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1855 map of Richardson (Wabaunsee) County, Kansas

1855 map of Richardson (Wabaunsee) County, Kansas
Date: 1855
This map shows the original Wabaunsee (Richardson) County boundaries which existed prior to a realignment of the borders with Morris County in 1870 and Riley County in 1871. Approximately 72 square miles were removed in the first action and 54 square miles in the latter. Notice the Potawatomi Reservation in the upper right section of the county and the Kaw Reserve in the lower left portion.


1855 rescue of free stater Jacob Branson

1855 rescue of free stater Jacob Branson
Creator: Abbott, James Burnett, 1818-1897
Date: Between 1855 and 1860
James Abbott, a free state activist who participated in several Kansas Territory conflicts (including the rescues of John Doy and Jacob Branson), wrote this account of the 1855 rescue of Jacob Branson. In his account, Sheriff Jones, supported by the proslavery "bogus" legislature, had arrested Jacob Branson, a free state man who witnessed the murder of Charles W. Dow by Franklin Coleman, a proslavery neighbor. Abbott and his cohorts successfully rescued Branson, although their actions were controversial even among fellow free state supporters. Certain aspects of Abbott's account of these events disagreed with an earlier account provided by Samuel Wood, and Abbott addressed those discrepancies in this document. [Abbott's account, obtained either by handwritten manuscript or personal interview, is presented here as an annotated typed transcript.]


$200 Reward! for runaway slaves

$200 Reward! for runaway slaves
Creator: Williams, G.D
Date: June 7, 1860
Wanted poster offering a reward of $200 for the capture of two slaves from Saline County, Missouri. It includes the names and descriptions of the two slaves.


A. Curtis to William Hutchinson

A. Curtis to William Hutchinson
Creator: Curtis, A.
Date: December 21, 1856
Curtis reports on the conflict between the Kansas Central Committee and W. F. M. Arny, general agent for the National Kansas Committee, over the distribution of supplies. Curtis claims that Arny issued supplies to individuals who were engaged in speculative ventures and who were not in need of relief. Curtis attaches an itemized list of the supplies that he believes were inappropriately issued by Arny.


A. Finch to Thaddeus Hyatt

A. Finch to Thaddeus Hyatt
Creator: Finch, H.
Date: December 22, 1856
This letter, written from Osawatomie by A. Finch to Thaddeus Hyatt, chairman of the National Kansas Committee, provided general information about the inhabitants of Osawatomie and neighboring areas. It included a list of about half of the settlers residing in Osawatomie at this time, including the four pro-slavery voters. Mr. Finch went into detail about the most fertile areas that would be excellent sites for free state settlements, and about the economic conditions and financial needs of the settlers.


A. G. Bradford to James Denver

A. G. Bradford to James Denver
Creator: Bradford, A. G.
Date: March 18, 1858
A. G. Bradford, writing from Washington, D.C., to Kansas Territory's governor James H. Denver, suggests that the effort to admit Kansas Territory as a state under the Lecompton Constitution likely would fail in the U.S. Congress. Bradford also seeks Denver's support for Bradford's attempt to receive an appointment as Superintendent of Indian Affairs and comments upon Denver's future political opportunities in California.


A. H. Reeder to Franklin Crane

A. H. Reeder to Franklin Crane
Creator: Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864
Date: September 1, 1858
Andrew Reeder, former governor of Kansas Territory, wrote from Easton, Pennsylvania, to inform Franklin Crane of the eastern response to elections in Kansas, and the prospects for the Leavenworth Constitution. Reeder also discussed the value of Topeka lots and a request to donate one lot for a church.


A. H. Reeder to Franklin Crane

A. H. Reeder to Franklin Crane
Creator: Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864
Date: November 28, 1859
Andrew Reeder, former governor of Kansas Territory, wrote from Easton, Pennsylvania to Dr. Franklin Crane of Topeka. The letter discussed business interests in Kansas Territory and prospects for its admission to the union. Reeder also suggested it might be beneficial to replace place names, which had been established by the bogus legislature, that had pro-slavery connections.


A. J. Beach to Samuel N. Wood

A. J. Beach to Samuel N. Wood
Creator: Beach, A. J.
Date: April 22, 1860
Writing from Beach Valley (Rice County) in Kansas Territory, A. J. Beach requests Samuel Wood's legal advice with regard to Beach's options in a bridge dispute. It seemed that Beach had received a charter to build a toll bridge [over Cow Creek], and another party (William Edwards, et al) put up a "temporary" one before his was finished. They were now diverting traffic away from Beach's completed bridge. "I wish to know if anything can be done with them at law . . ."


A. J. Beach to Samuel N. Wood

A. J. Beach to Samuel N. Wood
Creator: Beach, A. J.
Date: May 6, 1860
As in his earlier letter to Samuel Wood of April 22, A. J. Beach, of Beach Valley, Kansas Territory, describes his Cow Creek bridge dispute with William Edwards and O. G. Stanley. In this letter, Beach officially retains the services of Wood & Perkins to sue Edwards and Stanley for damages. "I can prove," wrote Beach, "that they have asked trains to cross their bridge, taken toll on it, and repaired it with the avowed intention of making it a free bridge and taking the travel away from mine." Beach claims to be losing $20 a day in tolls.


A. J. Bradford to James W. Denver

A. J. Bradford to James W. Denver
Creator: Bradford, A. G.
Date: April 1, 1858
A. G. Bradford, writing from Washington, D.C., to Governor James W. Denver, reports that the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Crittenden-Montgomery resolution, which proposed to resubmit the Lecompton Constitution to a vote in Kansas Territory. Bradford predicts, however, that a House-Senate conference committee would endorse the Senate's version of the Lecompton Constitution bill, which proposed the admission of Kansas as a state under the Lecompton Constitution. Bradford adds that he believes both houses of Congress would agree to admit Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution.


A. Oestreicher to Eli Thayer

A. Oestreicher to Eli Thayer
Creator: Oestreicher, A.
Date: September 23, 1854
Oestreicher, writing from Cincinnati, Ohio, informed Thayer of the establishment of a Kansas Actual Settler's Association in that city. He indicated that the association, which was comprised primarily of German-Americans, planned to create a settlement in Kansas in the spring of 1855.


A. Pierse to Eli Thayer

A. Pierse to Eli Thayer
Creator: Pierse, A.
Date: March 31, 1857
A. Pierse wrote from Washington, D.C. to Eli Thayer in Worcester, Massachusetts. Pierse was born in North Carolina and lived most of his life in the South but had been living in Minnesota Territory for the past seven years. He told Thayer that he planned to move to Kansas in the spring of 1857. Pierse offered Thayer his opinion on what free state supporters should do in Kansas Territory. He informed Thayer that, although he had "Southern opinions on the subject of slavery" and believed the federal government had no right to prohibit slavery in the territories, he was "without prejudice for or against either side" in the debate over slavery in Kansas Territory. Pierse suggested that the best course for free staters to take would be to accept the Dred Scott decision, actively participate in the political process in Kansas Territory, and work for the admission of Kansas as a state with or without slavery. Once Kansas was admitted, he contended, free state supporters would be on firmer legal ground to advocate for the prohibition of slavery, since it was generally accepted that "the people have the power to prohibit slavery in their state." He concluded by stating that once Kansas was a state, free staters could make the case that property would be worth 3 or 4 times more if slavery was prohibited in the state.


A.S. Harris to Thaddeus Hyatt

A.S. Harris to Thaddeus Hyatt
Creator: Harris, A S.
Date: September 22, 1856
A.S. Harris wrote from New York to Thaddeus Hyatt regarding an article in the Journal of Commerce that dealt with the upcoming Presidential election and the strife in Kansas. The clipping was attached to the letter, and it included a rather lengthy attack on emigrant aid societies.


A. Tuttle to Abelard Guthrie

A. Tuttle to Abelard Guthrie
Date: July 1, 1857
This letter related to an earlier one Tuttle wrote to Alfred Gray. He had made arrangements to purchase land from Guthrie and suggested he get the money from Gray or write to Tuttle directly. Mr. Tuttle expressed his hopes for the development of Quindaro but also his fears if the land falls into the hands of non-resident speculators. He also stated that any association of Mr. S. N. Simpson with the town would injure its prospects.


A.Tuttle to Alfred Gray

A.Tuttle to Alfred Gray
Creator: Tuttle, A.
Date: June 25, 1857
Tuttle wrote from Buffalo, New York, about his plans to come to Kansas Territory by the fall. Alfred Gray had been a practicing lawyer in Buffalo before settling in Quindaro, Kansas Territory. Tuttle wrote about bank failures and the poor economy in the east. He also wanted Gray to send printed information about Kansas as he thought it would attract some of those out of work. He inquired if any of the literature was in German, as there were a number of out-of-work German immigrants in the area.


A. Venard to Thaddeus Hyatt

A. Venard to Thaddeus Hyatt
Creator: Venard, A.
Date: October 3, 1860
This letter is from A. Venard, a medical doctor from Pleasant Grove, Kansas Territory, who wrote to Thaddeus Hyatt, president of the National Kansas Committee. The letter described the sickness and disease that plagued the settlers along the Verdigris River in southeast Kansas. Dr. Venard had worked diligently to aid the settlers, even using funds from his own pocket to purchase medicine, but he requested that the committee give him 100 dollars worth of drugs. Attached to this letter is an itemized list of the drugs he wished purchased with the requested funds.


A.W. Hulburd

A.W. Hulburd
Date: Between 1840s and 1860s
Daguerreotype of A.W. Hulburd.


A Portfolio of Mormon Trail Engravings

A Portfolio of Mormon Trail Engravings
Date: 1874
A pamphlet of Mormon Trail engravings by Frederick Hawkins Piercy and Thomas Moran. The engravings offer a glimpse of what travelers saw along the Mormon Trail.


Aaron D. Stevens to Jennie Dunbar

Aaron D. Stevens to Jennie Dunbar
Creator: Stevens, Aaron D.
Date: December 3, 1859
From his jail cell at Charles Town, Virginia, abolitionist Aaron Dwight Stevens, 1831-1860, wrote his dear friend, Jennie Dunbar, regarding his actions and prospects ("Slavery demands that we should hang for its protection") and that he regretted nothing except that he would not live to "see this Country free." Stevens, reported to be one of abolitionist John Brown's bravest men, used the alias Captain Charles Whipple while following Brown. Stevens was convicted of treason and conspiring with slaves for his part in Brown's October 16, 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and was hung at Charles Town on March 16, 1860.


Aaron Dwight Stevens

Aaron Dwight Stevens
Creator: Hinton, Richard J. (Richard Josiah), 1830-1901
Date: 1856
A pen sketch of Aaron Dwight Stevens, 1831-1860, published in Richard Hinton's book, "John Brown and His Men." Stevens, reported to be one of abolitionist John Brown's bravest men, used the alias Captain Charles Whipple while following Brown. Stevens was convicted of treason and conspiring with slaves for his part in Brown's October 16, 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and was hung at Charles Town, Virginia on March 16, 1860.


Aaron Dwight Stevens

Aaron Dwight Stevens
Creator: Moore, J. S.
Date: 1856
A cabinet card of Aaron Dwight Stevens, 1831-1860. Stevens, reported to be one of abolitionist John Brown's bravest men, used the alias Captain Charles Whipple while following Brown. Stevens was convicted of treason and conspiring with slaves for his part in Brown's October 16, 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and was hung at Charles Town, Virginia on March 16, 1860.


Aaron Dwight Stevens

Aaron Dwight Stevens
Creator: Reader, Samuel James, 1836-1914
Date: 1856
A cyanotype of Aaron Dwight Stevens, 1831-1860, from a drawing made by Samuel J. Reader of Shawnee County, Kansas Territory. Stevens, reported to be one of abolitionist John Brown's bravest men, used the alias Captain Charles Whipple while following Brown. Stevens was convicted of treason and conspiring with slaves for his part in Brown's October 16, 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and was hung at Charles Town, Virginia on March 16, 1860.


Abbott Howitzer

Abbott Howitzer
Creator: Leonard & Martin
Date: Between 1880s and 1890s
This sepia colored photograph shows the artillery piece known as the Abbott Howitzer. The cannon, manufactured by the Ames Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts, was purchased in 1855 by free-state activist James Burnett Abbott. The howitzer protected Lawrence, Kansas, during the sacking of the city on May 21, 1856. It was later used during the Civil War by James Henry Lane's brigade in Missouri. At the end of the war, the cannon was returned to Lawrence where it remained until Abbott donated the artillery piece to the Kansas Historical Society.


Abbott Howitzer

Abbott Howitzer
Date: 1850s
This black and white photograph shows the artillery piece known as the Abbott Howitzer. The cannon, manufactured by the Ames Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts, was purchased in 1855 by free-state activist James Burnett Abbott. The howitzer protected Lawrence, Kansas, during the sacking of the city on May 21, 1856. It was later used during the Civil War by James Henry Lane's brigade in Missouri. At the end of the war, the cannon was returned to Lawrence where it remained until Abbott donated the artillery piece to the Kansas Historical Society.


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