On May 25, 1861, the Kansas State Legislature adopted the state’s seal. Per that resolution, the Great Seal of the State of Kansas would have this design: The east is represented by a rising sun in the right-hand corner of the seal; to the left of it, commerce is represented by a river and a steamboat; in the foreground, agriculture is represented as the basis of the future prosperity of the state by a settler’s cabin and a man plowing with a pair of horses; beyond this is a train of ox-wagons going west; in the background is a herd of buffalo, retreating, pursued by two Indians on horseback; around the top is the motto, “Ad astra per aspera,” and beneath a cluster of thirty-four stars. The circle is surrounded by the words, “Great Seal of the State of Kansas January 29, 1861.”

The words “Ad astra per aspera,” are the the state’s motto, meaning “To the stars through difficulties”. The 34 stars identify Kansas as the 34th state to enter the Union.