The Story of Kansas

1861-1870 Timeline


Jan. 29 — Kansas becomes 34th state to enter the Union.

Winter of 1861 and 1862 — Creek Indian Chief Opothleyahola leads several thousand tribal members, and about 500 slaves and free blacks, from Oklahoma to Kansas. Many die on the journey known as Trails of Blood on Ice.


Twenty acres of prime land in downtown Topeka, known as "Capitol Square," is donated by Cyrus K. Holliday, founder of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, for the state's capitol building.


One of Wichita's first traders, Jesse Chisholm, arrives in the area.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad obtains a government land grant for more than 2 million acres.

July 27 —The Kansas State Agricultural College is organized in Manhattan.

Aug. 21 — At 5 a.m., Lawrence is attacked by William Quantrill and his gang of 300 or 400 men. The raiders kill 150 abolitionists, all of them men.


Wichita is named for the tribe of Indians who inhabit the area between Murdock and 13th Street along the Arkansas River. Wichita means "Tattooed Faces."


Benjamin Franklin Mudge conducts the first geological survey of Kansas. His discoveries lead him across the Kansas border into Colorado, where he finds fossilized remains of some of the first Jurassic-period dinosaurs in the American West.

Rival paleontologists scour western and central Kansas for specimens to take back east as part of the "Bone Wars."

July 18 — A wagon train from Leavenworth on the Santa Fe Trail is attacked on Walnut Creek near present Great Bend. Ten people are killed.

Oct. 25 — Union troops force Confederate Gen. Sterling Price's army out of Kansas during the Battle of Mine Creek in Linn County. It is the last significant Civil War battle west of the Mississippi.


Feb. 21 — Lucy Hobbs becomes the first woman in the nation to receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. She and her husband set up practice in Lawrence.

Feb. 24 — Cloud County residents in Clyde declare bootlegging as their city's busiest industry.

Oct. 20 — Maj. Gen. George Armstrong Custer arrives at Fort Riley.


June 24 — Gen. George Armstrong Custer loses 60 men in a fight with Indians near the headwaters of the Republican River.

July 1 — Cholera epidemic strikes in Kansas forts.


William Finn organizes Wichita's first school and one of the first churches in an abandoned Army dugout on land at 12th and Jackson.

The Charles Ingalls family (Ma, Pa, Mary, Laura and little Carrie) homestead near Independence in the southeastern corner of Kansas. They come inspired by the Homestead Act of 1862, which offers 160 acres of free land to settlers who will farm and live on it for five years. Laura Ingalls Wilder later writes about her experiences in the popular series of "Little House" books.

Ernest Valeton de Boissiere founds Silkville colony in Franklin County, importing silk worms from Japan and France.

April 26 — Passenger service begins on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.


Gas lighting comes to Kansas, with Lawrence one of the first towns to be "lighted."

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