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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.]


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.


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."


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 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.


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.


Charles Robinson to Capt. Grosvenor P. Lowry

Charles Robinson to Capt. Grosvenor P. Lowry
Creator: Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894
Date: December 8, 1855
Charles Robinson, Commander-in-Chief of the free state military forces, wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, to Grosvenor P. Lowry, captain of a free state militia regiment, instructing Lowry to attach his command to the newly organized regiment under the command of James Lane, Robinson's second-in-command.


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.


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 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."


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.


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.


Henry Saunders, certifying James Abbott as a militia member

Henry Saunders, certifying James Abbott as a militia member
Creator: Saunders, Henry F.
Date: July 25, 1855
Henry Saunders, Captain of the Wakarusa Liberty Guards, a free state militia group, wrote this letter certifying James Abbott as 2nd Lieutenant of that unit. Saunders added that Abbott was also officially employed in the task of procuring arms for the free state cause.


Invitation to James Abbott's 1855 New York presentation

Invitation to James Abbott's 1855 New York presentation
Creator: King, Charles
Date: September 5, 1855
This printed invitation announced the New York visit of Kansas Territory's James Abbott and his appointment to speak about "the Triumph of Freedom over Slavery in that vicinity" to interested citizens of New York.


James Abbott a certified agent of the Kansas Herald of Freedom

James Abbott a certified agent of the Kansas Herald of Freedom
Creator: Brown, George W. (George Washington), 1820-1915
Date: July 10, 1855
This certificate granted James Abbott, of Blanton, Kansas Territory, agency to sell subscriptions to the Kansas Herald of Freedom newspaper. The document was signed and sealed by George W. Brown, publisher and editor of the free state paper.


James Abbott's 1856 commission as Captain in Kansas Militia

James Abbott's 1856 commission as Captain in Kansas Militia
Creator: Topliff, Charles
Date: June 28, 1856
Charles W. Topliff, Major General Commanding the Kansas Militia, issued this certificate as validation of James Abbott's commission to serve as Captain of the 2nd Company B of the Kansas Militia from June 28, 1856 until January 1, 1857.


James B. Abbott, account of obtaining Sharp's rifles for Free State militia

James B. Abbott, account of obtaining Sharp's rifles for Free State militia
Creator: Abbott, James B., 1818-1897
Date: Around 1856
James Abbott recalled his experiences as a free state activist who participated in several Kansas Territory conflicts. In this account, he related a brief history of the Kansas Territory's political conflicts between free state and proslavery men, and recounted the events of his own trip back East to secure funds and rifles for the free state cause. His purchases included a mountain howitzer and 117 Sharp's rifles, all of which were smuggled under cover of disguise back to Kansas Territory and into the arms of free state militia. [This transcribed version of the events is either a copy of an original handwritten manuscript, or a compilation based on a personal oral interview.]


James B. Abbott to Elizabeth W. Abbott

James B. Abbott to Elizabeth W. Abbott
Creator: Abbott, James Burnett
Date: December 22, 1857
James Abbott, serving as a Colonel in the Kansas free state militia wrote from a military skirmish in Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Elizabeth, in Lawrence. He had hoped to return home within a week from his departure, but had received word from James Lane, Major General of the militia, that he could start home the following Saturday. Abbott reported the events of the skirmish, which thus far had resulted in the arrests of some men; no deaths had been reported.


James B. Abbott to James H. Lane

James B. Abbott to James H. Lane
Creator: Abbott, James Burnett
Date: September 7, 1857
James Abbott wrote from his travels in Hartford, Connecticut, to James Lane, General of the Kansas free state militia. Abbott was attempting to raise money and supplies for the free state cause by soliciting donations from supporters in the East. However, he reported that "this season of the year is always unfavorable for all benevolent enterprises" and that the "bank and brokers panic" was making matters even more difficult. Abbott longed for "one more big fight in Kansas" even if it should cost him his life or the lives of others as "the object is worth all it will cost."


James B. Abbott to O. P. Bayne

James B. Abbott to O. P. Bayne
Creator: Abbott, James Burnett
Date: February 3, 1858
James Abbott wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, to Captain O. P. Bayne, to explain his delay in responding to Bayne's request for military aid. Abbott wrote that his engagement with the committee investigating election fraud in the December 21 and January 4 elections had caused him to pass the request to General Phillips (possiblity William A. Phillips). Phillips, instead of responding directly, waited for Major General James Lane to return to town and approve the action. Abbott was apologetic, and stated "if I had been at liberty I would have started at once. . .entirely independent of the Territorial Militia."


James Henry Lane to A. W. Philips

James Henry Lane to A. W. Philips
Creator: Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date: December 17, 1857
James Lane, Major General of the free state militia forces, wrote to General A. W. Philips, ordering him to Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to help "our friends who are there. . .defending themselves against an invading force."


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