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Coordinates: 37°53′N 95°17′W / 37.883, -95.283

Allen County, Kansas
Map of Kansas highlighting Allen County
Location in the state of Kansas
Map of the U.S. highlighting Kansas
Kansas's location in the U.S.
Founded August 25, 1855
Named for William Allen
Seat Iola
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

505.18 sq mi (1,308 km²)
503.01 sq mi (1,303 km²)
2.18 sq mi (6 km²), 0.43%
 - (2010)
 - Density

27.2/sq mi (10.5/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Allen County (county code AL) is a county located in southeast Kansas, in the central United States of America. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 13,371.[1] Its county seat and most populous city is Iola.[2]


The old Allen County Jail

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. It was organized at the time of its creation in 1855, Charles Passmore being appointed probate judge; B.W. Cowden and Barnett Owen county commissioners, and William Godfrey sheriff. These officers were to hold their offices until the general election in 1857, and were empowered to appoint the county clerk and treasurer to complete the county organization.

The first white inhabitants located in the county during the early part of the year 1855. Richard J. Fuqua may have been the first, settling in the valley of the Neosho River, in the northwestern part of the county, with his wife, two boys, and three girls. B.W. Cowden and H.D. Parsons arrived in March 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 by Major James Parsons, and his two sons, Jesse and James, and Mr. Duncan. During the spring and summer settlement progressed quite rapidly, the most of it being along and near the Neosho River. Though many of the early settlers of the county were pro-slavery men, few slaves were brought into the county. The free-state people showing so much antagonism toward slave-holders, it was not long until most of the slaves were either liberated or taken from the county by their masters. During the summer and fall of 1856, immigration continued, though not in very large numbers.

The first town and county seat was Cofachique. In the spring of 1855 a party of pro-slavery men from Fort Scott formed a town company and laid out a town on the high land east of the Neosho River, south of the mouth of Elm Creek. There was a heavy trade with the neighboring tribes of Native Americans, and for a time the town had good prospects. But the town began to decline in 1857, and the greater part of it was later moved two miles (3 km) north to the new town of Iola.

After a series of disputes, Allen County's first jail was constructed in Iola in 1869 at a cost of $8,400. It operated until a replacement opened in 1959; since that time, it has been run as a museum.[3]


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. According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 505.18 square miles (1,308.4 km2), of which 503.01 square miles (1,302.8 km2) (or 99.57%) is land and 2.18 square miles (5.6 km2) (or 0.43%) is water.[4]

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 populations
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%
U.S. Decennial Census

Population pyramid

Census 2000[]

As of the U.S. Census in 2000,[5] there were 14,385 people, 5,775 households, and 3,892 families residing in Allen County. The population density was 29 people per square mile (11/km²). There were 6,449 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.80% White, 1.63% Black or African American, 0.78% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.86% from other races, and 1.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.93% of the population. 28.8% were of German, 20.3% American, 9.8% English and 8.6% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 5,775 households out of which 29.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 8.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.60% were non-families. 28.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.20% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 18.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,481, and the median income for a family was $39,117. Males had a median income of $27,305 versus $19,221 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,640. About 11.30% of families and 14.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.20% of those under age 18 and 12.70% of those age 65 or over.

Historical trends[]

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.

Cities and towns[]

2005 KDOT Map of Allen County (map legend)

Incorporated cities[]

Name and population (2006 estimate):[6]

  • Iola, 5,966 (county seat)
  • Humboldt, 1,906
  • La Harpe, 665
  • Gas, 552
  • Moran, 535
  • Savonburg, 89
  • Elsmore, 68
  • Mildred, 36
  • Bassett, 22

Unincorporated places[]

  • Bayard
  • Carlyle
  • Cofachique (extinct town)
  • Geneva
  • Petrolia


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, -95.37972
Cottage Grove 15825 282 3 (8) 96 (37) 0 (0) 0.42% 37°45′20″N 95°22′11″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, -95.28972
Elm 20550 Gas 1,259 10 (27) 123 (47) 0 (0) 0.33% 37°54′36″N 95°19′36″W / 37.91, -95.32667
Elsmore 20900 460 3 (7) 165 (64) 0 (0) 0.06% 37°47′1″N 95°9′23″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, -95.47583
Humboldt 33475 273 4 (11) 65 (25) 1 (0) 0.88% 37°48′47″N 95°25′34″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, -95.42417
Logan 41725 225 3 (7) 83 (32) 1 (0) 0.75% 37°47′2″N 95°29′2″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, -95.16333
Osage 53075 316 3 (7) 124 (48) 0 (0) 0.37% 38°0′14″N 95°9′36″W / 38.00389, -95.16
Salem 62600 277 2 (6) 124 (48) 0 (0) 0.10% 37°49′31″N 95°18′6″W / 37.82528, -95.30167
Sources: "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files". U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division. 

Law and government[]

Following amendment to the Kansas Constitution in 1986, the county remained a prohibition, or "dry", county until 2000, when voters approved the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with a 30% food sales requirement.[7]


Unified school districts[]

Colleges and universities[]

  • Allen County Community College


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

See also[]

Information on this and other counties in Kansas

Other information for Kansas


  1. ^ "2010 County Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Pankratz, Richard D. National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Allen County Jail. National Park Service, 1974-09-04, 3.
  4. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Population Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division.  Annual estimates of the population to 2006-07-01. Released 2007-06-28.
  7. ^ "Map of Wet and Dry Counties". Alcoholic Beverage Control, Kansas Department of Revenue. November 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-21. 

Further reading[]

External links[]

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