Most people have heard of the county seat war between Augusta and El Dorado, but there were many more county seat battles throughout the state.
Local author Robert Collins shares some of those stories with his newest book, “Kansas County Seat Conflicts: The Elections, the Feuds, and the Wars.”
He will be holding a book signing from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Book Grinder, offering this books, as well as his others.
“It’s something I’ve been working on about three years,” Collins said. “The topic seemed interesting.”
It covers “efforts to move county seats from their original location.”
Collins found of the 105 counties in Kansas, 60 to 65 had some effort to move the county seat. Some were fueled by county rivalries, while others were to benefit a town.
Looking at the local feud, between El Dorado and Augusta, Collins found an account in a Topeka newspaper from the time telling the Augusta side of the story. Since the Augusta newspapers at the time did not survive, all of the local accounts are from El Dorado’s perspectives.
“If you read that story, you will be surprised what their side of it is,” he said.
That feud also restarted in 1883, when Douglass wanted to split off and be the seat of another county, but that did not happen.
These feuds took place from the establishment of the Kansas Territory in 1855 well into the 20th Century, with the latest ones ending in 1960 in Morton and Logan counties.
Some were brief, like the two-month effort in Reno County. Others have been long, like the eight-decade struggle over the county seat of Logan County. Others were violent, like the battle between Woodsdale and Hugoton in Stevens County.
This book recounts all of the fights Collins was able to document and research. Collins also considers what lessons can be drawn from these many and varied conflicts.
Collins is the author of biographies of “Bleeding Kansas” leader Senator Jim Lane and Kansas Civil War General James G. Blunt, released by Pelican Publishing. He’s had six railroad books published by South Platte Press, including “Ghost Railroads of Kansas” and “Kansas Railroad Attractions.” He’s had stories and articles appear in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Wild West, Tales of the Talisman, Territorial and the Wichita Eagle. He’s also had several science fiction and fantasy novels published, including “Expert Assistance,” “Lisa’s Way” and “Cassia.”