1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Chapter 30 Part 6

Pate records that he and his men were taken to a camp on the Middle Ottawa Creek and closely guarded. They were compelled to cook for themselves, but not unkindly treated, as he says. They remained there three days and nights, until Colonel Sumner came and released them from captivity. Colonel Sumner was accompanied by a deputy United States Marshal, named William J. Preston. Preston had warrants for a number of John Brown's company. He was told by Colonel Sumner that he might serve these warrants. He seems to have been afraid to do that. Looking the men over, he said, "I do not recognize any one for whom I have warrants." "Then, what are you here for?" asked Colonel Sumner. Brown was ordered to disperse his men, and the troops departed.

Brown did not go far until he again went into camp with his company. The new camp was about half a mile from the one broken up by Colonel Sumner. Bondi was sent into the Pottawatomie settlement to see how matters stood there. He returned and on the 10th of June it was agreed that the company would break up. Salmon Brown had been wounded at the battle of Black Jack, but was by this time almost recovered. Henry Thompson was left at the home of Carpenter. Then, for a time, John Brown and his men disappeared from the theatre of war.

Colonel Sumner also found J. W. Whitfield in the Territory with a force looking for John Brown. Whitfield returned to Missouri, but sent his Captains Reid, Pate, Bell and Jenigen, with their Missouri companies, to sack Osawatomie. Pate had agreed with Colonel Sumner to return to Missouri, but got no farther than Bull Creek, some twelve miles east of Palmyra. There they tried Jacob Cantrell, a Free-State man, for treason to Missouri, as he was a native of that State: He was convicted, led into a ravine and shot. He cried out, "Oh, God, I am shot; I am murdered." He was then shot the second time. This second shot was not fatal, but was followed by a scream of terror. He was shot the third time and killed.

The Free-State forces having been disbanded, there could be no effective resistance at Osawatomie. The Ruffians were led into the town by a spy who had been sent in the day before, who pretended to be sick there and had received good treatment. The Ruffians pillaged dwellings and business houses alike. Trunks, drawers, boxes, desks and wardrobes were broken open and ransacked. Rings were torn from the fingers of the women, as well as from their ears. Clothing and even furniture were loaded on horses to be carried to Missouri. Some of this clothing had been stripped from women and children. One eminent writer said: "They ought to have had a petticoat apiece as trophies."

A review of the events of the past few weeks in the Territory, from the Pro-Slavery point of view, may be found in the letter of Colonel John T. Hughes to the Missouri Republican, published June 17, 1856. Colonel Hughes was in Doniphan's expedition, of which he became the historian. He was in the Confederate army, and was killed at the battle of Independence, Missouri.

LEAVENWORTH CITY, K. T., JUNE 11, 1856.

Dear Sir: - Your favor of this date has just been received by me, soliciting information in regard to the condition of affairs in the Territory generally, and particularly in regard to the murders committed, by whom committed, the names of the parties killed and wounded as far as recollected, and any other matters of interest touching the existing disturbances in Kansas Territory. I hasten to respond to your inquiries as far as my knowledge extends.

First, then, I have been in the Territory nearly eight weeks, as one of the clerks of the United States Investigating Committee, and during the time have been to Lecompton, Lawrence, Leavenworth City, Westport and other places, where said committee have been holding their sessions, and have been an eve witness of many of the high-handed outrages perpetrated by the abolitionists upon citizens of the Territory and acts of resistance against the laws both of the Territory and of the United States.

I was present in the town of Lawrence on the 23d of April last, when Sheriff Jones was shot, though he had a body guard of twelve or thirteen United States Dragoons with him at the time for his protection and to assist in enforcing the laws. The wound was a deep and dangerous one, the ball taking effect near the spine and ranging between the shoulder blade. I saw the wound probed and dressed by the Surgeons. No one expected him to recover. I saw the rabble in the streets of Lawrence that day whilst Jones had a man arrested, and assisted by the United States troops, heaping curses and threats upon him, such as "damn him, why don't you kill him Hunt?" why don't you shoot him Hunt? damn such laws; damn such officers; damn such a country; and damn such a President." I saw brick bats thrown at the officers of the law and the Lieutenant who was assisting in the execution of the laws. This Hunt was the Prisoner. All these things were done in Lawrence on the 23d day of April last in my presence, and other outrageous acts too numerous to mention.

I was present on the 8th of May in Lawrence when the United States Marshal attempted to arrest Ex-Governor A. H. Reeder, by virtue of a writ of attachment issued by Judge Lecompte, of the First Judicial District of Kansas Territory, United States Court, and was present and heard Mr. Reeder tell the Marshal that "if he laid his hands on him to execute the writ, he would do it at the peril of his life," and the armed populace shouted and backed Reeder in his position and threatened the Marshal's life, and so he was compelled to desist and return the writ to the Court not executed. There were two hundred men armed supporting and giving "aid and comfort" to Reeder in setting the law at defiance.

On the 24th of April, in a public meeting held in Lawrence, to express disapproval of and indignation at, the shooting of Sheriff Jones, Charles Robinson made a speech, and in his speech declared that it was his opinion that Jones was shot by a pro-slavery man, thus adding insult to injury, and boldly asserted that the free State party never meant to submit to the laws of the Territory, and used this damnable language; "I had rather obey the laws emanating from hell, than submit to the laws of the Territory," that they intended to resist them to a "bloody issue." Since that time there has been no peace in the Territory. On the 21st of May, the indignant citizens of Kansas Territory, who are striving to uphold the laws, destroyed the Free State hotel and two Abolition printing presses in Lawrence. Since that time the Free State men, or rather the Abolitionists who refuse obedience to the laws, have organized guerrilla parties, and spread terror and dismay through the country. They have swept the country south of the Kansas river with fire and sword.

On Saturday, the 24th day of May, a party of them, in Franklin county, murdered a Mr. Wilkerson, old Mr. Doyle and two of his sons, and two of the Shermans, all in the same neighborhood. These murders were committed in the most shocking and barbarous manner, and it is said that some of them, were dreadfully mutilated before they were killed by cutting off their hands, noses, ears and the like. Thus it is that men have been dragged from their beds at the dead hour of night, and their throats cut amidst the cries and entreaties of their wives and children, and that without mercy. Some time last week an attack was made on the town of Franklin, near the Wakarusa, by these guerrillas, who, after a sharp engagement, retired. A watchman by the name of Tishmaker or Tishmonger was killed on our side.

On the 2d day of June, Captain H. G. Pate, and twenty-eight men, were out in the neighborhood of Black-Jack Point, near the Santa Fe road, forty miles from Westport, for the purpose of executing certain writs upon those who had violated the laws, and was attacked by a guerrilla party of Abolitionists, commanded by one Brown, numbering one hundred and twenty-five men. After a sharp conflict, in which Capt. Pate had some of his men severely wounded, (and as it is believed, two of them mortally wounded,) he hoisted a flag of truce. Capt. Pate sent one man and a prisoner whom he had with him, to carry the flag of truce to the Captain of the Assailants. They were sent back with the demand that Captain Pate should hear the flag himself. He did so, and when he came up under the flag of truce, Brown ordered twelve of his men to seize him and hold him as a prisoner of war. They then held a cocked pistol to Capt. Pate's breast, and told him if he did not order his men to surrender, they would blow him through. Thus he was deceived and entrapped and compelled to surrender, except six of his men who made good their escape amidst a shower of balls. One of these six men was wounded in the side. I saw the bullet when taken out.

I saw some three or four of Col. Buford's men - Southern men - who were made prisoners whilst driving wagons along the highway. They told me that the Abolitionists had taken all their cattle, robbed their wagons, taken their arms and all the money they had, and then heaped every possible insult upon them. That they tied their hands behind their hacks and took them out to hang them once or twice, but did not; that they would grit their teeth and shake their fists in their faces whilst they were prisoners, and say, "you damned Southerners, this is the way we will serve you all."

I saw an old man by the name of Bourne, from the Wakarusa a few days ago, and he told me that the Abolition guerrillas had taken all his oxen, cattle, horses, and robbed him of all he had, and driven him and his family clean out of the country and burnt his house.

Mr. Joseph Bernard had his provision store robbed and everything rifled to the extent of 8 or $10,000, some few days ago out southwest. His buildings were burned as I am told. I have seen in Westport, within the last week, a good number of families who were driven out of the Territory by these desperadoes, and who were poor, bereft, penniless and seeking refuge from their relentless enemies, within the limits of the State. Some of these families consisted of women and children only, some of whom said that their husbands were killed, and others that they were prisoners, or were driven and pursued out of the country. These scenes of suffering and distress I have witnessed in a civilized country, and such will ever be the calamities of a civil war, or rather a social war, such as that now waged in Kansas Territory. All of these horrid acts have been committed in the "name of the Northern army."

Again, one of the Donelsons, with a small company of 5 or 6 men, was fired upon by these bandits, and one of the men had his horse killed under him, and another was slightly wounded or grazed about the head. This happened last week. It is estimated that 23 or 24 of our men, I mean of the party who sustain the laws of the territory, have been killed or murdered, and made away with recently, and perhaps a greater number than this. The pro-slavery party have doubtless, in self-defense, killed and wounded a number of the assailants. Some one or two of them are known to have been killed in the attack on Franklin, and in the battle with Capt. Pate, they lost three killed and several wounded.

I saw the old lady Doyle, widow of the one who was murdered in Franklin county. She came before the United States Kansas Investigating Committee, and desired to give her evidence to the same purport as the foregoing statement which I have made, but her testimony was ruled out by the majority of the Committee, and her affidavit was taken before a Justice of the Peace by Geo. King, and will be printed with the evidence as ruled out testimony. Her story is indeed a lamentable one. She is an object of much pity, having lost all, husband and two sons, except her last and only son, a lad of some 14 years old, and this one was only spared to her after prayers and tears, and entreaties. When the bandits were in the act of leading this last one out for the purpose of killing him also, the poor old woman, already overcome with anguish, exclaimed, as she states in her affidavit, "Oh men, will you not spare me this last and only child? Are you not flesh and blood and have you no children?" One of these men, melted with the touching appeal of the poor woman, said he had a child, and that the boy should not be killed. But I have not time to give you further details of the horrid war which has been raging in Kansas for some weeks and which if it be not speedily checked, may eventually widen its circle, and involve all the States of the Union in a desolating civil war, and if it shall ever come, which may God avert, it will be one of the bloodiest upon the records of time.

Governor Shannon, this morning while at Kansas City, received a dispatch from President Pierce, commanding him emphatically to suppress the war forthwith, and disperse and disband and disarm all parties, and restore peace to the country. Shannon has gone up to Fort Leavenworth, and will put himself at the head of the troops, and use all his authority to quell and quiet the disturbances in the Territory. I hope he may succeed.

Very respectfully, etc., your friend and obedient servant.

(Signed) JOHN T. HUGHES.

COL. H. G. ELLIOTT, now in Kansas Territory.

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

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