Pottawatomie Rifles of Kansas

Abolitionist Movement

Abolitionist Movement

The Pottawatomie Rifles were a group of about 100 abolitionist Kansas settlers of Franklin and Anderson Counties. Located along Pottawatomie Creek, the band was formed in the fall of 1855 during the Kansas-Missouri Border War.

The armed militia was established to counter the growing pro-slavery presence and an influx of bushwhackers crossing the border from Missouri.

Led by John Brown’s son, John Brown, Jr., men from the Pottawatomie Rifles took part in much of the violence known as Bleeding Kansas, including the Battle of Osawatomie and the Pottawatomie Massacre. Although John Brown, who was famous for his raids and his involvement with Harriet Tubman in the attack on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, was frequently accompanied by his son, he was not officially a member of the group.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated February 2023.

Also See:

Battle of Osawatomie

Bleeding Kansas

Kansas-Missouri Border War Timeline

Pottawatomie Massacre