Shaler W. Eldridge

SHALER W. ELDRIDGE, one of the leading free-state men of Lawrence and therefore of the Territory of Kansas, was a native of Massachusetts, born at West Springfield, August 29, 1816. The twelve years previous to coming to Kansas, he spent as a leading railroad contractor of New England. Arriving in Kansas City, Missouri, January 3, 1855, he purchased the American House from Samuel C. Pomeroy, who had previously obtained it from the Emigrant Aid Society. It is needless to say that it was head-quarters for the free-state men, and that it harbored Governor Reeder in his escape from Kansas. In the early part of 1856 Colonel Eldridge leased the Free-State Hotel at Lawrence, which was burned by the pro-slavery people under Sheriff Jones. He attended the convention at Philadelphia which nominated Fremont, and was also a member of the Buffalo convention of July 9, 1856. It was doubtless his influence which mainly induced Secretary Stanton to issue the proclamation calling the first Free State Legislature to submit the Lecompton constitution to the people. In 1857 he and his brothers erected the Eldridge House at Lawrence, which was destroyed a second time by Quantrill, August 21, 1863. He enlisted in a company of the Second Kansas Regiment, was made lieutenant and in 1863 appointed paymaster.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, November, 1997.
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