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Wheat against a golden sunset.    Welcome to Sumner County, Kansas, where the grass is greener, the sky blue-er, the sunflowers taller, and the farmers raise more wheat than anywhere else in the world. (Well, O.K., the sunflowers are tall, and Sumner County is known as the Wheat Capital of World because it often leads in the world's production of wheat.)

   Sumner County has an understated beauty. You won't find breathtaking mountains, or deep canyons. What you will find are tall grain elevators, whirling windmills, and a patchwork quilt of golden wheat fields, rolling prairies, winding rivers, and wooded creeks.

   In the fall and winter, you'll see breathtaking sunsets in watercolor hues, and many of us who are natives believe the golden leaves of the rustling cottonwood trees that line the creeks and rivers here to be every bit as pretty as the Colorado aspens.

   Sumner County's earliest settlers were nomadic Plains tribes who hunted buffalo for food, utensils, clothing, and homes. Known as the "land of the South Wind", Kansas was named for the Kanza Indians.

   As white settlers began to settle Kansas, the Plains tribes were moved to reservations in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Gunslinging Cowboy Graphic   After the Civil War cowboys pushed thousands of Texas longhorn cattle along the Chisholm Trail up through dangerous Indian Territory (Oklahoma) on their way to the wild and wooly cattle towns of Abilene and later Wichita. The Chisholm Trail ran from the southwest to the northeast through the middle of Sumner County, and the tracks are still visible in one cemetery just south-west of Wellington.

   Caldwell, on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma became the first stop thirsty, trail-weary cowboys made after coming out of the Territory.

Tombstone   During this era several of Caldwell's sheriff's served short terms, and took an early retirement to the cemetery.

   When the land was opened up for homesteading, settlers came by horse, wagon, train, and on foot to homestead Sumner County.

   Those settlers built churches and schools for their families, formed vigilante groups, Anti-Horse Thieving Societies, and picked out hanging trees to rid Sumner County of outlaws.

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