Personal Recollections of Pardee Butler
Part 4 out of 6
new churches that grow up around them; but very many are
lost in the great whirlpool of this world's strife.
What, then, is the remedy? Evidently this: Jesus accepts
no divided empire in the human heart. He will have all or
nothing. The Church of Christ, the cause of Christ, the
people of Christ--these must be the centers of attraction
to which the heart of the Christian turns with all the
enthusiasm with which an Eastern idolater bows before the
shrine of his idol. In return for such devotion Jesus
gives to his people every imaginable blessing. Wealth,
power, dominion, science, civilization, genius, learning,
power over the elements of nature, and insight into its
magnitude, do now belong to the Lord's people in Europe
and America as they never belonged to any people before.
Yet all these must be laid at Jesus' feet before he will
make the returning prodigal the recipient of his love.
Everything must be subordinated to our religion.
Since the almighty dollar has become the touch-stone by
which everything is to be decided, I assert that this is a
good speculation: secure a neighborhood homogeneous and
not heterogeneous. Let its tendencies be favorable to
temperance, education and religion, and in doing so a man
will have added fifty per cent, to the selling value of
his property. The present thrift, wealth, genius,
enterprise and intelligence of the people of the New
England States is the legitimate outworking of the
training bestowed on their sons by the stern, old Puritans
that first peopled these inhospitable shores.
But all temporal and earthly considerations disappear, as
fade the stars at the approach of day, when we consider
that measureless ruin, that gulf of everlasting despair,
that voiceless woe, into which the emigrant may sink
himself and family by locating in a profligate, dissipated
or irreligious neighborhood, or in a community wholly
swallowed up in the love of money, or absorbed in the
questions, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or
wherewithal shall we be clothed? What home on the
beautiful prairies, what treasures of fine water and good
timber, what corner lots, what property in town or
country, can equal in value the guardianship of our Lord,
the indwelling of God's good Spirit, the approval of a
good conscience, the smiles of angels and the inheritance
of a home in heaven? Let no man, therefore, fall into the
folly--the unspeakable folly--of subordinating his
spiritual and eternal interests to his temporal welfare.
"Seek ye God and his righteousness, and all these things
shall be added."
To teach, to discipline and perfect the churches we have
already organized; to gather into churches the lost sheep
of the house of our Israel, scattered over this great
wilderness of sin; to try and help those who are still
purposing to tempt its dangers; and to lay broad and deep
the foundations of a future operation and co-operation
that shall ultimate in spreading the gospel from pole to
pole, and across the great sea to the farthest domicile of
man--this is the purpose which we set before us, and which
should be pursued with the zeal and enthusiasm displayed
by the followers of the false prophet of Mecca; and with
the patience of the coral workers, who build for ages and
cycles of ages their marble battlements in the waters of
the Pacific Ocean.
In 1859 I only spent part of the year preaching in Kansas. At the
earnest solicitation of Ovid Butler, the founder and munificent patron
of Butler University, I spent six months preaching in the State of
Indiana. A missionary society had been organized in Indianapolis, in
which Ovid Butler was the leading spirit, and such men as Joseph
Bryant, and Matthew McKeever, brothers-in-law to Alexander Campbell,
together with Jonas Hartzell, Cyrus McNeely, of Hopedale, Ohio, and
Eld. John Boggs, of Cincinnati, and many others, were associated with
him in the movement. By these brethren I was for some time partially
sustained as a missionary in Kansas. The formation of this society had
grown out of a difference existing between these brethren and the
General Missionary Society, touching what had become the over-topping
and absorbing question, both to the churches and the people of the
United States. As this question has ceased to be of any practical
interest to the American people, I shall spend no time in its
discussion, only to narrate, briefly, what happened to us in Kansas,
growing out of the existence of these two societies.
Ovid Butler had set his heart on this, that the brethren in Indiana
should have personal knowledge of the man that himself and others were
sustaining in Kansas. I found myself greatly misunderstood, and was
often hurt at the slights that grew out of these misunderstandings;
and I tried hard to make these brethren know just what was in my
heart, and what were the objects I was seeking to accomplish.
In the early spring of 1860 I returned to Kansas and resumed my work.
Geo. W. Hutchinson had been a preacher in what was known as the
"Christian Connection" in the New England States, and had been
eminently successful in winning converts. But these churches were
poor, and he having married a wife, his compensation did not meet his
necessities, and like many others he went to California with a hope of
bettering his fortunes. Afterwards he came to Lawrence, in Kansas,
under the auspices of the Emigrant Aid Society. But his freighting
teams having been plundered of a stock of goods, which they were
bringing for him from Leavenworth to Lawrence, he was left to fight
his battle as best he might. It was at this conjuncture that he made
the acquaintance of the brethren at Big Springs, and became impressed
with the simplicity and scriptural authority of our plea. It is well
known that there never was more than a paper wall between ourselves
and "The Old Christian Order," and there seemed nothing in the way of
Bro. Hutchison. He had in his heart no theory of a regeneration
wrought by a miracle, and which gives to a convert a supernatural
evidence of pardon before baptism, and that should, therefore, compel
him to reject the words of Jesus: "He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved."
The Christian Brethren have been supposed to have some leaning to
Unitarianism, but he betrayed no such leaning. But while he had no
love for the barbarous language in which Trinitarians have sometimes
spoken of the divine relation subsisting between the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit, yet he was willing to ascribe to our Lord all that is
ascribed to him in the Holy Scriptures. Thus joyfully he accepted this
new brotherhood he had found in Kansas, and our churches just as
joyfully set him to preaching. We needed preachers, and here was one
already made to our hand.
Early in the spring of 1860 the weather came off exquisitely fine. It
was like a hectic flush--the deceptive seeming of health on the cheek
of the consumptive. It was a spring without rain, in which the sun was
shining beautiful and bright, in which the evenings were balmy and
pleasant, and the road good; but to be followed by a summer of
scorching heat, of hot winds that burned the vegetation like the
breath of a furnace, leaving the people to starve. The inhabitants of
Kansas will never forget the year 1860, the drought and the famine.
It was in the springtime, in the midst of this beautiful weather, we
called Bro. Hutchinson to come to Pardee and help us. This protracted
meeting resulted in a great ingathering. It was largely made up of
young men, who, for the time being, were located on the eastern border
of Kansas, but that in the stirring and stormy times that were to
follow were to be scattered over every part of the Great West. And now
Bro. Hutchinson's fame as a revivalist began to spread abroad, and
many neighborhoods where there were a few Disciples, and who were
anxious to build themselves into a congregation, sent for him to come
and help them; and thus our churches rapidly grew in number, and our
acquaintance with the brethren was greatly extended. As a result,
there came to be a common feeling among them that we ought to come
together in a State, or rather a Territorial, meeting. Pursuant to
such a purpose, a general meeting was called at Big Springs, Aug. 9,
1860, C. M. Mock having been called to the chair, and W. O. Ferguson,
of Emporia, having been made secretary.
The following churches reported themselves as having been organized in
No. of Members.
Pardee, Atchison Co 92
Union Church, Atchison Co 60
Leavenworth City 70
Big Springs, Douglas Co 72
Prairie City, Douglas Co 44
Peoria City, Lykins Co 23
Leroy, Coffey Co 108
Stanton, Lykins Co 91
Iola, Allen Co 21
Humbolt, Allen Co. 12
Burlington, Coffey Co 9
Wolf Creek, Doniphan Co 70
Rock Creek, Doniphan Co 30
Independence Creek, Doniphan Co 12
Cedar Creek, Doniphan Co 16
Olathe, Johnson Co 10
McCarnish, Johnson Co 40
Oskaloosa, Jefferson Co 10
Cedar Creek, Jackson Co 30
Thus of organized churches there were reported 900 members, and of
unorganized members it was ascertained there were enough to make the
number more than one thousand.
We find on record, as having been adopted at this meeting, the
_Resolved_ That the thanks of this Convention be tendered
to the Christian Missionary Society, at Indianapolis, for
the service of Bro. Butler as a missionary in Kansas, and
that the Society be requested to sustain him until the
churches in Kansas shall be able to sustain their
_Resolved_, That Brethren G. W. Hutchinson, Pardee Butler,
Ephraim Philips, S. G. Brown, W. E. Evans, and N. Dunshee
be recommended to the confidence and support of the
brethren as able and faithful preachers of the gospel.
WHEREAS, The brethren of Southern Kansas are in destitute
WHEREAS, Bro. E. Philips, having spent much of his time
preaching, without fee, or reward, needs pecuniary
WHEREAS, Bro. Crocker is about to visit the East;
_Resolved_, That we commend Bro. Crocker as worthy to
receive contributions made on behalf of Bro. Philips.
_Resolved_, That we will encourage and, so far as we have
ability, sustain by our prayers and means those who labor
for us in word and doctrine.
_Resolved_, That we are in favor of Sunday-schools and
Bible classes, and that we will use our influence to
sustain social meetings in all our churches.
_Resolved_, That when we adjourn, we adjourn to meet at
Prairie City, on Wednesday before the second Lord's day in
_Resolved_, That the thanks of this Convention be tendered
to the brethren of Big Springs for their kindness and
liberality during the sessions of this Convention.
On motion, the Convention adjourned to the time and place
C. W. MOCK, Chairman.
W. O. FERGUSON, Secretary.
The convention in its results was full of encouragement and joy.
Insignificant as had been our beginning two years before, here were
twenty churches and more than one thousand members ready to cooperate
together and plant the cause in this infant Territory. This meeting
also introduced us to many new acquaintances. Eld. S. G. Brown, of
Emporia, had been diligently employed planting churches along the
Neosho River from Emporia to Leroy. Bro. Ephraim Philips, at Leroy,
also at that time became known to us. Bro. Philips, after some years,
returned to Pennsylvania, and there went into the oil business with
his brother; the brothers were successful, and afterwards
distinguished themselves by a generous and Christian liberality. Bro.
Crocker also, before his death, had won a large place in the hearts of
his brethren. Elder Wm, Gans, at that time of Lanesfield, but
afterwards of Olathe, will long be remembered with earnest affection;
and it was at this time that he became known to us.
For reasons that we have already mentioned, the General Missionary
Society had done nothing for us, but seeing that we were fighting a
brave battle, and that we were keeping the peace with each other, they
felt themselves moved to help us. Eld. D. S. Burnett was at this time
employed preaching in Western Missouri, and was deputed by the
Missionary Board to visit G. W. Hutchinson at Lawrence, who was
winning golden opinions as an eminently successful evangelist. Bro. H.
was not at home, but was away holding a protracted meeting, and Bro.
Burnett therefore called on his wife. Mrs. Hutchinson was a pious,
refined, and educated New England woman, who had married her husband
after he had become known as the most successful evangelist in the
"Old Christian Order" in the New England States. She had with pain
seen him turned aside from his chosen work by hard necessities, and
was now greatly rejoiced to see him once more a preacher. Bro. B. was
an accomplished gentleman, whose polished and cultivated manners
sometimes laid him open to the charge of a proud and aristocratic
exclusiveness; but this Yankee lady herself knew how to queen it, and
stood before him with no sense of inferiority. She frankly said to him
that herself and husband were abolitionists, but that they knew the
value of peace, and would do what could be done, in good conscience,
to make peace and keep it. Bro. Burnett evidently went away from
Lawrence with a good opinion of this family of Yankee abolitionists,
and Bro. H. was immediately accepted as a missionary of the General
Missionary Society. He used quietly to indicate to me that, as
touching this interview, his wife was a better general than himself,
and that it was lucky for him that he was not at home.
And so we two became missionaries, sustained by two different, and, in
one particular, antagonistic missionary societies. Of course we did
not quarrel; why should we? If I was sometimes charged with
abolitionism, was not this man blacker than myself? We often traveled
together, and held protracted meetings under the same tent. I had for
a lifetime studied this plea which we make for a return to primitive
and apostolic Christianity, and it was, therefore, my business to
press upon the people the duty to yield a loyal obedience to the Lord
Jesus Christ as our only Lawgiver and King, and thus to renounce all
human leadership and the authority of all human opinions; and it
became the business of Bro. Hutchinson to win the people by his
magnetic power, and fill them with his own enthusiasm, and thus induce
them to act on the convictions that had been already formed in their
I take on myself to say there never have been two more diligent
evangelists than were Bro. Hutchinson and myself in the year that
followed the Big Springs Convention. Looking over the whole ground, I
am able to see that in that year was laid the foundation for that
abiding prosperity that has distinguished our effort down to the
There had come to the Big Springs Convention two brethren--Father
Gillespie and his son, William Gillespie, living at St. George, on the
Kansas River, fifty miles above Topeka and about eight miles below
Manhattan. These brethren came to tell us that here were two
settlements of brethren waiting to be organized into churches; and
Bro. Hutchinson and myself both visited them during the ensuing
autumn. A military road ran up the Kansas River from Fort Leavenworth
to Fort Riley, passing through the village of St. George, But if I
were to go to St. George by this route, I would lose thirty miles of
travel, and I therefore determined to start directly west from my
place of residence. But, in doing so, I would have to cross the
Pottawatomie Indian Reserve, on which for forty miles there was not
the habitation of a white man. Stopping over night with Bro. J. W.
Williams, on the eastern border of the Reserve, I started betimes to
St. George, traveling to the west. But night came on, and I had not
reached the line of white settlements. I picketed my horse on the
prairie, made a pillow of my saddle, and slept until morning. The
night was warm and pleasant, and I did not suffer with the cold, and
in the morning I was ready betimes to ride on to the residence of Bro.
Gillespie. He was so glad to see me. It was worth a journey of one
hundred miles to get such a welcome. And then there was Sister
Gillespie, and a house full of young Gillespies, and they were all
so glad to see me.
"Have you had your breakfast?"
"Well, where did you lodge?"
This was a poser. I attempted to pass the question by; but nothing
would do, and I had to confess I slept under the canopy of heaven.
"O, dear! O, dear!" And had it come to this that their preacher had to
sleep on the prairie! This was a family of hospitable Kentuckians, who
were born to a love of music, and the old gentleman was a fiddler, and
next to his Bible he loved his fiddle. Of course, we had a grand, good
time, and were all filled with joy; and this was the beginning of the
churches on the upper waters of the Kansas River. Twelve miles above
St. George was Ashland, where we found Bro. N. B. White, father to A.
J. White, who has hitherto been pastor of the church at Leavenworth
City; but since has been acting as district evangelist. Bro. N. B.
White came from Carthage, Ky., and long remained a faithful and
indefatigable preacher. In my experience as an evangelist, I have
known many men of superior Christian excellence; but never one man of
more singleness and integrity of heart; never one man that had a
clearer conception of the ultimate purposes and results of
Christianity; never a man whose life was more unselfish and
self-sacrificing. Being of an intensely nervous and high-strung
organization, and doing his work in a mixed population that would have
taxed the patience of Job in its management, it is no wonder that Bro.
White was sometimes misunderstood, and, like all reformers, was made
to feel that he was living before his time.
Thus passed in abundant labors the year 1860, and the time drew on for
our yearly meeting, which had been appointed to be held at Prairie
City in September, 1861. The brethren came together with real
enthusiasm. During the past year the number of Disciples had been
multiplied, and the cause had been greatly strengthened. It had been a
year of constant ingathering. New churches reported themselves at this
meeting, and brethren whom we had never known before. As evidence of
what was being accomplished I will copy a note which I find appended
to the minutes of the Prairie City meeting:
The following letter was received from a church meeting in
Monroe township, Anderson County, said church being of the
"Old Christian Order":
_To the Elders of the State Meeting at Prairie City_:
We, the Church of God meeting at North Pottawatomie, do
recommend to your honorable body, Bro. Samuel Anderson, as
our pastor. We also represent our church as in good
standing and in full fellowship, numbering twenty-eight
Bro. Anderson, the bearer of the above letter, came before the
Convention and said: "It does yet appear to me that a man's sins are
forgiven as soon as he believes; but I do not think that for this
cause there ought to be a schism between us. I am willing to unite
with you in exhorting men to obey all the commands of the gospel, and
in seeking to unite all Christians on the one foundation."
But there appeared one cloud in our horizon, one cause to hinder the
perfect success of this, our second yearly meeting. The country was
full of rumors of war, and there seemed impending a great national
conflict. Bro. Hutchinson had been for one year an eminently
successful evangelist; but now he went into the Union army as an army
chaplain, and thus his work among us ceased. And now the war was upon
us; we were predestined to see dark days, and the hearts of the people
were full of forebodings of evil. Many of our young men went into the
army, and for two years the produce raised by the farmers brought
almost nothing, and many of our preachers retired from their work. And
then there appeared in the land wolves in sheep's clothing--thieves
wearing the disguise of loyalty to the "old flag," and who held
themselves self-elected to punish "rebel sympathizers," and in the
estimation of this gentry the best evidence that could be had that a
man was a rebel sympathizer was, that he owned a good span of horses.
It is said, "There is no great loss without some small gain," and
these evil days gave opportunity to some of us who owed a debt of
gratitude for kindness rendered to us when we were in sore straits, to
pay back this debt by demanding justice on behalf of loyal citizens of
Kansas, whose only offense was that they had been born in the South.
It is the purpose of this series of articles to tell how two peoples,
the one from the South and the other from the North--the one the sons
of the Puritans, and the other the children of the younger sons of the
old English cavaliers--came together and settled in one Territory; how
they were divided by the question of American slavery, and how they
strove in an antagonism as fierce as that which once subsisted between
the Saxon and Norman in Old England; how they peacefully settled their
controversy, and in one-third of a century have grown into an
eminently peaceful, prosperous, enterprising and well-ordered
commonwealth, that stands conspicuous as an illustration and proof of
the excellence of our national institutions. We are also to tell how
that, out of the furnace fires of such a strife, a community of
churches grew up that have for their purpose a restoration of
primitive and apostolic Christianity, and the unity of all Christians
under a supreme loyalty, to the Lord Jesus Christ as our only Leader
and Lawgiver, and as the great Author of our American civilization. We
are also to tell how the discipline of such a strife has created a
people of such heroic temper, that this has been the first government
among the nations to grapple with the saloon power in a final and
decisive battle, which has banished it beyond the boundaries of the
State, and has branded it as an enemy to Christian homes, an enemy to
our Christian civilization, and an enemy to the welfare of the whole
human race. Other States have paltered with the evil by means of
feeble and frivolous legislation, but Kansas has grappled the monster
by the throat by incorporating Prohibition into its fundamental law.
But, above all, we are to press upon the attention of the people the
imminence of that danger that is threatening us, and that embodies
within itself all other perils that hang over the nation. We are
threatened to be overwhelmed by a foreign and alien emigration that
brings with it the anarchy of atheism and the unAmerican and the
anti-American traditions of a paganized Christianity. We have now
fifteen millions of foreign-born citizens and of their children of the
first generation in the United States. The Rev. Josiah Strong
estimates that in twelve years their number will be forty-three
millions; and a great part of this population is now, and shall
hereafter be, under the control of Jesuit priests, that seek to
maintain in the hearts of these millions loyalty to a foreign prince,
resident in Rome, as superior to and more binding on their consciences
than is that allegiance which they owe to the United States.
The city of New York has eighty persons in every one hundred of its
population that are either foreign born or else the children of
foreign born parents. Boston has sixty-three; Chicago has
eighty-seven; St. Louis has seventy-eight; Cincinnati, sixty; San
Francisco, seventy-eight, and Detroit and Milwaukee have each
eighty-four citizens in every one hundred of their population that are
either foreign born or else the children of foreign born parents. A
nation is dominated by its cities, as England is dominated by London;
as France is dominated by Paris, and Germany by Berlin; and our great
cities have already become foreign cities, controlled by a foreign
vote, and dominated by a foreign public opinion. Here in Kansas, in
cities where there is a dominant element of foreign born citizens, we
have to invoke the power of the State to compel obedience to our
temperance laws on the part of this alien and un-American population;
otherwise they overawe the city government and rebel against the laws.
Self-evident it is that the presence of such a population is a threat
against our social and domestic life, against our government, and
against the Christian religion. But the presence of such an evil calls
for union among ourselves. Poland was dismembered and ceased to
exist among the nations, because of intestine strifes and divisions
among its nobility, who were its governing class; and in the presence
of such a danger menacing the American people it would be a madness
unspeakable in us to keep up among ourselves either our religious
feuds and bickerings, or the animosities heretofore existing between
the North and South.
We must be one people, or this nation will surely perish. And this
oneness is not to be brought about by the utterance of feeble
platitudes, nor by the hypocritical profession of a good-will we do
not feel; we must follow the guidance of that Book of all books that
God has given us, by exhibiting that robust and manly courage that
looks the truth and the whole truth squarely in the face. After making
all necessary discount and rebate because of faults and infirmities,
there is enough yet remaining of solid and essential excellence in the
citizens of every State in this nation that they can afford to have
the honest truth told about themselves. Is the sun less glorious
because there are spots on the sun? Is the moon less beautiful because
the man in the moon does not wear a handsome face?
On the late Fourth of July there was a rallying of the clans of the
veterans--the men in blue and the men in gray--on the field of
Gettysburg, to commemorate the battle they fought twenty-five years
before, and to do honor to the bravery displayed by each man in
fighting for what he honestly thought to be the right. This was as it
should be. But there ought to be the celebration of another battle--it
ought to be, even though it may never occur--that should never be
forgotten. In that battle there was no dreadful carnage as on the
battlefield of Gettysburg; there were no desperate charges made by
cavalry and infantry; there was no heroic courage displayed under the
pitiless peltings of a deadly hail of shot and shell; there were no
great generals of national reputation in command, but humble men unknown
to fame, in the final result came together, and with honest speech said,
"We will shake hands and be friends. We will let bygones be by gones,
and see what can be done by a united effort to promote the welfare of
Now we insist that Kansas is worthy of more honor than Gettysburg. But
as in this wicked world the best men do not get the highest honor, nor
the best deeds the highest praise, we will be content to bide our
time, knowing that the Lord does not forget, and that he will speak a
good word for us at the great judgment day.
Kansas led the nation in the abolition of American slavery; Kansas
ought a second time to lead the nation in a universal amnesty, so that
there shall be nothing to hinder that we shall preach the gospel to
the devotees of the mother of Babylon, and to the millions of godless,
Christless heathen that are thrown upon our hands, thus making them
good Christians that they may be good American citizens.
In 1862 our yearly meeting was held at Emporia, and in 1863 at
Ottumwa. These meetings were little better than failures. Yearly
district meetings were kept up in Northeastern Kansas, in which more
vigor was manifested.
And now the writer began to feel the pressure of hard necessities. For
five years I had kept myself in the field on a salary utterly
inadequate to my needs, and had been gradually running into debt, and
these debts had to be paid. In anticipation of the future wants of my
children, I had invested my available means in land; but as this land
was not improved, it yielded me no return. In the distress that came
on the people in those days, one means of making money presented
itself, and many availed themselves of it. Gold had been discovered at
Pike's Peak, and thitherward had flocked a great multitude of people.
There were no railroads, and all supplies had to be carried across the
plains in freighting wagons. This business was carried on by the
roughest class of a rough and frontier population; still, it was an
honest business, and honest men might lawfully engage in it, provided
they had the hardihood to face the dangers and exposures of such a
During the years 1862, 1863 and 1864, I went into this business with a
small freighting outfit. This certainly was not just the thing for a
preacher to do, but necessity knows no law. In the spring of 1862,
Bro. James Butcher was going to Denver with a freighting train, and he
with myself agreed to go in the same train for mutual convenience.
The President, Abraham Lincoln, had ordered a draft, and many young
men in Missouri had found themselves in a sore strait. In the South
were their kindred, and they felt that they could not and would not
fight against their own flesh and blood; and to avoid this they
determined to flee to the gold mines in the mountains, where every man
did what was right in his own eyes--and so they came to Atchison or
Leavenworth and engaged to drive these freighting teams to Denver.
Many of them were sons of rich fathers, well educated, and had never
engaged in manual labor, much less in such menial work as this, and
when these proud and high-spirited fellows felt what an ignoble life
they had been reduced to, the reader may well believe they did not
feel good-natured over it. And now, when these young gentlemen came to
understand that they were to be associated with a man that was
reported to be the representative of the hated Yankees, who had made
war on the people of the South, and set free their slaves, they
bitterly attacked me in wordy warfare. Of course I defended myself.
And so day after day, in the intervals while our cattle were grazing,
we debated every question relative to slavery that has been debated
within the last fifty years. Their hearts were bitter; they were
passionately excited, and would often end the talk, which they
themselves had begun, With noisy profanity. They seemed to think they
had this advantage of me, that they could swear and I could not.
We were now traveling up the valley of the Platte River. It was the
month of June. The weather had become rainy and there were frequent
showers. One night we had corralled our train on an almost dead level
bottom, and I was sure, from the appearance of the heavens, that we
should have a storm. Bro. Butcher had been taken sick and had returned
home, and, except myself, there were none to think or care what was
coming; and yet it was plain to be seen that the air was thick and
sultry, and the heavens overcast with clouds, and that everything
betokened a tempest. Our canvas-covered wagons had been so crowded
with merchandise that we could not get into them, and we had slept on
blankets on the ground; but here on this dead level bottom, in case of
a heavy rain, we would be drowned out by the flooding of the ground. I
dragged under my wagon a number of ox-yokes, and with these and some
strips of boards I made a platform, and on this I laid a narrow
pallet, and crept under the wagon, where I would be sheltered from the
rain by the wagon-bed above me. During the night there fell frequent
showers, and the boys were soon drowned out from their pallets on the
ground. They were tired and sleepy; they were homesick and in bad
temper at their mean and unaccustomed surroundings, and were inclined
to hold the Yankees responsible for it all, and they began to curse
and swear in rough and bitter speech. Then there came on the most
awful thunder storm I ever witnessed. Vivid flashes of lightning kept
the whole heavens illuminated with a blaze of light, while a thousand
electric lights would not so have turned night into day around our
corral of train-wagons. Crashing peals of thunder were in the air, and
the bolts seemed to descend to the earth around us. Then there came
down a flood of rain that was as if a water spout had burst above our
heads. I looked out from my narrow bed, and could see the boys
gathered in groups, standing leaning against their wagons, soaked to
the skin, and their faces white with ghastly paleness; but not a word
was spoken. They had forgotten to swear. Then there was a lull in the
storm, which subsided into a drizzling cold rain, and I went to sleep.
When morning came we were a sorry looking lot. The boys were soaked,
and chilled, and _blue_, and dreadfully homesick. Words would not tell
what these poor fellows would have given if they could have been where
they could have been coddled and petted by their mothers and sisters.
I saw that a warm cup of coffee and a substantial breakfast would do
them good, and I hastened to have it provided. They came with alacrity
at the call for breakfast, for they were hungry. When a good square
meal had somewhat thawed them out, I said, "Boys, what made you quit
swearing last night?" The one who was usually their spokesman, and
who knew how to be a gentleman if he had a mind to be, said
reverently, "We were afraid." From this time forward our debates over
slavery and the Southern Confederacy were at an end, or if we had them
it was in a friendly way. Given a fair chance, these boys were not so
bad as they seemed.
In the summer of 1864 we had reached the "Cutoff," and were within
eighty miles of Denver. It was late on Saturday afternoon when we got
to the Bijou Ranch. We were tired and our teams were tired, and we
debated for some time whether we should drive ten miles further, where
we would find better feed for our oxen. We did so, though it took us
till midnight; and there we rested on Sunday. This was providential;
for it was on this Sunday that the Cheyenne Indians made their
memorable raid and plundered the trains, burned the ranches and stole
the horses for three hundred miles along the Platte River. They
attacked the Bijou Station that we had left on Saturday, but they did
not venture any nearer Denver; consequently we were safe. On our
return we saw how the people had been murdered, the trains plundered
and the ranches burned along our route; and it presented a terrible
spectacle. A man named Butler was killed and scalped on the Little
Blue River, and the people in Kansas got the word that it was myself.
Immediately on my return home I rode up to the church at Wolf Creek,
in Doniphan county, where we had a district meeting appointed. It was
to them as if I had come from the dead. I went home for dinner with my
old friend, Bro. John Beeler. I noticed his little boy peering
attentively at me; he climbed upon a bedstead close behind me, then,
jumping down, he ran to his mother, and, pulling Sister Beeler by the
apron, said, "Ma! Ma! The Indians did scalp Bro. Butler; I can see it
on the top of his head." The reader must know that, like "Old Uncle
Ned," I have no hair on the top of my head.
But, in spite of disasters and hardships, and dark and stormy days,
our churches continued to grow and prosper, and we kept up a vigorous
and aggressive church organization. On Sept. 27, 1864, the churches of
the State came together at their fifth annual State meeting at
Tecumseh, Shawnee county. Here the brethren organized a missionary
society, fashioned after the plan of our General Missionary Society,
and in which life directorships, life memberships and annual
memberships were obtained by the payment of a sum of money.
The writer of these Recollections will explain that the formation of
this Society was not his work. He doubted whether the brethren were
prepared for it. Nevertheless, he was willing to be governed by the
majority. By resolution of the State meeting, the writer was requested
to prepare for publication with the minutes of the meeting an address,
of which the following is a copy:
ADDRESS TO THE CHRISTIAN BRETHREN OF THE STATE OF KANSAS.
_Beloved Brethren_: We present to you in these pages the
details of the organization of the Christian Missionary
Society of the State of Kansas. We hope for your approval
and ask for your contributions.
The warrior may fight for his country on the battle field;
the statesman may seek to develop its resources and
improve its laws; the husbandman may make its fields heavy
with their weight of golden grain; and those who love
domestic life may seek to create in that place they call
home a second paradise; but broader, deeper, more
comprehensive and sweeter far, is the work of
Christianity. It underlies all good, and is the only sure
basis of progress.
For two thousand years China and Japan have been without
the Bible, and what they were then, that they are now. For
two thousand years the millions of India have been left
without God and without hope in the world, and they have
only progressed into infinite degradations. The aboriginal
inhabitants of America, left without the Bible, have only
gone down deeper and deeper into a night as black as that
which brooded over old chaos.
No Herschel counts the stars, numbers the planets,
measures the length of their years and computes the number
of their days, unless his observatory is illuminated by
the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. No Luther thunders
against priestcraft, shakes the thrones of tyrants, and
wakes the nations to a new life and a new progress, save
that Luther that finds a Bible in his cell. No Franklin
calls down electricity from the clouds to carry messages
across a continent swift as the lightning flashes through
the sky, save that Franklin whose fathers brought the
Bible with them from their native land, and prized it more
than all the gold of Ophir. No mother country has had such
reason to be proud of any colony that was ever planted on
the face of this green earth, as Great Britain has had
reason to be proud of her colonies in North America, and
no colonies ever so loved the Bible. Judson, Howard,
Wilberforce, and Florence Nightingale drew the inspiration
of their benevolence from a dying Saviour's cross, and
learned of him who, "though he was rich, yet for our sakes
become poor, that we through his poverty might be rich."
Christianity, as it was given by Jesus to the apostles,
and by the apostles to mankind, was as perfect as the God
who gave it. Our whole duty then is this, that we should
restore primitive and apostolic Christianity again to the
world. Many reformers have sought to do this; but they
have only reformed in part. Though they fled from Babylon
they stopped short of Jerusalem.
We can not pause in this work which we have begun. We can
not allow ourselves to grow cold and our churches to die.
We must go forward in that path in which the rays of our
glorious sun--the Sun of Righteousness--grow brighter and
brighter unto the perfect day.
God does not make Christians as he created Adam out of the
dust of the earth. He works by _means_: "How shall they
believe in him of whom they have not heard?" God works
through the voice of the Bible scattered over the world.
If any doubt this, let them reflect that among all the
millions of men that inhabit the whole earth not one
becomes a Christian save him who either hears or reads of
a crucified Saviour.
Money is the sinews of this war. True, there is peril in
money. It is not safe to be rich; and it is admitted that
by wealth preachers may be corrupted. But this is not the
present danger. The present peril is, that haggard want,
stalking in at the preacher's door, will paralyze his
tongue, make his knees feeble and his hands heavy, and
turn away his heart from his proper work to the question,
What shall I eat? and what shall I drink? and wherewithal
shall I be clothed? The preacher is told to put his trust
in the Lord. But when, after long waiting, no ravens come
to feed him, he sometimes loses his heart, and says, "I go
a fishing." Surely the brethren will not have a
controversy with the Lord. They will not deny that he has
appointed that "they that preach the gospel shall live of
It is by no weak, sickly, faint-hearted, lukewarm,
languid, and spasmodic efforts that the cause is to be
kept alive. God will have all or nothing. This is an age
in which, if never before, both good men and bad men are
truly in earnest. The devil is fearfully and terribly in
earnest "Therefore rejoice you heavens, and you that dwell
in them Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the
sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great
wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time."
_We must give till we feel it. The widow's mite was most
precious in the eyes of Jesus, because it was her all_.
The objects we aim at are unquestionably scriptural. "Go disciple
all nations." This was the Saviour's last command. To sustain our
missionaries by the free-will offering of our brethren--this is
In the year 1865 the State meeting was held at Prairie City. Meantime,
however, a vigorous local district organization had been maintained
from the first in Northeastern Kansas. This year its annual meeting
was held at Leavenworth City, continuing from the first till the 4th
of June. In addition to the ordinary purposes for which this meeting
was held, it undertook to perfect the Missionary Society that had been
organized the preceding year at Tecumseh.
Among all the conventions held in Kansas, whether of State or
District, this must be regarded as the most notable:
1. It offers devout thanksgiving to the Lord for the return of peace
to the nation: "_Resolved_, That with hearts full of gratitude to
Almighty God, we hail the return of peace to our long distracted
2. After seven years of labor, beginning in 1858, and ending in 1865,
notwithstanding the disorders of the period, this Convention is able
to give a tabulated report of seventy-nine churches organized in the
State with their bishops, deacons and evangelists, and having an
aggregate of 3,020.
3. It is able to report a missionary society, that in the eight months
intervening between the Tecumseh State meeting and the present
Convention, has collected and paid over to its four evangelists--J; H.
Bauserman, Pardee Butler, S. G. Brown and J. J. Trott--the sum of
4. The Convention was able to adjourn, full of hope and enthusiasm,
and to promise itself that it would do a still better work in the time
The names of the following persons appear as the accredited messengers
of the churches: Leavenworth--J. C. Stone, G. H. Field, S. A.
Marshal, H. Allen, J. T. Gardiner, Calvin Reasoner. Ottumwa--J. T.
Cox, Wm. Gans, J. Jenks, Peter Smith. Tecumseh--J. Driver, M. Driver,
A. J. Alderman. Americus--W. C. Butler, S. S. Chapman. Le Roy--S. G.
Brown, Allen Crocker. Little Stranger--J. H. Bauserman, S. A.
Lacefield, J. Adams, J. P. Bauserman. Iola--S. Brown. Nine Mile--N. D.
Tyler, J. T. Goode, H. Dickson. Garnett--J. Ramsey, H. Cavender.
Holton--E. Cope, J. P. Nichols, T. G. Walters, A. B. Scholes.
Pardee--Pardee Butler, N. Dunshee. Belmont--J. J. Trott. Monrovia--J.
N. Holliday, John Graves, Caleb May. Mt. Pleasant--Joseph Potter,
Thomas Miller, Joseph McBride, N. Humber. Olathe P. E. Henderson, John
Elston, Martin Davenport, Addison Bowen. Lanesfield--O. S. Laws, Wm.
Maxwell, H. C. Maxwell. Prairie City--H. H. Johnson. Buck Creek--C. M.
Short, Thomas Finch, Martin Stoddard. Grasshopper Falls--James Ritter,
S. Smith. Winchester--Cyrus Taylor, A. R. Cantwell.
But we wait for a period of seventeen years, then Eld S. T. Dodd, of
Topeka, is appointed by the Kansas Christian Missionary Society to
write a history of the work of the Christian Church in Kansas, which
he does in a tract of thirty-eight pages; and Bro. D., writing under
date of 1882, makes the following summary of the work done:
From 1856 to 1865 anything like church work was as good as
thrown away, except as affording temporary privileges.
Finally a time came when the clatter of arms and the
clatter of raiders were ended; railroads were built, and
emigration poured in from all States and nations, among
which were many Disciples of Christ, who should have been
builded into existing churches, or collected into new
ones; but many were permitted to drift along in
carelessness and irresponsibility until their identity as
members has been lost.
During the past five years there has been a general
awakening among our brethren, which has resulted in very
many new organizations and the possession of Atchison,
Topeka, Wichita, and several other strongholds.
Bro. Dodd makes report of the following State meetings as having been
held in Kansas:
In 1869, Grantville; in 1870, Le Roy; in 1871, St. George;
in 1872, Emporia; in 1873, Topeka; in 1874, Olathe; in
1875, Ottawa, in 1876, Manhattan; in 1877, Emporia; in
1878, Gates Center; in 1879, Emporia; in 1880, Manhattan;
in 1881, Salina; in 1832, Emporia.
To the above summary the writer will add the following list of the
earlier Territorial and State meetings:
In 1860, Big Springs; in 1861, Prairie City; in 1862,
Emporia; in 1863, Ottawa; in 1864, Tecumseh; in 1865,
Prairie City; in 1866, Ottawa; in 1867, Olathe.
To the above statistics we will append the following reflections:
1. Among the preachers that prominently appear in the first seven
years of our work, there are none remaining, save the writer of these
Recollections, Some are fallen out by the way. Elders S. G. Brown, Wm.
Gans, N. B. White, S. A. Marshal and Allen Crocker have died in the
faith and hope of the gospel. The name of J. H. Bauserman does,
indeed, appear, but he had only just begun his work; but having put
the armor on, he has never laid it off. The name of J. B. McCleery
does not yet appear on the minutes of our yearly meetings, still he
was already an evangelist. He had been in Ohio the friend and
companion of James A. Garfield, and soon came to be known as one of
the first pulpit orators of the State. The government, like death,
"loves a shining mark," and claimed Bro. McCleery for its service, and
he is now an army chaplain. The churches will never cease to regret
his choice, and yet he had a right to make it.
2. The facts do not bear out the remark of Bro. S. T. Dodd, that
"from 1856 to 1865 anything like church work was as good as thrown
away." With seventy-nine churches organized, and with upwards of three
thousand church members in the State, work could scarcely be said to
be "as good as thrown away."
3. Notwithstanding, the facts bear witness that there were grave
imperfections in our work. After a heroic battle, fought under
insuperable difficulties, and when there was every promise of still
more brilliant triumphs, the cause went into an eclipse, from which it
emerged only after many years of disaster.
From and after the year 1875, the churches spread themselves over a
territory of two hundred miles in width and four hundred miles in
length, and a great number of men became responsible for the good or
the evil that should come on the cause of primitive and apostolic
Christianity. It is probable that since the period of which we are
speaking, 100,000 Disciples have located somewhere in these Western
Territories. If the church should now undertake to make inquisition
for these church members, and make inquiry into their present
condition, temporal and spiritual, the story of their wants and woes
would be full of pathetic eloquence.
Since the days of the apostles an enthusiasm never has been known
greater than that which was felt by the men who, under God, are
responsible for this Reformation. In the beginning of the present
century the missionary spirit among Christians was dead, and their
zeal was wasted in disgraceful squabbles over inoperative and
metaphysical opinions, or over modes of church government of which the
Bible knows nothing.
The Protestant sects were divided into two hostile camps, known as
Calvinists and Arminians. The Calvinist dogma was that Jesus died
only for the elect, who were chosen in a by-gone eternity; that all
men are spiritually as dead and helpless as was the cold dead dust of
the earth out of which Adam was created, but that God will quicken
into a new life dead sinners who are of the elect, and will give them
evidence of their acceptance by the joyful emotions which he will
create in their hearts. And so the supreme interest of men centered in
this, that they were to seek in their own hearts those raptures and
ecstasies that were evidence that they had experienced this spiritual
change. The Arminians gloried in a free salvation. Christ died for
all. But they demanded identically the same evidence of pardon
demanded by the Calvinists, and men found it just as hard to get this
Arminian evidence of pardon as to get the experience that assured them
that they were of the elect, according to the gospel of Calvinism; and
so it game to pass that this lethargy of Christians over missionary
work, and these wranglings over human opinions, had, before the
Revolutionary War, covered the American colonies like a blanket with
the spirit of infidelity. The corruption of Christianity by the Roman
Catholic Church issued in the atheism of the French Revolution, and
has created the infidelity of modern European nations; so like causes
had precipitated a similar result in America. Men were groping as the
blind grope in darkness, and then came, during the first half of the
present century, the proclamation of primitive and apostolic
Christianity. Alexander Campbell, John Smith, Jacob Creath and Samuel
Rogers in Virginia and Kentucky, and Walter Scott, the Haydens and
John Henry in Northeastern Ohio, made the people understand that the
plan of salvation is as simple as the primer of our childhood; that it
is all comprehended in this, that we must bow to the authority of
Jesus, that we must believe in him and keep his commandments, and that
the whole story is told in the four gospels and in the Acts of the
Apostles with such simplicity that he that runs may read, that he that
reads may understand, and that he that understands may act.
Alexander Campbell has said that a persecution made up of defamation,
proscription and slander may be as hard to hear as that which issues
in bonds and imprisonments; and this these early Disciples had to
bear. But the world was ripe for reformation, and the cause spread
like fire on the prairies.
Those who originally planted these churches in Kansas were, in large
part, men and women who had drawn their inspiration directly from the
founders and leaders of this Reformation. To some of them it had been
given to sit at the feet of Alexander Campbell. Others had listened to
John Smith, and had been magnetized by the inimitable wit and wisdom
of that marvelous man, and their hearts had drawn heroic courage from
his heart. Others still had been captivated by the boyish and
unstudied drollery of Walter Scott, only to be swept away by a
whirlwind of passionate appeal and terrible invective, or to be melted
with the tenderness of his portrayal of the love of Jesus. And all
these came to Kansas bearing a great cause in their hearts, and
determined to build up here such churches as they had left behind
them. But this was not all. Here were not only people among the most
refined, well informed, and pious in the nation, but here were those
who had been born in a storm of religious fanaticism, and could only
live in a whirlwind of excitement. These were the "big-meeting"
Christians. There were also those whose truthfulness was doubtful,
whose business methods were questionable, who could, on occasion,
indulge in coarse and vulgar jokes and smutty jests, and whose
religion scarce kept them outside the grog-shop. Added to all this,
there were many whose hearts were yet bleeding with wounds they had
received in that terrible struggle out of which the nation had just
emerged. And now, afflicted with poverty, drouth, grasshoppers and
starvation, we were left an agglomeration of heterogeneous materials,
to fight our own battle as best we might. We might hope for help from
the Lord, but not from our brethren in the older States. They were too
busy debating the divine plan of missionary operations to help us.
The reader may well believe that the writer of these Recollections did
not find himself carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while
this was going on, nor did he find himself reposing on a couch soft as
Whatever may have been thought by a certain class of men, when the
writer began his work in Kansas, it is now universally admitted among
the Disciples that temperance work is legitimate church work--that the
saloon being an enemy to our homes and our families, and the greatest
peril that confronts the church and nation, its extinction is a
legitimate object of Christian endeavor.
There was a young evangelist prominently engaged with us in our early
work whose history is so sad, and whose relations, who are of the
excellent of the earth, have already had their hearts so wounded
because of him, that I have not been able to bring myself to write his
name. He was of Irish descent, and before he became a preacher, or
even a disciple, and while learning his trade, he had formed the
drinking habit. He was not a young man of brilliant gifts, but they
were solid. Moreover, he was humble, patient, industrious and
persevering, and, having excellent health and a good physical
organization, he gave promise of enduring usefulness. In short, he
belonged to that class of young men that, while the people do not
spoil them with flattery, yet the church set a great store by them. I
can not write the history of his fall, for it was not made known even
to his friends; only this, that the time came that he seemed
hesitating whether he should continue a preacher, and finally he
wholly abandoned the ministry. His wife, who was a most estimable and
Christian lady, was paralyzed with grief. At length the shameful truth
came out--he was a drunkard! A brother undertook to admonish him of
the awful fate that awaited him in the future world, but this apostate
and disgraced preacher turned fiercely around and said: "_don't talk
to me of hell! I am in hell now_!"
There was living in the neighborhood of the writer a Christian
family--though not of the Disciples--who had a boy that they regarded
as of great promise, and they did what they could to give him a good
education. After he had been for a while a school teacher, he became a
lawyer, resident in Atchison, and finally became a politician. He was
talented, social, companionable and ambitious, and soon made himself a
man of mark, and was petted and courted by the people, and was the
idol of his father and mother. All this brought him much into company.
But at that time the brewers and saloonkeepers exercised a despotism
over the politicians and public men of the city as absolute as is the
despotism of the Czar over the Russians. But there was this
difference: instead of being slaves to a great monarch, these
politicians were tools and lick-spittles to a set of coarse, brutal,
low-bred liquor dealers, who were exceptionally ignorant, degraded and
vile. These wretched and vicious corrupters of the public morals
insisted on controlling every caucus, and that the candidates, of
whatever party, should be men well pleasing in their sight. If not,
then the fat was in the fire, and the candidate was forthwith
slaughtered. The writer of these Recollections has been a Republican
as long as there has been a Republican party, and has probably loved
the party as well as it has deserved. This party, as is well known,
has assumed to be "the party of moral and religious ideas." Now I have
known, in cases not a few, men to be nominated for office by this
party--men who were respectable and Christian men, and they have
told me, and they have made the confession with shame and
humiliation--that the party managers have come to them and said, "You
are assessed so much for campaign expenses." The pretext was, that
this was for legitimate campaign work; and yet they knew that the
pretext was a lie, and that it was to constitute a corruption fund, to
be put into the saloons. And these men were thus made candidates, to
give respectability to the saloonkeepers' party, and, though they did
not go into the saloons themselves, they must pay toll to the devil
all the same.
It was under such circumstances that this boy, who had been raised in
our neighborhood, but had grown to be a man, and had entered upon
public life, now became a center of attraction to the
hale-fellows-well-met of the saloon and the caucus. The reader need
not be told that this gifted young lawyer was walking into the very
jaws of death. There were soon alarming rumors that he was becoming
dangerously addicted to drink, and his friends entreated him to save
himself while he could, and he made promise to his mother and wife to
reform. But, alas! it was too late!
I was traveling home from Topeka, and on the railroad train I met a
gentleman from Atchison--an intimate friend of this young lawyer--and
I was congratulating him on the reformation of our mutual friend. He
shook his head, and said: "don't deceive yourself. He tells me that
he can remain sober two or three months, but that then he can held out
no longer, and, not wishing to make a public spectacle of himself, he
buys a bottle of liquor, locks himself up in his room, and goes into a
regular debauch. Then, after three or four days, he is able to appear
on the streets again."
After a while the friends of this young man buried him. The doctors
gave his sickness a respectable name, and reported that he had died of
such a disease as decent people may die of, but his friends, with
heart-breaking sorrow, knew they were burying a man who had died of a
I have spoken freely of the evils wrought by our border troubles; but
now we had to realize that, taking all the men murdered in our early
feuds, and comparing them with the men murdered by strong drink in the
city of Atchison, counting man for man, there have been more men
murdered by strong drink than by all our border troubles. There have
been more women that have had their hearts broken, more children
turned into the streets, more fortunes squandered, in the single city
of Atchison than in all the Kansas war. But there is another point of
comparison. The men who wrestled with each other in that early
conflict verily thought they were right. They may have been mistaken,
but they thought they were in the right; they therefore maintained
their own self-respect. But those who have died in this battle of the
bottles and the beer glasses have lost everything--self-respect,
reputation, honor, everything; and they went to the dogs and their
souls went to perdition.
I have been a somewhat voluminous writer on many subjects now for forty
years, but all this would scarce exceed in amount what I have written in
Kansas newspapers, during a series of years, on the single subject of
temperance. Besides, I spent much time in lecturing, for the welfare of
the church and of the nation was at stake; and yet, what was done by
myself was only a drop in the bucket compared with what went to make up,
year after year, a great agitation. At length the people became so
aroused that the lawmakers at Topeka came to understand that something
must be done in the way of temperance legislation; and they gave us a
local option law. But crafty politicians obtained that cities of the
first and second class should be exempted. This was nothing but mockery.
The cities were the very places where the law was most needed, for men
from the country went into the city and there they encountered their old
enemy, the saloon. And so we kept up the agitation, and demanded that
the saloon should be prohibited throughout the State. At length the
pressure became so great that the politicians understood a second time
that something must be yielded to the popular demand, and they tried
another dodge. They said: "We will give you the privilege to vote an
amendment to the constitution incorporating prohibition into the
constitution of the State." This would at least put off the evil day for
two years, for it would take two years before such an amendment could go
into operation. But here again was seen the usual treachery. The
amendment to be voted on read as follows: "The manufacture and sale of
intoxicating liquors shall be forever prohibited in this State, except
for medical, scientific and mechanical purposes." This was a
stumbling-block laid in the way of feeble-minded Christians, for was not
this an attack on their Christian liberty to use intoxicating wine at
the Lord's table, and would not this be awful? Moreover, it forbade a
farmer to manufacture _hard_ cider from his own orchard, and would not
this be a _hard_ and tyrannical law? This was vexatious, for we were
fighting the saloon, and were not seeking to palter with such frivolous
and intermeddling legislation. Nevertheless, in spite of these crafty
attempts to excite popular odium against the amendment, it was adopted
by a majority of more than eight thousand, and it became the duty of the
next Legislature to enact a law enforcing the amendment. Then some of us
waited on these "conscript fathers" at Topeka, and entreated them, and
supplicated them, and almost got down on our knees to them, beseeching-
them to use a little courage and common sense. The House of
Representatives was largely made up of farmers and men from the country,
and was overwhelmingly in favor of an honest temperance law; but the
Senate was largely made up of lawyers and men from the city, and was
full of treachery and open and secret enmity. And so the Senate took the
lead in making the law, and got up a bill that they purposely made as
full of imperfections as a sieve is full of holes, and sent it down to
the lower house. It was manifestly the duty of the House of
Representatives to amend the bill, but now a great scare was got up. The
cry was raised: "There is treachery! treachery! You must adopt this
Senate bill without amending it, to the extent of changing the dot of an
_i_ or the crossing of a _t_; for if it goes back to the Senate it will
certainly be killed." _And yet the Senate had adopted it by an almost
The fact was, that these Senators, with all their bluster and bravado,
were trembling in their boots, and dared not face their constituents at
home while voting against any temperance law, however stringent, and
this gave the friends of the law good warrant to make just such a law as
was needed. And so the bill became a law; and then there followed such a
farce in the courts as might make us lose faith in our Christian
civilization and in our civilized jurisprudence. And it came to be
understood that a coach-and-four could be driven through the loopholes
that had been left in the law, and saloonkeepers began to remark,
"Prohibition don't prohibit." But from this evil we had what must be
regarded a providential deliverance. A judge was found who made up in
his own integrity and courage whatever was imperfect in the provisions
of the law, and his good example was followed throughout the State.
John Martin, a lawyer, resident in Topeka, is a solid, sensible and
honest man. His brethren of the Democratic persuasion wanted to make
him a candidate for Governor, but because they would not insert in
their platform a plank affirming that the law--because it was the
law--ought to be enforced, he declined to accept the nomination, and
Geo. W. Glick was nominated and elected. Then Mr. Glick, to
reciprocate this courtesy, appointed Martin to a vacant judgeship in
the Topeka judicial district; and a whisky case came before Judge
Martin. The principal witness undertook to play the usual dodge of
perjury and equivocation, but Judge Martin stopped the witness and
said: "Sir, you are to tell whether the liquor you bought was
The witness again began to repeat his story of equivocation: "Well, I
called for _cold tea_, and I suppose I got what I called for."
"Stop!" said the Judge in a voice of thunder. "This witness is lying!
Sheriff, take the witness and lock him up in jail."
The Sheriff had got as far as the door when the witness called out:
"Judge, are you going to lock me up?"
"Yes, and I will keep you there till you rot unless you tell the
"Well, I will tell."
The witness was placed again in the witness box. "Now," said the
Judge, "was it whisky you bought of this saloonkeeper?"
"_Yes, it was whisky_."
The example of Judge Martin was imitated by all the courts, and
incredible sums of money have been collected as fines from the
saloonkeepers, who, with the brewers, fought the battle to the bitter
end, and appealed their cases to the Supreme Court of the United
States. But it has ended in their absolute defeat, and even these
gentlemen do now admit that prohibition does prohibit--in Kansas.
Since that time the law has been greatly amended, and the saloons have
been driven out of the State.
One evil yet remains. Just across the Missouri River from Atchison is
East Atchison, and here whisky and beer are as free as water. Of
course, this is a great calamity to us, but we wait in expectation and
hope that prohibition will yet be achieved in Missouri.
John A. Brooks lives in Missouri; we live in Kansas. This man was once
a rebel; we were loyal men. Yet we pray the Father of Mercies to spare
the life of this man, to prosper him and keep him, until he shall
achieve this great good, not only to Missouri, but to ourselves.
This reformation in the rapidity of its growth is without parallel in
the history of Protestant parties. Those acquainted with its history
need not be told that a large number of its members were at first
drawn from the Baptists. It is indeed a matter of wonder that a
Presbyterian minister, but a short time identified with the Baptists,
should exert such an influence over them as to induce a great
multitude _of_ churches and church members to resolve that when he was
driven out of the Baptist Church they also would share his fortune,
and accept loss of reputation and exclusion from their former
brotherhood for the sake of the principles they had learned from him.
Now, when we reflect that this embraced not only young men, but old
men--men already arrived at that period of life at which it is most
difficult to change our habits of thinking and acting, it becomes a
question of profoundest interest; were these men able to make a change
so radical as to plant themselves completely on reformation
principles, and to abandon everything in their old Baptist order
When we remember that this movement embraced gray-haired Baptist
ministers, who all their lifetime had been accustomed to lead and not
to follow, we curiously inquire, Did they do this, or did they locate
themselves on a sort of half-way ground which was a compromise between
reformation principles and old Baptistism?
Let us briefly notice wherein they changed, and wherein they did not
1. They laid aside the name Baptist and took the name Christian.
2. They built upon the Bible alone, instead of the Philadelphia
Confession of faith.
3. They taught that the church began at Pentecost, rather than with
the preaching of John the Baptist.
4. They baptized men into a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus,
that he is the Messiah, rather than into a Christian experience, made
up of voices in the air, marvelous and strange sights, trances and
5. They taught that in conversion and sanctification, the Holy Spirit
operates through the truth.
Thus far the change was radical, but here a large minority paused
and brought with them into the reformation their old Baptist Church
usages. The Baptists in the Great West and South are known as
"Missionary Baptists," and "Old Baptists," or "Hardshell Baptists."
Adoniram Judson and Luther Rice, who had been sent to Burmah by a
Congregational Missionary Society, made known to the Baptists that
they themselves had become Baptists, and had been repudiated by their
own society, and asked for help. The Missionary Baptists are by far
the most enterprising in all that pertains to the spread of
Christianity. They are the most numerous, most wealthy, best educated,
and most liberal. In translating the Bible into all languages, in
carrying it into all lands, and in sending the gospel to all nations,
they have made some amends for that unrelenting bitterness which they
have shown toward our brethren from the first day till now. We shall
glance at what has hitherto been their order by making certain
extracts from the _Central Baptist_, published in the year 1870. The
reader must bear in mind that we are writing of those old days:
In Arkansas there are but four Missionary Baptist Churches
that sustain a regular pastor, or sustain preaching more
than once a month. In North Alabama, two; in the whole of
Alabama, twelve; in Missouri, twenty-seven. Missouri has
six hundred white churches, with a membership of fifty
thousand, which have preaching once a month. Once a month
preaching by secularized ministry! Is it any wonder that
the cause does not go forward faster? Not more than two
dozen out of seven hundred churches in Missouri have
service every Sunday.
Let us pause a moment over this picture of Southern and Western
Baptist Churches, drawn by themselves. In Arkansas but four churches
had at this time preaching every Lord's day; in Alabama, twelve, and
in Missouri twenty-four out of seven hundred! Well may the writer
ask, "Is it any wonder that the cause does not go forward faster?"
But if this was the order of the Missionary Baptists in the year 1870,
what must have been the order of the Old Baptists seventy years
before, when "Raccoon" John Smith was groping his way out of darkness
into the light of the gospel, all unconscious of his utter blindness,
that the reading of the Scriptures would conduce, either directly or
indirectly, to his regeneration or sanctification.
The people known as "Hardshell" Baptists do not wish to be called by
that name. They wish to be known as Old Baptists, or United Baptists,
for they allege that they are the lineal descendants of the United
Baptists, and that the Missionary Baptists have apostatized, and gone
away after strange gods. The Old Baptists had long been declaiming
against college-bred preachers and a hireling ministry. They had
certain pet theories concerning man's inability and God's sovereignty
concerning a certain special, supernatural, immediate and efficacious
work of grace on the heart of the sinners. They said, "If God wants a
missionary, he can send him, and maintain him, too. He needs no human
help in the conversion of sinners, whether at home or abroad. We can
find no Scripture for Sunday-schools, Bible classes, prayer-meetings,
weekly meetings, hireling preachers, missionaries or missionary
societies." So they kept to their monthly meetings and monthly
They have no schools of learning, few educated men, no well-educated
men, no missionaries, no contributions for missionary purposes, no
weekly meetings, no weekly preaching, no weekly breaking of the loaf,
no Sunday-schools, no Bible classes, no prayer-meetings. But they have
monthly preaching, by a man who is reputed a pastor over four
churches, and who, in the nature of things, can not reside in three of
the four churches over which he professes to preside. He obtains but
meager pecuniary reward for his preaching. He therefore provides for
his own sustenance and that of his family by the labor of his own
hands. For this reason he must needs go to his appointments on
Saturday, and return on Monday morning, and is therefore comparatively
a stranger to the greater part of his four several flocks. He can not
know their daily life. A few preachers among the old Baptists
preeminently godly, self-sacrificing, and devoted to the Lord's cause,
have left their families to suffer poverty and want, and have spent
their lives in looking after the stray lambs of the flock; but this is
not the general rule. This Baptist bishop has no authority whatever in
any matter of discipline, his function being that of a moderator in a
Saturday business monthly meeting. The sitting in judgment on the
alleged acts of disorderly members belongs to the whole church, men
and women, boys and girls.
We are now prepared to take the measure of the means of spiritual
culture enjoyed by this people. It is just one sermon a month; or, if
they are peculiarly favored, it is three sermons a month. The children
are left at home. They run wild like so many young apes, and wander
along the streams or through the forests; or, if they are brought by
their parents to the meeting, there is nothing especially for them.
It will be well for us to ponder well the inevitable consumption and
slow decay that is surely wearing out these Old Baptist churches. Like
the house of Saul, they are growing weaker and weaker. What a contrast
between their condition now and seventy years ago. Then the United
Baptists were the most powerful religious body in the great West. Then
Jacob Creath and Jeremiah Vardeman could, if they had been so
disposed, have elected the Governor of Kentucky. Then the Baptists
were strong in the affections of the people, and strong in the memory
of those men who had, through incredible toil, obloquy, poverty and
loss of goods, planted the Baptist cause in the American wilderness.
Alexander Campbell, with his eminent gifts of eloquence and learning,
was welcomed among the Baptists almost as an angel from heaven. But
his well-meant efforts to work a reformation in the Baptist churches
were despised, and he was thrust out as a heathen man and publican.
What treasures untold reside in the Lord's house, the Lord's day, the
Lord's book, and the ordinances of the Lord? It is the glory of
Christianity. Now let the members of a Christian Church fail to meet
at the Lord's house for Christian worship on the Lord's day, and to
what snares and temptations do they not subject themselves and their
children? What temptations to idleness and to wasting the Lord's day
in visiting and gossiping, or in drowsy lethargy!
The sanctification of the Lord's day by meeting in honor
of the resurrection of the Saviour, and especially with a
reference to the celebration of the Lord's supper, is
essential to the edification, spirituality, holiness,
usefulness and happiness of the Christian community. It is
not designed to throw into the shade any other duties of
the Christian Church while contending for those above
stated; but because no society save the Disciples of
Christ so regard, observe and celebrate the Lord's day. We
endeavor to arrest the attention of our fellow professors
to the great design of it and of the coming together of
the members of Christ's family on that day. When assembled
for this chief purpose, the reading of the Scriptures,
teaching, exhortation, prayer, praise, contributions for
the poor, and discipline when called for, are all in order
and necessary to the growth of the Christian Church in all
the graces of the Spirit, and in all the fruits of
holiness.--ALEX. CAMPBELL, in _Millennial Harbinger,_
Vol. I., p. 534, New Series.
And what an audacious wrong and unutterable blunder would it be for
God's chosen people to adopt an order that should defraud themselves,
their children, their neighbors and their neighbor's children of such
a glorious privilege.
If we could imagine two communities, one of which should, with their
children and their children's children, diligently devote the Lord's
day to purposes of moral, religious and intellectual improvement,
while the other community should waste the day in idle and frivolous
dissipation, what unmeasured progress would ultimately be made by one
beyond that made by the other. And to which of these two classes will
that favored people belong to whom will be awarded the high privilege
of introducing among jarring sects and parties the true millennial
And do not these considerations go far to explain the contrast that is
everywhere seen to exist between Protestant and Catholic countries?
Among Protestants the day is a day to be sanctified to purposes of
religious worship, among Catholics it is a holiday.
The peculiarity of our position creates an invincible necessity that
we shall make the largest possible provision for the moral,
intellectual and religious training and development of our people.
This provision is largely found in keeping the ordinances of the
Lord's house and the Lord's day. We have made a vow, and that vow is
recorded in heaven, that we will meet together every first day of the
week to break bread. To do otherwise--to show a good-natured
imbecility of purpose--to drift helplessly along in the usages of the
Old Baptists, conscious in our own hearts that this is not the ancient
order of things, and having sternly demanded conformity to the
apostolic order, at whatever sacrifice of peace, now to suffer our own
brethren to travel on in the old ruts, rather than hazard the pain and
trouble that will be the price of reform, would be a folly so
inexcusable, a shame so unutterable, that the very stones might well
cry out against us.
Professor William H. Whitsitt, of the Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary, at Louisville, Ky., has written a book that has for its
leading feature to make it appear that the Disciples are an "offshoot
from the Sandemanians."
The Sandemanians, like the Baptists, had both faults and virtues. They
were one of the earliest sects of the Scotch Presbyterians to protest
against a union of Church and State; they practiced a weekly breaking
of the loaf; held to a plurality of elders in every church, and were
exceptionally helpful to the poor; and surely, even Dr. Whitsitt will
not call these damnable heresies. But they were also rigid
separatists. They were Calvinists of the straitest sect, and made all
their opinions a bond of union. In this they were like the Baptists,
but essentially dissimilar to the Disciples. They exalted feet washing
and the holy kiss into church ordinances, and excluded all who did not
agree with them in these opinions, just as the Baptists exclude from
the Lord's table all who are not of "our faith and order," though they
admit that those persons thus excluded are regenerated, accepted of
the Lord, and enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Differing from
the Sandemanians in the most essential element of our plea, we hold a
very remote relationship to them--that of fortieth cousin, perhaps.
The Disciples are just as evidently an offshoot from the Baptists, as
children are an offshoot from the parental stock.
Twenty years after the writer had begun his work in Kansas, he was
able to count among fifty churches which had been organized within his
knowledge, twenty-five that were dead; and there were six
meeting-houses that were left unoccupied or sold for debt. And the
church members would say to me: "We can neither preach, nor pray, nor
read the Scriptures, nor break the loaf to edification, and we are too
poor to hire a preacher. What shall we do?" They had no training,
save that training they had obtained in the old Baptist churches, or
one similar in our own, and now that they were scattered over the
great West, and were poor in this world's goods, they were indeed in a
pitiably helpless condition.
I sometimes said, "Get up a Sunday-school." But the old heads would
get together and begin to debate where Cain got his wife, or who was
the father of Melchisedec, or what was the thorn in the flesh that
afflicted Paul; or they would dispute over the mode of baptism, or the
operation of the Holy Spirit, and the boys, verifying the old adage
that the devil always finds work for idle hands to do, and not
appreciating this sort of thing, would shoot paper balls at each other
and at the old folks, and the girls would do naughty things and grieve
their mothers, and the whole thing would go up in smoke.
Nothing seemed to be left to these brethren, only the protracted
meeting and monthly preaching. To many of them "pastorating" was one
of the sorceries which, with the mother of Babylon, had bewitched the
world. These brethren seemed to have forgotten that Paul gives highest
praise to that elder that not only rules well, but so addicts himself
to the ministry of the Word and teaching as to require that he shall
be sustained by the freewill offerings of the brethren. And when we
sought an arrangement by which all should give--each man, according to
his ability--we were alarmed with fearful prognostications of evil:
"Beware! beware!" These brethren said, "You are making a veritable
Popish bull, and he will gore you to death. Beware of missionary
societies!" And when we turned to these men and besought them, "Tell
us, dear brethren, how we shall obtain, without offense, the means to
send help to those perishing churches?" they were silent. This was not
their function. Their vocation was to warn the people against Popish
bulls and human missionary societies, for which there can not be found
a thus saith the Lord, in express terms or by an approved precedent.
Meantime the churches in the older States had contributed one hundred
thousand Disciples--this has sometimes been the estimated number--as
emigrants to the great West, and these were scattered over its wide
extended Territories, and it was to be shown how far this
contribution, more precious than gold or silver or costliest gems,
should be as water spilled on the ground, or as treasure cast into the
bottom of the sea, or how far it should be as precious seed bearing
fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some one hundred fold.
When our first churches were organized in Kansas, Alexander Campbell
had become old and well-stricken in years. I have already written of
the missionary society that was created in 1864, and of the great
convention held in Leavenworth City in 1865, in which we sought to
perfect the workings of that society. Within the following year Mr.
Campbell died, and the always welcome _Millennial Harbinger_ ceased
its monthly visits. The voice of Mr. C. had been a bugle blast calling
men to heroic deeds, and his overshadowing influence had restrained
from that tendency to division, for opinion's sake, which is our
inheritance from our common Protestantism. But now a great emigration
had come into Kansas from every part of the United States, and among
these were many who looked with no favor on any innovation on the
traditions of the fathers.
Mr. C. had said in his notable debate with the Rev. N. L. Rice, at
Lexington, Ky.: "Men formerly of all persuasions, and of all
denominations and prejudices, have been baptized on this good
confession, and have united in one community. Among them are found
those who had been Romanists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians,
Methodists, Baptists, Restorationists, Quakers, Arians, Unitarians,
etc., etc. We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, but various
opinions. All these persons, of so many and contradictory opinions,
weekly meet around our Lord's table in hundreds of churches all over
the land. Our bond of union is faith in the slain Messiah, in his
death for our sins and his resurrection for our justification."
It is perfectly apparent that to harmonize these elements--often
opposite and conflicting--thus brought together in one body was no
easy task, but we had more than this to do; we were also to harmonize
the fierce antagonisms growing out of our early contests, and then to
make those brethren who had been heretofore averse to any combination
whatever for religious work other than that of the single
congregation--to make them feel the absolute necessity of united
action and cooperation. This was indeed a task most difficult. And if
the final good results have only slowly become apparent we are
entitled to the judgment of charity.
It is admitted that every liberty that God has given to men may be
abused, and has been abused. Marriage, religion, civil government, the
rights of property, eating and drinking--in short, all liberty, of
whatever kind, may be and has been abused. Still we must use our
liberty, our very existence depends upon it. I have said it already,
and I say again, if sixty millions of the American people can unite
together to promote the public tranquillity, and all citizens enjoy
more of personal liberty than they could enjoy if every county were an
independent principality, then our whole brotherhood, from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, may be trusted to meet together, by their
messengers or in person, to promote necessary Christian work without
endangering our Christian liberties. If all the churches of Macedonia
could unite together to send relief to the poor saints at Jerusalem,
then, surely, the brethren everywhere may combine together to send
relief to people perishing for want of the word of life.
And so with much weariness and painfulness, and often with gratuitous
and unrequited labor, with long rides by day and by night, and much
exposure to heat and cold, to floods and storms, and to rough
treatment by wicked men--in short, with that relentless and persistent
toil which makes a man old before his time, and in which one man has
carried on the work of two men year after year, I have labored on,
never doubting, but always hoping for that good time coming, when
churches will be just, and give honest pay to honest men who do honest
work. My hope has been that if I can not live to profit by that better
order of things, it will at least be better for the men that come
The wife of a traveling evangelist will always be the proper object of
pity and sympathy, if pity and sympathy are to be given. She is not
cheered by the smiles of admiring crowds, nor does she feel the
intoxication of flattering tongues. She dwells at home in the
desolation and loneliness of a practical widowhood, and often ekes out
a meager support from a stingy and starveling salary.
But somebody has to do this frontier and pioneer work; and might it
not as well be me and my wife as any other man and his wife?
I have given a wide range to these "Recollections." In doing so, I
have not followed the example of a cowardly, corrupted and
compromising Christianity, but rather have imitated the robust and
manly courage of the writers of the Old and New Testament, who tell of
the deeds of good men and bad men, and who also use the same freedom
in speaking of the evil deeds of wicked rulers that they use in
speaking of the things that more immediately concern the spiritual and
eternal interests of men.
I have made the briefest possible mention of the hapless condition our
churches were in twenty years ago. The picture is neither flattering
nor cheering; but right royally are the churches now redeeming
themselves from the reproach they were under then. A pastor is now
being settled in each church as fast as the pecuniary circumstances of
the congregation will permit, and a grand enthusiasm in Sunday-school
work, simplifying and illustrating all its details, has made it
possible for the weakest and poorest church to keep itself alive.
Wherever there are children with their young enthusiasm--and the
children, like the poor, are always with us--and wherever there are
parents ready to lead their children in the way in which they should
go, there the permanency of a church is assured.
And now, with many misgivings as touching our immediate future, but
with an abiding hope of triumph in the end, I bid the reader farewell.
BY MRS. ROSETTA B. HASTINGS.
When father went back to Illinois, after he was rafted, we visited for
several weeks among the churches where he had preached. Then we
returned with him to Kansas, to visit my uncle, and to stay on our
claim awhile, lest some person should jump it. We left our goods at
Mt. Sterling, for father had promised to preach there that winter; but
he told us that he had determined to move to Kansas sooner than he had
first expected. We ferried the Missouri River near Jefferson City, and
crossed the Kansas River in the woods, where Kansas City, Kansas, now
stands. There was little of Kansas City then, except a few warehouses
where freight was landed for Independence, which was the starting
point of the Santa Fe trail.
Claims were being taken so rapidly that we remained to hold ours,
while father returned to Illinois to preach. Two families in one room
made it rather crowded, but we had a comfortable cabin. It contained a
twelve-paned window--the only one in the settlement; cabins usually
had no windows, or very small ones. Mr. May's folks had oiled paper
over a narrow opening, which they closed with a board shutter.
I asked their little girl why they did not have a larger window, and
she said the Indians might get in. But no Indians troubled us.
When father came home, April 30th, we all ran out to meet him. But
mother's quick eye detected something wrong. "Why, I look all right,
don't I?" he asked, smiling. When we reached the house she again
questioned him, and he sat down, rolled up his sleeve, and showed us
his arm, brown with tar, and fuzzy with cotton. Then he told us his
story. They had not tarred his face, except a spot on his forehead,
where, he said, they had stuck a bunch of cotton as large as his two
fists. The road to Ocena, as our post-office was called, ran up the
bluff now known to Atchison people as Sam Kingstown. On the top of
that ridge he had stopped, and pulled off his coat of tar and cotton,
put on his clothes and come home.
A few evenings after that, we heard that a company of South
Carolinians had camped near Mr. May's house. Father said they had
probably come after either himself or Caleb May. So he went up to Mr.
May's, to see what to do about it. After he left, uncle nailed shakes
over the window, and cleaned up his old flint-lock musket, and loaded
it carefully. Aunt moulded bullets, while mother got the ax and
butcher knife, and then stuffed rags in the cracks, and brought in the
half-bushel to turn over the light, so that they could not see where
to shoot. Then we all took turns standing out in the darkness at the
corner of the house, to keep watch, and listen for the sound of guns
from Mr. May's. Father came home at eleven. He said the South
Carolinians had asked permission to sleep in an empty cabin. He and
Mr. May had followed them, and he had crept under the cabin floor and
listened, and they had seemed to be sleeping soundly. So we all went
to bed, but father slept with a revolver under his head, which Mr. May
had insisted on lending him. The next morning the South Carolinians
went quietly on their journey. We learned afterwards that they were on
their way to lay out the town of Marysville, in Marshall County, and
did not know that they were in the same neighborhood with Pardee
Butler and Caleb May.
Father wrote an account of the Atchison mob, and took it to Lawrence
to be published in the _Herald of Freedom._ The Congressional
Committee summoned him to give his testimony. While there, the
Lawrence people gave him a pistol, and insisted that he must carry it.
Father told us how the Carolinians had sworn to kill him, when they
heard his testimony before the Committee; and as soon as he heard they
were coming back, after the destruction of Lawrence, he knew that he
was in danger. Brave as he might be, he saw no good in allowing
himself to be butchered by those infuriated men, and resolved to keep
out of their way. He kept his horse picketed on the grass near where
he was at work, with saddle and bridle close by. One day as I was
helping him drop sod corn on uncle's claim--two miles from our
own--while uncle worked at his new cabin, we saw some horsemen coming
over the hill.
"They are South Carolinians," said father, and saddling his horse, he
rode in the opposite direction. In the afternoon he came back, saying
that they had followed him all day, and he had circled here and there
over the hills, and he had happened to meet two of them, one at a
time, and recognized them as some of the men who had mobbed him; and
they knew him too, but they had not dared to attack him single-handed.
He thought they were trying to get together, to attack him the next
time they saw him.-He wanted uncle to change coats and hats with him,
so that, if they saw him in the distance, they would not know him. He
wore a black coat and hat, and uncle wore a white palmleaf hat, and
had with him, in case of rain, an old-fashioned, light gray overcoat.
These father put on, and throwing a white cloth over his horse, rode
away, telling us that he would not be at home that night, and that we
need not look for him until we saw him. Day after day those men
followed him, like hounds after a wolf. Through the day he rode here
and there, spending the night with first one neighbor, then another.
One day, when uncle was working at his cabin, some South Carolinians
rode up, and not seeing father, they searched the woods and ravine
near by, and rode away. Father spent one night with Mr. Duncan, and
had just gone out of sight in the morning, when the South. Carolinians
"Does Pardee Butler ride a bay horse?" they asked.
"No, sir," replied Mr. Duncan.
"We saw a man ride into the woods just now," said they, "that looked
like Pardee Butler, but he was riding a bay horse."
"Pardee Butler never rides a bay horse." And so they went the other
way. Father rode a spirited young "copper-bottom" horse, named Copper,
that looked either bay or gray at a distance, as the light happened to
One day, father went to the post-office after his mail, and two young
neighbors riding up, and seeing his horse hitched there, thought to
have some fun. With loud shouts they galloped up, and hearing them, he
stepped to the door, sprang on his horse, and dashed off over the
hill, with them after him. But when they reached the top of the hill
they found that he was standing on the ground behind his horse, with
his pistol levelled at them across his saddle. They were glad to make
themselves known, and own up to the joke.
Father slipped home a few minutes almost every day, to let us know
that he was yet alive, and to see if we were safe. Every night we
fastened up the house, expecting that before morning the Ruffians
would try to burst in to search for father. Those were days of
terrible anxiety for mother, for she thought every time father rode
away that it was probably their last parting. Yet she was brave and
quiet, and said little.
But father grew tired of being dogged, and told us that he was going
to Lawrence. He was gone some time and we did not know where he was.
My little four year old brother George heard much talk of Border
Ruffians, and he went around flourishing a long thorn for a dagger,
and boasting in childish accent: "Bad Border 'uffians s'an't get my pa.
I hit 'em in 'e eye wid my dagger." One day I was helping uncle drop
corn, when George came running to us, much excited. "I foun' a Border
'uffian! I foun' a Border 'uffian! I hit 'em in 'e eye! I hit 'em in
'e eye!" We ran to see what he had found, and he ran ahead, picking
up pebbles as he ran, "to fro at 'e bad Border 'uffian." What do you
think he had found? A mud turtle! And that was his idea of a Border
Ruffian. But he had a chance to see one. One day, while father was
away, two men rode up to the house, whom we knew to be Border Ruffians
by their red shirts and the revolvers in their belts. Mother told
George and me to hide behind the door, while she talked to them. They
asked for a drink of water, but while they waited for it, one of them
rode almost into the door, and looked around the room--we had only one
room--evidently looking for father. George became impatient, and kept
whispering "Let me out, let me see a Border 'uffian. I _will see_ a
Border 'uffian." And he pulled loose from me and peeped around the
edge of the door.
When father came home he brought some type, and some half-printed
papers, blackened with powder, that he had picked up in the sand on
the river bank at Lawrence, where the Border Ruffians had thrown the
_Herald of Freedom_ press and papers into the river. On the printed
side of the papers was the article he had written about his last mob.,
Years afterwards I asked father what he was doing when he was gone
from home in May and June, 1856. He replied: "I was organizing the
Republican party in northern Kansas. I first went to Lawrence, and
there the leaders insisted that I ought to visit various points in the
northern part of the State, and organize the new party, and I did so."
Soon after father's return, in June, some of the neighbors announced a
meeting for him at Bro. Elliott's, four miles from our house, of which
he speaks in Chapter XVII. To that meeting the people came armed, for
the report of the appointment had reached Atchison. They left their
guns in their wagons, or set them in convenient corners, while they
listened to the preaching; for they were determined to defend father
in case of attack.
Mr. John Quiett, who is yet one of our neighbors, was one of three men
who stood guard at the fence, watching for approaching enemies, while
father preached. But no attack was made.
Uncle Milo had taken us to the meeting; and mother asked father to go
home with us, and he replied, "Yes, I am going home once more."
Mother told him she would be glad to have him go with us, but she was
afraid to have him stay all night.
"I am going to stay at home for one night, for I have some letters to
write," was his reply.
Mother was very uneasy on the road home, for she said the Border
Ruffians would be watching for us in the woods. But we reached home
without molestation. Father sat up until after midnight, writing
letters, and then went to bed and slept safely. The next day one of
our neighbors told us that just at dark that evening she saw a band of
men ride into the woods between her house and ours, but she was afraid
to come over and tell us. Other neighbors saw them go out on Monday
morning, and ride toward town. A few days afterwards, a neighbor, who
stood "on both sides of the fence" in regard to politics, went to
Atchison, and he told us that nine South Carolinians hid in our woods
to take father that night, but they had seen his light burning so late
that they were afraid, and went back and told that he had forty armed
men, who stood guard all night, and they could not take him.
But father was not by any means the only one whom the Border Ruffians
molested. They were continually riding around the country, frightening
the people, and "pressing" horses--which was another name for stealing
them. And the Free State man who made himself prominent was liable to
be shot any time they could catch him. The Free State men kept their
horses hidden in the brush, and often hid there themselves. Every time
any of the neighbors saw several horsemen riding over the prairie,
they thought it was the Border Ruffians.
One day Caleb May saw quite a company of men riding toward his place.
He and his son and hired man stationed themselves under the bank,
where both the house and the ford would be within range of their guns.
Mrs. May was to talk to the horsemen as they rode past the house, and,
if they were Border Ruffians, she was to shut the door, as a signal to
the husband to be ready for attack. When they rode up, however,
they proved to be Mr. Speck, and about twenty other neighbors from the
lower neighborhood, who had brought their horses up to Mr. May's to
guard them from the Ruffians, who stood in great fear of Caleb May.
When the Ruffians returned to Missouri, after one of their raids, some
of them told in De Kalb, where Mr. May lived before coming to Kansas,
that they had killed him. One of his old neighbors, named Jones, rode
into De Kalb one day, and was accosted by on e of the returned Border
Ruffians with "We've got Caleb May this time; got his head on a
"Anybody killed?" queried Mr. Jones.
"Then it's a lie!" responded Mr. Jones. "I know Caleb May well enough
to know that when you get him somebody 's going to get hurt."
Mr. May had for years been a temperance man, in the midst of a
drinking population of the frontiers of Arkansas and Missouri, and
made the first temperance speech ever made in De Kalb. His oldest son,
when fifteen, had never tasted whisky. One day, when Mr. May had gone
on a journey, the boy was in town, and loafers, seeing him pass a
saloon, shouted, "Cale May's gone; let's have some fun with his boy."
So they dragged him into the saloon, and poured whisky down his
throat, and sent him home drunk to his mother. When Mr. May returned
home they told him what had happened.
At that time there was a local option temperance law in Missouri,
under which a majority of the people in a township, by signing a
petition to the court, could have the saloons abolished as public
nuisances. De Kalb was full of saloons, and there was one on almost
every road corner in the county.
Years afterwards I heard Mr. May tell the incident, and his eyes
flashed, as he said with his slow, strong emphasis, "When I came home
and heard what had happened, _you bet I_ WAS _wrathy_! I just jumped
on my horse, and I rode that township up and down, and I never stopped
until I had signers enough to my petition, and I cleaned every saloon
out of that township."
Doubtless many a man signed that petition because he dared not refuse;
for, although usually kind and quiet, few dared to face his anger.
When Lawrence was besieged, in May, a company of Free State men was
raised around here, and they sent John Quiett to Lawrence to offer
their services for the defense of the town, but were refused by Mr.
Pomeroy. Soon after the return of the South Carolinians from Lawrence
they found Mr. Quiett in the Atchison postoffice. They at once seized
him as a Free State leader, and began to debate whether to shoot or
hang him. But one of the Pro-slavery merchants of Atchison interfered,
and begged them to let him go. He got out, mounted his horse, and
started for home, twelve miles away. But the Carolinians, like Pharaoh
of old, repented that they had let him go, and soon started in
pursuit. It was a hot race, for as Mr. Quiett reached the top of each
hill he could see his pursuers coming behind him. But he reached home;
and when they came to the creek near his home, they were afraid to
pass through the woods--probably fearing an ambush--and returned to
town. But parties were sent out to take him when he was unprepared;
and, finding that he was hunted, he was afraid to stay at home nights.
I have heard Mrs. Quiett say, that one day, when her husband had been
away several days, he came home for a little while, and she gave him
something to eat. After eating he lay down to sleep on a lounge that
stood along the front side of the bed. She was rocking her baby in the
middle of the cabin, when the Border Ruffians rode up to the house,
and one of them, riding so close that his horse's head was inside of
the door, leaned forward and looked around the cabin. The door was at
the foot of the bed, and it so happened that the lounge on which Mr.
Quiett lay was so close to the bed, and so low, that the edge of the
bed just hid his body. The Ruffian said not a word, but looked until
he seemed satisfied that there was no one in the room but Mrs. Quiett,
and then they both rode away. She said that she could not speak, but
felt as though she was frozen to her chair, for she was sure that, if
they had seen Mr. Quiett, they would have shot him before her eyes.
Not until they were out of sight did she speak or stir.
Mr. Quiett and Mr. Ross went with father to Topeka, when the Free
State Legislature and Convention met, July 4, 1856, of which
father speaks in chapter XVI. Mr. Quiett says that the Free State men
went there determined to defend the Legislature. There were several
large companies of well-armed men stationed near, awaiting orders from
the Convention; and one company armed with Sharp's rifles lay behind
a board fence by the side of the road. Several speakers made excited
speeches, urging the members of the Convention to be men, and defend
their lawful rights, even at the risk of their lives. The Free State
men were wrought up to the verge of desperation. The vote was about to
be taken, whether or not to resist the troops. There was much
suppressed excitement; and, had the vote been taken then, it would
undoubtedly have been in favor of resistance. Father, in the
meanwhile, was on a committee, in a back room. Mr. Quiett began
calling for Pardee Butler. Others took up the call, and, hearing it in
the committee room, he came out. They demanded a speech on the
question in debate. He begged them to bear their wrongs patiently, and
to allow no provocation to cause them to resist the United States
authorities. He besought them to be loyal to their country, and never
fire on the old stars and stripes. Mr. Quiett said it was a powerful
speech, timely and eloquent. When he sat down the tide had turned. The
vote was taken, and it was decided not to resist the troops. Mr.
Quiett says that without a doubt that speech not only saved them from
a bloody battle that day, but that it saved the Territory from a long,
After they disbanded, the members of the Convention went out and sat
down on the prairie grass to eat their dinner, which each took from
his pocket, or his wagon. Mr. Quiett and Mr. Ross took theirs from the
wagon, in which they had ridden to Topeka; but father had gone on
horseback, as he usually did, and took his dinner from the capacious
pocket of his preacher's saddle-bags. Mr. Quiett said that in getting
out his dinner, father took a pistol out of his saddlebags. This
created much merriment for them, as they thought it would have been of
little use to him in case of attack. They told him that if that was
where he carried it, the South Carolinians would shoot him some day
before he could unbuckle his saddle-bags.
But father disliked very much to carry arms, and I think he never did
in his life, except for about two months during that dreadful summer.
About two weeks afterwards we started to Illinois, in the buggy. We
crossed the River at Iowa Point. About nine miles northeast of
Savannah, in Gentry county, Missouri, father was taken very sick, and
we were obliged to stop at the nearest house. The man at whose house
we happened to stop was a Mr. Brown, from Maine; and he and his family
were very kind to us. There, for four weeks, father lay sick of a
fever. One day, while mother was in father's room, Mrs. Brown
questioned me about living in Kansas, and whether the Border Ruffians
ever troubled us. So I told her how father had been treated. Father
called me into the bed-room, and said that I ought not to have told
that, under the circumstances; that it would be a dreadful thing for
us to be attacked, with him flat on his back, and we among strangers.
I replied that I thought it would do no harm, because Mr. Brown's
folks were from the North, and our friends. But he said it might bring
trouble on Mr. Brown if his neighbors should learn that he had
harbored Pardee Butler. When Mr. Brown came in at noon, his wife told
him the news. He went right in, and told father that Butler was such a
common name, that he had no idea that he had the honor of sheltering
Pardee Butler. "Now," said he, "you need not be uneasy while you are
here. Yonder hang four good Sharp's rifles, and I and my boys know how
to use them; and nobody shall touch you unless they walk over our dead
As soon as father was able to travel we finished our journey in
safety. We visited our old friends in Illinois, and father preached on
Sundays. While we were at Mt. Sterling, he lectured on temperance one
night, and the bad fellows made a little disturbance. The previous
afternoon I had visited a little girl in the village, and we had found
and thrown away a nest full of rotten eggs. The next time I saw her
she said that her big brother was mad at us, for he was saving those
eggs, and he and some other big boys had intended to throw them at
Pardee Butler while he was making that temperance speech; but when
they went to the barn, their eggs were gone. The truth was, that her
big brother was one of many boys who were fast being made drunkards by
the village saloons.
Mother went to Ohio on a visit, and father went to Iowa to attend to
some business. On his return he met one of the State Republican
Committee, who insisted on making arrangements for him to stay in
Illinois until the presidential election, and speak for Fremont.
It was raw November weather when we started back to Kansas, with a
one-horse wagon, drawn by Copper, and a heavily loaded mule team,
driven by a boy named Henry Whitaker, who is now one of the merchants
of Atchison. Mother was sick, and we had to stop a week. Then the mud
became so deep that father had to buy a yoke of oxen and hitch on
behind the mules. Then it froze up, rough and hard, and we stopped for
a blacksmith to make shoes for the oxen, and were directed to stay
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