Stevens County Seat War Massacre


Kansas’ Stevens County Seat War produced a terrible massacre in July 1885.  Citizens of Hugoton and Woodland—both vying for the county seat designation—met at a hay meadow in the No Man’s Land in present day Oklahoma.

The Hugoton men got the drop on their Woodland counterparts, and after disarming them, they executed four (a fifth was badly wounded but played dead). Seven men were tried and convicted in the killings, but the verdicts were overturned by the Supreme Court; nobody was punished in the affray.  Hugoton eventually became the county seat.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.