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Owen Picton

Written March 2022

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Railroad to Freedom

The so-called Battle of the Spurs took place about 7 miles (11 km) north of Holton, Kansas, near Netawaka, Kansas, on January 31, 1859. Abolitionist John Brown, together with J. H. Kagi and Aaron Dwight Stevens, was escorting a grou winter

Kiene, L. L. (1903–1904). "Battle of the Spurs and John Brown's Exit from Kansas". Kansas History. Vol. 8. pp. 443–449. Archived from the original on 2018-12-15. Retrieved 2021-07-02.


I grow up as a boy where the three states Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri come together. The small town of Falls City, Nebraska was my home. It was five miles north of the Kansas state line and ten mile West of the Missouri state line and River.

You heard vague references to the Civil War and the Underground Railroad but no solid references or history about it being included in the area where I lived. It must have happen some place else was my feeling. As time went on, I did more research and this is what I found.

The Underground Railroad was a term used for smuggling slaves in "Bleeding Kansas" from 1857 to 1861. It was a trail (marked with rock piles known as Lane's chimneys) built by Gereral James H. Lane and called Lane's Road. Lane's Road followed several paths with one passing through Padonia to Falls City and another passing through Albany, Kansas to Salem, Nebraska. Lane's Road ran from Lawrence, Kansas through Padonia, Brown County, Kansas, then near or over Pony Creek, then through the Falls City underground railroad in Richardson County, Nebraska to Nebraska City. The name of the street that the highway takes through Falls City is now called Lane Street. In some writeups, it states that James Lane lived at Falls City, Nebraska part of the time that the underground railroad activity was going on.

"Bleeding Kansas" was a dangerous place. John Brown personally used this Underground Railroad to smuggle slaves to freedom by taking them through the Brown County area to Falls City, Nebraska (Slavery in Nebraska) where he hid slaves on the Underground Railroad (one then would go through Padonia to get to Falls City). John Brown sparked the American Civil War by his actions in other parts of the United States and was hung for this. He is considered by some to be a heroic martyr and one of the more important people in American history because he give his life for freedom of the slaves by actions which he intentionally took to free the slaves. Others consider John Brown a terrorist.



The Battle of the Spurs

This slavery confrontation occurred about half way between Hiawatha and Horton Kansas on January 31, 1859.

Additional content

History surrounding the area where the Stephen Picton Family settled had some adventure and violence. Could Coronado have come here in 1541 searching for the Land of Quivera? The Lewis and Clark Expedition came up the Missouri River in the 1804-1806 time frame. The Underground Railroad for smuggling slaves in "Bleeding Kansas" from 1857 to 1861, was a trail (marked with rock piles known as Lane's chimneys) built by Gereral James H. Lane and called Lane's Road. Lane's Road followed several paths with one passing through Padonia to Falls City and another passing through Albany, Kansas to Salem, Nebraska. Lane's Road ran from Lawrence, Kansas through Padonia, Brown County, Kansas, then near or over Pony Creek, then through the Falls City underground railroad in Richardson County, Nebraska to Nebraska City. The name of the street that the highway takes through Falls City is now called Lane Street. "Bleeding Kansas" was a dangerous place. John Brown personally used this Underground Railroad to smuggle slaves to freedom by taking them through the Brown County area to Falls City, Nebraska (Slavery in Nebraska) where he hid slaves on the Underground Railroad (one then would go through Padonia to get to Falls City). John Brown sparked the American Civil War by his actions in other parts of the United States and was hung for this. He is considered by some to be a heroic martyr and one of the more important people in American history because he give his life for freedom of the slaves by actions which he intentionally took to free the slaves. Others consider John Brown a terrorist. Abraham Lincoln gave a two hour campaign speech in 1859 at Troy, Kansas (about 25 miles away) when he was running for President of the United States. At this time, John Brown was executed while Abraham Lincoln was visiting Kansas. The Pony Express went through the area in 1860-1861. There was a Pony Express station every 10 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri and the route passing somewhere near Hiawatha toward the Pony Express Station of Rock Creek Station near Fairbury, Nebraska (a distance of about 100 miles). Could Pony Creek between Padonia and Falls City have been given its name by its relationship to the Pony Express? Wild Bill Hickok (a famous character of the Wild West) at the Rock Creek Station was reported to have shot three men to death in 1861, just 9 years before Stephen Picton arrived. Padonia was the site of a bloodless Civil War skirmish called the Battle of Padonia. During the Civil War, Confederate Soldiers were captured in the Padonia area and there were problems in the Falls City and Salem area. Lawrence, Kansas of the underground railroad was the site of the Civil War Lawrence Massacre in 1863 where about 200 men and boys were massacre. Padonia is now just little more than a Ghost Town and is on a list of Kansas Ghost Towns.


Other Welsh families in about 1867-1868 immigrated to nearby areas in Nebraska such as Rulo, Nebraska and Northeast of the Stella, Nebraska area. Additionally, the towns of Rulo and White Cloud are on the Missouri River, were river towns and the nearest stopping points for steamboat traffic. River towns were often considered to be a place of a lot of fights, drunkenness and not a very safe place. Also, White Cloud had an Indian Reservation. I am sure from 1870 to the time of the death of Jesse James in 1882, that Jesse James would go through this area, traveling to do various bank robberies. Some stories on other nearby Welsh immigration and settlements are related below. The Stephen Picton family immigrated in 1870.


Memories of Sam Picton- (my Father) by Owen Picton

Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804 Notes- as they explored the mouth of the Nemaha River

This is maybe 10 or 12 miles from where Stephen Picton settled when he came to America a little over 65 years later. I would guess that all the elk and buffalo had been killed off before Stephen Picton arrived. Roys Creek is a small creek on the lower (South) side referred to and where my Dad, Samuel Picton used to play when he grew up and where he learned to swim. The Padonia to White Cloud Road ran over Roys Creek at the time of Stephen Picton. There are still descendants of Stephen Picton farming near Roys Creek. Notice how Clark describes the land and vegetation in 1804. That describes the vegetation when Stephen Picton arrived and it is still the same now. At the mouth of the Nemaha River, there is Sand Stone cliff and that is the place where Clark says he carved his name and date (his name and date do not exist today). At that location on the Missouri River in 1804 the Lewis and Clark Expedition held a court martial for a soldier sleeping on sentry duty and sentenced him to one hundred lashes on his bare back at four different times starting in the evening for four evenings. How punishment has changed.

Lewis sailed the Missouri River with a Sextant just as one would sail the ocean. Clark has two writeup's for each day. The first are his notes and the second is his writeup for the book that was published. You can put in other dates by going to the web site above. July 10, 1804 brings up the a writeup for the day they arrived at what is now the Nebraska - Kansas state line. Other members of the Expedition also have notes. Floyd was the only member of the Expedition to die. He died at what is now Sioux City, Iowa of what is believed was appendicitis.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas - published in 1883- Coronado Exploration in 1541 and the search for the Land of Quivera (Mythical Cities of Gold)

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska - published in 1882- Coronado Exploration in 1541 and the search for Quivera.

'Hail and Wind Storm'

Here is a description of a 'Hail and Wind Storm' in 1541 by Coronado which could just as easily have happen today. It may have happen in the three state Underground Railroad area of Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri: "One evening, there came up a terrible storm of wind and hail, which left in the camp hailstones so large as porringers and even larger. They fell thick as rain-drops, and in some spots the ground was covered with them to the depth of eight or ten inches. The storm caused, says one, many tears, weakness and vows. The horses broke their reins, some were even blown down the banks of the ravine, the tents were torn, and every dish in camp broken." In this case, our environment has not changed much in almost 500 years. Is it possible that such a storm could be a once in 500 year storm?

Could the Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska and Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas areas be where Coronado arrived at when searching for the land of Quivera? Where did Coronado visited in 1541 searching for the Land of Quivera? The description of the vegetation and land match Nebraska and Kansas state line, but no one knows where it was? This mythical land is reported to be the land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold but Coronado could not find it. The Kansas Nebraska state line is on the fortieth parallel of latitude. Coronado used a sextant and sailed the prairies as one would sail the ocean to what he says was the fortieth parallel of latitude. The Indians that lived on the Nebraska Kansas stated line were Pawnee Indians and wore a headdresses like a Turkish headdress. That is the type of headdress Coronado said he saw when he was at the Nebraska and Kansas state line. At another place in Coronado's write up, he said that he stood on a high hill top and looked down on a very very very great river (Maybe this was looking down from a high bluff on the Missouri River near White Cloud, and where our Nebraska Kansas state line starts). Each person pushes for there own favored location for the Land of Quivera. This search for such a mythical land has been the inspiration to everyone. Maybe these three state area is in the Land of Quivera.

The founding of Padonia consisted of ten Welsh families.

Read Article on David Evans- He was founder of Padonia


HI,

Are you aware of during the Civil Ware that 150 Confederate Troops crossed the Missouri River at Rulo, and they divided the troops near FAlls City. Half went to Salem and sacked Salem. Half went South to Padonia. Where the Battle of Padonia occurred. This was written up in a Kansas History Book and is on line.







Owen Picton

451 S 16th Street, #116

Blair, Nebraska 68008

USA

ospicton@yahoo.com

(402) 944-2456

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Last Modified November 2021

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