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Morris County, Kansas
Map of Kansas highlighting Morris County
Location in the state of Kansas
Map of USA KS
Kansas's location in the U.S.
Founded February 11, 1859
Seat Council Grove
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

702.84 sq mi (1,820 km²)
697.38 sq mi (1,806 km²)
5.46 sq mi (14 km²), 0.78%
 - (2010)
 - Density

8.7/sq mi (3.3/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Morris County (standard abbreviation: MR) is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 5,923.[1] The largest city and county seat is Council Grove.


19th centuryEdit

Kansas Map 1914 Chase Dickinson Marion Morris

1914 railroad map.

1845 trailmap

1845 Santa Fe Trail crossing Morris County

The county was established on ancient grounds of the Kaw American Indian tribe. Settlers and the Kaw lived in increasingly uneasy relationship as settlers encroached on native lands.

Council Grove, established by European Americans in 1825, was an important supply station on the Santa Fe Trail. The town was also the site of an encampment by John C. Fremont in 1845 and in 1849 the Overland Mail established a supply headquarters there.

The county was originally organized as Wise County in 1855. The county was named for Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise. When Wise presided over the hanging of abolitionist John Brown at Harpers Ferry in 1859, the county was renamed Morris, abolition supporters renamed the county in honor of Thomas Morris, a former United States Senator from Ohio who was an opponent of slavery.

In 1851, the Methodist Church established an Indian Mission at Morris County. Thirty Kaw boys lived and studied until 1854 when the tribe was removed to Oklahoma.

Between 1877 and 1879, Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, a former slave who escaped to freedom in 1846, staked out a settlement in Morris County for freedmen known as "Exodusters". Thousands of families migrated from the post-Reconstruction South to seek more opportunities and better living conditions in the Midwest.

In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway built a main line from Topeka to Herington.[2] This main line connected Topeka, Valencia, Willard, Maple Hill, Vera, Paxico, McFarland, Alma, Volland, Alta Vista, Dwight, White City, Latimer, Herington. The Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway was foreclosed in 1891 and taken over by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, which shut down in 1980 and reorganized as Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad, merged in 1988 with Missouri Pacific Railroad, merged in 1997 with Union Pacific Railroad. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Rock Island".

In 1887, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built a branch line from Neva (3 miles west of Strong City) to Superior, Nebraska. This branch line connected Strong City, Neva, Rockland, Diamond Springs, Burdick, Lost Springs, Jacobs, Hope, Navarre, Enterprise, Abilene, Talmage, Manchester, Longford, Oak Hill, Miltonvale, Aurora, Huscher, Concordia, Kackley, Courtland, Webber, Superior. At some point, the line from Neva to Lost Springs was pulled but the right of way has not been abandoned. This branch line was originally called "Strong City and Superior line" but later the name was shortened to the "Strong City line". In 1996, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway merged with Burlington Northern Railroad and renamed to the current BNSF Railway.

20th centuryEdit

The National Old Trails Road, also known as the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, was established in 1912, and was routed through Herington, Delavan, Council Grove.

Law and governmentEdit

Following amendment to the Kansas Constitution in 1986, the county remained a prohibition, or "dry", county until 1992, when voters approved the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with a 30% food sales requirement.[3]


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 702.84 square miles (1,820.3 km2), of which 697.38 square miles (1,806.2 km2) (or 99.22%) is land and 5.46 square miles (14.1 km2) (or 0.78%) is water.[4]

Adjacent countiesEdit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1900 11,967
1910 12,397 3.6%
1920 12,005 −3.2%
1930 11,859 −1.2%
1940 10,363 −12.6%
1950 8,485 −18.1%
1960 7,392 −12.9%
1970 6,432 −13.0%
1980 6,419 −0.2%
1990 6,198 −3.4%
2000 6,104 −1.5%
2010 5,923 −3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
USA Morris County, Kansas age pyramid

Age pyramid

Map of Morris Co, Ks, USA

2005 KDOT Map of Morris County (map legend)

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 6,104 people, 2,539 households, and 1,777 families residing in the county. The population density was 9 people per square mile (3/km²). There were 3,160 housing units at an average density of 4 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.49% White, 0.34% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. 2.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,539 households out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.70% were married couples living together, 6.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 28.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.20% under the age of 18, 5.60% from 18 to 24, 23.90% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, and 21.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,163, and the median income for a family was $39,717. Males had a median income of $28,912 versus $21,239 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,491. About 6.70% of families and 9.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.40% of those under age 18 and 13.30% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns Edit

Incorporated citiesEdit

Name and population (2004 estimate):

Unincorporated communityEdit

  • Burdick
  • Delavan
  • Skiddy, the unincorporated hamlet of Skiddy lies less than one mile south of the Geary County line in north central Morris County.

Ghost townsEdit


Morris County is divided into eleven townships. The cities of Council Grove and Herington are considered governmentally independent and are excluded from the census figures for the townships. In the following table, the population center is the largest city (or cities) included in that township's population total, if it is of a significant size.

Sources: 2000 U.S. Gazetteer from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Township FIPS Population
Population Population
/km² (/sq mi)
Land area
km² (sq mi)
Water area
km² (sq mi)
Water % Geographic coordinates
Highland 31975 94 1 (3) 93 (36) 0 (0) 0.03% 38°44′48″N 96°45′52″W / 38.74667, -96.76444
Overland 53750 60 1 (2) 88 (34) 0 (0) 0.01% 38°48′18″N 96°51′44″W / 38.805, -96.86222
Township 1 71202 551 2 (4) 356 (138) 1 (0) 0.28% 38°36′23″N 96°25′34″W / 38.60639, -96.42611
Township 2 71206 688 3 (7) 270 (104) 12 (5) 4.37% 38°42′42″N 96°30′4″W / 38.71167, -96.50111
Township 3 71210 503 5 (12) 109 (42) 0 (0) 0.06% 38°49′54″N 96°34′57″W / 38.83167, -96.5825
Township 4 71214 252 2 (4) 155 (60) 0 (0) 0.02% 38°47′19″N 96°39′17″W / 38.78861, -96.65472
Township 5 71218 686 7 (19) 93 (36) 0 (0) 0.02% 38°48′24″N 96°45′4″W / 38.80667, -96.75111
Township 6 71222 111 1 (4) 78 (30) 0 (0) 0.18% 38°44′5″N 96°51′46″W / 38.73472, -96.86278
Township 7 71227 258 2 (4) 170 (66) 0 (0) 0.10% 38°39′22″N 96°49′44″W / 38.65611, -96.82889
Township 8 71232 212 1 (3) 186 (72) 0 (0) 0.08% 38°33′56″N 96°48′36″W / 38.56556, -96.81
Township 9 71237 368 2 (5) 202 (78) 0 (0) 0.08% 38°38′2″N 96°39′28″W / 38.63389, -96.65778

Education Edit

Unified school districts Edit

District Office In Neighboring County

See alsoEdit

Information on this and other counties in Kansas

Other information for Kansas


  1. ^ "2010 County Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ Rock Island Rail History
  3. ^ "Map of Wet and Dry Counties". Alcoholic Beverage Control, Kansas Department of Revenue. November 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  4. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Further readingEdit


External linksEdit

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
General county information
County Level Data

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Morris County, Kansas. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.