Personal Recollections of Pardee Butler
Pardee Butler

Part 2 out of 6

woman, and when Bro. H. went to her she said to him: "Husband, don't you
know that in the last great day the Lord will say, 'I was a stranger and
ye took me in'; and don't you remember how the good Samaritan showed
mercy to the man that fell among thieves? Now we believe that this man
is an innocent man; and what will the Lord say to us if we turn him out
of doors?"

At dinner, at the house of Bro. Hartman, was also Dr. Oliphant, father
of the Bro. Oliphant with whom I had lodged. He was a brusque,
blunt-spoken, honest, anti-slavery Northern Methodist preacher. He said
bluntly at the table: "Well, Mr. Butler, they treated you rather roughly
at At-Atchison, did they not?" I said, "Yes--" attempted to say more,
broke down and left the table, and went out of the house. My heart was
not as hard here, among sympathizing friends, as it had been the day
before, when I had to face a raging mob. When I returned no mother could
be more tender seeking out the hurt of her boy bruised in a rough
encounter with his fellows, than was Oliver Steele. He would hear the
whole story, sighed over these "evil days," and listened with approval
to the vindication I made of the purposes of the free State men. How
many men that, through a sense of bitter wrong, are in danger to become
desperate, could be won to a better temper the world has never fully

The news of what had been done at Atchison flew like wild-fire through
the country. This proved the last feather that broke the camel's back.
It became apparent that the country was full of men that were ready to
fight. As for my friend Caleb May, he went into Atchison and said:
"_I am a free State man: now raft me_!" As no one seemed inclined to
undertake that job, he faithfully promised them that if there was any
more of that business done he would go over into Missouri and raise a
company of men and clean out the town.

Meantime my friends at Port William provided means to send me down to
Weston, there to take the steamboat Polar Star, bound for St. Louis.
"Boycotting" was a word unknown to the English language at that time;
and yet I was "boycotted" on board the steamboat. I heard nothing--not
a word; and yet I could feel it. I had hoped to be a total stranger, but
it was evident I was not, and the most comfort I could find was to keep
my state-room, and employ my time writ ing out the appeal I intended to
make to the people, through the _Missouri Democrat_, published in St.
Louis. At length my work was done, and yet we were only half way to St.
Louis. The reader will believe that my reflections were not cheerful.
What would become of myself? What would become of my wife and children?
What would become of Kansas, or of the United States?

At Jefferson City a man had come aboard of the boat who seemed almost as
much alone as myself. Still the captain and officers of the boat paid
him marked attention. One thing I noticed, he abounded in newspapers,
and I wanted something to read that should save me from my own
reflections. I ventured to ask him for the loan of some of his papers;
then when I returned them he went to his trunk and took out a book of
travels and gave it to me, saying: "Take that, please. It will amuse
you." At length we could see the smoke of the city of St. Louis, and I
gave back to this stranger the book he had loaned me. He said: "No,
thank you." I was startled, and said with some surprise: "I do not know
why you should do this to a stranger." He laughed and said: "You are not
so much a stranger as you think. Your name is Butler, is it not?"


"And they mobbed you at Atchison?"


"Well, please call on me at the office of the _Missouri Democrat."_

"And what is your name?"

"_They call me B. Gratz Brown_".

And so Providence had prepared the way for making my appeal to the
people. B. Gratz Brown had the preceding winter, at Jefferson City,
either given or accepted a challenge to fight a duel; but the public
authorities had interfered, and some business connected with this matter
had called him to Jefferson City. But whence had he his knowledge of
the mobbing at Atchison? The _Squatter Sovereign_ had been issued
immediately after they had put me on the raft, and had contained the
following editorial:

On Thursday last [it was Friday], one Pardee Butler arrived in town with
a view of starting for the East, probably with the purpose of getting a
fresh supply of Free-soilers from the penitentiaries and pestholes in
the Northern States. Finding it inconvenient to depart before the
morning, he took lodgings at the hotel and proceeded to visit numerous
portions of our town, everywhere avowing himself a Free-soiler, and
preaching Abolition heresies. He declared the recent action of our
citizens in regard to J. W. B. Kelley the infamous proceedings of a mob,
at the same time stating that many persons in Atchison who were
Free-soilers at heart had been intimidated thereby, and prevented from
avowing their true sentiments; but that he (Butler) would express his
views in defiance of the whole community.

On the ensuing morning our townsmen assembled _en masse_, and, deeming
the presence of such a person highly prejudicial to the safety of our
slave population, appointed a committee to wait on Mr. Butler and
request his signature to the resolutions passed at the late pro-slavery
meeting. After perusing the resolutions, Mr. B. positively declined
signing them, and was instantly arrested by the committee.

After various plans for his disposal had been considered, it was finally
decided to place him on a raft composed of two logs firmly lashed
together, that his baggage and a loaf of bread be given him, and having
attached a flag to his primitive bark, Mr. Butler was set adrift in the
great Missouri, with the letter "R" legibly painted on his forehead.

He was escorted some distance down the river by several of our citizens,
who, seeing him pass several rock-heaps in quite a skillful manner, bade
him adieu and returned to Atchison.

Such treatment may be expected by all scoundrels visiting our town for
the purpose of interfering with our time-honored institutions, and the
same punishment we will be happy to award to all Free-soilers and

The _Missouri Democrat_ was what was known as the "Tom Ben ton" paper of
Missouri, and was not ostensibly a _Free-soil_ paper, yet it vehemently
inveighed against the ruffianism with which free State men had been
treated. Of course there was sympathy in the office of the _Missouri
Democrat_, that made some amends for the rough treatment I had got at
the hands of citizens of Missouri.

Having completed my business in St. Louis I turned my face toward my old
field of labor in the "Military Tract," _via_ the Illinois River. The
reader will believe that my reflections were full of anxieties. What
would the brethren say of me? Were my prospects blighted from this time


The brethren in Illinois were at the first amazed at what they heard,
and did not know what to think or say. Before they could make up their
minds, the following editorial appeared in the _Schuyler County
Democrat_, published at Rushville:


The gentleman who was placed on a raft in the Missouri
River, with a proper uniform for a Northern fanatic, is in
Rushville. We saw handbills posted around town stating
that he would hold a meeting in the Christian Church. We
are informed he will deliver a series of lectures, in
which, _of course_, he will give vent to his indignation
toward the people of Kansas, Judge Douglas and the
Administration. We thought Schuyler county was the last
place which a _Northern fanatic_ would visit for sympathy.
We hope that those that go to hear his lectures, which
differ with him in their sentiments, will not interrupt
him or give him any pretext by which he could denounce our

To the above notice of myself I made the following reply:

[For the Prairie Telegraph.]

MESSRS. EDITORS: _Sirs_--I find the above notice of myself
in the last issue of the _Schuyler Democrat_.

While in Kansas I diligently worked six days of the week,
and on Lord's day spoke to my neighbors, not in reference
to affairs in Kansas, but in reference to our common
interest in a better and heavenly country. I do not know
that I indicated my political proclivities, in any word or
allusion, on any such occasion, But I did, in private
conversations with my neighbors, avow my intention to vote
for Kansas to be a free State, and gave my reasons for so
doing. _This was my only offence._

What must you think of yourself, sir, in this notice you
take of this transaction? And you pretend to be a
conservator of public morals! If there is in town a
clergyman that will consent to teach you a few lessons
upon the items of justice and gentlemanly behavior, I
suggest it may be to your advantage to put yourself under
his tuition. You may perhaps learn that it is neither just
nor gentlemanly gratuitously to insult a man, because you
have _surmised_ that he will show some resentment at the
ruffianism of a Kansas mob, with which you seem to

Since I came into Illinois I have steadily declined to
make any statement of this affair in any public address.
Still it is perhaps due to the world to know some
additional facts. How the mob deliberated among themselves
. . .

I have never yet made war on Judge Douglas. It is true
that the Missouri Compromise, being a time-honored
covenant of peace between North and South, I would much
rather it had been suffered to remain; but now I am rather
indignant at the clear and palpable violation of the
principles of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, in the attempt
made by border ruffians to drive out peaceable citizens
from the free States. I am still more indignant that a
Northern editor can be found to wink at such flagrant and
unquestionable wrong. Judge Douglas may well exclaim,
"Save me from my friends!"

Perhaps, upon reflection, you may be convinced of three
things: First, that I am not a fanatic, and have not
deserved the treatment I have received; second, that your
friends may be trusted not to create any disturbance at my
meetings; and, third, that instead of seeking to stir up
against me the prejudices of ignorant partisans, you may
safely devote yourselves to the more honorable employment
of seeking to restore in our unhappy country the supremacy
of law. Very faithfully,

RUSHVILLE, Sept. 11, 1855.

The final result was much more favorable than could have been expected,
and the brethren gave me an invitation to remain with them through the

I tarried six weeks in Illinois, and then returned to Kansas with Mrs.
Butler and our two children, of whom the eldest is now Mrs. Rosetta B.
Hastings. Milo Carleton had already reached the Territory, direct from
the Western Reserve, Ohio. He was Mrs. Butler's brother, and it was
determined that the two families should spend the winter together, while
I should return to Illinois.

We will now pause in our personal narrative and tell what had been going
on the preceding summer in other parts of the Territory. A delegate
convention had been called by the free State men to meet during the
preceding September at a place called Big Springs, on the Santa Fe
trail, midway between Lawrence and Topeka. Here the free State men
agreed on a plan, to which they steadily adhered through all the
sickening horrors that gave to "bleeding" Kansas a world-wide and
thankless notoriety. They resolved that they would not in any way, shape
or manner, recognize the legality of this so-called Territorial
Legislature, nor the machinery it should call into being for the
government of the Territory. They would bring no suits in its courts;
they would attend no elections called by its authority; they would pay
no attention to its county organizations; and yet, as far as in them
lay, they would do no act that might make them liable to the penalty of
its laws. In short, they would be like the Quaker, who, when drafted
into the army, replies: "Thee-must not expect me to fight with carnal
weapons;" and when amerced in a fine for non-compliance with the laws,
makes the reply, "Thee must not expect me to pay money for such carnal
uses, but thee can take my property." Nevertheless, there was superadded
to these peaceful resolutions an un-Quaker-like intimation that under
certain contingencies they would fight.

Beyond the Wakarusa, and about eight miles from Lawrence, was a placed
called Hickory point. Here were some timber claims, and here resided
Jacob Branson, a peaceful and harmless free State man. Beside him lay a
vacant timber claim, and he invited a young man named Dow to take it,
Dow boarded with Branson. When the Missourians came into Kansas the
preceding March, many of them staked out a claim which they pretended to
hold. One William White, of Westport, Mo., pretended, in his way, to
hold this claim. There was not a particle of legality in his proceeding.
Notwithstanding, certain pro-slavery men, among whom were Coleman,
Hargis and Buckley, determined to drive off Branson and Dow. They sent
threatening letters to Branson, and cut timber on Dow's claim; and this
made bad blood. One day an altercation took place between Dow and the
above-named pro-slavery men at a blacksmith shop, and Coleman followed
Dow and shot him. Dow was unarmed, and held up his hands and cried,
"Don't shoot," but Coleman lodged a load of buckshot in his breast, and
he fell dead, and his body lay in the road till sundown. Then Branson
came and took up the body and buried it. This murder created a
prodigious sensation; and a public meeting was called, at which there
was violent and threatening talk by the free State men. The three
above-named pro-slavery men were all present when the murder was
committed. They fled, and their dwellings were burned. Coleman went to
Westport and gave himself up to "Sheriff Jones." This introduces us to
the man that was able to achieve an infamous pre-eminence among that
band of conspirators that put in motion a train of causes that issued in
the death of half a million of American citizens, and which covered the
land with mourning from Maine to Florida, and from the Atlantic to the
Pacific Ocean. This Jones is described by the free State men as a bully
and a braggart, as only brave when he was not in danger, and as one of
the most noisy and obstreperous of the pro-slavery leaders. Though
living in Westport, Mo., he was made sheriff of Douglas county, fifty
miles from his place of residence. Buckley swore out a peace warrant
against Branson--he swore that his life was in danger. Sheriff Jones
took with him these three men, who were parties in the murder of Dow,
and arrested Branson, dragging him out of his bed at night. He had also
associated with himself eleven other men. The news spread like wild-fire
among the free State men. This Jones was supposed to be capable of any
atrocity, however horrible, and a company of sixteen men was gathered up
for the rescue of Branson. Of this company Sam Wood, of Lawrence, was
the leader. They met Jones and his company at Blanton's Bridge, on the
Wakarusa River, where Jones was crossing to go to Lecompte, and called a
halt. Jones demanded: "What's up?"

Sam Wood replied: "That's what we want to know."

Wood asked: "Is Jacob Branson in this crowd?"

Branson replied: "Yes, I am here and a prisoner."

Wood replied: "Well, come out here among your friends."

Jones threatened with oaths and imprecations to shoot. The rescuing
party leveled their guns and said: "Well, we can shoot, too." Nobody was
hurt, no gun was fired, and Jacob Branson, coming out from among his
captors, walked away.

It will be seen that this was a clear and palpable violation of the plan
of procedure which the free State men had agreed upon among themselves,
and this act made Kansas for three years a dark and bloody ground, and
concentrated on this Territory the eyes of the whole nation. Of the
rescuing party only three were citizens of Lawrence. Sam Wood was in his
element. He was a man overflowing with patriotism, yet succeeded in
doing more harm to his friends than to his enemies. He possessed
unmistakable talent; he was a clown and a born actor, and as a public
speaker was sure to bring down the house; he was a pronounced free State
man; yet in this act he made himself the marplot of his party.


Sheriff Jones went away, vowing that he would have revenge, and sent
the following dispatch to Gov. Shannon:

DOUGLAS CO., K. T., NOV. 27, 1855.

SIR:--Last night I, with a posse of ten men, arrested one
Jacob Branson, by virtue of a peace warrant regularly
issued, who, on our return, was rescued by a party of
_forty men_ who rushed upon us suddenly from behind a
house by the roadside, all armed to the teeth with
Sharpe's rifles.

You may consider an open rebellion as already having
commenced, and I call upon you for THREE THOUSAND MEN to
carry out the laws. Mr. Hargis, the bearer of this letter,
will give you more particularly the circumstances. Most

Sheriff Douglas County.


On receipt of the above dispatch, Gov. Shannon wrote to
Major-General William P. Richardson, reciting the story
told him by Sheriff Jones, together with additional
stories (equally false), told him by Hargis, and closed
his letter with the following order:

You are therefore hereby commanded to collect together as
large a force as you can in your division, and repair,
without delay, to Lecompton, and report to S. J. Jones,
Sheriff of Douglas County, together with the number of
your forces, and render him all the aid and assistance in
your power in the execution of any legal process in his
hands. The forces under your command are to be used for
the sole purpose of aiding the Sheriff in executing the
law, and for no other purpose.

I have the honor to be
Your obedient servant,


Gov. Shannon knew, as well as he knew his name was Wilson Shannon, that
this meant another invasion of Kansas Territory. There was no organized
militia in Kansas. Gen. Richardson did not live in Kansas; he lived in
Missouri, and it meant Missouri militia and not Kansas militia.
Moreover, the Governor knew, or at least ought to have known, what an
unreliable man this Sheriff Jones was. Jones was Postmaster at Westport,
and Shannon was living at Shawnee Mission, in the neighborhood of
Westport. And yet, without one moment's inquiry, he placed the issues of
life and death of this infant Territory in the hands of this lying

There was a rallying of the clans of the blue lodges of Missouri. The
following appeal, sent by Brig. Gen. Eastin, editor of the _Leavenworth
Herald_, and commander of the second brigade, Kansas militia, must serve
as a sample of the dispatches that were scattered broadcast through the
border Missouri counties:


It is expected that every lover of _law and order_ will
rally at Leavenworth on Saturday, December 1, 1855,
prepared to march at once to _the scene of rebellion_ to
put down the outlaws of Douglas county, who are committing
depredations upon persons and property, burning down houses
and declaring open hostility to the laws, and have forcibly
rescued a prisoner from the Sheriff. Come one, come all!
The outlaws are armed to the teeth, and number 1,000 men.
Everyman should bring his rifle and ammunition, and it
would be well to bring two or three days' provisions. Every
man to his post and do his duty. MANY CITIZENS.

In answer to the above appeal 1,500 men, mostly from Missouri, encamped
around Lawrence, under such notabilities as Maj. Gens. Strickler and
Richardson, Brig. _Gen_. Eastin, Col. Atchison, Col. Peter T. Abell,
Robert S. Kelley, Stringfellow and Sheriff Jones. They had broken into
the United States Arsenal at Liberty, Clay County, Mo., and stolen guns,
cutlasses and such munitions of war as they required.

But when this was known the free State men turned out from all the
settlements of Kansas with equal alacrity, to defend Lawrence. They came
singly, and in squads and in companies. They came by night and by day.
Sam Wood, Tappin and Smith, the rescuers of Branson, and who were
residents of Lawrence, left the city, and there were none there against
whom Sheriff Jones had any writs to execute. Dr. Robinson was appointed
Commander-in-Chief for the defense of the city, and James H. Lane was
appointed second in command. But Lane was the principal figure in the
enterprise. He alone had military experience, and he alone had the
daring, the genius and the personal magnetism of a real leader.

The free State men, for the last year, had been passing through the
furnace-fires of a vigorous discipline, and they would have fought as
the Tennessee and Kentucky backwoodsmen of Andrew Jackson fought behind
their cotton bales at the battle of New Orleans. They had seen their
rights wrested out of their hands by a mob of ruffians, and now they
were proposing to settle the matter in that court of last resort that is
the final and ultimate appeal of the nations. Except Gen. Lane, they had
small knowledge of military tactics, but they knew how to look along the
barrel of a rifle; moreover, they would fight behind breastworks, and
this to raw troops would have been an immense advantage.

It is probable that the first intimation that Gov. Shannon got of the
real state of affairs at Lawrence was conveyed to him in the following
letter, written by Brig. Gen. Eastin:

GOVERNOR SHANNON:--Information has been received direct
from Lawrence, which I consider reliable, that the outlaws
are well fortified with cannon and Sharpe' rifles, and
number at least 1,000 men. It will, therefore, be
difficult to dispossess them.

The militia in this portion of the State are entirely
unorganized, and mostly without arms. I suggest the
propriety of calling upon the military of Fort
Leavenworth. If you have the power to call out the
government troops, I think it would be best to do so at
once. It might overawe these outlaws and prevent

Brig. Gen. Northern Brigade, K. M.

Gen. Eastin is mistaken in putting their number at 1,000, but whether
many or few they certainly would have fought a hard battle. They were
picked men from all the Kansas settlements. Our old friend, Caleb May,
was there, as grim and as self-possessed as Andrew Jackson. So also Old
John Brown was there with his four sons, though they did not arrive
until Gov. Shannon had made overtures for peace.

The Governor telegraphed to Washington to obtain authority to call out
Col. Sumner with the United States troops at Fort Leavenworth. He also
wrote to Col. Sumner to hold himself ready to march at a moment's
notice. And now this simple-minded Gov. Shannon, Ex-Governor of Ohio,
who had come to Kansas to waste in a few short months the ripe honors he
had been so carefully hoarding up for a life-time, bethought himself
that it was time for him to go and look with his own eyes after this
rebellion he had so foolishly and recklessly stirred up.

We have already remarked that Gen. James H. Lane was the most
conspicuous figure in the defense of Lawrence. It is proper to pause and
consider the character of this man, who shone for a time like a
brilliant meteor, and then had his light quenched in the blackness of

He had now been eight months in Kansas. He came out of the Mexican war
with a good reputation as a brilliant and dashing officer, and a man of
approved courage. As a politician he had been highly favored by the
people of Indiana. He was in the convention that nominated President
Pierce. He was in Congress at the time of the passage of the
Kansas-Nebraska bill, and aided in its enactment. He was the friend of
Stephen A. Douglas. Yet he came to Kansas a man of broken fortunes. He
was bankrupt in reputation, bankrupt in property, and bankrupt in
morals, and he came away from unhappy family relations. Notwithstanding,
he brought with him boundless ambition, and a consciousness in his own
heart that he possessed genius that might lift him up to the highest
pinnacle of honor. His first effort was to reorganize that political
party that was in control of the Government at Washington, and that he
had so faithfully served in Indiana. As respects slavery, he probably
would have said with Mr. Douglas that he did not care whether it was
voted up or voted down. But his effort fell stillborn and dead. Dr. John
H. Stringfellow was an old Whig, and so also were many of the
Pro-slavery leaders, and they would not hear to it that there should be
any parties known save the Pro-slavery and Free State parties. The Free
State men were equally averse to making any division in their own ranks.
Mr. Lane was to choose, and he did choose _with a vengeance_.

Bad men usually pay this compliment to a righteous life, that they seek
to conceal their wicked deeds and wear the outside seeming of virtue.
But this strange man never pretended to be anything else than just what
he was. He displayed such audacious boldness as gave an air of
respectability even to his wickedness.

His public speaking did not belong to any school of oratory known among
men; yet, if to sway the people as a tempest bends to its will a field
of waving grain, be oratory, then was Mr. Lane, in the highest sense of
the word, an orator. He spoke once in Chicago when the people were most
excited over the Kansas troubles. A great crowd came to hear, and he
swayed them to his will, as only such men as Henry Ward Beecher and
Patrick Henry have been able to do. But this gospel was the gospel of
hate. Implacable, unforgiving hate was his only gospel.

At last this man, at once both great and wicked, having attained the
highest honors the people had to bestow, died by his own hand. The
people believed that he had gone wrong and betrayed them, and they
withdrew from him their favor. Mr. Lane loved popularity more than he
loved heaven, and he shot himself through the brain.

The writer, unwilling alone to take the responsibility of expressing
such a judgment as the above, appealed to a gentlemen whose high
position in public life and kindly and conservative temper eminently
qualify him to speak, and this is what he says:

No one can question the fact that Mr. Lane's career in Kansas exerted a
great influence in shaping the affairs and controlling the destiny of
the young State. During his life I was alternately swayed by feelings of
admiration and distrust. I recognized fully the marvelous energy and
equally marvelous influence of the man, but I distrusted his sincerity
and lacked confidence in his integrity. When I met him, or listened to
one of his impassioned speeches, ne swept me away with the contagion of
his seeming enthusiasm, but when I went out from the influence of his
personal magnetism I felt that something was lacking in the man to
justify a well-grounded confidence.

This man that had in him such a commingling of good and evil was now the
leading spirit in the defense of Lawrence. [2]


When Sheriff Jones saw that the control of this business was being taken
out of the hands of himself and his fellow-conspirators he wrote the
following letter to Gov. Shannon:

CAMP AT WAKARUSA, Dec. 6, 1855.

_Sir_: In reply to yours of yesterday I have to inform you
that the volunteer forces now at this place and Lecompton
are getting weary of inaction. They will not, I presume,
remain but a short time longer, unless a demand for the
prisoner is made. I think I shall have sufficient force to
protect me by to-morrow morning. The force at Lawrence is
not half so strong as reported. If I am to wait for
Government troops, more than two-thirds of the men that
are here will _go away very much dissatisfied._ They are
leaving hourly as it is.

It is reported that the people of Lawrence have run off
those offenders from town, and, indeed, it is said they
are now all out of the way. I have writs for sixteen
persons who were with the party that rescued my prisoner.
S. N. Wood, P. R. Brooks and Samuel Tappan are of
Lawrence, the balance from the country around. Warrants
will be put into my hands to-day for the arrest of G. W.
Brown, and probably others in Lecompton. They say that
they are willing to obey the laws, but no confidence can
be placed in any statements they may make. Most
respectfully yours,

Sheriff of Douglas County.

From the above, three facts are apparent:

1. Sheriff Jones is not willing that the militia shall go home, and Col.
Sumner and the United States troops take their places.

2. He has writs against the sixteen rescuers of Branson. But of these he
has ascertained that thirteen live in the country, and he does not need
to go to Lawrence to find them. The three that belong in Lawrence are
gone to parts unknown, and he does not need to go to Lawrence to find
them. _At this writing Sheriff Jones has not a single writ against any
person in Lawrence._

3. If he has such a warrant the Lawrence people profess themselves
willing that he should serve it, but he does not believe them. "No
confidence can be placed in any statements that they may make."

So far as Sheriff Jones is concerned, it is now manifest that this was a
devilish conspiracy against the people of Lawrence, to cut their throats
and burn up the town. How far the men that were with him were conscious
partners in his guilt, or how far they were ignorant dupes of a man that
had murder in his heart, does not appear.

The people of Lawrence now thought it was time for them to open
communication with Gov. Shannon, and Messrs. G. P. Lowery and C. W.
Babcock, after running the gauntlet of the patrols, robbers and
guerillas that infested the road to Shawnee Mission, succeeded in
putting in the hands of the Governor the following letter:


_Sir_: As citizens of Kansas Territory, we desire to call
your attention to the fact that a large force of armed men
from a foreign State have assembled in the vicinity of
Lawrence, are now committing depredations upon our
citizens, stopping them, opening and appropriating their
loadings, arresting, detaining and threatening travelers
upon the public road, and that they claim to do this by
your authority. We desire to know if they do appear by
your authority, and if you will secure the peace and quiet
of the community by ordering their instant removal, or
compel us to resort to some other means or a higher


The Governor began to think it was time for him to go to the camp of
Sheriff Jones' army on the Wakarusa; and when he came he was frightened
at his own work, and became just as eager to get out of the scrape as he
had been forward to get into it. He wrote to Col. Sumner, frantically
begging him to come to the rescue; but he had got no orders, and would
not move without orders. Sheriff Jones and the rank and file of his camp
were furious that they were held back from pitching into the Lawrence
people; but the officers had become cognizant of the bloody job they
would have on hands, and were willing to be let off. And so the Governor
patched up a peace, and sent his militia home again, with their curses
diverted from the Lawrence Abolitionists to Gov. Shannon. Cowardly,
weak-minded and infirm in purpose as this unhappy man was, he was not
wholly a fool; and we may justly believe that he had in his heart a
foreboding of that awful day of reckoning that would surely come, when
inquisition would be made for the blood of these citizens, and the
Governor himself would be called to answer, "Why were these men slain?"

And now that peace--angelic peace--sat brooding over Lawrence with her
dove-like pinions, they made a love-feast and invited the Governor to
partake of it; and what with the ravishing music, and the blandishment
of flattering tongues, and the intoxication of fair women's eyes and
sweet voices, the Governor was made to forget, for the time being, that
he was the property, body, soul, and spirit, of the "Law and Order" party;
and his soft and plastic nature was beguiled into signing a document
constituting the army of defense of Lawrence a part of the Territorial
Militia, and giving them authority, under his own hand and seal, to
fight with teeth and toe-nails against the outside barbarians that he
himself had invoked to cut their throats. When, however, he had come to
himself, and had to front the frowns and ungrammatical curses of the
"Border Ruffians," he was fain to lay the blame on the sparkling wine of
the feast, and the more sparkling eyes and sparkling wit of beautiful

These felicitations of the people of Lawrence with Governor Shannon did,
however, have a somber and awful background. While this had been going
on a boy had been murdered in the vicinity of Lawrence. Some young men
rode out to see about it, and one of them was shot and killed. But a
still more ghastly crime threw its baleful shadow over the people. It
was perpetrated two days before the Governor concluded his treaty of

Thomas W. Barber and Robert F. Barber were farmers, living about seven
miles from Lawrence; and on December 6th started with a Mr. Pierson to
go home to their families. These were two brothers and a brother-in-law.
They were intercepted on their way by J. N. Burns, of Weston, Mo., and
Major George W. Clarke, United States Agent for the Pottawatomie
Indians. These two men shot Thomas W. Barber. It is hard to find an
explanation of their act, unless it were that they came to Lawrence to
shoot down Abolitionists as they would have shot wolves on the prairie.
They had no provocation. They rode apart from their companions to
intercept the Barbers, and called on them to halt. Thomas W. Barber was
unarmed, and gave mild and truthful answers to their questions. After
the shooting the brothers started to ride away, when the murdered man
said, "That fellow hit me;" began to sway in his saddle, was supported
for a little time by his brother, then fell to the ground dead. His
horse also had been shot, and died the same night. Familiar as Kansas
had become with cruel and devilish deeds, there were circumstances
connected with this act that made it exceptionally a blood-curdling
horror. Thomas W. Barber was a somewhat notable farmer, and had married
a young wife, that loved her husband with a love so passionate that she
was sometimes rallied about it by her sister-in-law. It had been with
misgivings and forebodings she had consented for Barber to go to
Lawrence. The news of her husband's death had been kept from her; they
dared not tell her. A young man was sent to bring her into the city,
whither her husband's body had been already carried, and he blurted out,
"Thomas Barber is killed!" and she shrieked, "O, my husband! my
husband! Have they killed my husband?" It has been said that so frantic
were her struggles, that it was with main force they had to hold her in
the carriage which conveyed her into the city. Much has been written of
the pathetic and voiceless woe of this wretched and sorrow-stricken
woman, but we will spare the reader the recital.

This question, however, we did often ask ourselves: "What had we done
that we should be made to suffer thus?"

But now there was peace, and Sheriff Jones, breathing out curses against
the Governor who had balked him of his anticipated revenge, disbanded
his army and went back to his post-office at Westport. It was past the
middle of December, but some lingered on their way, robbing and
stealing. The cold grew intense. A driving snow came down from the
North. It was one of the coldest winters Kansas had ever known, and
there fell one of the deepest snows. And now, winding through the deep
snow, benumbed with cold, and all unprovided with clothing suitable for
such inclement weather, the rear guard of the ring-streaked, speckled
and spotted regiment of Kansas and Missouri Militia passed out of the

Thirteen leaders of the "Law and Order" party had met with Lane and
Robinson, acting on behalf of the people of Lawrence, and had agreed to
the terms of the treaty. But Sheriff Jones is reported to have said:
"Had not Shannon been a fool I would have wiped out Lawrence." It is
reported that Stringfellow said that "Shannon had sold himself and
disgraced himself and the whole Pro-slavery party." Atchison accepted
the terms, saying to his followers: "Boys, we can not fight now. The
position that Lawrence has taken is such that it would not do to make an
attack on them. But boys, we will fight some time!"

The peace was to be broken at the earliest opportunity.


The winter of 1855-6 that I spent in Illinois was uneventful. My success
was not such as to discourage an evangelist that desires to be useful,
neither was it such as to fill him with vanity. The weather was
intensely cold, and the snow was deep.

It is said that before the coming of an earthquake, the sea gives forth
deep moanings, as if it felt the approaching convulsion; so at that time
there seemed premonitions in the hearts of the people that the whole
nation, North, South, East and West, would be swept by a political
cyclone that should leave behind it the desolation that is sometimes, in
the West India Islands, left in the track of a tropical hurricane. We
had heard of the murder of Dow, the rescue of Branson, and the invasion
of Lawrence, and these certainly did not give promise that Kansas would
be a favorable field for evangelical work, at least for a time. The
writer had not hitherto spent much of his time in Adams county; he now
spent a considerable part of the winter there, and visited the churches
of Quincy, Chambersburg, Camp Point, and many others. The brethren at
Quincy were making that experiment of monthly preaching that has been
found so hazardous, especially to city churches. They have since changed
the plan with wonderfully good results. It was at the church at
Chambersburg that Bro. Cottingham who has now won a national reputation,
achieved some of his earliest successes.

The majority of the leading members of these churches had been men and
women of full age when they left Kentucky. Some had tarried a little
time in Indiana. The memory of some went back to the time when the
Mississippi Valley was almost an unbroken wilderness, with here and
there a scattered settlement, made up of a frontier and uneducated
people. What are now its great cities were then insignificant hamlets,
and its means of commerce were rude flat boats on its rivers, and
pack-horses, or clumsy, heavy lumber wagons on its rough and often
impassable roads. There were few schools, fewer churches and still fewer
educated men. The country was perambulated by itinerant preachers. These
were guided by visions and revelations. Signs, omens and impressions
directed them to their field of labor and controlled their lives.
Ecstatic joy, vivid impressions, voices in the air, or seeing the Lord
in the tree-tops, were their evidences of pardon.

Once every year the people came together to a great camp-meeting. There
was intense excitement and enthusiasm, and many got religion; and this
was followed by spiritual lethargy, coldness and apostasy. It was a
short, hot summer, followed by a long, cold winter of moral and
spiritual death.

Among the Old Baptists there was preaching once a month. This was all.
There were no prayer-meetings, no meeting together every first day of
the week to break break and read the Holy Scriptures. Christian morality
was at a low ebb, and Christian liberality down to zero.

At length there came a change. The fountains of the great deep were
broken up, and men broke loose from the dominion of these old and
man-made systems. John Smith took the lead, and was followed by old
Jacob Creath, Samuel Rogers, John Rogers, John Allen Gano, P. S. Fall,
and many others. Alex. Campbell once said:

If any man can read the Acts of Apostles through three times, chapter by
chapter, pondering each chapter as he reads, and then can remain an
advocate of these old systems of conversion, may the Lord have mercy on

But the old Baptists fiercely resisted the Reformers, and cast them out
as heathen men and publicans. And now the Bible was a new revelation to
the men that came into this movement. The veil was taken off their eyes,
and they could read the Scriptures as they had never read them before.
They could now see that the Bible was a simple and intelligible volume,
written to be understood by the common people, and they were only amazed
at their former blindness. But they were made to know what persecution
means. All the denominations combined against them, and they were
compelled to read the Scriptures to defend themselves; and thus pressed
by their enemies on every hand, they were made to feel how near they
were to each other, and how much they loved each other, and it became an
easy thing to meet together every first day of the week to sing, to pray,
to exhort, and to commemorate the death of their risen Lord. But many of
them were poor, and had growing families, and they had heard that there
was a large and good land in the Military Tract in Illinois, and with
many a tearful adieu, and bidding farewell to the they loved so well,
like Abraham going out into the land that God had given him, into this
land flowing with milk and honey they came--and prospered.

And here the writer of these "Personal Recollections" found them,
growing strong, and rich, and influential, and more prosperous than any
other religious body in Adams county. It is now after the lapse of
thirty years, to be mentioned to their honor--and to the honor of the
churches of the State--that they have made commendable progress in the
direction of a Christian liberality, and of moral, intellectual, and
religious growth; still they are not yet up to the mark.

For the purpose of the moral, intellectual and religious education of
his people, the Lord has given us one day in seven, and in one year he
has given us fifty such days. This in seven years is one whole year, and
in seventy-five years it is ten years, leaving out five years as the
period of babyhood; and this as fitting men for the highest style of
religious life, and of American citizenship is, if well employed, the
best school on the face of the earth. Needs it to be said, that to do
this work well, the teachers in this school of the prophets have need to
be well qualified? There are certain Scriptures bearing on this point we
will do well to ponder:

Meditate on these things; give thyself _wholly_ to them, that thy
profitting may appear unto all.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life,
that he may please him who hath called him to be a soldier. The Lord
give thee understanding in all things.

We have no churches in this nation to whom these admonitions apply with
greater weight of impressive authority than to the churches of Illinois.
Where much is given, there much is required, and to no State in the
Union has more been given in the way of worldly wealth than to the
Disciples of that commonwealth. There is not such another body of rich
land in this great nation, perhaps not in the world. Water is an element
essential to the highest productiveness, even of fertile soil, and the
vapors rising on the Gulf of Mexico have not a hillock three hundred
feet high to obstruct their flow up the Mississippi eastward and
northward, until they reach the State of Illinois. And the men that do
business in the cities of this prosperous State, or till its fertile and
alluvial soil, that was lifted up, not many geologic ages ago, from
beneath the bottom of the sea, are so rich they do not know how rich
they are. But it is a peril to be rich. Jesus, Paul and Solomon unite in
saying so, and it is especially a peril when wealth comes suddenly. When
a man starts poor, and has felt the sting of contempt because of his
poverty, and then finds himself rich and prosperous and flattered, and
tempted to indulge in every luxury, then this man is in great peril; and
there is no security against this danger like using the wealth that God
has given him for the glory of God and the good of men.

But there were brethren thirty years ago that needed no admonition as
touching the disposition they should make of their world goods. I could
give a goodly number of examples, but the reader will pardon me if,
because of the narrow limits of these "Recollections," I confine myself
to one.

Peter B. Garrett, of Camp Point, Adams county, had set himself, with
honest purpose, to bring his Kentucky brethren up to the level of the
demands of primitive and apostolic Christianity. Every man has his
hobby, and Bro. G. had his hobby. When the writer first visited Camp
Point, he was demanded of to know if it was not a fixed part of the
apostolic order that each disciple should, on the first day of the week,
lay by him in store, of money or goods, as the Lord had prospered him,
putting it into the Lord's treasury? I could not quite affirm this, but
Bro. G. stuck to his hobby.

Bro. Garrett knew the value of a full treasury, and was ready to do his
part towards settling a preacher in the church, and paying him. But he
could not bring his brethren up to the level of his own aspirations.

Bro. G. came from Kentucky a poor man, but he got hold of a considerable
body of good land, when it was cheap, and cultivated it skillfully. Then
the Quincy, Galesburg and Chicago Railroad was build in front of his
farm, and the town of Camp Point grew up adjoining his premises. He also
built a flouring mill, and this added to his gains; and thus he grew
rich and influential, but he never thought of himself only as plain
Peter Garrett. The writer in fifty years has known many excellent
Christian families, but he has never known one family that, with saint
and sinner, among persons outside and inside of the church, have had a
more honorable fame than this Christian family. His wife was a motherly
woman. She did not assume to know much, but what she did know she knew
well, and translated her little store of knowledge into an abundance of
good deeds. She knew how to guide the house, take good care of her
children, live in peace with her neighbors, love the church and attend
its meetings, fear God and entertain strangers; and so this house, like
the house of the Vicar of Wakefield, became a resort for

"All the vagrant train,"

whether of tramps or preachers. His children, from the time they were
able to toddle, were taught to do something useful. His little boys were
made to bring in wood, and run on errands, and his girls to wash the
dishes; and thus this house became a hive of industry, and it came to
pass that in process of time, when our beloved Bro. Garrison, of the
_Christian-Evangelist,_ went out to seek a woman to take care of his
house, he very properly sought this favor at the hands of Peter
Garrett's daughter. It is a good thing to follow a good example, and our
devoted Bro. Smart, hitherto of the _Witness_, now co-editor of the
_Evangelist_, went and did likewise. [3]

Bro. Garret loaned the writer a light spring wagon for the purpose of
bringing his family back from Kansas, and thus equipped, he started a
second time on the journey he had made one year before.

One thought filled his heart: Will this tumult pass away, and will the
American people go forward and fulfill that glorious destiny to which
God in his providence has called them?


The news of the coming of the South Carolinians had not reached Illinois
when I started for Kansas, but when I had reached Western Missouri the
country was alive with excitement. Maj. Jefferson Buford had arrived
with 350 soldiers, and a part of them were quartered in Atchison. Some
persons whose acquaintance I had made, and who were my friends, besought
me not to go on.

The last night I stayed in Missouri was at De Kalb. A gentleman who
had come from St. Joseph stayed over night at the hotel where I put
up. He was tall of stature, with a flowing beard sprinkled with gray,
and was of a remarkably dignified and impressive presence. We
conversed during the evening on general topics, but no allusion was
made to the one exciting topic, on which almost all seemed ready to
talk _instanter._

The next morning he overtook me. He was on horseback, and mentioned
that he was going to Atchison, and for some distance rode beside my
buggy, continuing the conversation. Then, as he could travel faster
than myself, he rode on.

The reader will recognize this gentleman again in Atchison. An account
of my adventures [4] on the other side of the river will be found in a
letter addressed by myself to the _Herald of Freedom_:

[For the Herald of Freedom.]

STRANGER CREEK, Ocena P. O., May 6, 1856.

MR. EDITOR--_Dear Sir_: The bar of public opinion seems to
be the only tribunal to which the free State men of Kansas
can appeal for redress. I must, therefore, ask your
indulgence while I make a statement of facts.

One year ago I came to Kansas and bought a claim on
Stranger Creek, Atchison county. On the 17th of August,
the Border Ruffians of the town of Atchison sent me down
the Missouri River on a raft. We parted under a mutual
pledge: I pledged myself that if my life was spared I
would come back to Atchison, and they pledged themselves
that if I did come back they would hang me. Faithful to my
promise, in November last I returned to Kansas, and
visited Atchison in open day, announced myself on hand,
and returned without molestation. Kansas being sparsely
settled, without churches or meeting-houses, it was
determined that Mrs. Butler should live on our claim with
her brother and her brother's wife, while I should return
to Illinois, and resume my labors as a preacher.

April 30th I returned to Kansas, crossing the Missouri
River into Atchison. I spoke with no one in the town, save
with two merchants of the place, with whom I have had
business transactions since my first arrival in the
Territory. Having remained only a few moments, I went to
my buggy to resume my journey, when I was assaulted by
Robert S. Kelley, co-editor of the _Squatter Sovereign_,
and others, was dragged into a saloon, and there
surrounded by a company of South Carolinians, who are
reported to have been sent out by a Southern Emigrant Aid
Society. In this last mob I recognized only two that were
citizens of Atchison or engaged in the former mob. It is
not reported that these emigrants from the Palmetto State
seek out a claim, and make for themselves a home, neither
do they enter into any legitimate business. They very
expressively describe themselves as having _come out to
see Kansas through._ They yelled, "Kill him! Kill him!
Hang the Abolitionist." One of their number bristled up to
me and said, "Have you got a revolver?" I answered, "No."
He handed me a pistol and said, "There, take that, and
stand off ten steps; and I will blow you through in an
instant." I replied, "I have no use for your weapon." I
afterwards heard them congratulating themselves in
reference to this, that they had acted in an honorable
manner with me. The fellow was furious; but his companions
dissuaded him from shooting me, saying they were going to
hang me.

They pinioned my arms behind my back, obtained a rope, but
were interrupted by the entrance of a stranger--a
gentleman from Missouri, since ascertained to be Judge
Tutt, a lawyer from St. Joseph. He said: "My friends, hear
me. I am an old man, and it is right you should hear me. I
was born in Virginia, and have lived many years in
Missouri. I am a slaveholder, and desire Kansas to be made
a slave State, if it can be done by honorable means. But
you will destroy the cause you are seeking to build up.
You have taken this man, who was peaceably passing through
your streets and along the public highway, and doing no
person any harm. We profess to be 'Law and Order' men, and
ought to be the last to commit violence. If this man has
broken the law, let him be judged according to law; but
for the sake of Missouri, for the sake of Kansas, for the
sake of the pro-slavery cause, do not act in this way."
They dragged me into another building, and appointed a
moderator, and got up a kind of lynch law trial. Kelley
told his story. I rose to my feet, and calmly and in
respectful language began to tell mine; but I was jerked
to my seat and so roughly handled that I was compelled to
desist. My friend from Missouri again earnestly besought
them to set me at liberty. Kelley turned short on him and
said: "Do you belong to Kansas?" Judge Tutt replied: "No;
but I expect to live here in Atchison next fall, and in
this matter the interests of Kansas and Missouri are
identical." Chester Lamb, a lawyer in Atchison, and Samuel
Dickson, a merchant of the place, both pro slavery men,
also united with Judge Tutt in pleading that I might be
set at liberty. While these gentlemen were speaking, I
heard my keepers mutter, "If you don't hush up, we will
tar and feather you." But when Kelley saw how matters
stood, he came forward and said he "did not take Butler to
have him hung, but only tarred and feathered," Yet in the
saloon he had sad to the mob: "_You shall do as you
please._" He dared not take the responsibility of taking
my life, but when these unfortunate men, whose
one-idea-ism on the subject of slavery and Southern rights
has become insanity--when these irresponsible South
Carolinians, sent out to be bull dogs and blood hounds for
Atchison and Stringfellow--when they could be used as
tools to take my life, he was ready to do it.

Our gunpowder moderator cut the matter short by saying,
"It is moved that Butler be tarred and feathered and
receive thirty-nine lashes." A majority said "Aye," though
a number of voices said "No." The moderator said, "The
affirmative has it; Butler has to be tarred and feathered
and whipped." I began to speculate how that sort of thing
would work as far north as the latitude of Kansas. There
was a good deal of whispering about the house. I saw dark,
threatening and ominous looks in the crowd. The moderator
again came forward, and, in an altered voice, said: "_It
is moved that the last part of the sentence be
rescinded."_ It was rescinded, and I was given into the
hands of my South Carolina overseers to be tarred and
feathered. They muttered and growled at this issue of the
matter. They said, "If we had known it would come out in
this way, we would have let shoot Butler at the first. He
would have done it quicker than a flash." One little,
sharp-visaged, dark-featured South Carolinian, who seemed
to be the leader of the gang, was particularly displeased.
With bitter curses he said, "I am not come all the way
from South Carolina, spending so much money to do things
up in such milk-and-water style as this."

They stripped me naked to my waist, covered my body with
tar, and for the want of feathers applied cotton. Having
appointed a committee of seven to certainly hang me the
next time I should come into Atchison, they tossed my
clothes into my buggy, put me therein, accompanied me to
the outskirts of the town, and sent me naked out upon the
prairie. It was a cold, bleak day. I adjusted my attire
about me as best I could, and hastened to rejoin my wife
and little ones on the banks of the Stranger Creek. It was
a sorrowful meeting after so long a parting, still we were
very thankful that, under the favor of a good Providence,
it had fared no worse with us all.

Many will ask now, as they have asked already, what is the
true and proper cause of all these troubles I have had in
Atchison? I have told the world already; I can only repeat
my own words. I have said, The head and front of my
offending hath this extent, no more: I had spoken among my
neighbors favorably to making Kansas a free State, and
said in the office of the _Squatter Sovereign_, "I am a
Free-soiler, and intend to vote for Kansas to be a free

Still it will be regarded as incredible that a man should
receive such treatment for uttering such words as I report
myself to have uttered. The matter is plain enough when
the facts are understood.

Prior to August 17, 1855, there was no Free-soil party
organized in Atchison county--perhaps not in the whole
Territory of Kansas. Free-soilers did not know their own
strength, and were disposed to be prudent; some were
timid. Here in Atchison county we determined that if the
Border Ruffians were resolved to drive matters to a bloody
issue, the responsibility of doing so should rest wholly
with themselves. There are many Free-soilers in this
county--brave men--who have no conscientious scruples to
hinder them from arming themselves, and preparing to repel
force with force. The Border Ruffians sought by a system
of terrorism so to intimidate the Free-soilers as to
prevent them from organizing a Free-soil party, or even
discussing the subject of freedom and slavery in Kansas.
They carried this to such an extent of outrageous violence
that it came to be currently reported that it was as much
as a man's life was worth to say in the town of Atchison,
"I am a Free-soiler." We deprecated violence, and wished a
peaceful discussion of the subject. It was therefore most
fitting that a man whose profession forbade him to go
armed should put to the test of actual experiment whether
an American citizen of blameless life could be permitted
to enjoy the right of free speech--the privilege of
expressing views favorable to making Kansas a free
State--such views being uttered without anything of angry,
abusive or insulting language. It was for this purpose the
above words were spoken, and which have been the cause of
all my troubles in Atchison.

If there is any class of men who stand behind the curtain
and pull the wires, we would respectfully represent to
them that it will do no good to urge these understrappers
on to these deeds of violence and ruffianism. We are not a
class of men to utter childish complaints at any wrongs we
may suffer, _but we know our rights and intend to have

Subscribing myself the friend of all good and civil men,
whether North or South, I am very truly, PARDEE BUTLER.


We have already told how Sheriff Jones failed to wipe out Lawrence;
how Gov. Shannon patched up a peace, and how that, in no good temper,
the "Law and Order" party returned to the border. But immediately
the Free State party gave evidence that its spirit had not been
broken. A convention had been called to meet at Topeka, in November,
1855, to frame a free State Constitution, and this was ratified at
an election called December 15 following, 1,731 votes being cast in
its favor, the election having been held only one week after the
treaty of peace had been made. Then in less than two weeks a second
convention was called to meet at Lawrence, at which a full board of
State officers was nominated, the election having been set to be held
on the 15th of January.

At Leavenworth, the attempt to hold the election resulted in such mobs
and tumult that it was forbidden to be held by a faint-hearted Free
State mayor, and was consequently adjourned to Easton. The Free State
printing press of Mark Delahay was, during these troubles, destroyed.
At Easton, a mob undertook to break up the election, but was driven
off, and in the affray one of the attacking party named Cook was
mortally wounded. Then the _Kansas Pioneer_, published at Kickapoo,
made an inflammatory appeal to the "Law and Order" party to rally and
avenge Cook's death, and in an answer to this appeal the "Kickapoo
Rangers" and Captain Dunn's company, from Leavenworth, in all about
fifty men, turned out to go to Easton on this errand. A number of
gentlemen had gone from Leavenworth to Easton to attend the election,
and had stayed over night, among whom were Captain R. P. Brown, a
resident of Salt Creek Valley, near Leavenworth. Captain B. was a man
well esteemed in his neighborhood, and was a member-elect of the
Legislature. Captain Dunn and his company met these men returning to
Leavenworth, and took them prisoners, carrying them back to Easton.
Here they got up a sort of Lynch-law trial for Captain Brown, but the
rabble composing Dunn's company, having maddened themselves with
drink, broke into the room where the trial was going on, seized
Captain Brown, who was unarmed and helpless, and tortured him with
barbarity that has been supposed to be only possible among savages,
and then threw the wounded and dying man into an open lumber wagon, in
which they hauled him home to his wife, over the rough, frozen roads,
in one of the coldest nights of that bitter cold January; stopping
meantime at the drinking-houses by the way, they consumed seven hours
in making the journey. His wife became insane at the sight of her
butchered and dying husband, thrown into the door by these brutal
wretches, and was, in that condition, taken to her brother in
Michigan. All this was testified to, with every _minutia_ of detail,
before the Investigating Committee.

The border papers were aflame with appeals to the "Law and Order"
party to go over into Kansas and wipe out the pestiferous Free State
men, who set at naught the Territorial Legislature. The following
sample of these appeals we extract from a speech made by David R.
Atchison, at Platte City:

They held an election on the 15th of last month, and they intend to
put the machinery of a State in motion on the 4th of March, "_I say,
prepare yourselves; go over there_. And if they attempt to drive you
out, then drive them out. Fifty of you with your shot-guns are worth
two hundred and fifty of them with their Sharpe's rifles."

Meanwhile a great cry of wrongs and outrages against the Free State
men had filled the whole North, and Congress could not choose, but had
to pay attention to it. Ex-Governor Reeder came forward and contested
the seat of Mr. Whitfield as Territorial delegate to Congress,
alleging that Mr. W. owed his election to the votes of men not
residents of the Territory. As a result, a Committee of Investigation
was appointed to go to Kansas to take testimony, this committee being
composed of Sherman of Ohio, Howard, of Michigan, and Oliver, of
Missouri. These took an immense number of depositions, which were
published in a volume of more than 1,200 octavo pages, and of which
20,000 were ordered to be printed. This investigating committee made a
majority report signed by Howard and Sherman, in which they summed up
their conclusions under eight heads. Of these we shall copy four:


1. That each election held in the Territory under the
organic or Territorial law has been carried by organized
invasion from the State of Missouri, by which the people
of the Territory have been prevented from exercising the
rights secured to them by the organic law.

2. That the alleged Territorial Legislature was an
illegally constituted body, and had no power to pass valid
laws, and their enactments are therefore null and void.

3. That Andrew H. Reeder received a greater number of
votes of resident citizens than John W. Whitfield for

4. That in the present condition of the Territory a fair
election can not be held without a new census, a stringent
and well-guarded election law, the selection of impartial
judges, and the presence of United States troops at every

_(Signed)_ WM. A. HOWARD,

Mr. Oliver made a minority report, summing up his conclusions under
seven heads. From this we shall copy three:


1. That the Territorial Legislature was a legally
constituted body, and had power to pass valid laws, and
their enactments were therefore valid.

2. That the election under which the sitting delegate,
John W. Whitfield, holds his seat was held in pursuance of
valid law, and should be regarded as a valid election.

3. That the election under which the contesting delegate,
Andrew H. Reeder, claims his seat, was not held under any
law, and should be wholly disregarded by the House.
_(Signed)_ M. OLIVER.

As a result, Congress permanently unseated Mr. Whitfield, and ordered
a new election, thus affirming the conclusions of Howard and Sherman.
This committee began its work in April and ended in June.

The "Law and Order" party did not, however, wait for the conclusion
of these proceedings at Washington. Col. Buford, as we have told in a
former chapter, arrived early in the spring with his company of South
Carolinians, and Gen. David R. Atchison had gathered, along the
borders, several hundred men to make a second raid on Lawrence. These
all marched to Lecompton, where they held themselves in readiness to
act, as soon as a pretext could be found invoking their help.

And now the inevitable Samuel J. Jones, Sheriff of Douglas County,
again put in an appearance. This time it was to arrest Sam Wood for
the rescue of Branson. Jones arrested Wood on the streets of Lawrence.
A crowd gathered around, and in the jostling and pushing Jones and
Wood were separated, and Wood walked away. No threats were made, and
no violence used. The next day was Sunday, and Jones again appeared,
but Sam Wood was missing. He had stayed that night at the house of the
writer, in Atchison County, being then on his way to the free States.
Jones, however, had writs for the arrest of those who had been the
occasion of Wood's escape, and the Sheriff called on some of the
church-going people to act as his _posse_ in making his arrests. But
these were of "the most straitest sect" of the Puritans, and it was
contrary to their consciences to do any manner of carnal work on the
Sabbath day, and in their estimation this was exceedingly carnal work,
and they kept their faces set as if they would go to the synagogue.
Samuel F. Tappan was one of the Branson rescuers, and Jones seized
Tappan by the collar, and Tappan struck Jones in the face. This was
enough; Jones had been resisted, and he went to the Governor and
demanded a _posse_ of United States soldiers to aid him in making his
arrest. Thus reinforced with a detachment of United States troops, our
valorous Sheriff Jones went a third time and arrested without
resistance six respectable citizens of Lawrence, on a charge of
contempt of court, because they had declined to break the Sabbath in
aiding him to make arrests on the Lord's day. In due course of law, it
should have been his duty to take his prisoners before a magistrate,
and allowed them to give bail to appear at a given time to answer for
this alleged contempt. But Jones elected to keep his prisoners without
bail, and to act as his own jailer, and so he encamped in a tent on
the prairie, using these United States soldiers as his guard. This was
a manifest bait to the people of Lawrence to attempt a rescue, but
they did not walk into the trap, and so these prisoners slept on the
prairie, and their wives slept at home bereaved of their husbands.
Somebody shot Jones. It is presumed that somebody thought he ought to
be shot, but it was as great a calamity to Lawrence as was the rescue
of Branson. The people of Lawrence removed Jones to the Free State
hotel, showed every sympathy they could show, and offered a reward of
$500 for the apprehension of the assassin. Notwithstanding, all
Western Missouri was immediately aflame with appeals to the people to
come to the rescue, and avenge the death of the murdered Jones. But
the papers making these appeals did not publish the proceedings of the
indignation meeting held at Lawrence, nor did they tell that a reward
had been offered for the apprehension of the assassin, nor did they
tell that Jones' wound was so slight that he was able to be removed
the next day to Franklin.

Meanwhile a conspiracy was hatched at Lecompton, in which Chief
Justice Lecompte was the chief conspirator, to arrest the leading Free
State men on a charge of treason, and keep them prisoners without
bail, and thus smother out the Free State movement. James F. Legati
was one of the United States grand jurors, and violated his oath of
secrecy and made a night journey to give warning to the men that were
to be made victims to this conspiracy. Gov. Charles Robinson fled down
the Missouri River, but was detained at Lexington, was brought back
under charge of treason, and placed in confinement at Lecompton;
others fled the Territory, and Lawrence was left to fight its battles
with its old leaders gone. According to the purpose of this conspiracy
a large number of Free State men were indicted for high treason; and
the Free State hotel and the two printing presses were returned by the
Grand Jury as _nuisances_, and as such were by Judge Lecompte ordered
to be destroyed. Immediately following Legati's nocturnal visit,
Ex-Governor Reeder received a summons at the hands of Deputy Marshal
Fain to appear at Lecompton _as a witness_. Mr. Reeder declined to
obey the summons. The next day a writ was served on him to appear on a
charge of "contempt of court" for not having appeared as a witness.
Mr. Reeder refused to submit to the arrest for two reasons--first,
that his life would be in danger; second, he plead his privilege of
exemption from arrest because he was a member-elect of Congress. Then
United States Marshal Donaldson issued the following


WHEREAS, Certain judicial arrests have been directed to me
by the First District Court of the United States, etc., to
be executed within the county of Douglas, and

WHEREAS, The attempt to execute them by the United States
Deputy Marshal was evidently resisted by a large number of
people of Lawrence, and as there is every reason to
believe that any attempt to execute these writs will be
resisted by a large body of armed men; now, therefore, the
law-abiding citizens of the Territory are commanded to be
and appear at Lecompton as soon as practicable, and in
numbers sufficient to execute the law.

Given under my hand this 11th day of May, 1856.

U. S. Marshal of the Territory of Kansas.

On receipt of this proclamation the citizens of Lawrence
called a public meeting and adopted the following
preamble and resolution:

WHEREAS, By a proclamation to the people of Kansas
Territory, by T B. Donaldson, it is alleged that certain
judicial writs of arrest have been directed to him by the
First District Court of the United States, etc. to be
executed within the county of Douglas, and that an attempt
to execute them was evidently resisted by a large number
of the citizens of Lawrence, and that there is every
reason to believe that an attempt to execute said writs
will be resisted by a large body of armed men; therefore,

_Resolved_, By this public meeting of the citizens of
Lawrence, that the allegations and charges against us,
contained in the aforesaid proclamation, are wholly untrue
in fact and in the conclusion which is drawn from them.
The aforesaid Marshal was resisted in no manner whatever,
nor by any person whatever, in the execution of said
writs, except by him whose arrest the Deputy Marshal was
seeking to make. And that we now, as we have done
heretofore, declare our willingness and determination,
without resistance, to acquiesce in the service upon us of
any judicial writs against us by the United States Deputy
Marshal, _and will furnish him with a posse for that
purpose_, if so requested; but that we are ready to
resist, if need be, unto death, the ravages and desolation
of an invading mob.


Before Marshal Donaldson had issued the proclamation copied in our
last chapter, the citizens of Lawrence had forwarded to Gov. Shannon
the following:

WHEREAS, We have most reliable information of the
organization of guerrilla bands, who threaten the
destruction of our town and its citizens; therefore

_Resolved_, That Messrs. Topliff, Hutchingson and Roberts
constitute a committee to inform His Excellency of these
facts, and to call upon him, in the name of the people of
Lawrence, for protection against such bands by the United
States troops at his disposal.

To this the Governor made the following reply:


GENTLEMEN: Your note of the 11th inst. is received, and in
reply I have to state that there is no force around or
approaching Lawrence, except the largely constituted
_posse_ of the United States Marshal and Sheriff of
Douglas county, each of whom, I am informed, has a number
of writs in his hands for execution against persons in
Lawrence. I shall in no way interfere with these officers
in the discharge of their official duties.

If the citizens of Lawrence submit themselves to the
Territorial laws, and aid and assist the Marshal and the
Sheriff in the execution of processes in their hands, as
all good citizens are bound to do when called upon, they
will entitle themselves to the protection of the law. But
so long as they keep up a military or armed organization
to resist the Territorial laws and the officers charged
with their execution, I shall not interpose to save them
from the legitimate consequences of their illegal acts.

The following is a list of the notabilities that were in command of
the army that was to serve as the _posse_ of Marshal Donaldson, David
R. Atchison in command of the Platte county riflemen of Missouri;
Capt. Dunn, of the Kickapoo Rangers; Gen. B. F. String fellow, Robert
S. Kelley and Peter T. Abell having charge of the recruits from
Atchison; Col. Wilkes, of South Carolina; Col. Titus, of Florida; Col.
Boone, of Westport, Mo., and Col. Buford, of South Carolina. More than
three-fourths of this army was composed of non-residents of Kansas.

A third time the citizens of Lawrence called a public meeting, and
this time they appeal to Marshal Donaldson. They say, "We beg leave to
ask respectfully, what are the demands against us?" They repeat their
oft-repeated assurance that they will submit to arrests, and demand
protection against the gathering mob from the men representing the
authority of the General Government. Marshal Donaldson only replied
with jeers and insults. The people of Lawrence were indeed in evil

The beleagured citizens saw themselves shut in by armed bands, engaged
in murder, robbery, and plunder; and this time they appealed to the
Investigating Committee, now gone to Leavenworth; but that committee
had no power to help them. Col. Sumner could not help them, unless the
Governor should speak the word; and Shannon was dumb.

Lane had gone East; Robinson was a prisoner; Ex-Gov. Reeder had fled,
disguised as a common laborer; and others were in hiding; and perforce
the management of affairs had to be given into the hands of new men. A
Committee of Public Safety was chosen, and this committee determined
on a policy of abject submission and non-resistance. A committee of
volunteers from Topeka offered their assistance, but were told: "We
do not want you." Pusillanimous as Gov. Shannon was, he found he had a
man to deal with more pusillanimous than himself, in the person of S.
C. Pomeroy, chairman of the Committee of Public Safety. Citizens of
Lawrence left in unspeakable disgust. The people of the Territory
looked on in amazement. The boys jeeringly called the Committee of
Public Safety "The Committee of the Public Safety Valve."

The writer had given his testimony before the Investigating Committee
while they were yet in Lawrence. A number of South Carolinians had
been present while this testimony was being given, and they had
protested in a towering rage, "We will shoot Butler on sight." It was
evident the town had to be given up to the tender mercies of this mob
of ruffians. There was nothing to be gained by remaining, and the
writer, sick at heart, went back to Atchison county; but he afterwards
returned to see the blackened ruins of the desolated town.

On May 21st the monster _posse_, led on by Marshal Donaldson and
Deputy Marshal Fain, gathered around the doomed city. The town was
quiet--unusually so. Deputy Marshal Fain went into the city and
arrested G. W. Deitzler, G. W. Smith and Gains Jenkins, on the charge
of treason. The Marshal went to the Free State hotel, that they were
soon to batter down, and got his dinner, _and went away without paying
for it._ And now the opportune moment had arrived for the final
_denouement_. Sheriff Jones--the mourned and lost and murdered and
much-lamented Sheriff Jones--whose tragic death had fired the hearts
of all the Missouri border, now put in an appearance and showed
himself a mighty lively corpse, and led his _posse_ into the town. The
flag of the lone star of South Carolina, blood-red, and on which was
inscribed the motto, "Southern Rights," floated beside the Stars and
Stripes. The monster _posse_, with loaded cannon, marched into the
city and in front of the Free State hotel, and the "Committee of the
Public Safety Valve" was called for. Mr. Pomeroy came forward and
shook hands with Sheriff Jones--should not _gentlemen_ shake hands
when they meet? Sheriff Jones demanded the arms of the people,
otherwise he would bombard the town. Mr. Pomeroy went and dug up the
cannon that had been buried, and surrendered it to Jones. But further
than this he could not go: _the people had their arms, and intended to
keep them_. Then they tried to batter down the Free State hotel with
cannon. Failing in this, they tried to blow it up with powder; and,
failing in that, they burned it down. They also destroyed the two
printing presses, burning the buildings, and then sacked the town.

Sheriff Jones was beside himself with joy. In frantic excitement he
said, "I have done it! I have done it! This is the happiest moment of
my life! I determined to make the fanatics bow before me in the dust
and kiss the Territorial laws, and I have done it! The writs have been
executed. Boys, you are dismissed." It will be doing Senator David R.
Atchison, Ex-Vice-President of the United States, a kindness to
conclude simply that he was drunk, otherwise he displayed utter
savagery and barbarism. He inculcated gallantry to ladies, but said:
"If you find any woman with arms in her hands, tread her under foot as
you would a snake." The Caucassian white woman of Lawrence had no more
rights of self-protection than the slaves of a South Carolina rice
plantation--they were wholly and absolutely at the mercy of their

We have no comments to make on the work of this drunken rabble; but
there is one man that must be held to a terrible responsibility before
the judgment-seat of posterity. Gov. Wilson Shannon was not drunk: and
it is to be presumed he had read that Constitution of the United
States which he had so often sworn to support. He knew, therefore,
that this document stipulates:

1. "That the right of the people to _keep_ and bear arms shall not be
infringed;" yet he showed a fixed purpose to deprive the Lawrence
people of their arms.

2. The Governor knew that the Constitution guarantees "freedom of
speech and of the press" to the American people; yet the burning of
these printing presses was an attack on the freedom of the press.

3. The Constitution guarantees that "in all criminal prosecutions the
accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." Property
of large value was destroyed because its owners were charged with high
crimes and misdemeanors; yet the owners of this property had never
been given a trial.

4. Gov. Shannon alleged that it was treasonable for the people of
Kansas Territory to frame a State Constitution without an enabling act
from Congress; yet California had done this very thing, and under that
Constitution had been admitted as a State.

5. He treated the Free State men as traitors, because they would not
admit the legality of the Lecompton Territorial Legislature. But the
majority of the Investigating Committee held the same view with the
Lawrence people, and Congress affirmed the same judgment in
permanently unseating Mr. Whitfield as Territorial delegate to

Would that men could remember that there is a _hereafter_; that
_to-morrow_ forever sits in judgment on _to-day._ There are three men
most conspicuous in the sacking of Lawrence. Let us look at them in
the electric light of the awful _to-morrow._ Since the Kansas struggle
had begun David R. Atchison had made himself the most conspicuous
figure. He was the representative of the John C. Calhoun school of
Southern politics, and from the hour of the destruction of Lawrence he
was to disappear from public view, as absolutely as that Free State
hotel which was burned by his orders; yet he did not die--he was
simply _buried alive_ out of the public sight. He was done with the
nation, and the nation was done with him. He went back and lived on
his plantation in Western Missouri, where he was forgotten. It is said
he loved his slaves so well, and petted them so much, that they became
masters on the plantation, and not himself. He lived to see Kansas a
free State, with almost a million of inhabitants, and fairly taking
the lead of Missouri in the elements of education, enterprise, and the
highest civilization.

We have seen the crawling servility with which Gov. Shannon served the
"Law and Order" party; yet in less than three months he was to see
his office as Governor go up in smoke, as these burning buildings had
gone up in smoke. Mr. S. became frantic when he saw the carnival of
bloodshed and murder, of riot and robbery, that had been brought about
by his means. Dr. Gihon, the incoming Gov. Geary's private secretary,
reported that Mr. Shannon fled the Territory in fear of his life. When
the troubles were over he came to Kansas and sought the pity and
forgiveness of that city he had turned over to the tender mercies of a
mob of ruffians. It need not be said that he could have done no
better, for his successor, Gov. Geary, had only to speak a word and
this tumult of disorder was instantly hushed.

As the years went by the people could not believe that a man that
displayed so many good and amiable qualities could have been a party
to such outrages as characterized his administration. He died in
Lawrence very much respected.

Sheriff Samuel J. Jones strutted his brief hour on this stage in which
the play had been both a bloodcurdling tragedy and a comedy; and now
he was to step down and out. In the last act he had said, "_I have
done it!" And he had done it_! He and his fellow conspirators, whether
of high or low degree, had set in operation a train of causes that
should issue in abolishing throughout the United States that
institution of slavery they had so frantically sought to establish in

Joseph said to his brethren, "You meant it for evil, but the Lord
meant it for good." _Sheriff Jones and his fellow conspirators were in
the Lord's hands, but they did not know it_.


When the news came of the sacking of Lawrence, the great mass of the
squatters had not yet lost faith in the nation, nor had they lost hope
that justice would be done, tardy though it might be; but the utmost
limits of human endurance were fast being reached. There were,
however, many that had already gone beyond this point, and they
returned an answer that made the hearts of the people stand still with
horror. It was the answer of a wild beast that had been hunted to its
lair, and that turns with savage ferocity on its pursuers. It was an
answer framed not in words, but in deeds. It said, "We have come to
an end. We have been robbed of the rights guaranteed to us by the
Kansas-Nebraska bill. We have been robbed of the rights of American
citizens. We have been given the alternative of abject and degrading
submission or of extermination. And now we make our answer. We will
return blow for blow, wound for wound, stripe for stripe, and burning
for burning. Murder shall be paid back with murder, robbery with
robbery; and every act of aggression shall be paid back with swift and
terrible retaliation." It must be remembered that at that time news
traveled slow, and that it was slow work to take men from their
ordinary farm life and organize them into bands of soldiers, and it
was some days before "Old John Brown, of Osawatomie," appeared on the
scene of conflict with a company of men. Of this company his son, John
Brown, Jr., was captain. But the "old man" had come too late. He was
terribly excited, and denounced as a set of cowards the "Committee of
the Public Safety Valve" that had dug up the hidden cannon and had
surrendered it to Sheriff Jones. Captain Brown and his company
determined to return. Old John Brown selected a squad of six men to go
on a secret expedition. Of these, four were his own sons, and one was
his son-in-law. His son, Captain Brown, was unwilling that his father
should go, and when the old man would not be persuaded, he cautioned
him, "Father, don't do anything rash." "Old John Brown" took old man
Doyle and two sons and two other men in the dead hour of night and put
them to death. The facts of this awful deed have never been made
public--there has never been a judicial investigation. It is said that
Doyle and his sons were desperate characters, and were in the act of
driving off Free State men; but nothing is certainly known.

And now it appeared that the whole country south of the Kaw River was
full of armed Free State guerrilla bands. They rose up out of the
earth as if they had been specters--their blows were swift, terrible
and remorseless. They visited and robbed the houses of Pro-slavery
men, as the houses of the Free State men had been visited and robbed.
They stole the Pro-slavery men's horses, stopped them on the public
highways, and repeated in every detail and in every act of violence
the cruel atrocities that had been so long perpetrated on themselves.
They showed no partiality--if they stole the horses of Pro-slavery
men, they also stole Gov. Shannon's horses, and the Governor posted
over the country with a squad of soldiers to find them. The town of
Franklin, six miles from Lawrence, that had been a rendezvous for the
"Law and Order" robbers, and out of which they issued to visit Free
State settlers' houses, rob Free State men on the public highway and
make raids on Lawrence, was cleaned out. H. Clay Pate, leader of a
"Law and Order" company of militia, went to hunt John Brown and put
him to death as he would go to hunt a wild beast. An African lion
hunter, when questioned, "Is it not fine sport to hunt lions?"
replied, "Yes, it is fine sport to hunt lions, but if the lion hunts
you it is not so fine." H. Clay Pate went to hunt the lion, and found
the lion was hunting him. John Brown attacked Pate with an inferior
force, dispersed his command, and took him prisoner, together with
twenty-eight of his men, and kept them in an inaccessible fastness
which he made his hiding place. A number of Pro-slavery men fled from
the Territory, telling everywhere a blood-curdling story of hard and
cruel treatment. The people of the State of Missouri were filled with
rage and horror, and its presses groaned with frantic appeals to the
people to rise in their might and avenge the blood of their murdered
brethren. Hitherto they had witnessed with perfect composure the
savage butchery of the Free State men, and the outrage of Free State
families; but now the case was bravely altered. It was their ox that
was being gored.

Gov. Shannon passed as usual from the extreme of insolence to the
extreme of helpless imbecility, and called on Col. Sumner to come
forward and put a stop to this riot of confusion, blood-shedding and
violence. The Governor really wanted Col. S. to disarm only the Free
State guerrillas; but Mr. S. made a more liberal interpretation of his
orders, and proceeded to disarm all armed bands in the Territory. He
visited Old John Brown's hiding place, told him he must consider
himself under arrest, and intimated to Deputy Marshal Fain that he was
at liberty to arrest these men, who were under charge of murder. But
the Marshal replied _that he had no arrests to make_. Marshal Fain had
no stomach for the business of lion hunting. It is said that Col. S.
gave Marshal Fain a piece of his mind that was more explicit than

Col. Sumner ordered John Brown to give up his prisoners, and disband
his men. John Brown expostulated with him, that it was not right to
require him to do this, while the country was full of armed bands of
Pro-slavery militia and guerrillas. Col. S. agreed to disband and
disarm all companies of persons armed, and then John Brown agreed to
comply with his requests. Gen. Whitfield was in the vicinity, and at
the request of Col. S. agreed to remove his men from the Territory;
but while doing this they continued the business of riot, robbery and

Thus wearily passed the month of June of 1856, on the south bank of
the Kaw River. The coming Fourth of July was looked forward to with
intense interest by both parties, and on the north side of the Kaw
River, as well as on its south side. The Fourth of July was the day on
which the Legislature, elected under the Free State Constitution, was
to meet at Topeka; and on that day, and at that place, a mass
convention of all the Free State men in Kansas had also been called to
meet and agree on their future policy. Col. Sumner had at least done
this good service, that the highways were clear, and traveling was
safe; but not knowing what might happen, the men generally carried
their muskets hidden in their wagons. The writer of these
"Recollections" went to Topeka with the Free State men of Atchison
county. At this convention it appeared that there was the greatest
possible divergence of judgment as to the best policy for the Free
State party to pursue. There was nothing of the noise and bluster that
characterizes a drunken mob; they were sober and quiet men;
nevertheless, they evidently labored under an intense and burning
excitement. Some were for war, bloody, relentless and unforgiving war;
others advised a more pacific policy. If the reader can imagine the
savage determination with which the old Scotch Covenanters turned at
bay when hunted into their mountain fastnesses by their bloody
persecutors, then he will have some idea of the spirit that animated a
great part of that assembly. Two companies of soldiers, handsomely
equipped, armed and drilled, one from Topeka and one from Lawrence,
were drawn up in front of the Topeka House, where the Free State
Legislature was to meet. It is probable that this crowd of men
assembled at this convention could have laid their hands on five
hundred muskets hidden away in their wagons, in ten minutes.

Meanwhile Col. Sumner had quietly drawn up his company of dragoons
just outside of the crowd. In front of the dragoons were two loaded
cannon, and by them grimly stood soldiers with burning fuse. While the
members of the convention were discussing among themselves their
proper policy, United States Marshal Donaldson came forward,
accompanied by Judge El-more, and taking possession of the stand from
which the speakers were addressing the people, Judge El-more read a
proclamation from the President and from acting Gov. Woodson,
commanding the Legislature to disperse.

To this Col. Sumner had appended the following note: "The
proclamation of the President and the orders under it require me to
sustain the Executive of the Territory in executing the laws and
preserving the peace. I therefore hereby announce that I shall
maintain the proclamation at all hazards."

This act of Marshal Donaldson was fiercely denounced as an impertinent
intermedding with other men's business. The general drift of the
reasoning was as follows: "Our act in framing a constitution and in
electing a legislature is not treasonable nor revolutionary. There is
no law against it: consequently we are breaking no law. It is,
moreover, something that has to be done at some time by the majority
of the citizens of this Territory, and we hope to be able to convince
Congress and the President that we are that majority. If we had
undertaken to set in operation a government in contravention to the
one now recognized by the President, then might there have been some
apology for this interference; but we have done nothing of the kind."

The writer will say to the reader that Gov. Walker, an ex-Senator from
Mississippi, and the ablest Governor Kansas ever had, admitted
afterwards that this reasoning of the Kansas squatters was perfectly
correct. But however this might be, here was a patent fact. Here was
Col. Sumner with his United States dragoons, and he was a man to obey
orders; and what were we going to do about it? Should we fight, or
should we not fight? The writer submitted the following resolution:

_Resolved_, That this Convention expresses its
determination not to resist the United States troops.

The resolution was carried, and a committee was sent to Col. Sumner to
inform him of its adoption. His answer was one to draw the hearts of
the people to himself: "I knew," said he, "that you were loyal to the
old flag."

Our readers will be incredulous that such a resolution should be
needed, or that there should be any division of sentiment as touching
its adoption. It is for this reason we call this incident up. It is
that the reader may understand how strained was the state of feeling
of many of the Free State men. They had spent the past months
fighting, and they, in their own minds, associated the United States
troops with the oppressors of Kansas Free State men.

When Mr. Sumner went into the Legislative hall to disperse the
Legislature, he spoke as tenderly as a woman. He said: "Gentlemen,
this is the most painful act of my life But I must obey orders, and
you must disperse." When he wheeled his dragoons to march away the
boys cheered Col. Sumner. They cheered the old flag and the United
States soldiers, but they gave such groans for the Lecompton
Legislature as, it was said, frightened the dragoons' horses.

There was now no further cause that the writer should tarry longer,
and he immediately mounted his horse and rode towards home, with a
heart heavy with the thought of all the distempers that had come on
unhappy Kansas.


We have already told how the campaign was opened, in the spring of
1856, in Atchison county, in a letter which we at that time addressed
to the editor of the _Herald of Freedom_. This paper was printed at
Lawrence, on the printing press destroyed by the "Law and Order" mob.
The weekly issue in which this letter was published was passing
through the press on the day the town was sacked, one side having been
printed, the other side being yet blank. Then the Border Ruffians came
into the town, broke up the press and threw it into the river, and
tumbled the half printed weekly issue into the street. The above-named
article was on the printed side, and was read by the whole crowd, and
they were terribly angry. If the writer had been in town he certainly
would not have escaped alive, if this mob could have found him. As it
was, their curses would not be edifying reading in a Christian
newspaper. Lecompton could not give its friends food or lodging. It
had been located in an out-of-the-way and inaccessible place; its
proprietors were Sheriff Jones, Judge Lecompton, and men of that
_ilk,_ and business men avoided the place as if it had been smitten
with a pestilence. The people of the surrounding country were
generally Free State men, and the South Carolinians could not choose,
but were forced to return to Atchison. They had been angry and
impatient when their friends in Atchison had constrained them to do
things up in such "milk and water" style, and in Lawrence they had
been held back in the same manner, and they returned in a savage
temper. Should a cowardly Yankee be allowed to defy them, and scoff at
them, and call them "bull-dogs and blood-hounds," with impunity? and
now, with this man they had to have a settlement.

We have already seen how the contending factions spread murder and
violence south of the Kaw River; but from May till September
Leavenworth county became a "dark and bloody ground." Immediately
after the Fourth of July, Col. Sumner had been, because of his too
great leniency to Free State men, superseded in command at Fort
Leavenworth by Persifer F. Smith, a man whose heart was hard as
a rock of adamant toward the Free State people, and under his eyes
Leavenworth city and county were given up to blood and robbery.

In Atchison county, from the beginning of these border troubles to the
end of them, not one man's life was taken, and yet David R. Atchison,
Gen. B. F. Stringfellow, and his law partner, Peter T. Abell, were the
leading members of the Atchison town company. Robert S. Kelley and Dr.
John H. Stringfellow also maintained unchanged their bloody purposes.
We find in the _Squatter Sovereign_, under date of June 10th, the
following editorial, and this displays its uniform temper:

The Abolitionist: shoot down our men, without provocation,
wherever they meet them; let us retaliate in the same
manner. A free fight is all we desire. If murder and
assassination is the programme of the day, we are in favor
of filling the bill. Let not the knives of the Pro-slavery
men be sheathed while there is one Abolitionist in the
Territory. As they have shown no quarters to our men, they
deserve none from us. Let our motto be written in blood on
our flags, "_Death to all Yankees and traitors in

Why, then, were not these bloody counsels made good by deeds? Our
circumstances were peculiar. It will be seen above that it was only
the Yankees and Abolitionists in whose bodies the knives of the "Law
and Order" party were to be sheathed; and the Yankees in the country
were only a handful of men, and were therefore powerless; but between
them and these bloody-minded chieftains was interposed a barrier that
proved insurmountable. The great mass of the squatters were just from
the other side of the river. Sometimes a son had left a father, and
crossed the river to get a claim; or a brother had left his brother,
or a girl had married a young man in the neighborhood, and as the
young folks were poor, they had left the old folks and had gone to
seek their fortune in the new Territory. Of course the old folks would
still have a care for the young couple. They were in easy reach of
each other, and would still visit back and forth. Now who does not see
that to touch any one of these was to touch all? It was like touching
a nest of hornets. The reader will observe that these people had no
quarrel with the people of the South: they were bone of their bone and
flesh of their flesh. Neither had they any special quarrel with
Southern institutions; only this, that they would rather live in a
free State. They did feel that way, and they could not help it. But in
one thing they had been sorely wounded. In the invasion of Kansas, and
in the carrying the elections by violence, their personal rights had
been invaded, and they did resent that. And now here were some Yankee
neighbors whom they knew to be kindly and peaceable people, and whose
help they needed in building up their churches; and yet these were to
be murdered or driven out of the Territory _for nothing!_ and it
touched their Southern blood. It was neither just nor right, and they
would not allow it; and in such an issue there would be a common bond
of sympathy on both sides of the river. Moreover, such men as Oliver
Steele, Judge Tutt and the Irvings and Harts and Christophers had
grave misgivings what would be the final issue of this system of
murder and violence that had been adopted to make Kansas a slave

And so it was that the leaders in this conspiracy, right here in this
city and county of Atchison, which was their headquarters, found
themselves strangely embarrassed and handicapped. Their will was good
enough, but how to carry out their purpose?--that was the pinch. A
private assassination was a thing that looked easy enough at the first
sight, but it might turn out that they had undertaken an ugly job for

A meeting of the Disciples was held at the house of Archibald Elliott
in the month of June. It was called quietly, and no noise made about
it. There was a large attendance, and it was evident that if we could
hold regular meetings great good would be done. But the neighborhood
was soon filled with alarming rumors. It was said that a company of
South Carolinians were seen to go into a grove of bushes, about
nightfall, where the writer would be expected to pass, and that they
were seen to emerge from the same place the next morning. One event,
however, adjourned our meetings without date. There was a man living
in the western part of the county named Barnett, who was a man of
considerable attainment, and had been a member of the Christian
Church. But he was given to drink. His wife, however, who was an
excellent Christian woman, remained steadfast to the church, and
Barnett, as he saw his hold on the church and his hope of heaven
slipping away from him, clung the more loyally to his wife, as though
her Christian excellencies would save them both. At her request he
invited me to preach a sermon at his house, and I consented. But when
the South Carolinians in Atchison heard of it, they sent an insulting
message to Barnett that they would come and shoot me. Barnett's
Southern blood was all on fire. Who were these men that had come to
Atchison county to ride rough-shod over him in his own house? He sent
a message equally defiant back to them, that if they did come he and
his neighbors would shoot them. But there was one man in the county
that needed to have no nervousness as touching his reputation for
personal bravery. That man was Caleb May; and he interposed and said:
"Let us wait patiently for more peaceful times. The Son of man did not
come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." But this adjourned
without date our meetings.

One incident must illustrate the strained and peculiar condition of
affairs in Atchison county. Archimedes Speck lived on the Stranger
Creek, several miles below the residence of the writer. He was a man
of magnificent physical development, and was a pronounced Free State
man. His wife's people originally came from North Carolina, and she
was proud of her Southern blood; and the husband and wife did not come
to Kansas to be run over by anybody. Yet they were eminently peaceable
people, if let alone. These gentlemen in Atchison had determined to
disarm the Free State people living in the country; and Mr. Speck,
being a Free State man, open and avowed, they called on him, but he
was not at home. They therefore asked his wife: "Has your husband a
rifle, musket, or fire-arms of any kind?" She brought out an old Queen
Anne's musket, as rusty and worn as if it had been in service ever
since the Revolutionary war. But while they were inspecting the rusty
old thing, whether it was worth carrying away, she took from a closet
a bran span new double-barrel fowling-piece, and, putting her finger
on the trigger, she said, "Now, sir, if you do not lay down that
musket and leave the house, I will shoot you." If this gentleman had
suddenly roused up a female tiger, he would not have been more
terror-stricken than when he found himself facing this woman, blazing
with scorn and irrepressible resentment, and he concluded he did not
want the rusty old musket, _and did not ask to examine the other one._

Mr. S. had threatened to flog one of his Pro-slavery neighbors who had
insulted him, as he alleged, and the man went to Atchison and made
oath that he was in fear of his life, and the Sheriff was sent out
with a warrant to arrest Mr. Speck. But at this time Leavenworth
county was full of murder and bloodshed; guerrilla parties, both Free
State and Pro-slavery, were fighting in many parts of the Territory,
and Lane had returned, and was leading the Free State men in this
warfare, and had threatened with many oaths to wipe out Atchison, and
there were rumors that he was already near at hand. And so, to provide
against all contingencies, the Sheriff was accompanied by a _posse_ of
forty armed men, who took with them a cannon which had been loaned to
Atchison by the people of Missouri.

Mrs. Speck received the Sheriff graciously, explained to him that her
husband was absent, but would soon return, but to all questions as
touching his present whereabouts, she shook her head mysteriously and
refused to explain. The thing looked suspicious. Was it possible that
Lane was even now in the neighborhood? and the Sheriff went back to
his _posse_ to hold a council of war. He had stationed them on a high
bluff on the north bank of the Stranger Creek, and, looking across the
wide timbered bottom to the opposite bluff, they could dimly see a
large number of objects approaching through the brush-wood. What could
it be? Was it Lane coming to attack him? And now two horsemen emerged
from the brush and rode on a full gallop down the bluff.

"It is Lane! It is Lane!" they cried. "Let us ride back to Atchison
and get ready to defend the town," and on a gallop they skedaddled
back to Atchison.

Mr. Speck had been with some of his neighbors to bring home a herd of
cattle. An old cow had broken from the herd, intending to get back to
her former grazing ground, and Mr. Speck and his neighbors had ridden
full gallop to head her off. On reaching home, and learning of the
visit of the Sheriff, he went at once to Atchison to give bonds to
keep the peace; and to make all things square, he took with him the
rusty old musket and proffered it to the gentleman that had been so
solicitous to get it. Mr. Speck assured him that Mrs. S. was now
willing he should have it, and _would not shoot him if he took it_.

These gentlemen had been making money out of pocket. They had been
frightened out of their wits by a spunky woman; and forty armed men,
with a loaded cannon, had been stampeded and made to run pell-mell
into Atchison by a herd of cattle and two or three men on horseback,
riding at full gallop after an old cow.

These men had undertaken to do a wicked thing, and had been made
ridiculous in doing so; and this contributed largely to that
revolution in the public opinion of the county, which had been going
on for eighteen months, and which at the last compelled a radical
change in the policy of these "Border Ruffian" leaders. But this
again gave the chiefs of this conspiracy abundant experience that it
pays to do right, and that a good Providence had brought them
prosperity and honor by defeating their original counsels and turning
them into foolishness.

But first we must tell of the carnival of riot, ruin, and robbing that
had been going on in other parts of the Territory.


The _Squatter Sovereign_, in its issue of July 1st, made the following

The steamer, Star of the West, having on board
seventy-eight Chicago Abolitionists, was overhauled at
Lexington, Mo., and the company disarmed. A large number
of rifles and pistols were taken at Lexington, and a guard
sent upon the boat, to prevent them from landing in the
Territory. After leaving Lexington, it was ascertained
that they had not given up all arms, but still held
possession of a great number of bowie knives and pistols,
which were probably secreted while the search was going on
at Lexington. At Leavenworth City, Captain Clarkson, with
twenty-five men, went on board of the boat and demanded
the surrender of all the arms in the possession of the


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