Kansas MemoryKansas Memory

Kansas Historical SocietyKansas Historical Society

John Stillman Brown to John L. Rupur

Item Description Bookbag Share

Lawrence Sept. 1st 1863


Brother John L. Rupur


We are all well – The Lord hath apared us – Lawrence has seen and experenced dreadful things – you have seen the lists of the dead – The Brick Walls can be built up again – But what workman can build up our dead again – One man immediate friends and acquaintances who were killed are Jno L Crane, G. W. Colloman, Joseph Los, Fred. Kimball – Mr. Sargent – Mr. Sanger – Mr. Lengley – Mr. J. C. Trask – Dr. Gwiswold, S. M. Thorpe, Lewis Carpenter, Dwight Coleman, William Williamson – Mr. Palmer & son – Mr. Stone – two Spear boys – David Purington – and a good many others that we knew by sight, whose names I cannot now recall – It was a little after sunrise when three men came galloping into our enclosure and said Quantrill was in Lawrence killing & burning we looked towards the city which lies N.E. of us and saw very distinctly the smoke curling up.  Charles took a horse and rode west to arouse the people.  William took the bridle and tried to catch some of our horses – I looked up the guns and swords – we had plenty of arms but little ammunition.  I went to out and milked the cow, eat breakfast took a double barrelled shot gun and started for town  But after going a few rods I thought how foolish it was to take a gun as I was no marksman and these bushwhackers were sharp shooters; so I laid down my gun and started again for Lawrence.  Previous, however, we had carried out our greenbacks of which we had considerable quantity as a friend had just left me 100 dollars to be paid to another man, and we had some of our own – we also hid


[Page 2]


a trunk or two of goods in the late grap – I walked ligurely towards town and took my stand on the hill west of the city – here I could see the town – and the bushwhackers as they rode from place to place as they went to this work of death, burning and plundering all the businep part of the city was in flames  About ten oclock the main body of the brigands had ridden out of town and formed their lines on the south east, in plain sight of the place when I stood I judged them were not over two hundred and fifty – They roade off south burning the houses as they went; we could see their path for ten miles or more by the smoke of burning buildings – After they had all got fairly away I went home – here I found men women and children – some sixty or seventy who had fled for refuge – To my surprize I found coming up from our ravine the brave Gen. James H. Lane our United State Senator and soldier – I told him the way was all clear.  I had just come from town and the last querrilla had gone.  He then told about getting a horse and pursuing them in hot hash.  I believe he did get together a band and went after them but I have no evidence that he was the means of shooting any These rebels and bushwhackers and guerrillas and marauders and murders, were a motley band as hard a set of fellows as ever rode horse – semo were perfectly brutal – some of a milder type.  They came to kill and plunder at first they shot indiscremanately every man that was seen – their object seemed at first to inspire terror – to let no men get together for concuted action – they took I judge in money not lep than 150,000 dollars and destroyed in property perhaps 1,500,000 – it may be more –


[Page 3]


then again it may be less.  Probably in Lawrence and vicinity two hundred were killed – generally shot through the head, one, tow, three, four, five balls in each some were killed under circumstances of the greatest atrocity – many were burned to death. a great many houses were fired and then put out again by the inmates – Probably not one fifth of the dwelling houses in town were burned, all the stores hotels and businep part of th town was destroyed.  there were but two or three stores left standing and these were rifled of their goods.  This raid took place on Friday morning about sunrise 21st of August – On Sunday night following we had an awful scaw – News came that the “bushwhackers” were upon us agina – that they were buring Eudora – a town six miles east and were just coming into town – oh: what a running and shreiking – the panic was terrific – women men & chidren flying as fer life – many croped the river – many flew to the neighboring cornfield, and stand out all night though we had a terrible thunder shower between ten and eleven oclock – I think the citizens suffered more from fear Sunday night then they did the day when the ruffians came  But we are nor settling down to our wonted state of  calmneps and hopefulnep.  No one was prepared for such a calamity.  We all thought tht such a band could not enter Lawrence withough our receiving some intelligence of the fact.  An hours warning would have been sufficient we could have driven them all away if we could have had only an hour warning – we had not a moments – It came sudden as a thunderbolt – other citizens were mostly asleep there had been a great Rail Road meeting


[Page 4]


the night previous and all the busineps men were taking an extra nap.  Some twenty negroes were killed – half of the Germans in town were shot – I mean of the voting men – a Dutchman stood no chance.  These miscreants were pursued to their homes – I understand a great many were killed – relief in money and goods and provisions is coming in – a great many families have gone East.  The shovel the saw and the hammer are agin in requisition – The foundations are being cleared away and stores are agin commencing to rise we can soon recover from the lop of property.  The cop of life is the great, the epsential lop.  Last Sunday we had a unio meetin gof all the churches in the city.  We met at Mr. Cordleys Church – The Congregationalist – Mr. Paddock the Methodist minister preached the sermon, a long, rambling pointlep affair – Strange hers little a men can continue to say in an hour Mr. Nate is in town looking after his affairs.  Whether we shall ever get together again our congregation I cannot say – I shall try next Sunday – Mary has gone to Buffalo to spend a [XXXX] – Sarah is at home almost sick – if well enough she will go into school next Monday I suppose [XXXX] the rest of us pretty well – your Chist of [XXX] has at length arrived at Leavenworth – William is at home – I must to to town and irsil the beck the disconsolate.  Mr. Paddock said last Sunday that here were 85 widows in town and 250 orphans made such by these metches.  Yours kindly & brotherly  John S. Brown.

Item Description

Copyright © 2007-2018 - Kansas Historical Society - Contact Us
This website was developed in part with funding provided by the Information Network of Kansas.