ANSAS was admitted as a State on the 29th day of January, 1861. It came to the fireside of the Union only to witness the frowning and wayward sisters of the South departing, one by one, across the threshold, out into the darknessout into the coming storm. But Kansas came not in the innocence of childhood, nor like "a fair young girl, with light and delicate limbs and waving tresses," but "like a bearded man; armed to the teeth, one mailed hand grasping the broad shield and one the sword; its brow, glorious though it be, is scarred with tokens of old wars." On its shield was written, Ad Astra per Aspera; on its sword, Excalibur Expurgatorius.
The Territorial probation was at an end. The untried and unexampled task set before it had been accomplished, not as designed by the spirit of the past ages, but as marked out by the advancing rays of the Nineteenth Century.
The Territorial Legislature adjourned on the 2nd day of February, to meet no more.
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Governor Charles Robinson was sworn into office on the 9th day of February, as the first Governor of the State of Kansas. He convened the State Legislature, elected under the Wyandotte Constitution, on the 26th day of March. The members of that Legislature from Bourbon County were: J. C. Burnett, of Mapleton, Senator. Horatio Knowles, of Marmaton, S. B. Mahurin, of Scott, and J. T. Neal, of Osage, were the Representatives. James H. Lane and S. C. Pomeroy were elected United States Senators on the 4th day of April.
The population of the City of Fort Scott was now about 500. At the regular spring election for municipal officers the result was as follows:Mayor, Joseph Ray; Councilmen, H. T. Wilson, J. S. Redfield, A. McDonald and Chas. W. Blair; Clerk, William Gallaher; Treasurer, C. W. Goodlander; Recorder, J. S. Miller; Assessor, A. R. Allison; Marshal, R. L. Philips; Street Commissioner, J. G. Stuart.
The vote was 83, which indicated about the population of 500, as stated.
The Southern States had now nearly all seceded and their Provisional Government was in full operation at Montgomery, Alabama.
Still, the people of Bourbon County, in common with the entire North, laid the flattering unction to their
souls that in some way, or by some means, the impending war might yet be averted. The Governor of the State had appointed four commissioners to the Peace Convention, two of whom had voted for peace and compromise. Meetings were held in various parts of this county, all of which expressed sentiments of conservatism, and especially a spirit of conciliation towards the people of the neighboring State of Missouri living along our border. The leading Democratic citizens of Fort Scott united with the Republicans in a letter to James H. Lane, inviting him to come down and make a speech. He accepted, and came about the 15th of March, and spoke at a public meeting that day.
The attendance at the meeting was very large, and included many citizens of the adjoining portion of Missouri. Lane advocated the cultivation of amicable relations between the people of the two States. He advised the belligerent portion of the Kansas people to "get a bag of meal under the bed, a ham in the cellar, and a dress for the baby," before engaging in a war which would be certain to desolate and impoverish the whole country.
A few days afterwardsabout the 20tha large and enthusiastic meeting of the citizens of Linn and Bourbon Counties, Kansas, and Vernon County, Missouri, was held at Barnesville. It was presided over by H. G. Moore, Sheriff of Bourbon County. Byron P. Ayres, of Linn County, was secretary. James H. Lane, W. L. Henderson, A. B. Massey, J. T. Neal, Ben Rice, George A. Crawford, Chas. W. Blair, C. W. McDaniel, Geo. A. Reynolds, and A. Burton were
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appointed a committee on resolutions. The resolutions were conservative throughout. General Lane afterwards addressed the meeting in about the same tenor as in his speech at Fort Scott.
The circumstances attending this meeting,the congregation of a mass of men who had been so long in a whirling eddy of sectional discord,the appointment on working committees of men who had heretofore entertained such widely differing opinions,is worthy of historical note.
The old order of things had passed away. The public mind was adjusting itself on new lines; the political atmosphere was clearing upclear as a bell, and the bell had but one tone.
On the 12th of April, 1861, was fired the first gun of the civil war. By a singular coincidence the deed was performed by an old fellow with whose name we have become quite familiar. It was Ruffian. He was probably not the "Ruffian" of our acquaintance, but his act in pulling the lanyard over that old smoothbore Napoleon gun, which fired the first shot against Fort Sumpter, was the climax of the political doctrine that had been taught, not only to our Border Ruffian, but to the entire people of the South. The firing of that gun was the natural and logical sequence and culmination of that spiritthat political essencewhich the people of Kansas had contended against for four long years, and which the Government, and the
people of all the other states were to now take up on an appeal, and enter into a gigantic trial of another four year's duration.
The artillery "heard around the world" on that April day opened the greatest conflict the world has ever seen. It was the grandest, most momentous sound ever heard on earth. Artillery is God's own music. The reverberating thunder of artillery, the steady tread of contending hostsfierce, bloody warthese are God's instruments for the advancement and civilization of the human race, and have been since the days of Joshua.
Every war in every nation,every war between nations,cuts through the film of ignorance on the eyes of the people, and advances the banner of regeneration and disenthralment. The real camp followers are freedom, tolerance, invention, science. War breaks the fetters of the serf and the slave; it unyokes the woman from the plow team; it casts off the wooden sabots of the listeners to the Angelus.
After the war had actually commenced,after the first "overt act," as we called it, the conservatism, the doubts, the hesitation, of our people were laid aside, together with their politics. The Democrat, the only newspaper in the county, came out early and declared that it abandoned all party affiliations and announced itself "for the constitution and the union, and a supporter of the new Administration so long as it shall
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labor in the direction of their perpetuity." That was the universal sentiment. If war must come the feeling was not only to prepare for it but to prosecute it to the end. Our people realized, also, more nearly than those of other sections of the North the full import of what was to come. The "Ninety Day" theory of Secretary Seward met with no believers. The opinion was, also, often expressed, that the war would result in the extinction of human slavery on this continent.
On Thursday night, April 24th, there was a Union demonstration, the most enthusiastic yet held in the town. The demonstration was entirely impromptunine-tenths of those who took part in it being aroused from their slumbers at midnight. As each one joined the procession he was greeted with three cheers, followed by three times three for the Union. "The Red, White and Blue," "Star Spangled Banner," "Yankee Doodle," "Hail Columbia," and other patriotic airs were sung amid the wildest applause. All party feeling was buried beneath the glorious platform of National Union. It was a scene worthy of our town, and one long to be remembered with feelings of deep emotion by every true and loyal citizen.
At a meeting held in the office of C. W. Blair, Esq., Wednesday evening following, two volunteer companies were organized and the following officers elected: First companyCaptain, C. W. Blair; First Lieutenant, A. R. Allison; Second Lieutenant, R. L. Phillips; Third Lieutenant, Chas. Bull; Ensign, Wm. R. Judson. Second companyCaptain, A. McDonald; First Lieu-
tenant, Charles Dimon; Second Lieutenant, William Gallaher; Third Lieutenant, A. F. Bicking; Ensign, O. S. Dillon. The officers were elected by the combined vote of both companies, leaving each man to decide afterwards with which company he would connect himself.
There were two companies formed in Drywood township about this same time, under command of Captains Henry Coffman and E. J. Boring, and one company on the head of Lightning Creek officered by John T. McWhirt, Roswell Seeley, John Tully, John F. Gates and Sam McWhirt.
The first two Fort Scott companies were finally consolidated, and called themselves the "Frontier Guard." The boys started for Lawrence to be mustered into the service. At Lawrence Captain Blair was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2d Kansas, which was to be the regiment of the Fort Scott company. After a few days rest at Lawrence, the regiment left for Kansas City for muster-in. When they got to Wyandotte, about June 1st, most of the Fort Scott boys concluded they had seen enough service and returned home. The larger part of them, however, went into the army afterwards. "Frontier Guard No. 2" was raised soon afterwards by W. T. Campbell, and a company was raised on Mili Creek by Captain Hall.
All this was the usual preliminary business that occurred at that time all over the country, with the object of not only testing who really wanted to go to war, but who were prepared at short notice to leave home for an indefinite time.
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The Fourth of July had now come, and was quite a gala day in Fort Scott. It had been arranged that Fort Scott Guards, Nos. 1 and 2, should have a parade and drill, and several companies from the surrounding country were invited to join them. The company from Drywood (cavalry,) Capt. Boring, and Mill Creek company, (infantry,) Capt. Hall, responded to the invitation.
At 10 a. m. the Guards formed at their respective armories, and after a little marching and counter-marching, went out to meet and escort in Captain Boring's company. The field music was excellent. The Drywood boys were received with hearty cheers and escorted into town, where the Mill Creek boys were met and received with like cordiality. After dinner the cavalry was drilled by Captain John Hamilton, and the infantry had a battalion drill under E. A. Smith. At five o'clock the battalion was dismissed, and all parties returned to their homes, mutually pleased with the Fourth of July and each other.
On the 5th day of July the battle of Carthage was fought. This occasioned great alarm and apprehension. We had a war sure enough and it was getting uncomfortably close.
Shortly after the Carthage affair General Lyon authorized Captains W. T. Campbell and W. C. Ransom to raise two companies of one hundred men each, to serve as Home Guards. Then two other companies were raised by Captains Z. Gower and Lewis R. Jewell, and these four companies were the origin and foundation of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry.
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Transcribed from History of Bourbon County, Kansas : to the close of 1865 by T. F. Robley. Fort Scott, Kan.: Press of the Monitor Book & Print. Co., 1894.
| Tom & Carolyn Ward
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