KanColl: The Kansas
Historical Quarterlies

S. C. Pomeroy and the New England Emigrant
Aid Company, 1854-1858 (Concluded)

by Edgar Langsdorf

November, 1938 (Vol. 7, No. 4), pages 379 to 398
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

     POMEROY arrived in Boston on January 4, 1856, and soon after began a tour of the New England states, as he had done in 1854 and in 1855, to raise funds for the Aid Company and for Kansas. He spoke at meetings in Maine, where he addressed the state legislature, [1] and in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The Wakarusa war, if it accomplished nothing else, did succeed in reawakening Northern interest in Kansas [2] and Pomeroy, an experienced speaker, was in great demand. "The calls for General Pomeroy are so numerous and his time so limited," Doctor Webb explained, "it will be necessary for him to visit those places where he is most likely to effect the greatest amount of good." [3]

     However, Pomeroy spent nearly four months in the East and in the month of February alone more than $5,000 was contributed directly as a result of his efforts. [4] On February 4 Secretary Webb wrote to Wm. J. Rotch, of New Bedford, to suggest holding a public meeting to raise funds for the general relief of Kansas. He wanted also to have a private meeting with some of the prominent citizens in hopes they would subscribe to the company's stock. "For both of these purposes," he said, "we rely mainly on the abilities of Mr. Pomeroy." [5] At the quarterly meeting of the directors on February 26 Vice President Williams mentioned

      in an especial manner the valuable aid he had rendered the Cause of Freedom and Humanity by addressing public meetings in various sections of New England, and also the important assistance he had furnished in the way of raising funds for the relief of those who suffered by the invasion of Lawrence. [6]

     That Pomeroy had rendered valuable financial assistance to the company as well is attested by the treasurer's books, which up to


November, 1855, had showed a continuous deficit but which in March showed a balance of over $18,000 and at the annual meeting in May a balance of more than $5,000. [7]

     The company's problems at this time were complicated by political and economic conditions in the territory. The winter of 1855-1856 was unusually severe and many settlers were forced to depend on Eastern relief organizations for help. [8] Pomeroy and other Kansans assisted in this work, and well-attended meetings were held at New York, Philadelphia and Albany, as well as at other smaller cities. [9] At several of these meetings rifles were subscribed for in addition to money; feeling was running high in the East and the utterances of such men as Henry Ward Beecher did nothing to abate it.

     In fact, the situation was more serious in the spring of 1856 than at any time previously. The Free-State party had elected state officers under the Topeka constitution in January, settling for the time being a threatened split in the party ranks, [10] but fear of new invasions from Missouri caused leaders at Lawrence to telegraph the President and to inform members of congress that they were campaigning diligently in the East. By February agitation had become so general that the President issued a proclamation warning all persons that United States troops and local militia would be called upon to put down "any attempted insurrection" in Kansas territory or "aggressive intrusion into the same." [11]

     The crisis came in April with the shooting of Sheriff Samuel J. Jones. Although the Free-State men of Lawrence immediately disavowed the act, the Proslavery forces apparently believed it afforded an excuse for attempting to drive their opponents from the territory by force. This they proceeded to try forthwith, and their campaign of terrorism was climaxed by the "sack of Lawrence" on May 21. [12]


     Pomeroy had reached Kansas in May and had been at once appointed chairman of a reorganized committee of safety which was attempting to work out a policy of nonresistance to the territorial officers. [13] The object was to place upon the federal government the responsibility for attacks and damages that might come from Pro-slavery, official hands-for they seemed to the Free Staters synonymous terms. Pomeroy was almost the only prominent Free-State partisan who was not under arrest at this time, and during the at tack on Lawrence he took a leading part in its defense. [14] The question was whether to defend the town against the posse of the United States marshal or to "turn the other cheek" and let the mob do as it pleased. The majority of the citizens favored resistance but the leaders thought it wiser to adopt A. A. Lawrence's "Fabian" policy and therefore cooperated with the posse. However, immediately after the marshal had dismissed his men Sheriff Jones enrolled them in his own unauthorized and unofficial posse and it was this troop that entered the town later in the day. To them Pomeroy, after consulting with the meMbers of the committee, turned over all arms, including the lone cannon. Jones and his men then spent an enjoyable afternoon in pillaging houses, burning the Eldridge house-formerly the Aid Company's hotel, and wrecking the printing offices of the Herald of Freedom and the Kansas Free State.

     Feeling in the north was heightened by news of the invasion. A renewed wave of money, supplies and weapons surged into the territory. Even before the news reached the East the unceasing campaign for funds for the general assistance of the territory was being conducted under forced pressure and there is reason to believe that arrival of the news greatly stimulated this drive. On May 22, be- fore he had learned of the attack, A. A. Lawrence wrote:

The crisis appears to be on the settlers now: money buys every thing, and they want everything, and have no money to get it, nor time to earn it. There are many brave hearts there, but they have, got stomachs near them. If you should send to S. C. Pomeroy, Kansas City, Missouri, it will be in safe hands. [15]

     Upon receipt of Pomeroy's telegram announcing the Lawrence invasion Lawrence wrote that the news had "cast a gloom" over the company's annual meeting, but only stirred them to go forward more he did not doubt that Pomeroy had had good reason for his action.

"The Fabian policy is the true one-gain time-weary out the aggressors, and when you gain strength to defeat them, then strike the blow." [16] At the same time Lawrence sent $500 to be distributed among the settlers, and Anson J. Stone, assistant treasurer of the company, authorized Pomeroy to lend them $3,000 to $5,000, with more promised as soon as it could be raised. "However surprising it may be to the Border Ruffians," Stone wrote, "the slavery Border Ruffian outrage will probably be the cause of fulfilling Atchison's remark made last winter, viz: `give an Abolition President for the United States in 1856." [17]

     Shortly after the invasion Pomeroy left for the East again. There was great demand, he said, for men who had been concerned in the excitement to come and tell the story. He stopped at Chicago to lecture and received contributions of $2,000; at Cleveland he was given $800 more, all this money being spent later for rifles and ammunition for the Free-State men in Kansas. [18] During the summer he spoke in many of the Eastern states but oratory was incidental to his other activities. After spending a few days at his home in Southampton and conferring with the officers of the Aid Company in Boston he was off to Philadelphia as a delegate from Kansas to the first national Republican convention. [19] An incidental result of the meeting was an agreement among the Kansas delegates and a few other persons to begin a thorough canvass of Pennsylvania after July 1 in the interests of Fremont, the Republican nominee. They believed his victory would be an inestimable boon to their cause in Kansas, and Pennsylvania, Buchanan's native state, was considered the most doubtful of the Northern states. [20]

     Almost simultaneously the Aid Company appointed Pomeroy to be one of its representatives at a delegate convention of Kansas aid societies at Cleveland. The officers, "although utterly ignorant of the object of the call" for this convention, felt that the company should be represented. [21] The convention, an outgrowth of a meeting


in New York on June 9, [22] was scheduled for June 20 at Cleveland but according to Eli Thayer was postponed until the 26th to accommodate Governor Reeder, and again was adjourned to meet July 9 at Buffalo because Thayer himself could not be present on the 26th. [23] A pamphlet report of the proceedings of the convention, however, indicates that Thayer is in error. Meetings were held at Cleveland on June 20 and 21 and Reeder, who arrived during the afternoon session on June 20, was named permanent president of the convention. On the same evening he delivered a speech at Chapin's hall, Cleveland. On the last day the convention named Pomeroy, Reeder, and T. P. Eldridge as members of the central executive committee for Kansas territory. An address prepared for the public stated that the objects of the convention and its organization were to send 5,000 new emigrants to Kansas, to see that they and the settlers already in the territory were amply provided for, and to raise for this purpose the sum of $1,000,000. The convention then adjourned to meet on July 9 and 10 at Buffalo. [24] It was this final meeting that was responsible for the organization of the National Kansas Committee and the location of its headquarters in Chicago. The purpose of the committee was to raise men, money, and supplies and to send them to Kansas, a task at which they worked diligently during the following months.

     At the time of his appointment Pomeroy was in Washington where he was attempting to perform a two-fold task as the agent of the Aid Company and as a representative of the Free-State party. In the former capacity he was instructed to press the company's claim against the government for the destruction of the territorial hotel at Lawrence and for other depredations of the territorial officers. [25] In the latter he was one of a group of Free-State men who were lobbying among the members of congress. Pomeroy believed the best procedure for the Antislavery men in the territory was to remain quiet, to do nothing that could be construed as a violation of good faith and so justify congress in refusing help. A letter of one of these lobbyists remarks that this policy of nonresistance had


greatly strengthened the Free-State position and had "thrown our enemies higher than a kite. Let the legislature [26] meet on the 4th and adjourn for a few weeks," he added, and by then they could know what to expect from the government.

". . . By all means commit no aggressive act." [27]

     The same sentiment was expressed by Free-State leaders in the territory. An open letter "To the friends of `Law and Order' convened at Topeka" dated "Camp, near Lecompton, . . . July 1," urged the Free-State men to "occupy a tenable position" and refrain from doing anything that would set the government and popular opinion against them. They had a legal right to organize a state government, said the writers, but there must be no resistance of federal officers in the performance of their duties. However, if an attempt should be made to arrest the members of the "state organization" merely because they were such, with a view to disabling it, then resistance became defense of the state organization and manifestly justifiable. Accordingly, they warned, no person against whom an indictment was pending should appear at the capitol. The signers of this document were Gov. Charles Robinson, Geo. W. Smith, Gaius Jenkins, Geo. W. Deitzler, Henry H. Williams, and John Brown, Jr. They themselves were absent from the session, they explained, because indictments were pending against them and they did not wish to involve their colleagues and supporters in difficulties with the law. [28]

     On July 3 Pomeroy was in Boston to attend a meeting of the Friends of Kansas in the rooms of the Aid Company, at No. 3 Winter street. [29] An attempt was to be made to give work to needy persons in the territory by beginning reconstruction of the Lawrence hotel promptly-if financial arrangements could be made. However, the meeting was very small and apparently was unsuccessful. An adjourned meeting of the executive committee on July 8 voted to instruct Pomeroy to go to Washington again as soon as his engagements permitted "in order to look out for the interests of the company, and of Kansas." On his way he was to call on Gerrit Smith and other persons and from them to procure by stock sub-


scriptions, donations or loans, funds for the rebuilding of the Lawrence hotel and for the general objects of the company. [30]

     At a previous meeting, on July 2, the authority given Pomeroy on June 14 to draw for $2,000 towards rebuilding the hotel had been rescinded. This action was taken because of lack of funds in the treasury [31] although Pomeroy himself was doing what he could to raise money. He had spoken at Canton, Ohio, on July 8 and succeeded in getting something over $200, [32] though such sums, of course, were negligible in comparison with the amount needed. It seems likely that the destruction at Lawrence on May 21, followed by "battles" and guerrilla warfare throughout the eastern section of the territory, was having a decidedly deleterious effect on the company's financial standing. Prospective investors were not inclined to risk their money under such circumstances, particularly since the Missourians had seriously disturbed immigration into the territory by way of the St. Louis-Kansas City route. [33] On June 26 Eli Thayer issued a statement at New York in which he tried to counteract unfavorable publicity by showing that the company was under no obligation to settlers once they had arrived in the territory, implying thereby that company stock was still a good investment. [34] However the result of this effort is at best doubtful.

     In preparation for Pomeroy's return to Washington Amos A. Lawrence gave him a letter of introduction addressed to President Pierce. This letter seems an obvious attempt to impress the President, to "set the stage" for an anticipated interview. "Pomeroy," Lawrence wrote, "is a man well known in his own state [Massachusetts], where he always retained the respect of those who know him; and well known in Kansas, where he is much confided in by the settlers. [35] I know him personally to be in every way a reliable and estimable man." His Revolutionary ancestry, Lawrence continued, ensures against his having any love for oppression, "but he is no zealot, and will not state anything to you, if you should give him an interview, which he does not believe to be true." [36]


     This letter, with another of introduction to S. G. Haven, the manager of the Fillmore party, was sent to Pomeroy on July 12. Lawrence instructed him to try to convince Haven that the Topeka convention had not been a sudden mob outburst, but had been duly called and represented the real feeling in the territory. He told him also to "play up" the political advantage to the Fillmore party of advocacy of the Free-State cause. To the President, Lawrence said, he should play up the patriotic spirit. "I believe Mr. Pierce's father was in the battle of Bunker Hill. Perhaps you can bring that in to claim a kindred spirit in him. (The spirit is there, but sleeping a long sleep)." To both, Pomeroy was to play the role of a simple, honest pioneer. "Do not show to him [Pierce] or Mr. Haven your acquaintance with public men." [37]

     Pomeroy was delayed, probably in New York, and did not leave for Washington until some time after July 16. [38] For several days his whereabouts was unknown; as Webb wrote: "You are clearly constructed on the principle of the Paddy's flea, and consequently you are difficult to trace." [39] This delay, unavoidable or not, could not but be disheartening to the company officials. They were anxious that the pending homestead bill be pushed through in order to stimulate immigration to the territory, and they were equally desirous, in view of their financial situation, that the company's claims for property damages should be met promptly. W. Y. Roberts had informed Webb that these claims could be liquidated if they were pushed vigorously, because the administration, fearing that political capital might be made of them, was eager to get them from before the public and so would vote their payment. [40]

     A few days later Webb informed Pomeroy that news from Kansas was very discouraging. "On the whole I think our Territorial affairs are in a very critical condition and unless something is soon done to improve them all will go to ruin, and lead to a grand smash up." [41]

     The attitude of the members of congress was also cause for the com-


pany's regret. As Webb wrote, they were sorry to hear that the congressmen were such sticklers for party, and so reluctant to advocate a measure unless the "cordon of their own party" surrounded it. However, he urged Pomeroy to continue pushing the matter. "I rely little on the integrity of the members [of congress], but greatly on their political fears; and by working on these I think justice and humanity may yet come off triumphant. . . ." [42]

     Affairs continued unchanged throughout the month of August. Little was accomplished, and it seemed unlikely that anything would be gained by Pomeroy's continued stay in the East. Besides, the situation in the territory was now critical and he was anxious to re- turn. "The recent developments there," he wrote, "convince me I should hasten my footsteps." [43]

     Pomeroy traveled overland to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, the end of the railroad. The Free-State party was using this point as a supply depot, since the usual route through Missouri was growing more and more difficult. Considerable propaganda was issued to persuade emigrants to use the northern route. Pomeroy had some part in this endeavor. The Chicago group, which was acting as a temporary central committee until the appointment of one at the Buffalo convention on July 9, had added him to its central oratorical committee. One function of this subcommittee was to minimize the difficulties of entry into Kansas and to propagandize for increased travel over the Iowa route.44 A circular was issued on July 4 saying that Pomeroy, Lane, Reeder and others were working to turn emigration from the Missouri route to Iowa, [45] and by the end of the month Lane's "Army of the North" was moving into the territory from Nebraska City. [46]

     At Mt. Pleasant Pomeroy found "the nucleus of a party" waiting for an escort and leader into the territory, and he and S. W. Eldridge undertook to conduct them. Lane's party was two or three weeks ahead of them. When they reached Tabor, about three weeks after leaving Mt. Pleasant, they met Lane on his way out of


the territory. Pomeroy wrote from Clark county, Iowa, on September 26, that three other parties were behind them and that they planned to meet at Tabor and enter Kansas together. [47]

     While the party was moving slowly south Robert Morrow had been sent ahead to interview the new governor of the territory, John W. Geary, and learn whether the parties would be allowed to enter peaceably. Lane had advised them to give Geary a fair trial before committing any hostile act. Morrow secured an open letter from the governor in which he said that he welcomed the accession of peaceful and bona fide immigrants into the territory, and requested that the citizens of the territory welcome such persons and give them shelter and protection. Also, he said, if the party came without threats or hostile attitude all military officers in the territory were to give them safe conduct and permit them to pass without interruption. [48]

     However, on October 10 as the party crossed the northern line of the territory they were stopped by Wm. J. Preston, the deputy United States marshal, and Lt. Col. P. St. George Cooke of Fort Leavenworth. The marshal produced the governor's order of September 10 requiring the search of incoming parties for arms and ammunition and proceeded to carry out these orders. A large number of muskets and carbines were found, besides revolvers, sabres, ammunition, saddles and similar materials of war, but "none of the ordinary baggage of emigrants." Preston recognized several of the party as Lane men. It was decided that they were an armed party and consequently they were arrested and taken to the governor. Cooke commented: "I found the Deputy Marshal and some others very much staggered by the Governor's letter as to Eldridge's party, [of] September 30, which was produced. . . ." [49]

     Pomeroy's own story, which is not corroborated by Geary's report to Secretary of State Marcy" [50] nor by other official accounts, is that when they camped for the night he secured Cooke's permission to go on alone to see Geary at Lecompton. He reached the governor next day, having picked up an escort of several members of the


"Stubbs," a military company of Lawrence young men. The interview with Geary took place in a small log cabin guarded by soldiers, and no third party was present. The governor consented to ride to Topeka with Pomeroy, dismiss the army, and allow the party to settle. On the way to Topeka they discussed the situation. All that Geary wanted was peace so the Democrats would not lose the election. He would allow the Free-State men to triumph if they would keep the peace. Pomeroy answered that peace for them meant triumph. Geary kept his promise and dismissed the soldiers, the Missouri river was opened again, and eventually all the Free-State men held prisoners were pardoned. The Proslavery faction was enraged and threatened Geary's life, and eventually- in March, 1857-he resigned and went down the river like Reeder and Shannon before him, fearing assassination. Nevertheless he thought the struggle was virtually over. [51]

     In the comparative calm that settled on the territory in the fall of 1856 the Emigrant Aid Company saw an opportunity to pause and consider its, situation. What it saw could not be anything but discouraging. The treasury was almost empty and funds available in the Northern states were going to the various relief committees instead of to the company for stock subscriptions. Investors had been frightened by the destruction of property in the territory, [52] and in truth it seemed unlikely that the company could show a profit on its business transactions. Further, conditions were still unsettled and the Missourians, according to reports, were likely to attack again at any moment.53 The political uncertainty due to the forthcoming presidential election only added to the confusion.

     One of the first steps taken by the executive committee was to instruct its agents no longer to meddle in politics or other local concerns, but to devote themselves exclusively to company affairs. Their first duty should be to prepare and forward a detailed statement of accounts and a full and accurate statement of the condition of every item of the company's property in Kansas. The executive committee desired to be informed also of the precise terms of all existing contracts and ordered that no new ones requiring payment of money by the company should be made without previous author-


ization from Boston. "You will endeavor to introduce a greater economy into the management of the company's affairs in the territory. . . . You will forward letters of information to the secretary regularly on the 1st and 15th of each month, and as much oftener as may be found advisable." [54]

     Another letter of the same date ordered Charles Branscomb to go to Lawrence immediately and consult with Pomeroy regarding company business, especially in the matter of prompt rebuilding of the hotel. [55] Two days later, on October 3, the executive committee voted to revoke the authority granted Pomeroy on April 28, 1855, to make private investments in the territory, [56] and on October 4 Webb wrote to remind him that his contract with the company required him to make formal statements of his accounts at quarterly intervals, or oftener if requested. The executive committee, Webb said, realized that unsettled conditions during the past year had made such careful bookkeeping impossible, but that since comparative quiet now prevailed they expected both him and Branscomb to fulfill this obligation to the letter. [57]

     At the meeting of October 3, also, the executive committee accepted Charles Robinson's resignation as general agent and requested him to turn over to Pomeroy all books, papers and business matters of the company. Although no conclusive evidence can be cited it seems clear that Robinson had never been entirely satisfied with his position in the company. He was called the "general agent," but the title apparently meant merely "resident agent" in the territory, a term which was also used, though infrequently, to describe his office. He seems to have been the company's local political representative and the very fact that he was a powerful figure in local politics must have made him dissatisfied to be subservient to Pomeroy in business matters.

     Perhaps because of his broad and rather vague title, and because of the publicity written by and about him, Robinson has been considered the chief agent in the territory. Certainly he figures more largely in contemporaneous accounts than does Pomeroy. Yet there can be little doubt of his inferior status in the eyes of the company, or of his own jealousy of Pomeroy. For example, Secretary Webb


on one occasion specifically mentions Pomeroy as "our principal Kansas Ag't." [58] Furthermore, the unusual terms of Pomeroy's contract clearly indicate that it was to be his responsibility to show a profit for the company, for he received ten percent in commissions on the net profits on sales and rents. On the other hand Robinson received two and one half percent "on all sales and receipts," as did Charles Branscomb, then the least important of the three agents. Whatever the actual commissions may have been-and because of the company's poor bookkeeping it is impossible to tell-it seems unlikely that Pomeroy alone would have been given a contract based on net returns had the intention not been to make him the responsible representative. This premise in itself is not, of course, conclusive proof of anything; but coupled with the correspondence of the years 1854-1856 tends definitely to the impression that Pomeroy, and not Robinson, was the man upon whom the company chiefly relied in its business undertakings. That Robinson was aware of this and that he was not reconciled to the situation is made clear by examination of the correspondence addressed to him from Boston. For example, Secretary Webb wrote to him in August to appease his jealousy of Pomeroy and to tell him that he was still "one of the principal agents" of the company. Some persons, Webb said, were maliciously inclined to make difficulties between Robinson and Pomeroy, but Pomeroy "has always spoken in the most kindly manner of you to the [executive] committee; and he has manifested by his deeds, as well as by his words, the sincerity of his friendship." [59]

     Details of company transactions, too, indicate that Pomeroy was considered Robinson's superior, at least in financial matters. On January 26, 1856, for example, he was authorized by the executive committee to consider Robinson's plan to purchase some steamboat boilers and to act upon it at his discretion. On March 1 of the same year he was requested to draw up instructions for emigrants and to prepare a map of the route to the settlements in Kansas, a chore that might well have been left to the supposedly more general functions of Robinson's office. Finally, the fact that no general agent was appointed to succeed Robinson is conclusive proof that the office was not essential to the company's operations. [60]


     This is not to minimize the value of Robinson's work for the Emigrant Aid Company. Nevertheless it seems clear that his position in the company must be considered in a new and definitely less important light. Virtually every fact and every implication obtained from study of the company records goes to prove that Pomeroy was the more consequential agent, and this in turn means that to Pomeroy must go a proportionate share of the blame for the company's unsuccessful business and financial career.

     Business letters during the last weeks of 1856 had largely to do with financial details. Pomeroy sent an itemized list of the company's town lots in Topeka, sold the "large mill," arranged to sell the Kansas City hotel, leased the mill at Manhattan, probably in exchange for an interest in the townsite, and settled Robinson's account with the company. [61] These activities were highly satisfactory to the executive committee, but still he had made no accounting of his finances. On December 8, L. B. Russell and C. J. Higginson, for the committee, requested him to forward immediately a statement of his account to September 1, 1856. The balance to his debit on that date, they wrote, was $27,759.44, and the treasurer had received no statement from him since September 1, 1855. [62]

     However, by the middle of December the company's position was somewhat easier, thanks largely to the efforts of Eli Thayer. Webb spoke optimistically of an expected large spring emigration and suggested that Pomeroy lose no time in selecting town sites where the new-comers might settle. [63] Two weeks later the secretary was so cheered by developments that he remarked, "Our cause has at no time looked more encouraging than it at present does." [64]

     But in January, 1857, depression struck again. Webb wrote that the committee was surprised to learn that payments due the company for the Kansas City hotel had not been received and expected Pomeroy to take steps to secure a prompt settlement. They re-


gretted also that unauthorized drafts had been made on the treasurer. Webb continued:

     It is daily more apparent that the Committee should be informed of the entire indebtedness of the Company within the Territory; it already greatly exceeds what the Committee and you estimated it, when you last met with them; and as yet there seems no limit to its continued increase. Until the bottom line is actually ascertained no additional investments can safely be made. [65]

     Pomeroy still had not furnished an adequate financial report and now was peremptorily ordered to drop all other business and devote his time for the next fifteen days entirely to the task of supplying the executive committee with a detailed history of past expenditures. [66] Apparently Pomeroy did not obey these instructions for Webb wrote on February 12 that matters were still unsatisfactory. The report had reached him, he said, that Pomeroy had a financial interest in the town of Quindaro and that while Robinson was away Pomeroy had looked after his interests too. [67] They had learned also that Pomeroy was active in church affairs there. All this was a great surprise to the members of the executive committee, especially since it appeared that he had not yet found time to place the company's affairs in a satisfactory condition. [68] In the same letter Pomeroy was ordered to sell the company's ten shares of stock in the Quindaro company, if he could get an advance for them on the cost price. This order was opposed to Pomeroy's desires and his personal interest, for he had earlier written to ask the committee's advice in regard to locating his office at Quindaro. [69]

     The executive committee at its meeting on February 20 decided that Pomeroy must be asked to come East immediately, bringing with him all his records, in order that financial matters might be straightened out at once. [70] He arrived about March 6,71 and was present at an adjourned meeting of the committee on the ninth at which he answered questions relating to the company's business


affairs in the territory. He was then ordered to go back to Kansas at once, returning to Boston by May 10 with all the necessary books and papers. In the territory he was to collect what debts he could for the company and was to expend for all purposes not more than $3,000. [72]

     On his return to Kansas Pomeroy concluded one of the most significant business investments made by the company during the year. The executive committee, at the meeting on March 9, had authorized him to establish a town on the Missouri river at a cost of not more than $6,000. [73] Pomeroy decided that the most likely location was the already thriving town of Atchison, a Proslavery stronghold. He made a bargain with Robert McBratney, the agent of the Cincinnati emigration society which already had arranged a controlling interest there, whereby the Emigrant Aid Company took over a large interest in the town in return for a considerable cash outlay and a promise to make further investments. Pomeroy said that McBratney had made preliminary arrangements to purchase half the town site, as well as the Squatter Sovereign, the local newspaper which hitherto had been rabidly Proslavery in policy. Peter T. Abell, president of the town company, had bound himself in writing to buy and turn over to McBratney and his associates at least 51 of the original 100 shares, at a cost of from $400 to $800 each, the newspaper to cost an additional $1,500. Part of the original 100 shares, Pomeroy explained, were already in the hands of Free-State men, so that 51 from the Proslavery side would enable the Free Staters to control the town. When McBratney presented the case to him, he objected to taking part unless more favorable prices and terms could be secured, but nevertheless told McBratney to go ahead and close the bargain if he could secure 1.60 acres more as an addition to the town site for a "reasonable" sum, 600 acres of heavy timber land opposite the town on the Missouri side of the river at $10 an acre, and 200 more lots, representing twenty more shares, at $10 per lot. [74]

     This agreement, of course, far exceeded the cost specified by the company. In fact, although an expenditure of not more than $6,000 had been authorized, and Pomeroy had written that he did not intend to make any drafts on the treasurer, the agreement called for a down payment of $11,000, an equal amount in about six months,


and an obligation on the part of himself and new settlers to spend about $50,000 in developing the town. Pomeroy was extremely enthusiastic about the site, calling it the best he had seen in Kansas, and said he would have bought a larger interest if he had known how to pay for it. As it was, the purchase when finally completed did include a controlling interest in the town and ownership of the Squatter Sovereign. Evidently Pomeroy made the arrangement on his own responsibility, for he wrote that the company might take all or any part of the interest he had secured. [75]

     Pomeroy arrived in Boston for his second visit of the year on May 15, 1857, and was present at the meeting of the executive committee on that day. He made a detailed statement of his purchases for the company and for himself at Atchison. [76] Apparently his actions were approved, even though the cost of the venture so greatly exceeded the specifications laid down by the committee, and despite the fact that the company's balance on hand was only about $10,000. Speaking at the third annual meeting of the company on May 26, Pomeroy gave many particulars relating to conditions at the settlements in the territory and many assurances of a triumphant accomplishment in the near future. [77] At the meeting of the executive committee on May 29 the question of renaming the town was discussed and "Pomeroy" was the committee's second preference. [78]

     Following instructions from the executive committee Pomeroy left for Kansas on June 3. A reassignment of duties had been arranged and hereafter Pomeroy was in complete charge of company matters at Atchison, Quindaro and Kansas City, while Branscomb was in control at Lawrence, Topeka and Manhattan. [79]

     From this time until the following August little of interest occurred so far as the Aid Company was concerned. In the territory


there was excitement over the election of delegates to the constitutional convention which met at Lecompton on September 7, and Free-State political maneuvering was later the chief topic. Pomeroy took an active part in this campaigning and in the Grasshopper Falls convention on August 26, which voted to participate in the October election of a territorial legislature.

     Toward the end of September Pomeroy left on another Eastern trip and was present at meetings of the executive committee on October 30 and November 7. At the latter meeting his contract with the company was renewed for another six months, at the same figure of $1,000 a year. It was specified that "Mr. Pomeroy is at liberty to pursue business on his own account provided his so doing will not interfere with the business of the Company." [80]

     Pomeroy, however, reconsidered almost immediately and decided to resign his agency, effective at once or as soon as the executive committee considered advisable for the interests of the company. [81] The committee after discussing the matter at its meeting on November 17 agreed to accept the resignation effective March 1, 1858, and voted Pomeroy their unanimous thanks for his "long and valuable" services. [82] Subsequently he was appointed local agent at Atchison and he continued in charge of local business in Kansas City as well as furnishing occasional assistance in other matters until 1860. [83]

     Upon his return to Kansas in December, 1857, he plunged again into local politics and thereafter concentrated his efforts on his personal advancement, financial and political.

     During all this time his relations with the Aid Company were friendly. The executive committee apparently found fault only with his carelessness in bookkeeping and his tardiness in forwarding statements of his accounts. These faults were old ones, and while they were in no way creditable to him as a business agent, neither can they be taken as definitive evidence of dishonesty or even of laziness. In the early years, especially from 1854 to 1856, the conditions


under which he worked made careful bookkeeping impossible, and subsequently his increasing preoccupation with his own affairs accounted for his failure to give sufficient time to company matters.

     The extent of his interest in Atchison was considerable and was probably responsible for his enthusiasm and his generosity in investing both for the company and for himself. The town had been incorporated by the territorial legislature in February, 1858, and a special election was held on March 13 to elect temporary city officers. Pomeroy was chosen mayor to serve until the regular election in September, when he was reelected. He was also president of the Atchison branch of the Kansas Valley Bank, which began business in February, 1858 [84] and was president of the Atchison and St. Joseph Railroad, a small company formed to build a twenty-mile extension of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad and so give Atchison a railroad connection with the East. The Atchison city council voted on March 29 to subscribe for $100,000 of stock in any railroad serving this purpose [85] and appointed Mayor Pomeroy to act as its agent in the transaction. It was not coincidence, then, that led Pomeroy and his fellow directors of the railroad to vote on April 6 to receive bids on construction work. [86] The condition of the town generally was prosperous and prospects were bright. Conway, the Aid Company's general agent, spoke very favorably of it and advised the executive committee to hold its town lots there, and to make further investments if possible, in expectation of a speedy in- crease in real estate values. [87]

     Pomeroy was incurably optimistic in business matters. He believed sincerely in the future of Kansas and the good fortune bound to accrue to anyone owning property there. He was constantly looking for new investments and recommending them to the Aid Company. This characteristic alone tended, from 1857 on, to make him an unsatisfactory agent. He seemed unable to realize that the panic of 1857 was playing havoc with business, particularly in the field of investment. Despite constant reference in letters from the East to the tightness of money there, he could not understand that the company was obliged to inaugurate a policy of retrenchment


and consolidation. [88] Furthermore, the company was no longer interested in Kansas as it had been in the earlier years. The executive committee considered that the crisis in the territory had been safely passed. The Kansas struggle was over, Northern investors were turning to other enterprises, and the company itself was struggling to wind up its affairs and withdraw.

     Pomeroy himself was identified with Kansas for the greater part of his life. His interests there were selfish, it is true, though in no greater degree than might be expected in any man desirous of worldly place and fortune. Eventually his ambitions led him into devious bypaths and ultimately caused his downfall, but in the period of his agency with the New England Emigrant Aid Company they were directed toward the defeat of slavery and the victory of the Free-State movement. In 1858 this was accomplished, the company was no longer dependent upon him, and he could well turn to the satisfaction of his own ends.


1. Members of the legislature and citizens of Augusta contributed $270 as a result of Pomeroy's speech.-Webb to E. W. Farley, February 16, in "Emigrant Aid Papers," "Webb Letter Books." Cf., Pomeroy to Webb, January 29, in "EAP," correspondence.
2. "At no time," wrote Doctor Webb, "has there been manifested so wide spread a sympathy for our Kansas friends as since the recent Border Ruffian invasion of Lawrence." Webb to Wm. McGeorge, of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., March 6, 1556, in "Webb Letter Books."
3. Letter to F. E. Patrick, secretary of the Republican club of Conway, Mass., January 19, in ibid.
4. Ibid., passim.
5, Ibid.
6. "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. 11, p. 62. For specific reference to some places and dates of Pomeroy's addresses see ibid., passim.
7. "EAP," "Records of Annual Meetings." Cf., Harlow, "The Rise and Fall of the Kansas Aid Movement," in American Historical Review, v. XLI, No. 1 (October. 1935), pp. 10-25.
8. The most prominent of these agencies was the New York State Kansas Committee, of which William Barnes was secretary. Cf., the "War. Barnes Papers," Manuscript division, Kansas State Historical Society.
9. Pomeroy to Wm. Barnes, April 16, 1856; H. J. King to M. McGowen, March 27; Russell Hebbard to M. McGowen, April 26, in [ibid]. See, also, "Kansas Territorial Clippings,"v. III, Pt. 2, pp. 113-114, and handbill in Pomeroy's writing, advertising a meeting at Faneuil hall on March 13, in "Pomeroy Papers."
10. Cf., Brewerton, The War in Kansas, pp. 345-348.
11. J. D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, v. V, pp. 390-391. The proclamation is virtually a repetition of Pierce's message to the congress on January 24.-Ibid., pp. 352-360.
12. Pomeroy's "Reminiscences," in "Kansas Biographical Scrap Book," "P," v. VI, pp. 118, 120. Descriptions of these events as the Antislavery North saw them may be found in almost every account dealing with the period, especially in Gladstone, Phillips, Holloway, Eldridge, Williams, etc.
13. J. N. Holloway, History of Kansas, p. 320; William Phillips, The Conquest of Kansas, p. 280.
14. Cf., Holloway, op. cit., p. 320; Thomas H. Gladstone, The Englishman in Kansas (New York, 1857), pp. 60, 61; Phillips, op. cit., pp. 273-275; Gen. W. Brown, False Claims. pp. 12-13; Reminiscences of Gov. R. J. Walker (Rockford, Ill., 1902), p. 200; "Memorial of the New England Emigrant Aid Company . . . ,' Senate Miscellaneous DocumentS, No. 29, 37th Cong., 3 Sess.
15. Lawrence to I. M. Bunce, in "EAP," "Lawrence Letters," p. 143. Similar letter to Abner Curtis, of East Abington, Mass., not in "Letters."
16. Lawrence to Pomeroy, undated, in "Lawrence Letters," p. 144. Cf., Lawrence to Robinson, January 31, 1856, in "Robinson Collection."
17. Stone to Pomeroy, May 26, in "EAP," correspondence.
18. "Reminiscences," pp. 122-123.
19. S. W. Eldridge, "Recollections of Early Days in Kansas," Publications of the Kansas State Historical Society, v. II, p. 66. Pomeroy's "Reminiscences," pp. 130-133.
20. G. P. Lowrey to Robinson, Easton, Pa., June 23, in "Robinson Collection."
21. Webb to Wm. Barnes, June 18, in "Wm. Barnes Papers." Also "EAP" "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. II, p. 128; and Webb to Pomeroy, June 20, in "Webb Letter' Books," This statement scarcely agrees with Eli Thayer's claim to being the originator of the convention idea (Kansas Crusade, p. 212), although Thayer was active in the convention and in the work which followed.
22. Webb to Barnes, June 14, in "Wm. Barnes Papers." Cf., "Hyatt Collection."
23. Thayer, Kansas Crusade, pp. 212-214. Thayer to F. G. Adams, secretary of Kansas State Historical Society, August 12, 1887, in "Thayer Collection."
24. Report of the Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates From Kansas Aid Societies, (n. p., n. d.)
25. Webb to Pomeroy, at Washington, June 27, in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books"; also in "Records of Exec. Comm.," v, II, pp. 135-136.' With the dissolution of the Aid Company in 1897 this claim, estimated at $25,000, was bequeathed to the University of Kansas. No attempt has been made to secure a decision in the court of claims, the consensus of opinion being that it is legally untenable. However, the University of Kansas in 1897 petitioned the congress for payment of the claim.-See A Memorial of the University of Kansas in Support of Senate Bill No. 2677 (Lawrence, 1897).
26. The legislature elected January 15 under the Topeka constitution, which met at Topeka on March 4 and after an uneventful session adjourned to meet again on July 4, when it was dispersed-without resistance-by Col. E. V. Sumner and a detachment of United States troops.
27. W. Y. Roberts, lieutenant-governor of Kansas, to C. K. Holliday at Topeka, June 24, in "C. K. Holliday Collection." This letter is signed also by Pomeroy,
28. "Gen. James Blood Collection." The "Camp" was a Proslavery stronghold, and whether these men remained there for the reason stated or because they were unable to leave is not clear.
29. Cf., Webb to John Carter Brown, June 30; to Geo. A. Russell, June 30; to Eli Thayer, July 5; in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books."
30. "EAP," "Records of the Exec. Comm.," v. 11, p. 145.
31. Ibid., p. 142. Cf., Webb to Pomeroy, July 23: "What shall we do for money?" in "Webb Letter Books."
32. Webb to Patrick Jackson, treasurer of the Kansas Aid Fund, July 14, in ibid.
33. Cf., Gladstone, op. cit., pp. 300-307; and letter of the Rev. Ephraim Note, dated Lawrence, July 24, 1856, in "Kansas Territorial Clippings," v. 3, pp. 284, 285.
34. Thayer, "Doings of the Company," in "EAT."'
35. Cf., Mrs. Hannah A. Ropes, Six Months in Kansas, pp. 199, 200: "Now [May? 1856] there arrives from the East . . a man whom we all love and honor-to whom we all look, as to a sheet-anchor in a storm. General Pomeroy gives both warmth and light to the parlor of the miniature `Cincinnati House.' He loves children-they know by intuition who does.
36. Lawrence to Pierce, July 12, in "EAP," "Lawrence Letters," p. 152.
37. Lawrence to Pomeroy, July 12, in ibid., pp. 153-155. Cf., a letter of Lawrence dated August 13, cited in Leverett W. Spring, Kansas-the Prelude to the War for the Union (Boston, 1885), pp. 195-196. It is difficult to explain Lawrence's motives in making these statements. The duplicity here demonstrated seems out of keeping with his character and his reputation for absolute honesty and sincerity. Perhaps they can be condoned on the ground of his devotion to the Free-State cause, but certainly for no other reasons.
38. Cf., Webb to the Rev. B. B. Newton, July 15; to Pomeroy at New York, July 16; in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books."
39. Webb to Pomeroy, July 21, in ibid.
40. Webb to Pomeroy, July 23, in ibid.
41. Webb to Pomeroy, July 29, in ibid. In this letter Webb also informed Pomeroy that no writ was out against him, and no personal danger was to be feared in the territory. The original indictment issued against the Free-State leaders in May and ordering their arrest for treason had contained Pomeroy's name, but it was later removed and that of Gains Jenkins substituted. See Geo. W. Brown, False Claims . . , pp. 12-13, in which Brown, who was one of those arrested, claims to have seen the indictment. 42. Webb to Pomeroy, July 31, in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books." Cf., same to same, August 7, in ibid.
43. Pomeroy to T. W. Higginson, Boston, September 1, 1856, in "T. W. Higginson Collection."
44. Peter Page, of the Chicago committee, to Thaddeus Hyatt, July 6, in "Hyatt Collection".
45. Circular in "Wm. Barnes Papers." Cf., also, Wan. E. Connelley, "The Lane Trail," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. XIII, p. 268.
46. S. W. Eldridge, "Recollections . . ," loc. cit., pp. 81-83. Eldridge says that he and Pomeroy arrived at Topeka on August 11, acting as advance scouts for the "army," but Pomeroy did not leave New York until September 2. Cf., Webb to S. F. Lyman, of Northampton, Mass., September 8, 1856, in "Webb Letter Books."
47. Mentioned in a letter from Webb to Hyatt, October 8, in ibid., and in "Hyatt Collection."
48. "Correspondence of Governor Geary," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. IV, p. 513. The letter is dated Lecompton, September 30, 1856. On the same day Geary wrote to Wm. L. Marcy, secretary of state, that peace now reigns in Kansas. . . . -Gihon, Geary and Kansas, p. 192.
49. Cooke to Maj. F. J. Porter, assistant adjutant general at Fort Leavenworth, October 10, in "Correspondence of Governor Geary," loc. cit., p. 516. Cf., also, "Executive Minutes of Gov. John W. Geary," in ibid., pp. 583-590, 607-611, and passim.
50. Ibid., p. 583.
51. Pomeroy, "Reminiscences," pp. 125-128.
52. A commission of claims established in February, 1859, to determine the extent of the damage concluded that the total loss and destruction from November 1, 1855, to December 1, 1856, was not less than $2,000,000, at least half of which was sustained by the "bona fide" citizens of Kansas. Report of . . Commissioners of Claims, dated July 11, 1859, in "Kansas History Pamphlets," v. III, Pt. I, "Territory."
53. W. F. M. Array, general agent of the National Kansas Committee, to Thaddeus Hyatt, October 7; same to same, October 23; in "Hyatt Collection." Same to Wm. Barnes, October 23, in "Barnes Papers." J. M. Winchell to Hyatt, October 27, in "Hyatt Collection."
54. L. B. Russell and C. J. Higginson, for the executive committee, to Pomeroy and Charles Branscomb, October 1, 1856, in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books." Cf., Webb to Pomeroy, August 11, and Higginson to Branscomb, August 15, in ibid.
55. Russell and Higginson to Branscomb, October 1, in ibid.
56. "EAP," "Records of the Exec. Comm.," v. II, p. 177. Webb to Pomeroy, October 7, in "Webb Letter Books."
57. Webb to Pomeroy, October 4, in ibid.
58. Webb to N. P. Banks, January 29, 1856, in ibid.
59. Webb to Robinson, August 18, 1856, in ibid. Cf., also, Webb to Harlan Page, Jr., December 15 and 20, 1856.-Ibid.
60. Webb to Pomeroy, April 14, 1856, in ibid. The appointment of Martin F. Conway as general agent in 1858 was part of a reorganization of agencies, and the duties assigned differed from those earlier assigned to Robinson.
61. Webb to Harlan Page, Jr., of Lawrence, November 8 and 14, December 3 and 15, in "Webb Letter Books." The identity of Harlan Page is an unsolved mystery. These letters are obviously intended for Pomeroy. Either the name was a pseudonym used by Pomeroy for reasons now unknown, or Pomeroy's mail was sent in care of Page to prevent its interception by other parties. However, there is no record of a Harlan Page then living at Lawrence, and there seems no good reason for the employment of such a subterfuge since other letters were addressed directly to Pomeroy by Webb and various correspondents. Cf., Webb to Chas. H. Branscomb, December 31, 1856: Pomeroy complained that he received no letters from Webb, and the secretary could not understand this. "Ask him if he remembers Harlan Page, Jr." Also, Webb to Pomeroy, February 12, 1857, in ibid.
62. Ibid. No record has been found to show that Pomeroy complied with this request.
63. The boot, shoe and leather dealers of Boston had subscribed $20,000 in return for which they asked the privilege of naming two towns in the territory. Rather than establish new towns, Pomeroy arranged for a change of name by two towns already founded. Webb to Pomeroy and Branscomb, December 13, in ibid. Same to Harlan Page, Jr., December 15- ibid. See, also, Russell K. Hickman, "Speculative Activities of the Emigrant Aid Company," in Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. IV, No. 3 (August, 1935), pp. 251-254.
64. Webb to S. N. Hartwell of Spencer, Mass., December 31, 1856, in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books." Also same to Pomeroy, December 20, in ibid.
65. Webb to Pomeroy, January 14, 1857, in ibid. A letter similar in tone was addressed to Branscomb on January 26.
66. C. J. Higginson to Pomeroy, January 26, in ibid.
67. Cf., Geo. W. Veale, "Coming In and Going Out," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. XI, p. 6. The report probably was correct although no substantiation of it has been discovered by the writer.
68. Webb to Pomeroy, February 12, in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books."
69. Letter from Pomeroy, dated January 22, read at executive committee meeting on February 13, in "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, p. 42. Details of the company's entrance into Quindaro are lacking.
70. Webb to Pomeroy, February 23, in "Webb Letter Books." C. J. Higginson and L. B. Russell, for the executive committee, to Charles Branscomb, February 23, in ibid., and in Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, pp. 55-56. Branscomb was to take Pomeroy's place during his absence.
71. Webb to Nicholas Brown, March 3; to Willis Brown, March 11; in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books."
72. Webb to Pomeroy, March 17, in ibid. The date of his return was later extended to May 17.
73. "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, pp. 69-70.
74. Pomeroy to the executive committee, dated at St. Joseph, Mo., April 10, 1857, in ibid., pp. 110-112. Cf., Lawrence Republican, August 6, 1857.
75. Pomeroy to executive committee, April 10, 11, and 18, in "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, pp. 109-112, 117-121. Webb to C. J. Higginson in Lawrence, May 1, in "Webb Letter Books." Letters from Higginson, April 26 and May 4, in "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, pp. 127-129, 133-136. Cf, Atchison Globe, December 3, 1909. A contract drawn in manuscript, dated February 11, 1858, and signed by O. F. Short, in the manuscript vault of the Kansas State Historical Society, throws an interesting sidelight on the sale of the newspaper. Short sold the Squatter Sovereign to John A. Martin for $2,000, $300 of which was "to me in hand paid," and the remaining $1,700 was to be paid by Martin to Pomeroy, "according to my contract with him. This refers to Short's previous purchase of the paper from Pomeroy. The contract implies that Martin was to be financed in his purchase either by Pomeroy personally or by the Emigrant Aid Company until the $1,700 was paid, since he was to take possession from February 15, 1858, and no date of payment was specified.
76. "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, p. 131.
77. "EAP," "Records of Annual Meetings."
78. "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, p. 156. First choice of the committee was "Wilmot," doubtless in honor of the author of the Wilmot Proviso, but neither name was adopted.
79. C. J. Higginson, for the executive committee, to Pomeroy, June 1; and to Branscomb, June 3 ; in "Webb Letter Books."
80. Ruth P. Boscom, Memoir of Mrs. Lucy Gaylord Pomeroy (New York, 1865), pp. 122-123. Mrs. Boscom was Pomeroy's sister. Also T. J. Marsh to Geo. L. Stearns, September 28, in "Stearns Collection." Copy of contract with Pomeroy, in Webb's handwriting, dated November 7, 1857, in "EAP," correspondence.
81. Pomeroy to Dr. S. Cabot, Jr., of the executive committee, November 14, 1857, in "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. III, pp. 225-226.
82. Ibid., p. 227. Branscomb's resignation was accepted at the same meeting. It was offered unwillingly, at the request of the committee, and Pomeroy is said to have resigned because he sympathized with Branscomb. Cf., Webb to Branscomb, November 18, and to Pomeroy, November 20, in "Webb Letter Books." Also Webb to M. F. Conway, the new general agent, April 27, 1858, in which he intimates that the company was decidedly dissatisfied with Branscomb but mentions no evidence of such feeling toward Pomeroy.
83. Cf., M. Brimmer of the executive committee, to Conway, February 8, 1858, in ibid. Conway to Webb, March 7, in "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. IV, pp. 87-88.
84. Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 380. See the bank's advertisements in various numbers of Freedom's Champion during this time.
85. Freedom's Champion, April 3, 1858.
86. Ibid., issues of April and May, carry advertising to this effect. See, also, editorial in issue of April 10.
87. Conway to Webb, March 7, 1858, in "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. IV, p.
88. Conway's appointment as general agent had been voted at the meeting on February 5, and was accepted by him in a letter of February 21, 1858. Ibid., pp. 55-56, 83.
88. Cf., Hickman, loc. cit., pp. 256-257, 262.

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