Prior to the American Civil War of the 1860s, my hometown state of Kansas was the site of a contentious battle regarding slavery. The first political election for the territory of Kansas was made in 1855. The result of the election was a pro-slavery determination for the territory which sparked several years of border skirmishes. These fights between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups near the Missouri border caused the territory to be known as “Bleeding Kansas.”
At this time in 1855, over 5,000 Missourians that were pro-slavery crossed over into Kansas territory to vote in the election which caused some politicians to refer to the election as fraud. However, the vote was kept. Several months afterwards, abolitionist groups established the Free State militia force. One such abolitionist and preacher was John Brown who later led the infamous raid on Harper’s Ferry in Virginia in 1859 prior to the Civil War.
By May of 1856, a group of Missouri raiders led by Quantrill sacked and burned the Free State supporter town of Lawrence founded by Massachusetts abolitionists.
Today, if you visit Osawatomie in east central Kansas, you can see several John Brown historical sites. We recently saw the site of the Battle of Osawatomie between Missouri forces and Free State Kansas territory forces. At this site, is the Adair Cabin, one of only a few Osawatomie original buildings that survived the ransacking.
If you travel further south along the Frontier Military Route, you will see the site of the Marais de Cygnes Massacre, another border skirmish that occurred near the Travel Post.
Further south of that is the Civil War era Fort Scott military fort.
Incidentally, Osawatomie also happens to be the place where the conservative Kansas Republican Party was established in 1859 during the “Bleeding Kansas” years. The Kansas Republican Party was created by Free State abolitionist sympathizers.