Trading Post, Kansas, near the Marais Des Cygnes River, is about an hour down the highway from where I live. This unincorporated town is reputed to be the longest continuously occupied community in Kansas, established in 1825 as (you guessed it) a trading post with the Osage Indians.
For years I drove by this tiny spot on the map and had no idea of the monumental impact it had on this region and the whole United States.
In 1858, a brutal massacre on “free state” men occurred just a few miles away. John Brown built a cabin close by to protect fellow abolitionists and plotted vengeance on slave owners, which culminated with his raid on Harper’s Ferry Virginia, a year later. From trading post, Kansas Senator Jim Lane and his infamous Jayhawkers launched a retaliatory raid on southern sympathizers in Missouri in 1861.
All this from a little place called Trading Post.
I stopped one day and visited the small museum there and found a few interesting artifacts. Here’s the door to the cabin built by John Brown, who vowed to protect “freestate men” in Kansas after the massacre.
Near the museum, a memorial to the massacre victims was erected.
I also visited the site of the MARAIS DES CYNES MASSACRE, which inspired John Brown to greater violence, spurred Jim Lane to attack Missouri, and arguably lit the spark that started a Civil War.
Did you know?
Kansas suffered the highest rate of fatal casualties of any Union state, largely because of its great internal divisions over the issue of slavery.
The bloodiest single incident in the Kansas-Missouri border struggles (1854-1861) occurred May 19, 1858, when thirty pro-slavery Missourians seized eleven Kansas ‘Free-State’ men and marched them to a creek bed near Trading Post. The eleven men were lined up execution style and promptly shot, apparently for no other reason than occupying land in a Free State.
The incident shocked the nation and galvanized abolitionists.
A few weeks later, John Brown arrived and built a two-story log “fort” (about 14 x 18 feet), which he occupied with a few men through that summer. That December he led a raid into Missouri and liberated eleven slaves, killing one white man in the process. Ultimately, he took his fight east to Virginia, where after his ill-fated raid he was captured and hanged.
Later that same year, Kansans rejected a pro-slavery constitution and entered the Union as a “free state” in 1861.
A Brown follower bought Brown’s property near Trading Post and later, at the site of the fort, built a stone house that still stands there today. The building and grounds are now part of a State Historical Site.
Visiting this and other historical sites caught up in the bloody conflict, I thought about how the border conflict changed the lives of everyday people for decades to come.
The character of the hero in my upcoming novel, Fugitive Hearts, is shaped by this tragedy, which leads him down a path of vengeance first, and then to the pursuit of justice.
Read more about it here:
“Sheriff…I just shot my husband.”
Hotel owner Claire Daines is a respected member of the community. Until she shocks the entire town by rushing into a saloon wearing only her nightclothes and confessing to very inebriated lawman.
Is she a killer? Is she crazy? Or is she covering up something worse?
For years, Claire hushed up her husband’s dangerous condition to guard his reputation. When tragedy strikes, she puts her own life at risk when she vows to keep another terrible secret.
Sheriff Frank Garrity must get to the truth, although the tough, hard-drinking lawman hides his own secrets and would rather walk a lonely path than face his demons. But as Frank unravels Claire’s subterfuge and unlocks her heart, he’s torn between his desire to save her and his duty to bring her to justice.
Will he bring her to justice…or into his heart?
“Pure romance and passion that will steal your breath!”
Linda Broday, New York Times Best Selling Author
Coming July 28, 2015
Available for pre-order on Amazon
Other books in the series:
Today, I’ll be giving away a free eBook in the Steam! Romance and Rails series: A Dangerous Passion. Just comment to enter the drawing.