How Well Do You Know
Kansas History?


1.    If, in 1877, someone offered you an Eagle, would you take it -- and why?

ANSWER: If you were smart, you'd take it -- an Eagle was a ten-dollar gold coin. That was a tidy sum in 1877! ~ From Eberly's List of Unit Measures.

2.    Railroads had a profound affect on Kansas history, not the least of which was the ability to rapidly transport freight. What food, today considered a delicacy, was easily obtained in Kansas years ago?

ANSWER: Oysters! They were so plentiful that even up through the 1930's, they were considered a food for poor people. In Kansas, oyster stew and stuffing were often Christmas staples. ~ From "Oysters in Kansas" by Lynn Nelson.

3.    Several Kansas counties are named after Indian tribes and nations. Name five.

ANSWER: Cherokee, Comanche, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Shawnee, and Wyandotte are the more commonly known ones. (Credit is also given for those who list the lost Arapahoe county -- now known as eastern Colorado.) ~ See the list of counties at William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas.

4.    What do the following people have in common: William Tecumseh Sherman, Susan B. Anthony, Samuel Clemens, and Washington Irving?

ANSWER: All visited Kansas at one time or another. ~ From the Graphics selection Well-Known Visitors of Early-Day Kansas.

5.    Pioneers heading West in the mid-1800s faced a number of perils, including hostile natives, cholera, deadly weather, and wild creatures. Name a popular cure for snakebite in the 1850s.

ANSWER: Whiskey. Capt. Randolph B. Marcy said that he considered it to be the sovereign cure of the West. Other antidotes for snakebite mentioned by Capt. Marcy: hartshorn, dried turtle blood, plaintain leaves, indigo, brandy, and arsenic. ~ From Capt. Marcy's "The Prairie Traveler: A Hand-Book for Overland Expeditions."

6.    By 1880, approximately 40,000 black people had left the South for new lives in Kansas, a wave of emigration known as "the Exodus." Who was called "the father of the Exodus?"

ANSWER: Benjamin F. Singleton. ~ From William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas.

7.    In 1901, Governor William Stanley declared, "We cannot afford to have the state made a dumping ground for the dependent children of other states, especially New York." Rev. J. W. Swan said in 1911, "What we want is a home where the child will be treated in a rational manner and where it will be given a fair chance to develop into a useful man or woman." What were they referring to?

ANSWER: The Orphan Trains movement. For many years spanning the turn of the century (1900), New York relief agencies shipped orphaned children West, hopefully to new lives -- but sometimes with tragic consequences. ~ From Connie Dipasquale's "Orphan Trains of Kansas."

8.    Who wrote in 1896 (in a fit of temper said to be regretted later), "Kansas just naturally isn't in it. She has traded places with Arkansas and Timbuctoo"?

ANSWER: William Allen White, in his famous editorial, "What's the Matter with Kansas?" ~ From the Kansas Collection's Centennial Edition.

9.    What is a crummy?

ANSWER: The caboose of a railroad train. ~ From Fred Wishart's Ride on the Zulu.

10.   Early in the 20th century, John L. Sullivan advised two youngsters to give up boxing and go to college. They took his advice. One went on to become a football legend; the other, a small-town Kansas boy, did equally well in the Army. Name the boy who grew up in Kansas.

ANSWER: Dwight David Eisenhower, President of the United States and World War II hero. (Extra credit for guessing the name of the other boy -- yes, it was none other than Knute Rockne!) ~ From SUMMERFIELD on the KC, Wyandotte, & NW RR by Dick Taylor.

Congratulations, whatever your score! We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Kansas history -- and exploring these interesting selections in KanColl.

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