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British in Kansas

The Industrial Age in Great Britain brought about changes to traditional agriculture lifestyles. Some British citizens saw better opportunities in Kansas. The Kansas Pacific Railroad took an active role in recruiting British immigrants. The railroad had a special relationship with the Kansas Land and Emigration company in London. The company bought land from the railroad and sold it to British immigrants. The settlement of Wakefield in Clay County was one example of a British community formed in this way.

Runnymede in Harper County was another type of British settlement.  Runnymede was the idea of Irishman F.J.S. Turnly. For a $500 fee, Turnly intended to teach the sons of the British upper class how to farm. The wealthy new immigrants had little interest in agriculture, however, but instead found pleasure in horse racing and fox hunting, just as they had done back home. Their families in England grew tired of their sons' lackadaisical ways and soon called them home.  Runnymede lasted just five years.


Portions from The Kansas Journey.

Entry: British in Kansas

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2011

Date Modified: December 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.