|Quindaro Nancy Guthrie
of Town of Quindaro
The National Park Service is considering making the townsite of Old Quindaro a stop on the Underground Railroad Trail. Is Quindaro historically significant enough to be a part of this trail?
The settlement of Kansas developed in a different manner from prior migrations west. While the settlement of previous frontiers were gradual, Kansas was settled by mass migrations, many of which were developed by the New England Emigrant Aid Company, a business which promoted migration and the delivery of merchandise from antislavery states in the North and the East.
There was a need for a free state settlement in Kansas to be established, where anti-slavery immigrants could enter and leave the free state territory safely. Quindaro was founded in December of 1856 as a free port three miles up river from where the Kansas and Missouri Riders meet. A natural rock ledge provided easy access for steamboats and ferries to navigate and dock bringing immigrants, mail, and merchandise. fin abundance of wood and rock in the area provided natural materials for building a free state town and soon the largest sawmill west of St. Louis was in production and a stone yard was established.
January 1, 1857, construction began on the free port which would grow within a year to a population of 608 people with a grand four story hotel; over 100 buildings (with over 20 being of stone) which contained a variety of businesses and residences; and a daily newspaper, The Chindowan.
Abelard Guthrie, one of the founders of the town, had purchased land from the Wyandot Indian tribe and named the town after his wife, Quindaro Brown Guthrie, a member of the Wyandot tribe. The name "Quindaro means "a bundle of sticks", or "in union there is strength."
Quindaro was a bustling, thriving community which was a rival of the nearby pro-slavery settlement of Wyandot. Directly across the river in Missouri was the slave trade settlement of Parkville.
Quindaro would be a welcome stop to black slaves seeking freedom.
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