Recollections of 1854 by Joseph Savage
Originally published as an almost weekly column in the Western Home Journal, Lawrence, Kansas, beginning June 23, 1870, “Recollections of 1854” were written by Joseph Savage who was born in Hartford, Vermont, on July 28, 1823, and came to Kansas Territory with the New England Emigrant Aid Company’s second party. The “Recollections” provide a detailed and personal account of Savage’s journey from Boston to Kansas Territory, and the first few months of settlement in Lawrence, the “free state fortress.” The original Savage narrative, which appeared in twelve installments (June 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, August 4, 11, 18, September 8, 22, 29, 1870), has been faithfully transcribe in its entirety by Shelley Hickman Clark, University of Kansas Law School.See also "Lawrence in 1854: Recollections of Joseph Savage," Kansas History 27 (Spring-Summer 2004)
Recollections of 1854 - No. 1
By J. Savage
Events which are small in themselves often grow in importance as they recede from us, and pass into history. So it is with what transpired in the autumn of 1854. This year will ever be memorable in the history of our country, as the beginning of the great struggle between freedom and slavery - a struggle which brought on the war of the rebellion, and freed the slave. Around this little hated Yankee town of Lawrence, the contest began: a town that has received the bitter curses of thousands of tongues and hearts - a town that still lies and promises to be all that its founders ever anticipated in their fondest dreams.
The Quantrill raid, with all its horrors, was but the faint expression of the tender feelings our enemies ever cherished toward us. It is still the wonder of my life how Lawrence could ever survive the hate of such a host of enemies, which encompassed her on every side. An unseen hand must have guided her destiny, and prevented her from being “wiped out” from the face of the earth.
The autumn of 1854 was ushered in with cholera raging in the large cities of the West, with many deaths occurring daily in Chicago, Cincinnati and other Western cities. I had fully purposed in my mind to seek a home in Wisconsin, but by the advice of my family physician delaying my journey one week, from fear of the cholera. During this week of delay, the Emigrant Aid Society sent out from Boston, Mass., broadcast over the Eastern States, maps and descriptions of Kansas, with circulars containing an account of its soil and climate, by Fremont, Parks and others, with offers of tickets at reduced rates to Kansas immigrants, and a special agent to accompany them to that land of promise. This part of their programme they literally fulfilled, as well as their promise to establish towns, build churches, erect saw mills and provide schools for the settlers. Lawrence city is the fulfillment of that promise, and the State University building on Mount Oread is in part of the same promise.
I first met Gen. Pomeroy at the office of Dr. Webb, the secretary of the Emigrant Aid Society. His hands were hard with honest labor, and his sunburnt countenance bespoke for him a place among the toiling yeomanry of New England. He took each emigrant by the hand with a warmth of feeling that told us all that in him we had a friend on whom we could rely, and so it proved in the first trying years of our settlement in Lawrence. And here let me say that, beyond all cavil, without the active and ardent support of the Emigrant Aid Society and their agents, Kansas could never have been settled by free State men. In the office of Dr. Webb I next met Geo. Earl, fresh from a sojourn in the gold fields of California, young and in the prime of life. On him time has now left his mark. Nest came Mr. Colburn, for a ticket to Kansas. Old “tangle-foot” had hold of him then: He bought a rifle of Dr. Webb - a condemned U.S. gun, with rifled bore, which the Doctor was faithful to offer to every emigrant for six dollars. It was a worthless gun. I saw many of them in Lawrence in 1855. I remember borrowing one to shoot ducks before light one morning on the bank of the river, just above where the bridge now stands. I made a shot in the chill mist of an October morning at random, and such a ringing in my ears I never had b before. The tube had blown out, and much of the charge had blown out at the wrong end. It was the last time I ever fired on of the Doctor’s rifles.
I had gone alone to Boston, to seek a home among the Western prairies for myself
and family, and had bidden adieu to home and friends with a sad heart. The
second party was to start on Wednesday, and who can judge of my glad surprise
to meet on Tuesday, the day before starting, four of my companions from home,
with instruments of music in their hands, to accompany us to Kansas. This
was the origin of the old Lawrence Band - a band that has made patriotic
music in times and celebrations that have tried men’s souls; a band
that played the funeral dirge around the grave of a murdered Barber, and
around the graves of those other martyrs to freedom who fell in quick succession
after him. Sad were our hearts as we bore them, one by one, to their last
resting place over Mount Oread, to the old cemetery grounds. That dirge should
be still held in sacred memory. Its tones should still ring out over these
broad prairies, as we yearly meet to scatter flowers and pour tears over
the graves of our martyred dead. Three of our number have fallen by cruel
hands, and now, no doubt, are making heavenly music over the river. Still
let the old band live. It should be kept up as one of the institutions of
the city, and not suffered to die out; its music cheered the regiments of
troops gathered here for our defense in 1856, and we boldly marched to the
front in the Price raid - and who can forget our return from that notable
campaign, as we played, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” through
the streets of Lawrence, amidst tears of joy from wives and children.
At Boston a large crowd gathered at the depot to see the second party off for Kansas. The great American poet, J. G. Whittier, had written a poem expressly for us. It was printed on nice large cards and distributed freely among the crowd, and a request given by Dr. Webb for all to join in the song, which they did in good earnest. It was set to Auld Lang Syne. We played the rune over once on our instruments, and then the song was sung by many with tears in their eyes. The song was worthy of a poet and the occasion, and should be written in letters of gold, or chiseled in the solid marble on the monument which will some day be here erected to freedom. We sang this song on our weary march across the Shawnee reserve, around our camp fires, and in the lonely tent on the town site; it was the inspiring sentiment in the hearts of those who dared to brave all for freedom, and thus forever consecrate these hills and valleys to her children.
THE KANSAS EMIGRANTS
We cross the prairie as of old,
The pilgrims cross the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!
We go to rear a wall of men
On Freedom’s southern line,
And plant beside the cotton tree
The rugged northern pine!
We’re flowing from out native hills,
As our free rivers flow;
The blessing of our mother-land
is on us as we go.
We go to plant her common schools
On distant prairie swells,
And give the Sabbaths of the wild
The music of her bells.
Upbearing, like the ark of old, The Bible in our van,
We goto test the truth of God
Against the fraud of man.
No pause nor rest save where the streams
That feed the Kansas run,
Save where our pilgrim gonfalon
Shall flout the setting sun.
We’ll tread the prairie as of old
Our fathers sailed the sea;
And make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free.
Recollections of 1854 - No. 2
By J. Savage
The first party sent out by the Emigrant Aid Society started from Boston July 17, 1854, number twenty-nine in all. Those of that party who are now living here are G.W. Goss, Ferdinand Fuller, J.F. Morgan, J.D. Stephens, H. Cameron. The rest have either gone back or are living in some other part of the world.
At the time the second party arrived on the site of Lawrence, only thirteen of the twenty-nine were here These two parties then became one, and chose the town site of Lawrence and gave it a name.
The second party started from Boston on August 29th, 1854. It numbered about sixty souls. It received three hearty cheers as it rolled out of the depot, while its band struck up, “O, Susannah, don’t you cry !” It was composed mostly of young men seeking homes and fortunes in the new West. Some had gray hairs. A few were enthusiastic young men, willing, and perhaps anxious, to become martyrs to their principles - who would go out of their way to let pro-slavery men know their sentiments. But most were modest, quiet men - men of brains and backbone. It used to be said that the second party had more of these two qualities than any other party ever had that started West from Boston. They had frequent occasions for using what they possessed, be it much or little.
Among our number was O.A. Hanscomb, leaving a good salary in a dry goods store; also, Caleb S. Pratt, who left a good position as a book-keeper in a wholesale carpet store; Gen. Pomeroy was with us on his first visit to Kansas. Mr. Taft, from Boston, was reporter for the party. We were under the charge of C.H. Branscomb. Several entire families were in our party, among whom were Levy Gates and wife, now Widow Roberts, and their daughter Fannie, now Mrs. Locke. She was one of the youngest members. Alphonso Jones and Wilder Knight, with their families, were with us; also, the Litchfield family, now deceased, were with us, so was Mr. Colburn and family. Luke P. Lincoln joined us at Newton, F. Bailey at Worcester, Haskell at Brookfield, S. J. Willes and family at Albany, Joel Grover at Rochester, George Gilbert a little further on; also, James Emery, Esq., and E.D. Ladd joined us at Battle Creek, Michigan.
The first night we stopped at the Delavan House, at Albany. The friends of freedom gave us a reception there. It was late when we arrived, and the night was cool. So was the reception, as few were present, and speeches were made by them, and responded to by Pomeroy, Branscomb and Lincoln. This was the first public speaking I had heard from Gen. Pomeroy. His oratory was then, as now, rather of the “spread-eagle” style, but somewhat impressive and pathetic. He then said that the great Western valleys were not scooped out by the hand of the Almighty to be the burial place of freedom, and then asked, “Shall the great Mississippi continually weep to the ocean eternal tears over the wrongs and woes of the African slave? And shall the great American eagle forever soar over a land containing four millions of bondmen, living in ignorance as the dark as midnight darkness?”
The next we had given to us, at Rochester, a splendid bible from a Mr. Bross. That bible is in our possession to this day. The speeches on that occasion were full of eloquence and patriotism, and were cut short by the cars starting on their way, amidst the cheers of a multitude of spectators. That night, at about ten in the evening, we went on board a steamboat at Buffalo, bound for Detroit, Mich. That ride across the blue waters of Lake Erie will be long remembered by us all. During the passage, many speeches were made and resolutions passed bearing directly on our future settlement in Kansas. While out of sight of land a little bird came on board the boat, and was received with cheers, as a favorable omen of success in our journey, and by our reporter was compared to Columbus, when about to discover America, being encouraged by a board coming on board his ship, showing land to be near.
About eleven o’clock we neared the harbor at Detroit. It was a calm, beautiful day. Our party was in the best of humor and spirits. All seemed to feel that they were journeying to the promised land. I recollect that Mr. Haskell (the father of John and Dudley Haskell), went into his state-room, put on his best Sunday rig, and came out on deck with the fire and ardor of youth in his countenance - a look that seemed to bless God for allowing him to journey thus far towards Kansas. As he paced the deck with proud and lofty step, the windows of his soul were all aglow with the inspiration of hope that possessed his spirit within.
At Detroit we stopped at the Leonard House, and went up to see the residence of Gen. Cass, and then started for Chicago, by way of the Michigan Central Railroad, at which place we arrived the next forenoon. Here the party was put up at different hotels. The cholera was raging. I recollect seeing a woman opposite me at the table eating very greedily of cucumbers, onions and vegetables, without stint or fear of death, which surprised me. It was a hot, sultry day at Chicago - we missed connections, and did not get off on the Alton & St. Louis road until after dark. The rank smell of the fall weeds of dog-fennel and horse-mint, made us very sick as we passed out of the city, where now fine dwellings cover the ground.
We came to the Father of Waters the next day, at about ten o’clock in the forenoon. Here we all bathed in its waters for the first time in our lives. It was a great day to many of us on that account. I remember of helping the young children get aboard of the steamer bound for St. Louis, at which place we arrived about the middle of the afternoon, and got aboard of the steamer New Lucy, bound for Kansas City, and points further up the Missouri river.
Caleb Pratt and Hanscomb stayed over Sunday at St. Louis, so as not to travel on the Sabbath; General Pomeroy also stayed on business; the rest of us journeyed on towards the setting sun. The river was low, and we had to walk around some of the worst sand bars on the river. On board the boat there were several slaveholders, very pleasant men indeed. We showed them our Sharp’s rifle, for we had the first one ever brought to Kansas from the East. It was brought by Mr. James Sawyer. We fired it several times on the boat, for the amusement of our pro-slavery friends. We also had several sharp discussions on the slavery question with them, Mr. S. J. Willes and Mr. Spittle were the chief speakers, and did credit to the subject.
We arrived at Kansas City just seven days from Boston, and were provided with
cotton tents by the Aid Society, and camped by a nice spring of water just
north of the city, over the line in Kansas Territory.
Recollections of 1854 - No. 3
By J. Savage
Two days living in the hot September sun, in cotton tents, and two nights sleeping in the cool dew and camp of the Missouri river bottom, made the children cross, and the women impatient and homesick. Pomeroy and Robinson had not then arrived from St. Louis, but were expected on the first boat, when we were to go into the Territory to choose a location for our city and home. Inaction was perilous now to the success of the enterprise, and several speeches were made, with a good deal of earnestness, to have the men buy teams and get off on the road toward the setting sun. Luke P. Lincoln and Taft (reporter) had hired a livery team and rode out beyond Westport, near the old Mission, to see the goodly land. They came back full of enthusiasm, saying that the prairies were beautiful, and as green as a carpet. We had formed companies according to our needs, and began to bring in ox teams into camp. Grover headed one squad of five men, and bought a large ox team for $200. Of his five, three are now living here - E. E. Ladd, George Gilbert and himself. Haskell formed a company of eleven, and bought a smaller team, and rather wild. They had to be guided by a rope around the horns of the near one, he volunteering to act as driver. The team we bought of McGee, and cost $150.
Five of the eleven are now dead, viz, two Buffims, F. Towles, T. F. Reynolds and Haskell Only the Savage brothers now live here of that company Several of our young city members had purchased good ponies and were trying their speed near our encampment. I need not add that none of these tarried long amid the hardships of pioneer life, and soon went back East again to live.
F. A. Bailey, Smith and Emery made up another team of cattle, and found their way soon after us to the new city. Wilder Knight and family came along with two yoke of oxen, and brought their household goods with them.
At that time there was but one hotel at Kansas City, and Mr. Jenkins, who was afterward shot by Gen. Lane, was its landlord. His widow is now in the Bazaar. We purchased our outfit of a merchant by the name of Conant. He then had a clerk by the name of Norman Allen, who afterward became one of our leading business men, and was the first man that ever offered goods for sale on the town site of Lawrence, and that in a small cotton tent. He afterward built the first store on the ground now occupied by Liberty Hall.
Our outfit consisted of a sack of flour, a ham, dried apples, a box of yeast powder, a frying pan, Dutch oven, mixing pan, spoon, tin cups, a bucket with a little salt and pepper, camp kettle, coffee and coffee pot, with a few pounds of sugar. Grover and Haskell were the first to leave the camp at Kansas City - seventeen men all told.
After loading boxes, trunks and provisions into our wagon, we found that we had more load than we could easily haul; but we lightened it by taking out each our gun or rifle, from fear of being attacked at Westport - for we had read in the papers of the threats to shoot all the Yankees that attempted to go through that city into the new Territory. We carefully loaded our guns, and went into Westport with them on our shoulders. We saw but few men, and a great many hogs, in the town. We stopped at a grocery, and bought each a glass of new cider and some ginger bread, and went on our way unmolested. After traveling a few miles over gently rolling timbered country, we came in sight of Kansas prairie. It was indeed as green as a carpet, and lovely, too. Our hearts beat high and strong. The writer of these sketches was said to have swung his hat high in the air over hid head, and shouted, “Glory! glory!” at the top of his voice. Of this he does not now remember, but he does recollect of forming in platoons, with arm-in-arm, and marching and singing.
“We cross the prairies as of old
Our fathers crossed the sea, “
with unbounded satisfaction.
We soon came to Dr. Barker’s mission station. He was at the gate, and received us warmly, gave us a drink of water, and directions for fining the road. We asked him is this was a healthy country. He answered us by saying that it remained yet to be proved, as no white man had tried it. The old Doctor always seemed to me like good Simeon, of old bible times, who waited for the consolation of Israel. A little past the Baptist Mission we came to a fine cold spring of water, just a little north of the Quaker Mission buildings. Here we camped for several days, and all of our party came up either in teams or hired conveyances. Here Pomeroy and Robinson went past us up to where Lawrence now stands, and chose the location for the town. They were accompanied by Mr. Jenkins and James Blood.
Here S.N. Wood and Gov. Robinson first met our party, and made speeches to them, on one pleasant evening. They were on horseback. Wood had been on his claim for two months or more, and had met us there to encourage us and give us spirit. He described the country. Said the Kaw and Wakarusa run about parallel with each other for ten or twelve miles, till near Coon Point, and then they separated further apart. He also described the backbone, or ridge, that the old California road takes west from here toward Topeka. Gov. Robinson said that he had always been on the side of the squatter, and cited his own history in California, where he got shot, and was taken up for dead, while heading a party of squatters there. We stayed at this encampment till after the Sabbath, and then started on the road west, Haskell and Grover’s team keeping each other company. We camped the first night about fifteen miles nearer our future home, by quite a large creek, near an old deserted Indian ____ and orchard.
Grover had been to California on the overland route, and was looked up to as an oracle in our camp in matters of camping and defense against Indians. We sat up late that night around our camp fire, telling stories of border life, and hair breadth escapes from death, &c. We all laid our fire-arms by our pillows, with more real fear from Indians than we have ever felt since.
The next day we were on the road early, and at about ten o’clock were marching two-by-two, with a blanket over our heads to keep off the rain.
About the middle of the afternoon we came in sight of Dr. Still’s Methodist Mission, where was a horse-power corn mill, and a building over it. Here we sheltered ourselves from the rain and camped for the night. Two of us felt unwell, and were granted permission to stay in the log mission house with the family. We had not been there long before Pomeroy, Blood and Jenkins came in from Lawrence town site. They had that morning located it, and were on their way down to notify us of the fact, and hurry us up for settlement. They said that the site was all that could be desired, and perfectly satisfactory to them, and we should all be pleased.
That night, we all slept in the loft, on beds made upon the floor, ranging each way, with feet pointing in. Just as we were all in bed, Pomeroy said, “Now, do not let another word be spoken till morning.” All were still, and not a whisper till break of day. In the morning, we breakfasted on bread, jam and dried fruit. After breakfast, the good old missionary gathered the large family together for worship. The time, place and occasion rendered in one of the most impressive scenes in my life. The good old Methodist hymn, “A Charge to Keep I have,” was sung without any reserve in voice or spirit. I have bowed around many family altars on earth, to worship our common Father in heaven, but none was I ever carried nearer to the gate of heaven than at these morning devotions in the family of the good old missionary. The weather was very pleasant, and the morning sun shone brightly as we started out on the old California Road. We came to the town of Franklin about noon. It had then two new log houses in it. Near one, there was a well dug out of which we had a refreshing draught of water, and nearer the road was a stake driven into the ground, with a short piece of board nailed across the top of it, on which was written, “Whisky.”
About two o’clock in the afternoon, on the 16th of September, 1854, we arrived on Mount Oread, near where the observatory now stands. Here we found what remained of the first party, with Mr. Levi Gates and family and Mr. Bruce and wife, all in tents. Near this is now seen the remains of an old cellar, dug by the first party before our arrival. The day was warm, and we asked for a drink of water, and were given some from the ravine back of where the University now stands, where was then tall grass. It was warm and brackish, and made us quite sick. Soon our teams came up, and we drove down on the town site, and pitched our tents nearly in front of where the jail now stands. This was the first Yankee tent, and our first night, on the then to be great city of Lawrence.
Recollections of 1854 - No. 4
By J. Savage
Before pitching our tents for the night, we, like pilgrims at the end of their journey, went for the first time to bath our wearied limbs in the turbid waters of the Kaw. As we first cast our longing eyes over its surface, and felt the cooling embrace of its waters, a feeling of ownership and affection sprang up in our hearts, for on its banks were soon to be our homes. On its farther shore, where the city of North Lawrence now rears its walls and hurries with its bustle and business, stood then one continuous forest. The tall oak, elm and cottonwood then spread out their long branches defiantly to the noonday sun, while beneath their shade the silence of nature reigned supreme.
We ate our first meal on the town site, from the scanty stores left of bread, cheese and dried meat, which had been so carefully packed by our wives and mothers, in our Eastern homes.
During the second night after our arrival, there occurred one of those terrific thunder storms so frequent in this climate. Our tents had been staked in haste, carelessly, so that they reeled to and fro in the wind like a ship in mid-ocean. Each one of the five occupying our tent seized its flapping folds, and held with might and main the cords to their places.
One of the five started East in the morning, saying that good water and rich soil are never found together, and he preferred the water. That was the last night he ever slept in Kansas.
On this day (the 18th), we met on the hill nearly, if not exactly, where the new University is being erected, to form an association for laying out the city. The day was rather windy, and, it being difficult to hear each other, we adjourned over the point of the bluff to the south, and for seats, occupied the large rocks that lay scattered on the surface of the ground. It was at this time and place that the discussion arose as to a name for the association, which finally gave name to the city. Dr. Doy and Mr. Mallory spoke at considerable length in favor of some of the Indian names common to the country, such as Quindaro, Eureka and Wakarusa. E. D. Ladd, J. S. Emery, and others, took part in the discussion. Caleb Pratt proposed we take our name after Amos Lawrence, as he thought it would be gratifying to him, and would be the means of obtaining many valuable bequests from him to our public library, as well as to our institutions of learning, to which Mr. Lawrence had then pledged ten thousand dollars. Gov. Robinson agreed with Mr. Pratt, and said that Mr. Lawrence was the first man that contributed of his money to aid Kansas emigration, and he thought it would please him to have a namesake in Kansas.
The vote was then taken, and was quite unanimous in favor of Lawrence. Seventy-nine members were that day enrolled on the books of the Lawrence association, as entitled to equal shares in the lots of the city. Any one present that day could, by registering his name, have become a member of the association, and our titles to city lots still date back to this time.
After that time no one could become a member without buying his right, or being invited into the association as a member. Several persons were afterwards received by vote, among whom were S. Y. Lum, S. N. Simpson and S. N. Wood. Shares in the association were sold in less than three months from this time for $500.
At the time of our arrival, there was but one log hut on the town site. It can now be seen just north of Ed. Jenning’s blacksmith shop, on Massachusetts street, toward the bridge. This house was then owned by Mr. Stearns. The Emigrant Aid company soon bought him out and paid him $500 in gold, and Mr. Stearns took a claim in the timber, cast of the city, on land now belonging to the estate of Judge Miller. This log house was then used, for a short time, as a fort for our protection from the threatened assaults of the Missourians. Afterwards it was used by Paul Brooks as a store.
Our first washing was done by Mrs. Purington, who was then camping , under a wagon sheet, near Winthrop street bridge, at the ravine. They soon, however, moved on to the claim so long in dispute with Judge Smith. Here they lived in a sort of open hay shed, continuing to do washing for us till death removed Mrs. Purington from this world of labor and trouble.
At this time our city went by different names. By some of the Eastern people it was called New Boston. G. W. Brown dated first number of the Herald of Freedom from the town of Wakarusa. S.N. Wood dated his letters to the National Era from forty miles west of Westport, on the old California rod, and by the Missourians it was universally spoken of as the “d___d Yankee town,” and with many of them to this day it goes by that name.
There were no wells of water in town then, and all went to a spring for water, which is still to be seen by the ravine, directly in front of Mr. Sands’s residence, on Tennessee street. This spring soon failed to supply the wants of our increasing numbers; and I recollect enlarging its capacity by digging it out on the first Sabbath afternoon after our arrival, and all through the fall we had to be up before light to get a clear bucket of water for cooking.
On the first Sabbath, Mr. E. D. Ladd conducted religious service by reading a sermon, with singing, and for prayers he repeated the Lord’s prayer, which he claimed was adapted to all men under all circumstances. These exercises were kept up for more than a year; till different denominations filled up all the time on Sabbath days by their own appointments. Mr. Haskell made the first extempore prayer in Lawrence, at a church meeting held sometime during the second week after our arrival. It came about in this wise: S.J. Willes and several others, who were then termed Liberals, urged that in this new city, devoted to liberality and freedom, there ought to be but one church, and that broad enough to embrace all creeds, and then build a large church building and employ the most talented preacher in America. For this purpose a meeting convened, and appointed Messrs. Pomeroy, Ladd and Haskell a committee to report on the subject. After consulting together, the committee could not agree, and Pomeroy gave in the majority and Ladd the minority report. Both of these reports would now be interesting documents, and may sometime be brought to light. The majority report embraced the common accepted belief of orthodox christians, while the minority report was what we term “visionary,” and claimed that as the same particles of matter entered into the composition of many different bodies, by the laws of growth and decay, the resurrection of the body was impossible and absurd. Thus this grand scheme failed.
The first building done on the town was to erect large hay buildings. These
were paid for by the Aid Society. Each laborer received one dollar per day.
I did one day’s work at mowing, by hand, the tall dry grass with which
the buildings were thatched. We cut the grass in the bottom just east of the
residence of John Speer, on ground now owned mostly by the Galveston Railroad
Company. The buildings were made by pinning two long poles together at one
end, and raising them up in the form of the letter A. The poles were about
twenty feet long, and on the sides of these were nailed ribs of cottonwood
or willow poles, and on these ribs was fastened the thatching by the use of
wire. The sides were quite steep, and would shed the rain pretty well.
It was then claimed that we had men of all trades and professions in our company, and could build anything needed within ourselves. This, I think, was in a great measure true; but more than half of our number were willing and felt competent to serve their country by taking offices in the State, as Governors, or Representatives to Congress, or, as some have since done, a foreign mission.
A man much needed to superintend the thatching was found in the person of Mr. Houghton, an Englishman, formerly a sailor, of genial nature, short in stature, and who would roll his quid from side to side with an easy grace. His weakness was sometimes to imbibe too much for his good. His jolly but rough manners, his straight, military gait, will be remembered by all old settlers of that period. He afterward built the stone house on the hill, now owned by H. W. Baker, which he afterward sold to Gov. Robinson, and then built the stone house now occupied by dr. Wilder, on Massachusetts street. Eight or ten years ago, old Houghton died. He was attended by Minister Fuller, who is now absent from Lawrence. His last words were these: “Well, Fuller, I think my time to die has now come.” Mr. Fuller answered that he had lived through many sicknesses as bad as this, and he thought he would yet live through this. Houghton answered, “No, Fuller; the cable is?? coiled and the anchor snubbed,” and then turned over, and started on his last voyage across the unknown sea.
Recollections of 1854 - No. 5
By J. Savage
Meetings of the Lawrence Association were now held every week, and many speeches were made, and much boasting, with loud, swelling words, was heard concerning the new city we were then founding. According to some it was to be three miles square, with streets wide, and in keeping with the growing West. Its lots were to be large and ample, and its park in particular must be truly magnificent. Why this result was not realized in fact, and why our park now surrounded by a tier of lots so uncomely, is in part owing to man’s greed for gain, and in part because much of the city passed out of our control, contrary to our wishes. I believe that if the Lawrence Association had continued in full possession of the city, its lots and park would have been far more desirable than they now are.
On the 21st of September, Mr. A. D. Searle was elected surveyor of the association. The next day he established the meridian line by astronomical observations; this was done by setting up a row of lights up and down Massachusetts street in the evening, and running the line by the North Star. On the same day he commenced surveying farm claims.
Our choice of farm claims was sold to the highest bidder, at an auction held for that purpose; this took place on the 21st day of September, also. Mr. Mallory was auctioneer. The first choice was sold to J. f. Morgan, for $252.50. He chose the claim now containing the fair ground and race track. The next sold to Ferdinand Fuller, for $180. He chose the claim where he now lives, beyond the wind-mill, but afterward, to avoid contention, divided with John Wilder, who soon after put up a lime kiln. Fuller took the west half, and J. Wilder the east half, where his wind-mill now stands. Dr. Harrington took the third choice, for $202.50, but never located his claim, to my knowledge. The fourth choice was taken by Henry Hovey, for $239. He chose the place now owned, in part, by C. W. Babcock and Adam ??Rottman. Thus these sales continued till fifty-six bids were made, and no more bidders.
After the sale had commenced, and the bids were running high, some one asked Gen. Pomeroy if this bid money would be collected. He answered by saying that if he had any influence in the association, its whole weight should be given to collecting the moneys. This to us timid ones was a damper, and we bid lightly. In the end this money was never paid, although a committee was appointed to take security on claims for it. The committee were Messrs. Robinson, Johnson and Harrington. Thus was settled, without contention, one of the most difficult problems that could possibly have arisen in a new and unsurveyed country, as ours was then; at best, it must have been a grab game, and every man for himself, and we were peaceably settled, as the present now finds us, in perfect harmony.
The next day after the auction, the surveyors went directly forward surveying our farms. For this office we chose Haskell, Tolles, Lincoln and Johnson, under the direction of Mr. Searl. The country was then covered with tall grass, and the work was very wearing and laborious. While this was going on, we were very much like the impotent man waiting to be healed at the pool of Siloam, for the troubling of the waters - someone else always stepped in before him. Levi Gates, in true squatter style, selected and improved his claim (now known as the Locke farm), without asking leave of the association. Mr. Purington ?? moved directly on to his farm (now in part Judge Smith’s), contrary to our wishes, and we often discussed the propriety of putting him off, but concluded we could not safely do it, and left him in peaceful possession. About the same time a Mr. Short took the Goss claim. George Earl headed a party of our young men, and tore down his house and ordered him off. He was a Missourian, and afterward contested for the place. It costs Mr. Goss, on this account, over $1500 to obtain a good title to his farm. About this time Mr. Simon Hopper took the first claim south of the city, which is now known as Babcock’s addition; and Mr. Wm. Baldwin took a claim in the east part of the city itself, on what is now George Earl’s fraction; while his brother, Jim Baldwin, boldly pitched his tent a few rods east of the old Stearns house, which Mr. S. had just vacated. This last event has already been, in part, narrated in Kansas history, and will be the subject of a story I will tell in a future number.
Our new city and its adjoining farms were then in danger of being all taken up by outsiders before our surveys were completed. To remedy this evil, O. A. Hanscomb was selected to occupy the east side, where he now is; while Mr. Haskell had already moved over the place now occupied by his sons, John and Dudley Haskell. Henry Hovey went directly to improving his claim; so did F. Fuller. Houghton, as I have before related, was put on the hill, near where H.?? W. Baker’s house now is; while Judge Emery went on the hill, where he still owns a good house, with quite a track of land adjoining.
The writer of these sketches was put on what is now known as Lane’s addition, with this remark from Gov. Robinson: “If you stay there you may make your everlasting fortune.” I then moved my tent, bed and trunk to nearly the spot now occupied by Mrs. Lane’s residence, and slept there for several weeks. While there I cut a ton or two of hay, and stacked it on the ground now occupied by the residence of Dr. Fuller. I afterwards sold the hay to Norman Allen for twenty dollars; as there was very little hay put up that year, it was in good demand. While I was staying here, John Wilder commenced the first kiln ever burned in Lawrence. He often went past to his labors before I was up in the morning.
About this time there came, for the first time, to our city, a Mr. Chapman. He had been employed by Mr. Jenkins about his hotel, in Kansas City. He made his first appearance here with a wagon and one yoke of oxen, and commenced cutting and hauling out logs for the house where afterwards Gen. Lane shot Mr. Jenkins. Chapman was employed by Mr. Jenkins, who owned the team and found the groceries to improve his claim, which he had made previous to our arrival. Mr. C. afterwards turned traitor to his employer, and claimed for himself a part of the city. He soon after sold his interest to Dr. J.N.O.P. Wood (or Alphabet Wood, as he was sometimes called for short), for a consideration. This Dr. Wood afterward, with several other outsiders, obtained possession of no small part of our city lots. His name appears often on our records, and this is the way it came about.
Chapman was a short, thick-set man, with not a very pleasing countenance, with a hair lip, causing an impediment in his speech. He also had an ungovernable temper. One day Gov. Robinson made some remarks about him, at which he was very angry. So we went to his cabin and hid his long dirk knife in his bosom, and then came over to our hay tents to kill the Governor. I was present at the time. The Governor kept perfectly cool, and so managed him as to quiet his rage, and they parted by shaking hands, and the Governor promised to call at his cabin to see his wife, who was a very amiable woman.
Chapman came to my tent one day and told me that he had filed on that claim in Washington, for a home, and had got his papers for it, and that it would of no use for me to try to keep it. He kept working away at his house with commendable industry, and after a few days I abandoned the claim with the everlasting fortune, and moved my tent over the ravine into town.
On the day of the auction for farm claims, General Pomeroy publicly promised to furnish to all members of the association sawed lumber to build their cabins with, for ten dollars per thousand. This promise, although made in good faith, was never fulfilled. For this cause we delayed making any preparation for winter, expecting the saw mill would furnish us lumber for that purpose. I am not prepared to say that the old cemetery contains more graves than it would have done had this promise never been made; but I know that midwinter came before we saw the first lumber from the mill, and the winter, although a very mild one, was upon us before any preparation was made for it, and much suffering and exposure was the consequence. The first lumber from the mill was eagerly bought at sixty and seventy dollars per thousand.
There occurred on the 22d of September the first meeting of the City Council ever held in Lawrence, and I here give a record of its doings:
MEETING OF THE COMMON COUNCIL.
September 22, 1854.
Ten members present; Dr. Robinson in the chair.
The president suggested that it would be advisable to have standing committees,
to consider the various topics that would come before the council.
Voted, that the president nominate the standing committees.
C.S. Pratt was elected clerk.
The president then nominated for standing committee on judiciary, Messrs. Emery, Haskell and Lincoln; on finance, Messrs. Mallory, Morgan and Cracglin; on farm claims; Harrington, Johnson and Tappan; on city claims, Morgan Willes and Haskell.
A discussion took place as to who were entitled to city lots. The question was referred to the committee on city claims.
The matter of taking security for payment of moneys bid for choice of farm lots, and of making out the writings for the same, was referred to the committee on judiciary.
It was voted that three trustees be chosen to receive the security.
It was also voted that the trustees be elected at large. Messrs. Robinson, Johnson and Harrington were elected trustees.
The subject of city boundaries, &c, was discussed.
On motion of Mr. Lincoln, it was voted that the southern line of the city shall intersect a line drawn from the river via the site of the new mill, one and one-half miles from the center of the river, and that the other limits be due east and west.
The subject of salaries of officers was referred to judiciary committee.
CALEB S. PRATT, Clerk.
Recollections of 1854 - No. 6
By J. Savage
Sometime during the third week after our arrival on the town site of Lawrence, there came to our encampment, late one afternoon, a young man - a lawyer by profession - clad in thick pants and a red flannel shirt. From this circumstance he was called for some time by the not very dignified name of “the red-shirted lawyer.” I saw him first as he was washing the dust of an overland journey from his hands and face, in front of the Stearns cabin, from a tin washdish with was sitting on a wooden stool. In this cabin he took his first meal in his future home. He name was G.?? W. Babcock, who is now Surveyor General of the State of Kansas. He came here from Minnesota/via Leavenworth city, where he assisted in rolling up the first log cabin on that city site.
I soon made his acquaintance, as we were both Green Mountain boys, and our friendship remains uninterrupted to this day.
At that time there were two other claimants on the town site beside the Mr. Stearns we had already bought out. They were Wm. H. R. Lykins on the west, and James Baldwin on the east. Mr. Lykins was for many years one of our leading bankers in Lawrence, and Mr. Baldwin was, up to the time of the bridge being built, ferryman over the Kaw river. Both these men are widely known through this part of the country. Babcock was soon engaged as attorney for these two claimants, by taking one-half of their interest in the new town site. At this time, neither the clients or their attorney had much of what is often termed “filthy Lucre.” Mr. Baldwin was formerly from Illinois, but latterly from Missouri, and was at this time pro-slavery; and being then know as contending against the Yankee settlement, was an object of tender affection to that party.
Public sentiment in Kansas on the subject of slavery has since that day entirely changed, far more so than the face of the country has by cultivation. Nor is it possible at this day to conceive the power and strength of the pro-slavery party in Kansas in 1854,. With the moral power of the great State of Missouri to back them. The town of Franklin, four miles to the east, and of Lecompton, twelve miles to the west, were then among the strongholds. On the Wakarusa were the three Corlew brothers, one of whom was afterward hung in Lawrence by a mob, on suspicion of being present at the raid. Above them were the Lahay family; while on Washington creek were then living those who showed their zeal in the cause by killing our brave Captain Hoyt. Still nearer, on the Saulsbury claim, was then living Jim Whitlock, a member of the first Border Ruffian Legislature at Shawnee Mission. He often came to my spring for water, to use in his family. And near the residence of A. D. Searl then living our estimable fellow citizen. A. B. Wade, who was also a member of the first Legislature of Kansas. While behind all these, there was the whole power of the Government, its patronage and officials, with the army to back them.
As I have before related, Baldwin pitched his tent within a few rods of our encampment, while his heavier improvements were further east, towards the Galveston depot. I had then bought the only Sharp’s rifle there was among us; and one day, just as I was coming into camp for my dinner, Frank Bailey called to me to come up there, for we were going to have a fight. I ran up, rifle in hand, and saw Baldwin’s tent lying prostrate on the ground. Mr. B. swearing vengeance on the Yankees and their settlement on his claim. He had his rifle, and for a while he acted as though he would shoot some of us with it. He finally went off, saying that he would raise men enough to clear us all out of the country.
I relate these incidents minutely, because they caused by far the greatest excitement of anything in our early settlement.
This occurred near the first of October. That evening we had a meeting called, and formed a military company for defense. Gov. Robinson was chosen to conduct the defense, while Joel Grover was elected captain of the company. I think the company numbered about fifty men. Capt. Grover had seen much of frontier life in an overland trip to California, and during his residence there. In making a speech after he was elected to office, among other things he said: “Now, gentlemen, I want no man to join this country who is afraid to take the d–l right by his horns.” Not being anxious myself to see that person then and there, I did not join the company, but went in on my own hook.
There sight of these excited, unshaven men, as seen that night by the light of one tallow candle in the old log cabin, on the town site of Lawrence, will not ever be forgotten by any of those who were then present.
S. J. Willes was selected to occupy with a tent the ground occupied by Baldwin’s. Mr. W. slept there at night, and stored his things in it.
We knocked out port-holes from the chinking of the old cabin, to shoot from.
The next day a large pro-slavery party collected on the east side of town, and sent two of their number on horseback over to Gov. Robinson, who was busy at some kind of work near where the ruins of the old Emigrant Aid mill now stand. They came up on a full gallop, with a note in Babcock’s hand-writing, saying that if we did not remove the tent in thirty minutes, they would remove it for us. The Governor sent back this note: “You molest our property at your peril.” We all collected at the old cabin, with our guns, to see them remove the tent. It was a long half-hour to me. It was during this half-hour that some one standing near the Governor if it would be best to shoot over their heads, or hit them if we could. He answered by saying that he should be ashamed to shoot at a man and not hit him.
That day passed and no fight occurred; but a horseman rode by us, saying that
they would get 20,000 men together and clean us all out.
About this time there appeared among us a tall man by the name of Starr. He was from Wisconsin, and said he had bought part of Baldwin’s interest. He was very bold in letting us know of his individual right in the town, and made himself quite obnoxious to us by his arrogance. He assisted Baldwin some in getting up his housekeeping arrangements; but after a few weeks he sank beneath the wave of opposition, and for some reason was seen never more in Lawrence.
The contest was kept up until some time during the next summer, with several exciting incidents occurring, the chief of which are these: Chapman was arrested in the fall for stopping our surveys. He sometime early in the winter sold out his interest to “Alphabet Wood,” who consolidated with the other outside interests, and made a general right for a part of the town. Wood brought in considerable money, it was reported, which helped them to keep up the contest.
Early in the spring, Gov. Robinson commenced building a frame house on the hill where the University building now stands. Wood ordered him to desist, as it was on his claim, and stopped his workmen in their labors during the Governor’s absence. He chopped it nearly down. I saw the corner posts, made of good sound lumber, cut nearly all through. He was only made to desist by the Governor drawing a pistol on him, and threatening instant death. Wood was by far the most dangerous man in the opposition to the Lawrence Association.
Babcock was good in laying off work for others to do, but I never knew him to stand up to anything like an open fight. Early the next spring, through one of the Hopper brothers, Babcock came into possession of what is now know as “Babcock’s addition.” He also obtained from the Border Ruffian Legislature, a charter for the first ferry at Lawrence - he owning one-half interest with the Baldwins. At the Shawnee Mission, he made the acquaintance of B. F. Stringfellow, and was appointed, through Whitfield, the Delegate to Congress from Kansas Territory, the first postmaster at Lawrence, in place of E. D. Ladd, as petitioned for by our association. His old office building is still standing, one door north of Joel Thomas’s livery stable.
Thus the contest raged till the summer of 1855, when Gov. Robinson went East, and Pomeroy was left in his place. The association were getting weary of the uncertainty of titles, and it was often said we should drive away all investments by our quarrels, and ruin the prospects of the town, if we kept them up longer. A compromise was then made by giving up nearly one-quarter of the lots to Lykins, Wood, Babcock and Baldwin. Each of our own drawings were thus reduced from sixty-four lots down to twelve, which we drew and received titles for, which titles are good to this day.
It was at this time that the park was cut down, by taking off a tier of lots the entire distance around it, to satisfy their demands. The park, before it was cut down, contained forty acres.
If no settlement had been made, and the contest kept up till after the surveys, these three claims, viz., Lykins, Stearns and Baldwin’s, would all have been on one fractional quarter, running west to the street in front of the old Congregational church, and south to Winthrop Street, on east to the river, at the head of the island.
Recollections of 1854 - No.7
By J. Savage
After we had been on the town site two or three days, one of my friends asked Gen. Pomeroy this question: “Well, General, I suppose after you have got rich in Kansas, you will go back East to live again;” ti which the General replied: “No, sir; I have enlisted in this cause for life; and shall not only stay here till Kansas is a free State, but, in ten years, Missouri will be free also;” and so it proved.
One forenoon, after we had been here nearly four weeks, Pomeroy came riding
into camp on a light-gray horse. He had just come up from Kansas City, bringing
our first letters from home. He rode around through camp with them and delivered
them to us in person. “Here, Mr. S., is a letter from your wife,” he
said to me, and with some kind of remark he delivered the mail over town to
us all. These letters were nearly all taken from his hand with tearful eyes.
After a little while, E. D. Ladd acted as postmaster, and fitted up a box with tills for each letter, and during the fall and winter we went to him for ours mails, which were brought up from Kansas City by teams that went down from Lawrence for goods. I have since lived to see many good men in the Lawrence post office, but to none of them has it seemed to me in justice to belong as much as it does to E. D. Ladd, for his gratuitous services in that department in the fall of 1854.
One of the pleasantest and most interesting occasions of the fall, was our reception of Gov. Reeder in Lawrence. It was his first visit, and we strongly hoped that he would locate his capital here; so we did our best to make the reception agreeable to him. We sent to Missouri and got a large squash, and made up some nice squash pies for the occasion. These were baked in our stove, in the little cab in we had then built. The men that served as waiters were dressed with linen shirts on the outside, for while frocks. The waiters were Mr. And Mrs. Litchfield, with their son and daughter, Mr. Burleigh and wife, and John Mack. All the ladies in the city vied with each other to get up the best possible dinner, which was, of course, free to the guests - but to us it was one dollar each. It was served in the long hay tent, which then we used as a boarding house, as ell as for meetings on the Sabbath, and those of the association.
We were particularly anxious that General Pomeroy should do well in his reception speech, and often asked him if he was well prepared.
Gov. Reeder and suite came in with Government ambulances, with four mules and a driver for each team.
The reception took place a little to the south of where the jail now stands. We were all gathered around Gov. Reeder, and were introduced, in turn, to him and the Judges of the Territory, who were with him. We then had a Mr. Hazen with us. When he was introduced to Gov. Reeder, the Governor remarked that there were many families in his district, in Pennsylvania, by that name, and he thought he could see a family resemblance between them.
Judge Elmore spoke of the beauty and utility of hedge fences, and advised all of us to depend on them for our farms, as he thought it added greatly to the beauty of the landscape.
Pomeroy was dressed in coarse, plain cloth. Hiss fur cap was quite weather-beaten and seedy, his face well tanned by exposure to our trying winds and sun, his hair long, and lay in mattered curls about his neck. We turned a square box upside down for a platform, and, with heads uncovered, in the open air, on a cloudy day, on the 19th of October, Gen. Pomeroy mounted the box and made the reception speech, as follows:
“GOV. REEDER: In behalf of the citizens of Lawrence we welcome you to this settlement. We gather about you with open hands and hearts in expression of congratulation and joy that you are among us. And these expressions are hightened by a consciousness that you are of us.
“We cordially extend to you our right hand and well-nerved arm; the one for your earnest grasp, the other for your sure support. We come to you, sir, confidingly, and welcome you to a free participation in all we possess. But our treasures, as you see, are little else than our true hearts and free hands. Yet with these, also, we welcome you to our frugal board and tented homes. We also welcome you to a participation with us of these rich fields and splendid prairies, and congratulate yourself and each other upon our prospective inheritance, which we hope richly to enjoy with you, and finally transmit to those who come after us.
“We welcome you with no unmeaning words to this spot, our adopted, yet legitimate, home, which already resounds with the hum and din of business and enterprise, though but yesterday awakened from the slumber of ages; of our own river moving quietly and smoothly onward to the “Father of Waters; of those high rolling points of prairie just above us, which slope so gently to the water’s edge, and which we have already consecrated to Literature, Science, Justice and Religion.
“And Especially do we invite you to that point (Capitol Hill) commanding above all the rest; looking down, as it does, upon the valleys beneath, and the steams to the south and to the north, and yield it ll cheerfully up to you, sir, for your official consecration.
“I said that our inheritance here was prospectively rich; I mean, of course, those riches which are the prosperity of a free and independent people. Understand me not, sir, as referring simply to that wealth which is reckoned upon paper, and computed by dollars and dimes; no, sir; I mean rich in facilities for high intellectual and moral culture, which so elevates humanity, and allies it to God. Hence we are thus early planting those institutions of science and religion in which we were educated, with the fullest confidence that, under your administration, they will be fostered and promoted until, in their maturity and strength, they shall tower up, in years to come, as unfading monuments to the wisdom, and patriotism, and philanthropy, of their pioneer founders, as well as to reflect the highest honor upon the administration which took them in their infancy to its bosom, provided for their support, and secured their prosperity.
“We love the institutions of the fathers, which were early planted in the infancy of our Republic. And while we provide ourselves here with homes - domestic sanctuaries for our wives and little ones - we are also fully determined to plant those institutions which are the great bulwarks of freedom and happiness. We come to you with the bile in one hand and the spelling-book in the other, with the high purpose of laying the one upon the altar of a Free Church, and the other upon the desk of a Free School. And with such a basis for the settlement of our beautiful Territory, we are sanguine in the belief that when we obtain the maturity and name of a State, we shall be welcomed into the sisterhood, occupying no ordinary position.
“And here, sir, allow me to say, with the truest sincerity, that we have the fullest confidence that all these interests will be safe in your hands and under your administration. We have learned something of your antecedents; and, sir, we almost adore the noble State which you represent. We remember all the struggle in her early history, and are sure that your home had a double baptism into her free spirit.
“Sir, in the name of all the interests we represent - in the name of our absent wives, sons and daughters (soon, I hope, to be here) - in the name of all the unshaven, weather-beaten, yet noble countenances which now beam upon you - having emigrated from every State in this glorious Union, as well as from the motherland - we give you a cordial, a hearty welcome.”
The reply of Gov. Reeder, as well as the many speeches there made, are still preserved in the files of papers of that early day, and are of great interest to us as early settlers, as expressing the thoughts and feelings of the men and women who dared to make Kansas their home. I remember, as though but yesterday, the dinner in the old thatched tent; the places where each one sat, and the speeches each one made; how S. N. Wood said that we could raise everything in Kansas but white beans, but these we should have to import, as there was no soil poor enough for them to grow on - they all ran to vines; of Judge Emery’s carefully prepared and written speech, and as carefully delivered; of the Governor’s closing remarks, in which he said: “I rise with no unmeaning words to thank you for your generous hospitality on this occasion, and shall ever cherish it in my memory as one of the brightest spots in my life.” He then complimented the ladies for their courage in enduring the privations of a pioneer life, and closed by hoping that this would be only the forerunner of other meetings in the future, still more agreeable to us all.
These early scenes, whether viewed in the light of the then uncertain future, or in the near past, are increasing in interest; for they make up, in part, our history - a history as yet almost wholly unwritten. It was at this reception that we first nominated Pomeroy for Congress, and it has ever been gratifying to me that he was elected to that office. He has his failings, like other men, we all know, and are pained by them. What if he does not divide up the spoils of office satisfactory to all? yet his record of history will be an honorable one.
Jim Lane had his toward ?? In being elected to Congress also. Though oftentimes rash and impulsive, yet he was brave, and, on the whole, a wonderful man.
But the man who was raised up by an overruling Providence as the saviour of Lawrence, is still unrewarded by any special public trust - that man is Governor Robinson. His place in the history of our early settlement will be far more important and greater than that of either Pomeroy or Lane. His cool, even judgment, and clear foresight, saved us when we were surrounded by enemies as numerous as the sands on the seashore, and as rapacious as the wolves on the desert, and as untiring and vigilant as the merciless Indian on our plains. I have often met them as they passed singly up and down the Wakarusa valley to Lecompton from Franklin, or as they came in hordes by thousands and camped around to destroy and expel us from this country. It is becoming to honor, by confidence and trust, the men who coming generations will honor and hold in high esteem.
Recollections of 1854 - No.8
By J. Savage
At the first squatter meeting that was held after our arrival, the Free State men had the majority. It was held at Ferril’s store, two miles west of Lawrence, on the old California road, September 28. Judge Wakefield was president. It was voted that each squatter be allowed to hold 160 acres of prairie and 80 acres of timber land. We were nearly all present at this meeting. Previous to this time the pro-slavery men had had the majority, and controlled the squatter meetings.
The 28th of September was also memorable as being the first day that Rev. S. Y. Lum ever spent in Lawrence. I first met him traveling on foot up the dusty California road to attend the squatter meeting, and there made his acquaintance. He afterward preached for us on the Sabbath regularly, and was first minister in Lawrence. I first met him traveling on foot up the dusty California road to attend the squatter meeting, and there made his acquaintance. He afterward preached for us on the Sabbath regularly, and was the first minister in Lawrence. During the fall his family moved up from the Quaker Mission into a rough cabin, covered with shakes, which stood on Massachusetts street, where the post office now stands. With his family came Mrs. O. A. Hanscom, then Miss Anna Tappan. She was the first young lady in Lawrence. At that time Mrs. Lum had a pair of twin girls, which they used to draw about town in a little baby wagon. One of these twins died during the first winter, and the other, Miss Carrie Lum, is now living here with her parents. Mr. Lum was readily voted a member of the Lawrence Association, and has held his city interest with the rest of us. He was the same fall voted a member of the Topeka Town Association, to induce him to settle there instead of Lawrence.
Our Sabbath meetings were held during the fall and winter, in the long hay tent using for a boarding house; then for a while in a cottonwood frame building, belong to S. N. Simpson; and afterward in a building belonging to the Emigrant Aid Society, until Mr. Lum went East and collected two or three thousand dollars for a church. We then, by borrowing some and running in debt some, built the stone church in West Lawrence; and in the fall of 1857 Mr. Cordley became our pastor, and has remained with us to this day.
On the morning of this squatter meeting I had been out all the forenoon “hunting a claim,” wandering about in the tall grass, and made my dinner on a little cold bread and cheese; and then alone in my tent I lay down on a bed of dry prairie grass to rest. I had been there but a few minutes, when some one sat down just outside of the tent, on the ground within a few inches of my head. He began talking in a fine, high-keyed voice, saying that he too was a Yankee, and had walked all the way through the State of Missouri for the purpose of learning her customs and observing her institutions. I very soon became interested in this stranger, and rose from my bed and went out and made his acquaintance.
I found him with bare, sore, blistered feet; his boots were tied together and slung across his shoulder with a strap; his coat lay on his arm; he had on his head a stove-pipe hat; his face was well tanned, and his person covered with dust. I invited him into my tent and gave him the best I had for dinner; and in the afternoon we all went up the road to attend the squatter meeting. On our way back, this stranger said to me, “I do not know what your regulations are, but I should like to make one of your mess.” He slept with us that night, and in the morning paid to me his first installment of two dollars and a half in gold, which came from near the bottom of his pocket. This was my first meeting with our esteemed friend and neighbor, S. N. Simpson. Our mess was than made up of David and Robert Buffum, T. F. Reynolds, A. Hazen and myself. David Buffum was a shoemaker from Lynn, Massachusetts. He was slim in stature, of medium height, with a large brain. He would not be called brilliant, but was a strong, deep thinker. He was rather slow in action and speech, but in thought and expression was the very impersonation of a pure, genuine Yankee. He was brave and daring, and was truly a martyr to freedom. Had he lived in other times, he would have accepted a martyr’s death at the stake in defense of his principles; though in manners he was modest and retiring. He took his claim four miles west of Lawrence, where Mr. Levi Baldwin now lives. In his frequent visits to his claim that fall, he always carried his revolver in his right hand, up and back. He was there led him by some pro-slavers’ cabins, who were unfriendly to us Eastern men. Buffum used to keep his revolver rolled up in his best woolen stockings, and laid at the bottom of his trunk.
When we sold our team to Haskell, as before related, we each reserved the right to draw one load of timber on our claims. Buffum, in turn, took the team and went up to his claim with his load, and on his way back down the rear one gave out, and lay down in the road from old age and fatigue. He tied them up to the wagon, and came home for the night. We all “bored” him so much about his carelessness that he the next morning started back before breakfast, vehemently declaring that “that old ox had been to Santa Fe more times than he had hairs on his back.” Buffum’s history well merits a place in the story of Kansas’ early settlement. His connection with the bringing of the first cannon from Kansas City through the line of guards stationed for its capture, has in party been already told. But the spot where he innocently fell, by a ruffian’s merciless bullet, at his own cabin door, should be marked by a monument to his memory, on which should be inscribed his dying appeal to Governor Geary to “avenge his death on his cruel murderers.”
Robert Buffum was from Lynn, also, and cousin to David. He was small and wiry and full of activity, but inclined to be a little fast and was rather uncertain. He was sometimes profane, and used to hunt a great deal. He killed the first wild goose we had in camp that fall, of which feat he was very proud. He never lived permanently here, but in the late war did good service, and was hung by the rebels as a spy.
T. F. Reynolds was an Englishman, and brother to Chaplain Reynolds, now of Fort Riley; also brother of our townsman, Mr. Samuel Reynolds. He came with our party from Williamsburg, New York, where he had been engaged for some years in teaching school. He had formerly been bred to the trade of tailor. His claim lay next south of E. D. Ladd’s. He was always slender in body, and rather feeble in health, but had the true English grit. He was uncommonly refined and gentlemanly in manners and speech, and never in any situation did I hear from him an impure word. He was ever a true friend in times that tried men’s souls, and often have we talked over together the list of fruits and good things we would enjoy in that good time coming, and always finished the catalogue with (to us a common saying) “plenty of cabbage and other vegetables.” For several years previous to his death he suffered much from throat and lung troubles. His window and three promising children now live on Tennessee street, and are commended to the love and generous sympathy of all who care for those who endured the privations of a pioneer life in Lawrence.
A. Hazen is now living in Illinois. He is a kin of mine, as well as an old schoolmate. He is also a cousin of General Hazen, now of the regular army. He was for many years leader of our band in the East, and was a musician of fine ability and cultivated taste, and was a good performer on the keyed bugle and violin.
Our cabin that fall was the “head center” of music in Lawrence, and every pleasant evening we had concerts within and large audiences without. Our songs consisted mostly of Sabbath school songs and sacred hymns; frequently the crowd on the outside joined in, and often, at this day, do I hear men speak in grateful remembrance of our cheerful music in the rough cabin of 1854.
Often in memory do I go back and live over again our early life in Lawrence, and as often sit around our frugal board and hear the cheerful laugh and merry jest of our companions, three of whom now sleep with the dead, and three remain to enjoy the blessings of peace and prosperity.
Recollections of 1854 - No. 9
By J. Savage
One pleasant summer evening on the 14th of July, 1853, there was a wedding at Saratoga, New York. There was nothing remarkable about the occasion, or in the twain that were then made “one flesh,” except that the bride was a little past fourteen years of age, and the groom more than twice as old. They were both small in stature. The man is among the smallest that walk our streets. In the fall of 1854, on the 10th day of October, this wedded pair arrived in Lawrence, but to them the city was known as New Boston. It was then a city of tents; no cabin door, however humble, swung on its creaking wooden hinges. My first acquaintance with them was made as they alighted from a Kansas City hack, as it reined up near where Clarke & Chapman’s furniture factory now stands. With them there came to Lawrence, Charlie Pearsall land George Churchill.
Away from home, mother and friends, in a land of strangers, under the cover of a thin cotton tent, on the 25th day of October, 1854, this bride became the mother of the first child born in Lawrence. It was a promising son. No daily paper then heralded the news about the city, but it was passed from mouth to mouth, and very soon every ear in Lawrence had heard of the proud event, and to us it was a source of much exultation and merriment.
At the next meeting of the Lawrence Association after this important event, the subject of giving this boy a name and a first=class city lot was brought up. S. N. Wood made the opening speech and the official announcement that a child had been born on the town site, etc. A committee was then appointed to consul with the parents, as to giving the boy a name. A lot was voted to him, on the condition that his name should be LAWRENCE CARTER. Lot NO. 10, New Hampshire street, was given and deeded to him, which lot he owns to this day. This boy is now nearly sixteen years of age, and is industrious and obedient, and bids fair to be an honor to the name he bears. The parents are still living in Lawrence, on New York street, and now have a family of six children.
This event was to us an earnest that Lawrence was soon to become a city of homes. Capt. James Christian claims the honor, and to him it is due, of first suggesting a name for the first child ever born in Lawrence.
We lived in tents till about the middle of October, trust to Pomeroy’s promises for lumber to build our cabins. At this time our mess commenced and completed the first cabin that was ever built in Lawrence. For this purpose, we cut two poles and pinned them together in the shape of the large hay tents then built. Simpson and myself then cut down an oak tree with a hollow spot on one side, and sawed off the first length with a hand-saw. This we split up into shakes and ribs for the cabin. The shakers were rather winding and poor, and were the first we had either of us ever split. We nailed the ribs to the poles, and then nailed the shakes on the ribs, and in a few days had a cabin with a shake door hung on wooden hinges, with a wooden latch, and the “latch-string always out.” This was the first hinged door in Lawrence, and was visited by Judge Elmore and Gov. Reeder as one of the “sights” of the town at the time of their reception. Before described.
As I had before intimated, Simpson’s “bottom dollar” had been paid to us for a seat at our table. He had been in camp but a day or two when Haskell came around, early one morning, on horseback, calling for men to cut hay at one dollar per day, and board themselves. Simpson was the only one that responded to the call for hay-making, from our tent. He labored just six days at it. But the splitting of shakes for our cabin had created a demand for them, and it was often visited as a curiosity, as well as taken by others as a model cabin.
Simpson’s natural aptness for the lumber trade quickly gave him an insight as to his future course. Early one morning he might have been seen wending his way down the river bottom, north of the new cemetery grounds, with an ax under his arm. Here one of the best oaks of the valley was soon heard falling to the ground. With his own hands he split it up into fine shakes, and had them hauled in front of our cabin door, which stood a little west of where Clarke and Chapman’s furniture factory now stands, under the shade of a large shell-bark hickory. These shakes were soon sold at a good profit, and then another tree was split up and sold, and the trade was fairly started. Men were hired to do the chopping and splitting, and the new lumber merchant devoted his entire attention to the trade.
About this time, one morning just after breakfast, two men came into our cabin - one a young man, well dressed, with pitted marks on his face; the other an elderly man, small in stature, with some gray hairs about his head. The old man spoke thus: “My name is Kennedy; this young man with me is Mr. Fry. I have money; he has none, but can work. We together want to start a bakery and an eating house. Can you (addressing Simpson) supply us with shakes to cover a building with?” During this interview the young man never said a word, but one could see by the twinkle of his eye that he thought it possible some of the money might soon change hands. Simpson replied that shakes were scarce, and high, and hard to be had, but if he was willing to pay thirty dollars per thousand for them, he could supply them with what they wanted. The trade was then concluded, and the first bake-oven that was ever built in Lawrence was then put up, and soon baking bread and pies for the hungry. The oven was built entirely of stone, and the firm of Fry & Kennedy did business for fifteen or twenty months. The junior member of the firm I have not seen for many years, but the senior is still living just south of the city, and is at present a large railroad contractor under Robert Stevens, Es., on our southern border.
Soon after this time there came to us a man by the name of Pogue. He lived near the island, four miles west of the city. He wife was discontented, and wanted to move back to Missouri. Pogue wanted to sell out his claim to us. Simpson and myself went with him, and found a little log cabin, neat and clean, s small stack of hay, and a wife three-inch cottonwood plank, hewed out with an ax, and a fine spring of water under the bank. We bought him out, and paid him ninety dollars in gold for his property. We then came back to the city without delay, and, after taking a hearty dinner, Simpson said to me, “You take one path and I will take the other, and hunt up a customer.” I labored around the boarding house while he confined his operations to the cluster of stones then standing around where Liberty Hall now stands. After about an hour Simpson came back to me and said he had found a purchaser by the name of Herrick. He went up and looked the property over and paid us one hundred dollars down, and gave a note for one hundred dollars more; we sold the hay for fifteen dollars, and I got two weeks board at the boarding house for the plank which Mr. Litchfield used for a meat platter and then hired Norman Allen’s team and moved the family up to the ????, with which they seemed ????? pleased. Mr. Herrick was from Maine, and some time after he died. Mrs. Herrick taught school a good deal, but is now married to ???Dea Dixon, of the Wakarusa ???.
I have given the history of the ??? operations of one of the most industrious and successful lumber merchants and real estate dealers t?? Ever settled in Lawrence - S. Simpson. He is a good axman, and bred to labor on a farm. I have t??? many trees with him. He was always an early riser, and in our >>> we prepared the meals and left ???the shoemakers and tailor to clean the dishes. The first white child born in Chicago was at this time twenty-?? Years old, and the city contain?? 80,000 inhabitants. How many ??? our city contain when Lawrence Carter is that old?
Recollections of 1854 - No.10
By J. Savage
The first ground broke on the town site of Lawrence was for the foundation of the steam saw mill, where the ruins may now be seen, on the river bank near Kimball’s foundry. At this time we were all living in tents, and the event of erecting a saw mill which was to furnish us lumber for shelter from storm, cold and heat, was to us an important one. We watched the progress of the work from day to day with intense interest, as the earth was removed and leveled and made ready for the mill.
Among the many men then employed at digging away the dirt for the foundation, I recollect Mr. Wells, an Englishman, now living four miles west of town. He was one of the tallest and biggest men in our company; also, a Mr. Smith, now of Wabaunsee, a brother-in-law of Mr. Wells; also, Mr. Kitcher(n?)man, an Englishman fresh from the factories in Leeds, England. He was one of the very smallest men among our number, and was for many years a jobber in town at digging wells and cellars, but now is a farmer near Clinton, Kansas.
But the one of whom I remember best was Ed. Ropes, a small, beardless boy, with white and tender hands, but pluck and grit enough for a regiment of men. He often made his dinner on boiled rice and molasses; and stood alongside the sturdy Englishmen with spade and pick, and with them received one dollar per day. He left Lawrence early in the gold excitement, for Colorado, and made the entire distance of seven hundred miles with a hand-cart.
He took the southern route, and as he passed my farm on his toilsome way, I swung my hat and cheered the brave lad as he slowly dragged his little carriage, containing his blanket, flour and bacon, on his long and uncertain journey. He made the trip in safety, and located a claim in the Gregory mines, which proved to be rich in gold. He afterward sold his claim for $2,000 to Dalton & Co., formerly a merchant in Lawrence, and left the mountains. After doing good service in the war of the rebellion, he settled among the orange groves of Florida, where he now resides; his little cabin is near the mouth of the river St. Johns. His mother, then a widow, but now deceased, came to Lawrence during our troubles in 1855 and 1856, and wrote a book of Kansas and its history, which was published contemporaneously with that of Mrs. Gov. Robinson and Wm. Phillips, on the same subject.
The saw mill was a second-hand one, and was purchased of McGhee, near Westport, MO. It had seen its best days, and was well-nigh worn out, and was on the whole a very poor investment. It was mostly a bargain made by Pomeroy. I always have wondered why, with good Yankee mechanics for advisers, such a miserably poor choice should have then been made. The consequences of this purchase were disastrous to our colony. It was long delayed in being set up, and then when it was up the rickety, leaky old thing had to be often repaired, while the nearest foundry was at Lexington, Mo., seventy miles below Kansas City. The old engine, which was always too small to do the work required of it, is now used in Atherley’s water mill, at Burlington, Coffey county, Kansas.
Mr. Ferdinand Fuller went to Westport and superintended the talking down of the frame, while Mr. Bon looked after the engine and boiler. The frame was made of massive hard-wood timber, hewed out by hand and was very cumbersome and heavy to move over then rough and unworked roads between Westport and Lawrence. The job of moving the whole concern was to let a Santa Fe Freighter for $500, and was done with Mexican drivers and cattle, loaded on heavy freight wagons.
It was nearly sundown when, one day, the long line of teams bring the mill came into Lawrence. It was the first train many of us had ever seen, and was to us the object of much curiosity. The drivers cracked their whips as loud as pistols, and the Mexican teamsters turned their teams of cattle loose to feed on the long grass which covered the town site. While near the ravine they camped, and cooked their evening meal, and conversed in an “unknown tongue” to us. Before sunset, the next day, the wagons were unloaded, and gone from whence they came, and Lawrence rejoiced in the possession of a saw mill on her town site.
The first well of water in Lawrence was dug by Mr. Grover on a lot on New Hampshire street, nearly in front of the Waverly House. It was forty feet deep, and went down to the rock, as low as the bed of the river. At the bottom was found a stratum of magnesia nearly as white as chalk, which was then the object of much interest to us. This substance is found in beds of varying thickness, underlying the drift, all over our State, as well as close up to the base of the Rocky Mountains.
The first cellar dug in town was that under the Eldridge House. The contract for digging it was let to Mr. Grover for $150. He made the scraper for removing the dirt out of a hollow log, hewed by hand, and it was ironed by Bent & Spittle, who were the first blacksmiths in Lawrence. Their shop was near where the old soap factory used to stand, and was a log building of about twelve feet square. It served both as shop and dwelling. Mr. Bent is now a lawyer at Burlington, Kansas. He has been Judge of Probate there, and goes by the title of “Judge Bent.” Mr. Spitler is now living near the old Turner’s Hall, with a daughter. He is our oldest pioneer, and may be occasionally seen on our streets, “leaning on the top of his staff.”
During the last of October and first of September, immigrants came into Lawrence in great numbers. Many of these immigrants were soft-handed clerks from the cities of New England, and but few remained in Kansas as permanent settlers. After one night’s repose on the soft ground, in the large sleeping tent thatched with hay, one trial of the fare at our pioneer hotel would send them back to Kansas City in the same team which brought them there, and from that place on board the first boat home. The facts concerning Kansas and its settlements were at that time greatly overdrawn and too highly colored by newspaper writers East, and a great waste of time and money was spent in coming to see the “goodly land.” The character of the immigration at this period may be readily inferred by the fact that the ground around the great sleeping apartment was literally covered with gentlemen’s cast- off, nice-fitting cloth gaiters, which were wholly out of place in a pioneer life in Lawrence in ‘54.
The pioneer boarding house or hotel was kept by Mr. And Mrs. Litchfield. They were from Massachusetts, and were very kind and obliging people. Elegant lodgings and well-prepared, palatable food, were out of the question in their house. The bread was raised in a large wash-tub, which stood behind the stove to keep it warm, and was baked in a large , stone oven. It was never light, for want of time to rise. This, with boiled and fried beef, was their staple food; plenty of molasses, vinegar and mustard were always on the table, as well as sauce made of dried apples and peaches; and for a substitute for butter we used the drippings from the beef, salted. In the large, open tent, the November mornings were cold and chilly without a fire, so that we generally ate wearing our hats and overcoats. Mr. And Mrs. Litchfield made money in their pioneer hotel, but they overworked themselves, and gave but little time for sleep, at night; so that they both died before they had lived in Lawrence one whole year.
I recollect well of hearing Mrs. Litchfield say that it was “the gold they came to Kansas after, and it the gold they were getting.” They both, with their daughter, who was just coming into womanhood, now sleep in the old cemetery; while Louis, their surviving son, who inherited his father’s city interest as well as his own, now sleeps with the honored dead that fell at the battle of Wilson’s creek, Missouri. His widow is now Mrs. Phillips, who resides in West Lawrence, on the plat of ground and in a house built by her former husband before he started off for the war. The only descendant of the Litchfield family is a daughter of Louis, now living with her mother, Mrs. Phillips, who is a confirmed invalid, but who is a bright example of christian patience and resignation.
Recollections of 1854 - No.11
By J. Savage
Mr. S.N. Wood emigrated from Ohio to Kansas in July, 1854. His letters to the National Era, dated “Forty miles west of Westport,” were read by most of the pioneers who came to Kansas that fall. His claim was half a mile yond where G. C. Brackett now resides, on the same side of the road. A. D. Searl was a near neighbor of Gen. Pomeroy, in Massachusetts, and came with him to Kansas in our party. With them came an old neighbor and kin of General Pomeroy -- Mr. M. W. Pomeroy. He was a young man past majority, and full of hope and ambition. At the time of our landing at Kansas City, S. N. Wood was there with his team, for a load of goods. At the table in the hotel he recognized Mr. Searl as n acquaintance made in Ohio, while he was engaged in surveying a railroad through the town where Wood was studying law. Searl and young Pomeroy took passage with Wood for his home, where they arrived on the 12th of September. They were both eager to locate a claim, and in so doing had to walk over a wide territory, and became considerably heated, and in this condition were soaked in a drenching shower of rain, and were thoroughly wet through to the skin. At this time Pomeroy caught cold and had a fever, from which he never recovered. He lingered along till October 1st, when he died at 3 a.m., and was buried at 54 p.m. of the same day. The house where he died was made of hewn logs, but lacked one thing - a roof. Over the bed of the sick man was spread a tent, and he laid in the northwest corner of the house. I saw him during his sickness; he was weak and pale, with his clothes on, which were made of blue broadcloth, with bright buttons on them. Mrs. Wood and Mr. Searl gave him all the kind attention in their power, while Dr. S. C. Harrington gave him the benefit of his medical skill.
The death of young Pomeroy I have described thus minutely on account of its being the first death that occurred among Eastern emigrants to Kansas, and was the occasion of locating the site of the old cemetery grounds. Gen. Pomeroy, with two or three other leading citizens, rode about the town site and decided t that to be the best situation for the purpose. Mr. Lum was present at the funeral of young Pomeroy, and made a few remarks on the sadness of the occasion, and the sorrow the friends of the deceased would feel to hear of his untimely death.
This event was a sad one to us all, and to Gen. Pomeroy in particular. It was by his counsel that he came to Kansas, and he said to me at the time, “I dread to write his father the news of his son’s death, for it was by my advice he came here.” His corpse was buried dressed in the suit of blue he wore from his home, in a rough board box gotten up for that purpose. By his side there now sleep many whose names were familiar to those early time, one of whom is Dr. Clarke, a brother-in-law of Dr. S. B. Prentiss, who is now an old resident of Lawrence.
Dr. Clark came here early in 1855, and was the first physician who located here after Dr. Harrington, who now resides near Augusta, Butler county. The memory of Dr. Clark is held dear by many old settlers now living here. He was unassuming in his manners, and bore the privations of pioneer life without a murmur, and with a great degree of cheerfulness and patience. He was truly one of us, being fully identified with all our interests in every particular. We all loved him, and at his death, by cholera, in the spring of 1855, we all mourned - mourned with a depth of sorrow I have never seen surpassed on a like occasion in Lawrence.
Early in October, John Hutchinson, Esq., came to Lawrence. He was young, and fresh rom the classic shades of old Dartmouth. His future appeared bright to himself. He thus introduced himself to Gov. Robinson, who was at the time reclining beneath the shade of a tent on some new-mown hay: “My name is Hutchinson. I have come to Kansas to make my home; I am willing to work, and work hard. I want to join your company.” Mr. H. for several years as one of our prominent lawyers, and dealt in real estate considerably. His aspirations for office, which he sometimes sought, were not realized. He accepted the office of Secretary of the Territory of Dakota, and still later a foreign mission to one of the powers in the southern part of Europe. I think it was Italy. He was a man of more than average scholarly ability, but lacked in one thing, in great demand at the West – he was a poor stump speaker.
About the first of November there appeared among us the several editions of the newspapers afterwards published in Lawrence – Judge Miller and R. G. Elliott, of the Kansas Free State, and John Speer, of the Kansas Tribune: also G. W. Brown, who had already printed one number of the Herald of Freedom in Pennsylvania, abut dated “Wakarusa, Kansas Territory” Lawrence not having been named at the date of the first issue. The first two were very quiet and still in their manners, but well dressed in suits of black, surmounted with stove-pipe hats of the latest fashion. Speer had more of the “pitch in” in his habits, and went in heart and soul in unison with us; while G. W. Brown always had an oily tongue, but was very mercenary in his make-up, and, on the whole, unreliable in times of trouble and discord.
Charley Stearns appeared in Lawrence about this time also, and was a good merchant and companion, but had abolition “on the brain,” and was often found in violent debates, showing therewith an unreasonable amount of bad temper. He was the embodiment of what was then known as an “ultra Abolitionist.”
The first Delegate to Congress was elected this year, and, for a wonder, Lawrence had no aspirant for that office – a condition she has never been found in since that time.
Judge Wakefield then lived in Kanwaka, and stumped the Territory for that office. At Lawrence, stump speeches were made in the long hay tent, in a rough, unshaven-looking crowd, the speaker standing at the north end of the tent, and the audience either sitting Turk fashion on the ground, or standing in semi-circle in front of the speaker. The Judge was a plain, blunt man, and often made a “good hit,” One of his expressions, I recollect, was that he was a “Free State man up to the hub - hub and all.” He compared the Democratic party (of which he had been a life-long opposer) to an old, reconstructed Barlow knife, which had been made up of twelve new handles and thirteen new blades, and was the same old Barlow knife still.
Another candidate was a Mr. Flenniken, from Pennsylvania, and a friend of Gov. Reeder. He spoke here for office, and made the most scholarly and able speech of the season. After his speech, Mr. Mallory said that by the speaker’s name he had “expected to see and hear a real, genuine, Irish bog-troffer, full blooded clod-hopper and hod-carrier;” but after listening to the gentleman, he was agreeably disappointed, and though him worthy of the office for which he was aspiring.
Mr. Lowry also spoke here as a candidate for the office, but received no votes.
The subject of speech-making then was of course largely on the slavery question in the new Territory, but was here largely supplemented by the Government improving the Kansas river so as to make it navigable for light, stern-wheel boats. Next came the schools and markets; then the probable future of Kansas as a State, and the capital of the nation, being situated in the “heart of the continent.”
Election day came on the 29th of November. It was a warm, pleasant day. I saw a barrel of whisky in the back end of a lumber wagon, and dealt out to the “voters” in a tin cup. Considerable excitement prevailed, as the Yankee and Missourian met each other at the polls, But o violence was used, except that a Mr. Davis was shot in a dispute on the road home from the election, near Mr. E. D. Ladd’s claim. At Lawrence, Wakefield received 188 votes, Flenniken 51, and Whitfield, the pro-slavery candidate, 46. In the Territory, Whitfield received 2,248 votes, Flenniken 305 and Wakefield 258.
Recollections of 1854 - No.12
By J. Savage
The election for Delegate for Congress came off on the 29th day of November, 1854. It was voted by the association that all of its members should remain in Kansas until after this election before going East, or forfeit their interest in the city. On the morning after the election, a large number started for their homes in the East. That morning was clear, beautiful and lovely. Back of our little cabin, the Emigrant Aid Society had a stable containing two yoke of oxen, which were in the care of a Mr. Kent????aldfj. He had often broken in upon our morning slumber by his profanity, used by feeding his team before light. The morning of the election, the members of our band started East, and before the break of day, in the still morning air, we played “Home, Sweet Home.” Big warm tears rolled down the rough, unshaven cheek of Mr. Kent, and the old pioneers yet often speak of the memory of East homes brought to mind by that good old tune as its strains died away in the stillness of early dawn.
We left the lights of Lawrence still burning as we gave our last look at the embryo city, and started on our journey to Kansas City in a lumber wagon.
After dark that day, just as we neared Westport, under the shade of a thick
grove of trees we came to a “grocery,” at which the voters from
the Territory were celebrating their victory over the Yankees. One man rushed
out and seized our horses by their heads, and called out to know if we were “all
right on the “goose question.” This phrase, “all right on
the goose,” was universally used at that time on the border, to distinguish
the Pro-slavery from the Anti-slavery party. As pistols were being drawn on
both sides, one man, soberer than the rest that were there all right on the
goose question, or some other question, kindly led away the man at the bridle-bit,
and we went on to Kansas City unmolested.
Here J. F. Morgan was keeping the hotel, and I well remember how I enjoyed eating potatoes and vegetables, after being without them for three months in young Lawrence.
The last boat of the season went down the Missouri river on the first day of December, and on board were Col. Blood, Mrs. J. H. Nichols, Henry Hovey, John Armstrong and a large party from Lawrence. Mrs. Nichols had from Mount Oread taken a pencil sketch of Lawrence in 1854, which is still preserved by being photographed. I recollect well seeing her sheltered behind a stack of hay from the rough November winds, taking this sketch, for several days previous to our departure.
Among the passengers down the river I noticed a large man, well dressed, with a square, well-shaven face, and chub nose, wearing a good stove-pipe hat. He got off at the last landing this side of Glasgow, Mo. (The name I do not remember), with satchel in hand, in the early morning. As he went up the levee, a comrade of his met him and shook his hand very cordially, saying, as he did so, “How did the election go up in Kansas?” “Oh, we beat the Yankees plumb out of the ring;” and they disappeared in close converse, telling of the victory the dslters had gained over the settlers.
From St. Louis, east, we took second-class passage to Albany, New York.
There came into the cars beyond Alton, Illinois, three colored gentlemen. They were dressed in threadbare swallow-tailed coats, and old cast-off pants and pants, and we readily took them for runaway slaves from Missouri. After a little conversation with them, they owned up that they had crossed the Mississippi river in the night, and were on their way to Canada. Several white men came into our car to look the property over, which made the colored ones feel quite uneasy. On of the three slyly slid out of the car, and the last I saw of him he was going around some buildings on the double-quick. When the conductor came around to collect the fare, our colored friends had not the wherewith to pay their way up to Chicago, at which the conductor swore he would put them off the car. Seizing the bell-rope, he stopped the train, and called his brakemen to put them off. Just as they were about to seize them by the collars, John Ladd and myself furnished the runaways with enough money to pay their fare, which they handed over, and were allowed to ride on. At Chicago they were met at the depot by their friends, and were kindly greeting each other as I last saw them. The next day the papers gave an account of an attempt to capture eleven slaves in Chicago, in which there were some bloody noses, but the blacks were victorious. I always supposed our fellow passengers were among the number.
We left Kansas on a warm, Indian-summer day, and were surprised to find the railroad blocked up, and the trains stopped by drifting snow and cold, wintry weather, at Detroit.
At Albany, we met several Kansas people on their way home from Lawrence, among whom was young Trask, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He is now teaching in his native State, and is a brother of editor Trask, killed in the raid.
Away up among the Green Mountains of Vermont, a few miles from where White river makes its junction with the Connecticut, I met my wife and children. They came running out of the house to meet me, and declared that father looked better with his Kansas beard on than they ever saw him before. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and I have often wondered how it was possible for man to enjoy so much happiness in this changing, fleeting world. To-day, those happy ones that so kindly greeted me there are all but one hushed in death, and their bodies are mouldering beneath the sacred soil of Kansas, awaiting the morning of the resurrection.
Here, my “Recollections of 1854" are ended.