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Aaron D. Stevens to Jennie Dunbar

Aaron D. Stevens to Jennie Dunbar
Creator: Stevens, Aaron D.
Date: December 3, 1859
From his jail cell at Charles Town, Virginia, abolitionist Aaron Dwight Stevens, 1831-1860, wrote his dear friend, Jennie Dunbar, regarding his actions and prospects ("Slavery demands that we should hang for its protection") and that he regretted nothing except that he would not live to "see this Country free." Stevens, reported to be one of abolitionist John Brown's bravest men, used the alias Captain Charles Whipple while following Brown. Stevens was convicted of treason and conspiring with slaves for his part in Brown's October 16, 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and was hung at Charles Town on March 16, 1860.


C. G. Allen's response to Redpath and Hinton's call for information about John Brown

C. G. Allen's response to Redpath and Hinton's call for information about John Brown
Creator: Allen, C. G.
Date: December, 1859
Allen, a "minister of the Gospel" at Cottonwood Falls, Kansas Territory, writes in response to James Redpath's and R. J. Hinton's call for "anecdotes & reminiscences" concerning "the brave & philanthropic [John] Brown," who the preacher first met in 1856 in Lawrence, Kansas. Allen left Lawrence when a call came for volunteers to aid in the defense of Osawatomie, Kansas, in August of that year. While there engaged, he saw his first "Border Ruffians," whom he described as "miserable specimens of humanity. They were ragged & dirty. Their cloths & faces were to a considerable extent covered with tobacco spit." Allen and the men with whom he traveled missed the Battle of Osawatomie by moving south before the attack in an effort to find the attackers before they reached the town.


C. Whipple [Aaron.D. Stevens] to Jenny Dunbar

C. Whipple [Aaron.D. Stevens] to Jenny Dunbar
Creator: Stevens, Aaron D.
Date: October 7, 1859
The last of three "love letters" written by Aaron D. Stevens, alias Charles Whipple, to a girl he apparently had only recently met. He desperately desired a closer relationship. It was dated October 7, 1859, "near Harper's Ferry." (He had been writing for at least a month and had not received a letter from her.) Stevens rode with John Brown in Kansas, participated in the Harpers Ferry raid on October 18, 1859, and died on the Charlestown gallows in the spring of 1860.


Copy of David R. Atchison speech to proslavery forces

Copy of David R. Atchison speech to proslavery forces
Creator: Atchison, David Rice, 1807-1886
Date: May 21, 1856
This hand written copy of a speech by David Atchison, according to a note on the top of page one, made by R. J. Hinton, "was made for me [Hinton] by or under the direction of Lt. Gov. (Dr.) Root. Joseph Pomeroy Root, who was subsequently elected the state's first lieutenant governor under the Wyandotte Constitution, was a prisoner, heard & reported the speech" made by David Atchison to the assembled proslave "Soldiers" camped two miles west of Lawrence, Kansas Territory, before they marched on and sacked Lawrence on May 21, 1856. The transcript is labeled "Hon. David R. Atchison's speech . . ." and begins, "This is the most glorious day of my life! This day I am a border-ruffian!"


Description of J. H. Kagi by E. R. Moffet

Description of J. H. Kagi by E. R. Moffet
Creator: Moffet, E. R.
Date: March 4, 1860
Apparently written for James Redpath and R. J. Hinton on March 4, 1860, this handwritten sketch of John H. Kagi is the reflection of long-time acquaintance E. R. Moffet, then of Davenport, Iowa. Moffet knew Kagi from the time the latter was two years old and became reacquainted with him in Kansas Territory. They spent time in "prison" together in October 1856 and in this somewhat odd manuscript, Moffet recreates some "Prison Scenes or Dialogue" and subsequently includes some correspondence from Kagi. Moffet recounts Kagi's second arrest, bail, and March 1857 altercation with Rush Elmore at Tecumseh, Kansas Territory.


"Don't Go Back!" poem

"Don't Go Back!" poem
Date: December 1, 1856
This item is a hand written copy and a newspaper version of the poem "Don't Go Back!" It is attributed to John E. Cook on the front of the document, but signed "L.H." in the attached newspaper clipping from the Lawrence "Herald of Freedom." This document purports to be the first draft of this poem directed at Northerners who might be tempted to give up the Kansas Territory struggle after the tumultuous year of 1856. The versions presented are not identical.


J. G. Anderson to his brother

J. G. Anderson to his brother
Creator: Anderson, J. G.
Date: August 23, 1857
Writing to his brother from Barnesville, Bourbon County, Kansas, Jeremiah Goldsmith Anderson, a native of Indiana and follower of James Montgomery in southeast Kansas, described a variety of mundane matters regarding conditions in Kansas, including land claims and the construction of a steam sawmill on the river.


J. H. Kagi to "My dear father"

J. H. Kagi to "My dear father"
Creator: Kagi, John Henry, 1835-1859
Date: March 3, 1857
Once again, from Topeka, Kagi wrote his father that his long planned trip to Nebraska City had to be delayed, this time because of high water on the "Kaw river" that "prohibited my crossing" and the state convention, which started in one week. On the positive side, he was still bothered by "the jarring of my head" (the blow inflicted by Elmore with his cane), his wound (gun shot) had nearly healed.


J. H. Kagi to "My dear sister"

J. H. Kagi to "My dear sister"
Creator: Kagi, John Henry, 1835-1859
Date: February 13, 1857
On February 13, 1857, Kagi informed his sister in Bristol, Ohio, that he wouldn't be able to make the expected spring trip home afterall. He did plan to travel to Nebraska City for a few days, but because he was due to appear in court later in the spring, or lose the $8000 bail that had been posted for him, he didn't have time to journey east. He planned to be back in Topeka for the "Great Mass Convention" of freestate me on March 10. (See, Wilder, Annals of Kansas, 157)


J. H. Kagi to his father

J. H. Kagi to his father
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: April 14, 1857
Having finally made and returned from his long-delayed trip to Nebraska City, Kagi writes his father from Lawrence, Kansas, where he had gone almost immediately "on business." Although he can't discuss the particulars for fear of "bribed P.M. [post master?] spies," Kagi makes some interesting observations about freestate "prospects" throughout the territory, which "look much more hopeful now than when I left." Kagi mentions some land investment opportunities and the expected arrival of Governor Robert Walker, who would not last long if he tried to enforce the "bogus laws."


J. H. Kagi to his sister

J. H. Kagi to his sister
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: March 5, 1858
On his 23rd birthday, March 5, 1858, Kagi (now identified by an alias "Maurice Maitland") writes a very circumspect letter to his sister from Springdale, Iowa, expressing his satisfaction with "the present political prospects"--"Every thing is working just to suit me--nothing could suit me better"--and his interest in knowing "what you have learned about J. H." (presumably, himself, J.H. Kagi).


J. H. Kagi to his sister

J. H. Kagi to his sister
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: December 27, 1857
On December 27 (or perhaps 29), Kagi writes to his sister from Springdale, Iowa, in the midst of "a very long & tedious journey." He informs her that his party would leave on the "cars" for Chicago soon, but cautions her "not for your life" to tell anyone where he was or what he was about, and tells her that he will soon be taking an assumed name. [According to historian Stephen Oates, "To Purge This Land With Blood," John Brown returned to Kansas in November, 1857, and enlisted Kagi and a few others in a new company, which set out in early December for Ohio and some additional training in preparation for Brown's planned assault on the "Slave Power in Virginia." On the way, around numerous campfires, Brown apparently encouraged and instructed his young recruits on the just nature of their cause, etc. As it turned out, the company wintered at Springdale while Brown went alone to Ohio.]


J. H. Kagi to his sister

J. H. Kagi to his sister
Creator: Kagi, John Henry, 1835-1859
Date: May 20, 1857
On May 20, 1857, Kagi writes his sister from Lawrence, Kansas, explaining that he has been sick with the measles for some time but is now just busy writing for the newspaper and "preparing laws for the Free State Legislature," which was scheduled to convene in June. "We shall try hard to put the State Government into operation."


J. H. Kagi to his sister

J. H. Kagi to his sister
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: June 8, 1859
From Cleveland, Ohio, Kagi jokingly writes his sister that, in the absence of any letters from the family, he fears they had set off for "Pikes Peak, and had died of suffering on the route, as others have." Kagi expects to leave in order to take up his "business in earnest" shortly--that is, to implement John Brown's plan and move on Harpers Ferry, Virginia.


J. H. Kagi to his sister and father

J. H. Kagi to his sister and father
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: September 23, 1858
From Lawrence, Kansas Territory, Kagi write that he had spent several weeks at Osawatomie caring for "Old B." [John Brown], who had "now quite recovered." Things were hard right then, but Kagi is confident that "better times [were] dawning" and that his reward would certainly come "in the end," since "the success of [their] great cause" was "drawing very near." "Few of my age have toiled harder or suffered more in this cause than I, and yet I regret nothing that I have done; nor am I in any discouraged at the future."


James H. Lane to Charles Robinson and others, and Charles Robinson's reply

James H. Lane to Charles Robinson and others, and Charles Robinson's reply
Creator: Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
Date: August 11, 1856
Copied by R. J. Hinton from his journal in preparation for one of his publications on the Bleeding Kansas, the first letter is Jim Lane's offer to rescue the Lecompton prisoners (Robinson, George W. Brown, Gaius Jenkins, et al). The second letter is Charles Robinson's reply, suggesting that in light of current congressional activity the plan was ill-advised. Both letters are dated August 11, 1856.


James Hanway to Richard Josiah Hinton

James Hanway to Richard Josiah Hinton
Creator: Hanway, James
Date: December 5, 1859
In response to the Redpath/Hinton notice in the Lawrence Republican, Hanway writes from his home in Shermansville, Franklin County, to share his story about "our friend John Brown," and he hopes their efforts would convey to all Brown's "character" and "motives" and "place him in his true light before the world." Hanway highlights the attempted "rescue of Lawrence" in May 1856 and the subsequent "'Tragedy'" on Pottawatomie Creek. Hanway writes that Brown personally told him "it was a just act, to take the lives of those 5 pro-slave ruffians." He also writes that John Brown was a surveyor who used his profession to gather intellegence among proslavery settlers and that, according to Hanway, the Doyles and others were actively engaged in efforts to run free state settlers out of the area. Hanway specifically denies the story that Frederick Brown was "insane."


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.


John H. Kagi to his father

John H. Kagi to his father
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: January 26, 1857
Kagi writes his father, who was still in Nebraska, regarding his continuing problems with proslavery officials in Lecompton, Kansas Territory. Kagi was arrested again (and quickly made bail). He was nearly killed by a mob while there "to report the proceedings" of the territorial legislature, which opened on January 12, 1857. This was the first legislature to meet in Lecompton. The second page of the letter is written on the back of a printed item "Appeal of Kansas to the Voters of the Free States" from the "Kansas Tribune,"


John H. Kagi to his father

John H. Kagi to his father
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: December 20, 1856
Released after three months from "prison" in Kansas Territory, John H. Kagi writes his father (who still resided in their native Ohio, but was then in Nebraska City, Nebraska) from Topeka, Kansas Territory. He describes the poor state of his health and finances, as well as politics and future plans. Kagi wants his father, and/or his father's money, in Kansas Territory as soon as possible.


John H. Kagi to his sister

John H. Kagi to his sister
Creator: Kagi, John Henry, 1835-1859
Date: January 4, 185[7]
From Topeka, Kansas Territory, shortly after the end of his imprisonment at Lecompton, John Kagi writes his sister in Bristol, Ohio, a mostly personal letter to say he is eager to return for a short visit, but, he writes, "I love Kansas dearer than ever, and feel more like laboring with my whole soul's strength for the triumph of her rights."


John Kagi to his sister

John Kagi to his sister
Creator: Kagi, John Henry
Date: November 20, 1856
John Henry Kagi, sometimes known as Brown's "Secretary of War," is "in prison at Lecompton," Kansas Territory, when he writes this letter to his sister on November 20, 1856. Kagi, along with John Ritchie and several other free-state partisans, had been arrested by U.S. Marshal I. B. Donelson, supported by federal troops, on September 18 at Topeka, and subsequently charged with "highway robbery." (See, Kansas Historical Collections, 4:561) Although "in prison," Kagi assures his sister that he is safe and could be rescued at anytime; "I hesitate only because we may get out some other way, and because a forcible rescue would bring on a terrible winter war, which I do not wish to see." Kagi was killed during John Brown's Harpers Ferry raid in October, 1859.


John Q. Anderson to John Brown

John Q. Anderson to John Brown
Creator: Anderson, John Q.
Date: November 23, 1859
John Anderson, of Eddyville, Iowa, the brother of one of the Harpers Ferry raiders, Jeremiah Goldsmith Anderson, writes to Captain [John] Brown, who was in jail awaiting execution in Charlestown, Virginia, seeking more information about his brother's death at Harpers Ferry. He had been "two years a target in Kansas for the Border Ruffians and all, for what? Why because he purchased a claim & wished to settle on it & live by the sweat of his own brow. And now has died trying to enforce the golden rule."


John Ritchey to A. D. Stevens

John Ritchey to A. D. Stevens
Creator: Ritchie, John, 1817-1887
Date: March 7, 1860
Topeka's "John Ritchey" [Ritchie] writes this letter dated March 7, 1860, to A. D. Stevens from Franklin, Indiana, where he had "been spending the winter with his family." Although Ritchey mentions John Brown and his own fervent views in opposition to "Slavery," the focus of his brief comments to his former Kansas comrade, who was scheduled to die on the Charlestown gallows on March 17, are an expression of concern for Steven's eternal soul: "I can see but one way left for me to be of any service to you and that is to direct your mind to the Savior. 'Ye must be born again.'"


Kagi to his sister, father and others

Kagi to his sister, father and others
Creator: Kagi, John Henry, 1835-1859
Date: August 13, 1858
By June 28, 1858, J. H. Kagi was back in Kansas Territory at Lawrence, and on August 13 he was writing the family from Moneka, Linn County, where he had "been very busily engaged in fortifying along the State line to prevent further inroads from Missouri." [See J.B. letter of August 3 to Wm. Hutchinson in which he speaks of building the fort on the site of the Marie des Cygnes Massacre.] In an unusually open and frank few lines, Kagi wrote: "C. W. Moffet and two of the other boys (whom you have not seen) are in Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Some have gone to Harpers Ferry. We are all ready and in good spirits. Things are working rightly, here, and brightening elsewhere for our final work. Those who once thought us the most foolish, now think most cheerfully of the whole plan." He closed by asking that they write him at the "Whitney House" in Lawrence.


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