History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Linn County - Page 2

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Marais des Cygnes Massacre in May, 1858 In the summer of 1856 the Missourians were gathering armed forces along the border under the leadership of Atchison, Reid and Clark. Captain John E. Davis was camped with a force of 150 men on Middle Creek in the northwest corner of the county. On August 24th, Captains Anderson, Shore and Cline, with a command of about 125 men, camped in the same locality. In the morning, scouts of the Free-State party brought in word that about 50 of Davis' men were absent from camp and an attack was immediately planned. When the Free-State men came within range, the Missourians opened fire, which was immediately returned. The firing lasted about ten minutes before the Southerners retired. In the action, Lieutenant Cline was wounded and subsequently died. This affair is known as the Battle of Middle Creek.


In the fall the Missourians raided Linn County. They first went to Paris, where they were joined by some of the settlers, then moved on to Sugar Mound (Mound City), where they burned some houses, robbed Ebenezer Barnes' house, the store and the post office. Many depredations were committed and the Free-State settlers were warned to leave the county. This and like raids influenced James Montgomery to gather a company of courageous Free-State men, which started out on raids of retaliation into Missouri. This brave band was so daring, and meted out vengeance in such a summary manner, that Montgomery became known as the Jayhawk leader and was greatly feared by men of the opposite party.


Battle of Mine Creek, KansasThe leader of the pro-slavery party was Charles A. Hamelton and Trading Post was his acknowledged headquarters. When the Missourians warned the Free-State settlers to leave the county, Montgomery raided Trading Post with the intention of breaking up the headquarters of Hamelton's gang. They did not kill or harm anyone, but poured out all the whisky found in the store and warned the pro-slavery settlers to leave, saying that there was not room enough for both in the county. As a result of this raid, Hamelton led the party which committed the Marais des Cygnes Massacre. After this atrocious affair the persons who took part in it disappeared. Another Free-State leader who arose at this time was Charles R. Jennison, who became known as one of the greatest leaders during the border warfare.


In the Civil War, Linn County was represented in the Second Kansas Infantry, Sixth Cavalry, Tenth Infantry, Seventh Cavalry, Twelfth Infantry and Fifteenth Cavalry, as well as many men also enlisted in the regular army of the United States. During the war raids from Missouri were common, and raids from Linn County into Missouri were nearly as frequent. In October, 1861, a party of Missourians under Sheriff Clem of Bates County raided Linn County, killed several men and robbed a number of homes.


In December a party of about 125 Missourians again raided Linn County, robbed and pillaged houses, killed one Union man, and others barely escaped with their lives by hiding. A Union force retaliated by marching into Missouri, but being met by a stronger force retired into Kansas. After this raid, Camp Defiance was established on Mine Creek in Linn County, near the Missouri line, and Colonel Montgomery with the Third regiment was stationed there until the spring of 1862. The most important and exciting event of the Civl War which occurred in Linn County was the Price Raid, in which battles occurred at Mound City on October 25, 1864; at Round Mound, about six miles from the river; and at Mine Creek, six miles south of Round Mound.


The first store in Linn County was at the Trading Post, which primarily traded with the Indians, although the first whites in the county also bought goods there. The first post office was opened at Mound City, at the store of a Mr. Miller, who was appointed postmaster in the spring of 1855. The first school in the county was held during the winter of 1858-59 in the town hall at Blue Mound, and the first marriage in the county was that of J. S. Atkins and Maria Mannington in 1858. The Methodist Episcopal Church was the pioneer religious organization in the county, followed by the  Baptists and United Brethren, both of whom erected churches in Mound City in the early 1860s.


Though Linn County was organized in 1855, it would not be immediately organized. However, though there is no record to show that a board of commissioners was elected, on January 18, 1856, several men met to determine a county seat.



In March, two men by the names of James P. Fox and Mr. Osborne reported that they had decided a site in the east central portion of the county, where the settlement of Paris would soon be laid out.


However, most of the residents of the county were not pleased with the location and in November, 1859 an election was held to relocate the county seat to Mound City. Over the next several years, the county seat would move several more times, the first to Linnville, a town just south of the site of Paris and a few miles north of Mound City, in May, 1865. It moved back to Mound City in February, 1866 after another election. In February, 1871, the seat of justice was changed to La Cygne by another vote of the people; in March, 1873, it moved to Farmers City; but, as the location provided very little, the county officers refused to go there and La Cygne remained the county seat de facto until April, 1874. Then, yet another election was held at which Pleasanton received the majority of votes, but the question of the permanent location was still undecided. Finally, in 1875 a decisive and last election was held, when Mound City was chosen as the seat of justice of Linn County for the third time, where it has since remained.


The first railroad inLinn County was the Kansas & Neosho Valley and was followed by the St. Louis & San Francisco, the Missouri Pacific, and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroads. The economy flourished with agriculture, livestock, rock quarries, and coal mining. Later, oil and natural gas were discovered in the county. In 1910, the population of Linn County was almost 15,000 people.


The Linn County Courthouse in Mound City, Kansas

The Linn County Courthouse in Mound City today, Kathy Weiser, June, 2010.


Over the years, as small farms grew into bigger ones, and more and more people migrated to larger cities, the population of Linn County decreased to its current number  of about 10,000 people today. However, Linn County, with its close proximity to the Kansas City Metropolitan Area is once again growing.



The current towns of Linn County include:



Population (estimated 2010)

Blue Mound                   284
Centerville  ?? 
La Cygne 1,149
Linn Valley 804
Mound City (County Seat) 694
Parker  285
Pleasanton 1,325
Prescott  282
Trading Post  ??   


Contact Information:


Linn County Kansas

315 Main , P.O. Box 350

Mound City, Kansas 66056





Compiled by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated February, 2017


About the Article: Much of the historic text in this article comes from Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, edited by Frank W. Blackmar, Kansas: History of the State of Kansas, by William G. Cutler published in 1883. However, other sources have also been used, the content combined, and heavily edited.


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