The Battle of The Blue

The Battle of The Blue
Rebel forces charge the Topeka Battery at Mockbee farm, original painting by Benjamin Mileham


Shawnee County Placenames  
Extracted from William G. Cutler's "History of the State of Kansas" published 1905


      Indianola was situated at the crossing of Soldier Creek, a mile and a half from Papin's Ferry, and on the road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley. The land for the town site was purchased by H. D. McMeekin, of Louis View, a half-breed, and the town laid out in November, 1854, the proprietors being John F. Baker, H. D. McMeekin and George H. Perrin. The first public sale of lots was on the 27th of June, 1855. A good frame hotel and other buildings were erected, and the town achieved quite a degree of prosperity, but like many of its neighbors it was soon overshadowed by Topeka. It is now extinct.

Williamsport (defunct).--The Williamsport Town Company was organized in Lycoming County, Pa., in 1857, by citizens of the town of Williamsport in that county. It consisted of twenty-five members, three of whom--Dr. A. J. Huntoon, T. U. Thompson, and Joel Huntoon--located in the township and made improvements.   A town site was selected and laid out one mile northeast of the present town of Wakarusa, upon which one house was built by Mr. Huntoon. The house was demolished in the hurricane of 1860, and the farm of Fillmore Purl now covers the old town site.
Tecumseh, the First County Seat.--The beautiful site on which the village was afterwards built, was selected by Col. T. N. Stinson for a home in 1852. During that year he had sixty acres on Section 1, Town 12, Range 16, broken and fenced, and on the 20th of March, 1853, he moved on to the farm with his family.
The site selected was one of the most beautiful on the river; a high prairie, with deep ravines on each side, through one of which flowed the Shunganunga, here a broad deep stream, bordered with heavy timber. Mr. Stinson's house and farm were picturesquely situated near the Shunganunga, on the eminence where the upland and prairie slope down to the river. During the winter of 1854 a sawmill was built by Messrs. Uptegraph and Morris, and a store was opened by Messrs. William Vaughan and B. Sublette, the first mill and store in the place. Rev. J. B. Stateler preached the first sermon in his tent, October 10, 1854, his house not being built at the time. A ferry was established by T. N. Stinson and J. K. Waysman in 1854, arranged with ropes and buoys; the boat being of sufficient size to carry three teams or wagons at each trip. A good road was constructed to the ferry landing, and the enterprise was considered an important one, the ferry being the principal crossing for the route from Leavenworth to the Sac and Fox and other Southern agencies. A school was opened in the early spring of 1855 by William Ireland. Two mail routes were established about the same time, one from Tecumseh to the Sac and Fox agency, the other via Pottawatomie Baptist Mission to Uniontown and Wabaunsee.

   One of the oldest towns in the State was established here in 1856, under the name of Brownsville, which was changed to Auburn in 1857, for the reason that a Brownsville post office already existed in another part of the Territory. At one time there were 400 people living in Auburn. Many good buildings were erected, including a three-story hotel, a brick church and numerous brick residences of the old Dutch pattern, with walls rising above the gables, and roofs sloping to the street. A weekly newspaper called the Auburn Docket was started in 1860 by David B. Emmert, later of Fort Scott. The paper existed nearly a year. It was the ambition of Auburn to become the county-seat, but a change of county lines, and the projection of a railroad seven miles east of town, frustrated this plan. John W. Brown, the original settler, continued to occupy his farm until 1896, when he disposed of the land and moved to Topeka, where he still resides. He was born in Belmont County, Ohio, May 9, 1829.

 Auburn Township — Located in the southwestern corner of the county. It was originally known as Brownsville township, so called in honor of John W. Brown, the first white settler, but the name was changed in i860 to Auburn. The Wakarusa River flows through the township, and at a point where the three branches of the river come together the Catholics established an Indian mission in 1847, for the benefit of the Pottawatomie tribe. The land was subsequently relinquished to the Shawnees, who occupied the 20 log cabins built for their Indian brothers, remaining there about six years. Some of the cabins and a portion of the land were bought from the Shawnees August 10, 1854, by John W. Brown. On the following day a party of seven men, from Jackson County, Missouri, took up claims in the same locality. The new-comers were : E. Carriger, W. F. Johnston, M. A. Reed, J. J. Webb, B. B. Jones, Eli Snyder and L. T. Cook. Other settlers, and the dates of their arrival, were: James Moran, October 20, 1854; James Turner, December 2, 1854; Rev. James Gilpatrick, George Holt, Henry Fox, Milton C. Dickey, Loring Farnsworth, C. Gilpatrick and Samuel Cavender, in 185s; John Price, W. S. Hibbard, Daniel Haney and A. H. Hale, 1856; L. J. Atwood, B. Ingrund, P. S. Spangler, Barney Williams, W. A. Simmerwell and John E. Moore, 1857.
  Big Springs (Douglas Co.)

 Big Springs is located in the northwestern part of Douglas County, in Lecompton Township, on rolling prairie. The town was so named became of the large ever-flowing springs in the immediate vicinity. 
  On the 5th of September, 1855, a meeting of much greater significance was held at this little village, viz., the Big Springs convention of that day. This was the first Free-State convention held in the Territory. It was at this place that the Free-State party was organized. All of the leading Free-State men were present, among them Ex-Gov. Reeder, Gov Robinson, Gen. J. H. Lane, George W. Smith, J. A. Wakefield, James S. Emery and many others. A large concourse of people came to the convention, feeling that a work of great moment was to be performed that day. Men came in wagons, in carriages, in vehicles of every description, on horseback and on foot, and all in the most solemn and determined earnestness. And each one after the manner of the patriots of the Revolution pledge his life, his property and his sacred honor, if need be, to establish freedom in the State of Kansas. The spirit of the convention is embodied in the following resolution, written by Ex-Gov. Reeder, and reported by James S. Emery:
"That we will endure and submit to these laws (the bogus laws) no longer than the best interests of the Territory required, as the least of two evils, and will resist them to a bloody issue as soon as we ascertain that peaceful remedies shall fail, and forcible resistance shall furnish any reasonable prospect of success; and that in the meantime we recommend to our friends throughout the Territory the organization and discipline of volunteer companies, and the procurement and preparation of arms."

 The first settlement in Monmouth Township was made August 17, 1854, by Charles Matney, a Virginian, who settled on the southeast quarter of Section 21, Township 13, Range 17. His house, erroneously called the house of "Charles Matingly," was the southeast corner of the Third Electoral District.
  In 1855 the following persons arrived: W. M. Jordan, William McCutchen, John Morris, Hiram Shields, William Disney, Richard Disney, J. S. Freeland, Frank Helton, R. O. Johnson, Aaron Coberly, Charles Allen, Harris Lyons, Silas Lyons, Isaiah Cox, N. L. Williams, William Linn, John Helton, J. W. Riggs, T. D. Kemp, and Joseph Coberly.


  1. Jeff, you have certainly filled out this website and made it quite lovely and instructional, since I last looked at it. Congratulations. We don,t have more info on my GGrandad George or the battles but I will be putting on my site more on George's children and grandchildren as they moved west. Lately I have been occupied with ailing Mom and other relatives. I have also gotten into Facebook more and have uploaded photos, etc. Are you working with Facebook and how do you find it. Good luck, Dick PS as i think I said before, if you ever want to visit Chiapas Mexico, let us know and you could stay with us a few days.

  2. Dick - thanks for the comments. In researching the 2nd KSM I have not come across any more info about your ancestor, George Ginnold but I will let you know if I do. He was likely friends with John Branner, also of Topeka Battery and also a German immigrant. I don't have a facebook for the 2nd. KSM yet but have not ruled it out. I wish your Mom and family the best and hope to take you up on your offer someday - is Chiapas anywhere near Zihuatanejo? Good to hear from you, Jeff

  3. Jeff,
    Thanks for inviting me here. It is very interesting.
    About Nelson Holder Ritchie: He was supposedly born in Lawrence County, Kansas in 1840. There was no Lawrence County at that time. He said that his adopted mother and father were John and Mary Ann Sheeladay Ritchie (also known as the radical Ritchies in the Kansas State Website). There is no mention of Nelson ever being adopted or known by them. There is a marriage certificate as his oldest document (Greene County). He was supposed to have bullets going through his hat and clothing, but never hitting him. His grandsons had hemophilia. I suspect if a bullet had hit him, he would have died of loss of blood.
    His real parents were supposedly Jonathan Holder and Elizabeth Williams (from the marriage certificate). They have no documents ever showing they exist.
    John and Mary Ann Holder were radical because they thought women should vote and that the American Indians were real people too. John was a general and supervised a group of Indian Home Guards, a Cherokee group.
    This is what I have found out. If there is additional information on the Nelson Richey, I would be interested. Thanks!
    Kurt Rogers (from