William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, which was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, Illinois, under Unorganized Counties, the following information pertaining to what was then was Sequoyah County is provided.

SEQUOYAH County is 864 square miles in area, being twenty-four miles from east to west, and thirty-six miles from north to south.

This is a treeless region. The Arkansas River runs south of the central portion of the county, mainly in a southeasterly direction. There are sand hills in the northeast corner of the county, and toward the south-eastern part.

T. A. Carlon, J. R. Fulton, W. D. Fulton, C. J. Jones and John Stevens were the first settlers, locating here in the county in 1878 and in 1879. The points in the county are the following railroad stations: Pierceville, Garden City and Sherlock.

Sequoyah County first voted at Garden City, July 25, 1879, polling 67 votes. At the election held in November, 1881, Simon Motz, was elected to the Senate from the Thirty-seventh Senatorial District to fill a vacancy, and J. C. Strang was elected Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial District.

Garden City has a population of nearly 400. It contains two hotels, two grocery stores, one general store, two carpenters, one lumber dealer, one blacksmith, one meat market, two physicians, three attorneys, a Congregational Church, a Methodist Episcopal organization, a Cumberland Presbyterian Society and a subscription school of some thirty pupils. A loan and savings bank building is being erected. The Deputy County Attorney is W. R. Hopkins. The county is attached to Ford for judicial purposes. B. B. Black is the station agent. Garden City is soon to be a city of the third class. As showing the sentiment of the people in regard to the sale of whisky, John Westerman proposing to open a saloon, a petition was signed by forty-four of the most influential voters of the city, asking Deputy County Attorney Hopkins to count upon them in supporting him in an effort to suppress the liquor traffic "in every way, shape or form, except as provided by law." The Good Templars have a thriving organization at Garden City, and own a good hall, which is occupied by the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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Histories, Genealogies and Pictures
Pertaining to Finney County Families

 15 November 1959

Holcomb, Finney County, Kansas

In Cold Blood:  The Clutter Murders

 
  Ladies' Aid Society
  Ladies'Aid Society  (of Lakin or Garden City)
    Picture taken ca 1920s. Is your ancestor among them?
    (click on to see enlargement).
 
  Some Finney County Obituaries/Death Notices

  Some Finney County Marriage Records and Enemy Alien Registrations


 

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Finney County Historical Museum
is located at:

 403 South 4th St., Garden City, KS 67846

If you are interested in history and genealogy of this area, 
check out the various books publications available from the museum's store.

 

  Garden City Public Library
 605 East Walnut
 Garden City, KS 67846

 

Contact the Finney County Genealogical Society (address below) for 
information about research in the records of  Finney County. 

Finney County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 592
Garden City, KS 67846-0592



Finney County, Kansas Genealogical Records 

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County records: Land and probate records date from 1873; court records from 1885; birth records 1885-1910; marriage records from 1884; and death records 1886-1910.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Vital Records Office.
Kansas vital records — birth, death, marriage and divorce records — are not public records. Certified copies of vital records are released to the person named on the record, the parents or immediate family member, a legal representative, or anyone who can prove a direct interest, such as a named beneficiary or someone who jointly owns property with the person whose record is requested.

Another link: Kansas Vital Records

 


Finney County Online Connections

 

Mailing List

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       Links    buffalo.gif (8655 bytes)

Current obituaries in the Garden City Telegram (newspaper)

Kansas Links at Cyndi's List

Kansas State Historical Society
        (reference services for a fee available)

Kansas and the West Photograph Collection  
        (Wichita State University; look under Series 1; 
         photos of many Kansas towns)

Some publications pertaining  to Finney County families include:

  • 100 Years Finney County, Kansas Cemetery Inscriptions, 1879-1979.

  • Centennial Saga of First United Methodist Church, Garden City, Kansas, 1882-1892.

  • Finney County Kansas Obituary Abstracts and Death Notices, 1879-1911.

  • Finney County, Kansas Will Abstracts, 1885-1922: Will Books A-D.

  • Kansas Gunsmoke: A History of the Garden City Police Department (see below).



oldchief.gif (2317 bytes)Were any of your ancestors involved in law enforcement
 in Garden City or Finney County?

 

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Kansas Gunsmoke: A History of the Garden City Police Department

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG. Softcover (2009), 122 pp., illus., indexed.

Gun fights, jail breaks, bank robbers, bootleggers and murderers
Kansas Gunsmoke is local history at its best. From the early days of Newton Earp (older half-brother of Wyatt Earp), the city's first marshal in 1883 who had to deal with loose stock, potholes, collecting taxes, enforcing the dog ordinance, and watering the city's precious trees, to a bleak night in November of 1959 when the grisly murder of four members of the Clutter family took place, the Garden City Police Department protected people and property and along the way created a rich history.
Available at Finney County (Kansas) Historical Society and online at Genealogymagazine.com

 


Webmaster: Myra Vanderpool Gormley, Certified Genealogist
I do not live in Finney County, Kansas, but went to high school in Garden City.

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