Kansas History: Family, Fun, and Firearms

Kansas is a significant state in my life. I was born here. For many years we came here every summer on vacation to visit family. Some of those family members still live here. On a lesser note, our fifth wheel trailer was built here.

It also has some historical significance to our country. Kansas was one of the states that became the tipping point for the Civil War. In early years, our country was fairly evenly divided between slave states and free states. But as new states were added, the balance of power was in danger of tipping, and Kansas became a “battleground” state. Would it vote to allow slavery, or would it tip the scales further toward abolition?

Henry Ward Beecher, perhaps the most famous preacher of his era and brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe (who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,”) was enamored with the new Sharps carbines. Invented just before Civil War, they obsoleted ball and powder muskets. Beecher raised money to ship hundreds of these rifles to abolitionist settlers in Kansas, many in boxes marked “Bibles” to escape discovery by confederates. He considered these instruments of God to further the abolitionist cause. The 1850’s church shown below was named in his honor.