Montgomery County (county code MG) is a county located in southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 35,471. Its county seat is Independence, and its most populous city is Coffeyville. The Coffeyville Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Montgomery County.
Montgomery County was established February 26, 1867. It was named in honor of Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War general killed in 1775 while attempting to capture Quebec City, in Canada, after successfully capturing two forts and the city of Montreal.
When Kansas was admitted to the Union as a state in 1861, the Osage Indian reservation occupied a large tract of land near the southern border. The reservation had been established in 1825. After the Civil War ended, the Osage lands were coveted as the largest and last reserve of good land in the eastern part of the state. As early as 1866, the Osages were forced to cede tracts at the eastern and northern edges of the reservation. This treaty conceded white settlement on land in the eastern part of what is now Montgomery County.
For a brief time, the Osages attempted to maintain a boundary at the Verdigris River. The Verdigris flows from north to south through the center of Montgomery County. From the west the Elk River joins the Verdigris at a confluence slightly northwest of the geographical center of the county. In 1867 Frank and Fred Bunker established a primitive cattle camp on the west side of the Verdigris south of the confluence. Like the Osages, the Bunkers thought they were beyond the boundaries of civilization.
Early in 1869, however, settlers began to cross the Verdigris River, "at first under protest of the Indians, but the immense throng of settlers soon made all protests futile." Montgomery County was surveyed and organized in 1869; the governor appointed commissioners June 3.