KanColl: The Kansas Historical Quarterlies

Kansas -- a VegetarianUtopia:
The Letters of John Milton Hadley, 1855-1856

Edited by Joseph C. Gambone

Spring, 1972 (Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1), pages 65-87
Transcription and HTML composition by Robert MacRae; HTML editing byName withheld upon request;
digitized with permission of The Kansas State Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to endnotes for thistext.


In the spring of 1855, John Milton Hadley, a Quaker from Indiana, arrived in Kansas territory. His father, Jeremiah, had been appointed superintendent of the Friends' Shawnee Mission in Johnson county. [1] His father's appointment allowed Hadley to journey to the land of "popular sovereignty" where the struggle for freedom had commenced. Although he was concerned about the political future of Kansas, Hadley emigrated to the territory in order to take part in a most unusual experiment -- the establishment of a vegetarian colony on the banks of the Neosho river in southeastern Kansas.

     Born in North Carolina on January 25, 1835, Hadley was reared upon Quaker belief in racial equality and freedom for all mankind. In 1841 the Hadley family, together with several other Quakers, moved to central Indiana. Because they were deeply opposed to the expansion of slavery, they could no longer remain in an environment that depended on slave labor. In Indiana, they could live in a land free from slavery with the hope of better economic opportunity. The Hadleys eventually settled in Morgan county and engaged in farming. [2]

     John Milton's early years were spent helping his father on the farm. When he was 17 years old, he left the agricultural chores to his younger brother, Samuel, and took a teaching position at a nearby public school. After a year, Hadley had saved enough money to defray his expenses for two terms at Earlham College, a Friends' boarding school, in Richmond, Ind.

     While attending Earlham College, Hadley became a close observer of Kansas affairs. As the struggle over the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act raged in congress, he was instilled with the idealistic fervor of "free-labor," "free-soil," and "free Kansas." However, the Kansas question was not the only topic which interested the young student. An avid reader, Hadley became involved with such diverse subjects as phrenology, alchemy, hydropathy, and vegetarianism.

     Apparently Hadley adopted a vegetarian philosophy and adopted a vegetarian diet while a student at Earlham. His conversion, together with his concern over slavery in Kansas, made him a likely candidate for participation in one of the most fantastic adventures, in the guise of a reform movement, ever to take place on the plains of Kansas.

     During the winter of 1854-1855, Hadley became cognizant of a plan to establish a vegetarian colony in Kansas. The individual responsible for this proposed settlement was Henry S. Clubb, the leading advocate of vegetarianism in the U.S. [3] His plan called for the establishment of "a permanent home for Vegetarians" in the very center of the country. [4] Here the faithful would gather to live in wonderful health and harmony.

     Clubb's prospectus was published in The Water-Cure Journal. He wrote that his colony would preserve the principles of vegetarianism and would induce thousands of wavering citizens "to adopt a system of diet so highly conducive to their happiness and wellbeing." [5] He was concerned that the public was rapidly backsliding into the evils of meat-eating. Thus he believed that the project would arrest the weak, would hold them to the true faith, and, of course, would gain new converts. The dream colony was to be named "Octagon City" and was to be settled by members of the Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company. [6]

     Upon hearing of the venture, Hadley corresponded with Clubb and placed his name On the list of prospective settlers. Once plans for settlement commenced and a location was selected, Hadley planned to join the colony. [7] When the opportunity arose to make an early journey to Kansas, Hadley did not hesitate. Thus he found himself in the territory awaiting the arrival of Clubb and his disciples to begin settlement of the "vegetarian utopia." [8]

     During his stay at the Friends' Mission, Hadley expressed great optimism about the successful colonization of Kansas, both as a free state and as a haven for vegetarians. His correspondence reflected the optimistic vision of a bright future for Kansas. In April, 1855, he wrote that the territory was "as nearly the equal of Palestine as any"; and, in May, he stated that he would join the colony as soon as a site was located "whereon to plant Our White banner of 'peace and good will' to 'all the world and the rest of mankind'...."

     Unfortunately for Hadley, he became seriously ill during the summer of 1855. To regain his strength, he found it necessary to return to a meat-eating diet. Having broken the faith, he withdrew his name from membership in the vegetarian experiment. His illness caused him to reevaluate the concept of vegetarianism and to seriously contemplate the value of "a fleshless diet." Although no longer a practicing vegetarian, Hadley was still convinced that there "cannot well be a land better suited to vegetarianism than Kansas." [9]

     During the winter of 1856-1857, Hadley went to Indiana, probably for reasons of health, and taught school until early Spring. He then returned to Kansas and settled near Emporia where he farmed for another year. In 1858 he moved to Monticello township in Johnson county, where he taught school, farmed, and was elected justice of the peace for three one-year terms.

     With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Hadley enlisted as a private in the Eighth Kansas infantry. In May, 1862 he was promoted to second lieutenant and served in that capacity 15 months, for six of which he was post adjutant at Fort Leavenworth. He was later promoted to first lieutenant and transferred to the Ninth Kansas cavalry.

     When Gen. Thomas Ewing assumed command of the "District of the Border," in June, 1863, Hadley was assigned to Ewing's staff and served eight months as acting assistant adjutant with the rank of captain. Having been replaced by Gen. Samuel R. Curtis in 1864, Hadley returned to his regiment. In May, 1865, he was promoted to major, and served until his command was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth in August, 1865.

     After the war Hadley settled at Olathe, and in December, 1866, married Harriet Beach, daughter of the Rev. Isaac Beach, a Presbyterian minister of Olathe. Prior to his marriage, Hadley was unsolicitedly nominated and elected sheriff of Johnson county and served three terms. In 1870 he was elected clerk of the district court in Johnson county, and was reelected to that office in 1872 and 1874.

     In 1876, after a spirited campaign, Hadley was elected state senator and served until 1879. In the spring of 1877, following his campaign victory, he opened a law office with George W. Wilson, and practiced for one year. Dissatisfied with the legal profession, Hadley moved to Gardner, in Johnson county, and engaged in the mercantile business, but he remained only a short time.

     In June, 1880, he announced his retirement from active politics and became involved in the milling and grain business at Desoto, and eventually purchased the Johnson county flour mills. Although he was frequently approached to again accept public office, he always declined and directed his energy to the milling business and his farm. He died on June 21, 1909.


APRIL 25TH '55

ESTEEMED FRIEND & FELLOW IN THE FIELD OF REFORM -- GEORGE -- I take this opportunity to reply to thy kind letter which came duly to hand and was read with interest. We have all been here -- all our company -- in this grand focus of emigration more than five weeks. [11] I'm sorry to say that my health during this time has not been good. In the first, the mumps -- which must have been of Indiana seed, and then sickness of this and that sort, and lately the pleurisy I presume or something like it. Today -- my leg is hurting me too. O maybe -- My jubilee of health will come after while. Sam'l & I are at the Mission-boarding --and tending a crop of corn on grounds which we have rented in partnership with Eli Wilson, to the amount of 50 or 60 acres. [12] The farmer can surely make it "pay" well here for awhile and especially this year if he can get rain -- a dryer time is hardly on record in this country -- still the soil is remarkably moist and plows where it has not been trodden as loosely as at any period in Indiana, and is more moist than could be expected --

     Notwithstanding the unfavorable circumstances under which I have labored and the unfavorable season so far, I may [say] in truth I like the general features of this region -- Well. True, there are some things belonging to the land which are not as the restless heart thats looking for an earthly Paradise would have -- some really unpleasant and disparaging items indeed, but taking all and comparing with other places of the habitable globe -- this is as nearly the equal of Palestine as any.

     I never knew more bees -- and the resources for raising cattle are almost boundless -- hence -- it is a land flowing with "milk & honey." I think thee would like Kansas too George as well as the rest of your family. The supply of wild fruits exceed that of any country I ever knew. Straw- rasp- goose- black berries grow plentifully. Plums -- persimmons -- crab apples -- wild cherries and grapes also abound. There is an unlimited extent of hazel nut thickets -- and hickory trees are found and walnut -- besides most other mast-bearing timber -- All which are apt as I'm told to be very productive. Hence, thee can have "nuts" to crack -- George -- Now, I have not been over the territory and can not tell from my own sight what the afect of it presents, but there is variety in everything I learn as everywhere else.

     The prairies are generally high, rolling-appearing in vast undulating ridges between which there is sometimes gullies or washes but never "sloughs" -- or only small ones. Timber is on the water courses as in other prairie countries, and would not look like "woods" in Ind. -- that is that here -- for in other parts are excellent forests of large trees. There is an old doctor planting a nursery on the Mission farm, who has taken a claim on the Pottowattomie Cr. 60 miles south, and he says he has as good timber as he ever owned in Ohio. And this is the only district which I know of where timbered claims can be taken -- there are however some in other parts -- but they will all doubtless be gone before the middle of summer. Timber is the grand object with some while others are indifferent to it -- and say they don't care for it. Some say it's "scarce" -- others that theres enough -- while I'm inclined to the latter opinion.

     Coal is found in places and signs are noticed here. Rock plenty and of the prettiest kind -- such walls as the creeks have -- O Thee says thee has a prospect of coming to Kansas. Well I can assure thee, if I'm allowed to be a judge -- that thee cant come too quick. Its a pity but thee had come early last spring -- though there are chances yet and will be a long time for many good gains in business and profit. Still it will depend on what thee is coming for whether its late yet or not. To get claims of timber in good localities for settlement, the day is almost past, Prairie claims, O, oceans of them. Respecting the Vegetarian Colony I know but little more yet than I did.

     I have seen C. Morley who is a veget. and belongs to the colony. The project is still on foot -- and Clubb is expected on in May -- and then a thorough exploration of the territory will be made and the site of the community will be decided. [13] Morley is preparing to live in Topeka. He's rather past the meridian of life -- and I presume a preacher. He told me he was the author of The Power of Kindness. The contest for free principles here is strong and well it may be -- considering the manner in which the rights of the citizens were outraged at last election. Many thousands of Missourians came over armed and forced their votes by one device and another by threats & lies and force into the ballot box. [14] A struggle will be required to make Kansas a free state. It will call for firmness of the best kind. O for more substantial free state men. Surveying of the territory has not yet begun. [15] One of the surveyors was here last night -- he's a veget. I'm acquainted [with him]. Tell thy father to come with all his boys -- All to come this fall -- at least by next spring. He need not fear but that he could live -- live happier -- make more and put his family in vastly better circumstances.

     With profound respect I conclude and remain as ever thine. J. MILTON HADLEY

Write soon please -- no haste I say --
Isaac & Sammy are well. They are over the mumps --

MAY 25TH 1855

     A dark rainy morning this. I cannot be at plow -- hence I'll try to work a little time by way of writing, notwithstanding the hard work this week has nearly worn off the keen edge of my wit, or all I had. Thy favor came duly to hand and was read with inasmuch as it confirmed me of thy fidelity to the great principles of Reform now going forward in the path of life -- opposed to the wind and tide of prejudice and "old fogyism." Cast -- hurl with uncompromising vengeance every breath of the infernal fumes of prejudice to the 4 winds of the wide-wide world -- that scattered in the abysmal womb of uncreated light every subject -- religious & moral as well as scientifical and physical shall meet with the same investigation and scrutiny. Let us still labor for the Right -- for it is Might -- held fast to our faith whatsoever it be -- striving to exalt the standard of truth --

     Thee has likely noticed in the Water Cure for May some items respecting the movements of Veget. Colony. I received a letter last week from H. S. Clubb. He informs me that there are about 24 families expected to join us this fall. [16] He is very anxious to know how many persons I know who would be ready to enter the community this fall and next spring. No location has as yet been made of a site whereon to plant Our White banner of "peace and good will" to "all the world and the rest of mankind" including of course apes of all sorts, pigs and opossums -- and every creeping thing -- and flying fowl -- and swimming fish -- supposing these last two tribes are not to put up in the vulgar category of "things." Has thee got any works on vegetarianism? I wish I had a few of the standard ones. I have access to the Water Cure works mostly which are pretty conclusive on all points embraced [in] the creed. [17] I still stick with Stoical tenacity to total abstinence from the flesh pots -- bearing the brunt of the storm of taunts and insults -- hailed down by others eating flesh -- who are so much healthier than I am. The fact is my friend George -- I've been quite deeply in fog & foul weather ever since I've been here. Sometimes I've fancied there had not one gleam of joy -- one ray of hope and comfort, to cheer my afflicted soul pierced the firmament that overhung the vault of the present. Yet hope -- I will -- I must -- for let go that anchor and All -- all is lost -- submerged and sunk in the unfathomable deeps of despair and oblivion.

     I've been on the Hunger Cure for nearly a week, and feel some better by it though it work me through pretty hard. [18] My stomach now is good quite and by temperance and exercise hope to gain strength. The truth is my disease is some kind of Liver Complaint. I know society would suit thee out here there are so many Water Cure people. Up at Lawrence they have a Water Cure society. [19] I take a cold wash every morning just before light, and then go out into the fields to drive up the horses and feed them to go to plow. I dont get any time scarcely even to read so thee friend must be ready of pardon -- like a good -- in good faith.

     Sam'l has just returned from a tour 150 miles southwest -- in company with others from Iowa & Ind. among the rest Newton Hinshaw. They didn't like [it] at all, so they didn't stick -- and turned & wheeled about with faces ahead on the back track -- except Newt and met another young man, who took the trail for Santa Fe. They have some strange sights before them and stranger experience than they ever had to undergo before. But then if they get through they will come back that much heartier -- stronger, truly tempered to hardship. Come to Kansas as soon as thee can. Privations & difficulties have to be endured for awhile -- age -- darkness oer spreads the sky -- but believing there is light behind. We will Press On -- on in the path of enterprise. We have fine seasons now. Corn is promising. Mother earth bid us good cheer from the luxuriant bounty of her full lap. Straw berries are beginning to ripen and then will follow fruits all the season. Dont thee wish thee was here -- Thee might get good wages at present -- one man near here is offering $20 per month for plow boys A glorious chance -- Business out in the territory may be found around the towns and young Cities. Persevere George in Veget & W. C. practice and let me know thy experience as it results. I've done nothing with the C. G. and I dont know that I shall much. I fear its all humbug -- has thee gotten a certificate of membership. Wishing thee the greatest amount of earths happiness I remain


     Write as soon as thee can -- Write me a long letter too -- JMH

     Please give my best respects to thy father and mother -- and brothers all --

     Tell John to write to me -- W. too & Enos & Isaac --

     Life Illustrated is taken here by C. Mendenhall. [20] I get to read it occasionally -- I think I shall subscribe before the year is out. Water cure runs high here Scores of water folks -- I have nearly all the Water Cure books to read -- Mendenhall has them -- Chronological too -- This is not a mean place to enjoy oneself I see Adamjah Gregory now & then -- He live[s] 8 miles south -

     BROTHER GEORGE, if thee receives anything from old Dr. Duvall please inform us -- or if thee takes any new steps in the Cabala -- We have done nothing -- nor can we yet -- though we are talking of presenting the circulars to some -- Learn what thee can -- Hold fast to the good!

JULY 19th -- 55
ESTEEMED FRIEND AND FELLOW LABORER IN THE EVER-WIDENING FIELD OF REFORMATION. I take my pen & seat this evening with thine of the 7th ult. outspread before me -- a plan rather unusual with me -- but from the character and interest of thine I do it this time. My health has been far from being good -- and verily I have quit work pretty much tho I tried pretty hard last week -- helping to haul stones from an old mill built by government for the Shawnees -- but which has gone down 5 or 6 years. I met with a slight accident which prevented me from work I got my little finger prettified -- by getting the nail mashed off. This week I've been trying the virtue of foot exercise very satisfactorily -- in fact I believe none is better. And I am of opinion that regular exercise on horse back and on foot will cure most curable cases of dyspepsia -- debility &c. I have given up all hope of making more than to gain my health again. Well at times I think so, but what weak and fikle beings we are. 0, that I may live only for the little good I may be able to do, and may I still be able to [do] more. I might write all the time as for business -- but confinement hurts me so. I fear the consequence. This morning I walked 5 or 6 miles before breakfast.

     I read a few newspapers--not many -- it wont do for me to confine myself more than to fill duties of my correspondence, and thine should have been answered sooner had not Sam'l & I too have been sick -- Sammy has had the fever -- was taken about a month ago and is now only just able to work -- yesterday for the first -- binding oats. The weather has been quite seasonable and crops are truly promising -- corn especially -- in fact every thing. All wild fruits are in abundance -- such as have not passed and there is no country I reckon can match this in yield of wild fruits. Grapes are ripe now in the greatest plenty I ever knew -- and the best ones too. Fall grapes will come in yet. Plums -- "1ots of 'em." In every respect -- there cannot well be a land better suited to vegetarians than Kansas. Vegetarianism is on the increase as Water Cure doctrines. Owing to my poor health and inability to join the colony as well as the prospect too I had of returning home at the advice of my friends, my name has been removed from the list. I received a letter from Clubb the other day -- he says it will be fall before he can come to select a location. [21] At present Wage is about the only "go" -- but better times will come.

     I have not bought any new books -- I received as a present by mail -- an excellent little book by Horace Mann -- entitled Thoughts for a young Man. Go ahead George in the book business. Nothing more honorable and righteous. Perhaps we shall like to go in with you in getting books. I'm sorry to confess that the school has gone down at the Friends Mission. The cholera gave it a start down hill. The Methodists is in a fine state -- as it live fat on government "pap." We have done nothing for the Cabala -- or Alchemy. [22] I should like to have the Mystic Circle of Alchemy condensed and if thee will send it to me I'll make thing right. I want to take the Monthly Medical & Matrimonial review. I would like to know its tone and spirit -- though I'd like to know its size &c. & the subjects it discusses and does thee take it yet.

     Has thee sent on for Dr Duvalls Great Medical work? If thee has -- when it comes inform me please thy candidly done judgment on it. It really promises to be strictly a book which the age demands. I'm anxious to see it. I intend showing the prospectus of Alchemy to some shortly and trying to see what will be its fate among other people. I tell thee George the reason I've not done more with it -- is I've been fearful it had a little tincture of humbug in it. That old Dr. loved money more than man at last. We must in cases endeavor to be guided by a prudent cautiousness. When thee becomes a member in the C- S- please let me know, as well as all other knowledge which would be of profit or interest.


     1ST There is plenty of rock in most parts of every kind in many places gravel. 2ND Yes, limestone plenty 3RD No sheep selling. Cattle from $20 to $30. Oxen from $60 to $125. Horses from $50 to $150. 4TH I think so. 5TH Westport is 5 miles from F.M. 6TH I dont know certainly -- 6 or 7 tho -- 3 or 4 of free state stamp -- some on the border which claim an interest in our concerns. I cannot send thee specimens of all now Kansas Free State K. Tribune & K. Herald of Freedom published at Lawrence -- all for freedom in Kansas. 7TH Yes. 8TH no poplar -- black walnut & Wild cherry. 9TH No particular form of credential is necessary -- just merely the signature of the P. M. as to honesty and ability will be all [that's] necessary.

     I was down at thy cousin Adamjah Gregorys last 1st night -- They were well -- They live a wholly vegetarian life and have [no] flesh at all -- I tell thee they are Right. They have two fine boys. George thee and Enos make haste and come -- I could write a great deal more & tell thee lots of good things -- but I'm in an awful big hurry -- Please write soon -- please do and let me have another long and interesting epistle as the last was.
In Truth and Reform
Thy friend

     P.S. Give my best respect to thy brothers Enos & William & Isaac & John. Tell John to write to me in fact all -- Also thy father and mother in an especial manner.

Now the time to come to Kansas

OCT. 1ST 1855 --
Its late at night now. I cant get the chance to read or write till after dark -- and not often till after 8. whiles as I have been so unwell for sometime that I could not sit up late but little studying of any sort has been done by me. Hence I beg thy pardon for procrastinating my response to thy last acceptable letter as thine are all interesting. First as to health. Mine yet is indifferent though rather on the uphill grade I hope for the last day or two -- O may it still move on in the same happy course. I have often thought of thy advice -- but have very little idea of it at the time. I have had the chills but got over them. Father & mother and the rest are here now at mission, and this thee may know affords me great comfort in my affliction as well as help -- for nothing so much strengthens one in my state as the cheer of good kind friends. Father is very unwell tonight. I really fear he is taking the fever. So is sister Asenath -- and Mother, and brother James. All have something like the chills and fever. Chills & fevers prevail --

     There has been so much wet everywhere -- it is not very strange that such diseases should be prevalent, as indeed they are in almost every vicinity. Weather at present is quite cool and fires feel well. We have had some remarkably warm weather in this last month -- very hot truly. O how I sweat. Well -- it wa[s]nt slow -- when I was able to work. I have been drying peaches -- There have been quite a lot here of the first quality. Bushels have rotted -- but they are nearly all gone. We have fruit yet though. O I know thee would live fat in the hazel patches, if thee likes them as thee used to like hickory nuts. For my part I like all, but I can't indulge. And there are a "heap of grapes" -- good ones too -- I can walk out among the brush and find some any time. I have gathered several baskets and think I shall more. Persimmons and papaws are on hand too -- and they are delicious verily. O, I wish thee was here as well as Enos and all the family. I'd like to pay you a visit this winter, but guess I hardly can. Caleb Strattan is here now. He came in yesterday -- left home a week ago today. He designs travelling pretty generally over the territory. There are a good many fine locations yet to be made -- but "first come first served," till none who wish to come can too quickly. I shall look for thee and Enos this winter -- Shall I see you?

     Crops are good and vegetables are plenty of all the kinds good for food usually eaten by us Christians. It is really a great land for the production of such. But here at the mission -- things have been poorly tende[d] and consequently the conclusion is not hard. Thy cousin Adamjah Gregory's Children have the chills -- They look quite puny. He lives in a house near by. The committee or deputation of them have been with us for some time. They are going to leave in the morning via Iowa. Newton Hinshaw is here. Hired at $20 per month.

     To day was the appointed for the election -- a delegate to congress by the legislature. [23] Tomorrow week the Free State party meet for the same purpose and to elect delegates to frame a state constitution and request admittance in the union all at their own instance. [24] This thee will find from the papers. As to alchemy I have done little. I have talked some to a few on it, but I have really been a little afraid of the old Dr. and wished to wait to see what he would do. I have been [on] two prospecting trips in the Territory. To Cottonwood Creek more than 100 miles south west and Lecompton north west. All good. Cottonwood is Ira's place Urbana Cavaness has been here. He talks of moving to Cottonwood. It's late. I must wind up. Write soon another good full sheet -- all the rest write some and stick in Give my best wishes to all.
Thine truly

Excuse errors from haste

1st Moth 9th 1856
I have received letters from each of you which I have not responded to so taking the present as a suitable opportunity for performing that duty I seat myself to the work.

     Enos' I believe came to hand a long time ago and should have been answered -- but owing to my usual negligence in such matters -- I have delayed -- but partly on account of my still existing bad health

     Indeed I'm almost ready to despair entirely of ever getting well as I once was tho, the chill embers of hope will still occasionally animate me in my weary walks of life -- yet I have given away so much and so long to violate and trample on nature -- that resistance to temptation seems almost out of the question. How often I have resolved -- and resolved -- again and again to live as the laws of nature demand -- but as often have I proved the verity of the proverb -- and most emphatically too -- that the spirit indeed is willing tho the flesh is weak. I've had a touch of the fever -- and since then I've not been improving much in health -- tho I had been considerable before I have indeed taken to flesh eating a little at times

     Flesh is easier digested than vegetable matter and for some I think is preferable as an article of diet but not for all. There are some who had better never touch animal food -- such is the diversity of constitutions. This world appears to us a chaos -- so little do we know of the ordering of the Hand that guides the wheels of the Universe. All our knowledge is imperfect -- yet every movement in the sphere of mind is onward & upward. I think the Veget movement a progressive one -- still not suited for all the world yet. These things I leave, however, for all is Mystery -- where'er we go.

     School is going on to pretty good satisfaction. Something more than 20 scholars -- Martha Townsend -- teacher -- all little scholars except some girls. There are hired boys here -- and some boarders -- travelers stopping occasionally till we have plenty of company, and I could enjoy myself well -- could I enjoy anything But where is enjoyment to the invalid? We need help in the kitchen badly and father is gone now out on Cottonwood to get a girl. Awful cold time for such a trip. Indeed we have had the most shocking cold weather and the longest spell of it I believe I ever knew -- This climate is not so much milder as some had anticipated. I think tho' it is better [than] that of Indiana --

     The Kansas Veg. Co. are about to locate on the Neosho -- 25 miles above Ft. Scott. [25] This is said to be a fine country -- especially possessing one of the first recommendations of any country -- that is good water from springs. I think it would not be a bad idea for thee to joint the company if thee can -- and the particulars thee may get from the Journals & Life -- I'm not taking the Journals or Life --

Henry S. Clubb

LEFT: Henry S. Clubb, a guiding force behind the vegetarian crusade in Kansas territory, apparently lacked the "practical ability to manage the affairs of the company successfully." Portrait sketch courtesy the John Crerar Library, Chicago
John Milton Hadley

RIGHT: John Milton Hadley arrived in Kansas during the winter of 1855-1856 to participate in a vegetarian experiment. Ill health soon returned him to a meat-eating diet, with a general observation that "vegetarians are a set of spooneys."

Vegetarian Settlement Company bulletin

One of the bulletins issued to members and shareholders of the Vegetarian Settlement Company.

I'd like to read them but do not attach that importance to them that I once did. [26] If thee finds in any of them anything that thee thinks would convert me back to my old faith, which I cherished so ardently-please send it to me.

     But by the way -- George & Enos -- I've been writing as if to one -- altho I mean both. I'm authorized to invite you to come on to Kansas right away you can have employment here at the Mission with all the accommodations you can ask so come -- I don't care how quick. You can come per cars -- as far as Jefferson City -- thence by stage or as you prefer -- At any rate come on in the spring bright & early. You can do something So come on as soon as you can. Claims may be taken in many places -- Good one too Oh how the country will fill up from this forward The question as to a free state is now pretty well settled --and many of our timid-hearted fellows will dare come in and claim part & parcel of the victory and the spoils -- Let them come We came pretty near having a going war -- but all has passed off without serious loss of blood. [27] The Missourians are perfectly whipped out -- and I dont think will make another attempt to claim the territory to themselves. We are going on to organize a free state whether we shall succeed or not time must determine. [28]

     Well George & Enos -- if I've omitted to write anything you wished I dont know what it is

     Fowlers family are mostly dissatisfied except the old man -- and that without much reason -- yet Pierce likes well -- So does Ira -- We have some idea of going out there ourselves -- We shall know more when father gets home -- As to proslavery papers -- they are not accessible to me --

     Respecting wages -- they are as good as there [is?] if not a little better. Work wanted all the time out in the territory. When the land will be surveyed is very uncertain -- and you can know as much about it there as here -- They are at it now and it will likely be done next season in most of the territory.

     Health is now generally pretty good -- weather cold -- some complaint of frosted extremities Write to me about every thing thee can think of George -- and fill one envelop then Enos-- the same -- all of you My respects to all of you
As ever

3RD MOTH 30TH 56
The Storm prevails -- the flaky whiteness comes whirling and twirling hither & thither as the wind directs. A remarkable winter truly this. Who has seen its like? I dont believe I have.

     Well, it is to be hoped that old winter will soon withdraw from this part of the terra firma his cold mantle and remove his quarters to somewhere else. We have had some pretty weather though fine indeed! Last 1st day was exquisitely delightful -- but to-day is only so -- for its austere inclement storms. I trust though we shall soon have fine weather. From what I learn the weather has been more severe in southern climates the past winter in proportion to its latitude than in northern. We have begun sowing oats -- plowed the garden but not done much at gardening.

     We have been fixing fences -- making rails and the like. Why didn't thee come on? why turn coward? But may be thee was convinced it wasn't best for thee to risk thy self where there was any hope of danger -- where even a whisper of its blew But I found it wasn't best for me to risk my life any longer in the declining path of vegetarianism not from an insignificant whisper of danger -- nay verily -- but from the imperative voice of admonition given under the seal of an experience of some two or three years and growing still more and more urgent as trampled nature sank deeper and deeper. So I shall not quarrel with thee at present for being a coward. [29]

     Of what service will all our advocacy of reform do. How much real good will we do the world the grand object for which we all should live -- if we advocate principles, plans -- or anything -- and then sit sullenly silent -- and do nothing for "fear" in some of its forms. But then thee's young I dont blame thee so much as some others. But just to show thee that thy fear was groundless -- built on a shadow -- there is no war in the country nor is there likely to be. I have no belief that there is any danger at all from an invasion from Missouri. The Mo's are a different set of fellows -- the most of them -- 2/3 it is said from what is styled the Border Ruffian. A great many are true free state men -- many say that Kansas will never be a slave state and many who have been up here at the different times -- say they will never be caught up here again on such errands as they have been Their aim is now to out do us with bonified settlers. In this work though they must surely fail. Thousands are coming in from the free states. [30]

     There are now with us three men just arrived -- one from Michigan and two from Illinois. They say thousands are coming -- that emigration is just setting in. Ho! come on! The valuable points -- the good farm sites will soon be claimed in that part of the territory where settlement has begun. Hence thee had better come quickly -- if thee wants to make a claim and get a good one. If thee designs settling with the vegetarian colony -- thee need fear no danger as their location is in a part of the territory where the enmity of the Southerner is not directed. I calculate thee would do well to join them and proceed with them if thee aims to live with them [at] all. Vegetarianism is a good thing, that is -- good for some -- while the injunction is "Know Thyself"-- Hence if it suits thee -- thy nature as a whole -- "stick to it" --

     We need help at the mission and if thee had been here or was here now thee could get employment. If thee dont come -- please send me a full history of thy experience as a vegetarian. My health has been improving some lately. I have gained several pounds, tho' I have had the chills some this spring again. I've got them broken and I hope they will remain. Give my respects to thy father and mother & all the rest. Write soon. Enos may consider this to him as well as thee.
As ever truly

5TH MOTH 12TH '56
This is 1st day morning. I received thy kind favor 2 or 3 days ago. I was sorry to learn of thy declining health. But it's what I had feared for thee for some time.

     Let me tell thee George -- that from [what] I can learn that is almost invariably the case that those whose ancestry have been flesh eaters or have been at any period themselves and then adopted an exclusive vegetable diet become rather slow -- effeminate courageless lank-jawed -- slab-sided -- pale -- old looking -- melancholy -- despondent -- hypochondriac -- and -- finally wofully -- wane out of existence. It is a general observation that vegetarians are a set of spooneys, my own agreeing. Now all this in direct opposition to what the publications of Messrs-Fowlers & Wells tell us of them -- We cant see and dont know and so are duped -- miserably

     Our great duty is -- to know ourselves. There are those of such an organization & temperament as to be benefitted by vegetable diet alone -- There is a great deal in education too. Let's study to know ourselves -- Exercise prudence moderation and temperance in all things. I do not believe a vegetarian to be an abler --a wiser or a better being in any way -- George -- hear all sides -- look around before thee decides. The vegetarians have settled on the Neosho river 40 miles west of Ft. Scott. [31] H. S. Clubb has published a letter in the Herald of Freedom descriptive of the country -- the colony and their plans. [32] He will probably send thee a number of it. I suppose he will. I wish them success -- and await the issue.

     Lands I learn are for sale now in some parts of Kansas, and will be in most parts soon -- except in the reserves. [33] It will [be] some more than three months before it is here in the Shawnee reserve. If thee aims to come to Kansas thee would do well to come soon. A mighty flux of emigration is pouring in from all parts. North. East. West & South --

     My health George appears to be improving constantly. I verily expect I could do as much work as thee, unless it would be because thee is more used to it -- I make my hand on the farm. And I eat Meat-- hog meat too -- and gravey and lots of greasy things -- and that three times a day -- just any thing thats set before me --"asking no questions" --

     True I have the dyspepsia badly too -- but I am much abler and enjoy myself better a long ways than I did while I was a vegetarian -- and dieted so particularly --

     I am a Water Cure still -- I believe in the efficacy of water to cure disease -- and I also believe in the efficacy of the medicinal agents of nature to same purpose -- Why not? Let us see the contrary. I say. I hate medicine as much as any one almost -- and think it is abused, too much resorted to -- "All things for some use." It has not been proven that medicine have not done good -- notwithstanding the efforts of the Water Cures -- neither do I believe it can be -

     Thee comes out and bluntly asks me if I have renounced Phrenology -- [34] Challenging me to answer -- Well I am not disposed to shirk from honest argument but I guess I could do as I please in answering "that." But as is my disposition -- using friendly kindness I will just say -- that my faith in Phrenology is much shaken. I do not believe that the system as taught by Fowlers is free from many gross errors and inconsistencys. It aims at too much. It reach above the present grasp of human power -- Its fundamental doctrines are true and it may in time become a science of utility

     Our Mission [is] in a tolerably prosperous state Things are reasonably quiet in the territory as much as could be expected. We are anticipating some trouble -- I hope it will all pass by -- 35 Fine weather now -- Much rain a few days past. not much corn planted -- health pretty good -- Mother very sore eyes -- not much ague -- trains to cross the plains are starting now every day. Give my love to thy father & mother and thy brothers -- and believe me as ever thy real friend J MILTON HADLEY

Joseph GAMBONE is a member of the manuscript and archives staff of the Kansas State Historical Society.

1. During the winter of 1856-1857, Jeremiah Hadley resigned his position at the Friends' Mission and left the territory. Having become alarmed at the political situation in Kansas, he moved to Iowa. For additional information concerning the Friends' Mission and Quaker emigration, see Wilson Hobbs, "The Friends' Establishment in Kansas Territory," Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 250-271 (hereafter cited KHC); William H. Coffin, "Settlement of the Friends in Kansas," ibid., v. 7 (1901-1902), pp. 322-361; Grant W. Harrington, Historic Spots or Mile-Stones in the Progress of Wyandotte County, Kansas (Merriam, Mission Press, 1935), pp. 81-86; H. Pearl Dixon, Sixty Years Among the Indians: A Short Life Sketch of Thomas H. and Mary W. Stanley, Quaker Missionaries to the Indians (Galena, Sadie S. Carter, 1921); Sheldon Jackson, ed., "English Quakers Tour Kansas in 1858: From the Journal of Sarah Lindsey," Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 13 (February, 1944), pp. 35-52 (hereafter cited KHQ); Emory K. Lindquist, "The Protestant and Jewish Religions in Kansas," in John D. Bright, ed., Kansas: The First Century (New York, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc. 1956) v. 2, pp. 357-358; Eugene R. Craine, "The Indians in Kansas," ibid., v. 1, pp. 85-87; and Errol T. Elliott, Quakers on the American Frontier: A History of the Westward Migrations, Settlements, and Developments of Friends on the American Continent (Richmond, Ind., The Friends United Press, 1969), pp. 131-159.

2. Although some chronological and factual conflicts exist in the available biographical accounts of John Milton Hadley, the events and dates given here are those which seem to be most logical. -- See, Alfred T. Andreas and William G. Cutler, History of the State of Kansas (Chicago, A. T. Andreas, 1883), p.632; The United States Biographical Dictionary, "Kansas Volume" (Chicago, S. Lewis & Co., 1879), pp. 753-754; Olathe Mirror, June 24, 1909; Olathe Register, June 24, 1909; and Desoto Eagle Eye, June 24, 1909.

3. Henry S. Clubb, originally of Salford, England, was the leading lecturer on vegetarianism in the Manchester area before his emigration to the United States in 1850. Upon his arrival in New York, Clubb became a secretary of the American Vegetarian Society, and served as a reporter for the New York Tribune. The Tribune gave much space to hydropathy, phrenology, vegetarianism, and other reform movements; and its editor, Horace Greeley, was for many years a leading advocate of Fourierism in the U.S.

Although vegetarianism dated back to the middle of the first millennium B.C., and was taught by the philosophers of classical antiquity, dietary reform had a rebirth in the U. S. during the 1830's and 1840's. Stimulated by the forceful writings and lectures of Sylvester Graham, tremendous impetus was given to the movement by such notables as Amos Bronson Alcott, Charles Lane, and Henry Wright, who together, in 1844, created Fruitlands, the first cooperative vegetarian community near Boston.

The early advocates of vegetarianism found it difficult to succeed in a world largely composed of "meat-eaters." Regardless of past failures, Clubb decided that the time was right for a new vegetarian colony. By 1855 he was ready to plant the seeds of vegetarianism in Kansas and carry on the work of the earlier leaders.

4. The Water-Cure Journal, New York, 1855, quoted in Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, April 28, 1855. Inspired by the great impact of organized emigration under the New England Emigrant Aid Company to plant Free-State settlements in Kansas, Clubb apparently decided to promote a vegetarian colony in the territory. He envisioned a permanent colony for vegetarians from various parts of the country which would promote abstinence from the flesh of animals by exhibiting the many physical, intellectual, and moral advantages resulting from vegetarian habits of diet.

From this center the waves of dietary reform would emanate in all directions, to all parts of the nation, until the entire country should be won back from the evils of meat-eating. Clubb believed that vegetarian practices promoted health and longevity, tended towards immunity from disease, was more economical, and that it encouraged temperance. He argued that the vegetarian principle was in accord with scriptural teaching, and had been practiced in Paradise -- See, the Vegetarian Magazine, Chicago, November, 1897: and February, 1900.

5. The Water-Cure Journal was published in New York by Fowlers and Wells. Although the journal was devoted to the advancement of hydropathy, philosophy, physiology, and anatomy, its content was of a varied nature, combining instruction with entertainment, and affording a highly readable miscellany of scientific essays, social commentary, and general news items. Many of the New York newspapers called this publication the most popular "health journal" in the world.

6. The Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company, an outgrowth of the American Vegetarian Society, was projected by Clubb in 1855. He drew up the prospectus, organized the company, and prepared bulletins which were mailed to all known vegetarians to keep them abreast of the progress of the enterprise. The first meeting of the Kansas company was held in New York on May 16, 1855. Charles DeWolfe of Philadelphia, was elected president; Dr. John McLauren of New York, was appointed company agent to visit Kansas to select a favorable site; and Clubb was elected secretary-treasurer.

     At this meeting agreement was reached to operate the company on the joint-stock principle whereby each member would purchase shares for $5 payable either in money or labor. The plan of settlement was based on what Clubb called the "Octagonal Plan," a revision and refinement of Orson Squire Fowler's octagon architectural design. Using Fowler's scientific premise that the most practical form of construction was the octagon since it permitted more receptivity of sunlight, Clubb extended the concept to the construction of his vegetarian community. The colony was to have an area of four square miles or 25,000 acres, with eight equal sides.

Forty-seven prospective settlers attended the initial meeting and agreed to emigrate in the spring of 1856, while correspondence from an additional 61 vegetarians indicated that the first settlement would total 108 members. Although the organizational meeting was dominated by the aura of idealism, the approach of the promoters hinted at speculative activities.

The adoption of the unique octagon plan of settlement seemed to arouse great interest among nonvegetarians in organized emigration to Kansas. However, membership was limited to vegetarians, and, as a result, the settlement would be of a restrictive nature. In order to allow nonvegetarians, who were sincere in abiding by the moral restrictions of the company, to participate in the Kansas venture, Clubb advocated the organization in February, 1856, of a nonvegetarian association to be known as the Octagon Settlement Company. Although this company was to avoid the vegetarian limitation, it otherwise resembled its sister company. In emigrating to the Kansas frontier, both companies acted very much in unison.

Thus it would appear that by establishing several settlements, vegetarian and nonvegetarian, the chances of successful colonization and of greater financial returns to the promoters would be considerably improved. Probably with the hope of profit, the two organizations became so closely connected that it was at times difficult to distinguish between them. -- See, Russell K. Hickman, "The Vegetarian and Octagon Settlement Companies," KHQ, v. 2 (November, 1933), pp. 377-385; The Water-Cure Journal, 1855, quoted in Herald of Freedom, August 11, 1855; The Octagon Settlement Company, Kanzas (New York, Fowlers & Wells, 1856), pp. 3-7; and "Vegetarian Settlement Company," February 16, 1856, "John Milton Hadley Papers, 1855-1856," microfilm copy in Kansas State Historical Society.

7. By September, 1855, Dr. McLauren had proceeded to Kansas and had reported a favorable site for the colony in southeastern Kansas on the Neosho river, "within a day's walk of Fort Scott." With the selection of a location, the promoters announced that farm sites would be ready for distribution on May 1, 1856. -- See, The Octagon Settlement Company, Kanzas, pp. 3-4; and Life Illustrated, New York, 1855, quoted in Herald of Freedom, January 19, 1856.

8. The vegetarian emigration into the territory did not begin until the spring of 1856. Having complete faith in Clubb's plan for spring emigration, the New York Tribune expressed its enthusiasm for successful colonization: "The location selected is in Southern Kansas, and combines all the advantages of mild climate, fertile land, water-power, limestone, coal, wood, pure springs, rolling prairie, and beautiful scenery. It forms the center of an important district, as it comprises some of the best land in the Territory, and must in a few years occupy a prominent position in an agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing aspect." -- New York Daily Tribune, January 21, 1856.

In mid-March, 1856, the first group of vegetarians from scattered points throughout the country arrived at the Site of Octagon City. Apparently the first group was to commence construction of the colony. They were to build the central octagon building to welcome the new members and to begin the operation of sawmills, for the lumber they would need, and gristmills, to convert their grain to meal. Thus the settlement would have the beginnings of economic stability. -- Daily Missouri Democrat, St. Louis, March 26, 1856.

9. For additional information on the Kansas vegetarian colony, see Hickman, "The Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company," Kansas Magazine, Manhattan, 1950, pp. 19-22; Stewart H. Holbrook, The Yankee Exodus: An Account of Migration From New England (New York, The Macmillan Co., 1950), pp. 103-107; Holbrook, Dreamers of the American Dream (New York, Doubleday & Co., 1957), pp. 48-51; Holbrook, "The Vegetarians of Octagon City," Woman's Day, New York, December, 1949, pp. 58-59, 116-117, 119; Everett Dick, The Sod-House Frontier, 1854-1890: A Social History of the Northern Plains From the Creation of Kansas & Nebraska to the Admission of the Dakotas (Lincoln, Johnsen Publishing Co., 1954), pp. 194-196; C. W. Dana, The Great West (Boston, Wentworth and Co., 1858), pp. 225-226; L. Wallace Duncan, History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas (Fort Scott, Monitor Printing Co., 1902), pp. 37-38; and Frank W Blackmar, Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. (Chicago, Standard Publishing Co., 1912), v. 2, pp. 880-381, 842-843.

Two published memoirs detailing life in the vegetarian settlement are Mrs. Miriam D. Colt, Went to Kansas: Being a Thrilling Account of an Ill-Fated Expedition to That Fairy Land, and Its Sad Results (Watertown, New York, L. Ingalls & Co., 1862), and Donald W. Stewart, ed., "Memoirs of Watson Stewart: 1855-1860, KHQ, v. 18 (November, 1950) pp. 376-404.

10. The John Milton Hadley letters are published here through the courtesy of Mrs. Albert Reitzel, Stilesville, Ind. Mrs. Reitzel is the granddaughter of George Allen, the recipient of Hadley's letters.

George Allen, of Morgan county, Indiana, was a close friend of Hadley. During his stay in Kansas, Hadley wrote several letters to Allen, urging him to emigrate to the territory. A vegetarian himself, Allen had an intense interest in the successful colonization of Octagon city. In December, 1855, he became a member of the vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company and planned to join the colony in the spring of 1856 (see, Henry S. Clubb to George Allen December 23, 1855, "Charles Allen Family Papers, 1854-1894," microfilm copy, Kansas State Historical Society).

Allen eventually made plans with Samuel Stewart of Lafayette, Ind., to make the journey to Kansas. However, at the last moment, Allen decided not to go (see, Samuel Stewart to Allen, February 12, 23, 1856, and Clubb to Allen, May 30, 1856, ibid.). When Hadley learned of Allen's reluctance to leave Indiana, he wrote that Allen had become a "coward."

It was not until 1870 that Allen, with his wife and two small children, traveled to Kansas. He intended to buy land and farm near Emporia. However, he became dissatisfied and returned to his home within a year.

11. A month earlier, Hadley's younger brother, Samuel, had written to Allen that he had "landed in the paradisian field of the Union -- , the Garden of God." He implored Allen "in the name of humanity to come to Kansas and, do all thee can to bring others with thee, for the country is most beautiful and only lacks the artificial part to be an Earthly paradise. But self ease &c. should not be the impromptu in bringing the true hearted emigrant hither; a nobler ambition should be the prompter, that of saving Kansas from the curse of Slavery; in no way could a person do more good to the Union, perform a greater service to his God and to posterity. If Kansas is saved from the thraldoms chains never will there be another slave state annexed to the Union but if we lose Kansas all is lost; and nothing short of Civil war will ever again render freedom national. I acknowledge there will be but few of those blessings which are to be found in the older parts of creation, but the satisfaction of knowing a person is performing 'such' a duty to his country repays all tenfold." -- Samuel Hadley to Allen, March 21, 1855, "John Milton Hadley Papers.

12. Eli Wilson had journeyed to Kansas in late autumn of 1854, with two fellow Quakers, Benajah W. Hiatt and William H. Coffin, to investigate the country for a suitable location for a Friends' colony. After a brief survey of northeastern Kansas, Wilson went back to Indiana. The following spring, he returned to Kansas and obtained temporary residence at the Friends' mission. Here with the Hadley brothers, Wilson rented farm land from the Shawnee Indians. For additional comment on Wilson, see Coffin, "Settlement of Friends in Kansas," pp. 322-361.

13. In his article for The Water-Cure Journal, Clubb wrote that his proposal for a Kansas vegetarian colony had brought together vegetarians from various areas of the country and that several were on their way to Kansas "with instructions to report the results of their explorations." The proposed expedition to the territory did not materialize until August, 1855, and Clubb did not arrive at the colony until the following spring.

According to Clubb, the major objective of his plan was "the making known to each other such Vegetarians as design going to Kansas, and who, but for this Company would perhaps settle at remote distances from each other, and feeling themselves solitary and alone in their Vegetarian practice might sink into flesh-eating habits; while by the introduction afforded by this Company, they become known to each other, and are thereby sustained in their practice." -- See, The Water-Cure Journal, 1855, quoted in Herald of Freedom, April 28, 1855.

14. The first territorial election was held on March 30, 1855. On that day, hundreds of Missourians, or so-called "Border Ruffians," swarmed across the border and took possession of the polls. Their votes gave the Proslavery forces a resounding victory. The Free-State men promptly dubbed the newly elected legislature "bogus" and referred to its enactments by the same derisive term. Actually there were enough bona fide Proslavery residents in the territory at this time that such intervention would not have been necessary.

On March 31 the Herald of Freedom denounced the invasion and concluded that Kansas was deluged with Missourians because the Proslavery sympathizers feared that unless they could gain "political ascendancy," Kansas would become a free state. Uncertain about the immediate results of the election, the Herald appealed for all men who wished to secure a free Kansas to "hurry forward as rapidly as possible."

The Kansas Weekly Herald of Leavenworth, an avid Proslavery journal, asserted that the results of the election indicated a total victory for the Democratic party over the Free-State abolitionists: "Come on, Southern men -- bring your slaves and fill up the Territory. Kansas is saved! Abolitionism is rebuked, her fortress stormed, their flag is dragling in the dust!"

For additional contemporary newspaper commentary, see Herald of Freedom, April 7, 21, 1855; Kansas Weekly Herald, April 6, 20, 1855; Squatter Sovereign, Atchison, April 3, 10, 1855; Daily Missouri Republican, St. Louis, April 2, 1855; New York Daily Tribune April 2, 6, 9, 10, 1855; New York Times, April 3, 1855. A vast number of newspaper clippings from all sections of the country, concerning the territorial election and its aftermath, are found in Thomas H. Webb, compiler, "Webb Scrap Book," v. 3, library, Kansas State Historical Society.

15. Although Kansas was opened to settlement on May 30, 1854, congress did not authorize the survey of the public lands until July 22, 1854, and the first contract was not issued until November, 1855. However, the incompetency of surveyors, together with a blundering administration in Washington, retarded progress to such a degree that a year and a half after the territory was opened to settlement not a single township was reported to have been completed. -- See "Report of John Calhoun, November 8, 1855," in Annual Report, Secretary of the Interior, 84th Cong., 1st Sess., House Exec. Doc. No.1, pp. 308-315. The best available study of Kansas land policy is Paul W. Gates, Fifty Million Acres: Conflicts Over Kansas Land Policy, 1854-1890 (Ithaca, N. Y., Cornell University Press, 1954), pp. 48-49.

16. The organizational meeting of the Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company held in New York on May 16, 1855. It was estimated that 108 prospective settlers would journey to Kansas in the spring of 1856. -- See, The Water-Cure Journal, 1855, quoted in Herald of Freedom, August 11, 1855.

17. Water-cure, or hydropathy, was the treatment that professed to cure all disease by the application of hot and cold water. The name is now largely superseded by the term hydrotherapy.

The use of water medicinally, both by application and by drinking, was recognized by the ancient Greeks and Romans in the treatment of disease. During the Middle Ages the same view was professed by many famous physicians. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the water-cure process became a popular and accepted form of medical treatment for acute rather than chronic disease. In the United States widespread medical acceptance of hydropathy for specific therapeutic purposes, resulted in the establishment of water-cure societies throughout the country.

18. The hunger cure was a form of fasting associated with the early principles of vegetarianism. The abstinence from food and drink was a treatment used to cure stomach or intestinal ailments since it was believed that the foreign organisms within the body could not survive without continual nourishment.

19. The Lawrence Hydropathic Hygienic Society was organized on March 24, 1855. and plans were made to build a water-cure establishment as soon as the necessary funds could be raised. For the constitution of the Lawrence society, see Herald of Freedom, March 31, 1855.

20. Life Illustrated, a weekly newspaper devoted to the arts and sciences, literature, social commentary, and general news items, was published in New York by Fowlers and Wells. The editors designed their journal "to encourage a spirit of Hope, Manliness, Self-Reliance and Activity among the people; to point out the means of profitable economy, and to discuss the Leading Ideas of the Day; to record all signs of Progress; and to advocate Political and Industrial Rights for all Classes." -- New York Daily Tribune, December 5, 1855.

21. The vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company's exploration party, headed by Dr. McLauren, left New York on August 14, 1855, and reported their findings to Clubb in September. -- See, Clubb to Allen, August 14, 1855, "Charles Allen Family Papers"; and "Vegetarian Settlement Company," December 1, 1855, "John Milton Hadley Papers."

22. Alchemy, the forerunner of chemistry, dates back to the early Egyptian civilization. Eventually the practical arts of metallurgy cultivated by the Egyptians came into contact with the philosophical speculations of the ancient Greeks. Out of this fusion appeared the science of alchemy. The practitioners -- alchemists -- tried to change or transmute cheaper metals such as iron and lead into the more valuable gold and silver. More important to the philosophic thought of the 18th and 19th centuries, alchemists attempted to uncover a magic liquid, the elixir of life, which would ward off the infirmities of old age and even prevent death -- the search for the proverbial "fountain of youth."

23. The territorial legislature had appointed October 1, 1855, for the election of a delegate to congress. The Free-State men, having repudiated the legality of the legislature, refused to participate in the election. Therefore John W. Whitfield, the Proslavery candidate, was all but unanimously reelected, receiving 2,721 of the 2,738 votes cast. -- See Kansas Weekly Herald, October 6, 1855; Squatter Sovereign, October 9, 16, 1855;and New York Daily Tribune, October 6, 1855.

24. On October 9, 1855, the Free State election was held and ex-Gov. Andrew H Reeder was elected delegate to congress. At the same time, delegates to the Topeka constitutional convention were elected. -- See, Herald of Freedom, October 6, 13, 20, 27, 1855; Kansas Free State, Lawrence, October 29, 1855; Kansas Tribune, Lawrence, October 17, 1855; New York Times, October 20, 22, 1855; and New York Daily Tribune, October 17, 22, 1855. For additional newspaper comment, see "Webb Scrap Book," v. 6.

When both Whitfield and Reeder presented themselves in congress, the house of representatives refused to seat either of them and appointed the Howard committee to investigate the troubles in the territory. The Kansas question became a national issue. The findings of the committee were published and shed much light on the Kansas imbroglio. -- See, U. S. Congress, House, "Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas," Report No. 200, 34th Cong., 1st Sess., 1856.

25. The site selected for the colony was actually 40 miles west of Ft. Scott on the Neosho river, near present-day Humboldt. -- See, "Vegetarian Settlement Company," December 1, 1855, "John Milton Hadley Papers."

26. Hadley was referring to The Water-Cure Journal, The Phrenological Journal, and Life Illustrated. These journals were published by Fowlers and Wells and were extremely popular reading.

27. The "Wakarusa war" (November-December, 1855) foreshadowed the outbreak of civil strife in Kansas during the spring and summer of 1856. The "war" resulted from the intense controversy over the slavery question. In November, 1855, hostilities almost erupted with the murder of Free-Stater Clarence Dow by Franklin N. Coleman at Hickory Point, in Douglas county, over a land claim. Armed conflict seemed imminent between Free-State and Proslavery forces. However, on December 8, Gov. Wilson Shannon intervened and negotiated a treaty which terminated the "war" without further bloodshed.

For a discussion of the "war," see James C. Malin, John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-Six (Philadelphia, The American Philosophical Society, 1942), pp. 16-23; Samuel A. Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom: The New England Emigrant Aid Company in the Kansas Crusade (Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 1954), pp. 138-143; Charles Robinson, The Kansas Conflict (Lawrence, Journal Publishing Co., 1898), pp. 181-230; and Sara T. D. Robinson, "The Wakarusa War," KHC, v. 10 (1907-1908). pp. 457-471. For additional information, see "Wakarusa War Papers," KHC, v. 5 (1891-1896), pp. 242-250; and "Evidence Relating to Claims of the Citizens of Kansas," 40th Cong., 3d Sess., Miscellaneous House Documents, No. 47.

28. The Topeka constitutional convention convened on October 23, 1855, and framed a Free-State constitution. On December 15 the constitution was submitted to the voters and adopted by a vote of 1,731 to 46. A month later, January 15, 1856, the election of state officers under that constitution was held. Thus two independent governments were functioning for political control of the territory.

On March 24, 1856, the Topeka constitution was presented to the U. S. senate by Lewis Cass of Michigan for the immediate admission of Kansas as a free state. -- See, Malin, "The Topeka Statehood Movement Reconsidered: Origins," in Territorial Kansas, Studies Commemorating the Centennial (Committee on Social Science Studies, Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 1954), pp. 33-69; Bright, "The Topeka Constitution," in Bright, ed., Kansas: The First Century, v.1, pp. 121-144; "The Topeka Movement," KHC, v.13 (1913-1914), pp. 125-249.

29. In December, 1855, George Allen purchased 20 shares in the Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company. His correspondence revealed a sincere desire to emigrate to Kansas during the spring of 1856. In January, 1856, Allen purchased an additional 20 shares, giving him the rights to 40 acres of farm land in Octagon City. However, his failure to join the colony resulted in the forfeiture of his deposit. -- See, Clubb to Allen, July 25, December 28, 1855, January 14, 1856, May 80, 1856, Samuel Stewart to Allen, February 12, 23, 1856, "Charles Allen Family Papers."

30. By the spring of 1856 the tide of emigration to Kansas took on a definite Free-State complexion, thus threatening the continuance of Proslavery control of government. Free-State ranks increased as pioneers from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio moved into Kansas. The spectacle of two rival governments, each denying legal existence to the other, was only the beginning, as violence and the threat of violence dominated the Kansas scene for the first eight months of 1856. Bands of armed Proslavery men marched against Free-State settlements, and Free-Staters retaliated in kind. Action and counter-action continued. News from Kansas made front-page headlines throughout the nation, and allowed the epithet of "Bleeding Kansas" to become symbolical of freedom.

See, Walter L. Fleming, "The Buford Expedition to Kansas," American Historical Review, New York, v. 6 (October, 1900), pp. 38-48; Malin, "Proslavery Background of the Kansas Struggle," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, v. 10 (December, 1923), pp. 285-305; Elmer L. Craik, "Southern Interest in Territorial Kansas, 1854-1858," KHC, v. 15 (1919-1922), pp. 334-450; William O. Lynch, "Popular Sovereignty and the Colonization of Kansas From 1854 to 1860," Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1917-1918, v. 9, p. 3, pp. 380-392; Lynch, "The Western Flow of Southern Colonists," Journal of Southern History, Baton Rouge, v. 9 (August, 1943, pp. 303-327; and Robert Morrow, "Emigration to Kansas in 1856," KHC, v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 302-315.

31. Vegetarians had emigrated with the idea of finding some new Canaan in the form of Octagon City. Farmers, merchants, mechanics, and even professional men with their families were among the recruits who hoped to start a new life on the frontier. They had implicit faith in the company and had accepted fully Clubb's glorious descriptions of the settlement. When they finally arrived at the Neosho river, they were unable to accept what their eyes beheld. The dream that had fetched them across over 1,000 miles of wilderness became a nightmare.

Most of the members were disappointed and were determined to turn right around and start again on a journey back home. Food was limited and shelter was almost non-existent, except for tents "of cloth, some of cloth and green bark just peeled from the trees, and some wholly of green bark, struck upon the damp ground, without floors or fires." -- Colt, Went to Kansas, p.46.

32. Herald of Freedom, May 3, 1856. Clubb published an encouraging report upon the progress of the settlement. He stated that nearly 100 members had arrived at the site, that the central octagon building was under construction to house families until their own homes were built, that a gristmill was in operation, and that a great majority were "well pleased with the location" as "the merry voices of women and children (filled) the air with gladness."

Clubb's assessment of the vegetarian utopia was a total fabrication. He undoubtedly was attempting to advertise the settlement in highly laudatory terms. One member of this ill-fated experiment, Mrs. Miriam Colt, published a vivid account of life in the colony. Her story was a coherent narrative of her dreadful experience. Upon her arrival in early May, she was shocked to see nothing but prairie stretching bare and silent. "The (Company) directors," she wrote, "after receiving our money to build mills, have not fulfilled the trust reposed in them." -- Colt, Went to Kansas, p.45.

According to Mrs. Colt, neither sawmills nor gristmills were in operation, while the large stone octagon building was, in reality, a log cabin, 16 x 16 feet, without floor or furnishings. She continued: "These intelligent, but too confiding, families have come from the North, East, South and West, to this farther West, to make pleasant homes; and now are determined to turn right about, start again on a journey -- some know not where! Others have invested their all in the company. Now come lost means and blighted hopes." -- Ibid., p.46.

One after another of the colonists left. Some of those remaining waited only for opportunities to get away. The more determined ones dug in and attempted to stick it out. They cut logs and built crude shelters. They took turns with the one plow in the colony, broke up the sod and planted what seeds they could.

Such attempts proved fruitless. Everything was against them. It was a cold and wet spring, and extremely hot summer, while mosquitoes scourged the countryside in clouds that could not be escaped. Almost everyone came down with the chills and fever. Although disease appeared to have delivered the final knock-out blow to the colony, its fate had been virtually sealed by the tactics of the promoters, who had enlisted too many Easterners -- men who were ill-adapted to frontier life -- and encouraged them with rash promises of company employment. Within a few months, Octagon City was deserted and all its dreams vanished.

The project thus brilliantly begun ended in complete failure. Although some mis-management seems to have occurred, charges of dishonesty against the promoters cannot be entirely substantiated. It appears that money collected for the purpose of starting the settlement was not invested properly. In defending the honesty and sincerity of Clubb, Watson Stewart stated in his memoirs that Clubb was basically an honest man who lacked the "practical ability to manage the affairs of the company successfully." -- Stewart, "Memoirs of Watson Stewart: 1855-1860," p.385.

Though the movement had all the "stigmata" of the fanatical idealism that flowered during the first half of the 19th century, the organizational structure of the project clearly indicated that the promoters intended to realize a financial profit. Their tactics, together with their high-pressure salesmanship and promotional activities, conflicted with the idealistic principles that had resulted in the establishment of the transcendentalist community of intellectuals at Brook Farm near Boston, the communitarian colony of New Harmony on the banks of the Wabash in Indiana, and the sexual utopian experiment of the Oneida community in upstate New York. Maybe the Kansas colony would have succeeded if Clubb's dream of a permanent home for vegetarians had been based completely on principles rather than profits.

33. The first sale of public land in Kansas was begun on November 17, 1856, when the eastern portion of the Delaware trust lands were offered. -- See, Gates, Fifty Million Acres, pp. 65-68.

34. Phrenology was an allegedly scientific method of rating the mental faculties and character traits of human beings through the study of the conformation of the skull. In accordance with this theory, phrenologists charted the cranium of man in sections, each section being taken to represent the location in the brain of some definite faculty or mental or moral disposition. The cranial protuberances, according to their location, denoted the individual to be endowed with large or small amounts of 35 qualities, such as ideality, benevolence, combativeness, individuality, wit, wonder, and philoprogenitiveness.

The leading American exponent of phrenology was Orson Squire Fowler, who published The Phrenological Journal. His writings and lectures helped to popularize the science during the middle of the 19th century. Fowler professed "to be able to pronounce opinions so accurate and reliable that you may adopt them as 'life guides' in the improvement, development and perfection of yourselves and your children." -- New York Daily Tribune, October 3, 1854.

However many of Fowler's followers assumed altogether too much for it and made money by charting heads of those interested at prices ranging from 50c to $5 per chart. The more flattering a phrenologist's analysis, the more people paid to have their heads charted for character evaluation. A typical advertisement professing the scientific value of phrenology appeared in the New York Tribune, September 29, 1854: "Phrenology teaches us our Natural Capacities, our right, and wrong tendencies, the most appropriate avocations, and directs us how to attain self-improvement, happiness and success in life. It shows each individual wherein he is deficient or excessively developed, and how to cultivate or restrain those faculties necessary to obtain a consistent intellectual, moral and social disposition."

Phrenologists also assumed the ability to evaluate society in general. They asserted their proficiency to judge "whom to trust and mistrust, whom to select and reject for specific places and stations." They could choose "apprentices who have a particular knack or talent for particular trades." They could tell "who will always bungle"; who will, and will not, "make us warm and perpetual friends"; and who were not "adapted to become partners in business." Finally, phrenologists believed that they could decide beforehand, "who can, and cannot, live together affectionately and happily in wedlock, and on what points differences will arise." -- New York Daily Tribune, October 10, 1854.

Such assertions found little receptivity in the scientific community. With the growth of knowledge in anatomy during the latter half of the 19th century, phrenology was disowned as an exact science.

For a biographical sketch of Fowler, see Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981), v. 6, pp. 565-566. For additional phrenological advertisements, see New York Daily Tribune, September 28, December 25, 1854, and May 18, 1855.

35. On May 21, 1856, Proslavery forces sacked the town of Lawrence, long regarded as the citadel of antislavery leadership. The Lawrence attack produced retaliation in the form of John Brown's Pottawatomie creek massacre on May 28. Thus civil strife and border warfare engulfed the territory and inscribed on the public conscious the epithet "Bleeding Kansas." See Malin, "Judge Lecompte and the 'Sack of Lawrence' May 21, 1856," KHQ, v. 20 (August and November, 1953), pp. 465-494, 553-597; "Notes on the Proslavery March Against Lawrence," ibid., v. 11 (February, 1942), pp. 45-64; Robert W. Johannsen, ed., "A Footnote on the Pottawatomie Massacre, 1856," ibid., v. 22 (Autumn, 1956), pp. 236-241; Shalor W. Eldridge, Recollections of Early Days in Kansas (Publications of the Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas State Printing Plant, 1920), pp. 45-55; Robert G. Elliott, "The Events of 1856," KHC, v. 7 (1901-1902), pp. 521-536; "Correspondence of Governor Wilson Shannon," ibid., v. 4 (1886-1890), pp. 392-403; August Bondi, "With John Brown in Kansas," ibid., v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 275-289; Samuel J. Shively, "The Pottawatomie Massacre," ibid., pp. 177-187.

The most exhaustive work on John Brown is Malin, John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-Six. For a more recent interpretation of Brown, and one in partial conflict with Malin's conclusions, see Stephen B. Oates, To Purge This Land With Blood: A Biography of John Brown (N.Y., Harper & Row, 1970).


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