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Kansas topics in Chronicling America - Nicodemus

Nicodemus, Kansas was a town that was developed through land speculation: undeveloped land was purchased, and a town site was planned before anyone lived there.  Town speculators would advertise the settlement, and pieces of land were sold as city lots to those recruited to live there.  Nicodemus was one of several black settlements in Kansas, inhabited after freed slaves from Kentucky arrived after planned migration.  Nicodemus was the most famous of these settlements, and was named for a slave who was believed to have bought his own freedom.

Life was not easy for the new settlers of Nicodemus.  When the land was sold, the speculators and promoters were not concerned with timing; the first settlers arrived when it was too late to plant any crops.  Farming was not possible, and there was a great distance between Nicodemus and other settlements.  New settlers were assisted by those in the surrounding communities to get through that first harsh winter.  Despite weathering many difficulties, the settlers who decided to stay during this time eventually created a thriving community.[i]

[i] Chinn, Jennie A. The Kansas Journey. Salt Lake City, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2005. 130-131.


Below are article links to a sampling of historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection

Suggested search terms:  Nicodemus; Nicodemus, Kansas; Nicodemus Colony; Kansas: land speculation

“A Correspondent of the Very Stalwart Larmars Sentinel,”The New Orleans daily Democrat. (New Orleans, La.), 11 Sept. 1879.

“Nicodemus,”The watchman and southron. (Sumter, S.C.), 21 March 1882. 

“Fatal Prairie Fire,”The Columbian. (Bloomsburg, Pa.), 15 April 1887.

“The Nicodemus Colony,”Western Kansas world. (WaKeeney, Kan.), 22 Feb. 1890.

“Another Colony of Negros,”Meade county news. (Meade, Kan.), 08 Oct. 1903. 

“Out at Nicodemus,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 27 Jan. 1905.

“A Kansas Tragedy,”The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 01 Sept. 1917.