"WENT TO KANSAS" by Miriam D. Colt



"Bring the sickle, speed the plough,
        Turn the ready sail;
Freedom is the noblest pay
        For the true man's toil.
Ho! brothers! Come brothers!
        Hasten all with me,
We'll sing upon the hunter's plain
        A song of liberty."

        JAN 5TH, 1856. -- We are going to Kansas. The Vegetarian Company that has been forming for many months, has finally. organized, formed its constitution, elected its directors, and is making all necessary preparations for the spring settlement. The directors of said Company are "Charles H. DeWolf, President; John McLaurin, Treasurer; Henry S. Clubb, Secretary."*

*Its origin, site, octagon plan of settlement, names of members constitution may be found in the appendix.

        H. S. Clubb says in his circular: In September last, Dr. John McLaurin, as one of the directors, proceeded to explore Kansas Territory, and after spending several weeks in traveling along the Kansas, Osage and other rivers, he came to the conclusion that a fine site on the Neosho river, between latitude 38 deg. and the boundary line of the Osage Indian lands, and between 18 and l9 deg. longitude west from Washington, would be the best location for the Vegetarian Settlement. He accordingly took possession of a claim, comprising excellent water privileges. The river at this part is very rapid, and for ten mouths in the year the water is sufficiently abundant to make it serviceable for mill-power. It is free from any bad taste and is very soft. There is sufficient amount of timber to serve the purposes of settlers until additional timber can be grown. Coal, lime-stone, and sand-stone, suitable for grindstones, etc., and abundant springs of pure water are interspersed throughout a fine rolling prairie, and the land comprises excellent vegetable mould, loam, etc., to a great depth, with a gravelly and in some instances rocky substratum. The distance from Fort Scott is about thirty miles, and from the Missouri border thirty-eight miles. It will be seen, by reference to the map of American Railway Guide, that a railroad is projected which will cross the Neosho river a little below the spot above indicated. The land is open to pre-emption five miles wide north and south, and to an unlimited extent east and west. The scenery is beautiful, and the surface undulating like the waves of the ocean subsiding after a storm.

        The banks of the river are from fifteen to thirty feet high, so that a mill-dam can be easily constructed without causing an overflow.

        Altogether it does not appear that a more suitable site could be found for the purposes of the company.

        We now present the plan of action by which we propose to commence the Settlement, and we confidently ask for the active co-operation of every member as soon as is consistent with his or her convenience.


        1.   To raise a fund for the purchase of a saw-mill, a grist-mill, and provisions, seeds, plants, grain, tents, etc., for the first settlers, and for the erection of a boarding-house, in which persons may reside without risk to health, until their own houses can be erected.

        2.   The money to be raised by an assessment of :10 percent. on the capital subscribed, or of fifty cents per share, and by loans.

        3.   The property to be held by the directors, as trustees of the company, until the members shall meet in quorum and appoint their own officers.

        4.   The payment of fifty cents per share from each shareholder to be due on the 1st of Jan., 1856. But all payments received within the month of January, 1856, will be considered as regular.

        5.   Members will be charged interest at the rate of one per cent. per month, commencing with January 1st, 1856, for any amount due at that date, if not paid within the said month. The interest to continue until such amount shall be paid.

        6.   Loans to the company paid within the month of January will bear interest from the first of said month, at the rate of one per cent. per month.

        7.   Every member is requested to communicate to the Secretary within the month of January in relation to the following particulars:

        I.   The amount of money the member pays within the month.

        II.   Whether the member intends to go to Kansas in February and assist in preparing for the larger number who will be on the ground in April or May.

        III.   How many persons will accompany the member, with the name, age and occupation, etc., of each person, and relationship to the member, if any. Also the same particulars in regard to persons who are expected to follow when the member has established a home in the Settlement.

        IV.   The name, age, address, occupation and amount of capital of the member making said return.

        8.   All money to be sent addressed Henry S. Clubb, care of Fowler & Wells, 308 Broadway, New York city, by drafts on New York houses, payable only to the order of Henry S. Clubb.

        9.   It is expected that the plan of the Settlement will be completed, and the lots ready for distribution on the first day of May, 1856, when it is requested that all members of the company be present; either personally or by duly appointed agents.

      10.   Members who are present at the Settlement prior to the first of May, will be employed by the company according to article VIII of the constitution, in preparing the Settlement for occupation. Improvements thus made will accrue to the benefit of the whole company.

      11.   All claims taken up by members previous to the first of May, 1856, will be understood, in honor, as subject to the adjustment to take place on that day; but all improvements made by individuals on such claims will be paid for by the company, according to a fair valuation, either in cash or stock, whenever said claims are required in general distribution to be donated to other members. The appraisers to be elected by the members of the company in the same way as other officers.

      12.   When a sufficient sum of money shall have been received, the directors will proceed to make preparations for early spring emigration, and such members as intend going first will be communicated with as to the best route and where to meet the directors.

        This is the plan of action which we are prepared in good faith to carry out in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, which have already received the approval of the members. We need not remind you that the profits and advantages which may be realized will accrue to all on the mutual principle, and that the scrip given in exchange for the payments will be exchangeable at the Settlement for provisions, use of teams, lumber and other valuable considerations, rendering said scrip equal to bank notes as currency in the Settlement. The success of the undertaking must now depend upon the promptness with which this circular is responded to by each member and by friends. Those who can spare more than fifty cents on each share are requested to send loans, and those who cannot pay the full interest are requested to send as much as they can spare, so that ample provision can be made for the early settlers.

        Mechanics, lumbermen, iron-workers, carpenters and laborers will be sure of good employment in the Settlement as early as weather will permit operations to commence in the Spring of 1856, and they can, by their labor become stockholders in the company.

        All whose labors who shall exceed in value the amount due on their shares, will be paid interest for any amount they may loan the company, in the same way as capitalists.

        All shareholders who shall pay up the first and second installments in or before the month of January, l856, will be entitled to be regarded as among the founders of the Settlement; their names will be applied to the avenues or streets adjoining their respective farms, as far as practicable, anal they will be entitled, according to the date of receipts for the first installment of ten cents per cents per share, to preference the distribution of lots in May, 1856.

        The directors do not pledge themselves to sell any shares for as low as $5 per share after January 31st, 1856, as, the location being favorable, there is no doubt but shares will rise rapidly in price. It is not improbable that after January 31st shares will be raised to double their present price.

        Members will be careful not to communicate the contents of this circular to any but known and trustworthy friends of the enterprise, as the precise location ought not to be publicly known until all the claims required by the company are taken.

        We have thus far executed the trust reposed in us, and we pledge ourselves to a further faithful performance of our duties, as directors, and to devote our capital and personal attention to the company and its best interests to the full extent of our ability and judgment. It is a work in which we all feel deeply and equally interested, believing that it is calculated to form a nucleus of true reforms in the centre of our republic, such as must exercise an unprecedented influence for good in the future.

        We call upon you as members and friends, to each and all do your part, and to remember that when we faithfully perform our duty we can rely on the all-sustaining hand of providence to prosper our undertaking. The first effort is the most important one in securing the permanent success of the Settlement, and all who are friendly to the undertaking are respectfully solicited to render their aid at the time specified, and not to wait and see if we succeed, before they come forward with their assistance. We ask no magnanimous liberality, but a generous business cooperation of capital and labor, with a view to mutual interest and the general good of the cause.

        We have been frequently asked how can the company be assisted by persons who cannot actively unite with us? We reply to every such inquirer: Find some trustworthy, enterprising young man, and purchase for him shares in the company, on condition that the loan shall be returned when the concern shall enable him to refund.

        Let printing presses, machine shops, sawing, planing and grist mills be established by members; let sash factories, door factories and foundries be commenced; let coal mines, stone quarries and brick yards, with all the appliances of machinery, be started; and above all, let the land be cultivated under the advantages by mutual aid, of capital, machinery and skill; let orchards be planted and the various farm crops pursued in proper rotation, and with the growing demand of this new territory, and connecting with the various channels of commerce, throwing the whole United States open as a market for its productions, there is good reason to believe that the Settlement will be in a most flourishing condition in the course of a few quickly passing, because busily occupied, years, and the lands now obtainable at the minimum government price of $1 25 per acre, will be worth from $25 to $50 and even $100 per acre; while on the Octagon plan of settlement, every acre will be convertible into suitable building sites, the value of which cannot now be estimated.

        No one can examine our list of members without being convinced that we have the elements of such a Settlement already belonging to our company. The brand of our settlement must ere long become a guarantee throughout the country of genuine and wholesome articles of diet.

        The advantages to families of having their children educated away from the ordinary incentives to vice, vicious company, vicious habits of eating and drinking, and other contaminations of old cities, must render the Vegetarian Settlement a most desirable place of residence to all whose tastes are averse to those habits of gross indulgence which are degrading to mankind.                 Signed by the Directors,


        New York City, Dec. 1st, 1855.

        We can have, I think, good faith to believe, that our directors will fulfill on their part; and we, as settlers of a new country, by going in a company will escape the hardships attendant on families going in singly, and at once find ourselves surrounded by improving society in a young and flourishing city. It will be better for ourselves pecuniarily, and better in the future for our children.

        My husband has long been a practical vegetarian and we expect much from living in such a genial clime, where fruit is so quickly grown, and with people whose tastes and habits will coincide with our own.

        JAN 15TH. We are making every necessary preparation for our journey, and our home in Kansas. My husband has sold his farm, purchased shares in the company, sent his money as directed by E. S. Clubb, and will first go alone or will take his family right along, as he makes up his mind will be for our happiness, comfort and health. My husband is quite satisfied from what he can glean from the Tribune and other sources, that Kansas will soon be left to her quiet, and come in as a free State -- so we have little fear about the "Border Ruffian Invasions," etc. I am very busy in repairing all of our clothing, looking over bags of pieces, tearing off and reducing down, bringing everything into as small a compass as possible, so that we shall have no unnecessary baggage. Am making a good many carpet rags for some of my friends that I leave here in Stockholm.

        FEB. 4TH. -- We have been to Potsdam, the distance of 14 miles, purchased clothing sufficient to last us two or three years. Found the snow very deep and terribly drifted, rendering the roads some of the way impassable, obliging us to drive through people's door-yards, barn-yards, out into the fields, over fences, gates and stone walls. Our sleigh capsized only once, leaving us to scrabble up and replace ourselves all snugly again in the sleigh to drive on. Took our two children, visited our friends in Potsdam and others on the way going and coming. On the whole had quite a gay time.

        MARCH 15TH. -- Have had two sewing bees; one for the old ladies, and one for the young -- "united pleasure with business" -- my friends have visited me for the last time -- also have helped me along with my sewing.

        MARCH 20TH. -- Am getting my sewing pretty well done up, and the bright days of spring-tide, that are now wearing the deep and drifted snow away, call our thoughts away to the sunny South, causing us to anticipate much in our Southern home. Even little Willie talks about his "Indian pony" and "little wagon" he is going to have, and how he shall give mamma a ride on the prairies and pick the little wild apples.

        APRIL 2D. -- My husband has received a letter from Henry S. Clubb, which brings him to the conclusion to take his family along with him. So we are not to be left behind. I could not bear the thought of having him go without us. H. S. Clubb writes as follows:

                                                                                "ST LOUIS, March 26th, 1856.
        W. H. COLT -- Dear Sir: It is intended to proceed: so as to make the distribution of lots according to the notice given in December last, and see nothing to prevent our doing so. Eighteen of our party are gone on to the territory, and I remain here to escort another party the first week in April. Watson Stewart will leave Lafayette, Indiana, on the 20th of April, escort a third party, intending to be at the Settlement on the first of May. Write him, and arrange to meet him with your family along with you, as there will be proper provision for a family at that time, there would be a great expense incurred in your coming back for them, and nothing saved. Come with as little baggage as possible. Mr. Young, of Poplar Ridge, and Miss Smith, of Marcellus, both from New York State, are here. I know of no other members near you just now.         *        *        *
                                        Faithfully,                 HENRY S. CLUBB.

        APRIL 10TH. -- We are all in confusion -- beds taken down, furniture sold that we do not want to carry, the rest boxed up -- here are our trunks all packed; and we find ourselves all so packed up that we cannot take another meal of victuals here in our house. Surely we are on the eve of starting for Kansas. We shall stay at Mr. Willis' to-night, and in the morning George Willis will take me and the children to my brother's, the distance of seven miles, where we shall visit my mother, while my husband is helping his father to finish up their packing. My Willie boy's order has been very much disturbed by the confusion that has been in the house for a few days past; he has said many times, "Wish Willie was in Kansas."

        After living in Stockholm two years I find that my sympathies and the warm feelings that live in my heart for my friends and neighbors are not as easily gathered up and boxed as are our goods; and when I am far away, shall feel that the cords of friendship and love are still clinging to my old friends.

        May Heaven grant that ours may be a prosperous journey and may we find in that southern clime all we anticipate to make us a comfortable and pleasant home.

        APRIL 15TH. -- Have been here in West Stockholm, at my brother's, since Friday last. Have visited mother very hard, for, in all probability, it is the last visit we shall have until we meet re parting never comes -- believe we have said everything we can think of to say.

        My husband has come, says he has got the old people started for Potsdam to be ready for the stage early in the morning -- he is going right along on foot, so as to get into the bank to get some money before it closes. My brother will take me and the children out this evening.

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