EARLY SUMNER COUNTY
Prior to 1867, the area now possessed by Sumner County was divided up between Butler County and Marion County. The 1865-66 Map of Kansas shows that Butler County occupied it's present area, along with Cowley County, the eastern third of Sedgwick County, and the eastern third of Sumner County. Marion County occupied it's current area, and all points west to the Colorado border and south to the Oklahoma border, including the western two thirds of Sumner County.
An 1867 Map of Kansas shows the divisions of those areas, including the area organized for Sumner County. This map is interesting however, as there is still no organized Kingman County area, therefore there was a "four corners" in the northwest section of Sumner County where it met with Sedgwick, Harper, and Reno Counties.
Sumner County was founded in 1871, and was named for Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. Senator Sumner was most famous for being severely beaten for his beliefs.
The county struggled in it's early days. Indian territory was just to the south, and there were no railroads or immigration companies in the county.
After the Kansas Pacific Railroad reached Abilene, cattle drives from Texas, across what began the Chisholm Trail, led settlers to the area.
Sources:"History of the State of Kansas", William Cutler; Kansas state library, Blue skyways project.