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Charles Robinson to Amos Adams Lawrence

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Lawrence, May 9, 1859
My Dear L[awrence]
Your favors of 21st & 28th ult. are received. In regard to the Trust property, I have long been desirous of obtaining deeds for the Quindaro & Delaware property, but have been unable to do so as yet, although I expect confidently to get them now in a few weeks. I was assured by one of the Delaware interest holders that I should have deeds in a few days. In Quindaro a personal matter has been the cause of delay. Mr. Guthrie is a man of small caliber but very set & willful, not to say revengeful. He has a deaf & dumb Indian girl in his family, his wife’s sister, & she had a child about two years ago. Mr. Guthrie charged Simpson with being its father, &c. No one besides Mr. G. believes a word of it so far as I know. From that time Mr. G. has been trying to devise some way to prevent Simpson from getting any deeds for his interest. The deeds to the town site were taken in my name as trustee for Joel Walker, A. Guthrie, S.N. Simpson & myself, but Mr Guthrie had them all taken up & obtained new ones leaving Simpson’s name out. He tried to get me to join him in cutting S. out. When he failed in that he poisoned Mrs. Walker, who is administratix of her husband’s estate, so that she had declined to consent to making deeds. Last week I met Mr. Guthrie & Mrs. Walker’s agent & they agreed to leave the whole matter to four men who should have power to settle all accounts as between members of the company, & that settlement shall be final. Each party was to select a man. It is proposed that the session shall be in about two weeks. After this settlement all parties are to give deeds without further delay. There will then be but one other deed wanting, & that is for about 60 acres opposite the town. We have a bond for a deed & are waiting or the signature of the wife. After making the purchase we

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found that the man’s wife did not live with him, & he claims he was never married. When I last heard of the matter he was expecting to be released from her by the courts. I understand we can get his deed at any time, but if possible we want the release of dower.
So soon as deeds are obtained, if the parties desire it, a division of the property might be made & the matter closed up so far as the Trustees are concerned. I think it would be ruinous to force a sale at present. Times are getting a little better & parties begin to invest a little, but they must be better still before they are worse. At the last meeting of the directors of the Parkville & Grand River Railroad, held ten days ago, the executive committee were instructed to put the first five miles of the road under contract, & I have been told since that it has been done. An assessment of five per cent was made on the stock &c. Should the work progress on this road as it is believed that it will it cannot fail to benefit property in Quindaro & vicinity very much.
The Trustees of the Presbyterian College are in statu [sic] quo, still waiting for a visit from their friends east. The Congregationalists are quite active, or Mr. Simpson is, in getting pledges of land for their college provided they shall locate here. The Association meets at this place in about three weeks, when they are expected to decide the matter of a site. I have no doubt the Congregationalists would build much the best institution as they are much more numerous & enterprising than the Presbyterians. I am non committal as to either at present. I tell them I want to see what can be done by the respective denominations. So yet nothing specific has been pledged by either. I have some additional encouragement that the title to my claim will be settled soon, & when that is done I shall be in condition to make propositions myself to the denominations or other parties. Enclosed you will find an imperfect plat of the quarter section included

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Robinson to Lawrence May 9, 1859
in the town & also those claimed by Simpson, Wood & Emery & myself. 50 acres of mine are in contest with the town, & this keeps me out of title for the whole, although the balance, 110 acres, is not in contest with any one. I also own 60 acres of the claim south of me. We have had some talk of giving one half of Simpson’s & my claims, & all of Wood & Emery’s, to the college on condition that the land shall be appraised by disinterested persons on the basis of its prospective value when the college shall have been built, & the trustees pay us [xxx] 50 per cent of this appraisal when the land shall be sold, the other 50 per cent to belong to the college. Should that be done a plat of the 320 acres showing the college site the position of the town & a front view of the proposed college buildings could be made & the agent who might solicit funds might be authorized to sell one or more lots or acres to such as preferred to purchase it that way rather than contribute gratuitously
We can see several objections to this scheme, the chief o[ne] being liable to the charge speculation, & we have by no means decided upon it favorably. How would it strike the people in the East & could you suggest any plan for raising money with this land that would be better than the usual way of donationa [sic] Mr. Simpson, Mr. Emery & myself are all deeply interested in the success of the college & we could cooperate in any plan that would be feasible. I fully agree with your views of male & female colleges & I think the Congregationalists would not desire to have both sexes, while the Presbyterians would. Mr. Emery & Mr. Simpson both favor a college only for males.
I think you somewhat overestimate the indebtedness of the first settlers of Kansas, or rather you have mistaken the person to whom they are indebted. You may not know it, & the people of Kansas may not be sensible of it, but I am very much mistaken in my estimate of the influences that have contributed to the freedom of Kansas if we are not far more indebted to you than to any other man for our success. Without your name the Em. Aid Co. would have been

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a cyph[er] & without your encouragement, counsel & support what little I have been able to aid would have been undone. I fully appreciate your kindness & feel my indebtedness for the favor of being permitted to cooperate with you in building up an institution of the first order in Kansas. I will try to deserve your confidence & partiality.
I enclose Dr. Cook’s letter, which is all the information I have of his purposes.
Very Respectfully C. Robinson A. A. Lawrence Esqr
[The plat referred to in this letter is not reproduced here. Consult the photostatic copy of the letter for reproduction of the plat.]

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