The Kansas River runs along the northern boundary of Lecompton, a part of Wakarusa and Eudora Townships. The boundaries of the county as organized by act of the First Territorial Legislature, July, 1855, were defined as follows:
Beginning at the main channel of the Kansas River, at the northwest corner of Johnson County; thence south to the southwest corner of said Johnson County; thence west twenty-four (24) miles, to a point equidistant between the limits (embraced in the original plats) of the towns of Lecompton and Tecumseh.
The present boundary of Douglas County is as follows: Commencing at the northwest corner of Johnson County, in the middle of the main channel of the Kansas River, thence up the main channel of said Kansas River to the southwest corner of Leavenworth County; thence north on the west boundary line of Leavenworth County to the north line of Township 12; thence west on said north line of Township 12 to the middle of the main channel of the Kansas River; thence up the main channel of said river to the point where the line between the second and third tiers of sections in Range 17 crosses said river; thence south on the section lines to the corner of Sections 14, 15, 22 and 23, in Township 15 south, of Range 17 east; thence east on section lines to the southwest corner of Johnson County; thence north along the west line of Johnson County to the place of beginning
The Wakarusa River runs through the central part of the county from west to east, turns to the northeast in Eudora Township and empties into the Kansas River. The county is well supplied with springs, good well water bring obtained at a depth of twenty-five feet.
About twenty per cent of the surface bottom land and eighty per cent upland, the general surface of the country being gently undulating but occasionally breaking into abrupt hills. The average width of the bottoms is one mile. Ninety-four per cent is open prairie, six per cent forest, the timber belts ranging in width from a few rods to one mile.
The principle varieties of native timber are the ash, cottonwood, elm, hackberry, oak and walnut. The principle minerals found in the county are an excellent quality of building stone in great abundance, and of fire and pottery clay. Coal is believed to exist in fair quantity and quality at moderate depth; but little or none has yet been mined. The area of the county is 300,160 acres and there is very little waste land. The soil is exceedingly fertile, and produces all the cereals, timothy, clover and prairie grasses and fruit and forest trees in great luxuriance.
Previous to May 15, 1854, the county was not open to settlement by white people, being held by the Shawnee Indian as a part of their reservation under the treaty between them and the Government in 1825. On the former date a new treaty went into effect, by the terms of which the Shawnees reserved 200 acres to each member of the tribe, or 200,00 acres in all, most of it in Johnson County. The most of that lying in Douglas County selected by them under the treaty was embraced in Eudora Township, in the northeastern part of the county.
As soon as the land was thrown open to settlement, "squatters" came in from Missouri and from the Western and Northwestern States to secure claims, the region, now Douglas County, having been long known as a desirable location, from the fact that one of the great highways of travel between the East and California traversed its entire width. It was also the route over which the Pottawatomie trade mainly passed, one of the great crossings of the Kansas River being at the trading post of Uniontown, in what is now Shawnee County.
These, however, were not the first white men in Douglas County. In 1842, Gen. John C. Fremont, on his first tour of exploration to the Rocky Mountains, after leaving Cyprian Chouteaus's trading house on the Kansas River, six miles west of the Missouri line, on June 10, which trading house was in latitude 39 degrees 5' 57" longitude 94 degrees 39' 16", elevation above the sea, 700 feet - encamped near the present location of Lawrence on the 12th, and describes the spring near the residence of the late Bruce. He says of the location:
"We encamped in a remarkable beautiful situation on the Kansas bluffs, which commanded a fine view of the river valley, here from four to five miles wide. The central portion was occupied by a broad belt of heavy timber, and nearer the hills prairies were of the richest verdue."
Many other California emigrants passing over this route were particularly struck with the beauty of the scenery, and the magnificence of the view in the vicinity of Lawrence - among them Dr. Charles Robinson, who afterward became one of her pioneer settlers and most honored citizens. Along the California road, the first settlers located. This road entered Douglas County at the eastern line of what is now Eudora Township, at the crossing of the little stream then called Captain's Creek, and near the Methodist Mission of Dr. Still. Passing two miles west, Dish's Hotel was reached-a stopping place to which the Free-State settlers were always cordially welcomed by the Shawnee proprietor.
The road crossed the Wakarusa at the house of Blue Jacket, a Shawnee chief, about a mile east of the reserve line. Two miles from the crossing of the Wakarusa, the town of Franklin was afterward laid out on the claim of Mr. L. B. Wallace, formerly of Indiana. Associated with Wallace was a Virginian - Mr. Church, a famous violinist. Mr. Wallace's house was one mile west of the site of Franklin. About four miles further west, the road wound up a sharp prominence and "Hog Back Point" was reached, the future Lawrence lying just to the north. Six miles further was another rise in the prairie, the table-land then reached being near the locality of a famous spring, near where Judge Wakefield afterward settled.
Eight miles further on - the road still passing over the high prairie with a full view of the Kansas and Wakarusa Valleys to the north and south - the "forks" of the road, the future site of Big Springs was reached, and, a mile beyond, the road passed out of Douglas County. Among the settlers who came into the county and settled along and in the vicinity of this road in the spring and early summer of 1854, were the following: J. W. Lunkins, of South Carolina, April 13; A. R. Hopper, May 9; Clark Stearns and William H. R. Lykins, May 26; A. B. and N. E. Wade, June 5; J. A. Wakefield, June 8; Calvin and Martin Adams, June 10; J. J. Eberhart, June 12; Brice W. Miller, June 6; J. H. Harrison, June 124; H. S. and Paul Eberhart, June 15; S. N. Wood, June 24; Mr. Rolf, June 24; L. A. Lagerquest, July 4; James F. Legate, July 5; William Lyon, and Josiah Hutchison in July.
On the Wakarusa, south of the road, Joel K. Goodwin settled in May, and William Breyman, July 18.
T. W. and R. F. Barber settled near the site of Bloomington in 1855, and Oliver Barber at the same place, June 1. 1857. During the same month, John A. Bean, N. Alquine and M. Albin settled a little further west, where now is the village of Clinton, and a store was opened by the latter. As early as May, Napoleon N. Blanton was at Blanton's Bridge, which crossed the Wakarusa four miles directly south of Lawrence, and G. W. Zinn, A. W. and A. G. Glenn, M. S. Winter and William Shirley, were among the settlers of 1854 on the site of Lecompton. In the southeast of the county on the present site of Vinland, Jacob Branson, Charles W. Dow, Franklin N. Coleman, George Cutler, F. B. Varnum, William White, Josiah Hargus and Harrison W. Buckley, took claims during the year, and a little further south, at Baldwin City, was Robert and Richard Pierson, Jacob Cantrel and L. F. Green. Douglas, two miles south of Lecompton, was laid out on the claim of Paris Ellison, G. W. Clarke and others being associated with him as town proprietor; and late in the year, William Harper and John Chamberlain settled at the forks of the California road at Big Springs.
The account of the arrival of the Eastern emigrants and the settlement of Lawrence is given in that sketch of that city.
The early settlers, or "squatters" as they were called, that came into the Territory and selected claims, after the passage of the Nebraska bill, as far as possible, before the ratification of the treaties with the Indians throwing the land open to settlement, secured them by occupying or making improvements upon them. To further still protect themselves, associations were formed for mutual protection and support. In what was afterwards Douglas County, two of these associations were organized before the first New England party arrived in the Territory.
A call was issued for a meeting of the settlers at Blue Jacket's store on the Wakarusa, on July 8, 1854. The Free State settlers, understanding this to be a meeting of those friendly to making Kansas a Free State, attended the meeting so far as possible, but found it to be a meeting of squatters and claimants to adopt rules and regulations in regard to claims. A number of those present were strong Pro-slavery men, and desired to introduce resolutions against emigrants opposed to this institution, but the Free-soil element was too strong, and the difficulty was smoothed over by a compromise resolution to the effect that any person had a right to bring his property into the territory, of whatever kind it might be; and that when the Territory should have a population sufficient to form a State, the question of slavery could be settled by the will of the majority.
The author of the resolution, a young Pro-slavery lawyer, then made a speech welcoming men of all classes into the Territory and expressing his willingness to leave the future character of the State to the decision of the people. One of the more rabid Pro-slavery men present dissented from the resolution and speech, declaring his determination to fight to the last against Eastern men and the Massachusetts Emigrant Movement in particular. Richard Mendenall, the honored teacher at the Quaker Mission, was present at the meeting, and wrote the account from which these fact are taken. This was the formation of the Wakarusa Association, which was organized with a corps of officers and had its own rules and regulations. Anther association was formed called the "Actual Settlers' Association," composed, as the name indicates, of those who actually dwelt on their claims.
Of this John A. Wakefield, was President, and S. N. Wood, Register. As settlers came into the Territory, they joined either association, according to their preference. On the 12th of August, a meeting of the settlers was called, to meet at the house of Brice W. Miller, at "Miller's Spring," or Millersburg. This was an important meeting. The "Yankees" had now come into "Wakarusa" and it was necessary that rules and regulations should be made at once to suit the exigencies of the case. So, although the call was for a meeting of the "The Actual Settlers' Association," and although it was well known that a clause in the constitution of the society declared that "none but actual settlers should vote at its meeting" still, in spite of this, or, perhaps, because of this, the members of the other association were on the ground in full force. Settlers and claimants came in from all directions - some from a distance of forty or fifty miles - on mules, on horseback, in vehicles of all descriptions, bringing provisions and plenty of whiskey, and camping around in the vicinity of the house until the time appointed for the meeting. The following account of the meeting was written by one present and published in the Boston Commonwealth of August 28, 1854.
W. H. T. Wakefield writes concerning this letter: "I was one of the secretaries and still have the original manuscripts. There are many errors in above, but none of great importance. The meeting held at Miller's Spring, one mile from Lawrence, was on August 26, 1854; the first and only one held except a small preliminary meeting one week previous, at which nothing was done but to call this meeting." Mr. Wakefield is a son of Judge Wakefield, and a witness entitled to full credence; yet his recollection renders the above account anachronistic. The letter appeared in the Boston Commonwealth August 28, and was dated, Kansas Territory, August 14.
The letter is dated Kansas Territory, Monday, August 14, 1854 and is as follows:
According to previous notice, the Actual Settlers' Association of Kansas territory met at the house of Mr. Miller, at Millersburg, in said Territory, August 12, 1854. The meeting was called to order by John A. Wakefield, Esq., President of the Association, who also stated the object of the meeting to be a mutual conference of the actual settlers of Kansas Territory. Some confusion here ensued, as a majority of those present were from Missouri-not actual settlers in the Territory, but claimed a right to vote as members of another association, and as intended settlers of this Territory, having staked out claims.
Mr. Dunham, of Missouri, made a long speech in favor (as he said) of the right of Missourians to make laws for the government of Kansas, on the ground that it was their intention to settle here at some future time. Mr. William Lyon, of this Territory, replied, and much sparring here ensued between different parties. Suspicous-looking bottles occupied a conspicuous position before the meeting. The contents were freely imbibed by the gentlemen from Missouri seeming to produce on their side of the house a disposition to blow off a certain amount of bombast with the innocent intention, no doubt, of frightening this meeting into the belief that Kansas was, and actually is, within the boundaries of the State of Missouri. Failing this, they manifested a disposition to compromise the case, the bone of contention being a provision in the constitution or by-laws of the Actual Settlers' Association "that none but actual settlers should be allowed to vote at the meeting of the association".
H. D. Woodworth, Esq., of New Orleans, came forward and asked the privilege "as a stranger and looker-on in Venice" to throw in the "calumet of peace" he proposed the appointment of a Committee of Conference from each association, to retire and agree upon a plan of union. Mr. Cameron, of Kansas; here announced that the Wakarusa Association had appointed Messrs. Dunham, Lykins and Hayes, such a committee on the part of their association. the President appointed Dr. John Doy, Messrs. William Lyon and A. H. Mallory as a Committee for the Actual Settlers' Association and the committee were directed to retire and report forthwith. On motion of Mr. S. N. Wood, the meeting took a recess of half an hour. At the expiration of that time, the associations were again called to order by the President, both associations appearing and acting together. The Conference Committee then came forward and made a report (in which a majority agreed) which was adopted as follows:
WHEREAS, The laws of the United States confer upon citizens the privilege of settling and holding lands by preemption rights; and whereas, the Kansas Valley, in part, is now open for the location of such claims; and whereas, we , the people of the convention, have and are about to select homes in this valley, and in order to protect the public good, and to secure equal justice to all, we solemnly agree and bind ourselves to be governed by the following ordinances:
1. We recognize the right of every citizen of the United States, of lawful age, or who may be the head of a family, to select, mark and claim 200 acres of land, viz: 160 acres of prairie, and forty acres of timber land, and who shall within sixty days after the treaty is ratified, proceed to erect thereon a cabin, or such other improvements as he may deem best, and shall, within sixty days after the ratification of the treaties, enter thereon as a resident.
2. A claim thus marked and registered shall be good sixty days from the ratification of the treaty, at which time the claimant, if the head of a family, shall move upon and make his home on either the prairie or timber claims, which shall make them both good and shall be regarded so by the settlers. Single persons or females making claims shall be entitled to hold them by becoming residents of the Territory, whether upon their claims or otherwise. Any person making a claim as above shall be entitled to a day additional for every five miles they have to travel to reach their families.
3. No person shall hold more than one claim, directly or indirectly.
4. No one shall be allowed to enter upon any previously made or marked claim.
5. All persons failing to commence improving or entering thereupon within the time specified, shall forfeit the same, and it shall be lawful for any other citizen to enter thereupon.
6. Each claimant shall, at all reasonable times, hold himself in readiness to point out the extent of his claim to any person who may wish to ascertain the fact.
7. It shall be the duty of the register to put every applicant upon proof, oath, or affirmation, that the claim offered for registry is free from the claim of any other person.
8. Every application for registry shall be made in the following form, viz: "I apply for certificate of registry for claim selected and marked, on this _____day of ___, 1854, lying and being in ___, containing 160 acres of prairie and forty acres of timber land and declare upon honor that said claim was selected and marked, on the ___of ___, and that I am claiming but the one in my own right, and that it was not claimed or elected by any other person." To be signed by the applicant. Any person failing to make this certificate shall not be entitled to register.
9. We agree, upon the survey of the Territory, to mutually deed and re-deed to each other, so as to leave as near as possible as claimed.
10. The officers of this association shall be, one Chief Justice, on Register, one Marshall and one Treasurer.
11. The duty of the Chief Justice shall be to try and decide all disputed between settlers in reference to claims or otherwise, and to try all criminals or persons guilty of the violation of the laws of the Territory. The said Chief Justice shall always take justice between man and man as his guide; and upon the demand of either party shall summon a jury of six persons to try all disputes or violation of the law, the jury to be selected as follows, viz: The Chief Justice to write down the names of eighteen persons and each party to mark to mark alternately until six names only are left, the defendant marking first. The Chief Justice shall also act as President of all meetings of the association, and in his absence a President pro tem, shall be appointed.
12. The duty of the Register shall be to register all claims and other necessary matter, act as Secretary of all meeting of the association, and to act as Chief Justice in his absence or where he may be a party interested.
13. The Marshall shall execute all decisions of the Chief Justice or Juries, and shall see that the laws of the association are executed and shall have power, if necessary, to call upon all members of this association to assist in executing the same.
14. The limits of this association shall be the waters of the Wakarusa and Kansas Rivers, and the Territory between the same, from the mouth of the Wakarusa up to the Shawnee purchase.
15. It shall be the duty of the Marshall on the complaint of any citizen, by himself or Deputy, to summons and bring before the Chief Justice the parties for trial.
16. The officers of this association shall receive a suitable compensation for their services, which sum shall be decided by the association.
17. A Treasurer shall be appointed by the association, who shall give approved security for the faithful disbursement of all moneys that shall be received into the treasury.
18. The Treasurer shall be authorized to pay all drafts for the expenses of the association when presented to him, signed by the President and Secretary.
19. The officers shall be elected by the association, and, by a majority vote of the same, removed.
20. Officers of the association shall be residents of Kansas Territory.
21. The Coon River, Wakarusa and all other associations are dissolved from this date.
Dr. John Doy and Mr. William Lyon also made a minority report, in favor of an additional article, confining voting to actual settlers. A motion was made and carried, that both reports be received, and the committee discharged. Mr. Wood then remarked that he was in favor of harmony and wanted to be on both sides, and moved the adoption of both reports which motion was unanimously carried, and the reports adopted.
On motion of Mr. Dunham, the association then assumed the name of "The Mutual Settlers' Association of Kansas Territory." The association then proceeded to the election of permanent officers with this result: Chief Justice, John A. Wakefield; Register, J. W. Hayes; Marshall, William H. R. Lykins; Treasurer, William Lyon.
On motion of Dr. Doy, the money in the treasury of the Actual Settlers' Association, was ordered to be paid to S. N. Wood for his services as register.
On motion of H. Cameron, Esq., the association adjourned sine die.
The result of this meeting, as is seen, was a fusion of the two conflicting elements for purposes of mutual benefit. It broke up with the best possible feeling on both sides, each party asserting and half believing that they had gained a glorious victory, and yet, not quite sure but they might have been outwitted after all. That the Missourians were somewhat alarmed at the situation is evident from the fact that a meeting was called at Westport the following Saturday night (August 19), which was addressed by the same gentlemen who were the leaders at Millersburg (Messrs. Dunham and Woodworth). The object of this meeting was stated to be :
"To protect this frontier from the threatened invasion of the "pioneers" that have arrived and are still arriving through the agency of this Emigrant Aid Association, organized by the Abolition fanatics," etc. Mssrs. Dunham and Woodworth both made speeches urging upon the citizens of Missouri and the necessity of immediate action for the protection of their homes and property and picturing in vivid colors the dangers that threatened their beloved "institution." Mr. Woodworth "trusted that the citizens of Missouri, true to their early zeal for the institutions they had inherited, and the love and sanctity of their homes, would not supinely rest as they saw these institutions threatened, and their homes, endangered by a society of members so brazen as to seek to shield their iniquity by a "higher law" than overshadows the endearments of that enchanting word, "Home". His flowery speech had the desired effect, as through the remarks at this meeting, a "sentiment was awakened" in Westport, and "the people aroused to a sense of their danger."
INCIDENTS OF PIONEER LIFE
The first Eastern correspondent was S. N. Wood, who wrote to the National Era from Independence, Mo., June 20, 1854: "A dozen Free-soil families have commenced a settlement on Kansas River and a meeting of those friendly to making Kansas a Free State is called for July 8." On the 27th of June, he writes: "We arrived here about a week ago for the purpose of settling in Kansas, and contributing our mite to prevent slavery cursing the fairest part of creation. We have made one short trip to the Indian country, and satisfied ourselves that a man can get there most just such a farm as he pleases." In July, he says: "Emigrants are arriving in scores, tents are stretched all over the prairies, cabins are popping up in all directions. Labor is plenty. A man, though poor, is he can and will work, can do well here. A man with only a team is independent. But to those who have no means, who can't, or won't work, Kansas is no place for you."
When Capt. Harvey's men were taken prisoners after the battle of Hickory Point, September 13, 1856, they were indicted for various crimes and imprisoned at Lecompton. Capt. A. Cutler, of Lawrence, was made principal in the indictment for manslaughter, and eighty-eight from Lawrence were indicted for being present at Hickory Point, and under arms, on Sunday, the 13th of January. Among Harvey's men indicted for murder in the first degree was Thomas W. Porterfield, formerly of Preble County,. Ohio. He was charged as principal-others being accessory.
Mr. Porterfield had once been a soldier under Gen, Jackson. In the spring of 1856, he left his home in Ohio, on hearing of outrages committed in the family of his daughter in Kansas, and, shouldering his musket, came on .... to the Territory, at the age of seventy-two years, to take his part in the struggle. At the time the trouble occurred at Lecompton, which resulted in the death of Sherrard, the old gentleman was present, and the by-?? had much difficulty in restraining his indignation within the bounds of prudence, when Sherrard fired the first shot at Shepard.
In January, 1859, Dr. John Doy, his son Charles, and Mr. Clough, all of Lawrence, started from that city to conduct thirteen negroes by way of the Underground Railroad, through Nebraska, and taken refuge in Lawrence. The party was intercepted on the north bank of the Kaw, a few miles from Lawrence, and fifty miles from the eastern boundary of the Territory, by a treaty of Missourians and Pro-slavery Kansans and taken across the Missouri to St. Joseph, where, after a pretended examination before a Justice of the Peace, in default of $5,000 bail, Doy and his son were committed to prison in the Platte County Jail on a charge of stealing negroes from Missouri- a crime punishable with death, according to the statues of that State.
On Doy's first trial, the jury failed to agree; on the second trial, which took place at St. Joseph, June, 1859, the jury brought in verdict of guilty and Doy and his son were sentenced to the penitentiary for five years. Gov. Shannon and Gen A. C. Davis, of Kansas Territory, and Judge Spratt, of Platte County, Mo, had been employed as prisoners' counsel, and in accordance with a motion made by the defense, judgment in the case was arrested sixty days, and the prisoners remanded to the St. Joseph jail, from whence Charles Doy effected his escape. Doy's friends in Lawrence saw that the time had now arrived for them to attempt his rescue-before he should be removed from the jail at St. Joseph.
A party for that purpose was accordingly formed, led by Maj. James B. Abbott, now of DeSoto, Johnson Co., Kan., and consisting, besides himself, of Silas Soule, Joshua A. Pike, S. J. Willis, Joseph Gardner, John E. Steward, Thomas Simmons, Charles Doy, Lenox and George W. Hays. The party organized at Lawrence, and then dispersed to meet and arrange their plan of operations at Elwood, opposite St. Joseph. The party crossed the Missouri during the night of Saturday, July 23, a little below the St. Joseph ferry, and after remaining some little time in the city, under assumed characters, familiarizing themselves with the streets and localities, and establishing communication with the prisoner, they finally made their way to the jail on a dark night, and in the midst of a driving storm, and on pretense of securing a horse thief whom they had caught, and who could not well be examined before morning, induced the jailer to give them access to the interior of the building.
As soon as they had accomplished this purpose, they made their way to the cell of Dr. Doy, and prevailed upon the jailer, by the unanswerable argument of a loaded revolver at his heart, to offer no resistance to the consummation of their design. The prisoner was released, and the party proceeded, unmolested to the street, and by mingling with the crowds just leaving the theaters, and aided by the alarm and confusion occasioned by a fire alarm, succeeded in gaining the opposite shore in safety, where they were met by friends and conducted to Lawrence.
During the second week of February, 1859, a very exciting scene occurred in Lawrence. A general amnesty act had just been passed by the Legislature, and approved by Gov. Medary, exempting from prosecution all criminal offenses heretofore committed in the southeastern counties of Kansas, and dismissing all criminal actions already commenced. Prior to the passage of this act, the jurisdiction of the District Court of Douglas County had been extended over the counties of Linn, Bourbon and Lykins, for criminal purposes, and when the amnesty took effect, the grand jury then in session at Lawrence had issued a large number of subpoenas to the citizens of those counties, while the Marshals of the respective counties were instructed to bring all criminals held or arrested to Lawrence, for trial before the Grand Jury.
In accordance with orders, Deputy Marshal Campbell, of Bourbon County, started for Lawrence with sixteen prisoners and thirty-two witnesses. When he arrived at the Wakarusa he was met by a messenger from Lawrence informing him of the passage of the amnesty act, and with a copy of the same for him to read, but giving him no specific instructions in regard to the prisoners in his charge. The Marshal accordingly halted his posse and rode on to Lawrence to consult his superior, Marshal Colby, but, finding he had left town, he visited Gov. Medary, and, in accordance with his advice, returned to the Wakarusa, ordered the chains from his prisoners, and dismissed his posse and witnesses.
Some of the prisoners refused to be thus treated; they had worn the chains so far, and they chose to be taken into Lawrence with them on, and create as much sympathy as was possible. In the meantime, the element in Lawrence that always delighted in a sensation, and an excitement, had been busy at work, and before the Marshal reached the city, the "boys" were fully convinced that a "posse of Missourians" under the command of the notorious C. H. Hamilton, of Marais des Cygnes notoriety, was bringing to Lawrence a party of Free-state prisoners in chains. The inflammable portion of the populace was soon at fever heat, and, as the rumor spreads, crowds gathered on the streets, boiling and almost hissing with indignation.
The innocent posses of the Deputy Marshall, headed by Capt. John Hamilton, of Bourbon County, a stanch Free-state man, had decided that they would go on to Lawrence as they were so near, and not having any convenient place to store their arms on the Wakarusa rode up Massachusetts Street in a body, well armed and well mounted. The cry of "Hamilton, the murderer of Choteau's Trading Post," was raised, and the excited throng rushed pell-mell through the streets, down Massachusetts to Pinkey, down Pinkey to New Hampshire, and along New Hampshire to the outskirts of the town. Several shots were fired but no one hurt. The citizens disarmed the posse, and the parties returned to town, where, the mistake being made evident, the citizens, including "the boys" quieted down and listened to speeches from Gov. Medary and Jim Lane. All of the posse except two were Free-state men, and they were generally opposed to the jayhawking movements in Southern Kansas.
County Jail - The first building used for the confinement of county and city prisoners was a rough but substantial log structure 20 x 20 feet, located on the site of the old Methodist Church. The jail was built by the city in 1857, and answered its purpose until 1859-60, when the present building was completed.
At a meeting of the County Commissioners, December 18, 1858, the plans and specifications of J. G. Haskell, for a county jail were adopted. The jail, which was the first iron jail built in the State, was at that time considered the strongest structure of its kind in the West. It was completed in 1859, at an estimated cost of $18,000 by E. Jacobs & Co., of Cincinnati, Ohio. Although its accommodations were limited to forty prisoners, it has during times of "excitement" held over sixty. Three executions have taken place within its walls.
City Hall and Court House - Prior to the erection of the City Hall in 1869, the city and county business was transacted at different places in the city. The building, which is a handsome two-story brick structure, was built by the city at a cost of $32,000. It is known as the "City Hall" but in it are located all the county offices, city offices, court rooms, council chamber, and is also used as the headquarters of the fire and police departments.
Western National Fair Associations - At the annual meeting of the Old Settlers' Association, held in Bismarck Grove in 1879, preliminary steps were taken toward organizing an association for the purpose of holding a series of annual fairs at that place. A committee consisting of J. S. Emery and G. Leis, was appointed to confer with the Union Pacific Railroad Company for the purpose of securing the Grove, and their co-operation in making improvements. A second committee was also appointed by the Chamber of Commerce for the same purpose.
November 29, 1879, the society was incorporated under the name of the Western National Fair Association, with a capital stock of $15,000. The first Board of Directors consisted of the following named gentlemen: N. A. Adams, Riley County; J. F. Kenney, Trego County; William Martindale, Greenwood County; William Evalts, Douglas County; E. N. Morrill, Brown County; J. B. Anderson, Davis County; J. H. Rice, Miami County; G. A. Crawford, Bourbon County; I. C. Wasson, Franklin County; L. Savery, Lyon County; L. Wilson, Leavenworth County; George Leis, I. N. Van Hoesen, J. D. Bowersock, S. A. Riggs, Douglas County. First officers: J. F. Kenney, President; L. C. Wassen, Vice President; J. D. Bowersock, Treasurer; J. E. Riggs, Secretary.
The grounds, consisting of 333 acres-seventy-five acres of which are covered with natural groves-are situated one and one-half miles northeast of the city of Lawrence, on the line of the Union Pacific Railway. Upward of $100,000 have been spent in improvements by the company during the past three years, in the erection of magnificent buildings. Machinery Hall, Agricultural Hall, Art Hall, and the main building, stand as monuments to the genius of the architect. With a one mile race course, two thousand cattle stalls, pure water and other advantages, the grounds controlled by this association are not surpassed by any in the great West.
Under the management of its present officers- C. Robinson, President; M. J. Payne, First Vice-president; E. R. Purcell, second Vice President; J. Barker, Third Vice President; J. H. House, Fourth Vice President; C. F. Morse, Fifth Vice President; E. A. Smith, Secretary; J. D. Bowersock, Treasurer-the association is one of the strongest organizations of its kind in the State.
Old Settlers' Association - an informal meeting of the old settlers of Lawrence and vicinity was held at Lawrence, September 15, 1870., the sixteenth anniversary of the founding of Lawrence. An organization was formed and the following officers elected: Ex-Gov. Charles Robinson, President; J. A. Wakefield, Vice President; Joseph Savage, Secretary. Speeches were made by Senator S. E. Pomeroy, Gov. Robinson, Col. W. A. Phillips, Rev. C. Lovejoy, Col. D. R. Anthony, Maj. J. B. Abbott, James F. Legate and others. At their seventh annual meeting September 15, 1854, was the date decided upon, as the founding of Lawrence.
While the New England emigrants were thus arranging for homes and churches, and making what preparations they could for safety and comfort during the approaching winter, they found themselves involved in serious difficulty in regard to the title to a portion of the land upon which they had laid our their city. Minor difficulties of the sort had been overcome. In running their lines for farms, they had occasionally encroached upon the claims of prior settlers, and in the case of Nancy Miller, mentioned heretofore, the case of Mr. Robeson, a Missourian and others had been obliged to vacate what they supposed they had honestly claimed.
One cabin had been burned and a Methodist missionary, Rev. T. J. Ferill, of Missouri, who had started a little store, was turned out of house and home. These disturbances, however, caused no serious trouble, but were taken as a part of the unavoidable "squatter quarrels," and submitted to peaceably, if not good-naturedly. The "Yankees" often found they had really transgressed, when they were molested. But the difficulty in regard to the claims on the city site was no so easily settled, and retarded materially growth of the settlement for months. The circumstances, as gathered from the published letters of the pioneers and from the files of the local papers, in which the parties all had a hearing before the conflicting interest were finally settled and from other sources, were substantially given below.
On the 26th of May, 1854, Mr. Clerk Stearns and Mr. John Baldwin selected claims on what was afterward the town site of Lawrence; Mr. Stearns' being the quarter section lying on the river, on which the business portion of the town was afterwards built, and Mr. Baldwin's the adjoining claim east. On the same day Mr. William Lykins, a young man from Missouri, squatted upon the same quarter section as Mr. Stearns - neither being aware of the other's presence. Mr. Stearns built a log cabin, and resided continuously on his claim with his family.
Lykins laid the foundation of a cabin, went back to Missouri and filed a pre-emption claim in the General Land Office at Washington. On the 5th day of June, Mr. A. B. Wade made a third claim, on a less valuable portion of the town site, and commenced living upon and improving it. On the 6th of June, Mr. J. Wilson took a fourth claim and soon afterward, Mr. W. H. Oliver a fifth. When Mr. Charles Branscome visited the place in July and selected it as a location for the New England town, only Mr. Stearns and Mr. Wade were living on their claims. The others were absent, and Mr. Stears believed that Lykins, knowing himself (Stearns) in actual possession, had left without intention of pressing his claim.
Mr. Branscome, accordingly, as agent of the Emigrant Aid Company, purchased the claim of Mr. Stearns for $500 to be paid within sixty days, and which was paid on the 29th of September. Mr. Wade agreed to sell his claim for $100, to be paid at the expiration of sixty days. No arrangement was made with Mr. Baldwin, he not consenting to sell. On the arrival of the first or pioneer party, the site was claimed for town purposes and on the arrival of the second party in September, the claims above mentioned were included within the limits of the city site, as laid out soon afterward.
Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Lykins had, in the meantime, returned to Lawrence, prepared to contest their claims, which were now held by the Lawrence Association on the ground that the claim to the tract was made on the day the Indian title was extinguished and the first day the land was legally open to settlement; and that, being claimed as a town site, it was by law exempt from pre-emption. Mr. James Blood was sent to Washington as agent for the association to secure the claim, the boundary of the city including the contested claims. In the meantime, Baldwin associated with himself Messrs. Babcock, Stone and Freeman, men of some means and influence, and put his business into the hands of a speculator named Starr, who immediately proceeded to lay out a rival city, which he named Excelsior, on the claim; Mr. Baldwin and the Lawrence Association both occupying tents upon it, in proof of ownership.
The strife grew bitter and although purely one of conflicting property rights - the parties being nearly all Free-state men - was represented or misrepresented, to be a quarrel between the Pro-slavery men and Abolitionists. Matters stood thus; Mr. Baldwin occupying his tent, and the Yankees scowling defiantly at him across the ravine, until, on the 5th of October, notice was given that open war was declared, by the appearance of a wagon containing several armed men in the vicinity of the New England tent. Hostilities were commenced by a woman, a sister of Mr. Baldwin, it was stated, who speedily packed the obnoxious tent, with its contents into the wagon - the men with their rifles standing guard. As soon as they were discovered by the Yankees, who were at work in the neighborhood, the City Marshal, Joel Grover, not waiting for arms, rushed to the rescue, unarmed, followed by Edwin Bond, with a revolver.
The latter seized the horse by the bridle, ordering the surrender of the property, and others coming up, the intruders allowed the tent to be replaced, at the same time threatening to have 200 Missourians on the spot in a short time, when their designs would be accomplished. That night the Lawrence settlers organized what they called the "Regulating Band." to be ready for the next day's fray. Soon after dinner on the 6th, the "Missourians" by which all Southerners opposed to the aims of the Emigrant Aid Society were called, began to assemble in the neighborhood of Baldwin's tent, but open hostilities did not commence until 4 o'clock P. M. when the gage of battle was hurled at the Yankees in the shape of the following note:
KANSAS TERRITORY, October 6
DR. ROBINSON: Yourself and friend are hereby notified that you will have
one-half hour to move the tent which you have on my undisputed claim and
from this date desist from surveying on said claim. If the tent is not
moved within one-half hour, we shall take the trouble to move the same.
JOHN BALDWIN AND FRIENDS
The following pithy reply was instantly returned:
TO JOHN BALDWIN AND FRIENDS:
If you molest our property, you do it at your peril.
C. ROBINSON AND FRIENDS
E. D. Ladd first Acting Postmaster of Lawrence, tells the remainder of the story in a letter dated October 23, 1854, and published in the Milwaukee Sentinel. He says:
Prior to the notice, they had assembled to the number of eighteen, mounted and armed, at Baldwin's, the aggrieved man's tent, on the claim and about twenty rods from our camp. Upon the notice being served, our men - those who were at work about and in the vicinity of the camp - to the number of about thirty, stationed themselves about ten rods from the contested tent, the enemy being about the same distance from it, the three occupying the angles of a right-angled triangle, the tent being at the right angle.
Subsequent to the notice, a consultation was held at our position, between Dr. Robinson and a delegation from the enemy's post, which ended on our part with the proposition of Dr. Robinson, which proposition he had previously made, both to Baldwin and his legal adviser, or rather speculator, who wished to make a "heap of money," as the Missourians say, out of him, to submit the question in dispute to the arbitration of disinterested and unbiased men, to the adjuration of the squatter courts now existing here or of the United States Courts, and on the part of the enemy by the assurance that, at the termination of the notice they should proceed, at all hazards, to remove the tent and if they fell in the attempt, our fate would be sealed, our extermination certain; for 3,000 and if necessary, 30,000 men, would immediately be raised in Missouri to sweep us and our enterprise from the face of the earth.
It was all expressed, of course, in Southwestern phrases which I will not attempt to give. "The hour passed on," or rather the half hour, and in the mean time, our military company, formed the evening before, went through a variety of I don't want, out of respect for military science, to call them "evolutions," say we call them "manifestations," marching and counter marching, in single file and by platoons in a manner not to be excelled in greenness by any other greenhorns (in this business I mean) on the face of the globe, our captain himself being as green as the greenest. General, I fear for your buttons could you have seen them.
But there were strong arms and determined wills there. Had a man laid fingers on that tent, he would have been sacrificed instantly and had another single offensive movement been made by one of them, there would not have been a man left to tell the tale. Our company of thirty men had about 400 shots in hand, with their rifles and revolvers, and they would have used them to the last extremity. They had been annoyed by every means possible and even tauntingly told to their faces, a dozen of them together, that no Yankee, except Cilley, ever dared to fire.
Well, the half hour passed, and another quarter, the enemy in full view, in consultation, occasionally making a movement as if about to form in order for the execution of their threat, then seating themselves on the ground for further consultation, perhaps occasioned by the "manifestations" of our military. While thus waiting, John Hutchison asked Dr. Robinson what he would do if they should attempt to remove the tent? Would he fire to hit them or fire over them? Dr. R. replied that he should "be ashamed to fire at a man and not hit him" Immediately after this reply, a man who had been with the Free-state men and till then suppose to be one of them, went over to the other party, which soon after dispersed.
It was supposed at the time that the report of this spy brought the "war" to an end for that day. After the band had mounted and dispersed, the principals and principal instigators avoided our neighborhood. Some of the more honest dupes, however, seeing the absurdity of their position, and the reasonableness of our proposition, riding up to us, had a social chat, cracking jokes, etc. and then rode off with the determination formed, and more than half expressed, of never being caught in so ridiculous a farce again.
Several efforts were made, subsequent to that described above, to produce an open collision between the opposing parties. On the Monday following, a company of six armed men came into the neighborhood of Lawrence from Douglas, expecting to be joined by volunteers on the spot, and be able to make a hostile demonstration, they were disappointed, however, and retired in disgust. On Saturday, October 7, the day succeeding the outbreak at Lawrence, a convention for the nomination of Delegates to Congress was held at Tecumsah, and the news of the affair having reached that place, a committee was appointed to consider the case; resolutions were passed and an address to the settlers issued, desiring them to meet, the next Friday (the 13th) on Mr. Baldwin's claim for the purpose of "restoring to the oppressed and punishing the oppressor" The result of this circular was a small gathering of outsiders, who, instead of punishing anybody, very good-naturedly sat down on the grass under the trees, in company with the "oppressors" and listened to speeches from the self-constituted Congressional candidate, Squire J. B. Chapman, and from Messrs. Samuel C. Pomeroy, S. N. Wood and A. H. Mallory.
In regard to Mr. Chapman's speech there seemed to be a diversity of opinion - one of his hearers says: "I took paper and pencil to report his speech, and the report is words, words, words, and not one of us can tell what the gentleman has been aiming to impress on our minds, except the single fact that he wants our votes, which he will not get very soon." Mr. Chapman himself says (History of Kansas and Emigrant's Guide - 1855): "The day of battle arrived, and much anxiety was manifested. A large number of people assembled and Mr. C. addressed them on the political interests of Kansas and the necessity of peace and harmony. They all became absorbed in politics and relinquished the contest for a claim."
If, as Mr. Chapman flattered himself, he was the instrument appointed to restore peace and harmony to the troubled town, subsequent events did not prove it. Although the idea of settling the difficulty by force was apparently abandoned, the trouble was far from being removed. The matter was brought before Governor Reeder, Judge Lecompte and United States Land Commissioner Wilson, a remonstrance being sent to the latter, through Gen. Whitfield, and signed by Messrs. John Baldwin, A. B. Wade, E. Chapman, Simon Hopper, W. H. Oliver, W. H. R. Lykins and William M. Baldwin, protesting against their pre-emption claims being "interfered with by town rights."
The opinions expressed by the Governor and Commissioner being favorable to the claims of the first settlers, a compromise was effected in the spring of 1855, which was in substance that the city site should be one mile square, embracing the claim of Messrs. J. and W. Baldwin, Lykins and Chapman, the lots to be divided into 220 shares, 100 to be held equally by the four claimants, 110 by the Association and ten by the Emigrant Aid Society, two of the latter in trust for the benefit of a college to be erected in the vicinity. A Wyandot Float, covering 640 acres, was located on the city site, and a title in fee simple secured.
Although this settlement failed to give satisfaction to a part of the emigrants, it put an end to the bitter quarrel which had, according to the Herald Freedom, "hung like an incubus over the city for several months," prevented emigrants from settling there, and been a serious drawback to the growth and prosperity of the city. Subsequent investigation, however, led many to the belief that this compromise was not altogether necessary and it seems probable that, if Dr. Robinson had not then been absent at the East, it would not have been made. The Emigrant Aid Society purchased their claim from the original settler, Stearns, and the town site did not them include more than few acres belonging to the other claimants.
The Third Party of New England emigrants, in charge of Mr. Charles Branscomb, arrived in Lawrence October 8 and 9, while the claim difficulty was at its height, and the citizens threatened with further violence. According to the published statement of some of the party, the path to the promised land had been needlessly long and disagreeable and they arrived in a discouraged state of mind, which was not enlivened by the state of affairs just then prevailing in Lawrence. They left Boston on the 26th of September, arrived at St. Louis on the 3rd of October and a part reached Lawrence as stated, on the 8th and 9th. Others came from St. Louis on the Polar Star, in company with Gov. Reeder and suite, arriving at Kansas City on the 9th, when they met a part of those who had visited Lawrence, returning, disgusted, to home and good hotels.
Complaints were made, through the press, of the ill-treatment received on their route to Kansas, at the hands of the Emigrant Aid Society through its agent, who accompanied them, of the "lack of system" generally prevailing; of the difficulty of getting claims, "as the Emigrant Aid Society seizes the choicest sites, and is the only party really a gainer by the enterprise;" of the lack of religious privileges on the route, as "all day Saturday and Sunday straggling parties of men and women were wandering away into the prairie, forbidden by both purse and stomach to remain in Kansas City, and deprived of the privilege of spending the Sabbath like their forefathers of old, in thanksgiving for their safe arrival." T
he management of the hotel for the emigrants at Kansas city were severely criticized. About fifty of this party returned to the East. They came with extravagant expectations for which they were not altogether at fault; the accounts of the growth and status of the place being also extravagant, and calculated to create a false idea of being at the time a desirable home for any except those who were willing to endure the present for the sake of the great good which was to come. Lawrence may be thankful today, that many such came and coming, staid; that through "great tribulation," they remained faithful to the trust they had taken upon themselves, fought the good fight manfully and kept the faith even to the glorious end.
On the 9th of October, Charles Robinson, John Mailey, S. Y. Lum, A. D. Searle, and O. A. Hanscom were elected Trustees of the Lawrence Association and on the 17th, the city lots were drawn, and the owners commenced building upon them. The first frame house erected was owned and occupied by Rev. S. Y. Lum. The delay in getting the saw mill in operation, however, kept nearly all the settlers in log or shake houses through the first winter. The first store was opened by Mr. Paul Brooks, in a little cabin which was put up by one of the original squatters on the city site. The second was kept by C. S. Pratt.
On the 19th, a great event for the young city occurred - the visit of Gov. Reeder and party - who, on their way to Ft. Riley, stopped at the place, and were received with all the ceremony due the occasion. Mayor Robinson was, unfortunately absent, but Gen. Pomeroy was equal to the duty which devolved upon him. A platform "of four planks" was erected for the speaker and in behalf of the citizens, the General welcomed the distinguished guest"to their frugal board and tented homes," ending his speech as follows:
"Sir, in the name of all the interests we represent - in the name of our absent wives, sons and daughters (soon I hope to be here) - in the name of all the unshaven, weatherbeaten, yet noble countenances which now beam upon you - having emigrated from every State in this glorious Union, as well as from the mother-land, we give you a cordial, a hearty welcome." (Loud cheering) Gov. Reeder responded, thanking the General and citizens for the welcome, and after a short social interview, a dinner was served at the Pioneer Boarding House, under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Litchfield - Gen. Pomeroy presiding, with the Governor, heads of government, ladies and members of the Association on his right, and officers of city Government, strangers and settlers on his left. the toasts were started by Mr. Lincoln, with "The Lawrence Association" responded to by Gen. Pomeroy, who closed with the sentiment:"Gov. Reeder - his administration, first in time, first in importance, may it also be first in the hearts of the people," Judge Elmore responded to the toast given by Gov. Reeder - "The judiciary of Kansas Territory." Judge Elmore gave "Strong Arms and True Hearts," responded to by Mr. Willis. "The moral and religious interests of Kansas, " by Mr. Emery, was responded to by Rev. S. Y. Lum. "The mechanics of Lawrence, our comforts await your labors," by Mr. Lum, drew forth a response from Mr. Mallory, who gave "The political aspects of Kansas Territory," replied to by Mr. Emery. "The merchant, the pioneer of enterprise," was responded to by C. S. Pratt, and the toast"the ladies of Lawrence, the land of beauty, the fit home of beauty," which was given by Judge Johnson, of Ohio, was responded to by Mrs. S. N. Wood, "in an eloquent, earnest, interesting and womanly style, which gave great satisfaction to all." her response closed in these words:"Woman's sphere is wherever there is a wrong to make right, a tear to wipe away, a good work to carry forward. And "tis here to guard our beautiful State from the invasion of wrong, oppression, intemperance, and all that tends to debase and demoralize mankind. Yes, Kansas must and will feel that woman has an influence, and that influence on the side of God and truth." Other toasts were responded to - Mr. Hutchison in behalf of the bar; Dr. S. C. Harrington, of the medical profession; Mr. S. N. Wood, the "Kansas pioneer;" Mr. Lincoln, "Agriculture;" and Rev. Mr. Ferill said, and time unfortunately did not prove him a true prophet;" Fellow citizens, being a Missourian by birth and education, I truly thank you for the sentiment just expressed. it shows at once, that sectional animosities are to be unknown among us; and that, coming together as we do from all parts of the world, we are to unite heart and hand, making the interests of Kansas, and cheerful homes for ourselves, our greatest objects; forgetting that we are from Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri, or any other State, and remembering only that we are citizens of Kansas."
Gov. Reeder closed the exercises with a complimentary speech, which was received with repeated cheers, and then, accompanied by Gen. Pomeroy and others, visited "Capitol Hill," which he had been especially invited to visit, being assured that it would be "cheerfully yielded up to him for his official consecration."
EVENTS OF 1855
On the first day of the new year, steps were taken for founding a college, stakes being driven and stone hauled to the site of the Old University building by the agent and at the expense of the Emigrant Aid Society. Socially, the citizens celebrated the day by a banquet at the boarding house of Litchfield & Burleigh. Before the close of the month, this house was partially burned - the roof taking fire and the flames spreading to and burning a portion of the interior. Mr. Litchfield, wife and son and a daughter of Mr. Burleigh were lying very sick at the time in the house.
On the 16th, Mr. Edward P. Fitch opened a free school - the first school in the city and county, in the rear end of Dr. Robinson's office, commencing his school with about twelve scholars. On the 18th, a meeting of the citizens was held in the school-room and Dr. Robinson, Dr. Doy and J. S. Emery appointed a School Committee for the ensuing year. Mr. S. F. Tappan was chosen Clerk and money was raised to carry on a school three and a half months. The office was entirely destroyed by fire on the 22nd - Dr. Robinson saving his books, however, and Mr. Fitch his school books and seat.
At the opening of the new year, the claim difficulties, which have been alluded to, were still unsettled; the citizens were divided into three parties - the Lawrence Association, in connection with the Emigrant Aid Society; the citizens who sympathized with the association, but were not members of it, and those opposed to the policy and operations of the society. The two former classes were called "insiders" and the latter "outsiders." All through the fall, the excitement was kept up by acts of aggression committed by irresponsible members of both parties. Before the New Englanders arrived, the timber claims were nearly all taken by the squatters, and doubtless, in their need, the former sometimes helped themselves to that which did not grow exactly within their own bounds.
On the other hand, the emigrants who came in to actually settle and make a home, looked with longing eyes on the vacant claims set side in Lawrence for the use of the "Society" to be sold at some future time, as they believed, at prices perhaps beyond their means - and the longing sometimes developed into appropriating. Claims were "jumped" and rejumped until, in some respects, Lawrence became a sort of gymnasium, the prizes being secured by the most agile performers. In January, 1855, the troubles culminated in a call by the "outsiders" for a general mass meeting in which their grievances could be discussed.
At the opening of the Territory to settlement, people from Missouri rushed over the line and staked out nearly all the timber and other desirable claims, but did not occupy them, many being residents of Missouri even to this day; hence the claim difficulties chiefly arose in consequence of non-residents appearing after the land had been selected and occupied by Eastern settlers, and setting up claims, although no improvements had been made as contemplated by law. It was evidently the purpose of the Pro-slavery men to leave no room for an anti-slavery settler, and the doubtless hoped by means of squatter difficulties to harass and drive Eastern men from the Territory. It was really a political movement rather than honest claim disputes.
The following is a verbatim copy of hand bills announcing the meeting which were stuck up in every prominent place in the city and on the cabin doors of the squatters for miles around:
Territorial Indignation Meeting
We, these sovereign people of Kansas Territory, are requested to meet at Lawrence City on Thursday, January 11th, at 11 o'clock A. M. to adopt measures that will protect us from all moneyed associations or influences, also the tyrannical encroachments daily made by the Lawrence Association. On which occasion there will be speeches made to vindicate the squatter's right of pre-emption and the protection of his claim until entered.
The meeting was held according to call, John A. Wakefield being appointed President, and Clark Stearns and T. S. Gavin, Vice Presidents. It was attended by about 250 persons. It was a very stormy meeting and withal must have partaken somewhat of the ludicrous, as may be imagined when the effect of the following preamble and resolutions, as read by a person unfortunately afflicted with an impediment in his speech, is considered. The report is given as a literary curiosity worth of preservation in the annals of early Lawrence history:
Fellow Citizens; The assemblage of the sovereign people on this day by a spontaneous impulse, and for a common purpose, is a most glorious spectacle. And we too, friends and neighbors are together. The toils and cares of our daily avocations are laid aside; the disquietude and strifes that vex our poor humanity shall be lost in the mutual recognition of one grand settlement; and the turbulent, selfish interest here manifested for a period, under the overshadowing spell of sectional influences, which gloom pervades the hearts of men, whose actors, upon the grand rostrum of the future, chose as their talisman the sovereign ear whose compunction some slight affectionate caress of every victim of the oppressor triumph as the idol of their vain madness, and of their midnight orgies, which forever crush the rights of this people.
We have been weak - now, in justice, we are strong; more imposing than that of forty centuries from the old pyramids - the intellectual and progressive years of self-government of a free people. The fraternal influences - what are they? and why are we here this day? A handful of men on the western bank of the remotest tributary, whose waters pay homage to the Father of Waters, and yet only in the center of this immense confederacy, whose shade is a refuge for all nations of the earth, and the free breezes that unceasingly sweep through its branches, over the silent sepulchers of those who fought the good fight, and proclaimed to the world to be a free, independent and sovereign people. The seeds which they planted with tremulous apprehension are here this day, commingling their patriotic rebukes against that mercenary morbidness which characterizes the Lawrence Association as stock-jobbers and money-getter men of exchanges, and coteries and self-interest-covered from head to foot with the leprosy of materialism, until it shall submerge all opposition, by secret and unjust invasions, which, from their first advent in Kansas Territory up to the present, is opulence, title and despotism, with civil feuds, disserving all fraternal affections. We, the sovereign squatters, proclaim the manifesto of our absolute authority, and an inexorable interdict to every despotic invader upon our right, secured, and sanctified by the Congress of the United States. "Thus far shalt thou go, and go no further." We, the sovereign squatters, stand forth boldly upon our commanding eminence - the highest law of the land.
Compromising the plighted faith of the Government, that the land we now occupy shall be our future homes, upon which eminence we this day invite, for the last time, the false Belshazzar, who, with restless gaze, views the dauntless energy, which guides us to this grand consummation.
After a recital of various causes of complaint, the occupancy of claim belonging to "sovereign squatters" by the association, the cutting of timber on their claims by members of the same, with the consent of the "talisman, C. Robinson, or in justice termed the false Belshazzer, "whose" fell spirit no human means can reach with those fraternal affections untarnished by former dishonorable acts, not obscure to us, the sovereign squatters who are here this day. With one united voice, now and forever, we spurn with indignation the course here taken by the Lawrence Association who disregard and trample upon the laws that give us the right of pre-emption, and secures to us our homes and those comforts which our industry many accumulate; nor do we believe the Congress of the United States will allow such lawless and tyrannical encroachments secured by a heterogeneous mob to invalidate the right of our pre-emption." a set of resolutions followed the above preamble, concurring in and sustaining the sentiments expressed, two of them reading as follows:
1. Resolved, That, we have in good faith settled upon Government lands belonging to the United States, in view of pre-empting said lands according to the Act of September 4, 1841. Further, we mutually pledge each other to defend by law, and by force, if required, each and every squatter from lawless intruders who cut timber without permission or build upon our claims."
2. Resolved, That while we condemn the encroachments and usurpations of all oligarchies and moneyed aristocracies, we regard alike the rights and extend hearty welcome to all desirous of settling in our beautiful Kansas, whether from the North, South, East, or West.
Many who attended this meeting were diametrically opposed to the proceedings and to the resolutions adopted, and to make sure that their position should not be misunderstood, a meeting of the citizens, not members of the Lawrence Association was held at the "Church" on the 16th which denounced the proceedings of that on the 11th as being "held and conducted in a one-sided, indecent, mob-like manner, and wholly opposition to justice, right and honor" and that as "the endeavor was made to make us responsible for those proceedings, we therefore disavow all complicity or assent thereto and denounce the originators as demagogues." The course pursued by the Lawrence Association was endorsed by the meeting of which S. J. Willis was President: Dr. J. F. Merriam, Vice President; Messrs. Stewart, Burgess, Ladd, Pillsbury, Hartwell and Lowe, Vice Presidents.
The resolutions adopted were presented by Messrs. Ladd, Emery, Doy, Mailey, Hutchison, Mace, Searle, Simpson and Tappan, the third and fourth of which were as follows:
3. Resolved, That the organization of the Emigrant Aid Society has been of exceeding great benefit to the transmission of emigrants to this Territory; and their establishing an agency in this city, and their investment of capital therein, has been of a decided advantage to the place toward its rapid growth, providing for the wants and alleviating the trials of the settlers, and believe that their efforts thus far have been entirely disinterested; and we therefore most cordially invite them to remain and continue their operations among us, at the same time assuring them of our sincere approval of the past and of our co-operation in the future.
4. Resolved, That we, as citizens of Lawrence, particularly approve of the course pursued by the Lawrence Association toward the Emigrant Aid Society, in extending an invitation to that company to invest their capital here, and the basis upon which they are allowed to operate; and we shall duly respect their city rights, and support them in all lawful and liberal movements.
At the same meeting the Committee of the Lawrence Association, by their Chairman, Mr. J. Hutchison, reported the following resolutions which were accepted:
5. Resolved, That while believing there is no legal redress for trespasses committed upon unsurveyed lands, we have never as an association approved of cutting timber upon individual claims, made in good faith; but we fully discountenance such acts, believing them to be contrary to equity and good order.
6. Resolved, That as the law holds a man's domicile no less sacred and inviolate than his person, we regard all persons who shall molest or destroy houses erected, or in process of erection, as men guilty of a heinous offense and regardless of the law of the land..
7. Resolved, That while we uphold only justice and good order, we believe that neither the Lawrence Association nor their officers are accountable for individual acts, civilly or politically and that the late attempts to bring this association into bad repute and to cast upon us a stigma as undeserved as it is unjust, will bring down threefold odium upon the heads of the vile perpetrators.
Dr. Robinson, toward the close of the meeting, made a short and sensible speech, refuting some of the charges made against him, counseling his hearers of the damages of quarrels among themselves, and impressing upon them the duty and necessity of union; that they might, "with voice and hand and means combined, defend these hills and valleys, these rivers and broad prairies from the curse of human bondage, and the chains of slavery."
FIRST FREE STATE SOCIETY
A preliminary meeting for the purpose of organizing a Free State Society, "which should use all its influence for the prohibition of slavery in Kansas," was held at the residence of Dr. Wood, in Lawrence, January 29, 1855. S. S. Snyder, Chairman; John Speer, Secretary. The committee appointed to prepare a constitution, etc., consisted of the following gentlemen: R. G. Elliot, W. Tacket, J. F. Wilson, S. Y. Lum, A. Fitch, S. C. Safford, S. C. Pomeroy, J. Speer, C. Stearns, E. D. Ladd, S. J. Willis, E. Chapman, S. F. Tappan., J. Garvin. The society was fully organized on the 1st of February, at the Lawrence House, the officers elected being R. G. Elliott, President; H. C. Safford, Vice President; John Speer, Corresponding Secretary; E. D. Ladd, Recording Secretary; S. N. Simpson, Treasurer; L. J. Ferril, Amos Finch, S. Y. Lum, S. N. Wood, Norman Allen, Executive Committee.
With the spring of 1855, the final settlement of the title to the land upon which the city was located, and the commencement of the spring immigration, came a new start in the growth of the place. On the 10th of March, there was a meeting of the members of Union School District when the committee previously appointed to select a site for a schoolhouse, reported that they had chosen one on Mr. Frye's claim, and that the material to build the body of the same would be on the ground before the 31st; also, that enough had been subscribed to build the body of the house.
The Building Committee was Messrs. Adams, Yates and Waterman. This meeting was supplemented by one held on March 31. After the body of the building had been erected, when officers were elected, and rules adopted to govern school matters in the district during the succeeding year, Martin Adams, William Yates and Robert Allen were elected Trustees; Robert Hughes, Collector, and R. H. Waterman, Clerk. Among the regulations of this, the first School District, in Lawrence, was one making it the duty of the Trustees to "make out the rate bill of each individual and in case such rate bill was not paid, to sue for the same" The Trustees also to have possession and control of the schoolhouse, which was to be open for religious meetings and Sabbath schools, without regard to sects, except in school hours.
One provisions reads: "It shall be the duty of the trustees to ascertain as near as may be, the amount of wood necessary for each scholar, and give notice to those intending to send to school; and in case any one neglects or refuses to furnish his appropriation of wood, the trustees shall furnish it and charge it in his rate bill." It was voted at this meeting that the roof, doors and windows of the schoolhouse should be completed on or before the 1st day of May."
During this month, Dr. Robinson replaced the sod and thatch office which was burned, with a two-story frame 25X35, on Massachusetts street. He also commenced about this time his house on Mount Oread, which S. N. Wood and G. W. Deitzler preserved from destruction before its completion by a party headed by Dr. Wood and which was burned by Jones' posse a year later, when Lawrence was sacked. Rev. G. B. W. Hutchison put up a concrete building for store and public hall, two stories high and fifty feet square.
Messrs. Hornsby and Ferril built a one-story frame building on Massachusetts street and put in a stock of goods. Three mail routes were established connecting Lawrence - a route from Westport to Whitfield passing through Lawrence and Osawatomie to Ft. Scott, and a third from Kansas City to Lawrence. Blanton & Litchfield also established a semi-weekly line of hacks between Lawrence and Kansas City. The frame hotel on Main street, which was commenced in the fall was boarded and ready for customers; a clothing house was opened on Main street by Wright & Ballou, the "New Great Western Clothing House."
A barber, Mr. Leis, came to town and saw a fine field for operations and concluded to stay; the first brick was made by Messrs. Hammon & Page; and to supplement the labors of the barber, the "Lawrence Hydropathic and Hygenic Society" was formed, E. D. Ladd, President; G. W. Brown, Vice President; S. N. Wood, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. Johnson, Recording Secretary; Miss Gleason, Treasurer; Mrs. Wood, Librarian. It was proposed to found a water cure establishment in the vicinity, but the troubles that soon came thick and fast upon Lawrence, prevented the execution of this, with many other good designs.
On the 30th of March occurred the election of Councilmen and Representatives from the First District to the First Territorial Legislature. During this month, the first party of Eastern emigrants arrived in the midst of a bitter cold snow storm. The want of lumber ad saw mills was still a great drawback, but concrete houses were commencing to take the place of wood, and it was not long before two more saw mills were started - one by Deitzler & Shimmons and the other by Hunt & Hunt. A great number of houses were framed and waiting for boards to be sawed.
About sundown on the evening of the 20th of May, the citizens, who had congregated in great numbers on the Levee, were delighted to see the little steamer, "Emma Harmon," arrive at the Levee, bringing a number of passengers and considerable freight. The next day about noon, the "Financier" and "Hartford" arrived. All the boats were bound for Fort Riley. The "Emma Harmon" turned back at Topeka and the other two proceeded up the river. It was decided that the "Emma Harmon" should make regular trips between the mouth of the river and Lawrence, but on her second return trip she ran aground on a sand bar and was deserted by the captain and officers, leaving the owner, Mr. Knox, to dig her out. The boat was extricated by him and made regular trips between Kansas City and Lawrence during the summer of 1855.
During the year, Methodists made efforts to build a house of worship on Vermont street; Rev. Mr. Griffing working energetically for the purpose of raising subscriptions for the same, but the effort was not a success at that time. Rev. E. Nute was sent to Lawrence in the early spring by the American Unitarian Association and had been holding meetings in the open air, through the summer; mostly on Mount Oread, "in the shade of Dr. Robinson's house."
The Unitarians made an effort to erect a church edifice in the fall; the building to be of composite, 40 x 60, with a basement and gallery. The excavation was made for the basement, and a portion of the building material put on the ground, but this enterprise also was delayed in consequence of the political troubles of the coming months. The structure which was erected by the Emigrant Aid Society in October, 1854, and which had served as eating-house and shelter for hundreds during the succeeding winter, also as the "church" for the settlement was destroyed by fire, September 13, 1855. It was used as a habitation up to the time of its destruction.