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The Kickapoo Canon

"Old Kickapoo" is a trophy of the Mexican war, but whether it was a gun taken to the war by Gen.- Kearney's Army of the North or was captured from the Mexicans is uncertain. In 1848 the military authorities at Santa Fe gave it as a protection against the Comanche Indians, then on the warpath, to a party in charge of a train returning from New Mexico to the Missouri river via the Santa Fe trail.

The train had no fight with the Comanches, but by the time it had reached the Arkansas river, so many of the animals had been stampeded by the Indians, that the men were obliged to abandon a portion of their outfit including this cannon. Later that year, another train returning under the charge of a citizen of Weston, Mo., bearing the historical name of John Brown, brought the cannon to Fort Leaven worth to be delivered by him to the military authorities there, but no officer there would give Brown a satisfactory receipt for the cannon, and he took it to his home in Weston. Later he donated it to the city where for several years it was employed in saluting steamboats on their arrival, celebrating the 4th of July and the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans.

In the spring of 1856, as preparations began for the campaign which resulted in the sacking of Lawrence, the gun was stolen from the city of Weston, taken across the river and put in possession of the Kickapoo Rangers, a military organization with headquarters at the town of Kickapoo in Leavenworth county. After the assault on Lawrence, the cannon was taken by the Rangers to Kickapoo, and there remained until in 1858, when the free-state men of Leavenworth seized it, kept it in con cealment for some time, and afterwards openly at Leavenworth as a irophy. In the course of time, by an accident in connection with the sinking of the shaft of the first Leavenworth coal mine, the cannon was burst. Later it was brought into the collections of the Kansas State Historical Society.

Source: Blackmar's Cyclopedia of Kansas History Vol. II pp.69, 1912