Anna January worked to preserve Osawatomie history and heritage from 1898 to 1946.

Anna was a teacher in local schools for three years until she married D.A. January in 1901. Anna January was dedicated to preserving Osawatomie’s nationally and internationally important history for future generations, and the Western Spirit reported in its March 22, 1946, issue that Mrs. January did not confine her talents within the limits of four walls.

She took an active interest in club work and was president of the Monday Club for two years. A consistent Republican, she was fearless in her stand on county, state and federal questions.

“January’s leadership abilities led her to her appointment as Osawatomie’s postmistress from 1922 to 1932, the Western Spirit stated. “Her unquestioned ability led to her appointment as post mistress.”

However, Anna January’s most lasting legacy in Osawatomie is her successful efforts to preserve the town’s history and heritage. Anna January recognized the national and international important history and had the vision and dedication to help preserve the town’s Bleeding Kansas era historic sites for future generations.

The Western Spirit stated: “A living monument to Mrs. January’s far seeking judgment and forceful character is the John Brown Memorial State Park in Osawatomie. She was appointed to the park board in 1910, resigning this week (March 22, 1946) after thirty-five years active participation in the group.”

Anna January tirelessly worked to preserve Osawatomie’s historic sites during her tenure in Osawatomie. One of the best testimonies to her dedication and vision is the placement of the John Brown Statue in 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression.

The Western Spirit stated: “(January) overcame well nigh insuperable obstacles in the erection of a six-foot figure of John Brown by George Fite Waters, the American Sculptor in the park.”

The Western Spirit paid tribute to Anna January’s contribution to preserving Osawatomie’s Historic Sites, stating: “People from everywhere visit the park, and go through the old John Brown Cabin that is preserved there as a museum and admire the rugged lines of the great emancipator in bronze.”

The Western Spirit commented upon Anna January’s departure from Osawatomie to live with her daughter in New Mexico in 1946, stating: “The transplanting of this fine family is an irreparable loss to Miami County.”

Anna January’s dedication to preserving Osawatomie’s and Miami County’s nationally and internationally important history and heritage for future generations is still creating intellectual, cultural and economic dividends for the citizens of Miami County.

Tourists from all over the nation and the world travel to Osawatomie and Miami County to visit John Brown Memorial Park and Osawatomie’s historic sites that Anna January worked to preserve.

Anna January is an unsung heroine of Osawatomie and Miami County, for without her dedication to preserving history, the many thousands of visitors who have toured Osawatomie’s John Brown-related historic sites in the past present and future would not have had the opportunity to learn and remember Osawatomie’s and Miami County’s nationally and internationally important John Brown-related history.

We owe Anna January a debt of gratitude and respect.

Grady Atwater is site administrator of the John Brown Museum and State Historic Site.

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