Historical Marker

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Long before white men settled Kansas this region was the home of Pawnee Indians. French traders in the late 1700’s named those along this river the Republican Pawnee in the mistaken belief that their form of government was a republic. From them, the Republican river and in turn Republic county and city took their names. Here, along the east side of the river, passed the rnmilitary road opened in 1857 to connect Fort Riley and Fort Kearny, Neb. White settlements began in this area in the early 1860’s, and at this place in 1868 the Scandinavian Agricultural Society of Chicago started a colony, which became Scandia. Fearful of Indian attacks, for several occurred nearby, the settlers constructed a stronghold near the river named Colony House.

Jedediah Smith, famed mountain man, explorer mapper of the American West, led 60 men up the Republican valley in January, 1826. He stayed several weeks at a Republican Pawnee village, probably the one four miles west and eight north of this marker. The site of this village has been preserved by the state, and a modern archeological museum was opened there in 1967.

– Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

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