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James Burnett Abbott Papers, 1815-1899

Microfilm rolls MS 1258 - MS 1260

James Burnett Abbott


Introduction

James Burnett Abbott was an early settler and free state (antislavery) activist in Kansas. He served as both a representative and senator in the State Legislature. In 1861 he was appointed Shawnee Indian agent and served in that capacity until 1866. Abbott was also involved in private business ventures, including the Leavenworth, De Soto, and Fort Scott Bridge Company and the Western Medical and Chemical Company. The Abbott papers were donated by James B. Abbott in 1881 and 1883 and Elizabeth Abbott in 1898.

Biography

James Burnett Abbott was born on 3 December 1818 in Hampton, Connecticut, to James and Asenath Burnett Abbott. Educated in the Connecticut common schools, he went on to attend Pottsdam and Gouverneur Academies in New York.

Abbott’s early pursuits in New York and Connecticut included teaching, shoemaking, and manufacturing. His first wife, Amanda Atwood, of Gouverneur, New York, died in 1851. In 1852 he married Elizabeth Watrous of Hartford, Connecticut.

Abbott came to Kansas in 1854 with the third group of emigrants associated with the New England Emigrant Aid Company. He arrived in Lawrence on October 10th. Taking up the free state (antislavery) banner, he was active in the free state militia. In 1856 he traveled east in order to procure arms for the free state effort. He was successful in obtaining over 100 Sharpe’s rifles and a howitzer, which he escorted back to Kansas Territory under threat by Missouri pro-slavery forces. Abbott is also well known for leading the successful attempt to release Dr. John Doy, a free state activitist who had been imprisoned for freeing slaves, from a Missouri prison.

When Kansas became a state, Abbott served in both the Kansas State House of Representatives and State Senate. In 1861 he was appointed Shawnee Indian Agent, a post he held until 1866. Following his retirement he remained active in public affairs while pursuing personal business endeavors. He died 2 March 1897.

Scope and Content

The James Burnett Abbott papers span the years 1815 to 1899 and are divided into three series.

Series 1, Personal Papers, contains primarily bound volumes, including a Day Book of James Abbott, James Burnett Abbott’s father, who was a shoemaker in Hampton, Connecticut; an account book dated Lawrence, 28 October 1854 to 12 January 1856, that also includes selections of lands made in 1862 by members of the Black Bob Band of Shawnee under the Treaty of 1854; memoranda books and morning reports that detail Abbott’s free state activities; a small notebook listing “money subscribed to pay the expense of taking Dr. Doy from St. Joseph prison”; a manuscript book containing descriptions of lands deeded by Major Abbott and Mrs. Abbott to various parties, including cash received from subscribers to the Leavenworth, DeSoto, and Fort Scott Bridge Company; a business memorandum; a secretary’s book of the Western Medical and Chemical Company; memorandums of soldiers’ statements dealing primarily with pension issues; Kansas State Agricultural Society life membership cards; and certificates.

Series 2, correspondence, dates from 1854 to 1899 and includes original and transcribed copies of letters concerning Abbott’s personal business, free state activities, and work as a claims agent for Civil War veterans.

Series 3, Indian Agency Records, contains records of the Kansas and Shawnee agencies dating from 1851 to 1870. Two account books for the Delaware and Shawnee tribes were kept by Thomas Mosely, an agent with the Kansas Agency before it was divided into separate agencies for the Delaware and Shawnee. Shawnee Agency records include tract books of lands included within the Shawnee reservation of 1854, a deed book containing alphabetical lists of grantors and grantees of Shawnee lands, a manuscript account book of J. B. Abbott as agent of the Shawnee, a manuscript book containing abstracts of lands owned by individual Shawnee Indians, and plat maps of lands included within the boundaries of the Shawnee reservation of 1854.

Volumes and papers in all series have been filed chronologically. Several volumes contain different types of entries that have different date spans. Refer to the microfilm roll list (following) for a complete description of volume contents. Oversize certificates have been removed to oversize storage, and maps have been shelved with the map collection, but all have been microfilmed.

A collection of 24 maps by Isaac Cooper Stuck, circa 1857, showing plats of lands included within the boundaries of the Shawnee Indian reservation of 1854 in Johnson and surrounding counties, Kansas, was originally received with this collection but later transferred to the Map Division (MP G4202.S5G46 z1857.S8). On the microfilm, the maps were re-integrated with the collection and appear with other records of the Shawnee Indian Agency at the end of the last roll, MS 1260.

This collection was reorganized by Leslie Cade to reflect the original order and provenance of the documents; she also prepared the collection register and folder list. The documents were prepared for microfilming by Bob Knecht. Microfilming was done by Tim Wennihan, October 1990.

Contents List

The entire collection has been microfilmed, and the microfilm may be borrowed through interlibrary loan.

Microfilm
Box.Folder
Description
Inclusive Dates
   
Series 1: Personal Papers
 
MS 1258 1.01
Day book of Major Abbott's father, James Abbott, shoemaker of Hampton, Connecticut. Accounts of work done between 12 October 1815 and 18 July 1828; also scattered memoranda regarding his services as leader of the choir in the Brooklyn church, March 1822- .
1815-1828
   
 
 
MS 1258 1.02
Account book of Major James B. Abbott, dated Lawrence 28 October 1854 to 12 January 1856, and later items; also selections of lands made in 1862 by members of the Black Bob band of Shawnees, under the treaty of 1854.
1854-1862
   
 
 
MS 1258 1.03
Memoranda books regarding free state militia and activities.
1855-1857
   
 
 
MS 1258 1.04
Morning reports regarding free state militia activities.
1856
   
 
 
MS 1258 1.05
Money subscribed to pay the expense of taking Dr. Doy from St. Joseph prison.
[1856]
   
 
 
MS 1258 1.06
Manuscript book containing descriptions of DeSoto lands deeded by Major and Mrs. Abbott to various parties, 1866-[]; cash received from subscribers to the Leavenworth, DeSoto, and Fort Scott Bridge Company; miscellaneous memoranda to 1896.
1866-1896
   
 
 
MS 1258 1.07
Business memorandum book dated Washington, D. C. 12 December 1868-13 April 1869 describing correspondence and deeds transmitted; also miscellaneous accounts and inventories, 1877-1889.
1868-1889
   
 
 
MS 1258 2.01
Secretary's book, Western Medical and Chemical Company. Proceedings of meetings. Includes By-Laws of Company
1880-1881
   
 
 
MS 1258 2.02
"Memorandoms [sic] of soldiers statements." Copies of letters and memoranda dealing, some concerning soldiers' pensions; plus other personal memoranda, 8 February 1880-25 September 1890.
1880-1890
   
 
 
MS 1258 2.03
Copies of letters dealing primarily with pension matters and business memoranda, 20 October 1890-25 November 1892.
1890-1892
   
 
 
MS 1258 2.04
Kansas State Agricultural Society, life membership cards.
[n.d]
   
 
 
MS 1258 2.05
Certificates.
1865-1887
   
REMOVED TO OVERSIZE STORAGE
 
   
 
 
   
Series 2: Correspondence, 1854-1899
 
MS 1258 2.06
 
[n.d]
MS 1258 2.07
 
1854
MS 1258 2.08
 
1855
MS 1258 2.09
 
1856
MS 1258 2.10
 
1857
MS 1259 2.11
 
1858
MS 1259 2.12
 
1859
MS 1259 2.13
 
1860
MS 1259 2.14
 
1861
MS 1259 2.15
 
1863
MS 1259 2.16
 
1864
MS 1259 2.17
 
1866
MS 1259 2.18
 
1868
MS 1259 2.19
 
1869
MS 1259 2.20
 
1870
MS 1259 2.21
 
1873
MS 1259 2.22
 
1874
MS 1259 2.23
 
1877
MS 1259 2.24
 
1880
MS 1259 2.25
 
1881
MS 1259 2.26
 
[ca. 1883]
MS 1259 2.27
 
1887
MS 1259 2.28
 
1888
MS 1259 2.29
 
1891
MS 1259 2.30
 
1893
MS 1259 2.31
 
1895
MS 1259 2.32
 
1896
MS 1259 2.33
 
1898
MS 1259 2.34
 
1899
   
 
 
   
Series 3: Indian Agency Records
 
   
 
 
   
Kansas Agency (1851-1876)
 
   
 
 
MS 1259 3.01
Account book for the Delaware tribe of Indians in the Kansas Agency, commenced in 1851, third and fourth quarters. (Accounts for Thomas Moseley for The Delaware in the Kansas Agency, 1851; provisions, etc., issued destitute Shawnees by J. B. Abbott, 1861; names of Shawnee holders of land in severalty, 1866; same, for Black Bob band.)
1851-1866
   
 
 
MS 1259 3.02
Account book for the Shawnee tribe in the Kansas Agency, commenced in 1851, third and fourth quarters. (Accounts of Thomas Moseley, Jr., Shawnee Indian agent, 1851-1853; record of deeds sent to Washington after 20 April 1865.
1851-1865
   
 
 
   
Shawnee Agency (1855-1876)
 
   
 
 
MS 1259 3.03
Tract book of lands included within the Shawnee reservation of 1854. Includes Townships 12-15 of ranges 21 and 25 east; townships 12 & 15 of ranges 22, 23, & 25; and township 15 of range 24 east.
1857-1859
   
 
 
MS 1259 3.04
Tract book of lands included within the Shawnee reservation of 1854. Includes townships 13 and 14 of ranges 22-24 east, and township 12, range 24 east.
1858-1859
   
 
 
MS 1260 3.05
Deed book containing alphabetical lists of grantors and grantees of Shawnee lands.
1860-1870
   
 
 
MS 1260 3.06
Manuscript book containing the accounts of Major J. B. Abbott with the United States, as agent of the Shawnee Indians, 1861; orders on traders; payrolls, 1862; absentee Shawnee payroll; list of selections made by Black Bob band, 24 September 1867, etc.
1861-1867
   
OVERSIZE VOLUME. SHELVED SEPARATELY
 
   
 
 
MS 1260 4.01
Manuscript book containing abstract of lands owned by individual Shawnee Indians, 1 March 1866; also census and farm statistics of the Shawnee, September 1866.
March-September 1866
   
 
 
MS 1260 MAPS
Isaac Cooper Stuck. Plat maps of lands included within the boundaries of the Shawnee Indian reservation of 1854. Includes maps, copy negatives, and photographic prints.
[ca. 1857]
   
SHELVED WITH MAP COLLECTION