South Prong of Pottowatomie Creek Dec 21st/56
Kansas Experience of A. R. Scolen
I am a Free State man, Native of Indianna, 22 years of age. I am a single man. I came to the Territory in the employ of Mr. McDaniel’s in the Spring of 1856. Arrived the 20th May. I received for my services in driving Team my passage expences. I came for the purpose of taking a claim & getting a home. I had when I arrived in Kansas $100. I engaged in Mr McDaniels employ immediately. – worked one month when I was taken sick with a hard Fever. “Dont" know what kind of Fever. after getting partially well of this fever which continued about one month. I was attacked with the Ague & Fever. I was so low & feble when this new sickness set in that those who saw me despaired of my getting well at all. I have been sick ever since and am unwell at the present. I had a severe chill last Wednesday & a high fever afterward. About 7 weeks ago I went to Missouri. in Cass Co. to see if a change in the Country would not benefit me. I was doctored by a physician while I remained there. This journey cost me about $15.00 My summers sickness has cost me in the neighborhood of a hundred dollars. I have at the present no money & no clothing to speak of. Some of the time during the summer I have been obliged to seek safety from the Border Ruffains who were prowling about the Creek by hiding in the brush & frequently in damp rainy weather I have been compelled to sleep in the Bottoms on Cedar Creek. I have done in this way a month at a time as has also Mr. McDaniels & family. This manner of life has been the principle reason why I have not recovered from my sickness. I would have been glad to have assisted in the Troubles if I had been able. Before I came to Kansas I was doing well – working at the Carpenters trade, & some times farming. I have no means in the place from which I came. I have received from the agent in this neighborhood. (Frankinburgher)
a Blanket & one shirt. He has nothing now to distribute & had but a few things when he gave me the shirt & Blanket. I intend to remain in Kansas & hope to be well enough to go to work in the Spring. I have taken a Claim. I expect to remain with Mr. McDaniels all winter and unless I am able to get some aid from some other source will be much in his debt. I am Nephew by marriage of Mr McDaniels. I want one pair of thick pants. One pair of Drawers. 2 shirts (woolen) one coat & vest. I also want as I intend if I am well enough to live on my claim 1. sack Flower. 6 lbs coffee 6 lbs sugar. 25 lbs Bacon. I also need 5 quilts.
Kansas Experience of William Reap
I am 17 years of age. I am a Native of Indianna My Father died when I was 5 years old. My mother lives in Indianna is 50 years of age and in poor circumstances. I came to Kansas in the spring of 1856. arrived the 20th day of May. Mr McDaniels paid my passage. I assisted on the journey by driving Team I came to Kansas to get me a Claim Mr McDaniels promised me that if I would come & live with him until I was 21 years of age he would enter me a Claim & pay for it. This was on condition that I was a good boy. I was not bound to Mr McDaniels, but mother concented that I might come. I thought I would be enabled in this way to get a good home for her. Mr McDaniels says that he will if he can send for her in the Spring. I have one sister who lives with my mother. She is younger than I. I worked what time I could for Mr McDaniels last summer. This was not much as I was sick with the Ague & Fever about 4 weeks. I was engaged a share of the time in the Troubles. I was in the Middle Creek battle. Went to Ossawttomie once but was not there at the battle. Was obliged to hide in the brush for protection
with Mr. McDaniels & Family 3 or 4 weeks during the summer. Mr. McDaniels has had so much bad luck by sickness in his family that he is not able to support & clothe me this winter. There are 7 in the family. besides himself & wife. Also a Nephew who came to Kansas with him & has been sick ever since he came. I intend to stay with Mr McDaniels as I agreed. He is kind and has been good to me ever since I lived with him. He has not yet entered me a Claim as I am not old enough. I have no clothing & am therefore almost naked. I want a suit throughout – I would also like as I do not wish to be burdensome a sack of Flower –
Sometime about the last part of August or the 1st of Sept – news was brought on the Creek that the Missourians in large numbers were encamped on Middle Creek & that they were coming to annihilate & destroy all on the Pottowatomie Creek about 25 at this intelligence started for Ossawatomie. I was one of this number. Capt Anderson commanded the Company. We arrived at Ossawattomie about an hour before daylight. We got a very little breakfast and then started for Middle Creek in pursuit of the enemy. We met with no interruption reaching the spot near where the enemy were at ten o’clock A. M. Scouts were immediately sent out to reconnoiter bringing in a report that about 70 of the enemy were in the Bottom near the Creek surrounded by timber in a Bend of the Creek. This account was corrobborated by some prisoners ten in number which had been taken in the vicinity. Our whole force some 200 in number charged upon them when they run as fast their heels could carry them like a flock of wild Turkies. every way pursued by our horsemen. While they were running our whole Company fired upon them. the horsemen pursued so closely as to do much damage to them. We were never able to tell how many were wounded & killed. But according to the account which they afterward published. 17, were killed & 27 missing. 23, horses & mules were taken. 16, guns, a few
Revolvers. one Keg of powder and 3 wagon loads of provisions. They only fired three guns at our party. The Enemy were so frightened that they never stopped till they got to Missouri. They reported in their retreat to a woman residing on Sugar Creek that Old Brown was after them with 600 men with Sharps Rifles. There was no one in particular that commanded in this battle that I know of.
South Fork Pottowatomie Dec 22nd 1856
Kansas Experience of Ephraim Coy.
I am 56 years of age have a wife and two children in Kansas My first wife has been dead 11, years. I have 9 children in Illnnois besides 2 here – I moved from Ill to Kansas in July of the present year. I am a Free State man. I brought with me 8 yoke of oxen & two wagons. I brought provisions sufficient to last me until about 5 weeks ago Did not bring much clothing nor Furniture. Have been disturbed more than 2/3ds of any time in scouting about. marching around and protecting my Family Since I have been here. Was engaged in the Battle of Middle Creek. In this battle 17 of the enemy were killed & 9 wounded Several Dead Bodies were found afterward on the Field 19 horses & 4 mules were taken, also. 3 wagon loads of provisions Capt Anderson commanded the Force from our Creek between 25 & 30. There were three companies engaged. Cline’s, Shores’s & Anderson’s in the Battle. About 175 were engaged in all. The enemy numbered some said 176 & some said 100 for my part I could not tell with any accuracy how many there were. They were near a Ford in Middle Creek when we charged upon them. When our Company fired at them they scattered like a flock of sheep, some on horses & some on foot Some retreated to Fort Scot & some into Missouri.
When they were passing a house on Sugar Creek they saw a woman & told her that she had better leave or they would be killed for
Cline & Brown were close by with 600 men & thousands of Sharp’s Rifles. She answered that if it was Brown & Clyne’s Company she was not afraid. When I arrived in Kansas I had seven Dollars & a few cents. I payed for my Claim in property which I brought with me to the amt of $220. I have in Illinois between three & four hundred Dollars which I could get if I could leave my family long enough to go for it. I am afraid to send for it on account of the liabilities to which it would be exposed. I have at the present five yoke of oxen 35 hogs which will average 100 lbs apiece. some are in good order for Butchering. I have about 75 bushels of poor corn. I have about 5 tons of hay which with my corn will be sufficient to keep my stock. I have 4 cows & one yearling. My two wagons I exchanged for the cows & my Claim. I have also traded one yoke of oxen which I brought with me for my hogs I also traded three other yoke of oxen for my Claim in addition to the wagon that I spoke of. The wagon & three yokes of oxen were estimated at $250. I got therefore the yearling to boot in the trade. I cannot at the present time exchange my hogs for the necessaries sufficient for my family. I design trading with my creditors some of these to pay debts which I have contracted amounting in all to about $60. I Borrowed this money to get things for my family. I “shant” be able to get my money until spring when I intend sending for it by some one that I can have confidence in. This money I intend if I can save it is pay for my Claim. My house is open so that we are quite uncomfortable. I have not been able to fix it on account of the troubles & sickness in my family. I have been sick myself with the Ague & Fever this was caused by my exposure.
Myself Wife & two children have not clothing sufficient to make us comfortable. We have no bed clothing to speak of considering the extreme cold to which we are exposed. I might by sacrifizing on my stock get the things which I need. I forgot to mention that I have also a two year old colt that I might sell at a sacrifice I would like if possible to keep my stock so as to be able to make
a beginning in the Spring. I have received no aid as yet from our agent (Mr Franklinburgher) I have made no application to him as he had distributed nearly all that was allowed him for this purpose before I knew it.
I think that I might get through the winter without aid but not without suffering a great amount or else sacrifizing on my property. I shall not be able to keep warm any way as my house is all open & exposed to the weather. It is much worse to live in than a tent would be. If it become warm enough I intend fixing my house. It is impossible such weather as exists now to repair it. I want a suit-through out. My wife wants a dress & under clothing. My little boys their ages 11 & 9 are destitute of stockings and shoes and also of clothing generally. We would like 3 or 4 quilts. I should also like 2 sacks of Flower & about 11 lbs of coffee the same of sugar and one lb of Tea. I would like 2 caps for my little boys –
South Fork of Pottowatomie Creek, Dec 23d 1856.
Kansas Experience of Capt Samuel Anderson.
I am 52 years of age, I have a wife & 7 children. My Native State is Pennsyvania.
I have resided in Ill 7 years – Came to Kansas in June 1855. My Family
came in Sept of the same year.
I settled at my present place of residence in October following. I have two sons who are married who have taken Claims adjoining mine. Both of them have one child each. The reason of myself & family emigrating to Kansas was to get farms & better our conditions. We came by the Overland Route. I came with a yoke of oxen & a poor old wagon the oxen I traded for a Claim. My family had two span’s of horses and wagons that they came with. The reason why I bought my Claim was because I was told that all of the timber claims were taken this I soon found was false as there was at least a hundred Claims with good timber that had not been preempted. This deception is practiced in all new settlements to the disadvantage of the settlers – I had a few provisions when my family came & some
household Furniture, but not much – We had in addition to this among
us all about $50. We managed by working by days works to get through the winter.
The work which we employed
ourselves at was mauling rails. We had to haul our provisions from Missouri. It was a cold winter & of course as we were circumstanced we did not have the same comforts that we could have had if we had had more time to prepare for the winter. Early in the Spring of 1856 we made up a team of our two spans of horses and ploughed nine acres & about the 20th of May began planting. We planted only 7 rows when intelligence reached us that the Missourians were invading the Territory & were marching for the purpose of destroying Lawrence. I left my work immediately & started in less than a ½ hour & joined Brown’s Company ten miles from my house, at the Forks of the Creek One of my sons was abscent from home, the other was compelled to remain with his family on account of sickness. Browns Company numbered about 30 men. Some of these were men from my neighborhood. I with these reached Browns Encampment about 3 o’clock. Started immediately without supper for Lawrence. We marched as far as Middle Creek. nearly all of us on foot. when we were obliged to stop for rest & for something to eat. We had taken a trifle with us which was all that we had to refresh ourselves with, & after remaining two hours we continued our march. We proceeded very much fatigued & some almost exhausted till we arrived within ten miles of Lawrence when a Messenger met us from this place with instructions for us not to march into Lawrence as the Town had been sacked the day before & that there was no provisions to feed even those who were there. This disappointed our party much as we all had a great anxiety to have been there to have assisted in its defence. Besides we were hungry & faint. We went after receiving this sad intelligence 4 miles from this place to Prarie City, where we got a plenty to eat. We were obliged to sleep on the ground without any covering exposed to the heavy dews & what made it worse for me I was unwell with the Ague & Fever. We remained at this place
4 or 5 days, having a plenty to eat but experiencing much uncofortableness in our sleeping. We remained here this length of time for the purpose of watching the actions of the enemy & to be ready in case of necessity to fight. While we remained here we were informed by a messenger from Lawrence that Gov. Shannon had ordered out a body of Troops to disband us & that they were on their way at this time to carry out these instructions. At this, news we went two miles into the prarie & pitched our tents anew. We had scarcely pitched them when a messenger from Big Pottowatomie came into camp with the intelligence that the Enemy were rapidly marching to this Creek to burn the houses & destroy the inhabitants. This was just at sunset. We immediately prepared & marched toward our homes resolving to defend them at all hazards. We marched all night arriving at Big Pottowatomie about day light. We remained under arms until the second day, at which time Capt Brown & H. H. Williams were taken Prisoners by the Missourians. The Capt Brown I am speaking of was not Old Capt John Brown but John Brown Junior who remained in prison with Robinson & others.
Our Company made no resistance to the capture as it was done by a [U. S. ?] Official. After this circumstance the company dwindled to almost nothing when I by a little effort succeded to organize a new one from the men on the Creek about 30, in number. A vote was passed by these that they should be known as the Pottowatomie Guards. I was unanimously elected Captain of this Company & proceeded immediately to make arrangements to take the responsibility of my charge. I drilled my Company each week & we held ourselves in readiness to march at any moment when our services might be needed About 3 weeks after we had organized we were sent for from Ossawattomie to assist the people of that town as they had been threatened to be served in a similar manner with the Lawrence people. We marched immediately according to –
request. Starting later in the evening and reaching Ossawattomie after marching on foot 25 miles at 3 o’clock next morning. We immediately sent out scouts to search for the enemy but finding no signs of them after remaining until the 2nd day in the evening we returned home. Soon after our return from this expedition we learned that a Company of over a hundred of the enemy had collected on Big Sugar Creek and were attempting by force to compell the citizens of that Creek to sign a paper pledging themselves to either leave the Country or join the pro Slavery party & support its principles. They had made the attempt to extort this pledge from Mr Warren & also Mr Sutton who resided on the creek but on account of their refusing to sign it they took both Prisoners. After a short detention they released Mr Sutton. They kept Warren ten days and after extorting a pledge from him that he would not take up arms against them or inform concerning them of what he had learned during his imprisonment they released him also. I think he has kept his pledge pretty well, as he has remained inactive ever since. The same threat was made to us on Pottowatomie & that unless we complied with their requirements we must suffer the consequences – A few were for leaving but a large majority determined to remain & rather than submit to this base & unjust requirement or to any other indignity resolved to “fight to the death.” On the 25th of August intelligence reached us that Ossawattomie was again threatened also Sugar & Pottowatomie Creeks. In fact the threat of annihilation & destruction embraced the whole southern part of the Territory [XXX] the Free State Party. We immediately marched for Ossawattomie. I was quite unwell so much so in fact that I was in bed when the news came. My son was also sick. But so striking was the threat that we determined to start whether we held out or not. But the Excitement of the occasion made us forget our sickness & in a little time we felt quite well. We met at Ossawatomie the Companies of
Shores & Cline. As nearly as I can remember our whole force the three companies combined numbered 98. My command consisted of 25 men when we started from Ossawattomie. We marched about 6 miles from Ossawattomie when we encamped to get something to eat. We had sent out scouts, before leaving Ossawattomie & therefore knew pretty nearly where the enemy were. & at this place where we took refreshments , we sent out new scouts, who reported that there were about 175 of the enemy on Middle Creek near the Old California Road. This was 1 mile & ½ from where we were. The Enemies Camp was on the northwest side of the stream & on the East side of the road.
After learning these facts we laid our plan of attack. As I was best acquainted with the ground in that vicinity having lived near that spot 3 months I was assigned the part of cutting off the retreat. I was allowed for this purpose 20 horsemen & 16 footmen. The horsemen I placed at the crossing of the California Road, ten paces apart. The footmen a hundred yards below at another crossing the same distance apart. I ordered my men after stationing them to call to any who might pass or attempt it to halt & if they would not obey to fire upon them. The two companies under Cline & Shores were to begin the attack from the north & before I had my men fairly stationed the firing commenced. After a few discharges the enemy were heard with heavy tramps like distant thunder rushing through the timber toward where my men were stationed. When they had reached within about 50 yards of us we cried loudly for them to halt & surrender. Some turned to the right others to the left to release themselves while 14 in number of footmen came forward & surrendered. Many of the horsemen dismounted and left their horses & passed through the brush on foot & escaped. This was the only way in which they could have escaped.
During this time as they refused to halt I ordered my men to fire. The effect produced by this fire wounded two men one of whom died afterward. The prisoners reported that they saw 4 or 5 beside fall from their horses. It was afterward said that more than this number were missing. Phillips from Ossawattomie was one of these & his friends have accused me since of being instrumental in his death & have threatened to pursue me to avenge it. 39 or 40 horses were taken from the Enemy about 55 guns, one keg of powder & much lead, also three wagon loads of provisions, some coats some hats, Boots, etc Besides a large Flag, with this inscription “Victory or Death”. It was a Black Flag with red letters. Capt Browns Coat of the “Pro Slavery party” was found with many interesting Documents relating to the war. The following letter is a specimen of them.
August 21st 1856
I have just seen some gentlemen from Fort Scott who will use all possible efforts for our immediate assistance on their arrival this afternoon I have addressed a communication to the Chairman of the Vigilance Committee detailing as nearly as I could our present Condition & the necessity of early aid – I have no doubt we shall receive timely assistance from that quarter. In the mean time I would suggest all proper efforts on our own part to organize an efficient force. With this view I leave in a few minutes for the neighborhood of Mr Fate for the purpose of arousing the Citizens to a sense of our real danger in which I shall spare no effort for the accomplishment of the desired ends. I am very respectfully,
Your Obedient Servt –
Jas. P. FXXX]
Capt John E Brown
& Briscon Davis Esq }
The prisoners seemed very humble & would frequently
come to me and ask if I intended to kill them. They remarked that their Leaders had often told them that if they were taken they would be murdered by the Abolitionists. Those who escaped went some to the State others to Fort Scott. They were so frightened that they run their horses almost to death for fear of being caught. One poor fellow who lived on Sugar Creek in passing Mr Arthurs house, told Mrs Arthur with whom he was acquainted that 600 Abolitionists were in close pursuit with more than 1000 Sharps Rifles admonishing her to leave or else she would be killed by them & turning his head just at this moment when he was giving this advice saw some of his comrades coming at full speed, he dropped his narrative Started his horse at full speed, riding about ½ of a mile when it fell He dismounted leaving his horse and pursued his course on foot. – One of the party who was neighbor to Mr Arthur came to his house & begged protection. He was so frightened that he crawled under the Bed. Mr A is a Free State man. He related this to our party afterward while we were in pursuit of these fellows. We learned from his wife that they were beyond our reach when we gave up the chase & returned home. Mr A. was not at home at this time.
On the 28th day of August a messenger was sent from Ossawttomie to the Creek informing us that the Town was again in danger as the enemy were prowling around with the request that every available man on the Creek come to its relief. I immediately as soon as I could collect my men started. Their numbers were 28. I, however were so unwell as to be unfit to march so far but arrangment were made for them to ride and they
accompanied the rest. We began our March about 4 o’clock. P. M. traveling nearly all night and getting within 4 or 5 miles of the town when a messenger met us from the town. Stating that there would be no further need of us there as the town had been sacked that day & that the same Company had said they were going immediately to the Pottowatomie to destroy & burn the houses & property there. He immediately turned and countermarched the whole distance without resting. From the time we set out the day before up to the time we got back at 8 o’clock next morning we only had a few mouthfuls to eat which we took in our pockets when starting. I, in fact nearly every man on the Creek in anticipation of the execution of this threat the next day, immediately set to work & took those things which were most valuable from our houses & secreted them in the brush. We then, every available man on the Creek met & resolved among ourselves to make a stand in defence of our lives & property even though we forfeited them in the attempt. – We kept spies & Scouts on the look out for several days. also kept a guard standing nights. Most of the families slept in the woods some however by clubbing together stuck to their houses. About one week after this alarm we were again called by Old Captain Brown to march to his assistance on account of anticipated trouble on Sugar Creek 22 miles distant. I immediately marched my company to this place. The enemy against whom we were marching numbered about 300 and were marching immediately for the South Pottowotomie. Baker a Pro Slavery man discovered my Company when I passed his house & sent word to the Commander of the 300 that I was on my way to reinforce Brown which so frightened them that they gave up their project & retreated to West Point port in Missouri. I immediately marched my Company home when I learned of this & have never been obliged to call them out since. We have however experienced much anxiety & been several times alarmed since this time. During much of the time this summer my family indeed
Every family on the Creek have been in almost constant fear of being assassinated
or else having their property destroyed by the Border Ruffains. Since the Middle
Creek affair my life has been in almost constant jeopardy. My wife has had to
watch outside the house at times that I and my sons might sleep in safety. And
at times the Women & children have been obliged to sleep in the Brush. I
should not have raised a hill of corn had it not have been for my little girls
who finished planting the field which I spoke of when I was called away from
my work in the Spring They planted & partially hoed 4 acres which would
have been good could it have been attended in season. This is all that I have
been able to accomplish toward the support of my Family and in the way of raising
crops. My sons raised about 1 ½ acres They planted more but it never
amounted to any thing but fodder. They have both been with me engaged in the
difficulties all summer. One of my sons has been layed up for nearly 2 months
on account of an accident, which happened by the discharge of a pistol which
broke one of the bones in his leg.