Missions.Soon after the first settlements in North America were made, missionaries began to visit the natives for the purpose of instructing them in the Christian religion and to persuade them to adopt the customs of civilization. The Catholic church was especially active in this work. Early in the 17th century Jesuit missionaries crossed the ocean and began the establishment of missions. While the Jesuit father was something of a fanatic in his religious views, he was generally a man of courage, filled with a sincere devotion to his calling, and loyal to his king. As the white settlements grew in number and strength, the Protestant denominations became interested in the welfare of the Indians and sent missionaries among them. Prentis says: The missionaries were heroic pioneers of Kansas. They invented phonetic alphabets; the created written languages, wrote dictionaries and song books, and gave to the Indian the Bible and the Christian religion. They went into the rude lodges and wigwams and cared for the sick and dying. They suffered from poverty and often from savage cruelty; they sacrificed home and friends, and many died alone on the prairie that the Indians might know the better way and the higher life."
The first missionary to the Indians in what is now the State of Kansas, of which there is anything like an authentic record, was Father Juan de Padilla (q. v.), who accompanied Coronado to Quivira in 1540-41. A year later he returned to that province as a missionary and died among the Indians. But it was not until in the early part of the 19th century that any organized movement to establish missions among the western tribes was undertaken. In 1820 Bishop Dubourg, of the Catholic see of New Orleans, sent Father Charles de la Croix as a missionary to the Osage Indians in Missouri, which formed the northern part of the diocese. It is probable that the first baptism of Kansas Indians was at Harmony mission, just across the state line from the present city of Fort Scott, where Father La Croix baptized a number of natives in the fall of 1820. Two years later he visited the Osages in the Neosho valley, where he baptized two childrenJames and Francis Chouteau. Harmony mission was founded by the Presbyterians, who were among the first of the Protestant denominations to establish missions among the Indians. In June, 1824, Father La Croix was succeeded by Father Van Quickenborn, who visited the Neosho valley in 1827, a year before his death.
Hopefield mission was established among the Osages in 1823 by the American board of commissioners for foreign missions of the Presbyterian church. It was at first located on the Neosho river in what is now the Indian Territory, but was twice moved northward, being located the second time near White Hair's village in Labette county, Kan. It was discontinued in 1837. Two other Presbyterian missions were located among the Osages in 1824. One of these was the Boudinot mission, which was situated on the Neosho river near the mouth of Four-mile creek, and the other was on the west side of the Neosho, with the Rev. Benton Pixley in charge. Both these missions were abandoned in 1837.
In 1829 the Methodist church took the necessary steps to found a mission among the Shawnees, and Rev. Thomas Johnson was selected by the Missouri conference to take charge. The mission was located in what is now Johnson county, Kan., about 3 miles from Westport, Mo., and a mile from the state line. A year or two later William Johnson, a brother of Thomas, was appointed missionary to the Kansas Indians and went to their villages about 10 miles west of Topeka, where he remained until the fall of 1832, when he went to the Delaware mission. In 1835, when the government established farms for the Kansas Indians, he returned to his mission work with that tribe. He died in 1842 and was succeeded by Rev. J. T. Peery in 1844. In 1839 a manual labor school was started in connection with the Shawnee mission. It was located a short distance southwest of the original mission and was attended by children of other tribes. The first year the enrollment was 72, including 27 Shawnees, 16 Delawares, 8 Peorias, 7 Pottawatomies, 6 Kaws, 3 Kickapoos, and 1 each of the Munsees, Osages and Gros Ventres. The attendance in 1851 reached over 100 and included several Wyandots, Omahas and Ottawas.
A Baptist Shawnee mission was established in 1831, about 2 miles northwest of the Methodist mission above mentioned, and the Friends had a mission about 3 miles westestablished in 1834. The Baptist mission was founded through the influence of Rev. Isaac McCoy and Dr. Johnston Lykins and his wife were placed in charge. In April, 1832, an appropriation was made by the Baptist board of missions, buildings were erected, and in 1833 Dr. Lykins and his wife were joined by Jotham Meeker and Robert Simerwell. The mission was abandoned in 1855 or 1856. At the Friends mission Henry Harvey was the leading worker. This denomination never undertook to print books in the Indian dialects as some of the others did, but tried to teach the Indian youth to speak and write the English language. The Friends became engaged in missionary work about the beginning of the 19th century, and no sect was more earnest in trying to elevate the natives.
The Methodist mission among the Delawares was located on section 3, township 11, range 23 east, in the western part of Wyandotte county, not far from the present village of Maywood. It was founded in 1832 by William Johnson and Thomas B. Markham and continued in successful operation for several years. Another Methodist mission was that among the Kickapoos, established by Rev. Jerome C. Berryman in the fall of 1833 in the northeast part of Leavenworth county. The next year the Catholics started a manual labor school there, but the Kickapoos did not take kindly to the idea of working, and the school was practically abandoned, one of the buildings subsequently being used as a publication office of the Pioneer, of Kickapoo City. The Catholics, however, founded a mission among the Kickapoos in 1836, with Rev. Christian Hoecken and Felix Verreydt in charge. Two years later these two zealous workers went to the Pottawatomie mission on Sugar creek, not far from the present town of Centerville, Linn county, where they remained until the removal of the Pottawatomies to their new reservation on the Kansas river. This removal was effected under the treaty of 1846. A new mission was established where the town of St. Mary's now stands, and the mission school developed into St. Mary's College. in Sept., 1848, Father Maurice Gailland succeeded Father Hoecken and remained in charge of the institution until his death in 1877.
Three Protestant missions were started in the year 1837. The Methodists established one among the Pottawatomies where Osawatomie now stands; the Baptists opened one on the Marais des Cygnes river near the present city of Ottawa; and Revs. S. M. Irvin and William Hamilton started a Presbyterian mission among the Iowas, Sacs and Foxes not far from the present town of Highland, Doniphan county, on the emigrant road from St. Joseph westward. The Methodist mission was discontinued when the Pottawatomies removed to their new reservation. The Baptist mission, which was under the management of Rev. Jotham Meeker, continued until his death on Jan. 11, 1854. The Presbyterian mission remained in successful operation for a number of years. A tract of 115 acres of land was obtained, a mission house was erected at a cost of $8,000, and in 1846 a school was opened. (See Irvin, S. M.)
A Baptist mission was opened among the Weas in 1840 by Dr. David Lykins. It was located about a mile east of the present city of Paola and continued as a useful and successful institution for many years. From this time until 1847 there is no record of the establishment of new missions in Kansas. In 1847 there was a revival of mission work. A Baptist mission was opened among the Delawares at Briggsvale, near the town of Delaware, where a tract of about 22 acres of land was obtained, and another mission was established among the Miamis about 10 miles southeast of the present city of Paola, near the site of the old Miami village on the Marais des Cygnes. The same year the Catholics established a mission among the Osages. This mission, which was founded by Rev. John Schoenmaker, was located just east of the Neosho river, where La Croix and Van Quickenborn had engaged in missionary work some 20 or 25 years before. A school was opened and the place was known as "Osage Mission" for almost 50 years, or until it was changed to St. Paul by the act of the legislature, April 12, 1895.
In 1848, after the Pottawatomies were settled upon their new reservation, a Baptist mission was opened there under the direction of Rev. Isaac McCoy. It was located on the south side of the Kansas river, about 6 miles west of Topeka, and not far from the present station of Menoken on the Union Pacific railway. Traces of the mission buildings still remain on the site. Rev. Robert Simerwell, who began mission work among the Pottawatomies in 1833, was stationed at this mission for some time. Under the treaty of April 19, 1862, the mission was granted a tract of 320 acres of land which was sold to the Baptist Missionary Society of New York, which sold it to actual settlers when the mission was abandoned some years later, and it is now used for agricultural purposes. A Methodist mission was opened among the Shawnees in Douglas county in 1848 with Rev. Abraham Still in charge. It was located on section 8, township 13, range 21 east, not far from the mouth of the Wakarusa, and was abandoned in 1857.
In 1850 the Methodists erected a mission school building at Council Grove, where a school was opened the following year by T. S. Huffaker and Henry Webster, who also engaged in missionary work among the Kansas Indians, the treaty of 1846 having appropriated $1,000 of the annuity for educational purposes on the "diminished reserve." The same year the Catholics opened a mission among the Miamis. Six years later the Presbyterian missionary board established a boarding school for Kickapoos in Brown county, and it continued until 1860. From 1866 to 1871 a day school was taught there, the revenue for its maintenance being derived from the Indian fund. The building was then torn down.
About 1860 or 1861 a mission was established among the Sacs and Foxes on the Osage river about 6 miles east of the line between Osage and Franklin counties by a Methodist minister named Duvall and his wife. Some years later it was removed to a point about a mile southwest of the present town of Quenemo. This was the only Indian mission ever established in Osage county.
Among the Methodist missionaries, the names that stand out most conspicuously are those of Thomas and William Johnson, J. T. Peery, L. B. Stateler, J. C. Berryman, Joab Spencer, Jeese Green, Nathan Scarritt and T. S. Huffaker. The most prominent Baptist missionaries were Isaac McCoy, I. D. Blanchard, Johnston and David Lykins, Jotham Meeker, Robert Simerwell, I. S. Bacon and John T. Jones. Among the Catholics the names of Van Quickenborn, Hoecken, Schoenmaker, Verreydt and Gailland will ever be revered, and Hamilton, Irvin and Dunbar were foremost in the missionary work of the Presbyterian church.Pages 291-294 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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