KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


DOUGLAS COUNTY, Part 8

[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]

FIRST 4TH OF JULY, (1855), IN LAWRENCE.

The citizens of Lawrence, and indeed of the whole district, were determined that the first National holiday in Kansas should be celebrated in a manner worth of the occasion. The "boys" were busy all through the preceding night and the morning of the 4th was ushered in by the firing of guns. There was no booming of cannon, for Lawrence had not yet needed its "Abbot Howitzer" but everything that could make a patriotic noise was brought into service. Early in the morning, wagon-loads of Indians began to arrive, the Delawares and Shawnees having been invited to participate in the festivities. Soon the "sovereign squatters" began to pour in from the surrounding county. Franklin sent its delegation in a huge covered wagon, above which waved the stars and stripes. From the neighborhood of the Wakarusa and Blue Mound came a long procession over the rolling prairie, led by a party of ladies and gentlemen on horseback, followed by large double wagons, ornamented with flowers and gay with flags. The rear guard of this detachment was a jolly crowd in three ox wagons, which were fastened together and drawn by eleven yoke of oxen. Not to be outdone in demonstrations of patriotic regard for the day, handkerchiefs of bright colors were hoisted on poles, and waved independently in the free Kansas breezes.

The regular exercises of the day commenced by the presentation of a silken banner to the militia of Lawrence - the Lawrence Defensibles and the Kansas Sharpshooters - by the ladies of the place. The ceremonies took place on Massachusetts street, Mrs. Levi Gates making the presentation speech, which was responded to by S. N. Wood. A procession was then formed, composed of the two Lawrence Companies, the Rifle Guards of Wakarusa, the Kansas Invicibles (from near Douglas), the Committee of Arrangements, Indians, Citizens, etc. which marched along Massachusetts, Hancock, Vermont and Winthrop streets to the grove northwest of the town, where a platform had been erected for the speakers, and some seats prepared for the ladies. The new flag was planted at the right of the platform. Dr. J. N. O. P. Wood was President of the Day. The band played "Sweet Home" prayer was offered by Rev. Snyder, the Declaration of Independence was read by C. W. Babcock, Esq., and an oration given by Dr. Charles Robinson. After the oration, the audience marched to Pleasant Grove, where the tables were spread and enjoyed a regular Fourth of July picnic dinner. They then returned to the park, and gathered around the stand to listen to toasts, music and volunteer speeches. Many toasts were given - among others, "Our Aboriginal neighbors; their presence and participation with us today is a mutual recognition of unity and good-will. May we ever "smoke the pipe of peace together." This was responded to by Mr. Fish, a Shawnee Chief, in his own language. He referred to the past troubles between the States and Great Britain - rejoiced that peace again prevailed, and hoped that it might continue, and we finally pass to our heavenly rest in peace. A Delaware Indian, Mr. Pechalka, spoke in English. The festivities of this long-to-be-remembered Fourth were prolonged until the last hour of the anniversary had departed. Fire-works on Massachusetts street delighted the pioneer boys and girls in the evening and two social parties, one at Union Hall and the other in William Lykin's new hall, ended the first celebration of our National holiday in Lawrence.

The summer of 1855 passed quietly in Lawrence; the little hamlet growing fast, and comparatively comfortable buildings taking the place of some of the pioneer cabins. The emigrants, however, at the best, suffered greatly, particularly the women, from the lack of ordinary conveniences of home life. There was much sickness and many deaths; in a majority of cases superinduced by the exposure and hardships incidental to pioneer life. All through the early part of the summer it was impossible to procure food that was suitable for any persons, except those whose hardy constitutions and out-of-door life would bear a diet of ham and cheese with mush and doughnuts as desert. Delicate women and little children, with many of the sterner and stronger sex, succumbed to the united influence of bad food, miserable houses, excitement and perhaps home sickness, notwithstanding to offset these evils, they had pure and exhilarating air and health giving sunshine of Kansas; with the hope and expectation of future homes far better than those they had left behind.

On the last of November commenced the "Wakarusa War" a full history of which, with all its attendant circumstances is given elsewhere.

The men of Lawrence organized into military companies and drilled daily, and the women worked at home to prepare food or met to make cartridges for the soldiers. Four entrenchments were thrown up; one across Massachusetts street, near its confluence with Pickney, two of circular form near Henry street, designed as a protection to those having charge of Sharpe's Rifles and so arranged as to command Mount Oread, where it was presumed the enemy would plant their artillery and one on Vermont street. Every branch of business was suspended in the place, except preparations for defense and collecting provisions for the army, which consisted of about five hundred and fifty soldiers. A large national flag was planted on a high staff, at the principal entrenchment, near the foot of Massachusetts street, while others floated over the unfinished Free-State Hotel and Hutchison's store. The hotel was the headquarters of Gens. Robinson, Lane and staff as also of the soldiers, and until the difficulty was ended the little village was a regular military camp. The women of Lawrence were not only busy at home but were even daring enough t venture "outside the lines" to help work on defense. Mrs. S. N. Wood and Mrs. G. W. Brown passed successfully to the Santa Fe road and procured from a Free-State man who resided there, a liberal supply of ammunition which they brought in safety to their friends in Lawrence. After the final consummation of the treat the ladies proved as efficient in the arts of peace, as of war, and the collation which they prepared for the late belligerent forces, on the Monday night succeeding the close of the siege, was a triumph of feminine pioneer skill, which went straight to the hearts, and appealed to the feelings of all fortunate enough to partake.

The winter of 1855-56 was a terribly severe one. The Kaw was bridged with ice from the 20th of December until March. The thermometer sunk as low as 17 degrees or 20 degrees below zero and sever storms of snow and sleet were common. In January the snow was two feet on the level and it was with great difficulty that any communication could be kept up with the surrounding county. Little cabins were built inside the forts in Lawrence, and occupied by soldiers during the winter, in expectation of an attack by border ruffians. The hotel, too, was occupied by soldiers, and sentinels were constantly at their posts. On the 22nd of February, 1856, Company A, the famous Lawrence "Stubs" gave a party to the citizens of the town, which was the most notable merrymaking of the long, cold, anxious winter.

With the opening of spring, immigration recommenced and business again revived. The corner stone of the Unitarian Church, the first built in the county, was laid on the 26th of March. The New Haven Company with their "Beecher's Sharpe's rifles," and numbering some 100, arrived in Lawrence about the middle of April and were given a public and cordial welcome, Mr. John Hutchison addressing them in behalf of the citizens, and Mr. Charles B. Lines responding for the company. The "Stubbs" furnished, music. A large company from Ohio also arrived and their white "prairie schooners' stood along the highways, reminding the citizens of the tents of a little time ago. The Free-State hotel was finished and the committee of investigation were busy within its walls. There was a lull in the storm and the Free-State people hoped with trembling that it might be permanent. Then followed the attempted arrest of S. N. Wood and Samuel Tappan. by Sheriff Jones, his unresisted arrest of other citizens when backed by United States authority - his being shot at and wounded in his tent, which against their most earnest disavowal was laid to the charge of the people of Lawrence; the indictment of the Herald of Freedom and Free-State newspapers and the Free-State Hotel as "nuisances to be abated" the gathering of Donaldson's army to "wipe out the abolition rust" and the destruction of the newspapers offices, the Free-State Hotel and Dr. Robinson's house on Mount Oread, with a general pillage of the town on May 21. All this is told in detail in its appropriate place - the history of the State of Kansas, Lawrence at that day being the very heart of the Free-State movement, from which the aggressors hoped to drain the life blood. The Free-State Hotel, destroyed just as it was completed, is described as follows in the Herald of Freedom of April 12, 1856. The contract for building it was let to Messrs. Geo. W. Hunt, of Fitchburg, Mass and Benjamin Johnson, of Erie, Penn. The hotel and grounds covered two lots, 50 X 125 feet each, on the corner of Massachusetts and Winthrop streets:

In April, 1855, the New England Emigrant Aid Society, through their agents, commenced excavating the foundation of a first class hotel in Lawrence. The cellar was dug, the walls completed, the studding for inside partitions put up, and the roof put on during the summer and fall. About the last of November, the war difficulties commencing, further work on the building was suspended, it being used for the accommodation of the Free-State volunteer army. The benefit it rendered our cause even in its unfinished condition, at a time when the city was surrounded, and the lives of the inhabitants threatened by the border ruffian mob, can not be estimated in dollars and cents. It was into this structure the people intended to retreat if driven from every other position, gather around them their household treasures and make a last desperate effort in defense of their lives and liberties. But fate ordered otherwise.

Immediately upon the opening of the present spring, additions were made to the force of laborers, and the work resumed with increased vigor, and on this the 12th of April, one year from the day the first spade-full of earth was thrown up, the Free State Hotel is finished.

The dimensions and particular description of the structure are as follows: The building is on the corner of Massachusetts and Winthrop streets fronting on Massachusetts street: 50 feet front; 70 feet back; three stories above the basement; contains 50 separate apartments, besides a hall in each story.

The basement is divided into three rooms, each 18 feet square - two to be used as pastry and meat kitchens; the other as store - house or cellar. The first story is 11 feet from floor to ceiling, and is divided into nine rooms; the dining hall, 18 wide and 47 feet long; hall 9 1/2 feet wide, entire length of building; gentlemen's parlor, 18 feet square; ladies parlor, 18 X 20; reading room, 18 feet square; office 16 X14; side hall from office, with entrance on Winthrop street; main entrance on Massachusetts street; two flights of stairs to second story. Second story 10 feet from floor to ceiling; 18 rooms - six of them 11 X18, balance 10 feet square; hall entire length of building. Third story 9 feet from floor to ceiling - same number of rooms, same dimensions as second story; stairs leading to the roof which is flat, and affords a fine promenade and a splendid view of the surrounding scenery. There are thirty or forty port holes in the wall, which rises above the roof, plugged up now with stones, which can be knocked out with a blow of the butt of a Sharpe's rifle. The apartments are papered and well ventilated.

The entire cost of the hotel probably exceeds $20,000. The outhouses are of the neatest kind. The stable in the rear is not yet finished, though the walls are up. It is calculated to accommodate fifty horses and give shelter to vehicles.

The following schedule of losses sustained by individuals by the burning and pillage of the city, May 21, 1856, is taken from an estimate given at the time. Whether absolutely reliable or not, it preserves at least the names of so many of the old citizens residing or doing business in Lawrence at that time:

Mr. Stone, bank drafts, $2,050; promissory notes, $2,000;
    seven land warrants, $1,000; cash, clothing, gold watch and horse, $310:
    total ......................................................$5,360
Mr. Johnson, in sundries ........................................1,000
Capt. Lathrop, in sundries ........................................200
P. R. Brooks, in sundries .........................................150
Capt. Bertram, in sundries ........................................200
Townsend, in sundries .............................................100
Clark, in sundries ................................................100
C. W. Topliff, cash, clothing, etc. ...............................700
G. W. Hutchinson & Co., dry goods, provisions, groceries, etc. ..4,600
Brooks & Babcock, sundries ........................................250
L. S. Dennis, sundries ..............................................5
John Rice, sundries ................................................15
Lyman Allen, sundries ..............................................50
Hornsby & Terrill, dry goods and groceries ........................375
John Penoyer, sundries ............................................100
Charles Stearns, groceries and provisions ..........................75
Dr. Doy, rails burnt, horses stolen, etc. .........................500
Simpson & Hines, sundries .........................................100
D. W. Palmer ........................................................5
Miss E. Hunt, jewelry and clothing ................................100 
George W. Hunt, sundries ...........................................25
August Whitney, sundries ...........................................50
John Brook, sundries ...............................................75
S. Kimball .........................................................45
S. C. Smith, rifles, books, etc. ..................................118
A. J. Payne, sundries ..............................................40
Mrs. S. E. Hoyt, sundries ..........................................30
S. C. Russell, rifle, etc. .........................................40
T. Sampson, sundries ...............................................50
N. E. Emigrant Aid Co., hotel, etc. ............................30,000
S.& T. Eldridge, hotel furniture, provisions, etc. .............40,000
B. C. Galliday, rifle, etc. ........................................40
F. A. Bailey, sundries ............................................225
C. J. Pease, sundries .............................................125 
J. A. Keeler, revolving rifle ......................................65
L. Merchant, sundries ..............................................50
T. P. Brown, revolver, clothing, etc. .............................100
James Cracklin, paints, brushes, etc. ..............................40
O. D. Smith, one horse .............................................70
Joseph Kelley, table and stand .....................................18
H. Fogle, arms .....................................................20
A. D. Searl, mathematical instruments, etc. ................... .1,000 
J. Gordon, arms ....................................................50 
G. W. Brown, printing materials and books ......................30,000
J. H. Greene, books, etc. .........................................200
Miss A. W. Gleason, sundries ......................................200
James G. Sands, saddles, bridles and harness ......................300
W. &C. Duncan, damage to store .....................................30
Samuel Fry, provisions .............................................30
William Crutchfield, sundries ......................................10
J. Short, two boats ................................................60
A. C. Hinman, provisions ..........................................400
James F. Legate, money, clothing, etc. ..........................1,500
D. Upham, arms, clothing ..........................................150
J. Elliott, arms, etc. .............................................50
E. D. Lyman, clothing ..............................................20
N. R. West, sundries ...............................................50
Franklin Conant, goods from store .................................300
Mrs. M. A. Mandell, clothing, etc. ................................300
J. B. Cook, arms ...................................................75
F. Mitzler, jewelry, clothing, etc. ...............................200
Malcher & Baitchling, clothing ....................................100
Rev. S. Y. Lum, two horses ........................................300
R. G. Elliott, printing materials ...............................6,000
James Redpath, books ...............................................50
J. S. Emery & S. E. Tappan, books, etc. ...........................600
Miss L. S. Hall, cow, etc. .........................................70
G. P. Lowry, books, etc. ..........................................500
J. A. Perry .......................................................250
J. L. Bateman, in gold and clothing ...............................416
J. J. Boyer .......................................................100
E. Emerson ........................................................300
Gov. Robinson, probably .........................................3,500

Notwithstanding the terrible state of affairs in Kansas, during the summer of 1856, when the question of freedom or slavery was fought with other than moral arguments, when both Pro-slavery and free-State men went prepared for the worst, and every man one met, there on the highway or far away on the prairie, instinctively put his hand on his revolver and at night slept with it under his pillow; when one hardly knew whom he could trust, and no man's property was safe; when instead of quietly wending their way of an evening to the Athenaeum or the Hygenic Society, the Lawrence boys stole silently through the darkness with their trust "Sharpe" upon their shoulder to some rendezvous from whence they were to proceed to "regulate affairs in their own way" - notwithstanding all this, and the fact that many of her best citizens were in the prison camp at Lecompton, and others out of the Territory not daring to return still Lawrence did not despair. Though the Missouri was blockaded, she looked with hope to the North, and to the opening of the new route through Iowa. The citizens would not array themselves against United States authority, but suffered and "bided their time." A few extracts from letters written by citizens of the town, and relating to events especially local show the sufferings of the people and the terrible state of affairs which prevailed. Rev. E. Nute, the Unitarian clergyman, writes to Rev. Mr. Tiffany, of Springfield, Mass, August 22:

The horrors of ruffianism gather thicker and closer around us. My home has become a house of mourning. A brother-in-law came out to us and reached our house a week since, with his wife, an own sister of mine. On Monday last, he started to return to Leavenworth, leaving his wife sick. That night he was shot through the head, within a few miles of Leavenworth, and his scalp exhibited in fiendish exultation by his murderer in the town, who declared "I went out for the scalp of a d--d Abolitionist and I have got one."** This is only one of a score of such butcheries that have been perpetuated within a mile of us during the last week.. Three men have gone out of our door straight to their death by the hand of murderers. In each instance the bodies have been horribly mutilated. +

I have tried in vain to raise a body of men for the recovery of our brother's remains, to give them a decent burial, and for the effects about his person - all his money, etc. I have taken a rifle and offered to be one of fifty men to go. A sufficient number responded and were pledged to go the morning after the sad tidings reached us, but it was thought best to delay until we should get an answer from the officer in command of the United States dragoons encamped about ten miles from this, to whom we had applied for a force to go with us. It came at night, referring us to the superior force then on the way with several companies to protect Pierce's bloody officials at Lecompton. Twice have we sent, making the request of him for the protection of an escort to go with our teams to Leavenworth for provisions, and twice we have been refused There is not a single sack of flour or a bushel of meal for sale in this vicinity, and we have at least 2,000 men, women and children to be fed. What shall we do - what can we do but fight our way through with the desperation of men who know themselves surrounded by merciless savages? This we are determined to do You will have the report of bloody work before this reaches you. It may be that nothing short of a massacre of the suffering people of Kansas will rouse this nation to a sense of the inconceivable wickedness of the men who are at the head of affairs. You may imagine the feelings with which I read the cold blooded sneers, the diabolical sport which is made of our suffering in the Boston Post which I have just received. Are all the feelings of humanity, is all sense of decency dead in the souls of the men who uphold this infamous administration?

Many of our number have ceased to hope for anything but the foulest injustice from the Government. All that seems to be in store for us worth aspiring to is an heroic martyrdom. Plead for our cause with all the might you have. I send this, with as many more as I can write, before the mail leaves, under cover to a friend in St. Louis. The chance it will reach you seems to me very small. The Missourians are coming over the border and gathering at several points to the number of thousands, we hear. I dare not trust the particulars of our military condition and plans to this, for fear it will fall into the hands of our enemies. Only this, we are prepared and determined to strike terrible blows. *****

We are having war in earnest - four fights within the last five days, in all of which the Free-State men were the assailants and the victors; four lives lost on our side, and some eight or ten badly wounded. Today the dragoons are in town to effect a change of prisoners and deliver the Chicopee howitzer, taken from us at the sacking of Lawrence. The Free-state army of about 400 men have passed our cabin twice - half a mile from us on one side and a mile on the other. Twice have we heard the booming cannon and rattle of muskets and rifles and seen the flame and smell of burning forts and cabins. Two nights ago my nearest neighbor was visited by a scouting party of the enemy and two horses stolen. Every night we bring ours (we have two fine ones, I and the man who works for me) close to the house, keep our Sharpe's rifles in readiness and take turns standing guard. One night we had four men and a sick woman with us in our little cabin. We have got to the closest place, I hope, and I believe with God's help we hall force our way through. The fiendishness of these wretches is a tax on credulity. Poor Hoyt went from our house but a hour or two before he was murdered. On taking the stronghold of the ruffians, near which he was killed, a little negroe was found who said that the day before some men came in from the guard and reported that a prisoner was taken, giving his name and asking "What shall be done with him?" the reply of the officer was "Shoot him" But not content with that, they proceeded to pound his head with the breeches of their muskets. Another man, by the name of Williams, from Massachusetts, was taken that day and also shot; both bodies have been recovered. We have taken over thirty of them prisoners and released all but the nineteen who are to be given today. Do you wonder that our men turned out en masse to rout that fort, and also the den of Col. Titus next day, and that some clamor to-day for the hanging of this wretch Titus?

We have gained great advantage within the last week; have now at least 500 men ready for the fight in and around Lawrence and two good howitzers. But this is horrible business and I feel the influence that makes fierce tigers of the mildest men. When I looked on Titus and thought of his part in the proceedings last May and the murders of Hoyt and Williams, I came very near joining in the cry "hand him on the spot," but on second thought, I gave my voice for mercy. The wretch cowered and pleaded for his life, promising to leave the Territory. Some of his men say they have been engaged in indiscriminate plunder, without any regard to party in some cases, though under the lead of Titus they were robbing and murdering only Free-state men; and yet this man is the commander of the militia of Kansas Territory, and Gov. Shannon came down to Lawrence yesterday to beg him off. "Cry aloud and spare not; raise they voice like a trumpet and show this people their sin."

**Mr. Hoppe., the brother-in-law of Mr. Nute, was murdered and scalped by Fugert as stated, but the report which reached his friends of the murderer exhibiting the horrible trophy in the streets of Leavenworth, is denied by prominent Free-State citizens then residing there. (See history of Leavenworth)

+ Mr. David S. Hoyut, of Deerfield, Mass; Mr. Hoppe, of Illinois, and Mr. Jennison, of Groton, Mass.

Mr. Jennison, alluded to above, had gone from Lawrence to Kansas City, for a load of freight for Lawrence and Topeka, a part being furniture for the Unitarian Church. On his return he was taken prisoner at Westport and barbarously murdered at McGee's tavern. Mr. Nute, the writer of the letter, in company with his sister, and a party of about fifteen others, went on the 27th of August to Leavenworth to ascertain the facts in regard to the murder of Mr. Hoppe, and take possession of his effects. When the party arrived at the place of the murder, they were taken prisoners by a band of ruffians under the notorious Capt. Emery. Mrs. Hoppe, with two or three other ladies, and their escort of gentlemen were taken into Leavenworth, and held in custody through the day. Mrs. Hoppe, without being even allowed to look upon the grave of her husband, was taken on board a boat bound down the Missouri, where she went back to her friends in Illinois. Mr. Nute, Mr. Wilder, a merchant of Lawrence; Dr. Avery, of Richmond, In., who was with the brave and lamented Henry Shombre, at the storming of Fort Titus, and was now taking his papers to his friends; Mr. Houghton, of Indiana and others, were imprisoned at Leavenworth - Mr. Nute and Mr. Wilder not returning until the 10th of September. A letter from Lawrence speaks of bringing in of Titus and fellow prisoners thus: "It was not our purpose to come in collision with the Government, therefore we marched to Lawrence with the prisoners and wounded upon wagons. Their entrance into town was to us, who were here in May, particularly imposing. They came in by way of Mount Oread, then took a winding path into town, following precisely the trail of the posse, who invaded us on the 21st of May, when Marshal Titus rode in the front column, and seemed bloated with the pride of his position. Yesterday how different. He came in a wounded prisoner, at the van of a party nearly as large when the sentiment of the people seemed to execute him forthwith. The excitement was intense, still not the least insult was offered him, and he rode into town with his head resting in the lap of a friend.*** Our men remain in town today and are cooling off under a drenching rain. As it was not expected last night, most of them were out in tents and one of them say when he awoke this morning he immediately sounded and reported "four feet scant" We want men who will stand such hardships and we have got them. Today they have all found comfortable quarters in our buildings. This afternoon, Gov. Shannon, Maj. Sedgwick and Dr. Roderick came to Lawrence to demand the unconditional release of our prisoners, and the terms of Gov. Shannon's peace agreement is told elsewhere. A letter from Lawrence to the New York Dailey Times, dated August 27, says: "Lawrence is being fortified. The forts which were erected during the war of last November, are being repaired; around the spot where the Free-state Hotel stood, a wall of stone is in process of erection, against which an embankment of earth is to be thrown. On Mount Oread, where Gov. Robinson's house was, another fort is to be built, one is nearly finished at Blanton's Bridge, and one is already built and occupied at the Wakarusa crossing at Blue Jacket. Volunteers are continually coming in, anxious to join in the defense." During this time the State prisoners were still at Lecompton, made as comfortable as circumstances would permit, by the kindness and attention of the citizens of Lawrence. On the 10th of September they were released and returned to Lawrence, arriving the same day that Mr. Nute and fellow-prisoners returned from Leavenworth. The gallant little "Stubbs" were first to welcome Gov. Robinson and his fellow-captives, marching far out on the prairie to greet them. Gen Lane and staff then escorted them to Massachusetts street, where the Governor made a speech to the assembled crowd. The rejoicings were renewed in the evening when Messrs. Nute and Wilder, with the friends who had been to Leavenworth to attempt their release, arrived in safety. The arrival of Gov. Geary in the Territory, and his dispersion of the troops both at Lawrence and of the "army of invasion" virtually put an end to the "reign of terror" in Kansas. No concerted hostile action was undertaken after that month. In the spring of 1857, Gov. Geary resigned, and Robert J. Walker was appointed his successor. Frederick P. Stanton, Secretary of the Territory, arrived a few weeks before Gov. Walker, and proceeded to make speeches at various places, indicative of the line of policy to be pursued. He visited Lawrence, about the 20th of April, and reiterated the same sentiments in regard to enforcing the Territorial laws, which had been so favorably received in Lecompton. Lawrence did not take kindly to his remarks, as the following from the Herald of Freedom testifies:

You wish to know my position in regard to the Territorial laws. Congress has recognized them as binding. A majority of that body gave Whitfield a seat and made appropriations for carrying on the Government. The President has recognized them as valid and they must be received as such. (Never! from the multitude) You must obey them, and pay the taxes. (Never, no never) There is where I am at war with you. (Then let there be war) It shall be to the knife, and the knife to the hilt. I say it without excitement, and wish you to receive it as such; the taxes must be collected and it becomes the duty of my administration to see that they are collected. (Then you bring the Government into collision with the people)

The summer of 1857 was one of unparalleled prosperity for Lawrence. With the removal of the Missouri River blockade, immigration poured in, in an ever increasing tide. A local writer says: "All the immigrants were severely afflicted with the Kansas fever' and anxious to invest'. Lawrence was the center of attraction. Here all visitors came who wished to see Kansas'. Here all emigrants came to get supplies to start for their destination. Here all politicians met to discuss their plans." The Leavenworth Herald said one year later:" Every newly-arrived immigrant, as he stepped upon the levee, shouldered his carpet sack and stopping long enough to inquire the way to Lawrence' set off toward the Mecca of his abolition pilgrimage. Business was abundant, money plenty, and lots on the rise. Money loaned at 5 and 10 per cent per month, and considered cheap at that. It was no uncommon thing for a man to double his money in a few days, in speculating town property. Cautious men would come here from the East, shake their wise heads at the folly of these Western speculators and then in a few weeks be as crazy as the wildest among the settlers."

In July, the citizens formed a charter and organized a city government* the regulations of which related chiefly to sanitary and kindred affairs. It quietly attended to its own concerts, abated nuisances, looked to the efficiency of the fire company, etc. while the United States dragoons patiently waited for a chance to arrest somebody. In the meantime, the Eldridge House was commenced on the site of the old Free State Hotel. It was 100 feet front, 117 deep and four stories high. Large brick stores and numerous other buildings were erected and all were crowded and everything was "booming".

The beginning of the autumn brought a change. The "panic" struck Lawrence, in common with cities East and West, and the returning spring did not bring the immigration of preceding years. The winter had been kept lively by the session of the Free-State Legislature, but spring without emigrants was not worthy the name. May saw a party of emigrants - the first in Kansas - leave Lawrence for Pike's Peak. The place, however, continued to grow steadily and permanently during the three years preceding the war of the rebellion, its population in 1860 being about twenty-five hundred. The construction of the State University in the winter of 1862-63 and the starting of the bridge enterprise in the spring of 1863, with the prospect of an extension of the telegraph and railroad to the place, gave a fresh impetus to business and during the years its growth was rapid and substantial.

When Quantrell dealt the fated city the terrible blow of the 21st of August, 1863, it was in very way prosperous. The history of this dark deed as here given, is taken entire from a sketch written by Rev. Richard Cordley, of Lawrence, a short time after it occurred, and published in the Kansas Annual register of 1864.

[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]