Territorial Politics and GovernmentTerritorial Politics and Government > Territorial Government > Wilson Shannon
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Author: Martin, H. T.
Wilson Shannon was commissioned to serve as governor of Kansas Territory on August 10, 1855. He was sworn in on September 7, 1855 and served until June 24, 1856. He took a second oath of office on June 13, 1856 and served from July 7 until August 18, 1856. He was generally viewed as a proslavery partisan, but he took the initiative to end the Wakarusa War when he first became territorial governor.
Keywords: Cabinet photographs; Kansas Territory. Governor; Martin, H. T.; Photographs and Illustrations; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855
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Authors: Miller, Josiah
Date: October 15, 1855
Josiah Miller, at his office at the Kansas Free State newspaper, wrote to his Father and Mother in South Carolina regarding recent events. He supported Reeder in the October 9th election over the pro-slavery candidate, John W. Whitfield, and suspected that Reeder would be elected regardless of any fraudulently cast votes. Miller elaborated on his problems with Robert Elliott, his business partner, who had no money to invest further in their newspaper. He also mentioned that the most debated topic at the recently convened Nebraska Territorial Legislature was the location of their capital, not the slavery question.
Keywords: Contested elections; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Elliott, Robert G.; Kansas Free State (newspaper); Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Miller, Josiah; Nebraska Territory; Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Whitfield, John W. (John Wilkins), ca. 1826-1879
Letter, [Hiram Hill] to Dear Wife
Authors: Hill, Hiram
Date: December 8, 1855 - December 9, 1855
Hiram Hill wrote from Westport, Missouri to his wife as he received new information concerning the Wakarusa War at Lawrence. Hill was frustrated by these reports, which conflicted and were from the proslavery perspective, and which concerned the number of free state and proslavery soldiers, the status of the war, and government action taken to prevent conflict. Hill was also troubled by shameless "traveling and drinking and swearing" and gunshots on the Sabbath. The last page of the letter expresses his relief at news of peace in Lawrence, where he would learn "the other syde of the story" upon arrival. The murder of Thomas W. Barber, who rode outside Lawrence and was shot by a proslavery supporter on December 6th, was mentioned. Hill also described an eventful stagecoach journey.
Keywords: Barber, Thomas W.; Cannons; Daily life; Free state militia; Health; Hill, Hiram; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891; Proslavery perspective; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Sharps rifles; Stagecoaches; Violence; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855
Authors: Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Robinson, Charles ; Shannon, Wilson , 1802-1877
Date: December 8, 1855
A draft of an agreement between Governor Wilson Shannon, representing the territorial government, and Charles Robinson and James Lane, representing the free state movement, settling the dispute that resulted in the Wakarusa War. In essence, Robinson and Lane pledged to "aid in the execution of any legal process" against individuals involved in rescuing free state supporter Jacob Branson provided that these individuals received a hearing before a U.S. District Court judge. This compromise ended the Wakarusa War.
Keywords: Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Free state activities; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855
Letter/Order, Wilson Shannon to C. Robinson and J. H. Lane
Authors: Shannon, Wilson , 1802-1877
Date: December 9, 1855
According to D. W. Wilder, Governor Wilson Shannon arrived in Lawrence on December 7, 1855, and on December 8 made "a treaty with the Free-State Generals" ending the Wakarusa War. The paper was signed by Shannon, Robinson and Lane. With the document represented here, dated Lawrence, December 9, 1855, Governor Shannon "authorized & directed [Robinson and Lane] to take such measures & use the enrolled force under your command in such manner for the preservation of the peace & the protection of the persons & property of the people in Lawrence & vicinity as in your judgment shall best secure that end." ( A subsequent notation indicated that the order was written in Robinson's hand, but signed by Shannon.)
Keywords: Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Free state activities; Free state militia; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Militia; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855
Letter, unsigned [Marc Parrott] to Dear Edd [Edwin Parrott]
Authors: Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879
Date: December 15, 1855
Marcus Parrott wrote from Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, to his brother, Edwin Parrott, in Dayton, Ohio. Marcus recounted the events of the Wakarusa War, and described the actions of the Missourians prior to their attack, which supported his idea that it was premeditated. He told about his experience as a prisoner in the Missourians' camp and his interview with Governor Shannon regarding a peace treaty between the two groups. Marcus was pleased with the terms of the treaty, but was wary of Shannon's motives, saying that he was trying to "ring in" the free state party.
Keywords: Ammunition; Atchison, David Rice, 1807-1886; Barber, Thomas W.; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Kansas River, Kansas Territory; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Missourians; Parrott, Edwin A.; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Stringfellow, Benjamin F.; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855; Weapons (see also Guns)
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