Tag Archives: Underground Railroad

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)

 

John Brown and the Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad Map  James Lane Trail Coming Out of Western Missouri, into Northeast Kansas Territory, and Back East to Iowa

State of Kansas-Nemaha CountyNemaha County, Kansas.  Area with Underground Railroad traffic

In Washington, the James Buchanan Administration validated the election results and the territorial legislature was preparing to draft what would be known as the pro-slavery, Lecompton Constitution.

In 1855, Brown moved to Kansas near Osawatomie, leaving behind numerous lawsuits and business entanglements in Ohio. In Kansas, from 1855-1859, John Brown came to help with the slavery issue. He became a white American abolitionist who believed an armed uprising was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. He would murder for the cause. Brown was known as a “folk hero” in the North and a “terrorist” in the South (Was he like the terrorists we hear about today?  In his own way?) He thought he was chosen to fight this “holy war”. His radical ideas about racial equality set him apart from other abolitionists.

John Brown Mural Mural of John Brown in Kansas Capital Building-Topeka, KS

The Lane Trail was used by John Brown and others to transport slaves north to freedom.

Slaves were chattels (personal property), and those aiding in their escape could be prosecuted for receiving and concealing stolen property. In Netawaka, John Brown and the slaves spent the night. When no move was made to arrest them, Brown loaded the slaves into wagons and headed north.

 

Anti-Slavery or Pro-Slavery, Danger Up Ahead!

In the 1850s white settlers were starting to travel to the West or settling in Kansas. They would often stop at the mineral springs for their water (word must have been passed on for many to know about the springs).The surrounding area has some added historical significance too and will be in a later post and also in my book.

Near the mineral springs, James Lane laid out the town of Plymouth giving the springs area its name of Plymouth Springs. (Not too much is known about this but by 1858 only one house remained.

James LaneJames Lane  

James Lane and his army established a fort nearby and was visible until 1883. (I plan to do more research about the fort and the town of Plymouth.  This will be included in the book I am writing.)

The family of George Williams (later the husband of Alice Gray) was also involved with the struggles of the New State of Kansas. The new State was being established and disagreements arose as to whether Kansas should be a Free State or a Slave State.

Can you imagine the vastness of the decisions that had to be made to govern the state?

George’s father, Eli Williams, was an elected member of the State legislature and had made plans to go to a meeting in Lecompton. Lecompton was chosen as the First Territorial Capital for Kansas.

Eli was a prominent figure in the early struggles of the new Kansas territory.  They had good horses saddled, with saddle bags and canteens for water.  A sack was thrown across the back of the saddles, which contained flour and bacon, and a frying pan, gun and hatchet.  They were ready to meet the danger that might lie ahead.

The famous James Lane had sent word to Eli Williams that he was not to come, as they could be killed during an outbreak of the anti-slavery and pro-slavery issues that were being discussed. The Williams family lived near Oneida which is about 15 miles from Plymouth Springs (or Sycamore Springs as we now know it).

James Lane and Eli Williams were to meet at another designated place. Back home, George and his sister, Fanny, stood guard that night at their cabin door with axe and knife handy, ready to sell their lives in defense of what might happen.

Taken From Nemaha County History

Coming soon: The James Lane Trail and the Underground Railroad