"WENT TO KANSAS" by Miriam D. Colt



       The many applications from all parts of the continent, and from Europe, which we are continually receiving relative to the character and operations of this Company, render it imperative that we furnish facts in a form which, we trust, will be easily understood and appreciated. This still be regarded as a reply to the general inquiries made on the subject


       The Octagon plan of settlement was originated by HENRY S. CLUBB, of New York City, in 1855. It was first adopted by the Vegetarian Settlement Company, which has made rapid and unexpected progress, having already a sufficient number of members to commence a CITY containing an area of sixteen square miles, a site for which has been selected on the banks of the Neosho River, Kansas Territory. The capital of this Company in February, 1856, amounted to over $33,000, and the private capital of members to over $100,000.

       The Octagon Settlement Company is the second to adopt the Octagon plan, and although it commenced subscription to stock only in February, 1856, by the end of that month it numbered sufficient members to start one Octagon village of four miles square of area, and its shareholders are daily increasing, so that it is probable that before the end of the winter sufficient members will be secured to form a city of equal size to that of the Vegetarian Company.


       The site selected for the Vegetarian City, is on the Neosho River, between latitude 38, and the boundary line of the Osage Indian, lands, and between 18 and 19 longitude west from Washington. It is on the opposite side of the river to the settlement of the Octagon Settlement Company. The river at this part is very rapid, and for ten months in the year the water is sufficiently abundant to make it serviceable for mill-power. It is free from any bad taste, and is very soft. There is a sufficient amount of timber to serve the purposes of settlers until additional timber can be grown. Coal, Limestone, and Sandstone, suitable for grindstones, &c., and abundant springs of pure water, are interspersed throughout a fine rolling prairie, and the land comprises excellent vegetable mould, loam, &c., to a great depth, with a gravelly, and in some instances, rocky substratum. The limestone is well adapted for building, being at first easily cut, and becoming very hard by exposure. It will be seen by reference to the map of American Railway Guide, that a Pacific Railroad is projected, which will cross the Neosho River a little below the spot above indicated. The scenery is very beautiful, and the surface undulating, like the waves of the ocean subsiding after a storm. The banks of the river are from fifteen to thirty feet high, and there are several perennial streams adapted for water-power, emptying themselves into the river near this site.

       In a work entitled Kansas and Nebraska, by JOSEPH H. MOFFETTE, late of Governor Stevens’ Overland Expedition, we find the following description of the Neosho River:

       "The Neosho River rises in about latitude 38 deg. 30 min., and flows about 150 miles through a highly productive, beautiful, and well-timbered country. Its direction is about southeast to the State line of Missouri, the bluffs, as you approach which, become more elevated and picturesque; it has a bold, rapid current, over a rocky bottom, and upon its tributaries (which are numerous) water-power to any extent may be obtained. The wild pea grows spontaneously in its valley, and upon one of its tributaries an immense deposit of lead has been discovered. The mine is now being worked successfully; the ore is shipped in flat-boats down the Neosho and Arkansas rivers to Fort Smith."

       The following account of this river, from recent explorations, will be found interesting: 'Near the southeast corner of the territory, the Neosho (clear or pure) River, descending from the southwest, passes out of the territory on its southern line. The Neosho is a bold, rapid, rocky stream, water clear, unfit for navigation, but affording admirable water-power. The bottom lands along its tributaries are of the finest description, and covered with excellent timber, and in much greater quantities than in the Kansas Valley. The bottom lands on the lower part of the Neosho yield enormous crops of corn, and every production common to the latitude of 37, and have been known on rare occasions to produce two full crops of corn within the year. [Vide Report of Union Mission.] The uplands in this valley are generally of a lighter character, and well adapted to the growth of the smaller grains. Lead ore and stone coal are found upon its tributaries, and the springs and streams are pure and lasting. Council Grove is located upon the main branch of this river, only a few miles from Kansas river. Emigrants desiring to explore or settle in this valley, should pursue the Santa Fe road to Council Grove, and there ascend or descend the valley as they may choose. With the surpassing, beauty of scenery, broad and fertile bottom lands, beautiful timber perennial springs, mild and pleasant climate of this valley, they cannot fail to be pleased. As a stock-grazing country this is among the most desirable parts of the territory.’"

       In MAX GREENE’S Kanzas Region, the following description appears:

        Throughout the Osage country there are scenes of romantic loveliness; and some even bordering on the picturesque. In tranquil summer-time, it has the plain yet dreamy beauty of the Flemish landscape. Over all, a Sabbath serenity is diffused; and grassy knoll and leafy wood are embathed in a soft and subdued lustre, which is indescribably soothing, and inspires holiest impulses. Remembrances come to me now, of one full August of soul-felt enjoyment, because it was a life so novel and so free, every evening of which my blanket was spread upon one or the other of its tufted hill-tops. Then, goldenly, the sun would go down, and crimson bannerets of clouds would follow in his royal wake. The tall grass would wave beneath the zephyr stealing up like a pet bird of stillest wing, from the twilight reaches of the dell beneath."

       Such are the descriptions given of the country in which this City is situated, by men who could have no interest in a Company which has been originated since these extracts were written. The location of an enterprising company in such a locality, cannot fail to produce a successful settlement. A Hydropathic Establishment, an Agricultural College, a Scientific Institute, a Museum of Curiosities and Mechanic Arts, and Common Schools, will be among the first Institutions of the new settlement. The manufacture of lumber, agricultural implements and machinery, portable houses for new settlers, the preparation of provisions for market, woollen goods, &c., will be among the first manufacturing operations; while the development of the natural resources of the country, its mineral wealth, and its vast agricultural riches, will constitute the main occupation of the settlers. No one who examines the description of the country above given, and then the list of persons with their trades and occupations can fail to see that the prospects of forming a city of considerable wealth and importance are very good, and consequently, as every shareholder participates in the profits produced by the rise in the value of property, every shareholder may reasonably anticipate a handsome return for capital and labor invested.


Represents the disposition of four square miles of land.

                                   AREA OF PLAN.                                                        ACRES
16 farms, 102 acres each,  -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -      -       1632
16 equal triangular divisions of central octagon, to be held in common,
       13 acres to each,        -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -        208
4 corners, to be held in common, 146 acres each, or 36
       acres to each farm,     -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -        584
8 roads, 85 chains long, 10 square chains to the acre,   -       -       -       -        136
160 acres, located by each one of the 16 persons,          -       -       -       -    2560

       In the farm here contemplated, the advantages to new settlers would be as follows:

       1.   Every settler would live in a village, and at the same time be in the best possible situation on his farm -- between pasture land in front, and arable land in the rear of his dwelling,

       2.   Every settler would enjoy the mutual aid and protection of the other settlers, affording the best opportunity for co-operation in store, implements, teams, machinery and sales.

       3.   Educational advantages could be secured to children, the school-house in the centre, being within a quarter of a mile of all the farm-houses. The situation of the school-house is peculiarly healthy, with plenty of space for play grounds, and pure air around the building.

       4.   The intellectual advantages to settlers are worthy of consideration, as by assembling together frequently in the central building, for the discussion of agricultural, physiological, mechanical, and other sciences, politics, theology, and morals, the greatest amount of intelligence will be kept active, and the dullness and monotony, often incident to country life, avoided.

       5.   The social habits of improvement occasioned by such proximity, must be evident. In isolation, men become indifferent to the refinements of civilized society, and sometimes sink into barbarism; but living in proximity in this way, will cause emulation to excel in the arts of domestic and social life, and in the elevating influences of mental and moral cultivation.

       6.   The pecuniary advantages of this plan arise from the fact that the formation of a village always increases the value of the land all around. Now, these first sixteen settlers, if they erected their houses in various points of the territory, or even in various parts of these four section of land, without any regard to plan, could only raise the value to that of farm land, but by settling in this form, the idea of a village or town is immediately suggested. Land which can be obtained at $1,25 per acre, as soon as settled on this plan, becomes eligible for a town site, and those of the settlers who choose, may dispose of portions of their land for building purposes. Five dollars per acre could be obtained from the very first commencement of such a village, and it would be cheap at that price.

       To show the plan of dividing the farms, so as to give an idea of how all the farms may ultimately become settled as for town or city wards, one farm is divided into eight squares or blocks, forming also eight streets, from one avenue to the other. These squares, although varying in size, will probably be of about an equal value, owing to their proximity to the centre decreasing with their increase in size. As shown by the farm plan, each of these squares is divisible into twenty lots, which vary from 90 feet square and 70 feet wide by 150 deep, to about an acre and a half, the principle of increase in size as equivalent to increase of distance from the centre being observed throughout.

       7.   The plan contemplated by the company embraces an area of four of these octagon villages, forming a city of sixteen square miles, with a square in the centre of 584 acres, to be appropriated to an agricultural college and model-farm, to be cultivated by the students, who will pay for their education by their labor. Large plans of the city from actual surveys, will be published in the ensuing season 1856, and can be had on application to the agents, or officers of the company.

       In connection with this plan of settlement, a plan of co-operation has been established, which secures the following advantages:

       1.   By the payment of $1 as entrance fee, and 10 cents instalment on each $5 share, not less than 20 nor more than 240 shares, each member becomes entitled to as many city lots as he takes shares in the company, and can take possession of them as soon after the payment of such instalment as he may think proper.

       2.   The industrious man or woman, who has no more money than the amount of the first payment and cost of reaching the settlement, may pay all further assessments on shares by their labor for the Company, at fair remunerative wages.

       3.   The land will cost, to each settler, only the Government price of $1 25 per acre, which will be paid to Government by the Company, or City Corporation. All the money subscribed above that amount, being $3 75 per share or per acre, (if the full $5 per share should ever be required,) would be used by the Company for provisions, the construction of streets, public schools, mills, stores, &c.; and whatever profits might arise from the working of mills, or the sale of provisions, will be equally divided between the shareholders, according to the number of shares held by each; so that every shareholder will enjoy equally the benefit of improvements effected.

       4.   Every shareholder, by the aid of co-operation, will be enabled to commence operations on his farm on the best plans, because the Company will secure the implements, teams, etc., which persons without capital could not obtain, especially in isolated positions. The advantages of farming with proper facilities, and without them, make all the difference between success and failure.

       5.   Every shareholder possesses, in his own right and title, the land included in his or her lots corresponding to his or her shares. All premiums paid for preference in selection of lots will, according to Art. IX. of Constitution, go into the common fund, and diminish the assessments required for carrying on the operations of the Company; so that persons who have no preference in choice receive the benefit of the payments of those who have the preference, by being relieved of payments in the form of assessment.

       6.   Every member will be secure against the impositions of speculators, as the provisions of the Company will be sold at prices agreed upon by members, or subject to their control.

       7.   Every member will reap the full reward of his or her own industry, and will not be subjected to lose by the indolence or indifference of other members the co-operative principle being adopted so far as to promote, and not to supersede, individual enterprise, and officers being subject to the election of its members.

       8.   The settlement will be free from the evils of intemperance, flesh-eating, &c., as every member of the Company agrees to abstain from intoxicating liquors and the flesh of animals, during his or her residence in the settlement. The Octagon Settlement Company adopts merely the Temperance principle.

       9.   The co-operation of members will be directed to aiding each other in manufacturing, mining, and agricultural enterprises.

     10.   The issue of scrip, exchangeable, under certain regulations, for lumber, provisions, dry goods, &c., with the Company, will form a medium of exchange which will greatly facilitate all the dealings of members with each other and the Company.

       We have thus endeavored to demonstrate the several features of this enterprise. We have shown, first, the advantages of the location selected; secondly, the peculiar benefits of the octagon plan of settlement; and, thirdly, the advantages of the system of co-operation adopted by the Company. To these may be added the political and patriotic motive, which should be sufficient to induce every friend of freedom and humanity to aid in this effort to establish free and civilizing institutions in one of the fairest and most fertile regions of the globe.


The first settlers proceed—
From St. Louis to Batesville, Mo., (steamer) --------------------------------  300
     "   Batesville to Fort Scott, (teams)---------------------------------------    20
     "   Fort Scott to the settlement, (teams)-----------------------------------    30

The Steamer leaves St. Louis for this route on 2d of April, 1856.

       Persons arriving in St. Louis too late for the steamer, will inquire of Mr. SLATER, 19 Levee.

       Those who wish to join the next party, will apply to the agents of the Company.

       1.   Every member to bring along as little baggage as possible, especially if the distance by railroad be great, as the cost of freight is greater in such cases than the value of the articles. Freight from New York to St. Louis, is from $1 75 to $3 00 per 100 lbs. St. Louis is the place to make purchases.

       2.   Any member who is referred to another member to correspond with such member previous to starting, stating the precise time he or she will start, &c.

       3.   Persons living in the Eastern States, coming after the Ohio river is open for navigation (which may be the middle of March,) can correspond with WALTER & CAMPBELL, Room 24, No. 229 Broadway, New York city, as to whether any cheaper fares than those indicated [see ADAMS] have been secured. Enclose stamps for reply when by letter. Persons passing through New York City can call on Messrs. W. & C., and they will afford them polite attention and give information.

       4.   Each member to start as nearly as possible according to the following arrangement:

[The following are the names of those who went to Kansas. Many others went whose names are not noted:]

ADAMS, James, Rahway, N. J., Blacksmith, wife and one son. To leave New York City, Wednesday, March 12th, at 6 p. m. When in St. Louis, inquire of Mr. B. SLATER, 19 Levee, for the Secretary.

ADAMS, Archibald, Rushford, N. Y.

BAGNALL, Thomas, Mercer, Pa Farmer, wife and three children. To come either by teams and caravan to St. Louis, or via Ohio and Penn. R.R., from Pittsburgh. See ADAMS.

BARKER, Anna M., New York City, Widow. See ADAMS.

BLACKBURN, D. F., Hampshire, Tenn., Printer, wife and three children. By team via Springfield, Missouri, to Fort Scott.

BROADBENT, .John, Bluff City Mills, Memphis, Tenn., two sons, Woolen Manufacturer. See BLACKBURN.

BUXTON, Josiah, Pontiac, Oakland Co., Mich., Farmer. To start with SAMUEL STEWART'S party, Lafayette. Via Michigan City. See STEWART, Samuel.

CLUBB, Henry S., N. Y. City, Secretary, Journalist, wife. To start Saturday, March 8th, via Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, where he will stay two days, then to St. Louis, where he will stay probably ten days, Address at St. Louis, care of B. SLATER, 19 Levee. After April 2nd, Fort Scott, K. T.

COLT, Wm. H., Hopkinton, N. Y. Farmer, wife and two children. To St. Louis, by March 25. See SOBER.

COSGROVE. John, West Point, N. Y., Gardener. See ADAMS.

DAVIS, David, Pittsburgh, Merchant. See ADAMS for routes, and start via Ohio River.

HARDING. Wm. B., 122 W. 34th Street, N. Y. City, wife, Builder. See ADAMS.

HERRIMAN, Angus A., Greenbush, Wis., wife, Farmer. See SMITH, J. H.

HOBBS, Geo., Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Nurseryman, wife and brother-in-law. To come via Indianapolis. See ADAMS and CLUBB.

LAYARD, J. C., Mitchell's Map Office, cor. 5th and Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Merchant. See ADAMS.

McLAURIN, John, Treasurer, Water Cure Physician. See CLUBB.

ROOT, George H. Boonton, N. Y., Farmer. See ADAMS.

SOBER, Albert J., Salem, Washtenaw Co., Mich., Farmer, 1 brother. See BUXTON and SMITH, J. H.

SOMERVILLE, Wm. Lonsdale, R. I., Weaver, wife and daughter. Ohio River from Pittsburgh. See ADAMS, Jas.

STEWART, Samuel, Lafayette, Ind., Farmer. To form a party about March 1st, and come by teams and wagons to St. Louis. See CLUBB.

STEWART, Watson, Lafayette, Ind., Stonecutter, wife, mother-in-law, and two children. To come via St. Louis. See CLUBB.

VOORHEES, Henry, Pontiac, Mich., W., Farmer. See BUXTON.

WHEELER, Lyman, Oxford, Butler Co. Ohio, Farmer. See CLUBB and ADAMS.

YOUNG, Stephen, Poplar Ridge, wife and child, Cabinetmaker. Via Cincinnati. See CLUBB.

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