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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.]


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.


Account of provisions and supplies issued to destitute Shawnees

Account of provisions and supplies issued to destitute Shawnees
Creator: Abbott, James Burnett
Date: 1861
This account book belonging to an Indian agent named James Burnett Abbott lists the names of Shawnee Indian heads of household, the number of family members within their household, and the amount of pork, corn, and meal provided by the government to each Shawnee. The Shawnee had emigrated to Kansas after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Only an excerpt is included here.


Address to the Voters of Kansas

Address to the Voters of Kansas
Creator: Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891
Date: September 25, 1867
The numerous authors of this pamphlet (Republicans) support the constitutional amendments to approve voting rights for blacks, for women, and to restrict voting rights to "loyal persons." They offer arguments for their position as well as criticizing the Democratic Party in Kansas for their opposition to these amendments. Forty five men signed the document, which was the result of a meeting in Lawrence. The following signed the document S. C. Pomeroy, Atchison; E. G. Ross, Lawrence; S. J. Crawford, Topeka; N. Green, Manhattan; Chas. Robinson, Lawrence; Geo T. Anthony, Leavenworth; Lewis Bodwell, Topeka; R. B. Taylor, editor Wyandotte Gazette; J. P. Root, Whandotte; James Rogers, Burlingame; S. Weaver, Editor Lecompton New Era; L. R. Elliott, Editor Atchison Daily Free Press; W. A. Starrett, Lawrence; Wm. Larimer, Jr., Leavenworth; John Ritchie, Topeka; John Ekin, Topeka; Sol. Miller, Editor White Cloud Chief; A. H. Foote, Lawrence; C. B. Lines, Wabaunsee; R. G. Elliott, Jefferson county; G. A. Crawford, Bourbon county; John Speer, Kansas Tribune; A. Low, Doniphan; R. W. Jenkins, Pottawatomie county; Ed. Russell, Leavenworth; J. H. Pillsbury, Editor Manhattan Independent; S. D. Houston, Manhattan; W. K. Marshall, Atchison; F. G. Adams, Kennekuk; P. L. Hubbard, Atchison; A. Hunting, Manhattan; J. B. Abbott, De Soto; Joseph Denison, Manhattan; T. H. Baker, Manhattan, H. W. Farnsworth, Topeka; I. H. Smith, Topeka; D. R. Anthony, Leavenworth; G. W. Higginbotham, Manhattan; John Pipher, Manhattan, R. L. Harford, Manhattan; Jas. Humphrey, Manhattan; Wm McKay, Manhattan; R. P. Duvall, Manhattan; Pardee Butler, Pardee; and L. F. Green, Baldwin City. Only the language restricting voting to "loyal" persons was passed in the election on November 5, 1867. Blacks and women were not given voting rights as a result of the 1867 election.


Amos A. Lawrence to James B. Abbott

Amos A. Lawrence to James B. Abbott
Creator: Lawrence, Amos Adams
Date: August 11, 1855
Amos A. Lawrence wrote from Boston to James Abbott in Hartford, Conneticut, with shipping instructions for the 100 Sharps rifles he would procure. Lawrence requested that they be "packed in casks like hardware" and that Abbott bill him for expenses incurred.


Amos A. Lawrence to James B. Abbott

Amos A. Lawrence to James B. Abbott
Creator: Lawrence, Amos Adams
Date: August 24, 1855
Amos A. Lawrence wrote from Boston to James B. Abbott in Hartford, Connecticut, to confirm his receipt of a shipment of rifles. Lawrence advised Abbott that at least half of them would be required by free state forces in Topeka.


Amos A. Lawrence to James B. Abbott

Amos A. Lawrence to James B. Abbott
Creator: Lawrence, Amos Adams
Date: August 20, 1855
Amos A. Lawrence wrote from Boston to James Abbott in Hartford, Connecticut, referring to a recent shipment of carbine rifles he had sent, which was "far from being enough." Lawrence advised Abbott to take good care of them, as they might be used as reimbursement to those investors who had subscribed money to the free state cause once "it is settled that Kanzas shall not be a province of Missouri."


Beware of frauds!  Down with the disorganizers!

Beware of frauds! Down with the disorganizers!
Creator: Central Committee
Date: 1858
This poster discusses the slate of candidates for a constitutional convention (Leavenworth?), cautioning free state men to beware of attempts to divide them and thus weaken their ability to challenge the pro-slavery force. It also warns about split Free State tickets.


Biographical circulars

Biographical circulars
Date: 1890-1899
This collection consists of biographical forms sent by F. G. Adams, secretary of the Kansas Historical Society, to individuals whose names appeared in historically significant materials in the collections of the Kansas Historical Society. The responses are arranged alphabetically by last name. Biographical information may include full name, place and date of birth, place and date of settlement, present residence, place and date of death, official positions, and/or addresses of family members.


Certificate, James Abbott as Brigadier General

Certificate, James Abbott as Brigadier General
Date: July 15, 1857
James Lane, from the Headquarters of the Kansas Volunteers free state militia, issued this certificate to appoint James Abbott (Brigadier General of the 1st Brigade) to organize people to protect the ballot boxes during the upcoming elections. Election fraud, in the form of multiple votes cast by pro-slavery men, was a constant concern of free state supporters.


Certificate of election, James Abbott, Representative to the General Assembly of Kansas

Certificate of election, James Abbott, Representative to the General Assembly of Kansas
Creator: Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date: February 19, 1856
Certification of James Abbott's December 1855 election to the post of Representative for the First Senatorial District in the General Assembly of Kansas under the provisions of the Topeka Constitution. The certificate is signed by James Lane and Joel Goodin, Chairman and Secretary of the Executive Committee, respectively.


Change purse

Change purse
Date: between 1870 and 1895
Small half-round leather coin purse with metal snap frame. Interior is fitted with smaller fixed purse, creating a total of three compartments. Hinged nickel-plated metal frame with brass snap lock. This coin purse belonged to James Burnett Abbott, an early arrival in Kansas Territory. Abbott came to Lawrence with other New England abolitionists in 1854 and became involved in efforts to make Kansas a free state. He joined the militia and participated in the Battle of Black Jack and the 1856 defense of Lawrence. While agent to the Shawnee tribe, he led a party of them in the Price Raid of 1864. Abbott served in the first Kansas House of Representatives and later as a state senator.


Charles Robinson to Eli Thayer

Charles Robinson to Eli Thayer
Creator: Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894
Date: July 26, 1855
Charles Robinson, free state leader and activist, wrote to introduce James Abbott to Eli Thayer, organizer of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. Robinson described Abbott as trustworthy and "true as steel to the cause of Freedom in Kansas." He wrote that the rifles previously shipped to Lawrence had had a "very good effect," and suggested that Thayer procure more. On the back of Robinson's letter, Charles Branscomb, Secretary pro tempore of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, wrote an endorsement of Robinson as an agent for the Company, and added his own support of James Abbott.


Commissary 1st Brigade Kansas Volunteers receipt, 1855

Commissary 1st Brigade Kansas Volunteers receipt, 1855
Creator: Hunt, George W.
Date: December 10, 1855
Receipt from the Commissary 1st Brigade Kansas Volunteers listing arms and equipment, along with their prices, allotted to James Abbott.


Dr. John Doy's carbine

Dr. John Doy's carbine
Date: 1859
Dr. John Doy used this Sharps carbine fighting border disputes in Franklin County, Kansas Territory, and at Ft. Titus. In January 1859, Doy was captured near Lawrence by pro-slavery Missouri forces and charged with aiding in the abduction of fugitive slaves. For six months Doy was held in a St. Joseph, Missouri, jail. Doy was rescued by ten of his free-state friends, led by Major James Abbott. Engraved in the carbine's stock is the phrase, "Successful Agent of the Irrepressible Conflict."


Expenses of Trip for rescuing Dr. Doy

Expenses of Trip for rescuing Dr. Doy
Date: July 23, 1859
An accounting of the expenses (including supplies and cash advances) incurred in the rescue of Dr. John Doy, who had been arrested by Missouri authorities on January 25, 1859, for abducting slaves. Doy was freed from his cell in a St. Joseph, Missouri, jail on July 23, 1859, by a rescue party that included James Abbott.


Frederick Law Olmstead to James B. Abbott

Frederick Law Olmstead to James B. Abbott
Creator: Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903
Date: September 17, 1855
Frederick Law Olmstead, a free state fundraiser and landscape architect who would later design New York City's Central Park, wrote from New York to James Abbott, reporting of his own recent fundraising efforts. Within a week, he hoped to raise enough money to purchase "100 _____", believing it wise not to mention in writing that the objects purchased would be weapons to equip free state militias.


Frederick Law Olmsted to James B. Abbott

Frederick Law Olmsted to James B. Abbott
Creator: Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903
Date: October 4, 1855
Frederick Law Olmstead, a New York free state fundraiser and landscape architect, wrote to James B. Abbott, informing him of his recent trouble securing contributions enough to purchase substantial amounts of weapons. Olmstead repeated to Abbott advice he had received from a veteran military officer, who suggested that "M's" [muskets] would serve the militia forces well enough for general use, with "S's" [Sharp's rifles] reserved for "special service." Thus, Olmstead concluded, he would send Abbott either "M's" or an "H" [howitzer, a type of cannon].


Frederick Law Olmsted to James B. Abbott

Frederick Law Olmsted to James B. Abbott
Creator: Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903
Date: October 24, 1855
Frederick Law Olmstead wrote a short note from New York to James B. Abbott in Lawrence, Kansas Territory, confirming the shipment of a howitzer cannon and its accessories. It was sent in five separate cases, to avoid arousing suspicion, and was shipped to "B. Slater" in St. Louis.


Frederick Law Olmsted to James B. Abbott

Frederick Law Olmsted to James B. Abbott
Creator: Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903
Date: October 7, 1855
Frederick Law Olmstead, a New York free state fundraiser and landscape architect, wrote to James B. Abbott to report he had ordered "the instrument" [howitzer cannon], and that it would be ready to ship in three days time along with its ammunition accessories (excepting powder). Olmstead wrote he would send instructions for its use separately, so that the howitzer may be used to "best effect," which he approximated as "equally effective with a simultaneous fire of 100 muskets" and "worth a dozen field pieces."


Free State Mass Convention!

Free State Mass Convention!
Creator: Abbott, James Burnett
Date: July 25, 1857
James B. Abbott, as secretary of the 10th district committee of the Free State party, prepared this broadside to advertise a meeting to nominate two Senators and seven Representatives for the Legislature. Abbott wrote that the district included the following precincts: "Fish's Hotel, Palmyra, Blanton, Willow Springs, Franklin, Lawrence, and Benicia." The meeting was to be held in Lawrence on July 25, 1857.


General staff roll of officers on duty at Sugar Mound

General staff roll of officers on duty at Sugar Mound
Date: December 19 and 21, 1857
This staff roll of regimental officers of the First Regiment, Kansas Militia, lists officers present in a skirmish at Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, on December 19 and 21, 1857. Major General James Lane is included among the officers listed. The list appears to be incomplete, as age, stature, and equipment notes for each man are provided only on the list's first page.


George Cutter, Kansas experience

George Cutter, Kansas experience
Date: January 1, 1857
This reminiscence is presumably from the Journal of Investigations in Kansas, which was compiled by the National Kansas Committee under the leadership of Thaddeus Hyatt. George Cutter was with Frederick Brown shortly before the Battle of Osawatomie and, like Brown, he was wounded during an altercation with border ruffians from Missouri. While Cutter was not directly involved in this battle, this reminiscence is still a rather fascinating account of it.


Grand Army of the Republic fraternal ribbon

Grand Army of the Republic fraternal ribbon
Date: 1892
Fraternal ribbon of ivory-colored silk. Ribbon was presented to veteran soldiers of the G.A.R. at a dedication ceremony in Olathe, Kansas, in 1892. G.A.R. emblem in the center of the badge. The recipient of this ribbon, James B. Abbott (1918-1897), was a Union officer during the Civil War. Before the war, Abbott raised funds and purchased arms to support the free-state cause in Kansas Territory, and took part in the Battle of Black Jack and the 1856 defense of Lawrence. After the war, Abbot was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union soldiers' veterans organization, and served in the state legislature. This ribbon was presented to his wife in 1897 at the indicated G.A.R. dedication ceremony after Abbott's death.


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