William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


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The first Territorial Legislature, at its second session, passed an act February 23, 1857, "to provide for the auditing of claims, the taking of testimony in support of all such claims, collections, and certification of vouchers, and making a true and correct statement in duplicate of all such accounts, to be laid before the next Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory, to the end that proper and united efforts may be made to obtain from Congress compensation and indemnity for all losses, expenses and damages incurred by the citizens of this Territory, without distinction of party."

Hon. Wilson Shannon was first appointed Commissioner, but declined to serve, Hon. H. J. Strickler was chosen to fill his place, "to audit and certify all claims of all and every person or persons who should present the same for consideration." for

1. (Public) moneys actually and necessarily expended for the purpose of maintaining and carrying into effect the laws of this Territory, or for the purpose of suppressing any rebellion or insurrection, whether in sustaining the militia or any posse of the Marshal or any Sheriff of any county of the Territory.

2. (Private) claims of all persons who may have sustained any loss or damage in consequence of, or growing out of, the difficulties in this Territory, by way of loss of property or consequent expenses at any time since the passage of the act to organize this Territory, viz., May 31, 1854.

Mr. Strickler, after giving proper notice to claimants, held sessions to hear and receive testimony and audit claims at Lecompton, Fort Scott, Paoli, Osawatomie, Leavenworth, Atchison, Lawrence, Tecumseh, Osawkie and other places, during the months of September, October, November and a part of December. According to the report of the Commissioners, three hundred and fifty-seven claims were presented "under oath, with the corroborating testimony of two or more witnesses." The whole amount claimed was $301,225.11. The amount awarded, $253,254.28; of the private class.

In January, 1858, Gen. Strickler reported his proceedings to the Territorial Legislature, then in session. No action was taken upon the report at that time, as the antagonism between the "Free-State" and "Pro-slavery" parties was still bitter, and it was known that a large majority of Free-State sufferers had not presented their claims, which would mostly come under the head of "private," while at the same time many of the "public" claims in the Commissioners' report they were unwilling to allow.

During the session of Congress in March, 1858, Gen. Strickler forwarded his report, and the testimony taken to Washington for presentation, according to the provisions of the claim act of February 23, 1857.

Hon. M. J. Parrott, the Free-State Territorial Delegate, had the matter referred, and at the same session presented a bill relating to the losses sustained by settlers in Kansas during the previous years, and asking for indemnification, but which practically amounted to nothing, affairs being still unsettled in the southeastern part of the Territory.

At the legislative session of 1859, Gov. Medary again presented Gen. Strickler's report to that body, which had then been printed, with the testimony taken in each case. By this time, hundreds of additional claimants had reported losses, and the incompleteness of the report, although impartially and thoroughly made, so far as it lay in the power of the Commissioner, determined the Legislature to provide for ascertaining and presenting to Congress a more correct and full account of the losses sustained in the Territory. An act was accordingly passed February 7, 1859, providing for the payment of claims of sufferers by the Kansas difficulties. The act provided for the appointment of three Commissioners, one by the Governor, one by the Council, and the third by the House of Representatives of the Territorial Legislature, whose duty should be "to audit and certify all claims for the loss of property taken or destroyed, and damages resulting therefrom, during the disorder which prevailed in this Territory from November 1, 1855, to December 1, 1856. By a supplementary act, an attorney was to be elected by joint ballot of both branches of the Legislature, to attend the Commissioners, with power to subpoena witnesses and assist in the investigation of the claims. The Governor appointed Edward Hoagland, the Council elected Henry J. Adams, and the house Samuel A. Kingman, as the three Commissioners. On the recommendation of Gov. Medary, Hon. William McKay was elected Territorial Attorney, and the board organized at Leavenworth City February 21, 1859. The first public session was held at the Johnson House in Lawrence, commencing March 1. Sessions were afterward held at Leavenworth, Osawatomie, Tecumseh and Fort Scott. The report of the Commissioners, dated July 11, 1859, shows that petitions were received, testimony taken and judgment rendered upon 487 claims. Losses were claimed by the settlers amounting to $479,973.92, and the Commissioners awarded and issued certificates for $454,001.70. Out of $412,978.03 allowed for property destroyed, which included $37,349.71 for crops destroyed, 78 buildings burned or torn down, 368 horses and 533 cattle taken or killed; $335,779.04 belonged to Free-State and $77,198.99 to Pro-slavery men. The amount of property taken or destroyed by Free-State men was $94,529.40; by Pro-slavery men, $318,718.63. Of the 357 claims audited by Gen. Strickler, 196 were presented to this board for adjustment, the remainder having been abandoned by the parties or presented by those who had subsequently moved out of the Territory. The Commissioners state that $50,000, in addition to the awards made, making an aggregate of about $500,000, would probably discharge all demands that would be presented by actual settlers of Kansas. The report further says:

From all our investigations we are confident that the entire loss and destruction of property during the warfare from November 1, 1859, till December 1, 1856, including the fitting out of the several armed expeditions, and the private losses incurred on both sides could not have been less than two millions of dollars ($2,000,000). We believe that at least one-half of that amount was directly sustained by, and fell upon, actual citizens of Kansas -- the bonafide settlers. This opinion is formed: 1st. From the amount of losses claimed before us (and which we have no doubt were actual losses and expenses to the individuals but a large proportion of which we could not allow under the act of February 7, 1859) 2d. From the amounts proven up before the former commissioner, and which have not been presented to us for adjustment. 3d. From the number of settlers who were driven away from the Territory and have never returned, being spirit-broken and discouraged by the scenes of 1856.

Although not within our province, we may be excused for stating that from the most reliable information that we have been able to gather, by the secret warfare of the guerrilla system, and in well-known encounters, the number of lives sacrificed in Kansas during the period mentioned probably exceeded rather than fell short of two hundred. Many affairs in which life was sacrificed on either side were kept secret, and the particulars are only known to the participants. The guerrillas, from motives of policy, seldom made known the results of their operations, But the number of missing persons, and the letters of inquiry for individuals, addressed so frequently from all parts of the Union to citizens of Kansas, have a meaning and significance not to be mistaken.

By the provisions of the act the Commissioners were required, upon demand of the claimant, to deliver to him a certificate of award, and on or before the 1st day of September, 1859, to close their proceedings, and file in duplicate, in the offices of the Secretary and Auditor of the Territory a statement of all claims made, and amounts allowed, and also to file all testimony, vouchers, etc., in the office of the Secretary. It then "became the duty of the Auditor upon the delivery to him of any certificate of award given by said Commissioners, to draw his warrants on the Treasurer of the Territory, in such sums as may be required, for the amount therein named, in favor of the party to whom such award has been made, or to his order, and deliver the same on demand." Also, it was made "the duty of any constitutional convention, hereafter to assemble, to make suitable provisions for securing the payment of said warrants by the Federal Government, by incorporating in the ordinance to be submitted with the constitution formed a provision to that effect." The warrants issued were not to be paid before the 1st day of January, 1865, unless provision should be made for funding them with the other indebtedness of the Territory, or unless Congress should sooner make provision for their payment, but were to bear interest at six per cent per annum.

The report of the Commissioners was forwarded with the Wyandotte Constitution to Congress, with the request that Congress "appropriate $500,000, or in lieu thereof 500,000 acres of land, for the payment of the claims awarded the settlers of Kansas by the Claim Commissioners." The report was referred to the Committee on Claims, and, by their instructions, examined by the Clerk of the Committee, B. B. French, who allowed $449,498.11 of the $454,001.70, the award of the Commissioners.

Congress refused to make any appropriation for the purpose of paying these claims.

The Auditor of Kansas Territory, according to the provisions of the act providing for the payment of these claims, issued warrants on the Treasurer of the Territory to the amount of $349,933.63. The Treasurer issued Territorial bonds on the face of the warrants to the amount of $95,700, to bear interest, payable annually, the principal to be paid in 1864 in New York, thus pledging the faith of the Territory for the payment of nearly $100,000 of the claims. No action relative to the payment was taken by the Legislature of 1860. The last Territorial Legislature passed an act adverse to the payment of the bonds, which, by the action of the State Legislature, became a law in the following March.


The adoption of the Wyandotte Constitution was accepted by the people of both sides as a final settlement of the exciting question which had hitherto kept the Territory in turmoil, and henceforth the excitement and frauds at the polls gave way to the quiet and honest contest for party supremacy which prevailed elsewhere in the country. The period of civil strife was at an end.

The Territorial election took place November 8, at which time were chosen a Delegate to Congress and members of the Territorial Legislature. It was a party contest for local supremacy, in which, for the first time in the political history of the Territory, the Free-State question was not involved.

The candidates for Delegate to Congress wore: Saunders W. Johnston, Democrat; J. Parrott, Republican. The returns, showing the relative strength of the two parties at the first full ballot thrown, were as appears below:

---------    --------- -------  ------
Arapahoe            38      22      60
Atchison           654     531    1185
Anderson           105     238     343
(Wilson attached)  207     203     410
Brown               25     272     297
(Hunter attached)  145     371     516
(Dorn attached)      1      47      48
(McGee attached)   251     368     619
(Godfrey attached) 170     285     455
Chase              ---     126     126
Doniphan           762     768    1530
Dickinson          ---     ---     ---
Davis              127      94     221
Douglas            353     993    1346
Franklin           172     265     437
Greenwood          ---     ---     ---
Jackson            179     222     401
Jefferson          335     367     722
Johnson            482     408     890
Leavenworth       1391    1109    2592
Lykins             355     453     808
Linn               373     563     936
Madison              6      81      87
Morris             114      41     155
and Washington     179     146     325
Nemaha              41     228     270
Osage                1      31      32
Pottawatomie        33     121     154
(Clay attached)     97     298     395
Shawnee            167     535     702
Wabaunsee            8     121     129
Wyandotte          321     289     610
Woodson             77      87     164
-------           ----    ----   -----
Total             7232    9708   16949

Parrot's majority: 2746

The election of members of the Territorial Legislature resulted in the choice of nine Republicans and four Democrats to the Council, and twenty three Republicans and sixteen Democrats to the House of Representatives. The members elected were as in the list below, Democrats in italics:

Council. -- First District, George M. Beebe; Second District, W. J. Marion; Third District, W. G. Mathias; Fourth District, J. M. Christison; Fifth District, L. R. Palmer; Sixth District, J. B. Woodward; Seventh District, Chester Thomas; Eighth District, James M. Hendry; Ninth District, P. P. Elder; Tenth District, C. G. Keeler; Eleventh District, W. W. Updegraff; Twelfth District Watson Stewart; Thirteenth District, John C. Lambdin.

Representatives. -- First District, C. B. Whitehead, Thomas Vanderslice, Hugh Robertson; Second District, F. Lombard, William Noel; Third District, Paschal S. Parks, Fred Brown, John Wright, John Murphy; Fourth District, Edward Lynde, T. A. Blake; Fifth District, A. Bartlett; Sixth District, Byron Stewart; Seventh District, William L. McMath; Eighth District, H. R. Dutton; Ninth District, Morton Cave; Tenth District, I. S. Magill; Eleventh District, Dan. L. Chandler; Twelfth District, Robert Reynolds; Thirteenth District, Stephen G. Elliott; Fourteenth District, W. H. Fitzpatrick, S. R. Caniff; Fifteenth District, Paul R. Brooks, William A. Rankin, Erastus Heath; Sixteenth District, Charles Sims, L. S. Cornwall; Seventeenth District, G. A. Colton; Eighteenth District, J. H. Jones; Nineteenth District, William R. Wagstaff; Twentieth District, Thomas Lindsay; Twenty-first District, Henry Shively; Twenty-second District, O. H. Sheldon, W. Nelson; Twenty-third District, Samuel N. Wood; Twenty-fourth District, P. G. D. Morton; Twenty-fifth District, John W. Scott; Twenty-sixth District, Horatio Knowles; Twenty-seventh District (Pike's Peak), R. Sopris.

December 6, the election was held for the choice of State officers, members of the State Legislature and Representative to Congress, under the Wyandotte Constitution. The entire Republican ticket was elected, the vote being for the several candidates as given below, Democrats in italics:

                                Number of Total Republican
OFFICE.    Names of Candidates  Votes     Vote  Majority.
                                Received. Cast.
--------   -------------------  --------- ----- ----------
Governor   Charles Robinson          7908
           Samuel Medary             5395 13303       2513

Lieutenant Joseph P. Root            7893
Governor   John P. Slough            5392 13285       2501

Secretary  John W. Robinson          7864
of State   A. P. Walker              5396 13260       2468

Treasurer  William Tholen            7937
           R. L. Pease               5348 13385       2589

Auditor    George S. Hillyer         7856
           Joel K. Goodin            5365 13221       2491

Super. of  William R. Griffith       7598
Public Ins.  J. S. McGill            5287 12885       2311

Chief      Thomas Ewing, Jr.         8010
Justice    Joseph Williams           5301 13311       2709

Assoc. Justice  Samuel A. Kingman    7895
(four years)  Samuel A. Stinson      5396 13291       2499

Assoc. Justice  Lawrence D. Bailey   7721
(two years)  Robert B. Mitchell      5492 13213       2229

Attorney   Benjamin F. Simpson       7880
General    Orlin Thurston            5372 13252       2508

Rep. in   Martin F. Conway           7674
Congress  John A. Halderman          5567 13241       2097


The Fifth Legislature assembled at Lecompton January 2, 1860. The officers of the two branches chosen were as follows:

Council -- President, W. W. Updegraff; Clerk, John J. Ingalls; Assistant Clerk, A. Cutler; Sergeant-at-Arms, H. M. Selden; Doorkeeper, J. K. Rankin.

House -- Speaker, G. A. Colton; Clerk, M. W. Delahay; Assistant Clerk, N. J. Chipman; Sergeant-at-Arms, G. F. Warren; Doorkeeper, William House; Docket Clerk, John W. Day; Engrossing Clerk, J. L. Wilson; Enrolling Clerk, Andrew Stark; Journal Clerk, H. C. Chase; Second Assistant Clerk, Samuel F. Tappan.

January 4, the Legislature voted, by joint resolution, to adjourn to Lawrence. The preamble and resolution were as follows:

WHEREAS, the Legislature of Kansas Territory is required by law to meet at the Capital of said Territory, and whereas, there is, at said Capital, such a deficiency of suitable rooms, hotel accommodations, and other inconveniences as to seriously interfere with the progress of legislative business; and whereas, suitable accommodations can be readily obtained elsewhere, free of charge to the Territory; therefore, be it

Resolved, By the Governor and Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Kansas, that we do adjourn at 12 M., on January 4,1860, to meet in the city of Lawrence, Kansas Territory, on the 5th day of January, A. D. 1860, at 12 M., to hold the remainder of the session and that the Secretary of the Territory be requested to procure suitable rooms for the accommodation of said Legislative Assembly, in said city of Lawrence.

The guarantee of free accommodation at Lawrence was spread upon the journal, and bore the following signatures: C. W. Babcock, B. F. Dalton. L. L. Jones, S. W. Eldridge, P. R. Brooks, G. W. Hutchinson, E. S. Lowman, S. O. Thacher and G. W. Deitzler.

Image of 5TH TERR. CAPITOL FIFTH TERRITORIAL CAPITOL, LAWRENCE, In this building the Fourth Territorial Legislature met, January 4, 1859.

The session of the preceding winter had been held at Lawrence without any serious objection on the part of the Governor. He, however, vetoed the present resolution, on the ground, as stated in his message, that no extraordinary reasons now existed for the removal, as, with the new and large hotel which had been built during the past year at Lecompton, there were four very good hotels; not as elegantly kept as the St. Nicholas, but as well kept as Western hotels generally, and amply sufficient for a new country." He further stated that the rooms in Lecompton, furnished free of expense to the Territory out of the Congressional fund, were much superior to any accommodations they were able to obtain in Lawrence the previous winter, although it had cost the Territory over $1,300. In closing, he said: "This story of no expense is not new, but the end has proved most conclusively that the bills presented and paid, of all characters, by these removals, cost the taxpayers many hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars."

So, for economical reasons and to save valuable time, he sent in his message vetoing the attempted adjournment. The resolution was passed over the veto by a vote of 22 to 7 in the House and 9 to 4 in the Council, and on the 7th both bodies reconvened at Lawrence. The Governor and Secretary of the Territory remained at Lecompton, and, awaiting the decision of the United States Attorney General as to the legality of the removal, did not recognize the acts of the adjourned body. As, under the existing circumstances, legislative business was impracticable, the two Houses, on the 18th, passed the following concurrent resolution of adjournment:

WHEREAS, The Secretary of the Territory has obstinately refused to co-operate with the Legislative Assembly, now in session at Lawrence, has refused to supply the books, documents, stationery, printing, etc., which are absolutely necessary to the progress of legislation; and has, by such means, rendered it impossible to conduct the legitimate business of this body, without throwing additional and unnecessary expense upon the people of the Territory, therefore,

Resolved, By the House of Representatives, the Council concurring, That the Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory do, at 12 o'clock M., this 18th day of January, A. D. 1860, adjourn sine die, and that a committee, of one on the part of the Council, and two on the part of the House, he appointed to inform His Excellency the Governor of the passage of the foregoing resolution.*

* During the time Gov. Medary was confined to his room In Lecompton, with an attack of inflammatory rheumatism, and could not have followed the Legislature to Lawrence, if he had desired.


The Governor immediately issued a proclamation re-convening the Legislature at Lecompton on the 19th, "then and there to consider and perform such duties as are demanded by the interests and necessities of the people." The Legislature met at Lecompton as ordered, re-elected the same officers, again adjourned to Lawrence, which last proceeding was again vetoed by the Governor, and again passed, the veto notwithstanding. It does not appear that the Governor made further resistance to the persistent determination of the Legislature to sit in Lawrence or not to sit at all.

The general legislation was of that routine character common to like bodies. The most important matters appearing on the journals as receiving consideration were as below stated.

A bill abolishing slavery in the Territory was passed February 11, in the House, and subsequently passed the Council by a vote of nine to four. It was returned without the signature of the Governor with a long and elaborate message vetoing the bill. Quoting from the organic act he said: "You claim, under this declaration in the organic act, the right to prohibit slavery in the Territory of Kansas. By so doing, you mistake both the words and meaning, and misconceive the true spirit of the text." The members were not unmindful of the fact that their construction was the same accepted by the Pro-slavery Legislature of 1855, when they attempted to legislate slavery into the Territory and saw a logical consistency in legislating slavery out of the Territory under the same construction. The law was therefore passed over the veto of the Governor by a vote of twenty-nine to eight in the House, and nine to four in the Council, the minority votes being all cast by Democrats.

The census report to the Governor gave a total population of 71,770 in the Territory. The enumeration was known to be imperfect, and, as delay might arise in the admission of the State under the Wyandotte Constitution should the population reported appear less than the ratio of representation required for a member of the National House of Representatives (93,560), a legislative committee on census was chosen, which, in due time, reported the population at 97,570. This was probably not far from the actual number of inhabitants. The Marshal's return of the Federal census, taken June 1, showed a population of 109,401,* within the limits of the State as defined in the Wyandotte Constitution.

* The census of 1860 gave 143,643 as the total population, of which number 34,242 were in the vicinity of Pike's Peak.

S. W. Greer, the first Superintendent of Common Schools for Kansas Territory, made his first report, the system having been in operation at that time a little over six months. It was necessarily imperfect, many of the County Superintendents not having made full reports. The abstract of county reports was as follows:

(Key to columns is after the Table)

COUNTIES.   (1)   (2)   (3)   (4)   (5)   (6)   (7)   (8)   (9)
---------   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---
Anderson     13   558   227    25    12  $371  $300  $497     7
Bourbon       7    74    ..    12     6    ..    ..    ..     2
Douglas      36  1805    ..    92    33   860   950     7    33
Franklin     10   226    ..    ..     7    ..    ..    ..     6
Jackson      11   396    ..    ..    ..    ..    ..    ..    ..
Jefferson    18   447   185    33    12   456   787    16     7
Johnson      25   543   274    36    16  1308    ..     8    13
Leavenworth  32  1436   730    60    24  3368  4816     8    12
Lykins       11   144    52    21     9    ..    ..    60     4
Nemaha        6   180   180    20     8    ..    ..    ..    ..
Osage         2    50    ..    ..     2    ..    ..    ..    ..
Pottawatomie  6   182    ..    ..     5     9    ..    30     3
Shawnee      14    ..    ..    ..    ..    ..    ..    ..    ..
Brown         4   204    95    15     2   980     4    ..     2
Atchison     24   591   396    33    ..   700    ..  3675    ..
Doniphan      3   165    44     3     7    ..    ..    ..    ..
            ---  ----  ----   ---   ---  ----  ----  ----   ---
Total       222  7001  2183   350   143 $8052 $6857 $4301    89

1 Number of Districts organized.
2 Youths aged 5 to 21 years.
3 Scholars enrolled.
4 Number of months taught in the year.
5 Number of Districts in which schools were taught.
6 Money raised to build schoolhouses.
7 Am't Public Money for Schools.
8 Amount raised by private subscription.
9 No. of District Reports made to Superintendents.

During the session, names of counties were changed and several new counties established as follows: The name of McGee County was changed to Cherokee; Dickinson, Clay, Greenwood, Irving, Marion, Otoe, Pekaton, Republic, Shirley, Ottawa, Saline and Washington Counties were established.

The special session adjourned February 27.

April 11, a Republican convention was held in Lawrence, at which delegates to the coming National convention were chosen; also three Presidential Electors. The delegates chosen were A. C. Wilder, John A. Martin, W. W. Ross, John P. Hatterscheidt, William A. Phillips and A. G. Proctor. The Presidential Electors were T. Dwight Thacher, R. Gilpatrick and C. B. Lines.

The delegates were instructed to vote in the National Convention for William H. Seward, as the first choice of the Republicans of Kansas for the Presidency in 1860. The admission of Kansas as a State was deferred too long for the Territory to participate in the Presidential election of that year.

Little political excitement prevailed in the Territory during the year and few political events worthy of note occurred. The Kansas question had been transferred to Congress for final adjudication, and the people bided their time. But with political quiet and peace did not come the concomitant of plenty: a new tribulation came upon the long-suffering people. "A great famine fell upon the land."

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