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The Kansas Indians ceded to the United States an immense territory. They did not own so vast a tract. They never had possessed it. Much of it they had never even hunted over. It is very doubtful whether they even claimed some of the land they sold. The Government wished to extinguish the Indian title. Having purchased it from the Kansas Indians, no other tribe could set up a claim.
At St. Louis, on the 3d of June, 1825, the Kansas Indians ceded, by treaty of that date, the tract or territory described as follows:
Beginning at the entrance of the Kansas river into the Missouri; thence North to the North-West corner of the State of Missouri; from thence Westwardly to the Nodewa river, thirty miles from its entrance into the Missouri; from thence to the entrance of the big Nemahaw into the Missouri, and with that river to its source; from thence to the source of the Kansas river, leaving the old village Panai Republic to the West; from thence, on the ridge dividing the waters of the Kansas river from those of the Arkansas, to the Western boundary of the State line of Missouri; and with that line, thirty miles, to the place of beginning.
To understand this cession it must be made plain that at that time the western line of Missouri was a north-and-south line through the mouth of the Kansas River. West of that line, north of the mouth of the Kansas, and east of the Missouri River, lay what are now Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Holt, Nodaway, and Platte counties, Missouri. These comprise the best body of land in Missouri. It was attached to that state in 1836.
As construed and mapped the treaty conveyed a tract of the best land in Nebraska, reaching from the Missouri to Red Cloud, and extending north at one point something more than forty miles, and including the present towns of Pawnee, Tecumseh, Beatrice, Fairbury, Geneva, Hebron, Nelson and many others.
This princely domain was cut off at the head of the Solomon, from where it reached down to within twelve miles of the Arkansas, northwest of Garden City. Thence it followed the divide to the Missouri line. It was nearly half the State of Kansas.
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Out of this cession, however, there was set aside a reservation for the Kansas Indians, the grantors. This reservation was described as follows:
A tract of land to begin twenty leagues up the Kansas river, and to include their village on that river; extending West thirty miles in width, through the land ceded in the first Article.
There were twenty-three allotments to half-breeds, as has been noticed. The east line of this reservation was through the center of range 14, east, of the public survey made later, and nine miles west of the center of Topeka. It extended west three hundred miles and contained nine thousand square miles of the heart of Kansas. It was held by the Kansas Indians until 1846. On the 14th of January of that year they ceded two million acres off the east end of their tract, embracing the full thirty miles in width, and running west for quantity. It was provided that if the residue of their land should not afford sufficient timber for the use of the tribe, the Government should have all the reservation. This lack of timber was found to exist; thereupon the Government took over the entire Kansas reservation, and laid off another tract for the Indians. This tract was at Council Grove, and was about twenty miles square. It was supposed to lie immediately south of the lands of the Shawnees, but when surveyed it was found to encroach on the Shawnee reservation some six miles. To avoid complications, the Shawnees ceded this overlapped part in 1854. In 1859 the Kansas Indians made a treaty retaining a portion of their reservationnine miles by fourteen milesintact. The remainder was to be sold by the Government, and the money used for the benefit of the tribe. These lands were sold by acts of Congress, of May 8, 1872, June 23, 1874, July 5, 1876, and March 16, 1880. The tribe had in the meantime moved to a reservation in Oklahoma. The tract nine by fourteen miles was disposed of under the above named acts of Congress, and the money applied to the use of the tribe. And thus were the Kansas Indians divested of the last of their hereditary soil.