Atchison, city (1990 pop. 10,656), seat of Atchison co., NE Kans., on the Missouri River; inc. 1881. It is a trade and industrial center in a rich grain producing area. Atchison was founded (1854) near a military post, established (1818–19) on Cow Island in the Missouri, and named for David Rice Atchison. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe RR was chartered there in 1859 (see Santa Fe RR), and the city boomed as a wagon-train, river, and railroad hub, an outfitting point for travel west. Benedictine College and the birthplace of Amelia Earhart are there.