THE WELSH IN KANSAS: SETTLEMENT, CONTRIBUTIONS AND ASSIMILATION KANSAS played a dramatic part in the history of nineteenth-century America. Before the civil war, 'bleeding Kansas' was the battleground for pro- and anti-slavery forces in 1854-57. The sacking of Lawrence in 1856, the murders committed by John Brown at Pottawatomie Creek in 1857, raised the national temperature in the inexorable conflict between North and South. In the 1880s, Kansas became a symbol of the frustrated hopes and shattered fortunes of debtor farmers tempted west by the prospectuses of the railroads and the dream of free land. 'In God we trusted, in Kansas we busted' was the familiar slogan of the fugitive farmers in their covered wagons. In the 'nineties, Kansas, not surprisingly, became a stronghold of radical agrarian Populism. William Peffer was elected the first Populist U.S. Senator there in 1892. William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette, was moved to write 'What's the Matter with Kansas?'. Not until the twentieth century did its wheat farmers and small towns eventually find a settled prosperity. Seldom noticed is the role of Welsh immigrants in the history of this state. Starting at least as early as 1857, and perhaps earlier, people from Wales began to come to Kansas. By 1869 (eight years after Kansas had been admitted as a state of the Union), when the Rev. R. D. Thomas of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, visited its Welsh settlements, he estimated the number of Welsh immigrants at 1,750.2 It is virtually impossible to know exactly how many people born in Wales and their descendants have lived in Kansas at various times, even in the early days. Census figures for 1900 include the following data. There were 5,748 people in Kansas, one or both of whose parents had been born in Wales.3 At the same time, there were 2,005 people living in Kansas who had been born in Wales.4 Elsewhere we find that 5,572 Kansans had fathers and 4,933 had mothers who had been born in Wales.s Since many of these Although no source is given, Daniel Jenkins Williams, in his One Hundred Years of Welsh Calvinistic Methodism in America (Philadelphia, 1937), p. 245, asserted that 'The Welsh migrated into Kansas in the early 1850s. Edward Jones located at Lawrence, Kansas, in 1854, and by 1855 there was a small Welsh settlement six miles out from Lawrence.' I have no idea where precisely the settlement was located or what it might have been called. 2 Robert D. Thomas, Hanes Cymry America (Utica, N.Y., 1872), translated as A History of the Welsh in America, by Phillips G. Davies (Lanham, Md., 1983); most of the section on Kansas appeared in Kansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 4 (winter 1977). 3 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Federal Census 1900, Vol. 1, p. cxcvii. 4 Ibid., p. clxxiv. 5 Ibid., p. 845.