Lane County was first established on March 20, 1873 and organized on June 3, 1886. There were five people who organized and created the county. Richard Deighton, Thomas Hahn, Joshua Wheatcroft, John Schiereck, and William Walker were the creators. Lane County was named after James H. Lane, who was the first U.S. senator for Kansas. This county had four state representatives and they all served as Speaker of the House. Dighton is Lane County’s seat. Lane County is surrounded by Scott County, Gove County, Ness County, and Buffalo County. The county’s boundaries were about twenty-four miles east and west, and about thirty miles north and south.
The first homesteaders came to the area of Lane County in the year of 1873. About ten years later mostly all of the homesteaders were leaving to the grassland areas. Most of the settlers were gone by the year of 1884( to the grassland areas). After that people gradually started moving back because at that time people were very poor and the land was very affordable. After they started moving back, businesses were starting to be established, such as a bank. The first County newspaper was called the “Lane County Gazette”.
The homesteaders came in 1878, but there were people here before that. The Paleo Indians were here several years before the settlers came and they were the very first people in the area. The Paleo hunted buffalo, mammoth, and other animals. They also ate other foods like roots and berries. They lived around Lane and Gove County. Paleo Indians started out in Oklahoma then moved to Kansas.
The Western Trail or the Texas cattle trail, was very important to the people of Lane County. Many longhorns were driven through the county each year. Then a man named Wild Horse Johnson brought horses into the area. He would train the horses and then sell them to the settlers of Lane County, and other places as well. People would actually come and watch Wild Horse break the horses. Many people found him riding, breaking, and training the horses very amusing, it was kind of like a rodeo.
After the Civil War more railroads were being built. All of them were very important to everyone. Railroads came through Healy and Dighton. The Missouri Railroad went through Shields as well. The railroads were for people to get to places in shorter time and to get the supplies we needed.
“Early Lane County History” by Ellen May Stanley