Secret societies in the Kansas territory will be at the forefront of the Franklin County Historical Society’s latest event.

Todd Mildfelt, author and historian, is set to discuss secret societies during the Kansas territorial period and their impact on Bleeding Kansas 7 p.m. Thursday at the Old Depot Museum, 135 W. Tecumseh St., Ottawa.

“As Free-Staters, abolitionists, pro-slavers, and other factions competed for control over the Kansas Territory, they formed clandestine groups that strategized ways to promote their causes,” the release said. “The Danites, an abolitionist organization, found its way to Franklin County in 1857 when future U.S. Sen. James Lane himself initiated several new members in the now-defunct town of Ohio City.”

A native of Richmond, Mildfelt has taught school for 34 years and currently works for Southeast Education Service Center (Greenbush) as a special education teacher. Mildfelt has published three books “The Secret Danites: Kansas’ First Jayhawkers,” “Underground Railroad in Kansas: Wagon Train to Freedom” and “Almost to Freedom.” Mildfelt has also been a featured speaker at the National Underground Railroad conferences in Topeka and Little Rock, Arkansas, according to the release.

The free program is open to the public and a part of the Old Depot Museum’s current exhibit, “Secret Societies: A Search for Fellowship, Knowledge and Security in Early Ottawa and Franklin County,” which is on display through Nov. 13. Doors are set to open for the event at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the event, contact the museum at (785) 242-1250.