Friday, April 2, 2010

First Marriages in Johnson Co KS

The first marriages that occured in what became Johnson County, KS were those of the Shawnee tribe members.

The Shawnee followed their own native customs in choosing a mate and severing familial relationships. Missionaries began ministering to the Tribe as early as 1830 in Ohio, before their relocation to the Shawnee Reserve. After relocation from their native lands and hunting grounds, the Shawnee struggled to survive and asked for help from missionaries. The Baptist, Friends (Quakers), and Methodists all sent missionaries to aid the Shawnee. Each group developed their own method of ministery and aid.

After over a decade of ministering to the Shawnee, the Methodists strongly encouraged and campaigned for the Shawnee to practice Christian marriages as their form of legitimizing marriages. A few of the Shawnee that were ministered to by the Methodists chose to have a formal Christian marriage even though they were already considered married by Tribal standards. These marriages were recorded and preserved with the Shawnee (Methodist) Mission Steward's book and now transcribed and available on the Johnson Co KSGenWeb site under Missions -> Shawnee Marriages 1843-1857 and represent the first marriages in pre-Territorial Kansas.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Early Shawnee Methodist Mission Records

The first people to immigrate to the Shawnee Reservation in the Indian Territory that became Johnson Co, KS were the Baptist, Friends, and Methodist missionaries.

The Shawnee Mission (Kan.) Steward's Book contains the minutes of the earliest Methodist Conferences held in Johnson County, Kansas. From the collection of Charles Bluejacket, this work is held on microfilm by the Kansas State Historical Society. Many of the pages are very dark and some are completely unreadable. I requested the film on loan and did my best to capture the names of those who attended these meetings. Attendees included both Caucasian and Shawnee Indian Methodist leaders. This work also includes record of one Shawnee man's death.

Check out these newest additions to the Johnson Co KSGenweb site, listed under History -> Missions.