History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Extinct Towns of Douglas County, Kansas

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Extinct Towns:



Black Jack

Bismarck Grove



Hickory Point-Stony Point


More Extinct Towns





Belvoir - One of the old settlements of Kansas, Belvoir was located on the old Santa Fe Trail about 13 miles southwest of Lawrence, in the valley of the Wakarusa River. Among the first permanent settlers in its vicinity, who arrived in 1855-56, were H. Heine, James M. Dun, M. Clayton, R. A. Dean, H. McKenzie, A. S. Baldwin, A. E. Northrop, J. Hulze, D. Dack and Mr. Smith, who died in 1856, which was probably the first death in the area. In what was known as the McKenzie neighborhood, the St. John's Church Catholic church was established in 1856. Several houses were also built and a tavern that  accommodated the travelers going west.  In the summer of 1865, a stone schoolhouse, measuring 24'x40' was built at a cost of $1,500. Dr. George Hubbard and W. Markle were  among the first teachers. On account of the proximity of Belvoir to Twin Mound, a  post office was not established until April 26, 1869, with L. D. Bailey appointed as the first postmaster. In 1873, the Carbondale branch of the Union Pacific Railroad was completed 2   miles from Belvoir and the post office was moved. Soon, a new schoolhouse was built and other businesses followed. However, by 1903, the population had fallen to such a degree that the post office was closed on January 31st. In 1910, the community had a population of 30.


Black Jack - Established in 1855 as a supply point for traders and pioneers along the Santa Fe Trail, some of its first settlers were William Riley, David Fearer, E. D. Pettengill, S.A. Stonebraker, and H. N. Brockway. The creek near which the village stood was named Black Jack by Mexicans traveling along the Santa Fe Trail, and the village was named after the creek. The town had barely been settled before it found itself in the midst of the Kansas-Missouri Border War. After John Brown's two sons were captured and held prisoner by Henry Pate, Brown, along with 29 men fought the Battle of Black Jack on June 2, 1856 against Pate and his men. John Brown and his men won the battle, capturing 22 men, which Brown agreed to release when Brown's sons were released. Some historians consider the Battle of Balck Jackto be the first true battle of the Civil War. Also killed in June of that year, was one of the first setters -- David Fearer, who was a Corporal in Company D of the 2nd Missouri Militia. He was was shot down in an ambush by William Quantrill's guerillas between Independence and Pleasant Hill, Missouri while on a patrol guarding a mail coach.


The town was incorporated in 1857 and the first school was in a log house, taught by Mrs. Elizabeth Craig, in 1858. The first sermon was also preached the same year, in a cabin by Reverend  Samuel Kretsinger. The post office was established on March 15, 1858 with S.A. Stonebraker being appointed the first Postmaster who had started the first store in January. A school house and the Presbyterian Church were both built in 1859. At its peak, it boasted a tavern, post office, blacksmiths, a hotel, general store, doctor's office, schools and two churches.


During the Civil War, a fort was erected here for the protection of the town. On May 8, 1863, Dick Yeagar made a raid upon the village, robbed Brockway & Stonebraker's store, and stole the horses belonging to the overland stage route. On August 15th of the same year, "Bloody Bill" Anderson made a raid into Kansas, and on his return from Morris County, where he had killed Captain Baker, thrown his body into the cellar and burned his house down over him, made a call on Black Jack, intercepted the overland mail, stole fourteen horses, eight of them belonging to the mail, and took some $2,000 from the passengers.




They also broke into and robbed Brockway & Stonebraker's store, carrying away about $1,800 worth of goods, and setting fire to the store. The fire was extinguished by a determined lady named Mrs. John M. Hays.


After the Civil War, traffic along the Santa Fe Trail began to dwindle, especially  upon the completion of the Kansas Pacific Railroad to Ellsworth. On October 20, 1894 the post office was closed and the town was soon abandoned. Today, much of the land where most of Black Jack once stood, is owned by a the great grandson of Black Jack pioneer, David Fearer.


The site is located near U.S. Highway 56, about three miles east of Baldwin City, which has interpretive signs pointing out where the battled started and ended.


Bismarck Grove - Once one of the most beautiful natural parks in KansasKansas, Bismarck Grove was situated on the north side of the Kansas River at Lawrence, and for many years it was a favorite place for holding gatherings of all kinds. Among the historic meetings that were held there were the Quarter Centennial celebration of the organization of Kansas Territory in 1879 and the Old Settlers' meeting in September, 1884. When the Western National Fair Association was organized and incorporated in 1879, Bismarck Grove was selected as the place for holding the annual fair, and for several years the exhibits of the association were given in the grove, which had been fitted up for a fair ground. There was never a post office at Bismarck Grove. In later years the park was utilized as a livestock farm. Today, it is part of North Lawrence near the intersection of Lyon Street and North 9th Street.



Continued Next Page


Battle of Black Jack, Kansas

Battle of Black Jack Historic Markers, October, 2006,  Kathy Weiser.


Bismarck Grove, Kansas corrals

Bismarck Grove corrals, early 1900s


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