Archive for Saturday, January 6, 2001

Ever wonder why main street called Massachusetts?

January 6, 2001

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One could argue that Lawrence was formed in Massachusetts.

In April 1854, Eli Thayer, a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, proposed that the Kansas Territory be populated by free men "who hated slavery and who would drive the hideous thing from the broad and beautiful plains where they were going to raise free homes."

He drew up a charter for the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Co., further encouraging free men to head west.

The first settlers arrived in Lawrence from Boston on Aug. 1, 1854. They named their encampment site, a bluff above the Kansas River, Mount Oread. A second party of settlers had arrived by Sept. 15.

On Sept. 18, 1854, the Lawrence Assn. was formed. The town site and city constitution were adopted. The city was named for Amos A. Lawrence, a wealthy Bostonian who supported the settlement of Kansas for freedom's sake.

Thus, Lawrence will turn 150 on Sept. 18, 2004, but the town's anniversary will be celebrated all year.

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