1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Chapter 32 Part 1

CHAPTER XXXII

BLEEDING KANSAS

Lane's Army of the North crossed the line into Kansas in detachments and companies on various dates beginning early in August, 1856. Lane, in command of a large company, crossed on the 7th of August. After seeing his company safely over the line, he left it and hurried to Lawrence. It was time that he did so. The Border-Ruffians were overrunning the Territory, murdering the Free-State people and robbing them of their live-stock and other property. The guerrilla bands organized by the Free-State people were doing all in their power to protect the people. Civil war, carried on by these guerrilla forces, had existed for several weeks in Kansas. United States troops were stationed along the line to turn back Lane's Army of the North. The true character of this army was revealed by the search and examination made by these troops. Most of the army proved to be peaceful emigrants coming to settle in Kansas. True, in many wagons were concealed rifles, revolvers, bowie-knives and ammunition. This war material was so carefully hidden that very little of it was discovered by the troops.

The news of the approach of General Lane encouraged the Free-State forces. The camp of the Georgians near Dutch Henry's Crossing, was known as New Georgia. It is represented in letters to the Missouri Republican as containing more than two hundred people - men, women, children, and slaves. On the 5th of August, an Illinois company of Free-State men under one Brown, of Massac County, Illinois, attacked the Georgia colony. It had settled around a central fort which had been erected for protection and as a base in aggressive movements against the Free-State people of that country. At the fort was a good well. While the accounts published in the papers of that day represent that several of the Georgians were killed, they, in fact, did not wait for the Free-State men under Brown, to reach the town. They abandoned the fort and their dwellings, and fled to Missouri. They filled up the well with bacon and other supplies. It had not been the intention of the Free-State men to molest the settlers, but to demolish the block-house or fort. The attack was in open daylight, and the settlers in the colony had been notified that those found peaceably attending to their own affairs would not be troubled in the least. Very few of this colony ever came back to Kansas. The Free-State men demolished the fort and gathered the provisions and other property in the colony, and burned the houses, as they were found empty and deserted.

Upon the arrival of General Lane at Lawrence, he assembled the Free-State forces in that vicinity. On the night of the 12th of August, he attacked Franklin, which had been fortified by the Border-Ruffians, who had been robbing and murdering Free-State people for some time. The Border-Ruffian forces at Franklin were commanded by Captain Ruckles. When the attack was made he took refuge in a strong log house from which firing was kept up for some time. The Free-State men loaded a wagon with hay, which they set on fire and backed up to the house, thus firing it. The Ruffians immediately fled. The Free-State party obtained eighty guns, mostly with bayonets, one six pound cannon, about 1200 pounds of bacon, besides a quantity of flour, sugar, coffee, etc. They captured fourteen prisoners from whom they exacted a promise to leave the country when they were released. On the Free-State side one man was killed and six wounded. On the Pro-Slavery side three were severely wounded, of whom one died. The defenders of the town after the defeat, fled to Fort Saunders, on Washington Creek, which was garrisoned by a company of Georgians under command of Colonel B. F. Treadwell.

On the 11th of August, Major D. S. Hoyt, of Lawrence, had gone to Fort Saunders to try to arrange for some truce or cessation of guerrilla warfare between that place and Lawrence. He was permitted to depart after his efforts to negotiate some agreement, but was followed and murdered. It has been persistently maintained that he was mutilated after death in order that his body should not be recognized.

On the 15th day of August, Lane attacked Fort Saunders. Just before the attack the body of Hoyt had been brought in. This excited the Free-State forces and they demanded to be led against the fort at once. Then Lane led them in a charge against the fort. The Georgians fled without firing a shot, leaving a smoking dinner on the table. The Free-State men were about to partake of this meal, but were prevented by Lane, who feared that it might have been poisoned by the Ruffians. In the fort were found many articles which had been stolen at Lawrence and at other points in Douglas County. The fort was burned.

General Lane placed the command of a column to attack Fort Titus under Captain Samuel Walker. This command was composed of Lawrence troops, of Harvey's Chicago Company, which had come in with Lane's Army of the North, Dr. Cutter's party, and some men from Topeka. The attack was made about sunrise. The cannon captured at Franklin was placed in a position to command the house of Titus. It was loaded with slugs from the molten type of the Herald of Freedom, which had been collected in the streets of Lawrence and along the river bank. The battle lasted about half an hour. Titus was severely wounded and took refuge in the loft of his house. The Ruffians soon came to the conclusion that they could offer no effective resistance and surrendered. Colonel Titus and Captain William Donalson, together with eighteen others, were made prisoners. Five Free-State prisoners were found in the fort and these were immediately released. One of these had been sentenced to be shot that morning. A number of the Georgians from Fort Saunders were found among the prisoners taken at Fort Titus.

A very serious loss to the Free-State forces occurred in this battle. Captain Shombre, who had just arrived from Indiana, with Lane's Army of the North, was mortally wounded and died the following day.

These operations of the Free-State men carried consternation to the Pro-Slavery settlers and Border-Ruffian guerrillas. The inhabitants of Lecompton were panic stricken and many of them crossed the Kansas River. Others sought safety in the camp of the United States troops, and some fled to the woods. A detachment of the troops was sent to Lecompton, but could find none of the Territorial officers. Governor Shannon, who had returned to the Territory, and others, were found embarking on a scow to cross to the north bank of the Kansas River. Clarke, the murderer of Barber, had abandoned his house and fled. Seeing that the Free-State men had no design of attacking Lecompton, the Territorial officers returned.

On the morning of the 17th of August, Governor Shannon, taking with him Major Sedgwick and others, visited Lawrence for the purpose of negotiating another treaty of peace. This he succeeded in doing, stipulating that the five Free-State men arrested after the attack of Franklin should be released; that no more arrests of that nature should be made; that the cannon taken from Lawrence by Jones on the 21st of May should be returned, and that Titus and his band should be set free. The Governor seemed deeply impressed by the recent events and after the treaty, made a speech in which he said, "The few days I remain in office shall be devoted, so help me Heaven, in carrying out faithfully my part of the agreement, and in preserving order. "

On the 21st of August, the Governor received notice of his removal from office, though he had just forwarded his resignation. He was also informed of the appointment of John W. Geary as his successor. Governor Shannon soon left the Territory. It was necessary for him to do so, for his life was in danger. Upon his resignation, Secretary Woodson became again the Acting Governor of Kansas. On the 25th of August he issued a proclamation in which he declared the Territory in a state of insurrection, and calling out the militia, which was an invitation to the Missourians to arm themselves and invade Kansas. Commenting on this call, the Squatter Sovereign, in the article headed "Third and Last Time," had this to say:

Our friends have been collecting on the Border during the past week, and in a few days will have a well organized force in the field, equal to any emergency. We again reiterate, a crisis has arrived in the affairs of Kansas, and another week will tell a tale that will have an important bearing on the future fate of Kansas. It behooves every citizen to shoulder arms without any further delay. We have been slow to believe that anything like serious fighting would occur; but we are now fully convinced that a deadly struggle must ensue, and one or more hard battles transpire, before the abolitionists can be subdued. . . . Already the smouldering ruins of numerous dwellings, and the reeking blood of many a victim, cries aloud for vengeance. The cry is heard and will be answered with tenfold retaliation. If there is one breast still unpenetrated by this call, we urge that it instantly become alive to the importance of the emergency. The want of a few men may turn the fortunes of war against us. Then let every man who can bear arms "be off to the wars again." Let this be the "third and last time." Let the watchword be "extermination, total and complete."

This is the spirit in which the Missourians were urged to enter Kansas for the third and last time, as they hoped. Many appeals were made to the people in the western counties of Missouri in the same spirit. The full effect of this order was not felt in the Territory for several days.

On the 25th of August, a band of Missourians, numbering about one hundred and fifty, commanded by Captain John E. Brown, went into camp on Middle Creek about nine miles southwest of Osawatomie. The Free-State forces in that neighborhood immediately assembled to give fight. They were commanded by Captains Cline, Anderson, and Shore. In Captain Cline's company were eighteen men; in that of Anderson there were forty men; and Shore's company numbered about sixty men. The Free-State party attacked the Missouri camp about noon on the 26th. The firing lasted about ten minutes, when the Missourians broke ranks and fled, leaving their baggage, horses, wagons, guns, clothing and provisions. A number of prisoners were taken by the Free-State men. One party of five Missourians had captured a Free-State man whom they were about to hang. The total number of prisoners taken by the Free-State men was eleven, and these were liberated the following day upon a promise never to come into Kansas again. Most of these Free-State men had served under John Brown.

On the 29th of August Missourians to the number of twelve hundred, under command of Atchison, Reid, and other Ruffian chiefs, were encamped on the Santa Fe Trail where that historic highway crossed Bull Creek. This point is some six to eight miles, as the road then lay, east of Black Jack, where Brown had recently captured the command of H. Clay Pate. Colonel A. W. Doniphan was with this band of Border Ruffians, but not in active command of any of the Missourians. He was a Kentuckian, but a citizen of Liberty, Clay County, and believed in slavery, but was not in favor of the indiscriminate murder of Free-State men as were the other men of prominence present. Colonel John W. Reid had been a captain under him in Doniphan's Expedition, and had led the charge at the battle of Sacramento. Reid was one of those fortunate men always given every advantage, and put forward on every occasion to enable him to make a great reputation. It was this good fortune which had caused him to be selected to lead the charge at Sacramento. He was an inferior soldier and a sycophantic man of very little ability. From this camp Colonel Doniphan returned to Missouri, and was never again in Kansas with the Border-Ruffians.

On the 29th of August information was received at this camp that John Brown and other Free-State captains were raiding in the north part of Linn and Anderson counties, and that Osawatomie was left without a garrison of Free-State troops. Colonel Reid was given three hundred men and directed to proceed to Osawatomie and destroy the town. He marched on the night of the 29th. He crossed the Marais des Cygnes River some four miles above the town, just before daylight on the morning of the 30th. From this ford the road led up to the backbone or highland between the Marais des Cygnes and the Pottawatomie, following this highland eastward into the town.

General Lane was informed of the presence of the various bands of Missourians. He had information, which he believed reliable, of the intention of the forces camped at Bull Creek to attack Osawatomie. He was at this time at Lawrence. On the 29th of August he sent Frederick Brown, Alexander G. Hawes, John Still, David R. Garrison, George Cutter, and one Adamson, to notify John Brown of the presence of the Ruffian force, and its intentions. John Brown was returning to Osawatomie with his men, fearful of an attack on the town, when the dispatch was delivered to him by the messengers. He camped that night north of Osawatomie, where the Kansas State Hospital now stands.

Frederick Brown visited his uncle, S. L. Adair, who lived on the upland, a mile and a hall west of Osawatomie. He had informed S. L. Adair that he would return to Lawrence the next day, and if he had any letters he wished to send out over the Free-State line through Iowa, to write them during the night, and he would call for them at daylight. Frederick Brown then went to the house of Morgan Cronkite, whose claim cornered with that of Mr. Adair on the southwest. Cutter and a young man named Garrison also slept at Cronkite's house. Frederick Brown was up before daylight and on his way to Mr. Adair's house to get the letters. He wanted to be off early, for he knew the peril of the roads at that time. The Border-Ruffians had intended to come into Osawatomie from the north. It is not certainly known why they changed their route. Their scouts may have discovered the camp of John Brown north of the town. There were traitors in the town, and these may have advised a change of course. A traitor named Hughes, a Missourian, lived at that time in Osawatomie. He it was who sent word to the camp at Bull Creek that John Brown was away and the town left defenceless. He went away with the Border-Ruffians after the sacking of Osawatomie, carrying his family, knowing it would be certain death to remain. When the Border-Ruffian force came out an the highlands after fording the river, they sent a scouting detachment to ride into the city and find out conditions there. This advance party was under the command of Rev. Martin White. White was just passing north of the Cronkite farm as Frederick Brown came into the road on his way to Mr. Adair's house. He could not see well enough to distinguish who the Ruffians were. He stepped into the road in front of them and said, "Good morning boys," supposing doubtless they were some of his fathers company astir early. Receiving no reply he said, "I believe I know you," or "I believe I ought to know you." At this Rev. White said, "I know you," and fired, the ball entering Brown's breast, killing him instantly. Brown fell to the north, just out of the road. His body lay some two or three hundred yards from Mr. Adair's house. David R. Garrison soon came on, having heard the shot that killed Frederick Brown. He went to the house and asked Mr. Adair who it was that fired the shot. Mr. Adair said he had heard no shot, but had heard someone gallop by, going west on horseback, and had remarked that Frederick Brown must have forgotten to stop for the letters, supposing it was young Brown who had galloped by. Garrison still insisted that he had heard a shot. By this time it was getting light and Brown's body could be dimly seen lying on the roadside. Mr. Adair supposed it was a blanket some one had dropped, but Garrison thought it was a body. They went there together and found the body of Frederick Brown. At this time a second squad of the scouting party appeared riding out of the town westward. Mr. Garrison asked what they must do. Mr. Adair said that it would not do to stand there and be killed. He went north into some low bushes and lay down. Garrison ran south over the naked prairie. The Ruffians followed him, firing upon him. He ran by the house of William Carr, where Cutter then was. They shot Cutter in the face and left him for dead. They still pursued Garrison, who shot at them, came up with him, and killed him.

After the party disappeared in the pursuit of Garrison, Mr. Adair went to his house and sent George Ferris on horseback to alarm the town. In a few minutes he sent his son, S. C. Adair, and a young man named Mills, also to spread the alarm. He then went into the woods north of the house to escape the main body of Ruffians, then in sight. Mills rode on, joined John Brown, and fought in the battle. Young Adair went east of the town, crossed the Pottawatomie and escaped. He returned home later in the day. Reid seems to have halted his force a short distance east of Adair's house, and to have remained there for a time.

Those sent to alarm the town soon reached John Brown's camp and informed him of the death of Frederick Brown. He immediately ordered his men to follow him, and started for Osawatomie. Luke F. Parsons marched by his side part of the distance to the ford. John Brown asked him if he had ever been under fire. Parsons said that he had not but that he would obey orders, requesting Brown to tell him what to do. Brown then said to him, "Take more care to end life well than to live long." There was a block-house in Osawatomie and to this Brown first repaired. Parsons was directed to take ten men and to hold that house as long as he could, Brown saying that he would take the rest of the men, go into the timber, and annoy the Ruffians from the flank. It was soon apparent to Parsons and the men left in the blockhouse that they could not accomplish anything from that point. They left the block-house and joined John Brown. Captain Cline was met as they were making their way to Brown's position, but he could not be induced to remain. John Brown formed his men at the break in the prairie, - that is, where the descent from the highlands toward the town begins. There were some bushes along this break in which James H. Holmes had before concealed himself, and from which he fired on the Ruffians, striking one of them in the mouth. This break ran at an acute angle to the road, and from the bushes Brown's men fired on the advancing enemy. John Brown concealed his men as effectively as possible when the Missourians began to fire. As he was passing Parsons he inquired if Parsons could see anything torn or bloody on his back. Upon being assured that nothing of the kind was there, Brown said, "Well, something hit me a terrible rap on the back. I don't intend to be shot in the back if I can help it." Reid was not able to dislodge Brown nor to advance until he brought up his cannon, loaded with grape-shot. The discharge of this piece emboldened the Ruffians and they advanced. Brown and his men were forced back into the higher timber on the bank of the Marais des Cygnes. At this time it was seen that with thirty men it was impossible to hold back three hundred. Brown and his men were forced down the river through this timber. It was clear that they would have to cross if possible. They were at that time nearing a sawmill standing on the south bank. The men attempted to wade the river. George Partridge was killed while in the water. James H. Holmes dived and swam most of the way under water. One of Brown's men, Austin, hid between some saw-logs still in the river, from which position he shot a Border-Ruffian as he rode up. John Brown with a revolver in each hand held high over his head, waded the river, his hat and the tails of his linen duster floating on the water. Jason Brown also waded safely across. Spencer K. Brown, Robert Reynolds, H. K. Thomas and Charles Keiser were captured immediately after the battle. William B. Fuller had been captured early in the morning, and Joseph H. Morey was taken after the battle was over. After the defeat of John Brown's force, the Ruffians went into Osawatomie and burned the town. The houses and stores were robbed before being set on fire. They found Theron Parker Powers in the town and beat him to death with a spirit-level, which was found lying by his crushed head. At the Ruffian camp at Bull Creek, Charles Keiser was tried for treason to Missouri, as he had come from that state to Kansas. He was not present at the trial and did not know that he was being tried. He was convicted and condemned to death. A guard was sent to take him to execution. Approaching him they said, "We want you." He seemed to know he was to be killed, for he said to Reynolds, by whom he was sitting, "They are going to kill me." They marched him a short distance from the camp and shot him. Reynolds heard the volley.

Reid's report of the battle was as follows:

CAMP BULL CREEK, AUG. 31.

GENTLEMEN: - I moved with 250 men on the Abolition fort and town of Osawatomie - the headquarters of Old Brown - on night before last: marched 40 miles and attacked the town without dismounting the men about sunrise on yesterday. We had a brisk fight for an hour or more and had five men wounded - none dangerously - Capt. Boice, William Gordon and three others. We killed about thirty of them, among the number, certain, a son of Old Brown, and almost certain Brown himself; destroyed all their ammunition and provisions, and the boys would burn the town to the ground. I could not help it.

We must be supported by our friends. We still want more men and ammunition, ammunition of all sorts. Powder, muskets, balls and caps is the constant cry.

I write in great haste, as I have been in saddle, rode 100 miles, and fought a battle without rest. Your friend,

REID.

Another account of the battle, dated at Bull Creek, September 1st, signed by Congreve Jackson and G. B. M. Maughas, Captain of Company B, is as follows:

The enemy commenced firing on us at half a mile, which is point blank range for Sharp's Rifles. They had taken cover under a thick growth of underwood and numbered about 150. We charged upon them, having to march 800 yards across an open prairie, against an unseen foe, through a hail-storm of rifle bullets. This was done with a coolness and ability unsurpassed, until we got within 50 yards of them when we commenced a galling fire, which together with some telling rounds of grape from our cannon, soon drove them from their hiding place with a loss of some 20 or 30 men killed. We had lost not a single man, and had only five or six wounded.

Fifty years after the battle of Osawatomie, Judge James Hale of Lexington, Missouri, wrote the following account of the battle at Osawatomie:

On the 29th of August, 1856, our army of 1,200 mounted men with nine cannons was encamped on Bull Creek, about thirty miles north of Osawatomie, when information was received that Capt. John Brown with his command was at Osawatomie. A force of 300 men with one piece of artillery, all under command of Gen. John Reid were ordered to proceed to Osawatomie in search of the noted abolition commander. We left camp about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and after traveling all night crossed the Marais des Cygnes river about three miles above Osawatomie a little after sunrise on the morning of the 30th. After crossing a wide bottom we ascended the bluff. On the uplands was a corn field just to the left of the road which ran north and south and turned east at the southwest corner of the field. Just as the head of our column turned the corner of the fence, Capt. Brown's pickets, three mounted men, were encountered. Well armed both parties prepared to fire. One of our men who was riding with his revolver in his hand with the hammer sprung getting the first shot when one of the pickets fell from his horse dead with a bullet through his heart. It was discovered that he was Frederick Brown, son of Capt. John Brown. The other two men were overtaken in a small thicket about seventy-five yards from where young Brown's body lay and killed. I was near the rear of the column and did not hear the firing and knew nothing of what had occurred until I saw young Brown's corpse where it lay across the road, with a pool of blood under his breast. I did not see the dead bodies of the other two pickets, but I saw their horses and arms in possession of our men.

As the road here ran east and skirted the timber, for fear of being fired on from the brush, we turned to the right in the prairie and formed two lines, the second line being about 100 feet in the rear of the first, and advanced in the direction of the town which was probably two miles distant, until we reached the summit of a ridge about a half mile west of and in full view of the town from which place we could see Capt. Brown's company. They commenced firing on us at a lively rate with Sharp's rifles at the distance of 400 yards, their bullets zipping around our heads uncomfortably close. We dismounted immediately, picketed our horses, formed a long line and charged as fast as we could run in the direction of where the Brown company was concealed in the bush. We ran down hill which probably saved the lives of some of our men as it was discovered after the battle that several of them had bullet holes through their hats above their heads. Just north of where we left our horses was a thicket and just north of the thicket our cannon was stationed. When we had reached a point 100 yards from Capt. Brown's men the cannon was fired. Our opponents then ceased firing and fell back into the woods and we did not see anything more of them though the cannon was fired into the wood the second time. Soon after, when a well dressed man came out of a thicket seventy-five yards from us and surrendered, he was a pro-slavery man from Missouri and had been running a sawmill near Osawatomie. We protected him and sent him to the rear under guard, where our wounded men were being attended to by the surgeons. The guard soon returned, when a desperado who was with us went back to the field hospital and shot and killed this man without cause or provocation. The man was a prisoner under our protection and many of our men condemned the act in the plainest language. Soon after the battle ceased some of our men went into the town with the cannon and in a short time I heard its reports and saw smoke rising. When they returned they informed me that part of the town had been burned without authority of Gen. Reid. Our commander-in-chief of our army was Major Gen. D. R. Atchison. Col. A. W. Doniphan was present unofficially in camp, but neither was at Osawatomie.

JAMES HALE,

Lieut. of Capt. Larry Boyce's Co.

LEXINGTON, Mo., AUG. 1, 1906.

Judge Hale says that some of the Missourians at Bull Creek marched back to Missouri on the 31st, but most of them remained at the camp.

On the 31st day of August, General Lane determined to drive this force of Ruffians out of Kansas. The Free-State men under him at that time numbered nearly two hundred, being one hundred and forty-three cavalry and about one hundred and fifty infantry. Colonel O. E. Learnard was in command of the cavalry forces, which consisted of a number of small companies. Lane led his forces from Lawrence to the Santa Fe Trail, over which he advanced toward the Border-Ruffian camp. The cavalry led the march. Colonel Learnard found the Missourians drawn up in line of battle on the west side of Bull Creek on both sides of the Santa Fe Trail. They opened fire on Learnard as soon as he appeared in sight. The firing was wild and seemed to be done at random, which was attributed to the amount of whisky the Ruffians had been permitted to imbibe. Lane soon came up, and there was a battle of about an hour. The Free-State men fired deliberately, killing several Missourians and wounding many. The Missouri officers would ride along the lines and strike their soldiers over the head for not shooting better. They also tried to force them to advance; and their shooting did not improve. As darkness came on the Free-State men drew off and went back to Black Jack, where they camped. Next morning Lane sent Learnard with his cavalry to define the position of the Ruffians. He found a force advancing up the Trail, but it immediately retreated upon the approach of Learnard. Later it was discovered that this company was only thrown out to cover the retreat of the Missourians. When Learnard got to Bull Creek, he saw the train of the Missourians, about forty wagons, going up the banks through the timber headed for Missouri. Most of the Missourians had retreated to Kansas City during the night. They arrived there the next morning in great disorder. Atchison had not been at Bull Creek for a day or two, but was in Kansas City under the influence of whisky. He was furious when his forces straggled into the town, and swore that if his men would not fight he would not lead them again into Kansas, but he did lead his forces back within a few days.

While General Lane was driving the Bull-Creek camp of Ruffians out of the Territory, Marshal Donalson, with his deputies, Newsem and Cramer, determined to arrest the leading Free-State men on the old warrants, which he still carried. He placed himself at the head of a band of Territorial militia and scoured Douglas County. Those citizens found at home were arrested. For two days the country west of Lawrence was pillaged. Seven houses were burned, among them those of Judge Wakefield and Captain Samuel Walker. Well-laden with loot, and marching their prisoners before them, they retreated to Lecompton when they heard of the return of General Lane from the battle at Bull Creek. Lane decided to attack Lecompton and liberate the prisoners. He divided his forces, sending one division to march on the north side of the Kansas River. Lane was to march on the south side and occupy the high land above the town. Colonel Harvey moved on the 4th of September with a force of one hundred and fifty men. He arrived at a position opposite the town and camped in the rain, which continued all night. Seeing nothing of Lane on the following morning, he returned with his command to Lawrence. Lane had been delayed, and Colonel Harvey found that he had marched and was at Lecompton, having reached there about the time that Harvey had gotten to Lawrence. The appearance of Harvey on the north side of the river had demoralized the Territorial militia, and a good part of that force refused to continue the work of pillaging and burning assigned to them by Governor Woodson. Another body of the Territorial militia returned home in disgust. General Richardson tendered his resignation as commander of the militia to Governor Woodson on the 5th. All this had resulted from the appearance of Colonel Harvey's troops on the north side of the river. When Lane appeared, at four o'clock P. M., on the heights above the town of Lecompton, there was no force under command of Governor Woodson to defend the town. Woodson made a hasty appeal to Colonel P. St. George Cooke to protect the town from Lane. Lane sent Captain Cline and Charles H. Branscomb with a flag of truce to General Marshall, the only officer left in charge of the Territorial militia, demanding an unconditional surrender of the Free-State prisoners. General Marshall replied that they had been released that morning, and that they would be escorted to Lawrence on the following day by a company of dragoons. He demanded that the prisoners in the hands of the Free-State men be released.

Just as his messengers were returning from the Border-Ruffian camp, Colonel Cooke arrived at Colonel Lane's headquarters. "Gentlemen," he said, "you have made a great mistake in coming here today. The Territorial militia was dispersed this morning. Some of them have left. Some are leaving now, and the rest will leave to go to their homes as soon as they can." Marcus J. Parrott made this reply: "Colonel Cooke, when we sent a man, or two men, or a dozen men, to speak with the Territorial authorities, they are arrested and held like felons. How, then, are we to know what is going on at Lecompton? Why, we have to come here with an army to find out what is going on. How else could we know?" The prisoners which had been recently taken by the Border-Ruffians were permitted to go over to the Free-State men and return to Lawrence the following day. These were only the prisoners who had been taken since the attack on Franklin, and not the treason prisoners.

Lawrence was filled with refugees from Leavenworth. On the 1st of September an election had been held there for Mayor, at which one Murphy was elected. He proceeded to expel every Free-State man from the town. He broke open stores and private houses and expelled the occupants without regard to age or sex. His men attacked the house of William Phillips, who had been tarred and feathered, as before noted. Phillips supposed that he was to be again mobbed and defended himself, killing two of the Ruffians. He was immediately fired on and received a dozen balls in his body, falling dead in the presence of his wife. Fifty citizens of Leavenworth were placed on the steamboat Polar Star and the Captain ordered to remain until given permission to leave. On the next day Captain Emory assembled a force of eight hundred Ruffians and paraded the town. He collected one hundred men, women and children, and drove them aboard the Polar Star. The commander at Fort Leavenworth refused to protect the people, and put up notices for them to leave the fort and grounds. Many of them were compelled to wander on the prairie in danger of being murdered by marauding parties. Some of them attempted to board downward-bound boats and were shot. Of those who escaped some were seized at Kansas City and other Missouri towns, and returned. The Territory was rapidly filling up with bands from Missouri in response to Woodson's proclamation.1


1In a letter to the St. Louis Democrat, dated May 27, 1857, was this account of the exploit of one Fugit.

"Fugit is the same person who made a bet in this city [Leavenworth], last August, that before night he would have a Yankee scalp. He got a horse, and rode out into the country a few miles, and met a German, a brother-in-law of Rev. E. Nute, named Hoppe. He asked if he was from Lawrence. Hoppe replied that he was. Fugit immediately leveled his revolver and fired, the shot taking effect in the temples, and Hoppe fell a corpse. The assassin dismounted from his horse, cut the scalp from the back of his head, tied it to a pole, and returned to town, exhibiting it to the people, and boasting of his exploit. The body of the victim was found shortly after, and buried on Pilot Knob, about two miles distant from this city. This same Fugit is one of the party who, when the widow came from Lawrence to look for her husband's corpse, forced her on board of a steamer and sent her down the river."

The point where Fugit killed Hoppe is three miles southwest of Leavenworth and about one mile from the present city limits. The murder was committed on the 19th of August, 1856. There was a crossing of Three-mile Creek at that point, and Jacob Swaggler kept an inn there, and sold groceries and liquor. The house of Swaggler was about a quarter of a mile above the crossing. Mr. Hoppe had landed at Leavenworth and hired a horse and buggy in which to go to Lawrence to visit his brother-in-law, Rev. E. Nute. He was returning the horse and buggy at the time he met Fugit. Fugit was a grandson of Major Todd, of Platte County, Missouri. He had an uncle, Marion Todd, living about seven miles southwest of Leavenworth, near what is now the town of Boling. Fugit had made the bet in a Leavenworth saloon mentioned in the above-named letter. He started out toward the home of his uncle. He met Hoppe on the west side of Three-mile Creek. What was said is not known, but Fugit shot him. The horse ran across the creek, when Hoppe's body fell out of the buggy, his feet entangled in the line, which stopped the horse. Fugit followed him back, and when he came up with the dead body, scalped it. Two children, Jimmie, Rhodes, six or seven years old, and his sister, were gathering plums there in a thicket and saw the murder. Fugit returned to town with the scalp and exhibited it and collected his wager. He then went to his uncle's where he also exhibited the scalp. His aunt was horrified and told him he had better leave the country. He went to Texas. In about a year he came back to Leavenworth and was tried before Judge Lecompte. Mrs. Todd was spirited away and not permitted to appear against him. The court ruled that the evidence of the children could not be admitted, as they were too young. This made it impossible to convict him of the murder. Fugit then went back to Platte County, but his crime was too brutal for even the Missourians of that day. They would have little to do with him, and he dropped out of sight.

Barnabas Gable moved to Platte County, Missouri, from Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1839. He settled on a claim in Platte County, near Camden Point. He moved into Leavenworth County in 1854, settling on a claim three miles southwest of Leavenworth. He was a Free-State man. He had been to Leavenworth with a load of hay, and was returning home on the day of the murder. Fugit passed him, and he heard the shot which was fired by Fugit. When he came near the crossing he found the dead and scalped body of Mr. Hoppe.

A Mr. Lightburn of Platte County, Missouri, was a wagon-master for government trains at Fort Leavenworth. He had ridden ahead of his train, which was going out the same road taken by Fugit, and stopped in a thicket to get some plums. Gable had passed him at the thicket. Lightburn soon came up to where Gable had found the dead body. He and Gable carried the body to the cabin of a Mr. Wallace, who was a Kentuckian, and a red-hot Free-State man. Wallace lived half a mile back toward Leavenworth. On the following day an inquest was held over the body of Mr. Hoppe. He was buried on Pilot Knob, but his grave was never marked.

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, 2000.

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