About Stafford County

  • Windmill at Sunset outside of St. John, Kansas (Photo courtesy of Kim Fritzemeier) Visit Site
  • Cattle drive photo, Stafford County, Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Kim Fritzemeier) Visit Site
  • Rattle Snake Creek photo, Stafford County, Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Kim Fritzemeier) Visit Site
  • Autumn in Stafford County Kansas.

Stafford County, Kansas is a flat county punctuated with grass-covered sand dunes once labeled the Great American Desert. It is home to the largest inland salt water marsh in the United States (the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge). The marsh welcomes hundreds of thousands of bird to the county each year. It’s a bird watcher’s dream destination. Visitors who come for the outdoors will also find small, unique communities, rural experiences and hidden treasures.

The economic life of the county revolves around cattle, winter wheat and petroleum. 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 Santa Fe railroad and the Missouri Pacific railroad laid tracks through the county.

The county currently maintains three school districts in Stafford County, Stafford – USD 349, St. John/Hudson – USD 350 and Macksville – USD 351. The 77-mile National Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway showcasing Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms is an attraction drawing bird watchers and other visitors from across the county. The numerous town and community celebrations and events keep Stafford County a lively place to visit or to stay awhile.

A county that was almost eliminated from the state’s map, permanent settlement of Stafford County did not begin until 1874. The boundary lines for Stafford County were set by the 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 Pawnee, Barton, and Pratt counties. By this division, it was thought the county was wiped out, but it was 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.

Today Stafford County, Kansas is a vibrant and growing community. It is just now opening a wide range of retail operations that are unique and special! The residents and future residents of Stafford County are smart, innovative and we’re looking for energetic, bright people to move to our county.