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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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Military - Wars - Bleeding Kansas - Wakarusa War

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Draft of the Wakarusa treaty

Draft of the Wakarusa treaty
Creator: Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877
Date: December 08, 1855
On November 21, 1855, Charles W. Dow, a free-state man, was shot by Franklin N. Coleman, a pro-slavery leader, near Hickory Point, Douglas County, in a dispute over a claim. Sheriff Jones, of Douglas County, arrested Jacob Branson, who lived with Dow. Branson was subsequently taken from Sheriff Jones by a group of free-state men. Sheriff Jones and approximately 1500 militia volunteers from Missouri laid seige to Lawrence, claiming there was a rebellion. By December 8, the free-state forces, led by James Lane, Charles Robinson and Lyman Allen, convinced Governor Shannon that they were only planning to defend Lawrence, not go on the offensive. These documents, from what came to be called the "Wakarusa War," include an officer's commission and several discharges of members of the Kansas Rifles No. 1--the free-state militia--and a draft of the treaty that was signed by Lane, Robinson, and Governor Wilson Shannon to end the "war."


First letter of the war

First letter of the war
Creator: Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date: December 1, 1855
A facsimile of a letter written by General James H. Lane, labeled as the first letter of the "Wakarusa War." This skirmish was between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces near and at Lawrence, Kansas. There was only one casualty before a treaty was signed to end the war.


James H. Lane to Charles Foster

James H. Lane to Charles Foster
Creator: Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date: December 05, 1855
A note from James H. Lane to Charles Foster saying that every Free State man in Kansas is needed in Lawrence to help fight in the Wakarusa War. The "war" was averted by a treaty between Governor Wilson Shannon, Charles Robinson, and James H. Lane.


Kansas Territory versus George W. Clarke, James N. Burns for murder

Kansas Territory versus George W. Clarke, James N. Burns for murder
Date: 1856 - 1857
These legal documents relate to the case of the Kansas Territory vs. George W. Clarke and James N. Burns for the murder of free-state settler Thomas W. Barber in Douglas County, Kansas Territory on December 6, 1855 during the Wakarusa War. Clarke and Burns were indicted for the murder by the First District Court on October 13, 1856. Clarke was an Indian agent, slave owner, and pro-slavery activist involved in several Bleeding Kansas conflicts.


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