A group of Free-Staters traveled to Kansas Territory in March 1855, under the auspices of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, to found a Free-State town. Led by Isaac Goodnow, the first members of the group selected the location of the Polistra and Canton claims for the Aid Company's new settlement. Goodnow was soon to be joined by his brother-in-law Joseph Denison. After the New Englanders arrived at the site, in April 1855 the various settlers agreed to join their three groups into one settlement named Boston.
The steamboat Hartford, carrying 75 settlers from Ohio, ran aground in the Kansas River near the settlement in June 1855. The passengers accepted an invitation to join the new town, but insisted that it be renamed Manhattan, which was done on June 29, 1855. Manhattan was incorporated on May 30, 1857.
Blue Mont College, the forerunner of Kansas State University, opened its doors in 1859. 1862--Congress grants Kansas 90,000 acres to found an agricultural college. 1863-- Kansas State University in Manhattan was established as the nation's original land-grant university.