Officially U. B. Marsh; A. C. Pratt; J. G. Shoup; E. S. McClellan; and Frank Hall organized Gray County in 1887.
But the truth is much more convoluted. On 1855 maps Gray County did not exist as it was part of the now defunct Washington County. Then in 1860, Gray County fell into the boundaries of the now non-existent county of Peketon. In 1865 the borders of the late Marion County engulfed Peketon. Newly created Foote County arose out of this territory in 1873. Foote County disappeared in 1881.
Gray County first came in existence by Kansas legislative action on March 4, 1881. But this first manifestation as a county was brief. In 1883, Gray was absorbed into the surrounding counties of Ford, Hodgeman and Finney. At last, on March 5, 1887, Gray County as we know it today appeared on maps.
The County is named for Alfred Gray, Secretary, Kansas Board of Agriculture. Gray's life began in Evans, New York, on December 5, 1830. His parents were Mary Morgan and farmer Isaiah Gray. Starting in 1847, he served for two years as a seaman on a ship stationed in Buffalo. He attended a number of east coast academies before graduating from law school in New York. In March 1857 at 26, Gray moved to the new town of Quindaro, Kansas, where he opened a law and real estate office. Quindaro was formed by Abolitionists, or those opposed to slavery. Today all that is left of Quindaro is an archeological site.
Gray found farming was in his blood and left law and real estate business to farm. He ended up owning one of the best farms in Wyandotte County. Later, Gray was elected to the first state legislature. In April 1862 he enlisted in the Fifth Kansas Cavalry and the 10th Kansas Infantry regiments serving as a regimental quartermaster.
Gray wrote promotional reports which were noted for their excellence. His display at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 was extremely successful. He directed the State Agricultural Society from 1866 to 1870 and was elected secretary of the State Board of Agriculture in 1872, an office he held until he died from tuberculosis on Jan. 23, 1880. Alfred Gray is buried in Topeka Cemetery.
Gray County's major towns are Cimarron, Copeland, Ensign, Ingalls and Montezuma. Three of these towns fought over which would serve as county seat. Montezuma was quickly eliminated as it was not centrally located and did not sit on the Santa Fe Railway.
It boiled down into a bitter feud between Ingalls and Cimarron as to which City would have the coveted county seat. The "County Seat Wars" lasted years and climaxed on January 12, 1889, when supporters of Ingalls raided the Gray County Courthouse in Cimarron. These Ingalls supporters included, Asa T. Soule, of Soule Canal fame, who hired Bill Tilghman, Jim Masterson, Ben Daniels and others to conduct the actual raid to steal court records and bring them to Ingalls. During this gunfight, which lasted several hours, one citizen of Cimarron was killed and several people were wounded. Though the violence ended with this failed attempt, the dispute lasted until February 1893 when Cimarron became the official seat of Gray County.