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Authors: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: April 6, 1856
In this, his first extant letter from Kansas Territory, Oscar Learnard wrote his parents and sister in Vermont that Lawrence was now his "distant and strangely romantic retreat." This letter recorded Learnard's early impressions of "unfortunate abused Kansas." The situation was bad, but the reality of "Kansas affairs" was being distorted in the Eastern press. Learnard made reference to the bogus laws, the Free State movement, and the anticipated congressional investigation.
Keywords: Bogus laws; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Emigration and immigration; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Free state perspective; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Learnard, Oscar E., 1832-1911; Learnard, S. T.; Vermont
Letter, Jas Finley to Dear Sister
Authors: Finley, James Agnew
Date: May 24, 1856
James A. Finley, a Lawrence resident at the time of the Sack of Lawrence, wrote to his sister recounting the events that had transpired only three days before. Concisely but vividly he described events as they unfolded from the morning of May 21st, when David Atchison "planted 2 cannon upon the hill above town." Finley, a more fortunate man than many in Lawrence that day, claimed to have suffered no losses in the incident.
Keywords: Atchison, David Rice, 1807-1886; Deitzler, George W.; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Eldridge House; Finley, James Agnew; Free state perspective; Guns; Jones, Samuel J. (Sheriff); Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Missourians; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Sack of Lawrence, May 1856; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Sharps rifles; Smith, George W.; United States marshals; Weapons (see also Guns)
Letter, C. Robinson to My Dear S. [Sara Robinson]
Authors: Robinson, Charles
Date: May 29, 1856
Charles Robinson wrote to his wife, Sara Robinson, his first letter during his detention, which would last until Sept 10, 1856. He reported to her that so far he had been treated like a gentleman, and that his quarters were comfortable and would also accommodate her, if she would like to join him. Robinson also expressed regret at the destruction of their home during the sack of Lawrence.
Keywords: Free state perspective; Prisoners; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Robinson, Sara T. L. (Sara Tappan Lawrence), 1827-1911; Sack of Lawrence, May 1856; Treason
Letter, G. W. Brown to Eli Thayer, Esq.
Authors: Brown, George W (George Washington), 1820-1915
Date: June 4, 1856
George Washington Brown, editor of the Herald of Freedom newspaper, was one of seven free state leaders arrested on May 14, 1856 on charges of high treason and held prisoner by federal troops near Lecompton. G. W. Brown described the sack of Lawrence and the destruction of his printing press, commented upon the harshness of his prison conditions, and asked Eli Thayer to do anything in his power to help secure his release.
Keywords: Brown, George W. (George Washington), 1820-1915; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Free state cause; Free state perspective; Herald of Freedom; Journalism; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Press; Prisoners; Sack of Lawrence, May 1856; Slave power; Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899; Treason
Letter, O. E. Learnard to Dear Friends
Authors: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: June 6, 1856
From an embattled Lawrence, Learnard again wrote of near daily "occurrences of exciting interest," including skirmishes between the two "antagonistic parties" and actions of federal troops to "quell disturbances." The problem was with Missourians who had crossed over the border, not "actual settlers." Learnard claimed to be ready to do battle with them over the issue of "slavery or liberty in this country," and predicted that if things continued in this same direction, the entire country would soon be "embroiled in civil war."
Keywords: Border disputes and warfare; Civil war; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Federal troops; Free state perspective; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Learnard, Oscar E., 1832-1911; Skirmishing; Slavery; Vermont; Violence
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