Reading Cards
10. Building a Community


  1. Coming to Kansas
  2. Shunganunga
  3. Lime for Kiln and Quarry
  4. Gardens and Orchards
  5. Letters from Home
  6. Traveling on the River
  7. Native Americans in the Kansas Territory
  8. John Brown and the Ritchies
  9. Becoming a State
  10. Building a Community


John and Mary Jane Ritchie wanted their community to grow. They wanted their children to have a good education and opportunities, but they wanted these things for other families and other children, too.

They believed church was important to the community and the stones that were used to build the Congregational Church came from John’s quarry.

They believed thriving businesses were needed and John constructed buildings to be used as offices or stores.

The Ritchies believed in education and they donated land to build a college. Then, it was called Lincoln College but now it is Washburn University.

They believed people of all races should be able to live together as neighbors. They sold lots to African Americans who moved to Topeka. They encouraged blacks to move to other parts of Kansas, like Nicodemus.

They thought women should have the right to vote. Other businessmen made fun of John when he invited suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Caty Stanton to Topeka. These women stayed with the Ritchies and spoke at rallies supporting the right of women to vote and hold office like men.

John and Mary Jane acted upon their beliefs to make their community a better place for themselves, for their neighbors, and for generations to come.

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