1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Chapter 20 Part 2

NO ELECTION

Never within the time "whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary" were there so many human beings (?) upon the soil of Kansas Territory as there were on the 30th ult. Emigration poured in very rapidly for about one week previous to the 30th, insomuch that the population of Lawrence (500) was increased to near 1,500 in two days. The roads were cut up very much with wagons, and the atmosphere was filled with smoke from their camp fires. On the day preceding the election, large numbers of persons in wagons from Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, made their appearance near the polls in the various precincts. The great majority were from Missouri. There were near 700 came to this place before the polls opened. They were well equipped with good teams, wagons and plenty of provisions. A great many of them, to our surprise, were as fine a looking class of Missourians as we have ever seen. Considering the large crowd, and the fact that there was a good deal of liquor among them, they behaved exceedingly well. This was all owing to their being well disciplined, and under the command of good leaders. They were all well armed with revolvers, knives, and double barreled guns. We were told by some of their company that they had brought along two "six pounders," so as to have them ready in case of emergency.

Mr. Blanton, one of the judges, resigned the day before the election. It then devolved upon Mr. Cameron and Mr. Abbott to select another, which they did the next morning after assembling at the polls. By this time the imported voters had surrounded the polls. Col. Young, one of the leaders of the Missouri company, was first at the polls and took a species of oath as to his being an actual and bona fide settler, satisfactory to two of the judges, but not so to Mr. Abbott. Young stated to the dense crowd that he had sworn, and hoped that all would take the same oath, but a great many refused. Mr. Abbott then resigned, another was chosen. The judges were then two pro-slavery and one Free State, after which but four or five were sworn, and then the election proceeded with great vigor. All voted who desired, and there were 783 votes polled for the Missouri ticket, and 255 for the Free State ticket. Some little excitement went off through the day. Mr. Stearns, who was present taking notes, was threatened owing to some misunderstanding of what he had written in his book. While he was explaining, Mr. Bond was pointed out as the "Yankee bully," whereupon a number cried, "shoot him." He ran off the premises, and some one fired a shot to facilitate his removal.

The whole affair was a miserable farce. A great many of the settlers who came in to vote early in the morning, being kept from the polls so long, and thus seeing their rights so basely trampled upon, retired home without voting, saying that they regarded it no election, and would, therefore, have nothing to do with it.

The foreign voters, finding they had too many here, sent two hundred and fifty up to Tecumseh; even then there were a great number of the most respectable class that did not vote. A number of persons, who have said all along that they were Free-State men, voted the Missouri ticket, because they did not like the other. And there were a good many Free State men who did not vote at all, and there was from seventy-five to one hundred Eastern emigrants just arrived, who voted the Free-State ticket. This we tried to prevent, but could not, as the pro-slavery imported voters used this as their great argument, that if Eastern persons have a right to come in just before the election and vote, persons of other states have also the same right. When we saw that we were so entirely overpowered, we thought it best not to give the pro-slavery party any shadow of pretext in this regard. The election passed off in all other places just as it did here. So thorough was the organization of the imported voters, that they designed carrying every precinct in the territory, by large majorities. The whole design of the persons who came here was to vote, which they did, and then retired to their homes in the States.

In many places the Free-State men were driven from the polls - so that this election will be no test of their strength. Those judges who took the oath the Governor prescribed, and also permitted the illegal votes to be received and returned, will be in a very delicate position about the time the first Criminal Court sits in Kansas. The Governor will not give certificates of election to any one against whom there has been a protest entered, until he had heard the facts in the case.

M

The charge made by the Missourians that the Emigrant Aid Company was also importing voters seems to be established by the above and by the following taken from The Andreas History of Kansas, page 99:

From the Journal and Courier, Howell, Mass., March 26, 1855: Some thousands of emigrants are now at St. Louis waiting for the opening of Kansas navigation; 500 arrived at Alton on their way on Friday, and as many more were expected on Saturday; 600 are ready to start from Cincinnati; while from that city last week 130 Germans with their families, household goods, stools, fruit-trees, etc., marched in true German style with their fine band of music on board the steamer and started. In Kentucky, an association of some hundreds of temperance and anti-slavery men are to set forth soon to found a city on the Kansas River with the beloved name of Kansas. A similar company of 500 families is expected to start by detachments from Wayne County, Ind. The waves of emigration are rolling mightily.

"Dr. Robinson started with the first Kansas party in 1855, from Boston, March 13. It consisted of nearly two hundred persons - men, women and children. It was his laudable intention to get his party through before the election came off, and he succeeded. They reached Kansas City on the 24th; and were all in the Territory on or before the 30th. The departure of this party was noted in the Eastern papers, commenting on which the Squatter Sovereign fired the heart of Missouri with the following:

"We are credibly informed that quite a large number, probably several hundred, of these purchased voters are now on their way up the Missouri River, consigned to Messrs. Park & Patterson, Parkville, and other consignees at different points for distribution in lots to suit, subject to the order of A. H. Reeder, Esq., President of the Underground Railroad, in Kansas Territory. A still larger number are said to be in St. Louis, ready for shipment on the first boat. We hope the quarantine officers along the borders will forbid the unloading of that kind of cargo.

"A cargo of rotten oranges once introduced death by thousands in Philadelphia (in the shape of yellow fever). A more horrible disease, and one followed by many deaths, we fear, may be the consequence if this mass of corruption, and worse than leprous loathsomeness, is permitted to land and traverse our beautiful country.

"It is charitable to believe that, ignorant of the facts, the majority of the Missourians who overran Kansas at the election of March 30 were honest in the belief that they were performing a duty they owed to their own State, in defense of her vital interests, being put in jeopardy by unfair methods on the part of the Emigrant Aid societies and kindred Free-state organizations; and that, with the light they had, they found full justification in the words of a Missourian, who, being asked if, as such, he thought he had a right to vote in Kansas, replied: 'As such as a man from Massachusetts - why not?'"

The number of Missourians coming into Douglas County, as later established, was estimated at one thousand, and this estimate was later sustained by sworn testimony. They were commanded by Colonel Samuel Young, of Boone County, and Claiborne F. Jackson, of Saline County. They wore white ribbons in the button-holes of their coats. They boasted that they had come to the Territory to elect a Legislature to suit themselves, as such a Legislature as the people of the Territory might elect would not suit them. They claimed that they had a right to make Kansas a slave state, because the people of the North had sent out persons to make it a free state. Finding that they had more men than was necessary, they sent companies to Tecumseh, Hickory Point, Bloomington, and other places. They organized the polls to suit themselves and voted. Claiborne F. Jackson was in command of the company sent to Bloomington. They held a mass meeting at which the Reverend Thomas Johnson, of the Shawnee Mission, was elected Governor in the place of Reeder.

Judge James Hale, of Lexington, Missouri, wrote the following letter to this author, detailing what he saw and what he did on this occasion.

LEXINGTON, MO., DEC. 11TH 1910.

Mr. William E. Connelley, Topeka, Kansas.

Dear Sir: Before writing a description of the election of March the 30th, 1855, I should give our reason for voting at that election as follows:

We knew that Eli Thayer and Horace Greeley had organized the New England Emigrant Aid Society to send Free-Soil voters to Kansas to make it a free state, and that they were passing up the Missouri River on steamboats continually and was well armed. Our opinion was that if the north had the right to hire men to go to Kansas to vote to make it a free state the Missourians had the right to go there without being hired to vote to make it a Slave State. 800 men went from Lafayette County to Baptist Peoria's (now Paola) on Bull Creek, forty miles south of Lawrence; and as more voters were there than was needed to carry that precinct, many of us was sent to Lawrence, where we arrived the night of the 29th and went into camp on the bank of the Kansas River above the town, where we were welcomed by many other Missourians who had preceded us - all of whom assembled at a log cabin near the river bank.

Soon two election judges arrived from Lawrence, and entered the cabin. Other judges were appointed but before opening the polls there was some sparring in regard to the oath to be taken by the voters. The Kansas judges insisted that every voter should swear that he was a bona fide citizen of Kansas, to which the Missouri judge objected, and proposed that all should swear that they were inhabitants of Kansas (which they were at the time), which was agreed to and the voting began. A few took the oath at the start, which was soon dispensed with. Then it was free for all. I voted and took the oath. In a little while the two Kansan judges came out of the cabin and left the place. By ten o'clock the mass of humanity was so dense and compact that it was almost impossible to get back after voting. Some were lifted up by the Committee on Elevation, placed on the eve of the roof, went over the comb, and were received at the opposite eve and lowered to the ground by the Committee on Descent. The second time I voted (only voted twice), I went over the roof, and I know from my own experience that the performance on the roof of the cabin was really and truly high and lofty tumbling.

Some voted many times. One old planter near this place said he voted 144 times. One man from Lawrence expressed his opinion too freely. When some of our men went for him he made a break for the river bank and as he went over it Joseph J. Chin (one of Doniphan's men) fired his pistol in the air with no intention of hitting him, but to accelerate his speed. The pro-slavery party elected their candidates and controlled the first territorial convention to Kansas.

Jo Shelby was there doing a great deal of loud talking. and after a heated wordy contest with Mr. Brown, [G. W. Brown] of Lawrence, dined with him.

The Missourians went to that election well armed.

Most respectfully,

JAMES HALE

Many of the Free-State men did not vote. The exact number of legal votes cast in the Territory was fourteen hundred and ten, not quite half the number shown by the census. The returns of the election are shown in the following tables:

No. Repre-
sentative
district
No. of
election
district
Precincts and place
of Voting
No. of
Representatives
Pro-Slavery CandidatesTheir vote in
election
district
Their vote in
Rep. district
Free-State CandidatesTheir vote in
election
district
Their
vote in
Rep. dist.
14Dr. Chapman's1A. S. Johnson77...A. F. Powell3...
17Shawnee Mission..A. S. Johnson43120A. f. Powell1619
21Lawrence3James Whitlock780...John Hutchinson252...
J. M. Banks781...E. D. Ladd253...
A. B. Wade781781P. P. Fowler254253
32Bloomington2G. W. Ward318...Isaac Davis12...
O. H. Browne318318E. G. Macy1212
43Tecumseh1D. L. Croysdale366366C. K. Holliday44
57I. B. Titus's1M. W. McGee210...H. Rice23...
8Council Grove..M. W. McGee12222A. I. Baker2549
66Fort Scott2Joseph C. Anderson315...Jno. Hamilton3535
S. A. Wiliams313315William Margraves16...
75Bull Creek4W. A. Heiskell377...John Serpell9...
Allen Wilkinson375...Adam Pore9...
Henry Younger375...S. H. Houser9...
Samuel Scott377...Wm. Jennings9...
Pottawatomie Creek..Wm. A. Heiskell198...John Serpell61...
Allen Wilkinson198...Adam Pore54...
Henry Younger198...S. H. Houser64...
Samuel Scott198...Wm. Jennings62...
Big Sugar Creek..W. A. Heiskell74...John Serpell17...
Allen Wilkinson74...Adam Pore16...
Henry Younger74...S. H. Houser17...
Samuel Scott74...Wm. Jennings17...
Little Sugar Creek..Wm. A. Heiskell33...John Serpell62...
Allen Wilkinson32...Adam Pore62...
Henry Younger35...S. H. Houser64...
Samuel Scott35684Wm. Jennings66152
89Pawnee1Russell Garrett18...S. D. Houston56...
10Big Blue..Russell Garrett21...S. D. Houston43...
Rock Creek..Russell Garrett241S. D. Houston21120
911.........1Fr. J. Marshall328...
12Silver Lake..Fr. J. Marshall12...H. McCartney19...
St. Marys..Fr. J. Marshall4344H. McCartney726
1013Hickory Point1Wm. H. Tebbs237237C. Hard3...
1114Wolf River..John H. Stringfellow57...G. A. Cutler15...
R. L. Kirk52...John Landis8...
Doniphan..J. H. Stringfellow313...J. Ryan8...
R. L. Kirk292...G. A. Cutler33...
John Landis25...
18Nemaha..J. H. Stringfellow48...Joel Ryan18...
R. L. Kirk50420G. A. Cutler14...
1214Burr Oak2Joel P. Blair256...John Landis1354
Thomas W. Waterson258258John Fee2...
1315..........2H. B. C. Harris412..............
J. Weddell412412...........
1416Leavenworth2Wm. G. Mathias889...Felix G. Braden59...
H. D. McMeekin889...Samuel France59...
Archy Payne895897F. Browning5959

RETURNS OF ELECTION, BY ELECTION DISTRICTS, MARCH 30, 1855
Census 1855
No. of
Districts
PrecinctPro-
Slavery
Votes
Free
State
Votes
Scat-
tering
TotalTotal
legal votes
Total
illegal votes
No. of
Votes
No. of
Resi-
dents
1Lawrence ............781253..1,094232802369962
2Bloomington ..........318121134130316199519
3Stinson's or Tecumseh..3604237232338101282
4Dr. Chapman's .......782..80156547177
5Bull Creek3779..386153804421,407
5Pottawatomie ..........19065..26475191
5Big Sugar Creek......74177983259
5Llttle Sugar Creek....3470..104134..
6Fort Scott ..........31535..350100250253810
7Isaac B. Titus..21123..2942520953118
8Council Grove ..1717..3737..3983
9Pawnee .........2352..7575..3686
10Big Blue .........2742..69482163151
10Rock Creek ..221..2323..
11Marysville .......328.....32873212436
12St. Mary's .......47..1111......
12Silver Lake .....121923333..78144
13Hickory Point ..2336..2391223096284
14Doniphan ............3133033462005303341,167
14Wolf Creek ......5715678
14Burr OaK ........256248306
15Hayes .............412...541780337208873
16Leavenworth ......8996059641508143851,183
17Gum Springs ......4316..5959..50150
18Moorestown .....4814..6217452899








Totals ............3.427791896,3071,4104,9082,9058,001

1918 Kansas and Kansans Previous Section Next Section


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, 1998.

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