Allen County

Allen County [Kansas], founded in 1855 and named for William Allen, U.S. Senator and Governor of Ohio, is located in the southeast part of the State. Allen County is 505 square miles, or 322,560 acres, in size, and is divided into ten townships. The county seat is Iola, home of the largest town square in the country. Allen County currently has a population of approximately 15,654 people.

Additional Allen County Information


Allen County, one of the 33 counties established by the first territorial legislature, was named in honor of William Allen, United States senator from Ohio. The first white inhabitants located in Allen County during the early part of the year 1855. Settlement progressed rapidly during the spring and summer with the greater number of settlers located along the Neosho River. Although many of the early settlers were pro-slavery men, few slaves were brought into the county. The freestate men showed such open antagonism toward slaveholders, that the slaves were soon given their freedom or taken from the county by their masters.

The last year of the territorial period (1860) was one of the hardest because it was the year of the great drought. The population of the county was about 3,000, and with such a scanty crop, the prospect of starvation seemed imminent. Most of the people had come into the county within two years and with starvation and hardship before them, returned to the east.

During the years of the American Civil War the country developed, but slowly. From 1865 to 1870 there was a steady increase, the population then numbering 7,022. For the next three years the country was settled rapidly, and numerous improvements were made, as well as thousands of acres of land brought under cultivation. This period was perhaps the most progressive one in the history of the county; money was plenty and nearly every one did business, or bought property to the full extent of his capital. The result was that with the financial panic of 1873, followed by the "grasshopper raid" of 1874, nearly all improvement stopped, value of property depreciated, and many of the settlers (nearly one-third) left the county. In 1875 the population numbered 6,638. The next year times began to look better, and by 1878 the population was 8,954. With the increasing prosperity of the country, the population numbered 10,436 in 1881, while improvements that were made kept pace with the settlement. In 1882 the population had increased to 11,098.

The population of the county continued to grow until it finally peaked at 27,640 with the census of 1910. In recent decades, the population decline has leveled off.

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