Thursday, April 26, 2012

To Make A Free State

Emory Washburn signed the legislation that recognized the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company April 26th 1854.

The Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company was created in Boston, Massachusetts April 26th 1854 to transport immigrants to the Kansas Territory to tip the balance and make Kansas a free state rather than a slave state.  The Company was set up by Eli Thayer, a second term United State Congressman from Massachusetts, following the Kansas Nebraska Act.  Thayer planned to focus on the antislavery movement in the Northern states, sending settlers to Kansas to buy land, and build houses, stores and mills.  The Massachusetts State Legislature gave the company five million dollars for working capital.  The company changed its name in 1855 to the New England Emigrant Aid Company.  The settlers to the territory were expected to support the free-state movement.  The Company was behind the creation of the towns of Lawrence and Manhattan Kansas, as well as playing a role in the founding the towns of Topeka and Osawatomie, Kansas.

There isn’t an exact number known for those who used the Company and emigrated but it’s thought to be somewhere around 2,000.

1 comment:

Graham Stinnett said...

The Kansas Historical Society has some very good digital archives available online on this topic, including many ledgers and bills of sale for those who enlisted for emigration to the territory.