Cowley County, Kansas Genealogy

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Guide to Cowley County, Kansas ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Winfield
Organized: February 26, 1867
Parent County(s): Butler [1]
Neighboring Counties
Butler  • Chautauqua  • Elk  • Kay (OK)  • Osage (OK)  • Sedgwick  • Sumner
See County Maps
Location Map
200px-Map of Kansas highlighting Cowley County svg.bmp

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Lt. Matthew Cowley, 9th Kansas, who died during the Civil War.[2] The County is located in the south central area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Cowley County Courthouse
311 E. 9th Ave.
Winfield, Kansas 67156-2864
Phone: 316.221.4066
Cowley County Website

City Clerk has birth records.
Probate Court has marriage, divorce and probate records 1870 and death records.
Clerk District Court has court records.
Appraisers Office has land records. [1]

County Clerk
311 E. 9th; Winfield, KS 67156
Phone: 620.221.5400 or 620.441.4500; Fax: 620.221.5498

Records minutes of Commission meetings and maintains files for minutes and resolutions; Assist in budget preparation, accounting, payroll, etc.; Manages elections and voting; Selling of hunting and fishing licenses, etc; Birth and death records from the 1800's to 1911 for the county are available; Land records from the 1800's are also available.

Register of Deeds
Phone: 620.221.5461; Fax: 620.221.5463
Location: County Courthouse; 311 E. 9th; Winfield, KS 67156
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 741; Winfield, KS 67156

The central location for vital records and land records for Cowley County. The Register of Deeds maintains a variety of records and prepares reports of some complexity; assists the public in preparing forms, answering inquiries, certifying copies of military discharges, and looking up records; receives, records, and indexes grantor, grantee, and related records; records plats and maps; files chattel mortgages; makes lien searches; maintains various office records; computes and posts figures; etc.

Cowley County, Kansas Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1885 1870 1885 1870 1870 1870 1855
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1911. General compliance by 1917.[5]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

A flood damaged or destroyed some records at the county offices. Contact the county clerk for details on what is missing and what was salvaged.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • Parent County: Cowley County was created 26 February 1867 from Butler County. These lands belonged to the Osage and were not opened to white settlement though many settlers crossed over from Butler County.
  • 1870: In January 1870, settlers paid head money to Chetopa, the Osage chief, to remain on Osage lands and laid out towns along the rivers.
  • 1870: On 28 Feb 1870, Cowley County was officially organized and on 15 Jul 1870, the Osage lands were opened for settlement.
  • 1870-1874: Between 1870 and 1874, the land in Cowley was divided and redivided into townships and communities, the boundaries changing frequently with the changing population.
  • 1874-1875: In 1874 and 1875, swarms of grasshoppers devoured the drought damaged crops causing many settlers to leave the county and state.
  • 1880: In 1880, drought caused another exodus.[6]
  • County seat: Winfield [1]
  • Map: Interactive Formation Boundary Map of Kansas - shows boundary changes for Kansas Counties
  • Chronology: Kansas Historical Boundary Changes - legislative details of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
  • Akron
  • Albright
  • Box
  • Cameron City
  • Dale (Seely)
  • Eaton
  • Eschs
  • Floral
  • Glengrouse
  • Beaver
  • Bolton
  • Cedar
  • Dexter
  • Fairview
  • Grant
  • Harvey
  • Liberty
  • Maple
  • Ninnescah
  • Omnia
  • Otter
  • Pleasant Valley
  • Richland
  • Rock Creek
  • Salem
  • Sheridan
  • Silver Creek
  • Silverdale
  • Spring Creek
  • Tisdale
  • Vernon
  • Walnut
  • Windsor

See also: National Register of Historic Places in Cowley County, Kansas

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Cowley County, Kansas online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Kansas Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 158
1870 1,175 643.7%
1880 21,538 1733.0%
1890 34,478 60.1%
1900 30,156 −12.5%
1910 31,790 5.4%
1920 35,155 10.6%
1930 40,903 16.4%
1940 38,139 −6.8%
1950 36,905 −3.2%
1960 37,861 2.6%
1970 35,012 −7.5%
1980 36,824 5.2%
1990 36,915 0.2%
2000 36,291 −1.7%
2010 36,311 0.1%
Source: "".

Kansas became a territory in 1854 and the first territory census taken was in 1855. It was also enumerated as Kansas Territory in the 1860 Federal Census, although there were 15 counties that were marked with "no population" in them. The state continued to take state censuses after it was admitted to the Union in 1861.[8] See links listed below.

State and Territorial Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census Records[edit | edit source]

The 1870 Census was the first Federal Census taken for Kansas after it became a state in 1861.[9] For links to Federal Census indexes, see Kansas Census.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Kansas Church Records.

Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Arkansas City

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Kansas Land and Property for additional information about early Kansas land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records

For more information see Kansas Land and Property

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Cowley County, Kansas Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Kansas Local Histories.

Online County Histories

  • Cowley County, History of the State of Kansas. 1883, By William G. Cutler. Chicago, IL: A. T. Andreas. Online at: Kansas Collection Books.
  • History of Cowley County, Kansas. (Title also known as The Winfield Courier : supplemental edition.) 1901. By D. A. Millington, E. P. Greer. Winfield, Kan. : Winfield Courier. Online at: Internet Archive; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • The History of Cowley County, Kansas. 1990. By Cowley County Heritage Book Committee. Winfield, KS : Cowley County Heritage Book Committee ; Arkansas City, KS : Cowley County Community College. Online at: KSGenWeb; At various libraries (WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Butler CountySedgwick CountyGreenwood CountyElk CountyChautauqua CountyCowley CountySumner CountyKay County, OklahomaOsage County, OklahomaCowley, Kansas.JPG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

For information about Civil War records see Marion County.

Online Collections[edit | edit source]

These collections are unique to Kansas. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and Kansas Military Records.

Collections Covering Multiple Wars

Civil War

Spanish-American War (1898)

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

For further information see Kansas Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

For more information, see Kansas Newspapers.

Kansas Newspapers Online

Kansas Newspaper Catalogs

Current Newspapers

  • Arkansas City Traveler (620) 442-4200; 200 E. Fifth Avenue / P. O. Box 988, Arkansas City, KS 67005
  • Cowley County Reporter (620) 438-2370; Burden, KS 67019
  • Winfield Daily Courier (620) 221-1050; 201 E. Ninth Street / P.O. Box 543, Winfield, KS 67156

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Voter Records

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Kansas, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, inventories, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Kansas, Cowley and click Probate records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Kansas tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Tax lists were usually made every year, however, there may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Kansas Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Kansas Vital Records. For information about restrictions and costs for certificates, see the CDC Where to Write for Vital Records site.

See County Offices above.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Cowley County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Kansas Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Cowley County. For state-wide library facilities, see Kansas Archives and Libraries.

Arkansas City Public Library
120 E 5th Avenue
Arkansas City, KS 67005
Phone: 620-442-1280

Cowley County Genealogical Library
Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum
31639 US 77
Arkansas City, KS 67005
Phone: 620-442-6750

The library houses Cowley County Cemetery records, Arkansas City Traveler obituaries, Cowley County Birth, Death and Marriage records, the Robert Docking collection and much, much more.

Deets Library
Southwestern College
100 College Street
Winfield, KS 67156
Phone: 620-229-6225

Udall Public Library
105 S Main
Udall, KS 67146
Phone: 620-782-3435

Winfield Public Library
605 College
Winfield, KS 67156
Phone: 620-221-4470

Museums[edit | edit source]

Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum
31639 US 77
Arkansas City, KS 67005
Phone: 620-442-6750

Cowley County Historical Museum
1011 Mansfield Street
Winfield, KS 67156
Phone: 620-221-4811

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Cowley County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Kansas Societies.

Cowley County Genealogical Society
1518 East 12th
PO Box 102
Winfield, KS 67156
Phone: 620-221-4591

Cowley County Historical Museum
1011 Mansfield Street
Winfield, KS 67156
Phone: 620-221-4811

East Central Cowley County Historical Society
c/o Emory Lewis
508 North Main Street
Burden, KS 67019
Phone: 620-438-3384

Udall Community Historical Society
109 E 1st Street
Udall, KS 67146-0136
Phone: 620-782-3004

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Cowley County, Kansas. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Cowley, Kansas Genealogy and History”, " 8/10/2017."
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Cowley, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Kansas" 8/10/2017.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Cowley County, Kansas. Page 249 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 234.
  5. “Kansas Research Outline”, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Department, 2000), 40.
  6. William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL. COWLEY COUNTY.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Cowley County, Kansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Kansas#Communities, accessed 14 September 2017.
  8. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 118-119.
  9. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses (Bountiful, UT: American Genealogical Lending Library, 1985), page 119.