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Lawrence, Kansas History

Lawrence, seat of Douglas County, was originally planned to be the capital of Kansas by the New England Emigrant Aid Company in Boston which helped to found this city in 1854.

Lawrence became the center of Free State activities and the mecca for escaped slaves. Civil War action within the state consisted primarily of guerrilla skirmishes and raids.

May 1856 Lawrence was sacked by border ruffians led by Sheriff Jones.

October 31, 1857 The first court ever held in Lawrence was in session; Samuel N. Wood, Justice of the Peace.

1859 The idea for the University of Lawrence was conceived by Amos A. Lawrence, and it was first chartered as Lawrence University. This first attempt failed.

August 21, 1863 Surprise attack at Lawrence by Confederate guerillas led by William C. Quantrill. 150 residents were slaughtered. The city was sacked and burned, and about $1.5 million worth of property was destroyed.

1863-1864 After Kansas was admitted to the Union, plans were revived and the Legislature selects Lawrence as site for State University.

1866 The University of Kansas at Lawrence was opened as the first state university in the Great Plains area.

1871 The first railroad in the state was in operation in Lawrence.

1877 The first telephone in Kansas was installed in Lawrence.

1884--Haskell Institute, school for Indians, established at Lawrence.

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