Bleeding Kansas

Governor Geary's Administration in Kansas
John H. Gihon, M.D.
    Dr. Gihon served as private secretary to Gov. Geary, and wrote this book in 1857 following the Governor's resignation. He provides an insider's view of the events of this violent era in Kansas history, with detailed documentation and chilling anecdotes.

Kansas: Its Interior and Exterior Life
Sara T. L. Robinson
    Mrs. Robinson, the wife of Governor Charles Robinson, gives her account of the same period in this book published in 1856. While some of the book presents vignettes of pioneer life, Mrs. Robinson also describes events in and around Lawrence at that time, and makes an impassioned plea for help against the pro-slavery forces.

Six Months in Kansas
Hannah Anderson Ropes
    Hannah Ropes lived in Lawrence at the same time as Sara Robinson, and in 1856 published a collection of the letters written to her mother during the six months she spent in the Kansas Territory. Poignant, humorous, warm, and indignant by turns, this classic work draws you back to those dangerous and adventurous days before Kansas statehood, and makes an interesting comparison to Mrs. Robinson's account of the times.

A History of Lawrence, Kansas
Richard Cordley
    Rev. Richard Cordley was at the heart of the troubles in Lawrence during the Bleeding Kansas days, and an eyewitness to the Quantrill Raid in Lawrence. This is his history of that town, including his detailed and harrowing account of the morning Quantrill and his band rode into Lawrence. The book, published in 1895, includes many portraits of prominent figures of the time and residents of Lawrence, two maps of the early town, and other illustrations.

Personal Memoirs of Watson Stewart
    Watson Stewart emigrated to Kansas in the Bleeding Kansas days, and ended up serving in the Territorial Legislature. His memoirs, completed in 1904, provide a personal view of these troubled times and insights into some of the political wrangling of the time.

KANSAS: The Prelude to War for the Union
Leverett Wilson Spring
    This standard reference to Kansas history, first written in 1885 and updated in 1906, presents the State's turbulent history in an engaging and even a bit flamboyant style.

Report of the Committee of the Massachussetts Emigrant Aid Society, with the Acts of Incorporation
    Some would say that this 1854 document was the match that lit the flames which engulfed Kansas during this era. The Emigrant Aid Society assisted free-state settlers in relocating to Kansas in large numbers, and alarmed the pro-slavery activists who wanted Kansas to be a slave state.

Edwin Tucker's Diary
    Edwin Tucker set out for Kansas with his father and brothers in 1857. This diary is an interesting and at times deeply moving account of that journey and Mr. Tucker's first years in Kansas.

Letter from William Smith
    William Smith wrote this letter in 1859, describing in disgust some of the events that beset Kansas at this time.

Autobiography of Mary Beeson
    Mary Beeson describes growing up in the violent territorial days through the Civil War and its aftermath, in this very personal story of a child coping with all the dangers and fears of frontier Kansas.

Tommy Graham and Martha Jane Tedrow
    This story of a woman's journey to (and from) Kansas includes the daughter's remembering one of the first attacks on Lawrence in 1856.

Wells: Letters of a Kansas Pioneer, 1855-1860
    Thomas C. Wells' letters, printed in the Kansas Historical Quarterly of 1936, present a detailed view of life in the Kansas Territory, and include descriptions of incursions by "Border Ruffians" and similar events in which Mr. Wells was personally involved.

The Civil War Began in Kansas 80 Years Ago
Harold C. Place
    In this 1936 article for Progress in Kansas, the magazine of the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce, Harold Place shows how key events in May-July, 1856, were part of a civil war in Kansas which spread nationwide only a few years later.

The Lawrence Massacre
Richard Cordley
    Reverend Richard Cordley's letter, which was submitted to the Congressional Record of the day, provides the basis for this 1865 pamphlet's account of Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence in 1863. Contains harrowing first-hand accounts of this sack of Lawrence.*

Portrait Gallery of Eminent Kansans
    Includes portraits of persons who figured prominently in the history of "Bleeding Kansas," such as Governor Wilson Shannon, James Lane, and Sara Robinson (from Richard Cordley's A History of Lawrence, Kansas.
The Abolitionist
George W. Schiller
    Albert Gallatin Barrett moves to Kansas in 1854 with family and friends to establish a home for his family in the new territory and to help bring the new state of Kansas into the Union as a state free from slavery. Mr. Schiller's book, published online in KanColl, traces the events of both the time and Mr. Barrett's life as those dreams are realized.

*Was it Quantrill, or Quantrell, or . . . ? Even Rev. Cordley got confused. But the publisher of this book, with help from the Kansas State Historical Society, set the matter straight.