During September and October, the emigration from the free States continued to
flow into the Territory, and settlements were made at various points, too
scattered and remote from each other to attract either the attention or the
enmity of the pro-slavery partisans, as at Lawrence.
There were several free State men in the vicinity of Lawrence, who had come in
from Iowa and the Northwestern States prior to the arrival of the first party
from New England. John A. Wakefield, Briar W. Miller, Samuel N. Wood and
perhaps half a dozen others had taken claims, and were trying to hold them
against the browbeating threats of Missourians, who were constantly making
counter-claims and warning them out of the Territory. To protect themselves
against the encroachments of non-residents, the "Actual Settlers' Association
of Kansas Territory" was formed. According to previous notice, this
association held a meeting at the house of Briar W. Miller, at Millersburg,
on August 12, 1854, the object being the adoption of some regulations that
should afford protection to the bona fide settlers, under laws not
unlike those adopted by the pro-slavery squatters in the border region east,
save in their restrictions against anti-slavery settlers. The meeting was, at
its opening, disturbed by a band of non-residents from Missouri, who insisted,
as land claimants and members of another association, in taking a part in its
proceedings. They were led by one Dunham, who, as their spokesman, presented
their claims in such boisterous and defiant terms that the meeting came near
breaking up in a quarrel. A compromise was effected, however, and a committee
chosen from each association to agree upon a plan of union. This committee
submitted a report, which was adopted, and proved effective in settling many
of the claims disputed thereafter, until titles could be obtained from the
Government. A full account of this meeting with the code of laws as adopted,
is given in the History of Douglas County.
Early in September, soon after the arrival of the second New England party at
Lawrence, the Lawrence Association was formed, and certain municipal laws
adopted to insure order in the village. Like local co-operative associations,
for the preservation of peace, and for the protection of titles to land, were
made at various points where communities had settled.
Until the advent of the Governor, and the establishment of the courts, these
crude provisional codes constituted the only protection or security, either
for personal safety or property rights. Rudimentary as they were, and
constituted by no authority except the common desire and necessity for mutual
defense and protection against the lawless, they served imperfectly the
purposes intended, till the laws and machinery of a civil government were put
in effect and motion.
THE FIRST TERRITORIAL APPOINTMENTS.
The first territorial appointments, looking to the inauguration of a local
government, under the provisions of the organic law, were made in June and
July, 1854. The officers appointed by President Pierce, whose appointments
were confirmed by the Senate, and who entered upon the duties of their
Governor, Andrew H. Reeder, of Easton, Penn., appointed June 29, 1854. He
took the oath of office before Peter V. Daniel, one of the Justices of the
Supreme Court of the United States, at Washington, July 7. He arrived in
Kansas, at Fort Leavenworth on Saturday, October 7, at which time he became
the executive head of the Kansas government and personally assumed the
functions of the office. Salary, $2,500 per annum.
Secretary, Daniel Woodson, of Lynchburg, Va., appointed June 29. Salary,
$2,000 per annum.
United States Marshal, Israel B. Donaldson, of Illinois. Salary, $300 per
annum, and fees.
Chief Justice, Madison Brown, of Maryland, who, not accepting the appointment,
was superseded by Samuel D. Lecompte, of Maryland who was appointed October 3,
and took the oath of office before Gov. Reeder, at Leavenworth, Kan., December
5. Salary, $2,000 per annum.
Associate Justices, Saunders N. Johnson and Rush Elmore. Salary, $2,000 per
Attorney, Andrew J. Isack. Salary, $250 per annum and fees.
Surveyor General, John Calhoun, Illinois; appointed August 26.
Territorial Treasurer, Thomas J. B. Cramer; appointed August 29.
THE BEGINNING OF GOVERNMENT.
Gov. Reeder arrived on the boundaries of his appointed dominion, at Fort
Leavenworth, Saturday, October 7, 1854. He was a stranger to the land and his
subjects. Except Senator Atchison, and perhaps a score of other
acquaintances, he knew nobody in or near Kansas. He was born in Easton,
Northampton Co., Penn., July 12, 1807. He received a thorough academic
education at Lawrenceville Seminary; studied law in the office of Peter Iksie,
Esq., of Northampton, Penn., for three years, and was admitted to practice at
the Northampton bar, then the ablest in the State, became one of the leading
lawyers, not only of his circuit, but of the State. He had, from early
manhood, been a most ardent and loyal Democrat, and had adopted and defended
with enthusiasm, the principle of "Squatter Sovereignty," and the
Kansas-Nebraska bill. He had never been a politician in the sense of seeking
or holding public office, but was, at the time of his appointment, considered
one of the most honest, able, well-balanced, clear-headed, reliable,
Democratic, Kansas-Nebraska, popular sovereignty lawyers in the country; and
his appointment, as such, gave unalloyed satisfaction to the friends of the
Kansas bill and the Administration. He was, at the time of his arrival at
Leavenworth, a little past forty-seven years of age, iron gray, with a
somewhat ruddy complexion, and full blue eyes, He was slightly corpulent,
and somewhat deliberate, both in his walk and his speech. He was of medium
stature, and perpendicularly erect. He wore a gray moustache, severely cut
over the lip, and curled or twisted out - a la Napoleon - on either
side. Both in appearance and in fact, he was the beau ideal of a man
fit to rule and govern an intelligent and free community.
(Image of A. H. Reeder)
Gov. Reeder arrived, on the steamer Polar Star, at Leavenworth,
Saturday, October 7, 1854. At that time, there was but one newspaper in the
territory - the Kansas Weekly Herald - published at Leavenworth. From
the paper issued October 13, 1854, the following report of the Governor's
reception is copied:
On Saturday last, Gov. Reeder, with Mr. C. A. Williams, his private secretary,
and Andrew J. Isack, Esq., United States Attorney for Kansas, arrived at Fort
Leavenworth by the Polar Star. His landing was greeted by the officers
of the fort with the national salute, and he became the guest of the
commandant, Capt. F. E. Hunt.
At 3 o'clock in the evening, the citizens of Kansas, from Leavenworth, Salt
Creek and the country for miles around, gathered at the fort to pay their
respects to Gov. Reeder. The concourse was large and highly respectable, and
most enthusiastic in their gratification at his arrival. Our citizens in a
body called upon the Governor at the quarters of Capt. Hunt, and a general
introduction took place, during which many kindly expressions of welcome were
indulged on the part of the people, and reciprocated by the Governor with the
republican frankness and honest cordiality so agreeable to Western men. After
a general interchange of courtesies, Dr. Charles Leib addressed the Governor
GOV. REEDER: In behalf of my fellow-citizens, permit me to welcome you to the
West and to the young and beautiful Territory whose Executive you are.
It is but a few months since the passage of the Kansas and Nebraska bill; it
is but a few months since the people of the West were told by one of their
distinguished Senators, "the Indians have retreated; go over and possess the
goodly land," and to-day Kansas is teeming with hardy, industrious,
enterprising, strong armed men, with noble hearts and willing hands, who have
come here to till the soil and to enjoy the fruits of their industry, to
pursue their different callings and to assist in building up a State which
will ere long be knocking at the door of Congress for admission into the
confederacy, and which I trust will be recognized as the thirty-second in the
bright constellation which graces the flag of our Union.
Gov. Reeder, we are rejoiced at your coming; rejoiced that you are among us,
because we believe it will be your pride and pleasure, not only as the
Executive, but as a citizen, to assist in giving Kansas a place in the front
rank of the Territories.
You will, sir, find men here from every section of this Union, who have come
to find homes, to assist in filling up our broad and beautiful prairies and
our valleys, rich as that of the Nile. In your own language, they know that
this is "the pathway to the Pacific;" they know that the vast frontier, New
Mexico and California trade, which now flows into the lap of Missouri,
legitimately belongs to Kansas; they know and feel that they have the energy
to build up a State which will command the trade, and it will not be long
until they will have accomplished their object.
We doubt not that in coming here you have sacrificed much; that you have left
behind those to whom you are bound by the ties of consanguinity, affection and
love; that you have left tried friends, personal and political, in whose
hearts you have a place; that you have left a community to which you were
attached by a residence of long years among them, but when duty called, like
Cincinnatus, you obeyed.
As a Pennsylvanian, one who loves the hills and valleys, the rivers and plains
of the noble old Keystone State, but who, in heart and interest, is a Western
man, I, in common with my fellow-citizens, am rejoiced at your appointment,
because we believe you will administer the affairs of this government upon
strictly republican principles, because we know your antecedents; because we
know that Pennsylvania, the home of Rittenhouse, of Fulton, of Franklin and of
the able and accomplished Buchanan, "who has graced our annals abroad and done
us honor in Kings' courts," and who is a statesman of the school of the
fathers, would not send us a son unworthy of herself; because we believe that
under your administration Kansas will grow and flourish; that her resources,
agricultural and mineral, will be developed; that her commercial importance
will be acknowledged by the whole nation; that her hardy sons will prosper,
and will make this, the garden spot of the Mississippi Valley.
We, sir, meet here on common ground. The men of Maine and Mississippi, of
Massachusetts and Missouri, aye, and those who cross the blue waters of the
broad Atlantic, who turn their backs upon the tyrants of the old world and
place themselves under the protection of the flag of our Union, may enjoy the
blessed privileges of free speech, dare think, do and act for themselves.
This is true Republicanism and cannot fail to meet the approval of all who are
truly American at heart. But a few months since the red man alone occupied
this Territory; they roamed undisputed masters of the soil; but to-day in all
parts of it, the hum of industry is heard, the progress of the age demanded
its settlements, and, by the hearths and firesides of our hardy pioneers is to
be joy, peace and happiness, and a determination to maintain, at all hazards,
the supremacy of the law.
In conclusion, Gov. Reeder, let me again welcome you to Kansas, and express
the hope, nay, the sincere wish, that our relations as Governor and governed
may be of such a character that when it shall be severed, we can always revert
to it as the happiest period of our lives, though it commenced when trampling
down the nettles and thistles of Kansas and preparing it for its high destiny.
To which Gov. Reeder replied:
I thank you, sir, and those whom you represent on this occasion, for the
cordial manner in which you have welcomed me to your Territory, and for the
encomiums which you have so eloquently bestowed - encomiums which I must be
allowed to say are attributable more to your own courtesy and partiality than
to any merit of mine. Coming, as I do come, into a position of high and
solemn responsibibility (sic) in a strange land, to exercise most
important functions among men who as yet know me not, you may well imagine
that I am cheered and encouraged by the foreshadowing of confidence and
kindness exhibited in this our first interview. I am sensible of the
difficulties that may beset my official career, and I must rely on the
friendship and kindly feeling which you have professed, for indulgence to my
deficiencies. But, whilst I shall now claim in advance your leniency for my
inexperience of your country and your people, for my shortcomings in wisdom
and ability, I claim no margin, and ask for no indulgence, in respect to the
earnestness and sincerity of my efforts, to make the great good of the
Territory and the advancement of its substantial prosperity and welfare, the
chief end of my official action.
It shall be my pride and pleasure, always to keep in view that single end,
despite all sinister considerations or adverse circumstances. Our Territory
is indeed a land of great interest and of glorious promise, and, although now
a frontier country demanding at our hands strong continued effort and no small
privations, yet, we are cheered on by the conviction that another frontier is
approaching us from the Pacific, and that when the inevitable destiny of this
Union shall have filled up its limits with civilized population and thrifty
enterprise, Kansas will be territorially the very heart of the Republic, and
in the highway of its trade. Much of its progress, its prosperity and its
future destiny will depend upon the impress that we shall make upon its early
developments. That we shall have difficulties to meet and overcome, varied in
their character and formidable in their number and extent, it were worse than
folly to deny and conceal. Whatever they may be, however, there is no fear
that they cannot all be solved by prudent care - by tolerance and charity for
difference of opinion among ourselves - by calm but unquailing moral courage
in asserting our own rights of action or opinion - and by the most scrupulous
care to avoid encroachment on the rights of others. First of all, Kansas
must, and with God's help it shall be, a country of law and order. No man
must be allowed to cast contempt upon the law - to unsettle the foundations of
society, to mar our future destinies - to cause us to be shunned and avoided
by good citizens - and to turn us upon the retrograde path toward barbarism,
by substituting his own unbridled passions for the administration of justice,
and by redressing his real and imaginary wrongs by the red and cowardly hand
of assassination or the ruffianism of the outlaw. So far as it shall come
within my province to deal with this spirit, I pledge you that I will crush it
out or sacrifice myself in the effort. Every one of our millions of
fellow-citizens who may choose to exercise his unquestionable right to plant
himself, his family and his property on our soil, to swell its strength and
develop its resources, must feel that the broad aegis of the law shelters him
and his from outrage, and that is sword is keen and ready to punish him
summarily and unfailingly, for outrage of the rights of others. We must, to,
do our duty in cementing and preserving our glorious Union, by the strictest
adherence to our constitutional and legal obligations, and a constant
readiness to aid our fellow-citizens of other States, in securing to them all
the rights which that constitution and those laws have sacredly guaranteed to
them for the management of their own affairs, whilst at the same time, we
must, with the most vigorous and determined firmness, preserve unimpaired and
unquestioned, to every citizen of our Territory, freedom of opinion in the
regulation of our own. The principle of the bill for erecting our Territory,
I need scarcely tell you, has my hearty approval. Fiercely as it has been
assailed, it has its foundation deep in the doctrine of true republicanism.
Under these doctrines the whole Union, North, South, East and West, has
invited us to come here and mold our own institution, as to us it shall seem
good. We have accepted the invitation, and with "POPULI VOCE NATA" on our
banner, we are prepared to give one more proof of the ability of our people
for self-government, by going to the ballot-box -- there conceding to each
other the right of free discussion and opinion which we claim for ourselves,
and sacrificing to the all --powerful will of the majority, all our interests
and feelings and prejudices, whatever question may be involved in the
decision. Thus and thus only can we discharge our duty to ourselves - show
our appreciation of the principle of our Territorial bill, and contribute to
its permanency as a means of easy solution, for all future time, of a
dangerous and exciting question in our National Councils.
Thus, with law and order reigning in our midst, mutual tolerance strengthening
our hands and accelerating our progress - fanaticism disarmed and the Union
sustained by a cheerful and determined observance of the constitution that
binds it together - by preserving unimpaired the purity of the ballot-box and
deciding there as freemen should, the questions which the nation has properly
referred to it, each man calmly, fearlessly and dispassionately expressing his
opinion and casting his vote in conformity to the dictates of his conscience
and understanding and by bowing submissively to the will of the majority when
properly ascertained, we shall have done our whole duty and may expect to reap
its pleasant fruits.
These remarks, the Herald states, were received "with earnest attention
and marked approbation and applause." The editorial account of the reception
closes with a flattering encomium of the Governor, which, read in the light of
the events which followed, shows a vein of blarney not then discoverable. It
was as follows:
"After half an hour's social intercourse, in which courtesy and absolute
freedom from restraint were alike combined, the company withdrew bearing with
them the impression that the first Governor of Kansas is one of Nature's
noblemen, and just the man for the post."
From the early numbers of the Herald,* the following excerpts are
given, deemed of interest, as they are a contemporaneous record of events then
* The file from which these quotations are made is believed to be the only one
now in existence. As it was the only paper published in the Territory at that
time, its historical value cannot be computed. It is owned by the Kansas
Historical Society, and to F. G. Adams, the Secretary of the Society, we are
indebted for its perusal, and many other favors not otherwise, nor elsewhere,
obtainable. - ED.
October 13, these paragraphs appeared:
Hon. S. W. Johnson, of Ohio, and Hon. Rush Elmore, of Alabama, Associate
Judges of the Supreme Court of Kansas arrived at Fort Leavenworth on Tuesday
evening last (October 10, 1854), by the F. X. Aubrey. Hon. Madison
Brown, of Maryland, Chief Justice, has not yet arrived. The Territory has not
been districted, so that the destination of each is as yet unknown. No courts
will be needed until early in the spring, and holding theme would be almost
impracticable until after the meeting of the Territorial Legislature.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Among the gentlemen who have come into our Territory, we have the nigh
gratification to announce the Hon. R. P. Flenniken, of Fayette County, Penn.,
who enjoys at home an extensive practice as a lawyer, and an exalted and
enviable position socially, politically and professionally, and whose
reputation for gentlemanly and dignified deportment, high moral worth, sound
democracy and admitted talents, is well known to the public. He was formerly
Charge d'Affaires to the Court of Denmark, under the Administration of
President Polk, and discharged the duties of his station with honor to himself
and satisfaction to the government. Desirous to make himself a Western man,
and bring his family of sons into a new country, he relinquishes the
advantages which he enjoys at home, and has taken up, we hope, his permanent
residence in Kansas. Such men are an accession to any community, and our
citizens will welcome him among us.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The examination of Samuel H. Burgess, Weslie and John Davidson, charged with
assault upon Fleming S. Thompson and William Borden, with intent to kill,
occurred on Friday, at Fort Leavenworth, before His Excellency, Gov. Reeder.
The parties lived about seven miles southwest of Salt Creek, having made
claims there and erected houses. Some dispute about the title to a claim had
arisen between one of the defendants and Mr. Borden. On Monday, the 9th
instant, a party of about fifteen men, in company with Borden and Thompson,
some of whom were armed with guns, went to the house of Burgess to have the
matter settled. The defendants and a son of Mr. Burgess were the only ones
present when they came. After they had been ordered to leave, an affray
commenced, which terminated in a wound rather severe upon the forehead of
Borden, and two stabs upon the body of Thompson. The evidence as to which
struck the first blow was rather conflicting. Medical testimony was
introduced to show that the wounds of Thompson were critical; but it appears
he is not in a dangerous condition.
After a protracted and impartial examination, the Governor admitted the
defendants to bail, in the sum of $20,000 for Burgess, and $10,000 for each of
the others. We are happy to perceive that the case is not so serious, and
does not involve so much guilt as was at first reported.
A. J. Isaacs, District Attorney; J. Doniphan, C. F. Burnes, Esqrs., for the
prosecution; C. C. Andrews and Amos Reese, Esqrs., for the defendants.
October 20, 1854, the following appeared, noting the arrival of Territorial
Daniel Woodson, Esq., of Lynchburg, Va., Secretary of Kansas, arrived on the
Edinburg on Wednesday last (October 18). Mr. W. comes among us a young
man, yet with the prestige of a long and brilliant career among the
leading Democratic journalists of the Old Dominion. We have for some time
known him as the Editor of the Lynchburg Republican, a Democratic
journal of long standing among the ablest and most reliable in the country.
Mr. W. was early in life a resident of Boone County, Mo., and is connected
with some of the most influential families there. The people in Kansas will
find in him an able and accomplished public servant. J. B. Donaldson, Esq.,
United States Marshal for Kansas, arrived on Monday last (October 16, 1854).
The issue of October 27 announced the arrival, Thursday, October 26, of Hon.
John Calhoun, Surveyor General of Kansas and Nebraska.