On July 4, 1804, Lewis and Clark exploring the new
Louisiana Purchase, camped near this site. Fifty years
later the town was founded by Proslavery men and
named for Sen. D. R. Atchison. The Squatter Sovereign,
Atchison's first newspaper, was an early advocate of
violence against abolition. Here Pardee Butler, Free-
State preacher, was set adrift on a river raft and on
his return was tarred and feathered. Here Abraham
Lincoln in 1859 "auditioned" his famous Cooper Union
address ~ unmentioned by local newspapers.
During the heyday of river steamboating in the '50's Atchison became an outfitting depot for emigrant and freighting trains to Utah and the Pacific Coast, a supply base for the Pike's Peak gold rush, and in the early 1860's a starting point for the Pony Express and the Overland Stage lines. In this pioneer center of transportation the Santa Fe railway was organized in 1860, modestly named the Atchison & Topeka.
Historical marker on US-59
1 mile west of Atchison,
Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS