3. A letter to H. S. Walsh, acting governor, from Eobt. B. Mitchell.
4. A letter from H. S. Walsh, acting governor of Kansas Territory, to R. B.
Mitchell, representative for Linn county.
5. A letter from Joseph Williams, judge of the third judicial district, to
Hugh S. Walsh, acting governor Kansas territory.
6. A letter from J. E. Jones, editor Fort Scott "Democrat," toH. S. Walsh,
7. A letter from same to same.
[Received 9th December.]
Executive Office, K. T., Lecompton, November 27, 1858.
Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State, Washington City, D. C:
I again have the honor of addressing you upon the subject of the difficulties
in southern Kansas.
It appears that the difficulties in Bourbon county commenced simulta-
neously with those in Linn, and are all part and parcel of a plan concocted and
now being carried out by a set of men connected with the republican portion of
the free-state party, whose sole object is plunder, and who hope, by the aid and
sympathy of the ultra portion of the republicans, to escape.
Previous to receiving the papers of which accompanying this I send you
copies, I had private information from a reliable free-state man in John-
son county that a general outbreak was being attempted, for the purpose of
stealing; that he had been invited to participate, and that this Parson Stewart,
mentioned in the accompanying papers, was one of the leaders. Stewart lives
in this county.
I employed him to go down and ascertain what he could about their move-
ments and men and bring me information.
Goveniov Denvers Administration. 551
From the papers, you will perceive that the affair has been commenced
even sooner than was anticipated, and that his information has been corrob-
orated by the action which has taken place.
I shall take such measures as shall seem to me wise and expedient to ascer-
tain all the facts and capture the ringleaders of these gangs without using
Tt is very desirable that money should in some way be furnished forthwith,
and sptcial orders given to the commanding officer at Fort Leavenworth for
the safe keeping of the men if captured. In the absence of jails and a peniten-
tiary, this is, although an unpleasant duty, essentially necessary.
It is true that disci etion will have to be given to the governor in its expend-
iture, but I hope whoever is governor will have the ordinary sagacity of a chief
of police to manage the matter.
What is done must be done as quietly as possible, and an effort made to
have the leaders captured before any appearance of executive action is ap-
parent. I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
HUGH S. WALSH,
Secretary and Acting Governor of Kansas Territory.
Paris, Linn County, Kansas Territory, November 26, 1858.
Hon. Hugh S. Walsh, Governor of Kansas :
Dear Sir â€” I wrote you some days ago giving a short sketch of some things
that had transpired, and by the " Herakl of Freedom " of November 20 you will
see a letter from this county giving some further details â€” thera have been rob-
beries still, in addition to those mentioned, completely stripping some families.
Our sheriff has as yet done nothing. He has not made an arrest, and I do not
know that he is likely to soon. The people here want to act according to law,
but somehow there is something wanting in our sheriff. The people alone are
timid, and many of them are friends of these infernal thieves. No one can trust
his neighbor. Old Osawatomie Brown is here with Montgomery, and they are
now erecting a fortification on the Little Sugar creek, near Montgomery's house.
I have taken some pains to investigate this affair, and I find beyond dispute that
there is a stockade fort now nearly completed, and that they have at least one
brass howitzer mounted in it. I think that party have the command of two
brass howitzers. They are preparing for some infernal diabolical act.
They openly make threats of driving out settlers. They have ordered several
families to leave, and I hear of some leaving. What influence I had I used to
induce persons not to leave, but turn out and make affidavits, etc. What aiBda-
vits have been sworn out have not been served or executed by the officers. What
these things will end in I do not know, but I think the very devil will be to pay
soon, and then perhaps the people will turn out and put down and hang up these
There is one thing, however, the people labor under, and that is, they are
poorly supplied with arms and ammunition and provisions. They are unable to
support a campaign against these fellows unassisted.
Hoping for the best, I am, your obedient servant, A. J. WEAVER.
Paris, Linn County, K. T., December the 3d, 1858.
To the Hon. Hugh S. Walsh, Acting Governor :
Sir â€” This communication is to inform you of the condition of affairs now ex-
isting in this county. Our county is now in a desperate state of excitement â€¢
552 Kansas State Historical Society.
there have been several robberies committed in my county within two weeks, but
none of the robbers have been identified. I have been using every possible means
to stop the troubles. Understanding that the robbers were fortifying near Mont-
gomery's, I called upon the citizens of the county to assist me as a posse to sup-
press the matter. I collected a company of men and went in pursuit. On
going to their fort I found it abandoned, if it had been fortified. My posse was
greatly excited, the weather extremely bad, the men badly situated for staying
in the country without provisions. I detached them in small posses, sent them
in different directions to watch the movements of the " Jayhawks," as they are
termed, and to meet me on the next day, but the inclemency of the weather prob-
ably prevented the meeting of the men the next day, which was yesterday.
Through the solicitation of some friends, I went in person and saw Mont-
gomery : as there had been an amnesty agreed upon in Bourbon county, probably
there could be some compromise effected by which the matter could be legally
settled. I went and saw him. He claimed that he had made one com^jromise
with Governor Denver in good faith, and that the people had broken it by the
grand jurors finding indictments for " jayhawking" before .the treaty, and that
his men never should answer to them. Last night I stopped with R. B. Mitchell.
On this morning he and myself left for Paris ; after going about one-half mile we
were surrounded by six men, others being in the rear ; those surrounding pre-
senting pistols at our bodies and demanded immediate surrender of our arms, on
penalty of being shot, which we refused ; knowing Colonel Mitchell to be
threatened any way, I believe they wished an excuse to shoot him.
I suggested that we give them up, as they were struggling to take them by
force, swearing that if we set a trigger death was our portion. We then con-
versed with them for some time on the effects of such a course. They said that
I had been hunting them with a posse, and, as they had the field this morning,
determined to disarm every man they found with arms ; that they had such
orders from their commander, and their men would never be taken alive ; that
they intended open resistance at all hazards ; pretended to sympathize with me as
an officer, knowing my obligation to the law, but regardless of all consequences
would resist ; we then went on and left them. After getting some distance we
saw them get together, and then they came on and overtook us the second time,
making some apologies to me as an officer, and tendered to me again my weapons,
but would not let Mitchell have his.
The people have become intimidated under the excitement, till there is no
chance, in my opinion, to make any legal move effectual. I would suggest the
propriety of your sending immediately a company of dragoons to this county ; if
for no other purpose, it will be a rendezvous for the people when assailed, as
our county-seat is threatened continually : if you send the troops, send at least
one cannon, as they may again attempt to fortify. If they can't be suppressed
by legal means the whole country will be in a state of guerrilla warfare shortly.
You will consider this communication and advise me immediately.
Yours truly, C. M. M'DANIEL,
Sheriff of Linn County, Kansas Territory.
P. S. â€” You will keep this communication private, for reasons I have at pres-
We indorse the above as true : Thomas H. Bullet.
H. M. DOBYNS.
B. P. Ayers, Prosecuting Attorney.
A. J. Weaver.
W. W. Evans.
Governor Denver's Administration. 553
Executive Office, Lecompton, K. T., December 6, 1858.
Mr. E. B. Mitchell, Paris, Linn county : Sir â€” Your letter of December 4, per
Mr. Godley, is this moment received, and also C. McDaniel's (your sheriff's)
communication respecting the difficulties in your county.
My position as acting governor is now so nearly closed, that if I had it in my
pov/er to act, it would neither be proper nor prudent to involve my successor in
a line of policy which, if disapproved by him, would only put your county in a
worse situation than it now is, and as Governor Medary, of Ohio, is now the
actual governor and on his way hither, it will be better to await his arrival and
let him mark out his own course.
With regard to troops, you are aware that there are very few in the territory,
and that the general complaint has been that they are entirely ineffectual for
civil purposes; that they can only act as a "posse comitatus " to assist in pre-
serving the peace and making arrests, unless the counties are in such a condition
that it would make it necessary to declare martial law; then the troops would
become effectual and drive out those who were usurping the civil authority. So
much has been said by way of complaint against the use of the troops by your
own citizens, and their complaints have been so cordially sustained by some of
the leading republican presses, that it is extremely difficult to make the people
of the whole territory see the necessity for their use. Even now the Lawrence
"Republican " and the Leavenworth " Times" are out in severe articles against
me for refusing to appoint a Thanksgiving day in consequence of the troubles in
your county and Bovirbon.
The tone of one or two of the presses further north upon the subject of your
difficulties is bad, and rather intended to have the effect of producing a feeling
of partisanship than to sustain the laws.
So far as I am individually concerned I care nothing for their comments, in-
tending to do my duty, and my whole duty, without regard to personal feeling or
consequences, but I hesitate to involve the whole territory in commotion if there
is any way that can be devised to support the law without it. I am satisfied
from information that I have received, and from the course of events in your
county, that if your sheriff had acted with promptitude and energy at the com-
mencement of this outbreak, that the peace of your county would have been
preserved. I do not mean to say that it would have been easily done, but it could
have been done by a man of spirit and energy, who could have had the confidence
of any considerable portion of the people of his county. A bold and sudden stroke
now can save you from much trouble, but the first thing that is to be done is to
change your sheriff for one that can act as a leader as well as an officer; one who
armed with the civil power, can give confidence to his fellow citizens that they
have a man who will lead, and if necessary to victory. You have all the law on
your side, and, under the lead of an officer who is armed with the law, this affair
can be quelled. I would make the change at once, and if an application comes
here recommending a change, and an officer to succeed him, I will appoint him
if still in office as acting governor, and see that he is appointed if Governor
Medary arrives in the meantime.
1 would advise immediate communication with the sheriff and citizens of.
Bourbon county and cooperative action. It is the province of the sheriffs of the
several counties to preserve the peace, and to do all in their power for that pur-
pose, they should act in concert, and if in making arrests any resistance is met
with, an officer is not supposed to use the most peaceful manner of making the
arrest; force must be met by force, and that sufficient to effect the object, and
preserve the officer's life at the expense of the culprit's, if necessary.
554 Kansas State Historical Society.
McDaniel says he went to their fort and found it abandoned; he does not say
he destroyed it: the young man who brought the letter says he did not. Why
was it not destroyed? It is of logs, and it should have been burnt or torn down.
If their places of rendezvous are to be left, how are you ever to get rid of them?
Now, my dear sir, you may think, as most men are apt to think, that it is easy to
talk and easy to write, but not so easy to act, and that I do not sympathize with
you in your troubles. I see your difficulties as plain as any one can who is not
present, and feel as much as any one can who is not a sufferer or an actor in the
affairs going on in your county, and will do all that can be done for your assist-
ance within the limits of legal authority.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
HUGH S. WALSH, Acting Governor.
Fort Scott, November 20, 1858.
Hon. Hugh S. Walsh, Governor:
Sir â€” I am (owing to extreme weakness) merely able to write you a brief
notification of the facts that Linn and Bourbon counties are again thrown
into great excitement and confusion by Montgomery and his company of
Three nights since some 20 of these robbers broke in upon Mr. Poyner's
one of our most respectable citizens, who lives about three miles from this
place, and, armed Avith Sharp's rifles and revolvers, under the command of
the Reverend Mr. Stewart, alias "the fighting parson" as styled by the Law-
rence "Republican," they took all his property, even bedclothes from over and
under the sick, and the children's shoes and stockings, and his horses. This
gang also on the same night robbed Mr. Lemon, choking and abusing his wife,
he not being at home. They are notifying the farmers to leave the territory,
as has been done heretofore by them. They boldly say that they are acting
under orders from Captain Montgomery, who has his orders from a high
source. Having performed the duties of my office in the several counties of
my district with utmost caution, and every prospect of success in establishing
the supremacy of the law, and the citizens, in public meetings for the pur-
pose, having voted me their thanks for that success, I had hoped that we had
arrived at that point of social duty in the several communities, when mutual
confidence and good feeling would secure peace and good order for the future.
But these outlaws are regardless of all rights of citizenship. They have been
treated with the utmost lenity, which seems to have inspired them with
greater presumption. They have not the semblance of an excuse for this
fresh attack on a peaceful community, except that of their vocation, robbery
and pillage, and perhaps to carry out the designs of their employers, to pre-
vent honest settlers from preempting the fertile lands of this region.
They openly swear that they will dictate who shall settle in southern
They are going through the county and, in Montgomery's name, ordering
the settlers to leave the territory in 24 hours or they will be burnt out and
killed. Thus are families of women and children terrified, driven out into
the cold winds of winter from their hearthstones, robbed of all they have.
I have, with great toil as well as danger to myself, day and night en-
deavored to keep the citizens from rising and taking the laws in their own
hands. I shall still do so to the utmost; but as every morning brings forth
its tale of outrage and robbery perpetrated by these outlaws, I fear that, as we
Governor Deiifer's Administration.
have no jails or means of securing them, if taken by the officers of the law,
summary executions will be the consequence. All that have been heretofore
arrested have escaped; indeed, they laugh at the law and its officers.
Two of these notorious scoundrels were arrested last night by Captain
Hamilton and two neighbors and brought to this place. One of them, Ben
Rice, brags that he was with Montgomery and fired on the cavalry when the
soldier was killed last spring. He also boasts that he was with Captain
Montgomery when they lired into this place. When taken, they were fully
armed and supposed to be acting as scouts for the main body. The people
here are much exasperated. I can only advise them not to resort to violence
to rid themselves of these outrages when they reply to me "We wish to abide
by the law; but there are no adequate means of enforcing the laws, and are
we to stand still and be robbed and driven from the country, and perhaps
murdered, as others have been, while we wait in vain for the protection of the
law?" so the matter is. I dread consequences this winter if these men do not
desist. Men of all parties avow their determination to rise for mutual pro-
tection. The question to be presented is, What is to be done?
I am confined to my room by an attack of hemorrhage, and if not better
soon I fear I will not be able to attend the session of supreme court. How-
ever, I'll try. Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. H. S. Walsh, Governor, Kansas Territory.
Fort Scott, November 30, 1858.
H. S. Walsh, Esq., Acting Governor, etc.:
Dear Sir â€” We are having a little trouble just at present. The old
of night have again commenced stealing and troubling citizens the same as
last season. Montgomery heads the movement, and will do his best to keep
alive the difficulties. At a meeting on Saturday last, held at Mapleton, a
motion was made to reaffirm the resolutions presented by Governor Denver
in June last, and would have carried but for Montgomery. He arose and said
that the resolutions as read from the Lecompton "Democrat" were not correct,
but that in the Fort Scott "Democrat" of June 17 might be found a true
copy. No copy of any paper being at hand, the meeting, on motion of
Montgomery, adjourned until Wednesday of this week at Osage City, where
most of the inhabitants are Montgomery's men. It will be a large meeting,
and I am confident, should the weather prove favorable, that the "Jay-
hawks" will be outvoted and the law maintained. Sheriff Bull has arrested
one Rice, who was indicted by the last grand jury for murder, and Mont-
gomery demanded his release unconditionally, but this will not be done. I
am of the opinion that a majority of the citizens will sustain the laws; should
they do so, we will not have much more trouble, but if Montgomery is sus-
tained by them you may expect to hear reports of frequent bloodshed and mur-
der; for there is in this county a class of men opposed to him who possess
equal courage, shrewdness, and disposition to steal.
I am quite certain the meeting at Osage City will bring things to a focus.
We shall attend, and do everything in our power to conciliate and reestablish
good feeling, but cannot sufter the laws to be trampled upon or cur dearest
rights compromised by a band of public thieves. Trusting the result will
restore peace, I am, yours respectfully, J. E. JONES.
556 Kansas State Historical Society.
Fort Scott, December 4, 1858.
Hon. H. S.Walsh:
Dear Sir â€” That you may be reliably informed as regards our present diffi-
culties, in the absence of Mr. Crawford, I will endeavor to infonn you.
At a meeting- at Ray's mill in this county, on Wednesday, we met the
"jayhawks" in full strength. We attempted to reaffirm the Denver platform,
but were outvoted. Montgomery publicly abused yourself and Governor D. â€”
using the most shameful language his depraved soul could invent, and
strange to say, he found 100 men, and those to whom the governor had ad-
vised and heard too, mean enough to echo back his unjust accusations. I made
a speech in opposition to him, and told the entire "jayhawking" crowd what
they might expect if they continued to disturb the public peace. I tell you in
all confidence that our party have not done a single thing contrary to the ex-
pressed wish of the late governor, and I solemnly believe the present is a po-
litical movement, set on foot at Lawrence. Montgomery said in his speech that
not one of his men could be arrested for any offense. We are to have another
meeting at this place on Wednesday next for the purpose of reaffirming the
resolutions submitted by Governor Denver, and will stand by them until we
are overpowered or they triumph. Sheriff Bull is a young man, formerly from
New York, active and efficient, and will do all in his power to maintain quiet
and good order. Montgomery says this move was commenced by you against
him some three months since, and that he will accept no compromise that will
hold him or his men responsible for past offenses. You may rest assured that
we will do all in our power to arrest further trouble without calling for execu-
Mr. Crawford is at the Trading Post, and has been some days. We have
been hearing some alarming reports from Linn county. A letter from Asa
Hairgrove is in this week's "Democrat." Some of the Osage people have
signed the call for the meeting on Wednesday. Yours respectfully,
J. E. JONES.
Hon. Hugh S. Walsh, Acting Governor : Dear Sir â€” On Tuesday night last, a
band of robbers numbering from 10 to 25 made a descent on the houses of Mr.
Poyner and Mr. Lemons, near this place, and carried off property to the amount
of several hundred dollars. On the following morning the sheriff started in pur-
suit with a large posse. He came upon them at sunset in some timber upon the
Osage. They fired several shots at his men, but without effect. The sheriff and
his men gave chase, but night came on and prevented his taking them.
The sheriff ascertained that they had encamped in that neighborhood for the
purpose of disturbing some other citizens on the coming night. It is pretty well
ascertained that this thieving gang is headed by Parson Stewart, alias Plumb,
and that they have begun a movement similar to that of last winter.
On Thursday night last, Captain Hamilton, acting as deputy sheriff, arrested
two men supposed to have been in the gang. One of them is Ben Rice, a leading
man of Montgomery's crowd. He boasts of having been engaged in the robberies
committed on the Marmaton last spring. He was in the fight when the soldier
was shot, and received a wound himself. The last grand jury found several
indictments against him ; one for the murder of Travis.
The sheriff has served his warrants on him and will put him in irons. It is
quite probable that Montgomery and his men will try to rescue him, as they take
the ground that no offenses committed prior to Governor Denver's visit here
shall be noticed by the officers.
Governor Denver's Administration. 557
You will doubtless hear of similar ( robberies ? ) in Linn county, all going to
show on the part of these banditti a determination to renew difficulties. Our
citizens are determined to act promptly and efficiently in this emergency, in hope
that the law and its officers will triumph.
In view of the exigencies of the times, and the probability of an attempt
to rescue Eice, we have thought proper to ask you to authorize the marshal
to employ an efficient force at the expense of the general government to act as
a guard, and as a posse when reqviired, or else to authorize the sheriff to similarly
employ them at the expense of the territory. Our past experience assures us
that it is difficult to keep up a guard or efficient posse in any other way than
that which we now recommend and most urgently request.
November 22, 1858. Signed by the following persons :
John C. Sims, H. T. Wilson,
John Hamilton, Epaphro Ransom,
Benj. L. Riggins, Wm. P. Campbell,
Wm. Margrave, S. B. Farnell,
L. A. McCoRD, George A. Crawford,
James E. Jones, Blake Little,
C. F. Drake, J. H. Little,
James C. Hutchins, T. M. Williams,
A. F. BiCKING.
with the above came the following :
Dear Walsh â€” The inclosed will give you a true statement of difficulties here.
I am afraid we have a winter's work before us. I have been in the saddle four
days after the robbers, and was in the posse when we were fired on.
Yours in haste, G. A. CRAWFORD.
We are apprehending that Montgomery will attempt to rescue Rice.