From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
A most enjoyable evening was spent by the writer recently looking through the 17th or last volume of "Kansas Historical Collections," recently issued by the Kansas State Historical Society and also the 26th Biennial Report of that society. In addition to many valuable papers and other matter on Kansas history, they contain much pertaining to Leavenworth county.
One thing of particular interest that is mentioned, and perhaps not generally known, is the fact that Gen. John C. Fremont, the "Great Pathfinder," was at one time a part owner and president of the old Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western railroad. This fact is brought out by O. P. Byers, in an interesting paper entitled, "When Railroading Outdid the Wild West Stories." Mr. Byers states that this pioneer railroad project, having been recognized by the national government, attracted promoters and capitalists, and at the close of May 1863, it passed into the control of Samuel Hallet and Gen. John C. Fremont. In the following month the name of the company was changed to Union Pacific Railway. Fremont, who was president of the company, later sold out on account of a disagreement between himself and Hallet.
That the first annual state fair in Kansas was held in Leavenworth, is an interesting fact presented by I. D. Graham, in his paper on "The Kansas State Board of Agriculture." He says:
"The members of the society were early impressed with the importance of holding a state fair, and after asking for and receiving inducements from several towns, they accepted those offered by Leavenworth, and the first annual state fair of Kansas was held in that city on October 6-9, 1863. No record is left of the classification upon which premiums were awarded, but the financial statement shows the total receipts to have been $5,139.12 and the disbursements, $5,377.10, leaving a deficit of $247.98.
The first insurance company of any kind to be given permit in Kansas, was the Leavenworth Insurance company, which was given a territorial permit by the auditor to write fire insurance in 1855. The Missouri Valley Life, of Leavenworth was the first to be chartered, in 1868. These facts were revealed by President Samuel E. Cobb, of the Historical Society, in his address on "The History of Life Insurance Companies."
These are only a few of the many interesting historical facts regarding Leavenworth county that are brought out in these reports.
George J. Remsburg