Kansas State Historical Society.

The Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) online

. (page 54 of 76)
Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 54 of 76)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


The Beloit Daily Call, February 26, 1953, published a three-
column history of Waconda, "dead" town of Mitchell county. Ap-
parently established in 1871, Waconda was abandoned early in the
ISSCTs.



460 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

A brief history of Doniphan, by T. E. Garvey, appeared in the
Atchison Daily Globe, March 5, 1953. James F. Forman, who
owned the townsite, is considered the father of the town. The town
company was organized November 11, 1854.

On March 12, 1953, The Leader-Courier, Kingman, printed a
short history of the Waterloo Presbyterian church, Kingman, county.
The first meeting for organization of the church was on February
25, 1878, at the home of J. C. Endicott. It is believed to be the first
church organized in Kingman county.



Kansas Historical Notes

All officers of the Northeast Kansas Historical Society were re-
elected at a recent meeting at the C. C. Webb home in Highland.
They are: Mrs. C. C. Webb, president; Fenn Ward, vice-president;
Mrs. Fenn Ward, secretary; and C. C. Webb, finance director. The
society operates the Sac and Fox Indian mission which was visited
by over 2,400 persons during the past year.

The annual meeting of the Augusta Historical Society was held
January 12, 1953, with the president, Stella B. Haines, presiding.
Other officers of the society are: Mrs. J. E. Mahannah, vice-presi-
dent; Florence Hudson, secretary; and Mrs. Henry Bornholdt,
treasurer. The secretary reported that 800 visitors had registered
during the past year at the museum maintained by the society.

Maurice E. Fager, Topeka, and Mrs. David McCreath, Lawrence,
were elected presidents of the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas
at the organization's 35th annual meeting in Topeka, January 28,
1953. Other officers elected by the Native Sons were: Rolla A.
Clymer, El Dorado, vice-president; G. Clay Baker, Topeka, secre-
tary; and John W. Brookens, Westmoreland, treasurer. The Native
Daughters named Mrs. Ethel Godin, Wamego, vice-president; Mrs.
Ivan Dayton Jones, Lyons, secretary; and Mrs. James B. McKay,
El Dorado, treasurer. W. S. Rupe, Ames, Iowa, publisher, was the
principal speaker at the evening meeting. The Capper award for
the winner of the collegiate speech contest went to F. L. Baird,
Newton, and was presented by Henry S. Blake. Retiring presidents
were: C. W. Porterfield, Holton, and Mrs. Ray Pierson, Burlington.

The 46th annual meeting of the Woman's Kansas Day Club was
held in Topeka, January 29, 1953, with the president, Mrs. W. M.
Ehrsam, Wichita, presiding. At the business session Mrs. Douglas
McCrum, Fort Scott, was elected president. Other officers elected
include: Mrs. Earl C. Moses, Great Bend, first vice-president; Mrs.
E. Claude Smith, Topeka, second vice-president; Mrs. J. L. Jenson,
Colby, recording secretary; Mrs. Jessie Clyde Fisher, Wichita, treas-
urer; Mrs. C. W. Spencer, Sedan, historian; Mrs. J. U. Massey, Pitts-
burg, auditor; and Mrs. F. J. Rost, Topeka, registrar. Directors
elected were: Mrs. George Rathbun, Manhattan, first district; Mrs.
Clyde Swender, Blue Mound, second district; Mrs. William Ground-
water, Longton, third district; Mrs. Paul H. Wedin, Wichita, fourth

(461)



462 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

district; Mrs. Will Townsley, Jr., Great Bend, fifth district; and Dr.
Mary Glasson, Phillipsburg, sixth district. This year's theme was
"Early Day Transportation in Kansas." Interesting reports, given
by the district directors and historians, were presented to the Kansas
State Historical Society. Pictures, museum articles, and books were
also given.

Dr. Elizabeth Cochran, Kansas State Teachers College, Pittsburg,
told of her recent trip through Europe at a meeting of the Crawford
County Historical Society in Pittsburg, February 5, 1953. Another
feature of the meeting was a quiz on the history of Crawford county
and Kansas. Prof. L. E. Curfman is president of the society.

Guy Norris, long-time resident of Garden City, was the principal
speaker at the annual meeting of the Finney County Historical So-
ciety, February 10, 1953, in Garden City. Directors chosen at the
business session were: Gus Norton, J. E. Greathouse, William Fant,
Albert Drussel, Mrs. Charles Brown, Mrs. Kate Smith, Mrs. Ella
Condra, Chet Reeve, Mrs. Louis Kampschroeder, Frederick Finnup,
Guy Norris, and Mrs. C. C. Wristen. Norton is president of the
society.

Gov. Edward F. Arn's advisory committee for the observance of
Kansas' territorial centennial in 1954, noted in the February, 1953,
Quarterly, reported their recommendations to the governor on Feb-
ruary 18, 1953. The plans were approved by Governor Arn, an
appropriation of $10,000 was granted and all the members of the
committee were reappointed to the Kansas Territorial Centennial
committee and instructed to put the plans into operation. Addi-
tional members on this committee are: Mrs. Orvill Burtis, Man-
hattan; Everett E. Erhart, Stafford; Mrs. Frank Haucke, Florence;
Bliss Isley, Wichita; Tom Lillard, Topeka; Father Cuthbert Mc-
Donald, Atchison; Larry Miller, Topeka; Mrs. H. N. Moses, Salina;
Dolph Simons, Lawrence; Fred Stein, Atchison; the Rev. Milton
Vogel, Topeka; Vivian Woody, Douglass; C. O. Wright, Topeka;
L. D. Wooster, Hays; Ted L. Sexton, Leavenworth, and Don Mc-
Neal, Council Grove. Dr. Robert Taft, Lawrence, is committee
chairman.

A bronze plaque has been placed on the California camp site
where the 20th Kansas regiment of Volunteer infantry stayed when
en route to Manila in 1898. The project was sponsored by the Cali-
fornia Historical Society but the plaque was provided by members
of the regiment now living in California. Unveiling ceremonies



KANSAS HISTORICAL NOTES 463

were held February 27, 1953, with Col. Clay Anderson, Burlingame,
Cal., in charge of arrangements.

Ralph B. Harrison was named president of the Bourbon County
Historical Society at a meeting in Fort Scott, March 3, 1953. Other
officers elected were: Mrs. J. R. Prichard, vice-president; Mrs. G. D.
Cleland, secretary; and D. V. Swartz, treasurer. Mrs. Effie Peete,
custodian, reported that more than 6,000 people had visited the
museum during 1952.

Owen McEwen was elected president of the Wichita Historical
Museum Association at the annual meeting March 19, 1953. Other
officers chosen were: Eugene Coombs, first vice-president; Carl
Bitting, second vice-president; John Coultis, secretary; and C. K.
Foote, treasurer. Elected to the board of directors of the association
were: Coombs, Bitting, R. T. Aitchison, Mrs. C. H. Armstrong,
Omrah Aley, John P. Davidson, Mrs. W. C. Coleman, Bertha V.
Gardner, and M. C. Naftzer. Allen W. Hinkel was the featured
speaker at the meeting. Hugh D. Lester was the retiring president.

Alden O. Weber was re-elected president of the Osawatomie
Historical Society at a meeting March 27, 1953. Other officers re-
elected were: Pauline Gudger, vice-president; and Ruby Mclntosh,
secretary-treasurer. The society is working on the restoration of
the Old Stone church in Osawatomie, which dates back to 1859,
and was first served by the Rev. Samuel L. Adair, John Brown's
brother-in-law.

A historical marker commemorating the arrival of the Mennonite
pioneers in the vicinity of Great Bend in 1874 has been erected one
mile east of Dundee on Highway SON. An exact model of the origi-
nal church building is on top of the marker. An inscription on the
bronze plate dedicates the marker to the memory of the Mennonite
forefathers who migrated from Karlsualda, Russia.

The journal and diaries of George C. Sibley and others, pertain-
ing to the surveying and marking of a road from the Missouri
frontier to New Mexico, 1825-1827, have been edited by Kate L.
Gregg and recently published in a 280-page volume by the Univer-
sity of New Mexico Press under the title The Road to Santa Fe.

On Freedoms Altar is the title of a 195-page book by Hazel
Catherine Wolf on the Abolition movement of pre-Civil War days,
published recently by the University of Wisconsin Press.



464 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

Dr. Robert Taft's series, "The Pictorial Record of the Old West,"
which began appearing in the Quarterly in 1946, has been revised
and recently published in a 400-page volume entitled Artists and
Illustrators of the Old West: 1850-1900 (New York, 1953). "In
this book there have been retold the actual experiences of a number
of artists and illustrators, most of whom personally witnessed some
part of the marvelous transformation of the region beyond the
Mississippi. ..." A 72-page picture section includes examples
from the work of many of the artists. Dr. Taft is a member of the
faculty of Kansas University and president of the Kansas State
Historical Society.

Broadax and Bayonet, the story of the part played by the United
States army in the development of the Northwest, 1815 to 1860, a
263-page book by Francis Paul Prucha, was recently published by
the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. This volume deals with
the army's non-military role on the frontier, such as law enforcement,
the building of roads and forts, its contributions in the fields of
science and social development, and the economic effect of its
presence.

The reminiscences of Oliver Nelson, freighter and cowboy in Kan-
sas, the Indian territory, and Texas, 1878 to 1893, have been edited
by Dr. Angie Debo and recently published in a 343-page volume
entitled The Cowman s Southwest (Glendale, Gal., 1953).

Tornadoes of the United States (University of Oklahoma Press,
Norman, 1953), by Snowden D. Flora, is a 194-page book designed
to provide information on the frequency, damage, causes, and
methods of forecasting tornadoes, and ways of saving human lives
when the storms strike. The author was head of the United States
Weather Bureau at Topeka from 1917 to 1949.



D



THE



KANSAS HISTORICAL
QUARTERLY



August 1953







Published by

Kansas State Historical Society

Topeka



KIRKE MECHEM JAMES C. MALIN NYLE H. MILLER

Editor Associate Editor Managing Editor



CONTENTS



JUDGE LECOMPTE AND THE "SACK OF LAWRENCE,"

MAY 21, 1856 James C. Malm, 465

MIDWESTERN ATTITUDES ON THE "KANSAS FEVER"

Edited by Philip D. Uzee, 495

EARLY YEARS AT ST. MARY'S POTTAWATOMIE MISSION: From the Diary
of Father Maurice Gailland, S. J.,

Edited by the Rev. James M. Burke, S. /., 501

With the following illustrations:

Chapel of the Pottawatomie Indian Mission at St. Marys and

portrait of the Rev. Maurice Gailland, S. J., facing p. 512;
Pottawatomie Indians at St. Mary's Mission in 1867 and

St. Mary's Mission, 1867, facing p. 513.

BYPATHS OF KANSAS HISTORY 530

KANSAS HISTORY AS PUBLISHED IN THE PRESS 538

KANSAS HISTORICAL NOTES . 543



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.



THE COVER

Ruins of the Free-State Hotel, Lawrence, after the city's sacking by a Pro-
slavery mob on May 21, 1856. (See pp. 482-484.) The sketch, from a da-
guerreotype taken for Mrs. Charles ( Sara T. L. ) Robinson, is reproduced from
her book, Kansas: Its Interior and Exterior Life ( Boston, 1857 ) .



THE KANSAS
HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

Volume XX August, 1953 Number 7

Judge Lecompte and the "Sack of Lawrence,"
May 21, 1856

JAMES C. MALIN
PART ONE: THE CONTEMPORARY PHASE

THE so-called "sack of Lawrence" of May 21, 1856, according to
Kansas traditions, was perpetrated by Sheriff Samuel Jones,
under orders of the United States District Court, presided over by
Chief Justice Samuel D. Lecompte (1814-1888). Only occasionally
has anything like a correct version of that day's events been told.

On May 21, 1856, a posse of supporters of the territorial govern-
ment, many of whom were from Missouri, assembled on the ridge
west of Lawrence, at the call of United States Marshal Israel B.
Donaldson. His purpose was to have aid at hand to support him in
the service of official papers pertaining to his duties as officer of the
United States District Court. Leaving the main posse behind,
Deputy Marshal W. P. Fain served his papers in Lawrence, with-
drew, and, official duties being completed, the posse was disbanded.
At that time Sheriff Samuel J. Jones, of Douglas county, called the
men into his service, alleging the need of aid in making arrests and
abating nuisances under authority of the grand jury, the objectives
being the New England Emigrant Aid Company hotel, and the two
Lawrence newspapers, the Herald of Freedom, and the Kansas Free
State. The presses and office equipment of these newspapers were
destroyed, and the type thrown into the river. And before Jones'
mob departed, the house of Gov. Charles Robinson, southwest of
town, was burned, and an undetermined amount of damage in the
nature of looting and vandalism occurred. No Lawrence people
were killed, or seriously injured. This was the "sack of Lawrence."

In order to justify the action of Jones, the Proslavery newspapers
alleged that Jones was executing the orders of the grand jury or of

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

(465)



466 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

the United States District Court, Judge Lecompte's division. This
claim of right under law, played directly into the hands of the
Free-State party, in Kansas, and the newly organized Republican
party in federal politics, which were engaged, for political purposes
in the midst of the presidential campaign, in pinning all Kansas
troubles upon the federal government, as represented by the Demo-
cratic party and the Pierce administration. In fact, the excesses of
the presidential campaign are the major explanation of the so-
called Kansas Civil War of 1856, with Bleeding Kansas as the princi-
pal stock in trade of the newly launched Republican party, composed
of discordant elements whose only point of coherence was this one
issue of opposition to the extension of slavery into the territories,
epitomized by Kansas.

THE IMMEDIATE SETTING,
THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1856

On March 30, 1855, the election of the first territorial legislature
was held and Proslavery men won. According to the census taken
preceding the election, settlers of slave state origin were present in
a clear majority. Although facts are not available to provide proof
one way or another, the reasonable presumption is that the so-called
Proslavery party could have carried the election decisively. Upon
that basis, the action of Missourians in invading Kansas and voting
illegally, was an inexcusable blunder. The Free-State men repudi-
ated the legislature as "Bogus," and capitalized upon the situation
politically in the states. For that development the Proslavery party
had only itself to blame.

The next step in Kansas local developments is a different matter.
Free-State men called two conventions; at Big Springs, September
5, and at Topeka, September 19, 1855. The Big Springs convention
organized the Free-State party as a political weapon to unite Free-
State sympathizers of all shades of opinion upon the single issue.
Another element controlled the Topeka convention, which decided
to launch a state government movement, some going so far as to
advocate setting it in operation in defiance of the territorial gov-
ernment, even if such action led to a test of force. More moderate
counsels prevailed for the most part, however, in March, 1856,
stopping with the overt act of installing the officers under the
Topeka constitution and standing in readiness to take further action. 1
A bill was introduced into the house of representatives to admit

1. James C. Malin, John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-six (Philadelphia, The Ameri-
can Philosophical Society, 1942), ch. 25, "The Single Issue . . ."



JUDGE LECOMPTE AND THE "SACK OF LAWRENCE" 467

Kansas into the Union under this constitution and government,
headed by Charles Robinson, the political agent of the New Eng-
land Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas.

While these events were maturing during the early months of
1856, the presidential campaign was moving rapidly into the nomi-
nating convention stage. The American party met at Philadelphia,
February 22, and split on the slavery issue. This party was the
political aspect of a violent nativist movement 100 percent Amer-
icans hostile to foreign immigrants, especially to the Catholic
population. Antiforeign and anti-Catholic riots had occurred in
several places during the years immediately preceding this election
of 1856. The American party had minimized the slavery question,
as a secondary issue, but when the Philadelphia convention split,
it meant that the sectional controversy based upon slavery gained
the ascendancy even in the ranks of the political nativists, depriving
the American party of its primary reason for existence.

The process of welding together all opponents of the Democratic
party supporting the administration was well under way with the
opening of the year 1856; Northern Whigs, anti-Nebraska Democrats,
Freesoilers, and in some respects most important, Americans. Na-
thaniel P. Banks, an American, had been elected speaker of the
house of representatives by the anti-administration coalition. The
Republican party elements held a preliminary national convention
at Pittsburgh, February 22. John C. Fremont, a Republican aspirant
for the nomination, and Banks, were collaborating in the task of
capitalizing upon the Kansas situation.

In relation to the nativist sentiment it is important to call atten-
tion to the manner in which the issue crossed party lines. Amos
Lawrence, treasurer of the New England Emigrant Aid Company,
was a major force in the American party in Massachusetts, and
Robinson was the company's political agent in the Territory of
Kansas. In the Democratic party, Senator Atchison of Missouri was
a nativist in sentiment and agreed with the Know-Nothings in his
attitude toward foreigners, while opposing them as a political party,
because the American party would divide and weaken the Demo-
cratic party. He co-operated in attempting to add the anti-foreign
Clayton amendment to the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and was even
accused of being the author of it. Thus Amos Lawrence and Atchi-
son were in agreement on nativism as an attitude, but opposed in
their views on how to implement it partywise, and were opposed
also in attitude toward slavery. Confusion and contradiction in



468 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

ideas and emotions was the most characteristic feature of this
decade of the 1850's. Unless that fact is understood and fully
appreciated, the history of the decade is quite incomprehensible.

Fremont and Charles Robinson had been associated briefly in
California politics at an earlier time, and Fremont used this as an
excuse for writing to Robinson, agent of the New England Emigrant
Aid Company, about the current situation and the advantages of
co-operation. That letter was published, but Fremont had not sent
it direct to Robinson. Banks acted as intermediary, writing to Rob-
inson a covering letter, dated March 19, which was not printed. 2
Banks urged the Fremont candidacy. "We are in expectation of
being able to do something in Congress," he wrote, "that will [be]
an effectual aid to Kansas. . . . The Kansas question will meet
its first decision in the House this week, and I think it wih 1 not be
against us." Upon two matters in particular Kansas did expect
favorable house action, the admission of Kansas under the Topeka
constitution, and, in the meantime, the seating of Andrew H. Reeder
in the house as delegate from the territory of Kansas.

The house did act on March 19, the day Banks dated his letter
to Robinson, in authorizing a special committee on the Kansas
troubles generally, and in reference to elections particularly. The
committee, composed of William A. Howard of Michigan, as chair-
man, John Sherman of Ohio, and Mordicai Oliver of Missouri,
opened its first session in Lecompton, April 18, and its second on
April 23, expecting hearings to begin at Lawrence the next day.

In the senate, Douglas had made a report on Kansas, March 12,
denouncing the New England Emigrant Aid Company, and the
Topeka state movement. Collamer of Vermont, presented a minor-
ity report upholding the Free-State cause and suggesting repeal of
the Kansas-Nebraska act or admission of Kansas. On March 17,
Douglas introduced his Kansas bill to enable Kansas to form a state
government and apply for admission upon attaining the minimum
population necessary for a congressman, and specifying six months'
residence as the minimum qualification for voting.

In his correspondence from Washington, dated March 12, Horace
Greeley wrote of the Douglas report on Kansas: "No man could
have made his Report who did not mean to earn the gratitude of
the Slave Power. ... I shall consider Mr. Douglas henceforth

2. James C. Malin "Speaker Banks Courts the Free-Soilers: The Fremont-Robinson
Letter of 1856," New England Quarterly, Orono, Maine, v. 12 (1939), pp. 103-112. In
this article, the Banks letter was printed and used for historical purposes for the first time
The inaccurate and misleading title for the article as it appears, was the work of the
editor of the New England Quarterly.



JUDGE LECOMPTE AND THE "SACK OF LAWRENCE" 469

an aspirant for the Cincinnati nomination. . . ." Two days later,
Greeley repeated that the Douglas report was "his bold bid for
Southern favor." 3

In connection with Douglas* speech, upon his Kansas-Nebraska
report and bill, the New York Tribune accused him of making a
threat against the antislavery men: "We will subdue you!" The use
of this phrase or anything of similar meaning was denied by Douglas,
but to no avail. The New York Tribune printed a lead editorial,
March 24, under that phrase as a text:

When the arch-traitor from Illinois recently vomited his rage upon the Senate
in his declaration, "We intend to subdue you," he only reechoed the war-
whoop which, from the beginning of things, the principle of Evil in the world
has forever shouted its warfare upon the Good.

The editor cited the Asiatic religions as recognizing that principle
of the warfare of Good and Evil. Also: "To 'subdue' the race of
man, Satan crawled on his belly and ate dirt in Eden." Then, as
examples of the conflict of evil against good, reference was made
to the Prometheus theme, the Pharoahs against Moses, and Judas
against Christ, with application to the contemporary scene: "The
Douglases and Pierces of that day declared that, by the united in-
strumentality of Judas and the Doctors, they would 'subdue' the
Godlike on the Cross of Calvary."

Reverting to Xerxes against the Greeks, the editor continued his
alleged parallels with the Medieval church against Luther, the
Stuart kings against Parliament, and King George against his
American colonies, with victory in each case for "Good":

The godless crowd who resist man's emancipation and enlightenment, who op-
pose every step of progress and cry out, "We will subdue you!" to the agents
and agencies of social regeneration, diminish in numbers and force with the
lapse of every century. . . .

Very early in the year, and prior to the actual organization of the
Republican party nationally, Horace Greeley had written frankly
from Washington to his managing editor, Dana, February 16, 1856:
"We cannot (I fear) admit Reeder; we cannot admit Kansas as a
State; we can only make issues on which to go to the people at the
Presidential election." 4

On May 19 and 20, Sen. Charles Sumner delivered a prepared
speech, "The Crime Against Kansas," including an indecent personal
attack upon Senator Butler of South Carolina. On May 22, Rep-
resentative Brooks, of South Carolina, a relative of the elderly Sena-

3. New York Tribune, March 14, 15, 1856.

4. Printed in the New York Sun, May 19, 1889, and cited by J. F. Rhodes, History of
the United States From the Compromise of 1850 (New York, 1893), v. 2, p. 126.



470 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

tor Butler, attacked Sumner, beating him with a cane. Although
Sumner's conduct was inexcusable according to any code of common
decency, two wrongs did not make a right. Besides, Brooks' as-
sault made an antislavery hero of Sumner, diverting attention from



Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 54 of 76)