Osawatomie History

Courageous Man Risked All For Town

Samuel Geer was a founder of Osawatomie who worked to build the community in its infancy. Geer was among the first settlers, who emigrated to Kansas Territory and settled in Osawatomie, and was a pioneering business owner in the community, becoming a trustee of the town of Osawatomie, sitting on the board of directors for the Osawatomie Town Company, which oversaw the early development of the town.

Geer was a courageous man, for he was willing to risk his life and property, which is evident in that he allowed the community to use his house as a polling place, which made his home a target for proslavery raiders.

Geer built the first building in Osawatomie and operated a boarding house. Geer built the first hotel in the town, which was burned to the ground when John Reid’s proslavery forces sacked the town following both attacks on Osawatomie in 1856.

Geer was financially devastated by the two Battles of Osawatomie in 1856, losing his hotel, five houses, a horse and wagon and other items that added up to a loss of $7,200.

However, he rebounded and went on to rebuild his hotel and the Osage Valley House, which was the site of the founding of the Kansas Republican Party on May 18, 1859.

Geer also was a part-owner of a ferry along with other Osawatomie pioneers and demonstrated the tenacity of Osawatomie’s founders in the face of not only nature, but proslavery attacks as well.

Geer and other pioneers literally built a town on a site that was completely undeveloped, and with the real danger that proslavery forces were ready and willing to ride into Osawatomie, kill them, and burn and destroy all of their work at any time.

Proslavery forces did not merely threaten to attack Osawatomie, they did so twice, and Geer and Osawatomie’s founders refused to give up and rebuilt despite proslavery advocates’ attacks.

Historians tend to place business owners like Geer who tenaciously work to build up their communities via day-to-day strenuous effort and sacrifice in their footnotes.

However, Osawatomie’s citizens still benefit from their courage and hard work, for they built the town that we live in today, and we owe Geer and his peers a debt of gratitude.

John Brown MuseumReverend Samuel Adair and his wife, Florella were peaceful abolitionists who came to Kansas and settled near Osawatomie, an abolitionist community and a center of conflict during “Bleeding Kansas.” The Adair cabin was a station on the Underground Railroad and Florella’s half brother, John Brown, used this cabin as his headquarters. The cabin Osawatomie where John Brown and 30 free-state defenders fought 250 proslavery militia in 1856, and stands on the battle site today. Learn more about the Adairs, John Brown, and others who struggled to survive the border war when you visit the John Brown Museum.

First Christian Church Osawatomie

First Christian Church Osawatomie

First Presbyterian Church Osawatomie

First Methodist Church Osawatomie

First Methodist Church Osawatomie

First Presbyterian Church Osawatomie

First Baptist Church Osawatomie

First Baptist Church Osawatomie