The Early History of Greeley County
by Frank W. Blackmar (1912)
Greeley County, one of the western tier, is located midway between Oklahoma and Nebraska. It is bounded on the north by Wallace county, on the east by Wichita, on the south by Hamilton, and on the west by the State of Colorado. It is crossed by the 5th guide meridian west. Greeley was the last county in the state to be organized. In 1879 it was created and the boundaries fixed as follows: "Commencing at the intersection of the east line of range 39 west, with the 3d standard parallel; thence south along said range line to where it intersects the 4th standard parallel; thence west along said 4th standard parallel to the west boundary line of the State of Kansas; thence north along said west boundary line of the state to where it is intersected by the 3d standard parallel; thence east to the place of beginning."
In 1887 C. O. McDowell was appointed census taker, and his report in June of that year showed that there were 2,638 inhabitants, of whom 475 were householders, and $251,169 worth of taxable property. An injunction suit was filed to prevent the organization of the county on the charges of bribery and fraud in the census. The injunction was not granted and the proclamation of organization was made by Gov. Martin in July, 1888. Tribune was named as the temporary county seat. The other candidate was Horace, about 2 miles west. The following officers were appointed: County clerk, James W. Brown; sheriff, Allen E. Webb; commissioners, A. J. Rymph, A. K. Webb and R. Q. Thompson. The election to decide the location of the county seat was held in November and resulted in favor of Tribune.
The settlers were very few up to about 1885. Almost every one who came in at this time started a town, and at one time there were as many alleged towns as there were claim houses. Horace was established in June, 1886, and at the time of the county seat fight it had 300 inhabitants, a bank and a newspaper. Tribune had 200 inhabitants and a newspaper, which was established in 1886. Colo was a little town large enough to have a newspaper. Reid was established in Sept., 1887, and inside of three months had 2 stores, one hotel, 2 restaurants and a newspaper. The Missouri Pacific railroad was built in the early days of the settlement of the county and a depot was erected at Tribune in 1887. It crosses almost directly east and west through the center.
Greeley county is divided into three townships—Colony, Harrison and Tribune. The surface is prairie and the elevation is from 3,000 to 4,000 feet. The principal stream is White Woman creek. The streams have no water in them the greater part of the year, but that there are under currents is evidenced by the fact that water is found at the depth of a few feet. The postoffices are: Tribune, Horace, Hurt, Sidney, Thelma and Youngville.
The farm products in 1910 were worth $137,346, of which the field crops amounted to over $97,000. The most valuable crop is sorghum, which is raised for forage and grain. Broom-corn, Kafir corn, barley and corn are other important crops. Live stock raising is profitable.
The population in 1910 was 1,335, which was an increase of 842 over that of 1900, or nearly 200 per cent. The school population is about 332, and there are 13 organized school districts. The value of the taxable property in 1910 was $3,531,197. The average wealth per capita is $2,720, which is several hundred dollars over the average for the state.
Law and government
Although the Kansas Constitution was amended in 1986 to allow the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with the approval of voters, Greeley County has remained a prohibition, or "dry", county.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,015 km² (778 mi²), of which 2,015 km² (778 mi²) is land and none is water.
Greeley County's population was estimated to be 1,331 in the year 2006, a decrease of 209, or -13.6%, over the previous six years; it is the smallest population in the state. Neighboring Wallace County has the second smallest population.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 1,534 people, 602 households, and 414 families residing in the county. The population density was 1/km² (2/mi²). There were 712 housing units at an average density of 0/km² (1/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.09% White, 0.26% Native American, 0.20% Black or African American, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 0.07% Asian, 5.22% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.54% of the population.
There were 602 households out of which 34.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.10% were married couples living together, 4.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.20% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the county the population was spread out with 28.20% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 27.30% from 25 to 44, 19.90% from 45 to 64, and 17.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $34,605, and the median income for a family was $45,625. Males had a median income of $29,018 versus $18,984 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,974. About 8.20% of families and 11.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.20% of those under age 18 and 6.80% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
Name and population (2004 estimate):
Tribune, 758 (county seat)
Unified school districts
Greeley County USD 363