Sunflower symbol

The Lane Trail

Sunflower symbol

      Near here the town of Plymouth and Lexington once stood as outposts on the Lane Trail, approximated today by US-75. Named for abolitionist James H. Lane, the trail was established in 1856 to bypass proslavery strongholds in Missouri and provide free-state settlers a safe route into Kansas. Rock piles known as "Lane's chimneys" marked the trail. Leaving Iowa City, settlers went west into Nebraska and south into Kansas, passing through Plymouth, Lexington, Powhattan, Netawaka, and Holton before arriving in Topeka. The trail also served as part of the underground railroad, used by John Brown and others to transport slaves north to freedom.

      At Plymouth, three miles south of the Nebraska line, and at Lexington, a few miles further south, the settlers built log cabins surrounded by earthen-walled forts for protection. Armed with rifles and bolstered by a small cannon at Plymouth, the settlers established an antislavery presence that helped bring "Bleeding Kansas" into the Union as a free state. Today, however, Plymouth and Lexington exist only as a memory.

Erected by Kansas State Historical Society & Kansas Department of Transportation
Marker text sent by Robert Walter, Pittsburg, KS
 
Brown County  
Rest Area
Northeast Corner of Junction
of U.S. 36 and U.S. 75
Brown County
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December 11, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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