Marion Ellet was a long-time Concordian. Her grandparents were among the first settlers to this area. She was a writer, traveling the world, but came home. Click this link for Marion's first-hand account of Concordia from the early days.
Once it was a beautiful valley where nomadic Indians roamed. Then the decade between 1860 and 1870 brought settlers..
Shirley County was established on February 27, 1860, by the last Kansas Territorial legislature. Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861. At first Shirley County had been erroneously attached by the legislature to Marshall County, but later it was attached to Washington County. By an order of Governor Samuel J. Crawford, Shirley was organized as a county on September 6, 1866, with Moses Heller, G.W. Wilcox and Henry Lear as the appointed county commissioners, with N.D. Hagaman as the county clerk, and Elk Creek (later Clyde) as the temporary county seat.
On November 6, 1866, an election was held to select county officers and a permanent county seat. John W. Rupe was elected Shirley County's representative in the legislature. Quincy Honey was elected the first sheriff. Charles Davis became the first elected county clerk. Lew Fowler, Moses Heller and William English became the first elected board of county commissioners. Rochester was selected to be the county seat, but thereafter Rochester was simply ignored.
In 1867 James M. Hagaman, Concordia's founder, settled on a tract on the south river bank half way between the east and west boundaries of the county. His homestead was to become the north part of Concordia. George W. Andrews settled on what was to become the heart of the town. The land south of Andrews - which was to become the county seat - was still virgin prairie.
On May 27, 1867, the legislature changed the county's name from Shirley to Cloud.
Meanwhile, Hagaman promoted a town on his homestead and the land to the south. Capt. H.C. Snyder of Glasco, in October 1869, at a meeting near Hagaman's homestead, called the proposed new town "Concordia”.
On November 20, 1869, the county commissioners ordered a county seat election to be held December 21, 1869. The contesting towns were Clyde, Lake Sibley and Concordia. At that election no town received a clear majority of the votes, but Clyde was eliminated. A run-off election was called for January 4, 1870, between Lake Sibley and the piece of prairie called Concordia. Concordia won. On the ballots and in the commissioners' minutes it said, "Concordia. N1/2 of NW1/4 Sec. 4, Town. 6 & S1/2 of SW1/4 Sec. 33, Town. 5, Range 3 West." That unsettled prairie, south of Hagaman's and Andrews' homesteads, became the county seat.
In September of 1870, a U.S. Land Office was established in Concordia, and on January 16, 1871, it opened for business. At once Concordia became a boom town. On January 30, 1871, a plat of Concordia was filed with the register of deeds. On August 7, 1872, Concordia became an incorporated town. After much controversy, the land in section 4 was determined to be a Town Site held in trust by Concordia's mayor for the actual settlers on the land.
Today, Concordia is a beautiful, modern city in the Republican River Valley among the rolling hills of north central Kansas, a city of proud and happy people. Its population of nearly 5,400 persons has a progressive ethnic background. The town has long enjoyed steady progress, harmony and concord.
The air is pure; clean winds blow across wheat fields and prairie snow with equal freshness. If you want to live where the good life can be fostered in the present and secured for the future, where industry can thrive in the midst of surrounding countryside, come to Concordia.