Fort Bain, Kansas

John Brown, 1850s

John Brown, 1850s

A non-official military fort, Fort Bain, Kansas was little more than a log cabin built by abolitionists, John Brown and Captain Bain, in 1857 to protect the area from pro-slavery forces during the Kansas-Missouri Border War. Located in the northern part of Bourbon County, it was situated on the north side of the Osage River, a little northwest of present-day Fulton, Kansas and about 7-8 miles from the Missouri state line. It became a rendezvous point for not only John Brown, but also an anti-slavery leader, Captain James Montgomery and also a site on the Underground Railroad. During this time, John Brown said that he and about 50 men resisted a force of some 500 pro-slavery men at the site. What is recorded is that four pro-slavery men were killed while attacking the fort on December 2, 1857.

It was from here, that John Brown was said to have planned his invasion of Missouri, which occurred in December 1858. After Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state on January 29, 1861, Fort Bain became a private residence for some years and was later replaced with a new structure. There is nothing to mark the site today.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated June 2022.

Also See:

Kansas Forts

Forts of the American West

Haunted Forts & Battle Grounds

List of Old West Forts