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Territorial Politics and Government > Territorial Government > Legislatures > Topeka
15 Topic Specific Items
Concurrent Resolutions, Topeka Legislature, House and Senate [1858]
Author: Free State Legislature
Date: no date

These handwritten copies of two, slightly different, concurrent resolutions were passed by the House and the Senate of the Topeka Free-State Legislature, probably in 1858. They established the legitimacy of the state government under the Topeka Constitution, and "respectfully urge[d] the Territorial Legislature, now in session, at Lawrence, to take immediate steps for removing the present forms of a territorial government, so that the legitimate government of the people may become the only government in Kansas."

Keywords: Free state government; Free state legislature; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory

Journal. Miscellaneous Records of the Free State Executive Committee
Author: Goodin, Joel Kishler
Date: 1855-1856

This journal, compiled by Joel K. Goodin, secretary of the Executive Committee of the Topeka free-state movement, began with a statement explaining the reason the Topeka Movement formed and the call for a Mass Meeting at Big Springs, August 15, 1855. It included notes of numerous meetings, proclamations, etc. These committee records were published in their entirety in the Kansas Historical Collections Vol. 13:125-158.

Keywords: Free State Party; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Goodin, Joel Kishler; Journals; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory

Letter, A. H. Reeder to Dear Doctor [Charles Robinson]
Author: Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864
Date: February 18, 1856

On February 18, 1856, a concerned former governor, Andrew Reeder, wrote Charles Robinson again from the nation's capital. Reeder advised Robinson of the current situation in Washington, D.C., and urged caution; Reeder believed the Topeka movement/legislature and Robinson must clearly state that they were organizing a "state government" solely for the purpose of being ready to assume authority if/when Congress admitted Kansas to the Union. Reeder believed the "state movement" was on solid constitutional ground if this was its official position in the meantime; they must not usurp the power and authority of the territorial government.

Keywords: Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Washington, D.C.

Letter, J. H. Lane & C. K. Holliday to General Assembly of Kansas member
Author: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date: February 25, 1856

This printed letter, addressed to all newly-elected members of the General Assembly, accompanied James Abbott's certificate of election to his seat. The Executive Committee of the General Assembly, which included James Lane and Cyrus Holliday, urged the newly elected representatives to "promptly and early" attend their next meeting at Topeka on March 4.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Elections; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Kansas Territory. Legislature - Topeka; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866

Journal, House of Representatives, Topeka (1856)
Author: Goodin, Joel Kishler
Date: 1856-1857

This Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas was, apparently, the original record of the Free State Provisional Government of Kansas, which was organized at the Big Springs Convention September 5, 1855. Joel K. Goodin was chief clerk of the House and felt the journal was "a flat contradiction of the pro-slavery inuendo, that we were all abolitionists from Boston, Massachusetts, and hired to come to Kansas by the Emigrant Aid Society." The first two pages of the original bound journal have been scanned. The original is oversized with the pages measuring 9.5 inches wide and 14 inches high. The journal, as published in its entirety in the Kansas Historical Collections volume 13 pages 166-249, follows the two pages from the original.

Keywords: Free State Party; Free state government; Free state legislature; Goodin, Joel Kishler; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Prohibition; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Sumner, Edwin Vose, 1835-1912; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory; United States. Congress; United States. Congress. House

Organization of the Free State Government in Kansas with the Inaugural Speech and Message of Governor Robinson
Author: No authors specified.
Date: March 4, 1856

This pamphlet provides a vivid description of the scene, players, and proceedings of the initial sessions of the Free State Government convened in Topeka. From Governor Charles Robinson's inaugural speech, the intent of the new Legislature was clear: they convened in order to formulate a State government which would serve their political interests and would reflect the principle of "squatter [popular] sovereignty", since the existing Territorial government was merely provisional and furthermore did not advance their free-state aspirations.

Keywords: Border ruffians; Free state legislature; Jones, Samuel J. (Sheriff); Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Speeches, addresses, etc.; Squatter sovereignty; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement)

Minutes, Free State Legislature
Author: No authors specified.
Date: March 6, 1856

The minutes of the Topeka free state legislature's meeting on March 6, 1856 was published in the Kansas Daily Tribune on the next day, March 7, 1856. The Senate primarily discussed admission to the Union and whether or not the decisions of the territorial legislature should supercede those of the United States Congress. The House of Representatives discussed the national government's stance on the murder of Thomas Barber and decided to draft a document listing the grievances of the people of Kansas. The speaker of the House also announced the members of the various standing committees. Lastly, the House resolved that all laws passed by this body would become effective once Kansas entered the Union.

Keywords: Barber, Thomas W.; Brown, Reese P.; Curtiss, John; Free state legislature; Minutes; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Topeka Legislature (see Free state legislature); United States. Congress

Proclamation, Results of the Free State Election
Author: Goodin, Joel Kishler; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date: March 7, 1856

This proclamation, published in the Kansas Daily Tribune on March 7, 1856, announced to the public the results of the election for senators and representatives in the Topeka legislature. These members of the free state legislature had been asked to meet in Topeka on March 4, 1856 (three days earlier). The proclamation was issued by James Lane and Joel Goodin.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Allen, Lyman; Blood, James; Brown, John, Jr.; Curtiss, John; Dickey, Milton C.; Elections; Free state legislature; Goodin, Joel Kishler; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; McClure, W. M.; Newspapers; Shore, Samuel T.; Thornton, Thomas G.; Topeka Legislature (see Free state legislature); Topeka, Kansas; Updegraff, W. W.

Letter, Geo. W. Smith, et al to the Friends of Law and Order convened at Topeka
Author: Brown, Jr., John ; Deitzler, George W.; Jenkins, Gaius ; Robinson, Charles ; Smith, George W.; Williams, Henry H.
Date: July 1, 1856

From a "camp near Lecompton," George W. Smith and the other Free State captives, including Charles Robinson and John Brown, Jr., wrote to state their views on issues facing the Topeka legislature as it convened. First, Smith and company argued that the freestaters had a "right to meet as a Legislature, complete the State organization and pass all laws necessary to the successful administration of Justice," but the assembly should not resist "Federal officer in the service of the legal process" unless they threaten the state organization. Smith, et al, believe success of the cause depended on "a right position and, second upon calm, and unflinching firmness."

Keywords: Blood, James; Brown, John, Jr.; Deitzler, George W.; Federal troops; Free state cause; Free state government; Jenkins, Gaius; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Smith, George W.; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory; United States Government; Williams, Henry H.

Photograph, Constitution Hall, Topeka, Kansas Territory
Author: Unknown
Date: 1856

Exterior view of Constitution Hall with Col. Edwin Vose Sumner dispersing the Free-State Legislature, Topeka, Kansas Territory, July 4, 1856. Illustration from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, July 26, 1856.

Keywords: Free state legislature; Periodical illustrations; Photographs and Illustrations; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Sumner, Edwin Vose, 1835-1912; Topeka buildings; Topeka, Kansas Territory; United States. Army

Message of Charles Robinson, Governor of Kanzas, Delivered at Topeka, June 11, 1857
Author: Robinson, Charles
Date: June 11, 1857

Charles Robinson addressed his remarks to the Senate and House of Representatives that met as the extra legal free state legislature during 1856 and 1857. He reviewed the violence that had occurred since the legislature first convened in March, 1856. He also indicated that since their terms would soon expire, the legislature needed to pass an election law and make provisions for a census, otherwise the free state government would no longer exist if it had not formal procedures for continuing. The address included several statements about how the officially recognized government was usurping its powers.

Keywords: Free state legislature; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory

Pamphlet, Address to the American People on the Affairs of Kansas
Author: No authors specified.
Date: 1857

This address recounted the history and purpose of the formation of the Kansas State Government of Topeka, in peaceful opposition to that of the Territory. The free state message accused the systems of the Territorial Government of encouraging influence from abroad in their election process, and indicated that they had nothing inherently against Missouri's citizens as a whole, but implored that they not attempt to violate the rights of Kansas settlers. The address stated that the Territory was "organized for defence" by a pledge from Governor Walker, and appealed that outsiders remain in their homes for the benefit of all.

Keywords: Adams, Henry J.; Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Atchison, David Rice, 1807-1886; Big Springs Convention; Border disputes and warfare; Crane, Franklin Loomis; Election fraud; Elliott, Robert G.; Free state activities; Free state legislature; Grasshopper Falls Convention; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Miller, Josiah; Missourians; Root, Joseph P., 1826-1885; Schuyler, Philip Church; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Letter, John Brown, Jr. to My Dear General [E. B.] Whitman
Author: Brown, Jr., John
Date: February 26, 1858

To his Kansas friend "General Whitman," John Brown Jr. wrote from his farm in Ashtabula, Ohio, regarding his continued commitment to the cause of Kansas and the state of his health. Brown wanted Whitman to know the reason for his sudden departure in October 1856: "the symptoms of mental abberation were again manifest to myself at least, and I knew that I must change scenes & circumstances, or again loose my balance entirely." But despite the hardships endured and the resulting illness, "Kansas is deguerotyped upon my heart, a stormy yet glorious picture."

Keywords: Border disputes and warfare - Free state perspective; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; Camp Sackett, Kansas Territory; Free state cause; Illness; Kansas Territory. Legislature - Topeka; Kansas question; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lecompton Constitution; Phillips, William A. (William Addison), 1824-1893; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Slavery; Whitman, E. B.

Leslie's Illustrated, Panoramic View of Topeka.
Author: No authors specified.
Date: December 25, 1858

Illustration from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, December 25, 1858, showing a panoramic view of Topeka. The scene includes businesses, homes, and a bridge crossing the Kansas River. The illustration is captioned "City of Topeka, Kansas Territory."

Keywords: Kansas River, Kansas Territory; Periodical illustrations; Photographs and Illustrations; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka, Kansas Territory; Town settlement

Members and officers of the legislative assembly of the territory of Kansas session of 1861
Author: No authors specified.
Date: 1861

Lists members of the council and house of representatives and provides demographic information about each members.

Keywords: Deitzler, George W.; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Lawrence Republican; Updegraff, W. W.; Winchell, J. M.

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3 results for Kansas Territory. Legislature - Topeka:
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Certificate of election, James Abbott, Representative to the General Assembly of Kansas
Authors: Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date:  February 19, 1856
This certificate documented James Abbott's December 1855 election to the post of Representative for the First Senatorial District in the General Assembly of Kansas under the provisions of the Topeka Constitution. The certificate is signed by James Lane and Joel Goodin, Chairman and Secretary of the Executive Committee, respectively.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Elections; Goodin, Joel Kishler; Kansas Territory. Legislature - Topeka; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866


Letter, J. H. Lane & C. K. Holliday to General Assembly of Kansas member
Authors: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date:  February 25, 1856
This printed letter, addressed to all newly-elected members of the General Assembly, accompanied James Abbott's certificate of election to his seat. The Executive Committee of the General Assembly, which included James Lane and Cyrus Holliday, urged the newly elected representatives to "promptly and early" attend their next meeting at Topeka on March 4.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Elections; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Kansas Territory. Legislature - Topeka; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866


Letter, John Brown, Jr. to My Dear General [E. B.] Whitman
Authors: Brown, Jr., John
Date:  February 26, 1858
To his Kansas friend "General Whitman," John Brown Jr. wrote from his farm in Ashtabula, Ohio, regarding his continued commitment to the cause of Kansas and the state of his health. Brown wanted Whitman to know the reason for his sudden departure in October 1856: "the symptoms of mental abberation were again manifest to myself at least, and I knew that I must change scenes & circumstances, or again loose my balance entirely." But despite the hardships endured and the resulting illness, "Kansas is deguerotyped upon my heart, a stormy yet glorious picture."

Keywords: Border disputes and warfare - Free state perspective; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; Camp Sackett, Kansas Territory; Free state cause; Illness; Kansas Territory. Legislature - Topeka; Kansas question; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lecompton Constitution; Phillips, William A. (William Addison), 1824-1893; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Slavery; Whitman, E. B.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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