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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.


Addison Danford

Addison Danford
Creator: Jacoby,
Addison Danford was a free state supporter and served as a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. At the time, he lived in Linn County, Kansas Territory. Danford moved to Fort Scott, Bourbon County, and served as Adjutant General of Kansas after the Civil War.


Address of the Constitutional Convention to American Public

Address of the Constitutional Convention to American Public
Date: April 3, 1858
A committee made up of John M. Walden, James Fletcher, Thomas Ewing, Jr., Isaac T. Goodnow, Henry J. Adams, T. Dwight Thacher, and Addison Danford prepared this eleven-page manuscript "address to accompany the instrument" adopted at the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. The statement essentially laid out the philosophical foundations and rationale for the new document. It argued that the facts showed the overwhelming majority of Kansans desired admission as a free state.


Address to the American People on the Affairs of Kansas, pamphlet

Address to the American People on the Affairs of Kansas, pamphlet
Date: 1857
This address recounted the history and purpose of the formation of the Kansas State Government of Topeka, in peaceful opposition to that of the Territory. The free state message accused the systems of the Territorial Government of encouraging influence from abroad in their election process, and indicated that they had nothing inherently against Missouri's citizens as a whole, but implored that they not attempt to violate the rights of Kansas settlers. The address stated that the Territory was "organized for defence" by a pledge from Governor Walker, and appealed that outsiders remain in their homes for the benefit of all.


Alfred Larzelere

Alfred Larzelere
Date: 1854-1860
Alfred Larzelere of Doniphan County was active in free state politics. He served as speaker of the Kansas House in 1859 and as a delegate to the Leavenworth constitutional convention. He was also a member of the Free State Central committee.


An Act to provide for the election of Delegates to a Convention to frame a State Constitution

An Act to provide for the election of Delegates to a Convention to frame a State Constitution
Creator: Deitzler, George Washington, 1826-1884
Date: 1858
This act pertains to the election of delegates to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention in the Kansas Territory.


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.


Charles A. Foster

Charles A. Foster
Creator: Skinner, photographer
Charles A. Foster was a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. He came to Kansas Territory from Massachusetts.


Constitution Convention opposition to the Lecompton Constitution, Kansas Territory

Constitution Convention opposition to the Lecompton Constitution, Kansas Territory
Creator: Winchell, James M
Date: March 30, 1858
An address, by James M. Winchell, chairman of the Constitution Convention's Committee on Remonstrance, against passage of the Lecompton Constitution. The address is formulated as an open letter ("Remonstrance of the Constitutional Convention against the passage of the Lecompton Constitution") to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, members of President Buchanan's cabinet, and state governors. The address cites five strong reasons (among them "It is not the act of the people of Kansas.") why Congress should reject the proslavery Lecompton Constitution despite "the aid of Federal bribery and corruption."


Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: April 13, 1858
Whitman writes a rather lengthy update on the Kansas Territory situation for Stearns, focusing on the political machinations of the few and the uncertain situation created by the Lecompton debate. Of territorial leadership, Whitman observes: "While Kansas is blessed with many of the truest men of the age, men who are fully up to the emergency, she is also cursed with some of the most unprincipled demagogues that ever afflicted any country." Whitman writes that there is much confusion and disagreement about the best course of action for free state men to take, now that many acknowledged the death of the Topeka movement. He then turns to the work of the Minneola and Leavenworth Constitutional Convention of March, 1858.


Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: February 20, 1858
This rather lengthy report from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, addresses many issues, especially those surrounding the Lecompton constitutional controversy. With "the Topeka Movement . . . abandoned," the question is what would take its place to resist the Lecompton Constitution if it were accepted by the Congress. The territorial legislature had formally "protested against the admission of Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution," and "the Mass of the people are determined" to resist its imposition. Whitman makes many other interesting observations about the political situation regarding Democrats and Republicans and even abolitionists: "men who seek here and now, on this issue, to break the back bone of slavery forever." In addition to the political, Whitman describes his "labor of distributing the clothing . . . for the relief of Kansas," and discusses in some detail the financial situation regarding the Committee, his personal debt, Kansas relief, and support to John Brown.


Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn

Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: January 16, 1858
E. B. Whitman wrote Sanborn this lengthy letter from Lawrence, describing the political events that had unfolded in the territory since the October 5, 1857, election. Among many other things, he mentioned the split that took the "National democrats" out of the movement over the issue of participation in the state elections under the Lecompton Constitution, January 1857. This "Free State ticket" was, according to Whitman, "a disgrace to the cause," but it attracted a good number of votes and won "a good working majority in both houses and so our people proclaim a victory." Whitman, who had long been a faithful supporter, was seemingly losing confidence in John Brown, as were "the people."


Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn ?

Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn ?
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: February 18, 1858
As a follow up to his more lengthy report of January 16, Whitman wrote from Lawrence on February 18, 1858, about the turbulent course of Kansas politics during the last month. Again, he attacked Robinson's efforts to compromise with the forces behind the "Lecompton Swindle," and described the other factions plan of action should Congress adopt the Lecompton Constitution.


Edmund Burke Whitman to George Luther Stearns

Edmund Burke Whitman to George Luther Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: April 30, 1858
Whitman's April 30, 1858, letter to Stearns described the harmonious work conducted by the "State Convention" and its nomination of state officers under the Leavenworth Constitution. That movement, he told Stearns, would probably not "amount to much if the Lecompton Constitution is rejected. He also mentioned continued tension in Bourbon County and the route of U.S. troops by "the free State boys" of Fort Scott.


Franklin G. Adams

Franklin G. Adams
Date: 1890s
This is a portrait of Franklin G. Adams who was the Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas. Adams was a member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. He served as an election judge for the second vote on the Lecompton Constitution. Earlier he was a Clerk of the U. S. District Court of Kansas. In 1875, he became the first secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.


Franklin G. Adams

Franklin G. Adams
This is a portrait of Franklin G. Adams who was the Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas. Adams was a member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. He served as an election judge for the second vote on the Lecompton Constitution. Earlier he was a Clerk of the U. S. District Court of Kansas. In 1875, he became the first secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.


Franklin George Adams'  Residence, Topeka, Kansas

Franklin George Adams' Residence, Topeka, Kansas
Date: May 1891
A sepia colored photo of Franklin George Adams' residence on the S.W. corner of Fifteenth and Mulvane streets in Topeka, Kansas. F. G. Adams, one of Kansas' most prominent settlers, was a free-stater and member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention of 1858. In 1862, he drafted the law providing for the organization of the state's agriculture society and served for three years as the society's secretary. In addition to his appointment as agriculture secretary, Adams was Clerk of the United States District Court from 1863 to 1864. Following this position, Adams was appointed United States Indian Agent to the Kickappos from 1865 to 1869. Adams' greatest and lasting contribution as a public servant was his appointment, in 1875, as secretary of the Kansas Historical Society. During his tenure as secretary, Adams dedicated his time and effort to build the society's collection of original documents for future generations to study and interpret the state's history.


Free State Ticket - Minneola/Leavenworth Constitution

Free State Ticket - Minneola/Leavenworth Constitution
Date: May, 1858
This document listed persons who ran for office in Kansas Territory in May, 1858.


Isaac Maris to F. G. Adams

Isaac Maris to F. G. Adams
Creator: Maris, Isaac
Date: July 22, 1895
Isaac Maris was responding to a request for information about slaves in Kansas Territory. He provides the names of several families who had slaves and describes the escape of one female slave and her child with indirect references to the underground railroad. This item is from information collected by Miss Zu Adams in 1895. She was researching the topic of slaves in Kansas and contacted a number of early Kansas settlers requesting information about slaves brought to Kansas Territory. While all of the information she collected was based on reminiscences, it still provides useful information that is difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere. Miss Adams and her father F. G. Adams were employees of the Kansas State Historical Society and the information received was donated to that institution.


Isaac Tichenor Goodnow to Sherman

Isaac Tichenor Goodnow to Sherman
Creator: Goodnow, Isaac T. (Isaac Tichenor), 1814-1894
Date: April 1 & 3, 1858
Isaac Goodnow wrote from Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, to a friend, expressing his excitement and support for the Leavenworth Constitution. The status of the Lecompton Constitution was currently being debated in Congress, but Goodnow predicted its "destruction". Goodnow described the events of the Constitutional Convention, which had first convened in Minneola, but had been removed to Leavenworth. He stated that the finished constitution was" the best Constitution in existence", and remarked at James Lane's leading role in its development.


Joel Kishler Goodin

Joel Kishler Goodin
Joel Kishler Goodin was a active participant in the Topeka Movement. He served as clerk of the House of Representatives that met in Topeka, Kansas Territory, and also as secretary of the Executive Committee. He was a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention where he promoted the adoption of the Topeka Constitution.


John James Ingalls to Elias T. Ingalls

John James Ingalls to Elias T. Ingalls
Creator: Ingalls, John James, 1833-1900
Date: November 21, 1858
Much of this interesting letter, dated November 21, 1858, from Sumner, Kansas Territory, describes the Ingalls law practice and the nature of a "frontier" court proceedings that often attracted "nearly all the population." According to Ingalls, "the chief difficulty arising [in the courts came] from the conflict of the two Codes, adopted by two hostile legislatures, each of which had adherents who call the other 'bogus.'" Ingalls also discussed the business of land sales, as something many others successfully combined with the practice of law.


John Ritchie

John Ritchie
This sepia colored carte-de-visite shows John Ritchie, (1817-1887), an abolitionist from Franklin, Indiana who moved, in 1855, to Topeka, Kansas. Actively involved in the Free State movement, Ritchie operated a way station along the underground railroad to help runway slaves. In 1858 and 1859 he respectively served as a delegate to the Leavenworth and Wyandotte Constitutional Conventions. Ritchie was also instrumental in donating a 160 acres of land for the future site of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.


John S. Brown to William Brown

John S. Brown to William Brown
Creator: Brown, John S.
Date: June 13, 1858
This letter, written from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, by John Stillman Brown, was addressed to his son, William Brown, who was studying at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. The letter included information about their local church meetings and the talk surrounding the murder of Gaius Jenkins by James Henry Lane over a land dispute. Brown also mentioned a sermon he'd preached, which outlined the beliefs of the Unitarians. He admonished his son to immerse himself in the Scriptures, and to stop drinking tea and other stimulants. The letter concluded with a discussion of politics, particularly the Lecompton and Leavenworth Constitutions.


Leavenworth Constitution

Leavenworth Constitution
Creator: Kansas. Constitutional Convention (1858)
Date: April 3, 1858
This is the text of the Leavenworth Constitution as published in Daniel W. Wilder's "The Annals of Kansas" (1886). The Leavenworth Constitution was the most radical of the four constitutions drafted for Kansas Territory. The Bill of Rights refers to "all men" and prohibited slavery from the state. The word "white" did not appear in the proposed document and, therefore, it would not have excluded free blacks from the state. Article XVI, Section 3 (p. 227) directed the general assembly to provide some protection for the rights of women. The Leavenworth Constitution was ratified on May 18, 1858, but the U.S. Senate did not act to approve the document.


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