Major James Abbott was born in Hampton Connecticut in 1818. He came to Kansas with the 3rd party of the New England Emigrant Aid Company arriving in Lawrence on October 10, 1854. He took up a claim just south of Blanton’s Bridge, south of Lawrence. He was quickly recognized as a leader and his farm became a meeting place for the Free State men in the neighborhood. He understood the need for weapons and went east to procure arms and obtained a shipment of Sharps Rifles and a 12 pound howitzer. He fought in the Border War and conducted his first jail rescue when he rescued a free State man named Jacob Branson from the pro-slavery sheriff of Lawrence, Samuel Jones. Major Abbot goes on to organize and lead the rescue of Dr. John Doy.
After the Commencement of the Civil War, Major Abbott was appointed the agent for the Shawnee Indian Mission in Desoto, Johnson County, Kansas. At the time of the General Sterling Price Raid into Missouri, Maj. Abbott led a group off Shawnee Indians against the Confederates.
In 1866, he retired as an Indian Agent and was elected to the Kansas State Senate. He was instrumental in establishing the Kansas School for Feeble Minded Youth. He died in 1879 in Desoto, Kansas. He served many years as the president of the Kansas Historical Society.