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Homesteading in Republic County

Belleville and Scandia Townships: The "Scotch Plains"

"The members of the Excelsior Colony Number Two, or the David Bruce Colony, came a short time after those of the first Excelsior Colony. This group of sixteen Scotch families left New York on March, 1, 1870.

The second group settled in Belleville and Scandia Townships, some ten miles south and west of the first colony.

These people, too, were interested in the Kansas lands by the glowing accounts given in the town hall in New York City by McCliment and McKensie, as were members of the first Excelsior colony. They met at the home of William Bainbridge to organize their group which was composed of sixteen men, with the wives and small families of a greater part of them. Both McCliment and McKensie were members of this group, McKensie having sold the rights to the claim he had taken on Rose Creek, earlier in the year.

The personnel of the group included:
William Bainbridge, wife and children--George, Lizzie, James and John.
James Lowden.
Jack McKensie and wife.
James Duncan.
Peter Doctor.
Hugh Scott, wife and son--Robert.
Alexander "Sandy" Maxton, and wife.
Robert Curry, and wife.
John McCliment, and wife.
James Kelly, and wife.
Jimmy Kelly (nephew of the elder James Kelly).
Gilbert Rogers.
James Kenard.
George Baird, and wife.
Andrew Kerr, wife, son and daughter.
Holt, wife and son.

A Mr. Burant and his wife and daughter, Maggie, came at the same time but as they were not Scotch, they were not counted a part of the colony. . . .

The group was composed entirely of mechanics, there being not a single farmer in the lot. William Bainbridge was a carpenter and so were James Duncan and Hugh Scott. Alexander Maxton, George Curry and Peter Doctor were stone-cutters. Young Jimmy Kelly was a stone-cutter and Gilbert Rogers a jeweler. Andrew Kerr was a blacksmith, John McCliment a trusmith, and Jack McKensie a jeweler.

Joseph McGowan, who joined the group in April, was a miner. He came, with his family, from West Virginia where he had been employed in the mines for five years.

Most of the group had been in the United States for that long. Peter Doctor came in 1867 from Forfarshire, Scotland, and worked in Boston, Massachusetts and New York City before coming to Kansas. James Duncan came in the same year from the Isle of Buteshire, Scotland, and worked in new York City. Maxton had come in January just before coming out to Kansas. . . .

When the wages in New York, marvelous as they were, proved insufficient for the winter, Kansas offered a better opportunity---that of land, one hundred sixty acres, for the small cost of $14.50. It also offered a better place for the future of the children of the Scotch immigrant than did the life of the trades in the eastern states.

The claims were filed at Junction City. . . .

The region where these Scotch people settled in their rather compact group soon came to be known as 'Scotch Plains.' While the members did not at any time have a village of their own they have retained their identity. . . .

For a time some of the men worked at their trades in various cities, including St. Louis, and one, at least, worked for nearly a year in New York City (James Duncan). They knew very little of farming and had to get along as best as they could until they learned from experience and observation the things it is essential for a Kansas farmer to know.

Although little progress was made in the first five years, this group of mechanics started a colony that has developed into a community of good farmers and desirable citizens. The area containing their farms is still known as 'Scotch Plains'."*

Republic County - Scotch settlement

More Information on Scandia


*Ida Lucretia Smith, “A History of the National Group Settlements in Republic County, Kansas” (M. S. thesis, Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1933), 40-42,47.

Smith, Ida Lucretia. “A History of the National Group Settlements in Republic County,
Kansas.” M. S. thesis., Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1933.


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