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Territorial Politics and Government > Territorial Politics > Free State Party
17 Topic Specific Items
Letter, S. C. Pomeroy to J. M. S. Williams
Author: Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891
Date: September 17, 1855

Samuel Pomeroy, writing from Kansas City, Missouri to J.M.S. Williams, an officer in the New England Emigrant Aid Company, described free state political strategies. Specifically, Pomeroy mentioned free state plans to hold their own election for a delegate to Congress, to call for a constitutional convention, and to push for the admission of Kansas as a free state.

Keywords: Free state activities; Free state cause; New England Emigrant Aid Company; Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891; Williams, John M. S.

Indictment of H. Miles Moore
Author: Grover, C. H.
Date: March 1856

Charles H. Grover, the district attorney for the First District in Kansas Territory, signed an indictment of Henry Miles Moore of Leavenworth, K. T. for unlawfully exercising the powers of Attorney General. Moore was elected Attorney General of the Free State government on January 15, 1856, under the provisions of the Topeka Constitution.

Keywords: Attorneys general; Courts; Free State Party; Free state government; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Grover, Charles H.; Moore, H. Miles (Henry Miles), b. 1826; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); United States. District Court (Kansas Territory)

Circular, Grand Mass Convention
Author: Topeka Council of Safety
Date: June 9, 1856

This printed circular called for a "grand mass convention" to be held by the Free State Party on July 3, 1856 to discuss the "perils of the times." It was signed by several Topekans and others involved in the free state cause.

Keywords: Burgess, H. B.; Circulars; Crane, Franklin Loomis; Farnsworth, Loring; Free State Party; Free state activities; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; McClure, W. M.; Nichols, H; Ritchie, John, 1817-1887; Ross, William Wallace, 1828-1889; Schuyler, Philip Church; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Thornton, Thomas G.; Topeka Council of Safety; Topeka, Kansas Territory

Record Book
Author: Kansas State Central Committee
Date: July 3, 1856 - July 13, 1857

These are the official proceedings of the Kansas State Central Committee that was established to coordinate the activities of the Free State Party. District committees were established to carry out activities at the local level.

Keywords: Antislavery; Free State Party; Kansas State Central Committee; Military; Relief

List of voters of 7th senatorial district
Author: Adams, J. D.; Barry, Abraham ; Goodnow, Isaac T., 1814-1894
Date: September 3, 1856

A list of the voters in Kansas Territory's 7th senatorial district, which included Manhattan and the area surrounding it. Voters were categorized as free soilers, proslavery, and doubtful. The census was taken by order of the "Central Committee" (a free state group) and was signed by Abraham Barry, Isaac T. Goodnow, and J. D. Adams of District Committee No. 7.

Keywords: Adams, J. D.; Barry, Abraham; Census; Free State Party; Free state activities; Goodnow, Isaac T., 1814-1894; Voting

Letter, Charles Mayo to G.W. Collamore
Author: Mayo, Charles
Date: June 17, 1857

Charles Mayo wrote from Olathe, Kansas Territory, to George Collamore, seeking his advice. Mayo told Collamore that the proslavery citizens of Olathe were urging him to accept the appointment of Magistrate in the county, though Mayo worried how that might affect his standing with the free state party.

Keywords: Brown, John, 1800-1859; Collamore, George W.; Free state perspective; Johnson County, Kansas Territory; Lawyers; Mayo, Charles; Olathe, Kansas Territory; Proslavery supporters; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894

Letter, Augustus Wattles to Jas. Smith Esq.
Author: Wattles, Augustus
Date: June 18, 1857

From Lawrence on June 18, 1857, Augustus Wattles wrote Jas. Smith (Is this a Brown alias?) regarding affairs in Kansas Territory, specifically referring to several of the Free State Party's leaders: "Holmes' is at Emporia plowing. Conway's here talking politics. Phillips is here trying to urge the free State men to galvanize the Topeka Constitution into life. . . ." and Robinson had "dispirited the Free State party" by his absence from the legislature last winter, making it "difficult to make them rally again under him." Although one hears "much against Brown" he is "as good as ever."

Keywords: Brown, John, 1800-1859; Conway, Martin Franklin; Free state legislature; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Herald of Freedom; Holmes, James H.; Phillips, William A. (William Addison), 1824-1893; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Smith, James; Topeka Constitution; Wattles, Augustus

Broadside, Mass Convention!
Author: Abbott, James Burnett
Date: July 25, 1857

J. B. Abbott as secretary of the 10th district committee of the Free State party prepared this broadside to advertise a meeting to nominate 2 Senators and 7Representatives for the Legislature. Abbott wrote that the district invluded the following precincts: "Fish's Hotel, Palmyra, Blanton, Willow Springs, Franklin, Lawrence, and Benicia. The meeting was to be held in Lawrence on July 25, 1857. Note: The broadside did not include a time for the meeting.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Benicia Precinct, Kansas Territory; Blanton, Kansas Territory; Broadsides; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Franklin, Kansas Territory; Free State Party; Kansas Legislature; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Palmyra, Kansas Territory`; Willow Springs, Kansas Territory

Letter, [Tho. Ewing, Jr.] to Dear Father [Hon. T. Ewing]
Author: Ewing, Jr., Thomas , 1829-1896
Date: August 5, 1857

The first letter in this letter press book mainly concerned with political affairs in the territory was addressed to Ewing, Sr., in Lancaster, Ohio, and dated Leavenworth, Kansas, August 5, 1857. Responding to the father's observations about the situation in Kansas, Ewing, Jr., wrote "I have all along regarded the attempt at an organization of a State Government, while we are a Territory, as the extreme of folly . . ." and some additional observations about the Topeka movement. Ewing "intend[ed] to stand clear of the political arena in Kansas while the leaders of the Democracy are made up of political murderers, and while the free state party is but the football for the Free soilers in the Northern States."

Keywords: Bogus laws; Democratic Party (U.S.); Ewing, Thomas, 1789-1871; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Free Soil Party; Free State Party; Free soil; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Lancaster, Ohio; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Letter, A. [Augustus] Wattles to Dear Sir [John Brown?]
Author: Wattles, Augustus
Date: August 21, 1857

Augustus Wattles wrote to John Brown from Lawrence, August 21, 1857, regarding several matters but focused again on problems within the Free State movement because of a loss of confidence in Charles Robinson's leadership. Robinson had openly criticized G. W. Brown and the Herald of Freedom and the factious party could accomplish little, but Wattles was confident that free staters would vote in and win the October election for territorial legislature.

Keywords: Brown, George W. (George Washington), 1820-1915; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Conway, Martin Franklin; Election, Territorial Legislature, October 1857; Free State Party; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Herald of Freedom; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lawrence Republican; Phillips, William A. (William Addison), 1824-1893; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; United States. Army; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869; Wattles, Augustus

Letter, Walter Oakley, et al, to Charles Robinson
Author: Oakley, Walter ; Ritchie, John , 1817-1887; Ross, William Wallace
Date: December 26, 1857

Walter Oakley, W. W. Ross, and John Richey wrote from Topeka to invited Robinson to attend and address the "Mass Meeting" to be held in their city on Monday, December 28, for the purpose of endorsing "the action of the Convention at Lawrence. These men and the community held Robinson in the highest "esteem" but they differed with him "upon the question of voting for state officers under the Lecompton Constitution."

Keywords: Free State Convention; Free State Party; Free state supporters; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Oakley, Walter; Ritchie, John, 1817-1887; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Ross, William Wallace, 1828-1889; Topeka, Kansas Territory

Letter, C. K. Holliday, et al, to Charles Robinson
Author: Crane, Franklin L.; Dickey, Milton C.; Farnsworth, Loring ; Giles, Frye W.; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: December 26, 1857

In this brief letter from Topeka, signed by C. K. Holiday, M. C. Dickey, F. L. Crane, Loring Farnsworth, and F. W. Giles, "Governor" Robinson was "respecfully and cordially" invited to participate in a "mass convention" at Topeka (December 28, 1857) convened "to deliberate upon the political questions of the day; and more especially upon the action of the late 'Lawrence Convention.'"

Keywords: Crane, Franklin Loomis; Dickey, Milton C.; Farnsworth, Loring; Free State Party; Free state cause; Free state supporters; Giles, Frye W.; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Topeka, Kansas

Letter, E. B. Whitman to My dear friend [Franklin B.] Sanborn
Author: Whitman, E. B.
Date: January 16, 1858

E. B. Whitman wrote Sanborn this lengthy letter from Lawrence, describing the political events that had unfolded in the territory since the October 5, 1857, election. Among many other things, he mentioned the split that took the "National democrats" out of the movement over the issue of participation in the state elections under the Lecompton Constitution, January 1857. This "Free State ticket" was, according to Whitman, "a disgrace to the cause," but it attracted a good number of votes and won "a good working majority in both houses and so our people proclaim a victory." Whitman, who had long been a faithful supporter, was seemingly losing confidence in John Brown, as were "the people."

Keywords: Bogus laws; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Calhoun, John; Conway, Martin Franklin; Democratic Party (U.S.); Education; Election fraud; Election, Lecompton Constitution ratification, December 1857; Elections; Free State Party; Free state legislature; Herald of Freedom; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Lecompton Constitution; Massachusetts State Kansas Committee; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Territorial government; United States. Congress; United States. Senate; Whitman, E. B.

Letter, M. F. Conway to My dear Sir [George L. Stearns]
Author: Conway, Martin Franklin
Date: June 13, 1858

Somewhat disturbed that Stearns of Boston had published his (Conway's) letter regarding "money for the Leavenworth Constitution," Martin F. Conway, Lawrence, wrote to say that there was nothing "improper or dishonorable in this transaction" and went on to reflect on the nature of the Free State Party/movement at that time. Charles Robinson was "at work to destroy the influence of the Republican wing of the Free State Party," but people back East should not conclude "that the bottom is going to fall out of Kansas because there is division in the Free State Party." Conway expected both Robinson and James H. Lane to fall from prominence because of changing circumstances in Kansas.

Keywords: Brown, John, 1800-1859; Conway, Martin Franklin; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Free State Party; Free state cause; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lecompton Constitution; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867

Minutes, First Meeting of Territorial Central Committee of the Free State Party
Author: Free State Executive Committee
Date: September 23, 1858

The first meeting of the Free State Party's territorial central committee was convened in Lawrence on September 23, 1858, with, according to the minutes, the following individuals in attendance: James Blood, temporary chair; P. H. Townsend; W. F. M. Arny, and James M. Winchell, along with J. C. Douglas who held proxy for John McKee. Among other things, the committee resolved to nominate Samuel W. Greer for territorial superintendent of public instruction.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Blood, James; Free State Convention; Free State Party; Greer, Samuel Wiley; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Minutes; Political conventions; Superintendent of Public Instruction; Winchell, James M., 1823-1877

Letter, Tho. Ewing Jr to My dear Sir [R. B. Mitchell]
Author: Ewing, Jr., Thomas , 1829-1896
Date: December 15, 1858

In this letter to Robert B. Mitchell of Paris in Linn County, Ewing commented on the summer and fall "disturbances in Linn & Bourbon" counties, and he predicted that many of the "scoundrels" responsible--presumably men on both sides of the slavery issue--would one day end up in the as yet to be established "penitentiary." Ewing wrote Mitchell, at that time a member of the territorial legislature, about the organization of the Democratic Party in Leavenworth and reported on several "of our free state friends" who had joined with the "Democracy." (Subsequently, despite Ewing's plea that moderates not take this action but "just bide their time," Mitchell joined the Democrats in 1859 and accepted their nomination for congressman.)

Keywords: Bourbon County, Kansas Territory; Democratic Party (U.S.); Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Free State Party; Free state perspective; Fuller, Perry; Goodin, Joel Kishler; Linn County, Kansas Territory; Mitchell, Robert Byington; Paris, Kansas Territory; Railroads; Smith, Samuel C.

Letter, N. S. Storrs to Mr. [Samuel N.] Wood
Author: Storrs, N. S.
Date: November 14, 1859

N.S. Storrs of Emporia wrote to Wood concerning the ill will that had developed toward Wood in Butler County as a result of the recent (October 12) Republican nominating convention and the subsequent election of P.G.D. Morton to the territorial legislature. Storrs agreed with his friends from Butler County that it was a "packed" convention and Butler was not given sufficient representation; the county just wanted "her proper rights and not have a man forced upon her by Skullduggery and damd rascality." Wood was advised to convince people in Butler County that "you did not pledged yourself to Morton."

Keywords: Breckinridge County, Kansas Territory (see also Lyon County, Kansas); Butler County, Kansas Territory; Emporia, Kansas Territory; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Morton, P. G. D.; Nominations for office; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Storrs, N. S.

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Journal. Miscellaneous Records of the Free State Executive Committee
Authors: Goodin, Joel Kishler
Date:  1855-1856
This journal, compiled by Joel K. Goodin, secretary of the Executive Committee of the Topeka free-state movement, began with a statement explaining the reason the Topeka Movement formed and the call for a Mass Meeting at Big Springs, August 15, 1855. It included notes of numerous meetings, proclamations, etc. These committee records were published in their entirety in the Kansas Historical Collections Vol. 13:125-158.

Keywords: Free State Party; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Goodin, Joel Kishler; Journals; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory


Election, location of capitol of Kansas, Topeka Convention, 1855
Authors: No authors specified.
Date:  October 23, 1855
The Free-State government held a constitutional convention in Topeka from October 23 through November 11, 1855, and one of its actions was to vote on the capital of Kansas. According to these tally sheets, Topeka defeated Lawrence on the second ballot, 20 to 16. Numerous other towns received votes from the convention delegates on the first ballot.

Keywords: Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Free State Party; Free state government; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 1855; Topeka, Kansas Territory


Journal, Topeka Constitutional Convention
Authors: Smith, Samuel C.
Date:  October 24, 1855
According to a copy of the 1902 cover letter written by Samuel C. Smith of Lawrence, secretary/chief clerk for the convention, this incomplete "copy of the Journal of the Topeka Constitutional Convention" was made at Lawrence in November 1855. It began with the opening of the second day's session, October 24, 1855, and continued daily, except for Sunday, October 28 and November 4, through Saturday, November 10 (the convention officially adjourned, according to Wilder, "Annals," November 11 during the very early hours of that Sunday morning). The first few pages of the journal detailed organizational matters, including the election of James H. Lane as president of the convention and the creation of standing committees.

Keywords: Constitutions; Delahay, Mark W.; Free State Party; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Smith, Samuel C.; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 1855; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory


Journal, Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 26, 1855
Authors: Smith, Samuel C.
Date:  October 26, 1855
On Friday, October 26, 1855, the convention conducted some routine business but also entertained a motion by Mark W. Delahay of Leavenworth: "Resolved--That this Convention, approve the principles of non intervention in the local affairs of Kansas, as enunciated by the 'Nebraska, Kansas Act,' and that this Convention recommend to the people of Kansas a strict observance of the principles laid down in said act." In other words, he opposed the creation of a provisional government to rival the federally recognized territorial government--see Delahay's speech on this subject, as reported in "Kansas Freeman," November 14, 1855. The resolution was tabled.

Keywords: Constitutions; Delahay, Mark W.; Free State Party; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Kansas Nebraska Act; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Smith, Samuel C.; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 1855; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory


Journal, Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 26, 1855
Authors: Smith, Samuel C.
Date:  October 26, 1855
During the afternoon session on Friday, October 26, 1855, the convention returned to the issue raised by Delahay that morning, among other more mundane matters.

Keywords: Constitutions; Delahay, Mark W.; Free State Party; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Kansas Freeman; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Smith, Samuel C.; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 1855; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory


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