Osawatomie -- the name derives from a combination of Osage and
Pottawatomie -- was settled in 1854 by Free-State families from the Ohio
Valley and New England. John Brown, soon to become famous for his
militant abolitionism, joined five of his sons at their homes near the
new town in October, 1855. By the spring of 1856, local defiance of
Proslavery laws and officials was so notorious that 170 Missourians
"punished" the area by looting Osawatomie. Two months later Free-State
men destroyed a nearby Proslavery camp. On August 30 occurred the second
battle of Osawatomie, in which a Proslavery force of 400 drove out the
defenders, 40 men led by John Brown, and then plundered and burned the
town. Among those killed that day was Brown's son Frederick.
At the John Brown Memorial Park in Osawatomie is the cabin of the Rev.
Samuel Adair, Brown's brother-in-law, with whom he often stayed. The
Republican party of Kansas was organized at Osawatomie in May, 1859,
with Horace Greeley, famous editor of the New York Tribune, as the
convention's principal speaker.