History and Facts of North Dakota Counties
North Dakota Counties – The Dakota Territory was created from Nebraska and unorganized territories on March 2, 1861. The Idaho Territory split off on March 4, 1863. Land was received from Idaho Territory on May 28, 1864. The Wyoming Territory split off on July 25, 1868.
List of North Dakota Counties
North Dakota is divided into 53 counties.
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Adams County||17 Apr 1907||Hettinger County||In honor of John Quincy Adams, a railroad agent and cousin of the former president who was instrumental in having the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway built through North Dakota||Hettinger|
|Barnes County||14 Jan 1875||Cass County||In honor of Alanson H. Barnes, a Dakota Territory judge||Valley City|
|Benson County||09 Mar 1883||Ramsey County||In honor of Bertil W. Benson, a Dakota territorial legislator||Minnewaukan|
|Billings County||10 Feb 1879||Dakota Territory||In honor of Frederick H. Billings (1823 - 1890), who was president of the Northern Pacific Railroad||Medora|
|Bottineau County||04 Jan 1873||Dakota Territory||In honor of Pierre Bottineau (1817-1895), a Minnesota frontiersman||Bottineau|
|Bowman County||08 Mar 1883||Billings County||In honor of Edward M. Bowman, a Dakota territorial legislator||Bowman|
|Burke County||06 Jul 1910||Ward County||In honor of John Burke; an American lawyer, jurist, and tenth Governor of North Dakota (1907-1913)||Bowbells|
|Burleigh County||04 Jan 1873||Buffalo County||In honor of Walter A. Burleigh (1820 - 1896), territorial delegate to Congress||Bismarck|
|Cass County||04 Jan 1873||Dakota Territory||In honor of George Washington Cass (1810 - 1888), who was the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad||Fargo|
|Cavalier County||04 Jan 1874||Pembina County||In honor of Charles Cavalier; French fur trapper and one of the area's original settlers||Langdon|
|Dickey County||05 Mar 1881||La Moure County||In honor of George H. Dickey, a Dakota territorial legislator||Ellendale|
|Divide County||09 Dec 1910||Williams County||It was created upon the division of Williams County||Crosby|
|Dunn County||24 May 1901||Starner and Mercer Counties||In honor of John P. Dunn, an early civic leader of Bismarck, who opened the first drugstore in North Dakota||Manning|
|Eddy County||09 Mar 1885||Foster County||In honor of Ezra B. Eddy, a Fargo banker and one of the territory's wealthiest citizens||New Rockford|
|Emmons County||10 Feb 1879||Burleigh County and Campbell County, SD||In honor of James Emmons, an early entrepreneur and businessman who operated the first steamboat across the Missouri River in Bismarck||Linton|
|Foster County||04 Jan 1873||Pembina County||In honor of either James S. Foster and George I. Foster, brother, and prominent farmers during the territorial days||Carrington|
|Golden Valley County||19 Nov 1912||Billings County||In honor of either promotional reasons or for the Golden Valley Land and Cattle Company||Beach|
|Grand Forks County||04 Jan 1873||Pembina County||Grand Forks, North Dakota, which in turn was named for its location at the intersection of the Red Lake River and the Red River of the North||Grand Forks|
|Grant County||25 Nov 1916||Morton County||In honor of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885); the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877), commanding general of the Union Army during the American Civil War, international statesman, and author||Carson|
|Griggs County||18 Feb 1881||Foster, Burbank, and Traill Counties||In honor of Alexander Griggs; a steamboat captain and founder of Grand Forks, North Dakota||Cooperstown|
|Hettinger County||09 Mar 1883||Stark County||In honor of Mathias K. Hettinger, the father-in-law of Erastus A. Williams, the North Dakota Speaker of the House during that session||Mott||Merged back into Stark County in 1896. Recreated on May 24, 1901 from Stark County|
|Kidder County||04 Jan 1873||Buffalo County in the Dakota Territory||In honor of Jefferson Parrish Kidder, territorial delegate to the 44th Congress and 45th Congresses||Steele|
|LaMoure County||04 Jan 1873||Pembina County||in honor of Judson LaMoure; a Dakota territorial legislator and North Dakota state legislator||LaMoure|
|Logan County||04 Jan 1873||Buffalo County in the Dakota Territory||In honor of John A. Logan (1826 -1886), an Illinois U.S. Senator||Napoleon|
|McHenry County||04 Jan 1873||Buffalo County in the Dakota Territory||In honor of James McHenry, one of the area's original settlers||Towner|
|McIntosh County||09 Mar 1883||Logan County||In honor of Edward H. McIntosh, a member of the Territorial Legislature||Ashley|
|McKenzie County||24 May 1901||Stark County||In honor of Alexander McKenzie, a party boss known in the state as "the senator-maker"||Watford City|
|McLean County||08 Mar 1883||Dakota Territory||In honor of John A. McLean, the first mayor of Bismarck, North Dakota||Washburn|
|Mercer County||14 Jan 1875||Dakota Territory||In honor of William Henry Harrison Mercer, an early settler||Stanton|
|Morton County||08 Jan 1878||Dakota Territory||In honor of Oliver Hazard Perry Throck Morton (1823-1877), the 14th Governor of Indiana (1861-1867)||Mandan|
|Mountrail County||04 Jan 1871||Ward County||In honor of Joseph Mountraille, a Metis voyageur and early explorer||Stanley|
|Nelson County||09 Mar 1883||Foster and Grand Forks Counties||In honor of Nelson E. Nelson, a Dakota territorial legislator||Lakota|
|Oliver County||12 Mar 1885||Mercer County||In honor of Harry S. Oliver, a Dakota territorial legislator||Center|
|Pembina County||09 Jan 1867||Indian lands||The high-bush cranberries which grew wild in the area. Pembina may befrom an Ojibwa phrase "anepeminan sip", referring to the berries, as they grew in abundance around the Redberry River. It may also be from an Ojibwa word meaning "meeting place". The name originally applied to the old Pembina Territory||Cavalier|
|Pierce County||11 Mar 1887||DeSmet (Old), Bottineau, McHenry, and Rolette Counties||In honor of Gilbert Ashville Pierce, a Governor of Dakota Territory and later a U.S. Senator from North Dakota||Rugby|
|Ramsey County||04 Jan 1873||Pembina County||In honor of Alexander Ramsey, a U.S. Senator from Minnesota||Devils Lake|
|Ransom County||04 Jan 1873||Pembina County||The locally situated Fort Ransom||Lisbon|
|Renville County||03 Jun 1910||Ward County||In honor of Joseph Renville, a missionary and interpreter for Dakota Native Americans||Mohall|
|Richland County||04 Jan 1873||Pembina County||In honor of Morgan T. Rich, an early settler||Wahpeton|
|Rolette County||04 Jan 1873||Buffalo County in the Dakota Territory||In honor of Joseph Rolette, Jr. (1820-1871), a prominent fur trapper and local political organizer||Rolla|
|Sargent County||03 Mar 1883||Ransom County||In honor of Homer E. Sargent, a general manager of the Northern Pacific Railroad||Forman|
|Sheridan County||24 Dec 1908||McLean County||In honor of Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888), a major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He fought in later years in the Indian Wars of the Great Plains||McClusky|
|Sioux County||14 Jan 1915||Standing Rock Reservation||Native American Sioux people||Fort Yates|
|Slope County||14 Jan 1915||Billings County||Topographical feature within the county known as the Missouri Slope||Amidon|
|Stark County||10 Feb 1879||Dakota Territory||in honor of George Stark, a vice president of the Northern Pacific Railroad||Dickinson|
|Steele County||08 Mar 1883||Grand Forks and Griggs Counties||In honor of Edward H. Steele, the secretary-treasurer of the Red River Land Company||Finley|
|Stutsman County||04 Jan 1873||Pembina County||In honor of Enos Stutsman, a Dakota Territorial Legislator||Jamestown|
|Towner County||08 Mar 1883||Rolette and Cavalier Counties||In honor of Oscar M. Towner, a Dakota territorial legislator||Cando|
|Traill County||12 Jan 1875||Grand Forks, Burbank, and Cass Counties||In honor of Walter John Strickland Traill, an early settler||Hillsboro|
|Walsh County||18 Feb 1881||Grand Forks County||In honor of George H. Walsh; an early settler and one of the founders of the University of North Dakota||Grafton|
|Ward County||14 Apr 1885||Bottineau, Renville (old), and Stevens (old) Counties||In honor of Mark Ward (1844-1902), a Dakota territorial legislator||Minot|
|Wells County||26 Feb 1881||Gringras County||In honor of Edward Payson Wells, a Dakota territorial legislator||Fessenden||Organized on August 28, 1884. Established as Gringras County in 1873 from Buffalo County and was renamed Wells County on February 26, 1881|
|Williams County||08 Jan 1873||Dakota Territory||In honor of Erastus Appelman Williams, a Dakota territorial legislator||Williston|
List of Old Former / Extinct North Dakota Counties
North Dakota has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.
The below North Dakota counties no longer exist:
?? County, North Dakota
- Allred County – In 1896 Allred became a part of Billings; in 1901 Allred was re-created from Billings County; in 1903 it was attached to Williams County; and in 1905 it was abolished when it became part of McKenzie County.
- Buffalo County was created in 1864 and organized in 1871. In 1873 Buffalo lost land to twenty-five counties in Dakota territory; in 1889 Buffalo became a county in the newly created state of South Dakota.
- Buford County was created in 1883. In 1891 Buford was attached to Ward County; in 1892 it was abolished and became part of Williams County.
- Burbank County was created in 1873, renamed to Barnes County in 1875
- French County was created in 1873 from Buffalo County; renamed De Smet County in 1875, eliminated in 1875.
- Dunn County (old) was created in 1883 from Howard Co and became part of Stark Co, 1896
- Flannery County was created in 1883 from Wallette Co . In 1891 Flannery was attached to Ward Co; in 1892 it was abolished and became
part of Williams Co.
- Gringras County was created in 1873 from Buffalo County and renamed Wells County in 1881
- Howard County was created in 1873 from unorganized area; abolished 1883; became part of Allred, Dunn, McKenzie and Wallace Counties
- McKenzie County (old) was created in 1883 from Howard County; abolished 1896; became part of Billings County in 1897
- Pembina County, Minnesota Territory (1849-1858, reconstituted as Pembina County, Dakota Territory in 1861, eventually reduced to present-day Pembina County, North Dakota.)
- Renville County (old) was created in 1873 from Buffalo County; attached to Ward, 1891; abolished 1892; became part of Bottineau and Ward Counties
- Sheridan County (old) was created in 1873 from Buffalo County; abolished 1892; became part of McLean County
- Stevens County was created in 1873 from Buffalo County; The original Stevens County was created in 1862 from unorganized land but was abolished in 1863. This Stevens County was attached to Ward in 1891 and was abolished in 1892 when it became part of McLean and Ward Counties.
- Wallace County was created in 1883 from Howard County; In 1896 Wallace was abolished and became part of Billings and Stark; in 1901 it was re-created from Billings and Stark but remained attached to Stark; in 1905 it was abolished again and became part of McKenzie County.
- Wallette County was created in 1873 from Buffalo County; abolished 1883; became part of Buford and Flannery Counties
- Wynn County was created in 1883 from Bottineau County and Renville County (old); was eliminated in 1887.
Map of North Dakota County Boundary Changes from 1812 to 1916
This Interactive Map of North Dakota Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of North Dakota from 1812-1916.
Fun Facts about North Dakota Counties
County Name Facts
The County names:
- 0 of them named for Native American words or people,
Counties by Year
Facts for County Size
- ? County (000 sq mi) is the largest county in North Dakota.
- ? County (000 sq mi) is the smallest county in North Dakota.
Facts for County Population (2017 Est.)
- ? County (000) is the most populated county in North Dakota.
- ? County (000) is the least populated county in North Dakota.
Facts for North Dakota Counties and Cities
North Dakota’s 53 largest cities (2053) are: