For many millennia, the Great Plains of North America was inhabited by nomadic Native Americans. From the 16th century to 18th century, the Kingdom of France claimed ownership of large parts of North America. In 1762, after the French and Indian War, France secretly ceded New France to Spain, per the Treaty of Fontainebleau.
In 1802, Spain returned most of the land to France, but keeping title to about 7,500 square miles. In 1803, most of the land for modern day Kansas was acquired by the United States from France as part of the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Purchase for 2.83 cents per acre.
In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. In 1868, Gove County was established and named for Grenville L. Gove, member of the 11th Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and son of Moses Gove, a former mayor of Manhattan, Kansas.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 1,072 square miles (2,780 km2), of which 1,072 square miles (2,780 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.01%) is water.
As of the U.S. Census in 2000, there were 3,068 people, 1,245 households, and 861 families residing in the county. The population density was 3 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 1,423 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.95% White, 0.10% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.72% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.24% of the population.
There were 1,245 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.50% were married couples living together, 3.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.80% were non-families. 29.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 5.40% from 18 to 24, 22.10% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 22.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $33,510, and the median income for a family was $40,438. Males had a median income of $26,863 versus $21,357 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,852. About 8.00% of families and 10.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.90% of those under age 18 and 6.90% of those age 65 or over.
Although the Kansas Constitution was amended in 1986 to allow the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with the approval of voters, Gove County has remained a prohibition, or "dry", county.Grinnell USD 291
Grainfield USD 292
Quinter USD 293
Gove County is divided into nine townships. None of the cities within the county are considered governmentally independent, and all figures for the townships include those of the cities. In the following table, the population center is the largest city (or cities) included in that township's population total, if it is of a significant size.