Easton, Kansas

The main street in Easton, Kansas. Courtesy of Bob Watkins and Leavenworth County.

Notable Events:

  • Founded (Fall 1854)
  • Murder of Thomas Cook by Reese P. Brown (January 17, 1856)

Eastin, Kansas was founded by Brigadier General L.J. Eastin in the fall of 1854 and later renamed for territorial Governor Andrew Reeder's home town of Easton, Pennsylvania. Early in 1855, a general store and hotel opened, followed by a post office later in the year. The spotlight of "Bleeding Kansas" briefly settled on the town on January 17, 1856, when the proslavery Thomas Cook was shot and killed by the antislavery Reese P. Brown in an apparent political dispute. Later that day, Brown was killed by the proslavery, ax-wielding Robert Gibson in Leavenworth, 11 miles to the southeast. Historians generally count the two murders among the first 10 politically motivated killings of the Bleeding Kansas era. With only a few hundred residents at its peak population in the early 20th century, Easton remains an obscure town in rural Leavenworth County.