Weston Arthur Goodspeed.

The province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) online

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Online LibraryWeston Arthur GoodspeedThe province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) → online text (page 25 of 53)
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THE BORDER JVAR IN KANSAS.






CHAPTliR II



239



rhc Border War



ANDREW HORATIO REEDER, the first territorial gov-
ernor i;t Kansas, was Ijorn at luiston, I'enn., Jnl)' 12, 1807.
Alter an aeadeuiic traininj;- at ] .aw reneeviile, N. J., lie
stiuliod law and was admitted to the liar. As a la\v>er he was dis-
tinguished for energy, integrity and intelligenee. Although an
active Democrat he was not a candidate for the position of gov-
ernor of Kansas when appointed hy President Pierce in 1854. In
July, 1855, Jefferson Davis, then sccretar}' of war, secured his re-
moval on the grounds that he was engaged in land speculation, and
was using his (jffice to further the interests of some of his private
schemes. At the election in CJcto])Lr, 1855, he was the free-state
candidate for delegate to congress, and although he received a
majority of the votes was not seated. An arbitrary warrant for
his arrest was issued in May, i85(), hy the (.)[)posing facti(jn, while
he was with the congressional investigating connnittee ; but he
escaped in the disguise of a woodchopper and made his ^vay to
Alton, 111. Erom there he returned to Penns) Ivana. In 1856 he
supported John C. Eremont for the presidency, and in i860 was
mentioned as a candidate for vice president on the Republican
ticket. When the civil war broke out, he was appointed brigadier
general by President Lincoln, but declined the honor. He died
at Easton, Penn., July 5, 1864.

About ten days after his arrival at Leavenworth, Governor
Reeder, accomi)anied b)' Ju<lges Johnston and Elmore and Mar-
shal Donalson, started uj^on a tour of examination through the
territory. Among the places visited were Lawrence, Eort Riley
and Ojunr' ( .rove, .'it all oi which the governor and his party
were C(jrdi..f!V neeived. 'lliry returned to l.eavm\V(jrlli, Novem-



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240



THE PROJ'INCE AND THE STATES.



ber 7, aiul tlie next day Ciovcrnor Rccder divided the territory
into sixteen election di-stricls. On the loth he issued a ])r(jclania-
tion, calling' an election for November _'i^, at which a dele^Mte to
cong-ress was to be selected.

The ])ro-slavery men insisteil iqion an election of meiiibers to a
territorial legislature, at the same time ; but the govcrnt^r called
attention to the organic act, which provided for the taking' of a
census before an election of a legislatme, and amiounced his
determination to carry out the provisions of the law. This was
the begiiniing of the ruitture between the governor and the pro-
slavery men, that ended in his removal the follmving summer.
The pro-slavery candidate for dekgate was John W. Wdiittkkl,
while the free-st:ite men divided their strength between two can-
didates, John A. Wakeheld and R. \>. Flenneken. Whitfield
received 2,258 votes ; W'akehekl, 248, and Flenneken 305.

During the short campaign the i)olicy of the pro-slavery forces
was made plain. David R. Atchison, United States senator'from
Missouri, was the most out-spoken of all the pro-slavery advo-
cates, and soon became the acknowledged leader ui the movement.
?Ie was about the same age as Governor Reeder, having been born
August II, 1807, in I'ayette county, Ky. After graduating
from the 'JVansylvania University and attending the Lexington
law school, he settled in C'lav countv, Mo. lie served sev-
eral terms in the Missouri legislature, was judge of the Platte
county circuit, and in 1844 was elected to the Uniletl States senate.
In a speech in Platte county, ^lo., in the early part of November,
1854, he said:

"The people of Kansas, in their first elections, will decided the
question wdiether or not the slave-hokler is to be excluded, and it
depends upon a majority of the votes cast at the polls. Now, if
a set of fanatics and demagogues a thousand miles off can
affortl to advance their money and exert every nerve to abolition-
ize the Territory and exclude the slaveholder, when they have not
the least ]'jersonal interest, what is your duty? When you reside
in one da)''s journe)' of the Territor)', and when your peace, vour
quiet, aiid your prtjperty depend on your action, yt)u can, without
:m exeition, ■;eu<i fi\e huudreil of )'our ^ouiig men wIkj will vote
in favor of your institutions. Should each comity in the state ul
Missom'i oidy tlo its duly, the (jueslion will lie decided i|ui(ily and
peaceahly at the balk;t-ljox. If we are defeated, then Missouri
and ;:..■ olher Soiilh. ni sl,it<", wdl have shown lliemvelve.s leeir.mt
lo Ih. II iiileresl, and will deserve iheir [;i1t ."

The bor<ler iM isM .lu i.ins ;i(eipii(l the cue yjvvn llniii by their



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.-■■1' Til II UORDU.R WAR IN KANSAS. 241

chosen leader, and cm election day hundreds of them were at the
iHills in Kansas to vole fur Wliitheid. Weapons were freely dis-
played, aholilionists were threatened, but no laie was hurt, the
object beini;' more to intimidate than to injure the free state men.
A congressional, investigating committee afterward reported that,
of the 2,833 votes cast, more than 1.700 were illegal. But as
General ^Vhitf^cl(l received a plurality of the legal votes, he was
allowed to retain his seat until the end of the term, which was
March 4, 1855.

A census was ordered taken in January, 1855, antl was coni-
pleted on the last day of bebruary. It showed a population of
8,501, of wdioin 2,905 were voters. Based upon this enumeration,
Governor Reeder divided the territory into eighteen districts, and
on the 8tli of March issued a proclamation ordering an election to
be held on the 30th for members (jf the first territorial leg^islature.

The frauds per])etrated at the lir^t electit)n were rejjeated at
this, but on a larger scale. At nearly all the election precincts
armed men from Missouri took possession of the polls, removed"
the election judges appointed by (Jovernor Reetler, and conducted
the election to suit themselves. About a thousand, under the
leadership of Llaiborne V. Jackson and Samuel Young, came to
Lawrence. Besides the arms borne by individuals, this party had
two i)ieces of artillery, lo.aded with musket balls, blnding^ that
such a large force was not neeessriry to eontrol the situation at
Lawrence, the leaders sent S(juads luii' and there to t)ther voting
places.

'Idle census taken in b'ebruary showed a voting population of
2,(^05, but at this election (),3l8 \'otes were cast. Of these 4,908
were afterward declared illegal. In the first, second, third,
seventh, eighth and sixteenth districts, the frauds were so palp-
able that election certificates were refused those receiving a major-
ity of the votes, and on the i6tli of April Governor Reeder issued
an order for a special election, to be heUl May 22, to fill the
vacancies. i\l the same time he ordered the legislature to meet
at the town of Pawnee, near I'ort Riley, on the lirst Monday in
July. P^y these two ortlers the governor so widened the breach
between himself and the pro-slavery men that it became irre-
parable. Charge's against him were lodgi'd with the ])resident,
and bis reiiKwal was d(inaiHk'(l. To iiu'ct these charges he went
to VVashiniMoii and i\])lained everytliing to President Pierce's
salisfacti..'!. The president, however, asked him to resign in the
iiileresl.s ii pai ly b.aniion)', olfiriiig him a f(jr(iiMi a|)poiiitment
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242 THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.

as an iiuluccnu'iit, but the i;ovcrnor refused to entertain tlie i)ropo-
istion.

A stone Ijuildins;, forty by ei;,dity feet, two stories liigli and well
fitted up. liad been ereeleii by tlie I'awnee Town ( nnipaiiy bir a
territorial ca|)itol. Tlie le-islalure met in this buildin- |ulv 2,
and the t^iAernor removed his olTioe to the new eajjitol. This
first legislature consisted of a council of thirteen members and a
house of representatives of twenty-six. The members of the
council were: Thomas Johnson, R. R. Rees, John \V. l'\jrman,
A. U. Coffey, D. Lykins, \V. \\ Richardson. 11." J. Striekkr, L. J.
Eastin, D. A. N. (hover. William Rarbee, ' John Donalson,
A. McDonald and K. Chapman. In the or^anixalion of the
council Thomas Johnson, superintendent of tlie Sliawanese mis-
sion, was elected president, John Ilalderman, chief clerk and C. B.
Whitehead, sergeant at arms.

The members of the house were as follows: J. M. Ranks,
J. P. Blair, O. II. Browne. D. L. Crovs.lale. II. B. C. Ilarrjs,
W. A. Heiskell. S. D. Houston, Alexander S. Johnson, R. L.
Kirk, F. J. :\lar,shall, W. C. Mathias. .M. W. "Mcflee. IT. D.
McMeekin. A. I'avne. S;nnuel Scott, W. 11. Tebbs, .A. 1!. Wade,
Ci. W. \\\ard. T. \V. \\-aterson, Jonah Weddle, James Whitlock,
Samuel A. \Villiams, Allan Wilkinson, II. \V. W.unger, J. H.
Stringfellow, and J. C. Anderson.

J. H. Stringfellow, editor of the Sqiuitlcr Suz'crcion. was elected
speaker, James ]\I. Lyle. chief clerk, and T. J. Ik Cnnner, sergeant
at arms. Governor Reeder's message was read on the 31!, the
free-state members were unseated on the .]tb, and on the 6th
both branches passed an act over the governor's veto, to remove
the seat of government to the Sliawanese Mission, near the Mis-
souri state line. The legislature then adjourned to meet in the
]\Ianual Labor school building at the Shawanese Mission on the
i6th of July. \\'lieii the legislature reassembled at the appointed
time. Governor Reeder sent a second message to it in which he
said :

"It seems, then, to be ])l;un. th:it the Legislature are now in ses-
sion, so far as the place is ccjucerned, in contravention of the act
of Congress, and where lluy li.ave no right to sil, ;md c:in uKdve no
valid legislalioii. L.iilerl.aiiiiiig these views, 1 can give no sanc-
tion to an\' bill (hat may be passed ; and if my views are not satis-
factory lo llie Legislative Assembly, it follows that we must act
indepen(l> ml)- of lach other."

Upon ill.' reading of this mess;ige both branclu's of llie legis-
lature uniud in a mciiKnial to the president U> remove G(;venior



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TUB BORDER IV.IR IN K.-INS.-iS.



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Roccler, hut tlic iVnioval was made brfore tlic presickiit received
the memorial, and was oflicially announced on the hist day of
July. The governor had received notice througli the secretary of
state, on the lOtli of jnl\-, of the ])residenl's intention ti:» remove
him, the reason assii;ned beinj^ the irre.q-ular [)urchase nf puhhc
huids. John L. DawstJn, of I'ennsylvania, was offered the
api)ointment as Governor I\eeder's successor; hut declined it, and
Secretary Woodson became acting go\erni)r.

The legislature adjourned August 30, after adopting a code
of laws for the government of the territory. The basis of this
cotle was the statutes of i\lissouri, l)nt a number of "black laws"
had been added that rivaled in severity the edicts of a Chinese •
emperor, [''or examples: It was made a criminal offense for
free-state men to organize; only pro-slavery men could hold '■'
ofhce ; and assisting slaves to escai)e was i)unisliable with death.

Notwithstanding that it was made unlawful for frt'e-state men ■'■
to organize, the work of organization went on. iM-ecpient meet- *"•
ings were held, at all of which the recent assembly was denounced *''^^
as a "biigus legislature," and absolute contempt for its enact- ■''^'
nients was expressed. At one of these meetings, held at Lawrence ■' ■.
August 14, there was adopted a resolution calling for the election ''•
of ilelegates from each election district to meet at Topeka, Sep-
tember Uj, "to con.sider and determine upon all subjects of public
interest, and particularly u])on that having reference to the speedy
formation iA a State Constitution, ttc." A call for a general
free-state con\'ention to meet at Hig Si)rings, in Douglas county,
on the 5lh of September for the pur])o^e ui organizing a free-state
part) was also issued. At the appointed time about one hundred
delegates gathered at ISig Sjirings, all i)olitical jjarties being repre-
sented, but all being in fa\or of the admission of l\ansas as a
free-state. The re.M-hUons adopted were i>repared 1>) (k-n.
James 11. Lane and ex-tiovernor Reeder, and were afterward
known as "Lig Springs platftjrm." In these resolutions plain
English was used. The admissie)n of Kansas as a free-state was
demanded; the "bogus legislature" was denounced as a "foreign
body representing only lawless invaders ;" and it was declared
that the people of Kansas owed no allegiance or obedience to its
tyrannical enactuKuts. The con\ention declined to join with the
pro-slavery men in the election of a delegate to congress on the
1st (^f (Jclobn, but (k-cided to bold an election of their own on
the ()[h, ;m i ■ 11 that date nonnn;ited A. II. Reeder as a can<litlate.

Accord; ,1 , two eKclious Were held. On tin' 1st the |)ro-
slavery men last 2,7^1 voles for J. VV. Whitfield, only 17 scat-



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244 '^'^^- i'i«^>i'i^'Cii AX I) Till'. ST.rriis.

tcring votes Wwv^ rocordcd in (i])iH)^itiun. I'^K-Ciuvcnior Ixccdcr
received 2,84<) \(iU-n al the (.lection on tlie (jth, no votes beini;-
cast against liini. 'V\\v contest wa^. carried to W'asliin^lon, where
cont^ress refnsed to recoi^ni/e cither as delegate, which act left
the territory withont representation nntil the sncccedini,; antnnin.
Tlie Topeka convention, of September uj, ordered an election
of delegates to a constitutional convention to meet at Topeka on
the 23d of October. The election occurred October 9, and the
free-state committee issued a ])roclamation on the J 0th, declaring
the following named delegates elected: Samuel Alewhinney,
William Oraham, (1. \V. Smith, J. 11. Lane, J. K. Goodin, C.
Robinson, J. S. Emery, iXIorris Hunt, J. A. Wakeheld, A. Curtiss,
J. M. Tuton, II. l!urs(ni, C. K. llolliday, \V. V. K.^berts, P. C.
Schuyler, J. II. Tillshnr)-, James I'henis, Doctor linrgess, N. V'an-
dever, \\. T. d\u-ner, James McArthur, W. T. Morris, O. C.
Brown, Richartl Knight, V . Ihown, 11. Smith, W'. (i. X'ichols,
Robert Klotz, A. Hunting, Al. V. Conwav, /. (i. Thompson,
George S. Ilillyer, J. Whitney, Robert RicKlle. M. |. I'arrott,
Matt France, S. N. Latta, D.' Dodge, M. W. Delahay, G. A.
Cutler, John Landis, C. ^\^ Stewart, V>. \V. I'ield, R. 11. Crosby,
Caleb May, Sanfcird Mcr:)anicl, and James S. Sayle. The con-
vention organized b>- the election of James II. Lane, president,
and Samuel C. Smith, secretary. It adjourned on the nth of
November, after ha\ing adopted a constitution which was sub-
mitted to a vote of the people on the 15th of December. Section'
six in the "L.ill (jf Rights" i)rovided that, "There shall be no
slavery in this Slate, nor inxoluiUary ser\itude, unless for the
pmh.sinnent of crime." This constitution was ratitied by the
peoi)le by a vote of 1,731 to 4('), the pro-sla\er\- men refusing to
vote, though at Leavenworth they broke int(j the viAin;^ place and
carried off the ballot-box. The Topeka government, estalilished
under this constitution, never becanu' effectual, because it was not
recognized by congress.

While these cN'enls weie transpiring, Wilson Shamion, of ( )hio,
had i)ccome governor of the territory. ilis coiii'iiission was
issued August 10, and he took the oath of otlice before acting
Governor Woodson on the 7tli of September and entered upon
the duliis of the position.

Wilson Shannon w.is born ;il ludmont, ( )., iMbrnary 24,
1802. 11. was educated at the Ohio Liiiversity al Athens, and
made h! , m st appearance in ])nblic life in 1S3J, uhm he w;is nom-
inated , a coniMess b) the I )emocrals, hut was defeated by
thirty-seven votes, his opponent being Gen. James i\l. Rell. In



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Tim BORPIiR WAR IN KANSAS. 245

1838 he was elected governor of Ohio, but was defeated for
re-election ]>>■ Tom Corwin two years later, in 1844 he was
ai)iH)iiileil minister to Mexico hy i'roidrnl 'r_\'ler, and u\nn\ the
expiralion of iiis term K-d a i;-old-.seekin- party to falifornia.
Tlie undertakins^- was \\()\ successful, and he retinned to ( )hio.
lie was a,t;ain elected to congress in j85_', and after serving one
term was appointed governor of Kansas. He resigned at the
e>4)iralion (jf a _\-ear, though he c(.nlinued to re.side in l.i-compton,
where he engaged in the ])ractice of law. He tlied there
August 30, 1877.

(Icnernor Shaiuion was a strong pro-slavery man. As a mem-
ber of congress he had voted for llie Kansas-Nebraska bill; lie
accepted the acts of the hrst territorial legislature as legal and
pledged himself to their enforcement; and soon after becoming
governor he presided at a "Law and ( )rder" convention at Leaven-
worth, where emigrant aid societit-s were denounced as treason-
able organizations and the Topeka constitution was declared
unworthy of consideration. 1 his meeting endorsed the repeal of
the Missouri Compromise, and issued an address to the people,
calling ui)on them to unite with the "Law and r)rder" jtarty for
the expulsion of abolitionism from Kansas, 'hhe free-slate people
had clehned their position in the liig Springs platform. ]5y this
pro-slavery coiu'ention, which was held .\o\ember 14, the issues
were clearly drawn, and the contest began in earnest.

The name "llorder Kuftian" orii;inated at tlie time (d" the elec-
tion in March, 1855. Immediately after this election the northern
pres:, teemed with accounts oi ontra!;cN conunitted ; the emigrant
I aid societies is.sued appeals for volunteers; lunuheils answered

I the call and went to the relief of "ideeding Kansas." All through
J the spring and summer of 1855, emigrants from the free states
I poured into the territory. Along the roads could be seen trains
of prairie schooners, westward bound, and frequently could be
heard, to the air of Auld Lang Syne, \Vhittier's Kansas Emi-
grant's Song, beginning:

\ "We cross the j.rairies as of (dd

The pilgrims ci'ossed the sea,
! To make the West, as they the I'^ast,

The homestead of the free."

This steady inllnx of immigration (,p, ned the i>(s (d th.' i)ro-
slavcry nun I i ihr fait that the lij'ht was to a tniisli ; and el.idies
ln'tween adluonts (d tlie two c onttiidini; foOHs weic freijneiit.
Sometimes ilu-,e enc(»uiUers jjrctved fatal. In Ajiril Malcolm






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246 THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.

Clark, a pro-slavery man, was kilk'd at Leavenworth by a free-
state enthusiast named AleCrea. In Ma\' a i)ro-slavery nK)b
tarred and feathered Wilham IMiillips, a Leavenworth law)'er,
because he liad sworn thai frauds were eommiUed at the elec-
tion on (he 30lh of March, in AuL;ust Rev. i'ardee ihiller, a
free-state man, was turned adrift on the Missouri ri\er at Atchi-
son, on a raft of two logs, klis baggage and a loaf of bread
were given him, while attached to the raft were Hags bear-
ing such mottoes as: "The way they are served in Kansas,"
"Let future emissaries of the North beware," "Our hemp crop
is sufikient to reward all such sccnmdrels," etc. 1 hitler's olleiiso
was speaking too freely and refusing to sign a series of resolu-
tions adopted at a pro-slavery meeting a short time before.
Toward the latter part of October Samuel Collins was killed at
his saw-mill near Doniplian, by Patrick Laughlin and three or
four armed associates. News of these outrages s])read rapidly
through the free stales, keeping the excitement at fever heat.

Matters culminated in an i)i)en outbreak in November. Charles
W. Dow, a free-state settler at Ilickory [-"oint, ten miles south
of Lawrence, was killed by I-'ranklin N. Coleman, a pro-slavery
man. Dow's body was left lying in the road until his free-state
friends took charge of it and gave it decent biu-ial, while Cole-
man immediately tied the country. At the funeral (jf Dow,
November 21, the free-state men determined to find the nuirderer
and bring him tcj justice. That night Coleman's cabin was
burned, as well as the cabin of one of his friends named Buck-
ley. One of tlie free-siale men who took an acli\e part in all
these proceedings was Jacob llranson, the man with whom
Dow. liad lived. Bucklev "swore his life" against Branson. On
the night of the 22d, Branson was arrested by Sheriti" Jones,
who was really a resident of Westport, Mo., though he hekl the
appointment of the "bogus legislature" as sheriff of Douglas
county. But the free-state men were on the alert. As the sheriff
and his posse were returning to Lecompton with their prisoner,
they were met by a i)arty of free-state men, who released Bran-
son from custody. Jones hurried to iM-anklin, from which place
he sent a messenger to Covernor Shannon with the information
that a rebellion had broken out, and a^la'd for three Ihousaiul
men to assist him in cari-yiiig out the laws, (lovernor .Shannon
ordere<l Cm. W. 1'. Kiciiar.lson ..f the territorial nuHtia t.. eoj-
l.rl ;,., i. :.,.,• a fore.- a-, he could m bis di.sliul and to r.pwi I
as (pu. ! I\ as i-ossible to S. J. Jones, slieiill of Dourjas eonnly.
Adjutant Ceneral Slrickler received a similar order. A proeia-



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Illation calling upon all luy:il citizens to aid in enforcing the laws
and restoring peace was also issued h)- the governor.

it was now Nuveniher J". 'J'wo days later the pro-slavery
forces began to collect at I'ranklin, four miles east of Lawrence,
near the mouth of the Wakaru.sa river, licsiiles the territorial
militia un<ler (ieneral Richardson, there was a large force of
border ruffians from i\iissc)uri uiuler SheriCf Jones. ( )n the same
day the free-state men of Lau'rence decideil to fcjrm a military
organization for the defense of the town. Dr. (diaries Robin-
son was elected commander-in-chief, and (jeii. James H. Lane
was made second in commaml. As soon as it was known that a
int)vement of this kind was an foot, free-stale men llocked to
the Lawrence standard, and in a little while eight hundred men
were enrolled, among them being John Lrowii and four of his
sons. When SlierilT Jones learned of the situation at Lawrence,
he notitK'il the governor that a thousand men were under arms
there, and asked that the h^ederal ti-oo])s at lu^vi Leavenworth
be ackletl to his forces to overawe the citizens. Jhit Colonel Sum-
ner, in Command at the fort, refused to move until he received
orders from \\'ashingti,)n. I'.efijre these ortlers ct)uld be com-
municated, the free state men at Lawrence sent a special mes-
senger to C^iovernor Shaniu)ii, with a letter gi\ing their side of
the story, l.'p to this time the gowinor, rel_\iiig <.liielly upon
information furnished Ijy his pri;-slavery friends, had looked
upon the free-state men as a set of illiterate, lawdess vagalionds.
But the letter was in such terms of res|)ect for the law, and bore
such e\idence> of truth, that he determined to investigate a little
for himself, lie piomi>ed the free-slate messenger that he would
do all he could to prevent l)lood>lied, and on ihc 5tli of Decem-
ber went to the camp of Sherilf Jones at l-'ranklin. \Vlien he



Online LibraryWeston Arthur GoodspeedThe province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) → online text (page 25 of 53)