Road To Freedom Ran Through Quindaro
The town of Quindaro, located in what is now Kansas City, Kansas, was founded in 1856 by European, Abelard Guthrie, as a port of entry for slaves seeking free soil in the state of Kansas.
Guthrie named the town after Quindaro in the1800's his Wyandot Indian wife, Seh
Quindaro, who later came to be known as Nancy Brown Guthrie. The town site stretched from 17th to 42nd street and from Parallel to the Missouri River, originally more than 700 acres, and is likely the largest Underground Railroad in the country.
Despite the rough terrain, and challenging social conditions the town grew rapidly, receiving slaves from many points south, but especially from the bordering slave state of Missouri. By 1857 the population exceeded 600 and by 1858 it had doubled in size to approximately 1200 people. When slave owning Missourians realized their ferry was being used for secret midnight runs from Parkville, MO to Quindaro, in order to free slaves, they sank the ferry to the bottom of the Missouri River. But the heart of the slaves, the wisdom of the Native Americans and the will of both White and Black abolitionists kept the railroad running. In winter months they would risk their lives crossing the icy Missouri on foot.
The coming of the Civil war negatively affected Quindaro, as it was abandoned by most of its inhabitants to go fight in the war. In fact, some of the first Black men to fight in the Civil War came from Quindaro. When enlisting some relocated their families for safety, and many were killed in the war. A cemetery dating back to the 1800's is located on the land. Just five years after it began, in 1861 the town's population had declined to less than 700. A second crushing blow came when the town 's incorporation was revoked by the Kansas State legislature in 1862. Following this decision, the town never fully recovered as a safe haven for blacks seeking freedom.