Central Plains state in the U.S.
Kansas — PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—Geography—Kansas, one of the United States of America, is the central state of the Union, to which it was admitted January 29, 1861. It has an area of 82,144 square miles, approximately 400 miles from east to west, and 200 miles from north to south. It is bounded on the north by Nebraska, on the east by Missouri, on the west by Colorado, and on the south by Oklahoma. The Territory of Kansas was organized in 1854 with the following limits: beginning at a point on the western boundary of the State of Missouri, where parallel 37° N. crosses the same; thence west on said parallel to the eastern boundary of New Mexico; thence north of said boundary to 38° N.; thence following said boundary westward to the east boundary of the Territory of Utah on the summit of the Rocky Mountains; thence northward on said summit to 40° N.; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the State of Missouri; thence south with the western boundary of said state to the place of beginning. It was, however, provided in the organic Act of the Territory that the United States Government should not be inhibited thereby from dividing the Territory of Kansas or from attaching any portion of said territory to any other territory or state of the United States. The State of Kansas is not as large as the territory organized under the same name; in area it ranks the eleventh among the states in the Union, and it is nearly ten times as large as Massachusetts.
—Surface.—The general surface of Kansas is undulating. It slopes gently from an average height of about 3650 feet above sea level at its western boundary to 850 at its eastern; the average slope is about seven feet to the mile. There is also an inclination from north to south. The mean elevation of the state is about 2000 feet. As for timber, along the waterways in the eastern part are found black hackberry, locust, cherry, maple, and hickory. Artificial forests are found in almost every county.
The state is drained by the Missouri River that forms the northeastern boundary, and by the Kansas and Arkansas Rivers and their tributaries—all of which belong to the Mississippi system.
—CLIMATE.—The climate of Kansas is mild and healthful. In the higher altitudes of western Kansas the air is dry, and wholesome for persons with a tendency to pulmonary diseases. The annual range of temperature is about 120° F. The average temperature of the winter months for twenty years has been 31° F.; of the three summer months 74° F. The mean temperature for the year is thus 53° F. The annual average precipitation, which includes rainfall and the water from melted snow, ranges from fifteen inches in the extreme west to forty-four inches in the extreme southeast. Irrigation is applied in parts of the western countries.
—HISTORY.—It is supposed by some grave writers that the "Cow Country" through which Cabeza de Vaca passed in 1535 was the country north of the Arkansas River and the Old Santa Fé trail, now a part of Kansas. The Spaniards under Coronado entered the limits of the present State of Kansas in 1541, and traversed it in a northeasterly direction marking the limit of the expedition with a cross. This was on the bank of a great tributary of the Mississippi River. Another large river which was crossed by the Spaniards was named Sts. Peter and Paul; Coronado was accompanied by several friars. Among them was Father Juan de Padilla, who remaining to convert the Indians after the departure of Coronado, was here slain by the aborigines. Father Marquette's map of the Mississippi region in 1673 designates various Indian tribes that dwelt within the borders of Kansas. Thus he is the first to mention the Kanzas—the tribe from whom the state derives its name. The French in 1705 ascended the Missouri River as far as the Kansas River. Du Tissenet erected a cross with the arms of the King of France in the country of the Padoucas, on September 27, 1719. According to Du Pratz, in 1721 a band of Spaniards, having a Dominican for their chaplain, were all, with the exception of the priest, massacred by the Missouris whom they had mistaken for Osages, their allies. This happened probably on the present site of Leavenworth. In 1724 M. De Bourgemont made a journey across the territory of Kansas, but during his absence in the following year the entire garrison he had left at Fort Orleans (in Missouri) was massacred by the Indians. Louisiana, of which Kansas was a part, was subject to France until November 3, 1762, when it became a Spanish possession; only to be retroceded to France in 1800; it was purchased by the United States April 30, 1803. Lewis and Clark traversed the region in 1804, 1805, and 1806. In 1806 Zebulon M. Pike explored the south of Kansas; at his instance (September 29, 1806) the United States flag replaced the Spanish flag at the Pawnee Indian village in the present Republic County.
For some years previous to this the Choteau family carried on the fur trade in Kansas. In 1819 and 1820 Long's scientific exploration of the country lying west of the Allegheny and east of the Rocky Mountains between 35° and 42° N., embraced the state of Kansas. Ft. Leavenworth was established by the Federal government in 1827. Except a few missionaries, Indian traders, hunters, and trappers, there were no whites in Kansas until 1854. In 1844 Captain Fremont explored the valleys of the Kansas and Republican Rivers. In June, 1846, General Kearney set out from Fort Leavenworth for the conquest of New Mexico and California. In 1804 Kansas became a part of the District of Louisiana, for which laws were made by the Governor of Indiana Territory, acting with the judges of that territory. In 1805 Congress changed the District of Louisiana to the Territory of Louisiana, still embracing Missouri and Kansas. When in 1812 the Territory of Orleans became the Territory of Louisiana, what was hitherto known as the Territory of Louisiana was called Missouri Territory. The 7776 square miles lying south of the Arkansas River and west of longitude 100° W., now within the limits of Kansas, were not a part of the Louisiana Purchase, but were acquired from Mexico. In 1820 Congress passed an Act enabling the people of Missouri Territory to become a state, but prohibiting slavery in all of the Louisiana Purchase north of 36° 30'. By the organization of Missouri as a state in 1821, Kansas received an eastern boundary. In 1823 the wagon-trains from Missouri to Santa Fe passing through Kansas opened the commerce of the plains. Besides the Santa Fe trail there was the Oregon trail leading to the valley of the Platte in Nebraska. Property worth millions of dollars was transported by the pack-trains and wagon-trains. An army of men, Americans and Mexicans, were employed as teamsters and packers. In addition to the native Indian tribes, Osages, Pawnees, Kansas, and Padoucas or Comanches, Indians of eastern states were given reservations in Kansas, designated Indian Territory until 1854 when it was organized as Kansas Territory. Kansas Territory extended westward to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, including a large portion of the present State of Colorado under the name of Arapahoe County. In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act abrogated the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and left the question of slavery to the people of the respective territories when adopting a state constitution. In consequence, the North and South entered into a contest to people the Territory of Kansas. It led to acts of violence and bloodshed between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery parties that resulted in the loss of two hundred human lives and in the destruction of property valued at two millions of dollars. The cities of Leavenworth, Atchison, Topeka, and Lawrence were founded in 1854.
The internecine struggle in Kansas, in which John Brown was a prominent factor, was potent in forcing the great war that followed between the Northern and the Southern States. A census taken in February, 1855, showed a white population of 8601. In 1860, according to the United States census, there were 107,206 inhabitants; the drought in this year was a severe calamity. Kansas was admitted as a free State on January 29, 1861. The motto of the State seal is Ad astra per aspera. In 1861 Topeka was made the permanent capital. The state furnished 20,151 men to the Union army, though the proper quota would have been but 12,930. Out of her military force, Kansas lost 472 officers and 7345 private soldiers. On August 21, 1863, the notorious guerilla Quantrell attacked Lawrence at daybreak and within five hours left the city a smouldering ruin, with 143 of its citizens slain, and 43 others wounded. Property worth $2,000,000 was destroyed. In October, 1864, some 20,000 Kansas men were under arms to oppose Gen. Sterling Price, who with a large force of Confederates threatened the eastern border of the state. He was decisively beaten on Kansas soil in the battle of Mine Creek following the Battle of the Blue and the Battle of Westport, near Kansas City. Kansas troops were mainly engaged in Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), but saw service as far south as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Charles Robinson and Thomas Carney were the war governors of Kansas.
After the severe trials of the preceding years, Kansas was greatly helped by the Homestead Law of 1862. In 1866 the State Legislature granted 500,000 acres of State lands to four railroad companies. The counties voted bonds in favor of the railroads; and the United States Congress by liberal grants encouraging the building of railroads, as early as 1867, there were 523 miles of railways in the state. These were of material aid in the development of the great natural resources of Kansas. The early settlers in remote places were justly in dread of the Indians who made their last raid in 1878, when 29 white people were killed by the savages. Since then the red men have left no mark on the pages of Kansas history, and their number within the state has been reduced to about 2000. The legislature of 1863 located the Insane Asylum at Osawatomie, accepted the congressional grant of lands for an agricultural college at Manhattan, and provided for the state university at Lawrence and the state normal school at Emporia. In the following year the deaf and dumb asylum, the blind asylum, and the penitentiary were located, and suitable buildings were erected for these institutions. There followed two reformatories for boys a reformatory for girls, a hospital for epileptics, a school for feeble-minded youth and the Soldiers' Orphans' Home, besides an additional hospital for the insane at Topeka. The state makes liberal appropriations for the maintenance of each of them.
A great number of European immigrants settled, largely in colonies, in the state in the decade following 1870. In 1880 the state constitution was amended by the adoption of the law prohibiting in Kansas the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, except for medical, scientific, and mechanical purposes. According to the official opinion of the attorney-general in 1881, the use of wine for the "sacrament" is not prohibited. Almost every legislature has passed some law in reference to the enforcement of "prohibition" which in the larger cities has never been strictly enforced for any length of time. In 1877, the municipal suffrage bill conferred on women in Kansas the right to vote at school, bond, and municipal elections. About 26,000 women voted in the spring election of 1878. In 1894 the constitutional amendment conferring on women the full exercise of suffrage was defeated by 35,000 votes.
—ECONOMICS—Agriculture and Trade.—The soil is very productive. It consists in the eastern part of heavy black loam of greatest depth along the streams; and in the western part, of a sandy formation.
Kansas is essentially an agricultural state. Wheat and corn are the two most important grain products. In 1908, Kansas raised 150,640,516 bushels of corn, with a value of $82,642,461; 76,808,922 bushels of wheat, with a value of $63,855,146. The value of sorghums was $10,258,998; of tame hay $9,534,290; oats $7,118,847; of barley $1,314,343; Irish potatoes $4,431,864. The field products from 32,216,702 acres under cultivation had a value of $189,059,626.28. Alfalfa increases annually in acreage and value of crop. The value of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter was $67,705,158. Poultry and eggs sold $9,306,651. Butter sold $9,413,317. Milk sold $1,145,922. Garden and horticultural products marketed $786,879. The total value of all farm products in 1908 reached the sum of $277,733,925, without considering the livestock retained by the farmers and returned by assessors to the value of $197,510,878. In 1909 the value of farm products and livestock aggregated $532,685,245, which was $57,404,414 in excess of 1908.
Bituminous coal is found in most of the counties of the eastern part of the state. It is mined profitably in Crawford, Cherokee, Leavenworth, and Osage Counties. The value of the annual output exceeds $5,000,000. Natural gas and petroleum are found in large quantities. The former is piped and used in the principal cities for fuel and lighting purposes. Salt is mined at Hutchinson, Kanopolis, Lyons, Kingman, Anthony, Wellington, and Sterling. The veins are about 1000 feet below the surface and in places are 300 feet thick. The salt area of Kansas is estimated at one million acres. The annual production is about 2,000,000 pounds. The lead and zinc mines are a source of profit and give employment to many in the southeastern part of the state. In the production of these ores Kansas is second only to Missouri. There are quarries of superior limestone, sandstone, and rock gypsum. The limestone, especially in the more central counties, is excellent building material. Cement, lime, clays for brick, tiles, and pottery are among the products that contribute to the industries and wealth of the state. According to the United States census of 1900 the manufactured products of the state attained a value of $172,129,298. In 1903 the mineral production of the state had a value of $27,154,007.85; natural gas a value of $1,115,375.
Kansas City is the seat of the second largest packing industry in the world. Here also is one of the most important livestock markets. Carshops, woolen- and paper-mills, iron foundries, furniture factories, soap factories, printing and publishing establishments are found in nearly all the centers of population. Even before the first railway was laid in these parts, there was a commercial route extending from the eastern to the western border of Kansas. The Santa Fe trail, the great overland route of the pioneer days, was established in 1824, and extended from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Kansas has 11,000 miles of railroads connecting all the principal cities with one another and affording excellent shipping facilities. Four of the great transcontinental systems cross the state from east to west. A two-cent fare rate obtains. There are also interurban electric railways. The Board of Railroad Commissioners has supervision over all common carriers.
—SOCIOLOGY.—Population.—The following compilation contains the results of the fifth decennial census taken in 1905. Total population of the 105 counties of the state 1,544,498. Males 802,704; females 741, 219; sex not given 1045. Native 1,400,441; foreign 118,378; birth-place not given 26,149. White 1,487,256; colored 51,073; color not given, 6518. The number of families was given as 345,056, and the average number of persons in family 4.47. Of the foreign population there were born in Germany 43,124; Sweden, Norway, and Denmark 17,929; Great Britain 16,815; Russia 11,535; Ireland 8958; British-America 7444; Southern Europe including Austria, France, Italy, and Spain about 12,000. There are 532,635 persons of school age; i.e. between the ages of 5 and 20 years. There are 410,289 men 21 years old and over. Engaged in agriculture 251,956; engaged in professional and personal services 115,207; engaged in trade and transportation 66,923; engaged in manufacturing and mechanical industries 54,991 engaged in mining 10,991. There are 120 towns that have over one thousand inhabitants each; 13 of those have over ten thousand people. Atchison has 20,000, Leavenworth 25,000, Wichita 50,000, Kansas City 90,000, Topeka, the capital of the state, has 45,000. In 1909 the aggregate in cities of above 10,000 was 340,370, or 19.9% of the total population.
Education.—Parents, guardians or others having control of children between the ages of eight and fourteen years are required by law to send such children to a public or private school taught by a competent instructor.
Ample provision is made for graded schools in towns and districts. At the discretion of the county commissioners or on petition of one-third of the electors of a county, a high-school may be established in any county if the majority of the electors of the county favor it. In the high-schools provision is made for three courses of instruction, each requiring three years' study for completion; namely, a general course, a normal course and a collegiate course. Tuition is free to all pupils residing in the county where the high school is located. The state constitution provided for the establishment by law of a state university for the promotion of literature and the arts and sciences, including a normal and an agricultural department. "All funds arising from the sale or rent of lands granted by the United States to the state for the support of a state university and other grants, donations or bequests either by the state or by individuals, for such purpose, shall remain a perpetual fund to be called the university fund; the interest of which shall be appropriated to the support of the state university." Kansas ranks third, in the United States, in the minimum percentage of illiteracy. Of the 392,009 pupils enrolled in the public schools of the state in 1907-1908, 178,893 were in the rural schools taught by 12,908 teachers. The textbooks to be used in the public schools are determined by a textbook commission appointed by the governor. The total cost of these public schools in 1908 was $7,335,443.
The state educational institutions are the following: University of Kansas at Lawrence, with 2250 students; Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan, with 2166 students; State Normal School at Emporia, and the State Manual Training School, at Pittsburg. The Industrial and Educational Institute at Topeka, and the Western University at Quindaro for colored youth, receive support from state funds. To these should be added the Kansas State School for the Deaf at Olathe, with 250 pupils, and the School for the Blind at Kansas City. The Orphans' Home at Atchison, the Girls' Industrial School at Beloit, and the Boys' Industrial School at Topeka are also educational institutes. The following non-Catholic denominational colleges are accredited by the State Board of Education: Baker University, Baldwin; Bethany College, Holton; College of Emporia, Emporia; Cooper College, Sterling; Fairmount College, and Friends' University, Wichita; Kansas City University, Kansas City; Wesleyan, Salina; Ottawa University, Ottawa; Southwestern College, Winfield; Washburn College, Topeka. These institutions have invested in equipment and endowment about $3,000,000. They represent faculties of 500 persons, instructing 8000 students at an annual expense of $300,000. Some denominations beside the Catholics, particularly the Lutherans, have a goodly number of primary schools in the state. In 1908 there were more than 300 private and denominational schools in Kansas. The Board of Control of State Charitable Institutions consists of three electors of the state who are appointed by the governor, and thus become the trustees for the following institutions: Industrial School for Girls; the Kansas School for Feeble-Minded Youth; the Osawatomie State Hospital; the Parsons State Hospital; the Topeka State Hospital; the State Industrial School for Boys; the School for the Blind; the School for the Deaf; the Soldiers' Orphans Home, and all other state charitable institutions. It is the duty of the board to visit and inspect, without notice, once in every three months, the institutions named. All private institutions of a charitable nature receiving state aid are subject to the same visitation by the Board of Control. In 1907 the Legislature made appropriations to seventeen private hospitals, nine of which are Catholic, and to ten private children's institutions, including the Catholic orphanages, though the sums granted were small compared with the benevolent work done by these institutions.
The state penitentiary is governed by a warden and a board of three directors appointed by the governor of the state. Prisoners who have received an indeterminate sentence may be recommended for parole on the expiration of their minimum sentence. Prisoners under twenty-five years of age may be sentenced to the State Reformatory at Hutchinson. The juvenile court has jurisdiction over dependent, neglected, or delinquent children under sixteen years of age. According to the U.S. Census of 1900 all the church property in the state was valued at $8,000,000. The Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist, Christian (Campbellite), Congregational, and Episcopal are the leading Protestant denominations. The Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Friends were established among the Indians before the Territory was opened to white settlers in 1854. In 1880, the ten principal Protestant denominations had an aggregate membership of 80,415; there was then about an equal number of Catholics. The latter have in thirty years increased thirty per cent. At Haskell Institute, a Federal school for Indians, Catholic pupils receive religious instruction regularly from the priest. The state prison has a Protestant chaplain, but a priest ministers to the Catholic convicts. At the W. B. Military Home in Leavenworth County and at the Federal and Military prisons at Fort Leavenworth, there are also Catholic chaplains. The sessions of the state Legislature are opened with prayer. Candidates for office are nominated in primary elections. Cities may choose the "Commission" form of government.
—LEGISLATION—Concerning Religion.—The State Constitution provides among other things as follows:"The right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any person be compelled to attend or support any form of worship; nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, nor any preference given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship. No religious test or property qualification shall be required for any office of public trust, nor for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent to testify on account of religious belief...No religious sect or sects shall ever control any part of the common school or university funds of the state....All property used exclusively for state, county, municipal, literary, educational, scientific, religious, benevolent and charitable purposes, cemeteries, and personal property to the amount of at least $200 for each family, shall be exempt from taxation.. The title to all property of religious corporations shall be vested in trustees, whose election shall be by the members of such corporations." The title to the various Catholic Churches and schools is actually vested in the respective bishop of the diocese as trustee. "All oaths shall be administered by laying the right hand upon the Holy Bible or by the uplifted right hand. Any person having conscientious scruples against taking an oath, may affirm with like effect."
Concerning Marriage.—The marriage contract is to be considered in law as a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties is essential, and the marriage ceremony may be regarded either as a civil ceremony or as a religious sacrament, but the marriage relation shall only be entered into, maintained, or abrogated as provided by law. All marriages between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of any degree, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, and first cousins, are declared to be incestuous and absolutely void. Every judge, justice of the peace, or licensed preacher of the Gospel, may perform the marriage ceremony in this state, when a licence issued by the probate judge of any county in the state has been issued. The consent of parent or guardian is required for a licence when the contracting male is under twenty-one years, and the female under eighteen years of age. Insanity in near kindred is a bar. Property, real and personal, which any woman may own in this state at the time of her marriage, shall remain her sole and separate property notwithstanding her marriage. The district court may grant a divorce for any of the following causes: (I) when either of the parties had a former husband or wife living at the time of the subsequent marriage; (2) abandonment for one year; (3) adultery; (4) impotency; (5) when the wife at the time of the marriage was pregnant by another than her husband; (6) extreme cruelty; (7) fraudulent contract; (8) habitual drunkenness; (9) gross neglect of duty; (10) conviction for felony and imprisonment in the penitentiary therefor subsequent to the marriage. When the parties appear to be in equal wrong, the court may in its discretion refuse to grant a divorce. When a divorce is granted the court shall make provision for guardianship, custody, support and education of the minor children of the marriage. A decree of divorce does not become absolute and take effect until the expiration of six months from the day and date when the judgment was rendered in the cause. The wife may obtain alimony from the husband without a divorce in an action brought for that purpose in a district court for any of the causes for which a divorce may be granted. The latest statistics show 2000 divorces and 17,000 marriages in one year.
Wills.—Any person of full age and sound mind and memory having an interest in real or personal property may give and devise the same to any person by last will and testament lawfully executed. Any married person having no children may devise one-half of his or her property to other persons than the husband or wife. Either husband or wife may consent in writing, executed in the presence of two witnesses, that the other may bequeath more than half of his or her property from the one so consenting. A verbal will, made in the last sickness, is valid in respect to personal estate if reduced to writing and subscribed by two competent witnesses within ten days. The legislature of 1909 authorized the assessment of an inheritance tax on estates over $1000, which is, however, not to apply to property exempt from taxation under the constitution. In bequests to kindred the tax is graduated.
Sunday Observance.—Labor, except the household offices of daily necessity, if performed on Sunday is deemed a misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars. Persons observing another day of the week as the Sabbath are, however, exempt from the provisions of this statute. Horse-racing, and the sales of merchandise except medicines and provisions of immediate necessity, are also prohibited on the first day of the week. There is a rigid anti-lottery law, and also a law against the use of cigarettes and one forbidding the sale of tobacco to minors under sixteen years of age. The circulation of obscene literature is a misdemeanor and the publishing or dissemination of scandalous prints is a felony.
Legal Holidays.—The following are the legal holidays: Lincoln's Birthday (February 12); Memorial Day (May 30); Labor Day (first Monday of September); Washington's Birthday (February 22); New Year's Day (January 1); Independence Day (July 4); Thanksgiving Day (Thanksgiving Day is fixed annually by the proclamation of the president or governor); the first four of the above, Christmas Day (December 25) and Arbor Day, in April, are not legal holidays except as to negotiable instruments.
Exempt from serving as jurors are all persons holding office under the laws of the United States or of Kansas, attorneys and counselors-at-law, physicians, ministers of the Gospel, professors and teachers of colleges, schools, and other institutions of learning, ferrymen and all firemen organized according to law; all persons more than sixty years of age. A person belonging to any of these classes is, however, not precluded from serving.
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.—As early as 1541, the soil of Kansas was hallowed by the blood of Father Juan de Padilla, who fell a victim to his zeal for the conversion of the Indians. Baptism was administered and marriages were blessed by Father Lacroix, in 1822. The Jesuit Father Van Quickenborne began his missionary journeys to the Indian tribes here in 1827. Rev. Joseph Lutz of St. Louis soon thereafter preached to the Kansas or Kaw Indians. In 1835 missionaries visited the Peorias, Weas, and Pienkishaws, a remnant of the Kaskaskias known as the Miamis. St. Francis Xavier's mission and school were established at Kickapoo above Fort Leavenworth in 1836. English was here taught at least as early as 1840. Among the Pottawattomies, in 1838, a permanent Jesuit mission was established by Father Christian Hoecker. In 1841, four Religious of the Sacred Heart, including the saintly Mother Duchesne, opened a school for girls in this mission. The Jesuits opened a school for boys the following year. Osage Mission obtained resident missionaries in the Jesuit Fathers Schoenmakers and Bax in 1847. In this year the Pottawattomies began moving to their new reservation on the Kaw immediately west of the present site of Topeka. This later developed into the St. Mary's Jesuit Mission with its famous college. During the ten years prior to 1848, there were 1430 baptisms including 550 adults among the Pottawattomies. There were at this period 330 Catholic families in this tribe. Sixty years later some of their descendants are found in Pottawattomie County, and are good Catholics.
In 1851 the Rt. Rev. J. B. Miege, of the Society of Jesus, a professor of St. Louis University, was consecrated Bishop of Messene and appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Indian Territory east of the Rocky Mountains. He made St. Mary's Mission his residence until August, 1855, when he established himself at Leavenworth, a promising city of the newly organized territory, but where the bishop found but seven Catholic families. At the end of this year in the vast territory under his jurisdiction there were but six churches completed, three being built, eleven stations, and eight priests. The Benedictine Fathers and the Carmelites were invited to Kansas for missionary work. The former in 1859 established a priory which has become an abbey, and laid the foundation for St. Benedict's College at Atchison. Bishop Miege was a man of Apostolic spirit and remarkable discretion. His visitations were made before railroads were built over the prairies and across the plains to points as remote as Denver and Omaha. In 1857, Nebraska Territory was formed into a separate vicariate which came under the jurisdiction of Rt. Rev. James Michael O'Gorman in 1859, leaving only Kansas Territory to Bishop Miege. In 1868 there were in the vicariate twenty-seven priests, of whom thirteen were seculars. There were schools under the conduct of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, of the Sisters of Loreto, of the Sisters of St. Benedict, and of the Sisters of Charity. These last were also in charge of a hospital and orphanage in Leavenworth. In this year on 8 Decemer, the Leavenworth Cathedral, a massive brick building of great architectural beauty, was consecrated. Bishop Miege went to Rome for the Vatican Council, and later to South America on a collecting tour. In 1871, the prior of St. Benedict's, Louis Mary Fink, O.S.B., was consecrated Bishop of Eucarpia, to assist Bishop Miege, whom he succeeded on the latter's resignation in 1874, when there were 35,000 Catholics in the state. Bishop Fink remained Vicar Apostolic of Kansas until Leavenworth was made an episcopal see, in 1877, when he became its first bishop with jurisdiction over the State of Kansas.
The Catholic population within a few years increased to 80,000 souls. Churches and schools multi-plied under his fostering hand. In 1887 two other dioceses, those of Concordia and Wichita, were carved out of Leavenworth. New boundaries were established by Apostolic letters in 1897. The first Bishop-elect of Wichita, Rt. Rev. James O'Reilley, died before his consecration. The Rt. Rev. John Joseph Hennessy was consecrated Bishop of Wichita, November 30, 1888; his jurisdiction extends over an area of 42,915 square miles, with 765,000 inhabitants, of whom 30,000 are Catholics. Rt. Rev. Richard Scannell, who was transferred to Omaha in 1890, was the first Bishop of Concordia. The second to be preconized was the Rt. Rev. Thadeus Butler, D.D., who died in Rome before his consecration. The present bishop is the Rt. Rev. John Francis Cunningham, who was for many years vicar-general of Leavenworth, and was consecrated bishop September 21, 1898. Concordia diocese has an area of 26,685 sq. miles, with about one Catholic to every square mile out of a population of 351,000. The Rt. Rev. Louis M. Fink, after a laborious and fruitful episcopacy of thirty-three years, went to his reward March 17, 1904. His successor as Bishop of Leavenworth, the Rt. Rev. Thos. F. Lillis, was consecrated December 27, 1904. The Leavenworth diocese has an area of 12,524 square miles, with a Catholic population of 56,000. The three dioceses have 312 priests, including about 100 religious.
Excellent Catholic boarding schools for boys are: St. Mary's College, conducted by the Jesuits, with 400 students; and St. Benedict's, at Atchison, by the Benedictines, with 300 students. There are nine academies, with seven hundred girl pupils, several Catholic high-schools, and ninety parochial schools with 11,000 pupils. There are ten Catholic hospitals, and four orphanages including one for colored children. A mission for the conversion of the colored people has existed in Leavenworth for thirty years. The priests of Kansas have been distinguished for their zeal in ministering to their scattered flocks. They invited immigrants to Kansas. The Church has fostered benevolent societies here as elsewhere; the Knights of Columbus have active councils; the Catholic Mutual Benevolent Association has nearly 1200 members. Various nationalities are largely represented in the Catholic societies of the parishes to which they belong. They are mostly of German and Irish extraction, or from Southeastern Europe. The Knights of Father Matthew promote the cause of total abstinence from intoxicating liquors. The State Federation of Catholic Societies represents some five thousand men enlisted in the cause of Christian faith and morality. There is an excellent Catholic paper published with the approbation of the bishops. Parochial schools are found not only in the cities, but in the rural districts, in charge of religious communities of women. Catholics of talent are found among the best professional men. General R. W. Blair who came to Kansas in 1859, for a generation devoted his eminent talents in peace and in war to furthering the best interests of the state. Thomas Ewing, Jr., was chief justice of the first supreme court of the state from February, 1861, to November 28, 1862, and was distinguished in the Civil War. He died in New York in 1896.
J. A. SHORTER