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Coffey County Area Guide
Gorgeous Coffey County is nestled in central east Kansas. The county was founded in 1855 with less than 100 citizens. Today, Coffey County is home to over 8,000 residents. Coffey County is considered one of the most progressive counties in Kansas and is home to the only nuclear power generating station in Kansas. Coffey County has much to offer you and your family, whether you’re just coming to visit or looking for a new place to call home. Coffey County is teeming with rich history, fantastic attractions, wonderful events, and beautiful parks. Discover more about Coffey County by reading below or feel free to visit their official website at: http://www.coffeycountyks.org/.
Settlers first began appearing in the area that would become Coffey County in 1854. The first known settler was Frederick Troxel, who built a log cabin and moved his family to the area. His wife’s brother, Gen. John B. Scott, was the founder of the town of Le Roy. A small colony from New York, including Ahijah Jones and his son, George, William R. and Alban Saunders, settled at the present location of Le Roy in Dec., 1854. More settlers arrived in 1855 and settled near the present site of Ottumwa. Combined with the "Hampden Colony" consisting of 100 men and women from Hampden, Massachusetts, these colonies decided to band together and form the town of Hampden across the river from the present city of Burlington.
Promoters had high hopes for Hampden, believing that it would become the leading commercial center of southeastern Kansas. However, when Burlington was built across the river, all hopes for Hampden were lost and the town eventually faded away. The towns of Le Roy and Ottumwa were located in 1855 and the county was pretty well settled by 1856. The boundaries of the Coffey County were fixed by act of the legislature in July, 1855, as follows: "Beginning at the southeast corner of Weller (Osage) county, thence south 24 miles; thence west 24 miles; thence north 24 miles, and thence east 24 miles to the place of beginning." The first court of Coffey County was established at Hampden under Judge Cato, which the next year was moved to Le Roy. When the legislature officially organized the county in 1857 Le Roy was made the temporary county seat. Coffey County received its name after Col. A. M. Coffey, a member of the first territorial legislature.
In 1858 the seat of justice was moved to Burlington to debate whether the county seat should be in Le Roy or Burlington. Although Le Roy received the largest number of votes for county seat, it was never officially recognized. In 1861 another election was held to decide the county seat question. Le Roy received the largest number of votes, but not a majority, and the county seat was still maintained at Burlington. In May of 1863, another county seat election was called in which Hampden received a majority of all votes cast and was declared the county seat. In November of 1865, Burlington was finally declared to be the permanent judicial seat by the commissioners at their meeting in January of 1866.
When the Civil War broke out, nearly every able bodied man in the county enlisted, with only about 100 staying behind to protect their homes and act as a reserve in cause of border troubles. In 1861, General Lane sent out word for help repel the Price invasion in Bourbon County. The word reached Ottumwa and the next morning 104 men left to reinforce Lane’s command at Fort Lincoln. In May, 1862, the First and Second Indian regiments were organized at Le Roy from refugee Indians. Colonel Coffin, who was superintendent of Indian affairs for that section of the country, received the Indians who were driven from their homes, numbering some 8,000 persons belonging to the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, Uchee, Quapaw, Keechi, Southern Shawnee and Southern Delaware tribes. It was from these that the Indian regiments were organized and officered by white men. From lack of military discipline over one-half of the first Indian regiment deserted and came back to Le Roy, but were induced by Lieutenant Proudy to reenter the service.
The first post office was established at Le Roy, the mail being carried from the Sac and Fox agency by private conveyance until post offices were established at Burlington and Ottumwa, when a mail route was put in operation. The first marriage was between John Bowen and a Miss Crail in 1856. The first birth was that of John Whistler. The first school was Burlington district No. 1, organized in 1858.
The county was originally divided into 7 townships, Pottawatomie, Ottumwa, California, Avon, Burlington, Le Roy and Neosho. Later, they the county was reduced to four townships including Avon, Le Roy, Burlington and Ottumwa. In 1860, all seven were reestablished with the addition of Rock Creek in 1870; Pleasant, Hampden and Liberty in 1871; Spring Creek in 1872; and Key West and Star in 1874. Lincoln was added later.
In 1910, farming was booming with farm products being valued at over $5,000,000. By 1910, Coffey County’s population was 15,205. Coffey County was the wealthiest county among the wealthy counties of Kansas in 1910. To discover all this and more about Coffey County’s rich history, please visit: http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/archives/1912/c/coffey_county.html.
Coffey County, KS nearby Attractions & Activities
Coffey County Historical Society & Museum
Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge
To see a more complete list of Coffey County attractions, please visit: http://www.coffeycountyks.org/attract.html
Parks and Recreation
Coffey County is home to several magnificent parks that allow you and your family to enjoy nature at its finest. The County also provides numerous recreational opportunities so that you can achieve the quality of life that you deserve. Please visit the links below to visit just a few of the many wonders that await you in Coffey County.
John Redmond Wildlife Area
Coffey County is home to a number of fun events throughout the year, always offering you and your family something new and exciting to experience! From holiday events, to reenactments, and community gatherings, there’s something for people of all ages and interests. Please visit the link provided below to discover just a few of these family-friendly events and activities that await you in the upcoming months.
Coffey County Hospital
TrustPoint Real Estate
Phone (620) 364-5665
Fax (620) 364-2532
Toll Free (800) 258-4219
800 N 4th St Ste 101
Burlington, KS 66839