Ad Astra per Aspera - To the Stars through Difficulties


“Our Good Earth”

John Steuart Curry (1897-1946) Born Dunavant, Kansas

Abraham Lincoln

If I went West, I think I would go to Kansas.

Kenneth S. Davis

I've never met a Kansan anywhere whose heart wasn't buried in Kansas.

“Amber Waves of Grain” John Falter

In God we trusted, in Kansas we busted.

Birger Sandzen


St. Augustine “No one loves what he endures, though he may love to endure.”

John Steuart Curry “Tornado Over Kansas”

Harper Co. wedding tornado


Tornado near Rozel 5-18-2013


Inside a tornado, Smith Co. 5-28-2013


William Inge   A Level Land

Men in the prairie states have long had to deal with forces they cannot always control. They often have to surrender to these forces and deal with them as best they can. This surrender to forces greater than one's self cannot but create a humility in human character that is a part of all religious faith. Prairie people, most of them descendants of Puritan (and Methodist) New Englanders or of God-fearing Scandinavians or Central Europeans, know and live with the knowledge that man is not all-powerful. The general tendency in this land is to be conservative in all things, and to be suspicious of all extremists.

John Steuart Curry “The Line Storm”

Carl L. Becker

“It thus happens that while no people endure the reverses of nature with greater fortitude and good humor than the people of Kansas, misfortunes seemingly of man's making arouse in them a veritable passion of resistance; the mere suspicion of injustice, real or fancied exploitation by those who fare sumptuously, the pressure of laws not self-imposed, touch something explosive in their nature that transforms a calm and practical people into excited revolutionists.”

“Dust Storm” Robert Riggs


On May 9 and 10, 1934, the world began to know first hand about the dust storms of the Great Plains. “A gigantic cloud of dust, 1,500 miles long, 900 miles across and two miles high, buffeted and smothered almost one-third of the nation today,” a United Press story reported. “For more than 36 hours arid winds from the plains of western Canada swirled tons of sand and grit eastward...Chicago, St. Louis, Des Moines, Kansas City, St. Paul and Minneapolis--everywhere under the grimy blanket--the sun was obscured and visibility limited to less than a mile. Pilots of commercial airlines climbed to heights of almost 15,000 feet to reach clear air...States in the full path of this and other recent dust storms were Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, northern Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and portions of West Virginia and. Pennsylvania.”

William Allen White, The Sage of Empori'

Kansans are marked by Puritanism. The first Kansans were crusaders, intellectual and social pioneers, conventers of various sorts...Slavery being abolished your Kansans had to begin abolishing something else. Abolitionism was more than a conviction; it was a temperamental habit."

"Abolition, Prohibition, Populism, and Bull Moose, the Blue Sky law...these things come popping out in Kansas like bats out of hell. Sooner or later other states take up these things, and then Kansas goes on breeding other troubles.


“What’s The Matter With Kansas?” 1896


John J. Ingalls

Kansas has been the testing ground for every experiment in morals, politics, and social life. Doubt of all existing institutions has been respectable. Nothing has been venerated or revered merely because it exists or has endured. Prohibition, female suffrage, fiat money, free silver, every incoherent and fantastic dream of social improvement and reform, every economic delusion that has bewildered the foggy brain of fanatics, every political fallacy nurtured by misfortune, poverty, and failure, rejected elsewhere, has here found tolerance and advocacy.

Beecher Bible and Rifle Church, Wabaunsee

Established in June 1857 by Free State sympathizers. The “Connecticut-Kansas Colony” arrived with Sharps rifles and 25 Bibles provided by the congregation of Henry Ward Beecher. The church was completed in 1862.

William Least Heat-Moon   Great Kansas Passage

The kindest remark about the region I ever heard from a New Yorker was, There's a lot of air out there. Indeed, it is a fact of history that the massiveness of air, sky, and horizon disturbed even the first settlers who quickly found themselves longing for the protective enclosures of forest.

                        “The High Plains” Thomas Hart Benton

Kenneth S. Davis   Portrait of Kansas

...the sky is everywhere around us in this land of far horizons: it constantly impinges upon the Kansas consciousness...and even when the sky is closed off and lowering in gray glooms it remains a vast brooding presence. It conveys a sense of high, far, lonely distances.

Phil Epp

Thomas Gray “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife.

T.A. McNeal

...for Kansas in the past has had some towns that in a competitive examination for wickedness would have given Hell a neck-and-neck race.

Dodge City Peace Comission 1883

Front left to right: Charles E. Basset, Wyatt S. Earp, Frank McLain, and Neil Brown

 Back left to right: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, W.B. 'Bat' Masterson, and W.F. Petillon

Additional Images


Kansas Scenic Byways


Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve


Kansas State Historical Society



James Nedresky


Garrison Keillor

Savannah, Santa Fe, Montana

Laurel Canyon, Susquehanna

San Francisco or Manhattan

Eat your heart out, I'm in Kansas

I'm in Kansas,

Handsome Kansas

In the land of long romances

Fertile plants and cash finances

Handsome mansions, the advance

Of man's expansion here in Kansas,

Rembrandt, Cezanne, could've painted Kansas

The landscape's like the south of France is.

Chopin would have written dances

Had he hung his pants in Kansas.

All the saints, including Francis,

Prayed that if the Good Lord grants us

Second chances, could we

Transubstantiate to Kansas?

Bleeding Kansas



John Steuart Curry  “The Tragic Prelude”

Capitol Building, Topeka

The Jayhawker State traces its history back to 1856 and the conflicts between Kansas and Missouri. When an Irishman named Pat Devlin was asked what he was doing participating in raids crossing the border into Missouri, he replied, You know, in Ireland we have a bird we call the Jayhawk, which makes its living off of other birds. I guess you might say I've been Jayhawking!

Originally, this term may have applied to Kansans and Missourians alike, but eventually the term came to refer only to Kansan free-state guerilla fighters.

Missouri Partisan Rangers became known as Bushwhackers and included William Quantrill, Frank James, Cole Younger, and William Bloody Bill Anderson.

Federal Occupational troops in Missouri were called Red Legs”.

On January 29, 1861, Kansas joined the Union as a free state.

Quantrill’s Sack of Lawrence August 21, 1863

An illustration in Harper's Weekly Sept. 5, 1863

Wayne C. Lee, Deadly Days in Kansas, 1997


“General Order No. 11”

George Calib Bingham http://civilwarmissouri.blogspot.com/2008/04/general-order-number-11.html 

Order No. 11 was issued four days after the  Lawrence Massacre.  The Union Army believed Quantrill's guerrillas drew their support from the rural population of four Missouri counties on the Kansas border, south of the Missouri River; Bates, Cass, Jackson, and Vernon. General Thomas Ewing, who lost several friends in the raid, issued Order No. 11 ordered the expulsion of all residents from these counties except for those living within one mile of the town limits of Independence, Hickman Mills, Pleasant Hill, and Harrisonville. The area of Kansas City, Missouri north of Brush Creek and west of the Blue River, referred to as “Big Blue” in the order, was also spared.

“Kansas River” Louis Copt    

The Kansas (Kaw) River was named by the French after the Kaw/Kansa/Konza, Omaha, Osage and Dakota Sioux word KaNze meaning south wind.

Kaw Nation


Walt Whitman   Leaves of Grass, Starting from Paumanok

Chants going forth from the centre of Kansas, and thence equidistant shooting in pulses of fire ceaseless to vivify all…”

What has become of rural Kansas?


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