Miami County, Kansas

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Location: Miami, Kansas, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Miami County, Kansas Dorsey Edwards
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This profile is part of the Miami County, Kansas One Place Study.

Native Americans The first settlements of the area were by Native American Indian tribes, primarily in the 1820s through the 1840s. This was due to their removal from areas east (Ohio, Illinois and Indiana)and the designation of the area as part of the Indian Territory. The tribes included were the Miami and Shawnee, and the Pottawatomie, Piankeshaw, Kaskaskia, Wea and Peoria, which comprised the Confederated Tribes. The original Miami reservation consisted of approximately 500,000 acres . Early white settlers during that time were primarily serving as missionaries to the tribes. Over time, other settlers continued to arrive to build homes on the Miami reservation, and by 1854, the U.S. Government purchased all but 72,000 acres from the Miami tribe.

Two notable members of the Confederated Tribes were Christmas Dagnette and Baptiste Peoria. Dagnette was born in 1800 and was a nephew of a Wea chief, originally from Indiana. He had received some formal education, spoke several of the Native American languages, and additionally spoke English, French and Spanish. He had served as an interpreter to the U.S. Government by the age of sixteen. Having moved to the area that is now Miami County with the Wea tribe, he served as chief for several years before his death in 1848. Baptiste Peoria was also born around 1800, and while he didn't receive formal education like Dagnette, he learned the languages of the Shawnee, Delaware, Pottawatomie, and several more of the Confederated Tribes. In addition, he spoke English and French. Peoria was of both French and Native American Indian ethnicity, and like Dagnette served as an interpreter and as a chief for some time. Baptiste Peoria became a respected member of the Paola Town Company, and was instrumental in the founding and development of the city of Paola in the early and mid-1860s. He moved (to what is now Oklahoma) with his tribe in 1868, when they were once again removed to a newly designated Indian territory, and died there in 1878. Some of the Native American Indians stayed in the area (Miami County), and became citizens of the United States. When Kansas Territory was incorporated in 1854 due to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was essentially repealed. Bordering the slave state of Missouri to its east, the county (Miami) and surrounding areas became a location for violence between abolitionists and the "Border Ruffians" of Missouri. These acts of violence and battles that took place primarily from 1854–1858, became known as border wars, and Kansas became known as Bleeding Kansas. Kansas Territory was not yet a state, and it was a battle on which forces would become dominant, slave or free. Many abolitionists came from other states to live in the area and ensure Kansas' entry as a state as a free, or anti-slavery one. The county's most notable abolitionist was John Brown, who moved to Osawatomie, making it the headquarters for he and his anti-slavery forces. As a result of this, Osawatomie, as well as the surrounding countryside and communities became the center for several battles and acts of violence during this period. Near Osawatomie are historic sites of John Brown, such as his famous Civil War lookout. The county was originally established in 1855 as Lykins County, after Dr. David Lykins. Lykins was a Baptist missionary to the Native American Indian tribes in the area, and had built a school for them in what is now rural Miami County. He also served as a member of the territorial council, and was pro-slavery. By January 1861, the anti-slavery forces had been established as dominant, and Kansas entered the union as a free state. As a result of Dr. Lykins' views on slavery, Lykins County's name was changed to Miami County on June 3, 1861. The new name was in honor of the predominant Native American tribe that settled the area, the Miami. [1]


Miami County, Kansas Timeline

Miami County Townships

  • Marysville
  • Miami
  • Middle Creek
  • Mound
  • Osage
  • Osawatomie

"Samuel Geer was a founder of Osawatomie who worked to build the community in its infancy. Geer was among the first settlers, who emigrated to Kansas Territory and settled in Osawatomie, and was a pioneering business owner in the community, becoming a trustee of the town of Osawatomie, sitting on the board of directors for the Osawatomie Town Company, which oversaw the early development of the town. Geer was a courageous man, for he was willing to risk his life and property, which is evident in that he allowed the community to use his house as a polling place, which made his home a target for proslavery raiders. Geer built the first building in Osawatomie and operated a boarding house. Geer built the first hotel in the town, which was burned to the ground when John Reid’s proslavery forces sacked the town following both attacks on Osawatomie in 1856. Geer was financially devastated by the two Battles of Osawatomie in 1856, losing his hotel, five houses, a horse and wagon and other items that added up to a loss of $7,200. However, he rebounded and went on to rebuild his hotel and the Osage Valley House, which was the site of the founding of the Kansas Republican Party on May 18, 1859. Geer also was a part owner of a ferry along with other Osawatomie pioneers and demonstrated the tenacity of Osawatomie’s founders in the face of not only nature, but proslavery attacks as well. Geer and other pioneers literally built a town on a site that was completely undeveloped, and with the real danger that proslavery forces were ready and willing to ride into Osawatomie, kill them, and burn and destroy all of their work at any time. Proslavery forces did not merely threaten to attack Osawatomie, they did so twice, and Geer and Osawatomie’s founders refused to give up and rebuilt despite proslavery advocates’ attacks."[2]

  • Paola
  • Richland
  • Stanton
  • Sugar Creek
  • Ten Mile
  • Valley
  • Wea

Miami County Towns

  • Fontana
  • Louisburg
  • Osawatomie
  • Paola
  • Spring Hill (Partly in Johnson County)

Historical Attractions

Miami County Online Records

Cemetery Records

Census Records

Land Records

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents. See Kansas Land and Property for additional information about early Kansas land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records Land records at Kansas Historical Society 1878 Land Plat book for Miami County - image of plat book [3] 1901 Land Plat book for Miami County - image of plat book


Miami County Books

Miami County Online Resources=

Miami County Libraries

Statewide Online Resources

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