Race, Gender, and Violence in Pre-Civil War Kansas
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Many people have guided me on my path from Kansas to Iowa, New York, Texas, and, finally, Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. I must first thank Kathryn Kish Sklar and Tom Dublin for their initial encouragement of my foray into Kansas women’s history as a master’s student at Binghamton University. Graduate...
On the morning of January 12, 1830, several Shawnee Indians and local white traders gathered to attend a birth at the Shawnee Methodist Mission, located just west of a Missouri River trading post called Kawsmouth (later named Kansas City). That afternoon a baby girl named Susannah Adams Yoacham was...
1. “THE TWO WERE SOON PRONOUNCED ONE": RELIGIOUS, ECONOMIC, AND SEXUAL EXCHANGE IN INDIAN KANSAS
Clara Gowing, a Baptist missionary in Kansas Territory from 1859 to 1864, attended the marriage of an Indian woman and a white soldier one Saturday afternoon during the Civil War. The couple wedded in haste because the new recruit for the Union army was scheduled to depart Kansas for the battlefield the...
2. RUNAWAYS, "NEGRO STEALERS," AND "BORDER RUFFIANS": ANTISLAVERY AND PROSLAVERY IDEOLOGIES IN ACTION
During the spring of 1855 the Fugitive Slave Law received a unique test in Kansas Territory, a region that had yet to be officially declared as free or slave. On March 19 a black slave escaped from his master and fled from Westport, Missouri, toward Lawrence, Kansas, a new stop on the Underground Railroad...
3. "ALL WOMEN ARE CALLED BAD": WHAT MAKES A WOMAN IN BLEEDING KANSAS?
On April 19, 1858, Joseph A. Cody, a recent Kansas settler, penned a letter to his “loving” wife who lived in Ohio. He reported from the battlefields of Bleeding Kansas that “the great mass of people are desperadoes. . . . All manner of evil conjectures are a[float].” He seemed particularly disturbed by the...
4. "FREE SONS" AND "MYRMIDONS": WHAT MAKES A MAN IN BLEEDING KANSAS?
On May 26, 1856, the pages of the New York Daily Tribune overflowed with news about the “War in Kansas.” The headlines warned of “Freedom” being “Bloodily Subdued” after proslavery forces attacked the town of Lawrence on May 21 and nearly destroyed the small antislavery outpost. Events in Washington, D.C., only...
5. "DON'T YOU SEE OLD BUCK COMING?": MISCEGENATION, WHITENESS, AND THE CRISIS OF RACIAL IDENTITY
On November 21, 1856, the Weston (Mo.) Argus mocked the candidacy of John Charles Frémont for president of the United States in the recent election. Capitalizing on the pervasive white fear of miscegenation, the editors argued that Frémont’s election would have resulted in the amalgamation of the races. “Don’t you...
After attending an antislavery meeting held to protest the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Samuel N. Wood and his wife, Margaret, left their Ohio home in May 1854 to settle in Kansas Territory. In part because of their efforts and the hardships they and other free-state settlers endured during the territorial era, Sam and...
In 2004, pundit Thomas Frank asked, “What’s the matter with Kansas?” in his best-selling book by the same name. Frank uses Kansas, his home state, as a representative example of a national political phenomenon: the political shift to the right of “ordinary,” working-class Americans. Frank wonders why and how...