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Capitol building in Lecompton, Kansas Territory

Capitol building in Lecompton, Kansas Territory
Date: 1855-1856
Correspondence and miscellaneous documents relating to the capitol building in Lecompton, Kansas Territory. Some of these documents include a letter to Governor Andrew Reeder concerning drawings and specifications for the capitol of Kansas, the appointment of Owen C. Stewart as superintendent of construction of the capitol building, and the contract for construction dated December 27, 1855.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: June 22, 1856
During a lull, Cyrus K. Holliday reported from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania that Colonel Edwin V. Sumner had forced proslavery troops back to Missouri and camped on the border. Two free state men from Wisconsin had killed proslavery supporters near Osawatomie. Governor Wilson Shannon had resigned. A "large mass convention" was planned for July 2nd and 3rd, with a meeting of the free state legislature on the 4th. Cyrus advised Mary and Mr. Nichols to wait until after the 4th to travel to the territory.


Draft letter, written by Amos Lawrence, for Sara Robinson

Draft letter, written by Amos Lawrence, for Sara Robinson
Creator: Lawrence, Amos Adams
Date: 1856
According to Frank W. Blackmar, who reprinted this document in the appendix of his book, "The Life of Charles Robinson" (1901), this is "a draft of a letter sent by Amos A. Lawrence to be re-written and signed by Mrs. Sara Robinson and addressed to Mrs. Lawrence, a relative of President Pierce and the mother of Amos A. Lawrence. Blackmar indicates that the letter, which concerns Charles Robinson's imprisonment (from May 10 to September 10, 1856) in Kansas Territory, was subsequently sent by Mrs. Lawrence to Mrs. Pierce, wife of the President, who gave it to President Pierce to read.


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."


Edward Hoogland to Thomas Nesbit Stinson

Edward Hoogland to Thomas Nesbit Stinson
Creator: Hoogland, Edward
Date: July 6, 1856
Edward Hoogland, a resident of Tecumseh, KT who was visiting his family in New York, described a meeting with Governor Wilson Shannon in St. Louis concerning territorial politics. Hoogland displayed a pro-slavery perspective in his comments on Kansas affairs. He described efforts to encourage settlement in Kansas Territory, especially Tecumseh, and to promote economic development in the territory. He mentioned an acquaintance who hoped to establish a sawmill and a gristmill in the territory.


Ephraim Nute to Franklin B. Sanborn

Ephraim Nute to Franklin B. Sanborn
Creator: Nute, Ephraim
Date: March 22, 1859
Ephraim Nute's efforts on behalf of "4 more fugitives," including Charley Fisher of Leavenworth, and the activities of "manhunters" in and around Lawrence are the main focus of this letter to F. B. Sanborn, but Nute also mentions the continuing need for money to pay for Doy's defense. The trial was to begin at St. Joseph the next day.


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.


Hiram Hill to Dear Wife

Hiram Hill to Dear Wife
Creator: Hill, Hiram, 1804-
Date: December 8, 1855 - December 9, 1855
Hiram Hill wrote from Westport, Missouri to his wife as he received new information concerning the Wakarusa War at Lawrence. Hill was frustrated by these reports, which conflicted and were from the proslavery perspective, and which concerned the number of free state and proslavery soldiers, the status of the war, and government action taken to prevent conflict. Hill was also troubled by shameless "traveling and drinking and swearing" and gunshots on the Sabbath. The last page of the letter expresses his relief at news of peace in Lawrence, where he would learn "the other syde of the story" upon arrival. The murder of Thomas W. Barber, who rode outside Lawrence and was shot by a proslavery supporter on December 6th, was mentioned. Hill also described an eventful stagecoach journey.


Hiram Hill to Dear Wife

Hiram Hill to Dear Wife
Creator: Hill, Hiram, 1804-
Date: December 12, 1855
Hiram Hill arrived in Lawrence, Kansas Territory shortly after the end of the Wakarusa War. This letter to his wife reviewed the events of the war, made mention of women's assistance, described Hill's journey from Leavenworth with Mr. Conway, and gave an account of Thomas W. Barber's funeral, at which Charles Robinson and James Lane spoke. Barber was killed south of Lawrence on the 6th. Hill had met Mr. Whitney, Judge Johnson, Mr. Haskell, and Mr. Simpson, and planned to visit Charles Robinson. Hill also detailed Governor Shannon's settlement with free state leaders at Lawrence.


Issac Tichenor Goodnow to unknown recipient

Issac Tichenor Goodnow to unknown recipient
Creator: Goodnow, Isaac Tichener, 1814-1894
Date: January/February 1856
In the wake of the Wakarusa War, Isaac Goodnow wrote to an unknown recipient regarding recent skirmishes and negotiations between proslavery and free state supporters. According to Goodnow, Governor Shannon had demanded that the free state men surrender their Sharp's rifles and obey the laws of the "bogus" legislature. Governor Robinson had responded, telling his men to "keep the rifles, but surrender their contents." Goodnow also commented on the "determined heroism" of the free state women, and recounted the incident of voter fraud which occurred in the Delegate to Congress election between former Governor Reeder and J. W. Whitfield.


Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War; report

Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War; report
Date: May 23, 1856 - November 12, 1856
Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War, submitted a number of documents in his report to the President that was submitted to the "Two Houses of Congress" on December 2, 1856. There were three sections of documents. Part 1 consisted of letters from the Secretary of War (Davis) and the Adjutant General ( S. Cooper) (pp. 27--35) to Colonel E.V. Sumner, General P. F. Smith, the governors of Kentucky and Illinois, and Major Emery, in relation to a militia force to be employed to aid the legitimate Territorial Government in Kansas Territory. Part 2 (pp.35--61) contained various reports from Colonel E. V. Sumner, commaning officer of the 1st Cavalry at Fort Leavenworth about events in Kansas. The reports include correspondence from Wilson Shannon, territorial governor, and various officers of the 1st Cavalry from Lecompton, Tecumseh, and other locations in the territory. Part 3 (pp. 62-146) was headed "Reports for the Department of the West" and included correspondence from various military officers about the activities of United States troops at various locations in Kansas Territory. This section contained several letters from Daniel Woodson and John Geary, territorial officials. A few non-Kansas items relating to dealings with Native Americans were interspersed among the Kansas Territory correspondence. From the Senate Executive Documents, 34th Congress, 3rd session, Report of the Secretary of War


John Brown to Mary Brown and family

John Brown to Mary Brown and family
Creator: Brown, John, 1800-1859
Date: December 16, 1855
Soon after his return from Lawrence, where he and other volunteers had successfully defended that place, John Brown wrote from Osawatomie to give his family "a brief account of the invasion," the so-called Wakarusa War. As it turned out, Brown provided some interesting details about their preparations and arrival in the besieged city and the negotiations that were ongoing when the Browns came on the scene. The Free State leaders, according to Brown, skillfully accomplished and signed an agreement with Governor Shannon that was "much to their own liking."


John H. Kagi to his father

John H. Kagi to his father
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: September 4, 1856
From Topeka, Kansas Territory, Kagi writes his father about his (Kagi's) personal situation and more generally about the civil war in Kansas Territory. Several thousand "armed Missourians" had been committing outrages against free state citizens with the support of proslave leaders--Wilson Shannon, Samuel Lecompte, and Daniel Woodson. Freestaters, according to Kagi, are just then mounting an effective defense of both Lawrence and Topeka, both primary targets of the proslavery forces.


Kansas Territory, U.S. District Court, 2nd District versus James Lane, Wilson Shannon, and David S. MacInosh

Kansas Territory, U.S. District Court, 2nd District versus James Lane, Wilson Shannon, and David S. MacInosh
Date: 1860
Material relating to Kansas Territory, U.S. District Court, 2nd District versus James Lane, Wilson Shannon, and David S. McIntosh for forfeited recognizance.


Leigh R. Webber to Miss Brown

Leigh R. Webber to Miss Brown
Creator: Webber, L. R.
Date: May 28, 1862-May 29, 1862
A letter written by Leigh R. Webber from "Steamer Robert Campbell Jr. near Liberty Mo.," is addressed to Miss Brown, a daughter of John Stillman Brown, a Unitarian minister who lived west of Lawrence, Kansas. Webber describes how his fellow troops have become more experienced soldiers "who fight for liberty and law." He discusses the march from Fort Riley to Fort Leavenworth and conditions on the boat that was taking them further south. He also mentiones William Brown's new law position with former Kansas Territory governor Wilson Shannon.


M. S. Cecilia Sherman to Sara Robinson

M. S. Cecilia Sherman to Sara Robinson
Creator: Sherman, Margaret S. C.
Date: May 25, 1856
Margaret Sarah Cecilia (Mrs. John) Sherman writs Sara (Mrs. Charles) Robinson on May 25, 1856, regarding Governor Robinson's captivity to date. He had been arrested on May 10, 1856, at Lexington, Missouri, and subsequently returned to the Kansas Territory. At the time of this letter, Robinson was being held in Leavenworth, where Sherman and many other of Robinson's friends had the opportunity to visit with him, and Sherman was able to attest to his good treatment. She makes interesting, favorable reference to Robinson's stay in Lexington and to "Captain [John W.] Martin of the Kickapoo rangers," who "seemed to have charge" of the governor in Leavenworth. Congressman John Sherman of Ohio was the brother of William T. Sherman, later of Leavenworth, and a member of the Howard Committee, investigating the Kansas affair.


M. W. Delahay to Charles Robinson, James H. Lane and others

M. W. Delahay to Charles Robinson, James H. Lane and others
Creator: Delahay, Mark W. (Mark William), 1818?-1879
Date: February 16, 1856
From Washington, D.C., on February 16, 1856, Mark Delahay, the Free State Party's representative to the 34th Congress, wrote to his free state colleagues regarding President Franklin Pierce's directive to Governor Wilson Shannon. The latter was "to arrest and punish all who may take part in the making and putting inforce any law in oposition to the Territorial laws now upon the Statute Book." Delahay warned against "the organization of an independent State Government" and wrote "we are upon the brink of a crisis of serious import." (See D.W. Wilder, Annals of Kansas, 109-110.)


Mary Dillon Holliday to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday

Mary Dillon Holliday to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Mary Dillon, 1833-1908
Date: August 29, 1856
Mary Holliday wrote from Meadville, Pennsylvania to her husband, Cyrus K. Holliday, founder of Topeka, Kansas Territory, who was presently touring Pennsylvania to speak in support of Republican presidential nominee John C. Fremont. Mary mentioned Mr. Howe, L. Lord, and Alfred Huidekoper, all friends of Cyrus. William D. Paul, who lived in Shawnee County, Kansas Territory had written. Quoting from his letter, Mary reported a skirmish between free state and proslavery men at Franklin, in Douglas County. Henry C. Titus, colonel of proslavery troops, and Israel B. Donalson, U. S. marshal, had been taken prisoner. Governor Wilson Shannon had negotiated a treaty. Mary also mentioned her ill health, and she hoped that Cyrus was well.


Northern division and independent companies, Kansas Territory militia

Northern division and independent companies, Kansas Territory militia
Date: 1855-1856
Correspondence relating to the militia, Northern division and Independent companies of the Kansas Territory. Some of the companies mentioned are the Kickapoo Rangers, Doniphan Tigers, Palmetto Rifles, Round Prairie Guards, and the Hampden Militia Company.


Organization of the free state government in Kansas with the inaugural speech and message of Governor Robinson

Organization of the free state government in Kansas with the inaugural speech and message of Governor Robinson
Date: March 4, 1856
This pamphlet provides a vivid description of the scene, players, and proceedings of the initial sessions of the free-state government convened in Topeka. From Governor Charles Robinson's inaugural speech, the intent of the new legislature was clear: they convened in order to formulate a state government which would serve their political interests and would reflect the principle of "squatter [popular] sovereignty", since the existing territorial government was merely provisional and furthermore did not advance their free-state aspirations.


Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father

Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father
Creator: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: August 10, 1856
Oscar Learnard wrote from Lawrence of his continued commitment to the "Sacked City," insisting that he would not be "bullied or frightened" by those committing outrages in Kansas Territory. He commented on the political composition of the territory and Lawrence, where he found many Douglas Democrats. Although there were some "fanatics" and "abolitionists," most residents of Lawrence were "western men" who had been driven to oppose the administration by the outrages. He insisted that the significance of the New England Emigrant Company had been exaggerated and that although more violent confrontations were likely, Kansas would eventually be free.


Oscar E. Learnard to friends

Oscar E. Learnard to friends
Creator: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: May 23, 1856
Written just two days after the sack of Lawrence, this letter contained Learnard's observations of and reflections on "the fearful disaster to which this unfortunate town has been subjected." The town's citizens, wrote Learnard, chose not to resist the authority of the U.S. marshal but were nevertheless brutalized by Sheriff Jones and a posse of Missourians. He also mentioned Governor Reeder, Governor Shannon and David R. Atchison, who "made a speech."


Owen Brown to Mary Brown

Owen Brown to Mary Brown
Creator: Brown, Owen
Date: August 27, [1856]
On August 27, 1856, from Tabor, Iowa, Owen Brown wrote to tell his mother that according to all accounts "Father is the most daring courageous man in Kansas" and to relate other happenings in K.T. involving Jim Lane and Governor Shannon. Another invasion from Missouri was rumored, but free state recruits were assembling and "the Missourians are trembling in their Boots."


S. P. Hanscom to Sara Robinson

S. P. Hanscom to Sara Robinson
Creator: Hanscom, S. P.
Date: May 25, 1856
On Sunday, May 25, 1856, "at the request of Gov. Robinson," S. P. Hanscom writes Sara T. D. Robinson to assure her that her "esteemed and gallant husband" is well. This remarkably detailed letter describes the governor's captivity, the bogus charges filed against him, and circumstances that brought him to Leavenworth, Kansas Territory. Hanscom states that Robinson is receiving many visitors, including Congressman William A. Howard, chair of the congressional committee investigating the Kansas troubles.


Samuel C. Pomeroy to J. M. S. Williams

Samuel C. Pomeroy to J. M. S. Williams
Creator: Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891
Date: September 17, 1855
Samuel Pomeroy, writing from Kansas City, Missouri to J.M.S. Williams, an officer in the New England Emigrant Aid Company, described free state political strategies. Specifically, Pomeroy mentioned free state plans to hold their own election for a delegate to Congress, to call for a constitutional convention, and to push for the admission of Kansas as a free state.


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