Establishment of Methodist Mission -- Founding of Manuel Training School -- Location and Opening of School -- Influence of School -- Rev. Thomas Johnson and Other Missionaries -- Charles Bluejacket -- Capt. Joseph Park -- Mission Abandoned -- Murder of Thomas Johnson -- Col. Alexander Soule Johnson -- William Johnson and His Recollections -- Baptist Mission -- Quaker Mission -- Memories of Missions.
Johnson county is conspicuous in the history of Kansas Indian missions. One of the important Methodist Shawnee missions west of the Mississippi was established within the borders of what is now Johnson county. The Baptist and the Friend also had permanent missions among the Shawnees of this county.
The missionaries were among the heroic pioneers of the early days. They were men devoted to their calling and sincere in their efforts to show the Indian the better way and the higher life. They sacrificed friend and home and endured sufferings and hardships and in many instances were the victims of savage cruelty. They were the contemporaries of the soldiers of the frontier forts, the attache of the early Indian agencies and the hunter and trapper who followed the trail of the adventurous explorer.
The members of the Missouri Methodist Conference, at St. Louis, Mo., September 16, 1830, considering the great necessity for missionary exertions and feeling a willingness to aid in the great work of sending the Gospel among all people, formed themselves into a missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal church.
This was not a missionary society supported by the entire church; but the men of the Missouri conference, some of whom received less than $40 dollars a year, resolved to contribute a part of their very limited means toward sending the Gospel to those who were in still greater need. The call to mission work among the Indians was heard and answered, and the devoted brothers, Thomas and William Johnson, entered what became their life-work among the Indians. The Missouri conference at this date contained but twenty-nine members.
The missionary appointments for the year 1830 read: "Shawnee
Mission, Thomas Johnson; Kanzas or Kaw Mission, William Johnson." For the years 1832 and 1833 there were four Indian missions in Kansas, comprising the Indian missionary district. In 1833 and 1834 it was called the north Indian mission district.
The Shawnee Mission was the most ambitious attempt of the Methodist church to care for the Indians of Kansas, and this mission, by reason of its location at the entrance to the territory for emigrants from the East and the part it played in the territorial history, became a place of peculiar interest.
The Shawnee reservation embraced a tract of 1,600,000 acres, described in the treaty of May 10, 1854, as follows:
"Beginning at a point in the western boundary of the State of Missouri, three miles south of where said boundary crosses the mouth of Kansas river; thence continuing south and coinciding with said boundary for twenty-five miles; thence due west 120 miles; thence due north, until said line shall intersect the southern boundary of the Kansas reservation, to the termination thereof; thence due north, coinciding with the eastern boundary of said reservation, to the southern shore of the Kansas river; thence along said southern shore of said river to where a line from the place of beginning drawn due west shall intersect the same -- estimated to contain sixteen hundred thousand acres, more or less."
The tribe resided on the northeast corner of this vast tract, near Missouri and near the Kansas river. These lands lying in the vicinity of the larger streams, afforded considerable bodies of good timber, interspersed with fertile prairies. This reservation had been assigned to the Shawnees by the treaty of 1825, and it would seem that the larger part of the tribe had congregated here by 1830, their most populous settlement being in Wyandotte county, south of the Kansas river. Among the earliest comers appears to have been The Prophet, brother of the great Tecumseh, who made his home near the present town of Turner.
In the year 1835 the Rev. Isaac McCoy describes the condition of the Shawnees as follows:
"Generally their dwellings are neat, hewed log cabins, erected with their own hands, and within them a small amount of furniture. Their fields are closed with rail fences; are sufficently large to yield them corn and culinary vegetables plentifully. They keep cattle and swine, work oxen, and use horses for draught; and own some plows, wagons, and carts."
It was to the vicinity of The Prophet's town that the Rev. Thomas Johnson followed the Indians, built a log house, and began his work as a missionary among the sons of the forest in 1830. The following letter, addressed to the Rev. Jesse Greene, presiding elder of the
Missouri district, by Indian Agent Vashon, tells something of the inception of our first Indian mission in Kansas:
Indian Agency, near Kansas, 1830
"Rev. Sir: I have the pleasure now to make the communication which I promised when I had the happiness of conversing with you at my office on the subject of establishing a mission for the instruction of the children of the hapless portion of the human family entrusted to my care in this part of my agency. I have been informed by Rev. Mr. Dodge, whom I had the pleasure to meet with a few days ago, at Harmony Mission, that the American Board of Foreign Missions will not have it in their power to comply with the application which I made through him for a missionary establishment at or near this place in less time probably than two or three years, as they have a great many more applications than they can possibly comply with, and he therefore solicited me to request your earnest attention to the subject without delay; and I now have the pleasure to inform you that I have this day been requested by Fish, a Shawnee chief, also William Jackson, a white man, raised with the Shawnees, to make application for the establishment of a mission among them for the education of their children, and I most earnestly solicit your attention to the subject.
"Fish, the Shawnee chief, has a son by the name of Paschal, who was put to school when he was a boy. He can speak English very well. He is a sober, steady, moral, good man. He has an Indian family and is industriously employed in farming, and I think he would make the most efficient male interpreter that could be procured. Captain Shane, the Shawnee interpreter, has a stepdaughter by the name of Nancy, who is a widow with one child. She speaks English very well, and is a woman of most excellent character, and, I think, much disposed to be pious. She has been brought up in the habits of civilized life entirely from her infancy, and I think better qualified for all the various duties of a female interpreter than any other that I know of and, if I am not greatly mistaken, will devoutly rejoice to have an opportunity of living once more under the influence of the Gospel. Captain Shane also has a son, who has been six months at the Choctaw academy in Kentucky, where I expect he will be again sent.
"The vicinity of the smith shop, I think, would be the most judicious location that could be selected for the establishment of the missionaries. Mr. Harmon Davis, the smith for the Indians, is a man of most excellent moral character, he is a member of the church, and has a large and amiable family. His children are mostly daughters and nearly grown. I feel convinced that no other situation in the country possesses as many advantages. T therefore recommend it, in the strongest possible light, as the most judicious location that can be selected.
Of the first mission, established on the bluffs of the Kansas river,
we have been able to learn little. Joseph S. Chick, one of the prominent business men of Kansas City, Mo., and a son of Col. Wm. M. Chick, one of the pioneers of Kanasas City, in a recent letter to Rev. Joab Spencer, of Slater, Mo., says:
"I was at the old Shawnee Mission about three weeks, but failing to have school I went home. The building, as I remember, was a two-story double log house, with rooms about twenty feet square, with outhouses, smokehouse, chicken-house, etc. There was no teacher there at that time. There was a man by the name of Waugh that had been a teacher, and was staying there at the time, but I do not recall any, other."
Rev. Lorenzo Waugh was appointed as missionary to the Shawnees, with Rev. Thomas Johnson, for the years 1837 and 1838; so this was about the time that Mr. Chick was at the old Shawnee Mission school. It was at the old Shawnee Mission that the late Col. Alexander S. Johnson was born, July 11, 1832. His father, Rev. Thomas Johnson, was born in Virginia exactly thirty years before, July 11, 1802.
At the conference of 1832 the first fruits of the two missions were reported by the Johnsons, nine white and thirty-one Indian members, which was considered an encouraging beginning; so that the sum of $4,800 was appropriated that year to the Indian missions within the bounds of the conference.
In the month of August, 1833, Bishop Soule had, on his way to the Missouri conference, held at Cane Hill, Ark., visited our Indian missions among the Delawares and Shawnees. The bishop spent a few days with Thomas and William Johnson in surveying the ground, with a view of extending the mission work, and as a result he determined to establish two additional stations, one among the Peorias and the other among the Kickapoos. The conference report for the year 1834 shows a total of eleven white and 380 Indian church members, in the four Indian missions in Kansas -- the Shawnee, Delaware, Peoria and Kickapoo. The report of the missionary society for 1834 has this to say of the Shawnees:
"Some of the leading men who had considerable opposition to the Gospel are now cordially united in the work of reformation and the prospect is truly flattering. Upwards of sixty church members, some of whom are able to instruct their brethren in the things of God. School prospering."
The following letter, written by Rev. Thomas Johnson to Rev. Jesse Greene, is full of encouragement:
"Shawnee Mission, February 17, 1834.
"Dear Brother Greene: We have great excitement in the Indian country; some of the leading men of the Shawnee nation have lately surrendered their prejudices; twelve or fourteen have lately joined our society. The Peoria nation has submitted to the yoke of Christ; forty
of them joined last Sabbath week. Write to us and let us know when you will come to see us. I will try to be at home.
"Yours in haste, "Thomas Johnson."
At the conference of 1832 the Kansas Indian missions were formed into a separate district, called the Indian Mission district, and Thomas Johnson appointed superintendent, which position he held till 1841, when he was compelled to resign because of ill health. Up to 1836 the appointment of the missionary was to "mission and school," and he had charge of both religious and educational work, under the direction of the superintendent. When the manual-labor school was opened a minister was placed in separate charge of that institution. At the conference of 1842 the office of "superintendent" gave way to that of "presiding elder." Prior to the establishment of the manual-labor school mission schools were conducted in each tribe. The salary of the missionary was the regular disciplinary allowance of $100 per annum for himself, and the same for his wife, and there was very little money with which to equip the station. Rev. Joab Spencer, surviving missionary to the Shawnees, writes that in the early days Rev. Thomas Johnson received a call from one of the church officials, and that Mrs. Johnson desired a better equipment for her table than they had ordinarily, but Mr. Johnson said that the official must put up with their plain fare. So he, like the rest, ate from a tin plate. Mr. Johnson had no horse, and sometimes in making his trips had to ride an ox instead.
The church building belonging to the Shawnee Mission was located in a beautiful grove on a country road leading from Westport into the Indian country, and was about four miles west of the manual-labor school, and about six miles southwest of Kansas City. The manual-labor school was not erected on the old mission premises, but was four miles south of the original site of Turner. The church building was constructed of hewn logs, and was about 20X40 feet, plain and old- fashioned, and faced to the north, a door in the south end of the building opening on the camp-ground and cemetery. The date of its erection was about 1840, services before this having been held at private houses. Love feasts were held in connection with quarterly meetings and camp-meetings, the latter being held annually on the grounds near the church, and were attended by Methodists from other tribes. A parsonage was connected with the church. This historic old meeting-house stood till the latter part of the war, when it was torn down and used for fuel. A part of the time it was loopholed and used by the Kansas militia as a fort. Nothing is left but the little reservation of five acres used for a burying-ground.
The conference of 1835 appointed Rev. William Ketron as missionary to the Shawnees. Mr. Ketron was a Southerner, having joined the
conference in 1829. He served but one year in the Indian mission in Kansas. His assistants in the school and mission were Mrs. Ketron, his wife, Mrs. Miller, Rev. David G. Gregory, and Mrs. Gregory. They had thirty-four scholars under their instruction, who were instructed in English gratuitously. Nineteen of the pupils were supported by the mission and lived in the mission family; the others received one meal a day at the mission house, and were otherwise supported by their parents. It seems that the industrial feature which Mr. Johnson inaugurated upon such a large scale a few years later was introduced at this time, as five of the boys were learning cabinet-making and two shoe-making. The missionaries taught some of the Shawnees to read in their native language, and some of these in time became teachers of others. Instruction in Indian was placed under the immediate notice of native class-leaders of the church. A small book in the Shawnee language on religious subjects, and some hymns, was, published by the missionaries and introduced among the people with good effect. Some of the native church members, who numbered 105 at this time, took active part in public religious exercises, and had prayer in their families. The next year, 1836, Rev. Thomas Johnson was assisted by Mrs. Johnson, Rev. N. T. Shaler, Rev. D. G. Gregory, and a Mr. Holland.
The year 1838 dates a new era in the history of the Methodist Indian missions in Kansas -- the establishment of the Shawnee manual-labor school. This meant the discontinuance of the separate Methodist schools among the tribes and the education of the children at this central institution. At the general conference of 1836 Rev. Thomas Johnson induced that body to vote $75,000 for the establishment of the Indian manual-labor school, and the Government at Washington granted him 2,400 acres of the finest land for his Indian mission.
From the records of the board of managers of the missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal church:
"April 13, 1838: It was mentioned that Brother Johnson, presiding elder and superintendent of the Shawnee Mission, with an Indian of that nation, would attend our anniversary. A committee was ordered to be appointed take charge of the missionary lyceum: Nathan Bangs, David M. Reese and George Coler constitute the committee."
"May 16, 1838: Certain documents from the Shawnee Mission having been read, they were on motion referred to a committee of five, viz.: Rev. Dr. Bangs, Rev. Dr. Luckey, Joseph Smith, Stephen Dando and B. Disbrow."
"May 30, 1838: Doctor Bangs, from the committee appointed at the last meeting, made the following report which was adopted:
"The committee appointed to take into consideration certain
documents presented to the board of managers respecting the necessity and expediency of establishing a large central school for the benefit of Indian children and youth north of the Cherokee line, southwest of the Missouri river, and east of the Rocky mountains, have had the same under consideration, and beg leave to present the following as the result of their deliberations:
"'For several years past our missionaries have had schools upon a small scale among the Shawnees and other tribes of Indians in that region of country who have become in part Christianized; and though these schools have exerted a salutary influence upon those who have attended them, yet being small, and divided among so many distant tribes, they are necessarily limited to their inflence (sic), expensive in their support, as well as difficult of management:
"'It appears, moreover, that this being a part of the country ceded by the United States to the Indians for the perpetual possession, other tribes are moving into the neighborhood, to whom it is desirable to impart the benefits of religious, moral and intellectual, as well as mechanical and agricultural instruction, that they may in due time be exalted to the benefits and immunities of a Christian and civilized community, and this is most likely to be accomplished by the employment of suitable and efficient means for the education of their children and youth.
"'From the humane policy of the general Government of the United States, in the efforts they made to rescue the savages of our wildernesses from their state of barbarism, by means of schools, we have reason to believe, if it be determined to establish a school of a character contemplated in the documents above referred to, that pecuniary means may be obtained from the Government to carry the plan into effect, and also an annuity for its support from year to year.
"'Under these views and impressions, the committee submits the following resolutions for the concurrence of the board:
"'Resolved, 1. That it be, and hereby is, recommended to the Missouri annual conference to adopt such measures as they may consider suitable for the establishment of a central manual-labor school for the special benefit of Indian children and youth in such place and under such regulations as they may judge most fit and proper.
"'Resolved, 2. That whenever the said conference shall so resolve this board pledge themselves to co-operate with them in carrying the plan into effect; provided, that a sum not exceeding $10,000 shall be drawn from the treasury of the missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal church for any one year for the support of the schools so established.
"'Resolved, 3. That with a view to secure the aid of the Government of the United States in furnishing the pecuniary means necessary for the establishment and support of such a school as is contemplated our
corresponding secretary, or Dr. Samuel Luckey, be, and hereby is, requested to accompany our brother, the Rev. T. Johnson, to the city of Washington, and lay before the proper officer or officers having the superintendence of Indian affairs, or, if need be, submit to Congress the plan of the contemplated school, and solicit aid in such way and manner as may be judged most suitable for the establishment and support of said school.
"'All which is respectfully submitted. N. Bangs, Chairman.'
"The presiding officer (Soule), in alluding to the call for the present meeting, gave his views fully in favor of the establishment of a central school in the Indian country. The bishop had himself been in this country and was intimately acquainted with the tribes over whom Brother Johnson has the superintendence.
"Bishop Andrew concurred in the remarks of the presiding officer so far as his knowledge went.
"Brother Johnson also gave his opinion as to the wants of the tribes in the Southwest, their present condition and prospects.
"Letters were read from Major Cummins, the Indian agent, fully according with the representations made in the 'documents' which have been read to this board.
"Doctor Bangs offered the following resolution, which was unanimously passed:
"Resolved, That our treasurer be authorized to pay to Brother Johnson the amount of his traveling expenses to and from this place, and that Brother Johnson be requested, on his return, to stop at as many of the principal places as his other engagements will allow, hold missionary meetings and take up collections for the missionary society, and account with the treasurer for the amount of said collections."
At the conference session which met at Booneville, September 26, 1838, it was decided to build a manual-labor school, which was to be patronized by the six tribes among which the church labored. This school was in operation a year after action was taken.
The report of the mission committee at this conference session may be regarded as the foundation of the Shawnee manual-labor school and reads as follows:
"Whereas, The board of managers of the missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal church have recommended to the Missouri annual conference to adopt such means as they consider suitable for the establishment of a central manual-labor school for the benefit of Indian children and youth in such place and under such regulations as they may judge most fit and proper; and,
"Whereas, The Government of the United States has stipulated to aid liberally in the erection of suitable buildings for said school, and also to aid annually in its support; and
"Whereas, The Shawnee Nation of Indians in general council assembled, and in compliance with the wishes of the Government have consented to the establishment of such school on their lands near the boundary of the State of Missouri, which is deemed a most eligible situation; therefore,
"Resolved, 1. That we, fully concurring with the board of managers of the missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal church, do hereby agree to establish a manual-labor school for the benefit of Indian children and youth on the Shawnee lands near the boundary line of the State of Missouri;
"Resolved, 2. That a committee of three be appointed, whose duty it shall be to erect suitable buildings for the accommodation of the proposed school; secondly, to employ competent teachers, mechanics, a farmer, and such other persons as may be necessary; thirdly, to exercise a general supervision over the institution, and report to this conference annually.
"Resolved, 3. That the above-named committee be and are hereby instructed to erect, for the accommodation of said school, two buildings, to serve as school houses and teachers' residences, each to be 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, and two stories high, with an ell running back, 50 by 20 feet, and two stories high; thirdly, buildings for four mechanics, with shops; fourthly, such farm buildings as they may judge necessary; provided, however, that if in the judgment of the committee, the expenses of the above-named buildings are likely to be greater than such such a sum as may be estimated by the missionary committee of this conference they may make such changes as they may think proper."
The location selected for the manual-labor school was in a beautiful little valley about three miles southwest of Westport, Mo., and on the California road. Work on the new buildings was begun by Mr. Johnson about the first of February, 1839. At this time he had forty acres of land enclosed, twelve acres of which were planted in apple trees, it being the first orchard set out in Kansas, and 176 acres were planted in corn. Upward of about 40,000 rails were made in a short time by the Shawnee Indians. About forty hands were employed, and the buildings were soon under way. Brick-kilns were put up for the burning of brick, while some were shipped from St. Louis, and "the lumber was all sawed at their own saw mill and worked out by hand," says Mr. William Johnson, son of Thomas Johnson, who now (1915) lives near the old mission building.
The two large brick buildings erected at this time were on the south side of the California road. The building farthest east was 110 by 30 feet and two stories high. It was used as the school house and
dormitory for the boys and the home of the superintendent. The chapel was on the first floor of this building. This is one of the most historically interesting buildings in the State of Kansas, and one of its territorial capitals. Here the first territorial legislature of Kansas, which was called the "bogus" legislature, met and passed laws. Rev. Thomas Johnson, a Virginian by birth, who very naturally sympathized with the South, was chosen president of the council, or upper house of the legislature. The building just west of this one was built of brick and was 100 by 30 feet, with an ell. It served as the boarding house, with a large dining hall and table capable of accommodating between 200 and 300 people at a time. These two large buildings were within 100 yards of each other. Between them, and near the road, was a fine spring. Log houses and shops went up all over the place. Blacksmith shops, wagon shops, shoemakers' shops, barns, granaries and tool houses were erected; and a brick yard, a saw mill and steam flour mill were added to the mission. The latter was capable of grinding 300 bushels of wheat per day.
The school was opened in the new building in October, 1839. The report of the first year of the school by the superintending committee, Rev. Thomas Johnson, Rev. Jerome C. Berryman and Rev. Jesse Greene, made in September, 1840, shows that the new project was a success. The report shows that seventy-two scholars were in attendance during the school year, which opened in October, 1839, and closed in September, 1840. The most of these were permanent scholars, though some stayed but a short time. None were counted unless they stayed a month. The different tribes patronizing the school were represented as follows: Shawnees, 27; Delawares, 16; Chippewas, 2; Gros Ventres, 1; Peorias, 8; Pottawatomies, 7; Kansans, 6; Kickapoos, 3; Munsees, 1; Osages, 1. The mission at this time was incomplete and had houseroom for only eighty children. Work and study alternated,the children being employed six hours a day at work and six hours in school. The girls, under the direction of their teachers, did the cooking for the entire school and for about twenty mechanics and other hands employed about the institution. They also made not only their own clothes, but those of the boys and some of the mechanics and others. Bishop James O. Andrew once visited the school, and the Indian girls presented him with a pair of trousers, all the work of their own hands. They were also taught to spin and weave, while the boys were taught farming, carpentering, shoemaking and brickmaking.
Four teachers were employed the first year -- two to teach the children when in school and two to teach them when at work. A farmer was employed to take charge of the farm and stock, and his wife to
superintend the cooking. The principal of the institution was a practical mechanic, and conducted the building operations during the year. The crop report for the first year shows that 2,000 bushels of wheat, 4,000 of oats, 3,500 Of corn and 500 of potatoes were raised. Upon the farm were 130 cattle, 100 hogs and 5 horses. Later 3 native buffalo were added.
The daily routine of the pupils at the manual-labor school was as follows: At 5 a. m. they were awakened by the ringing of a bell, when in summertime they performed light work about the farm until 7 o'clock, when they breakfasted, a horn being blown by way of signal before each meal. In winter time their morning work, before eating, was confined to the preparation of fuel, milking the cows, some thirty or forty in number, and feeding the stock. At 9 o'clock the school bell summoned them to their studies, which were kept up, with a short interval for recess, till 12 noon. They dined between 12 and 1 o'clock and then resumed their studies until 4 o'clock. Their hour for tea was 6 p. m. Their evenings were spent in the preparation of their lessons for the ensuing day until 8 o'clock.
They were then allowed to indulge themselves in indoor recreation until 8:30 p. m., when they were sent to their dormitories for the night. The only religious services which were held during the week were the reading of a chapter in the Bible, followed by prayer, just before the morning and evening meals. Saturday forenoon was given them as as a holiday. Saturday evening was spent in the bath-room in cleaning up for Sunday.
The children paid $75 a year each to the superintendent, as a receipt in full for board, washing and tuition. The first task of the instructor was to teach the children English, which they soon learned to speak well, yet a slight foreign accent was usually noticeable. The children, as a general thing, were docile, teachable, and good natured, and when well, of a playful disposition, but when sick they were usually stupid and silent. They were not quarrelsome. As to the mental capacity, they compared favorably with white children.
At the conference of 1841 Rev. J. C. Berryman was appointed to take charge of the manual-labor school, to which position he was also appointed by the succeeding conferences. Mr. Berryman was, like his predecessor, a man of great energy and ability. His report for 1842 is interesting and is as follows:
"From experience already made, we are fully satisfied that there is no essential difference between white and red children; the difference is all in circumstances.
"There are difficulties, however, very great difficulties, to be surmounted in the education of the Indian youth. The ignorance and prejudice, instability and apathy, of the parents, and all the little whims that can be imagined as being indulged in by so degraded a people, combine
to hinder us and retard their own advancement in civilization; and one of the greatest hindrances to the success of our efforts to impart instruction to the children we collect here is the difficulty of keeping them a sufficient length of time to mature anything we undertake to teach them; especially if they are considerably advanced in age when they commence. We have found that the labors bestowed upon these children taken in after they had reached the age of ten or twelve years, have in most cases been lost; whereas, those taken in between the ages of six and ten have in the majority of cases done well. This is chiefly owing to the older ones having formed habits of idleness, so that they will not bear the confinement and discipline of school. Another thing in favor of receiving these children at an early age is, that they acquire our language more readily and speak it more correctly. They also more easily adopt our manners and habits of thinking.
"J. C. Berryman."
(Report United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1842, pp. 114, 115.)
The school opened September 15, 1843, with 110 scholars. The church statistics for this year report ten colored children as members of the mission. The conference minutes would indicate that they lived at the manual-labor school. These colored children belonged to the slaves which Rev. Thomas Johnson had brought into the territory, and who worked on the mission premises. The increase of members in our mission this year was 21O.
In October, 1844, Bishop Morris visited the school and witnessed part of the examination exercises at the close of the regular term. "Their performance," he says, " in spelling, reading, writing, geography, composition and vocal music was such as would do credit to any of our city schools in the United States."
The school report for the year 1845 shows 137 scholars in attendance. During this year the erection of another large brick building one hundred feet in length and twenty feet in width, and two stories high, was begun. It was located on the north side of the road, the three large buildings forming a triangle, but not joining each other. This building had a piazza the whole length, with the exception of a small room at each end taken off the piazza. This building served as the girls' boarding-school. The superintendent and his family also occupied this building. Governor Reeder and staff and other territorial officials were quartered here in 1855, when Shawnee Mission was the capital.
In 1845 the Methodist Episcopal church was rent asunder, as the result of differences of opinion on the slavery question. At a convention which met May 1, 1845, in the city of Louisville, Ky., the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized. The Kansas missions, which at this time were embraced in the Indian Mission conferences,
fell into the Church, South. The Indian Mission conference for the year 1845 was held at the Shawnee Mission, Bishop Joshua Soule presiding. Bishop Soule was one of the two bishops who adhered to the Church, South. The other was Bishop James O. Andrew, a native of Georgia. Bishop Soule was a Northern man by birth and rearing, having been born in Maine, August 1, 1781. He died at Nashville, March 6, 1867.
Rev. William H. Goode, one of the early missionaries among the Choctaws in Indian Territory, was a delegate with Rev. E. T. Peery from the Indian Mission conference which met at Tahlequah, October 23, 1844, to the convention held at Louisville in May, 1845, at which the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized. He has this to say in his "Outposts of Zion" concerning the division:
"The influence of the large mission established at the manual-labor school was strong. There were few to counter-act or explain; and at the separation the main body of our Shawnee membership was carried, nolens volens, into the Church South. They have a large meeting-house and camp-ground, and exert a powerful infuence over the tribe. Our membership is reduced to about twenty-faithful band."
The manual-labor school was thus for the next seventeen years under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1845 and 1846, Rev. William Patton was superintendent. The concluding portion of his report for 1846 to Hon. William Medill, commissioner of Indian affairs, is as follows:
"Our mills and shops are doing well, affording considerable assistance to the Indians around in various ways. The shops furnish the more industrious and enterprising with wagons, and such like, by which they are enabled to make for themselves and families something to subsist upon. Of the mills I must speak more definitely. There has nothing been done for the Indians in all this section of country, in the way of improvements, which is of equal importance, or anything like equal importance, with the erection of the steam flouring-and saw-mill at this place. Here, the Indians from several tribes around get a large quantity of their breadstuffs, such as flour and corn-meal. But this is not the only advantage derived -- the saw-mill furnishes them with lumber for building and furnishing their houses, and, what is of still greater importance to them, the mills, and especially the saw-mill, offer to them inducements to industry. We purchase from the Indians all of our saw logs, our steam wood, etc., thus giving them employment and furnishing in return flour, meal, sugar, coffee, salt, and such other things, in a dry-goods line, as they or their families may need, and those things which, in many instances, they could not have without these facilities, at least to any considerable extent.
"I have the honor to be, dear sir, your obedient servant,
(Report 1846, p. 365)
In 1847 Thomas Johnson was returned as superintendent of the manual-labor school, which position he held till the school was discontinued. The school report for this year shows 125 scholars in attendance, 78 males and 47 females.
The crops for 1848 were a partial failure, by reason of a prolonged drought of two years -- very little rain falling in that time. The springs began to fail, the pasture suffered greatly, and they were compelled in the summer of 1848 to haul water a distance of two miles in order to keep the steam flour-mill running.
This year, 1848, Mr. Johnson decided to organize a classical department in connection with the school. In the conference minutes it is called the Western Academy. Rev. Nathan Scarrit, father-in-law of Bishop E. R. Hendrix, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, whose episcopal residence [is] in Kansas City, Mo., was selected to take charge of this new department, in which he served three years. Mrs. Hendrix was born at the Shawnee Mission. Mr. Scarritt says, in a manuscript left by him, that the school was then in a flourishing condition, and that the new department which he was called upon to take charge of proved a decided success. He says:
"A score or more of young gentlemen and young ladies from across the line, and some, indeed, from more distant parts of Missouri, were admitted to this department. This brought the whites and Indians into close competition in the race for knowledge, and I must say that those Indian scholars whose previous knowledge had been equal to their competitors were not a whit behind them in contest for the laurels of scholarship."
Doctor Scarritt attributed the success of the school chiefly to the wise, judicious and able management of the superintendent, Rev. Thomas Johnson. Doctor Scarritt spent a considerable part of his time in preaching among the different tribes, through interpreters. He became so interested in missionary work among the Indians that at the end of his three years' professorship he entered that work exclusively. This was in the fall of 1851, when he was appointed to take charge of three missions, the Shawnee, the Delaware and the Wyandotte, with Rev. Daniel D. Doffelmeyer and several native helpers as assistants. He says that the Indian converts were as a rule consistent in their Christian conduct, and that they would compare favorably in this particular with the whites. He says: "The older Christians among them especially would manifest, in their public exercises, their exhortations and prayers
a degree of earnestness, pathos and importunity that I have seldom witnessed elsewhere." Of the interpreters he says: "Charles Bluejacket was our interpreter among the Shawnees, Silas Armstrong among the Wyandottes, and James Ketchum among the Delawares. They were all remarkable men, all intelligent, all truly and deeply pious, yet each was unique in some prominent characteristic."
Charles Bluejacket was born in Michigan, on the river Huron, in 1816, and came with his tribe to Kansas when a boy. His grandfather, Weh-yah-pih-ehr-sehn-wah, or Bluejacket, was a famous war chief, and was in the battle in which General Harmar was defeated, in 1790. In the battle in which Gen. Anthony Wayne defeated the northwest confederacy of Indians, in 1794, Captain Bluejacket commanded the allied forces. According to Charles Bluejacket, his grandfather had been opposed to the war, which had for some time been waged against the whites, but was overruled by the other war-chief. After the defeat which rendered the cause of the Indians hopeless, Captain Bluejacket was the only chief who had courage to go to the camp of General Wayne and sue for peace. The battle was fought in 1794, and a permanent peace was made in 1795. Charles Bluejacket's ancestors were war-chiefs, but never village or civil chiefs, until after the removal of the tribe to the West. His father was probably the first civil chief of his family. When Charles was a child his parents moved to the Piqua Plains, Ohio. In 1832 they removed to their reservation near Kansas City, Kan. He was then a youth of sixteen years.
Charles inherited all the noble traits of character of his grandfather. He was licensed to preach in 1859 and continued till the time of his death. Rev. Joab Spencer, in a sketch of this famous Indian, says: "In 1858, when I made his acquaintance, he was forty-two years old and as noble a specimen of manhood as I ever saw. I lived in his family for two months, and saw him at close range. An intimate acquaintance of two years showed him in all walks of life to be a Christian gentleman of high order. In looking back over all these years, I can think of no one who, taken all in all, had more elements of true dignity and nobleness of character. He was my interpreter, and I never preached through a better. A favorite hymn of Bluejacket's, and the one which was largely instrumental in his conversion, was the familiar hymn of Isaac Watts:
"Following is the verse in the Shawnee language:
"No history of the Shawnee Mission would be complete that omitted the names of Bluejacket, Paschal Fish, Tooly, Black Hoff, Pumpkin, Silverheels and Capt. Joseph Parks. All the above were half, and in some cases more than half, white blood."
Bluejacket died October 29, 1897, at the town of Bluejacket, Indian Territory, whither he moved in 1871, from the effects of a cold contracted the preceding month, while searching for the Shawnee prophet's grave, in Wyandotte county, Kansas. He was married three times, and twenty-three children were born to him. Mr. Spencer officiated at the wedding of one of his daughters, who married J. Gore.
Rev. Joab Spencer, a missionary among the Shawnees from 1858 to 1860, gives some interesting features of the work, and says in regard to the results of our missionary labors among the Kansas tribes:
"Methodism did not accomplish much for any of the tribes except the Shawnees, Delawares and Wyandottes. The Indians made a treaty in 1854, taking part of their land in severalty and selling the balance to the Government. Each Indian received 200 acres, and $110 cash a year for a number of ten years. This gave the Indians a large sum and was the means of bringing among them a large number of base men, who sold them mean whisky and robbed them in many ways."
One very important official connected with the missions was the interpreter, as the preaching was mostly done through this medium. Rev. C. W. Love, M. D., who was a missionary for nearly three years among the Peoria, Pottawatomie and Kaw Indians, has left some brief reminiscences, which are interesting. Doctor Love emigrated to western Missouri from Tennessee in 1836, and died in Wesport, Mo., October 20, 1903, at the age of eighty-seven. In his reminiscences he says:
"I have preached through Capt. Joseph Parks, who was in command of a company of Shawnee Indians who fought for the Government against the Seminoles in the Florida war. Afterwards he was the principal chief of the Shawnee nation. I also preached through Henry Tiblow, who received his education at the Shawnee Mission school. He was employed by the Government as interpreter for the Shawnees and Delawares. I also preached through Bashman (Mackinaw Beauchmie), while I was with the Pottawatomies."
Capt. Joseph Parks was a half-breed, and a prominent character among the Shawnees. His wife was a Wyandotte. He owned slaves and had a well-improved farm, with an elegant, well-furnished brick house, and in the treaty was well provided for by the grant of lands immediately upon the Missouri State line. Captain Parks lived for many years, when young, in the home of Gen. Lewis Cass. After the Shawnees came to Kansas he went to Washington, where he spent many years as agent of his tribe, in order to recover the money taken from them as stated on page 78 of volume 8, Kansas Historical Collections. Parks told Rev. Joab Spencer that it was through family and the good reputation he sustained. He was, for many years, leader and head chief of his nation. He died April 4, 1859, and was buried from the old log meeting-house.
"Another prominent man of this tribe was Rev. Paschal Fish. He was a local preacher and his brother, Charles Fish, acted as interpreter. For a few years after the division Paschal Fish served appointments in the Shawnee and Kickapoo missions under the Church South -- then returned to the old church, remaining firm in his allegiance in spite of persecution. While fairly well educated, it appears that he was unable to write his name, as I have seen a document signed as follows:
Another interpreter connected with Shawnees Mission was Matthias Splitlog. He was a Cayuga-Seneca by descent, having been born in Canada in 1816. He married Eliza Carloe, a Wyandotte, and came west with the Wyandotte nation. He made his home in the Seneca country when the Wyandottes moved to the Indian Territory. Here he erected a fine church building. He died there in 1896. An interesting sketch of his life is found in Connelley's Provisional Government, p. 34.
During the year 1851 the Shawnee manual-labor school still continued to prosper. It suffered some little embarrassment from 1849 to 1851, by reason of the prevalence of cholera in the community.
(Report United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1851, pp. 87, 88.)
The report for the year 1854 shows that 105 children were in attendance, divided among the tribes as follows: Shawnees, 49; Delaware, 19; Wyandotte, 14; Ottawa, 23; but none from the Kickapoo, Kaw, Pottawatomie or Peoria tribes. The treaty was made this year and the manual feature closed. The shops were disposed of and disappeared. In 1858 a brick one was still standing, and used as a stable.
The report of 1855 shows that but two tribes besides the Shawnees sent children to the school, the Ottawas 22 and the Wyandottes 10.
Two Spanish boys, rescued from the Cheyennes by General Whitfield, were in attendance; also one small Sioux boy -- 122 in all. The report
indicated progress and notices a disposition among the Shawnees to improve and fit themselves to live among the white people.
Thomas Johnson's last report as superintendent of the institution is headed "Shawnee manual-labor school, Kansas, September 6, 1862," and is addresser (sic) to Maj. James B. Abbott. Indian agent. It contains the following information: During the past year, closing with the present month, fifty-two Shawnee children were in attendance -- twenty- six males and twenty-six females -- ages from seven to sixteen; taught ordinary English branches; health unusually good. The parents and guardians manifest interest in the children. The average attendance has been thirty. Among the names are those of William M. Whiteday, John Bigbone, Hiram Blackfish, Martha Prophet, William Prophet and Emma Chick (Emma Chick, Moon, daughter of William Chick, of Glen- wood, Kan.)
Major Abbot (sic) gives the following account of his visit to the school:
"I found the children tidy, well fed, and apparently well clothed. Their head teacher, Mr. Meek, appeared to possess their confidence and affection. They appeared happy and contented, took a deep interest in their studies, and will compare favorably with white scholars. This school is sustained entirely out of the Shawnee school fund."
The school was abandoned soon after, perhaps the following year.
Thus came to a close the most prominent Methodist mission in the territory of Kansas. The mission had a duration of about thirty-three years, a school being maintained during that period and the manual training school for a period of fifteen years. The Indian school at Lawrence, the magnificent Haskell Institute, is in its system of work and its various departments of manual training, very similar to the manual labor school established by Thomas Johnson at Shawnee Mission nearly half a century before.
This manual labor school is said to have been the initiation of the effort to teach the industrial pursuits to Indian children, which, being followed by other societies and the Government of the United States, today constitutes so prominent a feature in the work of Indian civilization. Finley with the Wyandottes and McCoy with the Pottawatomies had use[d] similar methods of instrustion.
It remains only to tell of the old mission as it stands today. The old building with the white posts, on the north side of the road, has been entirely remodeled inside, but the outward appearance of the place remains the same. In front of it is one of the most picturesque old-fashioned yards to be found in the State. The trees, and the shrubbery, and the shape of the yard, are all old-fashioned. Up from the gate to the wide porch that runs along the entire south side of the building
is a walk made of stone slabs. It is uneven still, though the thousands of feet that have trodden its stones have worn down its sharp points. Moccasined feet, and many feet shod with boots and shoes, and some unshod have passed over it in the sixty-seven years of its existence. The two large buildings on the south side are still standing. The plastering has fallen in spots from the ceilings and walls, disclosing the laths beneath. These laths were all hewn with hatchets and knives, from the forests. They were about twice the thickness of the modern lath, and far more substantial. The old spring is still there and flows with undiminished volume to this day. Fragments of the iron pipe which carried the water from this spring yet remain.
The mission cemetery is a place of interest. It stands on the top of the hill, a quarter of a mile southeast of the mission buildings. The place may be found by the clump of evergreens and other trees that mark it. It is enclosed by a stone wall which Joseph Wornal and Alex S. Johnson put up some years ago. To this place the body of Rev. Thomas Johnson was brought for burial, after his foul assassination by bushwhackers in 1865. His wife and a brother and seven of his children and some of his grandchildren are buried here. Outside the wall were other graves, some marked and some unmarked. Many of the stone and marble slabs have toppled over and are being buried underneath the soil. Among the graves outside the wall is that of Mrs. J. C. Berryman.
Among the graves, that of Rev. Thomas Johnson is the most conspicuous. It is marked by a marble shaft which was put up by his family shortly after the war, and which bears this inscription:
Among William E. Connelly's papers is a manuscript interview with E. F. Heisler, of Kansas City, Kan., in which the story of the assassination of Thomas Johnson is told as follows:
"It is the common belief that Reverend Johnson was slain in his house at the Shawnee Mission, in Johnson county, Kansas, and that his assassins were Kansas Red Legs. Mr. Heisler has gathered the proof that this belief is not in accord with facts, which are as follows: Johnson lived during the war in his house near Westport. It is now
in the corporate limits of Kansas City, Mo., and not far from the magnificent home of William R. Nelson, owner of the Kansas City 'Star.' He had a considerable sum of ready money which he kept loaned out to his neighbors. When one loan of $1,000 was about due, he went to the debtor and told him to have the money right on the day it was due, as he wished to use the money and must have it. The debtor had only $800, but told Johnson he would have the $1,000 the day it was due. He went about borrowing twenty-five dollars of one neighbor and fifty of another, always telling them he must have it to make up the $1,000 he had to pay Johnson on a certain day. He made the payment promptly and Johnson immediately gave it to another man to whom he had promised a loan. No person other than Johnson and the person to whom he turned over the $1,000 knew of this last transaction. The community supposed Mr. Johnson had the money in the house. That night about 11 o'clock he was called up by a 'hello !' Going to the door he saw a group of horsemen in front of the house. They said they wanted a drink of water. Johnson told them to go back to the kitchen, by the side of which they would find a well, and that a cup was hanging on a nail there, that they were welcome to help themselves. This did not satisfy them. They said they were cold and wanted to come in the house and get warm. Johnson told them that the household had been in bed some time, and the house was cold, and that he did not wish to make a fire and disturb all the family. He then closed the door when the ruffians began to shoot. The bullets went through the door and one of them penetrated the abdomen of Mr. Johnson, who died in a few minutes. Johnson's son, William, was at home. Looking from the window of an upper story he saw the horsemen and noted a white or gray horse. The family called out that Johnson was killed and William fired on the murderers from the upper story window. He heard one of the men say 'he believed that Bill was home and they had not better go in as they probably would not get the money anyway.' The assassins then rode away. Someone had complained of William Johnson and he was under orders from Major Ransom, Sixth Calvalry, to remain at home until a certain day, when his matter would be inquired into. He went to Major Ransom on the day following the murder and requested a body of soldiers, and leave to go with them in search of the assasins. His request was granted, and he was directed to be back on a certain day to have his matter disposed of, which he agreed to do. Young Johnson had some idea who the murderers were. The soldiers went with him to the neigborhood of where the man lived who had made the payment of $1,000. There Johnson saw a white horse in a field that reminded him of the one he had noticed in front of the house the night of the murder. They went to the man having it in charge. He told a crooked story of his possession of the horse. One of the soldiers drew his pistol
and said to him: 'Tell us the truth; tell us all about this matter; tell us now. If you refuse I will kill you. If you fail to tell the truth I will kill you when I return.' The man then said that the horse had been left there by a certain man he named; that there were with him certain other persons, whom he named; that the horse gave out and could go no farther; that they left it there and took one of his; that they made it plain that they would kill him if he made these things known. They also had told him where they had been and what they had done, saying that if it became known that they had done this deed it would be by his telling it and he would be killed. With this information the Soldiers went in pursuit of the assassins. All of them were killed except one. They had to return to Johnson's trial before the last one was found. They were citizens of Jackson County, Missouri, and some of them were Quantrell's men. The whole matter was planned to get that $1,000. William Johnson told these facts to Heisler. There can be no reasonable doubt of their accuracy."
Col. Alexander Soule Johnson was born at the old Shawnee Mission, in Wyandotte county, Kansas, July 11, 1832. When twenty years of age he was married to Miss Prudence C. Funk, of St. Joseph, Mo. Two boys and two girls were born of the marriage, all of whom are dead except Mrs. Charles E. Fargo, of Dallas, Texas. Col. Johnson made his home in Johnson county till 1870, when he moved to Topeka. His wife died in 1874, and in 1877 he married Miss Zippie A. Scott, of Manchester, N. H. Colonel Johnson was a member of the lower house of the first Territorial Legislature, when his father was president of the council. Colonel Johnson was the youngest member, being but twenty-three years old.
Alexander S. Johnson was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Thirteenth infantry, Kansas State militia, October 13, 1863, and served in the Price raid, in October, 1864. He organized Company D, Thirteenth Kansas State militia, at Eastport, Johnson county, September 19, 1863, of which he was captain. See Adjutant-general's report, 1864, 1st pt., pp. 103, 104
In 1866-67 Colonel Johnson served in the State legislature as a member from Johnson county. In 1867 he was appointed land commissioner of the Fort Scott & Gulf railroad. He remained in that position till the spring of 1870. He entered the land department of the Santa Fe railroad in 1874. In 1890 he resigned his position and retired from active business. He died at Dallas, Texas, December 4, 1904. His remains were brought to Topeka.
William Johnson, of Shawnee Mission, is one of the historians of Kansas. Born in the old mission in 1845, he knows every building, room, door, window ,tree, shrub, road, hill, rock, spring, stream about the grounds of what was once the greatest Indian school in the United States. He loves to tell of them and never tires of giving the history of each.
Mr. Johnson's father, Rev. Thomas Johnson, born in 1802, came here in 1829, under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal church, and established a mission six miles west of Westport. This mission was founded and conducted on a small scale and was solely for the benefit of the Shawnees. In 1839 the church removed the mission to a point two miles southwest of Westport, where a grant of 2,240 acres of land was secured, and a manual-labor school opened. Says Mr. Johnson, as he spoke of this school, "They think they are advancing in school work and getting new things at the present time, where they have manual labor introduced, but my father over eighty years ago developed the system that is now being used in all the up-to-date schools." The pupils that came were instructed in farming, carpentering, blacksmithing, shoemaking, milling, wagonmaking, etc., and the girls in housekeeping, weaving, spinning and sewing. The boys' and girls' schools were in separate rooms. The school building proper was 35 X 120 feet. The first and second story was used for chapel, dormitories, and school rooms, and in 1855 the Territorial legislature met there and the State printing office was in the building. The Indian boys slept in the attic, one room running the full length of the building, with a row of beds on each side and an aisle between. The beds were of the type found in the homes of the early pioneers, with bed cords to support the bedding, the greatest objection being the sagging in the middle, and the noisy creaking at each move of the occupants. Two windows in each of the gables furnished the ventilation.
Meetings were held in the chapel room every Sunday, at which time was placed in front of the pulpit, a big black collection box with a slot in large enough to permit the dropping in of a silver dollar. When that good old song, "From Greenland's Icy Mountains," was started, the audience rose and filed by the box dropping in the contributions. "And even in those days," said Mr. Johnson, "some of those Indians would drop in buttons by mistake. I never knew why this particular song was always sung at collections, but it was always used then."
The laying out of the farm of 2,240 acres shows a master mind. In a short time 1,000 acres were under cultivation. The only whites permitted to live on the reservation were the families connected with the mission and men needed in farm and shop operations. Of these some later married Indian wives and were adopted in to the tribe
and allowed all the privileges as Shawnees. Among these were Samuel Conatzer, Perk Randall, John Bowles, Isaac Parish, Samuel Garett and John Owens, and the two Choteau brothers.
Work was begun in February, 1839. At this time 400 acres of land were fenced, twelve acres of which were planted in apples trees, it being the first orchard set out in Kansas, and 176 acres planted to corn. Over 40,000 rails were made by the Indians in a short time; about forty hands were employed and the buildings were soon under way. The brick was burned on the farm a short distance south of the school, and a saw and grist mill were erected also. Mr. Johnson says every bit of the lumber entering into the construction of the sixteen buildings that were put up here was sawed at this mill. The capacity of the grist mill was 300 bushels per day. The mill was run by steam and the sawing done with an upright saw. The school building and office and boarding house were all commended at the same time. The latter stands west of the school building and is a brick, 30 X 120 feet, with a thirty-foot L. It had accommodations for from 200 to 300 people. These two buildings are about 100 yards apart and stand just south of the old California road. There is a fine spring between them, which is enclosed by a stone wall. A frame store room, 20 X 60 feet, was northwest of the boarding room, a spring house 12 X 12 feet, of bricks, was west of the boarding house, and a frame carpenter shop 16 X 20 feet, was southwest of the spring house. The steam saw and grist mill, built in the shape of a T, 60 X 24 feet, stood directly south of the boarding house. The wash house was built of logs and frame, 40 X 40 feet, and stood southeast of the boarding house, and east of that was a log smoke house, 24 X 36 feet. Three hundred hogs, averaging 300 pounds each were often killed here in one season. Directly south of the chapel was the 18 X 20 foot blacksmith shop, and east and south of this was the wagon shop, 28 X 36 feet. A log cabin northwest of the blacksmith shop completes the buildings south of the California road.
North of the California road was the female ward, superintendent's office and dormitory. This building was at first 35 X 135 feet, but a portion of the east end was removed. and the building is now about 100 feet long. It is a brick building and when Shawnee Mission was the capital several officers made their homes here; among them were Territorial Governors Reeder and Shannon, Secretary of the Territory Woodson, and Attorney-General Isaacs.
While Mr. Johnson was showing me the grounds I asked him about an old stone house that had attracted my attention. "That is of no historic importance, as it has only been here since 1857," he said. The building was erected by an Irishman and used for a smoke house. The sitting room in the dormitory took just 100 yards of yard-wide carpet to cover the floor. The rooms were so arranged that a person in the east room could see the fireplace at the west end of the building.
The wages paid by Mr. Johnson to carpenters for services was fifty cents per day, and he had no trouble in getting plenty of help. A visitor at the present time will notice some modern windows in the buildings, but the size originally used was all 8 X 10 glass. The floors were oak, as were the sills and some of the window casings. The baseboards were of black walnut. The oak floors were tongued and grooved by hand and the laths were all made by hand, "rived out," as Mr. Johnson puts it. A carpenter with as many large buildings to erect as Mr. Johnson, Sr., had, and who would have to "rive out" all the laths for them, would have heart failure in these days.
In 1854, Mr. Johnson, when only nine years old, dined with an Irish nobleman, Lord George Gore, when he camped one and one-half miles west of the mission. The nobleman was over in this country on a buffalo hunt. "Speaking of 'Teddy Roosevelt,' said Mr. Johnson, "I'll bet that when he started to Africa he had no finer equipment than Lord George Gore. His camping outfit was something to behold. He had some forty or fifty men with him and twenty-five or thirty kinds of guns. Guns for any kind of game that flew in the air or ran on the earth." He invited Mr. Johnson's father to breakfast with him, but his father not being able to go, he then said, "Let the boy go." And so William went. William, even at the age of nine, was some hunter, and he had been out with the men on buffalo hunts and Lord George Gore took an interest in him. "There were just the two of us at the table and a flunkey a piece to wait on us, and they did it in great style, even in a tent. I had my appetite along with me too. It was my first introduction to style and I enjoyed it immensely."
One day one of the teachers in the mission school asked Mr. Johnson if he would not take charge of her room for a couple of weeks. He was not anxious for the job, but as teachers were hard to get he told her he would try it. No Indian language was to be used in the school, but the pupils in the room Mr. Johnson had charge of all knew him and that he talked the Indian language. The first half of the day not one of the bunch would talk English. At noon Mr. Johnson went out in the orchard where a fine bunch of sprouts grew and cut a bundle of them which he took to the school room when the afternoon session began. The pupils started in with this Indian jargon as before, and then Mr. Johnson got busy and one after another was introduced to the sprouts. After that afternoon it was surprising with what fluency those Indians could talk English.
The first Baptist Mission was established in 1831, through the efforts and influence of the Rev. Isaac McCoy. Dr. Johnson Lykins and wife were appointed by the Baptist Missionary Convention
[as] teachers and missionaries to the Shawnees, and arrived at their post in 1831. No appropriation having been made by the Baptist Board of Missions for the erection of buildings, Mr. Lykins purchased a small tract of United States land on the Missouri State line, built a small log house at his own expense and commenced his labors, serving not only as minister and teacher, but physician as well. In April, 1832, an appropriation was made and the necessary buildings erected.
Rev. and Mrs. Simerwell, Rev. and Mrs. Jotham Meeker, and Rev. and Mrs. Moses Merril, all arrived during the fall of 1833, and had temporary quarters at the mission. In the same year Dr. Lykins by authority of Hon. Lewis Cass, secretary of war, was appointed by the board general superintendent of Baptist affairs in the Indian Territory, and the charge of the mission fell into the hands of Mr. Meeker. The church numbered at this time sixteen members, regular meetings being held at the mission house and occassional ones at the homes of the Indians. A school was also in operation. Mr. Meeker brought with him to the mission a small printing press and types, which was put in operation during the years 1833-34 and by the tenth day of May, 1834, two books had been printed, according to a system of phonography invented by Mr. Meeker, and several adults as well as children had learned to read and write.
In the spring of 1839, Rev. Francis Barker was appointed missionary to the Shawnees and removed to the mission. October 23, he was married to Miss Churchill, a missionary at the same post, and under their efficient management the school which had been temporarily abandoned was revived. In 1848, comfortable buildings were erected, mission buildings and a pretty little frame church near the old Sante Fe highway. The mission was in successful operation until the latter part of 1855, Dr. Barker being its faithful minister, teacher and physician for over sixteen years.
The Quaker Mission, established in 1834, was located one-half mile east and one-fourth mile south of Merriam, is a building 30 X 60, three stories including a stone basement above ground built in 1837 to 1840.
The lumber was sawed at a mill on the Kaw river. The foundation sills are 10 X 10 of hewed oak, siding all walnut, the studding 2 X 4 oak; the rafter poles faced on one side and hewed out by hand and the roof has not sagged at this date, 1915. The doors are 3 X 6 feet, made of walnut. The original flues are still in use. A Mr, Worthington lives in the mission now. The windows are of 8 X 10 glass, twelve lights to a window, the floors of sawed oak are still in use. This building was the home of Dr. C. H. Loomis, four and one-half years, his father moving the present home of Dr. Loomis, facing the Merriam road, formerly called the Beatty road.
The Friends Mission was established in the summer of 1834. A family was sent out by the society to superintend it, a teacher procured, and a school organized, which was kept in successful operation many years. In the spring of 1840, Henry Harvey took charge of the mission and remained two years, the school, when he left, numbering forty children. The mission was supported by the Society of Friends, in Indiana and Ohio. A large frame house with barn and out buildings constituted the mission property.
Mr. Mendenhall was the teacher at this mission six years. The Hadleys, Jeremiah and his two sons, and Mr. and Mrs. Thayer, with their two daughters, were also faithful and efficient workers, teachers and superintendents.
The school was discontinued about the time of the opening of the war. The mission received no aid from the Government.
"In 1825 a treaty was executed with the Missouri Shawnees, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, by which they were to remove west of the state of Missouri. There were 800 of this band. The treaty permitted the Shawnees from Ohio to join them, if they so desired. Of these, under the treaties of 1830, 700 came, making about 1,500 in all. They came in 1832.
"These Indians had already been under instruction at Waupauganetta, Ohio, with missionaries. Some of them were devout Christians and brought with them a desire for still better things.
"In 1830, the Rev. Joab Spencer says, was the first movement to establish a Methodist mission among the Western Shawnees. The Indian Agent, George Vashan, wrote Rev. Jesse Green, the Presiding Elder of the Missouri district, adjoining the then reservation on the west, urging him to establish a Methodist Mission among the Shawnees. At the session of the Missouri Conference, at St. Louis, in September 1830, this request was presented, a Missionary Society was established, and Rev. Thomas Johnson was appointed missionary to the Shawnees. This would appear to be before they came to this point.
"The first mission school was located about 7 miles west of Kansas City. E. F. Heisler, one of the best authorities we have on the early history of the Shawnees, and editor of the "Kansas City Sun," locates this in section 24, town 11, range 24, in Wyandotte county, and calls it Rev. Thomas Johnson's first mission. But he does not give the exact date of its foundation. It must have been in the early thirties, however, as we find this mission removed to its permanent site, three miles south of Westport, in 1839, where the substantial brick buildings still standing,
were erected. They are said to have cost $70,000, of which the Government paid $10,000.
"The next missionary school to be established in this vicinity was the Baptist Shawnee Mission. This opened in 1832, and was situated on the Northeast quarter of section 5, township 12, range 24, in this county, near alaur, on the Strang Line.
"Two years after this, and in 1834, the Yearly Meeting of the Friends Church of Indiana, opened a school on what is known as the Loomis place, in section 7, township 12, range 24, in this county. The building was a large two story structure, still standing back in the field to the right, as one goes east from Merriam. The remnants of what is supposed to be an old Indian orchard is to be seen. One of the apple trees is said to measure more than 11 feet in circumference. Mr. Joseph Chick, who lived there in the 70's, stated that he once gathered 60 bushels of apples from it. To the west of this old orchard is an old cemetery, overrun with briars and thorns: To look over the dilapidated tombstones affords serious reflection to a thinking mind. What self-sacrifice, what devotion to the cause of God, are there epitomized in the few marble cut letters which record the names and a few of the data of the lives of these heroes, as much to be honored as those who died on the field of battle.
"Among the men in charge of this mission was Jeremiah Hadley, the father of that splendid citizen, Major J. M. Hadley, who lately closed a prominent and usful life at De Soto, Kan., and the grandfather of ex- Governor Hadley, of Missouri.
"In 1840, a log church was erected on the hill just at the entrance of Shawne (sic) village from the east. This stood until 1858, when it was torn away and a brick church erected in its place. Chief Joseph Parks, Thomas Johnson and Charles Bluejacket were the building committee. The old church was sometimes used for a council house by the Shawnees, although their regular council house was at Chillicothe, three and one- half miles west of Shawnee, on what is known as the Adam Renner farm. In this old log church, according to the statement of J. H. Blake, then County Clerk, were opened the first County offices of this county, on September 7, 1857. The place was then called Gum Springs. The first pastor of that old log church was L. B. Stateler, a young Kentuckian, who had been a missionary before coming to this church in 1840. He remained here until 1844.
"It will be remembered that the question of slavery caused a split in the Methodist church in 1845. The Shawnee Mission fell to the Methodist church South. So that it follows that the Quarterly Conference Minutes held at the Delaware camp ground, July 1838, was the old united church. Thomas Johnson, E. T. Peery, J. C. Berryman, N. M. Talbot and William Johnson, missionaries, were present. D. G. Gregory and N. T. Shalor, local preachers; William Rogers and Henry Rogers and
other names of well known Shawnees, class leaders and stewards, were there. At this meeting is an entry relating to the building of the new fine buildings at Shawnee Mission.
"These minutes were examined by me some years ago, and the memoranda from them printed in our local papers. They were obtained from Samuel Cornatzer, then living in the territory, but formerly a resident of this vicinity. His home here was what is now a part of the magnificent home of Remi Caenen, just west of town.
"From the same source many things of interest were gathered.
"The meeting of March 11, 1842, held at the Manual Labor School (Shawnee Mission) it is recorded that many unworthy persons came to partake of the communion, and the following resolution was adopted: That in the future no person shall be admitted to the communion of the Lord's Supper among us with out previous examination and a ticket." It was decided at that meeting to hold but one general camp-meeting, and to build a shed at Shawnee for that purpose.
"In November of that year the above minutes show that the question of Indian marriage came up for discussion, and the members of the church were recommended to adopt the Christian method of marriage. Beginning in January, 1843, a long list of weddings is noted in the back part of the book. Among those married later are the names of Jonathan Gore and Sally Bluejacket, the former a white man and our first County Attorney, and the latter the beautiful daughter of Charles Bluejacket.
"The brick church above mentioned was built upon a lot purchased for the purpose and not upon the site of the old log church of 1840, but south of the old Peter Wertz store.
Nathan Scaritt is first mentioned in 1848 when he was the secretary of the quarterly conference. He was connected with this Shawnee work until 1860. Among other notable Christian work which he did, we find the building of what was known as Scaritts chapel, on the south bank of Indian creek in section 13, township 13, range 24, or in section 18, township 13, range 25. The site of it is well known.
"Charles Bluejacket is named in 1849, as a class leader, and was licensed to preach in 1859.
"Another name many of us will recognize is that of Charles Poles, who came as a missionary in 1852, and died not many years since, in this county. His daughter still resides north of Stanley.
"Firewater was then, as always, an enemy of the church. One of her best men, Eli Blackhoof, was charged by the preacher in charge, Joab Spencer, with being drunk from the first of March until the first of August, with singing those songs that were not for the glory of God and with dancing. The delinquent did not appear at the conference for trial and the charges were probably dropped as nothing is shown later.
"Not all the Shawnees were
victims of the drink habit, however. Eli's father, the elder
Blackhoof, a prominent chief at the time of the immigration to
this country, in 1832, was an ardent temperance man, the first
Prohibitionist of Kansas. His wife, Na-nag-si, was a most excellent
woman, educated in the schools of Ohio, a devout Christian and
beloved by all. Her name is carried down in that of our neighboring
city of Lenexa, easily the product of the name in the liquid
pronunciation of the Shawnee language."