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Historical Marker - Walton, Kansas

Turkey Red Wheat

Children in Russia hand-picked the first seeds of this famous winter wheat for Kansas. They belonged to Mennonite Colonies preparing to emigrate from the steppes to the American prairies. A peace-loving sect, originally from Holland, the Mennonites had gone to the Crimea from Prussia in 1790 when Catherine the Great offered free lands, military exemption and religious freedom. They prospered until these privileges were threatened in 1871. Three years later they emigrated to Kansas, where the Santa Fe R.R. offered thousands of acres on good terms in McPherson, Harvey, Marion & Reno counties, and where the legislature passed a bill which exempted religious objectors from military service. Within a month after landing in New York the Mennonites planted the red-gold grains their children had selected. The harvest was the first of the great crops of hard Turkey Red and its derivatives that have made Kansas the Granary of the Nation.


   
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