Parent Category: Kansas State History Articles
Category: Kansas Local History
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Barber County takes its name from Thomas W. Barber, a Free-State settler in Douglas County, who was killed near Lawrence on December 6, 1855. It was intended when the county was christened that it should bear the name of Barber, but somebody, out of an exceedingly wise head, determined that the spellilng should be Barbour, and it stood in this form until 1883, when the Legislature enacted that henceforward the county should bear the name originally given it. Source: Cutler's History of the State of Kansas 


County Seat: Medicine Lodge

Date organized: 1873

County History:

  1. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, Barber County 
  2. Barber County History on the County Website 


Historic Landmarks, State, National:

  1. Carry Nation Home (Medicine Lodge)
  2. Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Marker
  3. Country singer Martina McBride is from Sharon, Kansas

County Historical Society:

  1. Barber County Heritage Center 
  2. Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Association 
  3. Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum 

Websites about the county:

  1. Barber County Government 
  2. City of Medicine Lodge | Facebook
  3. City of Kiowa, Kansas 


Located in the center of the southern tier of counties., adjoining the indian Territory. Contains 1,134 square miles, sufficient for 4,536 farms of 160 acres each. It has a population of 8,500; taxable wealth, $3,500,000; divided into lands, $2,200,000; town lots, $600,000; personal property, $400,000; railroad property, $300,000. Property is assessed at 33 1/3 per cent of its real value so the actual wealth of the county exceeds $10,000,000. The county was settled and organized in 1873. It has never asked for and has never needed one dollar of outside aid; has never had a crop failure; has four incorporated cities, these being Medicine Lodge, the county seat; Kiowa, the gateway to the Cherokee Strip; Hazleton, in the center of the richest agricultural belt; Sharon, ten miles east of the county seat, in the rich Sharon valley. These towns are all prosperous with churches, schools, and good society. Other smaller towns are Lake City, Sun City, Aetna, Mingona, Deerhead, Hardtner, Elm Mills, and Isabel. The county has three lines of railroad: The Santa Fe, running to Hazleton, Kiowa, Sharon, and Medicine Lodge; the Missouri Pacific, going to Hazleton and Kiowa; and the Mulvane extension of the Santa Fe, running through the northern part of the county. The county is the best watered of any in Kansas, its never failing streams being supplied by cool springs of pure water. Most of the streams are skirted by timber, and from each reaches out broad second bottoms; rich as those beside the Nile.

The soil is very deep, impregnated with gypsum and sand; never bakes, is easily tilled, and responds with wonderful productiveness. The county is free-range, the only one in this part of Kansas that is. This feature permits the farmer to handle stock without a great outlay of money for fencing. There was marketed last year, live stock raised in Barber County amounting to more than $500,000. The wheat crop in 18S9, averaged, in the county, 24J bushels to the acre, while many fields went as high as 50 bushels; corn averaged 45 bushels, and 75 bushels was a frequent crop; oats yield from 40 to 75 bushels; millet from 4 to 6 tons. Prairie hay is plentiful everywhere; many farms are being provided with alfalfa, from which three and even five crops are cut each season. The county has raised good cotton and there is a gin at the county seat. Its sorghum sugar industry is now known to the world. The sugar works at Medicine Lodge started late in 1889, produced over 500,000 pounds of sorghum sugar, and from beets grown on four acres made 10,000 pounds of beet sugar. The works are being enlarged, a refinery put in, and this season they expect to manufacture 4,000,000 pounds of beet and sorghum sugar. Farmers who raised sorghum for the mill realized from $20 to $30 per acre for their labor; they will realize double this on the sugar beets they plant. The county has about 100 organized school districts and 75 school houses, those at Kiowa, Hazleton, and Medicine Lodge being large, brick, modern buildings, heated by steam. There are churches or church organizations in every town, city, and neighborhood. The immense gypsum deposits are being utilized by a cement and plaster manufacture at the county seat that will ship out from three to five car loads of manufactured product, daily. There are deposits of marble, sever' ". colors, in the western part of the county. The county has two successful creameries, one at Hazleton, and one at Medicine Lodge; two large flouring mills, one at Hazleton, one at Elm Mills; five newspapers, the Index and Cresset, at Medicine Lodge; Herald and Journal, at Kiowa.; and Express, at Hazleton. Land is worth from £3 to $30 per acre. Stock needs feeding but three months in the year. The farmer can usually plow with his coat off three hundred days in the year. There are more sunny days than in any county, sunny Italy not excepted.

Source: Kansas: its history, resources and prospects by The Kansas Bureau of immigration copyright 1890, Available at the Internet Archives website.

powered by social2s