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Community Life - Town development - Town companies - Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company

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Dunn to Thomas W. Higginson

Dunn to Thomas W. Higginson
Date: October 23, 1856
In this letter to Reverend Thomas W. Higginson, who was an agent of the Massachusetts Kansas Aid Committee, Mr. Dunn writes from Oskaloosa, Iowa, about his attempts to gather together a company of men as a response to Gov. Gary's [sic] election and the U. S. Army's efforts to arrest many prominent free state men. According to the author, "the U. S. troops by the order of Gary [sic] are taking every free State man they can get hold of." He is eager to hear advice from Higginson about the best way to proceed, and he lays out his plan to amass about 60 men to fight against the border ruffians who have invaded the territory. He hopes that Higginson would support him in this matter by obtaining provisions. Dunn maintains that this plan comes from his sense of duty; it does not arise from a warlike spirit.


Eli Thayer to John Brown

Eli Thayer to John Brown
Creator: Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899
Date: March 19, 1857
In this brief follow up to his March 18 letter, Eli Thayer wrote Brown to say that "next Monday" would be a good time for Brown's speech on "the free State Cause of Kansas which is the Cause of mankind" in Worcester.


Franklin B. Sanborn to Thomas W. Higginson

Franklin B. Sanborn to Thomas W. Higginson
Creator: Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917
Date: September 19, 1856
In this letter to Reverend Thomas W. Higginson, Franklin B. Sanborn writes about the prospects of raising money and men to support the Kansas Territory cause. He also mentions that Mr. Emerson had made a speech in Cambridge, Massachusetts--"it was a good speech but not well delivered." People in towns in the area are making clothing to send to Kansas Territory. George Stearns is also making progress in his attempts to more fully organize a comprehensive state committee in Massachusetts.


Isaac Tichenor Goodnow to Stephen French, Jr.

Isaac Tichenor Goodnow to Stephen French, Jr.
Creator: Goodnow, Isaac T. (Isaac Tichenor), 1814-1894
Date: December 16, 1854
Isaac Goodnow wrote from East Greenwich, Massachusetts, to Stephen French Jr. Goodnow communicated his excitement of having decided to emigrate to Kansas Territory the coming March, inspired by a conversation with Eli Thayer two weeks before. His motivations were varied, as he expressed his desire to see that slavery was prohibited in the Territory. However, he also mentioned that emigration to the Territory was a good way to get rich, and hoped that the climate there would be more suitable for his ailing wife, Ellen.


John B. Dunning to Thomas W. Higginson

John B. Dunning to Thomas W. Higginson
Creator: Dunning, John
Date: October 30, 1856
This letter was written by John B. Dunning, a member of the Massachusetts Company which had been operating in the Kansas Territory, to Reverend Thomas W. Higginson, a prominent Northern abolitionist and agent for the Massachusetts Kansas Aid Committee. Dunning informs Higginson that it is no longer safe for them to remain in Kansas Territory, so they have temporarily relocated to Nebraska City, Nebraska. Furthermore, he adamantly asserts that "we want no further aid from Massachusetts through the hands of Martin Stowell." He asks that, in the future, all aid come through some other source, such as A. A. Jamerson. Martin Stowell, in a letter November 19, 1856, to Reverend Higginson, describes a Mr. Dunning as continually asking Stowell for whiskey money.


Kanzas and Nebraska: the history, geographical, and physical characteristics, and political position of those territories; an account of the emigrant aid companies and directions to emigrants

Kanzas and Nebraska: the history, geographical, and physical characteristics, and political position of those territories; an account of the emigrant aid companies and directions to emigrants
Date: 1854
This volume is generally accepted as the first book on Kansas. It dealt with Nebraska Territory also. The author, Edward Everett Hale indicated that he had researched the various memoirs and exploration journals of white men who had visited the area before its creation as a territory. This research resulted in a narrative history that focused on Native Americans and events in the area prior to 1854. Hale also included information about emigrant aid companies and the volume included some printed letters from emigrant aid company agents. The volume included the charter and "objects" of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid company, which was organized in March 1854. Hale also provided some information on the Emigrant Aid Company of New York and Connecticut, which was organized in July, 1854 and the Union Emigration Society. The Appendices include the constitution of the Worcester Co. Kanzas League and a letter from George S. Park describing the Kansas and Smoky Hill river valleys.


Martin Franklin Conway to George Luther Stearns

Martin Franklin Conway to George Luther Stearns
Creator: Conway, M. F. (Martin Franklin), 1827-1882
Date: June 13, 1858
Somewhat disturbed that Stearns of Boston had published his (Conway's) letter regarding "money for the Leavenworth Constitution," Martin F. Conway, Lawrence, wrote to say that there was nothing "improper or dishonorable in this transaction" and went on to reflect on the nature of the Free State Party/movement at that time. Charles Robinson was "at work to destroy the influence of the Republican wing of the Free State Party," but people back East should not conclude "that the bottom is going to fall out of Kansas because there is division in the Free State Party." Conway expected both Robinson and James H. Lane to fall from prominence because of changing circumstances in Kansas.


Martin Stowell to Thomas W. Higginson

Martin Stowell to Thomas W. Higginson
Creator: Stowell, Martin
Date: November 19, 1856
This letter from Martin Stowell, written from Nebraska City, Nebraska, was sent to Reverend Thomas W. Higginson, agent of the Massachusetts Kansas Aid Committee in Worcester, Massachusetts, to keep him apprised of the Massachusetts emigrant company's business and financial affairs. Stowell includes information about the other members of his emigrant party, including a Mr. [John B.] Dunning, who continually asks Stowell for whiskey money. For the most part, the members of his company are employed and hard at work. Stowell also mentions Eastern supporters such as Massachusetts supporters Mr. Nightingale from Groton and Mr. Newell from Littleton. Stowell writes briefly about Orville Chester Brown, whose house had been destroyed on August 30, 1856, during the Battle of Osawatomie in Kansas Territory.


Martin Stowell to Thomas W Higginson

Martin Stowell to Thomas W Higginson
Creator: Stowell, Martin
Date: October 27, 1856
Martin Stowell, from Nebraska City, Nebraska, is writing to Reverend Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Stowell and other members of his company from Massachusetts had been driven out of Kansas Territory. Fortunately, none of them had been placed under arrest. Stowell had just returned from Lexington, Kansas Territory, and writes that he had "left Brown there in as comfortable circumstances as I could." The identity of Brown is unclear. The "Plymouth men" in Lexington had stolen their flour and tools which they had hidden in a neighbor's haystack. Stowell inquires about the news revolving around the upcoming Presidential election and other news from the East.


Martin Stowell to friends

Martin Stowell to friends
Creator: Stowell, Martin
Date: August 15, 1856
This letter was written by Martin Stowell from Lexington, Kansas Territory. He describes his journey to Kansas Territory and the movements of his emigrant train, of which he was elected military head. He also writes about the local vegetation and his belief that he could make a fine home in this country. Stowell also gives his friend advice about the best route into Kansas Territory and recommends that all mail be sent through Nebraska City, Nebraska, or Burlington, Iowa, so correspondence would not pass through a slave state. Stowell also asks the recipient of the letter to forward it to Reverend Thomas W. Higginson, agent of the Massachusetts Kansas Aid Committee, in Worchester, Massachusetts.


Receipt, B. B. Newton to Thomas W. Higginson

Receipt, B. B. Newton to Thomas W. Higginson
Creator: Newton, B.B
Date: August 26, 1856
B. B. Newton, an agent with the Vermont State Kansas Committee, acknowledges receipt of twenty rifles from Reverend Thomas W. Higginson. Newont plans to transport these twenty rifles to the Vermont Colony in Kansas Territory. Higginson was an agent for the Massachusetts Kansas Aid Committee.


Receipt, John P. Lovell to Thomas W. Higginson

Receipt, John P. Lovell to Thomas W. Higginson
Creator: Lovell, John P.
Date: August 20, 1856
This receipt from John P. Lovell, a manufacturer and dealer of guns and gun materials, is to Reverend Thomas W. Higginson, an ardent Northern abolitionist. Higginson was an agent for the Massachusetts Kansas Aid Committee, procuring rifles, powder, cartridges and other materials. The purchases on this receipt total $19.95. On the back of the receipt is a note stating that this purchase of twenty rifles was never actually paid, since it was a replacement for a previous shipment of rifles that were defective.


Thomas Hopkins Webb to Hiram Hill

Thomas Hopkins Webb to Hiram Hill
Creator: Webb, Thomas H. (Thomas Hopkins), 1801-1866
Date: July 31, 1856
Thomas Webb, Secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Society, wrote from Boston to Hiram Hill in Williamsburgh, Massachusetts. Webb advised him on the best way to send monetary aid to Kansas, which would take the form of a Letter of Credit and would keep the enemy from obtaining the money even if the Letter were captured. In another alternative, Webb also offered to purchase with Hill's money actual supplies to be shipped out to Kansas.


Thomas Hopkins Webb to Martin Franklin Conway

Thomas Hopkins Webb to Martin Franklin Conway
Creator: Webb, Thomas H. (Thomas Hopkins), 1801-1866
Date: September 9, 1859
Thomas H. Webb, secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, wrote from Boston, Massachusetts to Martin F. Conway, general agent for the New England Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas Territory. Webb reported that someone was spreading damaging rumors in Boston about Conway operating "grogeries" during a recent political event (probably the August 1859 Republican Convention in Lawrence, Kansas Territory). Webb commented that he had told people who were concerned about the rumors to take the accusations with a grain of salt ("cum grano salis").


Willliam E. Goodnow to Harriet Goodnow

Willliam E. Goodnow to Harriet Goodnow
Creator: Goodnow, William Eaton, 1807-1876
Date: December 2, 1855
William Goodnow wrote a personal letter from Shannon, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Harriet, in New England. Goodnow reported that his health had never been better, as he was "full of blood & stout looking" and commented that he wished he could send her his daguerreotype to show her his appearance. He mentioned that the settlement had just witnessed its first marriage and first baby born, and that Samuel Pomeroy of the New England Emigrant Aid Company would soon be among the settlers of the area.


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