Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Article Index

The Territory was then without law. To provide for order until a government could be set up, an association was formed and resolutions were drawn up outlining the rights of the settlers and preparing for the peaceful building of a State. 

Towns were established. Leavenworth, adjacent to Fort Leavenworth, was laid out in June 1854. A month later Lawrence was founded by Charles H. Branscomb and Dr. Charles Robinson, agents of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, as a Free State headquarters; and Atchison was established as a rival proslavery town. Topeka was platted on December 5 by Cyrus K. Holliday, who designed it for the capital which it later became. Before the year was out Palmyra, Louisiana, and Brooklyn were begun along the Santa Fe Trail, with Prairie City, Baldwin City, and Hickory Point in its close vicinity; on the Oregon Trail (locally known as the California Road) Franklin and Wakarusa appeared. 

The first Territorial newspaper, the Kansas Weekly Herald, which began publication in Leavenworth, September 15, 1854, supported slavery; and the Kansas Tribune, a Free State paper, issued its first number on January 3, 1855, at Lawrence. 

The people who ventured into Kansas in the hope of finding peace and well ordered living were fated to deep and persisting disappointment. It was hardly surprising that the Territory attracted a full complement of desperadoes. But few settlers could have predicted the "bleeding Kansas" of the i85o's and i86o's, with border warfare and violent antagonism among its citizens, most of whom were aggressively committed to one side or the other of the slavery issue. 

Andrew H. Reeder of Pennsylvania was named the first Territorial Governor on June 29, 1854, and was inaugurated at Fort Leavenworth on October 7. Under his administration the pro-slavery party, aided by sympathizers from Missouri, gained the ascendancy. At the election of a delegate to Congress on November 29, 1854, Missouri voters dominated the polls; and, at the election of the Territorial legislature on March 30, 1855, abuses were even more flagrant. Four to five thousand armed men from Missouri, inflamed by the speeches of the Southern agitators, Senator David R. Atchison and General B. F. Stringfellow, appeared at the voting places, where they brow-beat judges, stuffed ballot boxes, and otherwise transformed the election into a grim farce. Many of the members elected were residents of Missouri, yet Governor Reeder, under threat of his life, was obliged to issue election certificates. Because of the illegality of the election, the body was dubbed the "bogus legislature," by which term it has since been known. 

Shortly before the election, Reeder, finding accommodations at Fort Leavenworth inadequate, removed the temporary seat of government to the Shawnee Mission in Johnson County. But partly to further his own land speculations, he convoked the first legislature at Pawnee on July 2, 1855. There the body proceeded to take matters into its own hands. It ousted its few Free State members, and voted, over the Governor's veto, to adjourn to the Shawnee Mission, which it did on July 16. There Reeder refused to recognize its acts, contending that the mission was not the authorized seat of government. The body answered with an appeal to President Pierce, who responded by removing Reeder from office on July 29.