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Untitled Document Fort Scott May 16th 1858

Governor Denver,
Sir,

I have just received by Express from Leavenworth your letter, (with others from Mr 6). The information contained in yours affords me much satisfaction, and, indeed, I may say, relief situated as I have been, and, as I still am. I did hope, to see you here, that, for yourself, you might know, and understand the true state of things in this region. When I wrote to you to come and send additional forces of military, to be stationed in different places, civil war in all its honors, was initiated. Violence had started to run riot. Until then, when, Montgomery and his murderers, & robbers, commenced his operations almost in sight of this place, in broad day light; and that too under they eyes of, Griffith’s convention, and he Griffith, refused to permit the person attending that meeting to interfere to save the settlers (his neighbors) from being robbed, & their families driven from their homes, when they could have saved them; and then sent an express from their convention, to notify Montgomery & his men, of the approach of the Marshall & his posse of U. S. troopers, that the

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bandits might escape, or fortify for resistance, which they did – These are facts well established by good men of that party who were in attendance at the convention. Then it was that Clarke Brocket & Co many of whom had been robbed and driven by Montgomery and his bandits from their homes in the country, taking advantage of the swell of indignation, much roused the whole community, “pitched in” for “retaliation” as the word is in Kansas, meaning murder, robbery or expulsion, and we were, at once, in the midst of double work of outrage & lawlessness. This is what, I have spent sleepless nights, & risked my life to prevent. Until this time, (excepting, threats & violent words of insults) the ultra pro-slavery men (being few in number, have been kept within legal, as I had plainly told them that if they would have the protection of law, they, must observe the requirements of the laws. I, as you may see, was between to fierce fires, the bursting forth of which was tremendous for a time. But aided & sustained by some good citizens of both or all parties, I took my stands, & have enforced the law rigidly – These pro-slavery law breakers have all been prosecuted & are indicted – Part of them [xxx] Hamilton, Brocket, etc knowing that they would be punished, fled, leaving but about five of their number here, who have been

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duly arrested and held to answer. The real inhabitants of this place are good citizens with one or two exceptions, of whom you have been informed, their operators have nearly all fled – the people here will punish offenders in their midst, when they know of offinces here. They have done it now most thoroughly, as far as law will permit – They men who treated persons coming to town uncivilly, have fled the places, with the exception of perhaps two – such conduct has been uniformly frowned upon by our Citizens when known – It is hard to restrain a ruffians tounge, and it is unjust to hold orderly & civil people responsible for what drunken & quarrelsome violent men do – It simply cannot be urged that because a good, christian peaceable man living here, will not associate with blackguard & fight them when they insult other men, should be driven from their homes & the Town be burned down – Such has been the singular reasoning of some who, themselves repudiate all law; and live by shedding blood, robbing & violence, and their abettors – I assure you I have rigidly enforced the law, without respect to persons, or parties – For this men of professed democratic principals have attacked me, and even presented the revolver to my breast, while the aides, and abettors of the Montgomery

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and Bayne bandits acting I suppose under authority of Lane, have also threatened my life – All this, does not, and will not move me, one job or title.

The citizens here are organizing now for mutual protection – I have urged from the first; but such were the feelings of dissention that they could, or would not do it. The free State men seemed to feel safe, & reluctant [to] act fearing the ire of Griffith Lane & Co, as they were required, on pain of expulsion, to be still. Thus the marauders from the north quartered on them, while robbing shooting & Expelling their pro-slavery neighbors, and Buchanan democrats.

As to the troops, the Infantry company has left, this morning. The mounted men excepting those attached to the battery will leave in the morning, tomorrow; The battery section will of course as you direct, remain a few days –

If the officers of the law will arrest Montgomery & his men, and break up his rendesvous about Ossawattumee Moneka etc, & prevent these men North from coming down here, we will have no trouble in keeping the peace among our people in this region. There is

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the nest, where are gathered the operators who so kindly come down on Fort Scott & this neighborhood to execute the plans, of the “higher law” commanders –

I have never been able to find any authority of law for holding District Courts in the several counties. I wrote to you on this subject some time since & requested that if you had any law authorizing to send it to me. I spoke of the necessity of doing so to satisfy the people when I first met [xxx] Lecompte & Cato, and was informed by them that the act of Congress prevented the holding of court in any but one place in each of the three districts, and that Fort Scott was my place. The present arrangement is a bad one, and should be changed – I will cheerfully, & gladly, go to each county – My court here is adjourned until the 2nd Monday of August next –

Of course (Deo volente) I will be at Lecompton on the 1st Monday of June next in attendance on the Supreme Court, when I hope to see you, and I, then, can communicate with you fully –

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This county is over run by horse thieves, who have, at present, at least, no connexcion with Montgomery & Bayne. Every night new cases occur. I suppose more than one hundred horses have been stolen – Montgomery mounts his soldiers in this way – they start from the north on foot, & are mounted by the way as they come down, & always return mounted. Some of them, calling it “pressing” into the service of Lane’s Militia. But as it is late, and the messenger starts for Leavenworth early, in the morning I must close –

Your Obt Servt
J Williams

Gov Denver
Lecompton K. T.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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This file was last modified September 12 2013 04:09:26 PM.