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May 1

1832 - Captain Bonneville set out from Fort Osage on May 1, 1832, and journeyed across Kansas. Washington Irving wrote his book, "The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, U. S. A., in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West." in 1837. It describes Bonneville's journey.

1881 – Kansas prohibition takes effect. Kansas was the first state to do so. Carry Nation became known worldwide for her support of the prohibition laws.


May 2



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May 5

1834 — Rev. Samuel Parker and Rev. John Dunbar leave Ithaca, New York, on an exploring tour. Mr. Dunbar becomes a missionary among the Pawnees this year. He is the father of Prof. John B. Dunbar, recently of Washburn College, and now of Bloomfield, New Jersey. The annual reports of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions are rich in Kansas material. 


May 6

1828 — Treaty with the Cherokees.

1854 - The Delaware tribe ceded all their lands to the United States, except a reservation defined in the treaty.


May 7



May 8

1827 - Cantonment Leavenworth, or Fort Leavenworth, (named in honor of Henry Leavenworth) built just inside Indian territory to guard travelers on the United States Western frontier. This was the first permanent settlement of white Americans in the future state of Kansas.


May 9

1800 — John Brown was born, in Torrington, Litchfield County, Conn. He was of the sixth generation in regular descent from Peter Brown, one of the Pilgrim Fathers who landed from the Mayflower, at Plymouth, in 1620. His grandfather, John Brown, was a captain in the Revolutionary Army and died in the service. 


May 10

1854 - the Shawnees cede 6,100,000 acres, except 200,000 acres reserved for homes. 

1856 - Free-state “Governor” Charles Robinson was arrested in Lexington, Missouri (released on bail, Sept. 10)

1861 – Due to a power struggle for Missouri’s military resources, a confrontation between State and Federal forces brought the first bloodshed to the State of Missouri in what became known as the “Camp Jackson Massacre” in St. Louis, Missouri. When the crowd began to riot, federal forces, led by General Nathaniel Lyon, fired into the crowd, killing a baby, and two men, and wounding many innocent spectators. 


May 11



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May 13

1833 — The United States agree to convey to the Quapaw Indians one hundred and fifty sections of land west of the State line of Missouri, and between the lands of the Senecas and Shawnees. 


May 14

1804 - Lewis and Clark's expedition departed from a fort near St. Louis at the Mississippi River to begin a two-year exploration of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. 


May 15



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May 17

1673 – Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet explore the Mississippi River from the Wisconsin River to near the mouth of the Arkansas River in Mississippi. "A manuscript map, showing the discoveries made, is still preserved at St. Mary's College, Montreal, of which a facsimile is published in this volume. Thus, the earliest map of the Mississippi region, shows the Missouri River for a hundred miles from its mouth, while the region of Kansas is designated as the home of various Indian tribes, under names having sufficient similarity to the more modern ones, to establish their identity with tribes not yet extinct. Panna and Paniassa (Pawnee), Ouemissourit (Missouri), Ouchage (Osage), Tontanta (Teton), Pewaria (Peoria), Kansa, and Maha. The Mississippi is designated "Le Riviere da la Conception" and the Missouri River is given the Algonquin name Pekitanoui, meaning muddy river."

1853 – Major Ogden builds Camp Center on the Kansas River near the Republican River to protect the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. It is quickly re-named Fort Riley and becomes the new supply depot for the Army in present-day Riley County. On May 19, 1853, Captain Lovell, of the Sixth Infantry, formed an encampment and named it "Camp Center, at the mouth of the Pawnee River." July 26, 1858, it took the name of "Fort Riley."

1854 - the Iowas cede their lands, except for a reservation.  

1954 – The U.S. Supreme Court announces its unanimous ruling on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. This landmark decision determined that separate but equal was inherently unequal, and helped launch the Civil Rights Movement.


May 18

1854 - the Kickapoos cede their lands, except 150,000 acres in the western part of the Territory, and by the Sacs and Foxes.

1858 - People's elections pass the Leavenworth Constitution (while the Lecompton Constitution is still under consideration), but Congress refuses to ratify it. 


May 19

1856 - Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner delivered a speech called "The Crime Against Kansas," in which he condemned Southern leaders for their efforts to expand slavery into Kansas and other territories. He would finish his speech the next day.

1858 - Marais des Cygnes Massacre in Linn County. The Marais Des Cygnes River at Pleasanton in Linn County is the site of a famous confrontation between pro-slavery and abolitionist forces. The five victims of the massacre were immortalized as martyrs in the cause for freedom.

May 20

1862 - The Homestead Act is passed. This act "accelerated the settlement of the western territory by granting adult heads of families 160 acres of surveyed public land for a minimal filing fee and five years of continuous residence on that land." 


May 21

1856 - The Sacking of Lawrence Kansas by pro-slavery activists attacked and ransacked the town, which anti-slavery settlers had founded. This began the violence in Kansas history known as "Bleeding Kansas".




May 22

1842 — Lieutenant John C. Fremont arrived at St. Louis on May 22, 1842. Thence he proceeded to Cyprian Chouteau's trading house, on the Kansas River, about six miles west of the Missouri line. 

1856 – After making a fiery speech called “The Crime Against Kansas” in the United States Congress, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner was beaten unconscious by Preston Brooks, a congressman from South Carolina. 

1863 - "The War Department issued General Order 143 on May 22, 1863, creating the United States Colored Troops. By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 Black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army, and another 19,000 served in the Navy." 

May 23

1609 — The second charter of Virginia (7th James I) granted "all those lands, countries, and territories, situate, lying and being in that part of America called Virginia," from Cape or Point Comfort to the northward two hundred miles, and to the southward two hundred miles, and "up into the land throughout from sea to sea." This grant made Kansas English, Point Comfort on the 37th degree of latitude. 


May 24

1856 - The Pottawatomie massacre: With a party of seven or eight men, including four of his sons, John Brown made a night trip down Pottawatomie Creek where several pro-slavery settlers lived. Five of these settlers were called out of their houses and killed.


May 25

1861 - The Great Seal of the State of Kansas was established by a joint resolution adopted by the Kansas Legislature. 


May 26

1854 - Kansas-Nebraska Act passes Congress; effective with president’s signature, May 30. 


May 27

1843 — In May of 1843, the difficulty between Texas and New Mexico renders an armed escort necessary for a Santa Fe train. Capt. P. St. George Cooke, who commanded the U. S. dragoons, departed Fort Leavenworth on a mission to protect commerce on the Santa Fe Trail. Various difficulties cause the closing of all Mexican frontier posts of entry in August of this year. They were not reopened until 1850. 


May 28

1830 - The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by United States President Andrew Jackson. The law, as described by Congress, provided "for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi." The northern tribes were resettled initially in Kansas


May 29

1835 — Expedition of Colonel Henry Dodge, U.S.A., to the Rocky Mountains. Colonel Dodge left Fort Leavenworth on May 29. He followed the west bank of the Missouri River nearly to the mouth of the Platte, traced the" Platte to its source, went south to the headwaters of the Arkansas River, and returned through that valley. In other words, he marked the line of the railroads from Leavenworth and Atchison to near Omaha, took the Union Pacific west, followed the Colorado railroads to Pueblo, and came home by the Atchison, Topeka &. Santa Fe line. Fort Dodge is on the return trail.  


May 30

1842 - Fort Scott, named in honor of General Winfield Scott, was established.

1854 – the Kansas-Nebraska Act was signed into law by U.S. President Franklin Pierce, which opened the two territories to white settlement primarily so that a railroad could be built across the vast plains to the Rockies. The Kansas-Nebraska Act is responsible for causing the label “Bleeding Kansas.” The incorporation of popular sovereignty made the territory’s residents responsible for the question of slavery in their own backyard. The proximity of Kansas to slave-owning Missouri and the lack of any natural border between the two regions prompted an influx of pro-slavery individuals into the new territory when it opened up for settlement.

1854 - The Kansas territorial seal supposedly was engraved by Robert Lovett of Philadelphia from a design developed by Andrew H. Reeder, the first Territorial Governor of Kansas. Encircling the border of the two-inch brass die is the text, "SEAL OF THE TERRITORY OF KANSAS / ERECTED MAY 30, 1854." 

1854 – Lands owned by the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Piankeshaw, and Wea Tribes are ceded to the United States.

May 31