Stafford County History & Museum
The county was organized in 1873 and named in memory of Lewis Stafford, Captain of Company E, First Kansas Infantry, who lost his life in Louisiana in 1863. Both the Atchison Topeka and Sante Fe railroad and the Missouri Pacific railroad laid tracks through the county.
Permanent settlement of Stafford County did not begin until 1874. The county was almost eliminated from the state's map. The boundary lines for Stafford County were set by state Legislature of 1870, but the county remained largely unorganized for several years. With the intention of obliterating the county from the map, the Legislature of 1874 partitioned the territory between Barton, Pawnee and Pratt counties. By the division, it was thought the county was wiped out, but later discovered that a six-mile wide, and 12 mile long strip remained. On April 25, 1879 the Supreme Court declared the divisions unconstitutional and the county was restored to its original boundaries.
A large collection of Stafford County newspapers, rural school records, family files and obituaries exist at the Stafford County Museum. It also holds a substantial Civil War library and collection of books written by local authors and history books written about the County. One of the most famous collections includes an estimated 29,000 glass plate negatives from the W.R. Gray Photo Studio in St. John, Kansas. Research services are provided to help patrons with local roots discover their Stafford County ancestors as far back as the late 1800s.