Shawnee is a city in Johnson County, Kansas, with a rich history that dates back to the mid-1800s. During this time, many historical events took place in and around Shawnee. In this article, we will explore seven such events.
1. Battle of Westport
On October 23, 1864, the Battle of Westport was fought just a few miles from Shawnee. It was one of the largest and most significant Civil War battles in Missouri, involving more than 30,000 troops. The Union victory paved the way for General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea, leading to the eventual defeat of the Confederacy.
2. Lewis and Clark Expedition
In 1804, Shawnee was part of the vast Louisiana Territory, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through here on their way to the Pacific coast. The explorers took advantage of Shawnee's location on the Kansas River to build canoes and prepare for the next stage of their journey.
3. Shawnee Indian Mission
Established in 1830, the Shawnee Indian Mission was a boarding school that taught Native American children modern skills like farming and carpentry. The mission also served as a United States government treaty-making site, where treaties between the government and Native American tribes were negotiated.
4. Santa Fe Trail
The Santa Fe Trail was one of the nation's most important trade routes, linking Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the early 1800s. Shawnee was a convenient stop along the trail, offering travelers a place to rest, replenish supplies, and conduct business. Today, the Santa Fe Trail is commemorated by the Santa Fe Trail Park, located in nearby Lenexa.
5. Wagon Train Raid
In 1862, a wagon train carrying government supplies and soldiers was attacked by Confederate guerrillas near Shawnee. The raiders stole the supplies and burned the wagons in what was one of the many small skirmishes that characterized the border war between Kansas and Missouri.
6. Johnson County War
The Johnson County War of 1892 was a dispute between Kansas ranchers and Wyoming cattlemen over the right to graze their cattle in the open range. Shawnee was the site of a major battle in the conflict, when a group of Wyoming cattlemen were besieged by local farmers and eventually surrendered.
7. Prohibition Era
During the Prohibition Era, Shawnee was known for its bootleggers and speakeasies. The city was located just outside Kansas City, where illegal liquor flowed freely. To this day, the city is home to the Shawnee Indian United Methodist Church, named after the Native American tribe whose members were known to trade in alcohol during the era.
In conclusion, Shawnee's history is full of diverse events, from the hardships and battles of the Civil War to the bustling activity of the Santa Fe Trail and the lawlessness of the Prohibition Era. These events, and others like them, have shaped Shawnee's culture and continue to influence the city today.
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