Jump to Navigation

Records of the U.S. District Courts in Kansas

Creator: United States. District Court (Kansas)

Date: 1855 - 1955

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: Unavailable

Unit ID: 216357

Abstract: The Kansas State Historical Society holds a few cubic feet of records from federal Courts for the District of Kansas, almost all from the nineteenth century, including from Kansas' territorial days. These records include incoming correspondence to the Clerk of the Court and judges, journals holding daily accounts of decisions made in the court, some bankruptcy and citizenship information, and forms and documentation related to cases. The State Archives also holds a microfilm copy of civil case records from the 1950s Brown et al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka case.

Most records from the U.S. District Court of Kansas that have been kept can be found at the National Archives' Central Plains branch in Kansas City, Missouri.

Space Required/Quantity: Circa 25 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Records of the U.S. District Courts in Kansas

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The United States district courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters.

Federal jurisdiction and district courts were established in Kansas when it became a territory in 1854. The territory was divided into three judicial districts. The district courts were given jurisdiction in all cases in the amount of $100.00 or more, all divorce actions, and cases where land title was in dispute.

In 1861 Kansas became a state, and the district court was to hold regular terms in April and October of each year at the capital, Topeka. The Act of 15 July 1862 created the Ninth Judicial Circuit, which included the Kansas districts with those of Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri. Regular sessions of the Circuit Court were to be held at the same time and place as the District Court, and the concurrent jurisdiction previously exercised by the district court judge was revoked.

Additional seats for both district and circuit courts were established elsewhere throughout the state during the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1883, the courts at Wichita and Fort Scott were given exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses committed against the laws of the United States within Indian Territory, which remained in effect until the creation of the Oklahoma Territory in 1889/1890. In 1912 all circuit courts in the United States were abolished, and their duties transferred to the district courts.

Bankruptcy courts are separate units of the district courts. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. This means that a bankruptcy case cannot be filed in a state court.

[Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. "U.S. Courts - District Courts." http://www.uscourts.gov/districtcourts.html (accessed 28 April 2009).]

[Whitaker, R. Reed, comp. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of United States District Courts. RG 21. National Archives and Records Service, 1977.]


No Locators Identified

Related Records or Collections

Associated materials: Records of U.S. District and Other Courts in Kansas (RG 21.18), National Archives and Records Administration-Central Plains Region

Related materials: Dale Saffels Papers, former U.S. District Judge for the District of Kansas

Index Terms


    United States. District Court (Kansas) -- History
    United States. District Court (Kansas) -- Records and correspondence
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Bankruptcy -- Kansas -- History
    Citizenship -- United States
    Civil procedure -- Kansas -- History
    Criminal procedure -- Kansas -- History
    District courts -- Kansas -- History

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Federal Agencies. Courts. District Court, U.S..
    Federal Agencies. Courts. District Court, U.S.. U.S. District Court of Kansas.