Osawatomie is a city in Miami County, Kansas, United States, 61 miles (98 km) southwest of Kansas City. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 4,447. It derives its name from two streams nearby, the Osage and Potawatomie. It is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Osawatomie's name is a compound of two primary Native American Indian tribes from the area, the Osage and Pottawatomie. In addition, the town is bordered by Pottawatomie Creek and the Marais des Cygnes River (part of the Osage River system), which are also named for the two tribes.
The Emigrant Aid Society's transport of settlers to the Kansas Territory as a base for Free State forces played a key role in the establishment of the community of Osawatomie in October 1854. Settled by abolitionists in hopes of aiding Kansas' entry to the United States as a free state, the community of Osawatomie and pro slavery communities nearby were quickly engaged in violence.
In March 1855, abolitionists Rev. Samuel Adair and his wife Florella settled in a cabin near Osawatomie to serve as missionaries to the community. Florella's half-brother, John Brown came to "Bleeding Kansas" later the same year with a wagon of guns in order to help fight the pro slavery forces like his five sons, who were already living in another community in the area. Brown then came to Osawatomie to visit the Adairs and fight pro slavery forces there. By 1856, having established himself as a leader of free state guerillas, Brown made Osawatomie and the Adair cabin his base.