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H.M. Simpson to Hiram Hill

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Lawrence, Sept. 7, ‘63

 

Friend Hill,

 

We have just received your letter of 31st inst.  We have already written you in reference to our disaster, but will write again, even at the risk of repetition.

 

Among the killed are J.C. Lask, Dr. Griswold, Mr. Thorp, Mr. Pollock (Clothing Dealer), Mr. Dix, Mr. Lemuel Fillmore, Judge Carpenter, Mr. Fitch, Mr. Sargent, Capt. Low, Mr. Collamore (son wounded), Mr. Langley, Mr. Baker severely wounded but will recover, Mr. Geo. Burt, Frederick Kimball, Nathan Stone the hotel keeper:  two of John Speer’s sons; Mr. Oldham, the colored minister, James Eldridge, James Perine, Joseph Eldridge, Addison Waugh, Mr. Zimmerman.  The whole number killed

 

[Page 2]

 

will exceed 150.  The wounded will not count above 15.  This shows how bloody and cruel the shooting was.

 

Quantrill’s men came in at the south east part of town a little before sunrise, and commenced murdering our people at once.  Judge Carpenter was pursued all over his house and finally shot repeatedly while in his wife’s arms.  They raised Mrs. Sargent’s arm in order to make a fatal shot at her husband.  Mrs. Fitch was not allowed to pull her husband’s body out of the burning house, but was compelled to stand by and see the corpse consumed.  Men were repeatedly shot with children & even babies in their embrace.  Mr. Dix purchased his life by paying $1000.  As soon as the money was

 

[Page 3]

 

handed over he was killed.  These instances are not the worst that occurred but are given as a fair sample of what transpired.  Of the west portion of Mass. St. not a business house  remains  south of the old stone Hutchinson building, except the Miller building.  On the East side nothing remains between Peco’s building & the old B.W. Woodmens building.  Among the houses destroyed are Lane’s, Simpson’s, C. Duncan’s, Collamore’s, Judge Miller’s (new), Fitche’s, both of the Governor’s Conley’s, Guilds, Ladd’s, say 120 dwellings in all.  Among the spared are Robinson’s, Suttleff’s, Town’s, Lykins, Shaunon’s, Thacher’s.

 

The total loss, after a pretty careful examination, is estimated at $1,100,000.  Almost all the business men of our city

 

[Page 4]

 

are penniless.  Redmon & Baker’s loss is near $60,000.  They had a very heavy stock of goods.

 

You may be delayed a little in collecting the rent of Redmon & Baker but it will all come ultimately.

 

I lost everything, and have to commence life again at the bottom of the ladder.  Our firm will commence business at once.  We do not intend to abandon the place no matter what will happen.

 

We feel that we should make no complaints at the destruction of our having saved our lives.

 

My father was very slow to get into the cornfield.  He was so indignant at the ruffians that he was unwilling to retreat before them.

 

My little children were in the field three hours.  They seemed to know that if they cried the noise would betray their parents whereabouts, & so they kept as still as mice.  The baby was very hungry & I gave her an ear of raw green corn which she ate ravenously.

 

Mrs Simpson is quite well but has not yet entirely got over the effect

 

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of the terrible scenes she has been through.

 

I understand that the Springfield Republicans claims that the sacking of Lawrence is no worse than things which the red-legs have done in Missouri.  This is a mistake.  I never learned that any body of free state men ever performed such fiendish acts as those which we witnessed on the 21st of August.  Besides, Lawrence has never been the special haunt of red-legs, and no sympathizer with that clan of men were killed by the guerillas.  Those who were murdered would have been the last to encourage the red-legs.

 

Excuse this long letter.

 

H.M. Simpson

 

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The following persons were away at the East buying goods & were therefore saved:  Thos. Eldridge, Bullem, Sutlifs, H.S. Fillmore, Guild.

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