County Seat of
“5th County from Colorado and the 4th county North of the Oklahoma
Intersection of Highways 283 and 96
54 Miles N of Dodge
65 Miles W of Great
Population: 1,403 (estimate)
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a walk with me as we visit the Skyscraper
On The Plains, an 1890 stone building that was contracted for
a total of $34,000.
During this tour of Ness City, Kansas, you will see the very first
school in the city built in 1882. Look around the corner and you
will find the tall white grain elevators right next to the Blacksmith
shop. Down the street an old bus is parked behind an old-fashioned
car wash bay complete with the old wash tub.
Finally take a gander at the dust covered brick streets. Cattle
still come across these streets, but only nowadays they come in
a cattle trailer on their way to Dodge City, Kansas.
When you get tired, feel free to sit a spell in one of the tractor-seat
edition town brought to you by: Stephen
in a Pecan Shell
The county dates back prior to the Louisiana Purchase, although no
boundaries existed prior to 1803. The namesake of the county was Corporal
Noah V. Ness who died in the battle of Abbeyville, Mississippi in
1864. Corporal Ness, who enlisted as a resident of Anderson County
never actually resided in Ness County. In fact, at the time of the
naming, there were only a handful of residents. The name was bestowed
by lawmakers in Topeka
in 1867 and the county wasn’t organized until 1880.
First residents were buffalo hunters who had decided to settle here.
The name Joe Dickson is included among first settlers. Dickson arrived
in the early 1870s and filed a claim in 1875.
Scandal: Although there were less than 10 inhabitants in the
early 1870s, one hustler from Chicago hatched an outrageous plan for
personal gain. His name was Dr. Rodgers and with help from the Kansas
City Directory, he borrowed some 600 names which he presented to the
governor as a petition for county organization. Rodgers sold bonds
but took his plans a step further by being elected to the state legislature
where his fraud was exposed. It was proven that there were closer
to 14 residents in the county, rather than the 600 offered up by Rodgers.
His pose as state legislator lasted a mere 30 days. It resulted in
Ness County being dis-organized. Rodgers managed to escape with the
money he had raised by selling the phony bonds and never stood trial.
In the late 1870s Ness City was embroiled in a county seat duel with
the town of Sidney, Kansas – just a mile south of present-day Ness
City. Sidney had been designated the official county seat in April
of 1880 by proclamation of the governor, but after county commissioners
were appointed, the vote was in favor of Ness City. It was officially
declared county seat on June 1, 1880. A man named Calhoun donated
a block for construction of a courthouse and jail, and for his generosity,
earned the title “Father of Ness City.”
In the year 2000, the city erected a bronze statue of its namesake
– Corporal Noah V. Ness.