Through the efforts of local residents and friends known as the Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards in partnership with Audubon of Kansas, a historic park has been created that ties Wabaunsee County to this pivotal period in our nation’s past.
Located on a 50-acre hilltop three miles south of Wamego, the park is called the Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie Preserve. It is dedicated to Captain William Mitchell and the Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony, The property, part of Captain Mitchell’s farm, was given to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1953 by Mitchell’s son W.I. Mitchell.
Organized in New Haven, Connecticut, this famous colony of free-state immigrants arrived at Wabaunsee in April 1856. Determined to see Kansas become a state free of slavery, they formed a militia with earlier settlers and fought along side John Brown and Jim Lane in the Border War.
The Kansas Historical Society accepted Mitchell’s gift but the land was never developed into a park. In 2001, when they decided to relinquish ownership of the site, local residents came together and formed the Prairie Guards to assume ownership and management of the park and to fulfill the wishes of the original donor.
In 2005, when it was determined that the property could only be transferred to a not-for-profit, the Prairie Guards asked Audubon of Kansas to partner with us, as the Mt. Mitchell Prairie Guards had not yet established its not for profit status.
Our vision is to create an outdoor place where Kansas youth can experience and learn about the tallgrass prairie, and at the same time develop a sense of place and pride in the region’s rich history.
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