Shawnee Methodist Mission

The Shawnee Methodist Mission in Shawnee, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Notable Events:

  • Founded (1830)
  • Relocated to Present Site (1839)
  • Second Capital of Kansas Territory (July 16, 1855 to spring 1856)
  • Closed (1862)

The Shawnee Methodist Mission was established in 1830 at Turner, Kansas, before relocating southward to present-day Fairway, Kansas in 1839. As its name suggests, the mission served the local Shawnee tribe, which had been forcibly relocated to Kansas Territory after a treaty in 1825. The mission was founded by Reverend Thomas Johnson, the eventual namesake of Johnson County, Kansas. After 1839, the mission operated a boarding school for members of the Shawnee and Delaware tribes, and between July 16, 1855 and the spring of 1856 the mission served as the second capital of Kansas Territory, before the capital moved to Lecompton. The mission finally closed in 1862 after many of the local Shawnee escaped the border wars by rejoining with members of the Shawnee tribe in northeastern Oklahoma. Following the war, the Shawnee remaining in Johnson County were forcibly removed to Oklahoma. Many of the mission's buildings are preserved and the site is a National Historic Landmark.