Copy of a report of Joseph U. Gamble to Hugh S. Walsh, Acting Governor,
November 30, 1858. â€” Started for Linn and Bourbon counties. Stayed all
night at Squiresville, in Johnson.
The night of the 1st of December stayed all night with a Mr. Foster, near
Middle Creek, in Lykins county, who informed me that Isaac Jackson, a neigh-
bor of his, was shot and wounded on Sunday, the 28th of November, under the
following circumstances : Late in the evening two men came to his house, stat-
ing that they understood that he ( Jackson ) wanted to sell his farm, and that
they had come to see if it suited them, and requested Jackson to show them the
corners, which he declined to do, stating that he was not well. They then re-
quested him to show them his stabling ; he ( Jackson ) started to the stable with
them. On the way one of them got off his horse, when Jackson turned round
to see what he had got off his horse for, when he was shot, the ball taking effect
in his shoulder ; the one who had gotten off his horse then mounted and they
then rode off together.
Jackson says both these persons were strangers to him. Jackson was notified
last spring to leave, and told he could not live there. I found no person who
seemed to pity him, as he at one time assisted to drive out many of his neigh-
bors. The above are the facts as learned from Mr. Rice, who lives in the neigh-
borhood, and who I know to be a man of truth and veracity.
I next stopped at a house on the north side of North Sugar creek, where I
was informed that a young man in their neighborhood had been robbed of $15
558 Kansas State Bistor'wal Socieft/.
and one pistol, on the Paris road a few days before, and the only crime they
â€¢seemed to think the robbers had committed was in robbing a free-state man.
I next called at the house of R. B. Mitchell, in Linn county, and requested to
â– stay all night. Mr. Mitchell was not at home. Mrs. Mitchell said she would
rather be excused, as it was very exciting times and they could not tell what
might take place.
I then took the road for Moneka ; met a man riding and carrying a double-
barrel shot-gun ; went some 300 or 400 yards further ; met two men riding and
armed with guns of some kind : 100 yards further met two more, mounted and
armed in like manner. I stopped one of them, and asked him if there was any
trouble in the neighborhood. He said nothing very serious, and passed on. As
it was getting late, I concluded to stop at the first place I could get to stay.
The next house proved to be a Mr. Fossett's, where I stayed all night. This
was December 2.
One of the neighbors was there, and had his gun by his side as he sat by the
fire warming himself. As I stepped in the house I spoke, but received no answer
for about one minute, when the lady informed me the reason she did not speak
was that she thought I was Montgomery. I mention this to show the terror
there is felt of this individual, for I bear no resemblance to that individual what-
ever. As soon as the lady found I was not Captain Montgomery she seemed
much relieved. I asked what was the nature of the troubles, and was informed
that a number of circumstances together, all rather trifling in themselves, but
sufficient to cause considerable uneasiness ; that there were warrants in the
hands of the sheriff for the arrest of some men supposed to belong to Captain
Montgomery's company; that the sheriff had 102 men under his command, but
had failed to get any of the parties, although the persons for whom said warrants
were issued were frequently seen. I was also informed that Captain Weaver had
visited what is called Montgomery's fort or stockade; found five men there, who
said they were living there, but neither Montgomery nor any of his men were to
After night, a man by the name of Seamen called, and asked where " Mick "
Fossett was. He was answered that they did not know. He said he understood
that Mick had piloted Captain Weaver to his home. He then left. I asked,
" What does he want with your brother ? " He said: " I am afraid they want to
kill him; he is one of the sheriff's party."
The next day, December 3, went to within four miles of Fort Scott. Stayed
all night with a man by the name of Hensley, who told me he had attended a
meeting on the Osage on the 2d of December, for the purpose of coming to an
understanding whether the laws should be enforced, or the construction put on
the treaty of the 15th of June by Captain Montgomery and followers. Mont-
gomery's men say that bygones were to be bygones; that they did not understand
that the grand jury was to have any jurisdiction on any difficulty previous to the
date of said treaty. They say they had to take and use unlawful means to rid
the country of Brockett's company, Hamilton's company, besides others; that
they protected all honest men, irrespective of parties, and, as they had to use
unlawful means to drive those men out, they do n't intend to be either harassed
or hanged for it. They also charge that the grand jury that found true bills
against Montgomery's men refused to find true bills against Brockett, Hamilton
and others of the pro-slavery party. Mr. Hensley informed me that there was a
vote taken as to how said treaty was understood. Montgomery had 109 to 62.
The night of the 4th of December stayed with Mr. Trover, who corroborated
the statement of Mr. Hensley, who says he is a pro-slavery man and always was:
Governor Denver's Adm'utistrafion. 559
that Brockett, Hamilton and others sent them word that they should not raise
five bushels of corn on the Osage, and he ( Trover ) believes that if it had not
been for Montgomery they would have been all driven off: that although Mont-
gomery did many things that under ordinary circumstances he should condemn,
but does not condemn him for what he did last spring. He informs me that
Montgomery's door was shot into some two weeks since, and that there was no
person in the house at the time except Montgomery, his wife, and children.
Thinks this fort is to sleep in. Others of Montgomery's men say that if the sheriff
has any warrants to serve for any crime or any other act done without the order
of Montgomery or officers that they can serve them ; that they don't intend to be
arrested now and punished for things that they all approved of.
They also say they hold secret meetings in Paris, and that all the pro-slavery
men are admitted, and that a person known to be favorable to Montgomery is re-
fused; and that Sheriff McDaniel could have made any arrests that he might
have wanted to; that if he has not made any arrests, it is not their fault; they
have not resisted; that he is traveling around looking into people's houses, and
do n't say who he wants or what he wants; that by making a big display he will
please one part}', and by making no arrests he will please the balance: that it is
a very good thing to make buncombe.
Returned, then, the 5th inst., to the house of Fossett. He told me the "jay-
hawking " company had disarmed McDaniel and taken one Sharp's rifle and two
pistols from Robert B. Mitchell. Mr. Fossett also stated that two of the " jayhawk-
ers " stayed all night with him the night previous ; also his brother Mick ; that
he was afraid to refuse the " jayhawkers " to stay. They left early in the
morning. He told his brother Mick he had better leave, as they might come
back. He said his brother had not been gone more than half an hour when
there were eight of the " jayhawkers " called for Mick. One of them, Ben.
Seaman, stated that he had saved Mick's life once, but would not do it again.
The persons who disarmed Mitchell were Ben. Seaman, Pat. Devlin, and
"Little Dock." The two last live in Osawatoinie. The night of the 5th stayed
on North Sugar. The 6th, came through Osawatomie. where I understood sev-
eral of the Osawatomie boys were down in Linn county.
The majority of the people seem to think that the crimes of Stewart and others
are laid at Montgomery's door. But, as regards that, 1 am not satisfied. Stayed
all night of the 6th at Mr. Tenett's, of Lykins county, and the 7th in Olathe,
Johnson county. Yours respectfully, JOSEPH U. GAMBLE.
Northvvood, near Columbus, Ohio, December 6, 1855.
Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State:
Dear Sir â€” I regret very much that I was not able to see you while in
Washington last week. I had but a brief time to stay and was very busy.
I called tAvice; once you were engaged, and the second time you were absent;
it was on Friday and you had probably gone to cabinet meeting.
My object in calling on Friday was in part to call your attention to the
fact that there is no penitentiary in the territory of Kansas, and solicit you
to send an estimate to Congress for that purpose, if it met with your views.
Your long experience in territorial affairs will readily suggest to you the im-
portance of such an institution, in a new country where jails are few and
Indifferently built, if built at all.
560 Kansas State Historical Society.
I shall at all times be pleased to receive such instructions from you as in
your wisdom you may see proper to give. I leave here for Kansas on Thurs-
day evening. With high respect, your obedient servant, S. MEDARY.
Executive Office, Kansas Territory, Lecompton, December 9, 1858.
Hon. Lewis Cass:
Sir â€” I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication
of the 29th ult., and the accompanying opinion of the attorney-general of
the United States, addressed to the President, respecting the bill removing
the capital of this territory from Lecompton to Minneola, passed at the last
session over the governor's veto, which will in my opinion settle the question.
I herewith transmit to you copies of communications from citizens of Linn
and Bourbon counties to me respecting their difficulties, viz.: First, of a
communication from A. J. Weaver, of November 20. Second, of another from
C. M. McDaniels, sheriff of Linn county, dated December 3. Third, of another,
dated December 4, from R. B. Mitchell, one of the representatives elect from
that district and a representative in the last legislature, with the indorse-
ment of several citizens thereon. Fourth, my reply to Mr. Mitchell's com-
munication to me. Fifth, a communication from the Hon. Joseph Williams,
associate justice of the third judicial district, dated Fort Scott, November
20, 1858. Sixth, a communication from J. E. Jones, editor of the Fort Scott
"Democrat," of November 30, and another from the same, dated December i.
I also transmit a printed handbill with the names of 100 persons, calling
a meeting of the citizens of Bourbon county for Tuesday, the 7th inst. past,
and copy of the Fort Scott "Democrat," with a letter from Paris, Linn county,
marked, which I presume is the letter alluded to in Mr. Jones's communica-
tion of the 4th inst.
From these you will be able to see the present condition of those two
counties, which I think fully sustain me in my conviction that the fault is
principally in the sheriff of Linn county, of whom former acts and character
I have had sufficient experience during Governor Denver's administration,
and to whom I refer for more particular information. I am not sure, how-
ever, that the existing state of things, without such change as I recommend
to Mr. Mitchell, that the people will not suffer greatly. The "P. S." to his
(the sheriff's) letter is convincing proof of his pusillanimity, and while he
holds his office troops will be inefficient, and to furnish people with arms
who will not use them for their own defense, and will suffer armed bands to
go through the country and disarm them, is only furnishing the sinews of
war to the enemy whenever he chooses to take them. The difference between
the action of the people of the two counties is striking, and convincing enough
that the Linn people, by concert of action with those of Bourbon, could break
up the band.
The country is covered with snow to the depth of five to six inches and
the weather is severe, and the necessity of moving troops against Mont-
gomery should be great; to call them out and parade them over the country
as a "posse comitatus" would be in my mind to expose them unnecessarily,
for no benefit.
I have had a proposition from one of Marshal Fain's deputies to take Mont-
gomery; but without a prison to keep him in, it would be useless, in case he
should be unable to give bailâ€” and if he could give the required bail he would
be at the same kind of work the next day. The deputy thinks he can take
Governor 2Icdan/'s Administration. 56]
him, provided proper secrecy is observed, and that is all the precaution he
I shall wait for Governor Medary's arrival, and let him lay his plans before
the governor, with the hope that he may have the means to remunerate him
for so hazardous an enterprise, and to provide a place of safe keeping for him.
I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
HUGH S. WALSH, Acting Governor Kansas Territory.
Executive Office, Kansas Territory, Lecompton, December 11, 1858.
Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C:
I have the honor herewith to transmit the report of Joseph U. Gamble, the
secret agent whom I mentioned in a former report as having been sent to
Linn and Bourbon counties for information. Mr. Gamble returned this even-
ing, and the result of his observations will enable you to form some judg-
ment of the existing state of affairs in those counties and the probable cause
of the failure to suppress these disturbances as yet by the civil power. His
report confirms me in my opinion that the sheriff of Linn was in the way,
and checked instead of assisting in the administration of the law.
While I was copying Mr. Gamble's report, I received the resignation of
Calvin McDaniel, the sheriff of Linn county, and an application with a recom-
mendation for another, whom I have accordingly appointed. I hope the citi-
zens will sustain the new sheriff, and that he will succeed in restoring order
and quiet to the county, so that no further measures than an energetic ad-
ministration of legal authority will have to be exercised. By an examination
of this report, with the letter of McDaniel respecting the men who disarmed
himself and Mr. Mitchell (previously sent), you will observe a discrepancy.
In this report the names are given, and McDaniel reports six men and con-
ceals their names. The young man who brought Mitchell's and McD.'s com-
munication said that McDaniel pretended not to know who they were.
Seaman lives within one-half mile of the place where the robbery was
committed. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
HUGH S. WALSH, Acting Governor Kansas Territory.
GOVERNOR MEDARY'S ADMINISTRATION.
EXECUTIVE MINUTES AND CORRESPONDENCE.
December 18, 1858. â€” Record of Oath: I, Samuel Medary, governor of the ter-
ritory of Kansas, do make oath that I will support the constitution of the United
States and faithfully discharge the duties of the office of governor of the said ter-
ritory of Kansas. S. MEDARY.
I certify that the above oath was taken before me, this 1st day of December,
1858, by the above-named Samuel Medary, at the city of Washington, in the dis-
trict of Columbia. R. B. TANEY,
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Sam. A. Medary entered upon his duties as private secretary for the governor,
having been appointed upon his acceptance of office by the governor December
562 Kansas State Historical Society.
Received at executive office, December 19, 1858.
Hon. Samuel Medarj% Governor of Kansas Territory :
Sir â€” On the morning of the 16th ult., an armed body of men, supposed to num-
ber 100, well armed with revolvers. Sharp's rifles, and cannons, entered our town
(Fort Scott) from the west side. Most of them proceeded directly to the Fort
Scott hotel, wherein one Benjamin Rice was held in custody by the sheriff of the
county. Rice was immediately released and put in possession of arms. During
the time occupied in effecting his release, a large number of our citizens were ar-
rested, and not allowed to protect their families from the insults of this merciless
gang. Several citizens were fired upon, and saved their lives by secreting them-
selves in their dwellings. The house of J. H. Little & Co. was approached and
fired into. The fire was returned by some of the inmates, but did no particular
damage. Mr. J. H. Little, while looking at the crowd outside from a small win-
dow over the door, was fired at, the shot piercing his brain, which caused almost
instant death. The store adjoining the dwelling was then broken open and robbed
of most of its contents, amounting to several thousand dollars in value. The Fort
Scott hotel was entered and robbed of a large amount â€” wearing apparel, guns,
This body of men was led on by James Montgomery, and among its numbers
were men from Lykins, Linn and Bourbon counties, who have for some time
past been pillaging in this and other localities. The undersigned respectfully
ask it, that inasmuch as the civil powers are exhausted, that you take the
necessary action to secure to us, our neighbors and families security for their
future. Yours respectfully,
J. E. JONES.
WM. T. CAMPBELL, U. S. Deputy Marshal.
CHAS. BULL, Sheriff of Bourbon Co., K. T.
Executive Office, Lecompton, December 19, 1858.
Hon. Lewis Cass :
Sir â€” I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of
December 7, informing me that my suggestions had been referred to the interior
Governor Medary arrived yesterday and entered upon the duties of his office,
and by his directions I herewith transmit a report to him, drawn up in this
office to-day by two officers of Bourbon count}' and a citizen of Fort Scott, showing
the state of affairs in Bourbon county. Contrary to my expectations, the citi-
zens have been surprised and overpowered. Murder and robbery on a large scale
has been committed, and, unless the hands of the executive of the territory are
strengthened with proper means for an efficient administration of justice, the
result can easily be foretold ; prompt measures must be taken or a portion of
this territory must be abandoned to a set of murderers and outlaws, and in the
end more cost to the government will accrue, while great injustice be done to the
people of that section. I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
HUGH S. WALSH, Secretary of Kansas Territory.
Executive Office, Lecompton, K. T., December 20, 1858.
S. A. Medary, Esq.:
Sir â€” You will proceed forthwith to Fort Leavenworth, and call upon the
commandant of that place and ascertain the number and character of the troops
at his disposal.
Governor Medari/'s Administration. 563
You will also report to said commandant the state of affairs at Fort Scott, and
ascertain the practicability of an expedition there, if necessity should require it,
and the length of time it would take to be ready to leave the fort for said des-
tination, and report to me forthwith after receiving such information.
Respectfully, S. MEDAEY.
S. A. MENDARY'S REPORT.
Lecompton, K. T., December 22, 1858.
Gov, S. Medary :
Sir â€” In compliance with your orders of the 20th inst., I have the honor to
report the following as the substance of the information I was able to obtain at
Fort Leavenworth, viz.:
The number and character of the troops under the command of Capt. Arnold
Elzey at Fort Leavenworth is, two batteries of light artillery, four pieces each,
and one company of foot.
It would require six days to reach Fort Scott after the arrival of a requisition.
I was informed by Captain Elzey that there were standing orders in his pos-
session to recognize a requisition from the governor of the territory for a military
force to act as a " posse comitatvis."
I also learned that the force at Fort Riley and at the disposal of the governor
amounted to four companies of cavalry and two companies of foot.
All of which is respectfully submitted. SAM. A. MEDARY.
Fort Scott, K. T., December 21, 185S.
To His Excellency, James Buchanan, President of the United States:
Sir â€” I am, and for several months past have been, a deputy for the United
States marshal for this territory. I am located in the third judicial district of
the territory, of which this town is the seat of justice, and the Hon. Joseph
Williams is the judge. We are now in a state of revolution. There is in this
judicial district an organized band of men under the lead and command of
the notorious James Montgomery, of Linn county, in this territory, aided by
old John Brown, now commonly known as "Old Osawatomie Brown." These
men seem perfectly reckless and desperate, totally disregarding the rights of
the citizens, both as to their lives and their pi'operty. They openly and boldly
set at defiance the laws of the United States and of the territory, and yield
neither obedience nor respect to the courts or the ministerial officers of either.
None of those men or those who sympathize with them can be arrested for any
crime, or, if arrested, the prisoners are immediately released and rescued by
Montgomery and his band of outlaws. In truth, anarchy and violence reign
triumphant in southern Kansas. Everything like law or order is trampled
under foot by this miscreant crew.
At the last October court in and for the county, one Rice was indicted for
a murder by him committed during the last winter or spring, a warrant was
duly issued, and he was arrested by the sheriff of this county and imprisoned
in this town. On the 16th of the present month, w^hile I was away making an
arrest for an offense committed on the Cherokee neutral lands, Montgomery,
with his brigands, about 70 in number, all armed to the very teeth, with
Sharp's rifles, heavy pistols, and knives, came into town, just before the dawn
of dav, while the citizens were in profotmd sleep, and before any person was
awak'^ned they got possession of the prison, overpowered the guard, and re-
leased Rice. Small detachmients of these fellows were posted abotit the town,
564 Kansas State Historical Societi/.
so as to command every house, and as the inmates, hearing an unusual noise
and confusion in the streets, came to their doors, unarmed and unsuspecting,
to ascertain the cause thereof, they were instantly ordered to surrender as pris-
oners of war, and marched to what these brigands termed a "prisoners' ring,"
where they were placed and kept together under a strong guard. If any one
refused to surrender to them, they were instantly fired upon by these despera-
does, with their Sharp's rifles.
John H. Little, one of the most estimable young men in the country, and
formerly a deputy United States marshal here, was fired upon by one of these
outlaws through a window, while standing in his store, and was almost in-
stantly killed; he was shot through the brain and survived but a few moments.
The heartless villains then pillaged the store, carrying away all the valuable
and portable goods, while poor Little lay struggling in the last agonies of death.
The goods carried off were of the value of from |5,000 to $6,000. The citizens
were perfectly powerless, and could make no efficient resistance. Many of
them were prisoners, and of course without arms. There were not to exceed
40 guns in the town. Many of these were inefficient, and many had fallen into
the hands of the banditti. The marauders brought with them a mounted
cannon of six-pound calibre, which they planted upon the public plaza, so
as to be brought to bear instantly upon the people, should any attempt at re-
sistance be made. Prior to the outrage just related, and since the before-men-
tioned October term of the court, some 10 families have been robbed and driven
from their homes in Linn county, and about the same number in this county,
and on the evening of the same day on which poor Little was robbed and mur-
dered this banditti robbod the store of Mr. Van Syckle, in this county, and
gbout 15 miles from this place.
To conclude, honored sir, all subordination and regard for the laws of our
country are at an end on the part of these scoundrels. No marshal or sheriff's
posse can be raised with arms and discipline sufficient to secure or arrest this
horde of marauders, robbers and thieves.
I propose, if your excellency should deem it proper to do so, and will
confer the authority on me, to raise a company of volunteers, say 100 or 150
men, to be mustered into the service of the United States for the time being,
to aid me as a posse in arresting these men. I am confident, with such a force