The Neutral Lands was an area in southeast Kansas that was originally set aside as a buffer between Missouri and Osage Indian territory after the Osages were removed from Missouri to Kansas under the terms of an 1825 treaty. The area; comprising present-day Cherokee County, Crawford County, and a strip of southern Bourbon County; was ceded to the Cherokee Indians as an additonal allotment of land under terms of the 1835 treaty by which they were removed from the Southeast to Indian Territory, and the region became known as the Cherokee Neutral Lands. Few Cherokees actually settled in the area, however, and when white settlers started squatting on the land around the time of the Civil War, the Cherokees decided to sell it.
In 1866, the Cherokees signed a treaty with the United States to act as their agent in the transaction, and the following year the government sold the land to railroad magnate James F. Joy, who was representing the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Gulf Railroad. The prospect of a railroad coming through the Neutral Lands, though, angered many settlers already there, and settlers and prospective settlers were further enraged when the railroad starting selling excess land at what they considered exorbitant prices. The clash between the two sides turned violent and ended up being the biggest railroad-settler dispute in Kansas history.
Labels: James F. Joy, Neutral Lands