Old Farmhouse, built 1912, razed 2001


In 1803, the land that is now Twin Mill Farm became part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.  A year later, Lewis and Clark passed through the area and camped for 3 days in what is now Kansas City, Kansas. Zebulon Pike passed through in 1806 and labeled the area "The Great American Desert" on his maps, influencing the designation of the land west of Missouri for Native American resettlement.

By treaties made in 1825, the US granted, "to the Shawnee Indians within the state of Missouri, for themselves and for those of the same nation now residing in Ohio who may hereafter emigrate to the west of the Mississippi, a tract of land equal to 50 miles square, situated west of the state of Missouri and within the purchase lately made from the Osage." From 1826-1833, Shawnee Indians were moved to this area, "The Great American Desert" from the more fertile lands of Ohio and Missouri.

Mill Creek was named for the grist and sawmill that was built in 1836 for the Shawnee Indian community as an incentive to relocate under terms of the Indian Treaty.  The mill facilitated the local production of lumber, wheat flour and corn meal until it was destroyed by floods in 1844.  It was never rebuilt.  

Twin Mill Farm Connection:
    Twin Mill Farm was named for the nearby junction of Mill Creek and Little Mill Creek.

Travel along the California Road boomed beginning in 1849 with the gold rush when tens of thousands of fortune seekers joined the emigrant farmers heading west.  It is estimated that 200,000 people passed through Kansas, many using the Westport to Lawrence Road route.  Travel along the trail continued until 1869 when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads completed the first Trans-Continental Railroad.

Twin Mill Farm Connection:
    Twin Mill Farm is located on Lawrence Road which was the Westport to Lawrence Road and part of the California Road.  The pilings for the Old Lawrence Road bridge that crossed Mill Creek are still visible from the Streamway Park path.  The lower west loop of the Twin Mill Farm trail is an old wagon road.

Shawnee Indians continued to settle along the banks of the Kansas River, Bull Creek and Mill Creek until 1854 when Kansas became a territory, the reservation was dissolved and they were relocated to the newly established Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.  In 1854, 9 delegates appointed by the Shawnee Nation traveled to Washington City to sign a new treaty with the United States.  The Shawnee tribe agreed to cede to the United States the entirety of the land granted on November 7th, 1825 and May 11th, 1844; 1.6 million acres in total.  The United States then retro-ceded 200,000 acres from the Missouri state line west 30 miles and from the Kansas River to the southern county line.  Some land was designated for churches, missions and schools with the remaining land to be given to Shawnee Indians; 200 acres per person.  Signers of this treaty included George McDougal, Joseph Parks, Blackhoof, Longtail, George Bluejacket, Graham Rogers, Black Bob, Henry Bluejacket and Charles Bluejacket representing the bands that were party to the treaties of 1825 and 1831.  The Kansas-Nebraska Act opened the area and unclaimed land available for settlement.

Twin Mill Farm Connection:
    The land that is now Twin Mill Farm was given by The US Government and President Buchanan to Shawnee Indian,     George McDougal and his family in 1859.  George McDougal was part of the Shawnee delegation that negotiated and signed the treaty.

In 1857, Monticello township was established in new Johnson County in the Kansas Territory.  It was named after the historic home of Thomas Jefferson and included the 27,000 acres of land; south of the Kansas River, north of 103rd Street, west of Ogg Road and east of Cedar Niles Road.  Monticello Township included the towns of Monticello, Zarah, Waseca (became Holliday), Wilder, Craig and Frisbie Station, was a key stage coach stop between Lawrence, Fort Leavenworth and Westport and a natural crossroads for fur-trading.  Pioneers would camp near the creeks on their way west.  

March 22, 1858 at the age of 18, James Butler Hickok (Wild Bill) was elected as one of 4 constables of Monticello Township.  This was the first of several law enforcement jobs that he would hold.  Legends tell stories of Bill Hickok sharpening his shooting skills along the banks of Mill Creek.  His cabin near 83rd and Clare Road was burned by pro-slavery men in 1858, and he turned in his badge and abandoned his claim in the late summer of 1859 to head north to Nebraska Territory.  

In 1859 a tornado tore through Monticello, destroying much of the town, but it was quickly rebuilt.  In the 1860's the township weathered grasshopper plagues and between the years of 1862 and 1864 Quantrill's guerrillas passed through on their way to sack Shawnee and Olathe. Property damage and a continual denial of rights prompted many of the Shawnee Indians to abandon or sell their land in Kansas and relocate to Indian Territory.

Twin Milll Farm Connection:
    Polly, daughter and sole heir of George McDougal, sold the McDougal lands in 1868 after George's death.

In 1874, after the Civil War, Monticello Township was still bustling and boasted 8 school districts each with substantial school buildings.  

In 1907, Kansas City real estate promoter, cattleman and banker; Richard W. Hocker took over the struggling Kansas City and Olathe Electric Railway, abandoned plans to compete with the Strang Line in Olathe, and changed the name to Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka Electric Railroad Company.  He completed a line to Merriam where he owned acreage, and continued construction westward to Shawnee.  The Hocker Line was completed in the fall of 1908 and terminated just east of Zarah at Mill Creek but the planned expansion to Lawrence and Topeka never happened.  The olive green cars of the main line ran from the Monrovia Station to Southwest Boulevard, Main Street and City Market from 6:00 am until midnight.  Smaller cars were used for the route west to Zarah.  The popularity and convenience of motor cars caused ridership to decline, especially in the rural and farming communities, and the the Hocker Line ceased operation in 1927.

Twin Mill Farm Connection:

    The Hocker Line followed the Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka Road, now Lawrence Road which is the access road to Twin Mill Farm today.  The line ended east of Mill Creek at Starrwood Park (now the Knights of Columbus Park) where there was a dance pavilion that featured live bands and was a popular gathering spot for the residents of Monticello Township and nearby Zarah.

The flood of 1951 finally erased several of the smaller towns in Monticello Township including Holliday, Wilder and Frisbie Station.


Twin Mill Farm Connection:

     The land was operated as a dairy farm beginning in the 1930s. When the old farmhouse was razed, a receipt for milk sold to the Zarah Market was found.  In 1963, Dr. Robert W. Hamill and his wife Virginia purchased the land, and Twin Mill Farm was established as a horse boarding stable in 1969. The land was purchased by Chip and Becky Newcomer in 1990 who have made improvements to the facility and continue to operate it at Twin Mill Farm today.

Shawnee and Lenexa began annexing the lands of Monticello Township in the 1970s and the final parcels were disorganized in 2006.  The stories of this history-rich area are kept alive by the Monticello Historical Society and Museum 


Sources:
www.shawneetribe.com
www.legendsofkansas.com

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The History of the Land

Old Dairy Barn, razed 1997