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Kansas Memory Podcast

Birch Family gathered to listen to the radio Stories of Kansans -- some famous, some infamous and some just average folks -- selected from documents on our digital archives site Kansas Memory.

New Kansas Memory podcasts are issued once a month. Learn how to subscribe.

Listen to the Latest Episode:

Governor Mike Hayden Interview Play

December 15, 2010

Governors Avery, Sebelius, Anderson & HaydenKansas governor Mike Hayden held office from January 12, 1987 - January 14, 1991. Hayden grew up in Atwood in northwest Kansas and relied heavily on support from agriculture and the rural areas of the state in his 1986 campaign. During his administration a comprehensive state highway plan was passed and statewide reappraisal was implemented. Hayden lost his bid for re-election to Kansas' first woman governor, Joan Finney, largely because of the reappraisal controversy. Since then he has held positions that utitlize his background in wildlife conservation, including his current post as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. This podcast features excerpts from an interview conducted by Dr. Bob Beatty at Cedar Crest on November 24, 2003. It, and a subsequent interview in 2008, are the basis for Beatty's article Being close to the People: A Conversation with Former Governor Mike Hayden, published in Kansas History, in Spring 2009. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:52

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Mike Hayden Interview 1

Mike Hayden Interview 2

 

Governor John Carlin Interview Play

October 13, 2010

This features excerpts from the second interview with Kansas Governor John Carlin, who held office from January 8, 1979 to January 12, 1987. In 1978, in a surprise upset, he defeated the Republican incumbent Governor, Robert Bennett, in his bid for re-election. In this interview, Carlin recalls that Bennett initially won, not because he was a popular choice, but because his Democratic opponent was Vern Miller, the controversial Wichita sheriff and Kansas Attorney General from 1971-1975. Carlin ran for a third non-consecutive term as governor in 1990 in one of the most interesting Democratic primary races in Kansas history. The winner by less than 2000 votes was Joan Finney, who became the first woman governor of Kansas and at 65 years old, the oldest. Like Carlin, she defeated a Republican incumbent, Governor Mike Hayden. The third candidate in the 1990 Democratic gubernatorial primary was Baptist minister Fred Phelps, who emphasized Carlin’s responsibility for the repeal of Kansas liquor-by-the-drink laws. He was not yet in the national spotlight because of his church’s pickets of the funerals of homosexuals and U. S. servicemen and women.

The interview is the basis for Dr. Bob Beatty's article, "Be willing to take some risks to make things happen," published in Kansas History, vol. 31 (Summer 2008). A complete transcript of the interview is available on Kansas Memory. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:14

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John Carlin Interview

 

Governor John Carlin Interview Play

September 15, 2010

Kansas Governor John Carlin held office from January 8, 1979 to January 12, 1987. He was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1970 and was Minority Leader of the House from 1975-1977; then Speaker of the House from 1977-1979, when Democrats unexpectedly won a majority. In 1978, Carlin upset incumbent Governor Robert Bennett’s re-election bid by only 16,335 votes. The interview is the basis for Dr. Bob Beatty's article, "Be willing to take some risks to make things happen," published in Kansas History, vol. 31 (Summer 2008). Video and a complete transcript of the interview is available on Kansas Memory. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:59

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John Carlin Interview

 

 Governor William Avery Interview  Play

August 18, 2010

William Avery would have never become a politician if it hadn’t been for a series of disastrous floods in Kansas in the mid-20th century. He was the third generation on Avery’s farm near Wakefield, in Clay County, when President Truman appropriated funds to build two dams in the Blue Valley that would inundate his farm. Avery became an anti-dam leader and was elected to serve in the Kansas Legislature from 1951-1955, and went on to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1955-1965, though he was unable to stop the dam project. In 1965, Avery became Kansas’ 37th governor. Video and a complete transcript of the interview is available on Kansas Memory. The interview is the basis for Dr. Bob Beatty's article "'You have to like people': A Conversation with Former Governor William H. Avery," published in Kansas History, vol. 31 (Spring 2008). Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:05

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William Avery Interview

 

Governor John Anderson Interview  Play

July 21, 2010

John Anderson Jr. was governor of Kansas from January 9, 1961 to January 11, 1965. Dr. Bob Beatty, professor of political science at Washburn University, conducted this interview as part of the Kansas Governors Recorded History and Documentary Project, 2005. In these excerpts, Governor Anderson explains his support for the death penalty during his tenure in office and the major changes he helped bring about in Kansas' public education system. Video and a complete transcript of the interview is available on Kansas Memory. The interview is the basis for Beatty's article "'For the Benefit of the People': A Conversation with Former Governor John Anderson, Jr.," published in Kansas History, vol. 30 (Winter 2007/2008).Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:57

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John Anderson Interview

 

Judge Robert Lee Carter Interview, 1992  Play

June 23, 2010

Robert Lee Carter was hired by Thurgood Marshall after WWII to work as an assistant counsel for the NAACP. He worked on a number of civil rights cases and represented the plaintiffs in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case before the U. S. Supreme Court. Because of the case, the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:32

Robert Lee Carter Interview

 

 Clark Bruster To His Family, September - November 1917  Play

May 26, 2010

Next Monday, Americans will celebrate Memorial Day, the national holiday that honors all soldiers who have died while serving their country. This podcast features excerpts from the letters written home by young Clark Bruster of Waverly, New York, during the fall of 1917, while he was training with U. S. Artillery Battery A at Fort Riley, Kansas. Some artillery are still drawn by horses during WWI and Clark describes their drills in detail. He is proud of what an accomplished horseman he has become, but saddened that he is missing the birth of his first niece.

Clark gives us a detailed picture of what day-to-day life was like for soldiers at Fort Riley, whether he's describing the daily menu at the mess tent or relating how the military was unable to get heating equipment installed in the hastily built barracks before Kansas' fall weather set in. Clark did return to his family in Waverly when the war was over.

Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:12

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Clark Bruster Letters

 

 Clark Bruster To His Family, June - September 1917  Play

April 28, 2010

Clark Bruster's great-grandfather was an early settler of Waverly, N. Y., a village on the New York/Pennsylvania border. Harvey and Cora Bruster raised Clark and his brothers there in the early 1900's. Waverly had about 6,000 residents at that time. Clark had finished school and begun working as a meat salesman in nearby Elmira, when the U.S. entry into World War I changed his life dramatically. From Fort Slocum on Long Island, Clark boarded a train to travel to Fort Riley, Kansas in June 1917 to begin training with an Artillery Battery. These are excerpts from letters he wrote to his family from Fort Riley during the summer of 1917. They begin on June 21st, the week the first U.S. troops were landing in France.

Clark records his impressions of Kansas and shares his excitement as he learns to to ride real cavalry horses and master semaphore signaling and artillery drills. He mentions the construction of nearby Camp Funston, one of 16 training sites being built across the country at that time. It was named for the famous Brigadier General from Kansas, Frederick Funston. It was also the place where the first case of Spanish flu was recorded on March 4, 1918--the beginning of a pandemic that killed over half a million people in the United States alone. Clark survived the war and the flu and returned to his family in Waverly when the war ended.

Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:39

 

 Susan Dimond Journal  Play

March 31, 2010

Susan Bixby Dimond and her husband Will made the long journey from her family home in Mayville, New York, to Osborne County, Kansas in February 1872 to begin a promising new life in the West. Susan was a 30 year-old former schoolteacher; Will was a Civil War veteran from Pennsylvania who worked as a blacksmith in addition to farming. Their severest test came during the winter of 1874 and 1875, after millions of locusts had descended on the Midwest the previous summer, decimating every shred of vegetation. The settlers only survived due to the generous relief shipments from the East. The excerpts we’re reading today are from January through March of 1875, before the locusts returned and destroyed that year’s crops as well. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:24

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Susan Dimond Journal

 

 John Gardiner Diary Play

March 3, 2010

John William Gardiner was the third of nine children in the large Gardiner family. His parents, William and Susan, were farmers who moved from Missouri to Jefferson County, Kansas Territory in March 1855 when John was four years old. These excerpts are from the diary he kept in 1875 while completing classes in Leavenworth in order to obtain his teaching certificate, then teaching at a new school in Winchester in Jefferson County. He impatiently waits for letters from his girlfriend, Mattie. He enjoys musical performances and often sings himself. His diary gives us a first hand look at what it was like to be a one room school teacher in a blossoming frontier town. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy of: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:50

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John Gardiner Diary

 

 James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok Letter Play

February 3, 2010

Before he became the “Wild Bill” of legend, James Butler Hickok was one of hundreds of immigrants who streamed into Territorial Kansas hoping to acquire a piece of the Indian reservation lands that were coming onto the market. After the Kansas/Nebraska Act passed in 1854, Northeast Kansas was no longer Indian Territory and it turned into a battleground between the pro-slavery and free-state settlers. James grew up in Troy Grove, Illinois, where his father, William Alonzo Hickok, was an abolitionist who helped slaves escape to the North. James was 19 when he journeyed to Johnson County, Kansas, in June 1856. Records show James tried to pre-empt a claim for 160 acres of Shawnee land in February 1858. It turned out, that land had already been claimed for Wyandotte Float Land. After that, James tried to acquire some Delaware Reservation land, but was again unsuccessful.  The violence along the Missouri/Kansas border was at its peak and James mentions his involvement in the Battle of Hickory Point in this letter that he wrote to his brother Horace from Kansas on November 24 and 27th, 1856. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:08:47

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"Wild Bill" Hickok Letters

 

 Robert Layher Interview Play

January 6, 2010

Robert Fonzo Layher enlisted in the U. S. Navy in 1939 and was assigned to the North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego, when he resigned his commission to join the American Volunteer Group. This was a covert operation that served with the Chinese Air Force under U. S. General Claire Chennault. Since it was organized before the U. S. declared war on Japan, the pilots were technically working for a private military contractor to guarantee that supplies reached the Republic of China's armed forces through Burma, during the Japanese occupation of eastern China. The AVG was also called “the Flying Tigers” and the fronts of their planes were emblazoned with sharks’ jaws. Layher secretly married his sweetheart, Marian Ruth Aley, before he sailed for China.  In July 1942, after the U. S. was at war with Japan, the AVG was absorbed by the U. S. Air Force 23 rd Fighter Group, part of the 14 th Air Force. Layher rejoined the Navy as a lieutenant, j. g. and became an airline transport captain in the Naval Diplomatic run. When the war ended, Layher flew commercial jets to Western Europe for American Airlines and then Pan Am, before he and his family moved to Hays, Kansas in 1952. He farmed there until his death on November 17, 2006.

Hear Layher's story of flying with the secret air force that preceded the U.S.'s entry into WWII. This interview is part of the Kansas Veterans of WWII Oral History grant project that was funded by a bill passed by the 2005 Kansas Legislature. It was conducted on March 8, 2006, by Judy Walker at the Ellis County Historical Society. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:14:15

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Robert Layher Interview

 

 Arthur Jones Interview  Play

December 9, 2009

Arthur Jones served in WWII with the 219th Field Artillery, 35th Infantry Division of the Third Army.  During World War II it was made up mostly of men from Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma. Arthur's duty was to drive a Jeep that carried encoded messages back and forth between officers, under cover of dark. Hear his first-hand account of the 35th's push across France toward the German border, then their rush to Bastogne to assist the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge. This interview is part of the Kansas Veterans of WWII Oral History grant project that was funded by a bill passed by the 2005 Kansas Legislature. It was conducted by Joyce Suellentrop for the Gray County Veterans Memorial & Archives. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:50

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Arthur Jones Interview

 

 Raymond Brown Interview  Play

November 11, 2009

Sixty-five years ago, on September 15, 1944, Private Raymond Brown landed on Omaha Beach with the 379th Infantry Regiment of the 95th Division of Patton's Third Army. The troops were in contact with the enemy over 100 days in a row and suffered enormous casualties. Hear his personal reminiscences about the "Victory" Divison's drive across France to the German border that fall. This interview is part of the Kansas Veterans of WWII Oral History grant project that was funded by a bill passed by the 2005 Kansas Legislature. It was conducted by Loren Pennington on Apr 8, 2006 for the Emporia State University/Flint Hills part of the project. Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:41

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Raymond Brown Interview

 

 Mabel Holmes' Diary, 1935-1939, part 2  Play

October 14, 2009

Mabel Holmes and her sister Elma lived in Topeka, Kansas during the Great Depression. Mabel talks about the news, weather, shopping, outings with her sister, Elma and their friends and her volunteer work with her church and local women's groups. It's a personal time capsule of an era when Kansas and the nation was experiencing unprecedented change.

This podcast features excerpts from the same week in March, the 15th to 22nd, of each year. It also includes material found in the Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka City Directories and the Kansas State and Federal Censuses at the Kansas Historical Society's State Archives and Library.

Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:13:48

 

 Mabel Holmes' Diary, 1935-1939, part 1  Play

September 16, 2009

Mabel Holmes and her sister Elma lived in Topeka, Kansas during the Great Depression. Mabel talks about the news, weather, shopping, outings with her sister, Elma and their friends and her volunteer work with her church and local women's groups. It's a personal time capsule of an era when Kansas and the nation was experiencing unprecedented change.

This podcast features excerpts from the same week in March, the 15th to 22nd, of each year.

Musical clips featured in this podcast are courtesy: The Internet Archive & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:11:13

Additional Links

Mabel Holmes' Diary

 

 The Indian War of 1868-69, part 2  Play

August 19, 2009

In 1868, raids by hostile Indian bands on the western frontier increased as the white population of Kansas swelled after the Civil War and railroads were built father west. George Armstrong Custer and the 7th U. S. Cavalry were assigned to pursue the Indian tribes to their winter camps and force them to return to the reservations. In Kansas, Governor Crawford quickly raised a volunteer regiment, then decided to resign from office and lead the 19th Kansas Cavalry himself. They joined Generals Sheridan and Custer shortly after the attack on Black Kettle's Village. The troops accompanied Custer on his mission to retrieve two Kansas women, Anna Morgan and Sarah White, who had been abducted during the fall. George Jenness, the commander of Company F of the 19th Kansas, wrote this account of the winter expedition based on his diaries. Musical clips featured in this podcast are from: RoyaltyFreeMusic.com; Sounds of Nature & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:18

 

 The Indian War of 1868-69, part 1  Play

July 22, 2009

In 1868, raids by hostile Indian bands on the western frontier increased as the white population of Kansas swelled after the Civil War and railroads were built father west. George Armstrong Custer and the 7th U. S. Cavalry were assigned to pursue the Indian tribes to their winter camps and force them to return to the reservations. In Kansas, young governor Samuel Crawford received permission to quickly raise a regiment of Kansas cavalry to assist the U. S. troops. George Jenness, the commander of Company F of the 19th Kansas, wrote this account of the winter expedition based on his diaries. Musical clips featured in this podcast are from: RoyaltyFreeMusic.com; Sounds of Nature & The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:09:21

Additional Links

George Jenness Diary

 

 Ned Beck's July 4th  Play

June 24, 2009

Ned Beck continued writing in his diary throughout the summer of 1880, so we have his first-hand account of Holton, Kansas' 4th of July festivities. Holton planned to hold a community picnic on July 3rd, since July 4th fell on Sunday that year, but it was an unusually rainy summer and that Saturday was no exception, so the celebration was somewhat subdued. Just like kids today, Ned's favorite part of the holiday was the fireworks. Here's his description of the events of that week.. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Discovery String Band from Most Perfect Harmony, 2003; The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:08:29

 

 Ned Beck's Diary  Play

May 27, 2009

Another school year is coming to a close in Holton, Kansas. Final exams; class picnics; summer baseball teams forming-it could be May 2009--but 11 year old Ned Beck wrote this diary in 1880. Ned's father ran a drug store and published the Holton newspaper, The Recorder. This podcast features Ned's diary entries from late May. Hear about the activities that filled Ned's summer days. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: Paul and Win Grace, Fiddle, Folk and Foolishness, Wellspring Music, 2005; The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:10:27

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Ned Beck's Diary

 

 William Peffer's Scrapbook  Play

April 29, 2009

In the late 19th century, American tax laws favored Northeastern industrialists, who amassed enormous fortunes, while farmers in rural America found it harder and harder to make a living. The Farmer's Alliance, combined with other labor movements, formed The People's Party and took control of the Kansas House of Representatives in 1890. Kansas newspaper editor, William Peffer, championed the economic reforms the Populists called for and represented them in the U. S. Senate from 1891 to 1897. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Discovery String Band from Most Perfect Harmony, 2003; The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:10:38

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William Peffer Scrapbook

 

 Samuel Reader's Autobiography, October 12 - 30, 1864  Play

April 1, 2009

Samuel Reader joined the Kansas State Militia in Shawnee County when the war broke out between the North and South, but they didn't see action until "Price's Raid" in the fall of 1864. Samuel wrote this eye-witness account of the Battle of the Big Blue in 1898, based on his 1864 diary entries. The Militia helped delay the advance of the Confederate troops, even though they were inexperienced and outnumbered 6-to-1. They suffered heavy losses and Samuel was among the men taken prisoner by the rebels. He soon escaped and witnessed Price's defeat at the Battle of Mine Creek in Linn County three days later. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose , Richardson Tape and Sound; The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:09:57

Additional Links

Samuel Reader's Autobiography

 

 Samuel Reader's Diary  Play

March 4, 2009

Samuel began keeping a daily record of his life at the age of thirteen and continued faithfully until he died in 1914 at the age of 78. In 1855, when he was just 19, he moved from Illinois to Indianola--a town just north of Topeka in Kansas Territory. These passages are from Samuel’s diary of 1861, when the war between the North and South is just beginning. Samuel's extended family includes: Samuel's sister, Elisa, and her husband, Mathias Campdoras, a French physician, who live with their children in a neighboring cabin; and Samuel's widowed aunt, Elisa Cole and her children, Francis and Eugene, who have an adjoining claim. Mrs. Cole raised Samuel and his sister and he calls her "La." "Fox" is their horse's name.  Samuel taught himself French and often uses French and English interchangeably as he writes. He always begins by recording the current temperature and wind direction.

Most of Samuel’s narration is about their every day struggle to raise livestock and produce enough crops to survive in the harsh Kansas climate. He includes copies of his letters home to his family in Illinois. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: Paul and Win Grace, Fiddle, Folk and Foolishness, Wellspring Music, 2005; The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:10:22

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Samuel Reader Diary

 

 Lincoln In Kansas  Play

February 4, 2009

Abraham Lincoln visited Kansas only once, in December 1859, six months before the Republican Party chose him as their presidential candidate.

Daniel Mulford Valentine, 1830-1907, moved to Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, from Fontanelle, Iowa, in 1859. Valentine was 28 years old at the time, and was a lawyer and surveyor. Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln gave two speeches in Leavenworth when he visited Kansas in late 1859 and Valentine attended and wrote about both.

This podcast features excerpts from Lincoln's speech as published in the Leavenworth newspaper and some observations of people who saw the future president speak during his visit. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:39

Additional Links

Daniel Valentine Diary

 

 Lincoln & the 1860 Election  Play

January 7, 2009

The new Republican Party, which opposed the expansion of slavery, nominated Abraham Lincoln for president in 1860. Lincoln took office only a month after Kansas was admitted to the Union. Excerpts from correspondence written by and to Kansans in 1859 and 1860 help us see how Lincoln was regarded in Kansas during the 1860 election year. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:08:10

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Abraham Lincoln to Mark W. Delahay
In May, 1859, Lincoln writes from Springfield, Illinois to his longtime friend, Mark Delahay, to tell him he won't be attending the meeting in Osawatomie to organize the Republican Party in Kansas.

John McCannon to James Montgomery
In May 1860, John McCannon writes a letter from Denver, Kansas Territory, to his friend James Montgomery, and mentions that he has heard that Lincoln is the Republican Party's nominee.

John W. Robinson to Isaac Goodnow
John W. Robinson of Manhattan, Kansas Territory, expresses elation to his business associate, Isaac Goodnow, upon hearing Lincoln has been elected, in this letter dated November 12, 1860.

Lyman Trumbull to Mark W. Delahay
Illinois Senator and Lincoln supporter, Lyman Trumbull, writes to Mark Delahay in Kansas on December 14, 1860, to say that Lincoln should not allow any southern state to secede.

 

 The Battle of the Bulge: A Kansan's Story  Play

December 10, 2008

In early December of 1944, Second Lieutenant Martin Jones of the 106th Division of the Army moved through Belgium to the German border. Jones and his division were scattered through the Ardennes forest when the Germans began moving tanks across the border. The battle that ensued, called the Battle of the Bulge, lasted from December 16, 1944 through January 25, 1945 and claimed over 75,000 casualties and prisoners of war. He recalls the engagement and his subsequent capture at the hands of the Germans. Jones was from Osage City, Kansas, and his experiences were recorded by the Rice County project, part of the Kansas Veterans of WWII Oral History Grant Project, funded by the Kansas Legislature in 2005. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:09:52

Additional Links

Lloyd Martin Jones Oral History

 

 Kansas Veterans Remember  Play

November 12, 2008

Participants in the Kansas Veterans of WW II Oral History Project, sponsored by the Kansas State Legislature, remember their service in the European and Pacific Theaters during the Second World War. This podcast features the reminiscences of Captain William W. Seitz, of Allen, Kansas, a pilot in the Army Air Core who flew missions out of North Africa and Victor A. McAtee, of Lyons, Kansas, who along with some 30,000 US Marines, aided in the capture of Iwo Jima. This interview is part of the Kansas Veterans of WWII Oral History grant project that was funded by a bill passed by the 2005 Kansas Legislature. It was conducted by the Emporia State University/Flint Hills part of the project. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:11:19

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William W. Seitz
Captain Seitz enlisted in the Army (Air Force) in 1941 and served until 1945 in the 344th squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 47th Wing; 15th Air Force. Interviewed by Loren Pennington on Jul 22, 2005 as part of the Kansas Veterans of WWII Oral History Program, funded by the Kansas State Legislature. Seitz talked about military experiences flying bombing missions in the Second World War.

Victor A. McAtee
Victor McAtee, of Osage City, was among the first wave to land at Iwo Jima, beginning one of the bloodiest battles in the second world war. After completing his initial mission, McAtee spent the majority of his time evacuating wounded soldiers from combat areas and transporting them to the field hospital on the island. (Transcription not yet available.)

 

 Eastern Cowboy: Harry Boehme Fine  Play

October 15, 2008

In the spring of 1915, fifteen year old Harry Fine graduated from the Princeton Preparatory School in Princeton, New Jersey. That fall, he headed west to spend a year as a working cowboy in Maple Hill, Kansas. Harry's father, founder and headmaster of the Princeton Preparatory School, thought Harry could use some "real-life" experience before he continued his studies. Before he left home, Harry promised his parents he would write every week with an account of his adventures. His parents saved his letters, dated between October 1915 and June 1916. They give an interesting and colorful picture of cowboy life and growing up in early 20th century Kansas. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters from Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:12:05

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Harry Boehme Fine Letters

 

 Stormy Weather: Floods  Play

September 17, 2008

Thomas and Marlysue Holmquist relate their experiences during the 2007 flood on their farm in Saline County, Kansas near Smolan. Their oral histories were recorded in the sound booth at the "Forces of Nature" exhibit at the Kansas History Museum. The exhibit runs through January 9th, 2009. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983.

Running time 00:10:39

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Thomas Holmquist Oral History
Thomas Holmquist describes a 2007 flood on his farm in Saline County, Kansas, near Smolan. A historian and educator, Holmquist is a lifelong resident of the Smokey Valley. He has written several books including Bluestem (c2000) and Pioneer Cross : Swedish Settlements along the Smoky Hill Bluffs (c1994).

Marlysue Esping-Holmquist Oral History
Marlysue Esping-Holmquist, wife of Thomas Holmquist, farms in Saline County, Kansas, near Smolan. She describes the history of their farm and the chance involved in its allotment in a flood plain near Dry Creek in 1868.

 

 Capital Punishment in Kansas  Play

August 20, 2008

The death penalty has always been controversial in Kansas. Executions were first halted in 1872, after the legislature passed a law requiring the governor to sign off on all execution orders. Capital punishment has continued to stir controversy, not only in the political arena, but in the hearts and minds of Kansans. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Johnny Cash, The Complete Sun Singles, Vol. 1, Sun Records, Neal Pattman, Prison Blues, Music Maker Recordings/Redeye, 1999, Bessie Smith, Bessie Smith Sings the Blues, Vol. 1, White, Believe Digital, 2007.

Running time 00:11:15

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Message to the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas
Governor Joan Finney of Topeka, Kansas, writes the State House of Representatives, also of Topeka, to explain her position on House Bill 2578. The bill reinstated the death penalty in Kansas for the crime of capital murder, as defined in the bill. Though opposed to capital punishment, Finney allowed the bill to become law without her signature.

Governor Edward W. Hoch to Governor Fletcher D. Procter
Kansas Governor Edward W. Hoch of Topeka responds to a request by Vermont Governor Fletcher D. Procter of Montpelier for information on Kansas laws concerning capital punishment. Hoch states that Kansas laws allow for the death penalty but requires an order from the Governor. Hoch states his opposition to capital punishment and his belief that no Kansas Governor has ever issued an execution order [under this law], and that no Governor ever will.

Warden Amrine's statement upon resignation from the Kansas State Penitentiary
Milton F. Amrine, Warden of the Kansas State Penitentiary at Lansing, Kansas, presents Governor Andrew F. Schoeppel's office, of Topeka, with his statement of resignation. Amrine resigned due to his strong opposition to capital punishment and this statement outlines the reasons for his opposition.

 

 Stormy Weather: Tornadoes in Kansas Play

July 23, 2008

Since long before Euro-American settlement, strong winds have been a constant feature of the central plains region and the area now known as Kansas. The name Kansas was borrowed from the Kanza Indians who called themselves the People of the South Wind. This podcast features three stories about Kansas tornadoes recorded by visitors to the Forces of Nature exhibit at the Kansas Museum of History. These stories are also available on the Historical Society’s website for primary sources, Kansas Memory, at kansasmemory.org. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Original London Cast, Wizard of Oz, Jay Records 1988.

Running time 00:10:10

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Teresa Bachman Oral History
Teresa Bachman of El Dorado, Kansas, gives a first hand account of the June 10, 1958, tornado in El Dorado. The tornado killed thirteen people and destroyed or damaged more than 100 homes.

David Fischer Jr. Oral History
Topeka, Kansas, resident David H. Fisher, Jr. relates his experience during the June 8, 1966, tornado in Topeka.

Ron Clayton Oral History
A fireman in Mullinsville, Kansas, ten miles west of Greensburg, in Kiowa County, Ron Clayton describes his experience as a first responder to the May 4, 2007, EF5 tornado that destroyed Greensburg.

 

 A Happy Home: Martha Farnsworth Diaries  Play

June 25, 2008

Martha Farnsworth was a prolific diary writer, recording her daily experiences from 1882 through 1922 with only minor gaps. This podcast features entries from Martha's diary that describe her second marriage to another postman named Fred Farnsworth. Because of the unhappiness of Martha's first marriage, Martha is anxious about remarrying. She is very candid about her feelings but she seems to have gained contentment in taking care of Fred and his father. A number of entries describe daily life including the annual summer ritual of canning fruits and vegetables. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters , Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Scott Joplin, The Entertainer, Biograph Records, 1992, Foster and Allen, Sing Along with Foster and Allen, Tajon, 2006, Al Jolson, You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet, Carinco AG / Digital Music Works, 2006.

Running time 00:11:56

 

 Young Love: Martha Farnsworth Diary  Play

June 11, 2008

Martha Van Orsdol Shaw Farnsworth kept a personal diary most of her life from 1882 through 1922 with only a few gaps. The entries in this podcast describe her decision to marry John Shaw, a postal worker, whom she meets after moving to Topeka from Winfield. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Paul and Win Grace, Fiddle, Folk and Foolishness, Wellspring Music, 2005, John Phillip Sousa, Sousa: On Wings of Lightning, Naxos, 1999, WDJG Symphony Orchestra, The Greatest Classical Music Volume 2, Anathus Music/ the Orchard, 2008, Rudy Vallee, The First Crooner, Acrobat/The Orchard, 2002.

Running time 00:09:28

Additional Links

Martha Farnsworth Diary

 

 Over There!: Martha Farnsworth and WWI  Play

May 28, 2008

Martha Farnsworth was a prolific diary writer, recording her daily experiences from 1882 through 1922 with only minor gaps. Martha and her second husband Fred taught a Sunday School class of boys. These boys became their family, including serving in World War I. This podcast will feature entries from Martha’s diaries for 1917 and 1918 that record the activities of her “boys” serving in the military, activities on the home front, and Martha’s emotions about the this war. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by:The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Ian Whitcomb, Old Chestnuts & Rare Treats (1905-1930), ITW Records, (2005), Drill Instructors and Trainees at Parris Island, San Diego MCRD, San Diego Naval Center, U.S. Naval Special Warfare Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Ft. Benning, Ft. Bragg and Ft. Lewis , Run to Cadences of the U.S. Armed Forces, Documentary Recordings, 2002, Drill Instructors and Trainees at Fort Benning, Georgia, March to Cadence with the U.S. Army Airborne and Infantry, Documentary Recordings, 2002, Various Artists, George M. Cohan, Jon Peterson, Chip Deffaa, George M. Cohan Tonight!, Ghostlight/Razor & Tie, 2006, Bing Crosby.

Running time 00:10:58

Additional Links

Martha Farnsworth Diary

 

 Grasshoppers! Plague of the Prairie  Play

May 14, 2008

In the mid 1870s, settlers trying to establish homes and farms in Kansas had to deal with grasshopper invasions that would destroy crops. This pod cast will feature excerpts from a reminiscence that provides a word picture of an invasions in 1874 and from a diary that contains numerous references to these insects in May of 1875. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Paul and Win Grace,“Fifty Miles of Elbow Room”, Fiddle, Folk and Foolishness, Wellspring Music, 2005.

Running time 00:09:51

Additional Links

Life Sketch of Mrs. Pauline (Floeder) Wickham
Pauline Wickham wrote this reminiscence about her family's immigration to Nebraska and later Kansas from Germany. She writes that she was born in Frankfort, Nebraska. The Floeders moved from Nebraska to Leavenworth and later Wichita. Pauline describes the trip from Leavenworth to Wichita in approximately 1870. She includes a graphic description of the damage done by grasshoppers in 1873.

John William Gardiner Diary
John William Gardiner was born in or near Platte City, Missouri, in 1851. In March 1855, Gardiner and his family moved to the future site of Winchester, Jefferson County, in the newly opened Kansas Territory. Many of the diary entries describe his teaching, weather, the grasshopper plague, and extracurricular activities such as singing and visiting friends.

 

 Shawnee Missions, 1830-1854  Play

April 30, 2008

After the treaty of 1825, the Shawnee Indians were removed from Ohio to the Indian Territory west of Missouri. In response, three Christian missions were built in the vicinity of the Westport Landing on the Missouri River. The records of these missions are some of the earliest manuscripts in the Kansas Historical Society collections. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Red Road Crossing, Native American Chants, Interra Records, 1997, Keith Bear, Echos of the Upper Missouri, Makoche Music, 1996, Dean Himes, The Man from Galilee, Dean Himes/CD Baby, 2004.

Running time 00:09:00

Additional Links

Journal of Johnston Lykins, Shawnee Baptist Mission
The missionaries were certain that the Indians would be better off if they converted to Christianity and were assimilated into white European culture. In this journal entry from October 27, 1832, Johnston Lykins admits they are having trouble persuading the Shawnee parents to send their children to the Shawnee Baptist Mission to be educated.

Jotham Meeker to Reverend Lucius Bolles
Baptist missionary Jotham Meeker was familiar with the Ottawa Indians, some of whom lived on the Shawnee lands. In this letter from Shawnee Mission, dated Nov. 29, 1833, to Reverend Lucius Bolles of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, he discusses his efforts to overcome their resistance to missionaries.

History of Kansas and Emigrant's Guide, 1855, pg. 32-33
In 1839, Reverend Johnson moved the Shawnee Methodist Mission to a two-thousand acre site in present-day Johnson County. This evolved into a complex of buildings called the "Manual Labor School," which was attended by as many as two hundred students at a time. These remarks about the Shawnee missions are from J. Butler Chapman's book which he based on, "three month's travel through the territory in 1854."

 

 Child Labor: "...it is better for children to learn to work when they are little  Play

April 16, 2008

Children's lives have changed dramatically in America in the last hundred years. Today we take it for granted that children will attend public school and not work full-time, but in the early 1900's, laws regulating child labor were still evolving. Hear what Kansas parents and business owners had to say about these laws when they first took effect. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Ian Whitcomb, Old Chestnuts & Rare Treats (1905-1930), ITW Records, (2005), Bessie Smith, Bessie Smith Sings the Blues, Vol. 1, Tnts/Believe Digital, (2007), Al Jolson, You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet, Carnico AG/Digital Music Works, (2006), The Staple Singers, This is Gospel Volume 11: The Staple Singers – Pray On, Calvin Records/ Kock Dist, (2007).

Running time 00:11:08

Additional Links

Emma Grimm to Governor Arthur Capper
Emma Grimm of Sabetha, Nemaha County, wrote this letter to Governor Arthur Capper regarding the child labor law that prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14 in any mercantile establishment. Her son Theodore had recently been let go from his job as a grocery delivery boy, which apparently upset him greatly.

P.J. McBride to Emma Grimm
In this letter P. J. McBride, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, responds to Grimm's letter to Governor Arthur Capper, dated November 27, 1917. McBride informed her that, because the legislature passed this law, the Governor could not make any exceptions. McBride also emphasized that "play and recreation" were an important element in children's development and that after schoolwork and household chores had been completed, children should have unstructured time to play.

Ralph Tennal to Governor Arthur Capper
Ralph Tennal, editor of the Sabetha Herald, wrote this letter to the governor in an attempt to convince Capper that child labor laws did more trouble than good. Tennal believes that these laws prevented children from being industrious and led to crime, because "everybody knows what Satan does to idle hands."

Roy Hennigh to Governor Arthur Capper
Roy Hennigh, owner of a grocery store in Sabetha, Nemaha County, wrote this letter to the governor concerning a recent visit to his store by a female deputy factory inspector. According to Hennigh, this inspector informed him that his two teenage daughters could not work in his store on the weekends according to the child labor laws. Hennigh argues that he does not officially employ his children, or any other children, because "they help me just as anybody's children should."

 

 Before they were famous  Play

April 2, 2008

Henry Hubert Raymond makes daily entries in this diary for one year, beginning on November 11, 1872. The diary describes his trip to Kansas to meet up with his brother Theodore (generally "The" in the diary). At the time Henry arrived in Kansas, Theodore was working with the Masterson (Mastison early in the diary) brothers, Bat and Ed, on a grading subcontract for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad near Dodge City. Theodore had become friends with the Masterson family on his way west in 1870. Henry, Theodore, and the Masterson brothers began hunting bison (buffalo) and Henry describes their efforts in brief but graphic detail. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, The London Symphony Orchestra, Copland: Billy the Kid/3rd Symphony, Everest Records/10bA, 2006, The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Copland: Prairie Journal/The Red Pony Suite/Letter from Home, Naxos.

Running time 00:13:03

Additional Links

Henry Raymond Diary

 

 The B-B-Blizzard, Kinsley, Kansas  Play

March 19, 2008

In conjunction with the museum exhibit, "Forces of Nature," opening this month, this podcast features excerpts from a newspaper published by travellers stranded in Kinsley during an 1886 blizzard. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Paul and Win Grace, Love’s Lasting Light, Wellspring Music, 2001, Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker, 1891, Edvard Grieg, “Asa’s Death” Peer Gynt, 1876.

Running time 00:11:05

Additional Links

The B-B-Blizzard Newspaper

 

 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: "...you see everything as done good is done by white people"  Play

March 5, 2008

Our third podcast featuring oral histories from the Brown v. Board collection contains excerpts from an interview with Christina Jackson of Topeka, whose children were moved from Monroe into the inegrated State Street grade school as a result of the Brown decision. Jackson discusses what it was like to attend segregated schools as a child and how integration affected her children.

Running time 00:11:55

Additional Links

Christina Jackson Interview

 

 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: Part 2  Play

February 20, 2008

This podcast features an interview with Maurita (Burnett) Davis, whose father McKinley Burnett headed the NAACP during the time Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka went before the Supreme Court. Davis attended Monroe school, and discusses her father's work as well as some of her personal experiences. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Ella Jenkins, African-American Folk Rhythms, Folkways Records/Smithsonian Folkways, 1992.

Running time 00:13:00

Additional links

Maurita Davis Interview

 

 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: “What bothers me now is that it didn’t bother me then.”  Play

February 6, 2008

From 1991 to 1996 the Kansas Historical Society participated in a grant project that funded eighty oral interviews with people involved in or affected by U.S. school desegregation cases that culminated in the U. S. Supreme Court case, Brown versus Board of Education Topeka. This podcast features excerpts from interviews with former Assistant Attorney General and Topeka School Board member, Fred Rausch, and NAACP Executive Board member, Charles Baston.. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Ella Jenkins, (If I Had A Hammer), African-American Folk Rhythms, Folkways Records/Smithsonian Folkways, 1992.

Running time 00:12:15

Additional Links

Charles I. Baston Interview
Baston was a member of the executive committee of the local chapter of the NAACP during the Brown v. Board hearings, and much of his interview deals with the NAACP's role in finding plaintiffs in the Brown case, the problem with busing students across to segregated schools, and other individuals who were instrumental to the success of this suit.

Fred Rausch Jr. Interview
Rausch was elected to the Topeka School Board in 1957, shortly after the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision that declared segregated educational facilities unconstitutional. He was partially responsible for the integration of teachers.

 

 The Buffalo Hunt  Play

January 23, 2008

It's difficult today to envision the Great Plains of America in the early 1800's when somewhere between 30 to 60 million Buffalo roamed wild. By 1891 that population had been reduced to an astonishingly small number of 540 animals. Listen as James R. Mead describes his first buffalo hunt in November, 1859 to his family in Iowa; and missionary Harriet Bidwell witnesses a hunt along the Santa Fe Trail in 1851. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, I Love This Girl, Richardson, Tape and Sound, Paul and Win Grace, Fiddle, Folk and Foolishness, Wellspring Music, 2005, Love’s Lasting Light, Wellspring Music, 2001.

Running time 00:07:08

Additional Links

James R. Mead to his Father and others
In this letter, James R. Mead describes his first buffalo hunt to his family and friends.

James R. Mead to his Mother
n this letter addressed to his mother, James Mead writes about his life on the frontier near the Saline River, Kansas Territory. He also informs her that he has sent the family a load of buffalo meat and robes, and he discusses the local fur trade, listing different animals in the area.

Henry Raymond Diary
Henry Hubert Raymond makes daily entries in this diary for one year, beginning on November 11, 1872, when he left Carlinville, Illinois, for Kansas. Henry, Theodore, and the Masterson brothers began hunting bison (buffalo) and Henry describes their efforts in brief but graphic detail.

Crossing the Plains, the Journal of Harriet Bridwell Shaw
Harriett Bidwell Shaw started a journal in September 18,1851, when she and her husband, Reverend James Milton Shaw traveled in a wagon train via the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico. Harriett was the only woman to accompany the wagon train. She

 

 To His Excellency The Governor  Play

January 9, 2008

No collection of state records can create as varied a snapshot of an era as the correspondence the governor receives. Constituents write about any current topic that they believe needs the governor’s attention. These letters become part of the permanent collections at the Kansas Library and State Archives. Listen as years later, the history of Kansas comes alive again through their words. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Ian Whitcomb, You Turn Me On! Ian Whitcomb’s Mod, Mod Music Hall, ITW Records/IODA, 1997, Rudy Valee, The First Crooner, Acrobat/The Orchard, 2002, The Filmscore Orchestra, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, A Fistful of Film Music – The Musical Hits of Ennio Morricone, Air Music/The Orchard, Tab Benoit, Nice and Warm, Vanguard/Welk Music Group, 2006.

Running time 00:11:53

Additional Links

Citizens of Dodge City to Governor George W. Glick
Citizens of Dodge City, Ford County, write Governor Glick in 1883 to tell their side of a dispute between local businessmen and Luke Short, who was part-owner of the Long Branch Saloon.

Frances Elizabeth Willard to Governor John Martin
The president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union writes Governor Martin about prohibition and woman suffrage issues in 1888.

C. C. Evans to Governor Edmund Morrill
C. C. Evans, Chairman of the Sheridan County Republican Central Committee sends a plea for drought relief in 1894.

Isabella Barnes to Governor Edward Hoch
Isabella Barnes, a resident of Liberal, Seward County, in 1906, explains her desire to wear men's clothing.

Alysia Kysar to Governor Joan Finney
Aliysia Kysar, eleven-year-old resident of Library, Seward County, in 1991, writes Governor Finney to ask for help protecting Kansas' natural resources.

The Dodge City Peace Commission, which included Luke Short, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and other famous lawmen, was formed as a response to the "Dodge City War" of 1883.

For more information about Kansas governors and their papers, see our KSHS Kansas Governors webpage.

For portraits of all the Kansas governors and their annual messages to the legislature, see this State Library of Kansas webpage (offsite link).

 

 A Gift of Opportunity: Harry Colmery and the G.I. Bill of Rights  Play

December 26, 2007

Harry Colmery, a Topekan, is credited with writing the initial draft of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill of Rights. He was part of a committee formed by the national American Legion to secure benefits for those men and women who served in World War II. This pod cast features Colmery's testimony to Congress about what the United States owed to the men and women who had fought for the freedom and liberty of their country. Many historians credit the GI Bill with the rise of a college-educated middle class and with the increase in home ownership among U.S. citizens. Bob Evans voiced the reading of Harry Colmery’s testimony to congress. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Romance of Glenn Miller, Air Music/The Orchard, 2006, The Andrews Sisters, The Andrews Sisters Greatest Hits, Air Music/The Orchard, 2006, The Rat Pack with Judy Garland, Rat Pack, The Early Years, Avid Records/The Orchard, 2002.

Running time 00:09:15

Additional Links

Testimony concerning the G.I. Bill of Rights presented by Harry W. Colmery
Harry Colmery may have used this copy of prepared remarks when he presented testimony to Congress concerning the G. I. Bill of Rights. It contains several hand written notations. Later versions also contain questions and answers from the committee, so they were obviously prepared at a later date.

Images of Harry W. Colmery

Harry Walter Colmery, as a Young Man
Harry Walter Colmery, taken between 1937 and 1945
Harry Walter Colmery with his wife, Minerva and children

 

 Christmas in the 1870s  Play

December 12, 2007

Harriet Adams wrote about her memories of the Christmas when she was seven years old. This story conveys her anticipation of this holiday in a delightful way. She outlines the family's various traditions through her childhood eyes including the family Christmas tree, the reading of "Twas the night before Christmas," and her concern that Santa could not get down their chimney. This reminiscence is part of the Lilla Day Monroe Collection of Pioneer Stories. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Columba Minstrels, A Celtic Christmas An Instrumental Celebration, Disky Communications, 1998.

Running time 00:08:33

Christmas in the 1870's
Dr. Harriet Adams wrote about her memories of the Christmas in the 1870's when she was seven years old .

Portrait, Harriet E. Adams, M.D.
Harriet E. Adams, daughter of Franklin G. and Harriet C. received her medical degree and worked as a physician

Children of Franklin G. and Harriet C. Adams
Most of the children of Franklin G. and Harriet C. Adams grew up in Topeka, Kansas. Their father was the first "Executive Director" of the Kansas State Historical Society

Other Christmas Images

A Boy and Girl Sitting by a Christmas Tree
Children Around a Decorated Christmas Tree
Family Around a Christmas Tree
Children Around a Christmas Tree

 

 Immigrant Guides  Play

November 28, 2007

Immigrants flocked to Kansas in the 1870s in response to the opening of vast tracts of land for white settlement. Their excitement was fueled in no small part by brochures the railroads were distributing, claiming the state had the "best and cheapest farming and grazing lands in America" and touting Kansas as "the Garden of the West." Listen and marvel at the words these promoters used to lure settlers to the midwest! Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Paul and Win Grace, Fiddle, Folk and Foolishness, Wellspring Music, 2005.

Running time 00:13:50

Additional Links

How and where to get a living : a sketch of "the garden of the West," dated 1876
An Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe pamphlet that emphasizes the opportunities for farmers who emigrate to Kansas and settle on lands granted to the AT&SF Railway Co.

The State of Kansas: a home for immigrants, by Samuel Johnson Crawford, dated 1865.
This pamphlet, written by S. J. Crawford, who was governor of Kansas from 1865-1868, downplays the severity of Kansas weather and tries to persuade settlers to come to Kansas.

Immigrants' guide to the most fertile lands of Kansas, published ca. 1880.
A Union Pacific Railway Company brochure promoting the sale of lands granted to the railroad by the U. S. government.

The Great northwest!, published in 1888.
A later Union Pacific Railway Company pamphlet that describes towns and other amenities along the Kansas Pacific line where the railroad has lands available.

 

 Dwight D. Eisenhower: General or Admiral?  Play

November 14, 2007

Dwight D. Eisenhower—a sailor??? In 1910, Dwight D. Eisenhower requested an appointment to West Point or the naval academy from his U. S. Senator Joseph Bristow of Salina, Kansas. This podcast features the letters he wrote to Senator Bristow and allows the listener to speculate on how the course of history may have been changed if Eisenhower—the future Allied Supreme Commander and President of the United States—had served in the U. S. Navy rather than the U. S. Army. The text for this podcast was written by Jerry Veatch, KSHS volunteer. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: Drill Instructors and Trainees at Parris Island, San Diego MCRD, San Diego Naval Center, U.S. Naval Special Warfare Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Ft. Benning, Ft. Bragg and Ft. Lewis, Run to Cadences of the U.S. Armed Forces, Documentary Recordings, 2002, Drill Instructors and Trainees at Fort Benning, Georgia, March to Cadence with the U.S. Army Airborne and Infantry, Documentary Recordings, 2002, Various Artists, Patriotic Songs of America, The Orchard, Documentary Recordings, 2002 Al Jolson, You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet! Volume 1, Carinco AG and Digital Music Works, 2006.

Running time 00:07:09

Additional Links

Letter, August 20, 1910, Dwight D. Eisenhower to Joseph Little Bristow, United States Senator
A letter written by Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969, to Joseph Little Bristow, 1861-1944, United States Senator, requesting an appointment to either the Naval Academy or West Point.

Letter, September 3, 1910, Dwight D. Eisenhower to Joseph Little Bristow, United States Senator
Letter written by Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969, to Joseph Little Bristow, 1861-1944, United States Senator, inquiring about an appointment to either the Naval Academy or West Point. Eisenhower explains that he has not received a response from Bristow and asks about taking a competitive examination for an appointment.

Letter, October 24, 1910, Joseph Little Bristow, United States Senator to Dwight David Eisenhower
Letter from Joseph Little Bristow, 1861-1944, United States Senator, to Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969, informing him of his nomination to West Point Military Academy.

Letter, October 25, 1910, Dwight David Eisenhower to Joseph Little Bristow, United States Senator
Letter written by Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969, to United States Senator Joseph Little Bristow, 1861-1944, thanking him for the appointment to West Point Military Academy.

Letter, March 25, 1911, Dwight David Eisenhower to Joseph Little Bristow, United States Senator
Letter written by Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969, to Joseph Little Bristow,1861-1944, United States Senator, thanking him for the West Point appointment. Eisenhower mentions that he passed the entrance exams and will report to West Point on June 14, 1911.

 

 Elam Bartholomew Diaries  Play

October 31, 2007

In many ways, Elam Bartholomew was a typical Kansas settler as he encountered most of the challenges facing those settling on the Great Plains. He is an extraordinary Kansan because he recorded his life's events for 60 years in his daily diaries. He settled in Kansas in 1874. He returned to Illinois to marry and returned to Rooks County, Kansas, with his new wife Rachel in 1876. This podcast is based on excerpts from the diary for 1877 and 1878. It details his farming activities and those of his neighbors, with whom he traded work. It includes his comments on the birth of his first child, a land dispute among neighbors, organizing literary societies and a church, fighting prairie fires, and reports of an Indian raid. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, “Lucy of the Tallgrass”, “Sweet Betsy of the Pike” Ho! For the Kansas Plains, Swinging Door Music, 1983, Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, “Devil in the Haystack”, “Grigsby’s Hornpipe” I Love This Girl, Richardson Tape and Sound, Paul and Win Grace, “Redhaired Boy”, “Diamond Joe”, “Kiss Me Quick and Go”, Fiddle, Folk and Foolishness, Wellspring Music, 2005.

Running time 00:11:56

Additional Links

Elam Bartholomew Diary 1

Elam Bartholomew Diary 2

Elam Bartholomew Diary 3

 Indian Removal in Kansas Play

October 17, 2007

Before statehood, Kansas was part of the original “Indian Territory” west of the Mississippi River--envisioned as the permanent home for Indian tribes that were removed from the eastern United States to open land for white settlements. Hear accounts of what happened from the correspondence of William Clark, the U. S. Superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis, from 1807 up to his death in 1838. Music featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Paul and Win Grace.

Running time 00:11:30

Additional Links

Letter, Pierre Menard to William Clark
Pierre Menard wrote this letter to William Clark, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, regarding the cost of relocating Indian tribes in new lands to the west. This letter describes the actual removal process and the hardships of the Indians' journey, including harsh weather and the theft of their horses.

Letter, Richard W. Cummins to William Clark
This letter, written by Richard Cummins, an agent to the Shawnee Indians, updated Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Clark on the Delaware Indians who had recently relocated in Kansas (then called Indian Territory). The Delaware had moved to Kansas in the late fall and early winter of the previous year and, due to lack of provisions, were in "a suffering condition." Many of their horses had died and so Cummins gave them some provisions to ease their suffering. The Delaware chiefs wanted the provisions guaranteed them by their treaty with the U. S. government, which they had been told was not yet ratified. They argued that it must have been ratified, because after they signed the treaty white settlers immediately took possession of the Delaware lands east of the Mississippi.

Letter, William Clark to John H. Eaton
This letter contains a copy of a petition from Illinois settlers who were displeased that the Sac and Fox tribes, who ceded their lands in 1804 and 1816, had not moved to their new lands west of the Mississippi River. The settlers admitted that most of the Fox tribe and some of the Sacs had indeed relocated to Indian Territory (present-day Kansas), but a large group at Rock River (led by the warrior Black Hawk) refused to leave. These white settlers feared that tension between these natives and their white neighbors would lead to conflict, and that the government should force this group at Rock River to move west with the rest of their tribe.

Letter, William Clark to Lewis Cass
This letter contains a copy of a petition from Illinois settlers who were displeased that the Sac and Fox tribes, who ceded their lands in 1804 and 1816, had not moved to their new lands west of the Mississippi River. The settlers admitted that most of the Fox tribe and some of the Sacs had indeed relocated to Indian Territory (present-day Kansas), but a large group at Rock River (led by the warrior Black Hawk) refused to leave. These white settlers feared that tension between these natives and their white neighbors would lead to conflict, and that the government should force this group at Rock River to move west with the rest of their tribe.

 

 The Never Ending Struggle for Equality  Play

October 3, 2007

As the citizens of Territorial Kansas were writing constitutions that would determine whether or not slavery was allowed in Kansas, they were also debating the issues of voting rights for blacks (in the versions that excluded slavery) and women. This debate was occurring across the nation among abolitionists and supporters of the woman's suffrage movement. This podcast features documents that address the arguments in favor of allowing most adults to vote in elections. Music featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, The Discovery String Band, and Red Road Crossing.

Running time 00:10:48

Additional Links

Preamble, Moneka Women's Rights Association
Book of meeting minutes for the Moneka Woman's Rights Association. It contains the organization's preamble, constitution, and list of members. Members were both male and female. Officers were elected quarterly. Most meetings consisted of an address and discussion of a particular question related to women's rights issues.

Address to the Voters of Kansas
The numerous authors of this pamphlet (Republicans) support the constitutional amendments to approve voting rights for blacks, for women, and to restrict voting rights to "loyal persons." They offer arguments for their position as well as criticizing the Democratic Party in Kansas for their opposition to these amendments. Forty five men signed the document, which was the result of a meeting in Lawrence.

The Women's Vote in Kansas
Franklin Adams, secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, wrote this pamphlet analyzing the votes cast during the April 1887 local election. This was the first election in which women in Kansas could vote in municipal elections, following the passage of a law by the Kansas Legislature in February 1887.

 

 The Exodusters  Play

September 19, 2007

After the Civil War, freed slaves in the South faced an uncertain future. Economically destitute, they struggled to establish schools and buy their own land. The establishment of the sharecropping system, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the entrenchment of segregation made their chances for success remote. When Reconstruction ended, and federal troops withdrew in 1877, Black families began to leave the South by the thousands, looking for a better future. They were called "Exodusters," in reference to the Biblical story of the Israelites escape from Egypt. Excerpts from letters written in 1879 help tell the story of the Exodusters journey to Kansas. Musical clips featured in this podcast are performed by: The Free Staters, Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, and Sweet Honey In The Rock.

Running time 00:15:13

Additional Links

Largest Colored Colony in America!
This advertisement for Nicodemus, Graham County, Kansas, describes the location of the colony near the Solomon River and the town company's plans to build more houses, businesses, and other public buildings. The trustees were quick to note that they will not build any saloon or "houses of ill fame" during the first five years of settlement.

Advertisement for Nicodemus
This advertisement introduces the Nicodemus Town Company, stating that they have claimed a town site in Graham County, Kansas, near the Solomon River. It also describes the surrounding area, stating that "we are proud to say it is the finest country we ever saw."

Letter, Isaiah T. Montgomery to Governor John P. St. John
Isaiah T. Montgomery of Hurricane, Mississippi, wrote Governor John P. St. John of Topeka, Kansas, concerning the migration of twenty five families of black refugees from Mississippi to Kansas. Montgomery described the difficulties faced by the families and a visit he made to Kansas to assess their conditions. He also critiqued the relief programs in Kansas and made recommendations for assisting present and future migrants.

 

 Investigating Election Fraud: The Howard Committee  Play

September 5, 2007

The url for the entire report is http://www.archive.org/details/reportofspecialc00unitrich. The music featured in this podcast was performed by:  Curly Miller and Carol Anne Rose and The Free Staters. The text for this podcast was written by Jerry Veatch, KSHS volunteer.

Running time 00:09:00

 

 Samuel Reader's Diary  Play

August 22, 2007

When Samuel Reader moved to Kansas Territory in May of 1855, he continued chronicling his life and adventures during the "Border Wars". He was a self-trained artist and included illustrations and watercolor paintings in his journal. Reader joined General James Lane's militia and participated in the Battle of Indianola in September, 1856. His journal provides a unique look at the violence that erupted long the Missouri and Kansas border preceding the Civil War. Music featured in this podcast performed by:  Paul and Win Grace, and The Free Staters.

Running time 00:12:21

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Samuel Reader's Diary
October 13, 1855
From the time he read Lewis and Clark's journals as a young man, Samuel Reader kept a diary. An untrained artist, he included sketches and watercolors in his diary

Excerpt from Samuel Reader's Autobiography, Volume 2
Titled "Border Wars. Leaving for the front." Here, Reader talks about his family's objections to his participation in the Battle of Hickory Point.

Battle of Hickory Point
A description of the Battle of Hickory Point which took place from the author's perspective.

"A Cheerless Retrospection"
Reader reflects on his experience at the Battle of Hickory Point and General Lane's withdrawal at the request of Governor Geary, who threatenedto bring in U.S. Dragoons if the matter continued to escalate.

 

 John Brown: Compassionate or Brutal?  Play

August 8, 2007

John Brown was an ardent anti slavery proponent. Because of his well know acts of violence including his raid on the government arsenal at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, he is often portrayed as a terrorist or madman. He was also a dedicated and compassionate family man. The excerpts used in this podcast show the private side of Brown. However, his personality was extremely complicated and a few letters can only serve to encourage the listener to learn more about this complex man. A letter from Lydia Maria Child indicates that she does not approve of his actions but she supports his cause. Musical selections performed by: Paul and Win Grace and The Free Staters. The text for this podcast was written by Jerry Veatch, KSHS volunteer.

Running time 00:09:45

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Letter, John Brown to Dear Wife [Mary Brown] & Children every one
October 13, 1855
One week after arriving at his sons' settlement ("Brownville") near Osawatomie, Brown wrote the family back east that although most were sick when he first arrived, they "appear now to be mending." The trip across Missouri was without incident, except for problems with a sick horse and their "heavy load." Brown then wrote briefly of the Adairs, the "most uncomfortable situation" in which he found his children upon his arrival, and other things including prairie fires and finally the political situation in the territory. In fact, at this early date, John Brown "believe[d] Missouri is fast becoming discouraged about making Kansas a Slave State & think the prospect of its becoming Free is brightening every day."

Letter, John Brown to Dear Wife [Mary Brown] & Children every one
September 7, 1856
Just over a week after the Battle of Osawatomie, John Brown wrote his family from Lawrence about the death of "our dear Frederick" and the ensuing engagement, in which Brown himself was slightly wounded. Brown's small force "killed & wounded from 70 to 80 of the enemy" before escaping, and through it all "Jason fought bravely by my side."

Speech, John Brown
ca. March, 1857
During the spring of 1857, John Brown traveled to several Northeastern cities (specifically, in Brown's home state of Connecticut) to solicit financial support for the Kansas crusade. In the speech delivered from these handwritten notes, Brown outlined some of the many sacrifices he and others had made to give his audience a sense of what was needed and discussed the unfolding situation in Kansas Territory.

Letter, L. Maria Child to Capt. John Brown
October 26, 1859
Lydia Maria Child, "an earnest friend of Kansas," wrote John Brown from Wayland, Mass., on October 26, 1859, regarding her opposition to violence but her admiration for his courage and commitment to the cause of freedom. She had hoped to come to his aid in prison, but in the meantime assured Brown "that no honest man ever shed his blood for freedom in vain, however much he may be mistaken in his efforts."

 

 Andrew Reeder, Territorial Governor  Play

July 25, 2007

Andrew Horatio Reeder was appointed the first Governor of Kansas Territory in 1854. He started out supporting the pro-slavery government, but shifted to the opposition, and eventually had to flee the state in disguise. He remained involved in Kansas politics after he left the territory. Hear about the situation in Kansas Territory in his own words. Music featured in this podcast performed by: The Free Staters, Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose and Paul and Win Grace.

Running time 00:10:44

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Memoranda, Records of Reeder's Stock in Towns
[1855]
This document was an undated "Mem. Of Stock in Towns," which appeared to have been written in longhand by Reeder himself and included the number of shares he had purchased (and how they were acquired) in fifteen different towns: Leavenworth, Pawnee, Tecumseh, Marysville, Lecompton, Montgomery (Dickinson Co.), Reeder (Dickinson Co.), Richmond, Whitfield (Shawnee Co.), Topeka, Douglas, Omaha City, Chetolah (Davis/Geary Co.), Grasshopper Falls, and Easton. Interestingly, he held thirty-four shares in Pawnee, his most famous (or infamous) investment venture, but he had thirty-six shares in Montgomery, twenty in Douglas and there appears to be a good number in Omaha City.

Letter, A.H. Reeder, to Dear Doctor [Charles Robinson]
February 16, 1856
From "Washington City" on February 16, 1856, former K.T. governor Andrew Reeder wrote Charles Robinson regarding his (Reeder's) efforts to influence Kansas policy in the nation's capital. Reeder was working through friends, since he no longer had personal influence with President Pierce, and he was not pleased with the president's February 11 proclamation, which he called "the low contemptible trickstering affair which might expected from Pierce, and is like the Special Message [of January 24] a slander on the Free State Party." Nevertheless, Reeder thought it could have been worse and insisted that Robinson and the other free-state leaders "should not organize the State Govt." Pierce would just use that action to justify aggressive moves to suppress the movement.

Letter, A.H. Reeder to Dear Sir [J.A. Halderman]
August 11, 1856
The former governor wrote this letter from Easton, Pennsylvania, to his former secretary and attorney, J. A. Halderman, in order to secure his services in an effort to retrieve some personal papers and settle some matters of business pertaining to town lots and shares. According to Reeder, "the Sheriff posse at the sacking of Lawrence broke open my trunk and stole the contents. The clothing is probably by this time worn out" and he was not concerned about other contents, with the exception of "some private papers" that someone had informed him could be retrieved. He asked Halderman to get the papers, which included "certificates of stock in Leavenworth, Tecumseh, Lecompton, Lawrence, Easton, Pawnee" etc., and then take care of business matters that were reflected therein--"some obligations for money, leases contracts Receipts & etc." Reeder also asked Halderman "to attend to my Leavenworth lots" and went into considerable detail about these matters.

Letter, A.H. Reeder to J.A. Halderman
January 9, 1857
From the National Hotel in Washington, Andrew Reeder wrote to advise Halderman on the disposition of some business matters, especially those related to his Leavenworth lots. He went on to comment on a variety of subjects, including his desire "to return to Kansas in the spring" and to have some long-term impact on the growth and development of Leavenworth. Reeder also mentioned his influence with "some of the men who will probably control the Pacific [Rail] Road when it is built," his desire to help Leavenworth secure the eastern Kansas terminus, and his activity with the National Kansas Committee. Although he had no interest in the rival town of Quindaro, he intended to "help build up" that city if he were not "fairly dealt with" in Leavenworth.

 

 John James Ingalls: "Fast track... from Law to Politics"  Play

July 11, 2007

John James Ingalls came to Kansas Territory as a young man. He was raised in Massachusetts and trained as a lawyer. He first settled in Sumner, Atchison County. The letters home to his father in this podcast describe his growing success as a lawyer. He also becomes involved in territorial politics as part of the free state movement. His letters are articulate and humorous. Ingalls became a prominent Kansan, ultimately serving as one of the state's U.S. Senators. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters, Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, and Paul and Win Grace. The text for this podcast was written by Jerry Veatch, KSHS volunteer.

Running time 00:08:51

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Letter, J.J.I.[John James Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
November 21, 1858
Much of this interesting letter, dated November 21, 1858, from Sumner, describes the Ingalls law practice and the nature of a "frontier" court proceedings that often attracted "nearly all the population." According to Ingalls, "the chief difficulty arising [in the courts came] from the conflict of the two Codes, adopted by two hostile legislatures, each of which had adherents who call the other 'bogus.'" Ingalls also discussed the business of land sales, as something many successfully combine with the practice of law.

Letter, J.J.I.[John James Ingalls to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls
March 15, 1859
Although Ingalls began this relatively brief letter from Sumner with comments on the local election (he won the race for city attorney), he devoted most of it to the Pike's Peak Gold Rush--"the amount and character of the emigration to Pike's Peak is truly astonishing. . . . [T] military roads are already thronged with anxious hundreds, on foot, dragging hand carts, on mules, and with ox teams."

Letter, J.J.I.[John James Ingalls] to to Dear Father
June 10, 1859
From Sumner on June 10, 1859, just days after the election for delegates to the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention, Ingalls wrote his father about the "well fought" contest in a county (Atchison) that was "an old stronghold of pro-slavery democracy." Ingalls won, of course, even though he at first "regarded the contest as a hopeless one," but still feared that the Democrats could control the convention; if so, "Kansas may be a Slave State after all. . . . It is Estimated that there are five hundred slaves in the territory today by virtue of the Dred Scott decision. A family recently came to this place from Kentucky with five."

Letter, J.J.I.[John James Ingalls] to to Dear Father
October 7, 1860
In this rather lengthy letter from his home in Sumner, Ingalls commented on many different facets of his personal and professional life to date in Kansas Territory and about his prospects for the future; these included his law practice (now mostly in Atchison), his interest in journalism and politics, and his interest in a variety of speculative opportunities. The future of Kansas looked good to Ingalls, despite continued problems with drought that was forcing many to sell out.

 

 Rocky Road to Kansas, Part Three: The Letters of Joseph Trego  Play

June 27, 2007

Trego settled near Sugar Mound, Kansas in 1857 and helped construct and operate a sawmill on Little Sugar Creek and a grist mill. His writings record the early growth of the town that was later called Mound City, Kansas. Musical selections featured in this podcast performed by:  The Free Staters and Paul and Win Grace.

Running time 00:08:31

Additional Links

Letter, J.H. Trego to an unidentified recipient [probably his wife, Alice Trego]
September 10, 1857
Trego was in St. Louis, Missouri awaiting a boat trip to Kansas City. He describes his trip to that point as well as the weather. Trego was a doctor and he wrote about trying to locate his medicine chest for the second part of the journey. He also described his activities as he waited. It is not clear whether he had been to Kansas Territory before but he knew he was going to Sugar Mound in Linn County, Kansas Territory.

Letter, J.[Joseph H. Trego] to Dear Alice[Alice Trego]
September, 1857
Joseph H. Trego, en route via steamboat to Kansas City, wrote to his wife Alice in Rock Island, Illinois. Trego commented on the unpredictable and perilous conditions of steamboat travel on the Missouri River due to snags and sandbars, but despite these, admitted that the journey itself had "little to claim his attention." He feared that his wife might have an accident in his absence, and asked her to wait until he returned to "indulge her spirit." Trego, though he missed his family, was comforted by their miniatures (small portraits).

Letter, [Joseph H. Trego] to My Dear Wife [Alice Trego]
October 16, 1857
Joseph H. Trego wrote from his cabin in Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife Alice in Rock Island, Illinois, about his journey from Kansas City to Sugar Mound. His friends, Thomas Ellwood Smith (Ell) and his brother Edwin (Ed), and himself were poorly prepared as they expected to stay in public houses during the journey, not camp outside as their wagon transportation preferred. As the road they took went right down the Missouri state line, Trego contrasted the well-established farms to the East with the "open, wild prairie" to the West. He and his brother, upon arriving at their cabin, found that they had "Hoosier" neighbors (from Indiana), who were pleasant but proslavery. Trego recounted the difficulty they had acquiring home furnishings and food, fighting adverse weather at every turn. He spoke at length of how he was comforted by writing to his wife, as he and his friends greatly missed their families.

 

 Searching for “heroic stuff in my mould:” John James Ingalls in Kansas Territory  Play

June 13, 2007

John James Ingalls came to Kansas as a young man and became one its most prominent citizens. His letters home question his fortitude to endure the hardships he is experiencing, describe his efforts as a new lawyer, and contain a very entertaining description of Kansas mud. Musical sections performed in this podcast include: Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, The Free Staters, and Paul and Win Grace. The text for this podcast was written by Jerry Veatch, KSHS volunteer.

Running time 00:09:00

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Letter, J.J.I.[John James Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
October 5, 1858
On his first full day in Sumner, Ingalls penned a second letter to his father to convey his first impressions of "that Promised Land." The reality Ingalls found and described was quite different than what was depicted in "the lithographic fiction" he had been shown back East. Other than the hotel, the "city" was composed of a "few log huts and miserable cabins . . . None of the premises are fenced," wrote Ingalls, "the whole place being open to the incursions of dogs and pigs which exist in large numbers and seem in fact to constitute the greater amount of the population." Virtually everything about the place distressed Ingalls, who was "quite unable to convey to you any definite idea of the disappointment, not unmingled with anger and mortification with which I contemplate the State of affairs here."

Letter, J.J.I.[John James Ingalls to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls
October 24, 1858
After nearly two weeks in the territory, Ingalls was somewhat more optimistic about his prospects, and in this letter to his father, Elias Ingalls, John Ingalls wrote of the gold rush and his legal business, which "opens very well." but he was still weary of "social conditions," as there were no churches in Sumner and "a total disregard of the Sabbath." Atchison, where he had gone in a futile search for an Episcopal Church, was little better in this regard.

Letter, J.J.I.[John James Ingalls] to to Dear Father
November 21, 1858
Much of this interesting letter, dated November 21, 1858, from Sumner, describes the Ingalls law practice and the nature of a "frontier" court proceedings that often attracted "nearly all the population." According to Ingalls, "the chief difficulty arising [in the courts came] from the conflict of the two Codes, adopted by two hostile legislatures, each of which had adherents who call the other 'bogus.'" Ingalls also discussed the business of land sales, as something many successfully combine with the practice of law.

 

 The Rocky Road to Kansas, Part 2: Ellen Goodnow and Maria Felt  Play

May 31, 2007

These women sent encouraging reports back east about their journeys to Kansas Territory and the new settlements there. Maria Felt, who traveled to Lawrence in 1858 to teach school, writes ". it seems or would if it were a little cleaner, very much like New England." Musical selections performed by The Free Staters.

Running time 00:14:12

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Letter, Ellen [Goodnow] to Dear Sister Harriet [Goodnow]
July 21, 1855
Ellen Goodnow, recently arrived at her homestead near Manhattan, Kansas Territory, wrote to her sister-in-law Harriet Goodnow in New England, regarding her trip West and her impressions of Kansas Territory. Ellen described her journey in a detailed but concise manner, and, in her first impressions, likened Kansas to "another garden of Eden. . .too good for bondage, or for the oppressor's rod [references to slavery]." A devout Christian woman, she also expressed her opinion that Satan held influence over the Missourians. Despite this ominous presence, Ellen still tried to convince Harriet to join them in the Territory

Letter, Ms. Maria Felt to Dear Mr. [Thomas] Higginson
June 25, 1858
Miss Felt wrote this letter to Thomas Higginson, telling of her journey from Clinton, Massachusetts to Lawrence, Kansas Territory. Apparently, she was emigrating to Kansas in order to teach school. Miss Felt and her party traveled by train until they reached Alton, Illinois, where they took a steamer along the Mississippi to St. Louis. From there they traveled to Jefferson City and finally reached Leavenworth, Kansas Territory. At that point they traveled to Lawrence by stagecoach and Indian canoe. Once she had arrived in Lawrence, which she found to be a pretty town, she became acquainted with James Redpath, R. J. Hinton, Samuel Tappan, and George Stearns. She also called on Ephraim Nute, but she disliked both him and his wife, writing that they "sat up like two icicles." This letter appears to have been edited at some later date.

 

 "Those . . .who are fearful or faint-hearted, had better not come": Letters from the Rev. Samuel Adair  Play

May 16, 2007

Samuel and Florella Adair came to Kansas Territory to support the efforts to prohibit slavery in Kansas. Both were natives of Hudson, Ohio, deeply committed abolitionists and graduates of Oberlin Collegiate Institute (now Oberlin College). In 1854, after working several years as a Congregational minister in Ohio and Michigan, the Adairs with their two young children, Charles and Emma, departed for Kansas Territory. The letters used in this podcast describe the family's trials and tribulations in their new home and Rev. Adair's efforts to organize churches. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters and Paul and Win Grace. The text for this podcast was written by Jerry Veatch, KSHS volunteer.

Running time 00:14:03

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Letter, [Samuel Adair] to Bro.[S.S.] Jocelyn
November 16, 1854
Samuel Adair and his family had just arrived in Kansas City, MO. He wrote to S. S. Jocelyn of the American Missionary Society. He described poor conditions for settlers in Kansas Territory, his and his wife's illnesses, the doctor who treated them owned slaves, etc. This appears to be a draft of a letter sent to Jocelyn.

Letter, S.L. Adair to Rev. S.S. Jocelyn
May 3, 1855
Samuel Adair wrote from Osawatomie to thank Rev. Jocelyn, an official of the American Missionary Association, for his encouragement and fiscal support of $100. He said they will use it to pay what they owe and then make it last as long as possible. His wife has taken in sewing and washing to make ends meet but Adair asks Jocelyn not to share that information.

Letter Adair to Jocelyn
September 8, 1855
This long letter was written in Osawatomie to Jocelyn, who was Samuel Adair's contact with the American Missionary Association. The first three pages dealt with some disagreement over Adair's salary and support that was to be provided by the association, his efforts on behalf of religion, and prospects for a "union" church building that would be shared by several denominations. The last page discussed economic conditions in Kansas Territory and the difficulty of getting items to Kansas either via the Missouri River or by overland freighting from St. Louis.

S.L. Adair to the friends of Christ
c. 1855
This letter reported on the current religious situation in Osawatomie, Kansas Territory. According to the author, a missionary with the American Missionary Association, the residents had begun the preliminary steps for organizing a church. In Osawatomie there were a number of Baptists, Congregationalists, and Wesleyans, along with a large group who "make no profession of religion."

Samuel Adair to the Free Mission Sewing Society of the First Congregational Church
c. 1856
Rev. Adair wrote from Osawatomie, K.T. and described the physical characteristics of Kansas as well as the efforts on behalf of the free state cause. The letter detailed efforts to establish Congregational churches in Kansas as well as discussing the activities of other denominations.

 

 The Rocky Road to Kansas, Part 1: Julia Lovejoy's Diary  Play

May 2, 2007

Some settlers who traveled to Kansas Territory in 1855 to help make it a free state paid a dear price for their convictions.

Julia Louisa Hardy Lovejoy and her husband Charles came to Kansas Territory in March 1855. Julia described the trip and their first months in Kansas Territory. However, Julia's diary entries were fairly sporadic so there were significant gaps in her account of life in Kansas Territory. Her writing was very emotional when describing the illness and death of their daughter Edith, when referring to the conflict in the territory, and when writing about her religious beliefs. The diary also contained some detail about daily life.

Hear the thoughts of Julia, a minister's wife and abolitionist, during her family's journey to "New Boston," Kansas Territory. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters and Paul and Win Grace.

Running time 00:10:21

Additional Links

Julia Lovejoy Diary

 

 James Lane: A General and a Politician  Play

April 18, 2007

James Lane was one of the most influential, and controversial, characters in Kansas during the territorial period. Originally a politician in Indiana, he moved to Kansas in 1855 and joined the free state cause. He was involved with the extra legal free state government in Topeka and issued General Order No. 1 to recruit troops that were called Volunteers for the Protection of the Ballot Box. This podcast also features plans to free political prisoners held in Lecompton and a pro slavery newspaper's description of a speech by Lane along with excerpts from that speech. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters and Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose.

Running time 00:09:45

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Letter, J.H. Lane to His Excellency Charles Robinson et al
August 10, 1856
In a brief letter from Topeka that is very difficult to decipher, Jim Lane informs Robinson, Gen. George W. Deitzler, George W. Brown, John Brown, "& others" of his arrival with "a sufficient force" to do battle for the free state cause. He seems to counsel quick and decisive action.

General Order No. 1, Headquarters of Kansas Volunteers, For the Protection of the Ballot Box
July 18, 1857
This printed document was issued by James H. Lane and indicated that Lane had been authorized by the Free State government in Topeka to organize militia companies in order to protect ballot boxes on election day. It included instructions on how to organize the companies.

 

"Here's to you Mrs. Robinson": The Letters of Charles and Sarah Robinson  Play

April 4, 2007

Dr. Charles Robinson and his wife, Sarah, were both prominent figures in the battle to make Kansas a free state. But that doesn't mean they always saw eye-to-eye. Hear, in their own words, what it was like to be a "power couple" in the antislavery movement in Territorial Kansas. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters and Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose.

Running time 00:11:43

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Kansas, its interior and exterior life
Published, 1856
Sara Tappan Doolittle Robinson left Boston in 1855, to join her husband Charles in the newly founded Free State settlement of Lawrence, Kansas, and kept a diary on her journey to her new home. That diary became "Kansas, it's interior and exterior life".

Letter, Charles Robinson to Sara Robinson
September 29, 1856
Again from Lawrence, Charles Robinson wrote to his wife was traveling east via Chicago. After kidding her about how well-known she was becoming, he commented unfavorably on Governor John W. Geary, who "thinks he is awful smart & is getting rediculous fast." Robinson also mentioned the forthcoming legislative election (October 6, 1856)--"We shall not vote."

Letter, Charles Robinson to Sara Robinson
October 1, 1857
Another personal letter from a tired and somewhat discouraged Charles Robinson in Lawrence to his wife Sara, who is apparently about ready to rejoin her husband in Lawrence, as he discusses meeting her in St. Louis. Robinson made reference to business affairs, including those in Quindaro, and curiously suggests that he was "about ready to go with Mr. Grover to South America" because he was "getting sick of this turmoil & strife."

Letter, Charles Robinson to Sara Robinson
July 4, 1859
From Quindaro, Charles Robinson wrote to inform his wife about matters of business pertaining to this young city on the Kaw. He believed "railroad matters look[ed] very well for Quindaro, for example. Robinson also takes this opportunity to scold his wife about her attitude toward the people of Lawrence, some of whom she apparently thought were 'aristocratic or exclusive but I know of no one more exclusive than yourself; I do not know whether from pride of Character or circumstance or something else."

Letter, Sara Robinson to Charles Robinson
May 7, 1860
Another very personal letter from Sara in Lawrence to Charles back East. She wrote mostly of mundane matters but does mention speculation about Kansas admission and the Charleston convention.

 

 "...encountering sickness, losses, calumny and prosperity": The Diary of Chestina Bowker Allen  Play

March 21, 2007

Chestina Bowker Allen came to Kansas in December of 1854 at the age of 46 with her husband and five children. This diary chronicles the first three years of her life in Kansas Territory. Entries include descriptions of her journey to Kansas, establishing their first home, and finally settling into their permanent residence near Rock Creek in Pottawatomie County. From the mundane to the dramatic, this diary provides glimpses into the life of a free-state pioneer woman. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters and Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, and Paul and Win Grace.  

Running time 00:11:44

Additional Links

Chestina Bowker Diary

 

 "The Grossest Outrage Ever Perpetrated": Sheriff Jones and the Sack of Lawrence Play

March 7, 2007

On May 21st, 1856, Sheriff Samuel Jones entered the town of Lawrence, destroying the newspaper offices and the Eldridge House, leaving the residents destitute. Accounts of Jones' sack of Lawrence galvanized Free State support in New England. Hear first hand accounts of that day. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters and Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose.

Running time 00:11:46

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Letter, George Washington Brown to his mother
May 13, 1856
George Washington Brown, editor of the Herald of Freedom newspaper, was one of seven free state leaders arrested on May 14, 1856 on charges of high treason and held prisoner by federal troops near Lecompton. Writing to his mother on the day before his arrest, Brown expressed concern that his life could be in danger. He instructed his mother to use his estate to provide support for the Herald of Freedom.

Letter, O.E. L[earnard] to Dear Friends
May 23, 1856
Written just two days after the sack of Lawrence, this letter contained Learnard's observations of and reflections on "the fearful disaster to which this unfortunate town has been subjected." The town's citizens, wrote Learnard, chose not to resist the authority of the U.S. marshal but were nevertheless brutalized by Sheriff Jones and a posse of Missourians.

Circular, Kansas - Help! Help!
August 13, 1856
This circular was composed of two parts. The first section was a letter written from Lawrence to the National Kansas Committee, asked for help because of the conflict in Kansas, stating that "instant action alone can save our people from destruction." The second part was a response written by H.B. Hurd, secretary of the National Kansas Committee, encouraging emigration to Kansas but raising the possibility that free state settlers in the territory must at times defend their rights. He wrote that "Kansas is now in a state of open war."

Letter, E.S. Whitney to Dear Uncle Hiram [Hill]
August 20, 1856
E.S. Whitney wrote from Sumner, Kansas Territory, to her uncle, Hiram Hill. Whitney apologized for the long delay in communicating with him, and explained that her husband, Thaddeus Whitney, had been very busy lately and was doing his best to complete Hill's home. She also described her experience watching the border ruffians invade Lawrence, and her friends' and neighbors' reactions to the situation.

 

 You and your lady are invited: Social Life in Kansas Territory  Play

February 21, 2007

Life in Kansas Territory was difficult and sometimes dangerous. However, settlers also held dances and started cultural institutions similar to those they left behind. Listen to invitations to social events and an excerpt from a publication by a literary society. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters; Dwight Lamb; J.P., Annadeene, and Danielle Fraley; and the Highwoods String Band.

Running time 00:11:34

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Independence Grand Pic Nic Party
July 5, 1858
This invitation was to a party to be held at McAllister's Hall in Osawatomie, Kansas Territory, on July 5, 1858. Music was to be provided by Smith's Band. Supper was provided and tickets cost $2.50. The back of the invitation listed 27 dances that would be performed. This party was sponsored by several individuals from Osawatomie, Indianapolis, Paola, Stanton, Lane City, Lawrence, and several other communities.

Anniversary Ball
May 20, 1859
The citizens of Lawrence, Kansas Territory, were giving this ball to benefit the fire department but the event was to be held on the anniversary of the destruction of the Free State Hotel on May 20, 1856. The event was to be held at the Eldridge House and music was provided by the Lawrence Quadrille Band.

Letter, Ke Kahn Joseph N. Bourassa] to Mr. Thos. N. Stinson
December 29, 1856
Joseph N. Bourassa, a Pottawatomie Indian who signed this letter with his Indian name of Ke Kahn, wrote to Thomas N. Stinson, a Tecumseh resident and Indian trader. Bourassa, writing from Council Grove, Kansas Territory, described his efforts to recruit musicians and dancers for a New Year's Eve ball.

Cotillon Party
December 30, 1858
This invitation was for a party to be held at William Chestnut's house in Osawatomie, Kansas Territory on December 30, 1858

Announcement, Grand Opening Ball at the Eldridge House, New Year's Eve
December 31, 1858
This announcement advertises a Grand Opening Ball held at the Eldridge House in Lawrence, Kansas on December 31, 1858. It lists committee of arrangement and floor managers.

Grand New Year's Ball
December 30, 1859
This invitation was to a ball to be held at the Osage Valley House in Osawatomie, Kansas Territory. Tickets were $2.50 and a supper was to be served at ten o'clock. The proprietors of the Osage Valley House were Fisher and Crouch. The invitation was issues by several men from Osawatomie and surrounding communities.

New Years Hop
January 1, 1858
This invitation was for a dance to be held at "Mr. Chestnut's New Building" on the evening of New Year's Day in 1858 in Osawatomie, Lykins County, Kansas Territory. The cost to attend was $2.50 and the invitation indicated the "good music engaged for the occasion."

The Prairie Star: A paper edited by the ladies of the Philomathic Literary Society, Volume 1st, Number 1st
January 24, 1857
A weekly handwritten literary publication produced from January through April 1857 by the Topeka-based Kansas Philomathic Institute (also known as the Philomathic Literary Society). The literary club, which included male and female members, met weekly to read aloud essays and poems, which then were collected, recopied, and published as The Prairie Star. Maria M. Martin, wife of Dr. Samuel E. Martin, edited the paper.

 

 $200 Reward: Runaway Slaves and the Underground Railroad in Kansas Territory  Play

February 7, 2007

Some abolitionists in Kansas were committed to freeing slaves. Wanted posters were printed for escaped slaves while others printed messages that urged homeowners to resist those searching for runaway slaves. The Underground Railroad was active in Kansas to help slaves gain their freedom. Listen to documents that illustrate these activities. Musical selections performed by: The Free Staters and Sweet Honey In The Rock.

Running time 00:09:39

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$200 Reward!
June 7, 1860
Wanted poster of two slaves from Saline County, Missouri. Includes the names and descriptions of the two slaves. Poster is on display in the Kansas Museum of History, Topeka, Kansas.

Citizens of Lawrence! L. Arms in area for negro hunting
c. 1860
This document warned the citizens of Lawrence that a U.S. Marshal named L[eonard] Arms was searching Lawrence for slaves and that they had the right to keep him out of their homes.

Reminiscences of Slave Days in Kansas
circa 1895
John Armstrong assisted a slave named Ann Clarke, to escape into Iowa. He described the event in detail, including how she escaped, was captured, and escaped again. Armstrong lived on Washington Creek and later in Topeka. This item is from information collected by Miss Zu Adams in 1895. She was researching the topic of slaves in Kansas and contacted a number of early Kansas settlers requesting information about slaves brought to Kansas Territory. While all of the information she collected was based on reminiscences, it still provides useful information that is difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere.

 

 Marcus Freeman and his owner: Slavery in Kansas Territory  Play

January 21, 2007

Slavery in Kansas Territory was a reality. Listen to the penalties imposed for encouraging slaves to escape or rebel and to a "bill of sale" for an African American woman. Hear Marcus Freeman's reminiscence of his life as a slave with his owner who was only three months older and with whom he grew up. Musical selections performed by:  The Free Staters and Sweet Honey In The Rock.

Running time 00:11:06

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An Act to Punish Offences Against Slave Property
August 14, 1855
This act was passed by the Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory on August 14, 1855. It was to take effect on September 15, 1855. The Speaker of the House was J. H. Stringfellow and the President of the Council was Thomas Johnson. The act included a death penalty for persons causing or aiding in any "rebellion or insurrection of slaves, free negroes, or mulattoes" in Kansas Territory. Other provisions dealt with "speaking, writing, or printing" that encouraged slaves to rebel or that argued that the right to hold slaves did not exist in Kansas Territory. Several sections of the act contained penalities for encouraging or assisting slaves to escape and one stated that anyone opposed to the holding of slaves cound not serve on a jury.

Slave Bill of Sale, Thomas Johnson
May 24, 1856
A bill of sale issued by David Burge to Thomas Johnson as a receipt for Johnson's purchase of an African American slave named Martha for $800. Thomas Johnson was a Methodist minister and the founder of the Shawnee Methodist Mission. Johnson County, Kansas Territory was named for Thomas Johnson.

Reminiscence of Marcus Lindsay Freeman, a former slave
1895
Mr. Freeman came to Kansas Territory as the slave of Thomas Bayne. Mr. Freeman described his childhood memories with his owner, who was about three months older and to whom he had been "given" as a baby. He provided information about his life and that of other family members and slaves during the Territorial era. This account was prepared by either F. G. or Zu Adams after an interview with Mr. Freeman. The penciled corrections were apparently made by Thomas Bayne. They contacted a number of early Kansas settlers requesting information about slaves brought to Kansas Territory. While all of the information collected was based on reminiscences, it still provides useful information that is difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere. Miss Adams and her father F. G. Adams were employees of the Kansas Historical Society.

 

 Letters Home: Dangers of Life in Kansas Territory  Play

January 10, 2007

Kansas Territory was a dangerous place to live. Listen to the letters of Cyrus K. and Mary Holliday, John Brown, and Sene Campbell as they describe the real threats experienced by those involved in the events of Bleeding Kansas. Musical selections performed by: The Free Staters.

Running time 00:10:49

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Letter, C. K. Holliday to My Dear Wife [Mary]
December 6, 1855
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote briefly from Free State Headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, describing the number and location of surrounding proslavery forces and of free state forces gathered in Lawrence. Cyrus had been working for peace, but was prepared to fight in a shortly expected attack.

Letter, Mary Holliday to My Dear Husband [Cyrus K. Holliday]
May 29, 1856
Mary Holliday of Meadville, Pennsylvania assured her husband, Cyrus K. Holliday in Topeka, Kansas Territory, that although she had read in northern newspapers of the May 21st sack of Lawrence, she was willing to join him. If violence relented, she planned to leave the following week.

Letter, John Brown to Dear Wife [Mary Brown] & Children every one
September 7, 1856
Just over a week after the Battle of Osawatomie, John Brown wrote his family from Lawrence about the death of "our dear Frederick" and the ensuing engagement, in which Brown himself was slightly wounded. Brown's small force "killed & wounded from 70 to 80 of the enemy" before escaping, and through it all "Jason fought bravely by my side."

Letter, Sene Campbell to [Capt. James] Montgomery
January 4, 1859
Sene Campbell, writing from Fort Scott to Capt. James Montgomery, expressed her anger at Montgomery for his roll in the killing of John Little. Little was killed on December 16, 1858, at Fort Scott by a group of free state supporters led by Montgomery who had entered the town to free Benjamin Rice, a free state advocate being held prisoner. Campbell was Little's fiance.