This city and college take their name from St. Mary's Catholic Mission founded here by the Jesuits in 1848 for the Pottawatomie Indians. These missionaries, who had lived with the tribe in eastern Kansas from 1838, accompanied the removal to this area. A manual labor school was operated at the mission until 1871. From it developed St. Mary's College, chartered in 1869. In 1931 the college became a Jesuit seminary. A boulder on the campus marks the site of the first cathedral between the Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains. Built of logs in 1849, it became the See of Bishop Miege, "Bishop of the Indians." Vice President Charles Curtis, part Kaw Indian, was baptized in this parish on April 15, 1860.
      The mission was an important stopping point on the Oregon trail. Here also was the U.S. Pottawatomie agency. This building still stands 600 feet northwest of this marker.
Erected by Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission
Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS
Pottawatomie County  
US 24
East side of St. Mary's
Pottawatomie County

January 30, 2001 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas /

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