Kansas Experience of George Cutter
I am a native of Middlesex County Massachusetts, came to Kansas in March 1856. I came for the purpose of taking a Claim and making me a house. I came on my own hook, by the river route. I took a Claim as soon as I got into the Territory on Coal Creek about ten miles from Lawrence. I went to work immediately and made the following improvements, to wit – built a Cabin – broke 6 acres, and used my breaking team or rather our breaking team (because I had a partner and we owned a team between us.) to break a piece of land that was fenced of 4 acres belonging to another man. We planted this, also the land that we had broken for ourselves, 6, acres each – We were interrupted often while at work completing the above to protect ourselves from the Border Ruffians, assist in the defense of Lawrence, Franklin, Blanton, etc. We have quit our work many times to go on such expeditions & turning our oxen out etc. I will state here that our corn except the 4 acres on the Rock land did not amount to much. I belonged to Capt Abbots Company. I always went when called upon and participated in all of the marches, battles etc of his company. I took a part in the attack on Franklin was exposed to much danger the bullets whistling all around us. One man, (Sacket?] being killed who was within a few feet of me. I was on my Claim when Lawrence was invaded, not having heard of the affair or any signs of it until we saw the fire and smoke from our neighborhood. I was at Topeka on the 4th of July. I started to assist in the attack at Fort Titus but was to late the men were turning from the fight when we met them. This was somewhere about the 20th of August. On the 24th one day after the Battle of Middle Creek I volunteered to go with Frederick Brown (Capt John Brown’s son) and 3 others to Ossawattomie from Lawrence to request all of the available men, Especially the Commanders of all of the Companies in the Southern part of the Territory to repair to Lawrence that there –
might be a more complete organization. This was Lane’s order. We started on this expedition on Wednesday noon, arrived at Ossawattomie about the Middle of the P. M. on Thursday. We had no bad luck but had a pleasant journey. We met Shores & Abbots Companies 3 miles from Ossawattomie on their way to Lawrence. Brown told them Lane’s order and they continued on. Next day we saw Old Capt Brown & Co. also There’s and delivered Lanes message. Saw them near Ossawattomie. It was too late for them to start that day and so they remained intending to start next day (Saturday)
Fred Brown, myself, and the other 3 that came down on Wednesday & Thursday, Started to return on Friday. Had proceeded [xxx] miles on our trip when Fred B. was so unwell that he concluded to remain over night at Mr. Carrs and start for Lawrence next day. He arose early in the morning, fed his horse and started to go to his Uncle Mr Adair about a quarter of a mile distant. He had not got more than half way when he was shot through his heart by some one of a party of scouts who were in advance of Reids Company who was coming to attack Ossawattomie. It is pretty authentically reported that his murder was Martin White a Border Ruffain Baptist Minister who owns a Claim near Ossawattomie. This White acted as pilot to Reid’s Company. We did not hear any report of the gun that was fired at Brown. While the above transaction occurred I with the other three were at Mr Carrs waiting for Breakfast. Soon after Brown was shot perhaps ten minutes, Mr Adair started to come over to Mr Carr’s when he saw Brown [xxx] in his blood. Mr. Adair came immediately to Mr Carr’s and informed us of what was done when we all went down to see him. I am mistaken about all of Fred’s men stopping at Mr Carr’s two of them stayed at Mr Cronkhites a quarter of a mile distance. There were but 5 of us who went from Mr Carr’s to the corpse after the intelligence reached us from Mr Adair our other two comrades had not heard of the circumstance.
We had not stood by the corpse 3 minutes when we saw from
the west Swords and Bayonets gleaming in the sun. This was the first that we saw of Reid’s Company. I examined that I might have a better view of them with a Spy Glass. I did not suppose that there were over a hundred or two when I made this view but afterward ascertained that there were over 400 of them.
Our first action after our discovery was to send a message to Brown & Chine informing them of their danger. I then went to Mr Carr’s house leaving the rest standing around the corpse telling them that I would be back in a little while. Before I left the corpse however one of the young men whom I left there agreed to saddle my horse which was between Mr Carrs house and the timber on the South that we might be ready to start agains an emergency. My object in going to the house was to get a better view of the enemy. But when I got to the house I saw them coming within about a mile and a half from me but between those that I saw and the house there were an advance body of about 30 or 40 for when I turned to go around the house I met them. My first impression when I saw these was that they were friends and I spoke to them asking who they were. I got no answer to this. I then saw coming in full view the whole company coming and then new to a certainty that they were merely an advance from the main body, and I then asked pretty promptly what they wanted. They answered stolen horses and fired without further ceremony 3 shots at me. I fired my gun at them in return remarking (as they had got my wrath pretty well up) that they were just the men that we wanted to see. As I made this remark I suppose they thought that there were more in the house and some of them started to go back to the Main Body. I took advantage of this movement and started on a run toward the timber. I saw that my horse had not been saddled and I payed no attention to him but kept on in the brush. My pursuers were on horseback (for they pursued the moment they saw me run) and they
gained on me so fast that I threw myself as soon as I could get an opportunity
on my face in the thick brush and fained to be wounded. I met Mr Garrison (one
that I had left by the corpse) when I was making for the timber going toward
the house. I warned him of his danger and he turned and went in the same direction
with me. As I was lying on my face the fellows who pursued me when they came
up fired 4 charges at me one buckshot lodged in my eyebrow, two charges struck
me in the thigh and left leg. My pocketbook was probably what prevented my thigh
being broken (also my spy glass which was shivered) and without were the means
of saving my life. After they had fired the 4 shots they supposed that they
had killed me and after taking my arms, left me and pursued and killed Mr Garrison,
they then returned to me, and one of them dismounted and came to me and kicked
me, took off my cartridge box and discovering that I was not quite dead remarked
that if he only had a charge in his gun he would “put it in his
head and he guessed that would fix him.” They examined my revolver but not being able to make it work left me remarking, “let him rip he will die fast enough.” They swore profusely during this proceeding. After they left me I remained in this state 2 or 3 hours when the 2 men that stayed at Cronkhites spoken of before came near me when I spoke to them. they brought me some water and a quilt, I remained in this position until night when I was carried down town at Mr Lewis I remained there until Monday when I was again removed to Mr. I. K. Everett’s where I have been kindly cared for ever since. Dr Darruch of Ossawattomie dressed my wounds and attended me several weeks. Drs/ Gelpattrick & Harrington have also visited me.
I have been troubled some in addition to my wounds with the Chill Fever but am now from a prescription of Dr Harriman of Lawrence cured my wounds are gradually healing and I
think that I shall by warm weather perhaps be nearly well. There were 30 different wounds including exits and entrances counted on my body. I have received much kindness and attention from the neighbors and am especially obligated to Mr Everetts family for their much care & kindness toward me. My Bill of expenses were paid for 16 weeks through the instrumentally & kindness of Messr Hyatt & Arny. Mr Hyatt has let me have 30 dollars for which I owe him much gratitude.
I don’t think that Mr Everett would even got his pay for my keeping and the attention paid me if it had not been for Mr Hyatt’s passing along. I had when I got into the Territory $150.00. This I invested in a Team which I have yet. I am the son of a widow who has depended on me but who now mourns for me. I hear from her occasionally.