Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today proclaimed the week of June 19th to June 25th as Lecompton Territorial Capital Days. The Governor presented the proclamation at a ceremony at the Constitution Hall National Historic Site in Lecompton. Beginning in 1975, on the dedication of Constitution Hall as a National Historic Landmark, Lecompton has held annual Territorial Days to commemorate the history of Constitution Hall.
“In the year of our sesquicentennial, it is vitally important that we remember and reflect on the dramatic events that resulted in the birth of free-state Kansas. The community of Lecompton has made an annual tradition out of commemorating our history with the Lecompton Territorial Days celebration, and I want to thank them for keeping Kansas history alive,” said Governor Brownback.
Lecompton was the capital of the Kansas Territory from 1855 to 1861. During those years, skirmishes between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces were common on the border with Missouri, earning Kansas the nickname “Bleeding Kansas.” In 1857, the Lecompton Constitution was debated at Constitution Hall in Lecompton, but was eventually rejected by referendum. Upon approval of the Wyandotte Constitution which prohibited slavery in the state, the capital was moved from Lecompton to Topeka.