“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
East Lawrence in Douglas County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

John Speer Farmstead

Murphy-Bromelsick House

John Speer Farmstead Site / Murphy-Bromelsick House Marker image. Click for full size.
1. John Speer Farmstead Site / Murphy-Bromelsick House Marker
Inscription.  Abolitionist John Speer established a farmstead on this site shortly after his arrival in Kansas Territory in September 1854. A newspaper publisher from Pennsylvania, Speer became a part of the struggle to bring Kansas into the Union as a free, non-slave-holding state. As a pressman and political strategist, he was a founder of Lawrence, and he played a major role in the drama known as Bleeding Kansas.

The struggle for political control of Kansas, 1854 - 1861, was a prelude to the American Civil War, leaving a bitter legacy of distrust, hatred, and violence. Kansas entered the Union as a Free State in January 1861. Two and a half years later, Lawrence suffered the worst civilian atrocity of the war at the hands of William C. Quantrill and his 450 Confederate irregulars. By mid-morning of August 21, 1863, 200 men and boys were dead or missing and the town lay in ruins. Elizabeth and John Speer lost two teenage sons. One column of invaders crossed near this site at dawn, en route to the business district. The only bushwacker to die here on the day of the raid was captured southeast of Lawrence, brought to this hilltop, and shot.

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Murphy - Bromelsick house, relocated to this site in August 2000, is a product of the spirited rebuilding of Lawrence in the decade following the Quantrill massacre. It was constructed in stages between 1866 and 1869, at 909 Pennsylvania, almost 300 yards northwest of this site. Irish and German immigrants built and owned or occupied this structure until c. 1941.

This dwelling was placed in Hobbs Park as a memorial to John Speer, to the vision and sacrifice of the founding citizens of Lawrence, and to the domestic vernacular architecture of that era.
Erected 2001 by Hobbs Park Memorial Fund.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1861.
Location. 38° 57.922′ N, 95° 13.663′ W. Marker is in Lawrence, Kansas, in Douglas County. It is in East Lawrence. Marker is at the intersection of Delaware Street and East 10th Street, on the right when traveling north on Delaware Street. Seven blocks east of downtown Lawrence, Kansas. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1004 Delaware Street, Lawrence KS 66044, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lawrence Masonic Temple (approx. half a mile away); Douglas County Courthouse (approx. half a mile away); Achning Hardware
John Speer Farmstead / Murphy-Bromelsick House Marker image. Click for full size.
circa 2009
2. John Speer Farmstead / Murphy-Bromelsick House Marker
(approx. half a mile away); Wiedemann Building (approx. half a mile away); 825-827 Massachusetts Street (approx. half a mile away); First United Methodist Church (approx. half a mile away); Ridenour & Baker Building (approx. half a mile away); Marks Jewelers (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lawrence.
Additional keywords. Hobbs Park Memorial, Old East Lawrence
Credits. This page was last revised on February 10, 2023. It was originally submitted on November 5, 2010, by Mark Kaplan of Lawrence, Kansas. This page has been viewed 1,473 times since then and 108 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 5, 2010, by Mark Kaplan of Lawrence, Kansas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 25, 2024