Tag Archives: Kansas

John Brown from Quindaro, Kansas City, KS to Albany, Nemaha County, Kansas

 

Slaves coming via The Missouri River to TopekaJohn Brown Holy War

Lane Trail Going North to Nebraska

Slaves were escorted by John Brown  from the Missouri River to Quindaro, Kansas City, Kansas to Topeka and elsewhere.

Quindero ruins1Quindaro Trail, Kansas City

Quindero ruins2-2Quindaro Ruins, Kanss City

Lane Freedom Trail from Topeka to Sabetha (60+ miles), Nemaha, Kansas stopping at Albany

Albany

In 1857 a colony of a dozen or more families, related by blood and affinity settled Albany, naming their town in honor of the New York capital of their native state. They settled at the head of Pony Creek, two miles north of present Sabetha on the east edge of Nemaha County, Kansas. Among these pioneers were the families of William and Samuel Slosson, (who both later (1873) bought the property land of Sycamore Springs), John and William Graham, Noble H. Rising, John Tyler, George Lyons, Edwin Miller and Elihu Whittenhall. Educated, cultured, and possessing good sound business sense, they were whole-hearted supporters of Free State principles.

JBrownJohn Brown

John Brown and his camp of men and slaves spent his last night in Kansas in the Elihu Whittenhall cabin located in Albany, north of Sabetha. (My book will include more details about Sabetha and Albany.)This was considered a prominent “safe” house. May Wines, a former resident of this home often spoke of the secret passage where the slaves were hiding. (I knew Ms. Wines many years ago, and she wrote many historical articles about Albany and Sabetha.)The following day William Graham escorted Brown’s party using the Lane Trail to the Missouri River in Nebraska Territory.

The Lane Trail served as part of the Underground Railroad as well as a route for Free-State Immigrants.

John Brown and the slaves stopped at Plymouth Springs before heading north into Nebraska.

James Lane had established Fort Plymouth in Sept. 1856 on Lane’s Trail southeast corner on Pony Creek, 6 miles northeast of present Sabetha, present day Sycamore Springs. Plymouth was well armed with rifles and bolstered by a small cannon.

This isolation made it an ideal route for the Underground, and the existence of free-state settlers along the trail guaranteed their safety.

(We are almost to the continuing story of Sycamore Springs)

 

Kansas Frontier Justice

The early immigrants to all western territories found life hard and rough, and often violent.  After the creation of the state of Kansas in 1854, rival governments arose, pro-slavery or anti-slavery; and sectional rivalries, conflict with Missouri escalated, it is no wonder a civil war wouldn’t erupt.

Among the immigrant shared experiences were Indian wars resulting from white encroachments on lands that were part of Indian reserves; lawlessness and the eccentricities of frontier justice; political battles over the location of territorial capitals (Lecompton-pro-slavery or Topeka-free state); corruption at the government land offices; bitter conflicts over land claims and the planting of town sites; as well as transportation lines, and banking facilities. (America in 1857-Kenneth M. Stampp)

In Massachusetts, after a story of a runaway slave incident in Boston, the New England Emigrant Aid Company was  recruiting abolitionists to move to Kansas and the new territories.  Among the first agents chosen were Dr. Charles Robinson, who became the first Governor of Kansas; and James Lane, from Indiana, who was an ambitious leader with a military background. In 1855 the two men were influential in framing the Topeka free-state constitution and its governing forces.

Kansas became a Free State. (Much more history that I could include but will save that for my book.)  I love to see what motivates people to do what they do, namely Charles Robinson and James Lane.

There is also Amos A. Lawrence, philanthropist, from Boston who gave financially to the abolitionist cause and to making Kansas a free state; and who the city of Lawrence, KS was named after.  He also helped in the funding of a college at the University of KansasRock Chalk Jayhawks (my emphasis) information taken from an article in Aug 2013-L JWorld)

So I am wondering how James Lane made it 90 miles north to the Sycamore Springs area.  Also John Brown is included in this mix too. And what about what was happening with the North American Indians.  More next time…

 

Connected to “Sacking and Burning” of Lawrence KS-1856

At this point, I want to give some background information on who was John Gray and his daughter, Alice.

Much of this information is summarized from various “Nemaha County (Kansas) Historical Records and Kansas Historical Society, Topeka, KS.

John Gray was married in Illinois in 1857 to Annie Maria McCune, who was born in New York, left an orphan at the age of twelve years, and then made her home with a cousin.

The cousin was the editor, George Washington Brown, who came to Kansas in 1854 to be the editor of the “Herald of Freedom.” – The first free-state newspaper in the Territory.

Mrs. Gray (Annie Maria McCune) was in Lawrence, Kansas in 1856, when the town was sacked and burned by pro-slavery ruffians, and she lost all earthly belongings.

Lawrence 3Lawrence 2Scenes of Lawrence

She then went to Illinois with a pro-slavery family named McVeigh, and later was married to John Gray. Six sons and a daughter (Alice) were born to this marriage.

John Gray and his family settled at Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas, in May of 1857. There was just one house in Hiawatha at the time. Mr. Gray came there to make his in the new state of Kansas. He located a homestead one mile north of Hiawatha. (It was from here that John and his daughter, Alice, later made the trip to the “healing waters” of Sycamore Springs.)

Alice Mabel Gray was born in 1860 at Hiawatha, Kans., the daughter of John and Annie Maria McCune.

Later….more on John Gray and Alice

At The End Of The Trail

 

Trail

…and they were off on their journey to the spring of “healing waters”.

After winding around hills and trees, following a faint Indian trail, they arrived in sight of the end of their quest.  They were told that two big springs came pouring out of the ground beneath a steep hillside.

A strange sight met their eyes. Alice and her father, John, were amazed and shocked what lie before them. Along the bank of the beautiful winding Pony Creek, running full of sparkling clear water, breaking into pools and riffles, were many Indian lodges, about 70.  Can you imagine what that looked like among the large Sycamore trees?

The Indians and their children were moving to and fro through their village. Laughing and strange talking was heard.  Above this temporary encampment arose the brow of a steep hill, formed of a peculiar blue clay. (What is it about the blue clay? hmmmmm!)  From under the foot of this hill the waters of two great springs poured forth and fell in a cascade into the creek.  Soon the little party passed through the encampment and stopped in front of the springs.

What was going to happen next?  Could the waters contain great medicinal merit?

Prospective Kansas Retreat for Artists and Creative Writers

There is a rich history connected to Sycamore Springs Resort near Sabetha, Kansas.  Yes, I will get to the history later!

At this time, the resort is for sale.  It makes me sad to see what is happening to the place.  It has been a vibrant, active, go to place, for so many years.

I lived there during the 1950s and 1960s and the place was alive and well.  It was” the” place to be.  It was Mid-Century Modern as we would know it now.

What I envision for the coming years for Sycamore Springs could be meaningful for future generations.

Exploring the web for information about creative artists and writers and their resources I came across several established properties pertaining to this issue. Yaddo   is located near Saratoga Springs, New York; and the other Hedgebrook is in the Seattle, Washington area. Also, D.H. Lawrence Ranch, Taos, New Mexico offers retreats for writers.

Am I missing something here?  Wouldn’t it fit to have a place to retreat like these in the middle of the United States? Like Kansas?  There are many opportunities to preserve the history and offer the property a new legacy.

The Swimming Pool and Skating Rink could be for public use and add financial resources for the Residence.

Sycamore Springs is perfect for this type of Retreat or Residency.  It has accommodations available; it is in a rural setting; and there are many areas to wander (wonder, too) and create.  I think there is potential here, not only for writers but artists of any genre.  Yes, it needs some TLC and upgrades but the bones are there.

I don’t own the facility but I do know who does.  If this is something of interest, email me: storybookpieces@gmail.com.