Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shawnee Indian Mission

Out riding on the black scooter today and I did have the camera in my pocket!

So I stopped by the Indian Mission that makes this area so famous.  Long time readers will remember that we had Amateur Radio Field Day here several years ago.

"The Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kansas served as a manual training school for children from the Shawnee, Delaware and other Indian nations from 1839-1854 and continued as a school without manual training until 1862. The territorial governor, Andrew Reeder, established his offices at the mission in 1854. The first territorial legislature met at the mission in 1855 after adjourning from the first territorial capital at present day Fort Riley. During the legislative session the "bogus laws" were passed in an attempt to further slavery in Kansas."  Information here was copied from the Shawnee Indian Mission web site.

This is the main building.

Grounds behind with period buildings

Low building way back was a barn.

Main building housed boys on the second and top floors under the roof
"The mission was also a supply point on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails and an Union camp during the Civil War." 

North Building for girls

West Bilding

"Thomas Johnson, the Methodist missionary who founded Shawnee Indian Mission, is buried in the nearby Shawnee Methodist Mission Cemetery. He was killed in 1865 for his antislavery sentiments."

This big monument says "Johnson" at the bottom front.

Many of the family members are also buried here as well.

There is several stories about Rev Thomas Johnson's death and who the perpetrators were.  Some folks have the story that Johnson had acquired several thousand dollars from collecting a loan and was challenged late at night for the money by would be robbers.  They shot him thru the front door to his home.  It is thought that these fellows were Southern sympathizers so the quoted story above is now official.  Johnson was a slave owner, but had signed on with the Union as a politician, so the Southern fellows weren't very happy with him.  But now you know why our county is named "Johnson County."

While Overland Park was founded in as a first class city in 1960, its roots go way back to this indian mission from the 1830s.  The Mission still stands today and is operated by the Kansas Historical people.  The oldest part of the city was plotted in 1905.  Its history is here.

This cemetery is literally in peoples back yards along busy Mission Parkway.  I had to park on a side street and walk back up here to get these pictures.  A neighbor mowing his yard looked at me as I took the photos with a perturbed look.  You can see him in this last photo in the upper right in front of the car.  Perhaps they have had trouble before.  I was in a motorcycle suit with a helmet on.....  Damn.... bikers.

Otherwise today, I managed to mow our yard this morning and it turned out to be a nice 90+ degree day.  I rode for several hours this afternoon around the old area of our metroplex.  It was already in the 80s when I was mowing the yard at about 8AM so our dew was long gone, if there ever was any.  Its still summer here.

Retired Rod



  1. Those buildings appear to be in good shape. I generally always enjoy that period of time in American history. Also find most old cemeteries intersting as well.

  2. I love learning the history of a place. Thanks for the great tour and pictures. You know those bikers - always in trouble.

  3. Having done genealogy for several years, walking through cemeteries is something I love to do. It's always so peaceful.

  4. Must have been hot sleeping in the attic in your part of the country. And I wonder what is meant by the ominous sounding "manual training". I know we had some abuses in our "residential schooling" programs that were set up to assimilate First Nations people.

  5. Interesting post, Rod. Thanks for the history lesson about your neck of the woods AND photos too!! Wow!!


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