Wellington was first surveyed on April 4, 1871 and named for the Duke of Wellington. It was designated as the permanent seat of Sumner County in 1872, winning over competitor Sumner City. Trading with cattlemen moving their herds up the Chisholm Trail was an important factor in the early economy of the town.
Today, Wellington is still fortunate in its access to transportation facilities; it is served by Interstate 35, Highways US 81 & US 160, the UP and BN & SF railroads and an excellent airport. This area produces vast quantities of winter wheat, with wheat still the driving force behind the local economy. The Railroads and petroleum are also significant, while manufacturing, especially aircraft parts, is continually growing.