This is not collectible.
While I have lived in Texas for nearly 50 years, I was born and grew to an adult in Kansas. When I tell someone of my origins, they almost always respond in one of two ways: “I have been there but I don’t remember much about it” or “that 400 mile drive across the state on Interstate 70 is really boring.” There is more to the state than that.
Kansas achieved statehood in 1861, but it was far from civilized. From 1850 until 1900 the region was a frontier, and at the center of important events in US history: there was the westward movement of pioneers from Europe and the eastern US and the subsequent conflicts with Native Americans; the Santa Fe Trail crossed the state and the Pony Express and the Oregon Trail passed through a corner; there was a border war because Kansas was a free state and a center of the abolitionist movement, whereas neighboring Missouri was a slave state; and finally the several new railroads were extending into hostile territory and some Kansas railheads were the destinations of cattle drives from Texas. Each trackable in this series of metal travel bugs is named for towns with interesting histories (at least to me), some of which have connections to my youth.
In 1854, the U.S. Congress had passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which stipulated that the residents of these territories would decide whether they wished to enter the Union as a slave or free state. This doctrine became known as popular sovereignty. Organized groups from the North sent thousands of abolitionist supporters to Kansas in an attempt to tip the balance in favor of free-state advocates, to counter settlement from pro-slavery supporters from Missouri. As a result, pro- and anti-slavery groups had frequent clashes culminating in the Battle of Black Jack.
Henry C. Pate had participated with a posse of 750 pro-slavery forces in the sacking of Lawrence on May 21, 1856. Destroyed were the Free State Hotel, two abolitionist newspaper offices and their printing presses. The village was also looted and citizens killed.
After that, a band of men, led by John Brown and comrade Captain Shore, executed five proslavery men with broadswords at Pottawatomie Creek. This incident became known as the Pottawatomie massacre. Following the massacre, three anti-slavery men were taken prisoner, including two of John Brown's sons.
Brown and 29 others met Henry Pate and fought the battle of Black Jack on June 2, 1856. The five-hour battle went in Brown's favor and Pate and 22 of his followers were captured and held for ransom. Brown agreed to release them as long as they released Brown's sons. The exchange was made and that battle was concluded.
The town of Black Jack was established in 1855 as a trail town on the Santa Fe Trail. The town became incorporated in 1857. At its peak, Black Jack contained a tavern, post office, blacksmiths, a hotel, general store, doctor's office, schools and two churches but by the end of the Civil War, Santa Fe traffic began to dwindle and soon the town was abandoned. The former townsite is near Baldwin City, south of Lawrence.