June 2nd 1858
I shall endeavor to give you a reliable account of the last affair in Fort Scott, in as brief space as possible.
It is my misfortune to be mixed up in everything that takes place here. It matters not how cautious or discreet I may act!
On the 30th (Sunday) about 2’ o’clock two companies of men, with Sharp’s rifles etc, made their appearance in the town before any one was aware of their approach. They met Dr Carter on the street and immediately arrested him; they then surrounded my house. I was at Campbell’s Hotel. I was advised to stay in the house until the citizens turned out under arms. Some were out of town others asleep. Finally some ten or fifteen turned out, but they were opposed by about 60 men. Capt Walker Sheriff of Douglas county headed one company and Montgomery headed the other. Marshal Smith
inquired their business, when Walker produced a letter from Gov Denver instructing him to arrest Montgomery, also a “bogus writ” issued by one Hudson of Mapleton township commanding the Marshal to arrest Dr Carter, B. F. Hill and myself on the charge of being engaged in the murders of Mier de Cygn in Linn County.
I came out on the porch of the Hotel and demanded a sight of the writ, and so soon as I read it, pronounced it “bogus”. There is no qualified justice by that name, no Mapleton Township in this county – he had no right to command the Marshal to serve it. I had not been out of town for three months. I told him all this and refused to surrender to a mob who sought my life; but told him that the charge was of so heinous a nature that I courted investigation, yet he could not take me alive to Mapleton, to be murdered on my return as poor Travers was. I offered to surrender to Lt Shinn until proper legal proceedings could be had. Shinn, who was standing
near declined to take charge of me as it would be transcending his order and powers. I then refused to surrender. When Walker ordered his men to come to a “ready”, I pointed my carbine at him, as did two of our citizens. At this moment the scene was intensly painful to all. At the command “fire” Walker would have been shot down; but myself, Marshal Smith Lt Shinn and some women and children would have been masacred. Shinn then stepped forward, and exclaimed that “to save bloodshed”, he would consent to take charge of me. And thus ended the first “act”.
By this time the citizens had become indignant and desperate, and all armed & unarmed clamored for the arrest of Montgomery. Walker evaded the demand on various pretexts – first that it was on Sunday This made the people furious; they told him he could arrest honest men on Sundays on “bogus writs” but he could not arrest a thief and a murderer. He then said that he had no authority – no writ - Marshal Smith handed him the writ and
called upon him to arrest Montgomery or assist him to do so. Walker then replied that his men would not permit the arrest to be made, and called the attention of the people while he made a speech “to explain his position”. He stated that the Gen had directed him to come to Fort Scott and make the arrests that he was then attempting to make, and if he could not make them, not to arrest Montgomery.
While this was going on Montgomery and his Osage company marched out of town with a “quick step”, leaving Walker with only about 40 men. The citizens soon surrounded him and threatened him denounced him as a liar and a scoundrel for bringing a band of robbers in town to arrest honest men. This so alarmed Walker that he rode out of town and in a few minutes returned stating that he had arrested Montgomery, disarmed him and was under charge of his posse; and that he was going to take him before
Judge Cato. They left, having failed in their main object, that is to get us off to the Osage to be dealt with by a band of robbers. I forgot to mention that in the confusion Dr Carter escaped from arrest. So he went off with no other prisoner than his friend Montgomery, who, no doubt, is at large now.
Walker represented himself to be of the “Governor’s posse” and that the Gov. was behind with 300 men, and had sent him ahead to make the arrests before he arrived. Of course we all believed that he lied. He said the Gov would be here last night, and we cannot hear of him being on the road. Lt Merchant with a company of foot artillery arrived on the opposite bank of the Marmiton, while the late affair was going on; but he knew nothing of the Gov being on the road.
If Walker has been employed by the Governor, he has betrayed his trust, and colluded with the outlaws.
I regard myself as a prisoner
although I am not staying with Lt Shinn. It is preposed to discharge me at once as the whole proceeding was illegal, but I decline, as I am determined to have an examination. I am now waiting for Gov. Denver’s arrival to be present at the examination. This thing will injure me at Washington, if I do not clear up the matter speedily. I think it is the most infamous consperacy, and that I am the worst persecuted man in Kansas; and I will leave it soon as I can clear up this matter. I have heard that my nomination as Purser had gone into the Senate, but I have not heard of my confirmation.
Every body here in town and country have expected their conviction of my innocence of the charge against me. No one who knows me would believe me to be guilty of such an atrocious act. Half the town will go before a Court of Justice and testify to my innocence, yet the matter is painfully unpleasant to me.
I am anxious that the Governor shall come down that I may get the benefit of his statement after
he inquires into it.
Some free state men acted nobly in their affairs. Old man Oakley has the respect of every man in the town. Wm. J. Campbell and some other free state men in town took up arms and swore that they would die before they would permit me to be taken. I owe my life to the firmness of some 10 or 15 citizens, of both parties. These recent persecutions have made me more friends than I ever had before.
A statement has been drawn up setting forth all the facts and vindicating me from the charges signed by the leading citizens here of all parties, to be sent to the St Louis Republican.
We were all surprised to learn on last Sunday that the military have had orders not to interfere, to protect the town or preserve peace, and that a band of lawless men could come in with bogus writs and drag our citizens off to a Robber’s Den. Great alarm is felt now that Montgomery will return with several
hundred men and sack the place. We have not more than 25 reliable stout hearted men here. We feel no more protected now that Lt Merchant is here than before, since it is understood that the military is here only to protect the Land office.
If Walker has acted in good faith – Montgomery will be handed over in Lecompton before this reaches you.
I have learned today that the pretext for charging me with these murders, is that “Capt Hamilton sent me word that he had put ten of the d___d rascals under, and that I replied it was good and all right” It is false – it is trumpped up to justify their conduct. Capt Hamilton did tell a free-state man of our vicinity to tell me that he had a fight and killed 5 men & wounded 5 men and that he fought Montgomerys men – the man who brought the message believed it to be correct, and I answered that I was glad to hear he had whipped them, and that was the feeling of all who believed the account.
Geo W Clark
Saml J Jones Esqr
Lecompton K. T.
Fort Scott, K. T.
June 3rd 1858
I have just learned that Walker has gone to Lecompton to see if he cannot get the Grand Jury there to find another bill in the Barker case.
You know it was nolle prossed. He stands in the same fix –
If he cannot get a bill, he may attempt to get writ out, on an affidavit.
Now, you know this is all to persecute me, and drive me off before I am ready.
Please see what you can do about it.
Geo W Clarke
Saml J. Jones Esqr