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The Lane Trail - Nemaha County, KS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 39° 50.505 W 095° 47.160
15S E 261622 N 4413907
Quick Description: First built as a roadway for immigrants, then became the underground railway route, and today is US highway 75
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 3/22/2015 4:02:57 AM
Waymark Code: WMNJ7M
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cosninocanines
Views: 0

Long Description:

County of trail: Nemaha County
Location of marker: Roadside park, 2 miles W. of Jct. US-36 & US-75, 3 miles W. of Fairview
Marker erected by: Kansas Historical Society and Kansas Department of Transportation

Marker text: Near here the towns of Plymouth and Lexington once stood as outposts on the Lane Trail, approximated today by US-75. Named for abolitionist James H. Lane, the trail was established in 1856 to bypass proslavery strongholds in Missouri and provide free-state settlers a safe route into Kansas. Rock piles known as "Lane's chimneys" marked the trail. Leaving Iowa City, settlers went west into Nebraska and south into Kansas, passing through Plymouth, Lexington, Powhattan, Netawaka, and Holton before arriving in Topeka. The trail also served as part of the underground railroad, used by John Brown and others to transport slaves north to freedom.

At Plymouth, three miles south of the Nebraska line, and at Lexington, a few miles farther south, the settlers built log cabins surrounded by earthen~walled forts for protection. Armed with rifles and bolstered by a small cannon at Plymouth, the settlers established an antislavery presence that helped bring "Bleeding Kansas" into the Union as a free state. Today, however, Plymouth and Lexington exist only as a memory.

Road of Trail Name: The Lane Trail

State: Kansas

County: Nemaha County

Historical Significance:
"James Lane originally laid out this trail so free-state immigrants coming to Kansas Territory could avoid proslavery settlements along the Missouri River. Marked with rock piles that became known as Lane's chimneys, the trail began in Topeka and continued north through Jackson and Brown counties (along today's US Highway 75), ending at the Kansas-Nebraska border. By 1856 its use as an immigrant trail had fallen off, but its runaway slave traffic had increased. Because of the secretive nature of the Underground Railroad, it is unclear how many slaves used this route through northeast Kansas. "But it is known that on at least one occasion the Lane Trail was used by famous abolitionist John Brown. He arrived at the home of Charles Smith very late on a cold January night in 1859. Accompanying him were nearly 30 people--among them ten slaves liberated on a raid into Missouri just a few weeks earlier." ~ Kansapedia; Kansas Historical Society

Years in use: 30 years maybe, the secretive nature of the underground railroad the dates become unclear

How you discovered it:
On a trip from Salina, KS headed back home to Missouri. I always travel the old US highways and visit roadside parks in search of historic markers long forgotten by others.

Book on Wagon Road or Trial:
Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society Jim Lane: Scoundrel, Statesman, Kansan By Collins, Robert - Pelican Publishing

Website Explination:

Fugitives chose from several different routes through Kansas, depending on their location within the territory. Many escaping from Missouri made their first stop at Quindaro in Wyandotte County. This town became an Underground Railroad station about 1857 and remained so until the start of the Civil War. The next stop on the route often was the free-state town of Lawrence. Slaves then made their way to Topeka and turned north. The last leg of the route through Kansas, and the best known, was the Lane Trail.

From Seneca, KS go east on US 36 to almost the county line; from Fairview go west about 3 miles to roadside park (rest area)

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