History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Historic People of Kansas - "A" - Page 1

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James B. AbbottJames B. Abbott (1818-1879) - One of the pioneer settlers of Kansas, Abbott was born at Hampton, Connecticut on December 3, 1818, were he lived until he moved to Kansas. He was a member of the third party of emigrants from New England, which reached Lawrence on October 10, 1854, and soon became recognized as one of the stalwart advocates of the Free-State cause. Major Abbott look up a claim about half a mile south of Blanton's Bridge, on the road to Hickory Point, and his house was a favorite meeting place of the Free-State men in that neighborhood. As the pro-slavery men grew more and more aggressive, one of the crying necessities of the settlers was arms and ammunition with which to defend themselves against the predatory gangs which infested the territory. Major Abbott was one of those who went east to procure arms, and through his efforts, there were sent to Kansas 117 Sharp's rifles and a 12-pounder howitzer. He was one of the party that rescued Jacob Branson from Samuel J. Jones, the sheriff of Douglas County. He  was a lieutenant in command of a company at the first Battle of Franklin; commanded the Third Regiment of free-state infantry during the Sacking of Lawrence in 1856; fought with John Brown at Black Jack, and was the leader of the expedition that rescued Dr. John Doy. He was a member of the first house of representatives elected under the Topeka Constitution, and in 1857 was elected senator. Upon the adoption of the Wyandotte Constitution he was elected a member of the lower house of the first State Legislature, which met in March, 1861. That same year he was appointed agent for the Shawnee Indians and moved to DeSoto, in Johnson County. At the time of the Price Raid he led a party of Shawnee against the Confederates. In 1866 he retired from the Indian agency, and in the fall of that year was elected to the state senate. He was influential in securing the establishment of the school for feeble minded youth. Major Abbott died at DeSoto on March 2, 1879. The howitzer he brought to Kansas in the territorial days is now in the possession of the Kansas Historical Society, of which he was a director for twelve years immediately prior to his death.


Franklin George Adams (1824-1899) - Free-State advocate, teacher, attorney, and publisher, Adams was born at Rodman, New York on May 13, 1824 and was raised on his father's farm. He attended public school before moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he received private instruction from an older brother. He taught in the public schools of Cincinnati, and in 1852 graduated from the law department of what is now the University of Cincinnati. He became profoundly interested in the debate on the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and determined to settle in Kansas. To this end, he joined a party from Kentucky which reached Kansas in March, 1855 and settled in what is now Riley County, where they founded the Ashland Colony.


Before long, Adams returned to Cincinnati, where he married Harriet F. Clark, of Cincinnati on September 29, 1855 and taught school again. But in April, 1856, he returned to Kansas and settled on a farm near Pilot Knob in Leavenworth County. He was forced to flee to Lawrence for protection during the Kansas-Missouri Border War, and bore arms in defense in the Sacking of Lawrence in 1856. He was a member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention; was active in the organization of the Free-State Party in Atchison County, of which he was elected the first probate judge in the spring of 1858. In 1861 he was appointed Register of the Land Office at Lecompton. In September he moved the office to Topeka and held the position until 1864. He was also identified at different times with various publications of the state among them the Squatter Sovereign, Topeka State Record, Kansas Farmer, Atchison Free Press and Waterville Telegraph. He was active in the formation of the State Agricultural Society and drafted the law under which it was organized. He became secretary of the State Fair Association which held the first state fair at Atchison in 1863. The next year he gave up his various enterprises in Topeka, returned to Atchison, was appointed United States agent to the Kickapoo Indians, and moved to Kennekuk, in the northwest corner of Atchison County. He resigned the agency position in 1869, and in the fall of 1870 moved to Waterville, in Marshall County, where in 1873, he published The Homestead Guide, which provided  the history and resources of northwest Kansas. In the spring of 1875 he returned to Topeka, and the following February, the directors of the newly formed State Historical Society elected him secretary. It was in this position that Mr. Adams did his greatest and best work for Kansas. He at once started the work of organization and pursued with steady effort every avenue which he thought capable of adding to the growth and resourcefulness of the society. During his residence in Topeka Mr. Adams was instrumental in establishing the kindergarten work among the poor. He was a long-time member of the Kansas State Grange and took special interest in the education of children on farms. As editor, author and publisher Mr. Adams was enabled to make his ideas known and to turn public opinion in the right direction.  He died on December 2, 1899.




Henry J. Adams (1816-1870) - Lawyer, Free-State advocate, politician and soldier, Adams was born at Rodman, New York on February 10, He was educated in the public schools, spent a short time at Oberlin College, in Ohio, then read law and graduated from the Cincinnati Law School. He came to Kansas in March, 1855, and during the summer located at Lawrence. The next winter he was elected a member of the senate of the Free-State Legislature, and from that time took an active part in public affairs. During the session of 1858, the Territorial Legislature made him chairman of the committee to investigate the Oxford, Kickapoo and other election frauds. He took a prominent part in the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention and under that constitution was elected governor, but as Congress failed to admit Kansas as a state, he was never installed in office. Before the convention in 1858, Adams received an equal vote with Marcus J. Parrott for delegate in Congress, but Parrott was declared the nominee and was elected. Under an act passed by the legislature of 1859, Adams was appointed a member of a committee with Judge S. A. Kingman and F. S. Hoogland, to audit the claims against the United States government, for losses sustained by citizens of Kansas in the Kansas-Missouri Border War. Next to Governor Charles Robinson he was the most popular candidate before the Republican convention which nominated the first governor of the state. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War he was appointed paymaster of the army and served in that capacity until the close of hostilities. He died at Waterville, Kansas on June 2, 1870.


John Alexander AndersonJohn Alexander Anderson (1834-1892) - Minister, congressman, and president of the Kansas State Agricultural College, at Manhattan, Kansas, Anderson was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania on June 26, 1834. He was educated at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio and graduated in 1853. Benjamin Harrison, afterwards president of the United States, was his roommate while in college.


He began work as a pastor of a church at Stockton, California in 1857, and preached the first Union sermon on the Pacific Coast. He was elected as the trustee of the California State Insane Asylum in 1860. Two years later he was appointed chaplain of the Third California Infantry. In this capacity he accompanied General Patrick Connor's expedition to Salt Lake City, Utah. Anderson's desire to be always investigating something led to his appointment to the United States Sanitary Commission as California correspondent and agent. His first duty was to act as relief agent of the Twelfth Army Corps.


He was next transferred to the central office at New York. In 1864, when General Ulysses S. Grant began moving toward Richmond, Anderson was made superintendent of transportation and had charge of six steamboats. At the close of the campaign he served as assistant superintendent of the canvas and supply department at Philadelphia and edited a paper called the Sanitary Commission Bulletin.


When the war closed he was transferred to the History Bureau of the commission at Washington D.C., remaining there one year collecting data and writing a portion of the history of the commission. In 1866 he was appointed statistician of the Citizens' Association of Pennsylvania, an organization for the purpose of mitigating the suffering resulting from pauperism, vagrancy and crime in the large cities. In February, 1868 Anderson accepted a call from the Presbyterian Church of Junction City, Kansas, and during the years spent in this town, he developed power as an orator and took an active part in politics. He was on the school board most of the time he was in Junction City.


In 1870, the morning after his mother was buried out on the open prairie, where all the dead had been laid, he remarked to some of his friends, "This town must have a cemetery," and as a result of his efforts, the Highland Cemetery was established.


In 1870-71, there was much interest throughout the country in narrow gauge railroads, it being argued that there was economy in them. Anderson concluded that the idea was not practicable and determined to oppose the issue of the bonds asked for in Clay County. His ideas prevailed, and the track was re-laid with standard gauge. In the summer of 1872 Benjamin Harrison secured him a call from a church in Indianapolis, but his wife and family persuaded him to remain in Kansas.


In the fall of 1873, Anderson was elected President of the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan. There, he made radical policy changes which resulted in placing the college near the head of the list of such institutions in the United States. Anderson remained president of the college until 1878, when he was elected to Congress and served as representative from the First and Fifth districts until 1891. In March of that year he was appointed Consul General to Cairo, Egypt, and sailed for his new post on April 6th, but his constitution was already impaired and he was unable to stand the change of climate.


The following spring he determined to return, but died on his way home at Liverpool, England on May 18, 1892. He was laid at rest on the hill top he had chosen years before, near the town where he said the happiest days of his life had been passed, and where seven of his family are also interred.




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