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Title | Creator | Date Made Visible | None

Stephen Douglas portrait

Louis O. Lussier

Portrait of Stephen Douglas by Louis Lussier. Douglas helped write the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which called for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Kansas and Nebraska were opened up for settlement but the people living there, not the national government, would determine whether these states would be free or slave. Douglas had been a member of Congress and a United States Senator from Illinois from 1847 until his death in 1861. He was the Democratic Party nominees for President in 1860 and ran, unsuccessfully, against Abraham Lincoln. He had defeated Lincoln two years earlier when both were running for U.S. Senator from Illinois and when they had their famous Lincoln-Douglas debates.

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John Brown surveyor's compass

Phelps & Gurley

While in Kansas John Brown was employed as a surveyor, an occupation which allowed him to move around freely to locate and observe proslavery camps. This compass was part of a surveying kit made by Phelps and Gurley of Troy, New York. According to a 1915 Omaha Sunday Bee newspaper article, Brown sold the compass kit to his neighbor, Simon B. McGrew, in 1858. McGrew lived in Mound City at the time. The compass was used to survey Linn, Anderson, and Bourbon counties.

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Directing John Brown to the Free State Camp

Samuel J. Reader

Abolitionist John Brown disguised himself as a surveyor to monitor the activities of proslavery forces in the Kansas Territory. This painting by Samuel J. Reader depicts Brown approaching a Free State camp on Pony Creek in Brown County, Kansas Territory, on August 3, 1856. Reader is the sentry approaching him.

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