JOSIAH C. TRASK

JOSIAH C. TRASK was one of the 180 victims of the terrible Quantrill raid and massacre at Lawrence, on August 21, 1863. He was a young and brilliant editor at the time of his death and few men of Kansas were more beloved. His father was a minister, who preached in Massachusetts for many years, and he himself was born at Warren, that state, May 9, 1837. He pursued an academic course at Fitchburg, and when sixteen years of age went to Boston, where he was employed as a printer in various newspaper offices. Through his father-in-law, Joel B. Hibbard, one of the founders of Cortland (New York) Academy, Mr. Trask imbibed strong anti-slavery convictions, and in February, 1857, in company with his brother, left New York for the Territory of Kansas. He first secured employment in the office of the Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, and in 1861, with Hovey E. Lowman, bought the paper and changed its name to the Kansas State Journal. Soon afterward he edited a paper at Topeka and published one at Yankton, Dakota. In the fall of 1862 he returned to New York, married and settled at Lawrence. In the following year, besides editing the Journal, he went as a delegate to the canal convention held in Chicago, and in the following July spent the Fourth, with his young bride, at Junction City. Arrangements had been completed for adding a daily issue to the Journal and the press arrived only a few days before his death. For several years he had done a large portion of the printing of the laws of Kansas, was able and popular, and of fine personal presence. On the morning of the massacre a band of Quantrill's men appeared at his boarding house and demanded the surrender of the inmates, under the promise of honorable treatment as prisoners. Mr. Trask was the first to appear and when all the inmates had followed they were shot in their tracks. Two of the number were instantly killed, including the lamented editor of the State Journal.


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 October, 1997.
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