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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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Community Life - Disasters and accidents - Famine

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A family dying of starvation in Black Jack, Kansas Territory

A family dying of starvation in Black Jack, Kansas Territory
Creator: New York Illustrated News
Date: January 19, 1861
An illustration copied from the New York Illustrated News showing a family dying of starvation in Black Jack, Kansas Territory. Kansas experienced a long period of drought from June 1859 through November 1860 and as a result settlers suffered particularly in the rural areas. With failed crops and limited supplies, thousands of destitute people packed up and went back East.


Famine in Kansas

Famine in Kansas
Creator: New York Illustrated News
Date: February 23, 1861
An illustration copied from the New York Illustrated News showing people and a covered wagon pulled by oxen struggling through the snow in search of provisions. Kansas experienced a long period of drought from June, 1859 until November, 1860 and as a result settlers suffered particularly in the rural areas. With failed crops and limited supplies, thousands of people packed up and went back East.


George W. Collamore to Honorable William P. Dole

George W. Collamore to Honorable William P. Dole
Creator: Collamore, Geo. W
Date: April 21, 1862
A letter written to William P. Dole, Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D. C., from George W. Collamore in Kansas. Collamore describes the horrible living conditions that the Creek and Cherokee have been living in since the war started, having their homes destroyed, their livestock chased off, and having little food, water, or shelter. Collamore pleads assistance be given. Opothleyahola and his daughter are also mentioned in the letter.


The Kansas famine call for a public meeting to aid the starving

The Kansas famine call for a public meeting to aid the starving
Date: 1860
Signatures gathered by the New York Kansas Relief Committee to "call for a public meeting to be held on the 12th day of December to consider what action shall be taken" to aid settlers in Kansas during the drought which began in June 1859. Signatories include William Cullen Bryant, Horace Greeley, Hiram Ketchum, John A. Stevens, John Earl Williams, Isaac H. Bailey, and several others.


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