What is the New England Emigrant Aid Company?

1st Chartered

Founders of the New England Emigrant Aid Company

July 27, 1854 Samuel Clarke Pomeroy, who owned the Sallie House land as of April 17, 1857, wrote from Southampton, Massachusetts, indicating his desire to go to Kansas to explore business possibilities and to keep slavery from gaining a foothold in the territory. Pomeroy, who likely was writing to Edward Everett Hale, expressed interest in assisting with the work of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company which born the New England Emigrant Aid Company which was chartered in Feb. 21, 1855.

The goal of the company was to basically give a wide variety of aid to those desiring to head and settle westward. The Company facilitated hotels, loans, purchases, equipment, safe passage and other accommodations to help the migration. The first party disembarked for the west on March 13th, 1855, the 2nd left for Kansas Territory on March 20th, 1855.

By Sept 22,1855 The finances of the New England Emigrant Aid Company was a concern.

Sept. 26th, 1855 the treasurer of the Emigrant Aid Company submits his resignation.

Oct 10th, 1855 Samuel Clarke Pomeroy, wrote to an officer of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. He was in Kansas City, building mills and hotels and spoke of how he had just drawn significant money for that purpose. He notes in the letter that he would drastically cut back expenses after their completion.

The New England Emigrant Aid Company produces a circular enticing area churches to buy stock in the company. They also produce a circular of 24 pages in an attempt to answer the many questions that had been posed and arisen during the previous months. This was intended as a concise presentation for public consumption on rates/fares, travel times and expectations, settlement communities, accommodations to expect once settlers arrive at their destination. Also made available was information on weather, farming, Indians etc….

June 17th,  1856 The New England Emigrant Aid Company produces a circular to respond to, among other things, what it perceived as errors in the “Report made to the Senate of the United States by the Chairman of the Committee on Territories, March 12, 1856.” The circular addressed issues such as it was not a “mammoth moneyed corporation” or that it was not connected to the state of Massachusetts. The document contained a long section on how its purpose was “to aid in the permanent settlement of the Territory of Kanzas by a free and intelligent population” and that it had not attempted to violate the Kansas Nebraska Act.

October 1st, 1856, members of the New England Emigrant Aid Company Executive Committee, wrote from Boston to S. C. Pomeroy and Charles H. Branscomb in Kansas requiring them to give them the bottom line; compile a complete inventory of all company property in Kansas, and to provide a statement of the precise terms of all company contracts.

Nov 20th, 1856,  J. S. Emery was duly authorized by the New England Emigrant Aid Company as an agent to organize aspects of the company to provide aid to Kansas.

 May 26, 1857, A summary listing of the real property owned by the New England Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas. The report lists the estimated value of each property, with the total value being $112, 400. Shortly thereafter, it is noted that the immediate needs of the settlers have been cared for, so the most urgent need now is for investments in land and labor.

 February 19, 1859 Thomas H. Webb, secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, wrote from Boston, Massachusetts to Martin F. Conway, general agent for the New England Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas Territory. Webb provided instructions to Conway on several New England Emigrant Aid Company business matters including the sale of property in Atchison, Kansas Territory. Webb states that it would be desirable to hold the Atchison property until real estate values increased, but he informed Conway that the Company needed cash immediately and that the properties should be sold as soon as possible.

 March 23, 1859 Thomas H. Webb, secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, wrote from Boston, Massachusetts to Martin F. Conway, general agent for the New England Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas Territory. Webb informed Conway of the Company’s desire to end its operations in Kansas as soon as possible.

Kansas was admitted to the Union in January, 1861, and the following year the stockholders of the New England Emigrant Aid Company ordered that all its properties in Kansas and Missouri be sold. When this was eventually accomplished the company realized a total of $16,150, which was just about enough to pay outstanding debts.

In spite of its financial failure the principal stockholders seemed well pleased with the results of its operations. Under its influence several important towns were founded, schools were established, churches were built and the cause of freedom served. Indeed, there is some evidence that investors purchased stock knowing full well they would never see their money again. Amos A. Lawrence, a principal stockholder and treasurer of the company, had advised his associates not to invest any more than they felt they could afford to lose.

After 1861 the company transferred its activities to other areas. In 1864 and 1865 it promoted the migration of working women to Oregon and from 1866 to 1868 it was active in locating Northerners in Florida. By 1870, however, the company had fallen idle and never again was active in emigrant aid. No more meetings of the stockholders were held until 1897 when an extension of the charter was requested and granted. That year the company presented its single asset, a claim against the United States government for loss of the Free-State Hotel at Lawrence in 1856, to the University of Kansas and for all practical purposes ceased to exist. The extended charter expired on February 19, 1907, and the company was no more.

New England Emigrant Aid Company legal documents for the incorporation of the Charter:

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References and Items from the Kansas State Historical Society Website at http://www.territorialkansasonline.org/cgiwrap/imlskto/index.php

and http://www.kshs.org

Item # 100124 Charter for the NEIAC

Item# 101615 photo of 1st 4 members from MASS. July 17th 1854

About Debra Pickman

After living in an extremely haunted location with my husband who was physically and mentally brutalized by an unseen force my husband and I became experienced investigators applying our knowledge to other locations. We continue to speak at events, conferences and on radio shows around the world. Contact me at Debra@TheSallieHouse.com

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