Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Community Guide & Membership Directory
15 COMMUNITY GUIDE & MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY FRANKLIN COUNTY HISTORY Native and Emigrant Tribes Once the lands of the Kanza and Osage, Franklin County was home to more reservations for relocated tribes than any other Kansas county. Bands of Ottawas, Chippewas, Peorias, Piankeshas, Kaskaskias, Munsees, Weas, Pottawatomies, and Shawnees were removed to Franklin County in the mid-1800s. Most were relocated to Oklahoma by 1870. Three cemeteries, Ottawa University, and the “Buffalo Woman” sculpture in front of the county courthouse pay tribute to Franklin County’s earliest residents. Bleeding Kansas In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act established “popular sovereignty” and allowed the residents of the territory to vote its land free or pro-slavery. Champions for both sides rushed to settle Kansas in hopes of swaying its allegiance. In 1856, John Brown and a band of supporters swept down to Pottawatomie Creek near present-day Lane, pulled five men and boys out of their cabins in the middle of the night and killed them. Now nothing more than a cemetery, the ghost town of Berea was a community of abolitionists involved in the Underground Railroad. ROAD TRIP: Learn more about John Brown and the Border Wars at Black Jack Battlefield (near Baldwin City) and the John Brown Museum State Historic Site in Osawatomie. Early Settlers Franklin County was already home to numerous tribes before Easterners were encouraged to settle the region. Abolitionists, pro-slavers, and new immigrants made their way to the county in its early years. Both the California-Fort Scott Trail and a spur of the Santa Fe Trail passed through Franklin County. Waves of German, Czech, Scandinavian, and French immigrants as well as freed slaves and, later, Mexican immigrants made Franklin County home. The 1859 Dietrich Cabin in Ottawa’s City Park commemorates the experience of early settlers in Franklin County. Railroads Westward expansion meant railroad expansion. The Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston chugged into Ottawa in 1868, connecting Ottawa to thousands of other communities. The LL&G line would eventually be acquired by the Santa Fe, which made the 1888 depot (now the Old Depot Museum) a division headquarters. The Missouri Pacific line expanded transportation options east and west. Both railroad lines have been converted to trails. Explore both the Prairie Spirit Trail and the Flint Hills Trail by foot or bicycle. FHT even welcomes horses. ROAD TRIP: Want to experience the magic of the rails first-hand? Head to Baldwin City for a short ride on the Midland Railway or a leisurely dinner on the Kansas Belle. L aura Ingalls Wilder described the courthouse in her journal. John Brown led a massacre that helped spark the Civil War. Teddy Roosevelt promoted the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party during a Chautauqua Assembly in 1912. Both the famous and infamous are woven into the history of Franklin County, Kansas. Franklin County’s rich history surrounds you, whether you’re exploring Ottawa’s Main Street, the rural countryside, or one of the county’s museums. You’re also just a few minutes away from numerous sites connected to Bleeding Kansas, the Civil War, and the plight of American Indians pushed West, and the settlers who followed.