Archive for Sunday, September 19, 2004

Early Days in Lawrence: A timeline

September 19, 2004



April 26 -- The Massachusetts legislature grants a charter to what will become the New England Emigrant Aid Company, an organization significantly funded by Amos Lawrence that seeks to send abolitionist-minded settlers to Kansas Territory.

May 30 -- President Franklin Pierce signs Kansas-Nebraska Act into law, opening Kansas Territory to settlement under the concept of "popular sovereignity."

July 17 --First party of 30 settlers sponsored by the Emigrant Aid Company sets out for Kansas from Worcester, Mass.

Aug. 1 -- First party arrives; spends first nights on Mt. Oread.

Sept. 6 -- Second New England party of 200, under Charles Robinson (later governor), arrives.

Sept. 18 -- Lawrence Association formed for government of city. Charles Robinson, president.

Oct. 1 -- First sermon preached in Lawrence by the Rev. S.Y. Lum.

Oct. 6 -- After rejecting the names New Boston, Yankeetown and Wakarusa, settlers choose to name their new community Lawrence after Amos Lawrence.

Oct. 15 -- Plymouth Congregational Church organized.

Oct. 15 -- John Speer's "Kansas Pioneer," the first anti-slavery newspaper in Kansas, begins publication.

Oct. 17 -- Rev. Lum erects first frame building in Lawrence.

Nov. 29 -- Missouri "Border Ruffians" overwhelm the voting for the Kansas territorial delegate to Congress, resulting in the election of pro-slavery candidate John W. Whitfield.


Jan. 16 -- First school opened in Lawrence. Edw. P. Fitch, teacher.

Feb. 1 -- Kansas Free State Society formed at Lawrence.

Feb. 23 -- Liberty, Mo., Tribune reports: "Lawrence is the resort of about 400 Abolitionists."

March 30 -- A mass influx from Missouri of several thousand armed "Border Ruffians" overwhelms voting for delegates to the first Kansas territorial legislature, resulting in a landslide victory for proslavery adherents.

April -- James H. Lane comes to Kansas.

June 8 -- Free State Convention in Lawrence denounces Missourians for participating in Kansas' election.

Aug. 14-15 -- Free State Convention in Lawrence.

Sept. 5-6 -- Free-state supporters meet at Big Springs and adopt what becomes known as the "Big Springs Platform," a manifesto that opposes slavery, non-resident voters, and the acts of the proslavery "Bogus Legislature."

Sept. 15 -- John Speer, editor of the free-state Kansas Tribune, flouts the "Bogus Legislature's" gag rule against criticizing slavery with a blistering full-page broadside that becomes known as "John Speer's Defy."

Oct. 9 -- Election of delegates to Topeka Constitutional Convention.

Oct. 23 -- Free-state supporters convene in Topeka to draft what will become known as the Topeka Constitution, a charter that would admit Kansas to the Union as a free state, but one that barred not only slaves, but all African-Americans from Kansas.

Oct. 24 -- James Lane elected president of Topeka Convention.

Oct. 25 -- First violent death associated with what will become known as "Bleeding Kansas" occurs near Doniphan when Free-State sawmill owner Samuel Collins is shot and killed by a proslavery man named Patrick Laughlin, who evades punishment for the crime.

Nov. 21 -- The murder of free-state settler Charles Dow outside Lawrence sparks a period of tension and confrontation that will become known as the Wakarusa War. Dow is killed by Franklin N. Coleman, a pro-slavery man, near Hickory Point, south of Lawrence. Sheriff Jones arrested Jacob Branson, with whom Dow lived, on charge of taking part in free state meeting. Rescued from sheriff by 15 free staters.

Dec. 1 -- A 12-pound howitzer, acquired in Boston for the free-state forces by James B. Abbot and shipped to Kansas City, Mo., in boxes marked "hardware," arrives to aid in the defense of Lawrence.

Nov. 29 -- Committee of Safety appointed at Lawrence; Robinson in command, James Lane second; pro-slavery forces gather at Franklin (Eudora) near mouth of Wakarusa, four miles east of Lawrence.

Dec. 6 -- Near Bloomington, southwest of Lawrence, a chance confrontation between a large group of pro-slavery men and a trio of free-state adherents results in the death of Thomas Barber, who becomes a martyr to the free state cause and is later immortalized by the John Greenleaf Whittier poem "The Burial of Barber."

Dec. 7 -- Negotiations end the week-long siege of Lawrence by Missouri "Border Ruffians" and other proslavery stalwarts, bringing the so-called Wakarusa War to a conclusion.


Jan. 15 -- Free-state supporters participate in the first election under the so-called "Topeka Constitution" that will set up an unofficially recognized territorial government in opposition to the officially-sanctioned proslavery regime in Lecompton.

April 12 -- The first Free State Hotel is completed. It will be destroyed during the "Sack of Lawrence" within a month. To be kept by Col. Shalor W. Eldridge.

May 11 -- After a grand jury indictment for treason of several Free-State leaders, pro-slavery leaning Marshal Israel B. Donaldson issues a proclamation that sets the stage for what will become known as the "Sack of Lawrence."

May 21 -- Pro-slavery gang of Border Ruffians, acting on Donaldson's legal pretext and commanded by Sheriff Sam Jones, carry out the "Sack of Lawrence. The gang destroys Free State Hotel, offices of Herald of Freedom and Kansas Free Press newspapers and home of Gov. Robinson.

May 22 -- Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, is physically beaten with a cane on the Senate floor by Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina two days after delivering a speech against slavery and the Kansas-Nebraska Act entitled "The Crime Against Kansas."

May 24 -- Three days after the "Sack of Lawrence," abolitionist John Brown and some followers commit the "Pottawatomie Massacre" resulting in the deaths of five unarmed pro-slavery sympathizers.

June 2 -- The so-called Battle of Black Jack, first armed skirmish between free-state supporters and pro-slavery adherents, takes place near Palmyra.

June 4-5 -- Party from Lawrence attacked guard house at Franklin, capturing load of arms and ammunition.

July 22 -- Some 300 Northern and Midwestern emigrants known as "Lane's Army" make an overland trek to Kansas through Iowa and Nebraska Territory charted by James Lane after proslavery "Border Ruffians" had closed the traditional Missouri River route.

Aug. 25 -- Acting Gov. Daniel Woodson, the pro-slavery secretary of Kansas Territory, declares Kansas in open rebellion, blaming free-state sympathizers for the troubles.

August 30 -- In the second Battle of Osawatomie, a band of pro-slavery raiders defeats a smaller free state force under the command of John Brown, and then proceeds to loot and destroy the town.

Dec. 25 -- Prominent citizens of Lawrence gather at a Christmas Day meeting to call for the establishment of public a university in the free-state citadel.


March 4 -- Kansas Territorial Gov. John W. Geary forced to resign after armed thugs in Lecompton threaten his life.

June 13 -- Charles Robinson, the extralegal free-state "governor" of Kansas Territory, signs legislation establishing a public university at Lawrence.

June 27 -- In a speech at Springfield, Ill., focused largely on the strife in Kansas, senatorial hopeful Abraham Lincoln slams the notion of "Squatter Sovereignty" and notes that "nothing but bold, wicked despotism has ruled or reigned there since it was organized into a Territory."

July 13 -- Lawrence holds city election, independent of charter granted by Bogus Legislature.

Oct. 5 -- Kansas voters elect a new territorial legislature with a Free-State majority.

October -- Baker University established at Palmyra (Baldwin).

Oct. 31 -- First court sessions held in Lawrence.

Dec. 2 -- Free State Convention in Lawrence condemns pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution, demands it be submitted to vote of people.

Dec. 21 -- With free-state voters boycotting the polls, Kansas Territory approves the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution that seeks to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave state.


Jan. 8 -- Topeka Legislature adjourned and meets today in Lawrence.

January -- County seat moved from Lecompton to Lawrence.

Feb. 2 -- President James Buchanan sends to Congress the Lecompton Constitution.

Feb. 11 -- With a free-state majority finally in control, the Kansas territorial legislature passes a bill granting Lawrence a charter, four years after the town's formal establishment.

Feb. 12 -- Charter granted Leavenworth, Lawrence and Fort Gibson Railroad.

Feb. 12 -- Charter granted to Baker University, oldest continuously operated four-year college in Kansas.

May 19 -- A band of pro-slavery Border Ruffians murders five Kansas men and wounds five others in an atrocity that becomes known as the Marais des Cygnes Massacre.

June 3 -- Free-state leader James Lane murders fellow free-stater Gaius Jenkins -- a supporter of Lane's free-state rival Charles Robinson -- in a quarrel over a land claim.


Feb. 11 -- Atchison & Topeka Railroad incorporated to "build in the direction of Santa Fe."

May -- Four steamboats arrive at Lawrence.

July 19 -- The Wyandotte Constitutional Convention names Topeka the temporary capital, and agrees to allow voters to choose the permanent location after the admission of Kansas into the Union.

July 23 -- Free-state partisans free Dr. John Doy from a jail in St. Joseph, Mo., after his capture by a party of armed Missouri "border ruffians" 12 miles north of Lawrence while escorting a group of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

July 28 -- The Wyandotte Constitutional Convention rejects the arguments of the "Big Kansas" faction and decides against including southern Nebraska and what will become eastern Colorado into the new state of Kansas.

Oct. 4 -- In a special election, a large popular majority of Kansas voters approves the free-state Wyandotte Constitution, which rejected slavery and suffrage for women and blacks but affirmed property rights for women. Amended many times, it is still the constitution of Kansas.

Dec. 2 -- John Brown executed.


Jan. 7 -- Legislature meets in Lawrence in spite of governor's veto at Topeka.

Jan. 25 -- Charles Curtis, 31st vice president of the United States and the first Kansan elected to national office, born north of Topeka.

April 11 -- The U.S. House of Representatives votes in favor of admitting Kansas to the Union under the Wyandotte Constitution.

Aug. 27 -- A convention at Big Springs issues a circular proclaiming "an unprecedented drought" is plaguing Kansas.

Nov. 14 -- A meeting in Lawrence forms a Relief Committee to petition eastern states to provide food, goods, and other assistance to thousands of Kansas settlers who have been suffering the ill effects of a drought since September 1859.


Jan. 29 -- Kansas is admitted to the Union and becomes the 34th star on the American flag.

Feb. 9 -- Dr. Charles Robinson, an agent of the Emigrant Aid Company and a leader of the free-state side during the territorial period, is sworn in as first governor of Kansas.

May 22 -- The Kansas legislature adopts Ad Astra Per Aspera -- "To The Stars Through Difficulties" -- as the official state motto.

June 16 -- 2nd Kansas Regiment leaves Lawrence for Kansas City.

Sept. 2 -- In a skirmish at Dry Wood Creek, forces under the command of James Lane dissuade Confederate Gen. Sterling Price from invading Kansas.

Nov. 6 -- James Naismith, inventor of basketball and first coach of the KU men's basketball team, born in Almonte, Ontario.


Jan. 23 -- Cyrus K. Holliday donates a 20-acre sqare of land in Topeka for location of the state capitol building.

Sept. 7 -- William Clarke Quantrill leads a raid on Olathe.

Oct. 17 -- Confederate irregulars under Quantrill's command raid Johnson County's Shawneetown, burning and looting many homes and businesses, killing two residents.


Feb. 20 -- Kansas Gov. Thomas Carney signs legislation awarding Kansas University to Lawrence as part of a compromise package that places the state agricultural school in Manhattan and the state normal school in Emporia.

Aug. 21 -- Confederate guerilla leader William Clarke Quantrill leads between 300 and 400 men in his notorious raid on Lawrence, sacking the town, murdering from 150 to 200 men and boys, seriously wounding about 30 and temporarily leaving open to question whether the town will continue to exist.

Aug. 22 -- The day after Quantrill's raid, a lynch mob tries and hangs Thomas Corlew on the charge of serving the invaders as a spy.

Aug. 25 -- Four days after Quantrill's raid, Union Gen. Thomas Ewing issues Order No. 11 mandating the forced relocation of thousands of Missourians living near the Kansas border.

Oct. 29 -- William Griffith, a member of the Border Ruffian gang that perpetrated the 1858 Marais des Cygnes Massacre, is hanged in Mound City, the only participant to be so punished.

Dec. 1 -- The Lawrence bridge is nearly complete.


Feb. 25 -- Under the influence of railroad interests, the state Legislature declares the Kansas River non-navigable and authorizes state chartered railroads to bridge or dam the waterway without restriction.

July 2 -- "Captain" William D. Matthews, an African-American employed by the interracial Kansas Emancipation League to oversee escaped and freed former slaves, begins enlisting individuals to serve in the Independent Kansas Colored Battery, one of the few black units in the Civil War that would be led in combat by a black officer.

Oct. 25 -- The Battle of Mine Creek, the only major set piece Civil War battle to take place in Kansas and one of the largest cavalry engagements of the entire war, ends with a Union victory over Confederate General Sterling Price.


The Civil War ends.

April 21 -- Ottawa University is chartered by the Kansas Legislature.

June 6 -- Quantrill dies in Louisville, Ky., after a shootout with Union troops.


Sept. 12 -- Opening day of classes Kansas University.

July 1 -- James H. Lane, free-state leader and first U.S. senator from Kansas, despondent over his failing political fortunes, shoots himself in Lawrence. He dies 10 days later.


Feb. 26 -- To deal with a grasshopper plague, the Kansas Senate passes a bill providing a bounty for all grasshopper scalps containing ears.

April 24 -- Earliest recorded earthquake in Kansas history occurs along the Nemaha Uplift.


Feb. 8 -- John W. Geary, third territorial governor of Kansas and first mayor of San Francisco, dies in Harrisburg, Pa.

June 11 -- Twenty-three year old Flora Richardson delivers KU's first valedictory address on her way to becoming the University's first female graduate.


April 1 -- The Observer of Nature, KU's first serious student publication, issues its premiere edition.

Nov. 28 -- First contingent of what will be about 12,000 Volga Germans arrives in Topeka prior to settling Kansas farmlands and helping to turn the state into the nation's breadbasket.


May 15 -- The U.S. Military Prison, now known as the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, begins operation at Fort Leavenworth.

June 16 -- KU Chancellor James Marvin gives his inaugural address, urging American universities to chart a different educational course from their European counterparts.


July 30 -- First party of about 30 African-American settlers, known as "Exodusters," takes up residence in the Nicodemus area.


June 12 -- Moses Grinter, who prospered by running what may have been the first ferry across the Kansas River, a business that started when Kansas was still Indian territory, dies at his home in Wyandotte County.

Aug. 14 -- Opening day of a gathering of the National Temperance Camp. A mass meeting at Bismarck Grove near Lawrence kicks off a year-long campaign supporting an amendment to the Kansas Constitution to prohibit manufacture and sale of all intoxicating liquor in the state.


April 17 -- Benjamin Singleton, a leader of the "Exoduster" movement, testifies before the U.S. Senate about the organized migration of southern blacks to Kansas.


July 4 -- Defying nationwide charges of barbarity, Dodge City holds the first bull fight ever to take place in the United States.


Nov. 18 -- Forrest "Phog" Allen, the Father of Basketball Coaching, coach of the KU Jayhawks for 39 seasons, and the man largely responsible for the inclusion of basketball as an Olympic sport; born in Jamesport, Mo.


Jan. 1 -- First in a series of snowstorms that will become known as the "Blizzard of 1886" begins sweeping across Kansas.

March 11 -- Ferdinand Fuller, architect of KU's first building and a member of the original party sent to Kansas by the Emigrant Aid Company, dies at his home near Lawrence.

May 21 -- Professor Edgar Henry Summerfield Bailey first proposes the cheer that will evolve into the "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU" chant.


March 8 -- Henry Ward Beecher, a leading abolitionist minister who helped send Sharps rifles known as "Beecher Bibles" to Free State forces during the Bleeding Kansas period, dies in Brooklyn, N.Y.

July 1 -- The Kansas state auditor issues certificates payable in 1890 for claims resulting from the Quantrill raids.


May 26 -- Thomas P. "Boston" Corbett, the man who reputedly killed John Wilkes Booth, escapes from the Topeka Asylum for the Insane and is never heard from again.


Jan. 16 -- A bill is introduced in the Kansas legislature prohibiting the sale or supply of tobacco products to minors, one of the first pieces of anti-smoking legislation in the country.

July 30 -- Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, creator and publisher of the popular "Little Blue Book Series" that provided working people with inexpensive paperbacks and once made Girard "the Literary Capital of the United States," born in Philadelphia, Pa.


April 2 -- Eight University of Kansas professors, including soon-to-be-Chancellor Francis Huntington Snow, establish the first chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society west of the Mississippi.

June 11 -- The Kansas People's Party, better known as the Populists, is formally organized in Topeka.


June 23 -- Samuel N. Wood, a free state Kansas leader, politico, and real estate speculator, is murdered in Hugoton in aftermath of the bloody "county seat" war in Stevens County.

Oct. 31 -- The flagship universities of Kansas and Missouri initiate what will become the second most-played rivalry in NCAA Division IA football.

Nov. 7 -- Death of the U.S. Cavalry horse Comanche, the only American survivor found at the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn following Custer's defeat, whose remains are now on display at the KU Natural History Museum.


Abolitionist, educator and reformer Charles Langston dies in Lawrence.


Feb. 14 -- The so-called "Legislative War" between Populists and Republicans vying for control of the Kansas House of Representatives begins.

May 1 -- The Panorama of North American Mammals, a version of which is now located in the University of Kansas Natural History Museum in Dyche Hall, debuts as the centerpiece of the Kansas pavilion at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.


Jan. 30 -- KU Chancellor Francis H. Snow announces he will give a series of University Extension lectures on evolution, a move that provokes much criticism from local religious leaders.

Aug. 17 -- Dr. Charles Robinson, an agent of the Emigrant Aid Company, leader of the free-state forces during the Bleeding Kansas period, and the state's first governor, dies in Lawrence.


May 30 -- A monument to the victims of the 1863 Quantrill raid on Lawrence is dedicated in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence.

June 3 -- After nearly 20 years of short-lived niche publications of uneven quality, a student-run newspaper, the Kansas University Weekly, emerges with the "official approval and support of the University."


Aug. 15 -- William Allen White deplores the ascendancy of the Populist Party in Kansas by publishing one of his most famous editorials, "What's The Matter With Kansas?"

Sept. 27 -- The KU football team dons crimson and blue uniforms for the first time.


June 1 -- Lutie Lytle of Topeka reportedly becomes the first black woman in the country to be admitted to the practice of law.


July 24 -- Amelia Earhart, famed aviatrix, born in Atchison.

Sept. 30 -- Two dozen male KU students gather on Mount Oread to form what will become the KU Marching Jayhawks.

Oct. 1 -- El Cuartelejo, the only pueblo ruin in Kansas, is first identified by KU Professor Samuel W. Williston.


Feb. 10 -- James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, coaches the KU basketball team to its first victory. He remains the only KU coach to end his career with a losing record.

April 15 -- Eli Thayer, founder of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, dies in Worcester, Mass.


Jan. 16 -- Andrew Carnegie offers $30,000 to build a free public library in Leavenworth, the first of what will eventually be 59 Carnegie Libraries in Kansas, including one that opened in Lawrence in 1904.

June 6 -- Carry Nation smashes her first saloon, in Kiowa.


Feb. 1 -- Langston Hughes, an African-American poet and writer who will spend much of his childhood at his grandmother's house in Lawrence, born in Joplin, Mo.

Sept. 10 -- Carl L. Becker, who will write the famous essay "Kansas," begins teaching history at KU.


March 15 -- Kansas Legislature approves Sunflower Helianthus annuus as official state flower and floral emblem.

June 1 -- The Kansas River flooding that inundates Manhattan, Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City, reaches its crest.


Feb. 2 -- Kansas University Chancellor Frank Strong asks noted Kansas City landscape architect George Kessler to prepare the university's first formal campus plan.

Sept. 17 -- The Semi-Weekly Kansan, forerunner of today's University Daily Kansan, makes its debut on campus with the support of faculty, administration, and students alike.

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