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.

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