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Homes and businesses in the area near the future site of the Topeka Boulevard bridge in Topeka, Kansas Homes and businesses in the area near the future site of the Topeka Boulevard bridge in Topeka, Kansas

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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 African Americans in 1877 along the south fork of the Solomon 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.


Abbie Bright

Abbie Bright
Date: 1870
Abbie Bright at age 22 photographed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


Abbie Bright diary

Abbie Bright diary
Creator: Bright, Abbie, 1848-1926
Date: 1868-1921
Born in Pennsylvania in 1848, Abbie Bright traveled to Kansas in 1870 as a young woman and her diary is primarily an account of this trip. It gives excellent accounts of daily life and settlement activities. The "diary" is actually composed of two different manuscripts and both are presented here. The first is an eighty-six page loose-leaf diary with consistent entries from September 2, 1870 - December 20, 1871. The second is a bound composition book with 129 written pages. This book begins with a childhood reminiscence written in Iowa in 1914 (p1-23), followed by a reminiscence of her Kansas trip written in Iowa in 1921 (p24-36) that covers Aug 23, 1870 - Jan 30, 1871. The book then includes some recipes dated 1868-1871 and a receipt dated 1884 (p37-41), and finally consistent diary entries from February 2, 1871 - December 21, 1871 (p41-129). A complete, revised transcription of both manuscripts is available by clicking on "Text Version" below. A previous, annotated transcription that combines the 1870-1871 entries from both manuscripts was published in the Kansas Historical Quarterly in 1971 and is available through a link below.


Abelard Guthrie

Abelard Guthrie
Abelard Guthrie was a member of the Wyandot tribe through his marriage to his wife Quindaro Nancy. He was elected as the Wyandot delegate to Congress in 1852. He was involved in the development of the town of Quindaro and had business dealing with numerous early territorial settlers.


Abelard Guthrie to Hiram Hill

Abelard Guthrie to Hiram Hill
Creator: Guthrie, Abelard
Date: November 11, 1858
Abelard Guthrie, a member of the Quindaro Town Company, wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts, rebutting Hill's accusations that he had acted in bad faith regarding certain enterprises of the Town Company. Guthrie stated that he had intended to begin the grading work on Kansas Avenue and other roads, but had found that the Company's funds were depleted; he suspected a swindling. He defended himself in light of other land purchases and business transactions and expressed extreme frustration at his bleak financial situation.


About Nicodemus, The Daily Journal

About Nicodemus, The Daily Journal
Creator: Lawrence Daily Journal
Date: April 30, 1879
This article from the Lawrence Daily Journal discusses a newspaper article from the Chicago Tribune written during the Exoduster Movement in 1879 providing a brief history of the black community of freed people at Nicodemus, Kansas settled in 1877. Nicodemus is now a historic site administered by the National Parks Service.


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.


Ada and Burt McColl gathering buffalo chips

Ada and Burt McColl gathering buffalo chips
Creator: McColl, Ada
Date: 1893
Ada and her brother Burt McColl (in a dress) are gathering buffalo chips to use for heating and cooking fuel. An abridged version of this photograph without Burt is very common. For more information on this photograph, see the link to Reflections (Summer 2008) below. A family member confirmed that Burt (or Bert) was a boy.


Ada McColl gathering buffalo chips near Lakin, Kansas

Ada McColl gathering buffalo chips near Lakin, Kansas
Creator: McColl, Polly
Date: 1893
In this photograph, pioneer Ada McColl of Kearny County collects buffalo chips. In areas of western Kansas where trees were scarce, these chips were a convenient (and plentiful) source of fuel. This is an abridged version of an original photograph including Ada's brother Burt. The photograph was taken by Polly McColl, Ada's mother. For more information on this photograph, see the link to Reflections (Summer 2008) below.


Address before the Old Settler's Reunion, Lincoln, Kansas

Address before the Old Settler's Reunion, Lincoln, Kansas
Creator: Stanley, Arthur Jehu, 1874-1967
Date: September 17, 1915
An address given by Arthur Stanley before the Old Settler's Reunion in Lincoln, Kansas. Stanley recounts life in Lincoln, of living in a dugout, the fear of prairie fires, prairie schooners passing through, the naming and meaning of places in Lincoln, and many other stories of the county and prairie life in general.


Address to the American People on the Affairs of Kansas, pamphlet

Address to the American People on the Affairs of Kansas, pamphlet
Date: 1857
This address recounted the history and purpose of the formation of the Kansas State Government of Topeka, in peaceful opposition to that of the Territory. The free state message accused the systems of the Territorial Government of encouraging influence from abroad in their election process, and indicated that they had nothing inherently against Missouri's citizens as a whole, but implored that they not attempt to violate the rights of Kansas settlers. The address stated that the Territory was "organized for defence" by a pledge from Governor Walker, and appealed that outsiders remain in their homes for the benefit of all.


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.


A. Finch to Thaddeus Hyatt

A. Finch to Thaddeus Hyatt
Creator: Finch, H.
Date: December 22, 1856
This letter, written from Osawatomie by A. Finch to Thaddeus Hyatt, chairman of the National Kansas Committee, provided general information about the inhabitants of Osawatomie and neighboring areas. It included a list of about half of the settlers residing in Osawatomie at this time, including the four pro-slavery voters. Mr. Finch went into detail about the most fertile areas that would be excellent sites for free state settlements, and about the economic conditions and financial needs of the settlers.


A flock of chickens

A flock of chickens
Creator: Steele, F. M. (Francis Marion), 1866-1936
Date: Between 1891 and 1912
This photograph shows a flock of chickens, a man, chicken coops, farm buildings, and a windmill on an unidentified farm, presumed to be in Haskell County, Kansas. Poultry was a very important food source before refrigeration was commonplace in rural households on the prairie. Chickens and turkeys also provided a much-needed source of income through the sale of live birds and eggs.


Agricultural development, wealth and rural population of the states on the tributory to the Union Pacific Railroad for the years of 1900-1910

Agricultural development, wealth and rural population of the states on the tributory to the Union Pacific Railroad for the years of 1900-1910
Creator: Union Pacific Railway Company
Date: September 17, 1912
Union Pacific Railroad Company Agricultural Bulletin (No. 104). Union Pacific Railroad promotional advertisement showing aggregate statistical wealth values and population figures for areas west of the Mississippi River during a ten year period of time.


A handbook of useful information for immigrants and settlers

A handbook of useful information for immigrants and settlers
Creator: Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company
Date: 1880-1889
Published by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, this pamphlet encouraged agricultural settlement on railroad lands in Kansas by glorifying the state's natural resources including water, soil, mineral deposits and plant life. Printed by the Kansas Farmer in Topeka, Kansas.


A herd of 5,000 head of cattle owned by Vale and Gates

A herd of 5,000 head of cattle owned by Vale and Gates
Creator: Steele, F. M. (Francis Marion), 1866-1936
Date: 1896
View of the CCC cattle herd owned by Vale and Gates. Wild Horse Lake, located in the western part of Beaver County, Oklahoma Territory, is visible in the background.


A. H. Reeder to Franklin Crane

A. H. Reeder to Franklin Crane
Creator: Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864
Date: November 28, 1859
Andrew Reeder, former governor of Kansas Territory, wrote from Easton, Pennsylvania to Dr. Franklin Crane of Topeka. The letter discussed business interests in Kansas Territory and prospects for its admission to the union. Reeder also suggested it might be beneficial to replace place names, which had been established by the bogus legislature, that had pro-slavery connections.


Akers, Logan & Company, Kansas Territory

Akers, Logan & Company, Kansas Territory
Creator: Akers, Logan & Co.
An advertisement for Akers, Logan & Company, describing the services it provided as a general land and real estate company in Leavenworth City and Lecompton, Kansas Territory.


Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill

Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill
Creator: Morton, Albert C.
Date: August 8, 1857
Albert Morton wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts. Morton related that the fall emigration had begun, Quindaro was crowded, and more buildings were being constructed than ever before. Morton also had found two men interested in renting the home owned by Hill upon its completion. He suggested that it would be best to "keep things quiet" about Samuel N. Simpson, and asked, on the behalf of Guthrie, if Hill planned to travel again to Quindaro.


Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill

Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill
Creator: Morton, Albert C.
Date: July 31, 1857
Albert Morton wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts, providing for him some conclusions regarding Samuel N. Simpson's fraudulent business practices. Morton reported that, from information provided by Simpson's brother, Samuel N. Simpson had taken $40-50,000 from the Quindaro Town Company, and deeded the land of others. He had also given Hill an unauthorized bond, which was not valid. Abelard Guthrie, however, according to Morton, had offered to give Hill title to some land, in order to minimize financial losses brought on by Simpson's actions.


Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill

Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill
Creator: Morton, Albert C.
Date: June 28, 1857
Albert Morton wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts. Morton informed Hill that the package containing money from him had been located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and he expected to receive it soon. Morton also described various aspects of Quindaro's development, including the building of a new store, and confirmed that the railroad would in fact come to Quindaro.


Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill

Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill
Creator: Morton, Albert C.
Date: October 30, 1858
Albert Morton wrote from Leavenworth City, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts. Morton had "given up living in Quindaro" and planned to settle in Leavenworth City. Recently ill, he had left Quindaro along with many settlers and business owners. Morton reported that Abelard Guthrie continued to be optimistic about Quindaro's prospects for survival, but he remained skeptical. If Hill still planned to visit Quindaro in the spring, Morton would meet him there.


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