A Rich History
Morris County was established on ancient grounds of the Kaw American Indian tribe. Settlers and the Kaw lived in an increasingly uneasy relationship as settlers encroached on native lands.
Council Grove was established by European Americans in 1825, and was an important supply station on the Santa Fe Trail. The town was also the site of an encampment by John C. Fremont in 1845, and in 1849 the Overland Mail established a supply headquarters here. From 1821 to 1866, the Santa Fe Trail was active across Morris County.
The county was originally organized as Wise County in 1855. The county was named for Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise. When Wise presided over the hanging of abolitionist John Brown at Harper's Ferry in 1859, abolition supporters renamed it to Morris County in honor of Thomas Morris, a former United States Senator from Ohio who was an opponent of slavery.