Jump to Navigation

Pioneer Printing of Kansas


Douglas C. McMurtrie

November 1931 (Vol. 1, No. 1), pages 3 to 16
Transcribed by Lynn H. Nelson;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.

BY AN act of congress of May 26,1830, the United States government, as if in the belief that its domain embraced land enough for all its people to grow in, magnanimously set aside an indefinite area, some six hundred miles from north to south and two hundred miles in width, as Indian territory. To this region, which lay west of the territory of Arkansas and of the ten-year-old state of Missouri, extending northward to the Platte and Missouri rivers, all Indians from the eastern portion of the country were to be removed as rapidly as the government could persuade them to cede their ancestral lands and take other lands, far to the west, in exchange.

The plan of the government seems to have been to make over these various Indian groups, once they had been transplanted to their new homes, into self-supporting communities. To this end, provision was made for teachers and missionaries to accompany them, and for agricultural tools and supplies, paid for out of funds held in trust for the Indiana by the paternal government, to be distributed under the benevolent direction of agents appointed from Washington. The teachers were to teach the Indians their letters and the rudiments of civilized deportment. Farmers and artisans employed by the government were to teach them to plow, sow, and reap, and such elementary industrial arts as blacksmithing. Missionaries were to persuade them to give up the evil ways of barbarism and become Christians. Meanwhile, the evacuated Indian lands east of the Mississippi could be distributed to land-hungry pioneers.

There is an abundant record of how that grandiose plan, in its execution, fell somewhat short of expectations. And there would be no place for even a mention of it here except for the fact that one of the missionaries who accompanied a certain band of Indians into the far west had started life as a printer and in his new career combined printing with preaching.

Jotham Meeker was the name of this printer-missionary. He had been born in or near Cincinnati, Ohio, November 8,1804. His birthplace had been settled in the wilderness only some dozen years before, and he first saw the light a little over a year after the Louisiana purchase had brought into the United States the far-distant territory in which he was to spend most of his active life. In the days of his youth, Meeker was trained as a printer at Cincinnati. [1]

In the summer of 1825; when he was in his twenty-first year, Meeker decided to become a missionary teacher, and just after his twenty-first birthday he arrived at the Carey Mission Station, in the wilds of Michigan, among the Pottawatomies on the Saint Joseph river. Here he was about one hundred miles from Fort Wayne, the mission's nearest outpost of civilization. About two years later he was superintendent of the newly established Thomas Station, among the Ottawas, on the Grand River. Here he received his license to preach the gospel, under the authorization of the Baptist congregation at Carey. After nearly five years of mission work, Meeker married Eleanor Richardson, a fellow worker at the Thomas Station, and with a wife and mother to support went back to Cincinnati to work as a printer. But in 1832 he and his wife were back in the missionary field, this time among the Chippewas, at Sault Ste. Marie.

The Pottawatomies, Ottawas, and Chippewas all spoke closely related languages, in the use of which young Meeker had become fluent. At Sault Ste. Marie he first began his experiments in devising for the Indian languages an orthography which might be written or printed with the ordinary characters of our alphabet. He recorded in his journal that after a few hours' instruction he had Succeeded in teaching two young Indian boys to read. But before he could carry his experiments further he was transferred to a new location in the Indian territory. It was now arranged that Meeker should take with him a printing outfit. He went to Cincinnati to procure the equipment, which cost, press, type and everything else, $550, and set out for the West.

Just west of the Missouri boundary, and just "over the line" of the city limits of the present Kansas City (Missouri), Meeker set up the first press in what is now the state of Kansas, in February, 1834. On the first day of March he set the first types in the new territory, and on the eighth of that month he made the first press impression. These details of printing chronology are accurately known from the precise entries in Meeker's own journal, which sets forth his life and doings in brief but comprehensive form from his twenty-eighth birthday, in 1832, until within ten days of his death in 1855. [2]

The press which Meeker operated was at first set up at the Baptist Shawanoe (Shawnee) Mission. Here, until May of 1837, Meeker produced about ninety pieces of printed matter. [3] Most of the output of the press was in the form of small books containing hymns, selections from the Scriptures, and other works of a religious nature, translated into various Indian languages by Meeker and by other missionaries. The orthography was that which Meeker had devised, whereby the letters of the alphabet were assigned, sometimes rather arbitrarily, to the task of representing sounds found in the Indian speech. The system seems to have been quite successful with those Indians who would permit themselves to be taught. [4]

In the summer of 1837, Meeker established himself as a missionary and teacher among the band of Ottawas, from Michigan, who had been given lands near the present city of Ottawa, Kansas. The press remained at Shawanoe, in charge for a time of Rev. John G. Pratt, also a Baptist missionary, who must be recorded as the second printer in Kansas. [5] In the summer of 1846, the press, still in charge of Pratt, was removed to Stockbridge, an outpost of the Shawanoe Mission which had been opened in 1843 at a site a short distance north of the Kansas river, near the Missouri. Pratt is known to have produced eighteen pieces of printing at Shawanoe and four at Stockbridge. But this printer did not keep a diary as Meeker did, 8 and it may be that there were some other products of his press of which there is now no record.

Meeker returned three times from Ottawa to Shawanoe to see to the printing of books prepared by himself for his Ottawas, or to help f Pratt-in 1838, in 1840, and again in 1845. Finally, in 1849, Pratt, having discontinued the use of the press entirely, Meeker transported dismantled equipment to Ottawa and there occasionally did some printing. About ten pieces of printing are listed from the press at Ottawa up to the time of Meeker's death in January, 1855.

Notable among the products of the Meeker press was a little four-page or sometimes two-page paper in the Shawnee language. To this paper may be granted the distinction of being the first printing in the form of a newspaper in what is now Kansas. In the Meeker orthography its name was printed Siwinoe Kesibwi, pronounced, according to contemporary spellings, Shauwaunowe Kesauthwau, meaning in English Shawnee Sun. This publication began with a fairly regular monthly issue, but in its later years it seems to have been an occasional affair, published whenever Johnston Lykins, its Baptist missionary editor, had time for it. Contributions written by some of the Indians themselves appeared now and then in its columns. Its first issue was printed by Meeker on March 1, 1835, and it was continued until about 1844. Meeker mentions the printing of it from time to time in his journal up to the fourteenth issue, in April, 1837. The only existing copy of it is one dated November, 1841, printed at Shawanoe Mission by John G. Pratt, who was then the printer at that station. It has only recently been discovered in private ownership in Kansas City, Kansas. [6]

The activities of this pioneer Kansas press covered in all a period of twenty-one years, during which time it had operated at three localities-Shawanoe, 1834-1846, Stockbridge, 1846-1848, and Ottawa, 1849-ca. 1854. Of these, Stockbridge and Ottawa were the third and fourth printing points in what is now Kansas. For the second point at which printing was done in that area, we must turn to another Indian mission, in the northeastern corner of the present state.

Here, a mile or so east and north of the present town of Highland, was a Presbyterian mission among the Ioway and Sac Indians. This mission had been established in 1835, and in 1837 there had come to it two young men from Pittsburgh, Samuel M. Irvin and William Hamilton. Already in 1835, and again in 1837, Presbyterian missionaries had engaged the services of Jotham Meeker, at Shawanoe, to print for them two or three small books in the language of the Ioways. [7] But Irvin and Hamilton wished to do their own printing.

In April, 1843, therefore, the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions sent them a small printing equipment, at a total cost of about $250 8 With this outfit, the two missionaries set themselves to the task of learning how to print.

For neither Hamilton nor Irvin had had any previous experience printing. Not only that, but they had first to devise a syllabary for the sounds of the Ioway language and also to translate the texts which they desired to print--all this, of course, in addition to their other missionary labors. Yet one of the first fruits of their labors was a book of 101 pages. The pages were small--about 33/4 by 51/2 inches--but the production of the book was nevertheless an achievement under the circumstances. The title was An Elementary Book of the Ioway Language, and the imprint was "Iowa and Sac Mission Press Indian Territory, 1843." [8]

Even in 1848, when they had had the press for five years, the two self-taught printers thought it necessary to insert in their 156-page Ioway Grammar an apology for their craftsmanship. "Any defect, which may appear in the mechanical execution of this work," they said, "will be accounted for, when it is remembered that the little press at the station, on which it has been done, is provided with only two kinds of type, and that our experience in the art has been acquired entirely in the Indian country, and without any instructor." [9]

The known output of this Presbyterian mission press was quite small; only nine titles from it have been recorded. But it deserves mention as the second press to operate in Kansas.

Since Meeker first set up his press at Shawanoe in 1834, many changes had come over the Indian territory before the death of that pioneer in 1855. The pressure of population threatened the far-spreading prairie lands set apart for the Indians, and the country were becoming distracted with the question of slavery. The result was that on May 30, 1854, President Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska bill. This meant that the Indians had to readjust themselves once more to an invasion of their lands by the whites, and that the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska were to settle for themselves, on drafting their state constitutions, whether or not they should permit slavery. The rush of settlement began at once. And with the settlers came newspapers, and bitter political campaigns. An interesting little thread of connection between the old Indian territory and the new territory of Kansas is found in Jotham Meeker's journal. On September 5, 1854, he wrote: "A Mr. Miller staid with us last night-he came to try to buy our printing establishment to commence his Kansas Free State, but the press being too small he does not buy." [10] And on November 7 of the same year the entry was: "Write a letter to Messrs. G. W. Brown & Co., and subscribe for their Herald of Freedom, published at Wakarusa, K. T." The following January, Meeker passed from the earthly scene and left the printing field to the Millers and the Browns of the new order of things.

The new order of things was in sharp contrast with the relatively peaceful days of scattered Indian reservations. The newcomers to Kansas were partisans, whether of slavery or free soil, and came determined to predominate in the voting which should determine the status of Kansas as slave or free. There is no proper occasion here to mention the bitter and tragic conflicts that arose, other than to say that the spirit of them gave a characteristic brand to the early newspaper press of Kansas, and attracted to local journalism, which would have been normally inconspicuous under other circumstances, the attention not only of the nation, but of the world.

The forerunner of the long line of Kansas newspapers was the Kansas Weekly Herald, which began publication at Leavenworth on September 15, 1854. Its printer and publisher was William H. Adams, a Kentuckian by birth, who happened to be publishing the Platte Argus at Weston, Missouri, when the Kansas excitement started. He also happened to be the son-in-law of George W. Gist, who organized a company to create a townsite not far from the government's military outpost at Fort Leavenworth. The fact that the new town was to be laid out on lands that still belonged to the Delaware Indians does not seem to have been considered by the promoters. Even before there was a town, there was a newspaper. Adams set the type for his first issue in the open air, under an elm tree. Some visitors to this interesting scene described "four tents, all on one street, a barrel of water or whisky under a tree, and a pot, on a pole over a fire. Under a tree a type-sticker had his case before him and was at work on the first number of the new paper, and within a frame, without a board on side or roof, was the editor's desk and sanctum." [11] When these same visitors returned a little later from a short journey into Kansas, the editor had removed his office from under the elm tree to "the corner of Broadway and the levee," -,where, with the exception of Fort Leavenworth, there was probably not another house on either side for forty miles.

Adams was a mild-mannered person, a printer rather than an editor, and his paper at first was colorless enough, although representing the proslavery cause. For the first six issues Adams was in partnership with William J. Osborn. Then General Lucien J. Eastin became a partner in the publishing enterprise in place of Osborn, and under the firm of Eastin & Adams the Kansas Weekly Herald began to emit editorial fire.

Leavenworth was the fifth site of printing in Kansas, although the first under territorial conditions.

The second location of a press in the new territory was at Kickapoo, about seven miles from Leavenworth. Here A. B. Hazzard and a man named Sexton started the second proslavery paper, the Kansas Pioneer, in November of 1854. This press seems to have had the distinction of printing the earliest known official document connected with the territorial history of Kansas. This was a broadside list of the officers and members of both houses of the legislative assembly, which convened at a place called Pawnee on July 2, 1855, and a few days later moved to the Shawnee Manual Labor School, a Methodist establishment not far from the Baptist mission where Meeker had first labored. John T. Brady, of the Manual Labor School, was chosen as public printer by the assembly, but such printing as he did not send to Saint Louis seems to have been executed at Kickapoo.

Hazzard in all probability was also the printer of the opinion of Samuel D. Lecompte, chief justice, concurred in by Rush Elmore, associate justice, of the territorial supreme court, concerning the validity of the acts of the legislative assembly. This is a pamphlet of nine printed pages, with the imprint "Shawnee M. L. S.: J. T. Brady, 1855." The New York Public Library has a copy of each of these rarities.

At first, the proslavery party had everything its own way. It could find plenty of sympathizers just across the border in Missouri, while the free-state adherents had to make long journeys to reach Kansas. The legislative assembly of July, 1855, known to history as the "Bogus Legislature," had been chosen largely with the help of bands of determined Missourians who had moved into Kansas for The free-state settlers ignored its enactments and the following winter organized their own "government" at Topeka, much to the embarrassment of the authorities at Washington. And in a very short time the first free-state newspapers appeared. The first of these, and the third newspaper in territorial Kansas, was the Herald of Freedom, established at Lawrence by George Washington Brown on January 3, 1855. This was the paper for which Jotham Meeker had entered his subscription two months before its first appearance.

There were three entries in the race to become the first free-state paper in Kansas. These were Brown's Herald of Freedom, the Kansas Free State, by Josiah Miller and Robert G. Elliott, and the Kansas Tribune, by John Speer. All three had independently fixed on the new settlement at Lawrence as their goal, and Brown's paper won by a lead of only about one week. Brown was the editor and publisher of the Courier at Conneautville, Pennsylvania. As early as March, 1854, he published in the Courier an announcement of his intention to go to Kansas and start a newspaper. A little later he procured the backing of the newly organized Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company, which widely advertised the proposed new paper at Lawrence, where the company's first settlement was to be made. The prospectus of the Herald of Freedom was published in the Courier in July, 1854, and on September 21 Brown printed at Conneautville the first number, with the date line "Wakarusa, Kansas Territory, October 21, 1854." Twenty-one thousand copies of this issue were widely circulated. Soon after its issue, Brown started west with a party of about three hundred prospective settlers, including a printing crew of seven persons. In his outfit Brown had a newly purchased press.

Difficulties of transportation delayed the arrival of Brown's party until December. In the meantime, the name of the proposed settlement had been changed from Wakarusa to Lawrence. With the aid of the Emigrant Aid Company's sawmill, a building for the newspaper plant was completed about the first of January, 1855. The first issue of the Herald of Freedom at Lawrence appeared on January 3, although it was dated January 6. [12]

Josiah Miller had decided upon establishing a newspaper in Kansas at about the same time that Brown did. He had already visited the region in April, 1854, and when the Kansas-Nebraska bill was passed he formed a partnership with Robert Gaston Elliott, then a school teacher in Tennessee, and returned to Kansas, deciding upon Wyandott as the place in which to locate. Elliott was to procure materials and follow, but was delayed by difficulties of transportation. We have seen how Miller, in the hope of hurrying matters, had visited Jotham Meeker, but finding his press too small did not buy it. Elliott finally arrived, with a press bought in Cincinnati and type and paper procured in Saint Louis, but the partners could not get a suitable location at Wyandott and so moved on to Lawrence. Refused assistance there by the Emigrant Aid Company because of its arrangement with Brown, Miller and Elliott had some difficulty in getting a building, but finally were able to begin installing their equipment in an unfinished shack which had been intended as a dwelling. Neither Elliott nor Miller were printers, so we must assume that somewhere they had procured technical assistants. When they started work on their initial issue of the Free State, Brown with his well-equipped establishment was on the ground, and also John Speer.

Speer, editor and publisher of the New Era at Medina, Ohio, first came to Kansas in the summer of 1854. Because his was to be a free-state paper, he was coldly received at Tecumseh, near Lecompton, where he first planned to settle. He then went to Lawrence and prepared part of the copy for his projected Kansas Pioneer, expecting to get the printing done at the plant of the Enterprise in Kansas City, Missouri. But that establishment also refused to help a free-state publication, and so did the Herald, at Leavenworth. Speer returned to Ohio, therefore, and issued his first number there, dating it October 15, 1854. With his foreman, Charles Garrett, he then set out again for Kansas, hoping to get out his second issue before any other free-state paper should appear.

It was a season of low water, and Speer, like his competitors, was delayed by difficulties of transportation. His load of equipment was put on shore near Boonville, Missouri, in November or December, and Speer and Garrett set out for Lawrence in light marching order, with "two composing sticks and a change of clothing." Meanwhile the proslavery Kansas Pioneer has made its appearance at Kickapoo, so Speer changed the name of his projected paper to Kansas Tribune.

At Lawrence, in order to comply with the terms of his prospectus, Speer tried to arrange with Brown to get out the first issue of the Tribune for him, offering a partnership when his equipment should arrive. Brown refused, so Speer threw in his lot with Miller and Elliott. The Tribune was to use the matter set up for the Free State, with a change of heading and with a few columns of new material. With all their efforts, however, the Free State-Tribune combination, with type enough for only one side of the sheet to be printed at a time, was defeated in the race with Brown and his seven printers and big equipment. The first Free State was dated January 3, but was not actually on the streets of the crude settlement at Lawrence until a week later.

Following Leavenworth and Kickapoo, Lawrence was the third printing point in territorial Kansas. Atchison was the fourth, with the establishment of the Squatter Sovereign, a violently proslavery paper, by John H. Stringfellow and Robert S. Kelley, on February 3, 1855. Fifth was Topeka, where E. C. K. Garvey established the Kansas Freeman on July 5, 1855. Fort Scott may have been the sixth, but the record of the Southern Kansan is not clear whether it began in August, 1855, or in August, 1856. The press, brought from Boonville, Missouri, seems to have been actually on the ground, however, in 1855. [13]

Topeka was the site of the free-state "government" set up in opposition to the "bogus legislature" at Shawnee. This Topeka government, however, evidently refrained from putting itself on record by printing anything, although there was a press at Topeka as early as February, 1855. The first printed record of free-state politics, other than newspapers, seems to have been the proceedings of the territorial convention held at Big Springs on September 5 and 6, 1855. These proceedings were printed in a 16-page pamphlet by the Herald of Freedom office at Lawrence. The so-called "Topeka Constitution" was written in 1855, but it was not printed until 1857, when it appeared in 16-page format from the office of the Lawrence Republican, a paper established on May 28 of that year.

Although the proslavery partisans made the first start in Kansas territorial printing, they were soon outnumbered by the free-state printing establishments. Because the advocates of the "peculiar institution" could not migrate and settle in Kansas without the risk of losing their slave property if the new state should vote itself free, they were at a disadvantage in point of numbers against the free-state settlers, who brought no embarrassing "property" with them. But in spite of the disparity in numbers, the struggle between the two factions lacked nothing in bitterness and violence, with both sides at fault for deeds of cruelty and ruthlessness, until after the close of the Civil War. Newspapers and printing plants suffered from violence as well as individuals and other forms of property.

The first newspaper to suffer from violence was the Leavenworth Territorial Register, established July 7, 1855, by Mark W. Delahay and A. M. Sevier. Delahay was a delegate to the Topeka constitutional convention in the fall of that year, and while he was away a party of Missourians, not liking his political attitude, crossed the Missouri river on the ice and on December 22 ransacked the Register office. The press was dropped through a hole in the ice, and the type was distributed in the street. Five months later, following an indictment charging them with constructive treason in denying the legality of the territorial authorities, the plants of the Free State and of the Herald of Freedom were destroyed by violence on May 21, 1856. John Speer's Kansas Tribune escaped by having been removed to Topeka a short time before. The Tribune and E. C. K. Garvey's Kansas Freeman, both at Topeka, were for a time the only free-state papers left in Kansas.

New printing points in 1856 were Doniphan, where Thomas J. Key planted the proslavery Constitutionalist on May 3, and Lecompton, where the Union, also proslavery, was established on the same date by A. W. Jones and C. A. Faris. Printing materials were also assembled at Osawatomie by Oscar V. Dayton and Alexander Gardner, of New York, in the spring of 1856. But during the disturbances of that year the materials were hidden, and the projected Osawatomie Times did not appear. But in 1857 the tide definitely turned. Newspapers started in at least fifteen new locations, and only two of these were of the proslavery faith. In the order of their appearance they were as follows: [14]

Quindaro Chindowan: May 13, by J. M. Walden and Edmund Babb.
Lawrence Republican: May 28, by Norman Allen and T. Dwight Thacher.
Wyandott City. Register: May, by M. W. Delahay.
White Cloud Kansas Chief: June 4, by Solomon Miller.
Emporia Kansas News: June 6, by Preston B. Plumb.
Centropolis Kansas Leader: June 13, by William Austin and Elias Beardsley. Prairie City Freeman's Champion: June 25, by S. S. Prouty.
Atchison Kansas Zeitung: June, by Charles F. Kob.
Geary City Era: June, by E. H. Grand and Earle Marble.
Elwood Advertiser: July, by John S. Fairman.
Tecumseh Note Book: July, by S. G. Reid (proslavery).
Sumner Gazette: Sept. 12, by J. P. and D. D. Cone.
Wyandott Citizen: Sept. 19, by Ephraim Abbott (revival of the Wyandott Register).
Ottumwa Journal: September, by Jonathan Lyman; removed in October to Burlington, where it became the Burlington Free Press.
Delaware Kansas Free State: revival in the fall of 1857, by R. G. Elliott, of the Free State destroyed at Lawrence in May, 1856.
Marysville Palmetto Kansan: November, by J. E. Clardy (proslavery).
Osawatomie Southern Kansas Herald: November, by Charles E. Griffith.

Some of the products of the early Kansas press deserve mention, as they may be said to be comprised among the incunabula of territorial Kansas. Some of the printing done by A. B. Hazzard at Kickapoo for the proslavery, or "bogus," legislature has already been mentioned. In all probability, Hazzard also printed the four-page pamphlet containing the drastic act to punish offenses against slave property passed by that legislature August 14, 1855. Other publications of that session-the journals of the council and of the house of representatives, and the volume of more than a thousand pages containing the statutes passed were printed in St. Louis, although they bear the imprint of John T. Brady, public printer, at the Shawnee Manual Labor School. Eastin & Adams, of Leavenworth, printed at their Herald office the proceedings of the Kansas Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in an adjourned meeting at Leavenworth in July, 1856. In 1857 there appeared two addresses to the people of the United States from the two opposing parties in Kansas. The Democratic Territorial Convention, held at Lecompton on January 12, 1857, had its address printed in Leavenworth at the office of the Leavenworth Weekly Journal, a proslavery paper established about June 1, 1856, by S. S. Goode in partnership with a Major Wilkes of South Carolina. The Free State convention met at Topeka on March 10, 1857, and its address was also issued with a Leavenworth imprint, though it is not known which office in that town had the hardihood to print it.

The journals and the laws of the second session of the territorial legislature, held at Lecompton in January, 1857, were issued at Lecompton by R. H. Bennett, successor to John T. Brady as public printer and probably associated with the office of the Lecompton Union, a proslavery paper established at the new temporary capital in May, 1856. In 185? the imprint of Eastin & Adams, of the Leavenworth Herald, again appeared on the proceedings of another meeting of the Masonic grand lodge that assembled in Leavenworth in October. In that year the Leavenworth Journal office printed A Historical Sketch and Review of the Business of the City of Leavenworth-the city being then about three years old.

The laws of the third and fourth sessions of the territorial legislative assembly have the imprint of S. W. Driggs & Co., at Lecompton in 1858. Driggs had established there, in July, 1857, the National Democrat, still another organ of the proslavery party. But in 1859 and thereafter the imprints of printers identified with the free-state sentiment come more and more to the fore. The proceedings of the Wyandott constitutional convention of July, 1859, were printed at Wyandott (now a part of Kansas City, Kansas) by S. D. Macdonald, "Printer to the Convention." This printer about a year before, in August, 1858, had begun publication of the Wyandott Commercial Gazette. It was under the so-called Wyandott constitution, also printed at Wyandott in 1859, that Kansas eventually was admitted to the Union in 1861. The journals of the legislature of 1859 have the imprint of J. K. Goodin, at Lawrence, and the laws of that session were printed at the "Herald of Freedom Steam Press," the imprint showing that G. W. Brown's paper had been quite successfully revived after the destruction of its plant in 1856.

In the period before 1860, the press in what is now Kansas got no farther west than Junction City, which point was reached in June, 1858, when B. H. Keyser began his Sentinel there, with George W. Kingsbury as printer. A line drawn from Marysville at the north, southward through Junction City to Cottonwood Falls, and thence southeast to Fort Scott, will delimit the area in which the early press of Kansas operated. It is noteworthy that no fewer than eight enterprising printers set up their presses in the small area of the present Doniphan county, all but one of these being free-state advocates arriving in the years 1857-1859. This area, in the extreme northeastern corner of the territory, was probably more accessible to the free-state invasion than locations that could be reached only by quite extended journeying through hostile Missouri.

This chapter on the press in Kansas may well close by taking leave of the old press first brought there by Jotham Meeker. After Meeker's death, the press became the property of George W. Brown, of the Lawrence Herald of Freedom. From Brown it passed to S. S. Prouty, who used it in connection with his Freeman's Champion, at Prairie City in 1857, and with his Neosho Valley Register at Burlington in 1859. Prouty sold it to S. Weaver, who used it at Lecompton. Thence it went to Cottonwood Falls and from there on south to Cowley county, where it was used at Winfield. It is also said to have been. at Liberal, in Seward county. Next it passed into Oklahoma and into a period of obscurity and neglect. In the summer of 1929 parts of an old wooden press were found in a cellar in Guymon, Oklahoma, and tentatively identified as belonging to the ancient Meeker press. Whether this actually is the press of Meeker is doubtful, as all accounts describe the original press as an iron press of the Seth Adams make. At last accounts the old press found in Oklahoma was the property of Mr. Giles Miller, editor of the Panhandle Herald, at Guymon. [15]


1. The two printing concerns principally identified with Cincinnati at what was probably the time of Meeker's apprenticeship were Looker, Reynolds & Co. (later Looker, Palmer & Reynolds, and Looker & Reynolds), and Morgan, Lodge & Co. (later Morgan & Lodge, and Morgan, Lodge & Fisher). There were six or seven other master printers at work at Cincinnati for a year or two at a time during the same period, but the probability is that the young apprentice served his time in the plant of one of the two larger and more firmly established firms.
2. The original of Jotham Meeker's journal is in the possession of the Kansas Historical Society, at Topeka. Copious extracts from it, especially as the record concerns Meeker's activities as a printer, will be found in Jotham Meeker, Pioneer Printer of Kansas, pp. 45-126.
3. See Jotham Meeker, Pioneer Printer of Kansas, pp. 34-35.
4. Op. cit., pp. 25-30. In Meeker's orthography the functions of the letters differed according to the language. Thus in the Shawnee texts the letter b represented the sound of th in "thin," but in Delaware it was used for the sound of u in "tube"; in Pottawatomie and Ottawa, the letter r represented the sound of e in "met," but in Delaware it stood for a in "fate." These arbitrary differences in the use of letters seriously impaired the general use of the system.
5. This statement is not strictly accurate. Before Pratt had come to Shawanoe, Meeker's journal had recorded the temporary employment of Thomas E. Birch as a journeyman in the summer of 1836; during November, 1835, Meeker employed a "Mr. Day," and in April, 1837, a "Mr. Quisinbury." But these representatives of the printing craft are shadowy figures, existing for us only momentarily in the pages of Meeker's journal.
6. Jotham Meeker records in his journal that on December 12, 1888, he had bound up two sets of the eleven issues of the Sun which had appeared up to that time. And m October, 1839, Johnston Lykins transmitted copies for 1835, 1838, and 1837 to the Department of Indian Affairs, at Washington, with other material from the Baptist Mission Press. But all these have disappeared. The one copy now extant was reproduced in the Kansas City (Kansas) Sun of February 18, 1898, and only recently came to light again, in March, 1930, after the publication of Jotham Meeker with the statement (p. 33) that it could not be located.
7. Jotham Meeker, pp. 145-140 (numbers 37 and 38), p. 150 (no.
8. A Forgotten Pioneer Press of Kansas, p. 14.
9. Op. cit., p. 16.
10. Jotham Meeker, p. 125, and pp. 41-42.
11. Boynton and Mason, A Journey Through Kansas, with Sketches of Nebraska (Cincinnati, 1855), pp. 28-24.
12. Contemporary evidence abundantly establishes the priority of the Herald of Freedom over the other two papers at Lawrence in spite of claims to the contrary. The evidence is conclusively set forth in Flint's Journalism in Territorial Kansas, pp. 49-54. I am much indebted to this searching and exhaustive essay for many details of early Kansas newspaper history. Much of Flint's account of the events at Lawrence in January, 1855 is based on personal interviews with Robert Elliott and with William Miller, a brother of Josiah Miller, in the summer and fall of 1915.
13. Kansas Annual Register, 1864, p. 138; Flint, pp. 600-601.
14. This list is compiled from the "Roll Call of Newspapers in Territorial Kansas," Flint, p. 595 ff.
15. The story of the wanderings of this old press was told by S. S. Prouty in the Winfield Courier of August 27, 1870, quoted by Flint, p. 813, as "the most probable account," and repeated in Martin's Hand Book of the Kansas Publishing House (Topeka. 1875), pp. 84-85. It was carried further by Mr. J. T. Crawford, general secretary of the Kansas State Baptist Association, in an article in the Kansas City Star of October 15, 1929. According to Prouty, twenty stars on its original frame indicated that it had been made in 1817, before Illinois became the twenty-first state in 1818.