Allen County is a county located in Southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. The county code for Allen County is AL. The population was estimated to be 13,677 in the year 2006. Its county seat and most populous city is Iola.
History of Allen County
by William G. Cutler (1883)
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. 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.
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.
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 U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,308 km² (505 mi²), of which 1,303 km² (503 mi²) is land and 6 km² (2 mi²), or 0.43%, is water.
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.
Allen County's population was estimated to be 13,677 in the year 2006, a decrease of 701, or -4.9%, over the previous six years.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 14,385 people, 5,775 households, and 3,892 families residing in Allen County. The population density was 11/km² (29/mi²). There were 6,449 housing units at an average density of 5/km² (13/mi²). 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.
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.
Cities and towns
Name and population (2004 estimate):
Iola, 6,083 (county seat)
La Harpe, 684
Cofachique (extinct town)
Unified school districts
Marmaton Valley USD 256
Iola USD 257
Humboldt USD 258