Julia Louisa Hardy Lovejoy

(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. Well, Frank in the last segment I mentioned Julia Lovejoy when we were talking about the snakes. And she was one of those early settlers from New Hampshire. And you know, I hate to admit this, I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed of this, I used to make fun of Julia. I do talks over the country and I’d show Julia as this typical New Englander who moved to Kansas and she’s not real pretty and of course, photography back then people looked real somber. You know what I’m talking about. And I would joke and I would say, you know, this is life before Mary Kay cosmetics were available and all this. But then the more I learn about Julia and the more life experience I have, I feel terrible for making fun of her. So, this segment is my homage to Julia and kind of an apology for making fun of her all these years. (Frank) OK, let’s take a look. (Deb) Born in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Julia Louisa Hardy Lovejoy reportedly experienced a deep religious conversion at the age of nine. From that moment on she was a devout Methodist who wanted to influence the world around her. She wanted to become a missionary or to find another application for her religious ardor. At one point, she remarked, If I have not done good, I have done evil. The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the ensuing conflict between free-state and proslavery interests in the territory provided Lovejoy an opportunity. With her husband, Charles Haseltine Lovejoy, an itinerant Methodist Episcopal preacher, Julia moved in 1855 from New Hampshire to Kansas Territory. The couple came as part of the New England Emigrant Aid Society, which recruited antislavery settlers to move to the new territory. Lovejoy saw the end of slavery as a way to better the world and she became the voice of Bleeding Kansas for many in the East. Her letters to eastern newspapers told of the difficulties of migration, including illness and the high costs of travel and provisions. We look back at these pioneers and think that they were better, stronger, able to endure more than we. That does them and their experiences a disservice. They had the same feelings and passions, ambition and embarrassments. Julia Lovejoy writes in 1857 from Palmyra, now the town of Baldwin City, Mr. Lovejoy threw his soiled nether garment across his carriage-seat to dry, as it was well saturated with perspiration. When he turned to look for it, lo, it had all disappeared, save the wristband and a wee bit of one sleeve, and where think you it was? Why, mulched into the maw of a live ox, who was forced to disgorge its contents, instanter, but ah me,the rents and tears were unmendable. If we can enjoy health, as formerly, we shall, after all, enjoy much of missionary life in Kansas. Charles Lovejoy was put in charge of the Fort Riley mission in June 1855, and the family built the first house on the Manhattan Town Company site. Julia‚Äôs letters give first-hand information on the pioneer settlement that is the present-day city of Manhattan. Then they moved to Lawrence during the height of territorial conflict. Her diary is in the collection of the Kansas State Historical Society.

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