Dickinson College / Gilder Lehrman Institute

Abraham Lincoln in Kansas

In 1859 Abraham Lincoln visited Kansas from November 30th through December 5th . He had been invited by a distant relative Mrs. Mark W.Delahay. Her husband Mark Delahay had a personal friendship with Abraham Lincoln originating with their mutual cause in establishing the Republican Party.In 1859, Delahay sought the Republican nomination for a United States Senate seat for Kansas.This is history that Kansas students seem to really enjoy and it gives them a sense that our state was an important part of US history especially from the 1850’s and throughout the time period of the Civil war. I tell them the towns he visited and what he did and said while he was there.

  • Lincoln crossed the Missouri river from St. Joseph Missouri and arrived in Elwood, Kansas delivering his first Kansas speech November 30,1859
  • Traveled to Troy on a cold morning gave a 2 hour speech and that same day traveled ten miles to Doniphan and spoke again December 1,1859
  • Friday morning December 2, 1859 travels to Atchinson gives a 2 hour speech and learns that John Brown was hung for treason.
  • Travels to his final Kansas destination in Leavenworth and stays with the Delahay family whom he was a distant relative to.
  • Much of his Cooper Union Speech was used while in Kansas . The future President thought Kansas would be a good testing ground for his famous New York City speech.

I have attempted to create a Google Map to show you where Abraham Lincoln traveled while in the state of Kansas.


Rage Militaire


Scarlett O’Hara in scrubs…


  1. davemcintire

    Tom, looks really good. BTW-do you have any records on the detail who guarded Lincoln in Kansas? The Maple Grove Cemetery has a soldier who served in Co. A, Ist Kan. Inf. who, the cemetery’s historian told me, guarded Lincoln on that trip. I’m seriously thinking of having my students profile one person from the cemetery and so that would be a great connection to have.

    • leahy

      Thanks Dave. The soldiers were called The Frontier Guard . They were started by James Lane. He was ironically at Mark Delahay’s house when Lincoln visited Kansas and he dined with them. Lane, because of the guard “firmly established himself in the regard and confidence of the president” according to Albert Castel who wrote Civil War in Kansas. So,the two sources I know of are the book I just mentioned and Tim Rues of Lecompton. Tim ,who portrays James Lane is a walking encyclopedia of all things Lane. He can give you much more information . You can contact him at consthall@kshs.org.

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