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Border Disputes and Warfare

Border Disputes and Warfare > Significant Incidents > Battle of Osawatomie (Aug. 30, 1856)
12 Topic Specific Items
Letter, Sister M. [Martha] L. Davis to Brother and Sister [Samuel and Florella Adair]
Author: Davis, Martha Lucretia Brown
Date: June 8, 1856

Martha provided information on the death of Father Brown. She also wrote that they had heard of the conflict at Osawatomie and that "John and two of his sons" had been arrested. She expressed anxiety for their safety.

Keywords: Adair, Florella Brown; Adair, Samuel Lyle; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Davis, Martha Lucretia Brown; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Osawatomie, Kansas Territory

Copy of letter, S. L. Adair to Mrs. H. L. Hibbard
Author: Adair, Samuel Lyle
Date: August 14, 1856

Adair, writing from Osawatomie, reported on conditions in Kansas. Mrs. Hibbard was the president of the Woman's Kansas Aid and Liberty Association of Chicago, Illinois. He reported that many recent emigrants were ill and others were using up their reserves to help others, hoping they would be repaid by aid received in Kansas. He also reported that a group of Georgians camped near Osawatomie and ran off more than 18 horses. Some free state men were prepared to confront them but they left the area. Adair wrote of rumors that a large force was coming to burn Osawatomie.

Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Chicago, Illinois; Emigration and immigration; Free state perspective; Hibbard, Mrs. H. L.; Illness; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Migration, internal; Osawatomie, Battle of; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Proslavery activities; Proslavery settlers; Women

Letter, H. J. Strickler to [Thomas N.] Stinson
Author: Strickler, Hiram Jackson
Date: September 2, 1856

Hiram Jackson Strickler, adjutant general of Kansas Territory, writing from Lecompton, Kansas Territory, briefly described for Thomas N. Stinson the Battle of Osawatomie that took place on August 30, 1856. In the battle, pro-slavery forces led by John W. Reed defeated free state forces led by John Brown. Brown's son Frederick was killed in the engagement. Strickler's comments indicated that he held a pro-slavery perspective.

Keywords: Battles; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Osawatomie, Battle of; Proslavery perspective; Reed, John W.; Stinson, Thomas N.; Strickler, Hiram Jackson; Town companies

Letter, John Brown to Dear Wife [Mary Brown] & Children every one
Author: Brown, John , 1800-1859
Date: September 7, 1856

Just over a week after the Battle of Osawatomie, John Brown wrote his family from Lawrence about the death of "our dear Frederick" and the ensuing engagement, in which Brown himself was slightly wounded. Brown's small force "killed & wounded from 70 to 80 of the enemy" before escaping, and through it all "Jason fought bravely by my side."

Keywords: Border ruffians; Brown, Frederick; Brown, Jason; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; Free state militia; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Osawatomie, Battle of; Weapons (see also Guns)

Letter, Your Affectionate Son & brother [John Brown, Jr.?] to Dear Father [John Brown] & Brother
Author: Brown, Jr., John
Date: September 8, 1856

Still in the custody of territorial officials, John Brown, Jr., wrote to express his remorse upon learning of the death of his brother Frederick--at least he was relieved to learn that his father and Jason were safe, as early reports had them dead or missing. "Poor Frederick has perished in a good cause!" wrote John, Jr., "the success of which cause I trust will yet bring joy to millions." He then wrote of his forthcoming trial and possible plan to "escape in case it should appear best."

Keywords: Blood, James; Brown, Frederick; Brown, Jason; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; Brown, Wealthy; Cato, Sterling G.; Courts; Free state cause; Geary, John White, 1819-1873; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompte, Samuel D. (Samuel Dexter), 1814-1888; Missourians; Osawatomie, Battle of; Sickness (see Illness); United States. District Court (Kansas Territory)

Testimony of Thomas Bedoe
Author: Hyatt, Thaddeus
Date: December 2, 1856

The testimony of Thomas Bedoe, a portion of the Journal of Investigations of Kansas, was apparently collected by Thaddeus Hyatt, president of the National Kansas Committee. It describes in detail the time Mr. Bedoe spent serving in the free state militia in the Osawatomie and Lawrence areas. He was a part of the Battle of Osawatomie and this account provides valuable information about the events preceding the battle.

Keywords: Battles; Bedoe, Thomas; Border disputes and warfare; Border ruffians; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Fort Saunders, Kansas Territory (see also Camp Saunders); Free state activities; Free state militia; Hyatt, Thaddeus; Osawatomie, Battle of; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Shombre, Henry J.; Shore, Samuel T.; Skirmishing; Stanton, Kansas Territory; Topeka, Kansas

Letter, G. Garrison to My Dear Friend and Nephew [Samuel Adair]
Author: Garrison, Gamaliel
Date: Probably December 15, 1856

Mr. Garrison wrote from Yellow Springs, Ohio, after returning from Osawatomie. He mentioned the death of David Garrison and Frederick Brown, who had both been killed in the conflict in Kansas. Garrison wrote that he had expected all his sons to settle in Kansas and that David's wife Rachel still speaks well of the country. He hoped that it would be possible to hold on to David's claim for his heirs.

Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Brown, Frederick; Garrison, David R.; Garrison, Gamaliel; Garrison, Rachel A.; Land claims; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Ohio; Osawatomie, Battle of; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Yellow Springs, Ohio

Letter, R. A. G. [Rachel Garrison] to Dear Friends (Samuel Adair]
Author: Garrison, Rachel A.
Date: December 16, 1856

Rachel Garrison, David's widow, is writing from Yellow Springs, Ohio, with instructions to Samuel Adair on how to settle her family's affairs in Kansas. She wants to try to hold on to her claim but hopes to sell a wagon for $100 and to collect on a note for $40. Sometimes she feels like she wants to return to Kansas. Her husband David was killed in the Battle of Osawatomie.

Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Brown, Jason; Casualties; Garrison, Rachel A.; Land claims; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Ohio; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Yellow Springs, Ohio

Account of the Battle of Osawatomie
Author: Brown, Spencer Kellogg
Date: c. 1856

This account of the battle and its aftermath, written by Spencer Kellogg Brown, was compiled from his shorthand diary. It describes the battle and his experiences as a young teenager taken prisoner by pro-slavery forces. He traveled with the Missouri troops and their other prisoners, and then for several weeks he lived under house arrest with Dr. James Keith from Lexington, Missouri. This particular account is unique because it gives very detailed descriptions of how ordinary citizens became entangled in the fighting.

Keywords: Brown, Frederick; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; Brown, Spencer; Garrison, David R.; Keith, James; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Missourians; Osawatomie, Battle of; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Prisoners; Sears, W. A.; Westport, Missouri; White, Martin

Kansas Experience of George Cutter
Author: No authors specified.
Date: January 1, 1857

This reminiscence is presumably from the Journal of Investigations in Kansas, which was compiled by the National Kansas Committee under the leadership of Thaddeus Hyatt. George Cutter was with Frederick Brown shortly before the Battle of Osawatomie, and like Brown, he was wounded during an altercation with border ruffians. While he was not directly involved in this battle, this reminiscence is still a rather fascinating account.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Adair, Samuel Lyle; Agriculture; Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Battles; Border disputes and warfare; Border ruffians; Brown, Frederick; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Casualties; Cutter, George; Darrach, Barstow; Everett, John R.; Fort Titus, Battle of; Franklin, Kansas Territory; Free state activities; Free state perspective; Gillpatrick, Rufus; Horses; Hyatt, Thaddeus; Land claims; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Massachusetts; National Kansas Committee; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Proslavery activities; Reid, John W.; Sears, W. A.; Shore, Samuel T.; Skirmishing; Topeka, Kansas; Violence; Violent deaths; Weapons (see also Guns); White, Martin; Wounds and injuries

Letter, R. A. G. [Rachel Garrison] to Dear cousin [Samuel Adair]
Author: Garrison, Rachel A.
Date: February 23, 1857

Rachel Garrison wrote to Samuel Adair that she had a little daughter two months old, which meant she was pregnant when her husband David was killed in the Battle of Osawatomie in August, 1856, and when she returned to Yellow Springs, Ohio. She also mentioned her other daughter, Jania, She was hoping Adair could hold on to the claim the Garrisons pre-empted until it could be entered at the land office. She also listed items she would like Adair to sell for her. The same letter also contained correspondence from James Garrison.

Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Garrison, James; Garrison, Rachel A.; Land claims; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Ohio; Osawatomie, Battle of; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Preemption law United States; Yellow Springs, Ohio

Letter, R. [Rachel] A. Garrison to Dear Cousin [Samuel Adair]
Author: Garrison, Rachel A.
Date: April 17, 1857

Rachel Garrison, the widow of David, wrote Samuel Adair about the family's land claim in Kansas. She noted that a new pro slavery "skamp" (Walker) had been appointed as territorial governor. She inquired if Mr. Day took 500 rails from her claim and that if he did, he should replace them. In a post script, she asked Adair to subscribe to the Herald of Freedom and have it sent to her.

Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Garrison, Rachel A.; Herald of Freedom; Land claims; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Osawatomie, Battle of; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

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Copy of letter, S. L. Adair to Mrs. H. L. Hibbard
Authors: Adair, Samuel Lyle
Date:  August 14, 1856
Adair, writing from Osawatomie, reported on conditions in Kansas. Mrs. Hibbard was the president of the Woman's Kansas Aid and Liberty Association of Chicago, Illinois. He reported that many recent emigrants were ill and others were using up their reserves to help others, hoping they would be repaid by aid received in Kansas. He also reported that a group of Georgians camped near Osawatomie and ran off more than 18 horses. Some free state men were prepared to confront them but they left the area. Adair wrote of rumors that a large force was coming to burn Osawatomie.

Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Chicago, Illinois; Emigration and immigration; Free state perspective; Hibbard, Mrs. H. L.; Illness; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Migration, internal; Osawatomie, Battle of; Osawatomie, Kansas Territory; Proslavery activities; Proslavery settlers; Women


Letter, H. J. Strickler to [Thomas N.] Stinson
Authors: Strickler, Hiram Jackson
Date:  September 2, 1856
Hiram Jackson Strickler, adjutant general of Kansas Territory, writing from Lecompton, Kansas Territory, briefly described for Thomas N. Stinson the Battle of Osawatomie that took place on August 30, 1856. In the battle, pro-slavery forces led by John W. Reed defeated free state forces led by John Brown. Brown's son Frederick was killed in the engagement. Strickler's comments indicated that he held a pro-slavery perspective.

Keywords: Battles; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Osawatomie, Battle of; Proslavery perspective; Reed, John W.; Stinson, Thomas N.; Strickler, Hiram Jackson; Town companies


Letter, John Brown to Dear Wife [Mary Brown] & Children every one
Authors: Brown, John , 1800-1859
Date:  September 7, 1856
Just over a week after the Battle of Osawatomie, John Brown wrote his family from Lawrence about the death of "our dear Frederick" and the ensuing engagement, in which Brown himself was slightly wounded. Brown's small force "killed & wounded from 70 to 80 of the enemy" before escaping, and through it all "Jason fought bravely by my side."

Keywords: Border ruffians; Brown, Frederick; Brown, Jason; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; Free state militia; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Osawatomie, Battle of; Weapons (see also Guns)


Letter, Your Affectionate Son & brother [John Brown, Jr.?] to Dear Father [John Brown] & Brother
Authors: Brown, Jr., John
Date:  September 8, 1856
Still in the custody of territorial officials, John Brown, Jr., wrote to express his remorse upon learning of the death of his brother Frederick--at least he was relieved to learn that his father and Jason were safe, as early reports had them dead or missing. "Poor Frederick has perished in a good cause!" wrote John, Jr., "the success of which cause I trust will yet bring joy to millions." He then wrote of his forthcoming trial and possible plan to "escape in case it should appear best."

Keywords: Blood, James; Brown, Frederick; Brown, Jason; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; Brown, Wealthy; Cato, Sterling G.; Courts; Free state cause; Geary, John White, 1819-1873; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompte, Samuel D. (Samuel Dexter), 1814-1888; Missourians; Osawatomie, Battle of; Sickness (see Illness); United States. District Court (Kansas Territory)


Letter, William Leeman to "Dear Mother"
Authors: Leeman, William H.
Date:  November 9, 1856
Writing to his Mother from Nebraska Territory on November 4, 1856, Leeman, who "belong[ed] to Old Browns company," said he had just left Kansas Territory because, after driving the "Border Ruffians" out, the governor and "his troops were after us [and] we were obliged to leave the territory." Leeman hoped to go back to his 160 acre farm in Kansas soon and encouraged his Mother to come when the troubles were over.

Keywords: Border disputes and warfare; Border ruffians; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Free state settlers; Jayhawking; Leeman, William H.; Militia; Nebraska Territory; Osawatomie, Battle of; Sharps rifles


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