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5. Frank A. Root and William E. Connelley in their Overland Stage to California
(Topeka, 1901), p. 54, state that until 1866 the fastest time by mail stage between Santa
Fe and Kansas City was 11 days for a distance of more than 800 miles. This is cited as
a record.



AN EDITOR LOOKS AT EARLY-DAY KANSAS 117

place. By referring to the map it will be noticed that at this point
the Missouri River turns from west to north, making Kansas City
the stopping point for river freight going west. As river freight
is always cheapest the bulk of eastern goods destined for New
Mexico, southern and western Kansas, and a portion of southwestern
Missouri, will be shipped direct to Kansas City. The trade in these
localities is already very heavy and as this immense stretch of
territory becomes settled and developed, Kansas City, it would
seem, must be its depot, where its products must center and where
its commercial wants must be supplied.

At the present time Leavenworth is leading everything west of
St. Louis. The fort here, and the consequent transaction of all
government business at this point, is giving Leavenworth a great
present advantage, and on the strength of it she is rapidly building
up. Her people believe, and perhaps they are correct, that this
present prosperity will give wealth and influence sufficient to enable
her to control the principal business of all western points, even after
the war is closed. Much will depend on the establishment of
railroad communications east and west. At present she has no rail-
road. If during her present triumph over Kansas City, she succeeds
in building a road east to connect with the Hannibal & St. Joseph
road, and another the Pacific Railroad west, she may acquire
so much strength as never to be overtaken by Kansas City. She
expects to have these lines of road completed within a year.

On the other hand Kansas City expects to have completed within
a year the railroad projected from St. Louis to Kansas City and
already completed to Warrensburg only 50 miles distant, another
connecting Kansas City with the Hannibal and St. Joseph road
at Cameron, and also a portion of the Kansas City branch of the
Pacific railroad, going directly west. These two cities are both
sanguine in their expectations, and about equally confident in their
ultimate success in the race for importance. They are now balanc-
ing, but a few years more will settle the question and do away with
all rivalry. The world will soon speak of one of these places as
one of the thriving cities of the country and the other, the world
won't speak of at all.

St. Joe has a few claimants for her future importance, grounded
on the immense territory northwest of her, which they think must
make her the greatest city on the Missouri. These three cities are
about equal in size. Leavenworth is a little the largest. A glance
at the map shows an immense country northwest of St. Joe and



118 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

southwest of Kansas City. If these two cities attract all the busi-
ness in their respective territories, Leavenworth, which lies just
between them, and only forty miles from either, would be left
out in the cold. But while Leavenworth and Kansas City both
have a charter for a branch of the Pacific road, St. Joe has none,
and it is somewhat doubtful whether she ever gets a charter for the
third branch. If she does, and that soon, she will enter the race
with the other two cities, and with a fair prospect of success.

The worst enemy to Kansas City today is the Bushwhacker.
There is no county in the state so much infested with these in-
fernal devils as Jackson county. The county is well timbered, and
the density of the wood along the streams and in the ravines af-
fords excellent rendezvous for these pestiferous gangs. There is
not a road leading into the city which is safe to travel. At any
moment and at any place these villains are liable to spring upon
the traveler, rob him of his horses and money and perhaps take his
life. They are not apt to molest a woman. Last night before
dark one Geo. Todd, 6 with thirty of his gang, approached within
a half mile of the city limits, took six horses from one man, took
the next neighbor prisoner, and moved the furniture out and
burned the next house down. Todd is a resident of Kansas City.
A year ago his father's family was waited upon and advised to
leave the city within a specified time. George was mad, took to
bushwhacking, and has since been a terror to the whole country.

Quantrell, the chief of rebel Bushwhackers, also operates in this
county and all along the border in Missouri and Kansas. The
Jennison jayhawking has ceased. 7 One not acquainted, by prac-
tical experience, with the state of this society cannot realize the
constant insecurity for life and property felt by the citizens. Every
man sleeps with a loaded revolver; the least noise without brings
him to his feet; men do not travel the streets without revolvers;
revolvers are everywhere ready to go off on short notice. This
state of society has temporarily injured the business of Kansas
City, and unless Bushwhackers are very soon exterminated it will
be ruined. City property has depreciated nearly one half, though
at present it seems to be rising. Farms a mile out of town which

6. Todd, an itinerant stonemason and ditchdigger, joined Quantrill in December, 1861,
and within a few months was made 2d lieutenant of the guerrilla band. William E. Con-
nelley, in his Quantrill and the Border Wars (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Torch Press, 1910),

&317 says: "The venomous blood-rioters of the guerrilla band were Bill Anderson and
eorge Todd; these panted for blood. . . . They lived only to murder." Todd
eventually took over leadership from Quantrill. He was killed near Independence, Mo.,
in October, 1864, while acting as scout for Confederate forces.

7. Charles R. Jennison was colonel of the Seventh Kansas cavalry, known as Jen-
nison's Jayhawkers. He was assigned command of the western border of Missouri.



AN EDITOR LOOKS AT EARLY-DAY KANSAS 119

have been held as high as $300 per acre, can now be purchased
for $150 or $200 per acre. A person with capital could doubt-
less invest here now to great advantage. The surface of the
country is very uneven, and the soil is extremely rich. There is no
better county for farming in the State. Independence is the county
seat, from which point I will write you soon. C. M. C.

EL WOOD, DONIPHAN Co., KANSAS,
August 9th, 1863.

EDITOR REPUBLICAN: Every one has heard of the village lot
speculations in the various towns in Kansas. In 1856 and '57 divers
farms in Kansas were platted off into town lots and sold at enormous
prices. People convinced that certain points must eventually be-
come important cities, eagerly invested. Elwood, situated on the
banks of the Missouri opposite St. Joe, was platted in 1856. Many
supposing that, in a short time, it would outstrip St. Joe, went wildly
into the village lot speculation, paying for choice lots as high as
$700. People from various eastern points moved into the village,
built and settled for life. The town rapidly increased, society im-
proved, and Elwood was really considered one of the prospering
and promising points in the state.

But the crash of '57 came, real estate began to depreciate, many
were alarmed, sold out and returned to their eastern homes; then
came the rebellion, with civil war and lawlessness in all the little
border towns, not excepting Elwood; property again depreciated,
people were more than ever alarmed, emigration for the East again
set in, and Elwood was left with hardly people enough to keep the
houses; and, as if this was not enough, the Missouri river last year
took about one third of the town lots into her channel, compelling
people to tear down their houses in hot haste, and move their
valuables to the main land. Some, even, were discomforted by
seeing their residences and other property floating away in the
middle of the river. Amid these misfortunes Elwood "played out."
Village lots are now sold for five dollars, and would be given away
if people would build on them. The town contains not more than
a hundred people. The buildings are dilapidated. Stores are
closed; streets empty; sidewalks broken to pieces. Everything re-
minds one of past thrift and present destitution.

I met in this town an old school-mate, who insisted on my visiting
his place. I found him situated five miles west from Elwood, on the
top of the highest bluff in all that region, with St. Joe plainly in view,
and a prospect of many miles in every direction. As his history



120 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

since leaving college is, in many respects, similar to that of many
Kansas men, I am disposed to give your readers a sketch of it.

Mr. R 8 was born in Gainsville, Ala., and educated in a New

England college. After leaving college he travelled for a year or
two, visiting all parts of the country. He traversed the western
states several times over; visited and studied all the border cities
and towns, and finally concluded that the Missouri valley was the
destined garden of Eden. He then went home and related his
asseverations to his father, who handed him over $30,000 for western
speculation. Returning he invested in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri
and Kansas. After a year or two of buying, selling and exchanging,
he concluded that Elwood, Kansas, bid the fairest for a large town,
and consequently disposed of most of his property in other places
invested in Elwood farms and village lots; and was reaping hand-
some profits when the crash commenced. Today an invoice of his
property shows him that he has paid the physician just $25,000 to
cut his eye teeth for him.

Reverses, however, do not discourage him. He does not leave
the country, but stays and fights the battles of Kansas. In 1860 he
married an Elwood girl and moved out on the farm, plants a vine-
yard, and goes whole soul into grape and general fruit raising and
politics, succeeding admirably in both. Today he has a promising
little brick farm house, with convenient out buildings, excellent
horse, a fine carriage and is situated like a young lord in his castle. In
politics he has succeeded in making himself one of the most in-
fluential men of the state. He is at present a representative in the
legislature, enrolling commissioner for the southern district of Kan-
sas, and Quartermaster General of the state. Notwithstanding his
southern birth he is liberal in politics, but very anti-secesh, is
generous towards his opponents, and loves his adopted state, which
is the secret of his popularity. Like all Kansas men, he is very
desirous of displaying the beauties and advantages of his own
section. Accordingly, I found it impossible to leave Doniphan
county without first taking a trip with the General to Troy, the
county seat, situated fifteen miles west.

From the river, ten miles west, you pass through a region of
steep bluffs, covered with oak timber, and well watered with little
streams. It reminds one much of New England scenery, but unlike
that, the bluffs or hills are of uniform height, their tops once forming,
apparently, a level surface with valleys dug out by the action of

8. Edward Russell.



AN EDITOR LOOKS AT EARLY-DAY KANSAS 121

water. The road is continually up or down, unrelieved by a rod
of plain. The soil is exceedingly rich and productive. All along
the road you pass beautiful fruit and stock farms, but of small
dimensions seldom over eighty acres being cultivated by one
farmer. From these bluffs you emerge into endless rolling prairies
more rolling and uneven, just as rich, and more beautiful than any
prairie I have ever seen.

Troy is situated some six or eight miles from the bluffs, and is
tumbled in among the rolls of the prairie. The Court House stands
in a square park of four acres around which stand the business
houses. I made the acquaintance of all the county officers, and
many who expect to fill their places. Every one here thinks Troy
will be a great business center ere long, and consequently "happy
the man" who drives his stake. The town now numbers about six
hundred and is at a "dead stand still" though when the war is
over the railroad from St. Joe, which is already graded to this place,
will be completed, and emigration to Troy will commence.

In returning we took the road leading over the bottom land or
along the banks of a little creek bordered on either side with a
narrow strip of trees and shrubs the only appearance of trees in
all that section. This road led us through Wathena, a town of former
pretentious and village lot mania. The village at present numbers
about one hundred people and thirty or forty houses scattered over
an area of a half a mile square, a little store here, a shanty away
over there, a story and a half cottage away down next to the woods,
a barn over the creek, &c., &c. "Played out" is the only sign board
to be seen in town. Formerly good lots in Wathena sold for $100,
and upwards; now they can not be sold at any price. This may be
owing to the national troubles, but more likely to the fact that
speculators attempted to plant a town in a place where a town
would not grow. C. M. C.

LEAVENWORTH, August 10th, 1863.

MR. EDITOR. Jayhawkers, Redlegs and Bushwhackers are every-
day terms in Kansas and western Missouri. A Jayhawker is a
Unionist who professes to rob, burn out and murder only rebels
in arms against the government. A Redleg is a Jayhawker originally
distinguished by the uniform of red leggings. 9 A Redleg, however,

9. To guard against guerrilla incursions into Kansas and aid the Union cause, a com-
pany of border scouts, known as Red Legs, was organized in 1862. The name came from
their red or tan leather leggings. Some were attached to the Union army. Writings on
the Civil war offer divergent views of the character of this organization. Its members are
described on the one hand as outlaws who endangered the peace and security of society;
on the other as men above the average in ability, generally honest and patriotic, but
drawn by the exigencies of the time into a savage and ruthless warfare.



122 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

is regarded as more purely an indiscriminate thief and murderer
than the Jayhawker or Bushwhacker. A Bushwhacker is a rebel Jay-
hawker, or a rebel who bands with others for the purpose of preying
upon the lives and property of Union citizens. They are all lawless
and indiscriminate in their iniquities. Their occupation, unless
crushed out speedily, will lead into a system of highway robbery
exceeding anything that has yet existed in any country. It excites
the mind, destroys the moral sensibilities, creates a thirst for wild life
and adventure which will, on the restoration of peace, find gratifica-
tion in nothing but highway robbery.

In my last I promised you a history of one of the leading Kansas
Jay hawkers. I have time only to give you a very brief sketch of a
conversation of many hours:

The name of Captain Tuft or according to his own spelling
"Tough" carries with it a degree of terror in Kansas of which
people in peaceable society can have no conception. 10 It reminds
some of the loss of horses, some of the destruction of their homes,
and some of the murder of their dearest friends. Captain Tuft was
born in Savannah, Ga., and at an early age moved to Baltimore. In
1860, at the age of twenty-one, he moved to Saint Joseph, Mo. His
father helped him to a little capital, and he, with a partner, invested
in mules and wagons, and commenced freighting from St. Joe to
Denver City. They prospered in business until the war broke out,
when, for some reason or other, his mules were taken from him by
a squad of Jayhawkers. He immediately goes to headquarters, at
Leavenworth, for indemnification but gets no satisfaction from
Uncle Sam. He then determines to state his cause to the rebels, and
crosses the river at Leavenworth in search of rebel headquarters.
He had proceeded but a half mile into the woods when he was con-
fronted by five Bushwhackers, who ordered him to halt. Not inclined
to obey the orders, he put spurs to his horse, the consequence of

10. The name was actually William Sloan Tough. Chase was in error in giving it
as Tuft.

R. McE. Schauffler, in his "Biographical Notes on Capt. William Sloan Tough" (manu-
script in the library of the Kansas State Historical Society), states that Tough was born
in Maryland in 1840 and that as a very young man he came West to seek adventure on
the frontier. His first fancy was to be a "mountain man" and he went to the Rocky
Mountains with a company of trappers, but soon lost interest in the project because of
the declining fur trade. Schauffler s account of subsequent events in Tough's colorful
career coincides to an extent with the account given here by Chase. He states that theft
of the mules took place when Tough was field manager or wagon boss for the McDonalds,
bankers and merchants of St. Joseph, who had contracted to haul supplies to military posts'
in northern Kansas and southern Nebraska.

Comparatively little has been written about Tough. Schauffler describes him as a man.
of unflinching courage and great resourcefulness who was projected by the violence of the
times into a career not always consonant with his true character.

For many years Tough, with his sons, conducted a large horse and mule market at the
Kansas City stock yards. During the Boer war he supplied great numbers of animals to
the British army and so impressed the officers with his keen judgment and fair dealing
that English purchasing agents sought out his son during World War I and commissioned
him to buy for them. Tough died in 1914.



AN EDITOR LOOKS AT EARLY-DAY KANSAS 123

which was he was shot down and left for dead. He recovered, how-
ever, and after a few weeks' nursing by some kind woman in the
woods he was able to travel. Prior to this occurrance he had no
particular interest in the fight, either one way or the other. But now
he determined to go into the fight with all the force he possessed,
not from any feelings of patriotism, but from pure motives of re-
venge. He swore eternal vengeance to the squad that shot him
down, and to all others of that class.

In Leavenworth and vicinity he raised seventy-five men and took
to the woods. They were soon well mounted on rebel horses, and
well disciplined for their ferocious work. He adopted a system of
scouts, spies and disguises, and was very soon in the secret of the
Bushwhackers' operations. In just one month from the time he took
his men into the brush he had the unspeakable satisfaction of seeing
the five who first assaulted him swinging from the same limb. He
seemed to have been transformed into a demon, he said, and to take
the wildest delight in seeing the "poor cusses gasping for breath."
On another occasion, he, with a half dozen of his men, were passing
a house and found a woman crying bitterly over her dead baby. He
learned that the Bushwhackers had just been there inquiring of the
woman of Captain Tuft's men. While she was answering their ques-
tions her child began to cry, and one of the fiends drew his revolver
and shot it through the head. Tuft put himself on their track and
in a week killed five of the gang including the one who shot the
child.

At another time he found one of his scouts beside the road with
his head blown open with powder. He immediately took three of
his men to track out the enemy. Towards night, after riding thirty
miles, they came suddenly on seven horsemen whom they took to be
rebels. Feigning himself a Bushwhacker, he galloped into their
midst with, "Halloo, boys, whar's Quantrill?" Not knowing Tuft
or his companions, they were at first very cautious in their answers.
But being a very shrewd man, he let on right smart" like a Bush-
whacker. "Here's a hoss" says he "I shot a d d Yankee off from not
more nor an hour ago." After boasting of several Yankee butcheries,
and house burnings he had performed since breakfast, one of the
rebels ventured to crow a little over what they had done. They
had caught one of Old Tuft's scouts in the morning, made some
holes in him, loaded his ears up with powder, touched 'em off, and
"blowed his old mug to h 1." Instantly Tuft gave the order, and
those seven men were biting the dust before they had time to cock
a revolver. These were among the incidents he related.



124 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

There were an infinite number of single murders, and lesser crimes
he mentioned, but enough has been related to give an idea of the
character of the man. He lived in the woods, plundered from armed
rebels, burned their houses and killed the fighting population with-
out scruple. His plunder was divided among his men, who would
sell it and get pay for their service. They belonged to no military
organization but ran an independent concern. By many Tuft is
regarded as a pure horse thief and murderer; others of a rabid, law-
less nature, incline to wink at his crimes as long as his avowed
purpose is to rob and murder rebels. It proves dangerous however,
to suspend the law and give such characters as Tuft discretionary
license to rob and murder. Where there is a fine horse in the way,
or a personal enemy, Tuffs discretion between Union and Secesh
is not accurate.

Jay hawking has run its race in Kansas; honest people are all on the
side of the law; indiscriminate robbery is the result of the Jay-
hawker's license, and in many cases its friends have paid heavily
towards its support. Tuft himself acknowledges the inevitable
tendency of the practice. He says he has few regrets for the past;
his victims have not yet appeared in his dreams, still he doesn't like
the business and has determined to lead a better life. Gen. Blunt,
a few months ago gave him a position on his staff as Chief of Scouts,
with a pay of $250 per month. He is now under arrest for killing
a man at Fort Scott, but if his story is true the man ought to have
been killed, and his detention will be brief. He says I shall meet
him again at Fort Scott. We shall see. C. M. C.

INDEPENDENCE, JACKSON Co., Mo.

August 12th, 1863.

In this country the old notion that men are the protectors of
women has exploded, the tables are turned, men are now the weaker
vessels, and women the protectors. A man dare not travel alone
five miles from Kansas City, but with his wife he feels compar-
atively secure. Bushwhackers have not yet raised a hand against
a woman, they sometimes burn a house over her head, but are
careful not to injure her person. Among travelers, they not only
respect her, but have some regard for her male companion. This
morning I was invited by the enrolling officer for this district, and a
friend of his, to ride to Independence. For security one of the
men took his wife. The officer said if Todd should catch him, he
would unquestionably terminate his participation in terrestrial en-
joyments, as he was one of those who formerly waited upon the



AN EDITOR LOOKS AT EARLY-DAY KANSAS 125

Todd family with an invitation to leave the state. George, he said
was a "blood thirsty cuss/' beside whom Quantrill was a gentle-
man. This announcement kept our eyes strained for whackers
in the brush. The ride was ten miles, over a good road, but a
very uneven surface, and through woods. The journey was per-
formed without molestation, though at the Little Blue, the general
rendezvous of Bushwhackers, we told no stories, made no jokes;
still tongues and sharp eyes seemed especially appropriate to the
occasion. Having passed through the ravine through which the
Blue runs, a deep, dark, densely wooded place, breathing seemed
to be freer, and the tongues began to wag again.

From the Blue to Independence most of the buildings on the
road are burned, some smoky brick walls were still standing,
mournful relics of domestic happiness. Most of the buildings
were destroyed by Jennison a year or more ago, some by bush-
whackers of a recent date. The country all the way exhibits the
finest farms I have ever seen, most of them cultivated this year
by tenants living in barns or little shanties fixed up by the ruins
of the old mansions. When within three miles of Independence
we pass Rock Creek, memorable in this section as the place where
the first blood of the war was shed.

Before the war Independence was one of the most beautiful
and flourishing towns in Missouri. It was one of the old towns in
the state, the center of a large and rich agricultural community,
the grand starting point for Santa Fe, the best out-fitting point for
emigration to California, Pikes Peak, &c. Among its inhabitants



Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 26) → online text (page 14 of 59)