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Caleb S. Pratt to George L. Stearns

Caleb S. Pratt to George L. Stearns
Creator: Pratt, Caleb S
Date: May 30, 1860
Caleb Pratt, who seems to be acting as Stearns' agent in Lawrence, Kansas Territory, at this time, writes regarding the Joseph Gardner request for firearms. On his own initiative, Pratt "allowed him [Gardner] to take 7 Rifles and 4 sabres to his house with permission to use the same if necessary . . ." This was a temporary loan that awaited Stearns' endorsement.


Dr. C. R. Jennison to George L. Stearns

Dr. C. R. Jennison to George L. Stearns
Creator: Jennison, Charles Rainsford, 1834-1884
Date: November 28, 1860
From Mound City, Kansas Territory, Jennison opens his letter to Stearns by acknowledging that the two men did not know each other but Jennison counts Stearns "a true friend to the cause of freedom." Jennison tells him about the so-called "desperadoes known as Kidnapers" who had been active in the region. After warning them of serious consequences if caught and convicted of "man hunting," Jennison's free state force captured, tried, and hung one Russ Hinds. Despite the threat from Gen. William S. Harney's federal troops, Jennison insists "we are determined to Stand or fall by our weight for we have taken our position and it is honorable and Just." He feels federal troops were unfairly targeting free staters and ignoring proslave outrages.


E. B. Whitman to G. L. Stearns

E. B. Whitman to G. L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: October 11, 1857
E. B. Whitman, an agent of the Massachusetts State Kansas Committee, reports from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, about money problems and his efforts to provide assistance to abolitionist John Brown, etc. He also observes that free state men seemed to have won the election, said all was "peaceful in the territory" right then, and reports less than favorably on the organizational work done by T. J. Marsh.


E.B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

E.B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: April 13, 1858
Letter from Edmund Burke Whitman to George Stearns that details the activities of the last six months and Whitman's take on the inhabitants of the state of Kansas. In his opinion, Kansas has some of the best residents and some of the worst. Whitman mentioned the suspicion that accompanied the exchanges between the two parties in the territory and the fact that if the Lecompton Constitution was adopted by Congress, the Free State men must rally under the Topeka government and resist. A searchable transcription is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


E.B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

E.B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: September 26, 1857
Edmund Burke Whitman in Saint Louis, Missouri wrote to George L. Stearns regarding funds for the Free State cause. Whitman ended his letter by mentioning that if his advance of $500 to John Brown should become a financial burden to him, he would ask Stearns to compensate him for the amount he advanced. A searchable transcription is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


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 B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: October 25, 1857
In this report from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, Whitman complains about his money problem and writes that abolitionist John Brown would be in Lawrence for "a very important council" of the military organization. "Look for something decisive this winter and Satisfactory." He informs Stearns that he (Whitman) would take care of "J. B.'s wants" as soon as he could, but there was a limit to what he could borrow on his own account. "I am willing to work, wear out, die if need be in the cause, but I cannot send a brick always without straw."


Frank Bradley to Amos Lawrence

Frank Bradley to Amos Lawrence
Creator: Bradley, Frank
Date: August 15, 1854
The following is a letter from Frank Bradley in New Haven, Connecticut, to Amos Lawrence regarding a check for $150 that Bradley sent to support the organization of the Free State party in Kansas. Antislavery New Englanders often supplied money and resources in order to encourage the Free State settlement of Kansas Territory. The free-state town of Lawrence, in fact, was named after Amos Lawrence. A searchable, full-text version of this letter is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


George L. Stearns and James Montgomery correspondence

George L. Stearns and James Montgomery correspondence
Creator: Montgomery, James, 1814-1871
Date: May 08, 1861
A letter from George L. Stearns to James Montgomery and Montgomery's responding letter. Stearns writes about the threat of battle coming to Kansas and Montgomery responds that the Confederacy is trying to win over Indians to fight for them.


George L. Stearns to E. B. Whitman

George L. Stearns to E. B. Whitman
Creator: Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867
Date: November 14, 1857
In response to several letters from Whitman about money, George Stearns writes from Boston, Massachusetts, to clarify a few issues. He gives an account of available funds and provides instruction on the distribution and/or sale of clothing for the Kansas emigrants. Stearns also comments on his support for abolitionist John Brown which included "authority to draw on me for money" but did not want his funds to be used "to establish order by force."


George Luther Stearns correspondence

George Luther Stearns correspondence
Date: 1861-1862
This correspondence is between George Luther Stearns and several prominent abolitionists, including Colonel James Montgomery, George W. Collamore, Mary A. Brown, and John Brown, Jr. Included is a circular from the Office of the Kansas Relief Committee, of which Stearns was chairman, seeking clothing and other goods. Stearns received letters from individuals, wholesalers, retailers, and charitable organizations relating to the donation of various articles, goods, and money. It is also discussed how these donations, especially clothing, would benefit the 2nd and 3rd Regiments. A letter from Eleanor S. Deane includes a poem entitled, "To the Little Boys and Girls of Kansas."


James Montgomery to Franklin B. Sanborn

James Montgomery to Franklin B. Sanborn
Creator: Montgomery, James, 1814-1871
Date: January 14, 1861
Just two weeks before Kansas would be admitted to the Union, and in the midst of the early secession crisis, Montgomery (Mound City, Kansas Territory) writes Franklin B. Sanborn (Boston, Massachusetts) that although Montgomery did not favor an invasion of "the slave states so long as they keep themselves at home," Missouri was crossing the line and interfering in Kansas affairs. He also comments on recent mob violence in Boston and General Harney's futile efforts to enforce the Fugitive Slave law in southern Kansas.


James Montgomery to George L. Stearns

James Montgomery to George L. Stearns
Creator: Montgomery, James, 1814-1871
Date: November 27, 1860
From Mound City, Kansas Territory, James Montgomery writes George Stearns about recent trouble at Fort Scott and about acting governor George M. Beebe's visit to Mound City. He came, according to Montgomery, to ascertain for himself if the rumors about Montgomery's activities were correct. He left satisfied that the free staters were acting properly and "promising to do what he could to reform abuses" in the federal courts and protect their rights. Although things were quiet at present, and more fugitive slaves had arrived who could now stay safely in Kansas, Montgomery warns that the introduction of federal troops into southern Kansas would create an explosive situation.


James Montgomery to George L. Stearns

James Montgomery to George L. Stearns
Creator: Montgomery, James, 1814-1871
Date: December 12, 1860
Montgomery writes from Mound City, Kansas Territory, to update Stearns on the activities of "old Harney" (General William S. Harney) and the futile federal government efforts at "enforcing the Fugitive Slave law on us here; it can't be done." Montgomery insists that despite the government's effort to portray "'Montgomery and his band'" as not of the people, popular support for his activities had just been unanimously endorsed at a mass meeting in Mound City.


James Montgomery to George L. Stearns

James Montgomery to George L. Stearns
Creator: Montgomery, James, 1814-1871
Date: October 6, 1860
Having returned from a trip to the East (where he visited George Stearns, Horace Greeley, and others in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia), Montgomery writes from Mound City, Linn County, Kansas Territory, that he "found the people greatly excited." News of violence directed against free state men in Texas and Arkansas has awakened Kansans' sense of urgency, as Montgomery continues his efforts to free slaves and undercut the slave economy of western Missouri.


James Montgomery to George L. Stearns

James Montgomery to George L. Stearns
Creator: Montgomery, James, 1814-1871
Date: December 14, 1860
In response to a letter dated November 29, Montgomery informs Stearns that "Uncle Sam has stolen all my late corrispondence [sic]. I suppose he thinks he will find some Treason in it:--He is welcome to all he can find." Much of the news about his activities and intention, insists Montgomery, is simply newspaper talk. "'Montgomery's Band' is a myth. Montgomery's men are the people, and Montgomery himself is one [of] them." He is very interested in getting the press back East to inform the public of "the real state of affairs here."


John Wesley Carter to George L. Stearns

John Wesley Carter to George L. Stearns
Creator: Carter, John Wesley, 1840-1929
Date: May 15, 1854
John Wesley Carter of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, wrote George L. Stearns regarding the shipment of arms to Captain John Brown, who had requested the firearms in previous correspondence. Carter asked for confirmation of the delivery address and stated that he would ship them as soon as he received word from Stearns. A searchable, full-text version of this letter is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


John Wesley Carter to George L. Stearns

John Wesley Carter to George L. Stearns
Creator: Carter, John Wesley, 1840-1929
Date: May 01, 1854
Letter from John Wesley Carter in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts to George L. Stearns. The letter concerns the delivery of revolvers that were requested by Capt. Brown in previous correspondence. The revolvers were sold at a discount to Brown, who most likely used the arms to defend the Free State cause. A searchable, full-text version of this letter is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


John Wesley Carter to George L. Stearns

John Wesley Carter to George L. Stearns
Creator: Carter, John Wesley, 1840-1929
Date: May 5, 1854
John Wesley Carter of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, wrote to George Stearns regarding a receipt of purchase for revolvers that were requested by Captain John Brown. Carter asked for contact information for John Brown since his previous attempts at contact had failed. A searchable, full-text version of this letter is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


Joseph Gardner to George L. Stearns

Joseph Gardner to George L. Stearns
Creator: Gardner, Joseph, 1820-1863
Date: May 29, 1860
Joseph Gardner, a free-state partisan of Douglas County, Kansas Territory, and a member of the Dr. John Doy rescue party, writes Stearns requesting firearms and ammunition as there were people in the vicinity of St. Joseph, Missouri, who reportedly were preparing to "make war upon my house." Word had reportedly gone out that Gardner was "harboring fugitives" [fugitive slaves).


Joseph Gardner to George L. Stearns

Joseph Gardner to George L. Stearns
Creator: Gardner, Joseph, 1820-1863
Date: June 9, 1860
From Lawrence, Kansas Territory, Joseph Gardner describes one of the last battles of the border war between Kansas Territory and Missouri. The attack Gardner had feared came "last night between 12 & 1." With the arms Stearns had made available, the attackers were repulsed, but "one of my [Gardner's] colored men, who had fought most nobly," took "a tremendous charge of buck shot" and died. His last words were "fight, fight hard!!"


Mary E. Stearns correspondence

Mary E. Stearns correspondence
Date: 1878-1901
Letters to and from Mary E. Stearns, wife of George Luther Stearns who helped finance the settlement of Kansas Territory by free-state supporters. Included in this correspondence are letters from the Kansas State Historical Society acknowledging receipt of donations and information, particularly relating to John Brown.


Receipts and Expenditures, State Kansas Committee

Receipts and Expenditures, State Kansas Committee
Creator: Massachusetts State Kansas Committee
Date: Between 1856 and 1857
One of many ledger-type listings of donations to and expenditures of the Massachusetts State Kansas Committee for the support of Kansas settlement and the activities of "Capt J[ohn] Brown" and other free state partisans.


Reuben A. Randlett to Ely Thayer

Reuben A. Randlett to Ely Thayer
Creator: Randlett, Reuben A.
Date: February 25, 1860
This letter concerns clothing sent from New England to "the poor of Kansas in 1856." R. A. Randlett of Topeka, Kansas Territory, wants to find out if Thayer's Emigrant Aid Company was involved in selling clothig that had been donated to go to needy settlers in Kansas. The clothing had been sold during the summer of 1857 "on a years time," according to Randlett, and now some men were trying to collect for it.


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