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article by Ruby Basye, Coats, on the Gray county county-seat fight
between Ingalls and Cimarron.

Featured in the 28-page anniversary edition of the Luray Herald,
August 28, 1952, were local historical highlights for each year
beginning with 1902. Among other articles was "A History of the
Settlement of Luray," by Capt. John Fritts.

Two articles of a historical nature appeared in the Hugoton
Hermes, September 4, 1952. One dealt with the establishment of
Hugoton in the middle 1880's and the other with the county-seat
rivalry between Hugoton and Woodsdale.



The Wichita Evening Eagles "See Kansas" series of articles has
continued to appear in recent months. Subjects of a few have been:
Fort Scott, September 11, 1952; "Bloody" Benders of Parsons, Sep-
tember 25; Cheney, November 13; and WaKeeney, December 18.

A brief history of the first school in the Chanute area was printed
in the Chanute Tribune, September 19, 1952. The school was estab-
lished in 1868 in a log cabin.

Appearing in the Topeka Daily Capital, September 21, 1952, were
historical articles on the Brookville Hotel, Last Chance store in
Council Grove, and a biographical sketch of Elizabeth Simerwell
Carter and her family by Peggy Greene.

An Indian peace treaty edition, including 64 tabloid pages of
local history, was published by The Barber County Index, Medicine
Lodge, October 2, 1952, in connection with the Indian peace treaty
pageant held in Barber county October 10-12. Featured were
stories of the treaty between the government and the Indians made
in 1867 near present Medicine Lodge. The event is celebrated
every five years by an outdoor pageant.

Two recent articles on the history of the Great Bend area were: a
biographical sketch of Frank Marque by Mrs. Abbie L. Darr, in the
Great Bend Press, October 5, 1952, and a brief, illustrated history
of the Great Bend schools in the Great Bend Daily Tribune, Octo-
ber 30.

The history of the Henderson Mennonite Brethren church was
published in the Hillsboro Journal, October 9, 1952. Organization
of the church in 1877 was directed by Peter Regier, Cornelius Neu-
feldt and Gerhard Toews. Regier became the first minister, and
the first building was completed in 1880.

The Clearwater News, October 9, 1952, published a column-
length history of Clearwater. The first settlers in the area arrived
in the late 1860's and early 1870's.

An article by Mrs. May Curtis, written for presentation at the
Rush county old settlers' reunion at Rush Center, October 16, 1952,
recalling Rush county history of the 1880's and 1890's, was pub-
lished in The Rush County News, La Crosse, November 27, 1952.

The Atchison Daily Globe published an 80-page, 75th anniver-
sary edition October 19, 1952. Edgar Watson Howe founded the
Globe in 1877. The edition is dedicated to the Howe family and
the city of Atchison. Included are many historical articles on the
town's institutions and industries.


An 88-page special edition of the Hays Daily News was issued
October 30, 1952, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the
founding of Fort Hays State College. Much of the history of Fort
Hays and the city of Hays is included with numerous articles on
the college.

A brief account of the last Indian raid through Kansas, in 1878,
by Mrs. Ruby Basye, Coats, was published in the Dodge City
Daily Globe, November 3, 1952.

Mrs. Bert Hay's history of the vicinity north of Baileyville ap-
peared in the Courier-Tribune, Seneca, November 3, 1952. W. P.
Sproul, father of Mrs. Hay, brought his family to Haytown, present
Baileyville, in 1880.

Sedgwick's early history was published in the Sedgwick Panta-
graph, November 6, 1952. The town was established in June, 1870,
and Harvey county was organized in 1872. Brief historical sketches
of Sedgwick churches and lodges were printed in the Pantagraph,
November 20.

A 50-year history of the Cosmos Club of Russell, by Mrs. H. A.
Opdycke, was published in the Russell Record, November 13, 1952.

A review of the history of the Four Mile School Thanksgiving
Association, Butler county, from the time of its organization, No-
vember 28, 1889, to November 30, 1939, by H. A. J. Coppins, asso-
ciation historian, was published in the El Dorado Times, November
27, 1952.

An anthology of Kansas poetry published in 1894 was discussed
by Norma B. Cunningham in "Human Grief and Hope of Heaven
Stirred Kansas Poets of 1890's, Anthology Shows/' printed in the
Kansas City (Mo.) Star, December 6, 1952. Articles of historical
interest to Kansans appearing in recent issues of the Kansas City
(Mo.) Times included: "Texas Cattle Shattered Abilene's Peace,
Made Town Famous 85 Years Ago/' by Charles M. Harger, August
29; "Last of Big Indian Raids Was Costly to Kansas in Death and
Destruction," by Ray Morgan, September 19; "Kansas, Now to
Have Archbishop, Saw First Catholic Priest [Father Padilla] 410
Years Ago/' by John J. Doohan, December 9; "Faith in West Lured
Horace Greeley to Kansas and Fringe of Civilization," by Charles
Arthur Hawley, December 11; "Century-Old House in a State Park
Is Relic of the Pony Express in Kansas," by E. B. Dykes Beachy,
December 30.

Kansas Historical Notes

Dr. Robert Taft, Lawrence, president of the Kansas State His-
torical Society, is chairman of an advisory committee appointed by
Gov. Edward F. Arn to plan for the state's observance of the 100th
anniversary of the establishment of the territory of Kansas on May
30, 1854. Prof. Charles M. Correll of Kansas State College, Man-
hattan, is vice-chairman. Others named to the committee are:
Dr. George Anderson, and Robert Vosper, University of Kansas;
Kenneth Davis, Manhattan novelist; Jerome Cushman, Salina
librarian; Nyle H. Miller, secretary of the Kansas Historical Society;
Rolla Clymer, El Dorado editor; J. M. Feller, Leavenworth; Maurice
Fager, director of the Kansas Industrial Development Commission;
and Harry Woods, Kansas State Chamber of Commerce. Other
centennial committees have also been set up by the University of
Kansas; by the city of Lawrence, which will observe its centennial
in the summer of 1954; and by Topeka, for the purpose of preparing
a history of the city, founded on December 5, 1854.

Historic Wichita, Inc., recently announced that the restoration
of four key buildings in the "Cow Town" project was in progress.
The idea of the project is to build a typical cow town. Ruildings
now being constructed and restored are the first Wichita jail, par-
sonage, church, and the Munger house, the first in Wichita. Other
buildings are to be added later. Richard M. "Dick" Long is presi-
dent of Historic Wichita, Inc., and L. W. Roberts is chairman of
the building committee.

George Miller, Cottonwood Falls, was re-elected president of the
Chase County Historical Society at the annual meeting September
6, 1952, in Cottonwood Falls. Other officers chosen include: Henry
Rogler, Matfield Green, vice-president; C. A. Baldwin, Cottonwood
Falls, secretary; and Mrs. George Dawson, Elmdale, treasurer.
Members of the executive committee are: Mrs. Ida M. Vinson,
chairman, C. A. Baldwin, Minnie Norton, T. R. Wells, and Ida
Schneider. W. P. Austin was later designated chief historian.

The 20th anniversary of the founding of the Kiowa County His-
torical Society was celebrated October 2, 1952, by a Pioneer party
in Greensburg, attended by 245 persons. Officers chosen for the
coming year were: W. A. Sluder, president; Herbert Parkin, first
vice-president; Mrs. Emma Meyer, second vice-president; Mrs.
Benjamin Weaver, secretary; and Mrs. L. V. Keller, treasurer.



Prof. L. E. Curfman, Pittsburg, was elected president of the
Crawford County Historical Society at a meeting in Pittsburg,
October 22, 1952. Other officers named were: Oscar Anderson,
Farlington, vice-president; Mrs. Mae Stroud, secretary; and William
Walker, treasurer. L. H. Dunton, Arcadia; Ralph Shideler, Girard;
and Mrs. C. M. Cooper, Pittsburg, were elected to the board of
directors. Dr. Theodore Sperry and Dr. Gladys Galligar of Kansas
State Teachers College, Pittsburg, gave an illustrated talk on their
trip to the Belgian Congo. Dr. Ernest Mahan, Pittsburg, was the
retiring president.

Dr. C. W. McCampbell was re-elected president of the Riley
County Historical Association at the annual dinner meeting in Man-
hattan, October 24, 1952. Other officers chosen were: Lee King,
vice-president; Mrs. C. W. Emmons, secretary; Joe Haines, treas-
urer; Ed Amos, historian; and Carl Pfuetze, curator. New directors
are: Mrs. Cora Parker, Mrs. Max Wolf, and C. M. Correll. Direc-
tors holding over are: Albert Horlings, Bruce Wilson, Mrs. F. A.
Marlatt, Richard Rogers, Dr. F. A. Filinger, and Mrs. Eva Knox.
Dr. H. E. Socolofsky, featured speaker at the meeting, gave the
history of early railroads in Riley county.

The Dickinson County Historical Society held its annual meet-
ing in the New Basel church, October 28, 1952. Talks on the his-
tory of the New Basel community were features of the program.
Mrs. Ed Rohrer, Elmo, was elected second vice-president, and
Mrs. Walter Wilkins, Chapman, treasurer. Other officers remain
in office for another year. B. H. Oesterreich, Woodbine, is

Pawnee county pioneers of the 1870's were the honored guests
of the Pawnee County Historical Society at the annual pioneer
reunion in Larned October 30, 1952. This year's reunion cele-
brated the 80th anniversary of the founding of the county.

The annual meeting and pioneer mixer of the Clark County
Historical Society was held in Ashland, November 1, 1952. Among
the speakers were Judge Karl Miller and Heinie Schmidt of Dodge
City. New officers elected included: Paul F. Randall, president;
Mrs. Virgil Broadie, vice-president; Mrs. Sidney Dorsey, first hon-
orary vice-president; and Mrs. Chas. McCasland, second honorary
vice-president. Other officers of the society are: Mrs. J. C. Harper,
recording secretary; Mrs. W. R. Nunemacher, assistant recording
secretary; Rhea Gross, corresponding secretary; William T. Moore,


treasurer; Mrs. H. B. Gabbert, curator; Mrs. R. V. Shrewder, his-
torian; and M. G. Stevenson, auditor.

The annual old settlers' reunion sponsored by the Stevens County
Historical Society, held November 2, 1952, in the old Stevens county
courthouse in Hugoton, was attended by nearly 200 early residents
of the county.

Bill Adams of Pratt was the principal speaker at the annual
meeting of the Comanche County Historical Society in Coldwater,
November 5, 1952. Brief talks were also made by Judge Karl
Miller and Heinie Schmidt of Dodge City. W. P. Morton was
re-elected president of the society for the coming year. Other
officers elected were: H. B. Cloud, vice-president; Stella York,
secretary; and F. H. Moberly, treasurer.

O. W. Mosher was re-elected president of the Lyon County His-
torical Society at the annual meeting in Emporia, December 4,
1952. Other officers elected included: A. H. Thomas, first vice-
president; Claude Arnett, second vice-president; Mrs. C. A. Moore,
secretary; Warren Morris, treasurer; Lucina Jones, Mrs. F. L.
Gilson, Mabel Edwards, and Charles Caldwell, historians.

L. B. Read, Jr., was elected president of the Lawrence Historical
Society at the fall meeting, December 19, 1952. Other officers
named were: M. S. Winter, Sr., vice-president; Byron Beery, secre-
tary, and Corlett Cotton, treasurer. Directors elected to serve until
December, 1953, were: Mrs. Ivan Rowe, Prof. H. H. Lane, Irma
Spangler, Dr. T. A. Kennedy, and Mayor Chris Kraft. Directors
elected to serve until December, 1954, were: Mrs. T. D. Prentice,
Keith Lawton, Mrs. L. H. Menger, M. N. Penny, and Ida Lyons.
Penny was the retiring president.

Officers of the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society for
1953 are: Mrs. Homer Bair, president; Mrs. David Huber, first
vice-president; Lucile Larson, second vice-president; Mrs. Martin
Ziegler, recording secretary; Mrs. Lee J. Smith, corresponding
secretary; Mrs. Edith M. Mills, treasurer; Mrs. Harry Meyer, his-
torian; Mrs. Arthur W. Wolf, curator; and Mrs. Carl Harder,
member-in-waiting. Mrs. James Glenn Bell was the retiring

A 422-page work by W. Turrentine Jackson entitled Wagon
Roads West was recently published by the University of California
Press. It is a study of federal road surveys and construction in
the trans-Mississippi West, including Kansas, from 1846 to 1869.



May 1953

Published by

Kansas State Historical Society



Editor Associate Editor Managing Editor


ASPECTS OF THE NEBRASKA QUESTION, 1852-1854 James C. Malm, 385

CAPT. L. C. EASTON'S REPORT: Fort Laramie to Fort Leavenworth

Via Republican River in 1849 Edited by Merrill J. Mattes, 392

With the following illustrations:

Captain Easton's map of 1849, facing p. 400;
Sketches of Fort Leavenworth (1849), facing p. 416,
and Fort Laramie (1849), facing p. 417.


Compiled by Helen M. McFarland, Librarian, 430




The Kansas Historical Quarterly is published in February, May, August and
November by the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kan., and is dis-
tributed free to members. Correspondence concerning contributions may be
sent to the managing editor at the Historical Society. The Society assumes no
responsibility for statements made by contributors.

Entered as second-class matter October 22, 1931, at the post office at To-
peka, Kan., under the act of August 24, 1912.


A photograph of Fort Riley, looking southwest, in
the early 1880's. The fort was started as Camp Center
in 1852, but was renamed Fort Riley on June 27, 1853.
A centennial celebration will be held at the fort on
June 27, 1953.


Volume XX May, 1953 Number 6

Aspects of the Nebraska Question, 1852-1854


TN a previous article on the motives of Stephen A. Douglas, em-
* phasis was placed upon the fact that the issue of slavery was
raised already, prior to the provision relating to the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise incorporated into the Douglas bill of January,
1854. The problem is too complex to be handled within the scope
of a magazine article, but an important aspect of it is presented
here as related to the Nebraska delegate convention held at St.
Joseph, Mo., January 9 and 10, 1854.

The interest of northwestern Missouri in the organization of the
Indian country to the westward, which Douglas called Nebraska,
was of long standing. It came to the point of crisis between 1852
and 1854.

The bill for the organization of Nebraska introduced into the
short session of congress of 1852-1853, by Willard P. Hall, of St.
Joseph, proposed to organize the territory without mention of the
question of slavery. That bill passed the house of representatives
but failed in the senate, apparently by a small majority.

But there is more to the question than met the eye. The Com-
promise of 1850 had been accepted by the majority of the congress
and of the federal union as the final settlement of the slavery ques-
tion, which would remove that "vexed question" from the floor of
congress forever. The formula applied to the Mexican session, and
to Texas, was the one that came to be called popular sovereignty,
which meant, that local institutions were to be decided by the popu-
lation occupying the territory, and congress would accept that
decision without argument. Both political parties, in their platforms
of 1852, had made acceptance of the Compromise Measures of 1850

DR. JAMES C. MALIN, associate editor of The Kansas Historical Quarterly, is professor of
history at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

The material in this article is summarized from some parts of a book by the present
author, The Nebraska Question, 1852-1854, to be issued in 1954.



a test of party loyalty, and candidates had generally been nominated
and elected upon that pledge, or "loyalty oath/' Northwestern
Missouri, where Hall's bill originated, was so pledged, and pro-
ceeded to act upon that new proposition following the campaign.
Hall's bill itself becomes intelligible only in that background.

The principles, as just explained, were not restricted to north-
western Missouri. The New York Express published an editorial
on the subject, reprinted in the St. Joseph ( Mo. ) Gazette, March 9,
1853: "The day has gone by when Congress will look into the pro-
posed institutions of any new State, further than to see if they are
incompatible with the Federal Constitution."

This doctrine became the rallying cry for Nebraska during the
summer of 1853 to ignore the Missouri Compromise and act upon
the new dispensation of the Compromise Measures of 1850.
Sen. David R. Atchison, of Missouri, challenged the procedure, not
the objective, and insisted that the Missouri Compromise must be
repealed outright as a condition of organizing Nebraska.

Northwestern Missouri, Whigs and Democrats, except the strictly
Atchison following, rallied largely to the support of the Hall formula.
Hall addressed a St. Joseph mass meeting, August 27, 1853, in which
he reviewed the Nebraska question in a broad perspective. Resolu-
tions were adopted. The discussion following this event crystallized
into a plan for a delegate convention to meet at St. Joseph, on the
Battle of New Orleans Day, January 8, 1854. As that date fell on
Sunday, the day following was celebrated, with Nebraska participat-
ing. Delegates had been selected at mass meetings held in south-
western Iowa counties, and in Nebraska territory, as well as in the
northwestern Missouri counties. Among the resolutions adopted
by that convention, which apply specifically to this issue, are the

6. Resolved, That it is the duty of Congress as early as possible at its
present session, to organize Nebraska into a territory, and thus give to her
residents, travelers, traders and citizens, the protection of law, and the rights
and privileges of a free peoples.

7. Resolved, That, we are utterly opposed to any re-agitation of that Vexed
question/ now happily at rest and we 'will resist all attempts at renewing
in Congress, or out of it, the agitation of the slavery question, under whatever
shape or color the attempts may be made. ['].

8. Resolved, That, we consider the agitation of the slavery question, in
connection with the organization of Nebraska territory, dangerous to the peace
of the country, fatal to the best interests of Nebraska itself, and even threatening
the harmony, if not the perpetuity of the whole Union.

9. Resolved, That in organizing Nebraska Territory, all who are now or


who may hereafter settle there should be protected in all their rights, leaving
questions of local policy to be settled by the citizens of the Territory, when
they form a State Government.

12. Resolved, That all the settlers in Nebraska are entitled, of right, and
should receive from the general government, equal protection, and equal pre-
emption, graduation, or homestead gratuities as any have received, who have
settled or shall hereafter settle, on any other portions belonging to the United
States. 1

The Nebraska Convention instructed a committee to arrange for
the immediate publication of the proceedings, the resolutions, the
letters of distinguished men addressed to the convention, an
address to the public, and a memorial to congress. This was to have
been done in pamphlet form to be broadcast to the whole Union.
For a number of reasons, particularly financial, the plan was not
carried out. Except the address to the public, all of the material was
printed in the St. Joseph Gazette during the early months of 1854,
but not soon enough to produce any effective impact upon the public
mind. How much influence the proceedings wielded behind the
scenes cannot be discussed here.

The first version of the Douglas Nebraska bill, reported January
4, 1854, was virtually the doctrine of the northwestern Missouri
agitation, regardless of the influences which may have decided
Douglas upon the particular language and theory involved. It was
also the view of the New York Express already quoted in part. The
revision made by Douglas under pressure of Dixon and Atchison,
and represented in his revised bill of January 23, was a more explicit
announcement that the Compromise Measures of 1850 had super-
seded the Missouri Compromise. The changes introduced on
February 6, 7, 15, repealed the Missouri Compromise explicitly
as of 1854 by using the words "inconsistent with" thus cutting
through all the previous quibbling about language and procedure,
but making no change in the basic assumptions that reach back to
the Hall bill of 1852-1853. That many people had not so under-
stood the purpose of the Hall bill, is quite another question.

The episode of the Jeremiah Clemens letter may help to explain
other aspects of opinion. Formerly a senator from Alabama,
Clemens was not then active politically, but answered on February
4, 1854, a letter from John Van Buren, of New York:

. . . I agree with you in most of its suggestions. The less that is said
upon the subject of slavery the better it will be for all parties, and such I am
sure is the general sentiment of the South. We want nothing but to be let
alone. . . .

1. St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette, January 18, 1854.


All that I consider necessary in the Nebraska bill, was that it should be an
exact copy of the New Mexico bill, except, of course, the name and description
of boundaries.

Clemens then condemned the Douglas bill which announced that
the Missouri Compromise was superseded:

. . . I think I can foresee the consequences. ... A floodgate will
be opened, and a torrent turned loose upon the country which will sweep away
in its devastating course every vestige of the Compromise of 1850. I do not
speak of its immediate effects I look beyond. For the present it may be
looked upon at the South as a boon, and by a portion of the North as a
triumph over fanaticism. The word peace will be upon the lips of its
advocates everywhere. . . . but I greatly fear that they will soon find
they have raised a spirit which will wing its way through storm and tempest
to the funeral pyre of the Republic. 2

Lucian J. Eastin, editor of the St. Joseph Gazette, endorsed the
Clemens argument. He understood clearly what was being said
because it was the standard argument of his area. Eastin had
criticized the revised Douglas bill adversely also, but finally accepted
it on the basis of the doctrine of the original proposition. In earlier
discussions, the point was made repeatedly in northwestern Missouri
that the decision of 1820 had been made on the basis of facts as of
that year. Although disagreeing with that decision in principle, the
Missouri Compromise was accepted in good faith, and no move
should be made to repeal it. Nevertheless, if called upon to decide
the question of slavery in Nebraska as an original proposition, as of
the 1850's, Eastin would vote against the Missouri Compromise.
It was on that basis that he had joined the fight against Atchison
during 1853, at the same time that he insisted upon the right of
the settlers in Nebraska to vote it a slave state and be admitted
into the Union as a slave state, regardless of the Missouri Com-
promise restriction.

The doctrine of the original proposition justified by a new situa-
tion was the means of removing the dead hand of the past from
decisions of the present, merely by ignoring that past. Now that
repeal was actually being agitated, introduced into the scene by
others, he regarded the matter of repeal itself as an original proposi-
tion to be settled on the basis of a new situation, facts existing in
1854, not facts existing in 1820.

It seems all but impossible for people captive to a century of
antislavery-abolition propaganda to distinguish the separate issues
as seen by these people of 1853 and 1854. The Missouri Compro-

2. Reprinted in the St. Joseph Gazette, March 1, 1854, and reprinted also widely in
the Eastern newspapers.


mise of 1820 was itself one entity, decided as an original proposition,
to meet a specific situation. It had served its purpose. The incident

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 45 of 76)