History of Leavenworth County, Kansas
It is not an easy task to write the history of such a county as Leavenworth. Of all the counties in the State of Kansas, there is none so rich in historical lore. Carved, as it was, out of the heart of the wild and unbroken frontier; organized and developed amid the hardships and vicissitudes of pioneer days, its story is one of unusual historic interest. Many events had an influence in shaping its destiny. Less than a century ago, the territory of which it is now composed was a wild, unbroken waste, inhabited by the untutored Indian. Where once the council fire blazed and the wigwam of the red man stood, we now find unsurpassed commercial, industrial and social institutions have developed.
History is but a record of the happenings of human events, the personal element ever being present, and the history of a community or county is merely a record of those who have contributed to its upbuilding and advancement. Each step in the development of the above mentioned institutions; each incident connected with the passing of the original inhabitants of the territory of which our country is now com- posed as well as the coming of the pioneers — our forefathers — is history today. Centered about every pioneer family; about the rude log cabin, long since deserted and fallen to decay; about the old landmarks that live now only in our memory; about the farms, and about the grave marked by some weather worn piece, there is a story worth the telling; a story that would interest someone. Unfortunately the authors have been compelled to eliminate much that they would like to tell owing to want of space.
Having finished our undertaking of writing a history of Leavenworth County, though not to our satisfaction, we look back upon our labor as one of love and pleasure. While the task has been a tedious one, yet we feel a bit of satisfaction in our belief that we have written a story of our county in "Leavenworth County" language; that it is not so much written as spoken and in a way that we feel the average citizen can read and understand. We claim for this work no literary merit, neither do we claim absolute correctness. Errors have doubless occurred by reason of transcribing, typesetting and proof reading. Again much of this history as it is written herein has been handed down by word of mouth, and realizing as we do the frailty of human memory, we have attempted to arrive at the truth as best we could.
Thoughout this work we have tried to tell the story of Leavenworth County and its people simply and plainly with the hope that we might be able to present a substantially authentic history of our county and its people to which the present and future generations may refer with confidence and satisfaction as the years come and go, that it may be a permanent record for all time, and incidentally to inspire, by the sweep of the story, a love for our county and our cities and an intelligent solicitude for their destiny.
Especial attention is directed to the biographical sketches which form a part of this volume. In these sketches will be found much interesting and valuable reading, from which the future historian may well compile a history of Leavenworth County. It is to be regretted that many others of our citizens have not availed themselves of the opportunity to perpetuate the history of their families for the benefit of those who come after them. However, it is no fault of the editor, as the pages of this volume have been open to all who cared to respond to the invitation of the solicitors.
Table of Contents
INDIAN HISTORY... 97-104
EARLY EXPLORATIONS... 106-114
EARLY SETTLEMENTS... 115-136
EARLY SETTLEMENTS CONTINUED... 137-153
PIONEER LIFE AND HOMES... 154-158
FIRST THINGS IN CITY AND COUNTY
EARLY DAY TRANSPORTATION AND HIGHWAYS... 166-170
FORT LEAVENWORTH... 171-180
ORGANIZATION OF COUNTY... 181-199
LEAVENWORTH CITY... 200-209
SLAVERY QUESTION AND THE CIVIL WAR... 210-221
LODGES, CLUBS AND SOCIETIES... 244-256
NATIONAL AND STATE INSTITUTIONS... 257-261
THE PRESS... 262-266
MEDICAL PROFESSION... 267-271
THE LEAVENWORTH COUNTY BAR... 272-293
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The earliest known inhabitants of the territory which now comprises Leavenworth County was a tribe of Indians known as the Kansas. Early day historical accounts vary greatly in the spelling of the name. They were frequently known and referred to as the Canceas, Kansez, Canzas, Canzes, Okanis, Cances, Kansies, Canzon, Kanzon, Konza, Konzas and the Kasas. It was not until 1854, when Edward Everett Hale wrote his "Account of Emigrant Aid Companies and Directions to Emigrants," under the title of "Kansas and Nebraska," that the spelling of the word was finally settled upon as Kansas, in preference to what he terms the more fashion- able way of spelling it, "Kansas." The name of our state as well as the river, Kansas, which flows through it from west to east, draining a major portion of it, was derived from the name of this early Indian tribe.
Early historical accounts of this tribe place their lands and country as north of the Kansas River of today and along the western banks of the Missouri. The tribe was known to have been divided up into two principal villages referred to as the upper and lower village. What was known as the lower village was located about forty miles north of the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, the present site of Kansas City, Missouri.