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Marshall County, Kansas

Marshal County, one of the most northern counties of the state, was officially organized on August 25, 1855. Founded by Frank Marshall; A. G. Woodward; John D. Wells; A. G. Barnett; and Joseph Langdon, the county was one of the original 33 counties organized by the Territorial Legislature in 1855. Frank Marshall, upon acceptance of the county as one of the original 33, named the county for himself. Marshall County contains the cities of Summerfield, Blue Rapids, Beattie, Marysville, Axtell, Vermillion, Oketo, Frankfort and Waterville.

Marysville was established as a "home station" on the Pony Express route, 1860-1861, and put the county "on the map." The Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad's entrance into the county in 1867 assisted in bringing settlers to the county. Also the founding of the first post office in Kansas Territory on November 11, 1854, which has the longest continual service in the state, was an important moment for the county.

A Southern Methodist church was organized in 1860, but it closed by 1862. The Irving Presbyterian Church was founded in 1862 and constructed its first building in 1869. The first county fair was held in Marysville in 1873, and continues today at Blue Rapids. The first school was held at Barrett's Mill in 1859.

Marshall County has been home to many interesting Kansans such as Kenneth Dam, a native of Marysville, was U. S. Deputy Secretary of State until his resignation in June 1987. Congressman Guy Helvering (1913-1919), who helped write the income tax act, was appointed U. S. Collector of Internal Revenue, by President Franklin Roosevelt. He later was appointed a federal judge.

Also LaNelle Kearney, formerly of Waterville, is the author of two novels published in "Capper's Weekly" in 1983-1984, entitled The Farm and The Family, both concerning the Waterville area, and the following myth. A "mill warming" was held to open the Hutchinson Mill. A dance was held in the third floor of the mill. During the evening prankster's changed the clothing on sleeping babies, and it was not until the next day that parents realized they had the wrong children. Owen Wister heard of the tale, and included it in one chapter of The Virginian. Louis Thomas Harden (aka Moondog), a blind composer, musician, and poet, was born in 1916 Marysville.

Marshall County is home to many interesting sites such as the Pony Express Home Station in Marysville, the Koester House Museum in Marysville, the Blue Rapids Public Library, oldest active library in the state, and the Oketo Museum.

For more information see the Marshall County website.

There is a research library in the old courthouse in Marysville, and the Blue Rapids Public Library has microfilm of the county's newspapers.

Entry: Marshall County, Kansas

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2010

Date Modified: October 2015

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.