National Geographic : 1937 Aug
SPEAKING OF KANSAS Photograph by J. W. McManigal IN SMOKE, SWEAT, AND CHAFF DUST, A KANSAS THRESHING CREW WINDS UP THE WHEAT HARVEST Fascinated, the small boy sits on the coal-wagon tongue, watching the steam engine. Harvest hands halt at the big water can to wash dust from their throats, while the long belt drives the threshing machine, into which bundles of wheat are fed from two sides. The scene is near Mercier. that had been first Spanish and then Mexi can. By this time a few whites were settling in east Kansas. From Missouri to New Mexico flowed that steady, two-way stream of traders, soldiers, teams, wagons, goods, furs, and treasure which was to make the Santa Fe Trail one of the most romantic and spectacular caravan roads in all history.* Gold seekers, rushing to California after 1849, swarmed across Kansas by scores of thousands, along with outlaws, swindlers, and road agents, breaking still more new trails, including the Oregon and its branches, the Salt Lake, Mormon, and California. Indians raided and killed. When not fighting whites, they fought each other. News that aroused the Nation broke in Kansas in 1854, over the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. This law set up the territories named, * See "The Santa Fe Trail, Path to Empire," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1929. and said that when they were ready to join the Union each might say for itself, by popular vote, whether or not its citizens should hold slaves. BORDER WAR IN "BLEEDING KANSAS" Immediately Kansas became a battle ground. From the North came colonists, sent by the New England Emigrant Aid Company to vote for "free soil." Some carried guns, called "Beecher Bibles" be cause paid for with funds raised by Henry Ward Beecher. Southern States raised funds and sent armed bands of settlers to vote the pro slavery ticket. Missourians-dubbed "Bor der Ruffians"-flocked over to help the slave-owning element. Murders, raids and house burnings con tinued for years. At Lawrence, type metal from The Herald of Freedom, thrown into the river by a previous mob, was fished out and molded into cannon balls.