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Abbott, James Burnett, 1818-1897

 Person

Birth: Dec. 3, 1818 Hampton Windham County Connecticut, USA Death: Mar. 2, 1897 De Soto Johnson County Kansas, USA

James Burnett Abbott was born in Hampton, Windham County, Connecticut on December 3, 1818. He was a grandson of Asa and Sarah Bidlock Fuller Abbott and his parents were James and Asenath Burnett Abbott. In 1838 he married Miss Amanda Atwood; she died in 1850 or '51. In 1852 he married Miss Elizabeth Ann Watrous of Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1854, in company of the third party of New England immigrants, he came to Kansas. He arrived in Lawrence October 10, 1854 and soon became recognized as a free state leader. Major Abbott took up a claim about half a mile south of Blanton's bridge, on the road to Hickory Point, and his house was a favorite meeting place of the free state men in that neighborhood. He was one of those who went east to procure arms, and through his efforts there was sent to Kansas quite a supply of Sharp's rifles and a twelve-pounder howitzer. He was one of the party that rescued Branson from Sheriff Jones of Douglas County; was a lieutenant in command of a company at the first "battle" of Franklin; commanded the Third Regiment of free state infantry during the siege of Lawrence in 1856; fought with John Brown and Black Jack, and was the leader of the expedition that rescued Dr. John Doy.

He was a member of the first House of Representatives elected under the Topeka constitution, and in 1867, was chosen senator. Upon the adoption of the Wyandotte constitution he was elected a member of the lower house of the first State Legislature, which met in March of 1861. In that year he was appointed agent for the Shawnee Indians and removed to De Soto, Johnson County. At the time of the Price raid he led a party of Shawnees against the Confederates.

In 1866, he retired from the Indian agency and in the fall of that year he was elected to the State Senate. He was influential in securing the establishment of the School for Feeble Minded Youth. His youngest daughter, Bell Abbott, was a member of this school called the Winfield Asylum from Nov. 1888 until her death in 1909. Twelve years prior to his death in 1897 Major Abbott served as director of the Kansas State Historical Society.

-----Excerpts from the Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelly, 1918.

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