Leavenworth county, as it is known today at one time also included the present county of Wyandotte. Leavenworth county was founded in 1855, a year after Leavenworth City (the current county seat) was established, and several years following the establishment of Ft. Leavenworth in 1827. The area was settled primarily by the Freestaters who did not believe in slavery. Of course its proximity to the Missouri river and the state of Missouri which was a slave holding state generated much controversy, even bloodshed.
The Delaware indian tribe preceded the white settlers to the area. Tonganoxie is named after one of the Chiefs, and indian names abound, such as Delaware, and Wallula. In addition to Leavenworth, cities in the county include Lansing, Basehor, Tonganoxie, Linwood, Easton, and Jarbalo. There were a number of other named small communities which are still places a few residents reside, but little to no commerce occurs in them today.
Each community usually has a library, and in some instances a museum. Some of the more noted tourist sites include the Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Ft. Leavenworth, the Eisenhower Veterans Administration facility, and Veterans burial grounds at Ft. Leavenworth and at the Veterans Administration grounds in Leavenworth.
The county encompasses an area of 463 square miles with a population of 64371 people in 1990. It is a rapidly growing county, and is located on excellent access roads close to Kansas City Kansas, and the Kansas City airport. In the summer of 2001, the Kansas NASCAR and Winston Cup race track in Wyandotte county will open, within a distance of less than 5 miles from Leavenworth county.
The Leavenworth County Genealogical Society is important to its members, local community, surrounding counties and yes even worldwide. Its purpose is to promote and encourage the preservation of family history, the making available of local records and information where these records are stored.
1. The first thing is the dedication of its officers and members both local and in other areas of the world. After all this the backbone of any society if it is to survive.
2. Next is the society's collection of valuable source books, how to books and books from other societies. Just think of the time and money this saves if each of us had to furnish our own collection as well as the availability to use these materials. You only have to go to the Leavenworth Public Library and visit the Kansas Room to be able to use these materials any time.
3. One of the things to look for is the 50-year collection of obituaries. We have either copies of the actual obituary or an index of the missing years giving the date the obituary was published in the Leavenworth Times. Just think of the time saved if you don't have to look at all the papers for several days to find what you are looking for.
4. Copies and Indexes of Early death and birth records from Leavenworth City Hall collection, these are records made before they were required to register deaths and births with the state archive. These show the date of the event. Some show names of next of kin, parents on birth records, place of burial on death records, etc. They are also indexed.
5. We also have microfilm of records from Leavenworth County Court House. Some land conveyance records from Short Title Company. Funeral home records from Beldon, Sexton, Sumpter Funeral home which includes the O'Donnell Funeral Home Records. We also have National Soldier's home records of men who died there. Some of these are indexed but many more are waiting on some volunteers to index them. Please volunteer to help with these records to aid your fellow genealogists.
6.Some of the things already indexed are part of the naturalization, state census, marriages, divorces, early newspapers, every name index for local history books, some school records and farm directories.
7. On our shelves are located copies of history books, information on churches and other local information. For visitors from areas we have a wide collection of information from other counties in Kansas and Missouri plus numerous books, newsletters, histories from various states.
8. And most important of all is the sharing of our information, to see the joy and sometimes even surprise when our visitors find something on their family. I think this gives me the greatest pleasure of all when I am working in the Library. We have many visitors from all over the country even as far as North Pole, Alaska.
9. We do not want to discount our award winning Quarterly/news letter which goes to members in several States plus our local members, it also goes to numerous Libraries and Societies to be placed on their shelf for the public use. The "Rooting Around" has been published for 20 years except one issue that was not published due to illness of the editor. It includes queries from all people who write for information and how we answered them. Family group sheets are included when they are submitted. Our current list of publications that are for sale is also included [how else would we be able to bring them to the public's attention to sell them]. 10. Now we have to incorporate the talents of our new and younger members to continue the work of the society for the next 20 years and beyond.
Nettie (Weston) Graden