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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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The Story of Kansas City, Kansas


Native American Links

The Wyandots spent happy, prosperous years in Ohio after their conversion to Christianity and civilized ways. But the white people, moving westward, began to look with envy on the well-kept farms and homes of the Indians.  Sixteen times during those years the government sent agents to urge the Wyandots to make way for white settlers.

The Wyandots knew in 1842 that the time had come to leave.  The tribe voted to accept the government's offer of 148,000 acres in what was later the state of Kansas.  Then it was part of a vast area known as Indian Territory.  The government promised an additional $120,000 in cash for farm improvements made by the Indians.

By spring of 1843 the chiefs had arranged for the removal.  The young men were sent ahead to drive the livestock overland.  The George Clark and Silas Armstrong families started before the rest of the tribe to set up a company store at Westport, now a part of Kansas City, Missouri.  They were also to arrange for the purchase of land promised them by the Shawnees.

The tribe had received $20,000 as down payment on the money owed them by the government.  They did not wish to accept the land offered them.  It was on the Neosho River, too far from civilization.  The Wyandots once had given homes to the Delawares and the Shawnees, and they expected one of the two tribes to share with them.  The Shawnee land was the more desirable.

The steamboat Nodaway and a smaller boat had been rented to carry the remainder of the 700 Wyandots from Cincinnati to this spot where the Kansas River flows into the Missouri. 

Map of West Bottoms (the original Kansas City, KS)

When the time came to leave Upper Sandusky the religious leader, Esquire Grey Eyes, said good-bye to the white neighbors who had gathered to see them off.

He bade a tearful farewell to the beloved dead they were leaving behind in the little churchyard.  Then the chief mounted his horse.  The men, women, and children formed in a long line behind him and started for Cincinnati.

For seven days the cavalcade wound over the dusty roads to the Ohio River.  The Wyandots boarded the boats which were to carry them on three rivers - the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Missouri.

To add to the sorrow and discomfort of the passengers, the captain of the Nodaway, who at first had seemed kind and agreeable, changed suddenly in his manner.  When he received his second payment for the rental of the boat, he became abusive, cut down on the food, and ordered the crew to remove the furnishings from the cabins.  He didn't want the Indians to ruin his boat, he said.  Time passed slowly.

The Arrival

Return to Index for "The Story of Kansas City, Kansas" by Nellie McGuinn

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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