Lane Trail begins

James Henry Lane was the driving force behind the development of The Lane Trail. In 1855, the pro-slavery supporters in Missouri began using force to stop emigration by free-state supporters to Kansas via the Missouri River. Missourians, aka Border Ruffians, boarded Missouri River steamboats at Lexington and checked for eastern accents, asked questions about politics and in general tried to identify abolitionists and free-soil people bound for Kansas. Jim Lane and a large group were intimidated into turning back. Lane took his group to Chicago and recruited more men. In July of 1856, Lane was at the head of a wagon train heading west from Iowa City, Iowa. Along the way they left markers, sometimes tall poles in the tall prairie grass and other times piles of rocks. These would become known as “Lane’s Chimneys.” No known remains of these markers exist. See a Lane Trail historical sign at the junction of US Highway 36 and US Highway 75 in Kansas.

When Jim Lane reached Falls City Nebraska area in the southeast corner, he established the town as a last outpost before his little army of abolitionists crossed into Kansas Territory.

2 thoughts on “Lane Trail begins”

  1. The town was located near where the Nehama River flowed over a four-foot rock ledge called the “Falls of Nemaha”, for which the town was named. Over time the river has changed to the extent that the falls no longer exist.

  2. I learned I may be wrong about exactly who left the stone chimneys. Going back to Michael Connelley’s article for the Kansas State Historical Society, he does state that Iowans like William Penn Clarke and others did announce and name the towns along the route before Jim Lane made the trip indicating the markers were there when Lane and his army passed. Jim Morgans in his book about John Todd indicates Lane and his army were the persons who left the markers. Anyway it goes, I sure would like to find one intact or the actual stones and see it as rebuilt as a display in an UGR museum.

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