Missionary Jotham Meeker and his wife printed the first periodical in Kansas, the Shawnee Sun in the Shawnee language, in 1835, at the Shawnee Baptist Mission in present Johnson County. Rev. Jotham Meeker established the Ottawa Baptist Mission during the summer of 1837.
When incoming settlers flocked to the natural ford on the Marais Des Cygnes River, a town began to form. Ottawa was platted in March 1864. Ottawa University now stands near the site of Rev. Jotham Meeker's Ottawa Baptist Mission.