Why is Goodland the County Seat?

Why is Goodland the County Seat?

Sami Windle Around Goodland

In 1887 there was a vote on which town should be the county seat.  The towns in the running were Goodland, Sherman Center, Eustis and Voltaire.  A first vote determined that Goodland would be county seat, but after debate and accusations that the election was decided before a vote could take place, fighting broke out.  What happened next is the battle over the county seat in Sherman County.

August 27, 1887 a meeting was held to determine the county seat.  The Goodland Town Company made the best offer followed by Sherman Center, Eustis and Voltaire.  When the vote was taken 66 voted for Goodland and 15 for Eustis so Goodland was named the county seat.

Sherman County Frame Building 1887-1931. Stood where present courthouse stands.

Construction began soon after that with the first building placed in Goodland being the Sherman Hotel moved from Sherman Center and owned by E. Thorsen. Building of the first court house was soon stared in September of 1887 and towns from around the county began moving building to Goodland.

On November 22, 1887 a special election was held to officially determine the county seat and of the 1495 votes cast Goodland won with 872.  Eustis, which had acted as the county seat until now, received 611 votes.  However before Goodland could be declared the official county seat the commissioners were slapped with an injunction saying that no notice of the election had been posted and the vote had already been called.  It also stated that armed forces were ready to invade Eustis.  On January 13, 1888 fighting came to a climax when 85 Homesteader Union Association (H.U.A.) members marched to Eustis to forcibly take back the county records to Goodland.  There were claims from Eustis that fighting occurred and gunshots went off, claims from Goodland were that no gunshots happened and the H.U.A. members got the records and returned home.  What we know did happen was that Mayor Dayton of Eustis lead the H.U.A. members to where the records were kept and watched as they were loaded into a wagon and taken back to Goodland.

Fighting however did not stop and the Governor sent two Kansas National Guard members to investigate the matter, and if necessary would send the militia.  On May 10, 1888 Eustis lost the claims and the county seat was officially declared Goodland.