History of Tecumseh Township, Kansas
From: History of Shawnee County, Kansas
and Representative Citizens.
Edited by James L. King, Topeka, Kansas
Richmond & Arnold Publishers
Chicago 1905

TECUMSEH TOWNSHIP - This township formerly comprised all the territory in Shawnee County lying north of the Wakarusa River, this division being made September 14, 1855. By subsequent subdivisions it was reduced to a tract about six miles square, with Topeka on the west and Monmouth on the south, its northern boundary being the Kansas River, and its eastern boundary the county line of Douglas County. As an agricultural and fruit growing section, it is not surpassed in the whole State.


Col. Thomas N. Stinson was the first white man to settle in the township. He opened the first farm in 1852, although he did not occupy it until March 20, 1853. From 1848 he lived in another part of the county, where he was engaged as a trader among the Indians. He was married in 185o to Miss Julia Bushman, and resided at Uniontown, later moving to the Burnett farm near Topeka, and thence to Tecumseh. Stinson had but few neighbors prior to 1854, when a party of men moved in from Missouri. Among them were J. K. Waysman, A. D. M. Hand, H. Walker, Albert Byler, Joshua Sartain and Nathaniel Hedrick, all on May 5, 1854. Another party came on June 1st of that year, including David Copeland, James Herron, Reuben Low, John Homer, Rev. J. B. Stateler, Thornton B. Hays and Francis Grassmuck.

At different periods in the fall of the same year the following arrived: Robert Edwards, J. C. Niccum, Jehiel Tyler, D. Updegraff, John Morris, James W. Small, William Vaughn, B. Sublette, Dr. D. W. Hunter, Osburn Naylor, Rev. Charles Gordon, Jesse W. Stevenson, Judge Rush Elmore, Charles Stevenson and H. J. Strickler. Arriving in 1855 were: Eli Hopkins, W. Y. Roberts, W. A. Stewart, William Hook, S. Ripple, Joseph Weaver, Benjamin Newsom, Capt, E. Allen, J. Reed, Joseph Molton, William Riley, T. Strother, Jesse Rumsey, Joseph Allen, A. Lovelace, Adam Bowers, John Bowers, Gus Vaughn, Samuel Ackland, Isaac Roberts, H. Carmichael, C. C. Antrim, John Martin, W. O. Yeager, B. Fogle, Kenzie Stofield, V. Rush, Edward Hoagland, Eli Stofield, Rev. Edward Piper, Dr. Snow, J. W. Lacy, N. Shadley, William Shadley, Benjamin Castleman, A. Delap, A. Imes, Erastus Moffitt, Bennett A. Murphy, William Frost, R. Carmichael, Rev. Paul Shepard, A. D. Reed, John T. Lawrence, O. Moffitt, Thomas Campbell, James Ellis, William Ireland, John Scott, William Jones and Henry Caulfield.

Mention should also be made of some of the later settlers in the township: Dr. William B. Brown, Peter Bunce, Joseph Burgess, John A. Campbell, J. P. Campbell. James H. Dunn, Joseph England. Thomas J. Faxon, John S. Griffing. E. H. Harrop. Dwight Jarvis, Harvey Lieurance, Isaac H. Milliken, Isaac Morris, W. A. Rankin, Alfred S. Roberts, Thomas D. Strong, Ralph Voorhees, Samuel B. Wade, William B. Wade, James Wottman, Luther Woodford and J. L. Wood.


The town of Tecumseh is the oldest in the county, once the seat of the county government, the scene of many important events in the State's history and a strong candidate for the State capital. The name perpetuates that of the noted Shawnee Indian chief, who led his braves in the battle of Tippecanoe, and met death in the battle of the Thames. The Tecumseh townsite covered 8o acres taken from the Stinson farm and 24o acres pre-empted for town purposes. The survey was made August 15, 1854, by C. C. Spalding. Most of the men interested in the town, whose names follow, were from the south: Thomas N. Stinson, J. M. Hunter, Samuel H. Woodson, and Abram Comings, from Missouri; Rush Elmore and Albert Elmore, from Alabama; J. W. Whitfield, from Tennessee; S. W. Johnson, from Ohio; A. H. Reeder, Territorial Governor, from Pennsylvania; and Andrew J. Isaacks, Territorial Attorney General, from Louisiana.

Governor Reeder was a frequent visitor at Colonel Stinson's home during his business trips up and down the valley. He was greatly impressed by the picturesque location and splendid surroundings of Tecumseh and took personal interest in advancing its claims as a business and residence point. It was supposed that the first Legislature would hold its session there, but Governor Reeder became so indignant over the criticisms passed upon his official acts by the people of Missouri that he decided to call the Legislature to meet in Pawnee, a point remote from sectional influences, where he was also interested in another town enterprise. His change of plan was a serious blow to Tecumseh in the matter of becoming the State capital. The Pro Slavery men adjourned the Legislature to the Shawnee Manual Labor School and succeeded in locating the Territorial seat of government at Lecompton, midway between Lawrence and Topeka, the avowed purpose being to cripple the last named towns on account of their abolition proclivities.


For her future progress Tecumseh was forced to rely upon the temporary advantage of being the county seat, and this soon precipitated a clash with Topeka, the Pro Slavery faction supporting Tecumseh and the Free State men standing by Topeka. Tecumseh was at the height of her prosperity in 1858, and stood a lusty rival of Topeka in all the arts of politics and trade. But Kansas and all her institutions were destined to be free, and this sentiment, coupled with the jealousy of other towns in the neighborhood, finally located the county seat at Topeka.

Tecumseh is now a gazetteer town of 150 inhabitants - a station on the Atchison, Topeka & Stanta Fe Railway. There is no other settlement of consequence in the township. In 1855 the town of Mairsville was started by Thomas Mairs. In the same year the town of Washington was laid out by a company consisting of W. Y. Roberts, William Frost, William Riley, Joseph Molton and Capt. E. Allen. In 1856 Joseph Allen started the town of Kenamo. All three of them were close to Tecumseh, and none of them attained to a dignified size.

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