Sunday, November 20, 2022


Uniontown was originally established in 1848 as a stop on the Oregon Trail on the south bank of the Kansas River in what is now Shawnee County by Richard Cummins and Alfred Vaughan. The small trading post became a decent sized trail town thanks to the Oregon Trail traffic and the Potawatomis who lived just north of the river. The Potawatomi would come into Uniontown to receive and cash their government payments and it was soon recorded that Uniontown had a population of over 300 people and over 60 buildings.

However, after a cholera outbreak in 1849 and 1850, the town was swiftly abandoned but not before hundred of people died, including some Potawatomi. 22 were buried in a mass grave and the town was burned to make sure that a cholera outbreak would never happen again. Uniontown was reestablished in 1851 and quickly regained its status as a major stop on the Oregon Trail. When Kansas Territory was opened for settlement in 1854, it was the beginning of the end for Uniontown. New towns along the Kansas River sprang up like Lawrence, Lecompton, Tecumseh, and Topeka. Competition was stiff and Uniontown just couldn't compete. When Topeka became the major city in the area, traders and settlers moved there, or elsewhere, and by 1858, Uniontown was again abandoned.

John Green and his family acquired the land that Uniontown sat on in the 1870s and farmed the land well into the 1960s. Most of the land was then given to the Kansas Department of Wildlife to use as a nature preserve. The Uniontown Cemetery, with the mass Potawatomi burial, has been well-preserved and is commonly known as Green Cemetery since the Green family began using it as a family cemetery.

Uniontown Cemetery is currently privately owned and maintained by the Citizen Band Potawatomi out of Oklahoma and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Recently, ground-penetrating radar was used to search for the mass grave and it's believed the location has been found. The Citizen Band Potawatomi and relatives of those in the cemetery are hoping to place interpretive signs in the cemetery in the near future.

John Green, born in Gloucestershire, England.
September 11, 1827 - September 6, 1902

The golden gates were opened wide
A gentle voice said come
And angels from the other side
Welcomed our loved one home
John "Jake" Green came to America when he was 21, originally settling in Indiana. Green married four times and had 10 children. The Green Nature Preserve across from the cemetery is named for his son, Herbert Reinhard Green.

from FindAGrave
Hannah Virginia "Vergie" Jones, nee Miller. She died during childbirth on her in-law's farm south of nearby Willard. Her husband, Leander Emory Jones, remarried and is buried with his second wife, Suzanne, in Maple Hill.

Vergie, born on the Potawatomi Reservation in Jackson County, was buried beside her son, Louis, who died of whooping cough.

from Kansas Historical Society
Joseph Napoleon Bourassa was a half-Potawatomi, half-French interpreter and doctor who lived in the area. His family accounts for many of the early graves in Uniontown Cemetery aside from the mass burial. The Bourassas are in a family plot surrounded by rock wall. J.N. Bourassa was born in 1810 and passed away October 24, 1877. He is buried in Mound City, Kansas.

Mary E. Bourassa
March 13, 1833 - January 30, 1872

Adamantinus Bourassa
January 30, 1872 - April 21, 1872

Joseph D. Bourassa
October 21, 1860 - October 20, 1869

The entrance to the Herbert Reinhard Green Wildlife Area

The bulletin board near the entrance and the grave of an Oregon Trail

[Fauqui]er Co. VA.
Sept. 24, 1824
June 9, 1851
Aged 26 Years
8 Months.
& 15Days.
The grave of an unknown traveler along the Oregon Trail. I have hunted for the name of this unknown pioneer since learning about the grave. The grave is located in a fenced area of the Green Wildlife Area.

Old farming equipment

Restoration of tall prairie grasses.

Mature post oak trees

Scenic Post Creek valley view

Valley view and dead trees

Post Creek

Site of American Elm Tree

Restoration of native grasses

Woodland/grassland ecotone

Reclaimed prairie grasses

Oregon Trail ruts

Sign marking the Oregon and California trails

Oak-hickory woodland