Scott County Historical Society

National Register

The Battle at Punished Woman's Fork was designated in 2007 as a historic location on the National Register of Historic Places.   The historic event took place on September 28, 1878~~~the last major Indian battle in Kansas. The battle site is located just North of Scott City at the South edge of Scott Lake State Park.  El Cuartelejo Archelogical District was placed on the Register much earlier, in 1966.

Become a Member of SCHS!

The Scott County Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the history of the Scott County area and educating the community and visitors about the function of El Quartelejo Museum and the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection.

Throughout the almost 90 year existence of SCHS, individuals, families, and businesses have supported the Historical Society’s efforts. These generous people help to continue the work of the Historical Society and assist in maintaining the building and grounds, keeping the facility open to the public, guiding group tours, hosting programs for all ages, and raising funds for improvements.

There are three membership categories:

Individual    $10.00

Family         $20.00

Business     $50.00

SCHS Board of Directors

The first meeting of the Scott County Historical Society was held on January 12, 1931. A number of Scott City, Kansas citizens and early settlers were interested in perpetuating the early history of Scott County and Western Kansas, which led them to meet at the old Steele home to make plans for a new organization.


The following officers were elected:    


President: Elmer Epperson

Vice President: J.K. Freed

Secretary: Mrs. Clarence Dickhut

Treasurer: E.E. Coffin


For almost 90 years, Scott County residents have shared a common dream: to have a museum building in which to preserve and exhibit Scott County's rich and unique history. Thousands of hours from volunteers and the generous donations of Scott County residents and interested persons have kept the dream alive, and brought much of it to fulfillment.  The work continues, with inspiration from those members who have watched the growth and development of the society and grounds for many years, and with the ideas and efforts of new advocates.

Those serving presently on the Board of Trustees of the Scott County Historical Society are:

Patsi Graham, President

Alan Graham, Vice President

Ruth Dunn, Secretary

Ernie Smith, Treasurer

Jerry Thomas, Artist in Residence

Marilyn Dryer

Richard Duff 

Marian Nolan


August 2021

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It’s hard to believe this year is more than half over.  Did time go this fast last year when our lives were ‘on hold’?  It would be interesting to know how your life was affected by the Pandemic of 2020.  Maybe we should start collecting stories.  Do you have one to share? 

It seems like much of May was geared toward the first weekend in June.  But what a memorable weekend that was!  The all-school reunion brought scattered family and friends home to enjoy being together, but also to share in the excitement of the unveiling of the remarkable statue of our remarkable town founder, Maria DeGeer.  Jerry Thomas is known around the country as a fine artist, but he is making a new name for himself with his bronze sculptures.  Over 200 attended that unveiling, and another 150 were at the unveiling of new paintings and artifacts in the Jerry Thomas Gallery that same afternoon.

It has taken many years, and consistent promotion and education to see Maria DeGeer take her rightful place in the history of Scott City.  We are not aware of any other town in Kansas that was founded by a woman, and it has taken much too long for her name to be recognized locally.  She was an amazing woman, and we are proud to tell her story in her own exhibit at El Quartelejo Museum.  Come get acquainted!

We had many visitors through the reunion weekend, and were pleased that many of the duplicate copies of SCHS annuals we offered for a donation, found new homes.  We have a full set of annuals on our reference shelves, so if you need to look something up in one of those yearbooks, we’re happy to let you browse through them.

We can tell that CoVid restrictions have eased up considerably, as the museum visitation has increased.  Many of our visitors are camping in the State Park and they are truly awestruck by the beauty of that oasis on the plains, and the fascinating historic sites in the area.  Their amazement continues as they tour our galleries.  We are often told that El Quartelejo Museum and The Jerry Thomas Gallery are among the finest galleries in the state.   We are so fortunate to have the financial support of our local government agencies which makes it possible for us to present and preserve our unique history in such an excellent manner.

While there are no special events planned through the summer, our doors are open 1-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and there Is always something you may not have seen before.  We are looking forward to at least two and maybe three special programs this fall and winter, and we certainly plan to hold the ever-popular Sugar Plum Sale this year in December. 

               The SCHS Memorabilia Exhibit is still in place in the temporary gallery, but it will come down soon.  If you haven’t been out to see it, better come by. 

               We are sad to say goodbye to member, Larry Turpin.  We will miss his friendly smile.  And please welcome Linda See, a returning member.

El Quartelejo Museum/Jerry Thomas Gallery – Cool!

May 2021

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May 2021

Hopefully, you were among those who attended the annual meeting of the historical society on April 25th, and who helped celebrate our 90th anniversary.  If you weren’t here, you didn’t get the information that although 90 years is surely some kind of record, we found out that there are some local organizations that pre-date us by many years.  The Anthem Masonic Lodge No. 284 and the Scott City IOOF and Rebecca Lodges were established in 1886!  Isn’t that amazing!  And of course we know there are several churches in the community that have already held centennial celebrations.

Nevertheless, we celebrated our long history in this community through Stephanie Fisher’s excellent program which linked many of our earliest settlers with their homestead claims, several of whom were original members of the Scott County Historical Society.  And, of course, we also enjoyed a special (and delicious) celebration cake made for the occasion by our own Tava See.

The business meeting included election of officers to the Board of Trustees, returning Alan Graham and Ruth Dunn to the board, and adding new member, Barb Wilkinson, who replaces Marian Nolan.

And now it’s on to the exciting events of the week of June 4th-6th.  The All-School Reunion will bring in friends and family from around the country to enjoy the usual activities, but there are some very special events taking place during this reunion.

FIRST:  At 1:00 on Saturday, June 5th, the long-awaited unveiling of the statue of our town founder, Maria DeGeer, will take place at the location of Maria DeGeer’s original homestead claim shanty, between First National Bank and Lawrence Reality.  This will include a speech from Mrs. DeGeer herself, presented by reenactor, Marla Matkin. The 7’ bronze statue of Maria DeGeer is the creation of Scott City’s own multitalented artist, Jerry Thomas.

The site will include the Scott City Historic Walking Tour which will feature historic buildings and sites in the Main Street Area.  Tour maps, brochures, and an App information will be featured on the interpretive sign at DeGeer Corner.

SECOND:  At 3:00 p.m. Jerry Thomas will be unveiling 15+ new paintings and artifacts displays featuring one of a kind National Treasures in the Jerry Thomas Gallery at 905 West 5th Street (El Quartelejo Museum) 

The museum will be open selected hours during the reunion.  Schedule is as follows:

Friday, June 4th: Regular hours 1-5 p.m.

Saturday, June 5th:  2:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 6th: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

We have many duplicate copies of SCHS annuals, which will be offered for a donation during the reunion.  Be sure to check for any you might wish to own.

The March newsletter contained a long list of members lost over a very short period of time.  Add to that list another of our faithful members, Florence Daubert.  Along with the families of Lloyd K Fouser, Kay Mohler, Dean Fairchild and Mary Armstrong, Florence’s family designated the museum as the recipient of her memorial gifts.  Our sincere thanks to these families and the many others who have honored us this way across the years. 

We have gained some new and renewing members, so please welcome   Paul and Mary Kasselman, Fred and Jana Brittan, Marilyn Krebs, and Darrel and Marilyn Miller.  Our membership currently stands at around 230.  Pretty awesome for an organization which began with only 29 members 90 years ago!   The Scott County Historical Society is alive and well! 


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