History of Kansas
|Important dates in Kansas's history|
The first people who lived in Kansas were Native Americans who were nomadic (people who don't live in one place for very long). They hunted American bison. In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadores came to explore the place. Later, French fur trappers came to the area. They traded with the Native Americans. The United States added most of Kansas in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened the place for Americans to move there. A lot of fighting happened because the new residents had to decide if they wanted slavery. The new residents decided to make slavery illegal. The fighting helped start the American Civil War.
After the Civil War, Kansas had many frontier towns. The railroads were stops for cattle drives from Texas. Many black people moved from the south to Kansas. These people were called "exodusters". Farmers tried growing corn and raising pigs, but there was little rain, so they were not able to. They started growing wheat. They became very good at growing wheat, and they had enough to trade with Europe. Many angry farmers joined the Populist and Progressive movement in the 1890s, and they supported it until the 1940s. Since the 1940s, Kansas has been a very conservative state. Since 1945, the number of farmers has lowered, and manufacturing has become more popular.
In 12000 BCE, the first people came to Kansas. These people were paleolithic people who were related to Asians. Once they came, they never left. They saw mammoths, camels, ground sloths, and horses. They hunted these animals until they were extinct.
Because the big game they had been hunting died out, the people had started eating more plants and small animals. They foraged during the season across the plains. In order to get more food, they started being less nomadic. This means that they decided to stay in one place for a longer time. The groups did not stop hunting, but they also ate wild plants and small animals. Their tools became different. Their tools started being able to grind and chop. This means that seeds, fruits, and plants became a bigger part of their diet. They would grind seeds into rough flour. Around 3500BCE, the people started making ceramics. Pottery-making societies started.
For most of the Archaic period, people did not change the land in any big way. The groups outside the area, particularly in Mesoamerica, started major inventions. These inventions would include growing maize. Other groups in North America aslo started growing maize as well. Some archaic groups stopped being food gatherers (people who look for food). Instead, they started being food producers (people who grow food) around 3,000 years ago. They also had many of the cultural things that are seen with semi-sedentary agricultural life: storage containers, permanent housing, bigger settlements, and cemeteries or burial grounds. People in the northern part of Kansas lived in small buildings made out of dirt; they were shaped like a rectangle. People in the southern part of Kansas lived in houses with thatched grass all over them. There were more people being born, and they lived in villages. El Quartelejo was an Indian pueblo that was the farthest north. This settlement is the only pueblo in Kansas from which archaeologists have found anything.
Even though the groups started farming, they still did not do much to change their environment. Wild food was still an important part of their diet even after the invention of pottery and the creation of irrigation. Agriculture never made them stop hunting and foraging, even in the biggest Archaic societies.
In 1541, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado came to Kansas to explore. He turned around near Lindsborg, Kansas. He met some of the local Native Americans. He gave them horses. The Native Americans started changing their lifestyle because of the horses.
In the 1600s, the Kansa people and the Osage Nation came to Kansas. The Kansa people lived near the Kansas River, and the Osage Nation lived near the Arkansas River. The Pawnee people lived in western Kansas. The Pawnee lived in western Kansas because there were a lot of buffalo. The French commander at Fort Orleans, Étienne de Bourgmont, visited the Kansas River in 1724. He built a trading post there. This was near the main Kansa village at the mouth of the river. Around the same time, the Otoe tribe of the Sioux also lived in areas around the northeast corner of Kansas.
Other than short explorations, neither France nor Spain created any cities in Kansas. In 1763, Spain got all of the French land west of the Mississippi River. This was because France lost the Seven Years' War. Spain gave this land back to France in 1803.
In 1803, Kansas was added to the United States as land from the Louisiana Purchase. The Lewis and Clark Expedition started in St. Louis. In 1804, they came to Kansas in what is today Kansas City, Kansas. They met French fur trappers who knew the land well. In 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike came to Kansas. He called it the "Great American Desert" because it had no trees or plants. The U.S. government saw Kansas as a desert too, so they sent Native Americans to it. They believed it was not good land, so they didn't care if Native Americans were sent there.
From June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821, the land was part of the Missouri Territory. Missouri became a state, so the land became unorganized. It had no people living in it except for Fort Leavenworth. The Fort was created in 1827 by Henry Leavenworth with the 3rd U.S Infantry from St. Louis, Missouri; it is the first permanent European settlement in Kansas. The fort was created as the westernmost outpost of the American military. It was created to protect trade along the Santa Fe Trail from Native Americans. The trade came from the East. It came either by land using the Boone's Lick Road, or by water using the Missouri River.
1820s-1840s: Indian TerritoryEdit
In the 1820s, the U.S. government gave the land to the Native Americans as Indian Territory. They did not let white people come to the territory. On June 3, 1825, the U.S. government took 20 million acres of land (81000 km²) from the Kansa people. The Kansa people had to stay on a small amount of land in northeastern Kansas. The U.S. government also made the Osage Nation live in a small amount of land in southeastern Kansas.
The Indian Removal Act made this faster. By a treaty on August 30, 1831, the Ottawa people were moved to a small part of Kansas. On October 24, 1832, the Kickapoo people were moved to Kansas. On October 29, 1832, the Piankeshaw and Wea people were moved to Kansas. To their east was the western border of Missouri, and to their west was the Kaskaskia and Peoria people. On September 21, 1833, the Otoe people were moved to Kansas.
By September 17, 1836, the Sac and Fox people moved to Kansas, north of the Kickapoo. By a treaty on February 11, 1837, the United States moved the Pottawatomi people to Kansas. They were moved to the Osage River, which is southwest of the Missouri River. The land was in the southwest part of what is now Miami County.
Early 1850s and organizing the territoryEdit
Even though there were plans made to settle Native Americans in Kansas, by 1850 white Americans were illegally squatting on their land. They really wanted the entire area to be opened for settlement. Several U.S. Army forts, including Fort Riley, were soon created deep in Indian Territory to guard travelers on the various Western trails.
Although the Cheyenne and Arapahoes tribes were still discussing with the United States for land in western Kansas (the current state of Colorado), they signed a treaty on September 17, 1851. Momentum was already building to settle the land.
Congress started the process of creating Kansas Territory in 1852. That year, petitions were given at the first session of the 32nd Congress to organize territory of the land west of Missouri and Iowa. Nothing happened at that time. However, during the next session, on December 13, 1852, a Representative from Missouri submitted to the House of Representatives a bill. This bill would organize the Territory of Platte: all the land west of Iowa and Missouri, and going west to the Rocky Mountains. The bill was given to the United States House Committee on Territories. It passed by the full U.S. House of Representatives on February 10, 1853. However, Southern Senators stopped the progress of the bill in the Senate. They did this to discuss how the bill would affect slavery and the Missouri Compromise. Arguments abouot the bill and other ideas would continue for a year. The Kansas–Nebraska Act was eventually created because of this. It became law on May 30, 1854, creating the Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory.
Native American territory given awayEdit
By the summer of 1853, it was clear that eastern Kansas would soon be opened to American settlers. The Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs created new treaties that would give new reservations with yearly federal money for the Native Americans.
In the three months before the bill passed, treaties were written at Washington with the Delaware, Otoe, Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Shawnee, Sac, Fox and other tribes, where the biggest part of eastern Kansas, which was within one or two hundred miles of the Missouri border, was suddenly opened to white settlement. The Kansa reservation had already been made smaller by treaty in 1846.) On March 15, 1854, Otoe and Missouri Indians gave all their lands west of the Mississippi, except a small strip on the Big Blue River, to the United States. On May 6 and May 10, 1854, the Shawnees gave away 6,100,000 acres (25,000 km2), keeping only 200,000 acres (810 km2) for homes. Also on May 6, 1854, the Delaware gave all their lands to the United States, except a reservation defined in the treaty. On May 17, the Iowa gave away their lands, keeping only a small reservation. On May 18, 1854, the Kickapoo also gave away their lands, except 150,000 acres (610 km2) in the western part of the Territory. In 1854 lands were also given by the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Piankeshaw and Wea and by the Sac and Fox.
The final step in making the Natives more American was taking land from tribes and giving it to Native households. This was so they could buy and sell as European Americans would. For example, in 1854, the Chippewa (Swan Creek and Black River bands) lived 8,320 acres (33.7 km2) of land in Franklin County, but in 1859 the area was given to individual Chippewa families.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed on May 30, 1854, and it created the Kansas Territory. It went from the western border of Missouri to the Rocky Mountains. The southern border was the 37th parallel north, and the northern border was the 40th parallel north. Anything north of the 40th parallel was part of the Nebraska Territory. When Congress set the southern border of the Kansas Territory as the 37th parallel, they thought that the Osage southern border was also the 37th parallel. The Cherokees disagreed. They said that it was not the correct border. They said that the border of Kansas should be moved north to make room for the actual border of the Cherokee land. This became known as the Cherokee Strip controversy.
In the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it said that people living in the territories could vote on whether or not to have slavery. It undid the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which did not allow slavery in any new states created north of latitude 36°30'. This led to violence between people from the North and people from the South. They both tried to quickly move to Kansas to control it.
In a few days after the law passed, hundreds of people from Missouri moved to Kansas. These people wanted slavery. They created a group called the "Squatter's Claim Association" on June 10, 1854. They said that they were going to make Kansas a slave state.
The New England Emigrant Aid Company said they were going to make Kansas a free state. From 1854 to 1855, they sent many anti-slavery people (called "free-staters") to Kansas. They were important in creating Lawrence, Topeka, and Manhattan. Other anti-slavery people came from Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, and other states.
For a while, there was not much violence. This changed on March 30, 1855. The elections happened this day. Many pro-slavery people from Missouri came to Kansas to vote for pro-slavery people. Pro-slavery people won many elections that day. Pro-slavery people controlled the Kansas government.
From 1855 to 1858, there was a lot of fighting in Kansas. This was called "Bleeding Kansas," and it happened shortly before the American Civil War. Battles include the Wakarusa War, the Sacking of Lawrence, the Battle of Black Jack, the Battle of Osawatomie, and the Marais des Cygnes massacre.
- Wakarusa War
On December 1, 1855, many pro-slavery people came to Lawrence. These pro-slavery people were led by Samuel J. Jones. These people had guns. They wanted to destroy Lawrence because it was anti-slavery. The people of Lawrence were ready to defend the city. Before any fighting happened, Territorial Governor Wilson Shannon made a treaty to stop the fighting.
- Sacking of Lawrence
On May 21, 1856, pro-slavery people came to Lawrence, and they attacked the city. They burned the Free-State Hotel to the ground, destroyed two printing presses, and robbed homes. Only one person died, but the city was destroyed.
- Pottawatomie massacre
The Pottawatomie massacre happened during the night of May 24 to the morning of May 25, 1856. In what seems to be a reaction to the Sacking of Lawrence, John Brown and a group of abolitionists killed five settlers. They believed these settlers were pro-slavery. This happened north of Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County, Kansas. Brown later said that he did not take part in the killings during the Pottawatomie massacre, but that he did approve of them. He went into hiding after the killings. Two of his sons, John Jr. and Jason, were arrested. While they were arrested, they were allegedly treated poorly. This made John Jr. mentally hurt. On June 2, Brown led a successful attack on a group of Missourians. The Missourians were led by Captain Henry Pate. This happened in the Battle of Black Jack. Pate and his men had went into Kansas to capture Brown and others. That Fall, Brown went back into hiding and did other guerrilla warfare activities.
The anti-slavery and pro-slavery people tried to win by writing a constitution that would make the other side lose. Anti-slavery people would try to write a constitution that made slavery illegal, and pro-slavery people would try to write a constitution that would make slavery legal. Congress would decide which one to choose.
On November 11, 1855, free-staters wrote the Topeka Constitution. The constitution made slavery illegal. They voted for the constitution on December 15, 1855, and they sent it to Congress in March 1856. It passed the House of Representatives, but it failed in the Senate. This was because the Senate had many pro-slavery people in it.
On November 7, 1857, pro-slavery people wrote the Lecompton Constitution. The constitution allowed slavery, but there was a vote on it. Both pro-slavery and anti-slavery people tried to stop the votes and the constitution. Eventually, it was sent to Congress. It failed in Congress because they were not able to decide if the people actually liked it.
A very anti-slavery legislature wrote the Leavenworth Constitution on April 3, 1858. On May 18, 1858, the people of Kansas voted for it. This constitution made slavery illegal, and it also gave more rights to women. It failed in Congress. All of this happened while the Lecompton Constitution was being written.
On July 29, 1859, the Wyandotte Constitution was written. The people of Kansas voted for it on October 4, 1859. This constitution made slavery illegal, but it did not have the rights for women (unlike the Leavenworth Constitution). Kansas became a free state on January 29, 1861.
End of violenceEdit
When the Wyandotte Constitution was being written, pro-slavery people knew they had lost. When the pro-slavery people realized this and when John Brown left the state, the violence in Kansas stopped in 1859.
Kansas became the 34th state on January 29, 1861.
There were many important events that happened in Kansas during the 1860s. Kansas was in the Civil War, there were cattle drives, early prohibition, and the start of the American Indian Wars in western Kansas.
The Wyandotte Constitution made Kansas a free state. The people of Kansas liked the Union. Kansas stayed in the Union. Pro-slavery people still attacked Kansas. Many of these pro-slavery people were from Missouri.
At the start of the Civil War, Kansas had no official army. They had no weapons or supplies. In 1859 and 1860, the military in Kansas weren't used. They simply stopped.
After Union Brigadier General Thomas Ewing, Jr. ordered to put women in prison who had gave aid to Confederate guerrillas, the jail's roof fell. This killed five people. These deaths made the guerrillas in Missouri angry. On August 21, 1863, William Quantrill led Quantrill's Raid into Lawrence. He burned much of the city. They killed over 150 men and boys. Quantrill said the attack was okay to do because it would revenge for any bad things that the jayhawkers did to the Southerners.
The Battle of Baxter Springs (sometimes called the Baxter Springs Massacre) was a small battle in the War. It happened on October 6, 1863, near the modern-day town of Baxter Springs, Kansas. The Battle of Mine Creek, also known as the Battle of the Osage, was a cavalry battle. It happened in Kansas during the war.
Marais des CygnesEdit
On October 25, 1864, the Battle of Marais des Cygnes happened in Linn County, Kansas. This Battle of Trading Post was between Major General Sterling Price and Union forces under Major General Alfred Pleasonton. Price was pushed out by Union forces. This was after he had run away from Kansas City due to a defeat.
Indian Wars in KansasEdit
Fort Larned (central Kansas) was built in 1859 as a base of military operations against hostile Native Americans of the Central Plains. It was also built to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail. After 1861, it became an agency for the administration of the Central Plains Indians by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the terms of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861.
Kansas Pacific railroadEdit
In 1863, the Union Pacific Eastern Division (renamed the Kansas Pacific in 1869) was created by the United States Congress's Pacific Railway Act. It was created to create the southern part of the transcontinental railroad alongside the Union Pacific. Pacific Railway Act also created large land grants to the railroad along its mainline. The company started construction on its main line west from Kansas City in September 1863.
Many railroads were planned after the Civil War, but not all were actually built. The Panic of 1873 made it difficult to fund. Land speculators and local boosters identified many potential towns. Towns that were reached by the railroad had a chance, while the others became ghost towns. In Kansas, nearly 5000 towns were mapped out. However, by 1970 only 617 were actually used. In the mid-20th century, closeness to an interstate exchange determined whether town would survive or struggle.
In 1871, Wild Bill Hickok became marshal of Abilene, Kansas. He fought John Wesley Hardin there. After Hickok disarmed him, he ran away. Hickok was also a deputy marshal at Fort Riley. He was also a marshal at Hays in the Wild West. In the 1880s at Greensburg, Kansas, a big well was built to get water for the Santa Fe and Rock Island railroads. It is 109 feet (33 m) deep and 32 feet (9.8 m) in diameter. This makes it one of the world's biggest hand-dug wells.
Coronado, Kansas was created in 1885. It was involved in one of the bloodiest county seat fights in the history of the American West. The shoot-out on February 27, 1887 left many people dead and wounded.
In 1879, many black people left southern states and came to Kansas. They came because there was cheap land and better treatment. These people were called exodusters. They created small towns in Kansas like Nicodemus, Kansas in 1877.
On February 19, 1881, Kansas became the first state to make alcohol illegal. This started with the temperance movement. After 1890, prohibition and progressivism came together. This created a reform movement. This movement led to four reformist governors being elected from 1905 to 1919. Those governors wanted extreme prohibitionist laws. Kansas did not make alcohol legal again until 1948. Kansas did not allow public bars to be legal until 1987. Kansas did not allow people to buy alcohol on Sundays until 2005. Many cities still do not allow that. 29 counties in Kansas are considered "dry."
Early residents found that Kansas was not the "Great American Desert". However, they found that the weather and environment of Kansas can be very difficult to live in. Tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, hail, floods, and grasshoppers made it difficult to grow crops. Many early residents lost a lot of money trying to be a farmer in Kansas. In the 1890s, many of these people joined the Populist movement, or they moved east. In the 20th century, new technology, crop insurance, and help from the federal government made farming easier. Many immigrants (many of which were German) came to Kansas in the 20th century. They came because they heard Kansas had good dirt, cheap land, and they could get 160 acres of land to keep for free (if they were American citizens).
Very few single men worked on a farm alone. Farmers understood the need for a hard-working wife and many children, to handle the many chores, including child-rearing, feeding and clothing the family, managing the housework, feeding the hired hands, and handling the paperwork and financial details (especially after the 1930s). In the late 19th century, farm women were important in keeping the family going by working outdoors. After a generation or so, women started leaving the fields. This changed their roles within the family. New technology such as sewing and washing machines made women play domestic roles. The scientific housekeeping movement was promoted across the land by the media and government extension agents. It was also promoted by county fairs which showed achievements in home cookery and canning, advice columns for women in the farm newspapers, and home economics courses in the schools.
There was an idea that farm life on the prairies was lonely, but rural people had a social life. They often had activities that combined work, food, and entertainment such as barn raisings, corn huskings, quilting bees, Grange meeting, church activities, and school functions. The women organized shared meals and potluck events. They also had visits between families.
In 1947, Lyle Yost created the Hesston Manufacturing Company. The company specialized in farm equipment. The type of equipment included self-propelled windrowers and the StakHand hay harvester. In 1974, Hesston Company commissioned its first belt buckles, which became popular on the rodeo circuit and with collectors. In 1991, the American-based equipment manufacturer, AGCO Corporation, bought Hesston Corporation. Farm equipment is still manufactured in the city.
In 1896 William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette, got national attention after criticizing William Jennings Bryan, the Democrats, and the Populists. He did that by writing an article called "What's the Matter With Kansas?" White criticized Populist leaders for letting Kansas go into economic stagnation. He also criticized them for not keeping Kansas up economically with nearby states. he said the reason was because their policies were anti-business, and that it scared away economic capital from the state. The Republicans sent out hundreds of thousands of copies of the article. They did this to support William McKinley during the 1896 United States presidential election. McKinley won the small towns and cities of the state. However, Bryan won the wheat farms and won the electoral vote, even though McKinley won the national vote.
Kansas was a big part of the progressive movement. It has a lot of support from the middle classes, editors such as William Allen White of the Emporia Gazette, and the prohibitionists of the WCTU and the Methodist Church.
In 1915, the El Dorado Oil Field was the first oil field that was found using science/geologic mapping. It was around the city of El Dorado. It was part of the Mid-Continent oil province. By 1918, the El Dorado Oil Field was the largest single field producer in the United States. It was responsible for 12.8% of national oil production and 9% of the world production. Some said it was as "the oil field that won World War I".
The Flag of Kansas was created in 1925.
The Dust Bowl was a lot of dust storms that happened from 1930 to 1941. This was caused by a drought. The price of wheat lowered a lot, which cause a lot of farmers to leave. Because this was during the Great Depression, many unemployed men from the cities came to Kansas to work on farms.
Kansas was part of New Deal programs like Civil Works Administration, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration. These programs helped employ many Kansas men. The most important were New Deal farm programs. Those programs raised the price of wheat, and it allowed economic growth by 1936. Republican Governor Alf Landon also did emergency programs. It included a balanced budget goal. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration succeeded in raising wheat prices after 1933. This helped get rid of the biggest problems economically.
World War IIEdit
The most important things Kansas did to help the war effort was provide a lot of grain and send tens of thousands of men to fight. Farmers didn't like the price ceilings and quotas for wheat, and their workers moved to factories. Farmers asked Congress to not draft young farmers.
The Women's Land Army of America (WLA) was a women's labor pool during World War II. It was organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It did not get many women from cities to do farm work. However, it did train hundreds of farm wives on how to handle machines, safety, proper clothing, time-saving methods, and nutrition.
Cold War eraEdit
Kansas allowed segregation in public schools, and they were in Topeka and other cities. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court said in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation was not protected by the United States Constitution.
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame tells the history of sports in Kansas.
The first college football game played in Kansas was the 1890 Kansas vs. Baker football game in Baldwin City. Baker won 22–9. The first night football game west of the Mississippi River was played in Wichita, Kansas. The game was the 1905 between Cooper College (now called Sterling College) and Fairmount College (now Wichita State University). Also in 1905, Fairmount also played an experimental game against the Washburn Ichabods. This game was used to test new rules designed to make football safer.
In 1911, the Kansas Jayhawks went to play against the Missouri Tigers for the first homecoming game ever. The first college football homecoming game ever on television was played in Manhattan. It was between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
In the 1951 season, the Southwestern head coach Harold Hunt got national recognition for rejecting a touchdown in a game against Central Missouri. Hunt told the officials that his player had stepped out of bounds. This would undo long touchdown run. Not a single one of the referees seen this happen, but they agreed to undo the touchdown. They put the ball back to the point where Coach Hunt said Johnson had stepped out. A photo of the run later showed that Coach Hunt was correct.
On October 2, 1970, a plane crashed. The plane had about half of the football team for Wichita State. They were going to play a game against Utah State University. 31 people were killed. The game was canceled. The Utah State football team had a memorial service at the stadium where the game would have been played.
The history of professional sports in Kansas starts from the creation of the Minor League Baseball Topeka Capitals and Leavenworth Soldiers in 1886 in the Western League. The African-American Bud Fowler played on the Topeka team that season. This was one year before the "color line" happened in professional baseball.
The first night game in the history of professional baseball was played in Independence on April 28, 1930. It was between the Muscogee (Oklahoma) Indians and the Independence Producers. The Indians beat the Producers by 13 to 3 in a minor league game sanctioned by the Western League of the Western Baseball Association. 1,500 fans came to watch the game. The permanent lighting system was first used for an exhibition game on April 17, 1930. That game was between the Independence Producers and House of David semi-professional baseball team of Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Independence team won with a score of 9 to 1. 1,700 people watched.
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- Big Well official homepage
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- See online edition
- Robert Sherman La Forte, Leaders of reform: progressive Republicans in Kansas, 1900-1916 (University Press of Kansas, 1974)
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- Charles William Sloan, Jr., "Kansas Battles the Invisible Empire: The Legal Ouster of the KKK From Kansas, 1922–1927", Kansas Historical Quarterly Fall, 1974 (Vol. 40, No. 3), pp. 393–409 (ed. explains in detail how the KKK worked in Kansas.)
- Timothy Eagan, The Worst Hard Tim : the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
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