Marion County (Kansas, USA)

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Marion County, Kansas, is located north of the Santa Fe Railroad between Emporia and Hutchinson, north of Harvey County and east of McPherson County. It has a land area of 957 square miles and a population of 16,307 in 1953 (12,952 in 2005). The first white settlers in the county located on Doyle Creek near the present town of Florence in 1858. In 1859 the population was 74. The Santa Fe trail ran through the northeast corner of Marion County and crossed to the southwest into McPherson County. Railroads crossing the county are the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe; and the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific. The primary occupation is agriculture. Some of the most significant towns are Marion (county seat), Florence, Peabody, and Hillsboro.

Marion County has a large Mennonite population. Towns with a predominantly Mennonite population are Hillsboro, Lehigh, and Goessel. The Mennonites are located primarily in the southwestern part of the county. The first Mennonites to come to Marion County were M. W. Keim and his friends from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, who bought 5,000 acres of land from Case and Billings during the winter of 1869-1870. The next Mennonite settlement in the county was established by Peter and Jacob Funk in 1873, who had come from Russia via Sommerfield, Illinois, and purchased land from the Santa Fe through the agent A. E. Touzalin. They established the Brudertal settlement (see Brudertal Mennonite Church). The next group to settle were the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren under the leadership of Jacob A. Wiebe, who settled west of Marion (Center), in the village of Gnadenau in 1874. Mennonites from Poland established the Johannestal Mennonite Church north of Hillsboro and the Friedenstal Mennonite Church near Tampa. The Alexanderwohl Mennonites from Russia settled in seven villages in the southwest corner of Marion County in 1874. In the center of the settlement the town of Goessel is now located. This group has spread into neighboring Harvey and McPherson counties. In addition to these groups, the Mennonite Brethren gradually concentrated in the Hillsboro area. They maintained the Mennonite Brethren Publishing House and Tabor College in Hillsboro.

The General Conference Mennonite churches in Marion County in 1955 were as follows: First of Burns, Alexanderwohl, Goessel, Tabor, Brudertal, First of Hillsboro, Johannestal, Lehigh, and Friedenstal at Tampa. The Mennonite Brethren have the following churches: Ebenfeld, Hillsboro, Tampa, Gnadenau-Lehigh, and Steinreich near Florence. The Krimmer Mennonite Brethren had the Springfield church. The Gnadenau mother church joined the Mennonite Brethren. The Mennonite Church group has the Catlin church near Peabody

See also Kansas


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 39 f.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Marion County (Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 19 Jun 2024.,_USA)&oldid=170561.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1957). Marion County (Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2024, from,_USA)&oldid=170561.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 485. All rights reserved.

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