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1880 census of Farmer Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas

1880 census of Farmer Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas
Creator: United States. Census Office. 10th census, 1880
Date: June 1, 1880 through June 2, 1880
This excerpt of a census schedule provides details--including the name, age, race, and occupation--of settlers in Farmer Township in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. The county included a black population (B=Black) who had settled there in 1879 with the help of the Freedmen's Relief Association.


1880 census of Nicodemus Township, Graham County, Kansas

1880 census of Nicodemus Township, Graham County, Kansas
Creator: United States. Census Office. 10th census, 1880
Date: June 8, 1880 through June 23, 1880
This census schedule provides details--including the name, age, race, and occupation--of both white and black settlers in Nicodemus Township in Graham County, Kansas. This township had been settled by Exodusters in 1877 along the south fork of the Solomon River. Today, the town of Nicodemus is the only surviving Exoduster settlement west of the Mississippi River.


1880 census of Rock Creek Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas

1880 census of Rock Creek Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas
Creator: United States. Census Office. 10th census, 1880
Date: June 11, 1880
This excerpt of a census schedule provides details--including the name, age, race, and occupation--of settlers in Rock Creek Township in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. The county included a black population (B=Black) who had settled there in 1879 with the help of the Freedmen's Relief Association.


Action of Other Cities on the 'Exodus' Question

Action of Other Cities on the 'Exodus' Question
Creator: Wyandotte Gazette
Date: April 25, 1879
This article includes information about Exoduster relief efforts in both Topeka and Lawrence. In Topeka, the Kansas Freedmen's Aid Association had appealed to other counties, asking them to form local aid societies to assist refugees in their respective areas. Lawrence citizens held a meeting in Fraser Hall to discuss the Exodus; the attendees recognized the legitimacy of the Exodus and were willing to provide aid and support for the emigrants.


Advertisement for Nicodemus, Kansas

Advertisement for Nicodemus, Kansas
Creator: Hill, W. R.
Date: April 16, 1877
This advertisement for Nicodemus, Graham County, Kansas, describes the location of the colony near the Solomon River and the town company's plans to build more houses, businesses, and other public buildings. The trustees were quick to note that they will not build any saloon or "houses of ill fame" during the first five years of settlement. Nicodemus was settled in 1878 and is the oldest surviving all-black settlement west of the Mississippi River founded by former slaves. Today the town is a National Parks Service site and is open to visitors.


African American children, Topeka, Kansas

African American children, Topeka, Kansas
Creator: Gates, W.A.
Date: June 20, 1900
This sepia colored photograph shows a group of African American children gathered in front of a home in the Tennessee Town neighborhood in Topeka, Kansas. The neighborhood was located southwest of the Capitol building. Some "exodusters" settled in this area of Topeka.


African American pioneers in Graham County, Kansas

African American pioneers in Graham County, Kansas
Date: 1917
This black and white photograph shows a group of African American pioneers from Graham County, Kansas. Many of the first black settlers in Graham County were part of the Exoduster movement, an effort to get southern blacks to settle on the farm land that was readily available in Kansas. Donor supplied information which indicates this is a photograph of the Wheeler, Tinsley and Schnebly families. People in the photograph are: Albert Wheeler (second from left) he was a descendant of escaped slaves who came to northeast Kansas in 1862 and lived in Brown and Nemaha Counties. Albert was a successful farmer in Logan County. Viola (Schnebly) Wheeler (third from left) is Albert's wife. The man beside Viola (4th from left top row) is Joseph Wheeler, Albert's brother, who died young. Mr. Schnebly (5th from left) is Viola's father, he lost a leg in a train accident near Hill City, KS. Anna Louise (Wheeler) Tinsley (far right holding Frank Tinsley, a baby) is Albert Wheeler's sister. Frank Tinsley was born around 1917.


A lesson of the exodus

A lesson of the exodus
Creator: Topeka Daily Capital
Date: April 23, 1879
This article discusses what lessons may be learned from the black exodus out of the South. The unnamed author maintains that Southerners will realize their dependence upon black labor. Furthermore, Northerners will be encouraged to see that they must continue what they began during the Civil War and that they cannot let white Southerners rule the country.


An appeal for help in behalf of the colored refugees in Kansas

An appeal for help in behalf of the colored refugees in Kansas
Creator: Rust, Horatio Nelson, 1828-1906
Date: January 22, 1881
This flyer, distributed by the Southern Refugee Relief Association of Chicago, Illinois, describes the dire situation of the African-American refugees relocated in Kansas. The secretary of this association, Horatio N. Rust, had taken this opportunity to pass along information relayed to him by Elizabeth Comstock, an aid worker in Topeka. Comstock was thankful for the donations of food and other goods, but asked for more assistance in feeding, clothing, and sheltering these refugees. The flyer also includes short excerpts of letters by agents of the refugee association who had direct knowledge of the emigrants' situation.


Andrew Atchison to John P. St. John

Andrew Atchison to John P. St. John
Creator: Atchison, Andrew
Date: August 22, 1881
In this letter, Andrew Atchison updates Kansas governor St. John on the condition of the Exoduster settlement near Dunlap, Kansas. Benjamin Singleton had established this colony in May, 1878, and according to Atchison, the black refugees (numbering around 200 families) were thriving. Another goal of Atchison's letter was to investigate the "practicability" of establishing a Business and Literary Academy in addition to their free public school. Atchison and some other white residents of the area had formed the Dunlap Aid Association to assist the Exodusters' efforts to obtain land and employment.


"Another Investigation Committee"

"Another Investigation Committee"
Date: January 31, 1880
This illustration by cartoonist Thomas Nast was published in Harper's Weekly. It depicts a potential Exoduster being questioned by a watchful Irishman with the caption "An' what right have you, sure, to be afther laving your native place an' coming here? Spake!" In the background a sign reads "Free Soil Kansas".


Articles of Corporation and By-Laws of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association

Articles of Corporation and By-Laws of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association
Creator: Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association (Topeka, Kan.)
Date: 1879
This pocket-sized booklet contains the articles of incorporation and by-laws of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association that assisted Southern blacks emigrating to Kansas influencing the Exoduster Movement of 1879. In addition, the booklet includes a listing of the Board of Directors and officers where Governor John P. St. John served as its president.


Benjamin "Pap" Singleton

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton
Date: 1880
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton was born a slave in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1809. Singleton escaped to Canada to gain his freedom, returning to Tennessee after the end of the Civil War. Seeking a better life for himself and for his fellow emancipated African Americans, he began his efforts to buy land in Tennessee for blacks to farm. His plan failed due to unfair prices set by white landowners. Singleton then looked to Kansas as a potential site for black emigration, organizing the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association with his business partner, Columbus Johnson. This company founded the Dunlap Colony in Morris County and a short-lived settlement in Cherokee County. Although his company did not create many successful colonies, through his advertisements he did help thousands of Exodusters relocate to Kansas, leading to his name as "Father of the Exodus." Singleton also organized a political group called the United Colored Links and later in life he promoted black colonization.


Benjamin "Pap" Singleton

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton
Date: Between 1870 and 1889
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton was born a slave in 1809, but after 37 years of bondage he escaped to freedom. He made Detroit his home and operated a secret boardinghouse for other escaped slaves. Following emancipation, Singleton returned to his native Tennessee. Because Kansas was famous for John Brown's efforts and its struggle against slavery, Singleton considered the state a new Canaan. Singleton traveled through the South organizing parties to colonize in Kansas. In 1873, nearly 300 Blacks followed him to Cherokee County and founded Singleton's Colony, while others settled in Wyandotte, Topeka's Tennessee Town, and in Dunlap Colony in Morris County. Singleton advocated the organized colonization of African Americans in communities like Nicodemus, first settled in 1877. Between 1879 and 1881, however, the organized movement gave way to an "Exodus" in which tens of thousands of oppressed and impoverished Southern Blacks fled to Kansas and other Northern states.


Benjamin "Pap" Singleton and S. A. McClure

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton and S. A. McClure
Date: 1876
This photograph depicts a steamboat containing freed people in Nashville, Tennessee, with Benjamin "Pap" Singleton and S. A. McClure superimposed in the foreground. Singleton, known as the "Father of the Exodus" for the Exoduster Movement in 1879, organized the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association to facilitate black emigration from the South. His town company founded the Dunlap Colony in Morris County, and a short-lived settlement in Cherokee County, Kansas. His widespread use of advertisements encouraged thousands of former slaves to emigrate to Kansas. McClure was one of his associates and advocate for emigration.


Benjamin "Pap" Singleton scrapbook

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton scrapbook
Creator: Singleton, Benjamin, 1809-1892
Date: 1877-1886
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton compiled this scrapbook to document the immigration of many Southern blacks to Kansas during the 1870s and 1880s. Singleton is considered the father of the Negro Exodus, or Exoduster movement. The book contains newspaper clippings, handbills, circulars, and posters promoting the immigration and commemorating it. The marginal notes are from an unknown source sometime after 1950. Some notes give directions to continuing sections. The order and numbering of pages and inserts follows the 1950 KSHS microfilm publication. Some renumbering of pages had occurred since that time. Some page numbers on the original may not reflect the present page order.


Birthday programs for Benjamin "Pap" Singleton

Birthday programs for Benjamin "Pap" Singleton
Date: August 1882-August 1883
Here are two announcements for the programs held on Benjamin "Pap" Singleton's birthday. For his 73rd birthday in 1882, the city of Topeka hosted a celebration at Hartzell Park with music, prayer, and speeches. For his 74th birthday in 1883, the city again hosted a celebration which included barbeque, skating, boating, and croquet.


Bottle whimsy

Bottle whimsy
Creator: Frederick I. Douglas
Date: between 1927 and 1933
Corked clear-glass milk bottle containing a carved wooden figure symbolizing the plantation life endured by the artist's father. The artist was Frederick I. Douglas (1871-1933), born in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, and the son of a former slave. Douglas worked as a gristmill operator and chauffeur. Late in life, he took up the craft of assembling sculptures in bottles, a form of folk art known as a bottle whimsy. Douglas began carving in 1927 and died in 1933.


Bottle whimsy

Bottle whimsy
Creator: Frederick I. Douglas
Date: 1927
Corked clear-glass milk bottle filled a wooden structure made to resemble a Masonic symbol and painted blue. The artist was Frederick I. Douglas (1871-1933), born in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, and the son of a former slave. Douglas worked as a gristmill operator and chauffeur. Late in life, he took up the craft of assembling sculptures in bottles, a form of folk art known as a bottle whimsy. Douglas began carving in 1927 and died in 1933.


Bottle whimsy

Bottle whimsy
Creator: Frederick I. Douglas
Date: between 1927 and 1933
Carved figure inside a glass bottle, depicting a slave on an auction block. The figure was carved by Frederick I. Douglas to represent a story passed down by his father, Thomas O. Douglas, who had been sold in a similar manner in Tennessee. Thomas Douglas was an Exoduster who settled in Wabaunsee County in 1879. His son Frederick's carvings won ribbons when exhibited at a Topeka fair in 1927.


Buttons from the Thomas Johnson/Henry Williams Dugout Site, 14GH102

Buttons from the Thomas Johnson/Henry Williams Dugout Site, 14GH102
Date: 1877-1910
Four of these buttons were recovered from the Thomas Johnson/Henry Williams Dugout site during the 2006 excavations by Washburn University. They were later donated to the Kansas Historical Society. The button on the right was recovered during excavations at the site by the Kansas Archaeology Training Program staff and participants. This domestic site was related to the settlement of Nicodemus, Kansas, an all black community in western Kansas. The buttons (from left to right) are: a large 4-hole shell button (perhaps for a coat), a glass 4-hole dish button, a small 4-hole shell button (child's size), a blue and white mottled glass 3-hole button (child's size), and a 2-hole shell button.


Certificate of Incorporation for the Singleton colony

Certificate of Incorporation for the Singleton colony
Creator: Singleton Town Company
Date: June 24, 1879
This certificate of incorporation laid out the details of the Singleton Colony's town company, including its purpose, term of duration, and number of directors. The document was signed by Benjamin Singleton, William Sizemore, A. D. DeFrantz, Fuel Williamson, George Wade, George Moon, John Elliott, Austin Dozier, John Davis, William Shrout, and John Wade. It was also notarized by Thomas Archer and certified by James Smith, Kansas Secretary of State.


Charles M. F. Striger to Governor John P. St. John

Charles M. F. Striger to Governor John P. St. John
Creator: Striger, Charles M. F.
Date: May 18, 1879
In this letter Charles Striger, a radical Republican from Kentucky, expresses his concern for free blacks in the South. With rather forceful language he berates Southern Democrats for their harassment of blacks. He also asks Gov. St. John to convince the North that it is their duty to aid any refugees seeking solace from Southern white oppression.


Coffee Cups from the Thomas Johnson/Henry Williams Dugout Site, 14GH102

Coffee Cups from the Thomas Johnson/Henry Williams Dugout Site, 14GH102
Date: 1877-1910
These coffee cups fragments were recovered during the 2007 Kansas Archeology Training Program at 14GH102. The Thomas Johnson/ Henry Williams Dugout site was a domestic site related to the settlement of Nicodemus, an all black community in western Kansas. Interns at the Kansas Historical Society spent many hours reconstructing the broken cups. Each cup has a molded dot and curvilinear pattern above the base.


Colored Refugee Relief Board

Colored Refugee Relief Board
Creator: Colored Refugee Relief Board
Date: 1879
A small pamphlet from the Colored Refugee Relief Board. This organization helped black emigrants from the South receive aid, such as food and shelter, as they traveled westward to find new homes and new employment.


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