Today in History, January 29: 1861 – Kansas enters the Union as a free state. Plain, flat Kansas has played a very large role in the formation of our nation.
I wasn’t there but a little while when I went to help a feller shingle a roof. It was about eight o’clock in the mornin’, and I was sittin’ there on the roof just lookin’ out at those miles and miles of prairies, and way off in the distance I see somethin’ about the size of a cigar standin’ up on the horizon. It didn’t seem to get no bigger and after I watched it a while I says to the feller, ‘Look at that thing out there, don’t it look funny.’ He looked where I was pointin’ and he says ‘Know what that is? That’s the freight train comin’ in.’ Well, we worked all mornin’ and we went in and was eatin’ dinner when we heard that train pull into the depot.
“Mr. Botsford on Travel—Kansas,” Art Botsford, Interviewee; Francis Donovan, Interviewer; Thomaston, Conn., December 27, 1938. American Life Histories: Manuscripts for the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940. Manuscript Division
“Bloody Kansas” had fought the battle between abolishionists and slavery proponents from Missouri throughout the 1850’s. It’s internal battle was a precursor to the Civil War, during which the entire nation would battle for it’s very life over the unholy concept of one man owning another.