Lane's Road.In 1856, on account of the dangers and difficulties encountered by northern emigrants in reaching Kansas by way of the Missouri river, the Iowa state central committee for free Kansas attempted to remedy the matter by opening an overland route through Iowa. Iowa City, at that time the capital, was the most western point in the state reached by rail, and in the early summer of 1856 arrangements were made by Gen. James H. Lane, Gov. Andrew H. Reeder, Gen. Samuel C. Pomeroy and W. Y. Roberts of Kansas to turn the tide of Kansas emigration to this road. According to a circular issued by the Iowa committee, dated July 4, 1856, the proposed course through that state was as follows: Leaving Iowa City and proceeding via Oskaloosa, Knoxville, Indianola, Osceola, Sidney to Quincy, in Fremont county on the Missouri river, distant 80 miles from Topeka, "the capital of Kansas." An agent went through Iowa by this route and the citizens in each of the aforesaid towns appointed committees to assist in every way any emigrants. The circular also suggested that all companies formed for Kansas be sent over this road. The document was signed by W. Penn Clark, chairman; C. W. Hobart, secretary; H. D. Downey, treasurer; W. Penn Clark, C. W. Hobart, H. D. Downey, L. Allen, Jesse Bowman, M. L. Morris, G. D. Woodin, J. N. Jerome and J. Truesdale, committee. Dr. J. P. Root, A. A. Jamieson and S. V. Jamieson were appointed a committee to locate the road, which commission was duly carried out.
After leaving Iowa the road entered Nebraska City, and from there bore almost due south through the counties of Nemaha and Richardson to the state line, entering Brown county, Kan., near the northwest corner of the county. From there it ran in a general southerly direction to Topeka. When the road was laid out Oscar G. Richards was employed to plant the first stakes on the highway, and he also had the distinction of driving the first team over it. The first company that passed over the road was James H. Lane and six companions on horseback, all disguised, being a week in advance of the others. By Aug. 1 there were a large number of wagons and several hundred people, some of whom were on horseback, in the neighborhood of Nebraska City, preparing to enter the territory, the advance portion waiting until others came, that they might have a large force to open the road. On Aug. 7 a cavalcade of over 53 wagons, 25 horsemen and over 500 other persons on foot crossed the Kansas line. This was the advance of "Lane's Northern Army," which founded the towns of Lexington and Plymouth, in Brown county, and Holton, in Jackson county, on the line of the road. The pro-slavery element and their sympathizers at first caused the free-state people no little inconvenience in reaching Kansas by this route, but by 1857 conditions had so changed that emigrants were allowed to come and go by whatever route suited them best without molestation of any sort. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad follows the line of the Lane road pretty closely to the north of the state.Pages 102-103 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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