kids encyclopedia robot

Allen County, Kansas facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Allen County
Old Allen County Jail in Iola (2008)
Old Allen County Jail in Iola (2008)
Map of Kansas highlighting Allen County
Location within the U.S. state of Kansas
Map of the United States highlighting Kansas
Kansas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Kansas
Founded August 25, 1855
Named for William Allen
Seat Iola
Largest city Iola
 • Total 505 sq mi (1,310 km2)
 • Land 500 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Water 5.0 sq mi (13 km2)  1.0%%
 • Total 12,526
 • Density 25.1/sq mi (9.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Area code 620
Congressional district 2nd

Allen County (county code AL) is a county located in the southeast portion of the U.S. state of Kansas. It is 504 square miles, or 322,560 acres in size. As of the 2020 census, the population was 12,526. Its county seat and most populous city is Iola.


Allen County Jail, Iola
The old Allen County Jail

Early history

For many millennia, the Great Plains of North America was inhabited by nomadic Native Americans. From the 16th century to 18th century, the Kingdom of France claimed ownership of large parts of North America. In 1762, after the French and Indian War, France secretly ceded New France to Spain, per the Treaty of Fontainebleau.

19th century

In 1802, Spain returned most of the land to France, but keeping title to about 7,500 square miles. In 1803, most of the land for modern day Kansas was acquired by the United States from France as part of the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Purchase for 2.83 cents per acre.

In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized. Allen County is one of the 33 counties established by the first territorial legislature in August 1855, six years before Kansas statehood in 1861. It was named in honor of William Allen, a United States senator from Ohio. At the time of its creation, Charles Passmore was appointed probate judge; B.W. Cowden and Barnett Owen were appointed county commissioners, and William Godfrey was appointed sheriff. The appointments were temporary until the general election in 1857. The four men were authorized to appoint the county clerk and treasurer thus completing the county organization.

Richard J. Fuqua and his family are considered the first white settlers in the county, arriving in the valley of the Neosho River January 1855. Fuqua established a post for trading with the neighboring Indian tribes which became quite popular with the Sac and Fox Indians. B.W. Cowden and H.D. Parsons arrived in March of the same year and selected claims in the valley of the Neosho River, near the mouth of Elm Creek. The next settlement was made near the mouth of Deer Creek (so named for the abundance of deer in the area) by Major James Parsons, and his two sons, Jesse and James, and a Mr. Duncan. The population grew rapidly through the spring and summer of 1855, most of it located on or near the Neosho River.

Many of the early settlers were pro-slavery, but few slaves were actually brought into the county. The anti-slavery population expressed such antipathy toward their pro-slavery neighbors that slaves within the county there were either freed or taken elsewhere in Kansas by their masters. Immigration continued during the summer and fall of 1856, though in reduced numbers.

The first town and county seat was Cofachique. In the spring of 1855 pro-slavery settlers from Fort Scott laid out the town in a hilly area east of the Neosho River and south of the mouth of Elm Creek. The territorial legislature passed an act in July 1855 incorporating the Cofachique Town Association. It was the only town in Allen County for nearly two years and as such was quite successful; but in 1857 other towns were constructed and Cofachique began to decline almost immediately. One of the reasons for decline was accessibility, the other was a lack of good well water. Another possible contribution to the town's decline involved tensions between the pro and anti-slavery settlers. With the development of neighboring towns Humboldt and Iola the town of Cofachique all but disappeared by 1859. The county seat went briefly to Humboldt in 1857 where it remained until 1865, but with the election of that year Iola took the county seat and has retained this designation to the present.

After a series of disputes between residents in the county over where a county jail should be located, Allen County's first jail was constructed in Iola in 1869 at a cost of $8,400. It operated until a replacement jail house was opened in 1959. Since that time the original jail has been run as a museum.

The last year of the territorial period (1860) was one of the most difficult years since the initial settlement of the county. Periods of drought beginning as early as 1854 had plagued all of Kansas and though 1859 had seen a reprieve, by the end of 1859 and into 1860 the drought worsened. The St. Laurence newspaper reported: "No rain, no snow, and much open, thawing, mild weather, alternated with sharp, though brief [cold] snaps. . . ." Most of the people who had moved to the county in the previous two years were still trying to establish their farms. With the prospect of starvation and hardship before them, many decided to return to the east.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 505 square miles (1,310 km2), of which 500 square miles (1,300 km2) is land and 5.0 square miles (13 km2) (1.0%) is water. Allen County is located in the southeastern part of the state, in the second tier of counties west of Missouri, and about fifty miles north of Oklahoma. In extent it is twenty-one miles from north to south and twenty-four miles from east to west.

Geographic features

The general surface of the country is slightly rolling, though much more level than the greater portion of eastern Kansas. The soil is fertile and highly productive. The bottom lands along the streams average one and one-half miles in width, and comprise one-tenth the area of the county. The remainder is the gently rolling or level upland prairie. The principal varieties of trees native to the county are black walnut, hickory, cottonwood, oak, hackberry and elm.

The main water course is the Neosho River, which flows through the western part of the county from north to south. Its tributaries are Indian, Martin's, Deer, Elm, and other small creeks. The Marmaton River rises east of the center of the county, and flows through the southeastern part of the county. The Little Osage River rises not far from the head of the Marmaton and flows northeast. Its tributaries are Middle Creek on the north and the South Fork on the south.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,082
1870 7,022 127.8%
1880 11,303 61.0%
1890 13,509 19.5%
1900 19,507 44.4%
1910 27,640 41.7%
1920 23,509 −14.9%
1930 21,391 −9.0%
1940 19,874 −7.1%
1950 18,187 −8.5%
1960 16,369 −10.0%
1970 15,043 −8.1%
1980 15,654 4.1%
1990 14,638 −6.5%
2000 14,385 −1.7%
2010 13,371 −7.0%
2020 12,526 −6.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

Census 2010

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 13,371 people living in the county. 93.3% were White, 1.9% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 1.0% of some other race and 2.5% of two or more races. 2.9% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 31.7% were of German, 12.4% American, 11.1% Irish and 7.9% English ancestry.

Historical trends

During the years of the American Civil War the county continued to develop though at a slower rate. From 1860 to 1870 there was a steady increase in population from 3,082 to 7,022 residents. The next ten years brought a similar steady rise, from 7,022 to 11,303 residents. The county's largest growth period was between 1890 and 1910. At its peak in 1910, Allen County had 27,640 residents. Thereafter the county experienced a slow decline in population. By 2010, the population was slightly below the population in 1890 there being 13,371 residents. The population increase during the 1890/1910 period was likely due to the oil and gas discoveries and production near Iola.


Major highways

U.S. Route 54 is an east–west route passing through (from east to west) the cities of Moran, La Harpe, Gas, and Iola (the county seat). Outside the county the route connects to Fort Scott in the east and Yates Center and eventually Wichita in the west. Passing through eastern portions of the county and the cities of Mildred and Moran, U.S. Route 59 is one of two north–south routes. It connects to Kincaid and eventually Ottawa and Lawrence in the north and Erie in the south. The other route is U.S. Route 169 which passes through western portions of the county and bypasses to the east of the cities of Iola, Bassett, and Humboldt. It connects to Chanute and eventually Coffeyville in the south. The segment between Iola and Chanute is a freeway with fully controlled access, although there is only one lane in each direction. US-169 provides a direct route for traveling between Kansas City and Tulsa, Oklahoma.


  • Allen County Airport (K88), public
  • Croisant Airport (7KS5), private
  • Ensminger Airport (74KS), private
  • National Airport, public
  • Womack Airport, public


Map of Allen Co, Ks, USA
2005 KDOT Map of Allen County (map legend)


Unincorporated communities


Allen County is divided into twelve townships. Because Humboldt, Iola, and La Harpe are cities of the second class, they are governmentally independent from the townships and are excluded from the census figures for the townships. In the following table, the population center is the largest city (or cities) included in that township's population total, if it is of a significant size.

Township FIPS Population
Population Population
/km² (/sq mi)
Land area
km² (sq mi)
Water area
km² (sq mi)
Water % Geographic coordinates
Carlyle 10725 276 4 (9) 78 (30) 0 (0) 0.09% 37°59′50″N 95°22′47″W / 37.99722°N 95.37972°W / 37.99722; -95.37972
Cottage Grove 15825 282 3 (8) 96 (37) 0 (0) 0.42% 37°45′20″N 95°22′11″W / 37.75556°N 95.36972°W / 37.75556; -95.36972
Deer Creek 17175 142 2 (4) 94 (36) 0 (0) 0.13% 37°59′14″N 95°17′23″W / 37.98722°N 95.28972°W / 37.98722; -95.28972
Elm 20550 Gas 1,259 10 (27) 123 (47) 0 (0) 0.33% 37°54′36″N 95°19′36″W / 37.91000°N 95.32667°W / 37.91000; -95.32667
Elsmore 20900 460 3 (7) 165 (64) 0 (0) 0.06% 37°47′1″N 95°9′23″W / 37.78361°N 95.15639°W / 37.78361; -95.15639
Geneva 26100 172 2 (6) 78 (30) 1 (0) 1.02% 38°0′7″N 95°28′33″W / 38.00194°N 95.47583°W / 38.00194; -95.47583
Humboldt 33475 273 4 (11) 65 (25) 1 (0) 0.88% 37°48′47″N 95°25′34″W / 37.81306°N 95.42611°W / 37.81306; -95.42611
Iola 34325 843 8 (19) 112 (43) 2 (1) 1.57% 37°54′29″N 95°25′27″W / 37.90806°N 95.42417°W / 37.90806; -95.42417
Logan 41725 225 3 (7) 83 (32) 1 (0) 0.75% 37°47′2″N 95°29′2″W / 37.78389°N 95.48389°W / 37.78389; -95.48389
Marmaton 44850 Moran 853 6 (15) 144 (56) 0 (0) 0.09% 37°54′40″N 95°9′48″W / 37.91111°N 95.16333°W / 37.91111; -95.16333
Osage 53075 316 3 (7) 124 (48) 0 (0) 0.37% 38°0′14″N 95°9′36″W / 38.00389°N 95.16000°W / 38.00389; -95.16000
Salem 62600 277 2 (6) 124 (48) 0 (0) 0.10% 37°49′31″N 95°18′6″W / 37.82528°N 95.30167°W / 37.82528; -95.30167


Unified school districts

Colleges and universities

  • Allen County Community College

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Allen (Kansas) para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Athletes:
Jackie Robinson
Jack Johnson
Althea Gibson
Arthur Ashe
Muhammad Ali
kids search engine
Allen County, Kansas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.