|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
THE CLAIM COMMISION.
The first Territorial Legislature, at its second session, passed an act February 23, 1857, "to provide for the auditing of claims, the taking of testimony in support of all such claims, collections, and certification of vouchers, and making a true and correct statement in duplicate of all such accounts, to be laid before the next Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory, to the end that proper and united efforts may be made to obtain from Congress compensation and indemnity for all losses, expenses and damages incurred by the citizens of this Territory, without distinction of party."
Hon. Wilson Shannon was first appointed Commissioner, but declined to serve, Hon. H. J. Strickler was chosen to fill his place, "to audit and certify all claims of all and every person or persons who should present the same for consideration." for
1. (Public) moneys actually and necessarily expended for the purpose of maintaining and carrying into effect the laws of this Territory, or for the purpose of suppressing any rebellion or insurrection, whether in sustaining the militia or any posse of the Marshal or any Sheriff of any county of the Territory.
Mr. Strickler, after giving proper notice to claimants, held sessions to hear and receive testimony and audit claims at Lecompton, Fort Scott, Paoli, Osawatomie, Leavenworth, Atchison, Lawrence, Tecumseh, Osawkie and other places, during the months of September, October, November and a part of December. According to the report of the Commissioners, three hundred and fifty-seven claims were presented "under oath, with the corroborating testimony of two or more witnesses." The whole amount claimed was $301,225.11. The amount awarded, $253,254.28; of the private class.
In January, 1858, Gen. Strickler reported his proceedings to the Territorial Legislature, then in session. No action was taken upon the report at that time, as the antagonism between the "Free-State" and "Pro-slavery" parties was still bitter, and it was known that a large majority of Free-State sufferers had not presented their claims, which would mostly come under the head of "private," while at the same time many of the "public" claims in the Commissioners' report they were unwilling to allow.
During the session of Congress in March, 1858, Gen. Strickler forwarded his report, and the testimony taken to Washington for presentation, according to the provisions of the claim act of February 23, 1857.
Hon. M. J. Parrott, the Free-State Territorial Delegate, had the matter referred, and at the same session presented a bill relating to the losses sustained by settlers in Kansas during the previous years, and asking for indemnification, but which practically amounted to nothing, affairs being still unsettled in the southeastern part of the Territory.
At the legislative session of 1859, Gov. Medary again presented Gen. Strickler's report to that body, which had then been printed, with the testimony taken in each case. By this time, hundreds of additional claimants had reported losses, and the incompleteness of the report, although impartially and thoroughly made, so far as it lay in the power of the Commissioner, determined the Legislature to provide for ascertaining and presenting to Congress a more correct and full account of the losses sustained in the Territory. An act was accordingly passed February 7, 1859, providing for the payment of claims of sufferers by the Kansas difficulties. The act provided for the appointment of three Commissioners, one by the Governor, one by the Council, and the third by the House of Representatives of the Territorial Legislature, whose duty should be "to audit and certify all claims for the loss of property taken or destroyed, and damages resulting therefrom, during the disorder which prevailed in this Territory from November 1, 1855, to December 1, 1856. By a supplementary act, an attorney was to be elected by joint ballot of both branches of the Legislature, to attend the Commissioners, with power to subpoena witnesses and assist in the investigation of the claims. The Governor appointed Edward Hoagland, the Council elected Henry J. Adams, and the house Samuel A. Kingman, as the three Commissioners. On the recommendation of Gov. Medary, Hon. William McKay was elected Territorial Attorney, and the board organized at Leavenworth City February 21, 1859. The first public session was held at the Johnson House in Lawrence, commencing March 1. Sessions were afterward held at Leavenworth, Osawatomie, Tecumseh and Fort Scott. The report of the Commissioners, dated July 11, 1859, shows that petitions were received, testimony taken and judgment rendered upon 487 claims. Losses were claimed by the settlers amounting to $479,973.92, and the Commissioners awarded and issued certificates for $454,001.70. Out of $412,978.03 allowed for property destroyed, which included $37,349.71 for crops destroyed, 78 buildings burned or torn down, 368 horses and 533 cattle taken or killed; $335,779.04 belonged to Free-State and $77,198.99 to Pro-slavery men. The amount of property taken or destroyed by Free-State men was $94,529.40; by Pro-slavery men, $318,718.63. Of the 357 claims audited by Gen. Strickler, 196 were presented to this board for adjustment, the remainder having been abandoned by the parties or presented by those who had subsequently moved out of the Territory. The Commissioners state that $50,000, in addition to the awards made, making an aggregate of about $500,000, would probably discharge all demands that would be presented by actual settlers of Kansas. The report further says:
From all our investigations we are confident that the entire loss and destruction of property during the warfare from November 1, 1859, till December 1, 1856, including the fitting out of the several armed expeditions, and the private losses incurred on both sides could not have been less than two millions of dollars ($2,000,000). We believe that at least one-half of that amount was directly sustained by, and fell upon, actual citizens of Kansas -- the bonafide settlers. This opinion is formed: 1st. From the amount of losses claimed before us (and which we have no doubt were actual losses and expenses to the individuals but a large proportion of which we could not allow under the act of February 7, 1859) 2d. From the amounts proven up before the former commissioner, and which have not been presented to us for adjustment. 3d. From the number of settlers who were driven away from the Territory and have never returned, being spirit-broken and discouraged by the scenes of 1856.
By the provisions of the act the Commissioners were required, upon demand of the claimant, to deliver to him a certificate of award, and on or before the 1st day of September, 1859, to close their proceedings, and file in duplicate, in the offices of the Secretary and Auditor of the Territory a statement of all claims made, and amounts allowed, and also to file all testimony, vouchers, etc., in the office of the Secretary. It then "became the duty of the Auditor upon the delivery to him of any certificate of award given by said Commissioners, to draw his warrants on the Treasurer of the Territory, in such sums as may be required, for the amount therein named, in favor of the party to whom such award has been made, or to his order, and deliver the same on demand." Also, it was made "the duty of any constitutional convention, hereafter to assemble, to make suitable provisions for securing the payment of said warrants by the Federal Government, by incorporating in the ordinance to be submitted with the constitution formed a provision to that effect." The warrants issued were not to be paid before the 1st day of January, 1865, unless provision should be made for funding them with the other indebtedness of the Territory, or unless Congress should sooner make provision for their payment, but were to bear interest at six per cent per annum.
The report of the Commissioners was forwarded with the Wyandotte Constitution to Congress, with the request that Congress "appropriate $500,000, or in lieu thereof 500,000 acres of land, for the payment of the claims awarded the settlers of Kansas by the Claim Commissioners." The report was referred to the Committee on Claims, and, by their instructions, examined by the Clerk of the Committee, B. B. French, who allowed $449,498.11 of the $454,001.70, the award of the Commissioners.
Congress refused to make any appropriation for the purpose of paying these claims.
The Auditor of Kansas Territory, according to the provisions of the act providing for the payment of these claims, issued warrants on the Treasurer of the Territory to the amount of $349,933.63. The Treasurer issued Territorial bonds on the face of the warrants to the amount of $95,700, to bear interest, payable annually, the principal to be paid in 1864 in New York, thus pledging the faith of the Territory for the payment of nearly $100,000 of the claims. No action relative to the payment was taken by the Legislature of 1860. The last Territorial Legislature passed an act adverse to the payment of the bonds, which, by the action of the State Legislature, became a law in the following March.
The adoption of the Wyandotte Constitution was accepted by the people of both sides as a final settlement of the exciting question which had hitherto kept the Territory in turmoil, and henceforth the excitement and frauds at the polls gave way to the quiet and honest contest for party supremacy which prevailed elsewhere in the country. The period of civil strife was at an end.
The Territorial election took place November 8, at which time were chosen a Delegate to Congress and members of the Territorial Legislature. It was a party contest for local supremacy, in which, for the first time in the political history of the Territory, the Free-State question was not involved.
The candidates for Delegate to Congress wore: Saunders W. Johnston, Democrat; J. Parrott, Republican. The returns, showing the relative strength of the two parties at the first full ballot thrown, were as appears below:
COUNTIES. JOHNSTON. PARROT. TOTAL. --------- --------- ------- ------ Arapahoe 38 22 60 Atchison 654 531 1185 Anderson 105 238 343 Allen (Wilson attached) 207 203 410 Brown 25 272 297 Breckenridge (Hunter attached) 145 371 516 Butler (Dorn attached) 1 47 48 Bourbon (McGee attached) 251 368 619 Coffey (Godfrey attached) 170 285 455 Chase --- 126 126 Doniphan 762 768 1530 Dickinson --- --- --- Davis 127 94 221 Douglas 353 993 1346 Franklin 172 265 437 Greenwood --- --- --- Jackson 179 222 401 Jefferson 335 367 722 Johnson 482 408 890 Leavenworth 1391 1109 2592 Lykins 355 453 808 Linn 373 563 936 Madison 6 81 87 Morris 114 41 155 Marshall and Washington 179 146 325 Nemaha 41 228 270 Osage 1 31 32 Pottawatomie 33 121 154 Riley (Clay attached) 97 298 395 Shawnee 167 535 702 Wabaunsee 8 121 129 Wyandotte 321 289 610 Woodson 77 87 164 ------- ---- ---- ----- Total 7232 9708 16949
Parrot's majority: 2746
The election of members of the Territorial Legislature resulted in the choice of nine Republicans and four Democrats to the Council, and twenty three Republicans and sixteen Democrats to the House of Representatives. The members elected were as in the list below, Democrats in italics:
Council. -- First District, George M. Beebe; Second District, W. J. Marion; Third District, W. G. Mathias; Fourth District, J. M. Christison; Fifth District, L. R. Palmer; Sixth District, J. B. Woodward; Seventh District, Chester Thomas; Eighth District, James M. Hendry; Ninth District, P. P. Elder; Tenth District, C. G. Keeler; Eleventh District, W. W. Updegraff; Twelfth District Watson Stewart; Thirteenth District, John C. Lambdin.
Representatives. -- First District, C. B. Whitehead, Thomas Vanderslice, Hugh Robertson; Second District, F. Lombard, William Noel; Third District, Paschal S. Parks, Fred Brown, John Wright, John Murphy; Fourth District, Edward Lynde, T. A. Blake; Fifth District, A. Bartlett; Sixth District, Byron Stewart; Seventh District, William L. McMath; Eighth District, H. R. Dutton; Ninth District, Morton Cave; Tenth District, I. S. Magill; Eleventh District, Dan. L. Chandler; Twelfth District, Robert Reynolds; Thirteenth District, Stephen G. Elliott; Fourteenth District, W. H. Fitzpatrick, S. R. Caniff; Fifteenth District, Paul R. Brooks, William A. Rankin, Erastus Heath; Sixteenth District, Charles Sims, L. S. Cornwall; Seventeenth District, G. A. Colton; Eighteenth District, J. H. Jones; Nineteenth District, William R. Wagstaff; Twentieth District, Thomas Lindsay; Twenty-first District, Henry Shively; Twenty-second District, O. H. Sheldon, W. Nelson; Twenty-third District, Samuel N. Wood; Twenty-fourth District, P. G. D. Morton; Twenty-fifth District, John W. Scott; Twenty-sixth District, Horatio Knowles; Twenty-seventh District (Pike's Peak), R. Sopris.
December 6, the election was held for the choice of State officers, members of the State Legislature and Representative to Congress, under the Wyandotte Constitution. The entire Republican ticket was elected, the vote being for the several candidates as given below, Democrats in italics:
Number of Total Republican OFFICE. Names of Candidates Votes Vote Majority. Received. Cast. -------- ------------------- --------- ----- ---------- Governor Charles Robinson 7908 Samuel Medary 5395 13303 2513 Lieutenant Joseph P. Root 7893 Governor John P. Slough 5392 13285 2501 Secretary John W. Robinson 7864 of State A. P. Walker 5396 13260 2468 Treasurer William Tholen 7937 R. L. Pease 5348 13385 2589 Auditor George S. Hillyer 7856 Joel K. Goodin 5365 13221 2491 Super. of William R. Griffith 7598 Public Ins. J. S. McGill 5287 12885 2311 Chief Thomas Ewing, Jr. 8010 Justice Joseph Williams 5301 13311 2709 Assoc. Justice Samuel A. Kingman 7895 (four years) Samuel A. Stinson 5396 13291 2499 Assoc. Justice Lawrence D. Bailey 7721 (two years) Robert B. Mitchell 5492 13213 2229 Attorney Benjamin F. Simpson 7880 General Orlin Thurston 5372 13252 2508 Rep. in Martin F. Conway 7674 Congress John A. Halderman 5567 13241 2097
THE FIFTH TERRITORIAL LEGISLATURE.
The Fifth Legislature assembled at Lecompton January 2, 1860. The officers of the two branches chosen were as follows:
Council -- President, W. W. Updegraff; Clerk, John J. Ingalls; Assistant Clerk, A. Cutler; Sergeant-at-Arms, H. M. Selden; Doorkeeper, J. K. Rankin.
House -- Speaker, G. A. Colton; Clerk, M. W. Delahay; Assistant Clerk, N. J. Chipman; Sergeant-at-Arms, G. F. Warren; Doorkeeper, William House; Docket Clerk, John W. Day; Engrossing Clerk, J. L. Wilson; Enrolling Clerk, Andrew Stark; Journal Clerk, H. C. Chase; Second Assistant Clerk, Samuel F. Tappan.
January 4, the Legislature voted, by joint resolution, to adjourn to Lawrence. The preamble and resolution were as follows:
WHEREAS, the Legislature of Kansas Territory is required by law to meet at the Capital of said Territory, and whereas, there is, at said Capital, such a deficiency of suitable rooms, hotel accommodations, and other inconveniences as to seriously interfere with the progress of legislative business; and whereas, suitable accommodations can be readily obtained elsewhere, free of charge to the Territory; therefore, be it
The guarantee of free accommodation at Lawrence was spread upon the journal, and bore the following signatures: C. W. Babcock, B. F. Dalton. L. L. Jones, S. W. Eldridge, P. R. Brooks, G. W. Hutchinson, E. S. Lowman, S. O. Thacher and G. W. Deitzler.
FIFTH TERRITORIAL CAPITOL, LAWRENCE, In this building the Fourth Territorial Legislature met, January 4, 1859.
The session of the preceding winter had been held at Lawrence without any serious objection on the part of the Governor. He, however, vetoed the present resolution, on the ground, as stated in his message, that no extraordinary reasons now existed for the removal, as, with the new and large hotel which had been built during the past year at Lecompton, there were four very good hotels; not as elegantly kept as the St. Nicholas, but as well kept as Western hotels generally, and amply sufficient for a new country." He further stated that the rooms in Lecompton, furnished free of expense to the Territory out of the Congressional fund, were much superior to any accommodations they were able to obtain in Lawrence the previous winter, although it had cost the Territory over $1,300. In closing, he said: "This story of no expense is not new, but the end has proved most conclusively that the bills presented and paid, of all characters, by these removals, cost the taxpayers many hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars."
So, for economical reasons and to save valuable time, he sent in his message vetoing the attempted adjournment. The resolution was passed over the veto by a vote of 22 to 7 in the House and 9 to 4 in the Council, and on the 7th both bodies reconvened at Lawrence. The Governor and Secretary of the Territory remained at Lecompton, and, awaiting the decision of the United States Attorney General as to the legality of the removal, did not recognize the acts of the adjourned body. As, under the existing circumstances, legislative business was impracticable, the two Houses, on the 18th, passed the following concurrent resolution of adjournment:
WHEREAS, The Secretary of the Territory has obstinately refused to co-operate with the Legislative Assembly, now in session at Lawrence, has refused to supply the books, documents, stationery, printing, etc., which are absolutely necessary to the progress of legislation; and has, by such means, rendered it impossible to conduct the legitimate business of this body, without throwing additional and unnecessary expense upon the people of the Territory, therefore,
* During the time Gov. Medary was confined to his room In Lecompton, with an attack of inflammatory rheumatism, and could not have followed the Legislature to Lawrence, if he had desired.
AN EXTRA SESSION.
The Governor immediately issued a proclamation re-convening the Legislature at Lecompton on the 19th, "then and there to consider and perform such duties as are demanded by the interests and necessities of the people." The Legislature met at Lecompton as ordered, re-elected the same officers, again adjourned to Lawrence, which last proceeding was again vetoed by the Governor, and again passed, the veto notwithstanding. It does not appear that the Governor made further resistance to the persistent determination of the Legislature to sit in Lawrence or not to sit at all.
The general legislation was of that routine character common to like bodies. The most important matters appearing on the journals as receiving consideration were as below stated.
A bill abolishing slavery in the Territory was passed February 11, in the House, and subsequently passed the Council by a vote of nine to four. It was returned without the signature of the Governor with a long and elaborate message vetoing the bill. Quoting from the organic act he said: "You claim, under this declaration in the organic act, the right to prohibit slavery in the Territory of Kansas. By so doing, you mistake both the words and meaning, and misconceive the true spirit of the text." The members were not unmindful of the fact that their construction was the same accepted by the Pro-slavery Legislature of 1855, when they attempted to legislate slavery into the Territory and saw a logical consistency in legislating slavery out of the Territory under the same construction. The law was therefore passed over the veto of the Governor by a vote of twenty-nine to eight in the House, and nine to four in the Council, the minority votes being all cast by Democrats.
The census report to the Governor gave a total population of 71,770 in the Territory. The enumeration was known to be imperfect, and, as delay might arise in the admission of the State under the Wyandotte Constitution should the population reported appear less than the ratio of representation required for a member of the National House of Representatives (93,560), a legislative committee on census was chosen, which, in due time, reported the population at 97,570. This was probably not far from the actual number of inhabitants. The Marshal's return of the Federal census, taken June 1, showed a population of 109,401,* within the limits of the State as defined in the Wyandotte Constitution.
* The census of 1860 gave 143,643 as the total population, of which number 34,242 were in the vicinity of Pike's Peak.
S. W. Greer, the first Superintendent of Common Schools for Kansas Territory, made his first report, the system having been in operation at that time a little over six months. It was necessarily imperfect, many of the County Superintendents not having made full reports. The abstract of county reports was as follows:
(Key to columns is after the Table)
COUNTIES. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) --------- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- Anderson 13 558 227 25 12 $371 $300 $497 7 Bourbon 7 74 .. 12 6 .. .. .. 2 Douglas 36 1805 .. 92 33 860 950 7 33 Franklin 10 226 .. .. 7 .. .. .. 6 Jackson 11 396 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Jefferson 18 447 185 33 12 456 787 16 7 Johnson 25 543 274 36 16 1308 .. 8 13 Leavenworth 32 1436 730 60 24 3368 4816 8 12 Lykins 11 144 52 21 9 .. .. 60 4 Nemaha 6 180 180 20 8 .. .. .. .. Osage 2 50 .. .. 2 .. .. .. .. Pottawatomie 6 182 .. .. 5 9 .. 30 3 Shawnee 14 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Brown 4 204 95 15 2 980 4 .. 2 Atchison 24 591 396 33 .. 700 .. 3675 .. Doniphan 3 165 44 3 7 .. .. .. .. --- ---- ---- --- --- ---- ---- ---- --- Total 222 7001 2183 350 143 $8052 $6857 $4301 89 1 Number of Districts organized. 2 Youths aged 5 to 21 years. 3 Scholars enrolled. 4 Number of months taught in the year. 5 Number of Districts in which schools were taught. 6 Money raised to build schoolhouses. 7 Am't Public Money for Schools. 8 Amount raised by private subscription. 9 No. of District Reports made to Superintendents.
During the session, names of counties were changed and several new counties established as follows: The name of McGee County was changed to Cherokee; Dickinson, Clay, Greenwood, Irving, Marion, Otoe, Pekaton, Republic, Shirley, Ottawa, Saline and Washington Counties were established.
The special session adjourned February 27.
April 11, a Republican convention was held in Lawrence, at which delegates to the coming National convention were chosen; also three Presidential Electors. The delegates chosen were A. C. Wilder, John A. Martin, W. W. Ross, John P. Hatterscheidt, William A. Phillips and A. G. Proctor. The Presidential Electors were T. Dwight Thacher, R. Gilpatrick and C. B. Lines.
The delegates were instructed to vote in the National Convention for William H. Seward, as the first choice of the Republicans of Kansas for the Presidency in 1860. The admission of Kansas as a State was deferred too long for the Territory to participate in the Presidential election of that year.
Little political excitement prevailed in the Territory during the year and few political events worthy of note occurred. The Kansas question had been transferred to Congress for final adjudication, and the people bided their time. But with political quiet and peace did not come the concomitant of plenty: a new tribulation came upon the long-suffering people. "A great famine fell upon the land."