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Winter 1977, Volume 43, Number 4


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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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People - Notable People - Garfield, James, 1831-1881

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Ballot box

Ballot box
Creator: Dover Stamping Company
Date: 1865
Small, wooden container that originally held teaspoons. The box has been adapted for use as a ballot box. It was used in Rawlins County, Kansas, in 1880. James Matheny donated it to the Kansas Historical Society in 1881. Matheny, who came to Kansas from Indiana in 1869 and settled in Topeka and then Alma, was among the first settlers in Rawlins County in 1873. He and T.A. Andres laid out the plans for Atwood, the county seat, in 1879. In 1880 Matheny cast the first ballot in that year's election using this ballot box. That election resulted in the citizens of Rawlins County voting for James Garfield to serve as the President of the United States and against the "Prohibition" amendment to the state constitution. Matheny returned to Topeka in 1881 to allow his children to attend school there. He died in 1885 at the age of 43.

Elizabeth Comstock to John P. St. John

Elizabeth Comstock to John P. St. John
Creator: Comstock, Elizabeth
Date: June 16, 1881
In this letter Elizabeth Comstock, a former agent of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association, relates her experiences during her visit to the East coast in 1881. Comstock and some of her New York colleagues had the opportunity to speak with President James Garfield, giving him four main points to consider regarding the Exodus movement. According to her letter, Garfield was devoted to aiding black refugees. She also wrote of other matters, including how some blacks in southern Kansas were displeased about the dissolution of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association; in contrast, Comstock believed the demise of this association had some positive repercussions.

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