Garfield County, Kansas

Garfield County, Kansas was a county in western Kansas that was organized in 1887 and then merged into Finney County, Kansas in 1893. It consisted of what is now the eastern portion of Finney County north of Gray County, Kansas.

The county was created by an act of the Kansas state legislature on March 23, 1887, and was named after President James A. Garfield who had been assassinated six years earlier.

The brief history of the county was marked by a bitter and sometimes violent rivalry between two towns, Ravanna and Eminence, over which would serve as county seat. During a vote on this issue held in 1887, Bat Masterson and twenty deputies from Dodge City were sent to the county to keep the peace. Ravanna won by just 35 votes. The citizens of Eminence charged that the ballot boxes had been stuffed. The Kansas Supreme Court agreed, and in 1889 the county seat was transferred to Eminence. Ravanna countered by hiring surveyors who determined that the county had less than the 432 minimum square miles required for the formation of a county in article 9 of the Kansas State Constitution.

In 1892 the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Garfield county had indeed been illegally organized in the first place. On March 18, 1893, it was annexed to neighboring Finney County. Both Ravanna and Eminence are now ghost towns.


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